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Conferencing News Blog

Supply-Side Awardonomics

The desire for recognition among individuals and groups is one of the most powerful and underestimated factors in understanding how the world works. Most social, political, and business endeavors can be viewed in the prism of the desire for recognition. We were reminded of this today with the second "award" that recognizes great performances in the conferencing business.

The "Stevie Awards," with faux glammy events like "The International Business Awards" and "The American Business Awards" are promoted as being "the business world's own Oscars." On June 12, David Erickson, founder of, received a Stevie Award for "Best Executive - All Other Industries." (We just love that "All Other Industries" category. We're still chuckling. They recognize someone yet don't recognize the industry. Hilarious. We should all protest that "Conferencing" isn't defined as an industry, but we'd probably all fight over the word "conferencing" and whether "collaboration" should be added to it, and it would all get watered down to "Communication Solutions"). Today, conferencing juggernaut BT Conferencing was awarded a Stevie for "Best Multinational Company in Europe" and CEO Aaron McCormack earned a Certificate of Finalist Recognition for "Best Executive." (Press release here.) The lost double irony of "multinational in Europe" is wonderful.

The Stevie, pictured above, is a trophy award that's part of "The Stevies," which feels to us like a contrived moniker attempting to be catchy. From their website: Stevie is taken from the name Stephen, which is derived from the Greek for "crowned." (Oh, we're in tears of laughter here. This is good stuff.) The Stevie is 16 inches tall and is hand-cast and finished in 24-karat gold. Note to BT Conferencing: We want to inspect your Stevie for gold purity validation. Note to Aaron McCormack: Send us a pic of your certificate that's now on your refrigerator and we'll post it on this blog. Note to Dave Erickson: Send us an audio file of your Stevie acceptance speech!

Our cynical view of the Stevies doesn't imply the recipients aren't worthy of them. We think BT Conferencing is a class act. We don't know Dave Erickson, but feel his Stevie should have been for "Getting In Early." Or perhaps a Stevie should have been awarded to Warren Jason, the founder and former owner of for "Cashing Out At the Right Time."

Communities, where there exists social structures, relationships, and familiarity with one another, gives awards to its members to recognize them for their achievements. But if you don't have a real community, a fascinating business model suggests you can create an artificial, mediated one by copying the feel of the Oscars, sourcing some judges, and supplying awards. Let the recognition and wealth trickle down!