Its the morning of Day 2 of the convention, I actually begin my next workshop in just a few minutes but wanted to update everyone on how the first day was... BUSY!
The day flew by, Bart and I started the day wandering the floor with Rafi Hamid and saying hello to friends. The big buzz of the morning was that JM Solutions sold off AAX and affiliated companies . I dont know the details of the transaction, but rumor had it the JM employees found out on the way here. The booths are seperate, but there is a sign up notifying people of the purchase.
Another interesting note, the vAuto booth and First Look booth are all of 10 feet away from each other on the floor. Its funny standing at the vAuto booth listening to First Look Demoing their pricing tool. Market based pricing is hot and your store needs to be invovled. If you have experience with either (or a competitor's product) lets us know your review of them in the Vendor Rating System. Note: this category is not live yet, it is accepting reveiws but we have not contacted all the vendors yet to let them know they are being reveiwed. It will open up late next week.
There was some discussion about the recent partnering of Dealer.com and AutoTrader.ca (no this is not Autotrader.com... completly different company.) AutoTrader.ca gave Dealer.com $35 million for a 20% stake in the company. The big news here is the deal gives Dealer.com access to the 5,000 dealers that AutoTrader.ca serves in Canada... Interesting. Those guys at Dealer.com just announced a new mobile platform for dealers yesterday too. They have some great momenitum and have incredible reviews in the vendor ratings system... Clearly they have good things going their way.
I spoke for the first time at the Nada convention. (Ive participated in the Digital Dealer Conferences many times) I had a good time speaking and had lots of questions from dealers about the topic. (I spoke on using social technologies to brand your dealership)
The evening was fun filled, as usual. I spent some time in the hospitality suite at OneCommand, I had dinner with Ralph Paglia, Phil Zillinger, Jody Devere and the team from sister technologies and everycarlisted.com. Its was a good dinner, good conversation and met some great new people. Im excited to see a demo of the sister technologies video tool for dealers, it sounds really cool.
Lastly I shook hands with some friends at Cobalt in their suite then headed over to another hotel and ran into some execs from Izmo. Izmo has always been one of the most innovative companies in the industry and I spent some time with Dennis Colome (a long time friend) along with Sydney and Mariam. Sydney is the creator of Add.on.Auto, which Izmo purchased and ramping up. Its a really cool tool to help dealership sell accessories. With sales of vehicles down so much, we have to maximize profits any which way we can... I personally belive fixed ops and accessory opportunities are where the money is at today. Mariam was great to talk to, I especially appreciated her view because she comes from outside the industry with a fresh perspecitve. She is new at Izmo but I am convinced she is taking her outside perspective and will apply it in killer ways... expect some coll stuff coming from Izmo under her marketing watch. She and Sydney both have good things going on.
All in all, my feet hurt (as usual at the convention) but I saw some good old friends that I hadnt seen in a while and met some impressive new folks. There are some brilliant people inside our industry that never cease to amaze me.