Josh Hotsenpiller, CEO of JUNO, is an expert in human connection. With over a decade of experience building great communities and software to serve them, Josh is loved by clients like PCMA, HP, Disney, Michael Hyatt and more. Josh leads the JUNO team to help create digital communities for globally recognized brands and associations.
- 1. How long have you worked in the events industry and what keeps you interested in it?
We have been creating software for events for nine years. From the start we did the largest one-day leadership event ever called Leadercast, 117,000 people in one day. It was a real hybrid, both live and simulcasted around the world. We did multi-city events with a group called Catalyst. And then we’ve done live events for HP Global.
- What keeps it interesting was community. It’s, you know, how do we make sure even when people are somewhere physical altogether, it doesn’t mean they’re in a community. If hundreds, thousands of people are walking down the street in New York city, are they in community? No. So just because somebody is under one roof or in the same city, it doesn’t mean they’re in community.
So whether it was a large one day event or multi-day events or global reaches, getting people together in community with each other always gets us excited.
- Best (and worst?) moments working in the events industry?
Best moment was when we scaled to 117,000 people in one day, it was just an amazing feat for us.
And I don’t want to say the worst, but a pivotal moment for us was an event early on — people had bought airline tickets and spent money on hotels and taken time away from their family. Then I watched them walk aimlessly alone through an event. It was a catalyst for us to know that in this industry there’s room to grow. Even where people have known each other for years, there is room to grow. There can still be cliques and we want to change that.
- What was the last event on which you worked?
Well, you know, we’re working on two or three a week! We’re constantly working, and one memorable event that happened at the height of COVID was with American College of Emergency Physicians, when we put 10,000 frontline workers together. It was just an amazing experience for me to sit with those frontliner and watch people who were going through such trouble and such challenges, be able to serve and support each other. That was really, really cool.
- 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 that, honestly, it’s the human behavior stuff. Advanced human interest modeling is what we talk about at JUNO. What makes tech work is when we can understand what humans need and want, and we can bring that and deliver that to them. Without a doubt, that to me is how it’s best utilized.
It’s when we can get individuals to say, here’s what I know I’m interested in, then we can use technology to understand what their new interests are and bring all that together.
- We all learn from our mistakes! What was the biggest lesson you learned from a mistake since being in the industry?
Indeed. When you’re in software, you’re codependent on other vendors, and I think the biggest thing we’ve learned through the years is the importance of communication and congeniality with the other people that are playing. When launching big products and experiences, there’s a bunch of different things going on. Everybody has to realize their product has to pass the stress test. So making sure we can learn from the mistake of just jumping in with anybody, when you haven’t done the communication and the work of really making sure you’re in sync — those are big lessons that we’ve learned.
- What are you most looking forward to at Event Tech Live?
I can’t wait to hear and share at Event Tech Live. That combination to me is SO FUN. I want to hear more. I want to share more. I think both of those are so important. It’s that circular process of listening and speaking, discovering and giving. It’s all about learning as you go too.
- What do events mean to you?
Community! I keep going back to that word. Events create community. It means removing boundaries and bringing people together for new relationships that matter to them.
- What can our delegates expect to take away from your session at ETL?
Guess what, it’s community! Hybrid Intersections of Connectivity is about the three bridges of community — physical, digital and hybrid. I can’t wait just to share about the importance of creating these intersections for people. We often separate these in our minds and they shouldn’t be, it’s a flow. It’s a strategy of bringing these network bridges together. I want attendees to walk away and say, “I better understand how to move people across the physical bridge to network, the digital bridge to network, and the hybrid bridges to network.”
- Which one piece of tech couldn’t you live without?
I’m sure everybody’s going to say their iPhone. How do you even live without one? I feel like I’d rather lose my wallet than lose my phone. But I love my Peloton, too. That’s tech and I love being able to use tech to work out.
- Most pointless tech you have purchased?
My son loves basketball, and I bought him this basketball that has a chip in it that it can watch what you’re doing and track it. And it was expensive. Then, like most kids do, he used it three times and it was an absolute waste. So I’m finding most of my tech pieces that are pointless are for my children!
Join Josh for his session: Intersections of Connectivity at
ETL US & Canada on June 9th on The Omni Stage – Book your ticket here