By Gareth Jones, SVP, Global Marketing Director
The trouble with taking risks is that you never know if they’re going to pay off.
Last week we launched Sofa Sets, a livestream music festival aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Pulled together from start to finish in just a few days, the idea was to bring together musicians from around the world to provide some much-needed human connection to those on lockdown.
We also wanted to combine the art of music and the power of data to highlight the importance of social distancing and empower people with the information needed to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.
As with most ideas hastily brought to life, we had no idea how things were going to go.
They did not go perfectly.
Thanks to a blizzard in Norway, our opening act, Aurora, could not get online at all. Our second artist, Jade Bird, accidentally fell afoul of YouTube’s copyright algorithm; and Hamilton Leithauser’s laptop was crippled by a mysterious software update.
In spite of these glitches, on the whole, Sofa Sets was a success. Over the course of three hours, more than 12,000 viewers tuned in to the livestream. This helped reduce the number of hospital stays by 866, which in turn freed up 295 ventilators and ultimately helped save 54 lives.
A small but important drop in the ocean.
As well as demonstrating the impact of creativity, data and technology on even the most profound of problems, Sofa Sets also served as a reminder of some other timely truths.
First, adversity really does drive innovation. In the current circumstances, the rule book is all but useless. This provides an opportunity for those willing to roll with the punches, adapt in the face of constant uncertainty and put themselves on the line for good ideas that make a difference.
With this, it follows that mistakes are inevitable. We’re all now just a Wi-Fi signal bar away from disaster, and so have to accept that things will go wrong, a lot. In the new paradigm, failing fast is just the beginning. At least for now, it’s more a case of fail fast, recover faster, then adapt and move on, unfazed. You also need partners who can do the same; in this case, Salesforce and Glassnote Records. Collaboration, communication and flexibility are core skills.
Last, and most important, authenticity is now more crucial than ever. For a split second in time, we are all connected by a common, albeit catastrophic, experience. This can and will lead to some remarkable moments but only for those with intentions that go beyond self-interest. For us, Sofa Sets was an attempt to do just this: to use our skills, however humbly, to make an impact, however small, on the spread of coronavirus. Thankfully, the risk seemed to pay off and we’re proud to have made even the tiniest of differences.
Please stay tuned for more Sofa Sets coming soon!