Show Host & MC

Conference Pivot: TV Format

With the Coronavirus disrupting the world, the BIND 4.0 organizers had to pivot.

They turned their 2020 startup accelerator event into a live TV format.

In previous years, the conference was held at Bilbao’s Euskalduna Conference Center or San Sebastian’s Kursaal.

In 2020, the production went from conference center to TV studio.

The pressure was on. It had to be best of class.

The organizers could have looked for a TV host, but they stayed with Jack. Above is the 60-second summary of the day.

What a production!

The live viewership tripled.

The recorded viewership production is, essentially, infinite. It will remain online for the full year following, with continual promotion.

Here’s the full 75-minute program as it was recorded live.

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In previous years, Basque Industry 4.0, an arm of the Basque Autonomous Government Economic Development Ministry, had organized Demo Day each year, as part of its BIND 4.0 startup accelerator ecosystem.

Jack was brought on in January 2018 to help the 30 startups who qualify for the program to prepare their pitches at the July startup event.

“No regional government in Europe has such a a strong initiative as the Basques,” said one investor. “This is a massive initiative, and after 2017, they needed the startups to pitch with more impact.”

After five months of preparing the 30 startups, and a month before Demo Day itself, BIND 4.0 also asked Jack to host the event’s Main Stage.

“We see Jack as the perfect host,” said the organizers, “because the startups and the industry players value him, he understands the international business and startup environment, and he knows Europe, Spain and the Basque region so well.”

The following year, 2019, one of the startups said to the organizers, “For me, the best part of the program was Jack’s coaching. Then for him to introduce me on to the stage for the pitch he helped us with, well, that was just incredible energy.”

Here are video testimonials from the startups and a quick summary of Jack’s 2019 stage hosting.

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“Jack, you’re the Main Stage Host and the Back Stage Coach!” 

The START Summit is the foremost startup conference in Central Europe, organised by the University of St. Gallen Business School, specifically by grad students.

Speakers are invited from around the world. They include Silicon Valley tech giants, international investors, and high-profile business gurus.

Most of the students have only limited experience from the year before and, although committed and bright, it’s new each year.

And it’s stressful.

Jack’s been the Main Stage Host for four straight years. At the end of the first day of the two-day conference in 2017, the stage manager gave Jack a bear hug.

“Jack, you’re a phenomenal host, but that’s not all,” he said.

“You’re the Main Stage Host… and you’re the back stage coach. Without you, this morning would have been a mess. But what really blew my mind is how you walk on stage so calmly. How do you do it?”

Here’s the video summary of START Summit 2017.

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“I was already kicking myself by the first coffee break.” 

The event organizer had invested precious time and money into a great program, insightful speakers, and state-of-the-art technology.

Since only a few speakers were paid and the budget was tight, she thought she could get the Stage Host on the cheap, too, and the event’s biggest sponsor was keen to have its CMO in the role.

And he was mediocre. In spite of a face-to-face meeting and a few video calls, the conference host was mediocre.

Ergo, the conference was mediocre. 

“I was so frustrated,” the organizer said, “and the following year, the conference was an even tougher sell than the first.”

Hosting a stage or a broadcast event is not an easy job. It takes much more than good public speaking abilities and carisma.

It takes preparation. It takes experience. It takes spontaneity.

And it takes the character to make everyone else look good, in every situation.

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In November 2010, Jack was the Chair of European Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest in Barcelona.  

For the first time ever, the Contest Chair warmed up the audience with two minutes of humor, poking good fun at the Catalans/Barcelonés.  Jack then held a tight competition, followed by a warm, professional interview session with each of the contestants and the award ceremony.

Irina Kremin of INNOCOS Beauty Innovation Network was in the audience.  She immediately hired Jack for various Beauty Innovation Summits and related events, including Berlin, Amsterdam and New York.

“Jack’s delivery is so smooth, partly because he simply enjoys himself on stage, but also because his preparation is second-to-none.  There are never any awkward moments between speakers or coffee breaks.  

“Weeks before each conference, he reaches out to the speakers, establishes great rapport and confirms their introduction points.

“If there are ever any small, logistic problems, Jack adjusts quickly.  Once, when our next speaker was in the WC, Jack seamlessly shifted and held an informal yet relevant survey with the audience.  I later learned that he had that survey in his ‘back pocket’ for just such a moment.”

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Jack also hosts and curates TEDx events. Over the years, he’s MC’d the stage and curated TEDxLuzern, TEDxZug and TEDxLugano.  Not only does Jack prepare himself for the hosting role, he curates the program and coaches each speaker to move their TEDx Talks from good to great.

“I simply get a buzz watching many interesting people with great content bring it to a higher level in their structure and delivery.  Oh, and I get a buzz hosting, too.  A real buzz. I can’t hide that, can I?”

Jack’s has MC’d corporate Christmas parties and 25th wedding anniversaries alike.

“The best way to get the audience to have an enjoyable experience is for me to enjoy it… and to make everybody else, from the organizers to the technicians to the talent, look good.”

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If you’re organizing a big event, make sure to put your most visible component in competent hands.

Contact Jack to see how he can bring your event from good to great.