As every month, the Conference Basics Newsletter introduces an event organizer from around the world. The latest edition featured Marcello Merlo, Conference Director of Frontiers of Interaction.
Marcello Merlo is the Conference Director of Frontiers of Interaction (disclaimer: I was Frontiers’ Conference Director in 2010 and am now involved as an advisor), which organizes its main event in Italy in mid-June. He’s quite new in the event business but nonetheless he has rapidly got the hand of it and brought a refreshing new perspective on how to design a remarkable conference experience.
- Name: Marcello Merlo
- Role: Conference Director of all Frontiers’ events, main event: Frontiers of Interaction
- Upcoming event: special one-day evet focusing on Makers in Rome on March 9th, 2012 and Frontiers of Interaction ’12 in June
- Since when are you in the event biz: since March, 2011. I’ve been attending conferences since my early twenties (Ed. he’s in his thirties now)
- Before that?: I’ve spent 8 years in Advertising and Communication serving International clients such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Fiat Automotive, Juventus FC. I’ve also been in Real Estate marketing for 4 years.
- How did you get into this industry: by chance. I’ve known Matteo Penzo -founder of Frontiers- since 2006. We were colleague and became friends, sharing the same passion for technology, innovation and playing silly jokes. He asked me to join the company as Conference Director and didn’t think about it twice.
- Something new you’ll be doing at your next event: improve the social experience of the attendees by creating more networking and relationship building activities. I want people to find business opportunities, share ideas and new friends.
- Biggest challenge for your next event: to establish Frontiers of Interaction among the top 10 Conferences in Europe in terms of attendance and eagerness of speakers and partners to join us. To improve the social experience of attendees by creating more “doing” networking opportunities (playing games, using the unconference format, sharing stuff and maybe even cooking together).
- Past accomplishment you’re most proud of? everyone was surprised when back in 2011 I said it was my first time as a conference director. It means that most of tasks and duties have been well performed/delivered.
- Best networking tool? anything that makes people feel comfortable, easy. Conferences are not school classes where you have to show you have studied, instead they are places to create opportunities, wether they are business or friendship related. Food is always a good starting point for networking.
- An event you admire: PICNIC for its branding and event coordinated image; The Do Lectures for the sense of community and the overall vibe.
- Hobbies: rock music, windsurfing, reading -> My Top 5 songs from 2011 are: God bless America, Joan of Arc ; Wake Up, Arcade Fire ; Blister in the sun, Violent Femmes ; Airstream driver, Gomez ; Heaven, Emily Sande. I’m current reading Let the great world spin by Colum McCann and recommend The Road by Cormac McCarthy
- Contact: @marcellomerlo, marcello@