Innovation And Eating Your Own Dog Food

Event Tech Brief

Innovation And Eating Your Own Dog Food



By Michelle Bruno

Sometimes, necessity is the mother of invention. When Allie Magyar pulled an all-nighter “running from floor to floor, changing and updating content” for a big Microsoft event a few years ago, it was a transformational moment for her. Instead of just accepting the status quo for managing abstracts, and speaker and sponsor content, Magyar helped develop a technology solution to automate the process. Several years later, she took it to market.

“Working in the high-tech industry is all about innovation and eating your own dog food,” Magyar says. So, when her team at Portland-based event planning firm, Dynamic Events, built its cloud-based content management platform in 2012, they used it internally first “to streamline our own work, have some time to look at the analytics, and uplevel our ability to be a strategic player,” she explains. In late 2014, Hubb, which is co-located with Dynamic, emerged as a separate company. Magyar serves as president of both firms.

Lessons from the bleeding edge

Of course, having Microsoft as a client (Magyar is still the meeting manager for the Microsoft Ignite conference, the largest gathering of Microsoft IT professionals) has enabled Magyar to see innovation from a privileged perspective. “We have access to a lot of experts to plan out our [Hubb] roadmap,” she says. Hubb is also hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform—a structure that allows it to license the solution to clients on an annual basis, scaling it up or down based on the number of speakers and sponsors the meeting has.

Working with technology companies has also informed Hubb’s approach to integration; Interoperability is commonplace in the tech world. The company recently announced a partnership with the Abila Marketplace to offer its software to Abila's 8,000 member organizations and nonprofits. “Meeting planners should have the option to be able to choose which technology fits their business. In some cases, that might be an all-in-one solution. In other cases, it can be several best-in-breed partners,” Magyar says.

Getting way more with way less

Not all meeting planners approach a problem the same way Magyar did. Most prefer to just accept the “do more with less,” mandate as meaning more man-hours and less productivity. “Our industry works a lot with emails and spreadsheets. We formed Hubb to bring all of the best practices, automation, and task management to planners who are just so buried in work, they don’t have time or are too intimidated by technology to find another solution,” Magyar explains.

Besides automating the tasks and workflows that exist around event content and saving time for busy planners, Hubb also helps event producers market their meetings more effectively. According to Meeting Professionals International, sixty-six percent of attendees make a decision to attend a conference because of the content. Hubb, says the firm’s president, helps planners “get the content out faster so it can drive registration.”

Back away from the bowl

Having produced over 100 large technology conferences for Fortune 100 companies, Magyar has had a front-row seat for how technology has transformed other industries. She sees the opportunity for meeting professionals and helping planners understand how automation, analytics, and visibility can “give them a seat at the table” has become one of her personal passions. But, because few of them will be in the position she’s in as an event planner and an event-technology provider, she’ll be eating the dog food for them.

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