PeSA ECMTA eCommerce Summit 2008- Attendee Perspective – Guest Blogger John Lawson 3rdPowerOutlet.Com

We have a new Guest Blogger….

John Lawson is the President and driving force behind 3rd Power Outlet

If you are already a member of PeSA ECMTA you may already know of John. I mean, he is hard to miss! I don’t say this just because he knows how to attract attention with his branded 3rdPowerOutlet clothing…

John Lawson

I say it because John is a active member on the PeSA ECMTA Forums and as the first first African American member of PeSA he is a trailblazer who adds real value to the community.

John adds value on the discussion boards and in person. John asks the questions most attendees at events like Catalyst or eCommerce Summit wish they had thought of asking. The fact that he is a straight shooting, successful business person and a pioneer who brought Hip Hop successfully to eBay just adds enormous credibility to what he says and lends value to the answers he gets from speakers at these conferences.

It did not take long for John and I to hit it off when we met at Catalyst in Pinehurst, North Carolina. I felt we had a connection both in business philosophy and as friends. I do not come from John’s background, and to be honest I do not know much about Hip Hop. I would never presume to relate to John on that plane and he is fine with that.

I can relate to John as a business person, entrepreneur and a good guy. I appreciate hearing what John has to say and I thought my audience here at the Trading Assistant Journal would also appreciate reading John’s perspective.

So after plying him with fine liquor and offering to make him even more famous than he already is… I have successfully convinced John Lawson to add to our conversation here at The TA Journal as a guest blogger.

What follows is what I hope to be the first of many entries from my friend John. Please read and enjoy. Check out his store and learn how this man views the world of eCommerce. You could only stand to learn a thing or two…and that can’t be a bad thing.

eCommerce Summit – View from a PeSA Attendee – Part One – by: John Lawson

You guys can read about the eCommerce / PeSA sessions from a real blogger as Scott has done wonders capturing it on this blog. I met Scott for the first time at the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst event earlier this year. At that time he asked me for my input and chatted about it. I mentioned that I would be going to the PeSA event in New Orleans and he asked if I would be interesting in a guest blog about it. So I agree to give it a try and I am not a pro at all, so here is my story.

This is a personal perspective of my trip to New Orleans and my perspective of the events at the summit. This is written by me and for me mostly, but I thought I would capture my thoughts here and you are welcome to follow along.

Part I…. (The arrival)

I got up on Tuesday morning and left Atlanta, GA by car. I picked up Moms (that is NOT a typo, we refer to our Mom like that where I come from) and we were off. She was my ‘road dog’ for the trip and I was glad to spend some QT (quality time) with her for a change. I thought it would be a long ride and we left at 9:00 EST. I made a food stop and a rest stop and we hauled a** the rest of the way.

We saw some very telling sights on the drive in. Katrina left scars on the landscape from Biloxi MS, all the way into New Orleans East. There was some serious devastation and whole neighborhoods still in shambles as we passed by on the freeway. I got to New Orleans in what seemed like record time. I gained an hour since NO is 1 hour behind Atlanta so we arrived about 3:30 P.M. local time. It took me only 7 hours door-to-door from the time I packed the car until the valet took my bags to the room! Not bad at all.

We stayed at the W hotel which was basically ground zero for the reporters during the storm. It was one of the only large hotels that remained habitable during the storm. The bellman began recounting his story to me about how the W paid them to come back immediately after the storm and how they had taken care of his needs and his family. You could tell that he was genuinely proud to work for the W and was very friendly.

We (Mom and I) cleaned up and I walked my Moms around to show her the casino, the mall and the Riverwalk. I was glad I had time to do that so she would feel comfortable venturing around the city while I was at the events. After that, I left her at the Riverwalk which is next to the convention center that was the location for the events. The downtown was just like I remembered since my last trip to NO in February of 2005. As we walked along we commented on how the city looked well recovered.


But OH BOY, I was totally not ready for what happened to me a few minutes later. I must admit that I got a little choked up as I approached the convention center. The site of the building that we all saw from Katrina 2005 suddenly started flashing in my mind. The vision was made even worse by the fact that this vast building looked empty and completely closed as I approached.

I had to walk from the far end of the Morial Convention Center all the way to the door where we were going to enter and register. It was still pretty early, about 5:00 pm, and that huge convention center was basically empty. And as a matter of fact, the place remained basically empty for the entire week except for our event. It shows that NO really needs to get back up on its feet even 3 years later.

We have a huge convention center here in Atlanta too and I don’t care what day of the week or year it is, there is ALWAYS some crap going on. It was very noticeable that the tourism and trade business has not recovered fully yet.

Once I found an open door, I was still a ways from the registration area and I was there VERY early. Viewing the inside I had to take a second to compose myself in the hall because I knew that at one time nearly 3 years ago, people were laid to rest here. It got a little overwhelming and I am not an emotional person, but that hit me all of a sudden in the halls. And it became emotional for real, damn!

I approached the tables down the hall and got a quick pick me up. This white haired man who sort of looked like Santa came up to me and grabbed my hand. He said with a big hardy voice “Welcome to the Summit”. I did not have my name tag, but I had on my work shirt and he was genuinely delighted to see me there. He said, “Hey John, I am David from Shoetime. We were on the PeSA call together!” See, they guys over at PeSA were having a call about DSRs and they invited me to participate. Both myself and David were on that call sharing tips and results we had experienced with trying to increase the response, so it was good to meet him in person.

I was blown away, because he looked EXACTLY like I had pictured him in my mind – LOL. It was kind of surreal. He was downstairs greeting everyone as we came in. That really started my first PeSA summit off right. You know that is why they greet you at the door at Wal-Mart too. They know it makes your time there enjoyable and it transferred well for me at the Summit too.

So I got my little bag of goodies and proceeded up the escalator to the cocktail party. After all the emotional bull crap my head put me through I needed a strong drink and the ladies at the bar were more than willing to oblige. One thing about NO, you do not have to ask more than once for a strong drink!

So like I said, I was pretty early and I think there were just a hand full of folks there and most of them were vultures, er… I mean vendors, LMAO. I guess they saw me and they were just hungry since I was one of the first there. I was there no longer than about 10 minutes when out the corner of my eye I saw Scott Pooler, Master Blogger ;-), approaching. We got some finger food and went to a nearby table. I met another seller and the 3 of us started chatting.

While we were there, a couple of vendors came up to us, but I had to put the brakes on ’em quick. I was like to one dude, “Yo homey, I just got off a 7 hour road trip and the LAST thing I want to do right now is read your freakin’ pamphlet. I need food and liquor!” We all laughed and we stood and had a drink together.

For the most part, I talked to a few other sellers and vendors, ate the finger food and got a buzz. I met some of the folks I had seen on the boards and me and one dude decided to hit the casino and Bourbon Street afterwards for some food and drink. Boy, that was the wrong dude to hook up with1 He was ready to party -like I was – and we did! So much in fact, that after a Hurricane and 2 Grenades, He, I and 2 others ended up on the “strip” 😉 until way past 2:00 A.M. Man, that was one crazy way to kick off a conference!

to be continued…


3rd Power Outlet Logo

John Lawson
3rd Power Outlet

, , , , ,

0 Responses to PeSA ECMTA eCommerce Summit 2008- Attendee Perspective – Guest Blogger John Lawson 3rdPowerOutlet.Com

  1. JP Diaz April 29, 2008 at 5:43 pm #

    Good Job on the guest post! It was a pleasure meeting you and “moms” in NOLA. Talk to you soon.

  2. Linda Miller May 3, 2008 at 12:30 am #


    Man, you’re a natural blogger, so PLEASE keep your own voice as you write.

    During the opening cocktail party, when I came up to the closest cocktail table with food and drink in hand, you guys were so friendly to an eCommerce Summit newbie. I’m the gal who mentioned animoto. I had no idea you were such a celebrity and force to be reckoned with. I also heard you on the ECMTA conference call a few weeks before.

    Regarding, David Hardin of Shoetime, you got your WalMart welcome coming in. I got mine going out when the Summit was over. David was at the bottom of the very long elevator.

    The funny thing is that I was an eBay LIVE newbie back in 2004, and Evan P introduced me to the Shoetime gang. I sat with them during the closing gala.

    Who knows where eBay LIVE was held in 2004? SAME place … Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, only there were about 11,000 more people. It felt good to be back and to help the city.

    Linda Miller
    Consignment Pal

  3. Car and Driver May 4, 2008 at 8:56 pm #

    Hello! Good site, very pleased me, continue in a that spirit.

  4. John (3rdpo) May 5, 2008 at 10:49 am #

    Hi Linda, I remember meeting and speaking with you. Great to hear from you, thanks for the comments!


Leave a Reply