It is the Event that matters more than the Location.


I like check-in. It is the restaurants I went that build up my food journey; it is the places we went with friends that build up those mutual beautiful memories. The memories are already in our mind, while, check-in helps us to recall — pull out the memories from the complex neural network.

“Checked in at Nopalito” “ Checked in at Blue Bottle Coffee” (I am smiling…)

Wait…

“Checked in at Google SF”, “Checked in at Yelp”, “Checked in at Salesforce”…

What was I doing there? Probably Design Talks or Hackathons or Startup Weekends or…

Hmm…

My Current Routine and The Frustrations

Find Events

I want to attend some design events or something interesting this week…

I joined tons of product/design groups in Meetup. I have already cleaned up those groups, probably need to do more…

Actually, I will go to Eventbrite first. There are some overlaps in Meetup and Eventbrite. What’s more, if an event requires a ticket to attend, I have to go to Eventbrite eventually. It is also a human nature — the events, especially those require money, look like have higher quality (damn human, always want something better but pay less).

Ok, sometimes, I do go to Meetup. Quickly filter and scan, make sure I won’t miss anything fun. But I rarely go to a group to check the upcoming meetups. Mostly, I use it as a bit complex Eventbrite where I don’t and cannot spend money.

Ok, sometimes, I am browsing on Facebook…

XXX is going to… XXX is going to… XXX is going to…

Wow, looks interesting, I click “joined” — like “Saved” in Eventbrite for me. Honestly, I am not a fan of hunting events on Facebook — a giant social network — I don’t want to make my FB profile too professional. Though, it feels good to see those activities of my friends. I am not sure what others’ experience using this feature (I guess, probably they are hacking some projects on this :).

Buy Tickets

Buying tickets mostly happens in Eventbrite. Sometimes you don’t know how much you need to pay untill you go there. Whether buy it or not, largely depends on whether your estimated value of this event for you >= the dollars + your time.

Check In

In most cases, you have to check in — show your ticket → find your name → get the nametag → stick it somewhere on your body.

I also like checking in for myself — I really want to record the events I have attended. It’s like a learning journey, especially as a young designer in the very early stage of my career.

The best tool to check-in for me is Swarm. Since I have already been struggling by not being able to check in events, I use it only as building up my food and traveling journey.

Networking

I mostly go to an event if I have strong interest in the topic. Definitely, there are always a lot of awesome people to network. Personally, I believe it is more important to improve myself than just say Hi. If I don’t have anything valuable to share, no one will be willing to exchange stories with me.

Often, I go to an event alone. Sometimes, I do want to share my thoughts, sometimes, I do have some confusions. Unfortunately, I still cannot find a good way to do it after the event.

I like this feature — Private Room in Weave a lot. For example, I went to the Product Hunt party, but had to leave early. Fortunately, I still could be able to connect with like-minded people afterwards. Enjoy the learnings in the event, and still can keep in touch after the event, doesn’t it sound good?

What’s wrong with Meetup and Eventbrite?

Meetup — Find your people

Obviously, Meetup is people-focused. Obviously, Group is of higher priority than Events. Tons of groups, tons of duplicated groups, and almost 90% people in those groups are the same. We designers joined almost all design groups, no matter what they are named. You probably also noticed that the same event will appear in several like-minded groups. That’s why I just use Meetup as a complex Eventbrite.

Why not set up some rules? Rules for better quality groups — fewer duplicated groups, limited group members (so frightening to see 2000+ members). There is a magic number in psychology research — 500, if the number of the group members is >500, it will be very hard to organize. While, I do understand that it is just because there are thousands of professionals. Just some food of thought. And I believe Meetup is probably working on something great secretly.

Eventbrite — Find your next experience

I never notice the exact tagline of Meetup and Eventbrite, since they both already have a fantastic name. You see it? Very similar. So, you want to Find your people or your next experience? In psychology research, a key factor of “attractiveness” is similarity, as known — mutual interests. People prefer to find people with mutual interests or similar experience; people with mutual interests or similar experience are more attractive to each other.

Meetup focuses on people, I think they care more about the Connection among people; while, Eventbrite focus on experience, they care more about the People itself.

I really liked the latest design of Eventbrite’ s mobile app, focusing on Events as always, and let users browse by Popular, This Weekend, Friends, and Nearby, works really well for me. It is simple and focused as an event hunting tool. Eventbrite also has a tool for organizer — Neon, check-in along with some data analytics. While, they are just tools.

Imagine if a product is more like your friend, not just a tool. You probably already knew — those poupular smart messaging apps/digital personal assistants/on-demand service etc.

The integrated service is so promising — like Google’s Now on Tap, and that you can just Uber directly from Google Map. Or while you are searching for “the best brunch places in San Francisco”, you can make a reservation directly from the search results. Oh, like Google, Facebook and Pinterest, they are already doing one thing — a buy button.

In short, there are a lot of potential to make the product less a tool more a service/friend — connect people involved in the event better, or something that has much more value beyond. I believe Eventbrite is doing something great as well :)

Talk a little bit about MeerKat and Periscope

MeerKat went crazily popular from SXSW. Then there came Live Streaming. I like both the experience and the design of MeerKat and Periscope. While, I rarely use them. I tried but realized they are just like Vine-like video apps for me. I just wanted more higher-quality content. Maybe I am not the target user. Certainly, lots of design opportunities in this space — connect people in context/events.

Design Opportunities for Event-Focused Service

I finally realized that Design (or almost all of our efforts) is all about “connections” — connect people, connect people inside with ourselves, and connect people outside with others. It’s all about connections, whether you are an extrovert or introvert. We are all alone in this world, meanwhile, we are not. It is the solitude together with the connections that help us find out who we are, and be what we want to be. It is also the mission of life — knowing ourselves and the surroundings, making efforts to be better ourselves, and make the world better.

I wrote down this piece of thought a few weeks ago. Got lots of great insights from those awesome designers, thank y’all! I explored some design opportunities, still very broad though, tons of work need to do if I want to dig further.

1. Something that can make the check-in-events experience better (only for attendees, or for both sides — organizers and attendees).
2. Something that can make the connections between organizers and attendees better.
3. Something that can make the connections among like-minded attendees better.
4. Something that can help professionals exploring and managing professional and high-quality events better.

I do have some more specific and concrete ideas, while am still brainstorming, as well as researching and analyzing those existing solutions. Above are just some of my very personal experience and thoughts.

Do have other crazy thoughts. I’d be more than happy to hear any stories, thoughts, suggestions or even frustrations from you, and learn more from you! Please shoot me a message if you’d like to talk: weizhuxiaona@gmail.com

Thanks for reading, I know it’s pretty long, hope the user experience is not that bad :)