The question has come up many times in recent months. “What web 2.0 tools can I use at my next event?” Adam Steinberg explains how EventVue has an online solution to get event attendees networking at events or meetings.
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Mike McAllen: Thank you for tuning in to Meetings Podcast. This is Mike McAllen with Grass Shack Events and Media and today’s guest is Adam Steinberg from – who is an account manager with EventVue. Hi, Adam.
Adam Steinberg: Hey, Mike and thanks for having me.
Mike McAllen: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. So, let’s start up. Can you tell, tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started at EventVue first so we get to know a little bit about you?
Adam Steinberg: Sure, absolutely. So, I’ve been involved in startups in various capacities for the past couple of years. I mostly have been involved in marketing and sales roles along with a little bit of product development. I started with EventVue – this past summer, I got a great opportunity to join them as part of their sales team. I started then with them in July and really started just taking all the great features we’ve been developing, great product, and just giving as many conferences aware of it as we can and expanding our [00:01:34].
Mike McAllen: Very cool. So, tell us a little about EventVue and how it got started.
Adam Steinberg: Sure, sure. So, Rob Johnson and Josh Fraser are the two founders of EventVue and EventVue actually came out of a program called TechStars, which is in Boulder, Colorado and TechStars is a seed investing and mentorship driven program.
Basically, they take about ten companies every year bringing them out to Boulder and just infused them with a lot of mentorship, help them get their product off the ground, help them you know with their business model, help them even acquire the first customers. So, EventVue was part of that first program last summer from about May through August of 2007.
So, Rob and Josh graduated from Clemson University here in South Carolina, moved across the country, to Colorado and started the company. And really, when the May things – that was inspiration for them, it was the idea that you know, when you go to a conference where the key benefit is having great conversations with people, having great networking, coming away with you know key connections that you didn’t have after two or three days in an event.
And I noticed, you know typically when you go to an event, the first day is a lot of you know, walking around, shaking a lot of hands, and form a networking that may or may not be productive. So, really they thought you know, “Hey, can we make this a more efficient process, help conferences bring more value to their attendees.”
So, EventVue actually provides an online community for conferences that allow attendees to log in to this community a couple of weeks before the event, see who else is going to be attending the event, you know if there were kinds of meeting maybe with you know, a sea level person of a certain company or you maybe you can look for partnerships with certain companies or just to have your conversations, you know to find people that are interesting to them, make contacts with those people and will get the conversations started before you even get to that event.
Mike McAllen: Very cool.
Adam Steinberg: Yes, that’s the primary benefit we provide when you (dig us 00:03:43) you know if you ever get this, you know how you [00:03:46].
Mike McAllen: So, what are the main features? So, what are – what can someone expect when they go the EventVue site for the conference?
Adam Steinberg: Sure, sure. So, when you first go to an EventVue site and then we’re going to send you an e-mail saying you know, “Hi, Mike. EventVue has partnered with your upcoming conference to create an online community where you know you can begin networking with other attendees.” So, you’ll log in and go through a profile creation process which is actually very streamlined.
The number one feedback we get from attendees is, “Hey, how can you make this so simple at all? Get me log in and started very quickly.” So, we take a lot of pride in that. Yes, you know. It’s a [sea wall one street 00:04:25] you know serving another profile. So, we’ve done a lot of integration with other services out there to make it really easy.
Yes, so you know easy profile creation process and really, just want to get you in there as quick as we can and get your networking with everyone else. So, you know you’re going to see other people’s pictures, you’re going to see you know their bio, you’re going to have the information available to easily access you know, their linked in page or their blog or Twitter fed to help you connect that way.
So, you know all that happens before the event. You know the during the event, we’re actually going to help connect as well by allowing you to join in on the conversations happening across the web. So, we’re going to aggregate to everyone out there twittering, everyone out there you know, live blogging the event, everyone out there posting pictures on flicker. So, it’s always a different conversation. We’re going to bring that together and allow attendees to interact and form more conferences that way.
Mike McAllen: Okay. Cool.
Adam Steinberg: And then after the event, you know of course we leave the communities open because hey, you want to you know keep taking advantage of those networking opportunities and staying in touch with those people. So, we keep the communities open typically up until the next conference.
Mike McAllen: That is very cool. So, they can build on that for the next one then. Is that …
Adam Steinberg: Yes, absolutely.
Mike McAllen: … continuing conferences, can it be broken down into – I mean do you do brand new one each time for each conference?
Adam Steinberg: Right. So, typically we see that you know five other conferences in 2008, I’m going to keep my attendee community running until my conference in 2009. I’m going to stay in touch to those attendees through EventVue and then a couple of months before the conference starts, you’re going to say, “Hey, you know be sure to sign up for the event. Register in a couple of weeks beforehand and watch a new EventVue community for existing attendees and new attendees to all come together and contact each other.
Mike McAllen: How does it pick up, how you do pick up all the – how does it know – sorry, this is a dumb question but how does it pick up stuff on the net? Is it done through tagging or like if people are twittering or live blogging, how does it know where those things are?
Adam Steinberg: Right. So, we actually – when you register for EventVue and create an account we ask you, you know typically we ask for e-mail address. This is the first point of contact so, if you say, “Hey, you know I want to share my Twitter, you know twit so that the people might blog.” We can actually go out there and [00:06:45] so you can twitter as an e-mail and like live blog as an EPI where we can go out there and send our blog. So, it’s actually a pretty animated process and for some reason we can find that you know of course add it immediately and that that eliminates a lot of a need of haps tags or anything clumsy like that.
Mike McAllen: Huh, interesting. So, what if somebody who is not a tech person, will they easily be able to use EventVue?
Adam Steinberg: Yes, absolutely. I mean if you can you know log in and fill out a few easy questions, you know a few easily intend what most everyone has whether they’re techies or not, you can use EventVue and get a lot of value out of it. You know of course, we see the conferences using different aspects in the live blog even in the twits, you know it’s not for every conference so of course, you know we really again, the main value is being able to contact with people before and after the show, after the event. Yes, certainly different aspects you know ring true and ring home with you know different communities and different events.
Mike McAllen: Right, right. So, what – like how big does an event have to be that this makes sense to use what’s the –
Adam Steinberg: So, we don’t, we simply don’t like to put a number on that. We think the key thing you want to look at if you’re running an event is, “Do my attendees know each other already?” If you’re having an event with 50 people and everyone is coming from out of town or the people don’t know each other then it’s a great way to get them talking with each and meet each other beforehand.
You know, if you’re running a 300-person event and everyone knows each other already, you know EventVue is great for helping those people you know, continue their conversations but the primary benefit of you know helping people networking and form those connections may not be as strong. So, it’s really about helping people connect with each other.
Mike McAllen: Yes.
Adam Steinberg: And that can be – we’ve done events from as small as you know 50 people up to you know 500 or so and so we really don’t see that coughing out with any you know significant number on the high end or any number on the low end.
Mike McAllen: So, it’s use internally and for external meetings like so for you know like paid meetings and for some internal meetings if they want.
Adam Steinberg: So, typically it’s an external meetings so it would be something like a demo conference or you know we just did defrag out in Colorado a couple of weeks ago which is a big event. You know, we’ve taught a lot with internal you know events and meetings and conferences and again, you know really the question is do this people know each other, do I have everyone else’s e-mail already in my inbox or not? If you don’t, then it’s a great option. If you do, you know of course we’re happy to you know help you bring these features to make it interactive but you know we want to talk about the real value that we can provide.
Mike McAllen: Right. I just – I was thinking that you know we do a lot of internal meetings and I thought that these people don’t usually know – I mean they don’t – they are usually sales conferences or something so they’re people …
Adam Steinberg: Right.
Mike McAllen: … from all over the places so they all come in to one place and it would be nice to have a place that they you know there’s – like you said that it’s really hard to get around to talk to everybody but at least they could maybe connect through something like EventVue.
Adam Steinberg: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. We talked with companies that are having you know, events down in the Caribbean and people are flying in from all over the country and we think that’s a great application.
Mike McAllen: And so besides the, besides aggregating all these stuff from Twitter or blogs. Is there like other ways inside EventVue for people to communicate besides that? I mean …
Adam Steinberg: Sure, sure. Yes, so we have a private messaging system. So, it’s very much similar to like Link Interface both in that you know, we don’t expose any attendee e-mail addresses because you know we all take that very seriously, the privacy. So, it’s a private messaging system but you know, if I find someone that, hey, looks like an interesting person to connect with you know, I don’t have to go out there and find their link and page, their twitter page and send them my message. I can just send them a message directly in EventVue and they’ll like get a notification, they’ll log in and respond back to you.
Mike McAllen: That’s great. And does it have a form capabilities too for like do scheduling, meet up, and stuff in there? Or is this …
Adam Steinberg: So, the current version does not. We’re actually doing a big release though in the first quarter of 2009. So, be in the look out for that but that will have the additional functionality as you know public, almost the public wall, ability to you know see who is attending specific sessions and things of that nature.
Mike McAllen: Because I could see that being very powerful for this internal meeting – correct me if I keep coming back to internal meetings, so that it came from one but they could use it a form on board sort of a thing in there where they could say, “Hey, you know we’re meeting up here you know, if you want to talk about this.”
We got you know – for example, a company might you know, they might be, they might be selling some sort of a drug or a widget or whatever but they might want to talk about one portion of it, you know what I mean so they could just put a post on there and say, “Hey, you know if you want to talk to me about this, you know bring any ideas.” Anyway, that’s the I think the primary idea.
Adam Steinberg: Yes, absolutely.
Mike McAllen: That’s very cool.
Adam Steinberg: Yes, it’s been a huge feature request. Of course, you know we’re constantly taking feedback from customers and integrate that into the products so now, we definitely have that out there very soon.
Mike McAllen: So, how is it branded? If it is a client you know having a conference, can – is it branded EventVue or is it branded for the actual client?
Adam Steinberg: Sure. So, we have, we have two options. You can have it you know with the free version we’re offering now, it’s co-branded, it’s co-branded with EventVue and the conference or customer’s new logo. For the new version release in next year, we’ll introduce the option as a premium service to completely brand it as your community. What does mean you know, customize in the colors, adding logos and the footers and headers where we’re making it you know your screens and your property.
Mike McAllen: That’s very cool. So, can you give some examples of how EventVue has been used by some clients of yours or I mean …
Adam Steinberg: Sure, sure. So, actually one that’s very close to home is you know, TechStars actually has a yearly investor day for you know the companies they’ve been working for three months to build product and they have investors flying from around the country to attend presentations and demos. So, EventVue has been used to help entrepreneurs research investors coming, seeing you know, which investors are on my space and then you know contact those investors saying, “Hey, I’d love you for you, you know to make sure you, you know check out our presentation and we’d love to catch with you afterwards to get your feedback.”
And it works you know in reverse as well for investors because they want to know the companies that they need to be on look out for. So, that’s one great use we’ve seen of EventVue. During the event as you know, I mean Twitter is just getting bigger and bigger every day so we’re seeing people you know, connect during the event through Twitter, we’re seeing moderators monitoring the Twitter stream on EventVue and taking feedbacks straight from that stream, incorporating it into their presentations and their Q&A sessions.
Mike McAllen: Oh, very cool. So, I’ve talked about this before on the podcast about how I went to a conference and the panel actually had the Twitter stream going on the screen.
Adam Steinberg: Yes, yes, absolutely.
Mike McAllen: The panel – and it was very great, it was really cool because it really affected how the panel talked. I mean, you really – they didn’t get somebody up there just babbling on because the audience would tell them.
Adam Steinberg: Yes.
Mike McAllen: So, EventVue do that too. That’s – but they’re bringing it from everywhere too.
Adam Steinberg: Yes, yes. It’s you know this and feedback and we have a business stream on the EventVue website and then we of course held conferences you know, put that up on a screen as well where we created a custom page that automatically refreshes that conferences have blown up and put on a big projector on screen.
Mike McAllen: Very cool. So, where can people get a hold of you for more information besides the link that I’ll put on our website.
Adam Steinberg: Sure, sure. So, you can call me directly. My number is 864-641-1454 or email which you know we’re all on 24/7. I’m at [email protected]
Mike McAllen: And it’s EventVue.com, right?
Adam Steinberg: Absolutely, yes. Thanks for that clarification.
Mike McAllen: Okay. Thanks a lot Adam for taking the time to talk to me and maybe we can talk again later on and see where EventVue has been going and maybe some – keep in touch.
Adam Steinberg: Sure, Mike. Thanks a lot. I appreciate. I’ll look forward to that.
Mike McAllen: Okay. Then thank you very much and I will talk to you again. Bye-bye.
Adam Steinberg: All right. Take care.
Female: We appreciate and thank you for listening to the Meetings Podcast. You can find Mike McAllen at d72.c4e.myftpupload.com, Jon Trask at alliantevents.com, and Tom Hillmer at creativegroupinc.com. The Meetings Podcast theme music comes from the Delgado Brothers which can be found at DelgadoBrothers.com. Special thanks to RipTideGraphics.com for the audio editing of this podcast.