Going to INTIX is like going to ticketing summer camp. As a first timer, aka Red Dot, I walk in a little overwhelmed. I don’t really know anyone in this space where it feels like everyone knows everyone else. Everything is planned; every meal, ever coffee break, every cocktail hour, everything. There are learning opportunities for audience engagement, fraud, and leadership instead of canoeing and archery. There are field trips where you all pile on buses and talk about your favorite part of the con while adding each other on Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s all a little overwhelming and removed from real life, but the camp councilors/team of volunteers are eager to make everyone feel welcome and included.
The central theme seems to be “We’re all in this crazy ticketing thing together. Go ticketing fam!” This extends from programming into all of the mixers, coffee breaks, and mentality of all of the attendees. Everyone is happy to meet everyone, which is a bit surreal for a wallflower that spends most days hiding behind her monitors and headphones. In Tuesday’s break out session for ticketing agencies it is decidedly non-competitive and more about how we can share and learn from one another. That afternoon’s Preparing for Exceptional Events almost feels like a Hamilton and Garth Brooks support group. Wednesday’s Fail Fair is dedicated to owning and sharing our greatest failures so we can all learn from them. In Thursday’s panel on Infinity Mirrors panelist Tammi Enright is moved to tears talking about how integral the relationships formed at INTIX were integral to her and her fellow panelists’ success in presenting the unprecedented blockbuster Yayoi Kusama exhibit.
Also like camp, there are the “cool kids”. They’re the ones who have an innate rock star vibe without even having to try. For me, the “cool kids” are Jane Kleinberger (founder of Paciolan), Lynne King Smith (CEO/Founder of TicketForce), and Maureen Anderson (President/CEO of INTIX). While I’m doing my signature move of trying to blend into the background while feeling like the bizarrely lucky minnow who won a scholarship to be here in a sea of big fish, they’re the ones I look at and say, “You are fierce and fabulous and I want to be you when I grow up” (Yes, I see the absurdity of this phrase at 32). This is INTIX, though, where we ticketing nerds rule the world, so even the “cool kids” are more concerned with the ticketing fam than their own rock star status so there are no proverbial Heathers or Plastics.
I meet Jane at the Red Dot mixer on the first night thanks in part to the signature cocktail as I mistakenly call her Lynne. I’m completely mortified but she loves it, laughing and insisting we pose for pictures together. I meet Maureen later that night and see Lynne, who I’ve met before, the next morning. I get to feel fierce and fabulous by association for the rest of the conference as I hear my name exclaimed, share discussions of women in technology, and when my new CEO bestie texts me our picture from the first night.
Thursday afternoon comes too soon as our little ticketing microcosm shatters and everyone returns home to reality.