I just finished writing the “’24 In Focus I: Tech-Driven UX” post. I’m still editing, so it hasn’t been published yet. I had a series of realizations so profound and important, that I’m compelled to write this immediately before I forget something. In my conclusion, I reported that Cannevents sought to transform the landscape of the trade show industry. But that’s such an understatement, it borders on short-sighted.

When my writing assignment was first discussed, I asked Miguel whether I was really needed. He casually said that I was going to be his gauntlet; thrown in defiance; in open rebellion and challenge. The way he said it sounded so crazy that I laughed and said he was giving off “White cat on the lap, evil secret lair vibes”. He just laughed and jokingly said “Don’t get ahead of the plan, that’s phase 3”. After writing my piece and recalling this moment, I went back and read the ‘About’ page, and got chills. It’s so concise and direct that you think nothing of it and just move on. It’s hidden right there in plain sight. He says it openly and in your face! It makes perfect sense now and the pieces are slowly connecting.

Remember, I have his plans (which I also just delved back into – and guess what? There IS a “Phase 3”. No cat or evil lair, but there may was well be at this point.); complete with, product lineups, seasonal change list(s), innovations package list, a list of future team members, competitor targets, and a timeline of key planned events. I have the contact order for each partner, as well as his competitor ‘hit list’. I know exactly how Miguel intends for this game to end. All of which provides me a vantage point no one else has. And, it’s through this lens that I’m viewing the overall project.

It’s always foolish to reveal anything to a competitor. Which is exactly what he did. I mean really, there are a lot of secrets he blatantly reveals on his about page. Even having me write something just shy of a manifesto; detailing his brilliant design of their destruction. The cockiness of it all. At a distance, it appears to be hubris. But no. Despite his legendary confidence, he’s no fool. So why? I’ll save you the guess work.

It’s simply because it’s too late to stop him.

Consider this: Cannevents’ largest competitors have developed to their current size (business units, not revenue) over an average of 5 years. Six months from now, Cannevents will be the 4th largest. By Q3, 2024, 1 yr after relaunch, they’ll firmly be 2nd largest; while rapidly narrowing the revenue gap to 3rd by the same period. If they did nothing else, they would take over 1st place in another 6 months, and eclipse revenues at the 2 yr mark. But, the 1yr mark is when phase 3 begins. And that is where all this talk about competition ends. Forever.

Our ‘casual joking’ over his statement was one-sided. He was serious, but found it funny (probably because he knew that I wouldn’t fully understand his statements until much later). I’ve known him for a long time. I know his warped sense of humor. I’m bracing myself for what I know to expect sometime next year. A pic of himself with a white cat in his lap against the backdrop of an evil lair. That’s him – jokingly serious AF. Don’t worry, I’ll share that pic with you once he sends it to me.

No. Cannevents doesn’t seek to merely transform the landscape of the trade show industry. Instead, they’ll force a competitive benchmark that’s out of reach for all but the top 3 in the entire industry. And that’s his trap! Avoiding it concedes the lead to him that you won’t regain for the next decade. If you try to match him, you will hemorrhage cash from every orifice until death; and still fall short. How can I be so sure? Because, all but one innovation are simply shiny bait. He never counted on any of them to put him over the top. In fact, he never needed them, and it clears up his note to his innovation plans “Innovate today, just beyond competitor’s future hopes; and no further. Never innovate again.” Now we know why. When he brings Phase 3 to market, it will 5x his revenue. That’s 5x more than the leader has been able to achieve in over 5 years of growth. It’s also more than the 3 closest competitors below him – combined. Trust me. This was over the moment he decided to un-retire.

Returning to that About page:

There is no revolution. There’s only a straight up declaration of war against unprepared enemies. He intends to exploit their apathy; and it’s going to be a total massacre.

It truly was… an open challenge, in rebellious defiance; and each time I write, his gauntlet hits the ground.

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