Microsoft Underground PDC event a hit

Microsoft asked us to handle online registration for their Underground PDC event at L.A. Live on November 9, 2010. We nailed it.

There’s a lot we do to make sure an event goes smoothly. From hiring capable staff to having backup badge printer(s) and troubleshooting software to having a strong wireless connection, it’s always the little things that make or break an event.

Photo of one of the on-stage presentations. Courtesy of yfrog.com user Verdiggo.

Name badge design is one of those little things. Scott was especially proud of the name badges at the Microsoft Underground PDC event on November 9 and for good reason: people called each other by their first name. Often.

Take a look at your last event badge. Is your first name the same size as your last? Is your company name also similar? Do short and long names automatically re-size to be readable? No? Ours featured the first names in large type that was auto-scaled before they were printed. No space issues, no fumbling with markers and certainly no errors.

The ability to quickly and easily print customized name badges that could easily be read was our biggest win of the evening. Sure, the queue was handled well, the software ran glitch-free, everyone showed up on time and changes were made to the invite list with ease, but man, we were and are still proud of those badges.

The view from the balcony. Photo courtesy Verdiggo.

We were also able to give Microsoft real-time updates on checked-in attendees, pick out VIPs without calling too much attention to them (VIPs received special raffle tickets and an extra wristband) and even served as bouncers when called upon to help clear out the upstairs to prepare for the VIP party.

While we had plenty of successes, there are a few things we learned from the event, including:

1. Make the first name BIG
Stick-on badges or badges in lanyards always make finding someone’s name awkward. No one likes to think someone is staring at their chest for too long and with the big first name there, this wasn’t a problem. Conversations were started quickly, people became closer a little quicker and it gave people one less thing to worry about when socializing with a roomful of people they didn’t know.

2. Always have a backup
One of our label printers went down during the event. We have no idea why, nor were we in a position to troubleshoot the issue. Having one extra printer allowed us to swap the defective unit out and keep the registration line moving.

3. Always have a free station
Most large conference check-in areas are packed with row after row of occupied stations. When a name is wrong, a guest’s name isn’t on the list or someone wants upgraded status, they get sent somewhere far away and feel like a problem. We left one station open and solved issues right away. Everyone left happy.

Many thanks to Microsoft for asking us be a part of a successful event. Can’t wait for the next one.