Liz King and Ed Wagaba Know How to Keep the Fun in Work


Dear Liz and Ed,

Thanks for agreeing to be part of this new correspondence series. This is the first group email I’m attempting, so we’ll see how it goes…

As I mentioned to you, the interview I recently published with Marc Zegans about building natural audience has started a number of interesting conversations in what seems to be a larger dialogue in the creative community. I wanted to include your voices in this, because I know you both well from your work in building audience around live events.

I’m particularly interested in the way that you engage people around event technology through your Techsytalk website and your yearly event, Techsytalk Live. You have managed to create a very robust and interactive community around what is essentially a technology brand. You guys know each other for a long time. How do you keep making it so much fun for yourselves and for all of us? (Um, that is, assuming you are still having fun.)




Hey Deb –

Here we goooo. I’ll let Ed choose a photo of us that he wants to use.

In regards to your question –

We are absolutely still having fun and I think that’s the only reason our attendees have a great time too. Sometimes, we spend more of our meetings laughing and coming up with crazy ideas than we do “working”, but that is how we come up with fun concepts that people can align with. I’ve been told techsytalk isn’t professional enough, but we believe that people are all the same at the core. We like to have fun and connect with like-minded people. We hope to curate a community around techsytalk that achieves just that.



Liz, I’m so happy to hear you say that, because I’ve believed for a long time that the way we engage in the process of doing our work sets up a feeling that carries directly into the product that we create. Having attended techsytalk live for the last couple of years, and having been a guest blogger on your site for I don’t know how long, I know that you do everything you can to make things comfortable for people to participate in your projects.

So, is it working?

And why do some people still think that it’s not really work unless it’s serious? Ed, since you are clearly the more stern and reserved one here, what’s your take?


Hey Peeps!

(off the record) – So I went to watch the new Dumb and Dumber Sequel that came out 20yrs after the original. *spoiler alert* – They reconcile this huge gap in time by going with the story that Lloyd (Jim Carrey) spends 20 yrs in a mental hospital and has his friend, Harry, (Jeff Daniels) stopping by every week for the entire time. Turns out, it was a 20yr long gag by Lloyd which he ends with a simple ” GOTCHA.”

All that to say….that’s why my response is 2 wks late….GOTCHA! (I’m not quite AS committed to the gag as Lloyd .)

(back on record)

We’d love to take credit for having hatched some deliberate master plan to keep our audience engaged and entertained all the time, but I think the truth of the matter really is, we have short attention spans and HATE being bored. :=) So that ends up showing up in the ethos of our brand in that, we always seek out more animated ways to engage our audience. I think the output of our brand is very consistent with who we are as a team, we just try to present it in a somewhat digestible, more “professional” manner so as to not leak the fact that we are quite possibly qualified to be in the looney bin.


So is it working? I would say so far, yes. We always get comments about how non-conventional our website/events/in-person interactions are and I’d like to believe that is meant in a positive light.  I think the general paradigm that work has to be serious tends to be misconstrued that work has to be boring. To clarify, we do take what we do very seriously and are very deliberate in making sure our end product is true to the LKE brand.

We love what tech startups are doing in the landscape of business and sort of redesigning the work force and what the workplace looked like perhaps a generation ago. They figured out how to create very engaging work environments for their employees and create a lot of outlets for a “fun” experience. Interestingly enough, they tend to have some of the smartest, hardest working people in the work force, debunking the myth that work and fun are incompatible. We believe it’s a necessity.  Part of it is that we’re passionate about what we do, so that bleeds into everything we produce.

I think the day we stop being passionate about what we do and stop having fun doing it, will be the day that we either pivot or close our doors.


OK, so I have another question. Clearly you guys have learned how to bring fun into your own work, your own events, and even the way you brand yourselves and create community (um, Ugly Sweater Party anyone?). Have you been able to carry this same spirit into the branding you do on behalf of your clients? Again, I’m most interested in the way people are using authentic communication styles as a way of developing audience and community. Do your clients give you a lot of leeway in this regard?

[note: Liz, if you want to answer first and then we turn it over to ed, that’s cool, or ed, you take this one and then we pitch it back to liz, either way is fine by me…]



When it comes to working with our clients, it’s all about learning their brand and voice. Of course, that’s totally different than what we do for so we spend a lot of time working with their team to make sure that their marketing and branding collateral makes sense for them. We do whatever we can to recommend tech and fun for our clients, but it’s always their decision at the end of the day. So – sometimes you’ll see our LKE touch come through stronger than others. That being said, I think our most successful client relationships give us more leeway and freedom to express their brand in an authentic way for them.



I hear you, Liz. I have to say, the client relationships I enjoy the most are the ones that are the most collaborative. I try to help my clients realize their vision in the truest way possible, but I know that my participation has some kind of inevitable impact on the way their messaging is shaped and delivered. Ed, do you have a sense of how the LKE touch makes itself felt in the way you deliver branding services to your clients? And for that matter, in the shape of the final product?





So, while Ed and Liz are off on another assignment, I’ll ask you this: How do you bring a personal touch to your work, particularly when connecting with your audience? Do you bring this same touch into work you do for clients?


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