Hacking the Hackathon: A Chat with Jamie Murdock

Thinking about hosting a hackathon at your next conference?

This brainstorming method originally caught on in tech circles, as programmers, coders and others would congregate for a weekend to collaborate and solve complex problems.

Today, hackathons are being embraced by tech and non-tech event organizers, as it’s an outstanding forum where learning, innovation and networking exchanges multiply.

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The VIP Lounge: EDUCAUSE’s Thad Lurie Talks Event Data

For this episode of The VIP Lounge podcast, we caught up with Thad Lurie, Vice President of Operations and Chief Information Officer at EDUCAUSE.

We wanted to learn more about the exciting initiatives he’s spearheading to leverage data insights to know and serve his event stakeholders the experiences they crave most.

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association with a mission to advance higher education through the use of information technology. Thad’s scope of responsibility at EDUCAUSE sweeps wide, as he leads teams tackling marketing, communications, publishing, conferences and IT.

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The CX Manifesto: Are You Designing Event Experiences with a Blindfold On?

customer experiencePost authored by Jeff Fugate, SVP, Strategic Sales & Marketing

There’s been much talk about data, especially in the context of event marketing and experience design, but talk is cheap. It’s time to advance from talking to doing.


Event guest expectations are skyrocketing and their experience palates are growing more sophisticated by the day. Yet many event organizers rely on sketchy data, observations, and even gut hunches to identify the event experiences they believe will satisfy these more discerning audiences.

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Fierce Event Loyalty: Transforming Passive Participants into Loyal Ambassadors

Post authored by Brian Strickland, Director of Sales, Sports & Enthusiast

Let’s start with a multiple choice question: Most people attend your events because…

A. They want to
B. They have to

Are most people choosing your event over countless others because they treasure the wealth of meaningful experiences you’re providing? Are they coming because you provide remarkable experiences that help them learn, grow, imagine, and explore – all while engaging in fascinating conversations with others who can help them?

Or are they choosing the path of least resistance? They’re coming because they need to score some quick CEUs to earn or renew a certification. And once those boxes are checked, they’ll be planning for an early exit. Continue reading

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The VIP Lounge: A Podcast to Catch Event Ideas Anytime, Anywhere

Event professionals have always been on-the-go types, but in today’s fast-paced world, many are moving even faster, as they navigate through a myriad of details to orchestrate remarkable events.

That’s why we launched The VIP Lounge, a podcast designed to help busy event profs catch great ideas, insights and stories from others — anytime, anywhere.

Preparing for a trip? Download an episode to enjoy on your flight. Commuting to work? Catch a few big ideas before your workday begins. Working out at the gym? Feed your mind with a podcast, while you strengthen your body.

You can subscribe to The VIP Lounge podcast via iTunes or Google Play — or hit the play bar below and listen from your desktop.

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Real-Time Attendee Behavioral Data is a Game Changer

behavioral dataTracking the behavioral data of attendees is not a new concept. It’s been an industry topic for quite some time.

However, bringing that idea into the next phase and actually giving planners the ability to make impactful decisions while the show is happening offers a world of possibilities and potential.

Show organizers make a lot of assumptions when trying to determine what will be attractive to attendees or which exhibits will get more traffic than others. Now, these assumptions can be either validated or disproven, replaced by hard data that can remove uncertainty and allow for more educated decision-making.

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EDUCAUSE Harnesses Event Data to Deliver Sensational Experiences

event dataPost authored by Donna Kastner, Event Marketing Specialist.

Every time I have a conversation with Thad Lurie, I get smarter.

Thad’s one savvy association executive who recognizes the perils of complacency and “status quo” thinking, especially in today’s rapidly changing business environment.

As VP of Operations and Chief Information Officer at EDUCAUSE, he leads marketing, communications, publishing, content, conferences, and Information technology (IT), with a core mission to help advance higher education through the better use of technology.

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Hackathons: Where Discovery & Networking Blend Beautifully

hackathonsPost authored by Jamie Murdock, VP, Sales

Per Wikipedia, a “hackathon” is a “sprint-like event in which programmers, designers and others… collaborate intensively to advance projects.”

To make one thing clear, I don’t typically cite Wikipedia for professional references; however, the dictionary definition refers to cyber hacking, and that’s definitely not what we’re talking about today. 

While that type of “hackathon” is designed to tear down, what we are referring to builds up and creates new ideas and opportunities for a brighter future.

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3 Smart Event Activation Ideas to Share with Your Exhibitors

By Gary Schirmacher, SVP Industry Presence & Strategic Development

When it comes to events, we’re studying this rapidly-changing business landscape from two vantage points:

  1. As a solution specialist, helping event organizers design and deliver exceptional experiences;
  2. As an investor, tapping industry events to grow relationships with our clients, as well as prospects who may be seeking help.

It’s interesting to see how often one vantage point feeds the other.

We might spot something smart being done by an exhibitor at an event we’re working and tweak that idea to use in our own booth. On the flip side, we might road-test new activation ideas and share the best ones with our clients, so they can pass these along to their exhibitors.

In 2016, our team pushed the limits on both counts. In this post, we’d like to showcase three ideas that generated meaningful value for us.

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Year In Review: Top Five Posts of 2016

11396380473_2331098a55_oPost authored by Mitch Cooper, Marketing Specialist

As the year that was 2016 comes to a close, many of us will spend a few moments reflecting on the past 365 days. We will think about the good things that happened, the bad times we experienced and how far we have come since the year began.

This year, we’ve been thrilled to host some terrific articles on our Event Industry Blog that have inspired, offered advice and helped event and conference planners to be more successful.

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