CN meets James Pegum, CEO at cloud-based venue management software provider Priava
How did you get started in the industry?
I was born into it. My parents operated a guest house in Australia’s Blue Mountains so I didn’t really have a choice.
What do you like about the meetings and events industry?
That it’s so competitive… you can’t rest on your achievements and there are always new ways and ideas to set yourself apart. People in our industry have to become experts at change – the one constant.
Time-saving tip for organisers?
Turn off email for 30 minutes a day – it’s amazing what you can get through without distractions.
Prediction for the future?
A business’s intellectual property will be its process and integrations. So, how your software and hardware all talks together to create and facilitate your unique business workflow is what is important. Gone are the days of one big piece of software that does everything – now it’s about connecting ‘best of breed’ easy-to-use, very relevant systems together to power a business.
How can organisers keep up with the fast pace of technological change in our sector?
Keep experimenting. If you are exploring new apps and software, then you could unlock a new way of doing something better than your competitor. Keeping an eye on change is easy when you use technology in an area you know.
New device/invention to watch for?
Beacons in venues – this will allow commercial space to measure ROI in a way never done before.
Are wearables over-rated?
The phone will play the lion’s share of understanding and interacting with information.
Greatest achievement in the meetings or venues sector?
Launching Priava to replace Events Perfect – five years of behind-the-scenes work and preparation,
and it’s still going!
What is the most irritating challenge you face on a regular basis?
Bugs in software… no matter how much testing we do, our customers always find something that we don’t.
Funniest moment witnessed at work?
A colleague freaking out that he’d been hacked, when in fact someone else’s wireless mouse had connected to his computer, taking his cursor for a ride!
Do you value industry qualifications over experience? How do you get the right mix when recruiting?
1. Experience. 2. Tenure. 3. Attitude.
Advice to your 20-year-old self making your way in business today?
Take more risks earlier in life, if you aren’t taking personal risks, you won’t grow.