Event Technology Awards Judges’ Spotlight: Alex Balding


Full Name: Alex Balding
Company: SaaStock
Job Title: Events Manager

Alex is an Events Manager at SaaStock, a global community of SaaS (software as a service) founders, executives and investors. SaaStock boasts Europe’s biggest SaaS conference which takes place in Dublin every October with 4,000 attendees from 50+ countries in addition to a calendar of global conferences.

As the Operations lead on upcoming events in Hong Kong, New York and Sydney, he is constantly working with a range of the latest event technologies to deliver these events successfully. Alongside this, Alex is an active freelancer in the live music industry and over the years has undertook various roles across Production, Site and Backstage for clients such as Ginger Owl, Live Nation, MTV and BBC. 

1. What experience can you draw upon to successfully judge the ETAs?

I have had many experiences throughout my career to successfully judge the ETAs. Primarily with my job at SaaStock, I am in and around some of the best software technologies in the industry. Not only platforms that we use ourselves internally, but technologies that our various partners, vendors and venues around the world utilise. I am regularly using new and exciting platforms! 


2. How long have you worked in the events industry and what keeps you interested in it?

I have worked in the events industry since I was 18 years old, so I have six years of solid experience with a diverse list of clients. Alongside this, I have a BSc in events management. What keeps me interested in the industry is working on a wide range of events. My salaried job at SaaStock is my bread and butter as it allows me to travel the world, and the challenge of working with different cultures in different countries keeps things interesting. Alongside this, I use evenings and weekends (plus some holiday allowance) to work on different types of events such as music festivals and sporting events – this keeps things pretty interesting for me!

3. Best (and worst?) moments working in the events industry?

Best moment would have to be working as a production assistant on the Kasabian stadium shows in Leicester just after they won the Premier League – a very short lead time to pull everything together and a really rewarding experience! Worst moment would have to be when I promoted a sold-out music event at my University for 1,000 attendees. Everything was going incredibly well until five minutes before the headliners went on stage: the fire alarm went off and shut down all the production! Fortunately, after a 20-minute delay, we managed to get things back on track and I didn’t need to refund everyone!

4. Favourite piece of tech for work and personal life?

Tough one! I think I would be a little bit lost without Slack – it makes communication so much easier within our company. Zoom is really useful too as a lot of our teams are spread out across various countries. I also use this for personal life with my family spread out across the world.

5. What’s your go-to piece of tech when working on an event and why?

Asana – it helps me keep track of project management. It is especially helpful when you are multi-tasking several events at once. I find this is the best platform to hold work colleagues to account by assigning them tasks and deadlines and getting updates when things are tracking behind schedule. 

6. What was the last event on which you worked?

Last event I technically worked on was a SaaStock Local Community Meetup event in Singapore. Although I didn’t physically attend, I managed all the logistics from the UK with representatives onsite to deliver the event. 

7. From your experience, how has tech been best utilised at an event? / What’s the best way to utilise tech at an event?

I think tech has best been utilised at event from an engagement perspective. It is much easier now for attendees to interact not only with each other, but directly with speakers / talents / sponsors. Q&A platforms such as Slido are a great tool at our events and I think matchmaking tools provide a great ROI for all delegates. 

8. We all learn from our mistakes! What was the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake since being in the industry?

The biggest lesson I have learned since being in the industry is to never assume anything. Check, double check, triple check and then re-confirm just before, even if it means being a nuisance. Regardless of whether it is someone else’s fault – vendors, colleagues, venues, etc., – ultimately, I will be the person held accountable at the end of the day.

9. What are you most looking forward to at the ETAs?

I’m looking forward to network with fellow industry peers and celebrate / recognise tech company achievements. It will be my first ETAs so I’m very excited! 

10. What do events, such as the ETAs, mean to you? / Why is it important to recognise the achievements of tech companies?

I think in any industry / profession it is important to recognise the achievements of those leading the way! I think it provides a great platform to showcase and benchmark the best technologies out there. New and aspiring companies can always have something to aim towards and know the standards that have been set from competitors. 

11. If you could only use one piece of tech when working on an event, what would that be?

Bizzabo – it covers most of the elements needed to produce a professional event from start to finish!

The Event Technology Awards ceremony returns to Troxy on November 6, between the two days of Event Tech Live 2019.

Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: molly@eventindustrynews.com