Seth Resler

About Seth Resler


As conference attendees purchase their tickets later and later, the job is becoming more and more stressful for event producers.

I know. Over the last 30 years, I have produced hundreds of events, from industry conferences and music festivals to competitions and expos. I have worked with the organizers of the premiere events, including CES, the NAB Show, and Podcast Movement.

I've had a front-row seat as the conference business has changed. Today, people no longer decide to attend based just on the content offered on the agenda; now, their decision is driven by the other people that they can connect with when they attend.


Conferences Are About Connection


Once upon a time, people met for the first time at a conference, and then used the internet to stay in touch. Increasingly, it's now happening the other way around: People are meeting online, then deciding to attend an event where they can meet these colleagues face to face.

The conference organizers who know how to cultivate these relationships between their attendees can drive sales. That's why I've spent years developing a community building blueprint for conference producers.



Building a Community of Adventurous Foodies


Throughout my entire life, I've dedicated myself to cultivating communities through events.

In 2010, I began a social dining group in Boston called "Mystery Meet." The idea was straightforward - a gathering of food enthusiasts enjoying a fixed-price meal at a local restaurant. The twist? The location remained a mystery until 24 hours beforehand. This ensured that all attendees were adventurous eaters, open to trying new things.

Every month, the event attracted dozens of food bloggers and other food enthusiasts. Soon enough, there were familiar faces mixed with the new ones. We would always end up talking about food: the latest restaurant openings, the innovative creations of chefs, and so on. We were a group of people with a common goal: to discover the diverse cuisines of Boston. Little did I know, we had formed a community.



Building a Community of Food Tourism Professionals


A couple of years after that, I found myself in the Bay Area where I launched a podcast called Taste Trekkers. It catered to food enthusiasts who love to travel. Each episode featured an interview with a food expert from a different city across the globe. Together, we delved into the must-know details for foodies visiting each destination: the best neighborhoods to explore, local dishes to savor, and noteworthy local chefs to know.

While hosting my podcast, I stumbled upon the world of food tour operators - these small companies that offer culinary tours in their respective cities. Intrigued by this niche, I took the initiative to launch the nation's very first food tourism conference, bringing together these culinary guides. Most operators were not acquainted with each other back then, as they considered other operators in their hometown to be competitors. However, when they found out they could meet fellow professionals in the same industry from other cities, their enthusiasm was palpable. I had created another community that connected like-minded individuals, and it felt amazing.



Building a Community of Performing Artists


Years later, while I was living in Detroit, I hosted a podcast focused on the local arts and entertainment scene. Unfortunately, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many talented performing artists I knew were left without any opportunities to showcase their skills. That's when I decided to collaborate with a local theatre to create Detroit’s Big Shot, a talent competition judged by a panel of experienced arts and entertainment professionals. The aim was not only to provide aspiring artists with a platform to perform but also to offer valuable feedback and career growth opportunities. Additionally, the competition fostered networking and led to exciting collaborations among participants. I had inadvertently created a vibrant community of Detroit performers.



More Communities:
Musicians, Mixologists, Podcasters, and Comedians


Reflecting on my journey, I realize that I have unknowingly brought communities together at various points. For instance, while programming an alternative rock radio station in Providence, Rhode Island, I organized a town hall for local musicians. I also used to host mixology competitions, which attracted bartenders from across the state. As a consultant for radio stations, I integrated radio professionals into the podcasting community by organizing a track called "Broadcasters Meet Podcasters" at the Podcast Movement conference. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, I organized a virtual Christmas Party for Detroit comedians who were unable to perform in front of audiences at the time. Every time, I was filled with the contagious delight that people experience when they connect with kindred souls who share their sense of purpose.


Seth at Podcast Movement

Sometimes I did these things as part of my job. But just as often, I was was producing communities through events because it is something that I genuinely enjoy doing. I love connecting people.


A Blueprint for Launching Communities


For the past fifteen years, I've been working as a digital marketing professional, aiding brands throughout the country in developing and executing effective digital strategies. During the pandemic, I became very interested in the emergence of new digital tools that enable people to connect and come together.

I started experimenting with various platforms like Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, Zoom meetings, Slack channels, and virtual event platforms. I began using these techniques to help organizations like the National Association of Broadcasters, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and the Traverse City Comedy Festival build communities. Through these experiments, I eventually developed a method to create and grow communities that combines these technologies with in-person events. In short, I developed a blueprint that any conference producer can use to launch their own community.

I have always loved building communities for event attendees. Now, I want to show you how you can do the same.

Let's Build a Community!