What I learned at Canvest 2015: Girls are pretty

Cambridge House is older than some of the investors walking around its conferences. It’s been putting on top notch trade shows since Marco Polo had a booth, but this most recent event, at the 2015 Canvest show, was pretty tame stuff.

The equivalent conference a year ago filled most of the Vancouver Convention Centre exhibition floor with green energy, weedcos, resources, oil and gas, tech, and a variety of industry types, from brokers to media to the guy out front selling comedy hats with flashing lights.

But this year’s Canvest was small. Really small. Alarmingly small.

Cambridge are okay with it, however. Spoke to Jay Martin, heir to the Cambridge throne, and he was non-plussed about the show, with plans afoot to expand the brand beyond resources going forward.

Also spoke to Jeremy Martin, who used to be executive producer of the event but is striking out on his own these days, working with Vancitybuzz to create video content, and he looks like he’s having fun doing it.

There were some interesting panels at the show, including one featuring yours truly, along with CEO Dan Kriznic of Invictus MD Strategies, CEO Brad Eckenweiler of Lifestyle Delivery Systems (CannaStrips), industry consultant Scott Walker (repping Wildflower Marijuana), Mike Elkin of Marcomm Systems, and Brayden Sutton, formerly of Supreme Pharma now with Cannabis Health Journal.

The primer on the panel: Everyone sees value-added weed plays as being the real frontline of medical marijuana profits, nobody likes how Health Canada is doing business, everyone wants the growers to turn a profit but doesn’t see much of that action right now, and everyone wants to know how C.BLO has had such a stock run when it doesn’t have a product beyond a picture of what a prototype might one day look like.

Outside the weedco panel, tech was running the day. Social messaging play Frankly –[stock_quote symbol=”TLK.V”]– has notched a big market cap with only a handful of deals in place, personal drone company (as in a drone that follows you while you’re snowboarding/cycling/adventuring and sends your footage to Youtube for you) Trace had a lot of people excited, and the green tech mini-booths were buzzing.

But resources… well.. Look, guys. If you’re dropping five figures for a booth, why turn up with the same old ‘backdrop with a map, core samples in a box’ routine that hasn’t worked for you for the last four years? Think outside the box! Do something new! Break the mold!

Booth babes? Okay, that’s one way to get people to stop by, but not a particularly inspiring one.

How about next time you get a big box full of dirt, drop a $500 gold nugget into it, give folks a shovel and let them line up for one dirt turn (if they’ll listen to a 30-second pitch and give you their contact info).

Find the nugget? You get to keep it. I’m giving you that one for free. The next one will cost you.

Networker of the event? Commitment Israel, who has apparently overcome her hippy parents and the extreme unlikelihood that she’ll ever get her LinkedIn profile to the first page of Google searches for her name, to work the room like her life depended on it. Anyone who doesn’t know Commitment by now (or, as I prefer to call her, The Commie) just wasn’t in the room.

Second place goes to Taryn of the Wildflower booth, who didn’t sit down for two days and deserves to be on the permanent payroll, lads. Close third, the Naturally Splendid crew –[stock_quote=symbol=”NSP.V”]–, who have never met an exhibition floor they couldn’t dominate.

I tried really hard to network on day one, but after a ten minute floor walk there was nothing left to do other than talk to pretty girls and sneak Visual Capitalist beers back to the booth.

I’m not proud. And my blisters hurt. Totes worth it though.

–Chris Parry

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