Back from


Last week I got back from First Look. I’ve been involved with for about 6 years now when I had Dell join. Events had a dip in attendance early this decade and they have slowly come back to a creshendo this year. There were about 500 eCommerce leaders attending (by my estimation). There was a lot of enthusiasm and buzz for eCommerce, which has hit mainstream and is riding a premium to the economic growth.

The first day keynote featured a panel of analysts and eCommerce leaders, hosted by  Chuck Davis of Shopzilla and featuring Steve Goldsmith of Amazon and Bob Myers of QVC, among other analysts. Here are my notes:

  • Shopzilla featured survey data from eCommerce study. The panelists focused on actual data. Observation: actual data always trumps survey data. What eCommerce leaders say happened (in a survey) isn’t necessarily what actually happened (real data)
  • Tip for future conference organizers: Don’t put Amazon on a panel. You can learn more from their 10K than they tell to an audience. Steve’s contribution was very disappointing. Bob Myers of QVC shared a lot of insight into QVC…which is, ironically, private.
  • Everyone’s consensus: eCommerce will grow 25-30% this year, Search is big, and we should take advantage of broadband.

No huge insights. While I didn’t attend many of the sessions, I got a sense there wasn’t anything revolutionary or new (except us :-), but we weren’t exhibiting). Coming off of Word of Mouth Marketing Association event the week prior, it was an interesting to come off the buzz of word of mouth and it really wasn’t talked about at

The highlight was a reception and dinner at the Georgia Aquarium, apparently a premium spot with a waiting list for locals. Here’s a picture of Phil Terry of Creative Good and Scott Silverman of

If you’re in eCommerce or online retail you should definitely join and attend events, which everyone agrees are the best in the industry. The greatest benefit are the great people you meet, and the things you learn from one on one relationships. Elaine Rubin of Amazon and I talked about this…at the highest level (and organizations like them) create relationship equity which can turn into ideas, best practices, partnerships, etc.

Case in point: take a look at Pinny Gniwish of, who is a master networker:

Hanging out with me

Hanging out with his buddy from Burlington Coat Factor

Hanging out with an Aquarium worker from Nigeria who taught us about shrimp.

You can meet all sorts of people and learn all sorts of things at these events 🙂

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