Another week, another exciting tech talk – and this time around, we’ll be diving deep into Mixtroz. So, as you already know, the Event Tech Podcast is here to bring you the latest news in event tech. And, of course, the most interesting and groundbreaking tools that you can have available at your event. This is why we’re giving you the breakdown of one of the most appealing event software out there – Mixtroz! If networking is your thing, then this episode will certainly excite you.
In order to provide you with the freshest and most complete information, we have the honor to introduce Ashlee Ammons. Ashlee is the co-founder and President of Mixtroz, so she can tell you everything you need to know. And joining her is none other than our amazing host, Brandt Krueger. Together, the two will dive deep into the background of Mixtroz, how it came to be, and why it is something you will definitely want to implement at your next event. Are you ready for this? Press play, we’re getting techy!
Introducing Ashlee Ammons
Before we jump on the topic of bette event networking with Mixtroz, let’s hear about the story. And it all begins by getting to know Ashlee! “I do actually come from an events background”, she explains. “I went to college in Cleveland, Ohio. While I was there, I secured an internship with LeBron James. I was working directly for him for two and a half years. And after I got through kind of simpler tasks, like answering fan mail, as I grew in that position, they let me work on his marketing summit. So we had some of the biggest brands in the world. From Coca-Cola to Nike bringing their most senior marketing executives to Akron, Ohio to meet with LeBron”.
“I was on the planning team for that at maybe age 19. So very early on, I got events, I saw it, I feel like that high that we all get when an event is being activated as per the plan with minimal hiccups we’ll say. So I’ve just loved events for a long time”.
In Comes Mixtroz
“I was at a conference and I was very excited to be there because I wanted to connect with new people”, Ashlee recalls. “When it became time to network, the event organizers suggested going up to someone with the same colored dot on their name tag as me.
I ended up going to lunch by myself and I played on my smartphone. But I left that conference with not really making any new connections. The evening of that conference I was speaking to my mom about that experience. She scolded me because she was an HR executive at the time. And literally over the course of one night, which was November the 9th of 2014, my mom and I came up with a very primitive version of Mixtroz, I would say”.
Ashlee’s Business Advice
“Without my mom being on that sabbatical and being full time on Mixtroz from the jump, I don’t know that the business would have gone forward”, admits Ashlee. “People ask me questions about being an entrepreneur. What’s your advice? Well, first of all, if you don’t have a co-founder get one. Second of all, if you’re looking for a co-founder please do not look over, very specifically, women over 40 in your network. Because that particular class of person, they’re dangerous. Because if you think about it, if it’s a female executive who’s over 40, however she got to where she is today, she had a fight to get there”.
The Journey Towards Business
“At first, people really saw us as very like unlikely tech founders”, she recalls. “But I would say part of what has made us successful in this journey is we really took our own experience. So I had my event production experience, so I’m looking at how humans move through space and designing a space that is great for humans to move through. It’s engaging and experiential. And they have what they need at every part of the event journey. And then my mom is coming from the lens of, she is a human expert. She’s an HR executive. So she understands how humans need to function when they’re at work. So we took those two expertise together. We took all of that and before we thought about software, we thought about functionality first. And then like how humans would actually use the product”.
Ashlee got a lot of help from what she calls “the school of Google”. “So we started with what is an app? How do you get an app developed? Like all these great questions that we ask Google. It kind of told us what we need to know. But it was when Ashlee’s mom took a leap of faith and went to a conference in the field of apps and technology that they found their app developers – people who have been with Mixtroz since 2015.
“So that is a very serendipitous story. But I think when it goes to show is just the importance of connection and the importance of being able to speak to anyone agnostic of how different from you, you think they are. It’s that connectivity between people”, adds Ashlee. “And I think it’s so crucial that if you are going to work with an outside team to develop your product, that team has to believe in your product. It can’t just be for a check”.
“The digital marketing agency that we have right now, I love them. But it was certainly a learning curve for them”, she explains. “Because they were more used to working with like, let me say like medical offices and lawyers and that kind of thing. I just don’t play games with them on that and they know that now we have a beautiful working relationship. In addition to that Mixtroz has garnered awesome PR. If you look on our website and look at our press page, we’ve been in Forbes, Bloomberg, Business Insider. We’ve been all over the place. So because of my background, I have a degree in public relations, but also just in my years of experience in New York and whatever, I know how to tell a story. I knew that our story was unique and I knew that we could use that story to grow and we’ve certainly done that”.
“So, let’s relate Mixtroz in terms of Slack”, Ashlee begins. “I’m a nerd. I love podcasts. I love taking a look at what others have done so I can avoid potholes, I can learn, I can get to something quickly. So with Slack, what I find fascinating and the founder of Slack says this all the time. He was like, “No one was necessarily looking for a better way to communicate because we all thought we were good with G-chat, I-chat, whatever.” But in fact when Slack ruled out because they were offering such a… it was just a beautifully designed platform and because it did it so much better than all the other platforms that we had, people adopted it rapidly. Slack is one of the fastest B2B companies in growth ever. So I find that fascinating. What he says is instead of selling a messaging platform, what they’re actually selling is productivity like increased productivity.”.
The Power Of Connections & Networking
“What they’re actually selling is seamless communication in an enterprise, reduce in email clutter. That’s all of the things that they’re selling, not just simply a messaging platform. So I look at Mixtroz very similarly. People sometimes aren’t looking for, “What is something that can make networking better?” People aren’t looking for it because they just assume networking is happening at an event or at work or at school or whatever it is”
“But realistically people go the field of dreams route with networking”, Ashlee continues. “Like if you build it, they will come. Okay, they will come but they’re not going to network. When you really want to set people up for successful networking, you have to be intentional about it. So Mixtroz isn’t just selling the fact that we mix people together and we provide data. What we are selling is a proactive way to connect people and learn about them and make smarter decisions. It’s a purchase that makes sense for the savvy event producer, for the savvy HR person, for the savvy admissions person within an educational institution”.
“So Brandt let’s pretend that you and I are going to a conference today”, she explains. “Let’s say that we’re walking into the conference right now and we are told by the people at registration, go ahead and launch the Mixtroz app. Mixtroz is going to get you your lunchtime seat for today. So you and I would go into the event and in about two and a half minutes we would go through the Mixtroz profile interface. I would launch the application. I would then see a branded screen that is branded for the conference or whoever is sponsoring the app at this conference. We would then do a virtual name tag. So that’s the name, email, address and snapping a selfie”.
The Data Part
“So after you get through that, inside of the app, you are asked 10 multiple-choice questions. Those questions are customized by our customers ahead of time. Depending on what the point of the conference is, they ask questions that correlate to that. You as an organizer are able to weigh each question. After the attendee gets through the series of 10 questions, they are done. They will reach a countdown clock and they can background Mixtroz. So until lunchtime, they just continue on with the event run of the show as they would normally. Then about 10 minutes before lunch, everyone simultaneously gets a push notification”.
“It shows you the group you’ve been matched with and which table you’re going to. Once your group gets to the table and checks in the inside of the app, conversation starters are provided to get the conversation started. Also, you get to see the group data. You can see why your group was actually matched. People just naturally start doing what they do when they collide with new people. But what Mixtroz has done is provided them a crutch let’s say. to ensure that that connection actually happens. Then at the same time, all of the data that’s been collected, survey style and the app is visualized immediately for an event organizer. They can download it, share it, all of that good stuff”.
What Is Happening With Mixtroz Now?
“We’re in that fun growth stage”, says Ashlee. “This was the first year I have ever had a 2020 marketing meeting. I had a planning meeting about a new year, like a month and a half before the new year hits. That’s very exciting for me. Now I have a team sitting here with me at Birmingham working on this business, building this business, getting this business out there. It just excites me greatly. I mean, we recently launched the third version of Mixtroz”.
“So that’s very exciting for me because of that we can iterate quite rapidly. Something that I’m very excited about is not only will we have Mixtroz available as an application, but we’ll also have it available as a web app. Like a progressive web app, meaning that no download will be necessary”, she adds. “That’s because of our customer success and the way we positioned Mixtroz into events. Having a web app will further reduce the friction, specifically in our conferencing vertical, inside of enterprise and education. “So that’s kind of where we are. It’s just an exciting place for planning”.
And that’s a wrap on today’s episode of Event Tech Podcast! What do you think of Mixtroz? Are you excited to implement it in one of your next events? Do you believe networking is truly as powerful as Ashlee believes? Let us know in the comment section and make sure you tune in again next week for more amazing tech talk!