Richard De Villa, Malaysia Airlines’ Head of Marketing – UK and Europe, gives some unusual answers to my usual questions.

When I asked him what was the most useful thing that he has bought with his own money that he uses for work, he said “my flat.” Seems sensible. He tells us how working from home has helped him optimise his working environment and save time travelling to and from meetings. He advises listeners to “use your time wisely” and invest its time in building meaningful relations with the people you can actually learn from.

Richard’s Shiny New Object is Virtual Events and Conferencing. Having attended more virtual events and conferences than he has done in previous years, Richard talks about the pros, such as the ability to condense information and reduce the number of days an event lasts with decreased costs, as well as the cons, like not being able to meet other attendees and speakers and lack of rapport. He has a deep understanding of what makes a virtual event effective and engaging.

Richard values events that present an opportunity to bring industries that are facing specific challenges together, to learn from each other’s experiences or to get peer validation. Of course, he misses bumping into people through the halls of London ExCel and looks forward to more offline events (just like the rest of us) but he also acknowledges that the future will be different, perhaps making room for both online and live events.

What is most striking about this conversation is Richard’s openness to share his insights leaving us with no doubt whatsoever that the people he respects and learns from are central to his marketing strategy and success.

For more on Richard’s tips for an effective Virtual Event, check out the full podcast episode here

Tom Ollerton is the Founder of Automated Creative. Subscribe to the ‘Shiny New Object’ Podcast on  Apple Podcasts Spotify, YouTube and  Soundcloud.