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Industry Innovators 2024: Marvin McTaw

The co-founder and CEO of event scheduling software company Sched wants to transform guests from passive attendees into active participants.

'There's a push to extend and expand the lasting impact of events, and technology can help make that a reality,' says McTaw.
"There's a push to extend and expand the lasting impact of events, and technology can help make that a reality," says McTaw.
Photo: Courtesy of Sched

Marvin McTawMarvin McTawPhoto: Courtesy of SchedMarvin McTaw is the co-founder and CEO of Sched, an event scheduling software company that allows planners to build schedules, manage attendees, gather feedback, and more. He's based in Atlanta, and is also a member of the Minority Supplier Development Council.

How he got his start: "I love attending events like food festivals, comic book conventions, and learning and development-oriented conferences. My journey into the event tech world began with a trip back to my university for a speaking engagement. I caught up with a friend and former college roommate who showed me an idea that we eventually transformed into the company and platform that Sched is today. We've been helping individuals and organizations organize great events since 2008, accumulating 15 years of experience. 

Before that, my passion for conferences and festivals, especially San Diego Comic-Con, drove me to a career where I could bring people together to share these experiences. I've been attending and organizing events since birth, from community events to church and group sporting events."

What innovation means to him: "One of our values is kaizen, focusing on continuous improvement. Another value is delight, aiming to bring joy to our customers by implementing their suggestions and ideas—which is essentially innovation. It's about applying trends in a way that helps people accomplish their goals. Innovation isn't always about being on the cutting edge, but rather finding practical-use cases. It's about taking learnings from other places and applying them to create better experiences, including through technology, to create delightful moments at events." Since its inception, Sched's scheduling software has been used for over 25,000 events and by over 10 million users.Since its inception, Sched's scheduling software has been used
for over 25,000 events and by over 10 million users.
Photo: Courtesy of Sched

Memorable moments: "The event that jumps out to me is Schedcation, our annual company retreat at Sched. This year we went to Costa Rica! It was memorable and special, first and foremost, because we create memorable experiences for our team and organization. As a remote team, getting together is so important. It’s a space and time to get to know each other better, to level up communication, and to get some strategic planning done. 

But on a bigger level, we use our Schedcation to drive home our overarching goal: bringing people together to make the world a better place. That is backed by clear values that inform everything we do: relationships, communication, accountability, problem-solving, and kaizen."

His vision for the future of the event industry: "I'm interested in personalizing experiences for every event participant, transforming them from passive attendees to active participants. People attend events for various reasons, such as learning, sales, or demonstrating new technology. Providing personalized experiences is exciting. There's a push to extend and expand the lasting impact of events, and technology can help make that a reality. 

AI capabilities can personalize the experience, improving the user experience before, during, and after events. This is why we're evolving our event planning solution into a continuous yearlong solution, which I find very compelling."

What he's working on next: "I can tease, but I can’t spill all the beans (we’re in a competitive space!). In short, our product is never the same from one month to the other. It's an evolutionary process where we're always making it better. We're always working on something new depending on what our customers want. However, AI is no secret. We’re certainly toying with some pretty cool AI ideas. We’ve already implemented it in our tools—but this is just the beginning!"

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