Show 288 Podcast: Secrets to building community and fanatical attendees for your conference.
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Thanks for listening to the Meetings Podcast. The Meetings Podcast is sponsored by IMEX America and AVforPlanners.com? The Meeting Planners podcast source for what’s new and exciting in meetings and events industry
1- Jordan Schwartz & Jen Pitts from Pathable.com
Facebook recently announced changes to News Feed status updates. We discuss what this means for Facebook Pages and event marketers. Some best practices are shared.
Link to Jordans blog post about ths Facebook topic: http://blog.pathable.com/beware-facebook-is-changing-the-rules
Segment Producers this week (In order of appearance)
Mike brings his hundreds of proven worldwide resources to the fresh, creative, fast paced boutique environment that his meetings and video production company Grass Shack Events & Media has established. Mike has an eclectic background which leads him to the communications world. Several years of firefighting instilled a hearty work ethic and the importance of teamwork to get a job done right and the love of helping people.
Mike is also the founder of three other products EventCamp.org, AVforPlanners.com, MeetingsPodcast.com all help the meetings and events industries learn about event technology and social media in events and meetings.?Mike’s list of repeat clients for the past ten years at Grass Shack Events & Media includes Oracle, MySQL, Blackboard, Hilton Hotels, Hewlett Packard, Yahoo, Wells Fargo, Siemens Medical Solutions, PepsiCo, Genzyme, Sanofi, BiogenIdec, Thompson Reuters, Vantagescore, GAP, Restoration Hardware among many more. @mmcallen GrassShackRoad.com avforplanners.com www.linkedin.com/in/mikemcallen
Jordan Schwartz is the CEO and Founder of Pathable, Inc. Jordan has a BS from Brown University and a Master’s Degree in Social Psychology from the University of Washington. Jordan worked for over a decade at Microsoft developing consumer facing communication software and authoring over a dozen patents before founding Pathable, Inc. with the aim to revolutionize the conference attendee experience. Pathable has been successfully serving corporate and association customers since 2008.
Jordan’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jschwa twitter.com/@jojoschwa
Director of Marketing at Pathable. Jennifer’s experience is a blend of startup and corporate marketing and operations. Prior to Pathable, she managed social, event and paid marketing programs for tech startup, Gist, which was acquired by BlackBerry in 2011. While employed at BlackBerry, Jennifer managed Product and Partner Marketing for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. She also focused on influencer and advocate marketing programs.
Founded Fluent in 2012. Teach German and English to students all over the world, and also offer classes in Blogging and Online Marketing in Northern England.
Beyond blogging, she also loves promoting language learning as a public speaker. She been a speaker at Careers Events at Lancaster University and local schools.
kerstin (at) fluentlanguage.co.uk
Kim is a physician of classical Chinese medicine and practices in Venice, California.
Pat grew up in Southern California. He went to the US Air Force Academy for undergrad and Chicago Booth for my MBA. Pat is:
-Helicopter pilot (combat search&rescue, SAR, logistics)
-Assistant Professor of Naval History at Illinois Institute of Tech
-Investment banking associate at Lincoln International- middle market M&A. Only lasted a year. Loved the people- hated the work. Can’t say enough good things about the firm and enough negative things about working in finance…
-Hedge fund analyst specializing in health care stocks- Torrey Pines Health Care research
Lacey is the founder of Lacey Hopkins Coaching, a entrepreneurial coaching firm located in the heart of Washington, DC. She coaches executives, small business owners, and entrepreneurial hopefuls to have successful businesses and great lives.
A business owner herself, Lacey understands what entrepreneurs need and helps them to: identify what problem they are trying to solve, create a concrete plan to get where they want to go, and execute the plan with velocity that leads to successful businesses. Lacey has a BS from Winthrop University, and an MS from Miami University. Originally from multiple states in the Southeast, she now calls Capitol Hill, DC home.
Book to check out: Spark Your Career
Thursday Bram has written for CNET, GigaOm, Lifehack and a variety of other sites it’s quite likely you’ve heard of. It’s also quite likely she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to writing for a living. She handles all my writing work through Hyper Modern Writing She also takes on creative business consulting projects through her business, Hyper Modern Consulting. She also has been known to take on a few speaking gigs, as well.
Ryan is growing Gumroad, a game changing early-stage startup that’s democratizing online commerce HQ’d in San Francisco, CA. Before diving in at Gumroad, he worked remotely for Square while at school, as well as on Socialfied, a digital strategy company for small businesses that he co-founded my Sophomore year of school.
He also spent time in Nairobi, Kenya helping tech entrepreneurs develop, launch, grow and fund successful tech-driven business ventures in East Africa through the iHub Nairobi. As an extension of that, he was involved in the formation and launch of the recently-announced Savannah Fund, an early-stage investment fund focused on East African tech startups.
With background in graphic design, project management, community organizing, conference production, marketing, and communications. His first foray into the maker world was with his jewelry business, Focal Length Designs, and in doing so became involved with I Heart Art: Portland, a three-year community project that he spearheaded offering professional development and networking opportunities to Portland-based makers. He draws additional experience from several years of work in the communications office of a nonprofit art college and museum, and works on the production team for both Pioneer Nation and the World Domination Summit.
Others mentioned in this podcast:
Chris Guillebeau is an American entrepreneur, nonfiction author, blogger and speaker. He is best known for The Art of Non-Conformity blog and book. He has also written guides for travel and small business topics under the brand Unconventional Guides. He organizes the annual World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. The Art of Non-Conformity blog discusses entrepreneurship, travel, and personal development topics; its traffic grew substantially after the online publication of A Brief Guide to World Domination in 2008. The site has an Alexa ranking of under 30,000 and is among the top 15,000 most visited sites in the United States.
Publisher and CEO of Owner Magazine, a business magazine helping you improve your worth by growing your capabilities and connections. He is a sought-after keynote speaker who has addressed crowds of thousands, been on the Dr Phil show, and once presented to a princess. Chris has consulted with companies you know like Disney, Microsoft, Coke, Titleist, Pepsico, Google, Motorola, and many more. He is the New York Times Bestselling author of six books and counting, including The Impact Equation,
New Book: The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth
Thank you to all the segment producer Jordan Schwartz, all our above guests.
Special thanks to IMEX America our fantastic sponser.
You can find me Mike McAllen at my meetings and video Production Company Grass Shack Events & Media or at AVforPlanners.com with my pal Jon Trask.
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Last request- thing is if you take a instagram selfie picture of yourself right now–where you are listening to the show that would be cool post it up on Instagram with the hashtag #Meetingspodcast.
Of course if you have any questions or comments please send them to Meetingspodcast (at) gmail.com Or call me on my cell phone- 925 699 3190 I would love to talk to you….. Skype me at mike mcallen. Lets talk!
We will see you all next week.
Mike: Alright, well thank you Carrie actually some of you don’t know that voice over was done by my beautiful wife Carrie McAllen and she does a great job every week on that. And I wanted to welcome you to this episode of today’s podcast my name is Mike McAllen and this is the podcast for meetings and event’s organisers who want to produce engaging programs for their attendees plus we want to empower organisers with new tips and resources to take their careers to the next level. You can find links and transcripts on the meetings podcast website. I want to of course welcome you new listeners we have 20 or so great contributors who have been providing segments, tips and resources for the new podcast. So it has been going really well and it has been pretty exciting. So I really wanted to thank you for your time, I know you are busy this is you listening not the segment producers though I want to thank them also but I want to thank you for your time I know you are really busy so I want to thank you and it is an honour to be in your ear buds right now. And I hope you enjoy it and if you do enjoy it please head over to I tunes and give a little review in there and that will be moue Buena for me and for the podcast and for all the segment producers also.
Before we get started I wanted to say I saw a post by Jim Spellos today who was talking about that heart bleed virus I don’t know if you have heard about that but head over to mash able and they have a bunch of websites I guess can get hacked by passwords from this virus so please check it out and just change your passwords and it will tell you the sites to go to, to change your password.
So today we only have one segment from our contributing producer but never fear I have seven other short interviews which I included I had a very fun experience two weeks ago up in Portland at a conference I attended called Pioneer Nation and I have been to a lot of meetings like hundreds of meetings and events and I have actually produced hundreds of events in my careers, I think our biggest corporate show here at Grass Shack Events and Media was about 4,000 people in Vegas a couple of years, I think we did it 3 years in a row but this event really struck a chord with me and I wanted to find out why. So I have interviewed a bunch of attendees, some speakers and even Isaac who is the production guy which I love to talk to the production guy of course because that is who I am one too and he is a fantastic guy.
Before we get started into the Pioneer Nation interviews I wanted to get one of our segment producers in so if you don’t want to hear about this Pioneer Nation leash you are going to get little nuggets or two from one of our segment producers and today’s first segment it is from Jennifer Pits and Jordan Swords from Batibor and they are going to a little bit about the changes in face book from marketing around events so here we go.
Jennifer: Hi everyone this is Jennifer Pits and I am director of marketing at Pathable I am here with Jordan Schwartz the CEO of Pathable where we are talking about some of the recent changes face book that affects event marketing. So Jordan you recently wrote an article for a blog on some of these changes can you tell us a little bit about it?
Jordan: Yes, sure Jen so I know that there are a lot of events out there that use face book for marketing for getting the word out, building buzz around their events and it is fantastic and really the thing that makes face book such an incredibly useful marketing tool is the news feed and the ability for the news feed to make your story go viral very cheaply. So I post a story, you are my friend, you see it if you click like on that then suddenly people who are your friends are going to see that and you get this amplification effect through the network they are powerful and inexpensive way to reach a lot of people who have something in common maybe they are all friends of friends and that kind of connection is valuable really in two ways one because of its breadth I mean the sheer number of people that you can reach through one simple message and having it echo throughout the social graph but also there is really something special about hearing something from a friend or a friend of a friend because you don’t feel like you are being sold to your get what I mean?
Jennifer: Yeah, definitely.
Jordan: So Jen I don’t know if you remember this really you are younger than I am, do you remember those Maxwell house commercials where they say we have secretly replaced the coffee we have Maxwell house at this fancy restaurant and they have this hidden camera of someone drinking coffee and saying how great it was?
Jennifer: I do, yes.
Jordan: Okay good I remember it totally myself so the reason this approach is so effective and why those commercials were still effective was because at some level even you knew it is a commercial, you knew it was stages, they always put dramatisation at the bottom of the video but you at some level believe that this person was saying something that was true and that they were trying to market it to you and that is really why viral marketing on face book is so effective because you can get a message from somebody who you trust isn’t just trying to market you he is telling you what they really like and so that is why this change that is happening in face book is such a big deal. So here is the story, the quadrants over at face book are always shifting through the day they are trying to make things better and they obviously have enormous amounts of data to sift through and one of the things they came up with was this; the more status updates that you see from your friends, the more likely it is that you will post a status update of your own. Whereas the more status updates that you see from a company it is less likely it is that you will post the status update of your own, following me?
Jennifer: Yeah that is really interesting.
Jordan: So yeah and it was a huge effect according to face book slogans well they did just a small initial tests and they saw an increase of nine million status updates a day when they twist the algorithm that they used to decide which posts appeared in your news feed so that if favoured posts from real people over posts from pages, from businesses, and 9 million?
Jennifer: That is an incredible change.
Jordan: Yeah it really is and even when you are dealing with face book which has a billion users or something like that, 9 million a day! So what they decided is they had this vested interest in people posting more status updates because it means more pages, it is more engagement with their network and so they have adjusted their algorithm across the board to turn down the likelihood that a post from a page will show up in any given person’s news feed and I think we got some numbers on that I know Ogilvy showed organic reach harboured around 6% and that was a decline of 49% from peak levels in just October.
Jennifer: So what does the organic reach mean?
Jordan: Organic reach according to face book is the number of unique people who saw your post in a news feed or at a page so it is people who saw content that was shared by a friend they liked or commented ad or shared your post etcetera or answered a question and so the opposite of organic reach is paid reach and so that is ads and so the number of unique people who saw your post because it was paid for, organic not paid for and I guess that really gets to why this is important to face book. What they have done is made it much more difficult for business pages or event pages to get their posts in front of people unless they pay, organic reach has gone down meaning if you want to get your content in front of people you are going to have to pay for it. Now you understand why face book wants to do this, right?
Jennifer: Yeah I do so is that the only way to optimise this? Is that you need to pay or there are other things that you could also do?
Jordan: Well there are definitely other things you can do one thing is you need to be very considerate about how you post when you do post so the organic reach hasn’t gone to zero but you want to absolutely optimize the amount of click through that you get, the amount of people who read your posts and click on it because there is another thing that is going on called face book age rank and that terms for that are changing all the time is they tweet their algorithm but the short of it is that face book when it decides which posts to put into a news feed it is going to use as an input into that algorithm how many people have clicked on your post in the past. So if a page adds a post and of the few people who see it a lot of them click the next time that page adds a post to face book it is much more likely to show up in people’s news feeds than if nobody had clicked on that first post. So face book is trying to learn who the interesting page is and events are.
Jennifer: Okay that makes sense.
Jordan: Right, so how do you do it, right?
Jordan: So the biggest thing that you can do is to take advantage of face book’s link share feature.
Jennifer: So what is link share?
Jordan: If you take a link to your article and you go to your face book event page and you post it into the status updates, pause for a second and you will see face book go out and grab the link it is going to look for a photo on that page, it is going to grab the first 200 or so characters and it will create a preview of that post in the face book news feed. Don’t fight it, I know that there are people who will say no I don’t want my content showing up in face book where people can read it, I want them to have to go to my page where they can read it, maybe they see my ad, maybe they see my content the more likely to engage with the rest of my site, don’t be fooled! The best way that you can get people to click that link is to let face book do what it wants to do which is grab the content and there is a few reasons for that I think that the biggest driver of click throughs on this link share is the photos that you see. So face book automatically getting grab of that photo from your page, it will put it into the post and there is a lot of data out there that posts with a photo are much more likely to get click throughs than posts without within face books, same goes for twitter, blog posts, anywhere and people just react very emotionally to photos it is eye catching it immediately communicates content to the reader without requiring much thought so it is eye candy and click candy.
Jennifer: Right, yeah that sounds a lot very similar to twitter I know you see a lot more engagement re-tweets on twitter when we use photos in our tweets.
Jordan: Yeah, absolutely.
Jennifer: So how big of a deal do you think this is and what does that have to do with events really?
Jordan: Well let me answer the first question first it is a big deal I think the number that we were talking about before kind of speak for themselves that organic reach for brand pages declined 50% in the last 3 months after face book changed their algorithm we are seeing some brands go to 2% reach where they used to enjoy 4%, 5% etcetera and that change it hasn’t stopped there are a lot of SEO experts and internet marketing experts who believe that that will just continue on down approaching zero as face book continues to adjust it. Face book has every interest in the world in continuing to turn that up because the more they turn it the more they force people to pay for ads and the more that they have satisfied engaged end users so I don’t expect this to stop if people have been previously relying on viral marketing through face book to get the word out about their event, they are going to have to think twice about how they do it in the future and be much more deliberate about how they do it, maybe spend some money and the reason that matters for events is there are a lot of events out there that use face book for marketing, it isn’t all events I know that there are a number of professional conferences that stay away from face book for many good reasons so Jen do you friend your professional contacts on face book?
Jennifer: Not normally, no they would have to be somewhat of a closer friend for me to friend them on face book.
Jordan: Right, I have to say I appreciate the fact that you have friended me on face book and I have a few as well but really it is the exception rather than rule and everyone that I talk to tells me the same thing that they try and create a separation in their personal life and their business life just boundaries and that means that the social maps and social graphs that you can take advantage of through face book will be appropriate for personal type events, music festivals, hobby festivals but if it is a farmer conference or other very professional focused conference face book probably isn’t as relevant you probably aren’t doing your marketing there in the first place and so maybe this isn’t such a big deal to you. Well I think that is all we have time for today.
Jennifer: Okay it was great, Jenny with you Jordan thank you for sharing such an important topic with all of us.
Jordan: Yeah I think it has been fun, looking forward to doing this again.
Jennifer: Me too sounds great.
Mike: Well thank you very much Jordan for that knowledge that you laid down on us, pretty cool face book is always kind of normally changing all the time, thank you for that and thank you too Jennifer for co rallying Jordan I know he is very busy there at Batibor and for our 3rd segment I wanted to talk about a really inspiring conference I went to recently in Portland called the Pioneer Nation I mentioned it earlier and I wanted to interview the different types of people who were at the event to see if maybe I could capture some of that magic and maybe you can get just one nugget maybe out of it to make your meetings or events better. So I don’t really attend a lot of events or conferences anymore I try to work and over the past few years I have been going to a few meetings and events usually PCMA and MPI, those kinds of association events. So this year I was trying to branch out and see what else is out there and as many of you know I have run Grass Shack Events and Media basically by myself, I have a non-traditional team here in California you know Jon is down in LA, I have people in Hawaii and New York but mostly it is me running the whole thing doing the bank in, doing the invoicing but I have also now started using Virtual Assistants which has been really great but when I left my old company in Vision Communications I really wanted less overhead, they had so many managers there and I left there thinking I could do this myself and really I have done it, it has been ten years now but at that point I had something to proof and that is what drove me but now I am finding that I don’t really care anymore about that that isn’t what is really driving me so I have these other projects I am working on like AV for Planners, this podcast which I really enjoy doing. So I really had that to prove before and when I left there I really went out and sold and produced meetings and media for billion dollar pharmaceuticals and I am not kind of tooting my horn but it is just interesting going to this conference I found there are other people just going out there and doing it, I sold Genzymes, Biogenidec, these are huge companies and they just worked with me I put on their big events myself, I have worked with companies like Siemens Medical Solutions we did years and years of events, videos, media for them, also PepsiCo worked for them for a while, worked for Wells Fargo, Gap, HP, and so even today we are shooting some stuff out in Philadelphia for another financial client, we are doing video podcast for them. So just by saying all that I don’t mean to be really tooting my horn but I just wanted to say that when I went to this conference one of the people that talked said they felt like an imposter and I have always felt like an imposter and it really hit me like I never feel like I am a corporate guy though I have worked with all these corporations. So a couple of months ago I downloaded this book called the hundred dollar start up by this guy called Chris Guillebeau and started reading it and it made me think about what I have done and what I wanted to do more, what is the next step for Mike so I looked up his website and he has this conference called the World Domination Summit which is kind of a funny name and it looked really cool there was a lot of people there you know it was a gynomous like 3,000 people and actually this next one that is coming up one of our interviewees Nelsie Dewitt is going to be speaking on storytelling which is kind of cool but it was a lot of people and I saw this other event they are having this Pioneer Nation and that one caught my eye and it was geared towards supporting the solo entrepreneur or the independent entrepreneur or the small business entrepreneur and that is me basically so I bought tickets and headed there, I got a nice little A$B place and I knew nobody at the event, I knew one person who was there that was Chris Brogan who has been a friend for a long time and now he is a best-selling author and he has like a million followers and I just randomly met him one time we sat next to each other at an event years and years ago and I figured I wouldn’t be able to hang out with him because everybody wants to hang out with him but I did get to have breakfast with him one morning and we had a nice walk across town to get to his morning key note and it was a fun day to hang out with him he is just such a great guy and I guess he has a new book coming out that you should check out I think it is called freaks shall inherit the earth. So I was up there, I had breakfast with him and then headed to that morning key note and so at first entering he was swallowed in by everybody wanting to talk to him and I am self-conscious kind of walking through there and it is hard for me to kind of hide because I am 6ft 5”, 240 pounds so I just told myself before this that I was just going to ask every person that I met what they were working on and men was that the best question to ask! Because all these interesting people had all kinds of different jobs and doing different things so I just really had a great time and I really felt like I was part of the community, I was really inspired and that is why I am doing this podcast now, I was so inspired that actually went up on the stage and thanked them in person when they had a Q&A and those of you who know me know I hate public speaking so I was up in front of all these 300 and something people and I just wanted to tell them in the whole room that I really had a great time and I really drank the culled and I don’t drink the culled often so it was a good event. So I was going to talk about my take aways from it and basically I think the main three things and I am going to kind of shorten up because there are so many interviews that I have got in here they are seven of them I think they really say the same thing I am saying, they did a great job with the theme, the environmental design, they had this theme of the pioneers and it went throughout it when you walked in you walked in your name badge was made out of wood it was really clever little thing sitting in front of me and the coffee mug they gave us was here I mean I have it here with some green tea in here and a nice hoodie with this swag logo which was way down on the sleeve so it wasn’t one of this kind of obnoxious things you get from some conferences, I think business conferences sometimes just throw everything together and they don’t really use the theme throughout the whole event they really did it, I think the second thing they listened to the attendees when you signed up they asked you all these questions right away via their website and kind of connected you with other people and they crafted these sessions I couldn’t pick which one to go to and that never happens for me usually I have a hard time figuring out which one I want to go to on PCMA or MPI but it seems like the same people are speaking at all these things and it is the same old thing this really helped. I think the other thing was the speakers were all really awesome, the main stage speakers really fit perfectly and the workshops were really a work of art like I said I mean they really listened to attendees, I went to one by this guy named Starry Starbucker and it was about pricing and I really wanted to learn a little more about pricing for AV for Planners because Jon and I have been working through some of these things that we want to sell through AV for Planners and it was like how to price these things that people want to buy them and this is what is really interesting it was exactly what I needed. So let’s kind of get into these interviews from the different people I think we can start out with some of the attendees then roll into a couple of the speakers then we will finish it off I think with Isaac who is the production guy since I am a production guy so really great talking to Isaac actually on site and for the podcast it was great. So I think anyone building an event meeting conference should try and use Pioneer nation as a template really to move their attendees to whatever action or that community of business attendees should leave with because it is that whole culture thing like of the zap oz you know if you hear anything from this try and steal something and have that kind of event camp mind set to kind of go in there and try something new. In this case I left that Pioneer Nation with kind of a big community there is people they have a great face book page and I have been in there talking to people I found several people live here in Auckland which has been fun I have been contacting them, been talking to them. So let’s get started and hear some of these interviews and see what you think I would really like to hear back from you if you like this podcast first of off because it is different from actually what I have just rolled out the revamped new meetings podcast but email me all the time whenever you want I am on Skype Mike McAllen anytime you want to chat, chat with me I am at [email protected] so let’s get in to these interviews.
Hi, I have Christine on the phone, hi Christine!
Kerstin Hammes: Hi Mike!
Mike: We met at the Pioneer Nation up in Portland and first of all why don’t you to tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Kerstin Hammes: Okay I guess I should start by explaining my accent, I have been self employed for about a year and I am originally from Germany and now live in the UK and what I do is I have a website called fluentlanguage.co.uk and I help people learn languages in all sorts of ways, I love language learning, I like working with people who are out of the kind of formal school system so I don’t do after school tuition I work with adults and people who thought they couldn’t learn languages and kind of get them a bit more motivated.
Mike: Very cool, and you do a lot of these over Skype I assume.
Kerstin Hammes: Yes I teach online I am mostly on my native German online tuition I do a little bit of coaching and I work on Skype and work on Face time and have taught students in coming up to about ten countries.
Mike: Very cool, so what about the event the Pioneer Nation that made you sign up and travel all the way to Portland from the UK?
Kerstin Hammes: I think the thing that was strongest to me about the event was really the fact that Pioneer Nation sort of spoke to me as what is often described as a solo entrepreneur so somebody who is sitting in the home office trying to do it all by herself and I am just an individual wanting to make things happen and the promise of a community and workshops that really spoke to my needs was extremely tempting and enticing and actually I signed up for the World Domination Summit and then decided partly due to scheduling but also partly just because Pioneer Nation sounded so right for me and I decided to swap my tickets and really annoyed the organisers I am sure I am grateful to them for letting me because attending Pioneer Nation was so right and it was such a good thing for me doing it. So it was like a small approachable friendly event, an amazing community and I have never met so many people who are kind of in similar places to where I am in terms of working on your own and trying to do your thing so it was entirely worthwhile coming up across to Portland.
Mike: And so how do you think the Pioneer Nation team builds such a great community around the event itself?
Kerstin Hammes: First of all I think it would have been actually impossible to have the community that we have without everyone who attended it is I mean you probably feel the same, every single person I ran into was amazing. So to bring together this community obviously what they did in the run up they must have spoken to really recognised the issues that a lot of people face that are very similar and really thought about what is it that we need, what is it that we can find useful and the kind of combination of very practical workshops that we had us coming out with pages and pages of notes about our own businesses that mix together with very motivational case studies and great speakers who were really encouraging and again spoke exactly to the internal worries that we all had, in terms of that it was just the whole curettion of event must have been a real masterpiece to get together these many people who are at the same point in their business and their life and were worrying about the same thing and to get an answer to the same question. In terms of more practical’s we had I sparked a game in the first night which might in a type A person got very involved in, I think that is when I spoke to over 100 people. So it was kind of person who has travelled more than 2 ½ thousand miles to get here, find a person who has worked from a beach, find a person who has never been to Portland before and etcetera and we had to get them to sign that was very interesting and it is hardest to find somebody who doesn’t have an I phone, doesn’t have a Mac.
Mike: That is right and there were a couple of people that were like that that was interesting.
Kerstin Hammes: I think literally a couple.
Mike: Yeah it was like 3 people in the whole thing that didn’t have any Apple products at all, crazy!
Kerstin Hammes: That is ridiculous.
Mike: So you think that corporate meeting organisers can learn from this event? I mean I know this is kind of a special community for this but I am trying to kind of tie it in do you think you know corporate event organisers can make this or break up some of this stuff?
Kerstin Hammes: Absolutely I think the event branding and design all together was very coherent so from the little name tags which were wooden and absolutely beautiful to everybody being given a little compass so the sense of humour that stuck throughout the event and the way of not being very you know being very focused but at the same time being very approachable and friendly that is something that I mean I have worked in corporate environments, I have never seen it in corporate environment the thing about the corporation it is you know how it is like a legal person it stops you being a natural person and I think to bring it back down to the human level was absolutely fabulous and they did a fantastic job there and this is the thing in corporations a company environment you are supposed to be a community, you are actually supposed to all strive for the same thing and to connect with what people really care about and go back to why are you working here I think that wouldn’t be a bad idea to take the start of a big corporate event.
Mike: Yeah that is great, very interesting the whole thing was very interesting to me coming from a corporate event background just constantly at these events all the time and it was really eye opening for me in that way plus being myself I am basically a solo entrepreneur I mean I have a lot of people that I work with all the time but I am mostly by myself in my office hemming away that stuff so it was really nice to go and it was just amazing all the different people doing such different things.
Kerstin Hammes: I know everybody was so inspiring and just this feeling of coming out of your home office.
Mike: Yeah, exactly.
Kerstin Hammes: Like you know people connect with people I think that is something that isn’t unique to us and that is something you can take away from this, the other thing was that it wasn’t hierarchical at all it made everybody so special and everybody could speak to everybody and the speakers weren’t so to say above anybody else it felt like you could make friends with anyone.
Mike: Yeah that is a very good point. Alright well Christine thank you so much for talking with me and where can people find you if they wanted to find more about you and your language biz?
Kerstin Hammes: Yeah if they want to learn French or they want to learn German I am the girl and the website where you can pretty much find everything about me is fluentlanguage.co.uk and I pretty much live on twitter and my twitter handle is just @fluentlanguage as well.
Mike: Awesome, alright well thank you so much and good luck with everything.
Kerstin Hammes: Well thank you Mike and looking forward to hearing the podcast.
Mike: Okay, bye, bye. Hi Kim, how are you?
Kim: I am well, how are you Mike?
Mike: I am really good, you are Kim Reid and you are from Los Angeles California and can you tell the audience a little bit about yourself?
Kim: Certainly I am a physician of Chinese medicine and I work with people to help them find their way back to their heart, to their balance, to their wellness. Basically as a culture we have gotten really far away from being in balance with the natural rhythms and also we have gotten a little far away from common sense. So I work to solve any type of disharmony, disease, imbalance, struggle, pain and in Eastern medicine there is no part of the body that is separated it is mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, it is all one and I work with tools such as acupuncture and herbs which people associate with Chinese medicine but also very much with food and nutrition, exercises like taiji and yoga and G-gong and massage and lifestyle situations.
Mike: Very cool, so what made you head up to Portland for the Pioneer Nation event?
Kim: Well we have had too much sand the past year in Los Angeles so I really wanted to get to the pacific North West with little grey skies and rain and weather.
Mike: And you got a lot of that.
Kim: We did we got rain and sun showers and rainbows.
Mike: Yeah it was really nice.
Kim: It was I also went up to Pioneer Nation because Chris Guillebeau runs and organises amazing events and I had been to WDS (World Domination Summit) in the summer of 2013 and it was an amazing adventure I really enjoyed it and I tend to go to conferences and seminars and weekends with people in my field so other practitioners of Chinese medicine or Yoga conferences or meditation conferences and when I went to WDS last summer I wanted to go to an event which was people from all different walks of life and businesses. Within my field there is a common thread of really wanting to help out the community to serve the community and not all of us a really strong business people so when Pioneer Nation came up one of the focuses that Chris and his team laid out was that there will be a focus on workshops and classes with leaders in the field and everyone he gathered for the event so that was a big draw for me and because I had such a great experience at WDS last summer I was pretty sure I would not be disappointed when I went out for Pioneer Nation.
Mike: And do you think that your conferences that you in your industry in the Chinese medicine could learn from that like how they do their events in any way?
Kim: I think everyone could learn from how Chris and his team did their event honestly not that I am a professional conference goer but I have been to a few others over the course of my life and my career and there is something that he captures that really is not only connecting people but it is a lot of fun.
Mike: Yeah I mean that kind of what I came away for the whole thing I have the same experience as you going to I mean I put on events and I mean I produce them but it was an interesting, I was really taken aback by how well it was the community around it that was another question for you was like how do you think they built this great community around the event?
Kim: Well that is a great question Mike and I would love to hear your thoughts on it after as well because in one way it is a little bit of magic I don’t know the behind the scenes that Chris and his team do but I would imagine most events want to bring people together and have them socialise they can connect and network with each other based on their interests and their pursuits and their goals. Part of it has to do with the community that is coming together, the community of WDS is labelled as those interested in community service and adventure when you have a lot of people who are half the people or whatever the percentage is are not 9-5 ers or creating their own businesses certainly in this group there is a lot of solo entrepreneurs, a high percentage of people who travel and aren’t location dependent for their work in that sense people are open minded, people are really I don’t know what the exact answer is, I like the group and I think with the 3,000 people at WDS last year there were a couple of teenagers, there were a couple of people in their 80s and even though the majority might have been in their 30s, 40s and 50s, there was really representative of every decade of life beyond teenagers and that is really important to me too I actually really love interacting with people of different generations and I don’t tend to like to be in a group which is just people 3 years on either side of me. So the group really has that as well the group that I have seen Chris bring together I mean what is it like you have been to hundreds of events…
Mike: Yeah well I mean I have been to lots and lots and lots I don’t know how many and I am old too so now I am like I don’t want to talk about how many I have really been to but to me it was a real eye opener and I think you know let alone the community itself was like everybody was so interested in what other people were doing and I found myself not talking about myself at all like just learning what other people were doing it was so interesting to me and the workshops themselves the speakers were like I couldn’t choose which one to go to because they all seemed so interesting where I had never had that problem at other conferences it is clearly I want to go to this one or that one and it is all new for me for this too and I have been basically a solo entrepreneur for 12 years now, I have a lot of people I work with but I do work on my own but that is kind of the part of the solo entrepreneur that I took away that even if you and I, you do Chinese medicine and I do meeting and video production we can still learn from each other so much.
Kim: Oh, completely and I took away from this just how much of a community we can create in seemingly different businesses but really creating the community so that we are supporting each other from however far across the country or across the globe that we are.
Mike: Right, yeah it is very interesting, so thank you so much Kim for talking to me, how can people get a hold of you if they want to learn more about what you do and want to chat with you?
Kim: Well they can call me at 310-853-2325 or they can email me at [email protected] or they can find me on twitter @kimmyreid.
Mike: And so from this you are going to be building a website? Do you have a website for your business or?
Kim: I do not currently have a website.
Mike: I mean I just think of that whole conference was getting your online stuff rolling.
Kim: Yeah I have a little page on face book which is Kimberly Reid LAC; LAC is the denomination in California for our License and Board certification standing for licence acupuncture interest but I am planning to create a website and hopefully do that in the next upcoming weeks.
Mike: Very cool and I will put links to your twitter on the show notes from the podcast if anybody wants to go back there if they are listening on their mobile right now running down the road they can go back to the meetings podcast site and get all Kim’s info so thanks Kim really appreciate it.
Kim: Thanks Mike, it is great to talk with you.
Mike: You too, bye, bye. Alright welcome we have Pat Larson on the line, hi Pat?
Pat: Hi Mike!
Mike: Pat and I met at the Pioneer Nation and Pat we have a couple of questions for you but first tell the audience a little bit about you and what you do.
Pat: Sure, the best way to find me is going to happinesstornado.com and I do coaching and consulting for mind set and business, I also write and do business development for technology companies in the US, avid traveller, wife and 2 kids, swimmer and navy helicopter pilot, former investment banker and current entrepreneur.
Mike: Very cool, so what made you sign up for the event for Pioneer Nation and travel, you live in Chicago travel out to Portland?
Pat: Yeah, I actually flew in from Chang’mai Thailand to attend Pioneer Nation; it was Chang’mai to Bangkok to Tokyo, to Seattle, to Portland all about 30 hours so I really wanted to be there.
Mike: Wauh, I thought coming from Chicago was a long way but you just slapped that down.
Pat: 2,000 miles is less than 10,000 miles.
Mike: And what were you doing out there?
Pat: I was in South East Asia for 45 days meeting all the locations independent entrepreneurs I could mostly through a community called dynamo cycle you can find the guys who lead that at tropicalmba.com and I have been interacting with that group for over a year and they are just fantastic, when I meet these people abroad especially in South East Asia it is like meeting brothers and sisters for the first time and I met them at World Domination Summit, Chris Guillebeau giant 3,000 person event in July of 2013 and really started spending more time with the group since then. Mostly the manner of learning really involved when you see all these people doing all these things across all nations’ joint ventures, consulting and just genuine friendship.
Mike: Wauh, what made you come out to Pioneer Nation so it is just an addition to that?
Pat: So it is just like I am a massively social butterfly that just believes in network effects and picking up options in positive functionalities and all that stuff it is just the more people you meet the better it gets and the more useful like everything becomes like I trust Chris Guillebeau and the events he puts on I knew Shawn a bit but not nearly as much as Chris Guillebeau and I just trusted that Chris would put on a good show and really good people would show up, somehow Chris creates this sorting engine where incredibly nice, you know like thoughtful good people show up to his event.
Mike: That is true and that kind of ties to my second question and that is how do you think the Pioneer Nation team builds such a great community around this event?
Pat: Yeah I think it is a long term messaging Chris is shaping his audience over the years and years and executing three years on a row on World Domination Summit and getting to a point where the high leverage impact is on entrepreneurs because we go and we hire 5 or 10 other people and our business affects hundreds of thousands of people.
Mike: Very cool and along that community like picking the workshops because I was amazed at how I couldn’t choose which one to go to because I wanted to go to all of them and that is unusual for me going to a conference usually I slip out and you are kind of looking at the key note but this one was amazing, how do you think he does? Well whole his team I don’t think he does it himself probably but how does he pick those people?
Pat: There were some interesting posts in the face book group that I didn’t read through too much but there was extremely effort point concerted on the team but where they were really trying to think of what is the maximum value we can deliver in each workshop, how can we be very focused and how can we be action oriented? So it wasn’t flow through it was like here is a worksheet, here is the 5 steps you need to do this, here is what you should implement now and here is what you should implement to night, next week they were just trying to get people instant results so very, very tangible results, not necessarily instant but concrete steps.
Mike: Yeah I think that is fantastic and that was the biggest thing like we were talking about before when we started talking on this recording it was that I walked away with a hundred things like I wanted to do and that was annoying because I had hundred things waiting for me to do anyway before I got home so anyway it was great time. So Pat tell me how people can get hold of you if they want to get hold of you?
Pat: Yeah so you can email me at [email protected] or @patriclarsen on twitter that is both easy ways to get hold of me.
Mike: Awesome, alright Pat thank you so much and I will talk to you soon. Hi we have Lacey Hopkins on the line, hi Lacey!
Mike: Lacey is from Lacey Hopkins coaching or at laceyhopkins.com and you also work with accomplishment coaching, did I get that correct? Yes perfect! So first tell us a little bit about yourself and then what you do.
Lacey: I am a career and business coach I work specifically with people in any kind of transition in their life so from people who have been in the career for a long time and want to make a change but they don’t want to lose their seniority or their salary level I work with those guys I also work with a lot of stay at home mums, mums that want to create something when their kids are in school and like have something like just for themselves and then I also work with small businesses solo entrepreneurs, people looking to create some other changes maybe it is like from a one person business to a 5 person business and I help them navigate those challenges. So that is what I do by day and you also asked a little bit about me which is I live in Washington DC and I have been here for about 7 years love the East Coast just got to visit the West Coast for the second time ever so I am quite the East Coast Sothern girl and yeah something interesting maybe is I bike everywhere so I bike all over Washington DC and that is how I get around and I love it, it is one of the most bike able cities I think in the country.
Mike: Very cool so we met at the Pioneer Nation event and what about that event made you sign up and travel all the way to Portland from Washington DC?
Lacey: It is really cool because once I actually got to Pioneer Nation I realized exactly how it actually happened about 2 years ago I started a friends and meet us manifesto about living really simply and you know like how to basically get rid of all your stuff and then what do you do and there was a link from that through Chris Guillebeau’s blogs the art of nonconformity and then I started following that blog and at some point there was a great email marketing campaign which again I learnt all about it at Pioneer Nation that they put together that spoke right to me I am a solo entrepreneur, I am looking at how commanding better leverage like email marketing and websites and online trainings for my business so basically they just spoke so pointedly to me and idea of the whole experience of being with other solo entrepreneurs was so appealing that I booked my ticket and decided I would figure out all about the why and the when later and so I basically got really involved in the idea I love being around other entrepreneurs too so I thought that this would just be really cool place to get a bunch of different ideas together, get a bunch of different people it was a likeminded community it is what I expected and it is definitely what I got out of it I find the other entrepreneurs just speak my language and they know the same struggles we have been through and the same successes and that kind of thing so that is really what attracted me to come out there.
Mike: Very cool so how do you think the Pioneer Nation built such a great community around the event?
Lacey: I think it started by number one advertising specifically what they were going to provide, again the idea that it was going to be working groups it was going to be actually producing something with other entrepreneurs which I definitely walked away with and I think as far as the production of it they constantly were sending out teasers about what we were going to get and then when I got there it actually exceeded my expectations so you know here we are a bunch of start-ups where you start with stringed budgets and all that kind of stuff and when I got there I was really surprised like we walked in and didn’t even know about some of the previews that we were going to get like the mug and this sweatshirt and then name badges that it is almost like a keep sake the lighting and the stage and the screen it was like really everything was professionally done down to the cocktails at the opening theme party were like themed pioneer so I think what people notice in an event like that is when something is out of place like the theme music was like half music and instead they were playing like Dolly Paton 95 like they were playing like the appropriate music and the appropriate settings so I just think that like number one just to sort of recap it was like exceedingly setting nice expectations and exceeding them and then number two really like just really follow through for bringing it all together.
Mike: Yeah they really did the little bathroom things were very funny I thought too.
Lacey: You agree, right? At first I thought those were part of the college, I was like how do they have like the far of those view that don’t know they have a little sign with the guy with Daniel Boom like they don’t know where the boons and they kept on.
Mike: Exactly and they had up on it like they were Pioneer stuff…yeah I thought that was very, very cute and fun they did carry it across. So what do you think corporate meeting organisers kind of learnt from this event?
Lacey: Well I think just that like it feels like sometimes maybe the subtle details don’t necessarily matter and in fact that was the place where you were just really aware of how much care they were taking with every little detail where there was a sign and the right direction or the naming of all the rooms around the theme, to the quality of foam board that they used on the signs like I don’t necessarily know the difference between one foam more than another but I do know the difference when I see it. So I think that the thing was that they spared no expend and paid a really close attention to detail and that made a big difference for everybody.
Mike: Yeah it was really fun, so Lacey where can people find you?
Lacey: You can find me on my website as you mentioned before lizziehopkins.com, you can see me on twitter which is @laceyhopkins and both of those also have face book, tumbler and instagram, Linked In I am everywhere.
Mike: And it is all always Lacey Hopkins?
Mike: Alright, well thank you so much and also you have a book coming out is what I hear; you are working on a book?
Lacey: I do you will be able to find that on the website as well it is called Spark your career and it is a 3 month guide to basically shifting from what you have to what you want and a tool book to walk you through the whole process.
Mike: Very cool, alright well thank you so much and I hope to talk to you soon.
Lacey: Great, thank you.
Mike: Alright, hi I have Thursday Bram on the line, hi Thursday?
Thursday: Hi Mike, how are you doing?
Mike: I am doing really well thank you so much for talking with me.
Thursday: Thank you for having me.
Mike: Why don’t you tell the audience a little bit about yourself?
Thursday: Sure I am a content marketer which means I write for the web, I do blogs and e books and newsletters and all the words that make the web go round.
Mike: Very cool and so tell me we met at the pioneer nation and tell me what about the pioneer nation event made you sign up and you actually spoke there and travel all the way to Portland?
Thursday: Well I am lucky enough to live in Portland so my travel was about a mile and a half I was able to take the bus to the conference which was fantastic. But I follow Chris Guillebeau’s work for years first time I started reading his blog was in 2007 and I just always found his message has really resonated with me so I have always been very excite d to see whatever he is working on next and be involved in whatever capacity I can so when he said that he was working on Pioneer Nation I was very excited because this is sort of my bread and butter I work with a lot of small businesses, solo entrepreneurs, companies that don’t have room for a marketing department of their own but still need some help so I was just very excited about the entire concept.
Mike: So how do you think the whole Pioneer Nation team built such a great community around this event?
Thursday: Well Chris has been very community minded in terms of how he has built everything he has ever done and that really showed through with Pioneer Nation and in fact it was kind of interesting because there was a slight difference between the community for Pioneer Nation and for Chris’ other event for World Domination Summit and he came straight out and said very specifically what Pioneer Nation is going to be and exactly who it was for and I think that doesn’t happen enough with a lot of conferences and events a lot of people want to be as inclusive as possible if only they to make sure that they get the attendance numbers that excite them. But the reality is because he was able to say this is exactly who it is for, this is exactly who should come and if you aren’t in that group that is okay just come to World Domination Summit to one of the other events that we are doing or participate in a different way he was able to bring in this community that was perfect for what he was doing.
Mike: Wauh that is exactly what I came across and that is why I went because they did and especially the workshops was everyone of them was fantastic like I couldn’t choose really I am kind of hoping they come out with more I mean they come out with the audio version or whatever of it, I don’t know if they captured all of them.
Thursday: They did capture all of them but I think they captured a fair number.
Mike: And what did you speak on?
Thursday: I spoke on how to hire freelancers for your business, how to outsource some of the hard bits.
Mike: So do you think that corporate meeting organisers can learn from this event?
Thursday: Absolutely, so when you are speaking about how great the workshops were from the speaker’s perspective I can say that what Chris and the Pioneer Nation team gave us was very different from what I have gotten from other events that I have spoken at they actually sat down with an instructional designer and worked through how to really make this an event that people can learn from not just take notes at. So they gave us a whole set of methodologies for interacting with the attendees, they gave us sort of a core curriculum to work on they gave us a lot more preparation than a lot of other events provide.
Mike: Wauh, that is really great I hadn’t heard that.
Thursday: Ooh yeah it is fantastic I mean it is a level of work that you can’t do for every event of course but for those that you have the budget and the time for I would love to see more events that I speak out to that level of preparation.
Mike: Yeah and it must have been good for you to really hammer a good presentation out too.
Thursday: Ooh it made my work a whole lot easier.
Mike: Yeah and I am sure you can use that over and over again too. Well that’s great, Thursday thank you so much for talking with me and how can people get a hold of you if they maybe need some help with their own marketing?
Thursday: My personal site is Thursdaybram.com that is the easiest way to find me on the internet, I am on twitter all the time @thursdayb and I am always happy to answer questions or talk about any of this.
Mike: That is great and I will pull out links of course people if they are running or something right now listening to this they can go to the meetings podcast site and there will be links there to Thursday and I am sure you can find Thursday Bram online. Alright Thursday thanks so much.
Thursday: Thank you.
Mike: Alright welcome we have Ryan Deok from Gum rod. Hi Ryan!
Ryan: Hi mike! Thanks for having me.
Mike: Thank you why don’t you tell a little bit about yourself and what Gum rod is?
Ryan: Yes so I do growth in Gum rod broadly focused on a couple of different things one of which is sort of growing gum rod within the key verticals that we work in and gum rod is a platform it is built to help creators be able to sell their content directly to their audience and so for us that looks like authors selling books to their audience, film makers selling the films that they produce their audience is on social media, email newsletter, the blog you know engineers and software developers selling apps that they develop directly to their audience, you know people selling comics, music, everything in between. And so I focus on growing gum rod within these verticals generally focused on publishing, music, film and software. So the 4 big ones there is a lot of overlap and some smaller markets that we do a lot of business in but those are sort of the main ones and my role is generally focused on getting more people selling things that they make through gum rod and also focus on just increasing gum rod’s awareness within those verticals so the goal is really that in several years down the line when someone thinks you know how can I distribute this book gum rod will be the first that comes to mind so it is really developing minds share similarly when there is a conference and there is people talking about how to distribute content gum rod is the thing at everyone’s mind. So really just trying to create sort of a new way to distribute content and sort of rework the economics around it where 95% of the revenue stays with the creator versus 70, 60 or 50 through other platforms and then they own sort of everything around the transactions, all the data and just trying to build a more creative friendly way to sell and distribute content.
Mike: Yeah that sounds fantastic because I know just in my little world of doing video production and stuff it has been interesting to find out how they do take a lot of the junk of the money, a lot of these other places. Well good for you, so I really enjoyed your session at the Pioneer Nation and thank you for that thank you for taking the time to do it. I wanted to ask you what made you sign up and speak and travel all the way to Portland you are here in San Francisco and how did you get involved with them too?
Ryan: I have known Chris Guillebeau he is one of the founders of the Pioneer Nation, he also does World Domination Summit and some other stuff and so he uses gum rod for some of the products he works on and so we have known each other for a while and he mentioned that; a) pioneer nation was going to be a conference full of makers and creators and people who are either thinking about launching a product or already have a product or want to launch the product and so he just mentioned to me that it would probably be really a good fit in terms of like people should be using gum rod and then 2nd that is why I went in general but then he also asked me to lead a workshop on up sales and down sales so I went there to do that and I really like Chris I really like the things that he has done I think he is just a great guy but also really enjoyed the community that he builds around both World Domination Summit and Pioneer Nation and so yeah I was excited to be out there I love Portland and so it was just fun to be out there for a few days.
Mike: And yeah he is a nice guy I met him for the first time I was amazed at how genuine just a great guy. And so what was it like putting together the workshop for them because I know there was I mean I was amazed walking in there I wanted to go to everyone of them it was hard to choose. So how was it putting that together?
Ryan: Yeah I think whenever you are preparing for a workshop or speech you have this sort of the spectrum and so you can show the spectrum from the sort of action packed fully very pragmatic all practical advice side of the spectrum and then there is the sort of more entertaining, funny sort of maybe less actionable content but more sort of funny entertaining type of the spectrum and so I try to err very, very heavily on the pragmatic side of it because the thing I hate is like going to a session or going to a workshop and the speaker is funny and I enjoyed myself but a lot of the people in the room spent $600, $700 to $3,000 to be there like they didn’t spend $2,000 to be entertained they spent $2,000 to learn this thing that is going to impact their business and hopefully create that much value and more for them. And so actually I erred pretty heavily on the spectrum of like very pragmatic data driven sort of information and sometimes it feels like too much whatever but I try to make sure that it is really actionable, it is simple as possible this is distilled down as possible in terms of the big concepts. So really I just wanted to hopefully everyone in the room and then everyone who watches the video and they release the video footage can watch that and learn something about either offering up sales or down sales that will then generate over the course of the next year several thousand dollars at the minimum and new business for them which then will pay for the conference. So the way that I was thinking about it was like in 58 minutes or how long I had how can I generate enough value that if people follow through on what I talk about they could then pay for the conference? And that is sort of the way that I tried to approach it.
Mike: Yeah I really enjoyed your session and I really liked that you asked someone to offer up their site to look at and I wanted to do it but I just didn’t have the balls to do it. So how do you think that they pulled together this Pioneer Nation for such a great community because I felt it right away I was kind of nervous going to it because I didn’t know anybody and I am kind of older too so I felt like these are young people around but I immediately felt like I was just welcome there. How did they do that? How did they put together such a great community?
Ryan: Yeah I think it is interesting, I think that Pioneer Nation sort of I don’t want to say completely organically happened but I think that it was sort of almost a necessity because through WDS Chris has this amazing community 3,000 people half when they come this year in a few months and it is very, very broad and so you have people from sort of the online business, you have them from the sort of like book world, from the film world, from the info product world, from marketing, from social media marketing, from podcasting, you have people from all these spectrums so just like real world business centres, the life coaches and so you have this sort of spectrum and these people along all sorts of steps in their journey from people that haven’t done anything and wants to start launching a business or whatever to people that are making millions of dollars through companies that they founded. And so I think that what Chris realised and sort of what he shared with me was like Pioneer Nation is in some ways was like a necessity out of that where you have this group of people look at the WDS circle there is a smaller circle of people that really want to start a business you know whether it is like an online business or a brick and mortar business or write books and sell books or create products or whatever and WDS provides some like actionable value for that but not a lot and it is more just focused like getting more of core people together and hearing inspiring talks. And so I think Pioneer Nation was sort of like if you could pack the most value into helping those people to do what they want to do which is start a business or improve their business I think that Pioneer Nation was spun out of and I think that sort of marketing that loud is a really, really good fit because you have a lot of people on the WDS we are all that filled that way but then you have a lot of people on Chris Guillebeau’s audience who maybe have never come to WDS but when they say hey you can come to Portland Pioneer Nation you are going to learn a lot of stuff how to improve your business that is really interesting to a lot of people. And so I think that for him it just made a lot of sense to offer this and I think he had an opportunity to create a lot of value for having 320 people and I think it was a hugely valuable event to almost everyone who came.
Mike: Yeah I agree because I was reading his $100 start up book and just 2 months ago and I saw that WDS and it didn’t really resonate with me it was too big and when I saw this one it looked perfect and I like the beginnings like when they start up new conferences it is fun to go. So what do you think corporate meeting organisers can learn from this event because for me coming back it was just like God! Because you must go to a lot of events there living in San Francisco I mean there is three every night, what do you think? How can they learn, how could corporate meeting organisers learn from this?
Ryan: Well I think Chris does a couple of things really well and in a lot of ways success could be attributed to him seeing the importance of this I think the biggest thing he tries to do is build a lot of community prior to the event, so you know he set up that like I don’t know what platform he pulled on but he built this sort of way that attendees could log into and they could chat, message each other, he had you fill a lot of questions of what you wanted to get out of the event and he was able to match you up with people who could provide, he had this questionnaire of what are the things that you want, part of your business is that you are willing to pay for that you aren’t currently paying for, what are skills that you have that you would do for pay that you aren’t currently doing? So then that is a great way to match up attendees and start syncing people up even before the event. So I think he created a lot of community prior to the event both from himself sort of extending his personal brand into the attendees at Pioneer Nation but also just through platform and through some of the decisions they made from that perspective. And then I think when people got there they immediately felt this sense of connection versus if you shop it like the standard mill there and you don’t know anyone, you don’t have any sort of background on who is there or why they are there or what they are looking for. And then I think also Chris goes leaps and beyond in terms of connecting people, one of the things that Chris is really good at that I think is awesome and the thing that everyone should learn is even if you have never met him before you can walk up to him and talk to him and he will act like he knows you, not from a perspective of trying to deceive you that he knows you or acting like he remembers you but he is very genuine it isn’t like sorry who are you? It is ooh awesome yeah what is your name again? And that sort of just mentality of being wanting to connect with anyone and talk to them and help them I think that extends and that is sort of contagious within everyone that was there and so I think that just was a game changer in terms of the quality of the event and what it did for the attendees.
Mike: You are right, when I went up and I introduced myself he was like ooh I know who you are, and that was great, actually Chris Burgin is that way too kind of like he seems like very genuine guy. Ryan thank you so much for talking to me.
Ryan: Absolutely, it was pleasure Mike.
Mike: And how could people find you and gum rod, what are the best places to find you.
Ryan: Yeah so we are gumrod.com for gum rod and then for myself I am @deok that is my handle so if you are available to chat any time my email is also [email protected] so if I can ever be helpful or anything I can help with you are free to bing me any time.
Mike: Great and thank you again for your session that was really awesome.
Ryan: Yeah absolutely thanks for calling.
Mike: Okay bye, bye. Alright and finally on our last interview here we have Isaac Watson, hi Isaac!
Mike: You are from the Makers Nation?
Isaac: I am.
Mike: You are the President and Founder?
Isaac: That is correct.
Mike: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and Makers Nation?
Isaac: Sure, I am the founder of Makers Nation which is a merging non-profit dedicated to teaching independent creative business owners how to be better at their business side of their creativity and then we are launching eminently we will be kicking out here in Portland on May 1st which is very exciting we will be offering workshops and resources.
Mike: And so what kind of stuff do you do? What exactly is going to happen if my business needs to come in, how are you going to help me?
Isaac: We offer membership program there is an annual fee to become a member and then you could see access to our online archive of resources and educational content, we have in person events that are designed to bring you out of the self isolating studio or workshop or whatever kind of creative environment that you are normally in and get into a real space with real people and start sharing ideas and sharing a learning experience.
Mike: Such a great idea I know I kind of work on my own all the time so that is such a great option for people. So I met you at the Pioneer Nation and you were running around backstage. First talk a little bit about your role there and then what made you get involved with this?
Isaac: I was co-producer of the event and my responsibilities were largely around design and production management for the actual conference so I worked with the design team that created the branding leading up to everything, making sure that everything was running on schedule and on budget and then when it came down to the event itself I was wearing a couple of different hats but I was both calling the shots as the director and making sure that everything was running smoothly on schedule on time and that everything was going well.
Mike: And you were on stage I saw you up there.
Isaac: Yeah Chris always likes to bring everybody on stage so he called me out for an intro that was just great.
Mike: Yeah I thought that was fantastic to see everybody up there different times. So you said that with the design so did you come up with that set? One thing about it, the theme around the whole thing was fantastic just really fantastic and in fact I am pretty shy like I don’t like speaking in front of people but I had to go up and say on stage how much I enjoyed the event because I do events like I do corporate events all the time and I was so impressed by the theme around it. So tell me a little bit, how did that come up? Tell me what your role was with that because I know you said you helped with the design so tell me a little bit more how you guys came up with that.
Isaac: We worked with an awesome creative team called JB and friends and they are here locally in Portland really awesome designers they came up with the branding after we had named the event and so I was involved mostly in just making the product happen, handling communication back and forth between them and our team and making sure that everything was going and the more we got into planning the more we had the idea we wanted to run with this go west pioneer style theme without trying to make it to cheesy.
Mike: There is a fine line and you guys did a great job.
Isaac: Yeah so trying to write the metaphor a little bit and that led us to the stage design and we worked with fabricator and carpenter extraordinary who we had worked with before on the World Domination Summit to actually create that set with creative input from our design team.
Mike: Yeah that was really cool, how did you keep that fire going all the time?
Isaac: That was the benefit of a looping DVD!
Mike: I thought that was really clever and I like that it was after the site and not right in the middle because it would kind of catch your eye the whole time. So how do you think your team built such a great community around the event? I just thought it was so well round and I got so much out of it which was fantastic but how did you, tell me a little bit why you think it worked so well.
Isaac: Well I think there are a few things one of the reasons I have joined the team in the first place and wanted to participate in this event was because so many of pioneer nation’s values are shared by my own background in making and in starting makers nation but there were kind of 3 main things that I feel we really excelled at one we just have a great team to begin with the five of us that coproduces this event we just work really well together, we worked together on the World Domination Summit and we just jive really well and we can get things done. The second thing is that first and foremost our focus is on the attendee experience everything else comes second to that and so we are constantly asking ourselves if we put ourselves in the attendees shoes what are they going to see, what are they going to feel, how are they going to experience this and what can we offer them? And everything from the speakers and the stage design and the logistics of the venue all of that flows back into the question of what will make the best experience for the attendees. The last thing is just I think there is beauty in the details those little low additions like a digital hire place after one side or a hand cut prop and takes it back to the pioneer’s team or a wooden name badge that has been laser etched with the attendee’s name like those are the little details that we like to present to attendees in a way that gives them something new from your perfect conference.
Mike: Yeah that was fantastic, that was my next question, what do you think corporate meeting planners can learn from this event but I think you just answered it because all the ones that I am with it is all about the speakers and the executive wanting what they want to talk about it is never that flipping it around which shouldn’t be it, everyone should do this to worry about what the attendees are going to do and what they want to come away with afterwards.
Isaac: Yeah for us it isn’t about a hard pitch or getting them to sign on again next year we wanted people to come away with actionable stash with their small business and if they are able to do that and next year they decide hey I got something really great out of pioneer nation last year I was able to take some really great steps forward and I don’t necessarily think I need to attend this next year that is great like you know more power to them, so it isn’t about us it is about them that is the big thing.
Mike: Yeah that won’t happen I think everyone will come back because I work at events constantly and I don’t really want to go to them I want to stay home with my wife and my animals and stuff but I will go back to that I really had a great time. One of the bad things of being a production guy myself is that you are behind the scenes most of the time did you get to experience anything there? I know you get the great experience of putting it on but again you are going to watch the videos later of the sessions.
Isaac: Yeah the advantage is that we have the videos so I can go back and watch them and I have done that in the past and I will say it is a little bit difficult to be backstage because there are so many things going on it is hard to actually focus on what the person is saying but me more than anything I am all about that shared experience and just feeling the vibe hearing the audience laughing or contributing and just being part of the magic that makes it happen that is thrilling enough for me at least.
Mike: Yeah you did a great job and I am sure makers nation is going to be very successful too, looking to the site it looks like a home run. How can people find you if they wanted to talk to you?
Isaac: Yeah I tweet a lot ivwatson is my twitter handle I would say that the most active place for me right now would be makers nation website which is makersnation.org and I have a very dead blog as well which is ivwatson.com.
Mike: Alright I will make sure these will be on the show notes so if anyone is listening right now he can go to the show notes and get that if they missed it ivwatson on twitter and thank you so much Isaac and thank you for the whole show I had a fantastic time and I really appreciate your time now.
Isaac: No problem thanks for having me.
Mike: And hopefully we will talk soon.
Isaac: Alright, sounds good.
Mike: Okay well thank you for listening if you have made this far it was really interesting hearing the different takes from the different types of people, the attendees, the speakers and then of course Isaac to hear what he had to say that was really fun segment for me I hope you enjoyed it, again thank you for listening as long if you made it this far, I wanted to thank our sponsors imex America, I also wanted to thank our wonderful sponsor AV for Planners which is my new company we are having a go at AV for planners if you want to do evaluation we can give it to you a free one right now if you email [email protected] and tell him you heard about it on the podcast and he will do an evaluation for you next meeting that will be put 3 AV companies side by side and give you a summary of what you are getting from all 3 of those companies so you can make a good negotiation, do your due diligence and maybe save some dough which is pretty cool that ends in the end of this month because he has gotten enough of them and that is just our little promotion thank you to imex America our great sponsor I hope to see you at imex America this year we will be down there in Vegas for that. I wanted to thank all the people that were on the show, I wanted to thank our segment producer Jordan from batibor for explaining a little bit about face book and algorithms and how it is changing, I wanted to thank Christine, I wanted to thank Kim, I wanted to thank Pat also Ryan, Lacey and of course Isaac for being on the show also Thursday, thank you Thursday and I hope if you enjoyed this, if you didn’t or you did please send me an email I would love to hear what you thought I am also on Skype mike McAllen on Skype please just pop in and say hi and you can email me at [email protected], you can even call me on my cell phone 925-699-3190 I would love to talk to any of you about anything, please if you liked the show subscribe, if you want please go to iTunes right now and give us a review, love to get those on there really helps and lastly if you want this to be really fun take an instagram selfie of yourself right now and tag it #meetingspodcast and that will be great I kind of want to send some gifts to people who do that so try it out and that is it so thank you so much for listening to the meetings podcast and I will see you next week.