Inspire, Engage, Unify – TLCC 2019 learning and community, global conference was the biggest to date and a week filled with events, sessions, networking and learning – spending time with our existing Tessitura clients, meeting new people and organisations from all around the world, all part of the growing Tessitura community.
As a sponsor and vendor to the community, we spoke with many of the attendees, learning about their organisations, their business needs and the challenges they face. A chance to gain a ‘snapshot’ of the commonalities between organisations, current trends and where the future lies for many of the companies we spoke with.
Chicago, Illinois was our host city this year – we took a cue from their high ranking for sustainability, voted No.1 Green City in the US, when thinking about our ‘swag’ for the conference. We decided upon recycled notepads, bamboo pens and organic cotton tote bags, that could be seen gracing the various, stylish attendees throughout the conference.
We started our trip proper on Saturday with a chance to get to know Chicago a little bit better. Up early (if not a little jet-lagged) we made our way via Soldier Field and the Shedd Aquarium to join the city tour bus for a trip around the heart of the city. With a tour guide full of the ‘patter’, we made our way around ‘the Loop’ and riverside – learning about the history of the city, the great fire and of course the best spots to eat, drink and shop.
Following the bus tour, we made our way to the riverside to join the architecture river tour, voted one of the best tours in America! We can see why. It was 90 mins seeing Chicago by boat (the best way!), excellent facts and stories about the buildings, their history – even down to geeking out on the steel structures and building techniques from our excellent guide.
Before jumping back on the bus we made a pilgrimage to Giordano’s for a deep-dish pizza, a must in Chicago. The queues out of the door suggested good things inside – and the pizza didn’t disappoint, even if we perhaps misordered when enough pizza arrived for 16 people and the three of us had to debate who would be carrying the doggy bag back to the hotel.
Sunday saw the start of the conference, with a Welcome from Tessitura Network CEO and Co-Founder, Jack Rubin. Titled Disruption by Design and Innovation by Necessity, Jack spoke about the challenges that face all arts and cultural organisations and how the network might look to innovate, grow and thrive – with examples from those in the community and beyond.
Later that evening we attended the Networking Dinner, in a hall of 2,000 we joined tables of attendees for open discussion about our backgrounds and reasons for attending the conference. A great chance to meet some new faces at the outset of the conference!
On Monday morning the day kicked off with a Company Update – Propel. Kristin Darrow, Andrew Recinos and Chuck Reif shared updates and insights on the evolution of Tessitura and key milestones along the way – also looking ahead to the near and longer-term future of Tessitura’s technology and community.
Another highlight of Monday was TN Inspire!, the conferences fast-paced speaker session, Pecha Kucha style, with each speaker given 5 minutes and 20 slides to tell their story. We saw and some wide-ranging and fascinating and moving presentations.
Monday night saw us join the WordFly party at the excellent Emporium Arcade in Fulton Market – popcorn, tacos, pinball, pool, skee ball (and possibly a photo booth!) – what more could you want! A fun night was had by all, whisky stocks at the bar may have been depleted and we tried to keep our competitiveness in check. Thanks to Kirk and his team for a truly fun, Chicago style evening!
Tuesday kicked off with a 6 am, lakefront, 5k Fun run for those, not of faint heart. It also brought the chance for us to speak in the Partners session with our MD, David Johnstone, discussing the Future of Ticketing. A look at our exploration into blockchain solutions to combat fraudulent ticket sales, possibilities with Voice technology and AI to increase sales.
Key takeaways included:
Incorporate voice search strategy – Focus on the long-tail, natural phrases used in voice search. It should come as a relief to your marketing people or team that you can actually write conversational content and also from a more technical perspective take advantage of schema markup to help search engines understand the context of your content.
If you suffer from the scalping or fraudulent behaviour then Blockchain could actually be a real-world solution to help address these issues.
Embracing A.I. is not here to steal your job it could help your frontline staff more efficiently use their time on the higher value human interaction elements and in the search for smart personalisation, A.I. could help the user find what they seek quicker and easier but also could allow you to cross-sell and up-sell more effectively.
On Tuesday afternoon we had the opportunity to join in the ‘Go Local: Experience Chicago’, which dovetailed with the chance to visit with our client the Auditorium Theatre. Our tour of the theatre took us onto the stage and up to the very highest tier of seats, a chance to inspect the original seats, artwork and event some plasterwork damaged by a softball! Thanks also to Luke and Colleen and their team who presented us with an epic book on the history of the theatre – one to take pride of place in the studio library.
Wednesday morning started with Tessitura’s Innovator Series. Nicole Smith, Manager of Volunteer and Internships Services at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County spoke about ‘Truly Integrating Volunteers and Interns Into Your Organization’. Criss Henderson, Executive Director and Chris Plevin, Director of Production of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater spoke about ‘Creating a State of the Imagination Theater’ – and last but not least Daisy Swift, Learning Director with our client Wigmore Hall gave a moving talk about ‘Music for Life: The Power of Creativity for People Living With Dementia’.
On Wednesday evening, TLCC bandanas at the ready, we along with the majority of the conference attendees piled into waiting buses, zoomed along a ‘secret bus highway’ that took us to the famous Navy Pier. There followed an evening of food, ice cream, music from the Tessitura band (with a few funky lyrics and dance moves snuck in!), all topped off with an epic firework show on the lakeshore.
On Thursday the conference closed off with a round-up of the week and the announcement for TLCC2020… which will be Denver, Colorado! We can’t wait to join you all again next year for more fun and adventures with the Tessitura community.
Before we headed back to Scotland, we took the chance to visit with our client the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. Heading over on the Amtrak, we were greeted by our host Tim, taken on a tour of the city and then lunch at a Milwaukee staple, Culver’s, where the frozen custard just about defeated us! Then on to the zoo where, with the aid of a golf buggy, we managed to visit the ZSM team, offices, the animals and even had time to feed the giraffes! An experience not to be forgotten.
Saturday saw us wrap up our trip – golf for David, record hunting for Ken and the Art Institute for Andrea. Regrouping for dinner at Green Street Smoked Meats and a karaoke session provided an appropriate and fun ending to the trip, Chicago and our experiences at the 2019 conference. Roll on 2020!
Noodle was of course there with us in spirit and we found a new owner for the TLCC bandana back at base.
If you would like to know more about our work with Tessitura and our T-Bridge product, which helps to close the gap between you and your customers, you can find all you need to know here.