A year in review
And a particularly soppy one at that …
If ever there was a year to forego the traditional ‘year in review’ round-up that tends to come in the Christmas season, I think many would argue this was it. Everybody is – understandably – ready to put this year to bed without a backwards glance.
But whilst it’s important to maintain a respectful solemnity for the difficulties and loss that many have suffered, there’s nothing wrong with seeking a silver lining in cloud-ridden skies: indeed, it’s a recognised psychological process for recontextualising traumatic and negative experiences.
And if we’re honest, by any measure, crisis or not, we at Bridge have had a good year of it. Some of those are successes that were arguably ‘coming our way’ anyway. And some of them we’ve been… gently nudged towards as a result of prevailing world conditions.
Pushing forward, regardless…
In relation to the former, our product launches have continued this year, just as they would have if we’d had physical trade shows to attend. October was a stormer of a month; not least because it saw us release version six of our VB330. And that was no mere give-it-a-shiny-new-interface-and-slap-a-new-number-on-it. No, this represented a fundamental paradigm shift in how monitoring equipment deals with QoS and QoE in tandem: something truly revolutionary.
But this wasn’t all. It was complimented by the launch of our PoE+ innovation, which we – in true ‘Dad speak’, would describe as ‘nifty bits of kit’, but which the TV Technology Awards used even more impressive words for.
And then there’s our partnerships. We really have gone from strength to strength this year in building not just the reach of our network, but the bond of it. Whether it’s the development of relationship with Business Partners, clients, such as Network Nine or Ziggo or alliances such as Grass Valley, we’ve been using this year to strengthen and bolster ties with our collaborators; seeking not only to grow our position within the industry, but the industry as a whole. It’s our belief that the more we develop together, the more room there is for each of us to expand. At Bridge, we’ve never played a zero sum game, and we believe that this year has shown the market that we’re always – ultimately – better off together.
Making a big song and dance
And so, finally, our crowning jewel in togetherness. Is it the thing that has brought us the most bottom-line profitability? Nope. It is the thing that has caused us the most hair-pulling, crying-into-our-pillows stress, nightmares and all-round drama? Absolutely. Do we love it more than anything, and hold immense pride for it? You betcha.
That’s right. It’s our Bridge Show.
Now this is one innovation we can safely say wouldn’t have come about without the paradigm shift that Corona brought upon us. We’ve always thrived on personal contact – if you’ve had the fortune to meet any one of our CEOs, you’ll know that they’re blessed with an abundance of charisma and a thirst for personal interaction. How could we possibly continue that tradition in a socially-distanced world?
The Bridge Show was our answer. Far more than a webinar, this was our outlet for the creativity that we used to be able to apply in our interpersonal interactions, back in the ‘real’ pre-Covid world. Indeed, the main challenge has actually been keeping the show on-message and vaguely related to our actual technologies. Give us any excuse for the exercise of creativity (or insanity, or simply the opportunity to dress Tim up in weird costumes), and we’re off – Halloween, Advent Calendars, full-blown classical piano and cello recitals with insanely talented, insanely insane musicians (as usual, Aksel, we’re looking at you)…
We are so, so proud of our Bridge Show. Why? Because of the great viewership metrics we’ve achieved on Youtube? (41,062 mins spent watching, 119 new subs and 8,503 views is not to be sniffed at!) Because of the conversion rate we’ve had from views to sales? Because of the overwhelming impact it’s had on bottom-line profits!?
Ha! (if we did emojis, there’d be a laughing one here…). Nothing of the sort. We’re not saying the above stats are useless, per se. But we’re not exactly calling it useful either (if you restrict yourself to incredibly boring bottom-line business metrics). It’s a lot of work, a lot of heartache, and a lot of investment – personally, from every single one of us, as well as financially.
But the net result? Pride. Joy. Community. Collaboration. A feeling of achievement. An outlet for our creative selves. A sense of connection. A way to acknowledge and thank our business partners. A way to express our unique identity. A way to educate and inform about the IP industry as a whole, and monitoring as a concept. A way to let Aksel and Tim dress up in ridiculous costumes and cause havoc on the streets of Oslo.
And maybe, somewhere, buried under all that, some kind of marketing message about our products. Who knows? It certainly hasn’t been at the forefront of our minds, we can tell you that.
We truly love our Bridge Show, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, we hugely encourage you to get started with the Bridge Advent Calendar – full of bite size pieces of information from our beloved business partners (and yes, a good dollop of messing around from the rest of us too).
The difference between gloating and giving thanks
We don’t want this blog to sound like we’re showing off. Don’t get us wrong, we love showing off (you can’t enjoy champagne and cigars like our lot do without a little bit of fondness for flair), but we know there’s a time and a place, and 2020 isn’t it. What we’re trying to do is seek out and highlight the good – not only in ourselves, but in all the people who have stood together with us this year; who have helped to raise us up, as we have sought to raise them up too.
That’s the theme not only of this blog, but of all our social media and webinar efforts: times are tough, but things often seem entirely more endurable when you surround yourself with a team that isn’t just competent, knowledgeable and business-like, but is warm, resilient, like-minded, driven, enthusiastic, innovative, creative and full of humour. A team – within the office walls and far beyond – that values the human touch.
Because the thing is – what we do it highly technical. Almost a little clinical. Lots of ones and zeros. Lots of precision and detail. Lots of timing tails and minute measurements. And we value that hugely. But we can’t afford to get sucked into it. If you lose sight of the end game – the human dimension – you don’t just lose the battle (and this year was a pretty epic battle) – you lose the war; because the war is really for the hearts of people; their experience as consumers of content, their emotional reaction, their personal satisfaction: not their metrics as a mere analytical statistic.
So whilst we’re beavering away pushing the boundaries of technology in the background, we really want our memory of 2020 to be fundamentally human: treasuring what we have, how we’ve bonded, and how we’ll grow together.
Off air, lights out, drop the mic and see you all for an exciting 2021.