Holiday Time - 2021 in review
As I start to pack up and finish off my final checklist for the year I feel the best way to wrap up - what has easily been the busiest time for our company - is to start at the beginning and try to piece together a timeline of key events that shaped our direction. To put things into perspective we went from a team of 2 at the end of 2020, to a team of 20+ based in 4 countries in 12 months.
Let’s start at the beginning
Straight into it with negotiations to acquire event platform Forumm
448 Studio officially brings Forumm into the fold. 448 expands from 2 to 7 with Murray, Junaid, Alex, Cameron and Eric coming on board
Forumm founder Eric Kim named as 448 Studio COO
Plans begin with Junaid to build an in-house team of developers located in Pakistan
First truly international online conference takes place on Forumm, Association Montessori Internationale AGM with individuals from over 50 countries attending
We expand the team again to support UCAS on their social media plan for Clearing
We appoint six board of advisor members
Work begins on our SMART innovation grant application to develop a hybrid lecturing tool
Dr Hilary Young joins the team in a consultant capacity to support the Academic Social Media programme with University of Leeds.
All Day All Night (our 24 hour live conference) hosted on our very own Forumm platform
After multiple false starts due to Covid restrictions Junaid finally heads to Pakistan to build our 448 Technology Team
We make the decision to close down our social media advertising service
448 Studio announced as official Bantshire University partner
Dr Hilary Young joins our team full time and begins work on LSE blog strategy project
We say goodbye to Laura our first 448 team member who is offered an amazing social media job working for Scottish Television
448 Technology team fully operational under the guidance of Junaid with office space and 8 full time developers based in Islamabad
Outbound sales process begins
GCC hosts their second Virtual Graduation on Forumm
Dave Cowan joins the team as our Head of Marketing and Brand
Packed with hybrid style events like Net Native’s Think Student Live, and Pickle Jar’s ContentEd
Social media intern Ellie joins the team to work with Hilary
Digital Development Loan final submission which ties into plans for our 448 Cloud servers to power further growth and expansion in 2022
What 448 Studio looks like right now
In order to keep everything organised and workflows as efficient as possible (especially working in different locations) we’ve had to segment 448 four service areas plus a product. This doesn't mean team members don't work together, far from it, it just helps us structurally know what each team member is doing on a day-to-day basis.
Sales for both services and products
Marketing, branding and website
Vision and people
All Day All Night social media conference
All core 448 offerings such as workshops and consultancy
Academic social media support programme
Content inspiration calendar
Supports all live streaming for lectures, conferences and other events
Delivers hybrid events
Video editing and broadcast graphics
Based in Pakistan, this team are currently finishing version two of the Forumm platform
Capacity to take on other development projects such as app creation, web design and other platform work
We see this as the most scalable element of the business
All-in-one virtual and hybrid event platform built for the education sector
Hosted close to 20 large scale bespoke events in under a year
Automated version due in February
Garnered interest from multiple Universities within the UK, Australia and recently the US with an Ivy League university commissioning Forumm for an upcoming event in March 2022
Big thanks to our clients (listed below in alphabetical order) who have put their trust in us this year.
AMI (Montessori), Array Festival, Glasgow Clyde College, Havas Education (Heist Awards), Howat Group, Lancaster University, The London School of Economics, Net Natives (Think Student), Pickle Jar (ContentEd & Utterly Content), Royal Academy of Dance, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Royal Geographic Society, South Lanarkshire College, UCAS, University of Central Lancashire, University of Dundee, University of Glasgow, University of the Highlands and Islands, University of Leeds, University of Strathclyde, Welsh Parliament.
What does 2022 have in store?
We aim to continue growing the business starting with our core 448 Academy, with Hilary leading the way we are aiming to build a small team around her to ensure we are staying true to our vision of education and knowledge sharing.
Version 2 of Forumm will be released in February offering a more accessible way for people to self host smaller webinar style events and lectures. We will continue to offer project management support and live stream broadcasting for those large showcase events too. Part of our V2 release is a full refresh of the Forumm and 448 Studio websites which are in the works and will be ready to launch in the new year
On a more technical note we will also be building our own servers (with the help of a Digital Development Loan) for hosting Forumm along with any new apps we develop. Eric very eloquently named this 448 Cloud.
Our SMART innovation grant is in the final phase of approval. If we're given the green light we'll be partnering up with Universities across the UK for an R&D drive to develop a hybrid live video teaching tool for lecturers. This tool will integrate with existing Learning Management Systems like Moodle, Blackboard or Canvas.
The personal stuff
Come January we'll be moving house, which is both stressful and exciting at the same time. We'll still be staying in Kilmacolm but the new place will give us some much needed extra space.
My mum and dad have now officially moved from Toronto to Kilmacolm which is absolutely amazing. I haven't lived in the same city / town as my parents for about 10 years, so its so special to be able to spend more time with them, but most importantly for them to spend time with Francis.
As new year's resolutions go I'm planning on starting to learn Urdu to be able to break down that language barrier between my staff in Pakistan. It's not fair for us to always expect them to speak English all the team, so I'm going to try my level best to learn as much as I can.
And that pretty much about wraps up our 2021. I'd like to send a big thanks to all the staff, consultants and volunteers that have supported 448 this year, and wishing all of you a happy holiday. I'll see you in the new year.
One last thing.. for all the stats people out there: