BlackLocus Wins “Best in Show” at Under the Radar

We’ve had a great two days at the Under the Radar Conference in Mountain View, CA.  It’s a commerce-focused event, featuring roughly 30 emerging companies in 5 categories that pitch in competition format to an audience and a panel of judges.  Today I had the opportunity to pitch BlackLocus under the “Measurement” theme to a panel of 3 judges including Liz Gannes, Senior Editor with All Things Digital, Will Lowry, VP AT&T Platform Partners and Mark Silva, SVP Emerging Platforms Anthem Worldwide.  The session was moderated by Rafe Needleman, Editor at Large for CNET News.  To see the 15 minute pitch and Q&A session, click here and go to 3:45 in the video if you want to skip the panel intros.

The good news?  We won the Audience Choice Best in Show award among the 30 companies and the Judges Award for our category!  We also met some leaders in companies that would be extremely valuable partners and most important, we connected with some large, Fortune 200 retailers that are prospective customers.  All in all, a great use of our time and money to participate.

The other good news (disguised as bad news)?  Along with positive exposure and press comes an onslaught of demands that stress the team to deliver on.  It’s a constant battle at this stage, how to prioritize activity and only that activity which has the highest return when there are dozens of things we know need to be done.  And priorities are not always obvious, these decisions require some stakes in the ground but more important, they require measurement, learning and adjustment to turn on a dime as information becomes available from customers and partners.

I’m returning to Austin today and looking forward to debriefing with the team and getting everyone energized about the path ahead of us.  Strap in, its going to get nutty!

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Do You Sell Products Online?

I spent the past two days at the Innovate Conference in San Francisco put on by X.commerce, the new “open” eCommerce platform created by Magento, GSI Commerce, Paypal, Ebay, Adobe and with deep Facebook, Kenshoo (online marketing), Milo (local search) and Redlaser (barcode scanning) integration.  Magento and GSI Commerce are the two leading platforms for online merchants to set up their website and sell their goods online.  The launch of X.commerce is a game-changer for online retail in several ways:

  • It is a veritable one-stop shop for anyone who sells product online to create their consumer interface and upload inventory, integrate with Ebay, obtain user analytics from Adobe, create advertising and social outreach campaigns and track conversion, launch international (multi-language) platforms, create a Facebook store and enable single click payments through Paypal.  These things alone are not special, but now merchants have the ability to set all of this up with nearly single button clicks.  A merchant can go from having no online presence to having all of these features and more literally in an afternoon.
  • The X.commerce platform is “open”, which creates opportunities for developers to create new applications for merchants and sell them through the app store.  Some lucky few will have the opportunity to partner with X.commerce directly to offer services to merchants.  This is where my new company, BlackLocus, intends to focus.  Because we provide merchants with a pricing engine, including insight on competitors pricing across the web and recommendations on how to price each product, we are a natural and valuable participant on the X.commerce platform.  The benefit to us?  Instantaneous access and distribution to hundreds of thousands of merchants on the current Magento and GSI Commerce and future X.commerce platforms.

This was an extremely useful few days enabling me to quickly get up to speed on what’s happening in eCommerce, the importance of social, the blurring of online & offline and the trends focusing on mobile devices.  I’m beginning to form a point of view about how and where BlackLocus fits into this ecosystem and am energized to get started with the founders to build a great business.  There is much to do!

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