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Episode 1: Talking Publicly About Things Event Pros Worry About Privately

by | Jul 25, 2022

Meet our host, Angela Alea, the President and Chief Revenue Officer at LASSO, as she leads our audience on a mission to set order to chaos in the events and entertainment industry. Listen in as she dives into the reasons why this industry has a lack of standardization, connection, and investment.

Angela Alea:

Welcome to Corralling the Chaos podcast, where we talk publicly about the things you’re worried about privately. My name is Angela Alea, and I’m your host. This is the event industry podcast for companies and crew, where we’re going to dive deep into things like what does our industry need that it just doesn’t have? What are the things you want to know, but you’re too afraid to ask? And, what are the biggest opportunities ahead for our industry? We’re going to go deep and nothing is off-limits!

So what do we mean when we talk about “corralling the chaos”, which is what this whole podcast is going to be about? We want to talk about the things that a lot of people are kind of, you know, afraid to talk about, i.e. how disorganized they are, but we need to kind of talk about it.

And so today I want to dive into three areas when we think about “chaos”. And I’m excited to see where we take this because I’m sure all of you have different perspectives and viewpoints based on your role within the industry. I mean, yes, our industry is complicated and complex, but does anybody else feel like we really overcomplicate the most simplistic things, unnecessarily?

That’s what I think our opportunity is. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things that are truly complex and should be complicated, but I want to focus on the things that we really can simplify. It is true. It is possible. There are opportunities. We have to really simplify a lot of the things that we do day in and day out. And so that’s what I want to talk about.

The first thing is there’s no standardization and here’s what I mean by this. There’s no standardization across how companies bill, how they collect their deposits, how they pay their talent, and how they even treat their talent. You go to one show and you’re treated like a king and all your meals are provided and the next one you’re called “the help”. We hear that! There’s nothing standard about that. Even with how people are communicating with their crew. So there’s just no one right way or standard way, as far as how these companies are operating.

I mean, for goodness’ sake, we don’t even call the positions the same thing. We’ve got thousands of positions for 40 standard disciplines within the industry. That’s got to change! That’s how mishaps happen because I called it one thing on one show so I thought it meant this, but on a different [show] this company calls it something different, so I misunderstood and I did the wrong thing.

Those are things we can fix. And it’s funny to me because part of what we do at LASSO is help companies automate their pay rules, and so it just baffles me when we get a 10-page document that explains how they pay their people. Think about that! If I’m going to work for you, I have to read through 10 pages to understand how I’m going to get paid. Am I the only one who thinks that’s crazy?

I mean, people should know how they’re going to get paid so they know what to expect. Right?! So they agree to it. But for whatever reason, our industry continues to have thousands of pay rules. If you work at this venue and it’s a full moon and you walk through this door, you get overtime during these hours, but if it’s a Tuesday that doesn’t apply. I mean, I’m being a little exaggerated, but that happens and I think we can fix that.

The second thing is the lack of connection and community that exists in our industry. When you can’t easily connect people to the projects they’re doing, you get chaos.

Think about how you operate. You do different shows in different venues, often in different cities with different crew, most of which who don’t even know each other. Post-COVID, there’s new players, new priorities, new vendors, different gear.

I mean, you probably even have different customers, new deliverables, smaller budgets, tighter timeframes, and all to be done with fewer resources. That alone, just the thought of all that’s chaotic to me. It stresses me out! I know it does you all, but it’s hard to be cohesive when you have a revolving door of contingent talent who show up with their own unique skills, their own ways of doing things, and their own communication styles.

All of these things contribute to the disconnect and lack of loyalty that we’re all experiencing right now. When talent isn’t folded into the company’s process and culture, they’re left on the outside looking in. I mean, they’re, they’re treated like a freelancer, not like one of them, right? Make them feel a part of what you’re doing. And freelancers, when you aren’t professional and don’t act as an extension of the company, why would they bring you into the fold?

We have to stop the “us versus them” mentality and learn to foster the human connection that makes us all better. We’re all connected and we should all be accountable to each other.

The third thing that I think contributes greatly to our chaos is we are an underserved industry. We don’t have enough tools, certainly not enough leadership or even enough data.

What I mean is we don’t have technology solutions that are built for our industry and our workflow. I’ll even take it a step further and say, I don’t think many people even understand our space, which is why there isn’t a lot of investment in it. There was almost no COVID relief set aside for our industry.

I mean, think about it. If a friend says, “Hey, what do you do?” Can you easily explain it or do you find yourself talking through a lot of technical terms, trying to explain to them how an event is done? Because as a consumer, they show up, they have a great concert, but they have no idea or appreciation for what you do to make that happen.

So there’s a big disconnect and we’ve got to educate people on what it is. I do think now more than ever though, our world appreciates gathering at concerts, festivals, sporting events, and conferences. We need to capitalize on that sentiment that’s happening right now. We have to put ourselves on the map for investment dollars.

There isn’t even an industry report that exists that’s published like there is for literally almost every single other industry out there. That’s crazy to me! We don’t even have NAISC codes or SIC codes. There’s no tracking of how big we are, how fast we’re growing, or I’m just going to say how great we are (because we are). But there’s nothing standard for that. There’s nothing reporting for that. There’s literally nothing.

Most industries are crowded and even overserved, not ours though. It’s underserved in massive ways because we are complex, and let’s face it, what we do is hard and unfortunately, really misunderstood. We have an opportunity to change that though and put event and entertainment services on the map.

I’ll close with this. I know chaos breeds, stress, resentment, and burnout. But if we could all just commit to being a little bit nicer and kinder to one another, it would do a lot for all of us. Stop assuming everyone’s out to get you. Stop being angry all the time and jaded. No one’s out to get you. Life is too short to not enjoy the work you do, and the people you get to do it with, as chaotic as it may be.

At LASSO, one of our core values is to “believe the best”. We say it all the time, because we’re all human, right. Something happens, it doesn’t go right. All of a sudden we go there, right? We go to a bad place and it’s up to us to pick each other up and to remind each other, believe the best, believe the best in your teammate, your crew member, your employer, and your employees. Believe the best in that. Believe the best in our industry. We are in such a cool industry that so many people just don’t understand and it’s up to us to educate them and to simplify all the complexity that exists.

That’s it, for now. Would love to hear your feedback, so be sure to subscribe and reach out with any comments or feedback at podcast@lasso.io.

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