Behavioural programming built on UX

It’s been a rough year for all of us. But every entrepreneur lives through it every day. Changes are part of us and being comfortable with the uncomfortable is when pure magic happens. Having a feeling that the end might be around the next corner, or a month or few months from now is what keeps us going.

The changes define and shape our journeys and turn our character into personality. It’s those decisions that we make that inspire changes which ripple through the universe and time to defy our truth. In 2018, Jaime Sugiyama wrote a narration about the festival’s theme at the time ‘Journey=Destination’, spoken by Oheri Otobo for our Opening Titles. (Which you can watch here.)

“The journey of human history is defined by distance.

This distance isn't measured in miles.

It's measured in milestones.

It's the distance between necessity and invention.

Thirst and water.

Desire and discovery.”

The distance that our team goes to create and curate Pause Fest can be explained in the obsession for perfection and ecosystem building. We give each year the best of ourselves to deliver an incredible event that we think it’s a world class, and you love it. From our ‘ideas you can’t Google’ promise to ‘People, Passion and Purpose’ values and finally our ‘Designed for Progress’ mission. They call us the ‘Innovation Capital’ for a good reason.

Each year, over eleven years we try to reach for the stars, elevate the festival format to better fuze the creative, tech and business and spark innovation. Because we believe that innovation is about people, mindset and culture and it should be for everyone, and if we can help influence that change in Australia to fuel the next generation forward our job is done.

PFA21 Behavioural Programming 2


We have attended all major global online events, researched and tested all currently available software on the market and some in the making. We listened and talked to over 100 top event organisers across the world about their pain points, listened to sponsor take on the online engagement and their issues. We posed questions to 40 people from our network in the focus groups and it all led us to create the next gen of Pause Fest experience that we’re presenting to you in 2021.


The main pillars for an online event for us is firstly the community, then engagement and lastly the content. It’s very similar for the in-person event so what’s so different about this anyway, you may be asking - well it’s about the concept of how we aim to deliver the next event online. For us this is not about picking up the most popular virtual event software on the market to run a three day event like we did before. We have asked ourselves how do people behave online and how do we deliver value to our sponsors first because they were mostly neglected in online events, then attendees and speakers.


Once we mapped the sponsor and attendee journeys and pinned our new ticketing structure, it was all about trying to find the software that matches the experience that we wanted to create, not the other way round.

We haven’t met one person in our research who said they are excited about sitting in front of the computer for three full days watching the zoom summit. None! What we have discovered is that we’re not sure other event organisers even understand who they are competing against. It’s not only the global events that are now gone online; in the remote working world we are all competing with the attention of our attendees that are working from home. This means that we are actually competing with family duties, kids, pets, social networks, Netflix and anything else that can take away attention from the event. Yes, cats too - we are competing with cats! This is the very reason why we think a full day or three of online event programming is not a good event planning.

PFA21 Behavioural Programming 1


From our research people told us that they can possibly allocate one to two hours towards online events per day and not more. People are even more time poor and Zoom fatigued. One person told us they attended the first day of the event for four hours and burned out so they didn’t attend the next day. Because of this we have decided to deliver less FOMO and more INSPO in 2021. We have decided to program single stream content over ten days in blocks of one to two hours rather than to freak you out with 6-8 hours of programming per day. We might be wrong but we have listened to your experiences and behaviours over the past months to come up with this plan.


Below is the graph of the programming structure for the next year. You can notice there are few streams of content packaged into one to two hours blocks. We now have day and night programming because we’ll have speakers and attendees from the US for the morning sessions (9am to noon) and the night session (8pm to 10pm) is for EU and APAC. We have picked the night session times that are good for European time zone but also safe for locals as it’s after work and well before bedtime.

PFA21 Content Programing Diagram 01

This year we have an Exclusive Content available only to Innovation ticket holders. These sessions will be streamed live from 9am to 10am with selected speakers. Exclusive speakers will have a mark on their photo and this is how to recognise them.

The workshops will run at the end of the day 3pm to 5pm depending on the length and there is a special ticket for the workshops this year. We will be using a specific software for workshops that allows for deep collaboration and engagement which we couldn’t find in most virtual broadcast softwares. We are very excited about this and we think you are going to love it too. It feels very natural like you’re in the room with people, and have the option to jump in a private group with white board similar to Miro.


We think that you don’t need to stop living to tune in to our event, as we’ve built a program around your new lifestyle. Because this is online and not an in-person event the duration of session formats had to change as well. If Facebook measures 3 sec and 10 sec views then 30 min keynotes becomes as long as Netflix episode or almost as long as ABC news. We think our online event will be as fun as ‘MTV for innovation’ with the beating heart of the private community that we call Pause Club. The keynotes are now cut down to 15 min and panels to 30 min but we’ll have at least 15 min live Q&A with speakers after the presentations. Most keynotes unless they are exclusive will be pre-recorded but all speakers will be available live for Q&A’s. We are also looking to jazz up the event with the performances and some engaging content which we are curating atm.


All new ticketing for 2021! We have the most affordable and exciting ticketing structure this year and we think this will open the doors to so many that before couldn’t make it. We are very excited about democratising innovation and being even more accessible than ever. In 2021 you can watch us and binge on content or you can get active and engage, get hands-on with workshops and scoop up the VIP experience and chat to speakers and watch exclusive content. Please read about all these benefits on our ticketing page, they have dictated which online platform we use for the next year. Most tickets also have video on demand (VoD) included too so if you miss a session you can watch them again. Videos will not be published for free post-event so get yourself a ticket.


Finally, something that we are extremely excited about launching and should have kicked off this article with but instead made you read the entire article to learn about our Festival Hub which we are calling the Pause Club. It’s like a baby from Slack and Facebook, it has the Slack channels but it looks like a Facebook group, even better! This will be our first private network where you can pop-in and have a chat with everyone that’s attending as soon as you buy the ticket. And if you buy the ticket five months ahead you have five months of awesome chats and interactions on the platform pre-event, then during the event and post-event: essentially for the entire year! We think this is the future of the events.

Events that are embedded deeply into the private community that enable you to be in a private bubble with people that you love, respect and inspire but more than that people that can get you places, open doors, give feedback, offer a job, etc. Pause Club will be that place where we’ll post all of our announcements, have live Q&A’s with speakers, share keynotes, podcasts and music playlists… a place where we meet you to talk about the future, throw up memes and build global relationships.

We deeply believe that half a year of our research, taking into account all interactions and listening closely to all of your issues and problems has solidified into Pause Fest Online experience that we are very proud of and can’t wait to share.

We believe that Pause Online will be a different story.