Maria Keenan

Diversifying Events Without Tokenism: 3 Companies That Get it Right

In Europe only 14% of investment goes to female-led startups.

There have been strides toward changing that figure, and many others including attempts to change the ratio of women employed in tech (which currently sits around 30% of the workforce) in the name of diversifying the event space even beyond that niche.

However, as the aim to empower women (and other minorities, of course) was discovered to be a hot (often profitable) topic, the sentiment has been somewhat forgotten, while the attempts at proving diversity, not matter how shallow, remain. 

In fact, a woman we interviewed for this very blog is now listed as one of the top crypto and blockchain influencers in the space... because she joined a LinkedIn group 10+ years ago on the same topic. In reality, she's an actor-come-developer evangelist, so you can imagine she wasn't exactly thrilled to get an inbox full of misappropriated outreach, and even less so to hear about the lazy "diversity journalism" that lead to it. 

Hope is not lost, though. Events are a vehicle for discussion, improvement, and real-time representation. While there are of course some that get it wrong, let's take a look at three organisations that are diversifying events the right way:

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Maria Keenan

Meet the Team Saving Public Speakers Hours on Admin

74% of people are afraid of public speaking, but it seems the events industry hasn't done much in recent times to help those that fear it, nor those whose professional careers are spent doing it. 

Albeit, a lot of professional public speakers and organisers have shared their experiences in writing, but that alone isn't a full solution for the administrative and anxious issues affecting people in events. 

Voxgig is a startup that aims to make up for our previous failures in enabling speakers. They're taking this on by first understanding what those speakers need. I caught up with their CEO, Richard Roger to see whether or not that commitment was all talk, if you'll excuse the wordplay:

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Maria Keenan

The History of (and 3 Events for) Geeks

It seems that the interest in finding information about geeks is at an all-time low:

Source: Google Trends

For literal centuries, geeks were been shunned, and being associated with that label has been shameful:

Source: Google Etymology

In fact, the 1975 edition of the American Heritage Dictionary, gave only one definition: "Geek [noun, slang]. A carnival performer whose act usually consists of biting the head off a live chicken or snake."

Perhaps our modern acceptance, lack of Googling, and reclamation of the word is down to the fact that geeks have provided us with such delights as the internet, vaccines, and the ability to watch on-demand videos of dogs getting stuck in things.

But one element that's certainly helped to normalise the concept of being a geek or a dweeb or a nerd, or anything else you want to call it is our ability to get together and show all the wonderful ideas that come from being knowledgable and excited about different things. And events have been a big part of that. 

Events for geeks are thriving, and have been for at least the last decade, to the point where using the term is how a lot of those events brand themselves nowadays. Below are some fine examples that showcase how truly chic it is to be geek:

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Maria Keenan

Two 5-Minute Ways to Decide if Event Technology Fits Your Needs

Functionality is a big word.

The fact of the matter is, it can be nearly impossible to get the truth about whether or not a piece of event technology will work for your needs, and if it'll have the features that you want.

In a previous life, I've been the person on sales calls who was taught to steer the conversation away from talking about specific features in the pursuit of "qualifying the customer better" which is essentially Sales Code for "getting dirt you can pull them up on when it comes time for them to push back."

And it sucks. As a customer, that sucks.

In that scenario a) the seller is usually being condescending and assuming that you've never bought anything in your life and b) you've probably done your research ahead of time, meaning that you just want the person on the other end of the phone to answer the damn question, because you get the gist. 

The thing is that we, as purchasers, have a lot to choose from when it comes to our event stack. Not only are there multiple companies that make the same kind of solution, but so too are there multiple different solutions you'll potentially need to consider in order to pull off the event you're envisioning.

Thankfully, we've had over a decade of being able to use the internet effectively to dig up info on previous customers' experiences with the software we're considering. That said, that too can lead to information overload.

Off the back of that, here are two quick resources to help you make faster, more informed choices when it's decision time and you need to commit to an event technology vendor:

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Maria Keenan

3 Ways Events Are Making Tech More Accessible

There's been a lot of criticism across the industry, either saying that tech is falling short when it comes to helping under-represented minorities, or that inequalities have persisted long after they've been called out as being unacceptable.

Though these may be small events, I wanted to share some reassurance this week by showing you three examples which prove that events are making tech more accessible, one community at a time:

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Annie Lowney

Overheard at the World's Most Disappointing Conference

- How was the conference?
- Do you really want to know?

- That bad, huh?
- My cortisol levels peaked in the queue* to register, and don’t get me started on the toilet queue.
- It was that long?
- It had the parameters of a small country with lots of hostile locals.
- Urgh.
- Then there was the swag bag… glossy sales brochures that everyone dumped in front of the sign that said, “We are a sustainable conference”.

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