Pando's global ecommerce "webinar," with Birchbox, Hotel Tonight and Braintree, is live NOW

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on May 20, 2014

From The News Desk

UPDATE: The event is live RIGHT NOW. There's still time to jump in mid-flow, by registering now.

I want to make one thing clear about today's first ever Pando "Webinar," on global ecommerce, and featuring Birchbox’s co-founder Katia Beauchamp, Braintree’s Klas Bäck and Hotel Tonight's Sam Shank (hosted by Sarah Lacy)...

We are all fully aware how hideous the word "Webinar" sounds. And by hideous, I mean meaningless to the point of illiteracy. A play on the word "seminar" in which the important bit -- the "seeding ground" part -- has been ripped out and replaced with the word "web."

But in our defense:

1) We didn't invent the word. Whoever did is hopefully long dead.

2) For good or ill, "webinar" has become the established name for web-based panel discussions. Viewers already know what a webinar means and (if our pre-registration numbers are anything to go by) they enjoy watching them.

Sponsors understand them too. Hosting this thing as a free-to-view event is an expensive affair: a video crew, streaming, custom tech to allow registration and "watch again" functionality, and then the cost of the Pando team itself. That means we needed a sponsor -- in this case, Smartling -- and that means we had to call this a thing that sponsors are already keen to support -- in this case, a "webinar."

We could have come up with another clever phrase -- "streaming panel discussion?" -- but then we'd have still had to figure out a way to explain to viewers and sponsors that this new thing was basically... uh... a webinar.

As with all Pando events, we have complete editorial control over the content of the discussion and, unlike when others do these kind of events, there's no one on the panel connected with the sponsor. If calling the damn thing a "webinar" is our old compromise, I'm ok with that.

So, yes, I know. We're sorry. Next time we'll call it something different, I promise.

For now, though, I hope you'll join us on today's live streaming panel discussion which kicks off in about half an hour. Sarah is scribbling her last-minute notes, Tyler and his video crew and doing final sound checks and the guests are starting to stream in, actually and virtually. It's a must-watch panel for anyone interested in how ecommerce works globally, and also an interesting experiment for anyone who's trying to figure out how to make the word "webinar" just slightly less ugly.

Here's the link to register (for free!) -- the feed goes live at noon Pacific.