Posts tagged ‘eventvue’

A few words about EventVue

It’s now been 8 months since we decided to shut down EventVue. One thing that has surprised me is the number of emails I get from people interested in launching similar companies. I usually get one email or phone call a week asking about what I learned and what I would do differently if I were to do it again. I really don’t understand why there is so much interest in this particular space, but I can tell you there are an awful lot of people thinking about building social networks around events. And as far as I can tell from my perspective, the interest is only accelerating. I try to be helpful and am always willing to share what I’ve learned, but since I’m getting asked the same questions over and over again, I figured it’s time I post my answers somewhere I can easily link to.

If you’re thinking about launching an EventVue clone and are wondering if it would be a good idea or not, this post is for you.

Here are some of the top questions I’ve been asked lately regarding EventVue:

What reeeeally happened?

If you haven’t read our EventVue post-mortem, that’s the best place to start. We tried our best to be as transparent as possible in our writing and so it’s disappointing when people call and ask “what really happened”. Sorry to disappoint you, but there really is no back story to be told. No crazy founder drama between Rob and myself. No crazy pressure from our investors. We simply ran out of money before we managed to find a product valuable enough to conference organizers that they would pay us enough to keep us in business.

What was the “nice to have” problem that EventVue waited too long to address?

EventVue was always a vitamin instead of a pain killer.  Conference organizers typically liked our product but none of them said they needed it.  It didn’t make their lives easier, make them more money or cut any of their expenses — it was just “nice to have”

How do you go from being a vitamin to a pain killer?

If you want to solve a conference organizers pain, help them make more money.

There are basically two ways conference organizers make money: ticket sales and sponsorships.  Which revenue stream they care most about depends on where they fall on the spectrum between a conference and a trade show.  Conferences typically have a low number of attendees, a high ticket price and the value of the event is mainly around the attendees.  Conferences care most about ticket sales because that’s where they make their money.  On the other end of the spectrum are tradeshows.  Tradeshows have a large number of attendees, a low ticket price and the focus is on the sponsors / exhibitors.

EventVue experimented with 3 different products. If you did it again, which one would you focus on?

Discover and social promotion tools in general.  Things that are interesting about this angle:

  • Conference organizers are HAPPY to pay hefty affiliate fees (often up to 30%) for any ticket sales that you drive for them.
  • No one has done a good job yet of turning attendees into marketers for an event.
  • Personally, I’m more likely to go to an event if I hear that someone I know is attending.  With Twitter, Facebook, etc, it should be easy to share that info and track affiliate links to show conference organizers which of their marketing efforts (or attendees) are the most effective.
  • Conference organizers are usually willing to discount tickets or give free hotel rooms to attendees who bring a crowd along with them.  Currently there is no good way to track or manage this data.
  • You will have way less friction signing up customers for a promotional tool than for a social network product.

Your post-mortem mentioned that Discover actually ended up losing money for customers. Can you explain why?

One statistic that is true for almost every event: 80% of ticket sales come in during the last 2 weeks.  This meant that showing the list of people attending the event actually had the opposite effect than intended. Instead of seeing their friends that were attending, they saw that no one had registered yet and assumed the event was a dud.

Who are the other players in this space?

Here are a few of the companies you should check out. Please don’t launch something new until you’ve looked at what they offer and have an idea for something new and innovative to bring to the table. The event industry doesn’t need more clones, it needs innovators. And by the way, I’ll let you in on a little secret they won’t tell you — none of these guys are making much money. Some are doing better than others, but none of them are getting rich off this yet.

Who are the event registration companies we should know about?

There are more but these are the ones we ran across the most.

Do you have any other advice for us?

Don’t assume that just because conference attendees want a way to network at events that conference organizers will jump to provide it. Conference attendees who used EventVue loved it! We wrongly assumed that since we were obviously improving the conference experience, organizers would want to pay for it. One of our customers memorably said “If I wanted to improve the conference experience I would buy everyone steak dinners. I don’t care about the conference experience. I care about selling tickets. What can you do to help me do that?”

I started EventVue because I thought it was crazy that people would spend thousand of dollars to fly across the country to attend an event to meet people without having any way of knowing in advance who those people were. Conferences are really just communities of people who are interested in similar things. I believe more today than ever that those communities deserve a place to communicate online. I want every conference I attend to use an EventVue-like product. And while there are some pretty big business challenges to be overcome, I appreciate your courage in wanting to try. For me personally, I want to stay as far away from the event industry as I can. But if after reading this you’re still crazy enough to try yourself, know that I’ll be here cheering you on.


My interview on Mixergy

If you haven’t heard the news yet, Rob and I have decided to shut down EventVue.  As you can probably imagine, it was a incredibly hard decision.  We’ve poured the last three years of our lives into EventVue and it’s tough to say goodbye.

One of the things we wanted to make sure we did was to share some of the lessons we learned.  Our hope is that other entrepreneurs can avoid making the same mistakes we did.  Rob wrote up a good post-mortem on our blog that tells our story in pretty good detail.

On Friday I had the privilege of being interviewed by Andrew Warner on Mixergy.  To be honest, it wasn’t my greatest performance.  I’ve been struggling with a cold and there were a couple times during the interview where I found myself wishing my brain worked faster.  That said, it was a real honor to have been invited on the show and be numbered with the incredible people that Andrew has put together. Speaking of which, if you’re not subscribed to Mixergy, you’re missing out on some fabulous content. Andrew has put together a great set of interviews from countless people I respect like Jimmy Wales, Seth Godin and Paul Graham to name a few.

My interview is about an hour long and is imbedded below.  I hope you’ll check it out:


EventVue is Growing!

One of the coolest things about running your own company is the opportunity to choose the people with whom you work.

I am stoked to announce a new addition to the EventVue team. Today is Kevin Musselman’s first day as EventVue’s first employee. Kevin was pursuing a PhD in Computer Science at Clemson before we talked him into working for us instead. I’m confident that Kevin will add a lot to our company. He’s smart, motivated and really passionate about what we are doing.

It’s going to be fun having a good friend and a fellow tiger working alongside us. Welcome to Boulder Kevin!


We’re funded!

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for a long time!

I’m happy to announce that we have closed our series A round of funding for EventVue. Our angelic investors include Brad Feld, David Cohen, Dave McClure, Wendy Lea and several other incredible people. It’s exciting to have such an amazing group of people join us as we revolutionize the conference industry.

To our investors: Thank you for believing in us. We promise won’t let you down.


A missed connection at TechCrunch 9

Last night Arrington had a humorous post about a missed connection at the TechCrunch 9 party. Rob and I had the same thought the moment we saw it – “If only they had EventVue!”

Missed connections happen all the time. In fact, you usually do not even know about the opportunities you miss. Perhaps someone that represents a valuable opportunity for you is attending the same event. How would you ever know they were going to be there? The way we currently network at events is random, thin, and incomplete.

Think about the last conference you attended. When you arrived, you had no idea who else would be attending with you. You randomly wandered the conference floor, hoping to stumble into someone interesting to you. Afterwards, you have nothing but a huge stack of business cards and your memory to help you follow up.

Arrington’s right. There is a huge need for better networking tool around events. We can’t wait to show you EventVue.


Know any conference organizers?

A lot of people have been asking us what they should expect next from EventVue. After seeing some impressive results from the Community Next conference, we have been working hard to add new features and make our product more scalable. We learned a lot from our Community Next experience. Sure, we made a few mistakes, but we learned from them and we have a better product as a result.

We’re now starting to move into the process of talking to as many conference organizers as we can. We’re hoping to announce several new EventVue-powered conferences within the next month. If you are friends with a conference organizer who we could talk to, please let me know. You can reach me at


IE? Firefox? Safari? Opera?

Your choice. EventVue supports them all!

I’ve found that one of the biggest challenges of building web applications is getting them to work consistently across a diverse set of browsers and operating systems. Every serious website developer has experienced the frustration of opening a site in another browser only to find that nothing works anymore.

In spite of the challenges, I believe it is important to give your users a positive experience no matter which browser they choose to use. Last week we reached our goal of supporting all major modern browsers.

I’m proud to announce that EventVue now supports:

  • IE 6/7
  • Firefox 1.5/2.0
  • Safari 2/3
  • Opera 9

I hope this post will provide encouragement to those of you who are currently caught in the cross-fire between the browser wars. Building a cross-browser web application isn’t easy – but it can be done. Keep up the fight! You can do it!


Will anyone really use EventVue?

Last week EventVue launched an exclusive beta version of our product for the Community Next conference. Since then we’ve seen dozens of attendees sign in, create profiles and send messages to each other via our community.

We’ve been watching the usage statistics like hawks. These numbers are important to us, since they are an indicator of how much people value our product. We can get a good idea of how much benefit people are receiving from EventVue by the amount of time they spend on our site and how often they come back.

Since launching the community for Community Next:

  • EventVue users have racked up over 4,500 pageviews
  • the average EventVue user stays for 8.5 minutes
  • the average EventVue user views 14 pages per visit
  • 31% of EventVue users have returned 3 or more times
  • 19% of EventVue users have returned 9 or more times

To put those numbers into perspective, that’s a total of over 47 hours that have been invested by the Community Next attendees to prepare themselves for the conference!

We no longer need to wonder if anyone will use EventVue – they already are!


Want a sneak peak at EventVue?

We are not going to have a public launch of our product until the end of this summer. The good news is that our friends, advisers and loyal blog readers will be offered sneak previews long before then. If you want to be in on the fun, just go to our shiny new website and give us your email address. We’d love to keep you up to date on what’s happening here at EventVue.

The first 100 people to sign up get a free cookie!