Leadership is about making decisions without the benefit of having all the information you need. Sometimes those decisions are hard. The decision to postpone our 2020 Investor Day is one of those hard decisions. It is a lot of work to put together a flawlessly executed Investor Day, and we have been looking forward to our 3rd Nutanix Investor Day for months. We had compelling content, excited presenters, engaged customers, insightful product demos, and a fantastic venue-- all ready to go.
As the coronavirus has recently spread in the United States and communities have made difficult decisions daily -- often with limited information -- we had to make our own decision. Make it virtual? Postpone altogether? It is a classic situation of having to make a decision when we don’t have all the information we need to make it.
So we looked at the facts and asked ourselves a few questions to determine what to do, as well as how to focus in the coming months:
- What can we do to help? Our solutions (for example, virtual desktop with our partner Citrix or desktop-as-a-service with our product Frame) can help organizations adapt to this rapidly-evolving situation by allowing them to support their employees to work productively from remote locations. We have many customers in different verticals, including government entities and educational institutions, and it is a chance to help organizations quickly provide viable work- or learn-from-home options.
- What is the most important thing to us? It may sound trite, but health and safety reign supreme. Both California (where we are headquartered) and New York (where the event was to be held) are encouraging limiting events with large groups. It seems irresponsible to potentially risk the health and safety of any of our stakeholders: employees, customers, investors, and analysts.
- Would a virtual meeting be as effective as an in-person event? Not so much. The ability to engage with product demos first hand, to ask questions of our customers, to interact face-to-face with our senior management (especially ones who don’t participate in IR events on a regular basis) and to casually interact during the reception is an experience that can’t be duplicated virtually. It would turn the event from a dialog into a monologue, and interaction is a key part of the experience.
- What are other companies doing? Of the 15 investor days we have been tracking that take place this week or next, 11 of those have been rescheduled. Also, according to the Nasdaq, 48 investor-related conferences in March or April have been postponed or are now virtual, with the majority being postponed.
- What are our investor and analyst attendees telling us? In consulting with a number of registrants, they told us a number of things. From the fact that one of the most valuable parts of our Investor Day is the product demos, to the fact that their company has asked them to cut non-essential travel. The overwhelming majority of the feedback we got was clear: we should postpone. Postpone to a later date when you can do it right, in person, and when we have more clarity on the impact of the coronavirus in the United States.
So we made a decision. We are postponing, and plan to reschedule for a date in early September, or sooner if possible. It feels like the right thing to do. What will we do instead? We will put our heads down and do what we do best: innovating on behalf of our customers. That is something we can predict.