Ben Chestnut wandered the halls of his hotel the night before Startup Riot Atlanta. It was his job to judge the hackathon. He wasn’t nervous, he just didn’t know where the hackathon was being held. This, as you can imagine, was a problem. He tried emailing the organizer, but his inbox was flooded and unfortunately Ben didn’t have anyone’s direct phone number. Eventually, Ben found where was supposed to be by chance.
This experience, which Ben describes as “semi-traumatic,” got him thinking of ways to create a more streamlined way of communicating during events. When he got back to MailChimp HQ and shared his experience with co-worker Amro, a Ruby/iOS developer, and the rest of MailChimp’s Mobile lab, the wheels started turning.
This Number Will Expire In 5…4…3…2…
It seems obvious that the best way to get in touch with someone during an event is via text.
However, getting everyone’s phone number is difficult. Protecting that personal information is even harder. Gather lets you have all of the benefits of SMS with less wrangling, and less risk.
In the Gather app, you can create an event, choose which MailChimp contacts you’d like to send invitations to, and create a custom URL to invite others to receive SMS alerts. Those attendees are assigned a custom Twilio phone number for that event, which will be purged from the event organizer’s Gather account after the event is over. So, there’s no risk of getting a text three weeks later from that guy who tried to pitch you. However, the event organizer can keep their Twilio number Gather assigned after the event, and run more than one event at once.
From The Event To Happy Hour and Beyond
If you need to share a time sensitive update during an event, contacting the right people at once is just like sending a group text. Enter in their custom phone numbers and text away. Event organizers will receive push notifications via Apple Push Notifications when an attendee replies, making sure everyone is in the loop.
When the event goes from the conference hall to the bar down the street. You can check in and share your location through Gather, using the Foursquare Venues platform.
Gather is currently available for iOS devices. The MailChimp team is working on making an Android version as well. To learn more about MailChimp visit their website here