There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

Seven gathered in person earlier today in a California park to kick off 36-city Project Voice: Coast to Coast tour

Take me out tonight
Because I want to see people
And I want to see life

In a time of unending Zoom calls, and virtual events often lacking connective tissue, what is an in-person meeting worth?

Project Voice: Coast to Coast - the 36-city tour in which I will travel across the United States gathering small groups of those working with voice tech and conversational AI in person - kicked off today in San Jose, California.

Unable to meet in the originally selected restaurant - chosen for its outdoor heated seating that would enable attendees to stay safe - we met in a nearby park instead.

A founder of a brand-new startup, a CEO of a publicly-traded company, and employees of extremely large tech giants are all pictured here, gathering in Santa Clara’s Central Park.

Everyone got to meet each other, some business cards (remember those?) got exchanged, and the wide-ranging conversation spanned VocaliD’s fantastic work, Cerence’s upcoming Cerence In Motion event, Cyberpunk 2077’s incorporation of futurist voice/AI concepts, and the ability to use celebrity voices with AI assistants, among many other related topics.

Emails of those there will be exchanged, and all attendees will receive a copy of a document taken straight from my desk - 111 Voice/AI Companies To Watch.

Each of the next 35 letters from This Week In Voice VIP will report some person, company, or initiative taking place within the realm of voice technology or conversational AI that I learn about while out on the road, meeting with you.

It’s been so long since we’ve traveled for business, and met with people face-to-face, that we’ve kind of forgotten what it feels like. It has to be re-learned. And to do it, it’s going to take breaking the habits we’ve gained in the meantime - namely, how to sit at home and stare at the computer screen.

Fortunately, our need to meet with other people, and to give freely our knowledge and wisdom to each other, is the light that never goes out.

Like today’s gathering in Central Park in Santa Clara, the location of Project Voice: Coast to Coast meetings will adjust as necessary to conditions on the ground in these locations. Registered attendees will be kept notified of all changes. We’d love for you to join us.

San Jose, CA - January 11 - Barebottle Brewing Company (became Central Park in Santa Clara)
San Francisco, CA - January 12 - Fable
Los Angeles, CA - January 13 - Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill
Phoenix, AZ - January 14 - CiBO Pizzeria
Miami, FL - January 18 - Glass and Vine
Tampa, FL - January 19 - Cafe Dufrain
Orlando, FL - January 20 - The Stubborn Mule
Jacksonville, FL - January 21 - Hoptinger Bier and Sausage House
Portland, OR - January 25 - OK Omens
Seattle, WA - January 26 - Lady Jaye
Spokane, WA - January 27 - Prohibition
Boise, ID - January 28 - Cloud 9 Brewery
Salt Lake City, UT - February 8 - East Liberty Tap House
Denver, CO - February 9 - Acova
Cheyenne, WY - February 10 - Accomplice Beer Company
Omaha, NE - February 11 - Jackson Street Tavern
Boston, MA - February 22 - Hamilton Restaurant and Bar
New York City, NY - February 23 - Royale
Newark, NJ - February 24 - The Fox and Falcon
Philadelphia, PA - February 25 - Frankford Hall
Washington, DC - February 26 - The Royal
Minneapolis, MN - March 8 - The Block
Milwaukee, WI - March 9 - Oak Barrel Public House
Chicago, IL - March 10 - Homeslice
St. Louis, MO - March 11 - The Clover and The Bee
Nashville, TN - March 12 - The Pharmacy
Memphis, TN - March 15 - The Beauty Shop
Jackson, MS - March 16 - The Pig and Pint
New Orleans, LA - March 17 - Tito's Ceviche and Pisco
Dallas, TX - March 18 - Truck Yard
Houston, TX - March 19 - Axelrad Beer Garden
Detroit, MI - March 29 - Motor City Brewing Works
Columbus, OH - March 30 - Milestone 229
Cleveland, OH - March 31 - Luxe Kitchen and Lounge
Cincinnati, OH - April 1 - Incline Public House
Louisville, KY - April 2 - Cask Southern Kitchen and Bar