AuctionBytes Guide to eBay Live 2005 Conference
By Ina Steiner
eBay is throwing its doors open to members to celebrate its 10th anniversary later this week. The eBay Live convention is taking place in its home town of San Jose, California, on June 24-25, and will be taking over the city with seminars and celebrations and even a tour of the eBay campus.
AuctionBytes will be covering the event extensively on our website in near real-time with photos, articles and a Blog. We've put together a summary of events taking place and some suggestions on how attendees can take advantage of every moment.
Before You Go
Before you even leave for San Jose, you should have a plan on how to take advantage of your time at the conference. Assuming you are a seller, this is a business expense, so bring along an envelope and a form to store your receipts and track your expenses. (Talk to an accountant about which expenses are tax-deductible.) You should also have business cards that you hand out to everyone you meet. Bring a notebook to take notes at classes and write down tips you learn throughout the 3 days.
Plan your schedule ahead of time. There are classes, labs, parties and more, and you want to plan your schedule ahead of time to make sure you don't miss out on what's important to you.
Solutions Center Expo Hall
eBay and third-party vendors set up booths during the conference. This is your chance to speak one-on-one with vendors. Have a list of the exhibitors and booth numbers that you want to vist, you can find a list at http://pages.ebay.com/ebaylive/ExhibitorsAndSponsors.html. The "Solutions Center Expo Hall" is open Thursday from 10am-4pm; Friday from 9am-6pm; and Saturday from 9am-4pm.
Classes and Labs
eBay Live is an opportunity to seek out productivity tools and learn new techniques on becoming more efficient in selling online. You can find a list of classes, sessions and labs at http://pages.ebay.com/ebaylive/agenda.html. Decide which areas you think you could improve on in your business, and attend classes that could give you practical tips on how to save time and money.
It can be very encouraging to talk to people who do the same thing you do for a living. It's easy to operate in a vacuum, so this is an opportunity to meet and learn from others who understand the joys and challenges of selling online. Many people also plan meetings at eBay Live with people they've chatted with on discussion boards but never met in person. These face-to-face encounters are often very rewarding on a personal and professional level.
eBay facilitates networking breakfasts and dinners, check out the site at http://pages.ebay.com/ebaylive/activities.html to find out how to sign up.
Sometimes it's the casual conversations with other sellers that can net you incredible tips and opportunities. Users share tools and techniques that they may take for granted, but may be brand new to others. Be a sponge and soak up all you can, and share your own knowledge in return. Take notes, and remember to hand out your business cards!
Learn More about Your Industry
eBay is giving users a chance to meet staff and hear executives in several sessions lay out their plans for the future. eBay also gives eBay Live attendees the opportunity to ask questions, no holds barred. eBay executives might not give you the answers you want to hear, but the experience can give you insight to help you in your own business planning. This is also a chance to talk to an eBay "Pink" in person and ask those questions that you never got around to typing into an eBay web form.
When planning your schedule for attending classes and booths in the exhibit hall, keep in mind some of these highlights. A map of downtown can help you navigate the events, spread throughout downtown San Jose, here's one in PDF format http://www.sjcc.com/downloads/downtown_map.pdf.
Wednesday Night Meet & Greets. Log on to the eBay Live discussion board and learn about user-organized meetings the night before eBay Live kicks off http://forums.ebay.com/db1/forum.jspa?forumID=112. Third-party service BuySafe is sponsoring one such event this year at the Hotel Montgomery on Wednesday at 6:30 pm. BuySafe will have giveaways and will buy a drink for the first 100 arrivals (http://digbig.com/4drcb).
Thursday Evening Keynote. eBay CEO Meg Whitman is presenting her keynote on Thursday at 6 pm at the HP Pavilion, within walking distance of the convention center. eBay will also run shuttle buses between the convention center and the HP Pavilion from 4 - 6 pm. There will be complimentary food and beverage at all concessions in the HP Pavilion before the 6 o'clock keynote, and entertainment will be provided.
Friday Fireside Chat. eBay founder and Chairman Pierre Omidyar will sit down with Jeff Skoll, eBay's first president, at the Civic Auditorium. Jim "Griff" Griffith will ask Pierre and Jeff questions "about their personal thoughts on the history of eBay and the power of the eBay community. The three also will explore the future of eBay and the continued evolution and entrepreneurial opportunities that lie ahead." (You can also listen to an audio cast at http://pages.ebay.com/townhall.)
Friday Executive Panel. Only PowerSellers and Top Sellers can attend this Q&A session with eBay's top executives featuring Michael Dearing VP and General Merchandise manager), Matt Ackley (Sr. Director, platform Solutions Group), Lynn Reedy (Sr. VP, Product) and Rob Chesnut (VP, Trust & Safety).
Friday Night Amusement Park. eBay will serve a free barbecue dinner for attendees at the Paramount Great America Park, which it has rented out for the evening. PESA will be holding a charity auction at the Park (you'll be able to bid on a roller coaster ride with eBay North America President Bill Cobb) http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y05/m06/i08/s04.
Saturday Afternoon Town Hall Meeting. Bill Cobb, President of eBay North America, and his leadership team will host a special Town Hall event at the Civic Auditorium. (You can also listen to an audio cast at http://pages.ebay.com/townhall.)
Saturday Evening Gala & Community Awards. eBay always ends its conference with a gala event, and this year, it has rented out the Santa Clara Convention Center and hired the band, the B-52's to perform.
Overstock Auctions O-Lounge. eBay competitor Overstock Auctions is hosting a 3-day "O-Lounge" at the Hyatt Sainte Claire (in the Courtyard Room) near the Convention Center and will be handing out unique giveaways. It's open people with conference badges. O-Lounge Hours & Agenda: 7:00 am - Guests are welcome to breakfast snacks and a full coffee bar. Noon - Lunch snacks will be offered. Free massages given in the afternoon. 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm - Happy Hour. 9:00 pm - Midnight - Late night club with DJ. This is an opportunity to interview Overstock staff about selling on its auction site, whether you currently sell there or not.
Alibaba Reception. Alibaba.com, a marketplace that targets eBay powersellers who are looking for inventory from China to resell on eBay, is hosting a reception from noon to 2 every day (Thursday through Saturday) at the Presidential Suites at the Hilton and Marriott hotels, which are connected to the convention center. They are giving away three thousand(!) MP3 players during eBay Live.
Other events at eBay Live include an eBay campus tour, orientation sessions and more - check out eBay's website for more information (http://pages.ebay.com/ebaylive/activities.html). The June 14th issue of eBay Radio had an interesting interview with Daniel Fenton, President and CEO of the San Jose Convention and Visitor's Bureau, about how the city of San Jose is preparing for the conference (http://digbig.com/4drwk).
AuctionBytes Coverage of eBay Live
I'm arriving in San Jose on Monday to cover the Developer's Conference, and I will begin blogging on Monday evening. Full-blown coverage of eBay Live with photos and articles will begin on Thursday.
This year, we're introducing audio-blogging, courtesy of AudioBlog.com. Visit my blog to listen to me report on the convention and interview vendors and attendees (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/ebaylive2005/ebaylivelog).
Last year we introduced a special section in the eBay Live coverage section with coupons supplied from advertisers. It was popular last year, so we are doing it again this year (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/ebaylive2005/coupons). Twenty percent of the proceeds from the coupon section will be donated to the DOUA (Disabled Online Users Association). We're also donating banner advertising on AuctionBytes to two charity auctions taking place during eBay Live: the Annual eBay Live Charity Auction for DOUA hosted by Mpire (http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y05/m06/i17/s04) and the annual PESA Charity Auction (http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y05/m06/i08/s04). (Kudos to Mpire and PESA for raising money for good causes, and to all the people who bid on charity auctions!)
If you are a seller, remember this is a business trip and you should have goals and a schedule before you leave for the show. Decide what you want to learn more about, like photography, inventory sourcing or auction management services. Review the classes and labs eBay is offering and plan to attend. Scout out booths at the exhibit hall, and make sure you've scheduled enough time there to meet with vendors and learn about new services, as well as pick up giveaways like T-shirts and pins.
Whether you are attending the event or tuning in from home, check in to the AuctionBytes site to see our real-time coverage of eBay Live 2005! http://www.auctionbytes.com/eBayLive2005
AuctionBytes Complete Coverage of eBay Live
eBay Developer's Conference (June 21-22)
eBay Developer's Conference Blog
eBay Live Information & Registration Page (June 23-25)
eBay Live Blog
San Jose Convention Center
Guide to San Jose Restaurants
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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