Today’s Event Tech Showcase falls on WYSKR.com. The founder, Vernon Marchal, provided us with a great example of how WYSKR works as well as how it got started. First, let’s go through its origin story.
1. What inspired your company to create this new tech?
The inspiration came from graduate coursework I completed in instructional design at the Harvard Extension School as well as my experience as a managing producer of digital content at Harvard Business Publishing.
While at HBP, I was noticing that people in the events industry were being encouraged to produce content to drive engagement with events, while at the same time people in the content industry were being encouraged to produce events to drive engagement with content.
I was getting the sense that the emergence of mobile, social and data as key drivers in the digital economy was changing the relationship between events and content in ways that might create new opportunities for start-ups like WYSKR.
Fortunately, at the time I was enrolled in an instructional design course that encouraged “design thinking,” which really helped me conceptualize the WYSKR platform.
2. What is the story behind the name?
WYSKR (pronounced “whisker”) is about driving engagement with ideas. We believe people are most engaged – and at their best – when they’re being curious. Both our mantra and our tagline is “be curious.”
Our logo features a cat because cats are so closely identified with curiosity. And of course cats have whiskers, which you can see in our logo.
We felt that we were developing a resource that would help you understand what you should know regarding a variety of topics. The first letters of “What You Should Know Regarding” are WYSKR, so we thought it was a great fit.
3. Coolest feature?
We think WYSKR’s coolest feature is its overall UX design for mobile. We worked with a great UX design firm in the Boston area called Fresh Tilled Soil.
4. What are the advantages of using your new tech?
The big advantage of our tech is that it’s designed to help events drive engagement with content by taking advantage of things that they and their speakers are already doing.
The idea behind WYSKR is that events curate the best people (speakers), and these people are curating the best ideas (content) every day via social media. We build our content around those ideas using data we glean from social media analytics.
We think events have tremendous potential as content curation “beacons” in an ever more overwhelming sea of digital content noise.
5. Any big plans in mind for your new tech or your company?
It’s early days at WYSKR, but our goal is to be in the marketplace for users to try in 2015.
6. So how does WYSKR work?
Basically, WYSKR does 3 things:
- WYSKR curates the content being shared via social media by the speakers at an event,
- It builds WYSKR content pages based on the most popular and relevant of this shared content, and
- It enables users to form groups to engage with the shared content by asking questions.
It helps to explain what WYSKR does using an example, so using the recent INBOUND 2014 event as an example…
INBOUND 2014 featured 140+ speakers. 92% of those speakers had active Twitter accounts. 60% of those speakers with active Twitter accounts tweeted typically every day.
As soon as the speaker list is released for INBOUND 2014, WYSKR would use analytics to monitor all the Twitter activity of all the speakers.
Each day, WYSKR would select the one tweet that both:
a) got the most traction on social media and
b) linked to content that would be of interest to the target market of the event.
So by way of an example, here’s the August 5th tweet from INBOUND 2014 speaker Sean Ellis:
6 Tips for Young Professionals Flustered by Small Talk http://t.co/KHZ0ijhe3U Even useful for us no so young professionals 🙂
— Sean Ellis (@SeanEllis) August 6, 2014
Sean’s tweet got a lot of attention on social media relative to all the other tweets of all the other INBOUND 2014 speakers on August 5th. Sean’s tweet also linked to content that would be interesting to INBOUND 2014’s target market.
If you go to the WYSKR content page for this tweet, this is what you’ll find:
- The title of the content linked to from Sean’s tweet along with links to author, publisher, event and event speaker info.
- ~500 character summary of the content
- a related youtube video
- an area for group questions and answers (more on that TK)
- the information about the author
- the information about the speaker
- a poll
- links to related WYSKR content pages
High level, the idea behind WYSKR is that events curate the best people (speakers), and these people are curating the best ideas (content) every day via social media. Because events are anchored in time and space, WYSKR views them as potential content curation “beacons” in an ever more overwhelming sea of digital content noise.
For its users, each day WYSKR presents the best ideas curated by the best people who will be speaking at the best events. And it presents these ideas when they’re drawing the most interest on social media and in a way that’s very easy for users to quickly consume and share on mobile.
Right now events only benefit from their speakers’ idea curation expertise on the day(s) of the event. WYSKR would enable them to start benefitting from that curation expertise on the day the speaker list is announced. WYSKR creates social-media and data fueled visibility for the event to help drive ticket sales and provide more value to event advertisers, sponsors, speakers, participants and others .
And the kicker is that it doesn’t require the event staff or the speakers to do any work.