Dan Macsai: Chief Events Officer

Skift Take

Time's Chief Events Officer Dan Macsai reveals the blueprint for skyrocketing event revenue and the transformative power of marrying editorial content with dynamic event production.

Dan Macsai is Time’s newly appointed chief events officer. His background straddles editorial prowess and event expertise. In this candid interview, he explores the intricate future of event planning from the viewpoint of a major media organization.

Under Macsai’s leadership, Time has witnessed a staggering 70% year-on-year increase in U.S. events revenue and a 14% rise internationally. He credits this success to a bold decision-making approach post-pandemic and the company’s unique competitive edge. “This is the first year that Time really bet big on events,” Macsai said. He emphasized the great synergy between editorial lists and event production. He adds, “We invested in our team. We did more events than ever because the market was ready for it.”

Editorial Background

Macsai’s journey from an editor fascinated by the influential mix of personalities in Time 100’s annual list to a powerhouse events evangelist showcases a passion for live experiences. He vividly recalls the pivotal moment at his first Time 100 gala when he recognized events as a critical medium to bring journalism to life. “That was the moment… I turned from, what I would say, journalist and editor into events evangelist,” Macsai recounted.

One of Macsai’s significant contributions is his innovative approach to event formats. One such format is “impact dinners,” where guests share short moments of inspiration in a similar way to wedding toasts. This approach encourages inclusivity and community among attendees. “You get these really awesome bursts of inspiration and programming,” he explained, emphasizing the communal vibe of these gatherings.

Elevating Event Professionals

Macsai knows well the importance of aligning events with business objectives and creating effective business plans. Unsurprisingly, his advice to fellow planners is direct: “Find whatever it is that they [executives] care most about and then find a narrative that helps showcase how doing more of the events that you want to do will help deliver them more of that goal.”

Looking ahead, Macsai is intrigued by the potential of hybrid events and artificial intelligence. He believes these trends will have a substantial impact on the future of events at Time.

Despite the successes, Macsai acknowledges the constant stress that comes with the territory. “It’s never a success until it is over,” he quipped, stressing the importance of focusing on controllable elements to mitigate stress. His solution to the unpredictability of events lies in meticulous preparation and a willingness to learn from real-time challenges.

Macsai’s vision for the future includes expanding Time’s events globally and making them more accessible to the public. “I think we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do. There are a lot of cities and regions that we haven’t activated in as a global brand. There are a lot of types of events we haven’t been able to do. So again, I’m just excited for the future.”

A Promising Evolution

Macsai’s rise to chief events officer signals a growing recognition of events’ strategic importance in the corporate world. He believes all smart companies will create a similar role. “If you take events seriously and you understand the value that they drive, you will have a chief events officer,” he said.

For events to be recognized as an integral facet of business strategy, insights from thought leaders like Macsai are invaluable. His experience underscores the crucial role events play in fostering connections that transcend the confines of traditional media platforms. Blending editorial sensibility and experiential innovation, Macsai is setting a bold precedent for the industry at large.

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