I recently got a chance to sit down with Cannevents’ Founder and CEO, Miguel Marrie to discuss the challenges facing the Trade Show industry and the impact on Cannevents’ overall direction. Amid the backdrop of rising inflation, operational costs, and other economic factors, companies are making deep cuts to workforce, locations, travel, logistics, marketing and project spending. Scaling back on Trade Show appearances and spending budgets have also been noted in recent conferences for meeting industry professionals. Companies are actually asking whether they even need to send representatives to maintain or extend their networking efforts when they can save money on hotels, travel, and dining costs, on top of the loss of time in going. Virtual attendance has helped to amplify those questions. There seems to be a case for tech advancements actually hurting attendance.

On the surface, these questions seem difficult. As mentioned, the entire meetings industry needed to host a summit just to discuss it. Result? Anticipating a drop in sponsorships and exhibitors, many show producers have decided to be proactive in their own cuts. Shifting toward virtual and hybrid shows, while scaling down the in-person side.

Serious problems that I’m not sure I’d have responded any differently to. When I presented these questions to Miguel, he just laughed and said, “You’ve had the solutions to those questions for over 5 years. You should already know how to solve it.”. And just like that, I knew — this wasn’t going to be the quick, single post I had hoped for. The editing is going to be insane. After a sigh I pressed record, and away we went.

Business is all about problem solving. As an entrepreneur, you are always wrapped up in that process. Balancing reinvestment into company growth vs cost-cutting is a constant battle. Unless you’re Miguel evidently. According to him, your first actions should be to cut as deeply as you can from the onset. Before you ever produce a product, or make a sale. And, it needs to be a permanent part of your company’s ethos. I remembered instantly how insane a brief glance at his plan looked. Now, having all the problems in front of me, it hit me. His first action was to hire NO ONE until he hits $1 million in sales! It was so insane that we’ll have to put a pin in that and circle back.

We have a much bigger fish to scale – Tech. Underlined in his plans was “Innovate today, just beyond competitor’s future hopes; and no further. Never innovate again.” A common theme here seems to be that you set your path and limits from the very start, not along the way. The reason for this according to Miguel, is, “…to avoid constantly playing reaction chess to market fluctuations and opponent’s moves. You should save your flexibility and adaptations for more important matters. Also, the cheapest those advancements will ever be, is when they are made at the beginning. Unplanned, time-dependent changes are far costlier. More so if they require added funding, labor or outsourcing.”. He adds “Fast moving, heavy traffic is the first ingredient of most accidents. Distraction is the last. How many balls can you juggle before you crash? I prefer to plan alternate routes, and avoid predictable obstacles before the car starts.”.

Cannevents’ planned tech innovations package slated for 2024:
Note: Everything is focused on boosting User Experience. Purposely omitted is their planned App. which isn’t expected until 2025. I’m only allowed to reveal that it exists. So Top-Secret and important in fact, that it required acquiring an entire company just to do it. Those talks are currently in progress.

1 AI-Powered Personalized Content Delivery & Recommendations:

Cannevents recognizes the importance of personalized experiences in driving attendee satisfaction and engagement. In 2023, they plan to harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver personalized recommendations and tailored content to each attendee. By analyzing attendee data and preferences, Cannevents aims to curate a personalized journey for each participant, suggesting relevant exhibitors, sessions, and networking opportunities based on their interests and goals. This level of personalization will enable attendees to make the most of their time at the trade show, fostering meaningful connections and maximizing their overall experience.

2) Virtual & Hybrid Events Take Center Stage:

Most notably, is Cannevents’ massive investment to improve live streaming capabilities. Every show will be hybrid; with vastly improved virtual showrooms, 3D product demonstrations, and AI-powered suggestions, matchmaking, and networking tools. Offering immersive, interactive experiences for attendees worldwide. Exhibitors achieve unparalleled reach coupled with access to show data, contacts lists and leads. Attendees participate from the comfort of home or join physically; meshing physical and digital realms like never before.

3) Seamless Integration of Physical & Digital Experiences:

Cannevents envisions a seamless integration of physical and digital experiences to enhance attendee engagement and extend the reach of trade shows. By leveraging augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR), Cannevents plans to transport attendees into immersive digital environments that complement and enhance the physical trade show experience. From virtual showrooms to interactive product demonstrations, attendees will be able to explore, interact, and make connections in both the physical and digital realms, expanding the trade show experience beyond the limitations of a physical venue while placing a premium on live show attendance.

4) AI-Powered Networking & Collaboration Spaces:

Cannevents intends to reimagine networking and collaboration spaces within trade shows, creating dynamic environments that facilitate meaningful connections and foster collaboration. They envision dedicated areas equipped with state-of-the-art technologies that mesh virtual attendees with in-person, including interactive touchscreens, virtual meeting rooms, and AI-powered matchmaking algorithm tools. Offering relevant connections via personalized recommendations based on attendees’ interests, industry, and goals. These spaces will provide attendees with opportunities to engage in one-on-one meetings, participate in group discussions, and join industry-specific workshops, strengthening relationships and encouraging knowledge exchange. Cannevents’ commitment to leveraging technology not only streamlines the networking process, but also creates a sense of community and collaboration among participants regardless of location.


Cannevents’ seeks to set a new benchmark for trade shows; and transform the landscape of the meeting industry. Attendees can anticipate highly personalized interactions through the highest level of immersive and engaging experiences. Cannevents believes that an increased focus on the total user experience, is the best way to create deep and meaningful connections with brands of exhibitors and sponsors. Asked whether companies should still question their attendance at live shows, Miguel responded, “Look, if the name on the marquee isn’t ‘Cannevents’ they’d better question it.”. I couldn’t see his face, but I know he was amused.

“Content is no longer king. It’s not even top 3 behind UX.”

Miguel Marrie

Their visionary approach sets the stage for a shakeup in the events industry rankings. According to Miguel Marrie, “It’s not enough to understand market shifts. Ultimately you have to adapt and deliver.”

For Cannevents’ charismatic leader, innovation doesn’t start or end with Tech advances. In part II he reveals his greatest innovation. The bane of every organization… Workforce.

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