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Samuel Adcock 10:00 

Exactly. They’re super busy. They have very limited time. And we’re asking them to give up their evenings normally. So yeah, it is tough. So we’re not magicians, but typically clients will give us a target list a wish list. Or they’ll give us a brief. And we’ll put together their wish list for their approval. And that’s tough to start. That’s the starting.

Jeremy Weisz 10:28 

So it’s typically either you’ll map out their ideal client with them. And either they’ll have a wish list of specific companies or you’ll create one, and then present it to them. And then from there, you do the invitations, right. So talk about no. Is there another one missing?

Samuel Adcock 10:52 


Jeremy Weisz 10:53 

Okay. That’s it from there you give invitations.

Samuel Adcock 10:57 

Sometimes I just give us a paragraph of what they’re looking for. Yeah. And then we used to put, you know, sometimes they give us paragraph we used to then present to them a wish list and put time into formulating the wish lists. And this is another thing, we do that still now you can put that paragraph they give you into ChatGPT. And it kicks out a very beautiful list of companies that is a starting spot a starting spot. And from there, yeah, you hone it down to the companies that they want.

Jeremy Weisz 11:27 

So talk about, you should reverse that and say we are magicians because if they give you a paragraph and then you create a list and invite people to show up to a dinner. That’s pretty magical. But what do you find, over the years worked well with sending these invitations and what did not work well?

Samuel Adcock 11:50 

Yes, so it can be very hard, some dinners go very smoothly. In every set. Every single person in the room is a target, we call as a star target for the prospect. And all it required was a couple of outreach campaigns, be that through email or through social media through our tele sales teams. And it’s going very, very smoothly. And it can be really, really hard to discern exactly why that is. Like a lot of things like, I don’t know, let’s say you’re a footballer, and you have a really good game. I’m talking soccer here.

Jeremy Weisz 12:35 

I was gonna say European soccer.

Samuel Adcock 12:37 

Or let me say, I’m sure I’ve never played. I’ve never played football, but I’m sure it’s the same. Like you come off the field and you think like, God, that was a great game. If only I could just do that again, then the rest of my life is gonna be easy. I’m gonna be an austere. But it’s so hard to discern exactly why that game went so smoothly, that game went so well, that you can try and recreate it, okay, well, if I get enough sleep, I eat the right. Food. It’s the same with dinners, like, you know, we can try to learn exactly why it went so smoothly. And we got the best people in the room. It could be to do with the topic or the venue, it could be to the timing could be done with the sales team that working on it. But in truth, there’s an element of randomness that you can do is control what you can control and set yourself up, or give yourself as much chance as possible for the success. The when speaking to the guests, we asked them, so why is it that you decided to respond to this request and others and they were like, well, you’re right, I do get a lot of potations. Why did they come to this. And it’s always a mixed bag, like I think their level of intimacy, the fact that these are very, very targeted events, and we reach out on a very personable level helps the fact that we have it in a very, very, like luxurious dining room, again, typically the nicest dining room, in that respective city that money can buy, that helps. Typically that we have a interesting conversation that’s relatable, it’s particularly pertinent. And it’s been carefully researched. So that one we know that it is relevant to the guests in the room and that they’re going to find it of interest, but to yeah, it’s closely aligned to what the client is delivering. And so that they get value out of that conversation. That helps, I think that you can see who else is going to be there, your peers are going to be there and you know that if you go along, you can get a chance to actually learn and share knowledge with your peers. And you’re not just going to sit there and just listen to the keynote speaker like you do a lot of these other events which can be a bit dull and boring. And the guy speaking at the front is paying to be there and then delivering a message that they want you to hear not necessarily what’s interesting, I think that helps. We try and keep our discussions independent. Yes, there’s a sponsor behind it. Like we’re not hiding that. But we’re trying to keep the chairperson independent, impartial, that the conversation is genuine, real and authentic.

Jeremy Weisz 15:20 

Yeah, I want to talk about the format. But from the rechab perspective, like you said, they’re busy people, it sounds like you’re doing kind of multi-channel, not just email, maybe social media, but you’re also calling as well.

Samuel Adcock 15:34 

Yeah, every single channel, we can get our hands on, it helps if someone receives invitations from multiple different sources.

Jeremy Weisz 15:44 

I’m curious in the messaging, as people start to say, yes. Are you mentioning other people who are coming? And is there an ideal size?

Samuel Adcock 16:01 

Yeah. Good question. The answer is yes, we are using the drop ties to the companies, typically of people who have agreed to attend to help market it. And sometimes, what we’ll do even is just plant a couple of key participants, who aren’t necessarily prospects for the client, but we think really add value to the conversation and will be massive, huge contribution to the quality of the discussion. There can be academics, thought leaders, key peers in that particular realm. We’ll reach out to them and invite them to come along. And they can be a massive asset and an attraction. Size 10 to 15, anymore, too big. Just it’s not interactive. Any less and it works. But you’re so you’re missing out on the quality, the quantity for your client as well, because they’re looking at the ROI. And so they weren’t, they weren’t more than 10 people.

Jeremy Weisz 17:11 

Yeah, that makes sense. Like there’s some, maybe some anchor people that add a lot of value. And then that starts to get the flywheel turning. And as more people say, yes, there’s just more high level people coming.

Samuel Adcock 17:26 

Yeah, it’s momentum to show that.

Jeremy Weisz 17:31 

It’s not easy. What you do, actually, you know, if anyone’s put on it, whether it’s small or large event just mobilizing people is not easy. So you have the ideal client, you map that out, you start doing reach out, you find an amazing venue. And what’s the best format that you find once people are there?

Samuel Adcock 17:53 

The agenda? Yeah. So a typical agenda would be, there’s a small drinks reception at the start, get people relaxed. Wine helps for many reasons. It definitely gets people more relaxed and talkative, which is important for these things. We’ll move through the dining room, get people sat down, there’s a master of ceremonies will introduce proceedings, and that will be a member of the Ortus Club typically, will then introduce the client as the hosts. And they will, they will be, say a few words of introduction that will police that making sure that it’s not too salesy. I think that’s important. And then the we’ll go around the room, everybody will introduce themselves. And the chairperson will tee up that discussion for five minutes or so and just set the scene before having three or four questions that they want to work through during the roundtable. For the dinners, we were sat at the table we’re going to be eating at so after the kind of first couple of questions, the servers will typically bring up the status. And so people can start and then as the discussion comes to a close, and it’s concluded by the chair, the man to come out. It turned more into a network where the discussion can continue. The for the formal part of discussion is over at the networking starts. We sometimes move people around the table so that they can meet more than just the people sat down next to them. The client gets the chance to cover the entire room. And it’s very smooth.

Jeremy Weisz 19:40 

Yeah. Who from the company? Do you really recommend being there and do you recommend multiple people from the company being there?

Samuel Adcock 19:52 

We recommend do is to question…

Jeremy Weisz 19:54 

Like let’s say Stripe, okay, from your company from Stripe you recommend being there and then Yeah, how many people?

Samuel Adcock 20:02 

So let’s say Stripe, let’s say Stripe is selling to CFOs. Right? Then the ideal would obviously be, the peer would be there because there’s a peer discussion, but that’s not always possible. So it just three or four, three, say, represented Senior Account Managers representative from the client will be sat around the table. And, yeah, typically any more than that, it comes across as a bit too crowded, the ratio is a bit skewed. So we recommend about three. And then there’s the chair person who’s in the partial, independent, not typically from the client side, then there’s a master of ceremonies, who tends to be from waters, who just makes things run smoothly, make sure the restaurant is on time. Make sure the lighting is right. Anything that’s going wrong they’ll pick it up.

Jeremy Weisz 21:08 

Yeah, when I look at your site, Sam, you’ve done these in over 100 countries. So there’s a lot of logistics involved. What do you recommend as far as follow up? So now dinner goes amazing, right? How does follow up work?

Samuel Adcock 21:27 

Okay. So after every project, now, this isn’t a massive this is an initiative I’m trying to get my team well, and clients to see is we’re more than just a events company. Yes, you look at our website, okay, we do nice dinners, we do nice events. But the real reason we’re doing this is sales is pipeline is generation of sales pipeline for our clients. And that is done at the follow up. So if the follow up is done badly or not done at all, then the whole project was just completely stupid. It was pointless. So the follow up is crucial. So I like to think of our when we settle a project, we think of it as projects rather than events. Because it’s so easy to think, okay, my job is done at events over, I can now go home and relax. So that’s not true. That’s just one element of the projects, this project ends when the follow ups in the pipeline have been built. So in any project as the attendees is always drops, dropped on a day’s drop before, like there’s lots of competition, there’s also in communication access to anybody, we generated a lot of conversation on the lead up to the event with people who for whatever reason, couldn’t actually make the event, they couldn’t find a babysitter, they got called away because their child is sick, whatever it may be. They can’t come but they’re still engaged. And we don’t want that to go to waste. So we put in a lot of effort into the follow ups and the pipeline generation post. And actually during the acquisition stage. So we’ll sit down. So post project, we’ll sit down with a client and say, Okay, here’s the attendees, who out of these, would you like to follow up yourself? Or who would you like us to help with and we’ll just take put our name next to the right, the people were, we are responsible for following up. And if they’re responsible, following up, we’ll put them next to it and provide all the details. If it’s asked our first action, is to try and set up a one to one where we’ll call them up if it’s attendee, they’ve come along, they’ve had a nice time they’ve met the client, they’ve had a really nice evening and had some genuinely interesting discussion. And they’ve learned a lot. So when we give them a call, and 75% of the time, they’ll go oh, absolutely, yeah, I’ll take a call with the sales executive, they paid for my dinner. So it worked out really well. For the droughts as well. It works out very well because they agree. And if they haven’t already, which subtly turn the screw, they have an element of guilt, for not showing up like these things don’t happen for free. And they understand that they had sat down. So if they dropped, we can usually use that in our favor to help set up a one to one. Now we don’t want people just to attend a meeting because they feel guilty, but it does help. And then there’s the in communication or access who is just interested in the topic. And we’ll use that open communication channel because half the battle with these executives is actually opening up the channel of communication once the channel is open. And yeah, that’s half the battle. It’s so it’s very, very hard. Most of the people just ignore you. But if the channel is open, you can then ask them directly. Well, I’m sorry you couldn’t make it but we were going to be discussing this and the client would like to discuss this with you would it be possible to set up a one to one there And that’s how we get a lot of our follow up.

Jeremy Weisz 25:03 

Yeah. So you’ll set up a one on one with someone from the company to have that conversation.

Samuel Adcock 25:11 


Jeremy Weisz 25:12 

Yeah, no, you make you make a really good point, which is someone who doesn’t come and still engaged in the process and still could be quite interested in this, even if they don’t show up. So there’s a lot more of a pool of people than just the people who show up to the dinner.

Samuel Adcock 25:31 

Yep, yep. Yeah, yeah. And another thing that we’re doing now, we started doing a lot more of his curated insights off the back of these events, there’s a lot of knowledge, a lot of insights that are genuinely valuable and interesting for people who didn’t show up. And one of the developments or 2023 has been, how rapid and quick it is to summarize large swaths of information. So we’re able to condense that into very valuable insights with the help of AI, send it out to everybody that was invited, and collected data and information on who is actually engaging with that content and feed that back on to the client. And they’re finding that are useful.

Jeremy Weisz 26:15 

I love that, curated insights, because then you’re kind of summing it up giving everyone a synopsis. And not everyone, maybe in every conversation, even people who aren’t able to attend, you can share with them as well. How do you find the best way to collect that? Are someone they’re taking notes on what the conversation is? Do you have an after call with them? Or how do you best time and to get those curated insights.

Samuel Adcock 26:48 

When a veteran roundtables, tables, it’s very easy. Because closed captions, you just copy and paste. And I would love for it to be as easy with physical roundtables, we can have a Dictaphone in there pretty good. Now it created that, but it’s hard to know who was speaking when. So there is someone there taking notes, it’s a bit of both.

Jeremy Weisz 27:13 

Got it. You know, so we talked about in this scenario in a live in person, right? But I know pre pandemic, you’re 30 people during you grew to 120 people. What does an event look like, via zoom or virtual?

Samuel Adcock 27:34 

Yeah, we try and recreate what we managed to do in the physical realm, in the virtual realm. And at the beginning of the pandemic, people didn’t get it, I think people are so much more literate now on Zoom than they ever were before. I’m not sure if that’s a word, but I just used it. Zoom literary, like they wouldn’t have the cameras on they didn’t really understand the etiquette behind being on a round table. Now, it’s everyone’s very familiar. And they understand that having your camera on and in engaging in a chat and using the features to like, raise your hand is like a part of business after the cut. So I think it’s a lot easier now than it was at the beginning of the pandemic, to actually host a successful roundtable. The issue is people are just less inclined to accept, I think, before it was quite easy. And we were, obviously the first reaction when the pandemic hit was clear, because every single client cut every single budget with us. And we were down to zero, having spent five years building this up. There was nothing left. There was nothing left. And then when I realized I could slightly pivot it and actually offer zoom, or virtual offerings instead. Yeah, it was then we were ecstatic because suddenly we were delivering a similar product with half of the hassle. And we didn’t have to worry about traveling. We didn’t have to worry about more than half the house. love more than half that? Well, yeah. In terms of logistics, there was no hassle. So we were ecstatic. And also, the profit margins were obviously better. And we could do more. So I think that’s and people were really looking around for innovative ways the need marketing budgets didn’t go away. But they just didn’t have anywhere to spend it. So we were for the first time in our history, we were turning away does this just because we couldn’t handle it, which is a great place to be. But we tried to like recreate the intimate See all of our physical roundtables and the interactive nature of physical roundtables in the virtual world. And we tried to recreate the event. So when zoom calls and just you zoom calls became a bit stale, we would come up with new initiatives, red wine and roundtable where we’d send everyone a very nice, high, highly rated Vivino, bottle of red, typically from Bologna, or a nice area in France, and they could enjoy that while on the call. And there would be a sommelier who would get up at the beginning on the on the call and talk you through the read that you were enjoying. And each Krissy is of that, of that profile. And that was fun. And that still happens. It’s just in terms of the inquiries. It’s just all in person, all in person. And I’d love to try and shift it more and I tried to incentivize it more to virtual. But it’s not what people want.

Jeremy Weisz 31:09 

What are some other ways you recreate the intimacy? I love the kind of innovative idea so you have the red wine bottles, you have the Somali a, what are some other things that you’ve been able to do to recreate that via zoom, or virtual?

Samuel Adcock 31:27 

Whiskey tasting, lunch and lunch deliveries. We started experimenting with like a very quick icebreaker games at the beginning. So this one really came from actually the end of day meetings that we have in the company. The company now has spread out in three different time zones. Most of us still in Manila. I’m in Rome now. We have a team in New York. So yeah, I’ve been trying to recreate the small startup energetic vibe that we had when we’re all based in one office in Manila, is tough. So we meet every day, on an end of day meeting to play games. Like companywide games, and some of them work very well. And so we tried to bring that to some of our events. One of our favorite games is a game called GeoGuessr. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, I can never saw it on TikTok. What it is, is it puts you somewhere randomly on Google Maps somewhere in the world. And you’ve got 20 seconds or whatever time you set to work out on a map wherever in the world you think you are and the closest to the pin gets the most points. That’s a lot of fun. And everyone can just use a link and start playing what is it called again? Geo guesser. Okay. Geo guesser got it there’s a whole lot of these things is a massive online community with some people far too much time on the hands it’s got far too good at this game but it’s fun.

Jeremy Weisz 31:36 

It’s like a virtual version of like a reality show where they basically just drop you with three tools I think I forgot was called Alone or something they gave you like seven tools and they just drop you somewhere you don’t know and you have to survive a little bit different but.

Samuel Adcock 33:30 

Yeah, yeah. But he got to a point where I mean not in our company but it’s got to a point where people can look at asphalt roads and work out based on the quality of the actual how it’s cracked in which country they are it’s quite incredible.

Jeremy Weisz 33:49 

So geo Gasser What’s another one that’s a fan favorite.

Samuel Adcock 33:59 

What’s the what’s the quiz? The quizzes we played this morning? Kahoot quizzes. So we’ve come up with quick quizzes and everyone is looking at their phone and Fastest Finger first. Even yesterday, we’re playing Tetris, but it’s a multiplayer Tetris. It’s not just bumping so you can see where everybody’s that everybody knows how to play Tetris. But you can get 100 people playing Tetris at the same time and see clearly who’s winning.

Jeremy Weisz 34:33 

What’s a fun icebreaker that you found throughout the years? Well, that fun icebreakers and games are they’re like opening questions you want people to hear?

Samuel Adcock 34:49 

It’s hard. It’s hard that dinner table to two games. I think actually, we tried once. Two Truths and a Lie. That’s always fun. The thing is this the first time people I’ve ever met, seen it three truths and a lie or two lies in the truth and never sure which one it is.

Jeremy Weisz 35:18 

Yeah, Two Truths and a Lie, exactly.

Samuel Adcock 35:21 

But you want to keep the introductions, quick dinner tables, you want to get into the meat of the events. It would be an icebreaker question like, what are you watching on Netflix? If it wasn’t for the pandemic? Where would you have traveled to next? Yeah, we just keep the introductions quick and sharp. And just because we want to, there’s 50 people around the table.

Jeremy Weisz 35:51 

You have some really cool companies, Sam, that you’ve worked with, and I suppose you eat your own dog food is this is how you work with these companies, because you do the same thing for yourself as you do for your clients. One of the clients was Cloudflare.

Samuel Adcock 36:08 

What did you do with them? There is interesting in there, we’re working with them on a global contract. And Cloudflare is another pandemic company. They just saw huge, huge growth as more people live their lives digitally. But they were looking for yeah, growth across notch. They did, the dinners were great. And they were using that for their enterprise segments where the deal sizes were large, but they don’t want just to go after the enterprise clients. He also wanted to go down the ladder and they’d be target more of the medium size or SME accounts. So in that case, dinners don’t really offer the return on investment because there’s only 15 people in a room and you’re paying give you a ballpark somewhere between 15 to 20,000. US dollars for projects wouldn’t necessarily give you the prospects to justify the return of investments. So they wanted to go after a larger pool and get larger volume. They were looking for volume. So we came up with a roadshow. A masterclass roadshow, they’re all across the states, I think it was 13 different cities over the span of three months. across North America, where we would be getting between 60 to 100 prospects in a room. Obviously, we couldn’t do an interactive discussion because you can’t have 60 to 100 people in interactive discussion.

Jeremy Weisz 37:48 

The introduction only like an hour. The introductions

Samuel Adcock 37:51 

For more than an hour.

Jeremy Weisz 37:53 

Yeah, exactly.

Samuel Adcock 37:53 

Yeah. They’re the agenda would be interesting panel discussion or key fireside chats and keynote speakers. Obviously, the drinks reception in the buffet dinner as such, and so we were able to go around the US and actually roll out a very large campaign in which they were meeting and building relationships of a much larger volumes of people than they would have done through just in discussions. And we executed that towards the back of last year. Based on the return of investment on that, either they’re looking to do something similar in 2023 as well.

Jeremy Weisz 38:39 

Sam, what was it again, I mentioned the beginning subsea engineer, right mechanical engineer. And now you’re doing this right. So like, my background is in biochemistry as a chiropractor, so people are probably often like, okay, how’d you get to the Ortus Club from this journey? What happened in 2016?

Samuel Adcock 39:05 

Yeah, very good question. So I quickly realized that subsea engineering or working for a large corporation, it wasn’t just engineering, but just working for a very large corporation. Where I was impatient probably, and I wanted to things to happen quicker. So the only way to do that is either start your own company or start your own company. So Ortus was probably my third attempt at a company where the barrier wasn’t it something so high tech there would have taken a decade in order to get to the point where it was actually business viable. It was looking around at the market and in the event space, there was a lot of attempts to and there was a lot of movement towards these far more intimate targeted events. And a lot of companies were leaning in this direction. They were inspired by a couple of pioneers who had done and really benefited from these data discussions are founded discussions of founder roundtables that and they’d use that as part of a pillar of their marketing strategy. I think Marc Benioff in a book regarding Salesforce wrote a whole chapter specifically on dinner discussions and how that was really used as his primary channel for growing Salesforce consultative relationship building. They’ll just go to each city around the states and run a founders dinner. So yeah, this was a trend at the time that I just jumped on. And I’d actually started putting it and doing it with someone else who threw me out of his company. And then did it myself and did it better. And this is where we’re at now.

Jeremy Weisz 41:12 

Love it, first of all, thanks for walking us all through this. It’s pretty cool what you do and people can go to to learn more. And Sam, I just want to be the first one to thank you. Thanks for sharing your journey and your knowledge with everyone.

Samuel Adcock 41:34 

Okay, I really enjoyed that. Jeremy, thank you very much.

Jeremy Weisz 41:37 

Thanks, everyone.