The Pixilated Podcast

Joe Anwar | Crystal Interactive | Pixilated Podcast Season 2

June 22, 2022 Patrick Rife Season 2 Episode 9
The Pixilated Podcast
Joe Anwar | Crystal Interactive | Pixilated Podcast Season 2
Show Notes Transcript

Joe Anwar is the Marketing Manager at Crystal Interactive.

A bit more about Joe:

Marketing Manager of Crystal Interactive, massive Arsenal FC fan and a lover of food. I've been with Crystal Interactive since 2016, and delivered over 150 events in various event technology around the globe. Now I'm trying to tell our story and brand through visual engagement.

You can connect with Joe Anwar at:


Powered by
Pixilated

Patrick Rife:

Hello and welcome to a another episode of the Pixilated podcast. I am your host, Patrick rife pleased to be welcoming you back for a another interview with another incredible event professional. If you have been tuning along this season, you know that we're dedicating our time just finding our colleagues and chatting with them talking about it, finding about their trials and tribulations as they, you know, probably a read pivoting their company again, and again and again and again. And you know, just hearing what's going on in their world. So, that being said, without further ado, I am extremely happy to welcome Joe Anwar. Joe. Welcome to the Pixilated podcast.

Joe Anwar:

Hi, how's it going?

Patrick Rife:

It's going pretty well. It's going pretty well, for you.

Joe Anwar:

Yeah. Good. Thank you looking really good. The sanctions coming back out for us. So that's kind of the thing we're looking forward to. Yeah.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, we got a tease last week was in that like, 80s. Here nice. Like, super nice. And now it's back to the high 30s. And it's just such a drag. I'm ready. I'm ready for the for the spring in the sunshine. Funny say

Joe Anwar:

that we're going to Lisbon on Sunday, me and the wife for a holiday. And it's raining for most of it. It's fine. I

Patrick Rife:

hope you hope you get some sun. I have Lisbon's very high on my list. I haven't been to Portugal, but I really, really want to go. So I hope you have a wonderful trip. Thank you. So Joe, I've got a ton of questions. I'm super excited to chat about badges and industry events and all the things but before we get into that, let everybody that's listening though, why don't you give them a little introduction? A little primer on Joe, Mr. You know who you are, what you do? where you work?

Joe Anwar:

Yeah, absolutely. So thanks for introducing me. So I'm essentially the marketing manager of crystal interactive. And we're basically audience engagement specialists. So we deploy event technology for live events, whether it's virtual, whether it's hybrid, or whether it's app based. So if event managers came to us or event planners, they came to us and say we need an app for event. So 200 person conference, then we've got basically a portfolio of products that they can choose from. So whether it's an app that has virtual events, recently, for a lot of guys, it's been a lot of focus on the virtual events. So we've got the tech, we've got a team of guys that go and deploy and manage that. And it's kind of really, the focus for the next few weeks or months is really just to get back to face to face events is kind of where our first love was before the pandemic healers. But that's kind of what we do, we engage the audience. So it's not just the technology piece, but also the advice to how to engage with the audience. So the whole data capturing elements. So each of our products, they've just got different tools and the way they capture the data. And recently is face to face is slowly coming back. So that's kind of what we do at the moment.

Patrick Rife:

Awesome, great, great, great jump off point. So right there immediately, I've got all of these questions that kind of spring to mind. And, you know, first and foremost of those is I'd love to hear to hear, you know, the products that you're taking into live events, right? Are those products that you were leveraging in the virtual ecosystem? Or so like, what I'm trying to get a sense for is, Are you are you migrating right? A tool into another ecosystem? Or you guys, you know, are you completely switching and there's different tools that you were selling, then and now you're kind of going back?

Joe Anwar:

That's an interesting point that actually because we're quite versatile in that sense, where, before the pandemic, we are purely face to face. And I think VirtualBox was a thing that no one really wanted to try. And now it's like, oh, we have to do it, I think it was born out of necessity. So we adapt ourselves, depending on the trend. So we now have a product in the virtual space, the in person space, you could we could use one of our products for hybrid. So we're kind of really we've got a finger in every pie really in that sense. So we've got, if they want to focus, if we've got a client that just does virtual events, then we can do the whole virtual ecosystem and just deploy our tech in that space. So we've really got a finger really in every sort of area there. So we go with the trends and whatever the the industry is trying to tell us and where the demands are.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, yeah. You know, I was it's, it's, it's, it's such an interesting conversation point, like, right right now in this moment, right. Because, gosh, there's so much technology, there's so many dollars that were poured into the virtual technology space, you know, like there's so many platforms that are out there you Um, you know, there's been this kind of, you know, come to Jesus conversation that's been happening on Twitter, specifically one event, Prof. Twitter, that has been kind of all around, you know, like, a lot of virtual event platforms are a website. They're a landing page with with, like, some widgets that are tucked into them. And there's not a lot of like hard tech, innovative technology that has been brought to the table. Right. So like, we talked about engagement, right. Is is kind of was like the number one. bellwether for virtual right, that was the hardest thing for people to solve, right? Because, you know, like, you're, it's like being zombified. Right. You're just staring into a computer screen. Unless, you know, like, what we're talking about for marketers, right, like KPIs like, what, how do you insert KPIs into your virtual event ecosystem? And like, how does that carry through? And I think that, you know, one of the things that we thought about was always this healthy balance of like, well, where will this go? You know, like, in the long run, where will this go? And I think I don't, you know, I'm not trying to be condescending to people. I think that other plenty of event professionals and event technology companies were thinking about that as well. But the way that the gas and the brake work during COVID, right, was there was never this time to like, prepare and roll into something that was just always very new jerky, right, all of a sudden, like, restrictions change, and things are open, and then they change back and everything's closed. And it was this very knee jerk that prevented people from being able to gradually warm Well, you know, whether that was to hybrid, or whether that was to opening back up. So for that reason, like, it's, it's curious to hear that, right, because we're seeing the same thing, right, like we are, all of a sudden, I'm shipping photo kiosks for in person events everywhere, like gangbusters, right? Like it's very, very popular. And some clients are adding virtual tools. Some people are thinking about a hybrid model. But we're, you know, like, we're very much seeing, you know, like a pretty dynamic shift.

Joe Anwar:

Yeah, I think so. And I think the virtual events it because it was a necessity, as you say, it's definitely here to stay. And I think it will be an option for those, for those companies where maybe sustainability is probably their focus. So yeah, I've now realized, so no travel anymore to like a venue or like at hotels and that sort of thing. So for them virtual works, but then can they do a virtual event, the same way that if they can replicate it in the face to face, so it's here to stay definitely as an option. And I think we've seen, we've seen a lot of sort of familiar faces, they're itching to go back to face to face. So they're, like, bored of the whole virtual event space? Because I think maybe for them being in the same room and the real human connection, that's kind of where they want to do. That is a really interesting dialogue that,

Patrick Rife:

yeah, well, I think the other thing that's that's interesting is, you know, I know you guys built some products in virtual times right in COVID times and rolled them out, as did we. But quite frankly, we all along talked about how pixie Webb would not just be a virtual photo booth, we sold it as a virtual photo booth in the height of COVID. Because that's where the vernacular was, that's how people were thinking about it and conceptualizing it. But we had thought about building it for years before as more of this Shared Photo Gallery, right, that could be like tied to contests or games or other things aside from being thought of as like taking a selfie. And what we found is our virtual Photo Booth one, it's a compliment to a real kiosk, right? Because the kiosk is like a framed, right? You've got like a, an IV wall with a glowing neon sign or you've got the letters for the event. Like it's, it's that photo moment, right? Whereas with pixie web, what we found is in the live space, with QR codes, spread around saying, you know, don't forget to share your photo, right, scan this to share your photos from today's event. It because it came to life, right? So it's it's value in the live venue is significantly greater than it was even in the virtual space, even though we can technically it was conceived and built for the virtual space. You know, like that flexibility of thinking, right? It's very important. I think that's what you guys are seeing as well, right? You're seeing how do we make this relevant in venue a, instead of just venue B, right? Because ultimately, you know, so one of the one of the things I wanted to kind of parlay that into was you, you talked about like educating right. And I think like that was the I made a joke the other day about it to someone but, you know, we sell virtual Photo Booth software all through COVID. Right, but I'll be damned if every single sales call I was on I wasn't spent In time educating my clients about what a virtual event is what you know, like, how to plan it, like how to make sure people engage, because ultimately, if they didn't know all of those core things, then the event would fail. And then our thing, even if they bought it or not inside of it would look like it it underperformed. Right? So it was in my best interest to be like, let me get you up to speed on all of this other stuff. And I'm guessing that you've, you've had similar situations, and you kind of spoke to creating that. What I think is, is interesting, and I'd like to hear your opinion on Joe is, you aren't sales, right? You're in the marketing space, which, you know, like, I wear both of those hats, and it can be hard to dedicate enough time to either one of them when you're wearing both of those hats. But in that sense, right, that education, and I see you I see it happening, I see, I follow the company, Twitter, and I see the way that you guys are talking about, you know, here are best practices when you're doing it, right. Like, like, we did that too, right? You know, like, make sure to share the link, like share the QR code, like change the calls to action, all that stuff. So share a little bit about about that about that perspective of, you know, kind of content marketing, from an education perspective.

Joe Anwar:

Yeah, I think the angle that I'm sort of trying to hit recently, is, everyone can sell a product, and everyone's got a great product. But I think service and people also quite important, it's kind of a product of its own. So in some of the tweets or some of the content that you may have seen recently, we're trying to get a bit more sort of, we're trying to sell the people that we are and how we can help you. So if they can fall in love with the guys that we work with, if you can, if you can connect with us in another sort of connection way that we can help you, then you'll probably enjoy the product afterwards. And we can get the best out of the product. And then that way, you've created a really strong rapport with the guys that you're speaking to, and that sort of thing. We've just done a video of our in our newsletter today, actually. And you'll see it soon as we asked the colleagues at Crystal, are you ready for in person events? It's quite a fun video, actually. And they have to give us a one word answer or two word answer saying. So the question is, are you ready when person events, they'll say, I think I am ready. And it's just the reaction that you get from the video and makes you smile. So that's kind of where we're at, at the moment in terms of our content. So trying to get bit more people friendly, a bit more. We can help you. It's all about service. And that's kind of the angle we're taking. I don't know if that helps in any way with the, with the answers the question?

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, no, it does. It does. It does. I think that um, and I think that it's, it's, it's plain to see kind of in your content that, you know. Lately, we've been calling it like center of the lane here, right, which is just making sure that, you know, like, you just pull away all the fluff, right. And you just make sure that you're like disseminating good information in like a clear and concise way that is thoughtful. Like, that's kind of our strategy. And I think that's why it resonates so much, right? Because I'm seeing something that we're also believing, right? Yeah. So you have you've been with crystal for quite a while now. And, and you've kind of grown in your roles as you've been there. So I was wondering if you would just share a little bit about, you know, like, what your, what your experience has been like, and and kind of like, the role that you're in now and what it what it's about, I think that you're in an awesome example, I think there are a lot of event professionals that are probably looking to do something very similar to what you are. So I think it'd be great to kind of hear hear about it.

Joe Anwar:

The journey myself personally. So I first started out as CIO, the role was event technology specialist. So that's kind of the role of the tech guys that we've got a crystal so they go out and deploy that technology or that app or whatever. So that's how I started at Crystal and I think it was about 2425. So it was only my second round after university. So I basically traveled the world for a good three years and just went to any event anywhere. That was very cool sounding. It would have ranged from Lisbon to Shanghai to the US. I love coming to the US actually, that was a one of my favorite trips. Dallas's was one of the common ones. You've got the US. So anyway, I could go I'd love I just went there every other week or every other month, and I built up those miles on my British Airways app. So that's kind of where I started. So I was deploying the technology for free few good years. Then after that, I was helping out with a bit of the sort of the content and the marketing so my first love really in my life was video and video production. So I can, that's kind of where, before the previous marking managers are like, Okay, could you do a video for us that could, uh, you know, promote so and so. So then I started helping out with the videos and the content. And the more we did it, the more we work with each other, the more I guess I was helping out with visualizing the products and getting a bit of a messaging out on say, the LinkedIn or the socials and that sort of thing. And it's kind of where we're at now, really, so it grew and grew. And then slowly, I was doing a bit of a hybrid marketing executive, I guess it's still deploying the tech the other week, and then enhance it as marketing manager and you want to create a brand people can fall in love with really, I guess. That's the January today.

Patrick Rife:

That's awesome. So in, in your, you know, like, in your, your day to day in your marketing, you know, strategy? What do you guys, you know, what is the focus? How, what are the pieces of the pie? You know, like, is it like, what percentage is social? What percentage is being invested into kind of long term SEO like, yeah, get a little get a little bit nuts and bolts about, about the strategy for marketing.

Joe Anwar:

So we, we can go from the old to the new, so in terms of old, we've got our SEO, so we're gonna get some of the guys to write a lot of few blogs for us. So in terms of getting the new customers and new eyes, we've got some blogs lined up set up to sort of talk around the products and the experience that we have. And we work with an agency who helped us out with by SEO. So with new customers, it's going to be SEO focused. And then we do spend a bit of time on say, the pay per clicks as well. So the ads and that sort of thing. It's interesting to read other marketers talking about cliques, and whether they think the ad clicks, whether they seem that still, whether it's still beneficial to have around as part of the strategy. So it's kind of what we've got at the moment. And in terms of the pay per clicks, and monitoring how that works. And it's been pretty, it's pretty, pretty good. And return investment really, from that side of front. And this interesting, see the mixed reviews around the Google ads, but I think really, it's here to stay. And that's part of what we do at the moment going forward. If the podcast so before we before we started today, I guess the podcasting as you've as you've done yourself, we really we haven't we haven't done in the past of podcasting and getting people to come onto the panel and just having a chat about their experiences in the events world. So that's going to be a new thing going forward and being a bit more content savvy on YouTube. And on YouTube, if you go on there, now you'll see snippets of products and videos. So we'll probably be aiming to go a bit more down the podcast route over the next few weeks. And just getting people to learn more about us and how we educate on how you on your events, or how we can engage audiences going forward the podcast, or it will probably be the new thing for us as part of our strategy.

Patrick Rife:

So I know that you recently attended complex, you know, like probably one of the first if not the first big event that you've been to kind of in the last few years. How was it?

Joe Anwar:

It was good. It's nice to see everyone in the same space as a lot of happy people will have a smiling faces. And it was good. I didn't say attended a couple of sessions, actually. Just to see where the future is at and what the trends are saying. And one of the trends that I've been reading a lot around is the metaverse and how that might work in the events industry. And what the future looks like there. So that was one of the sessions I attended. And a lot of it was around the green screen studios that people are setting up now when having a bit of fun with that. So that's kind of Yeah, it was good to see everyone back in the same space. And it was a bit strange for myself, actually, because I've been sort of remotely working for a few good couple of years now since 2020. And it was nice to be in that environment.

Patrick Rife:

Did you have any anxiety?

Joe Anwar:

No, no, not really. I don't think so. I think there was no restrictions. We don't have any restrictions in the UK anymore. But it was good fun being there.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah. But even with just talking to people, like any any, like I remember the first the first thing that I went out to after COVID and we were sponsoring it, so I like was there and I was setting some things up or whatever. And then I went back to my car to like change. And I was getting ready to go back in and like you know, like, like now I changed my clothes but right I changed my my persona for the person that was going to go back and right. And all of a sudden I was like, Oh my gosh, like because I hadn't done it and for so long. It made it easier to see how much of a role it is. And I was like oh highlight, do I want to do this, like, you know, like, I'm gonna be like, just like out there just like pitching, you know, like my job is to tell the Pixilated story, you know, like a dozen times tonight. And it was, it was containerized in that moment, and I was like, Oh, it was interesting to have to kind of like put this suit back on, so to speak that, that I hadn't really needed to deploy in a face to face capacity. Or not in the face to face but maybe an air to air capacities on a face to face that there. So you mentioned a lot of content around green screen rooms. Elaborate on that. And now a word from our sponsors.

Nicolas China:

The patent for the first automated photography machine was filed in 1888 by William Pope and Edward Poole of Baltimore, Maryland. over 100 years later, in that very same town, two guys have created a new picture taking machine that is taking the photobooth concept to a whole new level. Pixilated is the only photo booth company that provides a simple DIY Photo Booth kit with everything you need. anywhere you need it. The future has arrived. Say goodbye to time consuming expensive, clunky Photo Booth rentals. Our affordable sleek and simple turnkey photobooth kits work right out of the box. Our DIY kits are shipped right from our hometown of Baltimore directly to your door, no matter where you are. Rent by the day, not the hour, starting at only $299. Book today and save 15 percent@pixelated.com With discount code podcast. That's PII xil@d.com discount code podcast.

Joe Anwar:

So we got our own little flexible green screen studios. So in our virtual events, we basically integrate in the webcast of our platform, we integrate our green screen, so our presenters or our speakers, they'll come to our studio, we'll get them miked up, and they basically sit in front of the green screen. And we've got some really nice cameras as well. And that will be plugged into our expensive gear. And the virtual platform is basically integrated in a virtual platform. So when delegates are connecting in, they'll see a lovely webcast and they'll see a nice background or see that present in front of it. And that'll kind of be the way they cheer and host the meeting. And if there's polls and things that come up later on in the agenda, they'll be mixed in next to a live poll or, or, or brainstorm, like, as we like to call it. It's basically an open text bucket for people to type in their questions and that sort of thing. So we have a bit of fun with that. We put them on different backgrounds. So if they want to go down the fun route, or if they've got some desires, or they want to be in a different place, like a farm or a beach, then we're fine with that. But yeah, that's kind of our flexible studio, and we take it to, we try to take it to the clients. So if they don't want to come to us, we'll try to take that to them. It's built to be portable and flexible. So it's just takes an hour to put up an hour to bring down and that sort of thing. So that's kind of what we've got set up in the background.

Patrick Rife:

That's awesome. So I know that that, you know, a few weeks ago, you guys released a kind of like a new, innovative product. You want to talk a little bit about about the badges.

Joe Anwar:

Yes, so smart badges is one of the solutions that we offer primarily for face to face in person events. We just took on a new partner. They're brilliant, they stand for a lot of good things. So it's reusable technology, essentially. So there's no paper waste, that is completely sustainable in that regard. So you can save yourself from the paper use, and it's completely paperless. But the main feature of the smart badges is the networking element. So the networking element is kind of what we're trying to hit on. Because we know people just from reading on social media and just listening to people, those that want to come back to face to face. I think the networking has been really missed virtually. I think virtual platforms do a pretty good job with the networking and trying to get people together in virtual breakout rooms and that sort of thing. But I guess that human connection is quite unparalleled. So all it takes is if you were to meet if so me and you were to meet at a venue and we had a smart badges. If we both said hi, let's exchange details. Let's tap our badges once and then makes a Digital Content Exchange. And that exchange is essentially found in your basically your mobile app, you get your own personal unique timeline. So when you go through your app, you see all of your connections and everyone who spoke to you throughout the day and basically in like a timeline view. So it's basically like a Twitter feed or a feed of everyone you met. And it's basically one tap and it's really cool when you get the badges in your hands. It's it's really fun to use. So it's been really nice to see people using those in our last couple of events and the sample a small batch to our phases. So.

Patrick Rife:

So from a from an implementation perspective, is this something where a client is going to be using your, your digital infrastructure for their event to be able to use the badge? You know, are you, you know, are they sending you attendee lists in advance and every batch is kind of being pre programmed in advance? Or is it being programmed on site? Let's talk a little bit more about, you know, for anyone that's listening that this might be like, oh, you know, that sounds awesome. I want I want this for my event. But how does it work? So

Joe Anwar:

yeah, so essentially, the badges would replace the paper name badges that you would probably tend to give out to your delegates when they come and check in for the event. So we take a list. So whatever registration site you're using, or whether using our registration site to register for the event, we basically take a massive Excel list, and we upload it into our smart, smart value system. So we've got our own dashboard, that list is in the system. So when Person A when they arrive to the check in desk, and they say, Hi, I'm here to check in, we basically got these tablets on our registration desk or search up the person. So for yourself would say, Patrick, who are, we get a blank badge and we tap the tablet. And that blank badge is essentially personalized to you. And it's basically got a Kindle like screen as we like to describe it on the smart badge. So it'll come up with your name, Patrick rife, I will say your company your role. And that's yours to take away a network of other people. And the other cool thing with the badges itself is as it's a E Ink screen, it's essentially interactive. So you could scroll through different pages on the same badge. So you could upload an agenda on the badges, you could upload speaker information. So it's quite cool in that sense that you could probably not print out any agendas anymore at your event. But you can go completely digital and save yourself the printing job, and the cost as well on that side and have it all in the badge, but also integrated with an event app. So you've got everything you typically want in event app. And then you just have an extra button in there that says my contacts. And when you click on it, you see all of the unique connections that you made throughout the day. So it's a real integration, there were a couple of things. But it replaces a lot of a lot of the normal things is name badges and paper, business cards and that sort of thing. So it's there to replace that save you some money and just have some fun, again, really with smart badges.

Patrick Rife:

So can it only integrate with crystal interactives event app? Or can it integrate with other event apps,

Joe Anwar:

it can integrate with other event apps. So if event ever Event Manager, they've got their trusted event apps that they work with or their own in house, we just basically use a we either use API or just a very special URL, and they just take that and they integrate it. So essentially, how it works is every attendee, they have their own unique URL, so you're not working off the same URL. But if yourself wants to see your connections, they just basically implement a URL for every delegate in the list. So absolutely integrate into any event app,

Patrick Rife:

and the attendee right. So I show up, you know, like, I'm there, you've given me my, my badge has my name, my credential on it? How do I know that I should download an app to be able to. So how that works is the engagement that happened through my badge?

Joe Anwar:

Yeah, absolutely. So that's all in the service, smart badges. They have their own communication. So email communication. So we send out a link before the event to say, either Patrick, this is your profile, please download this app. And then that app is your so we'll basically describe in the email, this is where your unique connections will be found. And then I guess, if they missed the email when they check in at the registration desk, myself or our technical guys, when they're managing the desk will explain how the badges work. So if it's the first time they're hearing about the badges because I missed the email, or whatever, we'll explain this is how it works. And if you want to see your connections, feel free to download the app or scan this QR code to find them. So we'll always be quite open in terms of how they can find the connections because it's made for that purpose.

Patrick Rife:

So and at this point, no no potential for color.

Joe Anwar:

On the screens, no color as it's basically a Kindle basically on your

Patrick Rife:

so and what about leveraging it for sponsorship?

Joe Anwar:

Yes, so it can be used for sort of the lead generation purposes. So if you've got exhibitors or sponsors at your conference, then we can set up exhibitor profiles. So if you've got 10 companies there just with their own exhibitor groups, we'll know who they are, they can go ahead and just check in US No more, they get their own badges. And we can curate the data. So company one, they must, they might might have spoken to 1020 people 200 people on day one, we can curate that list for them, that's for them to take. So they can do that post event. Follow throughs.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, I was, that's good to know, I was specifically inquiring about, you know, the branding and customization on the badge, right? So badges are pretty commonly a piece of sponsorship inventory that's being sold for any big event. Is there a way you know, like, on on that digital sign, you know, for to have the Twitter logo there, or Salesforce or wherever the case may be?

Joe Anwar:

Yeah, the screen itself on the budget is HTML. So we have a lot of customization in that regard. So sizing fonts, logos, that we can have logos of your event or your company, even if, say, your CEO, or the end of that particular event, or companies if they would they can have their own logos, their own company logo, so that's absolutely fine. And as well as the screen you can brand the lanyard that's attached to the badge. Yep. So if you want the event branding on the lanyards, that's absolutely fine as well.

Patrick Rife:

That big blue bucket back there on that table is literally full of Pixilated lanyards, because we used to do a photo badge product for for conferences and events. And we, whenever we, whenever we were the sponsors, we would be like, or they asked us to donate or something along those lines or give them a discount, we would be like, yes, we will. We will do the lanyards for the whole event. Because then people walk around and it's like your brand on the lanyard. You know, like you wouldn't think that it's that valuable. But um, we did, there was a really big light festival in Baltimore for a few years. And we always sponsored it and helped kind of CO produce it. But the optics in the city was like that it was like a almost like our venture because every attendee had a lanyard on and that lanyard just had Pixilated all the way around it. So everyone was just like, you know, like, late city was amazing. Thanks again, Pixilated. And we'd be like, This is not our project, like we're just like a small, small, small part of it. But optics are everything. Joe, I really think that, um, you know, I think the badges are cool. I think that there's a lot that, you know, knowing that you guys are engaged with guys, and certainly you're probably thinking about this already. But I think that from a programmatic perspective, like having those badges go through different modes, right, like, mean, like, you're effectively able to control a swarm of digital devices that are wandering around inside of your event, right? So you start thinking about, like, flash mobs, right, you start thinking about scavenger hunts, you start, you know, thinking about changing x, you know, like, if you've got 200, right, 20% of them turn to a skull, 20% of them turned to a fish and 20% and then all of a sudden, you gotta find, right, you got to find your group, you got to find your people. Like, there's, when it comes to interactivity, right, and being able to programmatically change the screens that are hanging around everyone's neck. Like, I think that there's some, some pretty cool stuff. I mean, like, like, you can gamify that in so many different ways, you know, whether I mean, even if it's like Scrabble, right, and there's like a letter, and like, people have to find it and order it, you know, like, all of a sudden you're deep into survivor 63 And it's all being played out through these, these puzzles and screens. And that, that whole side of it. Like, that's the, that's that deep engagement, right? Where it's, there's the technology that facilitates being able to do something, and then there's the know how to make it great. And, you know, like, the technology says, like, add a virtual photo booth to your virtual event. And like, let people like, take selfies and have fun with stickers. Right. And then there's the knowhow, which is like, it doesn't have to be selfies at all. Like instead ask people to like to type out their top three priorities and screenshot it and then send another request out and ask them to like nominate somebody to help get them through COVID or show their work from home space or like, you know, like it's about asking questions of your community and then giving them these alternative ways to answer you right like it doesn't have to like just because it's a virtual photo with it doesn't have to be a selfie like there are so right like Sheriff favorite memory from pre COVID. Like, there are so many things that you can do. And it's the technology enables it, but what makes it great is Joe what you bring right well your you and your colleagues bring about engagement.

Joe Anwar:

Yeah, it's all about education, isn't it? You get them to it. If you can get your participants dug deeper than just answering a question that says, What did you have for breakfast this morning to get them going for the event? That's no good. Is it? You got to get them. Make them think about it. So then when you finish the event that got something to resonate with?

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, so you know, like, we're starting to run a little bit low on time. But I do want to ask you before, before we're out of time, you know, like, what do you, you know, not like the PR answer. What do you what do you what do you see coming? But honestly, like, what do you you know, what do you see on the horizon? You know, because there's good stuff happening, but there's definitely still challenges that are out there, you know, like, there's a lot, that still has to be, you know, it's just not gonna all be filling open the doors, and let's do the damn thing. Like, there's still stuff. So what do you you know, what are you planning for? What do you you know, planning to you No, need to navigate.

Joe Anwar:

Um, I guess, for us, the focus really, for the rest of the year is just to get back into the face to face world. Get people connecting again, and the trends that I guess, that we've been reading around is smart events and macro events and micro events, I've seen a term for that. So that's quite interesting. So interested to know whether we're trying to have shorter events now so that it's not spending as much time at the event. That's a new term that I've been reading around. But these are just some of the trends that we think might be coming later on, say, 2023, possibly, for the rest of this year is just to get back into face to face. And just listening out for what people really want that they've not had for the last couple of years. So that's kind of where we're at the rest of the year.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah. Slow and steady wins the race. Right? Exactly. Yeah. Well, Joe, this has been a this has been a really, really excellent chat. I'm glad that we we had a chance to connect and I got a chance to get a sense of who you were kind of before we talked. Because I really felt like it. It brought a lot to to the conversation.

Joe Anwar:

No worries. It's Oh, I had a question for you, actually. Yeah, go for it. You've never been to the UK before,

Patrick Rife:

have you? I've been to the UK twice, but only to London. I didn't get outside of the city.

Joe Anwar:

Well, I was gonna say I thought you hadn't been to the UK. So the question was actually going to be if you were coming to the UK for the first time. What's the first thing you're gonna do? But I guess you've already been in the UK already.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, yeah. But what I mean, if I improvised on the question, you were going to ask me, I would tell you that if I next time I come to the UK. I'm gonna get out of London. For sure. I definitely am. Very, I love hiking. I love being out. And I love walking like going for long walks. And I gather that England's got a lot of nice, long, baggy walks is one of my favorite memories from I think I stayed in Bayswater both times when I was in. Is that an area is that near? Is that near Kensington Park? Yeah, I

Joe Anwar:

think you're around that. Yeah.

Patrick Rife:

So I think I stayed in Bayswater and hostels both times, and I had awesome experiences. But one of the things that I remember specifically was the wonderful like, miss, like classic like London, kind of Misty, rainy weather, which I think is wonderful. But I remember taking walks in the park at the end of the block, and how like, magical it was. And I remember one time I was walking with my wife, she was my girlfriend then. And we got to the, to the other side of it, and all of a sudden out of the mist was was Buddha Khan. Like strike a guitar here next to me that's not intended that was not intended. But anyway, we come through the park and in the midst all of a sudden was was Buddha, Connor flaticon, or whatever. And it was a thing. So yes. More walks in the English countryside are on my to do list.

Joe Anwar:

Yes. I live in the countryside. So I get saved.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, I bet you do. Well, so Joe, before we wrap up, let everybody out there. That's listening, right? I don't know. Maybe they're interested in learning more about, you know, the new badges or they just want to get in touch with you and talk about something crystal interactive. Where Where should people follow along? How should they get in touch? Let them know the the next steps?

Joe Anwar:

Yeah, I mean, we're alive in a couple of places. So if you want if you want the websites, if you want to be more of a lowdown of what we do, it's very simple, Crystal interactive dotnet. We're alive and kicking on LinkedIn as well. So just give us a search of crystal interactive and you'll see us and we should be the first thing you see and Yeah, if you want to follow us on Twitter where crystal engage, that's crystal engage as kind of where we are. I've got a personal Twitter, but I don't really use it for the professional side of thing. But I'm always engaging on Twitter. So we have a lot of fun with that. So that's kind of where you can find us if anyone's interested in that. So

Patrick Rife:

awesome. Awesome. Joe, thank you so much for your time. This has been a an awesome way to to pass some time with you. Thanks for your, your thoughtful answers. Thanks for having me on. Yeah. All right, guys. So that brings us to the end of another excellent interview. I hope all of you appreciated the chat over the last half hour or so. As always, if you want to find the links to Joe to the crystal interactive website, we will put all those in the show notes. So just click through you'll find all of those there, go give him a follow over on Twitter, maybe have a chat with him over there. If you haven't yet, and you enjoyed I would encourage you to hit the subscribe button wherever you're listening. It ensures that you get notified each time we publish a new episode. And if you would leave us a five star review with a few things that you like about the Pixilated podcast. Your reviews, help us find more listeners and to share the awesome stories of all of our colleagues that were interviewing. So without further ado, and until next time, I'm Patrick Rife, Pixilated, peace.