The Pixilated Podcast

Miguel Neves | Skift Meetings | Pixilated Podcast Season 2

October 19, 2022 Patrick Rife | Miguel Neves Season 2 Episode 16
The Pixilated Podcast
Miguel Neves | Skift Meetings | Pixilated Podcast Season 2
Show Notes Transcript

Miguel Neves is Editor-in-Chief of Skift Meetings. 

He likes to describe himself as a "curious creator and caring curator of computerized content and a conscious connector of charismatic characters". 

He lives and breathes the event tech sector and is deeply engaged in the global online community of business event professionals. 

Miguel is a Portuguese soul who built a career in the UK and is now raising a young family in southern Denmark.

Follow on Social Media at: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Youtube

Looking to rent a photo booth for your next event? Head on over to www.Pixilated.com and use the Promo Code: PODCAST to save on your rental!

Patrick Rife:

Hello and welcome to another episode of the pixelated podcast, I am your host, Patrick rife, excited to have all of you back for another exceptional chat with another event professional. Today, we were gonna get a chance to learn a bit about the kind of the current status of kind of the publishing ecosystem and how it correlates with events and that professionals kind of informing, helping us all stay connected. I'm super excited because as anyone who has been listening this season knows, we've just been trying to chat with as many people as possible to that are in the events industry, right to share what we're thinking about share what we're working on share best practices as they evolve. So that way, we can kind of start to piece things back together and find our way forward. So without further ado, I am thrilled to to welcome Miguel nibs, Editor in Chief Miguel, welcome to the pixelated podcast.

Miguel Neves:

Thanks, Patrick. Thanks for having me. Delighted to be here and share the the airwaves with you. Yeah, yeah, super

Patrick Rife:

happy to have you I am a month ago or so I was actually on my way back from having spent 10 days with my family. And in Puerto Rico. It's like my kids that end of summer trip that we do. And I do like a little bit of work that was there but had like a really good rest also. And I was on the flight back and just kind of really dialing back into my work brain. And there was like four or five people that I've been following along on twitter for a long time that I was just like, I want to like, these are my like, I want to talk to all of these people. And you were one of them. And on that flight, I reached out to all of them. And all of them said yes. And it was super quick. And it was one of those moments of like, feeling that I was manifesting something and having it not like go on forever. So thank you for being our guest. Miguel, you know, typically I kind of explained a little bit before we started to record but it's pretty casual back and forth. I've got a ton of questions about skip and kind of, you know, your your work there and your experience so far. But before we go there, why don't you let everybody listening know, you know who you are, what some of your experiences have been, you know, anything else that you might want to share before we get into the chat?

Miguel Neves:

Sure, I hate doing BIOS intros and things. But just to give a bit of context, I think that's always important. I've been in the event industry for about 15 years. I started off actually in the music industry. I'm from Portugal originally. So the music industry in Portugal is a tiny world did that for a few years production, playing on stage doing sound engineering. And then I kind of transitioned over to the event industry. Move to the UK did a course a master's degree in conference and event management, which was fascinating from a sort of, you know, theoretical perspective. And then I really started my career in event planning, had a few years of planner worked at ImEx, the company that does the AMEX trade shows in Frankfurt, and in America for six years doing community management, and marketing. Then I kind of started my own company, and did marketing in the event space for about three years. And then I got headhunted by Skiff meetings, or at the time it was called Event MB. And since then we've rebranded to Skiff meetings, and it's been a pretty wild ride. I've been there almost 18 months. And yeah, if anybody you know, if you've, if you're aware of the pandemic and all that and how that hit the event industry, we can talk about that as much as you want. But it's it's been quite a wild ride. And yeah, I'm sure you've been experiencing something similar.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, yeah, no doubt, I'm super excited for this chat. It's gonna be really fun. I mean, even like, I don't know, for from your perspective, but the last 10 weeks have been something altogether different. You know, like, again, the recipe has changed, although it's for, for good purposes, like things are getting getting crazy. But now there's gonna be a whole different set of problems that we have to figure out and break down. So I would be totally remiss to not say, what kind of music were you working on in Portugal before you left that world.

Miguel Neves:

A bit of everything on stage, I was playing rock and reggae myself, I was producing, you know, literally, whatever came through the door. I can't say my career was hitting any, you know, multinational, multi million selling album highs. But I did play a few music festivals and sound engineer a few music festivals. And there's a few albums out there with my name in the credits. So you know, it wasn't a total loss. So it was a lot of fun. Yeah, so

Patrick Rife:

your name proper, like if we if we searched

Miguel Neves:

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it'd be it'd be challenging to find, but you could try. Yeah,

Patrick Rife:

I'm a musician. Also, that's what I did my whole life. And that's where I had to start pixelated because I had a child on the way and I needed something a little more promising than what I was looking at life

Miguel Neves:

on the road does it does it really it's not super compatible with children, right?

Patrick Rife:

Yeah. Not not not not so much. Sweet. Well, like, let's jump right into it. I would love to hear a little bit before we get into under the hood. You know, like talking about the branding on the hood? Could you share a little bit like what was the what was the spirit and drive around for growing? And whatever, I guess changing to the skip branding? Like what was what was kind of driving that? What were you hoping to accomplish? And I feel like we're far enough into it now. Like has it been the positive impact that you anticipated?

Miguel Neves:

Well, big question to start off with it just to give everybody listening a bit of history, the site was founded as Event Manager blog, this was about 2008 by a guy called Julius Alaris, based in the UK, but kind of covering the whole industry. And he developed it from a personal blog into a media site for the whole industry with a big focus on events, technology, but also destinations and anything really around events. He sold the company in 2019, just kind of I think September or something like that it was announced. And then of course, with no pandemic, everything changed. He left in February of 2021, which is when I joined. And you know, we kind of we had a crazy, very good year in 2001, you know that event Tech was really riding high. And we had a lot of loyal clients, which was great, come 22, we just felt like the industry was really shifting. And you know, you've already mentioned that a little bit as big shifts around, you know, where the energy is where you know, where the partnerships are. And so we just felt like, the Swift brand had been going strong for I think, nine years at that point. I think Swift has a really good name in the travel industry, which is, of course, a very related sector. So we felt that at this point, it was the right moment to shift over and really kind of, you know, own it, say, Hey, we're now a swift brand, we are part of this bigger ecosystem, I think that benefits our partners or publishing or our know how we share a lot of teams, you know, like design, people like that. So there's a lot of that that comes through. And so I think it was just a signal out to the world saying, Hey, we're serious about this. We think that the Swift method and the Swift way of looking at things is something that can really play a big part in the meetings industry. And we're living that right now. So if it's a big success, I don't know, I think that's for the readers to kind of, you know, Judge, I think it is from my side, I think the the kind of rigor in the journalism that skift has is something that I'm very keen on. I think we're already doing it on the skip meeting side, but I think we can even do more. So I'm hoping that, you know, the next reports that we do future events that we do, are all held to that same kind of, you know, like, Hi. Everybody expects a lot of a lot from us. So yeah, I'm happy so far, but I expect to do even more and better.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, yeah. That's super freaking out. Like what it brings to mind for me, and maybe this will be a reference point for you. And maybe it won't. You know, like, are you familiar with Pitchfork Media? The YouTube blog? Right? So, right, they got a slightly different scale, maybe, but they got like, acquired by Conde Nast. Right, like, I don't know, 334 years ago, five years ago, or something like that. And all of that content, right. All of a sudden, it just got this. It's still you know, Laurie, I mean, there are some ads that are on on the landing page that are maybe like, things that you wouldn't have seen. But those are also a reflection of their reader demographic, like growing up as well and having like, buying different things than they did when they were just interested in like, you know, pavement bootleg tickets or something like that. But right like it, it's it ends up being this infrastructure support that comes underneath of the brand. And all of a sudden, it just there's a sophistication that's there. There's an integrity that's there that grows right. And it just really allows you to take that core brand and that core messaging and the core work that's being done and just do better by it.

Miguel Neves:

And yeah, I appreciate being compared to pitchfork and Conde Nast. I think that that's great. Yeah. You know, not everything works perfectly. And there's a lot of things that, you know, we break, and we push back, and we figure out, but overall, I think the, you know, the kind of skills that we have at our disposal are just so immense that I think it's it's fantastic. And I think some people that have followed event envy for many years and Event Manager blog will probably kind of complain and say this isn't the same or something like that. But I think that would be a very small minority, and I'm really happy with where it's going.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's, it's just such a fascinating kind of thing to see. I mean, in some regards, the events industry can be very colloquial, right. Like it can be very resistant to like a new guard or like the new things and I think that that's part and parcel because it's just so relationship driven. And it's so nuanced and small, like it takes armies of people to accomplish these things. And, you know, like that, that comfort level that that gets built into it, it does make it a challenge. But at the same time, you know, like COVID did so much for accelerating the comfortability level with onboarding new things and kind of throwing some of that like reserve and caution that was traditionally there a little bit to the wayside to embrace new things that are coming. And in doing that, right, there's been this learning where it's like, oh, like our organization is we are capable of doing this. I mean, like, I don't care if you are a virtual photobooth company, and event planner, or zoom, like the first eight months of COVID, you just kept explaining what a virtual event is, and what an iframe probably was. Like, how like email marketing might work with a virtual event, like that's what we were doing all my time was, like, my sales calls weren't about selling what I did, I was just giving them a primer on the whole world, and then saying, and we like fit right in here at like, probably too cheap for this conversation that we had. But nonetheless, like, it's great to meet you. But you know, at least that was our experience.

Miguel Neves:

Yeah, I remember early on in the pandemic. This was before I joined skipped meetings. To me, it was a year before I kind of became a virtual event producer, kind of overnight. And it wasn't because I had a huge amount of experience. But I've always been a bit of a tech guy. And I kind of saw it as, hey, we got this, right, like, Okay, we can't meet him face to face that puts people's lives at risk. So let's not do that. Let's figure out a way to do great online meetings. And so I remember running a few kind of webinars just was kind of my network to really go over what's possible, you know, and if you look at kind of even zoom in early 2020, that wasn't didn't have as many options as it has today. But you could still run a pretty decent webinar, using a lot of the same skills that event planners have. And that was kind of my main message was, hey, you know, preparing speakers, working out the content, figuring out an agenda, working out how to connect people, these are all things that we do face to face. So we just have to figure out the technology and how to kind of get to do that virtually. So I spent a lot of time on that as well. And, you know, and I had some I had some pretty good experiences, I managed to almost salvage a few meetings and kind of help people turn their events into online, one of them was was IMAX when IMAX cancelled their trade show, the 2020 Frankfurt trade show, pretty early on, as soon as they kind of realized the, the size of the problem. And I helped them kind of run, you know, an online version, mainly with the education side, not so much with the networking side. And that was fascinating, you know, we ended up doing something which is like we had 10 Zoom accounts, and we ended up running multiple webinars back to back and just kind of synchronized everything. You know, one of the basic learnings we had at the time was that we wanted people to sort of log in to have a sort of greenroom setup, and then continue on to the main event. But in order to do five concurrence, you kind of needed to have 10 accounts, because you needed to swap them out, you know, in some of those little things that they don't really think about. And then it's like, okay, so how do we do this? We just buy 10 accounts, and then we figure that out. So stuff like that was kind of interesting in making that transition. But yeah, totally with you in terms of just that explaining, and that wasn't something I set out to do. But I felt that was useful. And it did help a lot of people so happy to have been part of that. Yeah,

Patrick Rife:

so I'm curious, you know, like, from, from a readership perspective, right, like, so, as we like, hinted at earlier, right, like things are getting, things are getting crazy. But they are still very unpredictable and strange, the world is moving in strange ways, that are adding additional kind of, you know, confusion to the entire mix. But, but undeniably, like, there is a huge surge to being back together planning events, like, you know, big conferences are back, like, all of kind of the marquee events are back, all of the tiny things are also like surging in their back in a really big way. But from, you know, from from the skift reader perspective, what are people looking for right now? And how do those, do those inflections in readership look like from, from your perspective, because I think that, you know, there's, there's, you guys have to make so many decisions, and you got to kind of do in advance, right to be able to do the appropriate, you know, like investigative side of it to figure out how to put it together to, to, you know, piece together the right, whether it's interviews or whether it's quotes or whether it's, you know, like, I mean, quite frankly, just like raw data and research must be a huge part of what you're doing. So, with all of that said, like, what are people talking about? Now?

Miguel Neves:

I think you know, like you said, it's a bit of a different world right now, I think we are seeing that pent up demand. Most in person events are back running. And, you know, event organizers and sponsors are delighted to be back, you know, this is sort of the world that they knew they know how to do this, they're there, they're on the road, they're doing things. And I think there's a really good feeling about that. At the same time, from what we've been kind of looking into this is there is a lot of pent up demand. And I think that's sort of the what it kind of works out as in terms of the the events, you know, things are pretty crazy. Right now people have, you know, some event planners just can't, can't, I don't have enough hands on deck, right, like things are just a little insane right now. But I, you know, from what we've been researching, we're not sure that's going to stay like that. Right. I think this is a real compression thing. This is a very kind of interesting time. And, you know, a lot of the stuff we've been doing is looking at how events are back. But a lot of them aren't running at capacity. Very few events have hit 2019 numbers. And I don't like I've got some negative feedback about doing this research and doing these articles. And I don't mean it to sound kind of negative towards the industry, I hope that the industry thrives, right, but I want to make sure that it thrives and it's realistic, right? We're seeing this sort of number of like 65% seems to be the average kind of, you know, attendance figure compared to 2019. And Freeman actually just did some research where they compared, I think it was 50 Different Association, annual events. And they worked out the same numbers like 66%, or something like that. It was like, you know, very, very close. So. So the question for me is like long term thinking the next two, three years, or midterm, I guess? Is that sufficient? If events are only operating in 65% capacity? Is that going to be enough? Are some events going to drop off? are smaller events going to consolidate? So there's a huge kind of like, question mark there, you know, everybody's happy, everybody's working great. Now, is this, is this gonna work out in the long term? Yeah. And then the other side of that, which I think is super fascinating. And this, I mentioned this, because it impacts everything that we cover, is when it comes to remote working. You know, there's this crazy world of remote working right now I'm, you know, we skip to a completely remote company, everybody works remotely. You see lots of big corporations, some have gone back to the office, but a lot of them are saying, Hey, we're going to be either flexible or remote or sort of give you the choice. And how that impacts events is still a little bit anybody's guests, we're actually working on a report right now, that's going to be launched that IMAX, and we're going to be kind of researching that a little bit further. So I think that's going to seriously impact you know, some people will say, there's going to be more events, because of everybody's remote, you need to bring people together, you need to bring that you need to build that team working, you need to do those kinds of things. And that's great, right. But at the same time, if everybody's kind of coming at it from different parts of the world, and not as connected in the same kind of office environment, events might be different. And it might be more expensive to bring people together. So people might not bring as many people together, you know, companies might not bring as many people together. Even Association events, there might not be kind of as many members attending might be more senior members only, or there might be a case for more junior members. We don't really know. But I think the industry kind of feels that there are some changes bubbling up. And it's like, how do we figure that out? So everything that we're covering is really around these two topics. It's like, okay, where are we really like, can do we really know where we are? And where are we going to be in the future? And, you know, one of the big things that we're trying to figure out is how do you attract people to come to events, you know, email marketing, social media, you know, there's a lot of experts talking about these things, but they're not working as well as they used to. And so how do you decode that? You know, how do you make that? Is it is it being more visual? Is it being more like one track mind here? This is the only thing you need to know about this event? Is this? Is that what people want to see? So understanding kind of that, you know, marketing, planning, contracts are tougher now, force majeure. You know, we have the queen steadily passing away in the UK, you know, that raises all sorts of questions like what if, you know, you're planning an event in the head of state of whatever country or something, you know, passes away, you know, things like that. We hadn't really thought about a lot of these things. And suddenly, they're big, important factors, in terms of planning in terms of risk in terms of all sorts of things around events. Yeah, budget, you know, and budget right now, you know, you're in a, you're in a kind of seller's market hotels are completely compressed, they can ask for almost anything they want. And a lot of them are saying, you know, bookings for 23 and 24 are looking great. But still, is that just because of the current compression? And then if there's, you know, does it change in a couple of months? I mean, it's gonna be really interesting.

Patrick Rife:

Sure, yeah. Yeah, I mean, and you're right though. The way that influx of changes is, is so extremely variable right there. We're in this kind of global market now where we've been delivered, I think, because we were taken off of our center of balance for so long, that it's, even though things are looking jury, there's not a discernible middle line, right? Like, it's very difficult to decide where we're balanced against. And as, you know, as as the world goes through this kind of like shake period of time, there are all these other things that are happening, there's, it's just making it difficult, you know, whether it's supply chain or regularity, right, or it's gas in certain countries, or it's like, whatever, like trucker, but grades, like all of that stuff, play, right, it influences the broader mentality, whether it's buyers, or whether it's attendees, or whether it's sellers are either a neighbor in my, like, immediate neighborhood, my dad Drew, who works for one of the big experiential agencies, I think he works for George gpj. And, you know, like, he's going to having having to have conversations with his clients where he's like, Yeah, you know, like, the, like the tractor trailer, in the one of 11 that we have to hire to move all your gear to whatever CES. You know, like it cost three grand last time we did this. And this year, like, it's, each one's gonna cost 21 grand, and it's just as extreme, like, blow up. And you're right, like, with budgets already being tough, and then being blended with, you know, a pretty serious bout of inflation. And then the ultimately, the client being unsure of what exactly they're doing and feeling like they're spending in the right direction. That uncertainty is it's just crazy, because then it gets interpreted through all of the different streams of event professionalism, it gets interpreted a little bit differently, and it hits, you know, it hits your budget sheet differently than it hits mine, even though we're kind of dealing with waves from the same storm.

Miguel Neves:

Yeah. And that's what we're trying to figure out are trying to predict, in some sense. And, you know, I'd love to hear from you. I mean, are you seeing different things at the events that you're covering? And then the people that you're partnering with? And how are they different these

Patrick Rife:

days? Yeah, well, I mean, so. Right, so we're a photobooth company. That's what we started doing. 10 years ago, we were in a staffed Event Services Company for a very long time, we were based in Baltimore, and did a decent job building in the mid Atlantic. But still, it was PCBs that were like it was heavily touch, right, like every single event had to be uploaded, and offloaded. And like all of the things. And then we did some work for brands that like we had, like a handful of big brand clients that took us around the country. And it was that work that made us decide to build a photobooth software platform that was mobile that was built in the cloud that would allow us to, from one to from one CPU to command 100 devices across the globe if we needed to. So we built that and then we had to build our own hardware to house it, because our like, configurations were unique to what everyone else was doing. And then we sold it like every single way to Sunday, right? Like all of a sudden, it's like events company like, you know, like snarkily smart events, company builds technology, things they're gonna be like a SAS like just makes great mush of everything and can't, can't quite fail, can't quite figure it out. And that was our story for a really long time. And we hit both, like the virtual photobooth tool that we built for COVID. We had wanted to build it for years before but we wanted to build it as like a marketing tool. So like destination management companies, when they're running their Southwest's ad, they can have a QR code that says like, scan here to join the contest for a flyaway weekend in Baltimore, right? And you like, take a picture and puts a crab hat on you and right to get a chance for like roundtrip flights for you and a friend, whatever, all that and so, that was what the virtual Photo Booth became, when like COVID hit, we were like, ah, like, here's the second use for that idea. And like, we have nothing to sell anyway. But, you know, on the core side of it, our photo booth software that goes into our kiosks, we had been the version that is now you know, what is our primary product that's our bread and butter is these, you know, shipping direct to consumer rights. I can send 10 to Microsoft for a five day conference, or I can send one to a bachelorette party in Miami, like I have all this flexibility. But we had been doing the direct to consumer shipping, pre COVID But it was only one of a baker's dozen of things that we were doing and coming out of it. We had just kind of said when we when we didn't go under and we figured out how to like, you know, play On our way into the future, we just said to ourselves, like, let's only sell products that we really love, and that we really want to support. And for us, that was things that were driven by our software exclusively. And we wanted to make the user experience amazing. And we knew that if we were going to do that, and only rely on staff solutions that like, you can only get so far. And we also knew that we had taken all of our learning from you know, like, at our biggest moment, we were running, you know, 2830 stack kiosks that had like people coming in, and we took all of the learning from using those software's and that's what we use to build our software, right? We thought about it like, Okay, how does Under Armour want to use it? How does the wedding want to use it and built this really scalable thing. So for us, it just, it's amazing, because it's, after all of these years of kind of building a technology that we knew could be really dynamic and change, change the ecosystem, at least for us in our business. Through focus and really doubling down it's, it started to prove out, and now we've moved completely into a Shopify Ecommerce, front end of our business, knowing that the big companies that want to work with us still and you know, like we've, we've started to do, we were talking about like internal events a bit ago, and kind of like how HR has been a bit of a leader in how events are happening, and which ones are actually worth prioritizing that the company can get behind. And, you know, we've had multinational companies that are coming in and buying a few dozen of these kiosks, because they want them to be in every one of their human resources offices, and you know, Taiwan, and in Singapore, and in LA, and, you know, their corporate heads, they, it's like this easy way to connect together. So if,

Miguel Neves:

rather than being an event thing, it becomes an HR thing, right, like a permanent installation.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah, yeah. And then And that's so like, our whole vision for it has always been like, these things can be extremely nimble. And, and by having built a software platform that you know, like it's on, like we we've, we've integrated our photo kiosk with Salesforce instances, so that way small, we've got some nonprofits that use it to fund their Pardot, right, so they wanted to make sure that they have a tall ship, right, like a boat, with sales. And everybody that comes on one second picture, steering the boat. So they were like, This is great, we'll put a kiosk there, and then every email address gets moved directly into our Salesforce, and then we can move it into par dot and then they're the people that we get to give us five bucks three times a year. And they you know, they put 10s of 1000s of email addresses into that system through this very low touch mechanism. So it's, you know, we put free COVID We were doing all of that Miguel, right, we're like, oh, we can do this, right, we've got a MailChimp integration. And now we finally had realized that we do photo booth rentals, simple high quality, value based Photo Booth rentals really easily. And that's what we put up front, right, it's fun, it's got our brand, we're clear on our messaging. And we know that the way that we carry our tone, that the people that are coming in with bigger aspirations, they can see through at the brand level, that we're probably a good partner, right. And then when they start digging in, they get into our social proof and our logos, they start seeing some of the things that we do and the tone with which we talk. And then they're like, I'm gonna hit a contact form. And so we just finally figured out how to order the whole thing. And I think that that was the thing that we really struggled with for years was just how do we stack this thing. So that way, we're not turning off the regular consumers because they're a big part of our story with but at the same time, not losing the opportunity to hear some of the fun big ideas that people have. And now a word from our sponsors.

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Miguel Neves:

Yeah, it sounds fascinating I mean, crisis have a way of making us streamline our offering right and clear our communication and clarify things, which I think is a positive or silver lining, if you will. And it sounds like what you're offering today, or what your main product is today is something that is very compatible, right? You're not kind of, you know, you haven't increased your prices fivefold, because Shippings increased or anything like that, you're able to streamline say, Hey, you probably don't need somebody there full time, because our system is automated and can do this for you. And I can ship it to you with the branding that you want. And we can just, you know, make it kind of turnkey for you. And I think, when you can offer something like that, that does, you know, I wouldn't say it does 100% of what a, you know, a service station does, but it does the core product, right? I think people will look at that today and say, hey, my Catering is going to cost, you know, twice as much as it did last year. But I'm going to save a little bit of money on this photobooth opportunity, and maybe there's a more kind of digital way of going around it. So it sounds like you've managed to adapt your product and streamline your product in a way that makes a lot of sense right now. And I'm really curious, you know, will that change? You know, in a year's time, if events are still going strong? Will people want the service opportunity again, or the service product? Again? I'm very curious, right, that that's the kind of things that we're trying to figure out.

Patrick Rife:

I think you're I think you're, you're totally right, you know, like to, to your point, I think one thing that we realized was, and we realized this long before COVID. But when we're talking about brand kiosks, like we're talking about b2b. All of their on site brand ambassadors that are being talked through the talking points for that tradeshow or that thing, they're going to do a better job of holding that conversation at the kiosk and nerves, no doubt about it, the staff photo booth is a huge talk area. So one of the things that we try and address with our customers is, is recognizing that that's an opportunity that they shouldn't necessarily just think about, well, I just need somebody to run the photo booth, because that person there if it's, I mean, even with with wanting to have the software, so that way it was connected to whatever MailChimp or the ability to pull the leads out of it. But the conversation was around at your trade show, right? You can hire for the person that's going to like, maybe not be as exciting, but they're going to make sure that all the business cards get put into CRM at the end of the night. Or you're gonna bring the person in that's kind of like all of the energy that everyone wants to talk to. But by the time five o'clock hits, they're like ready for a drink? Right? And maybe they're not as good. So we kind of said, like, well, what if we can build tools that allow the higher for the high energy person and then have the data side of it kind of taken care of right. So that way, they can think about it in that regard. But But that being said, Yeah, from a staffing perspective, I think that it's absolutely, for certain clientele in certain certain industries, it's going to be something that's needed. And it's something that we're thinking about, as well, you know, we have a, we have an affiliate program that we've been building where, whether it's an event professional, or it's a venue that wants to be able to refer out to us, but it's all a built in affiliate program, right, so they don't have to follow up to get paid, they see all of their attribution and all their clicks. And what we can see happening down the line is as that ecosystem of people build out more and more than we've got people in all of these towns and cities that could potentially be leveraged, right? And then we can say, like, hey, like, here's a new product. And the new product is like going in standing here at this thing for two hours and figuring out, how do we backdoor our way into, you know, like, I mean, to the amount of times that we've talked about Uber rising, you know, like photo booths is embarrassing. And we I have probably haven't said that out loud for five years, because that was the, you know, like those 2012, or 2016 was the Uberization of everything. But there is something to be said for that, like figuring out how to start tapping into these ecosystems of people. Because at the same time, there's a huge workforce. That is, I mean, depending on how you look at it could be bringing incredible amounts of of value. I just think that the rules have changed a little bit.

Miguel Neves:

Absolutely. And you know, and if you'll pardon the analogy, it feels a little bit like when I was working more in marketing for events, I was asked a lot to sort of be the social media person for company X, right? And the traditional thing that you see a lot is like, oh, we'll just have an intern or some like junior person do the social media for a company. Now that might be like, they might be using tick tock and doing some crazy stuff. But they're not the brand. You know, they're like somebody's doing social media, just because they're young, or whatever they are. They're on social media. And I think if you're really going to make the most of social media, and this is where the kind of analogy is, you need to have the scene Your people, you need to be the people that are the brand. There they need to be. And so it's so for me, it's more about getting the tools to be easy enough and people to value them enough to use them themselves. And it sounds like that's what you're able to achieve here as well with the photo booths side of things, right, you're like, you want a head of sales to be the one managing it, because they're the ones that are going to engage with the people that are taking the photos.

Patrick Rife:

Totally, I mean, like, and that level of like that level of familiarity, to go all the way back in and be changing with brake pads, again, has been incredible, right? Because now I'm circling that like eight years later, right, you're like, saying back to that first job I ever did here when I started the company. And I needed to do it all the way through. Like there's, there's just something to that and being able to be back at that place, but with our own. And like, we haven't had the budget to change our technology a ton. I mean, honestly, a lot of our guts stuff years and years ago. Like it's just finally it like the rubber is just hitting the road. Like I think that our lot of our ideas were much further out front than what people were thinking about. So part of it was that, but then part of it is just the situation changing and having the opportunity to kind of unabashedly go back through the entire discovery process and, and really understand what it is that was creating the value, as opposed to like all those assumptions, right? Like, that's, that's something that it's very hard to get around that anytime you do it. But certainly the first time you do it, right, you just and you know, before you know it, you'll look up and five years is passed. And you're bundled up with all these preconceived ideas about what is and what isn't. And it can be like a real barrier.

Miguel Neves:

Yeah, I mean, you know, like you mentioned Airbnb. And so you mentioned Uber, but I'm also thinking Airbnb, those are both multibillion dollar companies that when they first started, were dismissed, like, nobody's gonna get into a stranger's car or, or bar, you know, letting some vendor stranger their house. And it worked. And I think it's probably just the right place in time, you know, there are other companies doing similar things, but having that flexibility and kind of figuring out the idea, that's super important to businesses, as we become more digitally, you know, comfortable with technology and comfortable with also this idea of having random people kind of help you out in a way and just having an app to connect you. I think that's something that we're all getting still getting used to in some parts of our lives. Yeah.

Patrick Rife:

We're gonna start to button up. And one more question I really want to hear specifically from you. And feel free to speak for yourself, speak to your colleagues, your gather experience, but what's missing? Like, what is the thing? And I know that there's probably a lot and I know that that is an extremely abstract question. But also, like, it's pretty nuanced to like, I think that you probably have some ideas that are there. Like, what do you think is, whatever let's not say missing? What's the biggest opportunity that is still out there for kind of, you know, aiding and abetting the events industry as it continues? It's kind of like, well, welcome to the future.

Miguel Neves:

I think you running kick ass virtual events, for me is missing. I think we went through this couple years where we sort of had to, a lot of people figured it out. And I kind of see it as a bit of a trifecta, if you will. There's the production people that are like, yeah, you need to spend a lot of money on making the most visually appealing virtual event, you have the speakers that are talking about, you know, we need to have the best content out there. And then you have like the moderators and facilitators that want to generate the best interaction. And I've seen very few events that have managed to combine those three things. And why I bring that up is because I think there's a huge opportunity. You know, yes, virtual events were riding super high during the pandemic, and companies, you know, made millions or gotten millions worth of investments, and now all that's essentially crashed or kind of, you know, went back to Earth. But from what I can tell, there's still a massive opportunity in virtual events, there's many more virtual events than there were 2019, just the size of market grew tremendously. It just isn't, you know, that kind of size of market that people were investing in, that they thought was going to go on forever. So I think, you know, when I heard great things that for example, Canva released this big product update a few weeks ago, I'm sure you're aware of that, and they put on a pretty impressive virtual event. Right. And I think that level of virtual event, I think there's a big market for that. And I think virtual events that can, you know, almost feel like a TV premiere that just happens to happen online, and can balance that production quality with the level of content and getting the like the you know, the things really specifically right for the target audience. I think there's a huge market for that. And I think a lot of corporations are going to pay big money for companies that can be part of that if it's, you know, a photo booth, if it's the organization, if it's the production, and bring all that together, and I think we're probably going to see a sort of rebirth of virtual event is at the moment, I kind of feel like virtual events are sort of webinars and virtual events sort of are the same thing. And you know, these are semantics, right? I think good webinars, great and bad virtual event is terrible. And you can take that in all sorts of directions. But I think what's missing is people really taking virtual events theory. So I think for a couple of years, they were sort of the make shifts that we had to do. And I think there's going to be this sort of rebirth of that. And I'm really excited about that. And I'm kind of trying to follow the breadcrumbs of the people that are really doing that. And I think, yeah, I think one of

Patrick Rife:

the things that I think is so, you know, there hasn't been a lot of like, there's not a lot of hybrid solutions, right, there's, despite all the all the capital that float in, it all happened at such a breakneck speed. And then all of the course corrections were so politically influenced, which is not like choosing a site at all, which is just to say that it was very Helter Skelter. And anyone that can look back at it can see that they like their wheel jerking that was happening. And that wheel jerking, right, every single time it like shook our marketplace, right? Like it slowed down and introduced all of the slowed down buying introduced all of this doubt, all these people were like, are the tools that we still finally got to the point of pulling the trigger on are they the right ones. And then all of a sudden, it was everything was back open again, and there wasn't really that chance. And I think that a lot of software developers were similarly thinking that you would be able to see it coming, and they could start to develop their hybrid offerings and roll it out. And the reality is, is that we're back open again. And there's a lot of holes that are inside of that space. From from a toolset perspective. And even the way that it like some of them are being sold as a bit like, like, it's kind of crazy. It's like, we're going to count how many times somebody visits this website through a QR code, and then we're going to bill you for like that percentage of virtual usage. Or it's, it seems to be a little bit antiquated in its thinking and how it's going about it. But, you know, that being said, I, I kind of am still a bit surprised that more organizations didn't get it. And I really feel like looking at like, Red Bull, like for me, I think about Red Bull is being that company that kind of for years now has figured out how to be this omni channel content world where people like people that like Red Bull love Red Bull, right? Like they're all in there, like they want to watch all the stuff, they want to see somebody jump from the just face in a spacesuit right? They want to watch like BMX riders that are like going through slot canyons, and doing all the all the crazy stuff. But it's more than that, right? Like, it's not just a salt, I mean, besides the fact that it's actually a soft drink that we're talking about. But, you know, if you're talking about Red Bull, like more likely than not, you're not talking about the soft drink, you're talking about all the other stuff that they've done to create this world. And that's what I'm excited to see, I'm excited to see brands take a little bit more control of who they are and how they engage with that external world. Because I think that it can be a hell of a lot of fun. But there was so much anxiety that came in to having to onboard this stuff and do it kind of under threat. And you know, like all of the new technology and, you know, like, not everything plugged together perfectly. So, like, people were wearing a gun in their face that was just kind of like that's the thing, right? Like, if you're in a changing market, like some shits gonna break, and you're, you're gonna look like an idiot. And but you're not right. It's all about how you handle it after that. But at any rate, I just, I just felt like Red Bull is one that deserves a shout out because I think that they tend to see that potential, even if that's not their point of view at all.

Miguel Neves:

Yep, totally.

Patrick Rife:

So Miguel, we're gonna get ready to wrap up here. But before we go up, so what's your hometown in Portugal?

Miguel Neves:

i My hometown is near Lisbon. I live in Denmark at the moment.

Patrick Rife:

Right. Okay, we're gonna we're gonna go hometown with these questions really quickly. So I am in Lisbon and I want to go for a great hike. Where am I going to

Miguel Neves:

go to Sintra, the kind of closest mountain range? Not very high, but some really nice hikes. Okay,

Patrick Rife:

all right. And if I am trying to go out and watch some killer surfing competitions, how long is that God's gonna take me from Lisbon.

Miguel Neves:

It's about an hour and a half to today the price of the big Waves Yeah, that's that's the

Patrick Rife:

place to go. Yeah, awesome. Okay. And if I am back from surfing and I want to get a bite to eat that isn't too fancy but is 3% on? Yeah.

Miguel Neves:

I'm gonna go fancy or fancy ish, I would go get some seafood at comida, which is a classic seafood place. No Reservations, you just have to get in line show up and have some clams, some shrimp and finish off with a steak sandwich. Which sounds strange, but trust me, it's awesome.

Patrick Rife:

Awesome. I love it. All right. And last thing you were listening to.

Miguel Neves:

Counting Crows August and everything after one of my favorite albums ever really dates me. I think that's what like 94. But it's an album I listen to on repeat.

Patrick Rife:

Awesome. Love it. Miguel, this has been a great chat. Thank you so much for your time. For all of your like interesting perspective sharing with our audience. I really appreciate it. Before we go, I want to make sure you have a chance to let everybody that is listening know how they should follow along, stay informed, etc.

Miguel Neves:

Sure. Personally, you know, connect with me on LinkedIn. That's my kind of go to place. You can also connect on Twitter. It's Miguel seven. Yeah, if you have trouble finding me on LinkedIn, just type in Miguel seven, and seven spelled out. So not the number but actually spell it se vi n. And you should be able to find me. I don't know why it's a bit tricky to find me on LinkedIn. For the skiff meetings had two meetings.skift.com. We have daily news on the event industry always focused on innovation in the business events world. And we have a ton of free reports, free events and free webinars that you're welcome to register and join us for everything we do is free. So I highly recommend and you know our content is second to none. So hopefully, join our community and see us sign up whenever we can. Awesome.

Patrick Rife:

Love it. We go. Again, thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it. I look forward to running into you in real life sometime at some real deal in person oxygen based event.

Miguel Neves:

Sounds good. Thank you, Patrick. Glad to glad to have had this opportunity.

Patrick Rife:

Yeah. All right, guys. So as promised, another great chat with another great event professional, please take a little bit of time, head over to skip meetings, check it out, give it some follows. If you are a Twitter person, I would highly recommend following along there, that's where I see a lot of the info but great stuff going on there and they certainly deserve our support. So that being said, this brings us to the conclusion of another episode. If you aren't yet make sure that you hit the subscribe button so that way you're notified each time we publish a new episode. And if you have a moment, please leave us a quick five star review. With a few words about what you love about this podcast. Our goal is to get this information out to as many of them professionals in the world and when you leave us a review. It helps other people find this podcast. So without further ado, I'm Patrick rife. Until next time, peace