Live from Connect Marketplace – EventIcons Episode 127

– Hello Will Curran. – Hey guys. I really hope all of your microphones are on right now ’cause– – It’s on. – What I actually really am going to enjoy today Will is your bright
green Endless Events shirt. – Thank you. This time you get to see me in shorts too because I just got off the plane. – Perfect. – Alright. – Live at Connects. – Yeah we’re gonna well
let’s start the show. Let’s get rocking and rolling so hello amazing people on the interwebs. We are live from another conference. This time we are live
from Connect Market Place and something interesting
is happening right now. Almost all the hosts minus
one are here together in one single place with
microphones being recorded live. – First time this has happened I think. – Period.
– Ever. – Period yeah. – Ever. – Like some people were starting to wonder if maybe Alex and I were the same person. ‘Cause I don’t know if we
were actually ever on– – His hair grows back so quick and then it goes away the next week. It’s true, this is true. – Now there’s an actual
photographic evidence also that I’m not Tahira. (laughing) – This is very true this is very true. – Yeah this is exciting this is history. – Very much very much
history in the making. We got lots of this coming up. I think we’ll probably
break some news potentially. We’re allowed to at the end of this show. – Stay tuned because now we’ve got exciting news at the end of the show. – Super duper exciting
news and yeah I think we just want to jump right in. We have a ton of people here
that Tahira has curated. And they’re also just walking by just like last week on live if you
didn’t see that episode. People are just literally walking past us hanging out watching this live. But we’re gonna be bringing a bunch of icons on in rapid succession and we’re just gonna
kind of go with the flow. This is also the extended edition as well. Two hours long I think so– – If we fill that up. – So we’ll see how it all goes but– – Hey Will before we launch in I was wondering if maybe
we should tell folks that might not be familiar with Connect a little bit more about the show. And Tahira’s probably been to
more of these than any of us. So why just tell us a
little bit about the show? – Yeah Connect is great so
Connect they’ve had, this is, they’ve been doing it for a long time now. What they started doing a couple years ago is bringing together all the disciplines. So we have Connect Sport,
Connect Association, Connect Corporate all under one roof. So we’ve got planners and
suppliers that are really covering all the bases
here and thousands of them. So it’s great programming
and let’s get started with some of these guests that we have. – [Announcer] It’s Wednesday
at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. So what that means. It’s time for another
episode of #EventIcons presented by Endless
Events the show where you get to ask the icons of the
events industry anything. Use the question panel on the webinar to submit your questions
or you can hop on Twitter. Submit your questions with #EventIcons. We’ll be answering your questions live during the entire show. Before we get started the
more people we have watching the better conversation we can have. So please help share #EventIcons
on Twitter and Facebook. Just tell your friends to
watch at Now without any further
delay this is #EventIcons. – So this is Tracy Stuckrath
with Thrive Meeting. Now Tracy we’re gonna start
with the big question. So I have been on a little seven week sabbatical which has been amazing. But I feel like I tore
a page out of your book as you just changed your
whole life and have, you are the poster child for
how to minimize and move on. – Oh I totally am. I live in a 10 by 10 room in
someone’s, in my friends house. – Which is fantastic. Because you don’t need
all that stuff apparently. – I don’t and I just moved. I sold my house and 85% of my belongings and I moved into my friend’s house. I just moved my storage unit from Atlanta to Greenville like three weeks ago. And I’m moving in on, I’m
like oh I don’t need that. I can how to way so I’m like I need to go into my storage
unit and purge some more. – And you actually donated
most of those items. – I did, donated or sold yeah. – Yeah I love that. So tell us about Thrive Meeting. – Thrive Meeting is a
organization, it’s me. And I am, hi I met her today on the train. I plan meetings but I’m
also a professional speaker on safe and inclusive food and beverage. So how not to kill or offend people. – Which is why we are going to a vegan restaurant for my birthday tomorrow. – And we have clarified
that there are no nuts. That’s Friday night not tomorrow night. – Today’s Thursday. – Oh yeah it is tomorrow night. Yeah tomorrow’s Friday. – I mean I have sabbatical
brain I have no idea other than I know when my birthday is. That is critical information. – And you can’t have nuts
at the vegan restaurant which I hope they can, will do for us. – Yes we’ve already established
that yeah I know it’s good. I know very exciting. And what’s your favorite
thing about coming to Connect? – What is my favorite thing
about coming to Connect? Catching up with all of you
guys and everyone else I know and it’s really the place to Connect with people in the industry
whether you’re a speaker or somebody that’s listened
to my presentation before and just industry both
planners and suppliers. It’s a lot of fun. – And I know I saw some
of your presentation I think maybe last year and
there was some plastic food so you could really,
you really delve into– – That’s still in my storage unit. – Yeah but I love that you really bring your experiences alive for
people which is fantastic. – I try to do that because nobody wants to listen to just me
blah blah blah blah blah. – What? Any questions guys? – Well Tracy you’ve been to a few of these Connects at this point and I’m wondering one of the things this
show is kind of famous for is they get really good keynote speakers. Not necessarily specific to
the event industry but ones that you might want to use
in your in your programs. What are some of the ones that you’ve seen and some of the ones
that were your favorites? – Well I have to say that
one of my favorites was Bill Clinton only for the
fact that he is a vegan or followed a vegan diet for a while and I got Angie to plug a question into him get Chris to ask him a question about it. So I have to say that
was my personal favorite because my question got asked and it says know how did you live on the vegan diet and are you still doing it and so yeah. – Well and he also
inspired me to go and see he said of all the places
you need to see in America when he was asked that question was the Grand Canyon at sunset or sunrise and so we did that the next year. – I just did that spring break this year. – It’s amazing isn’t it? – It is so awesome, I
took my niece to that. – I know I’ve actually just
been touring through Utah so we’ve driven from Moab through Brice and through Zion to get here and honestly it’s all been stunning
I’m just blown away. So if you don’t have Utah on your bucket list yet come to Utah. – You definitely need to do that for sure. – 100% yeah. And now I’ve sent my husband
out to be the temple purist. – Very cool. – I know it’s exciting. How about you Alex? – So you’ve been coming
for quite a few years. How have you seen the treatment of food and the signage and things evolve? Because I think one of
the things that I really appreciate about Connect
and their team here is that they do take feedback very well. So what have you seen
kind of evolve over time and how has that changed as you’ve been coming back year after year? – Actually one of the,
when I first started coming they had these fantastic cards
and they were card stock, really thick card stock
with your name on it and your dietary needs underneath it. And you gave that to your waiter and one of the experiences I had my gosh I don’t remember what
Convention Center it was. Maybe it was Houston. Was it in Houston at one point? There’s been so many I’ve been to. And but one day this waitress
she had two of us at one table or more than that maybe
and she took our cards. She wrote our numbers down on
our cards and she ran back. She came back with our
meals with the plate lids on top of them and she knew which one to give to each one of us. The next day wasn’t so
fantastic but I told Angie that and that helped her
communicate that to the staff. I know it’s a big challenge,
the dietary restrictions and managing it for a large crowd because what there’s like 4,000
people at this convention? So how do you manage that? So this year will be
different with lunches because it’s a buffet
style and so instead of the plated that they
have been in the past. So it’ll be interesting
to see how Salt Palace does with that and I know
Chance who works here is really, they just won a huge sustainability award. So we’ll see how that
translates to dietary needs labeling and things but yeah
I’m excited to see see it. – Yeah it was interesting because they’re very much
pushing the green factor. And even from the airport
they provided us with free cards for the light
rail and they were like don’t take Uber if you don’t have to. Hop on the train, here’s how
to get where you’re going. So they’re very much pushing the sustainability and the green meetings. And of course that also
translate into food and waste and things like that. So what are you most excited
to see at this event? – I’m actually excited to see this guy right here that’s sitting down Chance. And well the three of us here are on the event industry councils
sustainability rewrite. And I’m handling food and beverage. You’re doing marketing– – And ABN productions. – And you’re doing– – Destinations. – Destinations so figuring
out how to rewrite the sustainability
standards for our industry and I’m covering food and
beverage on what that means and so it’s nice to see
them face to face because we’ve been talking via Google
Group and Zoom conferences on how to rewrite this
and do it so I think, and to see what Chance
and the Salt Palace does in that field because they’ve won is gonna be really exciting too. And actually in one of my
sessions Life of the BEO, one tomorrow and one on Saturday we’re taking a tour of the facility and talking with different departments catering and within the building
to talk about how the BEO, how they use the BEO to
help produce our events. – That’s great, absolutely. – So yeah with that let’s introduce Chance Thompson with the Salt Palace. Thank you for having
Connect at the Salt Palace. We think this is a
fantastic venue so tell us. I know you have a lot of
solar panels on this roof. – We do yeah so hello everybody. My name is Chance Thompson
and I work for S&T and I’m based at the Salt
Palace Convention Center here. And I do our sustainability work. So I’m our Senior Manager
of Sustainability and PR. And we are lucky to have a
ever growing green facility, a sustainable facility we’re
still working on some things. But first since you
mentioned at the solar array. We have 600,000 square foot solar array. So it provides– – Solar what? – Solar array. – Oh okay. – Yep so solar panels, there’s 6000 panels and they provide about
20% of our annual power. We are looking at renewable
energy purchasing options to offset the rest because we
only have so much roof space. We may have a little
more space to add on but before we talk about Salt Palace I, you said thank you for bringing Connects. Thanks to Connect for coming here. We are lucky to have this event not only just because it’s Connect
but their sustainability ethos is incredibly strong
and so we’re actually going to throughout the show be
talking about the value of the connection between a venue, their other suppliers and the caterers, the convention bureau and the planners and how powerful that can be. And we’re hoping to make this
one of our greenest events for the Salt Palace but
also for Connect as well so some very exciting
things yeah absolutely. – And it actually is a lot
easier than people think. So no I mean I’m a Vancouver girl so obviously another LEED Platinum building. Which but it’s very easy to– – You have us beat on that. – Well I wasn’t gonna say that. But to make smart food choices, to make smart building choices, to think about all the different aspects, to actually have a positive impact from our events and not have this. People always say oh it’s so many people and negative impacts but we actually, the power of bringing
people together is of course the most important thing we
can do but then we can do it in a way that really cares for the people, my gosh we’re so lucky
to be able to do this. – Absolutely yeah and it’s interesting everybody’s path to sustainability right. So ours because we’re an older building you obviously beat us
with the Platinum status. We do have a we have a
silver lead on one of our building additions but because
we’re an older facility and we are looking towards
operation or facility adjustments but what we’ve done is the APICS standard since you were mentioning those to focus a lot on the operational component because we see that as
a huge area of impact with our clients, materials
management being a huge one. And so when you talk about
it not being that hard it really isn’t that hard if you have a little bit of structure in place there’s so many things you can do. And for us from a material standpoint to just give everybody kind of an overview of what we’re working on
we focus heavily heavily with clients on their
reuse of their materials. And then after that we look at donation as much as possible even before recycling. And it has gone well for us because we actually this year were awarded the IMEX-EIC Innovation
in Sustainability Award and it was given to us for two things. One our APICS certifications,
we hold five within our city and two venues so our other
facility in South Salt Lake, the Mountain America Expo Center, and then visit Salt Lake our CBB, Utah Foods our caterer,
and PSAV our Audio Visual. And so that was one piece
but then our creative reuse and community donation impacts is what really won us the award. 200,000 pounds of donation
material last year and about 30,000 pounds of food rescue. – Wow that’s fantastic. – I wont share any numbers yet because I’m going to keep
them held to the vest but this year I think we’re gonna blow those numbers out of the water. and we’re very excited about that. We’re at about a 64%
diversion rate at the facility and still have a long ways to go. We need some support in
certain areas to do some local things with some of the
material but yeah it’s fun. – That’s amazing. – There’s a really good
article that just came out in Meetings Today on sustainability. – And trends, sustainability trends. – And you are highly
featured in that and talked and I thought it was interesting that you’re talking to my favorite
baseball team the Orioles and what they’re trying to do with their sustainability in their facilities and so what you guys have done
here can be used as a benchmark for other
facilities around the country no matter if it’s a convention
center or a baseball stadium. – Yeah we exist in a bit
of a unique space in that we’re doing a lot of
amazing things here and but more than that are our leadership wants to help the industry
push and move and shake and get this stuff going and so they’ve really thrown
a lot of support for me to go out into the
industry and be a part of the Event Centers to Council
Sustainability Committee and talk with these
people scattered all over the APICs rewrite that
we’re working on and it’s been amazing how
much momentum there is. I’ve had people reach out and just say hey do you have a few minutes to chat? And it’s like well yeah that’s kind of, that’s part of our mission. And so we’ve been pretty open in sharing resources and strategies and there’s a lot of really cool things happening. Gaylord Opryland Resort is one
that I’m just blown away by what they’re starting to work on. And it’s new for them so I’m
really excited with that. Yeah it’s cool stuff. And Tracy we’ll talk more
about their food stuff. – Okay yeah I want to
talk to you about food. – I actually want to cut in real quick. – Please do. – For anyone who’s interested
in doing a deeper dive into sustainability this
is fantastic information. You can actually refer to Episode 116 where we talked about sustainability and we had some guests on the show. Also for those just tuning in we are live from Connect Marketplace. We’ve got people watching on
Facebook, on Zoom, all over. If you have any questions
for our guests or for us please do use the Q and A feature. Let us know and we’ll
try to get some questions answered while we have our guests here. – And this is Event Icon
social media guru right here. So thank you for the commercial break. – And now back to your
scheduled programming. – Yeah well I think we’re gonna talk about sustainability but also
we have some people in the wings now to talk about technology which of course as we move more into how technology is impacting
us we can use I not only to tell our sustainability
stories but also in many ways to underlie
the work that we’re doing in sustainability which I
think is really important so because what these little dudes they’re not going anywhere. – They’re not going anywhere. – Oh my gosh at airport this morning. – Well they might go into
our hand or something. – I thought I left my phone at home and my friend dropped me off at the airport and I’m like oh my god because my watch was not connected to my
phone and I couldn’t ding it. I about had a heart attack. But it was in my backpack. – So I am like literally, this
is about day 70 on the road through five countries
and this is the thing man. This is where we’re at
now so it’s but it’s also I haven’t really used any
paper for 70 days either. (laughing) All that paper is. – I mean so are the incoming
emails every second too. – That’s the joy of a sabbatical
my emails are way down. – Do you want me to give my
hot seat off to Elizabeth? – Yeah let’s bring in some technology. Brandt, we’re gonna bring Brandt back and we’re gonna bring over. Thank you so much Tracy, you are fabulous. – Stay tuned, we’ll be
sharing a lot of our stuff with Connects on our social
media channel as well and getting event icons in here as well. – Yeah we’re gonna be watching for that. I think that’s awesome. Well hello Elizabeth Lou from Sciensio. – EventBots. – EventBots. – Even easier. – Even easier I love EventBots. So Brandt, we’re gonna
have Brandt come back in and take over the technology space. Because as much as I love
talking about event technology Brandt’s our guy. – Let’s talk at chatbots. – Thank you. – I’m actually very excited
to have Elizabeth on because I have been doing
some work with Sciensio and actually at this conference I am going to be presenting
two sessions on chatbots and how you can partner
that with social media to develop a really good
customer service strategy. – And you know what? We’re also gonna bring in
Michelle to this conversation because Michelle Bruno
writes event tech briefs and she is, I’m gonna just
give Michelle my seat actually. – Sharing is caring. – I guess we’re talking technology then. – We’re talking technology. – Well Michelle was one
of the first journalists to actually write about
chatbots and event bots so we are very grateful to her. – I saw some potential I
thought you needed to– – You thought oh this might actually help attendees have a better experience. – I think so and actually at the time what I wrote about was comparing
chatbots to mobile apps and how this might be a
formidable competitor. And Elizabeth and I were just talking that I think it is actually coming to fruition for a lot of cash strapped associations and people that don’t
want to invest in a huge mobile app for their events so. – Yeah invest the time
or the energy it takes. – So before we do a full
deep dive into technology let’s have you two introduce yourselves. – Oh yeah I suppose we
should say who we are. – We know you’re from
Sciensio and that you work with chatbots but
what do you do for them? – So my role is in marketing. So they hired me because
of my experience in the events industry so just kind of trying to help guide them through the best ways to deliver AI chatbots for events. – And we talked chatbots on
the show before, Episode 118. – Check it out. – So you should definitely
check that out for like a full dive into what that looks like. But Michelle please
introduce yourself as well. – Hi I’m Michelle Bruno. I started out in the
industry as a supplier then for 10 years I was a meeting planner and now I’ve spent the
last eight or so as a technology journalist and I
specialize in event technology. – And this is Michelle’s
first time on the show. – It is my first time. – That’s so exciting. – You are here in my hometown. – We had to come to her. (all laughing) – I waited I waited, I was still waiting. And then you showed up then as I was walking through the hallway. – So Michelle we do have a question that we ask all of our first timers. And that is if you weren’t in the events industry what would you be doing? – I would be a Prima Ballerina. I love that idea. (laughing) – So normally ’cause we’re on a webcam we don’t have the
opportunity to ask anybody but since we have a nice camera here and we have space can
you show us your moves? – No, no I cannot. Although I am willing to
do it if you show me yours. (all talking at once) A belly dance off I love that. But yeah I think that would be my answer. Alex I am going for that,
that’s my final answer. What is Prima Ballerina? – Yeah that’s fantastic. – Yeah there’s so many
things to choose from though. – This is I mean so
I’m excited about using the chatbot in this show because this is my first opportunity to do
so kind of as an attendee. I’m a speaker at the show
but I’m still gonna try and use it actually instead of the app. Do you guys find now you’d
said that you thought it might be a formidable challenger. Are you starting to
hear rumblings of people starting to say hey I’m
liking this chatbot thing maybe I don’t need a mobile app? – I haven’t actually heard
anyone articulate that but I can see how people are sort of progressing along the road of technology. And we were all sold for a good reason sort of a bill of goods on mobile apps. And that was kind of
the first like big leap that a lot of event planners made and chatbots weren’t around then. So it’s just observing the pain points of attendees and of planners and the whole do more with less budget sort of thing. It all just makes sense to me. So I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s when it comes down to
should we do a mobile app or should we do a chatbot
that a lot of people are gonna be saying
chatbots maybe could be something that we should at least consider at least put them on the table. – Yeah right now the
way to think about it is communicating with your
attendees via text messaging. It’s just another channel. I think we will get to the point where planners are starting
to realize how little usage adoption they’re actually
getting on their mobile app and it’s just the investment is just not gonna make sense any more. But right now we’ve got
clients that will do both. We’ve got smaller shows that
actually never had an app which I didn’t even think was possible. (laughing) I thought everybody had mobile
apps for their conferences by some smaller shows
and some things where it never really made sense
for them to have an app anyway they’re coming to us and
they’re hearing about chatbots and they’re like yeah this
seems like a great way to have my attendees not asking
me a million questions. Which is actually the job that it’s doing. That’s the job you hire the chatbot to do. – But there’ll be other
things that it will be able, well that it can do now but
that isn’t the use case. I could see a of ways that
chatbots could take over in different areas other
than customer experience or information or navigational stuff. – Has there been any
experimentation or drift toward using it for audience
responses and things like that? Of being able to actually put the poll out and then respond via the bot. – Yeah and we’ve already
done that kind of stuff. We can also just partner
with other companies in the space that provide that. Sometimes it makes a lot of sense to just partner with another company that already does something really well as opposed to us trying to think that we want to be everything to everybody. So we do it either way. – Now one thing that I’ve
noticed and I’ve been to a few events that I’ve
used chatbots is that every time I’ve used it’s been over text. However if you think about
a lot of big companies that are using chatbots right now they’re using it on Facebook Messenger. they’re using it on Twitter
and things like that. So have you seen any events start to use it on social media yet? – No so in the event
space we have found that the planners do not want to use Facebook Messenger or any of those however, somewhat of some kind of breaking news although at this point
it’s not breaking but WhatsApp has finally opened
up their platform for chatbots and so now we’ve had big shows
in Dubai and places where (all talking at once) We can technically provide SMS there but for those audiences like
WhatsApp is where it’s at. And so we’re quickly just getting on board now that they’ve opened that
up and that’s a possibility. That’s gonna be huge for conferences with international audiences but otherwise I see it’s still gonna be SMS. – So why are you seeing them not interested in the social media side? – They just don’t want to engage with their attendees on Facebook. – That’s so interesting. – I mean it depends on the type of event. I mean for a consumer
facing event or something yes certainly they’re
kind of in that space but anything that’s B to B no they’re not. They’re not using Facebook. – That’s fascinating because
even this event right now has Facebook pages and has
Facebook events that exist and so it’s surprising that they’re
not going that next step. – And we do all of the messaging channels. And we make it clear we can do all those. We just never get any interest that. – No interest? – In those channels. – Seems like there’s more potential when you’re using it through
a social media channel for amplifying a single question whereas if you’re just
texting a question to the bot you see it the bot sees it that’s it. I would think that they’d be
more interested in social. – And that’s why it’s different
than just talking about using social media like
Facebook or Twitter. I mean we do both but it’s really meant to be a one on one conversation. It’s between the user and the conference. – It’s still like a private message. – Yeah it’s like a private message. – Well unless the conference’s
aim is amplification and then social would be the go to. – So there no public
channel with that thing? – No I mean it’s really
meant to be private. – So on Twitter it’s through– – The direct messaging. – Direct messaging okay so. I think some people think
when they think Twitter they think the feed and not
necessarily direct messaging. – That’s what I was thinking so. – But look as Alex has discovered sometimes it’s okay to get some questions and some things off of the public feed. Sometimes it’s better to have
those in private channels. – Yeah because if the same
question is asked 50 times. – But I think that’s where social media and chatbots can work together because you can see how often
something has been asked. So if something’s getting asked a lot then you can go to your
social feeds and answer that question for
everyone publicly if it is the type a question that
could be answered publicly and then you’re gonna
get less of those queries because you’ve answered it publicly. But I do think, and that’s
one of the things that Bob and I are gonna be talking
about in our session around chatbots and customer service is how social media and
chatbots can work together. So I think it’s gonna be a
very interesting discussion. This is the first time we’ve
done this session before. – So I have a chatbot question. Is it, I have heard that
it’s important that the user say the attendee believes that they’re not talking to a human. – That’s a great question. – However, the humans tend to add they tend to think about
the bot as a human. So where should we fall in? Should we think it’s a
human because it makes us more comfortable and adds use about more or should we keep it
as a robot in our heads or a mechanical piece of intelligence? – Yeah no we feel very strongly
that the user should know that it’s not a human because it’s not. Don’t lie to your customers or your users although a lot of people
that are doing chatbots are trying to pass them off as humans and we really don’t feel like
that’s what you should do. – Is this an ethical sort of thing? – Yeah but I mean really people, the conversation feels human
which is why it’s so cool. I mean that’s why people love using that because it feels very conversational. It feels like you’re talking to a human. But you want them to know that they’re not and they like giving the
chatbot a hard time for example. – You think about the newer
phone and trees and stuff too. They’re designed to model a human. You know it’s not and
it kind of bothers you that they’re trying to
pass it off as being one. – Okay okay. – I think most people I know are. – But then why when we use virtual reality or something like that
is it sort of crucial for the person that wants to participate in something virtually that they believe that they are now on the
holodeck of the spaceship? – Do you really believe it? (all laughing) – I want to believe it. – I think maybe someday. – I want to believe it. If I’m doing a virtual reality thing I want to believe I’m on a beach. I want to believe I’m flying. I want to believe that. And it’s important that
people believe that they’re doing that for the
experience to be impactful. – I think there is a combination of that that exists out there. I just read about a roller
coaster that you wear a VR headset on and you can look around and the environment can change but it’s still the same roller
coaster that you’re on. So even though there may be 20 people on the roller coaster at the same time they may all be experiencing
five different scenarios. – So would I actually get
sick from a VR roller coaster? – Supposedly less, supposedly less. – Supposedly less because
your body is feeling the movements, they’re timed to the video. It’s actually supposed to be
much more or less conducive. You’re much less likely to get
sick we’ll put it that way. – That’s so funny. – But I think what’s
interesting about the AI side of it is and any of this VR is that it’s giving us personalization options. Have you seen anything or
do you expect in the future that there might be options for chatbots. For example the chatbot here is Connie. Well with Alexa you can choose to call it computer, or Alexa, or what have you. Do you see the potential to kind of pick your chatbot for an event? Like maybe there’s three or four options. – Well the organizer
certainly can name it. The user itself like I don’t know really what the value
would be in just having my own name for the chatbot but certainly we’re doing
more in personalizing the content that we can deliver to you like your personal schedule
and things like that. We’re starting to
personalize in those ways. – But there’s personalities to these. There’s chatbots that are a little sassy. – Well I guess you could do
that because we’ll do that– – But you’re not supposed to do that. We don’t want the chatbot to be sassy because it’s not a human. Have you not learned anything
in this conversation? – But I read an article in
Forbes as I was doing research for this session that
I’m going to be doing that actually when it comes
to AI customer service it’s actually better customer service if it does have some personality. And that’s up to you as
your business to discover what personality fits into your brand. So knowing your brand really well are you a sassy fun brand? Are you a very professional
polished brand? – That’s why I don’t see it
getting down to the user level ’cause the brand wants
to have control over the personality of the chatbot. I guess it would be okay
to give the user that. – I mean my Siri is the Australian male because I enjoy that. – I converted all of our Google Homes over to Irish or something like that. My wife made me turn it back because it was turning everything into celsius. The kids would be like I have no idea what the temperature’s gonna be. What is 45 Celsius? – It’s a good learning
experience, parents of the year. – Do you see chatbots
becoming vocal using sound for potentially the blind who
can’t necessarily read a text? I know there’s there’s apps out there that will read those text to you. But do you see anything where the chatbots become like Alexa and Siri? – So I mean Alexa technically
is a chatbot and they’re I’ve seen some cases of events
trying to use Alexa stations. The challenges with that is
it’s still a physical station that the attendee has to go find. So you might as well have a
human there because otherwise it’s not just with them
like your phone is. And it’s just gonna take
you longer to program the actual conversation to teach
it how to talk about events then using a chatbot like ours that’s already been trained to talk about events. But I don’t know, I
should look into kind of what those apps are for people
that are vision impaired. How do they text message? I actually don’t even know. (all talking at once) But you can voice to text on your phone. To the extent that you
can voice to text already you can voice now but otherwise no. Still be again a messaging
channel is the way to go I think. – So as a way of warming up some of the future conversations
that are coming here what do you think is kind
of the future for chatbots? So as you guys look ahead, okay we’ve got this cool thing going right now. What’s kind of the next
generation that’s coming down the way when it comes
to what you guys are doing? – I think it probably is gonna be around more of that personalizing. We’re just the voice of the planners data. So whatever personalization
they’ve got on the back end we can deliver that
through to the attendee. We may part again we may partner, we may build the increasing
functionality around finding people that you want
that you should be meeting or finding which sessions
you should be going to. Those kinds of things I think
that’s all really good stuff that I’m personally excited about. – I have no answer for that. – It’s alright because we’re bringing in a heavy hitter to join the conversation. – Here why don’t you take my spot? I’ll switch with you. – I’m good here. – Take this. – Musical microphones. Who do I give this to? – And we thought four would be enough. – Nah you might need more. – Well ladies and gentlemen
Jim Spell has just joined us. Jim why don’t you tell everyone out there who you are and what you do? – Former meeting planner,
former industry vet now for 20 years teaching about
technology making people comfortable with what’s
out there what’s coming and how their universe
is changing every day because of the technology and
its implications on business and just playing with toys actually is the real bottom line of it all. They’re just so much
fun to be able to access and see what’s out there,
give people experiences so they can get more of just more than just a knowledge but a hands on. – And for those of you who
want to learn more about that Jim you’re on Episode 92 it sounds like. Previous episodes we can go back and find out more about that. Another another multiple
time event icon on the show. So I started warming up we
talked a little bit about the future of chatbots and
so now let’s start expanding the conversation a little
bit more to some of the other event technology
that’s coming down the way. What do you guys see as kind of the next I know I hate being asked
the next big thing question. So let’s skip the next big thing question. Things that are starting
to roll down the hill that maybe over the course of
the next four or five years you’re gonna start to
come to the forefront. – At this point it’s the maturation of AI of artificial intelligence. I mean everything else is secondary, especially from a business perspective to now that it’s here and now
that we can see actual uses now it’s when business has started and it’s started for a couple of years now be able to go I can see where
this impacts our industry. It’s gonna have huge
huge focus and changes cause huge changes in how we do things and how businesses are structured. And this industry in particular which has been kind of pushing back. And I’m sure Elizabeth
you are talking about near the event box and that’s just
part of the whole AI approach. It’s a critical conversation
for organizations to have right now at least
to understand enough about it to be able to make good decisions and be able to stay relevant in their job in a different work environment than they’ve ever been used to. – I’ve got to imagine for you guys that like every six months
the power and the ability to use kind of the machine learning that’s behind the scenes
has got to be just increasing and increasing that you guys can do more and more and more. – Yeah it’s been amazing
just us doing more and then just being
more efficient as a team and our processes and how
we’re working with clients and we’re actually, we
actually have even made the conversation more efficient. I won’t go into the
nerdy details on that but we’re able to move faster
and faster and faster. And yeah I think Jim’s totally right. Not just chatbots I think AI
in general is where it’s at. And I’d like to think that maybe in five or 10 years meeting planner won’t be on the top five most
stressful jobs anymore because they’ll have all of these tools that make them more efficient. – Nah it just stressful career in general. – You’re like no not a chance. – Except for then when those
don’t work or they break. And the stress level come
back up, the wifi shuts down. Michelle what do you think
is kind of rolling down? – Well the thing that I think
about a lot and what I get I’m starting to get more
calls on is a really need for platforms that
are leveraging data. I know it’s not a cool
thing like a chatbot. – I like it. More analyzing the data or? – It’s beyond analysis now. Analysis is sort of last year. So now it’s what can we do if you leverage the data, you parse through the data. You have it normalized and it’s malleable. What kind of action can you take on it? How can you segment your audience? How can you do these things? And those platforms are
getting really advanced. And it’s beyond marketing it’s beyond knowing everything about your
attendee and then putting them in a segment and then sending them email. It’s leap frogged beyond that. But it’s interesting that what used to be the thing that powered all sort of abstract applied technology, now it’ll be artificial intelligence. And I think the next thing
is gonna be blockchain. – No question I think we’re gonna have, we’re gonna have security
based issues with blockchain before it really does
come to the forefront. I can see in all industries
blockchains with contracts in different areas becoming
really really useful. But I think that security conversation is probably gonna slow
it down a little bit especially what’s probably
gonna happen in 10 years with the quantum computing is
a point where all of a sudden we have to completely
rethink the security aspect because those computers are so powerful that they’re going to be able to break a lot of code and a lot of
the stuff that’s out there which is why the blockchain really is that perfect storm, perfect
solution down the pike. I do think from a practical
application right now, I talk about it so briefly in my sessions because our industry is not
ready for that conversation yet. It’s just not there. – That’s why you should
be talking about it. – Well that’s why we talk
about it in small steps. I want to go back to the AI stuff because remember you mentioned it was
a mobile world 10 years ago. And it was mobile first. Right now and I just read something today I don’t remember who to attribute this to. It certainly was my idea but they said we’re in an AI first world. And that’s a really
interesting way to look at it. It’s really AI as a service which is what planners and suppliers have to look at. Not how do we build this
but what’s out there we can grab on to, how has it been used? And then as you said being
able to not only manage data but to be able to make
right decisions based on it. – Here’s the thing though we’re already moving too fast for the users. That’s really the main problem. Half of them are still
using Excel spreadsheets. – But you gotta come from somewhere. – I agree I agree, I
wish there was more of a solution to getting the users
to really sort of accelerate their interests and use and understanding. And I know that’s what you do. To a certain extent it’s what
I do but what’s the holdup? I think about that every day, what is– – They’re terrified and it’s so much. – But they’ll use them
in their private lives but they won’t use them in the job. – I think there’s a disconnect that wat they’re using
in their private lives isn’t the same as what they’re using and what they can use professionally. I mean look at AI, they’re
using it every day. However it doesn’t look that way. It looks like Echo or Google
Home and it looks like Netflix. It doesn’t look like AI on the bottom line being able to support all that. I think that’s, I know when
I start talking about it those are the types of
analogies I have to keep making. You’re using it already. To think that I was playing this summer with Google Home and the
fact that you can use something called Tensorflow
and what Google put out to actually build Google Home
interfaces for your business. And I did it for one or
two and it was just so cool and not that I was anything,
it wasn’t a revelation but just the fact that you
can ask a question at home about your industry and all of a sudden have a conversation or a game show or something that can promote. I think that’s where people have to blend their creative side with the technology. They don’t need to know
a lot about technology. They got to be open to it and then have their creativity really
enter into that conversation. – Is it something that we can almost like the technology has to get
advanced to the point where when we’re looking at the home
assistance it is really easy. I mean my kids pick them up
like and things like that. So when we’re talking about data analytics and what the planner is gonna
get out of this technology does it almost have to advanced using AI or whatever to the point
where it’s just really easy and those reports are
kind of auto generated to the point where they’re
not having to invest a whole lot of time and effort? It’s more just presented there and then when you want to go in deeper and analyze on things that are coming
out of your own head you’re able to do that but
those initial like tippy-toe steps are kind of handled for you. – Hand holding it, and
I haven’t seen it yet. – The AI handles it. – Well but Excel has addon right now that’s an AI analysis tool. I think maybe 1% of 1% of 1%
even know that’s available. And that’s where all of a
sudden if they start using it and then someone says this
is artificial intelligence the connect then applies because they’re using something they understand. – So we’ve got some guests
that we kind of knew we were gonna have to slot in at some
point at the last minute. So I apologize to you guys but we’ve got the hi sign,
We’re bringing them in. So we’re gonna bring
in, thank you so much. You’re welcome to hang
around and we’ve got some more time we can
probably rotate back in. But thank you again so much
Jim, Michelle, Elizabeth. But we’re gonna bring in some new guests. – Some amazing.
– And we just got the hi sign. – Amazing new guests, and I’m back. – Bill’s back. – I’m back for just a little bit while we switch some people over. – [Tahira] Alright guys. – Tahira do you wanna
switch out for Brandt? – [Tahira] Yeah sure. – Give Brandt a break for a minute. We do this all live guys
we’re making this all up. Hey Chris. – What’s up how’s it going? – Pleasure to meet you. – Hey I brought straight from London. – I just got off the plane. – Literally straight off the plane. That was me 45 minutes ago. – Literally straight off the plane. – Douglass Emslie who is the president or the CEO of Tarsus Worldwide so went to Dubai Airshow, Labelexpo around the world so anything worldwide
Doug is gonna know it. – I love it. What’s the capital of Djibouti? (all laughing) – Haven’t a clue. – He said he just got off a plane though. – Even with jet lag. – Sorry I’m asking all the hard questions. So you are on Event Icons which is a show that is done weekly. So we do it live on Facebook
right now, it’s live on Zoom so we’ve got people watching us. This is the brainchild of
Will with Hello Endless and we are so excited for it to be for our first time live from Connect. Super exciting so I think
most of us so Brandt and Alex and myself who
are the regular hosts have spoken many times with Chris. So this is my fifth conference so yeah so it’s great so we love being here we think it’s a fantastic show and so we’re really here today just to talk about with you guys like tell us what’s going on in the world of trade
shows and conference. – Let me go first. – You go on Connect. – So here’s what’s gonna happen Doug. If you go first you’ll
steal all my good lines. So let me just from what
I see, my perspective– – Tell us who you are first. – Oh my goodness sorry. So my name is Chris Collinson. I run Connect out of Atlanta, Georgia. I’m a dad, I’m a husband,
I got a great wife and a 10 year old daughter
and 12 year old son. And I’m also a Boy Scout leader. So there you go that is me
in many different areas. – Well the question we ask
everyone that comes on the show is what got you to where you are today? What got you to start Collinson Media? – Oh that’s an easy one, that’s so easy. – What got you to go for it? – And then I really want to tell you. – I’ve only got an hour. (all laughing) – So we really wanted to
start a magazine in 2006 and everyone we talked to said well you really should do a trade show. We said oh yeah we’re
gonna do a trade show. Yeah how hard could that be? It was pretty hard. But that wanting to start that publication led to starting a trade show which led to continuing to serve our clients using face to face one
on one appointments. And we always just kept the
focus of how can we help make sure that our clients
are being successful? We always said if a hotel or
a city is booking business for sure they’re gonna
give us more opportunities and trust us more and
it’s worked out that way. So from that one event in
2007 when it first happened to today I think we’re doing 31 different events mainly in the tourism space. But it’s been so much fun. December of 2016 we were very lucky to be able to partner with Tarsus. It’s a worldwide leader
and global event producer. Tarsus is the producer
of the Dubai Airshow, the Guess series of
educational trade shows that happen around the world,
Labelexpo, many others. – Yeah we have. – 130 different events? – 150. – 150 events. – So you give 150 events a year. What made you come to this one? – Come to this one? We had heard about what Chris
was doing in this space. We’d been monitoring it and then I was lucky enough to meet Chris at one of our industry events which was in– – It was in California at that time right? – Yeah in San Diego. And we got talking and actually we kept in touch and eventually it came together. I mean what we’re really excited about is in our business the 150 is really split in six different geographies
around the world. 40 odd percent of our business
is here in the States. It’s the biggest market in the world. But it’s also the most competitive market. I mean we like it, we sort
of speak the same language. But actually what’s
really good about the US is that it’s big, the market’s
dynamic and that’s exciting. And our second biggest market is China. We’ve got 25% of our business in China. So even though we’re a UK company we’ve got no business in the UK at all. So I spend my time traveling. So going into the travel space and meeting space it is very natural. – It’s a very fantastic
space I have to say. – Well so we work in hospitality. So that means pretty much
everyone is hospitable. So it makes it fun. – Although I think you are super friendly. I go to a lot of shows. – You are very friendly Chris. – And you are very
friendly but what that does that trickles down through the whole show. I mean your meetings team is fantastic. – I don’t feel like I’m
working you know what I mean? – See that’s the best right? – I really really enjoy what I do. And I don’t know if you saw
this but as soon as I saw Doug. I haven’t seen you in
what a couple months Doug? Came over and smacked him on
the behind, gave him a hug. (all talking at once) – He started to wig me out. – It’s tough because Doug’s Scottish and he doesn’t, that’s not. (all laughing) But still something to say
I really appreciate him. I appreciate seeing all
of our clients and friends and people that I’ve now
had the chance to work with and know for the past 10 years. I kind of think of this is like a homecoming every time I work. – Yeah and especially
since you brought all the shows together so everyone’s
really under one roof. And what led you to that decision? – You know what? Somewhat dumb luck I’ll be
honest with you but We just said I think we could save
money on our audio visual. I think we could save
money on our decorator if we just had it all at once and we did and what we didn’t realize was that it was kind of one plus one equals three. And I think that’s
something that maybe all of your viewers could take away is that I think the larger you can grow an event the more dynamic that event can become and I think the more important that event can become for the industry. – But I think it’s
interesting too because while there’s definitely the
association corporate support there’s also so many similarities
between the disciplines. So especially when you
start to look at experience and design and all of those technology. – And it’s amazing that
you bring that up because one of the things again
we didn’t know was that we originally had education
set up by vertical and what we really found
out was that a lot of the if you were a sports producer
you knew what they were doing but you really wanted to learn
what is the corporation’s What are they bringing to the table? How is an association,
how are they dealing with changing demographics in
America and what are they doing? Because a lot of those same
problems that they face I mean they’re kind of universal. – They are. – And it’s good to have
that outsider’s perspective that you might be able to
apply to your business. – 100%. – I mean I think what’s really interesting and what Chris has done
is actually very unique. We’ve looked at a lot of different sort of one on one
meeting type businesses. We looked at 40 odd different
businesses before Chris’s and actually the big problem with them is that they tend to be quite small. I mean they get two,
300 and that’s about it. And actually what you really
want for an event is scale. With the scale you can do different things you get different experiences
and sometimes intimate is good but sometimes you want variety. You want to go and actually
meet people you don’t know. You want to see people
that have got products you’ve never seen before
et cetera et cetera. And that’s really what a
trade show is all about. It’s a discovery and
finding out about things. And you can’t always get
that if it’s too small. – No I think it’s really about
balance between how do you, in a show of this size how
do you find your people? But then also it’s those intersections and collisions that you learn from. If we’re just going to a show where it’s the same people in the same mindsets and we don’t have that opportunity to sort of expand and to be inspired by how other people are thinking
and approaching things. When we look at something
like a sports fan experience and if you can apply that
methodology to a corporate event your opportunities become exponential. So I think that it’s
really smart to be able to to bring them together and to
allow for those collisions. – Well most of the things
that are really good in our business happens
to be a little bit of actually have a heavy dose of luck. So we’re very happy. But we’ve tried things
that haven’t worked. So things that you don’t see
today that we tried and failed. Oh I don’t know if I’m ready
to go there I don’t know. – I mean that’s how people learn right? – I had something that we
tried to oh man we tried it four years in a row
trying to make it right and every single time
it failed and I finally the whole staff said
Chris you gotta let it go. But it was this thing
called Connecting Point where we have people set
up in different areas so outside of the
appointments where you could if you didn’t have an
appointment with somebody but you could go and find them. Universally it was hated. – Kinda like a location to meet up. – Yes and it was like
dedicated meet up time. The only person that wanted it was me. And it only took me four
years to figure it out. – So I learned something about there’s something called a failure pedestal. So this is what you do is you take that, you take that failure
you put it on a pedestal. You spend about a day
really giving it your all. You bow down to it you make
it the most important thing and then you can just let it go. Take it off its pedestal and move on. – 100%. – I do just for the staffs benefit I really do try to bring it
up every couple of years. What if we did this Connecting Point idea? And typically I get stuff thrown
at me but it’s worthwhile. – So eventually someone’s
not gonna remember it then you’ll get to revive it again. – That’s a great idea. – So now we have behind
you one of you speakers. Well so Aaron so maybe
let’s invite Aaron in because we’d love to hear
Aaron’s perspective on this. No you can stay. – What’s up Aaron. – Hey how’s it going? – So Aaron tell us who you are. – My name is Aaron Wolowiec
I’m CEO of Event Garde. It’s a professional
development consulting firm based in Michigan but we do
work all across the country. And so Aaron I know that
you love this show and have been here before so tell
us what you love about it. – No I love seeing so
many different people. I think that’s really the
sweet spot of the show seeing so many different
planners and professionals come in one place to share
their ideas and experiences sort of cross pollinate and populate things they’ve tried and
experienced in one place. And I think that’s really
the awesome part of the show. And oftentimes at conferences,
meetings, and events you see a lot of the same so a lot of people doing sort of the same thing. And I really appreciate the opportunity to experience that cross pollination. – So Aaron we have not
only Chris Collinson of course who started
Connect but we also have– – Douglass Emslie. – Douglass Emslie. – Douglass Emslie. (all laughing) – He likes saying it. – Yeah sounds really good
Douglass Emslie from Scotland. – Thank you. – I will say Doug he won’t tell you this because he’s very modest but he is an expert on pretty
much anything China related. So if you have any event questions about doing events in China. – I have a ton of questions. Tell us about doing events in China. Tell us about what are
some of the key differences between doing events here and in China? Because that is super interesting. – I think a little bit to
do with sort of maturity and China is still very much
a transactional environment. So people are going to shows to buy stuff. So here it’s about the
experience, about the branding, it’s seeing what’s
coming, it’s directional whereas in China they’re to
sell products and buy products. So if you’re trying to sell the Chinese a non sort of booth type
solution, sponsorship, different experiences
they just don’t get it because that’s not where they
are in their development. But what’s fascinating about China is how quickly it’s developing. I mean it’s growing massively. I mean just to sort of give you a feel when I went to Shanghai for
the first time 15 years ago there was about 500,000 net
square feet of space within Shanghai today it’s over
eight million square feet. So I mean it’s just
it’s growing and growing and growing and growing
and will continue to grow. – And isn’t that also the same
country where they were able to build a convention center
in 32 days or something? – Yeah well maybe not
quite as quick as that but at the moment they’re building
the biggest convention center in the world in Shenzhen
in the south of China which is just across the
border from Hong Kong. And that will be five million square feet and that will come on stream
in just over a year’s time. So it’s amazing, from one end of the hall to the other end of the hall I was there two months ago, it’s two miles long. – Can you imagine designing a show Aaron in a space that is two miles long? – That’s quite the move
in and move out right? – Yeah tomorrow morning Aaron and I are actually doing a
session on design thinking along with Austin who he
hasn’t arrived yet so. That’s a whole new level
of design thinking really. – Well yeah and I think that the whole design thinking approach really helps us think from the perspective
of our attendees. So actually journey
mapping through the eyes and within the feet of the
attendees and I think that oftentimes as planners we
don’t always think about that. We sometimes think about
what’s easiest to move in? Or what’s easiest to set up? Or what does it look like in terms of how to partner according to the venue. But really putting ourselves
in the shoes of our attendees as you said helps us think
about the perspective of that experience from our attendees. And I think here in the US
that’s a really important I don’t want to say
buzzword but feature that attendees and learner’s are looking for in the conferences they
choose to participate in. – Is that what you guys are seeing too? – I think it’s really interesting in terms of the the the trade
shows or the meeting space in that if you look at the parallels with what’s going on in retail. And I was at a conference
where someone said retail is not dead it’s just boring. And I think that’s really a
challenge for this industry that actually we’ve got
to think differently and actually make it more exciting because it’s an experience for people. If it’s the same old same old
booths as you’ve been saying you’ve seen the same things
actually you’re not gonna come. – And I think we need to sort of pollinate our conferences, meetings, and events with ideas outside of the
education and event space. So a lot of what Tahira and I will be talking about tomorrow
will be pulling and drawing inspiration from other
avenues other venues, thinking about retail thinking about other over the top experiences
that people can have. I mean think about just the food explosion happening right now and
what does it mean to go to a really nice restaurant have a really fantastic meal
from start to finish? And what is it about
that meal or experience that excites you and
wants you to be involved and engaged in that meal or the restaurant and keep you coming back? And I think some of those ideas
are outside of the meeting and event spaces what
we need to have in order to colonize, populate, and elevate these experiences moving forward. I think the biggest when you’re
talking about event design think about CES in Las
Vegas and think about there’s all these great things
that are happening at CES. The thing that kind of
blows my mind is that there’s people that make a living curating your experience at CES so
that the show has gotten to be so big and so important
that you can pay someone to help you get the most out
of your attendance at CES. And so it’s almost like
what you’re saying is just as they’re doing
that for a large show we all need to be thinking about that from any event that we produce. – Well and what that would look like so it doesn’t have to, every
element or every aspect doesn’t have to be over the top but what are the places we can
have a meaningful impact? One of the activities that I encourage event planners often to do is
to walk through a journey of their attendees experience
from start to finish. Identify where those sort of
emotional low points happen and then really focus in on those places. Maybe they don’t have the
time energy or resources to touch on every element or every aspect or every touch point but in
particular those low points. And so if if registration
really is a low point for your conference
because people are standing in long lines, it’s not fun, it’s boring why not be inspired by something like– – Why not introduce a
regaception yes exactly. – Where you have like a DJ jamming. You have the entertainment and the food and the connection the networking happen at a place in time which
is generally not that fun and exciting it’s relegated
to some pre function space that’s dark and dingy and dreary and everyone winds up in cubes. And so how do you
identify those low points in the conference and then
turn them on their head? And I think sometimes our
planners are stuck in a rut because they don’t know where
to get inspiration from. Drawing inspiration from
some of these other places, not just meetings and events
but from around your everyday experience is helpful in
order to make that sift. – Well it’s like what you
were just saying about retail. So one of the things if you go
to let’s call it nicer store when you get your bag they
don’t just hand it to you. They walk around the
counter to give it to you. And I had a real fight
on my hands with our registration staff for an
event that I’ve been working on to get people to instead of being behind the registration counter
why don’t we have somebody on the front of the
registration counter so that as Aaron walks up it’s like
oh can Aaron have his badge? And you actually have that
human to human contact versus that big counter space
in between you that makes the registration feel just
a little less friendly. Because that is your first
sort of that touch point. And of course the
regaception for those who aren’t familiar with the experience, you can get Bloody Marys,
you can get some snacks, put our for people like you
who have just traveled in. And the food is healthy,
you’ve got people to talk to, you about some places to sit. You can do a little bit of work. You can log into the wifi
thank you Puerto Rico. So there’s a lots of
opportunities to do things that aren’t expensive but
really elevate the experience. – And as you guys are
talking about low points I think that’s just such
a, think about if you have whatever the best part
of your conference is if you make that a little
bit better but don’t focus on the low points what’s really your return? But if you can take that low
point and elevate that up I think that’s but by far the
biggest bang for your buck. – Yeah and I think that it’s not hard. I think like Tahira
said you know the places that aren’t successful right now. You get that sense and feeling. As a planner as a staff
person at that event the part that you cringe it’s
like oh man we’re letting this session out we know
what it’s gonna look like. I had a client recently say lining up at the end of the night for
valet is really a low point. I said what would it look like to roll out the red carpet have a little entertainment on the way out, have a cocktail– – One for the road. (laughing) – What does it look like
to make it an experience as opposed to just making it cattle call? – Like a fundraiser so you
leave the end of the fundraiser and you’ve probably driven to it. There’s probably not valet
for many of those events. What if you actually
have a safe walk program? As people left to walk
you back so that you had almost like a little mini
parade back to the parking lot but where it’s all of a
sudden now you’re not worried about that kind of end
of the night feeling? So simple things right? So you have 150 shows so what, tell us one of your favorite
things that you have seen. – Well which one’s your favorite Doug? (laughing) – Wait a minute. I love all of my children equally. – Exactly so what are
some successful things? Some of the things you
are putting into place that are successful like the regaception? – I think what’s really interesting and I’ll just go back to China. We look at the advancement in terms of technology, marketing, registration, and actually in terms of social media and China leads the way
in events in the world which is not what you would think. – They have their own secret social media. – Yeah I mean with Rechat. I mean Rechat has really revolutionized the fact that actually
everybody uses Rechat. They collect all the information
so doing registration is very easy because on
the phone you collect all their data in one go and
it’s already stored there. Then you get a QR code so you
just turn out with your codes you scan it and you straight in. So we had a show two months
ago when I was there. Literally as we opened there was a cue of about 10,000 people and I said this is gonna to take an hour for them to get in. Literally it took eight
minutes to clear 10,000 people. It was just that quick. – That’s a dream come true. – Well exactly because
actually it’s coming back. have just come in and I’ve
just spent over an hour standing in immigration trying
to get into your country. And it’s not a great start is it? – Hey be careful as a
foreigner I don’t know Doug. – Then I’ll just send an
Email to your President. (all laughing) – You see what the Dubai
airport is doing right? They’re getting to the point where you won’t have to go through security because you’re gonna go through a large, an 80 foot long tunnel that
looks like an aquarium. It’s all projection mapped. And what happens when you walk through? You walk through like this. Well what happens as you
walk through like this is they’re scanning your face. They know exactly who’s in the airport. – That’s a fascinating point because on the Dubai Airshow we
partner with Dubai Air Force. And I’m working with Paul
Griffiths CEO of the airport. And he’s tasked with
in the next five years they’ve got about 90 million passengers going through that airport,
busiest in the world and they’re looking to double that. And he said well the
only way they can do that is to double the infrastructure which is incredibly expensive or to get people through in half the time which is all about technology. And that’s one of the
technology solutions. So on the back of that
we have actually launched a show called The Airport Solutions which is all to do with
all the new technology in airports actually to get
people to move through quicker. – I know in YVR ’cause
I’ve been working on a technology summit for three years so in YVR Vancouver they actually
have an Innovation Lab that sits right in the
airport and they are the ones who are, they’re
testing new kiosks. They’re sending things
out, they’re sending them to other airports
in the world to test different systems and how they happen. And it’s amazing the rapidness of that change and how it’s evolving. And actually we put those into our shows. – It’s actually relatively
easy because actually we’ve got very strict
security getting into our show because everybody has to
be pre-approved by police. So you’re submitting
your passport details. At the end of the day
we’ve got 80,000 people but at the end of the day and speaking to them they say they’re actually only looking for about five people that
actually might pop up. So it’s actually technology can actually speed up that process
say actually these are the risk areas, these are the risk people. And everybody else is fine. – It makes you to think about
waste of our conferences in general and one of the
biggest wastes being waiting. How often do our attendees,
are they waiting in line? Are they waiting for food? Are they waiting for a
session to let in or let out? They’re waiting for the
keynote or the entertainment. Our time spends a lot of time waiting and being mindful of A,
I think how to cut down on the waiting time but also
how to make the time that they do have to wait more
entertaining, more engaging. – And more opportunities
to connect with people. – Absolutely yeah. – I think we can learn a lot
from Disney and the other amusement parks as they’ve
adjusted their cues. And I really look at that is
the more that we can remove obstacles for people because
I think the biggest thing that people fight on attending
a trade show is their time. I don’t know about you guys but I’m pulled in a lot of different directions and I’m pulled even coming to this event. I have to change my schedule around. I’m missing things back home. By the way I’m happy to be here. But I know that that’s me
right and Doug I know that you’re pulled in a lot of
different directions so we have to realize that everyone is the star of their own play and everyone is really looking at their
time is extremely valuable. So it’s infuriating to wait isn’t it? – Yeah absolutely. – But it doesn’t need to
be and that’s the thing. I actually have several friends I’ve seen in the last few weeks who became friends when we met in a lineup,
at a bar at a buffet. I was out for dinner
with friends in Denver. They’re like how did you meet? I was like we met in a
lineup talking like this. It’s ridiculous but 10
years later true story and also now very good friends. – Yeah that’s great. – I think for me that also
just brings up a point around sort of the necessary
structure around networking. I think that it’s simple to call something a networking lunch or
reception or meal function or whatever it is but
just calling something a networking break doesn’t make it so. – Oh I agree. – Lots of people need sort of
that structure of interaction in order to find meaning
in that break period or that meal time period
and so intentionally identifying what that is and
infusing that in not a silly way but in a way that’s really
engaging and purposeful. – I have something to say about this. Alright first off let me
start by kids these days, kids these days are not taught about how to have a conversation
with folks are they? – No. – I work here with my kids. Alright put down the phone. You don’t have to text me I’m right here. You know what I mean? But I think that’s really
really important is that this type of face to face
communication is almost a lost art so we have to help people engage and practice that at our events. Are we getting buzzed out? – [Man] Not you. – Thank you was it me? – You know what thank you so much. Chris, Aaron you guys can
stay we’re gonna swap out. I’m gonna do a little
introduction for you. Here’s Angie and Alex’s gonna come in. – Sounds good I love it. – Angie, you know Angie is the reason why our event is the way it is. So we’re very thankful to have her here. – Hi Aaron how are you? It’s good to see you my friend. – I feel like we communicate
like all year long. – I know face to face. – But never in person. – Meetings are like that when you get to see each other face to face right? I know it’s my pleasure. – So Angie this is your
first time on the show right? – You’re sweet. – No six years just
celebrating my anniversary. – No on Event Icons. – Oh on Event Icons, I’m so confused. Yes I’m a first timer,
my bad yes, entirely yes. – So why don’t you tell
our guests what you do what you’ve been doing for six years? – You’re insane. – Is there a reason
you’re here today Angie? – Yeah right I’m just here
to watch all of you have fun. Senior Director of Meetings
and Events for Connect. I have been with the company since we were Collinson at one point six years ago. I started when we had three events and now we’re up to 32ish? – A lot. – So lots of growth has been
part of the really exciting opportunity but managed a
team with two superstars and we put on the logistics of the events. So you know how it is. – So three of you manage 32 events? – Yeah. – We decided to give her the
third person so you’re welcome. – So for all the planners out there that manage one event with
a team of three people I’m sure their jaws are dropping. – It’s funny because I
came from the world where it was one event a year, my former life. – Did y’all plan this ahead
of time, did y’all say? – No he’s Chris on the panel. (all laughing) – Yeah it was like that. Our newest team member our
Coordinator Sung Lee is in her second month so she’s
doing a really great job. She’s managing all the
education upstairs right now. And then Nicole who’s been with us for three years is our manager and she is really grown in the past four years. But yeah the three of us
are in sync which makes it a really easy transition
to do the unthinkable. But the big thing about
it is we’ve a team of 50 staff members and we
say we’re a team of three but we’re a team of 50, that’s how it is. – And this is my third Connect. Well Marketplace I’ve also done
some of the regional events. And I tell everyone I see I’m like Connect really takes care of their
speakers and their attendees and the experience really well. And I think that is a credit to that team and how in sync you all are and that you take certain things into consideration that a lot of other events don’t. – Like what, tell me what do we think? – Oh now you’re on the spot. – And the tables are turned. – So from an experience design perspective I attend a lot of events. I’m a speaker but I also work on the social media side for events. And from a speaker
perspective a lot of times we’re kind of forgotten, we show up we show up at our session
and then we disappear. For Connect that is not how it is at all. I feel like you guys treat us really well. The communication level is solid. We got a Google Drive with all of our schedules and everything– – It was new this year. – Was amazing. For me who’s got four
sessions and two other mentorship style things, I think I’ve got eight things that I have to be somewhere. I’m like oh here’s my schedule. – Well it’s funny you sat that because the Google Drive which was
new for speakers this year, we created one for our staff too which seems like kind of a no brainer but we didn’t have the time for it. So we really wanted to
invest in the communication which was as Chris
attested communication was kind of our motto this year,
it was our theme of this year. Really opening it up
and Chris challenged me at the beginning of the year to really communicate with some
partners on our staff. And we took that to the next
level with all of staff, all of speakers, all of our attendees. We ramped up our communication
with the show too in our planners and our suppliers. Obviously technology sometimes
is a fun factor with that. We all know how that works. But it’s been a really big
focus for the event coverage. – And it’s a little thing but
but it makes a big difference. Especially, some speakers
only speak at one conference a year but other speakers speak at many. And sometimes we forget
where we’re going next. So to get those reminders
and those constant emails from you guys is really
helpful and being like don’t forget this ’cause
we do forget a lot. And you can tell when you
speak to the attendees and the suppliers that this is not just a speaker level thing this
is an every stakeholder, every attendee experience
that you take into account. Which I think is really nice
and it is those little things. Over the course of six
years what would you say is the big thing that you’ve
learned and evolved and challenge yourself to do better? – What would you say Chris? – Well I didn’t get asked that
question but I will tell you. For Angie she’s very very capable. She’s really really good at
a lot of different aspects and I think the biggest
thing that I’ve tried to do is help her to see all the different areas that she’s really good at. And then on the flip side is to say alright now let’s look at
if there’s an area where you’re not gonna be as
successful how do we help bring in somebody else to
complement your skills? For example I think Angie and Nicole two totally different, Nicole’s manager, two totally different personalities, totally different ways of
approaching the problem but together gosh they’re
a formidable force. You know what I mean? I think that’s probably what
I’ve seen over the six years. – And I think just in terms
of meetings and events in general having some sort
of good balance between the meeting experience and the
actual learning experience. So having that balance between logistics and learning is an
important one I think that Connect really gets that right. One of the things that I would say is that I think Angie is really great at helping create a co-creation experience
on some of the content. So I think that there’s
been times where I’ve said hey I think this is cool
let’s do it and you say yes. And I think there are other
times where you say like hey I’d love to connect
you with some other people and let’s build this
something new thing together. And I’ve met new people as
a result of that experience like really cool event
folks that have not only I think created a really
awesome experience for the attendees in a way that probably wouldn’t have been formed otherwise because you kind of are
seeing the big picture and identifying where
people are playing in similar or complementary spaces. But also creating like a long
lasting lifelong friendships and relationships with
people who otherwise may not have other
otherwise been connected. So I think that’s really a cool strength not only of you but of
this show in general. – Thanks for that I think it’s really a good push to put our attendees
into that experience too. We’re doing something for
another show in the future where we’re crowdsourcing
the full on content because we need to know what the attendees want and sometimes it’s too late. So you’re trying to
individualize that experience prior with the speakers
on hand and have them go and coordinate with a new person. It’s very intentional personality wise ’cause we have to balance
it but at the same time it’s a whole new experience for them. And you’re right you get
friendships out of it and all of y’all like speaker wise are some of my best friends
and it’s been really fun to grow with you and learn that experience and really capitalize on the education and not necessarily have to write the education anymore
which is great for me. But you guys are also,
I mean you’re the pros. I should be writing it anymore. I just need to give you the
resource to make it happen. So that’s good to know. – I think that’s one of the great things that Angie’s been able to
do is to find great partners that can come in and that
she can trust to know that if I put this person in
charge of this classroom they’re gonna do a great job and they’re not gonna let me down. And I think that’s another
maybe secret to her success. – And I think that’s the secret to success for events in general. I think that gone should be the days of this sort of call for presentations where whatever we get is what we accept. And that’s not that’s not enough. That is maybe an entry
level but that’s not enough to creating a really
solid educational event. And so I think that’s what
you’re trying to do is create a good balance
between sessions that are on the forefront that
people are submitting but also pushing it further by identifying where maybe the holes are or where people can team up to create a new content that maybe they haven’t thought of before. I think that really I
mean for planners who are focused on education
it really is important to think about the mix of education you’re sort of placing into your programs because if you’re only accepting things
that people are submitting it’s not pushing the edge at all. It’s really just
recycling a lot of content that’s been heard and said before. – I think unfortunately
you’ve hit a point where we do a couple presentations
we do it twice a year now and sometimes you get like you know 5,000 leadership only content which
is not what we’re looking for. And Shumame by send it
for us as a document but you’re processing
and reading those and you’re at a point where
you’re filling these gaps but you’re not getting exactly
what you’re looking for. And so you have to go out and
kind of recreate the wheel so that process I agree
has to be done differently. I don’t know that how quite yet. I’m working on it, if anyone
has a secret let me know. – What’s great is I can just imagine that someone who submitted
a leadership proposal. (all laughing) – Angie is talking to you. – Leadership is good trust me it’s just a lot of people talk about leadership. And I think for a while we saw
that with social media too. I mean it was the hot topic. – Social media is important. – It is important. But I think once there’s a hot
topic everyone’s the expert and that’s all you get and you’re like hey I actually need something
on the next topic, the next hot topic and it’s always trying to be ahead of the game and
circle and that’s when you bring people and the great minds together. – This is very like looking
at things like the certify me professional curriculum
is helpful to identify good content in a variety
of different topic areas. And certainly there are other
content outlines to consider but I think that’s
certainly one place to start so you know you’re getting
a good mix of content across a variety of topic areas. – Yeah and we’re very
intentional working with the EIC to make sure we’re hitting
all those different buckets. I mean I’m a CMP I want to be a CMM. I’m gonna be working
towards that as well but you need to get those
right business plan actions in place to make it happen so. – And I think what’s
interesting and I’m glad you brought up the
social media side ’cause I am a social media speaker and for me when I started speaking and really Connect was one of the first meetings that I brought these new sessions
to three years ago was I had attended lots of events and they were a lot of Social Media 101. And I was like I don’t
need to be teaching you something that you can Google yourself. Social media is a tool. What is, how can we implement social media into other forums such as the sessions I’m doing here which are on sponsorship? Like how can we make money
off of our social media? – You have to take money sessions. It’s like lazy people love it. – So hashtag money was one of them. But is important because
people, that is something that people aren’t using social media for. They’re not making money
off their social media. And then my newest session which
is on crisis communications which is really important that
people weren’t considering. So like social media is the tool and not what I’m trying
to teach you how to use. I’m trying to teach you how
to use it for different things so it’s really not a social media session. It’s a crisis communication session and it’s a sponsorship session. – And you get that from different
credits too with the EIC. It’s not about, you can’t
credit the social media but you can credit the
crisis communication stance. So diving into those little areas means sometimes you have to do it that way. – So I wanted to ask you with 32 events somehow you also find time
to go to events yourself. Where do you get your inspiration from and where do you find
new topics and things that you want to bring to Connect? – Yeah absolutely I think you really need to think outside the industry
from an attendee perspective to attending events that are non related to the hospitality industry
makes perfect sense. I watch the flow of attendees
and what they’re experiencing and putting yourself
in the attendees place. I obviously go to other industry shows. I think they have great
contact ’cause many of the speakers are at those
that I work with too. And they have new speakers
that we can look into. But really it’s a lot of research, a lot of reading of everyday life. So incorporating that into the common field of just being around people. I mean that’s what our meetings do. We’re about Connecting people. It’s what our company is all about. Business brings those
Connections together. So even traveling to
different destinations is really important we
have so many partners here that are really strong in their marketing are really strong in their products. And getting ideas on what they need and putting that into place. How can they help us get
better to the planners? And then what are the planners
looking for for their events? Funny I had walked through
with the GM this morning of the building and we talked about what he needed add to his inventory. And I was like hey I was really
bummed you didn’t have this. He’s like oh do you think I need that? I’m like yeah you need that. Just kind of walking
that different approach for the GM is also a resource to them as they are for us is
continues to evaluate our events and hold us in place. – That’s real great. So where do you see
Connect going from here? Like what’s the future of Connect? – Chris. – Dun dun dun. – I don’t know that’s so I mean. Such a tough question. – What’s your five year plan? – I think I know it I just don’t know if Angie wants to know
how many events she’s– – Oh my God. – What we’re trying to accomplish
is we just want to have an event happening every day of the year. So we’re looking for– – Except Christmas, Thanksgiving– – Well no no no no no no no no no. We’ll just do like overseas
events over Christmas. – Great, my excitement is overwhelming. – Contain it. – Yeah yeah I know it’s pretty great. One of the biggest things
that we can do is we have a lot of events, some of
them are small some are big. I think we need to focus on once a quarter having a larger event. In February we have three
events coming together. We have a marketing event,
an international travel, and a business travel event all happening at one time in Orlando. In May we have five or six groups that are all coming together in Hawaii. Obviously this event in August
and then in December we’re pulling two events
together in Washington DC. So as I look ahead in five
years I would love it if each of those events
develops its own personality and its own importance
to the particular market that it serves so that it can
have the opportunity to grow and take over an entire
Gaylord Palms for example. Because I think when that
happens what you get is everywhere you are you’re seeing people whether it’s in the
elevator at the restaurants that are all there for the same reason. And I think it’s just as important those, I mean it’s great what happens
in the Convention Center. It’s really just as important what happens when you’re getting breakfast or going by the shops or anything like because you’re all there
for the same purpose. So I think that would
be a real great thing. And I think we could look back and say wow that we did some good stuff. – Now I guess here’s another question. As the groups have come
together and we’ve talked about the association tracks
and the corporate tracks and things like that and how
they can learn from each other. With new types of events popping up, and one of the unique things about Connect is that you really do reach into every single type of planner
and every single type of event. When you talk about events for example the up and coming eSports sector how can you create events
where they’re learning from people who like
the association people and the corporate people
who’ve been doing this forever, how can they learn from each other? – I’ll just, I’m gonna give you a little different perspective on eSports. It’s unbelievable what’s happening. I didn’t really believe
in it until I saw my son watching someone play
video games on YouTube. I was like why don’t you
just play the video game? But apparently he saw that
there was value there. So when I saw that I started to saw wow. Alright this is happening this is real. He’s telling me that people have 11, 12, 20 million subscribers. It’s insane to me, it’s just. – Like Dad I get paid for this? – And there’s tutors now
for some of these games. – Don’t even go there but. What I think that needs to happen is that I think back to history. You can look back at all
these different things. Go back to the railroads. When railroads first came into America everyone wanted to launch railroads. Guess what most of them
went out of business. And it was just a handful
that stayed around. I’ll say social media. I mean look at the dominance
of Facebook, Instagram. It’s really tough to be
Twitter and Snapchat. So what I think will end up happening is we’re gonna go through
a huge growth in eSports but there’s gonna be some
clear winners and clear losers. And eSports and I think
that the industry needs to kind of get to that next
iteration that next level. We can teach and train but I don’t know, they’re just growing so
much I don’t know if they have the time right now to listen. Does that make sense? – Yeah absolutely. And we had an episode on
eSports that was fascinating. And they were talking about how these events sell out in minutes. And their marketing stuff is phenomenal and they excel in some places
and other places they don’t. Like engaging the attendees when someone isn’t playing a game on stage. What happens in that dead space? And that’s some stuff that other sectors have already figured out. – And in time with that
the big winner I think when you saw the NBA coming
out and every single NBA team now having an eSports team
that goes along with it. See when people like
that or ESPN or others that have this great business background that understand how
people consume content. As they get into the arena if you will I think they’re going to start to bring business processes
and marketing and whatnot. – Sorry as you can
imagine I’m getting cut. – I think we’re relegated to– – Peace out. – Thanks a lot Chris. – You’re a star man. I’m good. – Thank you Angie.
– Thank you Angie. (all laughing) – Hey Chris. – Alright so now we have Chris. Chris tell us who you are. – Chris Gasbarro, President of
a little company called Ember a little boutique meeting
agency based north of Boston Newburyport, Massachusetts. – Well welcome thank you. – That’s the political
line, the story line. – Tell us who you really are. Chris told us he was a Boy Scout leader and a dad so let’s amp it up a little. – I’m an event professional
living in the meetings world. So I kind of wrestle with that every day. Dad of twin 10 year old
soccer playing awesome boys, frustrated former captain of boats, and failed guitar tech and roadie all to my pedigree on LinkedIn. – I feel like that whole
failed guitar tech and roadie means you actually had to
have a real grown up job. – It was, I say my master’s
degree was in 1990 something for three years 230 nights a year on a tour bus touring
around North America. I had a group buy with Motel 6. I used to buy something like
8000 room nights a year. – It’s so weird how that is so
low on my list of priorities. – Good times though. – That’s awesome and I
don’t know if you know Alex. – No. – So Alex for the virtual media. So Alex is one of our four
amazing hosts, then Aaron. – Hello.
– Hey. – So Aaron’s a little
bit like you I think. – Yeah absolutely I’m on the event side. I have a small consulting
firm called Event Garde. We have 15 team members, a
lot of instructional design, event management, portfolio management. I’m always trying to push the
envelope and create a ruckus. – How is 15 people for you? I’m about the same size. – 15, we kind of grew quickly so we went from the seven to
15 overnight I feel like and that was definitely
an interesting move. In the event space so
many of my colleagues have like small like one
and two person shops and so it’s hard to have conversations with folks like that because there’s
this whole element of like staff and HR that you didn’t necessarily expect to get into. It’s like one of those things where actually I feel like I started
my career as an association professional I thought
that what was my calling. And then I realized that
education was really my jam. And so I sort of call myself
an education professional. – Wait are you from Michigan? – I’m from Michigan. – Do you know Jody Katie? – I know Jody. – She’s one of my best friends. I know about you, I’ve heard of see. – Oh look at that we’re making connections live at Event Icons. – It’s a very small industry. – Holy smokes Lansing, Michigan. – Alright well there you go,
we’re done we can leave now. – And I actually spend a
lot time at Grand Rapids. We’ve one of our largest
clients based out there so I’m by there about
16 to 20 days a year. – Oh I’ll have to see you
like outside of the show. – That be great, or tonight. – But I should tell you
guys first it seems like 15 is a good spot because
when you go 15 to 25 that’s when you need to start to have administrators and actual real HR people. – Every time I grow a couple more people they tell me the next phase. Everyone’s like 10 to 14,
then it’s the 15 to 20. – I always thought 15 was nice. It’s like having not had my own company but support for companies it’s nice. You’ve got some support behind you but you also haven’t yet gone into that whole extra level of
administrative challenge. – Well and what I would say
what I like right now about the team at the place where we’re at is I grew up in the 80’s so I use the Transformer reference a lot. I feel like we’re like Transformers. I literally build the robot
that I need based upon all of the different skills and attributes of various team members and create a unique sort
of solution for folks. And I really love that I
mean the reason why I started my own consulting firm was I got bored. I get bored as soon as we
get in maintenance mode, as soon as I was running
the same 65 programs a year for an association I just
was like this cannot be it. This is not, you’ve become as
efficient in those programs as you can you’ve
explored all the options. You’ve talked to all the
speakers it becomes boring. And so I was like well let
me let me do something crazy. How about starting a consulting firm? And then it was like
well how about one staff, two staff, threes staff, how about 15? And it’s just a new, every day
presents new opportunities. – Boarding files are built, templates are off the
letters, ready to go. – And who knew? – Waiting for more. – Well you start in this
industry thinking oh man consulting will allow me
to do cool event stuff. And then you’re like yeah it does until you get staff and then you’re doing cool event stuff and all the staff stuff. – And then you realize an event is happening that you
didn’t even know about. – Absolutely absolutely. – That’s a fun moment. Alright we’ve talked to him. – Yeah we’re done. – What’s your story? – What’s my story? (laughing) (all talking at once) I’ll give the abridged version because I know our viewers have heard this story. – We’re following Chris. – Yeah so. So I have my own company of one called Little Bird Told Media
and I do social media strategy and consulting for events
conferences and trade shows. – And you were on the cover
of MPI’s magazine right? – I was on the cover of– – That’s how I know you. – Shows just bring people together man. – The memories coming back sorry. – So I just go their RISE award for young professional achievement. – Congratulations. – Thank you.
– That’s awesome. How’s that responsibility? – It’s heavy. – And what is the cash prize with that? I am unclear of that. – There is no cash prize. – But your whole company
had a party for you though. – My whole company had a party. No it’s nice. And as the speaker it’s elevated
the speaking that I’ve done and I’ve been getting a
lot more gigs from it. It’s funny though because
when you’re on the cover of a magazine and people
don’t realize this, or even as a speaker when
people come to your sessions they assume that they know
you and that you know them. But when I speak at 15 events
a year that’s not the case. So I get a lot of people wave
hi or assume that they know me ’cause they’ve seen my face and I’m like I don’t know you but it
is a pleasure to meet you. – But that’s so cool man. – It is cool, it is cool. – Not the worst real problem
to have, people recognize me. – You have to take a tip from Chris Rogan. Chirs Rogan she sells her time for $50. She’s basically, she’s
always like hi I’m Chris. Because he’s like how can I, why would I possibly
expect people to remember my name let alone me remember theirs? So why don’t you start off
with like hi I’m Chris? And so I really tried to take that on. Which I probably heard
him say that around 2010 which was the year I decided I was gonna meet more people at events, I was sit beside new people
on the bus, and I was gonna actually introduce
myself which is how we met. Because I saw Chris speak I was like that was awesome dude
like I have to know you. So then that’s the whole speaker, of course that’s when you speak is– – What will click? – At the end of it for
people to say I want to be your friend, that’s what you want. – Absolutely. Well and I think it’s just important to be mindful of the speakers too. I’m one of those speakers
who speaks a lot. Everyone wants to hear me. And I think that for me though I have this sort of energy bar above my head. And as like the hour, two
hours, or three hours goes on my energy bar ticks down
whereas I know other people as they speak their
energy bar like ticks up. – We’re defining Will Curran yes. – So just being mindful of that. I have to specifically
plan down time after long speaking engagements because by the end of it I’m drained, I’m completely. So you have to find me before then. Before then I’m completely
jazzed ready to go. But afterwards I’m just completely drained and ready for a cocktail. – That’s why I drink during the school. So I’m at number three
when I get to the bar. – That’s a great method
I may need to adopt that. So what are you speaking on Chris? – So I have a couple sessions. Th new one I’ve just
put the fine touches on on the plane ride in, it’s
called Cheap and Cheerful Restoration Hardware
Events on IKEA Budgets. So kind of an event design– – No offense to IKEA. – Not what, welcome right? – I think that’s their brand. – Really, brutal design, highly
effective for the masses. Swedish influence so stylish. – Hard to put together. – So I’m excited for that. That’s kind of a little
bit of what Ember does and taking credit for all those
great team members back home. We get pushed in the
corner a lot by budgets. One thing I think we all share sometimes. We wish we had bigger money
like the TED conference. TED conference wishes they
probably had more or– – Yeah absolutely. – Or Economic Forum wishes they had more. Maybe not they’re more swift. So we have a lot of expertise kind of we call it cheap and
cheerful is our nickname. So we can kind of say oh that was fun. $600 design or go to a rental partner and find something in inventory that’s not moving off the shelf and have fun with it. So share some secrets there and
then the other one I’m doing is called Sell the Dream
Service a Nightmare. Kind of a sales versus operations or creative versus operations kind of talking about why that
kind of Ying and Yang needs to coexist and divergent objectives or healthy conflict prevent success. – Seems like that cheap and cheerful just to go back to it for a moment is an important
conversation to have because I think oftentimes people,
we were talking about event design earlier and I think that oftentimes people think
that they can’t provide the seller experiences to attendees because they don’t have the budget. And so instead they don’t attack it or they don’t address it they just let it go. I think that’s probably
the wrong approach to take. – Completely and in
today’s world we all know we live in a world of
Amazon Prime and Pinterest. You have so many more
resources, so many more ideas. Just think about the hotels
you see in, boutique hotels– – Wait there goes Lanie. – Welcome to
we are at Salt Lake. (all laughing) Shocker. – Totally interesting hello. So exciting this is a live show. – This is what happens when
we have people walking by. So everyone at home can’t see
but there is a hallway here and people are walking by constantly. And here’s one. – They’re very friendly these
two they’re very friendly. (all laughing) – Alright so we were talking about design before we were interrupted by the fact we’re at a live show with
live people walking by. – Live events, manage the chaos. – Well I need to thank you for, I’ve seen a lot of my people. – That was like legal right there. – That’s brilliant. – Yeah yeah. – And no twist. – No no, it’s not. (stammering) I have no idea where we were. But I wanted to say so you’re, I know you and were talking. What else are you talking about? You have a couple of these sessions. – Yeah so two additional
programs I’ll be talking about. First is Healthy by Association. So it’s about a year and a half ago I launched a community called Healthy by Association focused on two things. First the busy event
association professional who is always on the
run, always on the move, and doesn’t necessarily
take care of themself and thinking about what health
and wellness means to them. I think we accept the fact
that health and wellness means something different to every person. So it could be eating, or
moving, or whatever it is but not allowing sort of the busy schedules of being on the road and at
events you come in the way of fulfilling whatever that
health and wellness– – And stop wearing it as a badge of honor that we’re so tired and so busy. – Yeah absolutely. And the other sort of
side of that coin though is really thinking about
health and wellness from the event attendee perspective. The thing that really gets me going is putting the only health and wellness thing at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. Although the health and wellness people who are really jazzed about
it are up doing that thing. – They don’t need to
deal with other people. They don’t care they’ll do it anyhow. – Where’s the space or opportunity throughout events to move, to eat well, to fuel our brains in an effective way, to build movement energizing activity into the actual fabric of the event? – Yeah I wrote a whole
book about that so great. – Yeah absolutely so
we’ll be talking about sort of both sides of that coin in those few health and
wellness opportunities called Healthy by Association. And the other’s really
about sponsorship so really thinking about the
future of sponsorships. I think that we’ve gotten into planners have gotten to this rut of transactional sponsorship approaches. That they’re really
starting to frustrate me and are causing the decline of sponsorship opportunities within associations. – And it was interesting though that Douglas from Tarsus was
saying that in China that that’s actually their norm. It’s still very transactional
events and trade shows and sponsorships so it’s
when that starts to evolve. We’re seeing it heavily in North America so that’s an awesome topic. – So in the sponsorship topic just if I could glean some insight here. Not particularly saying I have a client looking for new sponsorship. What’s like the like sponsor the weather? What’s the new little thing that’s easy ad but has high value opportunity? – So unfortunately I don’t let
our clients get off that easy I don’t think that there’s
like the one size fits all. I think that step one
for most organizations is to take a really hard
look at the inventory that they have and make clearer choices about what is attractive
inventory and what’s not. And finding new places to add inventory to what they’re already offering that their sponsors actually want. I think by and large the
sponsorship inventory that most organizations use is not great. It’s the leftover stuff,
it’s the stuff we’ve swept up in the back corner back
here that is left over. And there’s carryover, how
many things can we list that we have that we have access to you? The sponsors don’t even want
three quarters of that crap. If you gave them one or
two really high quality high touch experiences they
would be much more satisfied. And so for me it’s really about taking a close look at inventory
and number two really understanding the needs goals
and wants of your sponsor. I’m very much into you sort of the one on one sponsorship development, understanding your needs
and goals and wants and building that for
you, not jamming down sort of my prepackaged
sponsorship programs or levels or tiers or can we get rid of the emerald diamond sponsor business? Let’s be more innovative
more relational than that. – Yeah great no that’s awesome. – Do you guys do a lot of sponsorship? – We actually recently
had a client brief us about thinking from an
experience a point of, we have one client we do a lot of work and kind of storytelling in the ballroom. With the power of medium
and screens already up. What’s the next opportunity? From the value add and just
going from static to dynamic. If you can only imagine an inventory just the static line’s 9% of
sponsorship is probably static. So occasionally on the film inside less than kind of the organization of it. And sometimes we do some
spark some ideas about it. – I think it’s important to understand. Right now Alex what tell us
what you’re talking about here. – So I actually have a
session on sponsorship. – Competing. – I don’t think they’re competing. – Now are you sponsored by anybody? – No no, Event Icons hello okay. – But I’m gonna be talking
about sponsorship from the social media side
and one of the things and Angie had mentioned as
she was just sitting here that this session has become very popular. And probably the biggest takeaway and the thing that people come
up to me afterwards saying that was worth the entire
conference coming here is this worksheet and this Excel spreadsheet to figure out how to value your social media sponsored posts. So how much you can sell a post for and how to package those together. People want to do it,
they don’t know how to choose a value or decide
how much that’s worth. And then how to sell
that to their sponsors and prove that it’s worth that much. And so that part of the
session people walk away with and they’re like wow that’s amazing. Now I can sell this because
now I know how much it’s worth. But we also talk about
really unique things like selfie spots on the floor so a lot of the social media
sponsorships that we try to do actually drive face to face interaction. So it happens on social media or we want to encourage you to post to social media but there’s also a face to face element. – I don’t need to go to
the session this is great. (all laughing) Wow, sorry we’re competing
against each other. – So but that’s one of
my sessions and then I have two half hour sessions,
same session it repeats on chatbots and customer service and how that can also
partner with social media. And then I have one on
crisis communications. So runs the gamut. – What are you doing here? Sounds like you should
be drinking right now. Angie didn’t fill your sport right now? – The next two days are packed. But no it’s very exciting
and as I mentioned to Angie it’s not just Social Media 101 it really is how do you use social media for these other elements
that you really need to be thinking about for your events. But yeah so that’s what
I’ll be talking about. – So can I ask a question on social media? – Yeah. – Yes. – So if the main player
right now in the business perspective is Facebook and
Instagram what’s coming up on three and more importantly
what’s number four gonna be? What’s gonna overtake those
in the next three years? – So are you asking from a holistic point of view or from events specific? – I’m asking holistic so if I have a specialty running
store in Dallas, Texas. – Why not? – Well when we talk about
Facebook and Instagram we have to recognize that
they’re both Facebook. Instagram is now owned by Facebook. So really it’s just Facebook. Twitter still has value for
anything that is happening live. So when you think about
the Oscars or the Superbowl or big events or things like
that or other award shows that’s when Twitter really shines. Or even on these networks where
they produce live musicals where people like to live
tweet and hate tweet. So Twitter still has value from a live, this thing happened perspective. Even when you think about things that are happening in the news. A lot of that breaking
news and you can see– – See it changing. – You can see those conversations happen in real time on Twitter because
the feed is chronological. So it has its purpose. So I think Twitter’s are
always gonna be a player unless someone else takes
over that element of it. But I don’t think– – Myspace is coming back? – Myspace is not coming back. – That’s the Brody in you
talking I’m just gonna say. – Stand-still-itis. Yeah am I out? – No, the whole show is going
to be out in a few minutes because this has been
two hour live episode. – Extended. – So it’s been full of fun and excitement. It’s been really really cool actually. – Beers a pouring. – They aren’t pouring beers. So tell us Chris what are the takeaways? People when they leave
what do you want them to, what are you hoping that you can help people move forward with? – Well success for me is a
year from now I am pissed because someone took one of my ideas and did it on their event and I’m jealous. That’s my ultimate, my KPI right there. I always hope. What’s great about these things even from the event is just pausing for a moment. And if I could just
create a thought moment especially from when I think
about when design starts or even there’s just so many
things that get in the way. So just that little pause to say let’s not open last years work agenda doc to start our meetings
or plan the next year versus let’s talk about outcomes. And let’s embrace being
backed in the corner. Let’s embrace the opportunity
to inspire 2000 attendees and it can cost only $1600
what’s wrong with that? So I think just a little bit of pause moments and some thinking. – I love that thank you so much. – Oh thank you. – Thank you guys, thank
you guys for coming by. Thanks for coming by. Thanks for hosting Alex. – You’re welcome, thank you. – Thank you Facebook and
Zoom people for joining us. It’s been a super, honestly we don’t get to come to our shows very often
and hang out and talk about. We’ve talked about everything from sustainability to design technology. I know you’ve barely just got to visit us. I feel bad about that but we’re gonna have you back on the show. – Oh great. – Yeah so we’re gonna do a Zoom with you. – Actually come to Newburyport, and we’ll host you in Newburyport anytime. – Where’s Newburyport? – Exactly. (all laughing) We love you Newburyport. – We love you Newburyport. – It’s north of Boston,
little seaside town, lobster rolls on me come on up. We’ll put you up for the night. If you can get there
we’ll take care of you. – I will for lobster rolls. – Sounds good to me. – So yeah thank you guys very much. Thanks Bill, thanks Brandt. – Do we want to bring yeah? – Oh good here they come. Don’t leave Chris we have
so much still to talk about. – Thank you. – Fantastic. (all laughing) Wow they brought us, these are beer. – We have drinks now. – Audrey, shout out to Audrey whose not with us today but is– – Sadly Audrey is not here. – Cheers kid. – Cheers to a two hour long episode. – These are the benefits of a regaception. (all talking at once) Two parts good one part yum
is what you got over there. – I don’t know what’s in this cup. – Brandt what’s your
big takeaway from today? – Think takeaway from today I was mostly running and getting beers. No I’m joking. – Not true. – I’m always constantly amazed at the amazing and wonderful people, yeah he did. – We’re gonna have Mahogany on
the next Event Live episode. – Yes absolutely. You know what it continues
to be just mind blowing to me the incredibly smart people
that are in our industry and how much fun it is to
just sit around on a couch and talk to these incredibly smart people which is one of the
benefits of doing this show. It’s really really a great part of being a part of the show like this. So that’s the thing that I
continue to take away from these. – Thanks Will for reeling us in to do this show with you
we really appreciate it. – You’re welcome, you’re welcome. I’m glad you guys all got
to make it and be here because that’s I think one
of the most exciting parts. – Four event icon posts,
four speakers at Connect. Thank you Angie and– – Yes thank you Connect. – Yes Connect for having us as well. Absolutely amazing show. I think one of the cool things
about this format that I’ve become to realize I
love too it’s just that well obviously were super
casual when we did it live and everyone’s remote and calling in. But this is even more casual. You just grab someone
halfway through a sentence, pull someone else in, oh someone
walks by let’s put them on. And I think this is like
the I guess I’ll say the example of what the feeling
I love to get with the show is the casual let’s just hang
out and have a beer together. Or an Arnold Palmer
that’s what your drink is. – Okay. (laughing) I was like I don’t drink alcohol. – What was your biggest takeaway Alex? – You know what you
have to drive us because this American beer stains the Indy girl. – My biggest takeaway is probably just how passionate people are about topics that they don’t even
necessarily specialize in. We talked about a lot of things on today’s show over
the course of two hours. And things that certain people who thought they were coming on the show to discuss ended up not discussing we talked about a completely different topic. But we’re all so passionate about the things going on in the industry. And we’re so aware of what’s going on even outside of our expertise
that we can talk about it and form valuable opinions
and share those opinions. I think it’s a fascinating
kind of industry where we are so hungry for more information and more change and innovation also. I don’t think anyone who sat on these couches today is satisfied
with the status quo. I think we are all want to make events and the industry better. – And I’d love actually that we got to be at Connect an hear so much from Connect. It’s not always that we
can get the show owners on the first day where they get some time to really sit down and talk with us. And that was fantastic so
should we wrap this baby up? – I think we have like
a lot of news to share. I’m gonna jump on Brandt’s toes– – Go for it. – And share another piece
of news that is developing. It hasn’t been fully fleshed out but the audience has spoken and voted on this. But yeah we have a lot of
awesome exciting news to share. So that’s the bonus if you stuck around for the full two hours this episode. First piece of news that I
want sure is a project that I’ve been working on since last week which is what we’re calling
dubbed and officially voted on by the Facebook group
is Event Icons Extended. So we obviously do this, our show. And we do these long live shows. But there’s all these
conversations that happen in person that we want to capture and essentially we are
capturing those now on film. And now releasing them
to you the audience. And the best part about is if
you are in our Facebook group and if you’re not you’re gonna miss out that’s where we’re gonna be releasing all the content for you to check out. And they’re basically
gonna be deeper dives. Last week Ilia Live Tahira and I knocked out a ton of interviews. And I think we’re gonna record a ton more interviews here as well. – It’s the bonus content on a blu-ray. – Yeah it’s like the
blu-ray features right? Yeah totally, exactly. So yeah if you’re
wondering how you can get that additional content
go to sign up and you’re gonna get an email invitation to the Facebook group. Join the Facebook group and
that’s where we’ll be posting all of that amazing content
of Event Icons Extended. I’m really excited for
that format of the show. And we’ve had some amazing people already, Nick Borelli, Aaron Kaufman. Just so many amazing people
at Ilia Live so yeah. So that’s my exciting news to share. Brandt I hear you have
something exciting to share. – I do so the next bit of it. So last week we were live from my Ilia. This week obviously we’re live from Salt Lake City and Connect Marketplace. We are excited to announce
because of the popularity of these live shows we’ve actually entered into a partnership with IMAX America, one of the largest expos,
event meaning and event expos in the country and the twin of the one that’s in Frankfurt every year. So we’re partnering with IMAX America. We’re gonna be broadcasting
live again from IMAX. That’s October 17th
Wednesday at our normal time. But we’re gonna get to do
it from the IMAX studio which there’s gonna be a
lot more to come on this as we flush out the
details but we just wanted to kind of do a little
tease that we will be there live in Las Vegas October
17th at our regular time. So if you’re gonna be
coming to IMAX America please join us there and you can see Event Icons Live there as well. – Amazing. – So exciting. – So exciting. – Very. – Very. (laughing) – I hope they have a regaception. – I hope they have a regaception as well. Yeah come hang out with us at
IMAZ it’s gonna be amazing. And this time I think we’re gonna have to get Audrey out
to that one for sure. – This is not the first time
we’ve done this live from IMAX. This will be the second time and actually the first time I was on the show– – That’s true. – was at IMAX two years ago. – Very true, you should watch that episode with Alex it’s very interesting. I was watching it this week. It’s so fun, so exciting. Yeah I think it’s like episode 32. If I get that exact number
right I’m really excited but I think it’s episode
32 live from IMAX America. Similar to this we did
three other people at a time and every 15 minutes for two hours. So something like we went through 30 icons in two hours, it was crazy. – Alright let’s take this home. – I don’t know we didn’t plan a closer. – No. – So Brandt you know the
script by heart so cheers. – We want to thank
everybody for joining us both live and here in the show floor. We record this every Wednesday normally, special edition this week Thursday. But usually every Wednesday
at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. And then the show is released
to the next following week. See I’m trying to remember
the script on this. It’s released the following week. But the best way for you to
join us is You can sign up there you can
join us live in the zoom chat. That’s the best way to connect with us. Send in you questions
and chat with us live during the show with the
icons of the even industry. We want to know what you
think so join us #EventIcons. Let us know who you’d
like to see on the show. And we’ll hope to see you
next time on Event Icons. – Alright see you next time. – Bye everybody. – Bye. – [Announcer] Thank you for joining us for another amazing
episode of #EventIcons. To catch the transcription and all of the resources mentioned head
to This week’s episode will be posted and available by next Tuesday. Also let us know what you thought
about this week’s episode. Share your biggest takeaway and
join the social conversation sponsored by Little Bird Told Media. Just tag your posts with #EventIcons. We’d love to hear from you. Thank you again for joining us. We’ll see you next Wednesday
at 5:00 p.m. Eastern right here on #EventIcons. (calm music)

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