Spend a few minutes with Justin Bolognino and your creative spark ignites. His passion for meetings and events is contagious. Back in 2007, the team behind New York’s Brooklyn Bowl bought into his startup marketing strategy—no ads, no money, just the (then unknown) social media—and by its second year in business, Brooklyn Bowl was the 10th most-searched keyword on Google. “They had the faith to let me run with it,” recalls Bolognino.
As an industry thought leader, Bolognino predicted that video remix teams—like Eclectic Method and similar outfits creating technology resulting in spectacular events—would need support. So he started META as “a crusader to get these guys paid,” as he puts it. “People were posting creative technology on Instagram, but they didn’t know the name of the person who created it,” he says. “Skrillex didn’t design that show; it was the experience directors—and I wanted to make stars out of them.”
He’s succeeding. Bolognino has worked with companies such as Twitter, Google, Spotify and SoulCycle. He’s also known for creating #FEED powered by Twitter at SXSW. It was a moment that “combined interactive art, social media and an unbelievable space to bring everything that’s happening at SXSW together,” he says. His efforts resulted in the founder of the festival singing his praises.