Tag Archives: event technology

How Technology Creates the Time to Be Creative

This is a sponsored post by Event Tech Circus.

Gallus Events are managing two Event Technology events in the next few months. Event Tech Circus in Amsterdam and Tech Fest in London. Head Honcho William Thomson explaines a little bit about the technology he uses to support these technology events.

This is a great case study for other event organisers because William has pieced together free tools and paid-for technologies. He also uses contra deals and pulls in the odd favour to ensure that technology supports his events as much as possible. He demonstrates that being smart with technology allows a small event company to manage large events and crucially frees up time to deliver more value to participants.


Running your own events company and staying on top of the events you run is, putting it mildly, a challenge. Being based in Barcelona and running events in London and Amsterdam hardly makes things easier. But of course running events has never been an easy way to make a living. I’ve been in the industry for fifteen years and I’ve seen events become so much more complex and ever more challenging. In my opinion the only way we can stay on top of our events is to adopt, understand and use more event technology.

Gallus Events use seven primary bits of software to keep on top of our events. The first four help us manage our events with minimum time and resource and the remaining three help us increase the number of people who attend our events.

1. Event Manager Theme

The WordPress event theme we use is fantastic. It took us a few hours to have our Event Tech Circus site up and running. One day from registering the domain name to have an all singing and all dancing site. Following the launch of Januas (the multiple event version of EMTheme) in March the theme has taken things up a notch by allowing many events to be housed together on one site.

We use the single event theme for Event Tech Circus. Thankfully as Event Manager Blog is actively supporting our aim of bringing the Event community together in Europe they have provided the theme for free. However at $99 each, these themes offer a bargain website that small to medium sized event businesses should certainly consider using to their advantage.

2. Eventbrite

Eventbrite made collecting payments easy, almost mind boggingly easy! It took ten minutes to set up Event Tech Circus. We originally investigated using and setting up our own merchant account and a payment gateway: both are needed to collect credit card payments independently. But unfortunately the world of banking hasn’t quite caught up with the dynamic needs of our industry.

Thankfully Eventbrite was on hand and using their payment gateway we avoided a month long wait for our own gateway and a serious cash flow pinch. We of course have to pay a few euros per transaction and we don’t receive our funds until after the event but this is a small price to pay to be able to collect electronic payments and have the system allocate invoices. And by being listed on Eventbrite we have already generated a few attendees! A fantastic added bonus.

3. Podio

This is a fantastic project management tool. It is app based and incredibly flexible. Podio allows you to allocate and monitor tasks as well as store information on sales, venues, speakers and almost every other aspect of an event. You can invite work colleagues and external guests. At the moment we are using the basic offering and it is free. It has been tremendously useful for Gallus Events and we expect to upgrade to the $9 per worker per month in the summer.

4. Eventsforce

Eventsforce “powers” Tech Fest and we really will be using it to power all of our events going forward. The system collects payments (similarly to Eventbrite) but is more cost effective for larger events (if you can manage to get over the payment gateway and merchant account problems). Linking the payments to the other aspects on the platform allows us to have more visibility and control of our finances.

It does a whole host of things for us including providing a website as the front end to the software. Eventsforce is ideal for an event company that run more than a dozen events and have more than a 1000 attendees. Our use of Eventsforce is included in our overall sponsorship agreement for Tech Fest but for the ideal company as described earlier you will only be talking a few thousand euros per year.

5. Dotmailer

This is a fantastic emarketing tool. Incredibly flexible and really easy to use. The reporting functions, the spam testing, the triggered campaigns and the automation are all great features and make this a great all round email marketing tool.

Owing to the success of Mailchimp and other initially free email system providers, paid for email marketing systems have really had to raise their game. For the additional benefits Dotmailer isn’t very expensive, perhaps costing around €3000 a year for a medium sized company. We are very lucky that owing to a long standing relationship we use the system for free as long as we don’t email too often!

6. Conferize

Conferize are one of our start-ups at Event Tech Circus. Conferize is a system designed to help organisers gain attendance at their events by leveraging social networks and by using the skills of Conferize staff to place advertisements and list your event.

It is available for free to all of our users. We will be using the basic system for Event Tech Circus and the premium one for Tech Fest (as part of our sponsorship agreement). It will be really interesting to see the value from the premium service and to see if the investment is returned in an increased awareness and attendance at Tech Fest.

7. Hootsuite

We use Hootsuite to schedule and generally control the release of our Social Media content around Tech Fest and Event Tech Circus. We are tweeting across a couple of Twitter accounts and we link to Facebook and to LinkedIn through Hootsuite as well.

We use the basic free offering and it is a massive help. We will be investigating our options in the summer as we believe paying a monthly fee may be justified but at the moment the free system is doing wonders for us. Content marketing is crucial in both our events and a tool such as Hootsuite is crucial.

In Conclusion

It would be possible to run our events without using most of this event technology but we would be working harder and I would need a bigger team. But crucially the technology we are using allows us to do two very important things. This technology allows us to raise the income from our events (and certainly above the level of the actual cost of using that technology).

Hootsuite, Dotmailer, Conferize and Eventbrite add a lot of value to our event by helping us raise awareness of Tech Fest and support our content marketing strategy. Secondly using Eventsforce and Podio helps us run our events much more efficiently.

Put simply, technology runs (and in some cases “powers” our events) creating the time for us to run the experience.

© Julius Solaris for , 2013. |
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Event Tech Circus: The Event for Startups and #Eventprofs

We are happy to be Media Partner of Event Tech Circus, a unique event for startups, event organizers and investors to be held in Amsterdam on the 7th of May 2013.

Event Tech Circus Amsterdam

While I was at IMEX last May, I had a pressing thought.

What about connecting startups and investors in the event industry? I was there with Derrick, Jasper and William and we discussed how it could become reality.

William took the idea forward and suggested that event professionals would love to participate and get to know about the latest technology for events.

Derrick and Jasper, two seasoned event startup professionals, confirmed that startups would appreciate to have feedback from event professionals and investors.

Event Tech Circus was born.

A Unique Opportunity for Event Technology Professionals

William together with Derrick and Jasper took the lead and coordinated what is going to be a unique gathering for event technology. Especially here in good old Europe.

Event Tech Circus will take place in Amsterdam, at Amsterdam RAI, one of the most popular exhibition spaces in Europe, at the forefront of innovation in the industry.

The event will take place on the 7th of May. All the information is available on the website (proudly powered by Event Manager Theme)

Who Should Attend and Why?

From the website:

Event Organisers. We will curate our audience. If we are to achieve our rather grand designs for this event it is exceptionally important that we have not just the right number but the right people in the room. We will be selecting the right Event Organisers from across Europe. We are after the thought leaders: the influencers. We want those not too shy to say, no DEMAND, exactly what it is they want from event technology. We expect 50 – 100 organisers to attend. Attending Event Tech Circus AMSTERDAM is initially by invitation only. Once we have selected and filled our slots we will open up the event to other attendees.

Technology start-ups have to be at a particular stage in their development to qualify. They also have to bring something to the circus. Every start-up will be asked to offer their product or service for free (if appropriate) to our attendees for a select period of time. We expect 20 start ups to take part.

Investors will have a proven track record in investing in start-up companies or at least a passion and a purse. We expect 20 investors to be part of Event Tech Circus Amsterdam.

If you are at within a couple of hours flight away from Amsterdam, I would invest the money to attend.

Conference Programme

Together with the above terrific opportunities, there is a quite significant conference programme.

I am happy to confirm I will be there with Event Manager Blog team and present about event technology and social media.

William is putting together an amazing line up. This alone is worth your investment in the reasonably priced ticket.

In Conclusion

This is not your average event industry gathering we are used to. Event Tech Circus is something new, an event that needs to be supported by the whole #eventprofs community.

If you believe technology is making an impact on our beloved industry, you need to attend. I will be happy to see you in Amsterdam and to listen to your experience. Can’t wait.

Head to Event Tech Circus website and share it with your colleagues. I am sure they will be thankful.

If you want to give it a tweet , you can do so with the following event official hashtag
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© Julius Solaris for , 2013. |
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New Conference Roles: Enter IdeaDJs

Technology is bringing new challenges to the event industry. It is also creating new professional figures. This post introduces the IdeaDJ, a fresh and disruptive specialty that could change conferences for good.

Idea Deejay

I was in Bruxelles a couple of weeks ago for MPI’s BeConference (more on this later). I had a blast there and an entertaining dinner with awesome Ruud Janssen and MC of the conference, Cyriel Kortleven.

For those who don’t know Cyriel, he is a inspiring master of ceremony and also author of this event presentation and inspirational book.

So to cut the story short, Cyriel introduced me to the concept of IdeaDJs. It was almost slipping away, when I thought of you dear readers. I thought to virtually invite you to the dinner and listen to this great concept.

Technology and New Roles

The economy is not in good shape. Getting involved in the industry is tougher than ever. Alas, seasoned professionals encounter the need to reinvent their profession to meet the new market demands.

A couple of years ago, I talked about the “Event Cool-ordinator“, someone in charge of coordinating all the social media discussion happening around an event.

Another interesting role is the Hybrid event coordinator, someone like Gerdie Schreuders. This role is a variation of the social media coordinator with more focus on the remote attendees watching via livestream.

A further innovative role is portrayed by graphic recorders or live illustrators. I anticipated the trend of Visual Meetings as a hot one in 2012. I am happy to say I was correct. Lots of cartoonists and artists are invading events digesting all the discussion into visual representations.

This new breed of roles is the bridge between old and new events. In this spirit, allow me introduce you to the concept of IdeaDJs.

What Is the IdeaDJ?

One of the most recurring issues with conferences is death by PowerPoint. A good speaker is not necessarily a good presentation ensembler.

Putting together good slides is a task for experienced presentation and graphic designers. Most of the times speakers are not good designers.

Here is where the IdeaDJ comes in.

Cyriel pointed me to an IdeaDJ’s website that explains really well what they are about:

ideaDJ is a concept where presenters (key notes) are supported visually. By using a second large screen, the audience will experience real-time & spot-on images and movies which support the content of the speech. With their incredibly fast reaction speed, it looks as if the ideaDJs know what the presenter is going to say, while actually everything is mixed in at the moment.

Therefore the IdeaDJ quickly interprets what the speaker is talking about rendering rich media to enrich the fruition of content. Sounds awesome, huh?

Let’s watch it in practice:

When Should You Use It?

While we can all agree this is quite a powerful idea, there are specific situations in which I’d experiment it.

If you have long speaking slots. IdeaDJs can revive long speaking slots. While in fact there is extensive advice online about short speaking gigs, there are few tips on how to make long presentations effective. IdeaDJs can definitely help in this scenario.

If you doubt the presentation skills of some of your speakers. Sometimes you may try a speaker for the first time and you are not entirely confident they will deliver a good slideshow. IdeaDJs can come to the rescue facilitating a more immersive learning experience.

If you don’t know how to handle social media conversations. IdeaDJs are great ‘Event Cool-ordinators”, a skilled IdeaDJ would be able to throw in relevant conversations from Twitter or Facebook with utmost relevancy or to moderate online Q&A.

These are some situations where IdeaDJs can be a solution.

In other cases, I would pass. If, for example, you paid for high profile keynotes, I would avoid using IdeaDJs as there could be some ego hurting.

All in all I see terrific value for attendees, therefore worth exploring.

In Conclusion

Social Media and Tech are brining new challenges but also fresh job opportunities for those willing to get started in the event industry.

New roles are arising. IdeaDJs are surely a game changer for those conferences willing to refresh their experience.

Any thoughts?

© Julius Solaris for , 2013. |
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