A service pack to take the pain out of event organizing

the night before. setting up for Cognitive Cities Conference

Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how to streamline event organizing. There are a lot of tools out there, some of them excellent. Some aspects of the org phase get a lot more love than others, it seems. For example, I’d consider ticketing to be a solved problem thanks to Eventbrite, Amiando and all the others.

Slightly less solved: The other parts, like programming (partly solved, but tougher), content aggregation and follow ups (partially solved by Lanyrd at least for the more web savvy conference crowds).

Largely unaddressed, it seems, is the handling of speakers. So far, as far as I’m aware, this is done these days by a mix of spreadsheets, a flurry of email, and frankly a mix of metaphorical love, spit and duct tape.

In terms of all-around solutions, there’s a quite decent-looking app package on Podio called Conference Management that uses Podio to screen, rate and (potentially?) sign up speakers, run sub events, manage venues and invite people. I’m a big fan of Podio’s flexibility, but never really got into using it on a regular basis.

One thing I think is missing, or maybe I’m just not aware of it, is this:

A software package (probably web plus a set of mobile apps) that

  • gives users a program overview, some hands-on info (like location maps) as well as notification of last-minute changes, and allows for simple spontaneous meetups (“ping – wanna meet now? i’ll be at XYZ.”)
  • gives speakers their most relevant data, like speaker contacts, their presentation time slot and location, their profiles (editable), as well as a channel to communicate with the organizers and contact other speakers
  • gives organizers a way to collect and re-distribute (to the website, etc) speaker profiles, push out last-minute notifications as well as updates to both speakers and audience, and ping speakers that way to update their speaker profiles

All of that, of course, can be synced to your phone for offline use in case you’re roaming or wifi doesn’t work.

Does something like that exist and I just haven’t found it?

Update: It seems like the app behind this mobile site might cover some aspects. Will investigate further!

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