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Best of PeSA 2014 – Highlights from the Gold Coast
The PeSA Internet Conference and Gala Charity Dinner are a perennial favourite, and this year’s proceedings definitely continued the trend.
The PeSA Internet Conference kicked off on Wednesday, May 28 – and so far it’s turned out to be a big event.
Beginning with a round of workshops, the big ticket sessions began on Wednesday afternoon, with keynotes from Richard Umbers, Executive General Manager at Australia Post and Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners. However, perhaps the most notable of the opening sessions was led by Jooman Park, Country Manager for eBay Australia.
In what many felt was an extremely humble speech, Park firstly addressed the issue of eBay’s recent data-compromising hacking event. Given that many of the perennial delegates to PeSA are small eBay sellers, the approach seemed appropriate and was certainly well-received. Park also went on to outline several upcoming eBay developments, including a special click and collect feature due later this year.
big respect for opening with an apology and update from Jooman Park of eBay Australia #PESA14
— Jim Banks (@jimbanks) May 28, 2014
Thursday began with the official welcome from Event Organiser, Phil Leahy before an international keynote from Brett Tabke, Founder and Chairman of PubCon, then followed by the novel ‘ePitch’ panel session, where six e-commerce experts presented their new and novel e-commerce solution ideas. The conference then moved into six varied streams for the remainder of the day, with a large focus on eBay strategy and techniques across many of the sessions. Other than the purely informative, several panels and presentations featured prominent online retailers of various sizes, and these sessions provided excellent insight into some of the challenges and successes of some of Australia’s most dynamic businesses. Presenters included Sarah Timmerman, Founder of Beginning Boutique, Tony Nash, CEO of Booktopia and Rod Bland, Founder of RamCity. Of this string of retailer presentations, one of the most well-attended was Cameron Parker’s – CEO and Co-founder of Black Milk Clothing. Not only is this retailer, designer and manufacturer brand notable for its social media-fuelled growth story, a recent and highly publicised Facebook gaffe has also generated a large amount of interest in Black Milk, and Parker didn’t shy away from discussing why and how the problem occurred, as well as how he went about solving it.
Another popular session was delivered by Ash Howard, General Manager at multichannel collectibles retailer, Popcultcha, who appeared alongside his e-commerce development partner, James Horne of Balance Internet. Together, the pair discussed the history of this family-owned venture, how it has evolved in order to continue existing, and also how the team plan to continue developing it into the future.
— Aida Lee (@Aida_Lee) May 29, 2014
The final keynote of the day was provided by the highly entertaining Marty Weintraub, Founder of AimClear Marketing Agency. Weintraub presented a robust argument for making smart investments into Facebook and Google’s marketing options in order to amplify a brand’s message. According to Weintraub, this kind of exposure simply can’t be achieved organically anymore.
Although that closed off the conference sessions for the day, there was more to come on Thursday evening with the Gala Charity Dinner forming the major highlight for any who attended.
As in previous years, the Gala serves as an opportunity for delegates to socialise, but also to raise money for the Reach Foundation in a series of auctions. A special mention goes to Paul Greenberg, CEO of NORA, who was presented the Industry Excellence Award for his unflinching dedication to e-commerce.
The night was long for many delegates and speakers alike, but with another day of PeSA ahead, no doubt many were keen to get in at least a few hours of sleep.
As I write, the morning keynotes have just concluded with a winning performance from Vinh Giang, Author of the Encylopedia of Magic. Giang made great use of the psychology of illusions to draw analogies and apply lessons to general business practices. His sleight of hand and sense of humour also made the session extremely watchable.
That’s it for now – while PeSA will continue on to the end of the day, I have to get back to paying attention to the presenters. Looks like there’s a few rounds of website reviews on the cards.