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As chief strategy officer of Patron Technology, Betsy Grider has witnessed the collapse and rebirth of live events over the past 18 months. Patron, an event tech solutions company, provides event-organizing clients—from sports leagues and music festivals to theaters and farms—a cloud-based suite of tools for ticketing, fan and sponsor engagement and mobile experiences. When live events—then Patron’s bread and butter—came to a halt in 2020, Grider had a puzzle on her hands as she aimed to balance client expectations with health risks. “It’s been stressful for our clients, but we’re working to come up with safe ways to reopen, re-engage and bring fun and escapism back,” she says.
Her Company’s Vision
A smooth event experience was always Patron’s focus. “What was happening in the event technology industry was you’d have a client with multiple vendors who only worked together onsite for a weekend,” says Grider. “That made it difficult to triage challenges if they arose. Today, you want your event technology to work together. My role is focused on creating a streamlined experience by bringing together innovative companies and creating a single product offering for the entire event.” As in-person and hybrid events return, Grider says that Patron is meeting rising demand for digital solutions like virtual meet-and-greet experiences, safety updates like capacity management and contactless protocols and streaming services.
Her Success Philosophy
It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when urgency hits. Grider says she takes a 10,000-foot view and asks herself: “What path allows us to be a supportive partner to our clients, especially those who are struggling to reimagine the future of their events?” That macro outlook includes prioritizing collaboration and not living in her inbox. “I try to [think about] the five most important things to get done this week,” she says. “We set quarterly objectives and key results goals to prioritize, and I seek collective authorship within our team to achieve those goals, because we’re more powerful when we kick things around and get feedback from our clients.”
Her 3 Must-Have Tech Traits
At Patron and at home, Grider chooses tech that can keep up with her success philosophy. Here are the three tech attributes she values most in her devices and how they help her and her company succeed.
“When a client’s event day arrives, we need to match their same sense of urgency and accountability. It’s like when you’re about to give a big presentation, are fully prepared and think ‘This better work.’ Technology needs to be reliable, but there will always be hiccups. However, as long as you have a true partner behind it, you can work through it together. And we’re that partner.”
“I wear a heart rate monitor that helps track rest, sleep and athletic performance each day. When the next round of hardware comes out, they’re adding things I didn’t know that I wanted until I had it. That surprise and delight—anticipatory innovation—feels like their product team gets me. In the live events field, you get one night, one weekend, one opportunity to deliver a delightful customer experience. You have to understand who that client is and what they want to give attendees. How do you not only deliver on their expectations, but also provide them with something they didn’t even know they wanted?”
“I used to be on a plane every week. We’ve figured out a better way to build relationships through technology. Last year, I was able to execute an entire business acquisition over video conferencing. It was necessary to meet the team, but it’s also nice to be home with my family. At Patron, we’re getting creative about bonding and engaging—having a virtual wellness challenge or a talent show, for example. With tools that prioritize community-building, we’re able to pull off more than I expected and it allows me, an extrovert, to still feel connected with our team.”