Sometimes you just want to be there. And it doesn't hurt if you get a lot of swag at the same time.* This is what Alex Krupp has figured out with Swagapalooza -- a face-to-face invitation-only event held last week at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. We were met with two drink tickets and a warm loaf of bread from Sourflour. Behind the registration table was pile of eco-friendly shopping bags of mystery goodies from the presenters. On our seats were energy bars from TwoDegrees. I tweeted my thoughts during the event, so I'll leave reviews of the individual products to other blogs (hereherehere, and here). My focus is on Swagapalooza as a knowledge transfer event. Does Swagapalooza work? I believe it does. The invitees were traditional journalists, bloggers, tweeters, etc. Some were A-list bloggers, but many were not. We were invited to spread the word about the companies and products and had the list of presenter websites in advance. I suspect the reviews could have been done off the websites -- but would it have happened? I'm guessing no. The invitees are hit by tons of press releases and public relations material. Some of these generate reviews, but most don't, and certainly there wouldn't have been the focused flurry of posts and tweets that the event generated. (Not all of them fit for public consumption -- note above comment about drink tickets - but there was a big enough flurry that I heard the tag #swagapalooza was a trending topic on Twitter that night.) Swagapalooza created energy for the reviews. The five minute presentations varied from the standard Silicon Valley pitch to late-night TV quality demos and all garnered at least some attention from the audience. The presenters were good sports about the livetweetwall and I commend them for keeping it together as the audience laughed at random tweet-induced times. This was a buzz-creation event. There was a mix of strong and weak ties across the invitees. This means that the network is likely to be larger than had the invitee list been entirely of the normal suspects for product demos. It was also interesting that the products were so diverse. Again, a strategy likely to increase the reach of the network. Short version: Being noticed matters. Face-to-face matters. Food and drink matter. Swag is fun. Looking for more management theory around why this works? Motivation, opportunity, and ability.

  • We were motivated to show up. The background on Swagapalooza suggested it would be fun, interesting, and there would be goodies. We were motivated to tweet and blog (the tweetwall was an energizer and all blogs need material).
  • We had ample opportunity to tell stories of the products and the event. No wifi constraints gave us access to Twitter and the ability to do research on the fly.
  • Ability. This was invite only. The people invited have demonstrated the ability to share via traditional and new media channels.

Can you swagapalooza? Are there other events that work in such a focused way to share knowledge? (Note that I haven't limited this to marketing events.) Whether you take the short version or the management-speak version, how can you share knowledge with similar energy? --- *Disclaimer as per Federal law: Yes, I received freebies at Swagapalooza. That was the point.