It’s a valid question. Why should I care about some awards program Sonic Foundry created to honor its customers? Too inside baseball, right?

Wrong. Here are 5 reasons why I think the finalists of our 2010 Rich Media Impact Awards are definitely worth your attention, even if you aren't, haven't and never will be taking part:

  1. Inspiration, at the worst of times. For most of our customers (we’re now 1800 strong), it’s rare they get a chance to sit back and reflect on the webcasting work they do each day, much less its impact on their organization. Those more strategic conversations seem even more hard to come by when the economy is uncertain. We tend to hunker down and focus on the basics, no? For the RMIA class of 2010, they’ve taken a few minutes to reflect on what they’ve accomplished, and they are willing to share it with you – in their own words – not to brag per se, but to show you what’s possible even in an economy like this one. And who couldn’t use some positive thinking right now.
  2. Ideas you should implement, immediately. Each nomination had to answer 5 questions: What problem did you solve by webcasting?
    What makes this initiative different or innovative?
    What is the primary benefit resulting from this application of webcasting?
    What measurable results has your organization seen?
    How will this use of webcasting affect your organization in the future?
    Concrete. Tactical. Answers. Story after story of smart ways to use technology to do more, faster, cheaper, better.
  3. Templates, for presenting results. You say you’re already doing all the things they’ve done. And you’re seeing the results. Good for you. But does anyone besides you know it? The finalist catalog is a playbook for not only how to get results, but also how to document and present them. Take in their PowerPoints. Jot down what they measured. Hear how they presented. It’s tough to prove the merit of your entire program in 5 minutes or less, but these people have. And I’d argue it’s worth 5 minutes of your time to see just how they did it.
  4. Benchmarks. Say you aren’t the awards kind. You know the type, “We know the value of what we do. We don’t need anyone else to bless it.” That’s cool. But it is nice to know what other people are up to, and how far they’ve been able to go. Maybe you’ll watch a finalist presentation and think “we’re so far ahead.” Maybe. Or perhaps you’ll watch and feel like they’ve thrown down the gauntlet. Either way, in an emerging industry without a 10-20-50 year track record, it’s good to have comparative data you can use as a benchmark.
  5. Proof. Have you been making a play to start doing lecture capture-elearning-online training-hybrid courses…whatever word best describes how you’d use Mediasite? Perhaps those recommendations have had a tough time cutting through the clutter? Well, here’s another way in: real people with real life proof that webcasting works. I think I speak for the class of 2010 when I say that any of them would be open to talking more with you, your team, even your boss, about how they got results they achieved. Watch, then pick their brains. There’s gold in that there catalog.

So that's it, 5 reasons why it's worth your time to peruse the catalog of the 2010 Rich Media Impact Award finalists. If you are still on the fence, give us 30 minutes to convince you otherwise: join us online for the ceremony April 14, 12:30p.m. Central (time zone converter). Here's the link to use for the live presentation. We'll be streaming live from UNLEASH 2010, the Mediasite User Conference and don't worry, it's not your typical awards show. It moves fast: we cover the highlights of 20 presentations in just 30 minutes.