Victoria Schramm, Director of Special Events for UP Global has planned and produced 40+ events for over 16,000 attendees worldwide. These include global, regional, and team summits, as well as high-profile events at Startup Oasis for SXSW and at Eureka Park for CES. Victoria, or V as she is known, recently shared how she puts the “special” in special events.
1. Establish a Central Hub
Select a home-base. This can be as simple as a lounge or lobby or as broad as a city block—a central place where everyone can easily congregate. This is where attendees can gather before, after, or in-between programming for some downtime and discussion. This is where conversations happen and relationships are formed. If you think about the events you’ve attended, often times the conversations you’ve had and the people you’ve met are just as important as the content or guest speakers you enjoyed.
Tip: Set up an additional private place for your organizing team to congregate. A safe haven allows them to review run-of-show plans, troubleshoot issues, catch up on communications, and to simply recharge.
2. Don’t Overprogram
When you run so many sessions that attendees don’t get any free time, many people lose the ability to form relationships and continue conversations they might have begun during programming. For example, when you’re doing a fireside chat that is informative and thought-provoking, you’re going to want to give attendees an hour at some point in the day (it doesn’t have to be right away). By scheduling an hour+ of unscheduled time you allow attendees to decompress from the content, to discuss it, and to continue conversations sparked during that session.
3. Make It Fun
Like gaps in programming, fun is another element to incorporate in your planning. You’ll want to ensure attendees have some fun time that is both lightly orchestrated and clearly delineated from content. These shared experiences are where people come together to get to know each other as well as the community they are in. For example when V organized an event in Iowa, she hosted a barn party. This included everything from renting the barn, having roasted pig, providing Iowa bourbon, etc. This time allows attendees to truly experience the community, to hang out and have fun. Other examples of programming shared fun are: scavenger hunts, indoor skydiving, museum visits, and geocaching. It helps to do some research ahead of time and to engage local experts in planning the fun so there are elements of local discovery and celebration built into these unique experiences.
4. Get to Know Your Attendees Before They Arrive
Set up calls with a handful of attendees representing a diverse cross-section of program interests, age, and geography. Get their input on event expectations, content interests, points of value, feedback on previous events, even cool stuff they’ve seen elsewhere. Do your homework so you can create something they will find valuable. Once in registration questions: V asked “let us know if you have an suggestions or ideas for this summit” One respondent said she loved all the Coke products, but really preferred Diet Dr. Pepper. V took note of that and in prep for the event procured some Diet Dr. Pepper and supplied it through the event. Those little things make a difference.
5. Surprise and Delight
The details really do matter. The little things can make the difference between a good event and a great one. Things like sliding a custom reminder notes under doors at night for the next day’s activities as V did at the UP Summit in Las Vegas, or sourcing goody bags and leaving them on the on guests’ beds each night. Those things make such a difference and really change the atmosphere of an event.
Here’s what to expect and how you can get involved:
Oasis Startup Party:
This year, we’re offering up one of our most-coveted party slots to the community we love the most, startups! Most startups can’t afford prime time party slots during SXSWi. So we’re breaking it up – we’ll split the cost of the bar 10 ways and each startup will get free drink tickets, a place to setup banners, swag, and more, and an awesome party atmosphere in prime-time realty. Calling all startups! This is your chance to impress investors, customers, and friends. If you’re interested in being a part of this party – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Happy Hours:
Happy Hours galore from some of the best places in the US! Iowa, Colorado, Dallas, and other startup communities will be hosting happy hours and showing you what they’re all about. All are welcome – please register online!
Come on by, on March 14, 15 and 16, Startup Oasis will be a collaborative and chill lounge thanks to Turnstone Furniture who are turning the bar into a relaxing escape from the craziness of SXSW. Come by, order a snack, have a drink, take a nap, or enjoy the people watching from our 6th street patio.
We will be announcing our full schedule on Monday, February 23 so tune in and we’ll see you on 6th Street!
¿Estás listo para vivir un fin de semana de emprendimiento? Te presentamos Startup Oasis, iniciativa que se llevará a cabo durante INCmty, los días 8, 9 y 10 de Noviembre del 2014.
Sábado 8 de Noviembre:
10:00 am – 12:00 pm | Startup Grind, Meet the money: Inversionistas hablando con fundadores
Los emprendedores hablaran, conocerán y recibirán feedback de los fondos más importantes de la región así como con algunas las aceleradoras con mayor impacto en el mundo.
12:15 pm – 1:30pm | Startup Grind, Meet the experts: Empresarios hablando con fundadores
Tendremos a 2 de los empresarios más importantes de México, fundadores de Startups exitosas y medios de prensa nacionales e internacionales.
1:45 pm – 2:30 pm | Entrevista a Osvaldo Ayala
Community Leader de UP Latam en Monterrey y Facilitador Global de Startup Weekend. Ven a conocer la inspiradora historia de Osvaldo Ayala, de Monterrey, quien nos hablará de su historia como Organizador de Startup Weekend, así como su evolución tras haber liderado varias iniciativas en su comunidad local.
2:45pm – 4:00 pm | Pitch practice!
¿Tendrás un pitch en INCmty frente a inversionistas, o bien participarás en alguna competencia de pitching? Ven a practicar tu pitch a Startup Oasis frente a otros emprendedores. ¡Libérate de los nervios y de paso, ayuda a que otros emprendedores conozcan tu startup, además de conocer un pitch profesional para levantar capital!
¡Regístrate en este link para asegurar tu lugar, hay pocos espacios disponibles!
4:00pm – 5:00pm | Presentación de One Community
Google y UP Latam se unen para lanzar una estrategia única llamada One Community, cuyo objetivo es la integración de las Comunidades de Google con la Comunidad de Líderes de UP Latam con la finalidad de generar casos de estudio que permitan determinar las acciones necesarias para generar colaboración entre grupos de diferentes perfiles en el fortalecimiento de sus ecosistemas de startups a nivel local.
Por medio de ésta, ambas Organizaciones buscan generar una serie de resultados que desencadenen una serie de actividades provenientes de los actores clave de estas congregaciones, mismas que estén vinculadas con la generación y robustecimiento de América Latina.
¡Ven y conoce todos los detalles de esta iniciativa de UP Latam y Google y ayúdanos a llevar One Community a más ciudades!
5:15pm – 6:00pm | Mesa de discusión: Las ideas no valen nada
Hay muchos mitos alrededor de las ideas… Nosotros creemos que las ideas no valen nada. ¿Quieres saber por qué? No te pierdas esta conversación con personalidades del mundo de startups de México.
Pablo Salazar, Director General, Naranya Ventures
Pablo Lascurain, Director de Startup Grind para Latinoamérica
Gustavo Alvarez, Director de UP Latam
6:15pm – 7:00pm | Entrevista a Tavo Zambrano, co-founder de Se me antoja y de Skydrop
Ven y conoce la historia de este emprendedor de Tamaulipas. Conoce todos los detalles acerca de cómo decidió ser emprendedor y cuáles fueron los retos que enfrentó, antes de vender su primera empresa, Se me antoja.
Domingo 9 de Noviembre:
10:45 am – 12:00pm | Dinámica: Speed-dating, Conoce a tu próximo co-founder
Conoce a tu próximo co-fundador y únete a este ecosistema a través de esta dinámica en la que tendrás la oportunidad de hablar con agentes de cambio dentro de México.
12:15pm – 1:30pm | Unconference: Herramientas para hacer llegar Startups a otro nivel (Growth Hack)
Te daremos herramientas que podrás utilizar dentro de tu startup para hacerla crecer a otro nivel y llegar al punto de equilibrio en un tiempo menor. Acompáñanos y llénate de ideas y energía.
1:45pm – 2:30pm | Mesa de discusión: Las comunidades necesitan espacio de encuentro: Co-working spaces
¿Alguna vez has escuchado el término Co-working? Conoce más acerca de estos espacios compartidos, su función, los diferentes modelos que existen y por supuesto, su importancia en las comunidades de emprendimiento.
Andrea Yriberry, Co-founder de María y María y de Impact HUB Monterrey
Jorge Luis Camargo, Co-founder de eCareSoft Inc. y El Cowork, Monterrey
Esme Castellanos, Co-founder de Guayaba Co-working en Cuernavaca
Paco Solsona, Google Developer Relations Manager para Latino América
Andrés Hernández, Regional Manager Latam de UP Global
4:15pm – 6:15pm | Dinámica: Bootcamp, ¿Qué diablos es un Producto mínimo viable y cómo se construye?
¿Cuántas veces te ha pasado que intentas convertir una idea en producto o realidad? Durante esta dinámica tendrás la oportunidad de conocer qué es un producto mínimo viable y cómo construirlo para materializar tus ideas. ¡Regístrate en este link para la dinámica y prepárate para crear tu MVP!
Para más información de esta iniciativa, visita incmty.com
Mashable published a list of 38 SXSW panels to attended this year. Because, you can’t be everywhere at once, here are the 15 panels geared towards entrepreneurship and business.
Also, check out UP Global’s programming at Startup Oasis – Launch, Meet, Eat, Pitch, Party.
Friday, March 7
The Next Steve Jobs May Be From Africa
When: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Who: Claude Migisha Kalisa, Fred Mweetwa, Gertjan van Stam, Jessica Colaco
Where: ACC 9ABC
Why: It isn’t often that we get to learn about and see tech innovations in Africa — and yet some of the very best mobile payment systems are already in use there. During this session, we hope to learn some new perspectives on mobile banking, e-commerce, mobile education and more.
Your Founder Is Your Product Manager
When: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Who: Alicia Dixon, Jason Shah, Paul Young, Teresa Torres
Where: Hilton Garden Inn Red River
Why: This is a terrific group of people who will share their views on startup evolution and how to transition the product management role from the founder to the first product manager.
A Fearless Approach to Social Change
When: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Who: Jean Case, Ahmed Shihab-Eldin
Where: Hilton Salon H
Why: Case is a dynamic speaker, and she’ll talk about her experience leading social change. It’s also a good opportunity to learn about unlikely partnerships and creative collaborations.
Saturday, March 8
Breaking the Mold: How to Thrive When Allies Turn
When: 9:30 a.m – 10:30 a.m.
Who: Jehmu Greene, Joanne Bamberger and Sally Kohn
Where: ACC 10AB
Why: All three of the women on this panel have faced a tremendous amount of social backlash for challenging viewpoints contrary to their own. Listen to their stories about how to be an agent of change while even allies are turning against you, and especially as that plays out in digital media. All three are great speakers.
Media and the Personal Brand
When: 12:30 p. m – 1:30 p.m.
Who: Bill Simmons, Nate Silver
Where: ACC Ballroom D
Why: Simmons and Silver will talk about how independent voices are shaping our digital media landscape. They’re both brilliant — come with questions.
The Original Gangsters of Crowdfunding
When: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Who: Katherine Woo, Katie Bisbee, Kevin Conroy, Paull Young
Where: Austin Convention Center 9ABC
Why: This session will bring you back to the roots of crowdfunding with the folks who have been doing it the longest. Learn why they were successful then and how they’ve stayed in the game as crowdfunding went mainstream.
Always Be Testing: Detecting Novelty in A/B Tests
When: 3:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Who: Amelia Showalter
Where: AT&T Conference Center Classroom 102
Why: The former director of digital analytics from President Obama’s re-election campaign is going to show how her team tested email, web and ad campaigns, and how they used those lessons to learn and adapt quickly. The workshop is a smart choice for anyone involved with digital content, audience engagement or email newsletters. Showalter is a spectacular speaker and a wonderful mentor.
Sunday, March 9
A Cloud of One’s Own
When: 11 a.m. – Noon
Who: Dave Sanford, Jeff Kramer
Where: Sheraton Austin Capitol View North
Why: You’ve undoubtedly heard a lot about the cloud, but this session promises to delve into the special needs and opportunities presented by emerging personal clouds. This should be an active discussion session rather than a traditional PowerPoint presentation, which means it’s a fantastic opportunity to get expert answers to all your questions.
Everyone’s a Curator — Do Museums Still Matter?
When: 11 a.m. – Noon
Who: Jennifer Yin, Kathryn Jaller, Sarah Bailey Hogarty, Willa Koerner
Where: Omni Downtown Longhorn
Why: These days, everyone’s a curator. Learn about how technology can be leveraged to curate, and what the future holds for museums. If you see the parallels between online storytelling and art curation, this should be fascinating. This is a fantastic opportunity to ask Koerner about how the SFMOMA has continued to attract an audience and cultivate its community while it’s shut down for renovations. There are lessons here for anyone hoping to build a relationship with their audiences.
Hacking Princess Culture: Girls, Games, & Science
When: 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Who: Jennifer Oxley, Lindsey Shepard, Sara DeWitt
Where: Long Center Dell Hall
Why: With so much focus on how professional women can lean in and crack the glass ceiling, this session looks at changing the future for women by starting with girls. If you saw GoldieBlox’s Super Bowl commercial and got excited, this is a good pick for you.
I Measure Every Single Thing My Kid Does
When: 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Who: Amy Webb (Webbmedia Group and Spark Camp)
Where: ACC Ballroom F
Why: Last year, Webb explained how she used data and analytics to hack online dating and meet her husband. This year, she’s back to explain her data-driven approach to parenting. Even if you’re not a parent yourself, you’ll learn how to apply the techniques of Big Data to everyday life, your startups and more.
Monday, March 10
If Content Is King, Who Is Sheriff?
When: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Who: Gail Marie, Kristina Eastham, Mike Schmidth, Robert Hernandez
Where: Austin Convention Center, Room 12AB
Why: More content doesn’t always mean better, especially online. Who is the gatekeeper for digital content, who helps readers decide what to trust and who sets the ethical standards? Hernandez is a great speaker with a deep background in journalism.
When: 11 a.m. – Noon
Who: Joseph Medwid, Kevin McMillin
Where: Four Seasons Ballroom
Why: We’re always excited to hear from NASA, but this session in particular will talk about the particular needs of user experience design for very specific purposes. What if your system is only for five users? What if you don’t really need to scale your experience? There should be many lessons learned that you can apply across industries..
Platforms vs. Publishers: A Big New Theory
When: 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Who: Zach Seward
Where: Driskill Hotel Maximilian
Why: Zach Seward posits that a big decision for media brands is where they choose to settle on a spectrum between publisher and platform. It might feel a little meta, but should be a good discussion for anyone who wants people to read, share and pay for their content. Zach is brilliant and generous — even if this topic itself isn’t of interest, go to hear Zach’s perspective, which will undoubtedly broaden yours.
Do Algorithms Dream of Viral Content?
When: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Who: David Carr, Eli Pariser
Where: Austin Convention Center Ballroom D
Why: Where Old Media meets New: a New York Times media reporter/columnist and the CEO of Upworthy talk viral content and the role of algorithms. This should be a great discussion.
This weekend, the UP Global team will be in Austin, TX at Startup Oasis! Along with celebrating the launches of some exciting companies, providing awesome mentors for Office Hours, and throwing a few can’t-miss parties, lunches, and happy hours… we’ll be hosting two pitch competitions on Friday and Sunday.
If you’re headed to Austin this weekend, make sure not to miss Startup Oasis!
Friday’s Judges (click photo for full profile):