A NEW HOPE FOR EVENT ORGANIZERS

Making Event Management Beautiful

Modest beginnings

When Patrick, Mike and I were laid off from the company we worked for in 2000, we didn’t quite know what lay ahead for us as software engineers. But, even with the gummy mess of the post dot-com bubble all around us, we actually didn’t seem too concerned at all. We were young, naive and frugal… and, more importantly, we had our Macs, an internet connection and an Airport to share between us :). Our unemployed spirits were generally high over the coming months as we casually convened to geek out and code in each other’s living rooms. I think that we knew in our gut of guts that reality would eventually get the better of us and we’d need to get back to work!

In 2001, the three of us officially partnered as Coverall Crew and opened up a bank account with money from our first paid gig ($6,000 is a lot of pizza slices!). We were on our way. Our first few projects happened to involve building event registration systems for enterprise clients which, unbeknownst to us, was an early sign of things to come. And, since we were being commissioned to develop many other web applications, we took the time to devise a PHP-based rapid application development framework which we called N2O. N2O would prove to be an essential backbone to almost all of Coverall Crew’s consulting projects over the next few years. It was also the basis for an early incarnation of Attendease.

An agile event management platform

The next 13 years would see us build the gamut of online event management software from the ground up. We responsible for assembling and integrating all the attendee-facing parts like the event website, conference registration and payment, mobile app, hotel booking, session scheduling, attendee management, event financials, onsite check-in, surveys, badge printing, onsite gaming, and session scanning. We were also responsible for the more technical tasks of constructing administrative tools for attendee management, reporting and statistics, financials, content management, sponsor management, conference marketing, and attendee messaging.

The concept for building Attendease was born early on. It isn’t a surprise that the more events we worked on the more we realized how much more efficient we could be if we leveraged a framework that automatically took care the things we found ourselves repeating time and time again. We needed to be able to easily customize each conference for our clients while still giving them full freedom to make and publish changes themselves. After a couple of scrapped false starts building Attendease overtop our N2O framework and a later foray into Merb, we finally decided on using Rails for our dream platform.

Since we didn’t have the resources to build out every module for Attendease in one fell swoop (nor do I think it that this kind of waterfall approach would have proved nearly as successful) we have always embraced an organic, agile methodology to developing new features. This has allowed us the luxury to take our time and build Attendease out slow and steady, making sure to do things the right way from the start, balancing elegance, usability and flexibility.

This is the platform you’re looking for

Event management platforms are not at all a new phenomenon, which actually presents a substantial opportunity for startups in our field. Most large players have been around for many years and, as such, continue to build technology onto core systems that are visibly out-dated and increasingly cumbersome to use. They may claim to support a wide breadth of features, but their implementation of these often falls short for many reasons.

As well as their failure to take advantage of the latest web standards and best practices, new features are often added atop legacy systems without proper planning around maintaining a seamless experience for users. Our mission at Attendease is to revolutionize the event experience for conference managers and attendees alike. We are obsessive (in a good way!) about using state-of-the-art web application techniques, while constantly striving for a wonderful and seamless user experience.

While Attendease looks and works beautifully out-of-the-box, we have also painstakingly built the platform so that our team (or anyone else proficient in HTML, CSS and JavaScript, for that matter) can easily manipulate the look, feel, and some functionality to very detailed specifications. It has been most exciting to see how our clients’ own internal developers have been manipulating the Attendease theme in order to pixel-perfectly match their company branding, without engaging Attendease for any costly custom consulting!

Clients that have switched to Attendease after using other platforms invariably describe how much more pleasing, intuitive, beautiful, and relatively inexpensive Attendease is compared with their old event management software. That’s the best feedback we can hope for, and it’s what constantly drives us to continue innovating.


 

Where we’re headed

The central mantra at Attendease is simply to make event management beautiful. Not only do we want to ensure that all attendee interactions are as enjoyable as possible, our goal is also to delight and simplify the lives of conference managers in the process.

Though Attendease can already accommodate the needs of most events out there, we are constantly updating the platform by adding new features as well as improving existing functionality.

This blog will house info on all things Attendease including product updates, event best-practices, company culture and other fun tidbits.

Feel free to create a free account. We’re looking forward to being part of the story that makes your lives easier and helps your events shine.

Jamie

Attendease Co-Founder