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Breaking The Ice

The annual SymphonyIRI Group Summit officially starts Monday, but for about a month now, attendees have been connecting through a social network called Pathable. It’s specifically designed for events and only summit attendees can join.

While exclusive to a particular event, the platform isn’t at all intimidating since it’s easy to use and doesn’t require any past experience with a social network. A picture and profile are requested, but not required.

But what’s really cool about the tool is its ability to let you know which of your existing Facebook friends, Twitter followers or LinkedIn contacts you can expect to see at the show. About 600 of the summit’s 1,000 attendees have signed on so far, according to SymphonyIRI, which is leveraging the platform to help attendees build meaningful relationships both before and after the show. The online community will be in place for about a month after the show concludes on Wednesday.

Members can build personalized show schedules, set up one-on-one meetings with fellow attendees or take part in discussion via Pathable’s discussion forum. Communications can be public or private.

To help break the ice, the platform even suggests possible matches. Since I’m registered as press, mine are the CEO of, the publisher of Time Inc. and other media members. But it’s what’s new with food retailers that I’m most interested in.

I found a possible lead for a story on the part of Pathable that aggregates attendees’ tweets. Thomas Wilber vice president of business development for NuVal tweeted “Bringing NuVal to NYC.” Hopefully he’ll respond to my message with news worth reporting.