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Episode 87 / February 5, 2024

Aligning event technology, design, and experience with Google’s Ryan Howard

Meet Google’s Ryan Howard and hear him explore the integration of technology in event spaces, highlighting the importance of aligning tech with event objectives and the challenges of designing for diverse event experiences.

Join Event Experience host Rachel Moore as she invites Ryan Howard, Senior Technical Program Manager at Google, to delve into the integration of technology in event space design. Howard has more than 30 years of experience in engineering and technology, and his role at Google involves leading the technological strategy for the giant’s global event spaces, supporting various business units, and driving the company’s tech-forward approach to events. 

Howard also co-leads the Google Experience Institute (XI), a hub for exploring the future of event experiences. He discusses the challenges and opportunities in designing technology for Google’s diverse event spaces, ranging from executive briefing centers to sales-focused environments. He stresses the importance of aligning technology design to ensure tech enhances rather than detracts from the human experience. 

Tune in to this conversation to hear about the following:

  • The crucial role of technology in shaping the success and innovation of events at Google 
  • The importance of aligning technological solutions with the specific objectives and audience needs of each event
  • Insights into Google’s ongoing projects and initiatives in experience design, responsive environment design, and neurodivergent inclusion

Mentioned in This Episode

Transcript

[00:00:09] Rachel Moore: Welcome to Event Experience by Bizzabo, the podcast where we bring the best and brightest Event Experience Leaders together to share stories, tips, and lessons learned from creating some of the world’s biggest events.

I’m Rachel Moore, your podcast host. 

This is the episode where we “Google it” by welcoming Ryan Howard, Senior Technical Program Manager at (you guessed it) Google. Ryan and his team manage the integration of technology into physical event spaces, ensuring both attendees and stakeholders are satisfied with the technological support provided for the experience.

For someone who works primarily in technology and specs, Ryan definitely brings his creative side to work as well, and we’re about to find out how it all combines to create Google’s very best Event Experiences.

[00:01:13] Rachel Moore: Get out your tool belts, everybody. We’re speaking with someone who has over 30 years of experience in engineering and technology innovation.

[00:01:20] Senior design engineer, experiential technology design, vice president of technology for Goldman Sachs. That’s always a nice thing to have on your resume. And today even better he is the Senior technical program manager for Google. Ryan Howard, I am really happy to welcome you to Event Experience by Bizzabo. Thank you for joining me across microphones today.

[00:01:43] Ryan Howard: Thanks. Yeah, thanks for having me.

[00:01:44] Rachel Moore: Of course. My listeners are always used to me going through someone’s LinkedIn profile and telling you a little bit about their experience that just really scratches the surface of what you actually do at Google.

[00:01:54] So, I wanna toss it over to you and if you could share with us what exactly your scope of your role is. What do you do at Google in your role as senior technical program manager?

[00:02:04] Ryan Howard: Yeah, that title’s about as informative as VP at Goldman is because of all the people at Goldman, half are VPs. It’s the middle. It’s kind of the same thing. So really what I do is I lead the tech strategy for our event spaces globally. We have many more than 50, less than a hundred let’s say.

[00:02:25] And these are pretty advanced spaces that have technical operations teams and they host all kinds of events for our business units. It’s a really key part of how we go to market to our customers. And so I work across BAs which is our term for BUs, business units. And, help define what it is we need to be building, what capabilities we should provide, and how we keep all that going and make it more and more effective and efficient.

[00:02:50] And then I also am a co-lead at Google Experience Institute, which is a thought leadership forum we have with internal and external partners. And we do a lot of research and development and exploit the future of event experiences.

[00:03:04] Rachel Moore: We have actually covered Google XI on this podcast.

[00:03:06] I think just last year we had Naomi Crelli n, and she was, sharing about partnership with Google XI at IMEX Frankfurt.

[00:03:15] So that was super interesting. So really keen to learn there’s, another aspect to that in someone who’s had hands in that. 

[00:03:21] We’re gonna get into some get to know you questions. We always like to ask these of our guests so we can, find the human behind who we’re talking to here. Can you name an item that you forgot for a work event that caused you a little bit of panic?

[00:03:35] Ryan Howard: When I was at my previous employer and I was doing a lot of work on a project in London. I got into the customs line. I was like, why is my backpack so light? I realized I left my laptop, my company laptop at the office, so then I had to decide what to do and I realized I’m gonna go back in a month, so I’ll just, I’ll live without it for a month. 

[00:03:59] Rachel Moore: Oh, wow. How’d that go? Did you live without it fine? 

[00:04:01] Ryan Howard: I did, I survived like the way that, luckily, the way that place worked, I could deal with it, but I did have a real strong moment of panic.

[00:04:09] Rachel Moore: Yeah. Understandably that we’ve all been there. Is there anything that you’re listening to, watching or reading these days that you can’t put down? 

[00:04:16] Ryan Howard: I’m like looking for the next one. I like to read for escapism. I listen to a lot of music. I watch TV shows and certainly binge stuff, but I think I just finished the whole Slough House series by Mick Herron, was, a lot of fun to read and easy to escape into.

[00:04:32] And I get stuck on one author. I like their style or the world that they build, and I just want to keep going there and so that was probably the biggest one. I also get obsessed occasionally with a particular new album or artist I discover and get stuck on that for six weeks.

[00:04:48] But I’m a little between people at the moment.

[00:04:50] Rachel Moore: Gotcha. I will recommend we ask every one of our guests this, there’s a whole long list. We should actually put that together at Bizzabo. What are all of our podcast guests recommending for podcast listening, for binging, watching, and for reading and stuff like that. Is there a particular social post or piece of media or a hot take about events maybe that you found interesting?

[00:05:11] Ryan Howard: I have to say I spend most of my time with my head in the sand. Around social media and the event stuff. I probably have been on far more podcasts than I’ve ever listened to, and that’s low single digits that I’ve been on. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t really… 

[00:05:28] Rachel Moore: You don’t imbibe? 

[00:05:31] Ryan Howard: I don’t imbibe. I know that sounds ridiculous.

[00:05:33] Rachel Moore: It doesn’t, you’re not alone. We’ve had a few of our guests that said that too. They’re like, when am I supposed to do that? I’ve got life over here, so makes sense. 

[00:05:40] Ryan Howard: And I feel, part of it too is like crazy information hits us all day long, any day. And I just feel like that sort of like moment of oh wow, that is totally different, is just increasingly rare.

[00:05:54] Sadly. 

[00:05:55] Rachel Moore: I’m glad we’re having you on as guest because obviously we range through all kinds of event topics here on this podcast. We have guests on with different specialties and we always try to have different focus and, this is a wide ranging podcast and really can tackle all the aspects of event design and activation and experience. But at the bottom line of all events, tech is the thing that makes it successful or not. It’s super important. More important than some of us might like to admit, and it’s always the thing that can make or break the event. Can you guide us through you and your team’s role in the events that you help support?

[00:06:33] Ryan Howard: Sure. So my team is focused on really like technology enablement of real estate that the events happen in. So I talk about it like we’re not necessarily making a movie, we’re building the movie studio. Like literally the studios you shoot in, but also the, the business around the studio.

[00:06:57] And so I think that’s what we do. Specifically our team is involved in the technology, but it’s really close partnership with other real estate teams and operations teams to make sure that suite of services happens and then that powers thousands of events in those spaces globally every year.

[00:07:13] A lot of what we’re trying to understand is what are the businesses looking for when they meet with their customers? And what kinds of events are they having, what kind of, what are their objectives? What are their outcomes that they’re looking for? How do we enable that through the right services and the technology that enables those services or powers those experiences?

[00:07:32] So there’s a big range of what that means. There are just the very theatrical kind of spaces, but there’s also executive briefing center kind of spaces, there are more brand oriented sales spaces, things like that. So it’s pretty diverse. I think that’s one of the interesting things about Google is we have a lot of diversity and a fairly large fleet of these kinds of spaces and environments and our team is one of several that are involved in this.

[00:07:54] So it’s it’s not even all centralized in one spot, which is another very kind of Googly thing. 

[00:07:59] Rachel Moore: Do you have a favorite kind of space that you like to work in? Like you have your team work in designing the technology for the real estate you’re gonna be occupying for an event?

[00:08:07] Ryan Howard: I’m not sure if I have a favorite, but I definitely have things I like more than others and my responsibility is absolutely in the area I don’t dislike the most, but not in the area I prefer the most. So like anyone, I’d rather be more involved in the super high creative spaces where there’s a lot of really just narrative and storytelling.

[00:08:29] But my area of focus is more on those big event spaces that are relatively agnostic of what the brand and businesses and have to change every day. So it’s interesting because it sets up a different set of challenges and opportunities but it’s not as much of like I get to go down the creative rabbit hole.

[00:08:45] Like I have in the past and I’ve worked on more just brand specific environments and I have a colleague who leads that portfolio of work. 

[00:08:52] Rachel Moore: Nice. Have you had an opportunity yet to do something in The Sphere in Las Vegas yet?

[00:08:58] Ryan Howard: No I’ve heard a bit about it.

[00:09:00] Rachel Moore: Yeah. If someone were to come to you today and say, Hey we’re gonna have you do, help with an event, support an event, it’s gonna be in the sphere, what would you think right out the gate?

[00:09:10] Ryan Howard: Why I think what they’ve done is pretty amazing. And it’s, and I really respect the challenge they took on, I think. Both from a tech technology standpoint and from a business standpoint. It’s fascinating. As we talk, this will probably become really apparent, but certainly like the thing I have invested in more and more over the last five or 10 years in my career is not about that spectacle and that edge of it, but more about the middle ground where I feel like there’s the most potential impact and there’s the most opportunity to raise the bar. 

[00:09:43] So that’s kind of where my focus has been. And I sometimes struggle to get excited about yet another spectacle, but I think that That’s there for entertainment and a lot of what we’re doing is not entertainment. So I think if they’re like, we’re gonna have Lalapalooza there, I’d be like, cool, let’s go do that.

[00:09:58] Rachel Moore: No, that makes sense too, because I would think, and any CEOs or decision makers, if this is wrong, you can find me on LinkedIn and say, you were wrong about this. I wonder if some of them just look like, oh my God, we need to have an event in the Sphere, because they just see it and it’s big and it’s flashy and instead of thinking wait a second.

[00:10:15] Is that the right venue for us? Do you have a lot of input into that? Do you like, help guide that decision?

[00:10:21] Ryan Howard: Yeah, I’m definitely part of the conversation, not on an event by event basis, because we are focused on that, what I refer to as the ecosystem of spaces, people, and technology. But as we talk about that ecosystem and we try to shape it and develop it, we do talk a lot about what are the, what’s the purpose, what are the objectives we’re trying to accomplish for different kinds of events?

[00:10:46] And we’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand that taxonomy and map it out and understand like what makes an event, that kind of event. And then there’s actually some work that started in XI that’s found its way into the day job that is really a lot about that and about making sure that we’re always focused on solving the business problems or trying to reach the business outcomes.

Business needs through people

[00:11:09] Ryan Howard: But because the one thing I think that’s universal about events that’s not the same for many other business touch points is that it’s always about people interacting with people. So that’s, I think, really important is to always understand these business needs through the people, whether that’s the host and the business that drives it, or whether that’s the guest, what needs do they represent, what are their own needs?

[00:11:34] So we definitely talk about that a lot across my cohort across the company as we start to shape that catalog of spaces and services, and then we’re trying to continuously build better tools and better pathways for the businesses to be able to design the right event, use the right space, select the right services that meet their needs, and not start from recency bias or, something, something like that. FOMO.

[00:11:58] I think there, there can be a lot of FOMO about around experience and I think that’s something that you have to always continuously try to make sure you’re not just falling into that trap.

[00:12:06] Rachel Moore: That’s a really good point. As I made that example of like how some people might be biased to say, oh, if we put our event in the Sphere, that’s gonna be awesome. It’s hard too because, when you’re talking about experiences, what you hope to do is create a core memory, or something that really people can, Ugh. I just think back to that experience, the people I met there, what I saw, what I was able to do, and things like that. It might be hard to say, Hey, that was great, but you also need to look forward to something that’s radically different than what that was. And stay open to the possibilities.

[00:12:38] Ryan Howard: I often find myself slightly outta step with a lot of other experience design professionals on that topic.

[00:12:47] So part of it is I see all of this and I said earlier, my day job focuses on not the area I dislike the most, but it’s not the area I love the most.

[00:12:56] That’s a spectrum I think of everything from one-on-one or focus time to one-on-one, very intimate collaboration and conversation to something that’s more structured and narrative based, like the typical event or a presentation or something like that. Any kind of somebody on a stage talking to an audience.

[00:13:13] Just something that’s much more self-directed and open-ended. And I think all of that deserves experience design, and all of it deserves the same level of investment and clear strong design skill and design and application design methodologies and trying to achieve the right thing.

[00:13:31] And there are different objectives along that path.

[00:13:34] So 

Creating memories is a strategy — not an objective

[00:13:34] Ryan Howard: I don’t think, being memorable is a universal outcome, a universal objective. I think the objectives are different and having great memories or spectacle that like really seats the brand in your mind. All of those things to me are strategies we can employ, but they don’t apply to everything.

[00:13:53] So I think it’s distinguishing and not getting, again, not getting caught and like the tool is the purpose or the tool as the objective. The tool is the tool. And I think, spectacle is a tool and it can be a really powerful tool. Novelty is a really powerful tool. But often it might be that we’re trying to create an experience that facilitates knowledge transfer learning, so maybe we don’t wanna create spectacle and we need to approach things in a different way.

[00:14:19] For me I try to be kind of ruthless in making sure that we’re asking the right questions and focused on the right objectives before going too far down a design path.

[00:14:29] Rachel Moore: Yeah. And I wanna tag back too, this isn’t just, you we’re talking about, we’re talking about your team and we’re kind of alluding to, you don’t make any of these decisions in a microcosm, you’re having to collaborate. Can you talk a little bit about that? Who your team collaborates with how those partnerships and stuff who are you coordinating with to make sure this all comes off?

[00:14:48] Ryan Howard: Sure. There are a few really key other teams that we have to align with on just for these event spaces that I’m talking about that I have some responsibility for. There’s a real estate team that really helps shape the programming of the space. How big is it? How many does it seat? What kind of theatrical kind of environment is it? Is there a green room? Those kinds of things. 

[00:15:14] There’s an operations team that shapes the services and the level of services and what kind of event can this host and then we are shaping the technology stack. 

[00:15:24] There’s also other teams that really are responsible for all of the tooling around the event in terms of management of the event and things like that.

[00:15:32] We are really shaping the technology, the experiential technology stack, if you will. A lot of it’s broadcast or theatrical tech, but it’s really about directly shaping the experience. There’s also all the other tooling that facilitates all these other sort of operational capabilities.

[00:15:46] So all of us, all of us need to participate in that and take our lead from what the businesses are really needing. It’s never finished. We’re continuously evolving that and trying to get better at it. And there’s also a real challenge of, especially in a company like Google, of bridging the subject matter experts who have a huge amount of context about what we’re doing.

[00:16:08] And then you go up a level or two in leadership and the context is totally lost and it’s buried in all these other much larger macro problems for the company.

[00:16:18] And so sometimes explaining, somehow translating that minutia into actionable decisions and choices by leadership can be a real challenge too. It’s very much about coalition building and a consensus building is the way I, usually talk about it.

[00:16:35] Rachel Moore: I love that term you just used coalition building. 

[00:16:37] I would imagine a lot of our event professionals listening are like, yes. Nodding along, they’re like, that would be great to have more of that. Right?

[00:16:46] Ryan Howard: Yeah. And it’s not just event professionals that are involved. It’s funny ’cause I don’t really think of myself as an event professional. I have come from this other technology space, I think of myself closer to the experience design world. But even that, I’m not a pure experience designer.

[00:17:03] Megan Henshall, who is the visionary behind XI is one of my key partners and she’s truly like the consummate event professional. The rest of us are like providing all these other things. And so 

Experience and event space design has to think bigger

[00:17:14] Ryan Howard: there’s a lot of taking a lead from the event professional about what the event needs to do.

[00:17:19] But it’s also hard because we have to think in this very systemic macro sort of sense. We can’t get lost in the tactical details of an individual event if we’re trying to build services and solutions to support thousands of events. So that’s also a challenge to sometimes I think for individuals to make the leap from that tactical event, very let’s go the show must go on, kind of mentality to this bigger strategic point of view where a lot of those details get lost or some cases have to be ignored because of other factors. So I think that’s always a challenge we have to manage too, is making sure we’re in the right zoom level, so to speak.

[00:18:08] Ad Break In: We’ll be right back with more Event Experience after the break.

[00:18:14] Ad Copy: Event enthusiasts, are you hungry for the latest event trends and insights? 

Pop open your laptop, pull up your favorite browser, and head to bizzabo.com/blog — that’s B-I-Z-Z-A-B-O dot com slash blog — for fresh perspectives and expert takes on what’s shaping the world of events. Plus, subscribe to get blog updates sent to your inbox every two weeks and never miss an article. 

Do more that matters with Bizzabo.

[00:18:47] Ad Break Out: We’re back as Ryan Howard from Google is about to share some of the work his team is most proud of.

[00:18:56] Rachel Moore: I did wanna ask you, how does tech drive innovation at events? We’d love to hear some examples of some things that your team has helped to shape.

[00:19:03] Ryan Howard: Sure. I think there’s two big categories that I’ve been involved in directly or tangentially. There’s how do we shape the design of events in a more productive and impactful way. And then how do we power those events or those experiences more directly. So that first one, there is a lot of XI work for one thing that, that I really had no participation in, but I think is it’s publicly available and it’s just, it’s fantastic work is the new project that’s theneuproject.com. That is a playbook for neurodivergent inclusion and events.

[00:19:39] And there was a lot of work. Megan actually started this work and led it, but it has a participation of a wide range of experts and the neurodivergent community and it’s a really powerful tool for if we’re driving inclusivity and often when we talk about inclusivity, we talk about, the primary dimensions we hear about in the press, the power bunch of, political discussions.

[00:19:59] But there are so many ways of looking at inclusivity and driving it. And I think this is a really a really fantastic one. So that’s, I think, one space and that really helps people very directly on an event by event basis, shape those events in a more inclusive way. There’s work we’ve done that started an expo and moved into the, the rest of our work that is shaping how we categorize events.

[00:20:24] That’s called the ExPO. And that’s really a way, just a framework for looking at what are the objectives of the event, how do we utilize that ecosystem to create the right outcomes. So it’s a way of framing that, but then four different levels of how we can look at it in particular fidelity or level of detail we want to look at.

[00:20:45] So it helps us ladder up and down from that very high level executive, very low context point of view. It’s a very hyper tactical in the moment. What’s the run of show of the event kind of view? Then bridge it into the average person who’s I just wanna have a town hall, or I just wanna have a product launch.

[00:21:02] What does that really mean?

[00:21:04] So that’s something that has become a structural basis for a lot of the work we’ve done. That’s not something that’s published at the moment. It is something I think we want to do with the we keep talking to different people across the industry about collaborating on that.

[00:21:17] And then there’s some work we have in progress that I think will end up public and published, and I think this year that we’re working with HKS on about like, how do we design that better inclusive spaces.

[00:21:32] So it picks up from some of the neu project work, which, but that’s really about programmatic design or, the event itself.

[00:21:39] Really we’re working with HKS on how to think about space and responsive environments and how to shape those and how to power those. So that’s that’s gonna be, I’m not actually entirely sure what we’ll end up with in terms of deliverables, but I think, generally a playbook of how to think about developing space and powering that perhaps a few more aspects of it.

[00:22:01] And then as we get into actually powering the experiences, we’ve been looking at that responsive environment thing for a while because it’s a really powerful way. It’s a really powerful strategy for enabling inclusion. It’s a really powerful strategy for making environments very flexible to adapt to different programmatic needs our event needs.

[00:22:20] And so we are developing A-A-C-M-S with Tate, who was actually the developer. And they’re taking that to market called Feltboard.

[00:22:28] That powers some smart content libraries that we call Taboret. That really is the responsive framework. And there’s a responsive design framework there that, again, that’s not public yet, but I’m hoping we can take it more public and publish it soon.

[00:22:41] Just the res, the design system.

[00:22:42] And then at one point we were piloting we had to pause this unfortunately just due to time resource constraints. But we were piloting a smart badge that would let the environment be very responsive to the wearer and unlock a lot of different things.

[00:22:56] And, perhaps in a response to different people’s, different needs in a kind of non personalized way, but in a sort of pseudo personalized way. So there’s been a lot of work there. That’s about how do we shape the environment. Shape the planning process. And, again, focus on systemic solutions and not, not just the most novel activation.

[00:23:22] Rachel Moore: Yeah. We’ve talked already through to our discussion so far, just a lot of thought around where how you see experiences, how you view them whether your views even align with kind of mainstream or not.

[00:23:33] But I’d love to get your perspective, what is the purpose of experiences from your perspective?

[00:23:40] Ryan Howard: Yeah, I think we’re gonna have experience all day every day. That’s what it is about is, we’re human. And that’s the one of the defining characteristics. It’s a choice between a designed, an intentional experience or an unintentional, accidental, organic, whatever experience, right?

[00:23:58] So I think we’re really talking about how do we try to intentionally shape experiences for some particular purpose. And I think where we have to start is okay, why are we shaping it? In the past, in fact at our XI Days conference last year, 

Measuring value: The rollercoaster vs. town hall

[00:24:14] Ryan Howard: I talked about the difference between a rollercoaster and and an executive town hall.

[00:24:21] Two very different experiences, two very different purposes. And, the rollercoaster. Why is that experience there? It’s there to thrill. But what’s behind that thrill? Revenue. So as you start to think about how you measure the success of that, you can measure some very humanistic aspects of it, but you also are gonna measure how much revenue are we driving?

[00:24:40] And it’s not, it could be ticket sales, it could also be concessions and things like that. And when you look at the cost of a rollercoaster versus that return, that’s how you calculate it.

[00:24:51] When you look at a town hall by an executive, what’s the purpose? And it’s usually about some sort of transparency and communications of strategy.

[00:25:00] And it doesn’t cost nearly as much as a rollercoaster, hopefully. But how do you measure the return? How do you, what is the return? How do you measure that value? And that purpose question, once you start pushing past the baseline assumptions of why we have experience design, it opens up this really interesting set of questions around how do we value experiences?

[00:25:23] And as we started to explore that very question and XI what we kept coming back to was like you first have to really understand very clearly what is the purpose of this experience? What outcomes is it trying to achieve for the individual, like for the individual who’s going to have the experience, whatever, social or business representation they embody.

[00:25:49] And then for the people who are creating the experience, what are we trying to achieve? So that’s why I think purpose is so critical to constantly understand and keep in mind because it really shapes how should we invest? How should we, like what are the creative opportunities? What are the creative constraints?

Tackling event design space constraints

[00:26:07] Ryan Howard: I think constraints are super important to designers. All great designers. I love to start with constraints because it forces you into better design pathways and opens up actually innovation opportunities more than just any kind of like you can do anything kind of mode. Yeah, I think purpose is just, there isn’t a purpose of experience in general.

[00:26:29] I think it’s experience is always happening, so it’s a matter of what are we trying to shape and why are we trying to shape it?

[00:26:36] Rachel Moore: I’m sure people, when they put on a town hall, they’re like, we want it to be as exciting as a rollercoaster. It’s okay. Good luck with that. But you’re right, it’s a bit nebulous to try to measure that return.

[00:26:46] I wanna bring us finally to, I know I’ve teased it out. Talk to us about Google Xi. What’s your take?

[00:26:52] Ryan Howard: Yeah, I mean it, Megan is absolutely the visionary behind it. But one of the really great things she did is she brought other people in to collaborate right away. She’s still involved, but people like Naomi are also equally influential in, in working with, especially with the external community right now.

[00:27:10] So when it started and I was one of the kind of founding participants we went through a phase of some research and discovery and trying to decide what we wanted to work on. This was all during lockdown, so it was in that sort of strange motive, will we even have events in the future kind of and we went through that. We came out with some priorities, one of which was that how do we measure success question. The neuro, the neurodivergent question was part of that. And we started, we went and did some things and then, I don’t know, two years later or so, we held a conference and as we started to design and plan that conference, which was three days at our Pier 57 event center here in New York, we started trying to think about what was Xi really like? What had it turned into?

[00:27:58] And Megan hit on this notion of alchemy and that basically we were working like alchemists. And I think it’s a great analogy because, Alchemy comes out of a bunch of crazy, wild thinking, just in some sense just try anything kind of experimentation seeking this super aspirational, hopeless cause of transforming things into gold. But through that, it somehow turns into modern science. And so where we, as we start to think about the conference next year, I think what we’re looking at this is that actually Xi’s role is to be stuck in that constant mode of moving from alchemy to modern science and to be very open-ended and crazy and aspirational, ask crazy questions that are not attached to our day jobs. But then at the same time, try to figure out as quickly as possible, how does this become useful and how can we go try to use it somewhere more practical?

[00:28:55] So I think that’s what’s really, for me, that’s what’s really interesting about it. It’s an opportunity to get away from the constraints of, corporate life and having to prioritize work and to ask big questions and try big things and to get outside of our normal partnership community and into a wider range of things that, we talk to other end users, we talk to many different agencies and other sort of thinkers from wide range of places, and it’s a fantastic way of just, keeping the creative energy and the intellectual energy high when the reality is like we all have, relatively banal jobs.

[00:29:37] When you get down to it, most people, even if you’re working on the coolest events in the world, at some point your day job, you’re like, I’m just ready to, move past this particular task and get to the next one. 

[00:29:46] Rachel Moore: Always, there’s always that, right? Yeah. Yeah. That sounds really cool. That like you you’re almost calling it like a crucible where you can develop the new ideas that are gonna become, like you said, science. But, in the meantime they’re test and try and see if it blows up in your face where it’s oh, we did, we made gold again.

[00:30:03] Ryan Howard: Yeah. The more it explodes, the more you know the more successful you are in this particular case. 

[00:30:08] Rachel Moore: That’s a great pull quote. We’re definitely using that. 

[00:30:12] Quick question, projection map, what do you think?

[00:30:14] Yes or no?

[00:30:15] Ryan Howard: Yeah. I threatened to ban projection mapping from stuff. It’s just, it’s a joke for me because I just see it in every pitch and yeah, it’s a tool, but it’s, it has a purpose. But there are things I just get tired of. I get tired of seeing, like it can be used, but like it’s almost a running joke.

[00:30:38] And certain parts of, with certain colleagues anymore, do we need to projection map on the moss again?

[00:30:45] Rachel Moore: You are like,

[00:30:45] Maybe not.

[00:30:47] Ryan Howard: Which goes to my point of don’t be afraid of banal, but also don’t chase novelty. ’cause sometimes, usually what people think is novel is not that novel.

[00:30:58] Rachel Moore: Yeah, exactly. Bright and shiny object to you, but maybe not widespread. 

[00:31:03] Finally, easiest question of all. Where can our listeners find and follow you online?

[00:31:09] Ryan Howard: LinkedIn is the easiest way to probably find me. I don’t participate on the other stuff very much. I lurk but not otherwise. And even that’s true on LinkedIn, but yeah, I think it’s RyanCHowardNYC for LinkedIn. And then, for Xi, we have an external email. It’s [email protected]. Yeah, so you can reach out there and ask more about the XI community and anything that we’re working on in that space.

[00:31:50] Rachel Moore: Ryan’s advice to our listeners for today’s SkillUp segment reminds us that staying hyperfocused on our event goals is more freeing than we might think.

Skill up with Google’s Ryan Howard

[00:31:39] Ryan Howard: ​ Be ruthless about what you’re trying to achieve, because the more ruthless you are. And I say that meaning try to be art as articulate and precise and then lean into that.

[00:31:59] It unlocks more than it blocks is what I found.

[00:32:20] Rachel Moore: Thanks again to Ryan Howard for joining us on Event Experience, and thank YOU for listening. 

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You can find transcripts of each episode and key takeaways on bizzabo.com/podcasts.

On behalf of the team, thank you. We’ll gather again soon for a new episode of Event Experience.

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