E-Com Success Requires Knowledge – An Experienced Educator is Here to Help – 249
Entrepreneurs have spent the last year finding new ways to establish the crucial connections that are such an important part of e-commerce. They’ve “attended” digital conferences or have kept up a steady diet of Zoom and Google Meet appointments with friends and business associates. Through it all, the general consensus is that there really isn’t a substitute for face-to-face meet ups.
Today on the AM/PM Podcast, Tim Jordan speaks with Brian Anderson, the Conference Producer of Prosper, one of the most attended, well-respected e-commerce conferences. Held annually (save for 2020) in Las Vegas, it represents for many the return to normal that we’ve all been anxiously looking forward to.
Want to know the best way to get all you can from an e-commerce conference? Brian feels that starting with the mindset of attending conferences (and listening to speakers) that fulfill the most immediate needs of your business. Then, take advantage of the opportunities to network, whether in a line for coffee, or at an event. Afterwards, make sure to conduct a thorough debriefing (by yourself or collaboratively with a partner) in order to be sure that you are putting to use the information you’ve gained.
We’re lucky to be able to get back out there, make the most of it!
In episode 249 of the AM/PM Podcast, Tim and Brian discuss:
- 03:40 – Brian’s Wide-Ranging Educational Past
- 06:30 – “Teaching People How to Teach”
- 10:00 – The Value of Face-to-Face Interactions
- 11:00 – Best Practices for Your Next Meet-Up
- 15:00 – Make Sure That You Conduct a Post-Conference Debriefing
- 16:45 – How Do Solopreneurs Establish Their Connections?
- 19:00 – Creating a “Hive Mind”
- 24:00 – Popular Conference Topics Include Selling Your Amazon Business
- 27:00 – Why Generous E-Commerce Communities are Probably Here to Stay
- 30:00 – Choose a Conference (or Speakers) That Put Your Needs First
- 32:00 – E-Com Conferences are Growing and Evolving
- 34:00 – What to Look Forward to at Prosper
- 37:00 – Here’s a Discount Code for Prosper Las Vegas
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Tim Jordan: When it comes to in-person events, there’s always the question of is it worth it? When I think back to some of the most profound educations and things that really move the needle for me in my ability to build businesses and to succeed as an entrepreneur, a lot of those things can be tied back to in-person events, people that I met, stuff that I heard from stage, stuff that I heard in hotel lobbies. Today, we have a traditional educator who is new to the e-com world, but he’s actually running one of the biggest and most prestigious Amazon seller conferences in the world. He’s going to talk to us today about the importance of conferences, if they need to be in-person or not, and how you can better take advantage of these educational opportunities. Stay tuned. It’s going to be a good one.
Tim Jordan: Hi, I’m Tim Jordan, and in every corner of the world, entrepreneurship is growing. So, join me as I explore the stories of successes and failures. Listen in as I chat with the risk takers, the adventurous and the entrepreneurial veterans. We all have a dream of living a life, fulfilling our passions, and we want a business that doesn’t make us punch a time clock, but instead runs around the clock in the AM and the PM. So get motivated, get inspired. You’re listening to the AM/PM Podcast.
Tim Jordan: Hey everybody, and welcome to another episode of AM/PM Podcast. On this episode, we’re talking about education and here’s why it’s important. Most of us entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, e-commerce sellers, don’t always come from a long pedigree. We don’t have a lot of degrees and formal education on how to do the business thing, so to speak. We kind of figure it out as we go along. There’s a couple of reasons for that. One is maybe we didn’t plan to become entrepreneurs. We didn’t plan to get into these businesses, but also things move fast. If I went and sat down in a college marketing class right now, they’d be telling me things that were relevant 10 years ago, maybe. Right? So we have to figure this out as we go. To be successful in business, we have to figure out the best, the fastest and the most appropriate ways to learn accurately. That’s what we do. That’s why you’re listening to this podcast, hoping to get something out of it. That’s why we watch webinars. That’s why we do all sorts of stuff, including going to events. When I look back at some of the most profound growth stages, maybe in my entrepreneurial history, a lot of them started and I went to one event and I shook a hand or I met somebody or I overheard a conversation standing in a coffee line. I know that last week, we interviewed Camille from Emerald expo. And we talked about basically the power of trade shows. Today, we have a guest, who’s also an employee, a member of Emerald expo, but we’re not going to talk about trade shows. We’re going to talk about conferences. So if you would, help me, I know I can’t hear you, but applaud or do something to yourself right now. And we welcome. Brian Anderson, who is the– I guess director is your title of the Prosper show in Vegas and also with Emerald expo.
Brian: Yes, conference producers, the official title. I do a lot of directing. That happened to be here on the AM/PM Podcast. Thanks for having me, Tim and glad all of you have joined us to listen in.
Tim Jordan: So I know that, well, we’ve already spilled the beans that you’re the conference producer, the AKA director of the prosper show, which most Amazon sellers have at least heard of the prosper show. It’s the biggest and most prestigious, at least in, in the U S the Western hemisphere, I’d say, but you have a history in education, right? And that’s why I think that this episode is going to be important, because you’re going to be sharing a lot about education and how we can utilize different pieces of tools and resources to become better educated. So, if you wouldn’t give us like the three, four minute history of your educational background.
Brian: So, starting with my environmental education right out of college, with an anthropology degree, I’ve managed to do a lot just helping to connect the dots and knowing what people would like to learn. I had never taught science. My third, fourth year out of college. I was teaching teachers how to teach science at Pacific Science Center in Seattle, working with an amazing group of people who I learned a great deal from just absorbed everything that they were teaching, everything that they were doing, everything that they were thinking about doing workshops, doing conferences, seminars, worked my way up to supervisor in that role. Moved from there to a network for teaching entrepreneurship, not far from me now where I am on Wall Street. It’s a non-profit. And I taught teachers how to teach science. In fact, taught our office was a batch in colleges to their Northeast regional director. And I taught a course at Babson college, a graduate course on how to teach entrepreneurship. And it was very hands-on, immersing them in what a student experience would be. So, from there I did go into the classroom. I went in the classroom for four years and took that experience, everything I learned there. And previously I worked for the state’s charter school resource center in Massachusetts, bringing educational leaders from across the state of Massachusetts at charter schools together, teachers, principals, heads of school, just to learn what each other were doing. I think there’s a lot, there’s so much power beyond me talking or someone else talking or lecturing. There’s so much more power that you can get from having a conversation with somebody. And that’s where networking can be educational as well. And from there, I went to Harvard medical school, did some mentoring conferences for tenure professors there and fellows, and junior professors who were working their way up and ended up going from there to doing conferences for the pharmaceutical industry. And that’s really the biggest parallel experience that I’ve had, the one I’m having right now, putting together Prosper show for established Amazon sellers. So that brings us to the present, really have found a lot of the lessons I’ve learned. People I’ve talked to, things that I’ve done, culminating in what I love doing here for Prosper Show.
Tim Jordan: And the history is interesting because a lot of the people running niche specific or industry specific conferences come from that specific industry. Like if you look at a lot of the e-commerce conferences or digital marketing conferences, any of those things, the folks that are running it, and the folks that are determining how the education is going to be delivered and taught in those conferences come from that industry. Right. And I think there’s some pros to that, but there’s also some cons because maybe they’re not familiar with the best ways to actually teach, right. Because when you’re convincing someone to come to a conference, you’re promising them something. You’re promising them networking opportunities. You’re promising them the ability to meet new people, but also to learn new ideas and have people present information to them. If that information is not presented in a way that’s going to be absorbed well, then it’s a little bit of a waste of time, or maybe it’s a missed opportunity, right? So you brought in coming from the background of actually teaching people how to teach, I think is a very interesting position that Prosper and Emerald expo has taken and giving you that position, because it shows that they’re really focusing on how do we educate people better, not just how do we have the biggest influencers on stage or not, just to get the biggest numbers, but to really help this stuff sink in. So, going back to Prosper, I know that Emerald purchased Prosper, I don’t know, a couple of years ago, and that you’ve recently taken this position. You weren’t even sure if the show was going to happen this year, right?
Brian: Yeah. When we started planning the show who knew, we knew that from 2019, which would have been our– or 2020, which would have been our fifth year, that the show was canceled in March. And so that didn’t– they gave us some reason for concern for 2021, for sure. We rescheduled it and did it virtually certainly in October, which had its own educational challenges and ways to translate what we had done there. We’d planned to do in person and digitally. There’s just no substitute for doing it in person, but yes, we know what’s happening. I mean, certainly if people were getting asked a lot more in January or February, are you really even marked, are you really,– is this really going to happen? Yeah, it’s really going to happen. In fact, our company, Emerald X is our parent company that purchased it from James Thompson, the founder, has done five or six events since January safely. And we have a whole safety guidelines that will follow that’s informed by and guided by CDC, all of the state authorities, local authorities, and what are the safest practices. But we know we’re having one now and we know that the concern is very much mollified.
Tim Jordan: And if you’re interested in the show, check out prospershow.com, I think is the URL. I’m speaking at it. I know a bunch of my friends are speaking at it. Tons of people are coming to hang out and network, but the question has to be asked Brian, like you had Prosper Show online at the end of last year, right. And people are going to ask, Hey, why not just do it online again? And even yourself, you said, at the beginning of this year, people were asking, is it really going to happen? And I know there’s some different guidelines and some different restrictions that you have, and there’s some different considerations. It’s stressful, right. To run this thing in Vegas, on what seems to be the tail end of the pandemic in the US, but you must have obviously thought that there was enough value in having an in-person event that it was worth going through the extra stress, right?
Brian: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. It’s not meant to be done. Learning isn’t meant to be done digitally. It can be done digitally. But what it calls for there is so much value to be placed in having seeing someone in person face-to-face, not a screen to screen interactions. You really can’t have a workshop or do activities, or have people have those conversations where they are engaging with one another as efficiently, successfully. So, when it comes to the choice, there is no substitute for having an in-person event. Digital learning has its limitations, has its advantages, but mostly limitations. So, I’m so thrilled to be doing it in person.
Tim Jordan: And I know that a lot of people have talked about webinars fatigue during COVID. In 2020 man, we watched so many webinars and so much online stuff. And I think that there’s this misconception that we’re just tired of it. We’re ready for something new, we’re ready for those personal connections. But I think that the point that you would make is it’s not just that we’re tired of online stuff, but the teaching can be done more effectively and learning can be done more effectively in person. So for those of us that are getting back on the conference train, so whether it be like a big conference, like Prosper in July, or there it’s a small local meetup in person. For those of us that are starting to go back to events, can you give us maybe some best practices on how to capitalize on those times and that investment that we’re making, particularly when it comes to education, how do we go and learn the most at an event, you being an educational and event planning expert.
Brian: You look at it ahead of time. You look at the agenda ahead of time and know what you want to get out of it? If there are multiple sessions taking place at one time, go with more than one person from your company. You can either divide and conquer, or you can go to the same one and kind of get jazzed about the same topic, but there’s a lot to be said and not just having one person go and then come back and try to Institute things. It helps to have someone else there who can relate to those learnings. Know who’s going to be there, know who you want to talk to ahead of time. Not just, we can’t know that from attendees, but certainly the speakers, what are their backgrounds, what are you going to want to do? So, a little bit of research done ahead of time, and as well, make sure you bring something back. I would say if you are having someone from your company go, because they’re your Amazon account director or online account manager, have them bring something back. Have them share with you what they’re bringing back. That’s helpful to them. That’s helpful to you if you know what they’re learning, they know what they are learning, that they’re somewhat held accountable. And not that they’re not, they’re just not inclined to do that for themselves, or they’re not inclined to think, well, I got to go back and bring something back. Here’s the key takeaways that I think are going to help us most based on what our needs are. So, along those lines, what are those needs? Before you go there, what do you think we need to do? Ask your manager, ask the head of your company. What do you think?
Tim Jordan: And that’s something I’ve never done. Like I’ve never had an objectives game plan going to a conference, but it makes sense because typically what I do is I look at the conference roster and I think, oh, that sounds interesting. That sounds interesting. I’ll go sit in this one. I know this guy I’ll listen to him, but what you’re saying, correct me if I’m wrong is instead of going to what’s interesting, literally have a game plan of what does my company, or what does my business need to know and make sure that you’re attending the sessions are getting the education that will most furthest move the needle in your business. Is that what you’re saying?
Brian: Absolutely. You have to look at what you’re going to do. Come up with a game plan. There are three sessions taking place every eight hours, and some even more. Three sessions taking place in every time slot. Know ahead of time, which ones you’re going to do. And if you’re going with more than one person, coordinate it, who should go to which one, depending on what your strengths are, what your interests are. And at what point are you going to catch up, other than on the plane ride on the way home. Even if that point you’re going to meet with them afterwards, or during the event to say, Hey, this session was great. Here’s a couple of things. I think we’re going to bring it back. Let’s talk about it when we get back to the office. And then you’re forcing yourself to think about going to be meeting with my colleagues. Let me just jot down a couple major points that I want to make sure I share with them, and they would be amazed at the number. I think of the number of different connections and interrelationships of especially sessions that are in the same track. And even those that aren’t.
Tim Jordan: So, you’re talking about basically catching up and debriefing with colleagues. And that could be said for just other business owners. If you’re listening, you’re coming to something like prosper, and you’re a solo preneur. Like there are still people that you can network with. How do you go about debriefing and how do you go about reviewing this content for max effect as a professional educator? And I’ll tell you why I ask because I can’t tell you how many conferences I’ve been to, or I take so many notes and I’m writing down so many things in this notebook, and then I never opened the notebook again. It’s like, I go there and I get motivated and I get inspired. I hear all this great stuff, but then, on the plane at home, I’ve forgotten about it.
Brian: I’ve done the same thing where I don’t open that notebook again. But what I have done is I have gone away with, here’s a couple of things that we want to know that our company wants to do. What should we go to let’s report back on that? And so I’ve worked with people to do that. I should say, I’ve worked with people. We have a buddy system that I’ve done a couple of my workshops and I used to do with teachers. Find the person you’re sitting next to, okay. In six weeks time, I’m going to send you an email. Three weeks time, even better. And I’m going to say, Hey, remember you are going to connect with your person about the one goal that you set for yourself to achieve in the next three weeks. So, that’s nice– what’s that first step going to be when you get back in, who are the people you have to talk to and don’t wait a month. Start that there’s always something that you can take back that you can start the next day upon returning to work, know what that is. And if you have a buddy who you said, okay, well, Hey, let’s check back with each other in three weeks and see where each other are. You’re going to be held accountable. They know they’re going to be held accountable, and it really does propel you to get that moving forward.
Tim Jordan: All right. So Brian, we’re talking about these great concepts of dividing and conquering for content. We’re talking about these great concepts of accountability partners, but a lot of e-commerce sellers are solopreneurs. They’re one man Wolf packs, as they like to say, and The Hangover, right? If I am that person that doesn’t know anybody in the industry, that person that doesn’t have any friends, it doesn’t have any colleagues. It doesn’t have any accountability partners. How do I go about finding someone like that at an event like Prosper?
Brian: Well, actually, I’ll mention one of the sessions that we’re having. And it’s called a think tank and a think tank, it’s something I learned my fifth year out of college. Saw someone do this. There was– it’s a carousel activity with a group who there– say it’s about advertising. One group can talk about advertising on Amazon. One group can talk, start with advertising off of Amazon. None of the group might be talking about let’s do online chatbots, social media kind of opportunities. Each group is going to contribute to the list. So I got our group of eight people. We get a list. We write down our best practices on Amazon. After 10, 15 minutes, we give our groups that it goes to the next station we receive off of Amazon. Wow. These are some great ideas there. Go through the list they add to the bottom third station. Third group completes it. It comes back to the main group and then the assignment is, come up with them, come to a consensus. What are the top two? And the conversation that ensues there is it’s a very rich one, but the point being we’re doing this at prosper, I’ll mention, I never thought that that would work in the conference realm until one morning with the day one of my conference, the morning of day one, my first two speakers, that day canceled. And I said, I have no content. I have no speakers. What I’m going to do. I did this. And the number one critique that we got, the number one criticism we got after the event was all said and done after a few days, was that thing you did on Monday morning, you should have done more of that. You should have just started out day two with that. That was the number one rated session at that conference in each of the eight times that I did it subsequent to that. And it’s because people are having those rich conversations saying, okay, well, what do you do? How do you do that? Well, we can’t do that. We’re not that size, but how could we do that kind of thing as a smaller business, some problem solving, and that’s a great opportunity for people to follow up. We won’t hold people accountable to it, but that’s one of the things that we will suggest you turn to the person to you. And talk about what you’re going to do next.
Tim Jordan: Well, I think that’s a great idea because it’s great as the speakers are going to be. You’ve got experts in different fields that understand onstage and dump as much great information and wisdom as they can. One of the most powerful things that you get at these live events is the group mind, the hive mind, like the power of community thinking, right? I have learned more sitting around a lunch table with a bunch of strangers probably than I ever have listening to someone on stage, which is saying a lot because I’ve heard a lot of great people on stage. So I do think going back like, is it valuable to go to in-person events? I think this is another point if you’re going to learn more standing in the coffee line than you might listening to a session, right. Or you’re going to make that one connection. And I think that I can see some touches of things, obviously that you’re putting on Prosper this year that have not been there in the past, like this, where you’re forcing people to start thinking together and think creatively and also introducing. What about networking events? I know that it’s not just going and standing on stage. You have a lot of networking that goes in on the trade show floor because you have a lot of sponsors and you also have even actual networking events, like, I think Wednesday night you have one going on, right?
Brian: Yeah. It’s an exhibit all floors open. We do have that. So for two hours, people can mil about just talk, no sessions going on, nothing to compete with. The carousel format that I was just kind of talking to you about the session we’re doing on the morning of day two. It’s called the Seller’s only think tank. There’ll only be sellers in the room. Sellers who aren’t service providers. So just peers talking to each other without a vested interest, other than finding out what each other are doing and helping their company not to sell their services. We have a Brella app that they’ve done for three, or it’s might be its fourth year now. And it’s a matchmaking app. You indicate what you’re interested in learning about, in what categories, and it matches you with the people who answered most correspondingly. Best matches. And then you can say, oh, I’d like to talk to this person. This sounds interesting. You go on the app, you say, I want to talk with you for 15 minutes. They say, okay. And then assigned you, it will have 40, as many as 60 depending on. It depends on the space that we have there left. But at least 40 tables are set up and it’ll sign you 15 minutes, table one at that time. And so we’ll, so that’s– people love that. Actually, when I started my research, when I first started here in 2019 and I asked people, what did they like the most? People said, we love Brella. That really worked for us. They got to have many conversations for 15 minutes. And if they want to continue after that, they did, or beyond that, they did. So, that’s another thing that we do on the floor. And then I would also mention, we’re having a lot more sellers presenting as well as being on panels than has happened in the past 15 sellers of the 50 presenters. And so, there’s going to be a lot of conversations that will ensue with those sellers. We’re getting it started from that level of conversation as well, not just from the experts.
Tim Jordan: So let me change topics for a second and ask you this. As you’re putting together a show like this, you have just almost an unlimited number of opportunities for the type of content that presenters everybody wants to be involved in. And you have to sit down and figure out what is going to be the most impactful to the attendees. And that probably very closely parallels the question of what are the hot topics in the industry this year. Like, what are the things that people most want to learn about, most want to know about the things that people are most interested to learn? Can you give us an idea of– it doesn’t even have to be about Prosper, but like, what are you seeing this year that are the hot topics that everybody wants to hear about?
Brian: It’s kind of on a micro level, but I will mention to that point, the frame that we put around at that, that’s new to Prosper this year are our theme detracts. So we’ve driving traffic. So, we know that’s going to be a very popular one. Advertising is always fun. So we’re going to do that on both days. Then we have for other one day tracks. So this is the framework that we build, but before we put in the wood and the lighting, and everything else into the house. So, we also have one on protecting your business. We have one on maximizing your impact, say of your listing, optimizing your efficiency as a leader, as a worker, how do you do things more efficiently and then, manage and grow your businesses big. And on that note, I’m glad we– I’ll segue into big topic this year as selling your business. So, we have a few sessions on that. Big topic this year just came up, especially since Q4 of last year, managing your inventory, limitations placed on restock, just out of the blue. How do you manage that? As well as the international supply chain mix, just snarls put lightly. So we have a session on each one of those. So, video, we have a workshop and two presentations on that, which is always going to be one of those presentations. Those are the ones that come to mind. Those are the three hottest topics. But once you get that framework, and I know I have now I’ve had seven sessions. What are the topics within driving traffic do people want to learn about? Social influencers let’s do that. What else do they need to know? Oh, well, how does it work on Walmart? We just added a great session on that as you know. Tim will be presenting that session. So, you fill in what they need to know, and then you find out, okay, now what’s the best format? Is this a panel session? Do they want to hear multiple perspectives? Where do they, what’s going to get them to– what’s going to address the seller’s needs most? Maybe it’s a workshop. Maybe it’s a co-presentation, maybe it’s just a straight up solo presentation. We have a mix in, it’s not happenstance for what they each are. It’s very intentional for what form is going to be the best for engagement and dissemination of knowledge based on what we’re hearing from sellers.
Tim Jordan: And you don’t traditionally come from the e-commerce world, right? This is fairly new to you. You’ve run a lot of conferences. You’ve been involved in education. To do this right, you must’ve had a lot of input from other people in the industry. I know there’s an advisory council that you work closely with, that are pitching in and helping you determine like the hot topics and what to present on how to, how to set this up. Just very candidly. Do you feel like the e-commerce industry is more willing to jump in and help as a community and more people are willing to give a little bit more than other industries? Or is that just my perception that’s wrong?
Brian: I would say that that perception, I would say it’s the same in every industry where you have passion, people who are passionate about what they do, then there are those people who are very much interested in helping others get to where they were. Um, we in, in people on our advisory council, and we’re talking about education today, not so much content per se, but I will say they get half of the credit for the greater agenda, more than half, maybe even more than half the credit. This would not be the same event without people who are not just experts, preeminent experts in their field of knowledge, but just really smart people and people who are really willing to give. That was like, those were three criteria for who’s going to be on the council. And they’re all just so much, they’re so amazing to work with, as are so many of the speakers who I know we’re going to be putting in a lot of time and effort to make sure they’re putting their best foot forward. So, when they can be proud of, and they can do right by their attendees, they don’t want to let anybody down. So, that’s a really good question though. I’d say there are professionals where there isn’t passion that there’s just people who are there for the money. But people have real strong feelings about their businesses. And then, yeah.
Tim Jordan: Well, the reason I asked this, and I think you prove the point that I was hoping you’d make is a lot of people because e-commerce is so new and this e-comm entrepreneurism stuff is so new that people think that what’s happening right now is not going to last. And when I say the things that are happening now are the communities, the resources, the people that are helping people, everybody’s trying to elevate each other for the most part. And I’ve heard talk that that’s all going to last forever. Once this becomes a more established industry here, once these businesses commercial they’ll stop helping. And what you’re saying is, Hey, as long as there’s passion, it doesn’t matter, the industry, everybody continues to help. And this is so powerful and so important for you listeners to understand, because we can’t do it alone. There’s way too much out there for me to figure out myself. I am the CFO, the CMO, the CEO, the COO, the CGO, right? I’m the bookkeeper, I’m the warehouse guy. I’m a digital marketer like an e-commerce business. That’s just– we do all those things. So, if we don’t have a lot of help supporting us and helping us learn, these things become better, we’re not going to get better. And I think that what Brian just said is very, very powerful, because that shouldn’t stop. That’s not just a weird e-comm thing that’s happening this year, and last year, and the year before, like this is something that’s going to continue to happen. So whether you’re you’re trudging along and you’re struggling a little bit, whether you’re succeeding in your e-commerce business, or you just got started, I think that it’s safe to say, and Brian, you can correct me if I’m wrong, that this community and the willingness of the community to always support other members of the community will continue to be the same. Would you agree with that?
Brian: Yeah. There will always be that here. There will always be people who are wanting to know how they can do better. And that’s who comes to this. And they come to Prosper with some real zeal. If what I hear from all the research that I’ve done and all of the advisory council, and all of the speakers that I’ve talked to for that have been to this before, there is a lot of real ardent passions behind people who are, who just can’t wait to get back together and see each other face to face, and swap ideas and talk about what each other have learned and what each other are doing with their business for, not just to relate to another human being after post COVID, but even before COVID, so that they can give meaning, I think a little bit to what they’re doing. And the Prosper show is also, it’s a world of Amazon is a world out there, as you know, that is who knows what they’re thinking, who knows what they’re going to do. And there’s just a lot of noise out there around the marketplace. What should we be paying attention to? What shouldn’t they be? Here’s what you need to do. Prosper show helps figure out the noise through the education and the networking opportunities that it has. And I think that’s, I think generally speaking, that’s what a good conference should do. We don’t have a pay to play model. If we had a pay to play model might be different. You’d be hearing from people who paid the most for people to step up and stand on the stage. We don’t have that. Ours is, you want to look for that conference, speaking, as you asked earlier, how do you get the most out of the conference? Make sure you choose a conference that is putting your needs first. It has a reputation for doing that. Ask questions, and if they didn’t do it for you, when you don’t go back, and if you do go on your– and they don’t do right, but you think you want to go back, you know what? One of the first things I can’t wait to read the evaluations after an event. That’s like the first–
Tim Jordan: That would terrify me. If I were in your position, reading the evaluations would cause me great anxiety, I think.
Brian: Oh, we want to know how we do and how we can do better. It’s always about evolving. It’s the same thing in business. If you don’t– if you’re a seller and you’re not keeping up with what the market wants, and you’re not keeping up with the innovation, it’s not just in terms of the practices, but in terms of your product, you’re not going to be in business very long. You shouldn’t be. You have to continue to evolve with the marketplace. And that’s what I think is essential. And you have to have that drive if you want to not just grow, but if you want to survive.
Tim Jordan: Well, I think that– and you’re not going to like this, Brian, but I’m going to make a statement to our listeners, the power of events. We’ve talked a lot about Prosper because it is the one that I think the industry, at least in the US and North America, is the most excited about every year, right? This isn’t just a big pitch fest for Prosper. This is really a pitch fest for getting off your seats, getting back in front of people’s faces and shaking hands and learning from each other. I will say that something like Prosper, something like conferences, is so powerful. And this is the part you don’t want to hear, Brian, that I know a lot of people that go that don’t even buy tickets, but there is so much power in just getting people together that you have. I call them lobby lurkers, right? The people that show up at events like this don’t even buy a ticket to the event. They just hang out in the hotel lobbies, and they go to the networking events because there’s just so much value in getting around like-minded people. I have a lot of friends in this industry that even this morning I was texting some folks, even some past guests on this podcast that it’s like going back to summer camp, like we are dying to get back to Prosper and get back to Vegas because it’s like our family. And e-commerce a lot of the times it can be lonely. And a lot of times we’re working ourselves and we talked about this on other episodes, and our friends and our family locally don’t understand what we’re doing. They don’t get it.
Tim Jordan: And just getting back and meeting with like-minded people and people that understand our struggles and our successes that we can talk to. It’s refreshing. And it’s great. So I would tell you that even if you cannot bring yourself to buy a ticket to go to Prosper, buy a cheap airline ticket and just go to Vegas and hang out that week. If that week doesn’t work, find another conference to go hang out. But I would behoove you to become more involved in these conferences. If you are a lobby lurker, go buy a ticket to this thing, because now that e-commerce is starting to mature. And because remember it’s fairly new, all this is only a few years old, essentially that conferences like Prosper are now doing things like bringing in folks like Brian that are traditional educators, they’re professionals in education, right? They’re adding in components to these conferences that will help you network and learn from each other and learn from people in a way that is actually designed and engineered from true education principles. Right? And that’s very new to this industry. So I hope that that’s a good admonition for all of you listening that were on the fence about going to any conferences here to get off your butt and do it. The worst that can happen is you go to Vegas for a couple of days. You don’t meet anybody and you turn around, you go home, not a huge loss. The best thing that happened is you go and you change your life and you change your business, right? Because of one handshake, one introduction, one tip that changes everything for you. Brian, as we wrap up, any last kind of updates. I know we’ve talked about Prosper a lot of what to expect at Prosper this year. For those of us that are going, or maybe to get those excited that aren’t going and convince them to go, anything that we haven’t talked about yet?
Brian: The caliber of people that I’ve talked to that have been to this event that has spoken at this event, are just amazing people. They come to this for a reason. They’re looking to see you if you’re there. And I would also just like to echo what you were just mentioning. I often think of the scene from blues brothers, where they say, Hey, we’re getting the band back together. Getting the band back together. And sometimes there are some people leave, some favorites that present every year. We have some people that we like to mix in there who should have been on the band last year. So it is, but in effect, it’s the same kind of band. It’s the same kind of spirit. And people turn out to not just stand in the audience and cheer for them. It’s even better than that because people show up to be with each other, to be with people who like the same things who are like-minded, and have conversations with them. And we’re looking to looking forward to bringing the band back together and bringing everyone back together. So far, we haven’t touched upon our speaking faculty, they are the band. One of the things that I mentioned one of the things that’s very much changed this year. We have a lot of sellers, 215, they’re going to be presenting their perspectives. And we have nine former Amazon insiders, who are on the speaking faculty. And that’s not more than we’ve had to date, it’s certainly equal to than the most we’ve had to date there to share kind of what their experiences are. So, we have a good mix of people who have presented before, we’ve been mix of people who are former Amazon sellers, or former Amazon insiders, a group that are good, that are sellers. So, I think we have a really good mix of sessions, a really good mix of speakers, a really good balance of content.
Tim Jordan: Well, that’s awesome. Well, thank you for coming on the podcast. I know that we talked a lot about Prosper, but for those of you that aren’t coming to Prosper or can’t make it to Prosper. Just keep in mind that everything we’ve talked about is agnostic to what conference we’re talking about. Like it all works, get out there, shake some hands, meet some people and continue to educate yourself. E-commerce is moving so fast that if you continue doing what you were doing six months ago, you’re going to get left in the dust. That just happens. Brian, thank you for being on. I look forward to meeting you in person. I look forward to seeing the changes that come about this year at Prosper from the past years and, and how we’re incorporating some more thought out educational processes and systems into the conference, which should definitely add some stickiness to all the great wisdom that’s being shared by other speakers and contributors. So, thank you for that. You do have a discount code, right? If anybody is thinking about going to Prosper, if you’ve listened to the end of this episode, you get 15% off a ticket right now because we’re going to drop the code here. Do you want to talk about what that is?
Brian: Yes. If you go to prospershow.com and you use ampm21 when you register, you will save 15% off of registration of a conference pass. So, we hope that you’ll do that, and we hope that we will see you there.
Tim Jordan: Awesome. Well, thanks again for coming on. Thank you all for listening. Thank you all for supporting the podcast and everything we do. Remember this podcast is not just a podcast. This podcast helps represent a community of awesome folks. It helps represent a community of people that love getting together at events and a lot of you listeners. I can’t wait to meet in person when we get to these events again now that COVID is wrapping up and remember there is a community. If you want to go to Facebook, join the Facebook group, FBA High Rollers. That’s a Facebook group that’s kind of associated with this podcast. Check out past episodes at ampm.com. If you’re watching this on YouTube, give us a thumbs up, and a like, and a subscribe. If you’re watching or listening to this, I should say, on any of the major podcast platforms, whether it’s Google play, iTunes, Spotify, make sure to leave us a review on this podcast and let us know how we’re doing. We do read those reviews and we sure would appreciate it. Thank you all for being here. We’ll see you in the next one.