Laser Focus: Innovation at New West Summit

When it comes to cannabis conferences – many members of the community have just about had their fill by this time of year. The holidays are approaching, and projects for the new year are taking shape just as some old ones are fizzling out.

The New West Summit, held in San Francisco the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, upgraded the conference experience for cannabis entrepreneurs involved in the business of technology and media by remaining hyper-focused on innovative subject matter.

While a more generalistic conference might boast a greater quantity of vendors and speakers, the perceived quality tends to vary for each individual. Perhaps a vendor’s target customer demographic isn’t in attendance, or there are too many competitors on the floor making it difficult to stand out. Occasional grumbling may even be heard as attendees duck out of speaker sessions that were a little too elementary, or just not interesting to that individual.

That’s why laser-focused and topical trade shows might be the answer to a cannabis community burnt-out on repetition.

In addition to technology and media-focused programming, investment and funding education was provided by the ArcView Group in multiple exciting breakout sessions throughout the weekend. With the amount of money that has been raised by Silicon Valley tech companies in the short years since the “Web 2.0” boom, it’s definitely important for cannabis startups to start thinking about increasing the scale and value of their businesses.

Members of the media from both the cannabis space and the mainstream news universe were in attendance to cover the action. What’s more is that several prominent CEOs and Founders in the space were actually staffing their company booths on the expo floor, giving media organizations a unique opportunity to meet more than just the event or marketing staff.

“Direct Cannabis Network wanted to see the newest and latest tech, software platforms and apps in the cannabis industry. The New West Summit brought a variety of business professionals and cannabis entrepreneurs together from all throughout the U.S. and globally. With the well-informed forums, to the sneak preview of the ArcView pitch events and to the special announcements that were announced at the event, it was a well thought out and executed summit. We are looking forward to the next New West Summit and impressed by the contacts made at this event.” -Adelia Carrillo, Founder of Direct Cannabis Network

With session subjects ranging from extraction and vaporization trends to branding across key demographics, all business people in attendance could find a common denominator on one topic or another. The Summit program was color-coded to ensure that attendees interested in business, technology, and media presentations knew exactly where to go.

David Drake, Founder and CEO of Smoke Reports, spoke on a panel called “SFNewTech Inside New West: B2B Software” which explored some of the trends in the fast-growing field of cannabis enterprise technology. From seed-to-sale tracking to market analytics and workflow management, there are countless apps and softwares that help cannabis entrepreneurs increase efficiency and remain compliant with state regulations. Smoke Reports helps by tracking cannabis industry data and opening up to outside developers with an open-source API.

“The New West Summit was a huge amount of fun. For us, it was an excellent opportunity to present ourselves to the community as an exhibitor for the first time. I thought NWS had a wonderful air of collaboration to it compared to other cannabis events. Customers and businesses alike were working together and finding solutions towards creating a better future for everyone.” -David Drake, Founder & CEO, Smoke Reports

Though this event was a thorough discussion of the trends in the cannabis industry right now, the New West Summit organizers are on to a new trend of their own. Expect to see more subject-specific cannabis conferences next year, especially in the realm of technology. 


What do you think? Should conferences be more topic-focused, or are quality business conversations still getting done in a generalist trade show environment?

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