Despite the HIRL/HOA technical issues surrounding the recorded part of our convention, it was a resounding success. We have several new “Hang Arounds” who are seeking admission as full patched members and one drove all the way from L.A. to Vegas and went back afterwards. So I saw a lot of dedication and commitment, which is awesome.
One interesting part about this year’s HIRL is that many attendees have probably never done a video conference like this, so I was able to spot some of my weaknesses in not recognizing that only a few of the Originals understand the HOA. In any event, we did a round table in the conference room at personal injury attorney, Richard Harris’ law offices in Las Vegas, NV. Why is this particularly interesting? Well, because it gave me the ability to analyze the strengths and limitations of a HIRL under the pressures of a production on a less than “Sundance” style budget.
But first, let me tell you about this personal injury law firm that volunteered their use of a gigantic conference room, catering, and with the volunteerism of accident lawyer Seth Price, in their huge, sprawling law office. This was really great, because we were able to meet at close quarters, mix, exchange pleasantries, cards and handshakes. Of course, in more detail below, I will talk about some of the drawbacks to such a close quarters HIRL. Check out this picture of the exterior of this mammoth legal facility. Inside and upstairs, we used one of the many conference rooms within the below facility. Any injured client would be proud to be represented by such as successful firm. Clearly, they are doing right by their clients to have been so generous in loaning us a room for almost 8 hours!
The Location of Our Convention | Injury Lawyer Richard Harris’ Law Building
Observations About Audience Participation In a Full Conference Room
Unlike most hangouts, this was a HIRL, or “Hang Out in Real Life”, <<< Click. What this means, is that listeners and watchers at home could watch the HIRL on their computers, and physical attendees could also view the HIRL while seated around the conference table, and be able to see the online slides, and graphics, as well as the video streaming of the speakers themselves, that are just sitting across the table.
What is the Format of a HIRL?
A HIRL, like any other HOA, is designed to be a 15-30 minute presentation by a physically present speaker, or a speaker at a remote location by use of streaming live video and audio. Typically there is a question and answer session at the end of the slideshow and oral presentation by the invited guest speaker. Well, unfortunately, this is still a new technology to non plussers, and some of the chaos that befell us is partially my fault, for not establishing clear boundaries of how a HIRL must be run.
So in addition to the picture in mind (a conference in a large chamber room, enabling the sounds and voices of others to cause great feedback, too many computers tapping into a single wi-fi connection, physical attendees asking questions to the speaker mid-sentence, and so forth, I came to some findings and conclusions as to how anyone, not just C.O.L.T., should run a HIRL.
Finding One – Let the Speaker Finish His Presentation
- Finding 1. Let Him Speak. First, for you attorneys, for example, when a trial lawyer speaks at a seminar, first he makes his presentation, and then after that, there is an open discussion. I believe we called this the Socratic Method at law school?
- Conclusion. In a HIRL, we have limited time, and each speaker is scheduled t speak at different times, and many of them are volunteering, despite the fact they are celebrities in the Google Community.
Although we did have scheduling misunderstanding due to time zone issues (Eric Enge and Mark Traphagan are on the East Coast Time Zone, & Las Vegas is not) we were able to fill in the gap and have the speakers present out of order, just like experts and other subpoenaed witnesses at a jury trial.
A few attendees not familiar with the Google HOA format asked questions during the initial presentation, but more problematic, they interrogatories were not heard by people at home, as the questioners were too far away from the speaker for the microphone to pick up the questions. For example, when Dan Goldstein was making his presentation, and the viewing audience could not hear the questions, so for a great part of the video, you can hear mumbling, and then Goldstein attempting to answer questions that no one else can hear.
Finding Two – Limitations of the Hangouts Require Special Technical Accommodations
- Finding 2 – Hire Ronnie Bincer First I know this sounds crazy, but Google keeps tweaking the the way Events and Hangouts work. It is also more difficult to run an HOA from your Place/Community, as opposed to running it from your real personal user profile.
Ronnie Bincer keeps up on this stuff, and he has led us in an HOA once before. I should have contacted him at his Google Plus contact here, prior to running the HIRL. For an example of just a few problem.
- Looking Dumb – The first 15 minutes of the part one raw video below I am trying to figure out if it is recording or not, since there is no “record button” anymore (turns out it was recording and I look silly)
- Avoiding Audio Feedback and Delay- If I had spoken with or looked at Bincer’s blog, I would have known that having all the audios on, on all computers within the confines, would have each other computer to cause feedback, and cancel the audio out, or hang with delays, which did happen and made me look dumb (See supra). We experience feedback, look dumb, etc.
- One Wi-fi Connection Not Enough For Multiple Users in Real Life – I am sure Bincer would have told me that typically, more than a few computers can tap into one wifi connection at a particular location. This is due to the video streaming larger video files. We quickly determined that next time we should feed the MC’s computer to the large TV monitor for all attendees and have one more computer for the live speaker, and then pass a mic around for attendees to ask questions. This is one of the limitations of streaming in close quarters for sure.
Obviously, we need to edit the raw video and try and salvage the tape into something that doesn’t make us look the the Three Stooges. In all events, it is imperative that live attendees at a conference with greater Wi Fi capacity need to mute their computers. Imagine a thousand people at a Wi Fi HIRL and trying to eliminate the one mic with feedback.
Conclusion. Get technical updates on HIRLS and mute the microphones till your turn comes to talk.
Raw Video of The Seminar – Part One
Please Start at 15:13
You can see in the raw video that we started to get rolling along pretty good after we ironed out the basic stuff. So I feel confident we are gonna have an even better seminar next year.
New Blood to the Circle of Legal Trust
Without naming names, we had some new prospects come to the seminar. We had one attorney come from Oregon, one from LA, and others from the South and Eastern states. I was proud to see all the interest. Some people really get it, and Sgt at Arms, Anthony Castelli, is working with these new prospects to get them snapped into our elite organization of legal warriors.
Rollout of Paid Services
Although each member must be free and accepted, and membership itself is merit based and free of money charges, it is not free for me and my developers. When I started this, I always wanted it to be self administered by me and a few Originals, but there are simply too many people wanting to join. In order for me to maintain human edited quality control, Andre van Wyk and I are coming out with some new paid services to help offset costs, and hire more help to build out our various online publications.
- “COLT Journal” Magazine Advertising – We announced paid advertising slots for our Legal and Marketing journal, that is multi-state, multi practice. (this is available for members and outside vendors)
- Personal Injury Warriors Magazine Paid Ads – Due to the fact that PI is the most competitive law practice in the united states of America, we have a stand alone PI practice magazine that is also now selling paid slots for outside vendors and inside members. Both COLT Journal and PI Warriors are going to be pushed to online apps and distribution channels.
- Mastermind Group Memberships – We are also offering additional services for members only.
- This will include the ability to receive a place of recognition on our Circle of Legal Trust Attorney NAP Data Directory currently being developed by Andre van Wyk. This is a basically a White List of Trusted Colt members that will act as a data provider to Google. We offer three levels, Mastermind gets the top of the page, by order of who purchased first (first in time is first in right)
- Mastermind: Top Slot. Includes a 1. NAP Data, 2. Graphic or photo, 3. link to your site and COLT user profile, 4. A short law firm bio on the page.
- Gold: Middle Slot. Includes 1. NAP Data, 2. link to your site and COLT user profile.
- Free: Bottom Slot. Includes 1. NAP Data, 2. (COLT Members only)
- We will also offer use of our “List Serve” that is also being developed so lawyers can share leads and private communications off of the Google grid.
- Each Gold Member will also get a ad placement in one of our magazines of their choice, regardless of whether or not they provide an article. But current, non paying members will still be able to provide articles as always, free of charge.
- Mastermind members will also be eligible to participate in our PRIVATE once a month Q&A HOA with Andre, myself, or another invited expert. These will be private, one hour sessions where we discuss things we don’t want our competitors to know.
- Eligibility for Elections – Members who pay dues will also be eligible to participate in awards elections. Yes that’s right elections to promote extraordinary members who pay dues and participate in COLT. Each year, we promote paid members who have gone above and beyond the call of duty with accolades and awards. We will now award outstanding performance in the following categories, for all practice areas of law (injury, divorce, criminal law, civil rights, etc., will each have their own award), as follows:
- Litigator of the Year,
- Trial Lawyer of the Year,
- Law Clerk of the Year,
- Marketer of the Year.
- Most Sef-less Lawyer of the Year.
All Originals will maintain voting rights regardless of payment, due to their original loyal involvement. The awards will come in the form of a press release, write up and banner on you Web-O-Trust Profile and can also be added to your website. We are designing patches presently. Winners will also be listed on the front page of COLT Journal and given a write up and mention.
How Much Is MasterMind Membership?
- $1000 per year. If you have any questions, contact Andre van Wyk, or myself, if you wish to contribute funds and become a “Mastermind”, we will discuss further via email. The buy in for Mastermind is $1000.00 per year. The products and services are rolling out now, and some are already available. And I almost forgot, all masterminds will be listed on our prominently located “Mastermind List” along with a lawyer picture and citation back to each lawyer’s website. This will be posted on the Circle of Legal Trust Website, linked from the Home Page. We will be promoting this list as well. You also get an upgraded patch for your website and emails telling the world you are at the pinnacle of C.O.L.T membership.
How Much For Gold Membership?
- $60.00 per month, payable by PayPal only, or paid in full by check. Here is what you get. Gold includes all public HOA’s except the Mastermind Private Monthly Sessions. You still get all your free services, including your patch, but you also get a special GOLD patch for your site.
How Much is “Free”?
Free means no money. Free members are eligible to post on legal torch in addition to all the free services, like the Web-O-Trust whitelisting network, posting to our magazines and HOA’s. The cost to for blog maintenance will be $30.00 per month and each member will also get their own user profile with a citation back to their sites, social profiles and blogsjust like web-o-trust, but connected to press releases and articles on their Legal Torch blog.
Announcing Revisions to Legal Torch
After consultation, I have decided to move forward with using one website for promoting COLT, our services, and our members, and to turn Legal Torch into a legal blog posting platform ONLY, for vetted members. Accordingly, we are going to go with subfolders, and an interface more like lawyers.com to join and post on that site.
Charges for Legal Torch.com Blogs Maintenance
The use of that site will come with a minimal fee of $30.00 per month, in order to cover the costs of editing and maintenance. (No exact match anchors allowed, and must be original, non plagiarized content.) Again, the cost to for blog maintenance per user will be $30.00 per month and each member will also get their own user profile with a citation back to their sites, social profiles and blogs.
Moving the Question and Answer Forum
The Questions and Answer Forum, Attorney Directory, and advanced products will now be accessible only via Circle of Legal Trust. For those wanting to rescue your existing content, you can feel free login and repost it on the new Legal Torch Blog once it is redone, so long as the content is good! Contact Andre van Wyk if you have issues.
We all feel that we need to use Circle of Legal Trust for other services, and that we can get much more benefit as a whole by use of one brand. In closing, I wanted to thank everyone, and I will update this evergreen article, as more things start to materialize.
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