Reflections on Linnworks #LinnAcademy2017

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David Brackin is a regular contributor to Tamebay and is the co-founder of Stuff U Sell. He has sold over 250,000 different items on eBay.

He was at Linnworks annual Linn Academy conference this week and this is his summing up of the event:

Reflections on Linnworks Academy 2017

The Linnworks Academy event has gone from strength-to-strength in the years that I have been attending it and this year’s event represented the best I’ve seen yet. This has now gone far beyond the handful of fairly geeky individuals in a hotel in Reading four years ago gathered to hear about the technical aspects of the product and some news about postage, to become a slick industry-defining event with over 600 people at the Vox in Birmingham’s NEC. This is now firmly embedded on the core two or three events each year that I think should be attended by everyone in this industry.

John Lawson – CEO of ColderICE — a wonderfully energetic speaker from Atlanta kicked the day’s proceedings off in perfect style by gazing into the future and revealing how artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality and robotics are already coming into ecommerce although perhaps not in the ways you might have thought they would a few years ago. His infectious energy and relaxed and informative style set the tone for the whole day. There were talks from the marketplaces as well as a range of experts and a second room with more technical topics about the Linnworks platform. Throughout the day, Linnworks customers could book in to have one-to-one events with staff to better understand new features or find solutions to niggling software problems. And a selection of a dozen or so sponsors displayed their wares and met with customers and prospects over tea and coffee.

But this is clearly more than an event for Linnworks customers – there was a strong theme of where artificial intelligence and voice-activated assistants will lead us – and in particular how image search and the technologies around it are likely to insert themselves into the e-commerce flows. If mobile was the thing that we were all talking about four years ago, then devices like the Amazon Echo with its Alexa AI are the focus of attention now – with sufficient critical mass of these devices now in homes they are reaching a tipping point from being quirky curiosities to established channels to reach consumers. Another theme was the relentless increase in data and processing power to manage that data leading to machine learning on ever bigger “big data” sets. Image search is one of the most obvious outputs – commerce discovery is already being freed up from a fairly restrictive text string search that we have grown used to and is moving into contextual and image-based matching. In time I suspect we will look back on our efforts to put meaningless barcodes and 80 character titles on eBay listings and wonder what on earth we were thinking.

Of course the event provides plenty of opportunities for networking, and it’s always a pleasure to catch-up with old friends and meet new ones over the social breaks. Much of what you take home comes from the insights that other people share with you over a cup of tea which is one of the great benefits of taking the time to attend events like this. I’d strongly advise you to pencil in LinnAcademy 2018 – my only question is where will they find a venue big enough to host it next year?

11 Responses

  1. Venue was perfect ,

    Travelled over from Ireland with one of my colleagues and we were very impressed with the set up and show ,

    It will be one of our core events each year .

  2. Even though the M1 did its best to make me late to the conference on my way down from Yorkshire, this was well worth taking the day out to attend. It’s always good to sit back for a few hours and listen to influential people within the industry. It gives you the time to reflect on what you are doing with your business. Excellent work Linnworks.

  3. First time I have been to the event. It gave me opportunity to solve some issues, make recommendations for some changes to get the system working better. Talks were very interesting with insights for todays market and the future. Well done Linnworks we were looked after from start to finish Will be back next year

  4. One of the slickest events of it’s type I have ever attended. Well organised and full of useful content.

    I left home at 4am to travel from Northern Ireland – getting back at 11:30pm that night so for me it was a gamble whether my first Linn Academy was going to be worth the expenditure of time, money and effort not to mention the loss of sleep! …. It was … and I will be back next year.

    From choice of speakers to scheduling and the very useful app, through to choice of venue, food and refreshments, relevant trade displays and general buzz created by an obviously enthusiastic Linnworks team the whole event was both interesting and enjoyable.

    Well done to the whole team who put this together.

  5. Linn Academy 2017 was yet another successful event- well done to the Linnworks Team again!

    I sat in on the John Lawson talk which certainly got the day going. Great write-up capturing the day well in words. Would have loved to hear more specifically about other keynotes from the day, having not attended most of them.

    Good job.

  6. Cracking event Linnworks, great content and location and plenty of value taken from the day. Especially huge thanks and congratulations go to Will Bowes from Linnworks for his hard work and excellent organisation which were paramount the event’s success – we’ll certainly be back!

  7. A fantastic event !!

    Proud to be a sponsor and look forward to exhibiting again next year.

    Many thanks to Will Bowes, Artem Verovenko, Sam Goodman and rest of the Linnworks team.



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