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Q&A: Catching Up With Event Designer Edward Perotti

In the new BizBash questionnaire, we get to know the veteran designer and event producer.

By Claire Hoffman September 5, 2018, 7:31 AM EDT

Photo: Courtesy of Edward Perotti

Edward Perotti has 27 years of experience in event production and design, from weddings and galas to corporate meetings and concerts for the likes of Ariana Grande and Nick Jonas. Last year alone, Perotti and his team managed more than 2,000 events and programs around the world, with budgets totaling more than $150 million. Based in San Francisco, he has designed meetings and events for such Silicon Valley icons as Pure Storage, VMware, Hitachi, and more, as well as countless social and philanthropic clients. He was inducted into BizBash’s Hall of Fame in 2017.

What are you working on right now? Oh, the answer to that might take hours—however, the project that is exciting me most right now is a multi-day program in Kauai. I have been given the opportunity to not only return to the Garden Island and the wonderful Grand Hyatt Kauai, but also to, for the first time, weave a true Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) event into this organization’s culture. Besides great design and flawless execution, teaching a new organization about the concept of “leave more than you take” truly charges me up.

What's in your event-day bag? If you know me, you know I love quality, so the event-day bag would be made by Smythson of Bond St. Inside it you’ll find: a photo of my family [as a] reminder of why I do what I do and the hours I keep; my tablet, which will have loaded all my event specs and papers—I refuse to keep a binder and I want to be as green as possible in every aspect of my events; a mini first-aid kit, more for myself than for clients as I am known to walk into walls from time to time; and a bracelet given to me by Carrie Fisher, as a consistent reminder to never stop being creative and focused.

What movies, books, or TV shows are inspiring you right now? I have most recently (thanks to my son) been re-inspired by the writings of Truman Capote. He had a style in his craft that transports you. It gives me such inspiration, because I hope guests, attendees, etcetera are transported whenever they walk into one of my events.

As for movies, I am a massive horror movie buff. I guess that makes me an emotional adrenaline junkie.

“Besides great design and flawless execution, teaching a new organization about the concept of 'leave more than you take' truly charges me up.”

What's your favorite new product or piece of tech? I am pretty darn excited about the possibilities of augmented reality. Talk about taking the attendee experience and gamification to a new level. Just thinking of the creative possibilities gives me chills (of joy).

What was the most memorable event you've attended lately? C2 in Montreal. I admit that I am a little jaded when it comes to conferences and events; however, I stepped into the C2 conference and within five minutes I became a five-year-old left alone in a candy store. The creativity, the energy—and all I could think about was this is the “art of possibilities.” I look forward to being dazzled again next year.

What's the biggest thing affecting the event industry right now? There are many things affecting the industry, from social to business events. Regarding business events, I am keeping an eye on personalization. When you pair A.I. and digital learning with big data, event planners might be able to give the attendees an even more modern, personalized, and thoughtful event experience.

How is your job different now from what it was five years ago? My job has evolved from the “order-taker” planner to “creative/designer” planner. I view and refer to myself as an “experience designer.” The biggest difference is that I found my voice. Once I found it, I used it. I discovered it was strong and authentic and it has become the key to my success.

What do you love about your job? I love that each event is different. I am a child born of the theater and I was fortunate to find a career in a world that is similar to theater. Regardless of it being a conference, trade show, festival, wedding, etcetera, there is always a script and/or message involved. My role is to bring those words and feelings to life—if only for a moment.

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