Oh, how we’ve missed in-person events. Being at Unleash in Vegas last week, rubbing elbows and sharing smiles after nearly 3 years was such a joy. That’s why we had to get the guy who made it all happen on the show. Unleash’s Marc Coleman joins the boys for a review of the conference, its brightest highlights and unexpected surprises. Then we dive into the Paris show, coming in October, and get a sneak peek into what to expect … other than wine, cheese, snails and all that other French stuff.
Enjoy, and we’ll see you in October.
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Oh yeah, what's up everybody, you know, what's up? It's your favorite guilty pleasure. The Chad and Cheese podcast. It's the morning after edition.
Unleash and we are excited to have the guy behind the conference!
Marc Coleman, sit down with us and rehash the first day. What we can expect day two and get a little glimpse of Paris, which is coming up in October. The dates have been published. Marc, welcome to the podcast.
Thanks for having me guys, a absolute pleasure to have both of you here today. Thanks for being here.
Chad (1m 2s):
This is amazing. Now, before we get into any of that stuff for listeners, everybody probably knows who you are, but just in case, give us a little Twitter bio about Marc that likes the long walks on the Danube.
Joel (1m 15s):
He's much taller in person by the way. He's much taller in person.
Marc (1m 19s):
Dad of three, live on the Buddha Hills and Buddha Pash Irish, obviously with the accent, have my whole career working in events. I've worked in Asia for seven years. I've been in HR for maybe 12 now. Started Unleash in 2011.
Chad (1m 36s):
Marc (1m 36s):
Went MIA for three years through the pandemic. So really, really, really happy to be back here, you know, Vegas! It's a very inspiring, really great to meet everyone and get the dopamine going again.
Joel (1m 50s):
You mentioned the pandemic and the pandemic really altered the conference industry, some went all virtual, some closed shop, I guess, or haven't sort of restarted. How did you guys weather the pandemic and what was sort of the ramp coming into this and your idea to like, let's go back. Let's like, let's take the masks off and get back to each other.
Marc (2m 7s):
It's a bloodbath to be quite honest, for anyone in the events industry. I think no one really had a clue. I'm an ex-microbiologist. So my background is science and I'm spent spent enough time in Asia through a small pandemic called SARS. I've also, I did my first gig, my first rodeo in events on September 11th in New Zealand, something small, like the America's Cup.
Chad (2m 37s):
Joel (2m 38s):
You've got great luck basically.
Marc (2m 40s):
So I know I have a few friends who lost their businesses during the Iceland volcano, believe it or not.
Chad (2m 46s):
It's about survival. That's what I'm hearing.
Marc (2m 49s):
Yeah, it is. It was a massive fight to survive. The first thing I had to do was deal with all the venues who were very badly behaved. They were horrible to deal with. And that took a few months, but one of the first things did, was I turned around to my team and said, we have to pivot to digital now. And we'd been thinking about it for a very long time. So there's a bit of forced entrepreneurship that went down. Sometimes you get, I'm not a serial entrepreneur, but I had been talking about doing digital for far too long. You know, it was a bit lazy at that point. So,
Chad (3m 21s):
So the pandemic much like it did the rest of the industry really forced you to go to warp speed with something that you've wanted to do for a while.
Marc (3m 28s):
Absolutely. And it's given us this capability now. We have journalists at Unleash now and an editor in chief and a social media enthusiasts and stuff like this. So I'm sorry. We have content labs team as well. So lots of research going into the marketplace as well. So huge capability in terms of building audience. So the scale that I've always been looking for is finally with us now.
Chad (3m 53s):
That's awesome. Yeah. So I dude all I've got to say is everybody that I spoke to about coming here, they were stoked. They were so excited because there was like, we, we haven't been to events. We're excited to feel the presence of more human beings, people that we haven't seen. And then the people who didn't pull the trigger.
Marc (4m 13s):
Chad (4m 13s):
Big FOMO, the fear of missing out, oh man, you're talking to them. You can almost hear him like tear up on the phone. Right. This is like, you know, we miss this so much, right? Yeah.
Joel (4m 22s):
You can feel the anger in their Facebook comments.
Chad (4m 26s):
So when you stepped in this hall, how did you feel?
Marc (4m 31s):
Absolutely amazing. And I, one thing that stood out for me yesterday was running screams, coming left and right. I, I wasn't expecting that. Not from me, for other people meeting one another. I haven't seen one another for two, three years, maybe longer and the unexpected. And there is a chemistry to this, which I talked to you guys about before, which is, it's just dopamine. When you get that hug, you don't get that on zoom. You just can't get on zoom. And I think everyone's just, it's a big call out, but I think most people are suffering at some level with mental wellbeing because you know, we're looking at screens from one end of the day to the next, and we're all overdosing on zoom calls. It's back to back.
Marc (5m 10s):
So much stuff is falling down. It's harder than ever before. So for everyone to get out here for two days, you just can't beat the face to face. More People have said it to me yesterday, you got more done in one day than one year.
Chad (5m 24s):
Marc (5m 24s):
Right. In terms of just meeting the right people and just gauging people, you can tell if you've got like, people buy from people at the end of the day, right. That's never going to change.
Chad (5m 34s):
Dude, talent acquisition. I see talent acquisition professionals and HR professionals like giddy going up to vendors, cause they're like looking at new tech. That wasn't the case before the AEO is like out, we got to kind of like saunter up. Oh yeah. Now it's just like, we're so excited we get to do this again. So it's just the energy and the vibrance is a really exciting!
Marc (5m 55s):
Yeah. I saw it this morning. Peter Henson on the opening keynote just shipped, you know, you could see how I, people laughing behind me cause he's a bit of a comedian as well, but you could feel the hair was standing on the back of people's necks. They were just inspired. And that's what it's all about.
Chad (6m 14s):
Joel (6m 15s):
Yeah. So you obviously are bullish on conferences and face-to-face. Here at day two of the conference, has it exceeded your expectations? Did you kind of expect it to be the way that it's been or has it under underperformed?
Marc (6m 27s):
So I'm my own worst enemy and anyone close to me knows it. So I kind of, I was wondering if anyone who show up on day two, because it is Vegas and our supplier here, GES work at events every other day. And they've been telling me that day one, everyone turns up for day one. No, one's going to turn up for day two.
Chad (6m 48s):
This place is still full.
Joel (6m 49s):
Marc (6m 50s):
So, so does people still come back just brilliant! You know, and there's still plenty of business to be done here today.
Joel (6m 56s):
So there's another angle to that. And that you're primarily a European show.
Marc (7m 1s):
Joel (7m 2s):
You made the decision to come to the states, which was a risky decision. We had some established conferences.
Marc (7m 7s):
Joel (7m 8s):
From my point of view, you look like you guys are now in the pole position to be, you know, sort of the up and coming conference in America.
Marc (7m 17s):
Joel (7m 18s):
Was that your expectation?
Marc (7m 18s):
Joel (7m 19s):
Would you agree with that? And what can we expect in future shows? Just bigger, better, badder.
Marc (7m 28s):
Yeah. We needed validation. My crew put this. So we had, COVID obviously in Q1, Omicron killed us. I woke up in London in December and I was like, oh no, this event is scheduled for March. So for my guys to be able to pull this show off in 12 weeks, cause we lost all our speakers, you know, at this level.
Chad (7m 45s):
Marc (7m 45s):
Yeah. All of them, I think maybe three or four stayed behind kind of thing. Well, once we announced the new dates, we knew that was going to happen. So for my crew to turn that around and what was like 12, maybe 13 weeks in terms of one we had to do to production, which took three or four weeks to get all of those speakers and sorry, new speakers back onto the program. I, you know, and just do the marketing for it to get, you know, we had over 2000 people registered for the show. I don't know what the attrition is, but give or take 10, maybe up to 20% because of COVID. But I think if we can do that in 10 to 12 weeks, what can we do with 10 to 12 months?
Marc (8m 28s):
Right. So I think I needed this personally for myself because I've got a vision for what the show needs to look like. We can now scale the show, also. So I don't want to sound like Conor McGregor and we're here to take over baby.
Joel (8m 41s):
So at least for the near future, we'll only see you once a year in the US?
Marc (8m 48s):
But I think America deserves more shows and, and there's not enough. The market's very tired, but they're not catering everything that's here, including us, doesn't even cater for 1% of the market that's there. Right? So that's the reality. Everything else is a user event, right? It's Workday Rising, Work Human, Oracle World, stuff like that, marketing their normal. Like you've got to go there as a customer. So we have a different product. But I think we can, I think we in two X or three X scale this for next year.
Chad (9m 17s):
I think, I think you're underselling, so one thing is where you said this was something that you really needed. Look around you though. Everybody needed this shit, man. This is, this is, this is amazing.
Marc (9m 33s):
Yeah, I agree.
Chad (9m 34s):
The energy and then we watched the height video yesterday for Paris, and that made the hair on my neck stand up because we know Joel and I went to the last Paris event and it's so immersive. It is so, I mean, it's so big and it is so electric. I can't imagine what this next one's going to be like! Give us some behind the scenes.
Joel (9m 57s):
You've got to be super pumped for Paris after this Vegas event.
Marc (10m 1s):
Yeah. So talk about multitasking and yeah. I think here we can give Paris a run for its money with this show over here.
Chad (10m 9s):
Marc (10m 9s):
Yes, absolutely. We can do it much quicker. Yeah. Yeah. We can do it. What I love about Paris is it's a hundred countries. I think we've got a unique value proposition against everyone else in the market in terms of being a bridge now, because we've taken London out and there's like about six other events gone in, in the meantime so it's bit of a bloodbath in London. But what we get to do is get to look after the biggest economies in Europe, which are obviously Germany and France. Switzerland is a bit of a HQ Benelux and Nordics there that's our bread and butter companies and of course, UK and Ireland. But we get a hundred countries come into that show. So the diversity, the randomness of conversations, we get like Saudi Aramco which I think it's probably the most valuable company in the world if I'm not mistaken, they usually come with big pockets because you know, these vendors don't really exist over there for them.
Marc (11m 4s):
So it's quite shocking for a lot of our vendors meeting these kinds of buyers. So what else can I tell you? The speaker lineup that's really been interesting. So we've got close to 10 CHROs from the fortune 500. We've never done that before. We've never done that before. I've never seen any other event do that. So, I think that's validation as well, of our position in the market. Being out of the market for three years, people haven't forgotten us. And I think the investment that we put into the market, because we don't have a VC firm behind us. I just pumped the profits year on year into scaling a bit of a mad man on that.
Marc (11m 46s):
I've got a new CFO, so she's keeping me in line, but we will continue to invest in the product. And ultimately, you know what\ it's all about Paris, it's bringing the world of HR together and inspiring them. And if there was anything to take off Peter Henson this morning, again, it's kind of, it's a, we're not in the events business, we're in the change the world business. Yeah. We want to make a difference. Yeah.
Joel (12m 12s):
So two things stood out for me in Paris. One is how you have the floor laid out and that you have sort of sessions within the vendor space, which is really unique in our industry. And so that's always stood out to me. So I'm excited about that.
Marc (12m 31s):
I'm killing some of that though.
Chad (12m 33s):
He just, he just gave you a line.
Marc (12m 37s):
I said, I'm killing some of that.
Chad (12m 40s):
We got new layouts.
Marc (12m 41s):
I'm doing that because yeah, because the activations distract from the buyer model. So we want to be the number one marketplace in the world for the HR industry. That's our mission, that's it. So we've got to have, we got to facilitate those one-to-one meetings with vendors. So if they're being distracted with content.
Joel (13m 0s):
You're upin' the game. Okay. Yeah.
Marc (13m 1s):
We're upin' the game. Sorry. A bit of our old,
Joel (13m 5s):
I do get the feedback that you do, just from my perspective as an attendee.
Marc (13m 9s):
So that will still happen, but not what you saw the last time.
Joel (13m 12s):
Okay. You're evolving. I love it.
Chad (13m 16s):
The times are a changing kids.
Joel (13m 18s):
The times are a changing. The second thing was the Bob Geldof interview and that also seemed very unique to me. Usually there's, you know, it's a college basketball coach that comes in or you know, a speaker that comes in that sort of RaRa world of work stuff. You guys sort of go outside the box with stuff, a primary speaker, any, any hints or announcements that you want to make today about who that will be.
Marc (13m 43s):
There is no boxes Unleashed. And that's what we work to. We're always trying to work, you know, the magic. Yeah. I can say a couple Ben Evans. He was the number one speaker at Slush at the end of last year. JC, Johnny Campbell gave me that one. I've got Hannah Fry. Who's this famous really cool mathematician. Really good on AI. What you guys were talking to the commissioner about yesterday. She's just fab. Have a look at her on YouTube. You'll you'll really enjoy her. We're celebrating 10 years. Okay. So it's like, it's not 10 years. It's the 10th annual, right? So we didn't get to do that because of COVID. So we're going to have a real party.
Chad (14m 27s):
I have a teaser. I think we're going to get Joel popping out of a birthday cake.
Marc (14m 36s):
Oh, I'd love to see that! With a little pink dress?
Joel (14m 40s):
Later, later. Posing.
Marc (14m 41s):
So actually guys Oktoberfest is very nearby. Oh, by the way, it's in October. It's 12th and 13th. So yeah, you've gotta, you've you've gotta be thinking. What's the best way of saying this. The Rugby World Cup is on in 2023 to give you some hints of some of the speakers, celebrity speakers, which I know you guys have American football over here, but rugby is religion for us in Europe. So we've got Dash and so parse is our home for the foreseeable future on the year after we have the Olympics in Paris. So, and this is really appealing to me because I started my career in sports. So I'm looking forward to managing that part of our client and partner hospitality.
Marc (15m 25s):
So I get to take our nearest and dearest to some of the matches and lay on the hospitality because that's where some of the best deals.
Chad (15m 33s):
What I'm hearing is we're on the list.
Marc (15m 36s):
You guys are loving this now? Huh.
Joel (15m 39s):
Here's to 10 more and 10 more years after that, as far I'm concerned.
Marc (15m 44s):
So we're talking to a famous American sprinter Olympian for this year, as a keynote as well. But what I meant to say is because we're celebrating 10 years, we're bringing the best of the last 10 years back. So people like Kostos Makitas, Aaron Meyer, who's American and much loved in our community. Who else? Peter Hinson, there's a blast of the past coming again.
Chad (16m 10s):
Marc (16m 10s):
So this will be the best production we've ever done.
Chad (16m 14s):
Excellent. Well, Marc, we know you're busy. Thanks for giving us time. You've got to close out day two. We're excited about Paris, man. I mean, we, obviously, I, it's not the coffee.
Joel (16m 30s):
This is a hangover Chad and Cheese. So we're really excited for Paris.
Chad (16m 37s):
So if anybody wants to find out more about Unleash World, where should they go?
Marc (16m 42s):
Unleash.ai, which is our media site. And on top you have two clicks with Unleash America and Unleash World.
Chad (16m 50s):
Click on Unleash World, baby. And we will see you in Paris.
Joel (16m 57s):
Congratulations, Marc. Chad, another one in the can.
Chad and Cheese (17m 1s):
7 (17m 47s):
Thank you for listening to, what's it called? The podcast with Chad, the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Just a lot of Shout Outs of people, you don't even know and yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about cheese, not one cheddar, blue, nacho, pepper jack, Swiss. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Any hoo be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts, that way you won't miss an episode. And while you're at it, visit www.chadcheese.com just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. Is so weird. We out.