Speaker’s Corner: Featuring Douglas Gubert, Tech Lead, Rocket.Chat

Tell me about your company – it’s work and projects…

At Rocket.Chat we are working to reconnect the world and give back every person the right to privacy and security. We build a communication platform that brings data protection into every conversation, created on the open-source principles of collaboration and transparency, and that enables real-time conversations between colleagues, with other companies or with customers.

The COVID-19 and the pandemic has mandated change in the way we go about business and operations. How has this time influenced you? What are the trends you see within the sector?

When the social distancing measures started I was going daily to Rocket.Chat’s office in Porto Alegre, Brazil. So I had this total break on my routine and started working from home – but Rocket.Chat already had quite a few people working remotely from several other countries.

Working from home was troublesome in the beginning, but it turned out to help me know myself better. Helped me realize how much energy going to the office every day was draining out of me; how much I enjoyed having face-to-face interactions with the people at the office; and how privileged I am for being able to work exclusively at home without risking my or my loved ones’ health.

I think the trend that stands out the most is being able to attend events anywhere in the world via the internet. It is something we were seeing previously and got a big boost during this pandemic period. It’s not the same experience as being somewhere else in-person, but it’s valuable nonetheless. 

What is your biggest objective as a speaker?

Exchange knowledge and help people find solutions, creative ideas and new perceptions on issues or different approaches – also I am Autistic and talking about my passions is really something that makes me feel great 🙂

As a leader, what are the factors both professional and personal that drive you? What keeps you going?

Once again, as an Autistic person, leadership gets me to deal with and learn some different aspects concerning interaction and dealing with people – as I sometimes may have a hard time reading social cues, it is a very interesting opportunity to gain experience and develop some skills I need as a professional and in all other aspects of life. 

In your opinion, do digital events give you a similar level of feedback/result vis-à-vis the live versions? What would you say were the biggest pros and cons of both formats? Which do you prefer?

I certainly feel comfortable with the digital events, but I also believe the live “face-to-face” version offers a variety of experiences – different places and approaches, and even though there’s more sensory overload in an in-person event, interacting with other people feels more “rewarding” in some sense. 

What is your take on in-person events? Do you prefer in-person events as compared to hybrid or virtual? How soon do you think in-person events would return?

I enjoy the possibilities of virtual events (you can literally be part of something happening anywhere in the world), but the in-person format has some undeniable perks. In-person events are much more costly to organize and attend to, though. I don’t have a guess as to how soon they will return, but I’ll be curiously watching out for news on this topic.

In your opinion, what are the top 3 challenges to returning to ‘In-Person’ events? How could we mitigate risks?

The health aspect is probably the main challenge – not only because of COVID-19 – but because our immune systems may have a hard time adjusting after such a long time without us being exposed to the “outside world”. There’s also the time and expenses of commuting, and the subtleties of dealing with a diverse group of people in a shared environment – the home office is, after all,  our home and the interactions through virtual means are much more manageable and easier to navigate.

Best thing we can do is take our time to go back to “normal” – health-wise, the vaccine is certainly the way to go; and concerning the interactions – living in society again – I guess we will have to learn as we go.

Eventible has recently launched a B2B Interactive in Person Event Tracker, tell us what you think? Do you think this is useful?

I think it is very interesting! When I see new tools I often start thinking about the technical aspects of it, how it was built, where the data comes from, how people are managing the contents. But I digress. The map shows what areas are returning with in-person events, and this is definitely useful to plan out any travels that you might be able to do. 

Eventible.com is a review platform specially catering to B2B events. Given how review-driven our lives have become today, do you think reviews will bring in a level of transparency to the events industry? Would you rely on event reviews from other speakers if you had to make a speaking decision?

An interesting point to reviews in general is a phenomenon that happens on mobile app stores, where some publishers actually “buy” good reviews to drown the potentially bad ones – essentially defeating the purpose of reviews to the point where I mostly disregard them. However, what Eventible offers is different because of scale, really – since you have a very limited number of speakers in an event, it is possible to read their honest reviews without drowning in a sea of meaningless “Best event ever!” 5-star comments. 

Finally, do you have a favourite mocktail or drink? We’d be delighted to know.

I’m not much of a spirits person myself. I enjoy having a good cold wheat beer on hot summer days.

About Douglas: Douglas is a Tech Lead at Rocket.Chat. When he is not coding and worrying about developer experience and code semantics, he is studying random (human) languages or playing video-games with his kid (or by himself).

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