Posts by Annie Lowney

Annie Lowney

This Workshop Will Change Your (Event) Life

Last month we hosted a workshop called "Become a Tito Power User". Vicky, our CX Lead, shared her expertise on all things Tito.

This was a test event to see if there is interest out there for something like this. The short story is that there is, but the format needs revision.

Live events for a product are tricky to pull off. You need a engaged community that is willing and able to travel. You also need to be consistently releasing new features.

From my experience working in tech, webinars are a great format to show customers what your product can do. They take the stress of travel out of the equation and, from the organiser's point of view, the overheads are considerably lower.

I'm all for live events. You can't beat the spontaneity of conversation and connection however, when it comes to learning about a product, I believe that most people like to do it in their own time, at their own pace.

Webinars allow them to pause and replay. They also allow the organiser to discover what parts of the product are more attractive to customers, and what parts of the product need to be explained more. All that said, if you are interested in future product webinars you can let us know at the end of this post.

Going back to the event at hand though, here is a summary of everything that Vicky covered at the Tito workshop:

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Annie Lowney

We'd love to have you at our inaugural workshop!

We have a beautiful product that makes organising an event easy. We take a lot of pride in what we do because we care about giving organisers and their attendees a delightful experience.

There is a lot of depth to Tito, in some ways we're a lot like In-N-Out Burger. Bear with me on this. There is so much that you can do with our product, but not everyone knows of all of it's capabilities.

We want to help our customers become power users of Tito; to get the most value out of the Tito tools, and to help make their events successful in any way we can. That's why we have created our first half-day workshop. It will take place on Thursday the 21st of March in Tito HQ in Dublin, and we still have some seats left.

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Annie Lowney

Why WWDC Satellite Events Are Important for Apple and Its Fans

Every year Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) draws 5,000 (mainly) developers to California. It’s so popular that a ticket lottery has been created to facilitate demand after the 2013 edition sold out in two minutes.

Yet, even with what seems like low odds in securing a ticket and the less-than-modest price tag of $1,599 per ticket, neither deter people from making the annual pilgrimage to San Jose. The third-party conferences associated with WWDC are some of the reasons why people still go, but why?

“Not everyone can score a ticket to WWDC, some developers are experienced beyond what much of the sessions provide, and some work in relevant professions that are still adjacent to the community that Apple’s event draws.

"The satellite events help give more meaningful reasons for these people to make the annual pilgrimage to the bay area and help foster additional conversation beyond the walls of McEnery.”

So say Elaine and Jessie (pictured below), founders of Layers, an iOS/Mac design conference.

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Annie Lowney

Event Management Tools I Loved (and Hated) During Admission

I work at a company that likes to try new tools. Tools that promise to make your job easier.

I’ve worked in the tech industry for well over a decade now. During that time I’ve tried a lot of event and marketing software and services. I always tend to revert to pen and paper because it works for me. If that makes me a luddite then you better hide your iPhone because you're liable to see me coming at it with a hammer. For Admission I agreed to try some new and older services for our event management tools. Here’s what I made of them in order of most to least helpful:

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Annie Lowney

Hiring a Speaker 101: How I Curated the Admission Line-Up

When Maria approached me about writing a post on how I secured the speakers for Admission I looked at her blanky, “There’s no way I can get 500 words out of that.”

I thought, how can I write about something that feels very instinctive? We chatted about angles some more, which resulted in this piece. I hope that you get something from it. Feel free to reach out to me if you want me to expand on anything to do with hiring a speaker, or other event management advice.  

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Annie Lowney

Why Admission Downsized (And Why It Was a Good Thing)

Over the past five years or so it’s felt like everything has to be quantifiable to live. If the numbers don’t make sense, then you kill it. If you can’t prove your ROI, then why do you exist?

People whose motives are dictated by numbers and measurements are made uncomfortable by events. Events are expensive. You have to front load a lot of costs (the venue deposit is one example) before you even know whether your event will sell out. Basically, there’s a lot of risk. 

Admission started off with the goal of being a 200 person conference and, when ticket sales didn’t go the way we would’ve liked, we reduced it to 100. Then, when the sales were stubbornly erratic, we changed tack again. We downsized the venue and took the deposit hit.

In hindsight, it was always going to be a big ask to jump to a 200 person conference with our first marketing foray into the US market. In a lot of ways we went against our own ethos which is carefully considered growth. We were aiming for an explosion, and it didn’t work. Which is a good thing, as it allowed us to remember who we are and the brand direction that we want to go in.

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Annie Lowney

The Story Behind Our Conference Design Principles and Practices

We host a community event series called Úr, which is an Irish word for “fresh”.

It kicked off in spring 2018.  From the design point of view the key themes that Dearbhla, our designer, had to work with were “fresh” and “cocktails”. And, with a slick stretch of her imagination, this is the final design that she came up with and which Doc animated.

I mention Úr here to show the way I approach design direction when curating events. I look for key themes; usually the event’s name and the atmosphere I’m trying to create. Before the conference was christened “Admission” I got stuck on using another Irish name. I fell into that trap other organizers will be familiar with: sticking to what worked for the past event, even though the next project is very different.

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Annie Lowney

Why We've Decided to Host a Conference

I remember being with Jane Kwett, now with Patreon, several years ago in New York.

I’d just started a new role in marketing (with a heavy emphasis on events) and Jane was part of the company’s onboarding team. It was snowing and I was wearing a summer jacket. Jane was wearing a puffa jacket because that’s what you should wear in New York in February.

“Why are you wearing that jacket?” Jane ushered me inside to look at a venue.

“I didn’t realise it got this cold here.” Jane looked at me blankly as my eyelashes started to frost over.

“Yeah Annie… it gets real cold here. You’re not in Ireland anymore.”

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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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