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MaestroConference and Social Conferencing: Two Kinds of Opportunity

social conferencing Brian Burt
Brian Burt, CEO of Maestroconference

MaestroConference has changed my business and the technology has given my business an edge by making my courses highly interactive and especially powerful for participants. I’m a huge fan of what MaestroConference can do for those who teach courses.

In addition, Maestro is just close to my heart. The people I’ve worked with there have made suggestions that have made me a more effective teacher and have contributed to my classes considerably.

Nothing fancy, but it put a smile on my face to see this note pasted on the front door.

When I presented at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference a couple of years ago, I took a detour to Oakland to meet with the team and meet in person these folks who have contributed so much to the success of my business and my clients.

I arrived to a welcome note on the outside door and a card that everyone had signed. Everyone took a break for hugs and a roundtable discussion. It may sound trite but they felt like family.

This is a company with a standout product that has changed my business and top notch customer service. Did I mention someone on the staff baked and sent me cookies the following Christmas?

So, when Brian Burt contacted me about Maestro’s crowdfunding campaign, the top rated CF opportunity on Stratifund, I became an investor. I also wanted to share the opportunity more broadly, because I am such a believer in the power of this platform—for transformation and business. Of course, I encourage you to read all the fine print and details on the WeFunder website. Here’s just a bit more about MaestroConference in case you are thinking of investing or thinking about using the technology to make your online courses and conferences better.

Meeting Brian Burt in person in 2014

Lisa: Can you say a bit about what social conferencing is and what sets it apart from other types of conferencing?

Brian:  Social conferencing creates a connection with and among participants versus just lecturing them.  Most conferences are broadcast events where the audience is passively listening or watching.  MaestroConference’s social conferencing tools like breakouts, idea board and more allow participants to interact with the host and each other creating real connections.

Lisa: That connection is so key. I find that people come away from my calls with new, creative ideas for their books. They leave the calls feeling inspired and recharged. And the accountability during the breakout sessions of having to say what you’ve done the previous week—that’s motivating. People often say that even if they fall behind, they usually pick right back up a few days before the conference when they know they’ll be sharing their progress with a partner on the call. There’s power in the group to stay on task.

Can you tell me a bit about ideaboard—how it works and the kind of thinking it initiates? I haven’t used that feature.

Brian:  The idea board is a way to capture everyone’s input, giving everyone a chance to vote on the ideas, and seeing what bubbles to the top.  It’s great for selecting the questions to ask a guest (similar to Reddit “AMA” but with spoken answers), collecting ideas from breakouts, or picking topics to dive into.  The host can choose the voting mechanism.  [Here’s the help section on that.]

Lisa: Oh, I’m already getting ideas…I know all kinds of people are using Maestroconference—from the White House (to communicate with volunteers during the president’s campaign) to nonprofit organizations who are connecting with global partners. I’m especially interested in hearing how bestselling authors use Maestroconference. You have a pretty impressive roster—from SARK to Jack Canfield to You have some of the finest teachers.

Brian:  We have great customers who have found benefits of MaestroConference like Jack who said that traditional calls can’t create interaction but “it can happen with MaestroConference.” One way we have seen authors in particular use MaestroConference is with “virtual” book tours.

These are either paid or unpaid events advertised by the author where they get to interact directly with people across the world who have read their work.  They can answer questions, divide participants into small breakouts, poll them and more.  This is a great way for authors to connect with their audience.  And an interactive event can be much more effective at attracting those with a professional interest.

Meeting with the Maestro Team: Behind me is Joshua Home Edwards, the behind the scenes “driver” for most of my calls.

Lisa:  Why does crowdfunding make sense for you now?

Brian:  We decided to start a crowdfunding campaign because it aligns with our brand, and allows our fans to participate in the upside of a successful technology company. MaestroConference’s mission is to light up the world with the power of meaningful, large-scale conversations that connect lives, build relationships and change the world.  Similarly crowdfunding allows individuals to collectively spur companies and ideas.  Our mission of connections through conversations is the same as crowdfundings connection through investment.

Lisa:  Why is this a good investment?

Brian:  MaestroConference has been getting great word of mouth from our customers and growing with that.  With the crowdfunding resources, we will be able to fund our sales and marketing teams, as well as continue to innovate great technology.  It’s worth noting there are no guarantees, but there’s definitely potential upside as people are getting in at a price for early investors.

Lisa:  What are MaestroConference’s plans for the future?

Brian:  We plan on continuing to improve and add more benefits for our users.  Video is key and is currently in “private beta” for some customers.  We have already rolled out a CRM integration tool, Zapier, allowing customers to have their registrants automatically sync with their systems.

Lisa: I was excited to see that because we use Infusionsoft for our customer relationship management, including affiliate program, LeadPages for our registration for free calls and Maestroconference for the conferencing technology. It’s exciting to see that we will be able to use Maestroconference for our free calls now, in addition to our paid programs, since we’ll now be able to track affiliate info. Anything else?

Brian: We now also have audio streaming allowing hundreds of thousands of participants to listen to live calls.

Lisa: Wow, I don’t know of any conferencing technology that allows for such huge groups. I imagine that can be powerful for larger companies and nonprofits that want to connect people across the organization and in different locations.

Brian: We’ve also built most of a new screenshare tool that will be much more flexible and easy to use.

Lisa: That sounds good too. For now, I’ve focused on teleseminars but I can see how screensharing and offering webinars could be of benefit for certain classes and applications. Anything down the pike?

Brain: In the future, we’re planning to create breakouts by geography or social network.  All very exciting features that we know our users will love.

Lisa: Yeah, my participants always get excited when they accidentally pair up with someone who lives near them. And a few have gone on to meet in person. It would be neat to make those connections intentionally and more often!

Thanks for sharing this opportunity, Brian. Readers, if you have questions about Maestroconference as an investment opportunity, you can check it out here. And if you want to look into Maestroconference as a vehicle for social conferencing, you can check it out here.

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Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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Comments

  1. Julian Martinez says

    Great article, Lisa! Thank you for sharing your deep experience and familiarity with MaestroConference. We’ve learned so much from speaking to long time customers and supporters like you, which is why we’ve continued to innovate and develop new products and features to help you be more effective and impactful in your work. It’s very much a synergistic, mutually beneficial relationship that we sincerely appreciate. We’re excited for what the future holds for all of us! Thank you for your support, Lisa!

    With sincere appreciation,
    Julian Martinez
    Director of Marketing @ MaestroConference

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