In this new series of my post COVID Tech experiences, we explore how executives, entrepreneurs and other high achievers are navigating a new world of uncertainty, a constant change, the virtual switch, an increased disconnection and isolation, and a new working reality. The virtual switch being the new focus for sustained productivity. For most of us, this is the biggest day to day change we’ve ever experienced. it. How is technology transition in the COVID times helping us manage it? What is the importance of B2B in this new reality? How have our behaviours changed with respect to the tech changes and what is the true meaning of post COVID technology? Kicking us off is the best selling author and positioning goddess April Dunford.
Name: April Dunford
Title: CEO Ambient Strategy
What you did before the pandemic: I’m a consultant.
My work is focused on helping B2B tech companies clearly position their products so that the value they deliver is clearly understood by their best-fit customers. Before the pandemic, the workshops I run ran were mainly done face to face, on-site, with companies.
What you do now: Once the pandemic hit, I switched to delivering my workshops virtually. Instead of a 2-day, on-site meeting, the workshop is now a series of 3 long-format Zoom calls.
Is business better or worse for you since the start of the pandemic? At first I was skeptical if we could get the same result from a virtual workshop that we could get from a face to face meeting, but with a few modifications, the virtual workshops have been just as productive as they were face to face. The added bonus of not travelling is that I have more time to work with clients. For me, the switch to virtual has been a very positive thing for my business.
Laptop, tablet phone or other: which do you use most? When we went into lockdown, I realized I wasn’t going to be on the road much so I traded my laptop for a proper desktop computer. I’m really enjoying the additional power!
Out of all the devices that you currently use, which do you looooove the most? I’m a life-long distance runner but I’ve been sidelined with a serious injury since March. I added a Peloton to my home gym setup and so far I’m really happy with it. I’m not much of a bandwagon jumper when it comes to fitness trends but that bike is going to be a game-changer for me.
OS: I have been mainly a Mac person because I love their laptops but when I switched to a desktop, I bought a Mac Mini which has been a complete disaster. My next desktop is going to be a souped-up PC that I build myself.
Biggest productivity change since the pandemic: My calendar has been really busy since the start of the pandemic and I found that I am too tired in the mornings or the evenings to work out. I’ve started scheduling an hour of workout time mid-day and it’s really made me more productive.
Top 3 most used apps: Gmail, WhatsApp and the New York Times app.
Top 5 emojis: 🙂😬💩
Top 3 most used business apps: Zoom, Gmail and Google Slides – although I’m having fun messing around with Notion right now
Biggest change in digital behaviour since the start of the pandemic (besides more Zoom): (I used to use the Air Canada app, Google Maps and the Weather app a lot and now I pretty much never open any of those.
What’s your zoom background: My real home office bookshelf
Zoom background anxiety out of 10: I have zero Zoom background anxiety!
Favourite new WFH app: People do a lot of complaining about Zoom but I am still amazed that they managed to scale and keep it working as smoothly as it does right now – I love it.
An app you have stopped using: The Air Canada app.
% increase in work related pandemic emotional labour: At least 100%
Best virtual event session you’ve attended and why: Business of Software Conference – I thought they did a great job of letting the speakers do small group discussions in addition to their keynote talks. As a speaker, it was great to be able to get into more depth about a topic in a more conversational setting.
What does B2B marketing look like during a pandemic? The marketers I know are running flat-out, working nights and weekends and often with the additional strain of childcare and home schooling. I am seriously worried that we are running toward a mass case of marketer burn-out. I’m hoping that as we get closer to the holiday season, that people have a chance to slow down a little and recover from what has been a very intense 6 months.
April Dunford is the world’s leading expert on startup product positioning and recently published a bestseller, ‘Obviously Awesome.’ She is the CEO of Ambient Strategies and lives in Toronto with her family.
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