Pathable Acquires The Social Collective

Conference Mobile Event App and Web Sites | PathablePathable, the award-winning provider of social networking services for conferences and events, announced today that it is acquiring The Social Collective, a long-time competitor in the market in a cash-only deal. The terms of deal are not being disclosed, but the move continues a growing consolidation of the event-centric social media segment, following the closure of EventVue in February 2010.

“Pathable has built a very compelling experience for the event organizer, enhancing the attendee networking experience beginning months before the event itself and resulting in a sustaining community after it’s over,” said Pathable CEO Jordan Schwartz. ” The Social Collective has built a great reputation and business, serving world-class clients including Oracle and SXSW. But the needs of events are increasingly complex, and it’s simply better for everyone to have a single, combined effort to meet those core needs while we enhance and extend the existing solution.”

“We’ve always had a great respect for the solution Pathable has delivered to event managers, so we’re very pleased to be able to offer that to our customers today,” said Chris Bucchere, co-founder and CEO of The Social Collective.

We’re proud of the part we’ve played in revolutionizing how event attendees connect, and now consolidating efforts under the Pathable platform will be a boon to our existing customers and those to come.

The acquisition expands Pathable’s reach in the events industry, already firmly placed on the foundation of direct customers as well as reseller relationships with industry heavyweights such as Active Events (www.activeevents.com/), Cvent (www.cvent.com), Omnipress (www.omnipress.com) and Amiando (www.amiando.com) and heralds a trend toward a standardization of the experience.

Schwartz added:

When you’re going to a conference, you don’t want to be thinking about which social networking solution the host has chosen and whether it will be effective at helping you connect with the other attendees. You want that layer to be invisible and effortless. Our offering has always been focused on letting the event and its attendees take the spotlight.

There are over 200 million attendees at conferences, conventions, tradeshows, meetings and events in the US alone, according to the Conventions Industry Council. Social networking is becoming an in increasingly important component of serving them.


Pathable, Inc., a privately held Seattle-based company, was founded in 2008. Since that time, it has served hundreds of events, including those of Microsoft, SAP, GE Healthcare, Meeting Professionals International, and Dell, with a private, branded on-line event communities that allow attendees to connect, schedule meetings, choose their session schedules and visit exhibitors for months around a face-to-face event.

Sound Business Advice from Jerry Garcia

Grateful_Dead_-_Jerry_Garcia
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

Today would have been Jerry Garcia’s 68th birthday. Musically, politically, emotionally and spiritually, he has probably had more of an impact on me than any other human being whom I never knew personally.

As I was perusing YouTube today looking for some footage of him that I hadn’t seen already, I found that he was a pretty sage businessman as well. In his 1982 appearance (with Bob Weir) on The Letterman Show (full video embedded below), David asked him why he allows taping of his live shows when it obviously leads to fewer commercial sales of their official recordings. His response?

The shows are never the same. Ever. And when we’re done with it, they can have it.

Jerry was the not the creative force behind the lyrics of most of the music he played. Of their 420 original songs, only maybe 75 or 80% were truly originals; many others were adaptations of traditional bluegrass, folk or blues songs (in much the same fashion as Led Zeppelin, at least as it pertains to the blues). On the remaining originals, poet/lyricist Robert Hunter wrote the words and Jerry composed the music.

However, Jerry really did have an uncanny efficiency with his words, packing in multiple meanings into short, pithy phrases. In his response to Letterman, he’s really saying (at least) all of the following:

    1. No, it’s not impacting our record sales negatively
    2. The experience of seeing The Dead live is dramatically different each time
    3. I don’t own the music once I have released it from my being; rather, by playing it live, I set it free to be enjoyed by whomever is listening
    4. In many ways, this philosophy actually results in more record sales
    5. No price tag can be assigned to the value of the community of fans that has grown organically around our music and our culture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zFbjus3X18

These lessons are raft with really important business advice, especially since we’re living in the age of social media. In many ways, Facebook, Twitter, et. al. have created communities that are just like the traveling circus of hippies that followed The Dead (and, later, other jam bands like Phish) on their tours, perhaps without as many drugs nor as much free love nor rock’n’roll and certainly a bit more personal hygiene. Okay, so maybe they’re not really that much alike.

But the sense of belonging to something larger than oneself is the same.

How else can account for the explosive growth of Deadheads, the community around Burning Man and social sites like Facebook?

So, in this age of social media and utter disregard for things like “copyright” and End User License Agreements, how can musicians/bands, restaurant owners and other small businesses still manage to make “good bread” (as they called it in the 60s and 70s) in this age of the internet where everyone feels entitled to get nearly everything — music, software, etc. — for free?

The answer lies in Jerry’s response to Letterman.

Give away as much as you can.

Think of the community around your business as a empty field. It needs to be tilled, seeded, watered and fertilized before you can reap the benefits of the harvest. Giving your products away for free is akin to planting your seeds. Engaging with your online community is akin tending to your crops. Selling your products and services is akin to harvesting your fields and selling the goods at the farmer’s market.

But you can’t get to the farmer’s market if you’re not taking good care of your farm.

I’ve heard this argument before. Someone told me once that consultants should take a page out of the professional chef’s playbook (pardon the mixed metaphor). Take for instance, Hawaiian master chef Roy Yamaguchi, the creative force behind Roy’s restaurants. If you buy his cookbook, you will have nearly all of Roy’s recipes, free for you to make at home any time you want. But will you still eat at his restaurant? You betcha!

So what do you think? How does this apply to your business? Can you think of ways that you could give away the goods and still make money? I’d love to hear stories of how you’ve tried this and it has worked for you (or hasn’t), so please leave a comment if you’d like to share.

Where to Find Us at Web 2.0 Expo

Chris Bucchere is attending the Web 2.0 Expo this week, where Crowd Campaign is making its debut as the question suggestion and voting platform for Tim O’Reilly’s interview of Beth Noveck, Deputy CTO of Open Government for President Obama.

On Wednesday the 18th and Thursday the 19th of November, 2009, Crowd Campaign will be exhibiting on the expo floor in Long Tail Pavilion Booth #2. Come by and say hi!

Today, Chris will be attending sessions and keynotes and, as is the case with every good conference, having great hallway conversations with his peers. Clinton Bonner, SVP of Sales and Business Development for Social Collective, Inc., will be joining Chris on Wednesday in NYC.

Crowd Campaign, The Social Contest Builder

(I-Newswire) November 16, 2009 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CC_Glossy_Side2.pdf (1 page)New York, New York – November 16th, 2009 – At Web 2.0 Expo today, Social Collective, Inc., the company behind the hosted social networking and scheduling software that powered SXSW and Oracle OpenWorld, announced the launch of their newest product, Crowd Campaign. Using Crowd Campaign, Twitter users can easily launch cost-effective branded online contests.

With the power of Twitter and the social web, people who enter these contests, vote on entries, or make comments help propagate their viral spread via easy-to-use sharing tools that facilitate posting contest updates to a multitude of different social networking sites.

When setting up a contest, Crowd Campaign offers the ability to customize the contest’s subdomain, upload a logo and background image, write a Terms & Conditions page, set colors and styles, insert Google Analytics tracking code and change all of the contest rules and other marketing copy. Contest winners can be decided by popular vote or by an “expert panel” or some combination of both. Contests can include text entries, photo or video submissions and links to other content such as blog posts or web sites, meaning that Crowd Campaign contests can be used for any type of competition. Crowd Campaign also offers a rich set of entry management tools for removing offensive content, merging duplicate entries and tallying entries, votes and page views. Crowd Campaign offers a free version for contests containing no more than 10 entries and/or 100 votes. To increase these limits, contest managers can pay as little as $95 up to $4,995 for a one-year unlimited-use license.

Crowd Campaign is used by ad agencies, event managers, social media marketers, small business owners, popular authors, independent film makers and musicians – anyone who wants to leverage the power of the social web to build a brand. Any type of contest can be set up in 10-15 minutes, limited only by one’s imagination and federal, state and local laws.

During the private beta period that ended with today’s launch, hundreds of Crowd Campaign sites were created, including these prominent contests:

http://w2e.crowdcampaign.com — Ask Beth Noveck, Deputy CTO of the US Government a Question: Tim O’Reilly will pick from among the top questions and ask Noveck the best one during their Web 2.0 Expo Keynote later this week. The winner will also receive an autographed copy of Noveck’s book, Wiki Government.

http://w2e.crowdcampaign.com — Search for the Best LinkedIn Profile: Mike O’Neil and Lori Ruff will feature the top five vote-getters in O’Neil’s new book, Rock the World with Your Online Presence.

http://expoexpo.crowdcampaign.com — Ask Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan, Rick Calvert, Ann Hamilton and David Rich a Question — the panel moderator will ask the panel the top question at Expo! Expo! in Atlanta in early December. The winner will also receive an autographed copy of Kawasaki’s book, Reality Check.

http://techcocktail.crowdcampaign.com — Enter a DC-area startup company and Frank Gruber and Eric Olson will give the top vote-getter a free Bronze Sponsorhip at the next TECH Cocktail DC event (a $999 value).

http://digitalmarketingmixer.crowdcampaign.com — Suggest an idea for MarketingProfs’ Digital Marketing Mixer: the winner of a random drawing will receive a free registration to MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2010 in Boston, MA (a $695 value).

Mike O’Neil, who launched a Crowd Campaign contest in support of his book, Rock the World with Your Online Presence, said:

“With just weeks from start to finish, we embarked on a partnership with the folks at Crowd Campaign to see how we could find and refine applications for [online contest] technology in social media.”

O’Neil launched a very successful contest centered around finding top LinkedIn profile pages and featuring the winners in his book, which is “something that money can’t buy.” O’Neil remarked on how powerful it was for CrowdCampaign to “create a following around the pop culture image we represent with social media, networking and music.”

About Crowd Campaign

Crowd Campaign is a social tool for building brands. It’s used by ad agencies, event managers, social media marketers – anyone who wants to leverage the power of the social web to build a brand. Easy to customize and manage, you can launch a Twitter-powered contest including a branded promotional site in minutes from your desktop. It’s FREE to get started and there’s no sign up or credit card required. Start a contest today by visiting http://crowdcampaign.com

For more information, contact Clinton Bonner at Social Collective, Inc., [email protected], 860-608-9074

Procrastinators Rejoice: OpenWorld’s Social Schedule Builder is Live!

If you’re attending Oracle OpenWorld and you’ve waited this long to build your event schedule, boy do we have some good news for you!

You can use your existing Oracle Mix credentials to access a brand new social schedule builder powered by our flagship product, The Social Collective.

Of course we did plan to launch this a bit earlier, but due to many factors outside of our control, we ended up launching it the day before the conference. Well, better late than never! Now you can build your schedule in a social context, seeing who in your Mix network is attending each event so that you can make more informed decisions about what content you want to see at OpenWorld.

Your Mix login and password will get you in and there’s no need to re-add anyone to your network — all the work you’ve spent building up your Mix profile and social network will carry right over in our product. In fact, unless you look carefully at the URL, it’s hard to tell that you’re even leaving Oracle Mix.

Many thanks to the peerless (and tireless) Oracle Mix team: Marius, Tim, Hassan and Phil and to Chirag, Eric and other dedicated folks who run the Oracle Single Sign On partner application registration team (among other things) for all their support, help, patience and dedication. We couldn’t have done it without you guys.

Now, if you’re one of the nearly 100,000 people attending Oracle OpenWorld, what are you waiting for? Come on in and get social with your conference schedule . . . you have 24 hours, so get moving!

My Oracle OpenWorld Sessions

I’m going to be speaking in two different Oracle OpenWorld sessions on Sunday. They are OOW-S312303 — Enterprise-Enable Dynamic PHP, Ruby, Python Apps: Oracle WebCenter Interaction and OOW-S312304 — Enterprise Ruby on Rails: Rolling with JRuby on Oracle WebLogic Suite.

Here We Go Again: SXSW 2010

SXSWPanelPicker-lgI know it feels like we just put the wraps on SXSW 2009, but Panel Picker Voting is already live for 2010! This year they’re using the Panel Picker to crowdsource session proposals for all three conferences: Music, Film and Interactive (whereas in the past it has only been used for Interactive).

As you well know, Social Collective, Inc., a company I started to serve the conference industry with better and more social software tools, provided the official social network and schedule builder for SXSW 2009. We’re on tap to provide that service again this year — in fact, the site is already live at my.sxsw.com. We have some exciting new features planned for this year, so stay tuned for announcements on that front as we get closer to the event.

So, even though we’re intimately involved with SXSW, I still have to EARN the privilege of speaking there. 30% of that is decided by YOU, the voters. So, in the name of shameless self-promotion, I must ask you to vote for my proposed talks (if you think they’re worthy):

SXSW Interactive: Developer from Mars Takes on Designer from Venus
Every great project needs a designer and a developer. Yet sometimes working side-by-side can be about as fun as pulling teeth. A veteran developer and a veteran designer use real-world anecdotes to spar on the dynamics that make it challenging for people in these two disciplines to collaborate effectively.

Neo-patronage: Can It Save the Music Industry?
Starting with the idea that all recorded music should be free (as in beer), I will explore the idea that a system of “neo-patronage” — think of the way European artists were commissioned during the Renaissance — can help reinvent the beleaguered music industry to ensure that artists can get fairly compensated in a world where music is free for consumers.

You have until Friday, September 4th at 11:59PM CST to cast your vote. Thanks for your support and see you at SXSW!

The Social Collective to Provide Social Media Software for Experient’s e4 Conference

e4-sphere_bigger.gifToday we are pleased to announce that Experient, Inc., a full-service solution provider for conferences and events, has chosen The Social Collective as the social networking platform for Experient’s 2009 e4 Conference. Here at Social Collective, Inc., we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to help Experient fulfill their brand promise of “delivering the total event experience” by adding a social networking component to their wide range of pre-existing services. These services include everything from scalable registration to a suite of event logistics solutions, and on to amenities that make for much happier attendees and much more profitable exhibitors. Experient has been a trailblazer in the events world since its inception. In their quest to be recognized as a thought leader in the events space, Experient continues to seek out and provide its clients with the best event services in the industry.

The Social Collective is a white-label conference social networking suite and social media aggregator which will serve as the event-centric networking community for Experient’s 2009 e4 Conference. The e4 event is the annual gathering of Experient’s clients and select sponsors. The typical attendee of e4 is an association executive or an event management professional. Each year, Experient chooses an overarching theme that is most relevant to the times the industry is facing. This year’s theme is Networking and the Infusion of Social Media into live events and their surrounding communities.

According to Karen Watson, Director of Strategic Events at Experient:

“Our goal is to simplify the social media experience for our e4 attendees and by using the Social Collective white label platform, we should create more opportunity for interaction before, during and after e4. Our ultimate goal is to create a community for our attendees to connect and interact with their peers year-round.”

At Social Collective, Inc., we’re looking forward to this opportunity to serve Experient and their e4 2009 conference. We’re excited about ushering this vibrant community of attendees and sponsors into a new era of inter-connectivity and social networking. The e4 gathering — taking place between August 2nd and 5th in National Harbor, MD — will showcase how physical meetings are evolving through the use of new technologies and techniques. As a result, the meetings industry can continue to grow by enhancing attendees’, sponsors’, and exhibitors’ experiences leading up to, during, and well after the physical event has taken place.

Visit http://www.experient-inc.com for more on their suite of professional services. Visit http://thesocialcollective.com for more information on how to build a thriving year-round community for your next event or follow The Social Collective on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nowgetsocial.