Finally Foursquare is Adding Events

This feature has been a big request from event organizers to Foursquare: let us create events within a venue! (It’s been a basic feature in other geolocation services like Gowalla). Users have found workarounds which were far from perfect like creating an event as a venue, but some attendees would check-in to the “event-venue” and others to the real venue which, apart from being far from ideal, it also littered Foursquare’s database with temporary gigs that never again would be used.

Now, when you check in to a place with one of those things happening, you’ll be able to check in to the event, too. It’s a great way to include big events and save the shout-typing time, without creating too much clutter in our UI.

It seems that for the time being only a few companies will be able to create events within Foursquare (ESPN for sports events, for movies, and Songkick for concerts), though an update on their blog says that they’re “thinking about venues and users creating events, but want to make sure we do it right.”

For more details on events at Foursquare, read this article on their blog: For when a place is more than just a place, we now have events

Summit Series – A Fun & Altruistic Business Un-Conference

I love to see all these cool events reinventing the conference format to create new business and connections with a touch of fun and altruism Summit Series organizes  invitation-only events “that connects top young minds and inspires a new generation of leaders to succeed in business and in life”. The next edition will take place in April 2011 in the middle of the ocean.

In 2008 Elliot Bisnow, an entrepreneur with several companies to his name, started Summit Series, an “un-conference conference” that would serve as a mutual aid society for young entrepreneurs. It started with 19 people on a ski trip, and has grown to the more than 750 people who attended their latest event in May. Part networking, part TED, part extreme sports, these invitation-only events have become the epicenter of social entrepreneurship.

And along the way, Summit Series had raised over $1.5 million for not-for-profits. Participants include Bill Clinton, Russell Simmons, Sean Parker, Mark Cuban, Ted Turner, and John Legend.

Via Fast Company

An interesting passage from the article

What problem or issue did you first try to answer?

Justin Cohen: How do you create an atmosphere that fosters friendships? Instead of a spectator conference format, we chose a format based on positive shared experiences. Activities like skydiving or paintball fast track friendships–especially when you have a shared experience like a keynote address by Ted Turner to discuss.

[news] Twitter Preparing New Events Feature

Image by Csaba Nagy

It seems that Twitter will be soon giving event organizers and attendees an improved tool to follow and share in real time what’s happening at a conference in a much less invasive than live-streaming or proper live-blogging.

“Twitter will get to a billion members,” Twitter co-founder and recently displaced CEO Evan Williams told the crowd at a San FranciscoINFORUM event yesterday. […] To get there – or at least to aid in getting there – Twitter is planning a new feature called “Events.” Unlike Trends – which track currently popular words, phrases or hashtags (a keyword preceded by the pound sign) – events would track a number of keywords that auto-associate themselves with the event.

“Twitter electrifies events,” Stone explained, describing the need for the feature. “You’re connected to it, in this matrix. You want to be connected to it, if you’re there.”

He also talked about the flip side of events on Twitter – the negatives of people tweeting from an event and how that impacts other users of the service. “If you’re not there, you don’t want to hear about it,” he said.

If your Twitter stream has all of a sudden been bombarded with tweets from an event, then you know the frustration of dealing with live tweeting. If the event doesn’t interest you, the tweets are just noise. The ability to quickly filter out those tweets from your stream would be a feature many Twitter users would rejoice over.

With these ideas in mind – that events are both incredibly popular for those attending and annoyance for those who aren’t there (or aren’t interested) – Twitter is beginning work on the new Events feature.

Via Read Write Web

Event Review: This Happened… Utrecht #7

Logo of This Happened...

The 7th edition of This Happened… Utrecht (web, twitter, hashtag: #thutc, videos, photos) took place on October 4 2010 at the Theater Kikker in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The event was organized by Alexander Zeh, Kars Alfrink and Ianus Keller. The Utrecht edition is a satellite of the event founded in 2007 in London by Chris O’Shea, Joel Gethin Lewis and Andreas Müller.

This Happened is made for interaction designers coming from different backgrounds with the goal of defining what interaction design is, not by giving a straightforward answer but by showing the whole field that is out there, showing how did real hands-on projects/products happen(ed).

According to the organizers, at typical events on interaction design, the speakers talk about the end result/product. To make a difference, they work hard to have speakers presenting the dirty details of the “making of” a project and not so much about the final outcome. They try to make the audience aware about the end results before coming to the event so the speakers can concentrate on the process, from initial sketches to the final presult. According to Kars, “it’s kind of a DVD-extra for an interaction design project”.

This happened is a series of events focusing on the stories behind interaction design. Having ideas is easier than making them happen. We delve into projects that exist today, how their concepts and production process can help inform future work”

Interaction design companies are often too closed off to the outside. We want to encourage people to be more open in their methods and ideas. We aim to have a mix of established practitioners, commercial companies and students. We want to encourage the perspectives from the other side of the fence, so will also be inviting curators and commissioners of work to give presentations” (source:

The format provides each of the four speakers with 10 minutes to present followed by a 10 minute Q&A session with the audience. An interesting tip for conference organizers is that to ensure a good time-keeping, the countdown clock was placed on the stage on a certain way that both the speaker and the audience could see the remaining time (see photo), thus generating social pressure on the presenter to respect his slot. The 10 minute presentations seemed a bit tight, maybe because none of the speakers actually rehearsed enough the delivery of their content in such a time frame.

Alex, Kars and Ianus talk about This Happened, the format, goals and biggest challenge:

I was invited by of one of the organizers and was attracted mainly by the positive word-of-mouth that circulates around the conference, a sort of you-don’t-want-to-miss-this-occasion aura. The experience was very rewarding, with a fresh and enthusiastic feeling and good interaction between those on stage and the rest of the room. The fact that the whole event lasts around two hours and fifteen minutes (with a short intermediate break) makes it a perfect after-work gathering.

Continue reading “Event Review: This Happened… Utrecht #7”

Lift10 – Event Review

On May 5-7 2010 Lift Conference (official hashtag #lift10)  took place at the Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG) in Geneva, Switzerland. Even if there were some ups and downs in the organizational aspects, Lift proved once more that the most relevant factor in a live event are the connections generated between people. As a matter of fact, the tagline for Lift10 was “Connected People” (rephrasing Nokia’s famous claim “connecting people”), emphasizing the human aspect rather than the mere technological one.

Amongst the things that I mostly appreciated at Lift was the big geographical diversity of speakers, whose different provenience was evidenced by the strong inflections of their English accents (tainted with German, Brazilian, South Korean, Swedish, French and Italian).

Frog Design, one of the main partners, carried out an innovative research that aimed to improve future Lift editions by analyzing people’s behavior and proposing a series of action points, some of which were publicly presented at the end of the conference (see below for further details).

This was my first time at a Lift Conference and overall it was a valuable experience. IMHO the program was not well balanced throughout the three days and I found the level and interestingness of the speakers way better in days 2 and 3. Also starting with workshops at the beginning of the day -especially during Day 1- felt kind of awkward, as there was no introductory session by the organizers and for first-comers it was easy to get lost or not sure of what to expect.

As a closing remark, Laurent Haug (blog, twitter) commented that people seem to be more busy than 5 years ago so next year Lift might take place over two days instead of three (I agree that being away for three days during the business week is getting harder, especially when you attend so many events like me).

Lift10 Team on Stage
The Lift Team on stage

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Facebook Launches a New and Simpler Version of Facebook Events

Facebook has launched a new version of Facebook Events, simplifying the process of creating an event to one step.

The most noticeable change is the newly-added ability to create events right from your home page. There is now a box that allows you to type in what you are planning, when it’s taking place, where, and finally who is invited. Facebook’s goal is to dramatically lower the barrier to creating an event, making it a more useful tool for planning impromptu dinners or small trips.

That’s not the only thing that has changed. The “Create an Event” page has also been revamped, with a focus on “What are you planning?” rather than just giving your event a title. At the same time, event creation has been streamlined, but at the cost of a few features. You no longer control whether people can post photos or message to an event’s wall: anyone invited to the event will have that capability be default. There are now just two types of events as well: public events and private events — there is no more open, closed, or secret options.

via: Mashable

Facebook events are also a useful and cheap (=free) way to organize meetups and conferences that do not require an advanced registration system. Given the large number of people registered to Facebook it allows attendees to easily extend the invitation to more [new] people.

[event] New Aging Conference to Deal with Aging, Architecture and Our Future

Matthias Hollwich at Picnic'09

Many of the current western-society’s goals and searches are based in ephemeral values like youth, esthetic beauty, money and status, neglecting an inevitable path that (almost) all of us will walk: aging. Matthias Hollwich, together with the Architectural Department of the University Pennsylvania, has created the New Aging International Conference to deal with the relationship between Aging and Architecture and propose new ways and solutions to face the challenges related to the loss of social and physical abilities associated with aging.

I met Matthias las year during Picnic 2009, where he was one of the featured speakers on Organic Design and I was struck by his straightforward philosophy that respects the users, the influence by nature and social evolution and its holistic approach to finding architectural solutions. He told me that

“Building for the aging population is the next frontier that architects and planners need to take much more seriously. Remember – we are not building for the elderly – we are building for people like you and me, a year or decade or two down the line. So the question is, how do YOU want to live when you are old?!”

Matthias Hollwich is co-founder of HOLLWICHKUSHERN LLC. (HWKN), a New York City based architecture and concept design firm focused on the deployment of targeted research and fast-footed development to create innovative and responsible projects that exist at the intersection of client, user, and nature.


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[news] DLD Explores Womenomics: The Female Decade

The Female DecadeThe DLD team has just launched a new initiative: DLDwomen – The Female Decade. It’s an extension of the annual DLD Conference and “will gather an extraordinary group of over 50 international high profile speakers and 500 opinion-forming participants, both women and men, from the fields of digital, business, design, media, society, health, politics and science.

Focusing on women has been a recurrent theme in the last 10 years, with management guru Tom Peters being one of the strongest -male- advocates on the world-changing role women play in business, society and economics (see more at the end of this post). Unfortunately the topic has been frequently abused (e.g. only male panels discussing about the “new roles” of women, whatever that means) but the good thing is that DLD has the right experience to change this trend.

DLDwomen sheds light on the “Female Decade” and the so-called “womenomics” and is about new opportunities, new markets, the new lifestyle and future developments of women’s role that are being influenced by today’s digital age and social transformation.

DLDwomen will take place on June, 10-11, 2010 in Munich. It’s an invitation-only event organized by Hubert Burda Media and tickets will be available at a price of € 750,00 by April 2010.

Follows a set of slides by the aforementioned Tom Peters on Women Power (this is not connected to DLDWomen but offers some interesting insights):

My Event Wishlist for 2010

calendarThe new year is just a few hours away so it’s time to plan which events I’ll be attending during 2010. The event & conferences is blooming like never before, in a way thanks to the internet that allows us to find people with similar interests and meet physically.

I won’t make it to all the ones I want so if I had to make a short wishlist that would be:

I’m also looking forward to participating in some other events, especially in South America and Asia. Maybe some TEDx, Pecha Kucha or Ignite here and there, a couple of BarCamps (though lately it’s difficult to find really good ones). Meet The Media Guru in Milan always offers amazing speakers.

On the Events Calendar for 2010 you will find some of the most interesting ones around the globe.

What events do you want to attend in 2010?

First TEDx in Italy : Review of TEDxLakeComo


Yesterday evening I participated to the first TEDx event in Italy: TEDxLakeComo. It was organized by Gerolamo Saibene, Francois de Brabant (CEO and President respectively of Between Spa, sponsor of the event ) and Teresa Saibene. The event was supported by Between, the Como division of Politecnico di Milano and Universicomo, with catering provided by Birra Peroni and the collaboration of Peverelli Interior Design.

TEDx is a new program that enables local communities such as schools, businesses, libraries, neighborhoods or just groups of friends to organize, design and host their own independent, TED-like events. (read more)

What to say? In a few words the event’s live sessions were generally interesting and informative but not at all at the level of a TED event.  Why? The presentations were rather descriptive of a static situation (galaxies, Africa, animal DNA & human history, etc) but never discussed an inspiring work-in-progress project that is aiming to change (a part or the whole) world. That’s it! It was an event about information and not about inspiration.

Continue reading “First TEDx in Italy : Review of TEDxLakeComo”