We are officially celebrating ONE YEAR of Interviewing Event Industry Icons! It’s our anniversary! This is a very special episode of #EventIcons. Our hosts – Will, Laura, and Sean – will be recapping the past year of interviews, guests, and topics. We’re talking industry news and trends, favorite episodes, guests, and resources that have been shared, and who we’d like to have on the show in 2017! We are so excited for you to join us for this episode and lend your input. This show is for YOU – and we want to hear what you, our viewers and subscribers, think.
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Epic resources mentioned:
- Notion Theory
- Social Tables
- Crowd Mics
- Rocket Book Wave
- The Special Event 2017
- Cater Source
- The Showrunner (podcast)
- Previous Episodes Mentioned:
Episode #8 – 4K Streaming at SXSW (Dusty Kraatz, Nicholas Roselius, John Burke)
Episode #17 – Event Engagement (Heiner Kopperman, John Federico)
Episode #22 – Events as a Sales and Marketing Vehicle (Bridget Zingale of HubSpot)
Episode #23 – Event Engagement (Dan Yaman, Jose Gallegos, Julius Solaris)
Episode #24 – Ctr-Alt-Del Edition (David Adler, Liz King, Aaron Kaufman, Dahlia El Gazzar)
Episode #26 – Sh*t Event Planners Say (Aaron Kaufman, Kevin White)
Episode #28 – BizDev and Events (Tahira Endean, Claire Repass, Eric Ly)
Episode #29 – Endless Entertainment (Will Curran)
Episode #33 – IMEX (Tara Thomas, Aaron Kaufman, Mike McAllen, Alex Plaxen, Xander Castro, Marin Bright, Adam Parry, Carina Bauer, Miguel Neves)
Episode #34 – VidCon of the UK (Billy May)
Episode #36 – Event Industry Podcasts (Mike McAllen, John Federico, Graham Wheeler, Brandt Kreuger)
Transcription of this episode:
Will: What an exciting episode.
Sean: I like that, Will.
Laura: That was amazing.
Will: The new intro, yeah. These guys this is the first time they’ve heard it since they weren’t here last week, but super duper excited to be here guys. Excited for this episode. This is going to be a little unique than most episodes.
Most of the time you know we have amazing guests in here who are getting to ask questions. I’ll talk myself. These guys are awesome. A little bit more exciting than me, but this week marks a very special day. It came faster than we expected it to. It’s been one year since we started #EventIcons.
Sean: Since you started #EventIcons my friend.
Will: A year ago. It was a team effort. You guys get to celebrate in this. One whole year since we’ve been doing this. 39 episodes. We had that break obviously where we were going monthly for a couple months, but it’s insane. I can’t believe how fast time has gone. Laura, can you believe it has been a year yet?
Laura: I can’t believe it. It just flew by somehow and it’s already been a year. It’s crazy.
Will: Sean, it’s been a whole year since you hopped on that Blab. Literally a year ago and we’re like, “What’s up?!!”
Sean: Been here ever since man. I’ve been here ever since. I’m glad I get to be on this side of it as well. I was a superfan first and now I’m on the set. It’s awesome. Super proud of you.
Will: Well, I’m proud of you guys. I’m just so excited to have you guys here. This is going to be a little bit of a fun episode for all of us because we’re going to be doing a little bit of reflection. We’ve done a couple episodes where obviously everyone on the show’s been interviewed in some sort of fashion so you guys kind of know our backstories and what we’re all about.
We didn’t want to do that, but instead we wanted to talk about what’s happened in the last year. I think Laura had the great idea. She’s like, “You know? Let’s recap. Let’s do the most epic recap of the last year possible and talk about what we’re excited for.” Really excited. We have a couple of questions that we lined up on our end that we wanted to ask each other and talk about. Then at the end just as usual we’re going to open it up to you guys to ask questions.
If you want to know something about #EventIcons, whether it’s how we do the show, or what do we have in store for next year? Maybe we’ll tell you. Basically get those questions ready and we’ll be ready to rock. Before we jump right on in, I want to start with a general question because we’re going into the end of the year.
It’s been one whole year and a lot of things have changed in the events industry. I want to know what’s piquing your interest when it comes to the events industry? Whether it’s a cool piece of tech, a trend, what’s catching your eye right now? Laura, why don’t you kick it off? I know you’ve got a lot of really cool things that are getting you excited for the events industry right now.
Laura: Yeah. One thing that I’ve noticed over the course of this past year, which was one of those pending trends that me personally I didn’t think was really going to manifest itself is VR, AR, those kinds of experiences. I’m seeing that planners are really outdoing themselves with these experiential events. One example, and I don’t know if you all have been watching this, but Westworld. It’s on HBO.
Will: I love Westworld.
Laura: The season finale just happened and I read up on how they promoted it and they did a virtual reality, I don’t want to say cave, but it was an experience where you could go in and virtually experience what somebody in the show would do if they were going to Westworld.
Laura: That’s so incredible and that’s such a cool thing for a planner to create for a brand activation. Really bringing people in. I thought that was just totally incredible.
Will: Have either of you guys gotten a chance to experience doing VR stuff? Have you guys put the headsets on and played around with it?
Laura: Oh, yeah. There’s an awesome company here in DC called Notion Theory and they’re come to our office. They do meet-ups. They’re trying to get people exposure to VR. They’ve come in here. They’ve done lunch and learns. I’ve done it a handful of times and it’s totally incredible. It gets better and better month over month. Not even every single year. I think we’re going to start seeing some more of those experiential events and looping in VR. That’s something that’s huge there.
Will: That’s really cool.
Will: What about you? What’d be something that you love in the events industry right now?
Will: Yeah. Yes, you. The only Sean.
Laura: Is there another Sean in there?
Sean: I thought you said, “Hey, Jude.” I was like, “Is there …?” Okay. Something I think what trends or news one thing I’m excited is to see is who’s the up and coming news publication. We’ve had these same kind of groups that are doing amazing. They’re doing awesome.
It’s just interesting to see that next product hunt out of nowhere. Just came out of nowhere in the last five years and just provided value. I’m curious to see a surge there. Also very interested in the big data that’s going on right now.
A lot of our guests on the show and a lot of the questions from our audience have been around ROI. How do I get the return on investment for these events that I’m putting on? Even if I do get the data, what do I do with the data? You can get a million data points, but if you don’t know where to put them, it doesn’t do much for you.
I think a big trend that we’re seeing and being from IMEX, where Will and I walked around a lot of the booths, we saw they’re trying to take and integrate all these pieces of data to really give a nice output. I’m curious to see who wins. I think some of the front runners, Bizzabo I think’s doing really well. Social Tables I think is starting to give you a really good idea around your seeding and how that functions into your actual event.
Then I think another big one is obviously Double Dutch. They’ve probably been the most vocal just about trying to get CRMs that come spot and then sales force and all that to take the attendee data, push it back up to the cloud, bring it back down. Like I said, that’s what I’m most excited about man. Where does that big data play and what’s the next publication to come out and push people’s thoughts, and theories, and see what’s the next thing.
Will: Awesome. I love how all these things we’ve talked about so far too are thing that we’ve done on the show. Think that this show’s been awesome because it teaches me a lot about everything going on. I think one of the topics, I know Laura you’re really passionate about this. I had some ideas you want to chat about too is the emergence of venues really rapidly changing.
Whether it’s, I know you got some thoughts on this, but my big thing is even just traditional venues I’m seeing this turn away from hotels who used to be the enemy. Where they were trying to stack on in-house restrictions and things like that. Now what everyone’s realizing you can’t do that. You have to be really friendly. You have to provide this different kind of sales experience.
For example, right now we’re working to do an event at the Allegra hotel in Chicago next week and talking to the contact over there, KT who’s just absolutely awesome. Got to give a shout out to her. She was just so fantastic to work with today. Talked to her on the phone like, “Hey, we’re coming in as the outside AV company. We’re going to do this and this,” and she made me feel like, “She has my back. We’re working together,” versus this adversary relationship. That I would see way more often I would say in 2015 than I did 2016 into 2017. Laura, I know you had some ideas as far as alternative venues and things like that too.
Laura: Yeah. Just piggybacking off what Sean mentioned about these dark horses. Other forces coming into the industry. Maybe alternative media outlets and things like that. I think that alternative venues is going to be something that’s going to be huge in the coming years. We’re already seeing it right now.
Will: What’s an alternative venue?
Will: What’s a alternative venue would you say? You know obviously.
Laura: Yeah. People are hosting events in parking lots, and restaurants, co-working spaces they’re finding that these are all areas where people can come together. It can be a blank slate. Going off that whole blank warehouse feel. If a planner’s coming in, they can do whatever they want with the space.
Sean: Real quick. We launched Crowd Mics February of 2014 onstage and with us there was a group called Peer Space. P-E-E-R like peer. We’re peers. Space. They’ve raised about 10 million dollars now just recently and give them a shout out. What they do is they take your studio.
Your dance studio. You’re only using it from 5 in the afternoon until whatever, but during that day there might be a really cool opportunity for a yoga class to come in. There might be a really nice way for someone else to be able to use that. It’s not only a sharing economy of being efficient and having to go buy or rent other crazy space, but I think it’s starting to show that you can put events on in really cool different places.
I think that’s going to be a big part of the future as just a sharing economy. It’s, “You can use my space from this time to this time, and it’s really cool, and it’s already all outfitted, and decked with audio, and whatever.” Guys like Will’s going to be able to come in and make a garage feel like it’s a movie theater, you know?
Sean: I think that’s rad. I think that’s a big part. I think another one that’s outside of the bounds but really still close to home is convenient, right? Where they’re not your traditional Marriott big boys but they’re also not just a garage office building. It’s a really beautiful venue that’s really well done, but they do it in a really unique cool way.
Will: Shout out to Kaveen. We actually had the founder and the CEO on the show so if you missed that episode, I think it’s two episodes, three episodes ago. Episode 36-ish we had him on with Kate from Marriott as well so you get this alternative venue versus traditional venue going head to head kind of thing.
Really cool conversations, so definitely check out that episode if you missed it. Tie it back in. If you are loving what we’re talking about with trends, next week … I don’t ever talk about future episodes because we’re constantly changing and moving around, but next week we have an amazing episode lined up. We’re going to be talking about 2017 event trends.
You’re starting to see all these event trend articles come out every single day now at the end of the year. We’re going to be having three of the biggest names, two of which are confirmed and one of which is going to a special guest who just got on the show today.
Don’t want to say because I don’t want to jinx that if he’s not going to be able to make it, but it’s going to be so exciting to have him on air finally, but these guys know who it is. They’re like, “Yeah!” We’re going to have an amazing group for the 2017 event trends episode which we do every year. Which we did last year obviously. It’s only been one year.
Laura: You will do it every year going forward.
Will: Every year moving forward. There you go. Tune in next week. This episode’s going to be absolutely amazing. I want to shift it back because we can talk trends all day long, but that will be next week. I want to talk a little bit about the show and where we’ve been in this last year, where we’re going, all that sort of stuff that I think a lot of people want and don’t know about because we never talk about it.
I’m going to kick it off with this trivia question for you guys because you guys don’t get to see the analytics, so I’m usually the master of all the analytics. Getting everything posted, everything like that. These guys are in charge of all the content and everything like that.
My question to you guys is if you had to take a guess, what episode do you think is the most popular episode from the last year that we’ve had? Out of all 39 episodes, or 38 I guess you’d say, which episode do you think is number one?
Sean: [inaudible 00:13:12] the most popular in the sense of most comments and chatter. What are we talking about?
Will: It’s more focused on views. So eyeballs primarily. It’s a combination of views like on the video because we track all the views on the videos post combined with how many people tuned in live. The general audience that watched it.
Sean: That’s tough.
Will: I think this was our most commented episode and most questioned episode too that there was so much buzz around it. I’m giving away what it is. There’s a lot of buzz around this episode. If you’ve found it, just let me know. I’m making him try to remember all 38.
Sean: That one was a really weird one, but it kept cutting out a lot and dropping, but a pretty big name. I think it could be Aaron Kaufman. He’s pretty engaging so I think people would comment a lot. He’s very vocal. My vote though is Julius Solaris. That’s my vote.
Will: Okay. Julius Solaris episode.
Sean: I’m going to do it Survivor style. I’m sorry about this, but I vote for you, Julius. All right.
Will: All right, Laura. What do you think the number one episode was?
Laura: Okay. It’s either the Control Alt Delete episode or the IMAX episode.
Sean: Control Alt Delete. Will smiled when you said that.
Will: Laura’s going to get the cake on this. It was actually the IMAX episode where we featured I think 20 people in the span of two hours on the episode. We did it all live from the show floor. It was really close. For example, we had a couple episodes right behind it including Aaron’s, including David’s.
Sean: Wait, but I put Aaron and Julius on my kind of and they were on that episode, so two out of three.
Will: That’s I think why it’s so popular that episode is because we have all the biggest names on it. All the popular people together. Just some amazing icons all together. People were like, “if I’m going to watch one episode, this is going to be the one.” Yeah. It was hugely popular.
We had a ton of people watching live. Oddly enough too though, while we get a lot of questions live during this show and that’s obviously the whole point of this show, it was actually an episode where no one asked questions the entire time. You might be asking yourself why. I attribute it to two facts. Possibly the fact that we did 15 minute long interviews so they’re like that.
Imagine we were doing 20 people in two hours. It’s moving pretty quick, but also I think most people were just starstruck. Everyone’s dropping knowledge bombs and then you’re onto the next one. It was just this sprint of awesome technologies. Yeah, most popular episode of 2016 and ’15. End of ’15 I’d guess you’d say is that IMAX episode. If you missed the IMAX episode, go check it out.
I’m sure we’re going to be talking a lot about that episode because that was such an ironically iconic episode for us. All right. I’m going to let Laura kick it off with the questions that we have nailed down for each other with our first question that we have. Let’s see. I want to make sure that you guys have access to that document too and I just sent it over to you just so you have that question too.
Laura: All right. On the show, we have anywhere from one guest where we’ll do it AMA style, interview, and then sometimes we’ll have three to four guests on the show so we have a lot of favorite guests that show up. A lot of industry friends. Sean, I’ll start with you this time. Did you have any favorite guests from this past year?
Sean: This one sounds kind of corny and weird. You know what? My favorite episode I think was actually just me and Will, man.
Will: Oh. The ones when you interviewed me.
Will: That’s so cute.
Sean: Yeah, I know. That’s why I said it kind of feels gimmicky, but for reals though, it was a good episode. Me and Will have been buddies for a while and it was good to get deeper with him, and just had fun, and get to share with the audience and the group, and just get to know him better myself. That actually was probably one of the funnest because we didn’t really have anything scripted and took a bunch of questions for people in the audience. That was most of it. That was my favorite.
Will: I think that’s episode 29 for those that are curious. So 10 episodes ago. Yeah, you interviewed me. That was a good episode. I loved that episode too. That was one of my favorite ones just because for once too I didn’t have to host so I was chilling. I was getting like, “You ask me the questions. I’ll answer them. This is easy.” It was good. All all right.
Laura: Will, do you have any favorite guests from the past year?
Will: I had some favorite ones. Obviously it’s hard because it’s like they’re all your children, right? I think you mentioned it earlier Sean, is the Aaron Kaufman and Kevin White episode. The shit event planner’s day episode we did. It was just an idea that we had. I think it was either at IMAX or something like that. We came up with having to be there and then Kevin we’re like, “All right. We’ve got to do this episode.”
It was one of my favorites because of how relaxed it was. I think Aaron does that a lot. He’s such a relaxing … I don’t know if relaxing’s the right word, but he’s such a casual person that it brings your whole guard down. Instead of being very formal interview it’s very much like we were just talking. You know things are going good when you’re in the flow and before you know it I was looking at the clock and I was like, “It’s been an hour. Can we go with this for another two hours?”
This is one of the best episodes by far and I really enjoyed having them both on the show because it was just such a blast. Then me as an AV guy, obviously I had a lot of really great guests, but one of my favorites was the guys that did the first 4K livestream at South By Southwest. It’s one of the first episodes we have. I can’t remember which one it is.
It’s episode eight. Basically we interviewed these guys who somehow had someone and said, “Hey, we want to do a live stream,” and they’re like, “Let’s do it in 4K.” It was at the bleeding edge of 4K and they had somehow put together all these technologies and it was this ragtag group of people pulling it all together and they pulled it off and it was one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen.
Me as an AV guy, it was exciting to talk to them from a technical perspective, but also because this is something that is probably going to be commonplace in two, three years now to get to see what it was like. When they first created this it was really exciting. Those guys are awesome that I work with them on a bunch of project too. Really exiting to have the guys from the 4K livestream. Episode eight.
Sean: What about you, Laura? You’ve got a ton of them.
Laura: Let’s see. So many to choose from. I’m going to second the Aaron Kaufman episode. He is probably one of my favorite people in the events industry. He just keeps it real. I’m all about that. That was a really fun one. Another one that I really enjoyed was Bridget Zingale who is with HubSpot. She does events all the time for HubSpot.
For me essentially I sit in the marketing communications department and also do events so it was really cool almost talking to a peer of mine to see how another tech company puts on events and how they measure ROY. Again, super important. You know my client is Social Table, so that’s who I’m putting events of for. It was really cool to compare notes almost. That episode it was just she and I doing an AMA. That was a really cool one.
Will: Episode 22 by the way for those who are curious.
Laura: Episode 22. Then the Control Alt Delete episode. For anybody who’s tuning in and isn’t familiar with Control Alt Delete, that was an event that Dahlia, [inaudible 00:21:23], Liz King, and Aaron Kaufman I guess put together. It was an all distributed, nearly all digital event. Really cool. We had a lot of the speakers come on for Event Icons to just talk about how the event came about. It was a good rambunctious bunch of event professionals. It was great.
Sean: I got to add one more.
Will: One more.
Sean: That episode with Julius. I think it comes back down to being just real. I like when people are, even if it’s a little controversial, it seems like a little edgy. “Did he just say that?” I love that episode because he literally was in his office staring and he was like, “I’m going to tell you right now,” and I was like “Whoa,” and just listened it.
Laura: That’s his personality.
Will: What’s awesome too is all those episodes were back to back too. Bridget’s episode’s 22, Julius’ episode is 23, and then 24 was the Control Alt Delete. We were just in our zone in those last episodes.
Sean: I want to transition real quick to us and guests. No question that we had some really cool people on, which just shows that this does provide value. You should be listening or telling other colleagues and these are big names, but what was the biggest thing? We’ll start with Laura. What was the biggest thing you learned from the shows? If you can remember who shared it or maybe you just remembered the idea of it. What are some of the biggest things you’ve learned?
Laura: Well, I would say this platform Event Icons live video, is just a huge contact resource for industry education. I think the whole idea where Event Icons came from is that we feel like a lot of these who we think are celebs in the event industry or just so untouchable. David Adler, I fangirl any time someone mentioned David Adler. He’s way more approachable than you think.
If you just ask people to share their tips with you, they’re very open to doing it. I really think that’s a testament to the industry that we’re in. I think that for our industry live video is just hugely unpacked. For anybody who’s watching, I don’t know how long you’re been watching, but we used to host Event Icons on a platform called Blab, which is no longer supported.
RIP. Rest in peace. It’s no longer supported, but it was a really great tool. I think that as more and more people discover that live video is going to be a huge resource. There’s going to be an influx, or my projection anyways, is that there’s going to be a huge influx of new companies who are willing to pick up where Blab left off. To support any industry that wants to incorporate live video and to engage it into maybe not necessarily an event, but a meeting like this. I think that’d be huge.
Sean: I think I got it. I got the same feeling.
Will: I want to interrupt real quick. We also have someone in the audience who threw in the question. By the way, if you want to put comments in the question mark, that’s totally allowed too. Karen, one of our awesome listeners who watched almost every episode so thank you for joining us Karen.
She said that discovering about Eric Ly. L-Y. Which was episode 28 on [inaudible 00:25:06] events. Now she uses Presdo Match for all of her events because of it. So awesome that we got some discovery going on during it as well. I just wanted to shout that in there.
Sean: We had another one, Billy May, who was the [inaudible 00:25:24]. We connected them while on the episode and they ended up doing the video with the group. The power of live is resource you didn’t know, connect it, it happens, and everybody goes on their way. I think that’s pretty cool.
I think one thing that I would point out is you’ve got to be patient with this live gave. Gary V can turn it on, Casey can turn it in, and they’ll get pretty good numbers still. 1,000 people or 2,000 people live. If you think about that, Casey can put a video on YouTube and get 5 million views, but he can only get 1,000 or 2,000 people live.
If your numbers aren’t crazy, that’s partially why I think Periscope and Meerkat, because people themselves were posting them thinking they’re going to get just hundreds of eyes, it’s a long game. People come back to this. If you do it right, they’ll come back to your episodes and it’ll be evergreen content.
I think just on that topic you’ve got to do it because it’s good worthwhile content, not just hoping people come and watch you for a couple minutes. Anyway, what about you, Will? What’s the biggest thing you learned, man?
Will: I found it really interesting … I was going to this. I think we have another question later about resources, but one of the things I think that are most common that people would say. People would share lots of cool tech resources, but the most common thing I’ve heard as a trend every couple episodes ans people would be taking inspiration offline. Disconnecting.
Basically things along those lines. Get away from the computer. Get away from the industry and find inspiration in other places. That was probably one of the biggest learnings I had. Me, I’m a very energetic person, so a lot of times I’m just go, go, go, but if I can take a break, and breathe, and I remember asking this one person’s advice.
Another person was like, “Hey. Go find inspiration in other places. Go find inspiration. Go walk outside.” He had to walk outside three or four times during episodes this year. I think that was really cool. Great learning and it was always something that caught us off guard because we’re expecting a tech tip, or an app, or a book, or a blog article. We heard things like, “Hey, just get out of here. What about you, Sean. What was your biggest learning?
Sean: I think one thing I just learned. It’s find of fun. Laura’s wasn’t so much like a hard thing. David Adler said this, “Julius said, ‘This is more an experience.” I think the part of it for me. It was won really a eye-opener and was Control Alt Delete which is am event was supposed to happen and we were actually contented by the event organizer. In Amsterdam we’re going to go throw this down, crowd mics should come out, do it.
Everyone else was super excited and it didn’t end up happening, which I totally get where he’s going from. Sometimes things just fall through. That happened to him in a very bit very vocal way, which stinks, but sometimes it happens to everybody on a different level, but I saw the community. I saw this group come together in such a cool, organic, authentic way.
That really was the eye-opener for me. Sending these emails sometimes cold emails to people and being like, “Hey, can I catch you for a minute? Will you come on our show for an hour, and talk to our audience, and give them your insights, and your thoughts?” To see people respond so well. You can see all these names of really awesome people.
For me it was this industry and this market and the way it responded to learning and wanting more knowledge. Super excited that this group of people right here took the leap of faith and went for it, but also that all those that have joined, those that are listening really believe in good content I think.
Sean: That’s what I learned.
Will: I love good content. Yeah. That’s why I made the show.
Laura: Love me some good content.
Will: Love good content. Awesome. Really glad that we all got together for this one.
Laura: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That was good. Will had mentioned this earlier. We were talking about resources. Usually we close up every show pretty much the same way where we ask different resources that you can share with the audience. Karen just mentioned that she learned about Eric Lee and Presdo Match so that was obviously a great tool and resource that she’s used. I’m curious to know from you guys and Will we’ll start with you. What is your favorite resource that was shared by a guest?
Will: Ooh. You just asked me my favorite question. I feel like every time I ask you this. That’s why I interject my resources after everyone says their resources because I always have cool things I’m sharing.
Sean: Oh my God, you know you have that guy.
Will: That gives you all the apps?
Sean: You’re that guy for me. I’m like, “Dude, what do I need?” He’s like, “You need this.”
Will: What’s the best CRM? I will rank them to you from top to poorest in all order. You’ll know the guy [crosstalk 00:30:28].
Will: Exactly. Cool. I got a ton of resources. My favorite is the scuba mask.
Laura: You love that.
Will: It’s a super awesome inside joke. If you haven’t been watching all the episodes, I have to find it. I’m looking through all the list and I can find it really quick so I don’t forget.
Laura: Yeah, I’m trying. I forget his name.
Will: It’s episode 17 on event engagement. Ed Hyer.
Laura: Ed Hyer!
Will: Has the best resource ever. If you get a chance, watch episode 17. Just even if you can’t watch the whole episode. You’re not interested in event engagement. It’s worth it just to go to that section in the last 10 minutes to watch what resources that he shares. One was a scuba mask.
I’ll just leave it at that. That’s one of our favorites. We always talk to our guests and we explain to them, “Hey. Share anything you want to share. It can be even a scuba mask.” Luckily it happened because before we were just saying apps and books, but when we say that, it got people to think and that’s where the offline inspiration stuff started to come from.
Super duper awesome. To apps and cool unique things, obviously I’m that guy who’s on top of everything at all times. 24/7. One of my favorite things that I shared that I didn’t even know existed was Christian from Red Frog shared the Rocket Book Wave, which is basically a book that you write in. You stick it in the microwave and microwave it and it erases everything.
It’s like a re-useable notebook. I think you can capture it. You can take pictures of it and it captures onto your phone and it’s really cool offline meets online world kind of technology. Plus when you’re like, “I get to microwave my notebook,” it got us all curious. “What are you taking about?” Then some of my favorite resources I think from the year of people that we’ve had on the show, which I didn’t know much about their softwares, but then because we had them on a show, I got to know a little bit more about them and what they do.
Things like Visibo, they’re awesome now. We use them for a lot of registration stuff and management stuff. Glisser. Really awesome. We actually got to meet up in London as well when I was there. Looped, which is just a really cool bridging with Ibikens and everything like that.
Brian’s company is really awesome. Then Slido too. We’ve been using Slido a lot as well. Just really exciting as well as these two. I think every day I get on a call that someone mentions either Social Tables or Crowd Mics in some sort of way. I’m like, “Oh, I love those guys. They’re awesome.”
Laura: Thank you.
Will: Those guys offers are awesome. What about you Laura? What would be your go-to resources that you have found?
Laura: I’m also going to mention the scuba mask. That was by far the most interesting one that I saw. Let’s see here. Oh, Chris Kelly from from Convene. He’s one of the co-founders. He mentioned this really awesome app. It’s called Hiya. It’s H-I-Y-A and it is meant to block spam calls. I also manage our conferences and trade shows for Social Tables, so my phone number is on every registration document out there.
There’s one year where we attended 75 shows, so I get spam calls all the time because I know that they released some of the data. I really needed something to put that in check. That was one. Also I was going to say Slido and Visibo too.
Awesome companies doing some really cool things in the way of pre-event engagement. Visibo has a community side to the registration and then Slido has some in-event engagement tools, so those are great.
Will: Awesome. Before we move on to the next question, we wanted to take a quick break in the middle of the show. Before we ask our last question and opening it up to AMAs, we have some very unfortunate sad news to share. We didn’t want to do it at the beginning of the episode because we didn’t want to be a Debbie downer, but unfortunately we had to make it now because we wanted to make sure this person was present while we did this news sharing.
Unfortunately one of our amazing co-hosts, has to leave the show. Unfortunately Sean is so busy. He’s got so much stuff going on. He’s basically balancing Event Icons with everything. Unfortunately Sean is going to be leaving the show as a co-host. He’s still be around, and helping out a little bit, and being around in the events industry.
Sean: I’ll still pop on.
Will: He’ll be here, but I wanted to give a huge thank you to Sean for your year of service and amazing volunteering. If you don’t know that everyone volunteers to make this happen. Volunteering to help make this show happen so if we can get a big virtual applause to Sean. We are so happy to have you as a co-host on the show.
Sean: Awesome show. Super fan. I’ll be watching. I’m not going by any means. I just couldn’t get enough real dedication and heart. You should see what these guys do. Alex as well who’s on Twitter through there in the Twitter world. It’s so much time and effort. It really is not just a matter of turning on the camera and here we are.
There’s a lot of emails that have to go back and forth. Laura does a lot of the content, and questions, and making sure it’s all prepped, and everybody’s ready. Not being able to put forth my best effort. I’ll still be providing contacts and leads and making sure these guys know all the people I know and get them on the show, just not as dedicated and I won’t be able to put quite that time in.
It’s been an honor. Laura, I’ll see you. We’re buds. Will, come on. Whatever. Alex, how’s it going man? Virtual hug. I actually have to go now before the AMA. Tweet me anything. I’m always here. [email protected] M-I-C-S.com. I’m a fan of the show. You be a fan of the show. These guys are awesome. Thank you. That’s my last goodbye.
Will: We love you, Sean. Thank you so much. Que the sad country music.
Sean: I think they had it on earlier.
Will: We love you, Sean. We’ll see you soon.
Will: Really sad to see Sean leave, but like Sean was talking about, there’s a lot of back-end things that go into the show and I’m sure, I see our questions are starting to pop up and I’ve got people asking about what goes into this show during this as well. I’m sure we’re going to get to your guys’ questions asking about what goes into #EventIcons and you’ll get to see hopefully a little bit about all the work that goes in.
From a sad note to more questions. We’re not done yet. The show’s not over yet. Don’t leave. We’re going to jump right back into it and talk a little bit about 2017. You and I are going into the battle in 2017 and I’m sure everyone’s wondering what’s coming up. Like I said, I like to keep things hush-hush as far as future episodes, but I wanted to see even if people that we not necessarily have on the schedule but people we want to see or a segment that they want to see. I’d love to know Laura. You’ve been doing this with me for so long. Who do you want to see in 2017? What kind of guests do you want to see on the show. Someone who’d fangirl over?
Laura: Well, yeah. I would definitely fangirl over these folks. I would love to see some celeb event planners. Those folks who do super high-tech events where maybe they’re doing events for another celebrity. That’d be really cool. Then also I would love to know or get to know the planners who do the big events that we all attend as event professionals. The special event is one. Cater Source, IMAX.
How do they plan IMAX? How do they scout out the locations? There’s so many moving parts for those so I’m sure it would be an epic episode. Then lastly piggybacking off celeb event planners is I would love to meet some of the planners who have planned super high-profile events like Apple every year when they reveal all their products. How do they ship the products there? Is it in a special cage that only one person has the key for? Stuff like that.
Fashion shows are really interesting that I don’t think enough planners are talking about. They’re very fly by night. They’re not going to last long and they’re 15 minutes. Just understanding if you only have 15 minutes to make an impact for your brand who needs to be in the room, how do you coordinate it?
Those are super interesting. Then also The Grammys, the Academy Awards, the Cannes Film Festival. Stuff like that. Anything that’s really high-profile I would just love to meet the planners to see how they do that. That’s me.
Will: I’m always trying to get the super high-profile people in her too. They’re icons obviously. Speaking of icons, luckily every once in a while we get our guests to come and watch the show as well. Right now the man, the myth, the legend we were just talking about for half the show, Aaron Kaufman is actually watching. Aaron says, and I will agree with this. He wants to see a shit event planner’s day part two.
Will: I think we’re going to see that happen possibly. That’s something that I definitely want to see. I know Laura wants to see it as well. I think everyone wants to see it. I think everyone watching right now is clamoring for another one of those episodes. Maybe we can make that the number one watched episode very soon.
Laura: Yes. I would love that. That’d be great.
Will: If I had to pick two people. I try to limit my list because obviously I have running wishlists I’m always constantly attacking. Two people I think that are really cool that work really hard to try and get. If any of you guys know them, I’d love to have them on the show. One is Preston Bailey.
Preston Bailey’s a huge, high-profile, iconic wedding designer. If you’ve ever been to his websites it’s cool. He impressed me. Before I was getting into events I saw his website and you slide the thing where it shows a before and after. It shows this dirt lot alternative venue and then it turns into this amazing tent build thing. Amazing stuff. Preston Bailey’d be amazing to have as a designer and as a wedding planner for sure. He’s absolutely amazing.
Then, timely as well, I’d love to get Amy Cool. Actually, if you don’t know who Amy Cool is … I believe I’m saying her name the right way, she plans the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. If you didn’t know who’s behind that we’re trying to get her on the show. I’d love to see her because that’s an event that is televised. It is so iconic and it also requires something that not a lot of people think about, which is the logistics of shutting down basically that whole area.
It’s a very public event. Very high-profile and I’d be curious to see how security works. All that sort of stuff. That’d be two amazing guest to have. Those are on my wishlist for sure. All right. That’s all the questions I think we had written down that we can do.
Now we have a ton of audience questions, including tons of comments I see and hear as well. For example, Aaron thinks that we should have Sasha Sosa. Is that how you say her name? On the show as well. We’re going to have to get with you on that on the show as well. Anyways, we’ve got a ton of questions to go through so I want to start going through all the audience questions that we have. I’m going to pick one.
Let’s start with this. I think people are curious. I see a lot of questions asking about what it’s like being the host. I think one question that someone asked was, “What’s the most interesting part about hosting this show?” I’d be curious to know Laura. I know on your end you had never hosted a podcast or a live show before doing this. Is that right?
Laura: No. This is my first go.
Will: Okay. What’s the most interesting part about hosting the show for you?
Laura: I would say very much like planning an event, a lot of the logistical stuff happens before. I think if you have everything down pat ahead of time, you’re going to have a really good show. I think it’s funny that we’re events people and we’re hosting this because all the hard work for an event happens before.
Well, there’s a lot of things that happen the day of, but if you’re prepared, you’re good. I would say that’s the number one most interesting thing. I would say number two is gleaning the hosts. Like I mentioned earlier, you’d just be really surprised at how willing people are to be on the show.
If you just let them know, “Hey, this is purely educational. We would love to pick your brain in a public forum.” They will sign onboard super fast. That was very interesting and surprising on my end. Will, since you’ve been doing this a little bit longer that I have, what do you think is the most interesting part about hosting the show?
Will: At first ironically one thing that I thought was interesting was our transition from Blab to Go To Webinar. Watching that happen. Obviously transitioning into different platforms. That was really interesting for me on a technical perspective as well as how does the content change? How do the guest change?
For example, one of the most interesting things I think we have, and this is probably something that we’ve never talked about publicly with everybody is that Go To Webinar allows you to have up to six people on camera at once I believe or eight people. One of the two. On Blab it was max four and that stuck. So many times we were like, “We can only fit three more people on the show. That’s it.” There were so many times we wanted more people but we’d capped it.
Then with Go To Webinar, we started and we were like, “Wow, we can do up to six people,” so we instantly start scheduling lots of six-person shows and now ironically you think that would be a better show. More guests, more content, more voices, more excitement. They were exciting, but what we realized is that the content was just shorter. We could only fit in four questions, five questions, before time completely ran out. We were sitting there with 20 questions from the audience still to answer in that hour.
I think the interesting thing we learned and one specific example was just how the format and the content design effects the entire show. Now we’re trying to focus more on going back to one-on-one interviews, one-on-two, or both Laura and I interviewing one person. That sort of stuff versus, “Let’s put as many people on screen as possible,” which is fun in some cases, but in some cases it’s also a little chaotic.
I’m not sure if you felt the same way.
Laura: I’ve actually hosted. I hosted an event and we had a panelist. What was it? Five or six panelists. It was huge. Then on top of that we had a moderator. We ran into the same issue IRL at the event. I think that the smaller the group of people you have who you’re interviewing, the more in-depth you’ll be able to get into the questions and the variety of questions. I think for anybody that is thinking about doing the podcast or having your own web show, that’s definitely a good learned best practice from Event Icons for sure.
Laura: We’ve had this insane variety of topics, guests, on this entire past year. What I’m curious to know, what gives you inspiration for the show? Do you see something in the industry, the market that you’re like, “Oh, we should do a show about that?” Is ti a tv show? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Will: That’s a good question. I think the first time the true inspiration of the show obviously you can watch whatever episode that was. I fee like I was on fire with those exact episodes. What episode was it? Episode 29 when I interviewed and talked about the starting of it all. The inspiration came from I just wanted to play with Blab.
I really was inspired by other Blab shows. I got interviewed on a Blab show. Mike McElroy interviewed me on Blab. I was like, “This is a cool platform. We’ve got to do a show on this. This is really exciting.” Now the inspiration comes from a lot of the podcasts. I’m going to name drop more episodes. Episode number 36, three ago, when we did the Event Industry Podcast episode.
All those guys we had on there are inspiration to me too. I listen to their podcasts. Brent, and Mike, and John, I’m just so excited when I listen to their podcast. I’m like, “Man, I want to make my show as fancy as these guys. A lot of inspiration comes from that. If I had to pick one outside events, again, set outside, breathe, take inspiration offline. One of my favorite podcasts I get a lot of inspiration from is Tim Ferris’ podcast.
If you’ve never listened to Tim Ferris, he interviews world-class everybodies. It’s very much like the icons of life. Lifestyle, design. You get these amazing interviews, but you listen to these interviews and it sounds like he’s known these guys for years. The topics they give them, the questions he asks are just phenomenal. Sometimes they’re really long format.
For example, I’ve seen one by David Heinemeieir something. He’s the guy who created Ruby on Rails and Basecamp. He’s basically the one who created that. It’s a three hour interview. It’s taking me a week to go through while I’m driving around and everything like that. The questions he asks and the conversations he asks is so deep. Trying to figure out, and I know a lot of other people get inspiration from his podcasts.
How do you take that and consolidate that down into one hour and also one) doing it every single week and live? Versus being able to do thee episodes in a week he might take a week off or something. That’s where I think a lot my inspiration comes for the show for sure.
This next question … Oh, just kidding. I think Laura has a questions for me.
Laura: Oh, I do.
Will: Really quick, audience question. Sorry. It’s just too fun to ignore is that Alex who for those people who don’t know, Alex live Tweets. Alex Plaxen of A Little Bird Told Media live Tweets this entire show on Twitter. He takes your comments all from Twitter, relays them to us. He put on there.
Shot out to Alex. He helps make this show happen from the video show and brings it onto the social media webs. Alex says that, “Game of Thrones inspires him to tweet.” Which probably a mix of the gifs and the furious anger of tweeting so fast. I think that’s probably what he means. Game of Thrones.
Laura: Yes. It’s awesome.
Will: Sorry, I totally interrupted you.
Laura: No, it’s cool. This next question, which is great transition here in talking about where you get the inspiration from is really just, “How do you even plan the episodes?” When you first started Event Icons, how did you get into a good groove of having all the content prepped, having the guests prepped? What does that process look like?
Will: Yeah. That’s a good question. The process has evolved for sure. I still think it evolves very single week that we talk. I guess I’ll talk about where it is now because the evolution’s crazy. It started off really simple where I was emailing people, getting a schedule, sending them a calendar invite, send the Blab link. I tried to schedule it out as far in advance.
In the beginning it was really easy to do because I took I think four weeks off to plan all of them and schedule episodes before we started so I had a ton done. When you get into the meat of it and as Brent would say, “Once you get a really good guess,” that you think off the top of your head. You get to this point where you start having to dig and really think about who you’re going to have on the show. That’s when it became really difficult. That’s when the process was really needed.
Luckily that’s also when Laura and Sean got involved as well. They were like, “Hey, we really want to help you make this happen. A lot of this is difficult. We think we can help you.” The process now for planning an episode is that every single week every Wednesday, Laura, Sean, and Alex now as well, and my assistant, Tara, who’s also one of the most amazing brains behind this show that you guys never get to meet.
She’s the one who’s making sure everyone shows up on time. When they’re having tech issues if I’m in a meeting or something like that, she takes care of it. She helps make sure it meets launch. Awesome job. She just absolutely crushes it. She’s the silent hero of here. Laura’s nodding.
Will: We basically have a meeting and we sit there and we say, “Okay, so here’s the schedule,” and the schedule’s basic Google sheet. It lists out all the episodes, who the guests are, is it confirmed or not. Then we sit there and say, “Okay here’s the gaps,” and we brainstorm. We just draw. “Let’s have this person do this. Let’s have them on the show.” A lot of times for example Aaron is actually recommending us and introducing us to another guest as well.
A lot of our guests will introduce us to other guests. People on the show, whenever you guys request and tweet us and say, “I want to have this person,” we fanatically go after and try to get that person on the show. Then a lot of times we’d take inspiration too from just the events that we love. Like we’re saying, we’re looking at The Grammys and we’re saying, “Yeah, we want to have The Grammys on the show.”
We’ll just figure out a way. A lot of it’s bull-headed stubbornness I think on our end. We’re like, “We’re going to figure out a way to get that person on the show,” and we’ll figure it out. It’s just through networking that we end up making that happen. Then we use a process basically where we get a form from them to get their initial information. We do pre-interviews as well with a lot of our guests to basically get them for a feel of what it’s like being on camera and to make sure that they feel really comfortable with us as hosts.
One of the big things that you guys don’t see very much too is 30 minutes before the show we also do a pre-check. It was originally because Blab was so horrible that it would work half the time or people couldn’t figure it out. Blab’s kind of confusing. We’d do it 30 minutes because there was so many tech issues. They gave us 30 solid minutes to check everything. Now it becomes more of a time for us to all shoot the shit I guess you would say.
Just talk. Make sure everyone sounds really good. Make sure everyone looks really good and just make sure everyone feels really comfortable. What we usually do is we get a couple of kick starter questions to go. For example we have those three questions on all the episodes. What got you into the events industry, resources, and then a top that you have. Then maybe a new entry if one of the questions that we’re going to ask each other today that will add back into that too. Then basically you guys run the show.
A lot of it is the planning of it is done on the fly. It’s in my head, watching your questions come in, and me and Laura chatting. We do this during all of this. We’re chatting back and forth about, “Hey, this question came in. Do you want to take it?” A lot of it’s just on the fly. I think that’s one of the most impressive things that Sean, and Laura, and I have been able to figure out is, “How do you do this very much live show,” but we’re able to talk to each other when we’re not recording and doing it live.
Yeah, there’s a lot of planning that goes into it. I think the hardest part about it is what happens when we have a week that no one can do it or things like that. That’s the hardest thing to plan around or if you have a guest cancel. That’s where the passion comes in. That’s what I forgot to mention too. We us slack to communicate and plan everything inside of Slack. Yeah, really cool. Let me see. Do you want me to ask the next question that we have in here?
Will: Okay, cool. I’m curious to know, because you came in too from the audience perspective and then came in as a host. Why do we do video over audio? Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
Laura: Me personally I feel that with video you can see people’s expressions, and obviously because we’re in the events industry, we value that face-to-face interaction. While we are all remote. We’re logging on via Blab first and then Go To Webinar, I think that there’s something that you can’t quite capture with just audio but you can with video.
Those kinds of interactions, expressions, that sort of thing. Sean is the ultimate ham on camera. If this was just audio I would have never even known that you were gesturing that way. One thing that video captures the really unique essence of interviews that you can’t quite capture with audio. Did you have a specific reason doing video versus audio?
Will: Mainly because I wanted to use Blab. Actually when we first did the show, Blab would export it in video and audio. I would upload the audio with it too so you could actually tune in like a podcast you could subscribe to it on iTunes or anything like that. Eventually I deliberately shut that down because I realized the show what makes it different than every other podcast is that you get to see our guests.
You get to see them in their homes. You get to see the relax. You get to see their gestures. I realized that there was so many things. For example, I was gesturing and people laugh. No one would be able to catch that on audio. Now it’s implied that it’s video and that’s what it has to be. I agree what you said. There is so much stuff that gets left on the table if it’s audio.
Laura: Yeah. Great. I think we have some more audience questions here.
Laura: Let’s see.
Laura: Here’s one. This one comes from our BFF Julius Solaris of Event Manager Blog.
Will: I didn’t even see him as a question.
Laura: Yeah. Well, it came in from Twitter.
Will: Oh, cool.
Laura: He asks, “What can we do to disrupt an industry so largely in the hands of people very resistant to innovation?” That’s a good [inaudible 00:56:56].
Will: That’s a [inaudible 00:56:57] question right there.
Laura: That’s assuming a lot of things about our industry, but for those of you who are watching, if you have your two cents that you’d like to share, we would love to hear from you. If you yourself are resistant to innovation, why is that? If you feel that you’re the complete opposite, we want to hear from you. It’s different to use the chat box, but Will, what do you think? What can we do to change the industry?
Will: Julius asks the hardest questions.
Laura: I know, right? I’m like, “Man, we only have five minutes left.”
Will: I know. The question is, “How can we get them to be innovative when they’re so resistant to it. I think showing the benefits is probably one of the biggest things. I’m naturally a sales person, so my natural instinct is to sell them into it. I think a lot of times the reason why people are so resistant to innovation is because it’s so easy it just stay doing the same thing.
For example #EventIcons. It would have been so easy for us just to stay on Blab and not innovate and go, “Okay, we need to move to the next platform because it’s just not working,” or. “We need to move to the next level.” Had we just stuck where we were, Blab was shut down and this show would have had a major blowup because we would’ve had no way to tell our audience to come over here.
All those sort of things or we would have had worse. We’d be in the middle of a show and it’d just shut down, right? I think a lot of times people love to stay away from innovation because it’s so easy for you to stay with your [inaudible 00:58:23], right? That was my parents’ way for a long time. Then once you show them the benefits of an iPhone, they’re like, “Why do I have a boring phone? I want an iPhone now.” Right? I think that’s a big reason why people are afraid of it. I think that’s a way we can convince people to say “Hey, look. First you’ve got to shake them out of it and show them the benefits.” Sometimes it takes a little bit of coaching and sailing. What about you, Laura?
Laura: I think that the resistance to innovation is just that sheer fear of the unknown. I think that giving people baby steps of testing the waters. Social Tables is an event technology company. We have an event platform. Very often there are people who are planning events with pen and paper. To have to explain to somebody over the phone, “This is this brand new tool. We promise it’s going to help save you tons and tons of time.”
It’s hard to really describe that, but that’s why we do demos and show them, “Hey, I’m going to hand the mouse over to you, and you’re going to click and drag and then we can talk through it.” Making it feel a little bit more accessible and not something that’s, “Ooh, technology. That’s something only millennials are using.”
No. It’s something that everyone can use and everybody can benefit from. Really making technology relatable in a way that people can understand and really grasp. Explain to somebody, “Oh, this is cloud-based technology,” to someone who plans with pen and paper, they’re not going to understand that. If you show them I think that it’s a much easier way to sell somebody on the idea of innovation.
I think once you get them to find whatever that gateway is. Whether it’s through using Slacks, or using Google Docs, or something, bringing about small change you can eventually put them on bigger and more effective tools. Maybe showing somebody how to use a CRM. That’s huge. Not everybody’s using a CRM. I think that’s definitely one way to do it.
Will: Dropping the mic, Laura. I love it. Awesome. There’s this absolutely great conversation happening on Twitter right now. If you aren’t following this conversation on Twitter with #EventIcons hop on there right now. We’ve got industry icons also tweeting back and forth. Let’s start with this. There’s some comments.
For example, Aaron thinks that we should have Julius on a show with him. They want an hour on dropping the gauntlet on the events industry. Really great idea for a panel so that would be really awesome to have some of the heavy hitters. Julius obviously had to comment back and said, “I’d like to throw Nick Barrelli into the mix just to make sure that we get sued.” Awesome. I love it. These guys are just absolutely fantastic. I’d say stay tuned in to future episodes if you want to see some Nick Barrelli for sure.
All right, cool. Question from the audience is, “How can you use your platform to share real non-biased commentary on the industry as a whole?” This got diving deep into the industry and why we do the show and everything like that. What are your thoughts on the commentary for the show and how we can make sure that’s really unbiased and focus on the industry.
Laura: Well, I think it comes down to the guests that we have on the show, right? It’s an easy ask to always ask, “Hey, who would you recommend on the show?” but I think that for us as a host of the show we need to always be going to people that we have never interacted with before. I really hope that we do get Preston Bailey on the show because I don’t have a connection to him, you don’t have a connection to him.
I think that will be a good outside voice for the show to help lend itself to and un-biased view on events and things like that. It really comes down to probably sourcing the guests and then coming up with content. It’s very easy to bring in and before we had a show like this, a show on event technology. Then of course we have four people who are all fanatical about event technology.
For something very much to the last question, if we have somebody who’s really scared of that technology, you’re not going to convince him that it’s easy. I think if you had those opposing voices and you bring them together on one show. Not necessarily to duke it out, but really bring those opposing views to talk about it in an open forum, I think that’s really going to help.
If we look to you guys who are logged on on today’s show to tell us who should we have on the show. It can be someone that you know personally or someone that you don’t. Probably even better in that sense so then we can have an un-biased view. What do you think?
Will: I agree with you. I think that guests, and design, and content is really important. We talked a lot about this the last couple of episodes between all of us is that a lot of times for example we designed content that’s easy because, like you said, it’s a hard job playing all these episodes. One of the things I would love to see us do is create more.
For example, what creates a great movie? Great movie is when the hero and villain hang out all day long and everything’s good to go and they’re happy and end credits you’re going to go, “That boring movie was so boring.” When there’s conflict and excitement. When you’ve got opposing forces, people love to watch that. A) from an entertainment aspect, but also just because, like you said, I would love to get opposing opinions.
For example when we talked about, “Hey, maybe instead of doing just a simple episode about vendors in general, maybe we really need to bring someone in and bring in someone who’s all about beating up the in-house AV guys and bring in new in-house AV guys and let them fight.” Not necessarily really fight. That’d be bad. We’re not training a Fight Club for the events industry. That’d be bad or good. I don’t know.
I think that creating some of that opposing forces and creating second opinions, also similar to our own, bringing in outside opinions. That’s why I love bringing in people that I didn’t know before the show and interviewing them and being like, “Wow,” like Mike Pitic from Clisser. I didn’t know Mike before the show and him and I we had such a great conversation. When I was in London I was like, “We’ve got to meet up for tea.” He and I had an hour and a half long conversation in person and we’re just talking and enjoying it. I really like those conversations that brand new and getting to meet new people too because it brings out new opinions to incorporate. Great question.
Laura: I have another question here. A question from the audience. We are 39 episodes later. Will, what do you think is the hardest part about running the show in your opinion?
Will: That’s a great question.
Laura: Actually, my laptop is going to die, so while you’re chatting with the audience I’m going to go grab my charger. Be right back.
Will: All right, audience. You come in nice and close. This is actually [inaudible 01:05:48]. We need to keep going. We’re going a little bit longer than the hour because there’s just so many questions from you guys and such a great conversation. We’re going to keep going and hopefully Alex is able to keep going as well.
The hardest part about running this show other than sticking to the hour long format, which we’ve been doing really poorly at the last couple of shows, is really making sure that we are providing you guys the best content. The content is probably the hardest part. Finding really good guests that, again, are outside of what we normally do and try not to recycle and do things over and over again. Though we would love doing a shit planner’s day part two. The hardest part for sure has been …
It’s funny. I’m reading the chat as I’m talking and Alex says, “I’m tweeting away, but I’m running out of gifs!” The danger of going over an hour. The hardest part I think for sure is designing the content that keeps you guys coming back very single week to want to watch live. I think that’s by far the hardest part. The technology, me hosting the show, coming up with questions. Laura does the questions. That’s easy for me obviously.
All that sort of stuff is super duper easy. Having excitement to be on the show. I’m always excited to talk to the guests. The hardest part for sure is creating that really strong content that doesn’t get repetitive, annoying, or all that sort of stuff. That’s on my end. What about you, Laura? Coming into your first podcast as well what was the hardest part about hosting a show for you?
Laura: Hardest part? Ooh, that’s a good one. I would say probably one of the hardest things is keeping the flow going. You want to make sure it’s conversational and you want to make sure that the content is all covered. Very often we’ll think of literally any and every question to ask somebody.
If we had an episode about venues, or AV, or something like that, I’ll put down any and every burning question I ever had about AV. Obviously naturally I want to make sure that all that’s covered, but you want to make sure that we have time to bring in audience questions and that the conversation happens organically.
It’s one of those things that you plan to make sure that “If nobody shows up to today’s show, how can we still have a really good conversation with our guest and between the hosts?” Making sure that flow feels natural. There’s a lot of communication. Again, that goes on in the back and you have to make sure that happens. That can be really difficult.
Will: Very difficult, yeah. That’s definitely hard. One quick tip I would always have to anyone who’s hosting a podcast is there’s a great podcast called Showrunner. It’s basically a guide to making a podcast and they talk about hosting podcasts. I’ve been listening to it recently because I guess finally I should probably start honing my craft of hosting a podcast. A year later.
They talk a lot about, “How do you keep it going? How do you not interrupt your guests? How do you do this the right way?” I think it’s really tough too with us because we’re constantly getting questions from the audience. Sometimes it’s random. We’re jumping all over the place. We’re going from one topic to the other topic. How do you create this fluid stream? While we’re on the topic of that I was going to ask the question from the audience, which is a little bit more off-topic. I might steal this one from you, Laura.
Laura: Oh, okay. Yeah, go for it.
Will: One question more is, “If you could plan one event for event professionals to fulfill the education guide, what would your event be?”
Laura: Oh my gosh. What would it be? Well. Oh, jeez. What would it be, or what would it look like, or would it be about? Let’s see. I don’t know. I need to think about this one because there’s so much.
Will: Mine’s really easy. I would talk to someone about AV. I think there’s [inaudible 01:09:57] tailored to AV specifically. In fact, if you look at most event industry conferences, they’re all … Brent will talk about this because he’s basically hosting all of these topics. Very so often there’s one session on event AV and it’s event AV 101. I think we were talking about this at IMAX.
Will: There were so many of these event AV 101 and it’s just so surface-level and you get an hour to cover everything AV related. Of course, people come back and they’re like, “I wanted it to be more in-depth,” but then you do more in-depth and people are like, “I wish it was more high-level.” I think being about to do a conference around it would be really awesome. Anyone who’s looking to make money on event attendees and the events industry start a conference about AV and I will happily speak at every single thing.
Laura: Yeah. I also had a good follow-up question about, it sort of depends on what the topic is, but if we’re filling in an education gap, jeez. I think that there’s a lot of I don’t want to say old school, but very traditional, you can get your CMP, and then you go to the classes, and the prep groups, and then you take your exam and that’s it.
Whatever education there is either happens on the job or a customer conference. I don’t know. Maybe if there was something that was recurring where there was this brand new speakers. I don’t mean this in an annual event kind of way. Obviously there’s TSE and all that stuff, but …
Will: [inaudible 01:11:31].
Laura: Yeah. A little bit of that. Something like that that is a lot more accessible. The other thing too is that people don’t have the time to travel. I personally don’t have the time to go to every event that I see every month or quarter. Something that was virtual that’s actually taught by trusted people that’s just a little bit more accessible.
I agree. Managing the expectation on the front end of what the heck you’re going to learn and what level it is … Very often at Cater Source and all the different events that I go to every year, I always like to sit in to see what people are teaching about social media and about content and event marketing just to see if I can learn something new.
Very often a lot of it’s just event marketing 101, but for someone like me who’s a marketer, an event planner, an event professional by trade I’d like to learn something that’s totally ninja. Something that I need to learn something brand new that I can implement immediately.
Will: [inaudible 01:12:39] systems.
Laura: Yeah. Exactly. Something super new. Something that is slightly more regular and you’d just have a industry leader who’s teaching it. Yeah. I think that would be awesome. Also we need to do away with trade shows. This is probably super opinionated of me, but I think trade shows are dead.
Laura: Yeah. I just think that we need to innovate that for sure.
Will: A really interesting conference I was just at, Alex was there too, was the Inbound Conference for HubSpot and they had new booths. Everybody got the same-looking booth and they weren’t booths. They were more like stands and each side had a bender on it. They’ve got one tv and a high-top table. That was it. They had a logo above it. That was it. Anyways, there’s tons of open space on the [inaudible 01:13:27] the trade show floor.
Will: They were innovative, awesome, and people were walking around. I’m not sure how the ROY was for these people.
Laura: Hosted by [inaudible 01:13:38]?
Will: No, not really. Not like that. No, it’s definitely away from an IMAX model where you have hosts and buyers. Very much so you’re there to learn and then they just happen to be for example things that align with inbound marketing. For example, Go To Webinar was there. They had the Go To Webinar set up by the booth.
Obviously people who were doing that marketing also chose webinars. It aligns that they all were very good people to have there. In fact, I use half of them as softwares, but it was very casual on it, which I liked from an attendance perspective. I’d be very curious to see the trade show …
Will: Exhibitor. That’s what it was.
Laura: Yeah. It’s interesting because there’s a lot of shows that you go to and one particular big vendor or a number of big vendors they have the over the top trade show booth. It’s a 20 by 20. They have stuff hanging from the ceilings, they’ve got screens. That’s all fun and good, but a) as somebody who also manages our conferences and [inaudible 01:14:48], that is a logistical nightmare. Getting myself there and making sure it’s got the proper permits and things of that nature. That’s just crazy, but is it about the proverbial pyrotechnics at your booth or is it about people making really good genuine connections? How do we spread those on through building up those experiences at shows. I will step off my soapbox.
Will: The soapbox is [inaudible 01:15:23] times over. We’re the guests on our own shows and we’re allowed to be on our soapboxes.
Will: Alex actually commented on what his would be and for those who don’t know Alex is huge on engagement and actually getting people to engage at events whether it’s on social media or in person, but he would love to do a event to educate people on the engagement experience design. Not logistics. It’s almost the opposite of what you’ve been saying.
Will: Which is really cool and really exciting. I’m going to transition that in to another question we got from the audience, which is … Well, there’s a couple on here I think we could do related to this. I’m going to hybrid a couple of these questions together. We talked a little bit about what kind of big things you want to see. “Is there anything you’d want to see beyond just guests on the show? Any sort of format?” Then we’ll transition that into, “What are the plans for 2017?” I don’t know what the plans for 2017 are. Is there another format or something you’d want to see on the show?
Laura: Yeah. Well, I mentioned it earlier, but I would love to do a couple of shows on the different industries where events are just inherent. Obviously the music industry I know that we’ve had people from South by Southwest on the show.
Laura: Yeah, Firefly. Those are really cool. The film industry. How do you plan the Cannes Film Festival? What do the logistics look like for that? How big is their team? Is it just a super small team or is it 30 people in 30 different countries? There’s that and then also I just love the fleeting nature of fashion shows because they’re not too long.
They’re very over the top. Yeah, there’s props. There’s makeup, hair, obviously clothes. Chanel one year they did this insane theme and it was airline themed so it looked like your boarding pass and then when you got into the building I think it was an empty hangar. I think it was in 2014 or 2015 and it looked like an airport.
The guys and gals that were walking the runway, it wasn’t just a catwalk. It was very non-linear. It’s stuff like that that I’m really interested in. How did they come up with the theme and come up with all of these elements that really bring it together?
Will: [inaudible 01:18:02] one specific event.
Laura: Yeah, and then it’s over. It’s over after 15 minutes. All the way over. I’d love to see what the event’s like for them. What kind of show would you like to see?
Will: Oh, what do I want to see on format? Ooh, it’s hard. I feel like it’s not fair because I’m in charge of it so what I want happens. I’m like, “I want less people on the show.” Done. Yeah, the kind of people I’d like having on the show. I want to go back to that. That’s a really tough thing.
I’m trying to think of formatting. I want to do shows where kind of like IMAX, it doesn’t go into necessarily design for it, but doing it like you still have a webcam, you do two microphones going into one computer, and we do Go To Webinar right there with two people in person. I’ve been wanting to do stuff like that more often. Just a) it’s different and it’s extremely challenging and it was really exciting to do it with IMAX.
There’s definitely something a little bit different about sitting. Me giving Laura a high five right now would be really different, but there’s also nice things about the way we do it now. For example, Laura can be in DC and I can be in Phoenix and we do our things and go from there. Alex has a very good point. This is something I’d love to see for 2017. I don’t know if it’s going to be possible.
It’s all very reliant on our platform that [inaudible 01:19:25]. It was a sacrifice that we made, but Alex says, “I want to see chat amongst the viewers.” #restinpieceblab. Obviously you can ask questions during the whole entire show. Basically that’s one reason just so you guys know, that’s why we have Alex here to ignite, that’s the word I’m looking for, the conversation on Twitter. Moving away from just doing the show on here where we’re trying to ask questions but we don’t get to shot back.
We want to be in that conversation. Stuff like when we were talking about between Julius, Nick, and Aaron on Twitter just now a couple of minutes ago would never have happened before. Hopefully we’ll see more of that. Plans for 2017; we’re just going to keep doing some awesome things. We’re not slowing down yet. We already have a quarter of our guests already lined up and good to go.
Just half of our guests that would be amazing. Basically we have the next 12 episodes, 13 episodes, already lined up and good to go. I’m already filling up even more throughout the year. Really exciting. More and more Twitter conversation hopefully as well. I’m realizing we’re 21 minutes over right now. We are so interested in each other that we just kept talking, but that’s okay.
I want to end on this new question that Alex … Shout out to Alex. Alex is amazing, came up with this question and we asked it in the last show. I think it’s going to become a mainstay. Question for you, Laura and we’ll wrap up after this question, is, “If you weren’t to do events or doing what you do now, you know community management, what would you do?”
Laura: Jeez. That’s a good one. Okay. Probably number one, and for those of you that don’t know this, you’re going to learn a little fact about me. I work at a craft brewery on the side and I’ve been there for almost five years. It’s been a very long time and it’s spanned a number of 9 to 5 jobs. I’d probably brew beer. That’s probably what I’d do.
Will: Nice. What’s your favorite type of beer?
Laura: Ooh, that’s a good question. I like dark beers. Honestly, I am an equal opportunity beer drinker. There’s no bad beer out there. I mean, there’s bad beer, but no bad beer styles.
Will: Yeah. You want to try that?
Laura: Yeah. I want to try brewing beer. Yeah.
Will: Nice. That’s very interesting. I feel like I’m learning so many things about you, Laura.
Laura: Okay. What about you, Will? Would you be a DJ? I know you were a DJ in a past life.
Will: Yeah, I was a DJ in my past life. Basically this goes back to what I originally was. I used to do AMA blogging way back in the day with the DJ company and stuff like that. I’ve done everything. It’s really tough to say because by basically being the founder of a company is that I get to do what I really want to do.
I also have to do what improves the company and keeps our clients happy, but a lot of what I do, I decided I wanted to host a podcast. Boom, I did it. I wanted to get into marketing. Boom, we did it. If I didn’t do this it’s a really hard question. I get asked this all the time and I never have a good answer. I always change it.
Right now today it would probably be inbound marketing because I am a huge fanatical marketer. I love creating content, but it’s also one of those things that’s really good because you’re helping people out, educating people, but I’m also just really good at it. It’s this marriage between what you’re good at and what really is good. Yeah, I’d say that’s definitely inbound marketing.
All right, cool. We’re going to end the episode right there at an hour and 23 minutes in. Which is awesome but we were just so excited. It’s been one whole year since we’ve done this show and there’s another amazing year and years to come. If you guys are watching this right now, tune in next week live because it’s going to be absolutely don’t want to miss. We have an amazing lineup.
I’m not going to reveal who they are. I’m just going to give you the topic. We’re doing 2017 net trends. You want to know what’s going to be popular next year and what you need to be ready for? Here’s the episode to watch. Definitely tune in next week. It’s going to be absolutely exciting.
We’re going to have more guests, not just me, Laura, and Sean talking. Rest in peace, Sean. We will miss you, but we hope you guys all tune in next week for another amazing episode of #EventIcons. We’re going to get out of here and go relax and enjoy some beer. Bye everybody!
Laura: Bye! Thanks for tuning in!