How To Prepare for CoE E-Commerce Day 1: Mentorship And Unconference Sessions

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Get ready for Day 1 of CoE, where you will experience a unique, attendee-driven agenda.

1. First we will have “Lunch with Mentors.”

During the mentor's lunch, you will be assigned to three different tables that you will rotate through, stopping at each for 30 minutes at a time. Each table will have a fresh new group of entrepreneurs and mentors leading a discussion about a different challenge. The mentors will guide you on the following challenges:

  • fundraising: when, how, and how much
  • attracting and retaining talent & building good management structures
  • growing your business: scaling and marketing your product


We encourage you to think deeply about the challenges you have faced in each of those categories and how your business could benefit from mentorship on these specific topics. Or, if you have overcome some of these challenges, consider ways in which you could contribute to these conversations to guide other entrepreneurs.

2. Then we will move to the Unconference.

Here's what you need to know:

The Unconference Session, unlike typical conferences, will not have a set topic list. You will get to pitch and attend sessions that you are passionate about.

Essentially, you will nominate topics that you'd like to discuss in breakout groups. All attendees can pitch topics and then vote on the options to determine the final sessions. The most popular sessions will be turned into informal group discussions, with the nominees as leaders.

In order to lead or contribute to a potential session, we encourage you to think about elements that are specific to your business, that you consider strengths or challenges of yours, or general topics that need that merit discussion.

For example, you may want to discuss how you got a marketing campaign to spread virally, how you entered the Saudi market (or want to), how cloud computing changed your business, or how you handle inventory, or you could pose broader questions such as “how do I know when to pivot?” or “what should I do to get investment?” You could even demo a project that you're building, in hopes of getting feedback and discussing it; your topic can be as general or specific as you make it.

Get ready for 2 people- or 30- to show up to your session, and don't get deterred either way; a good group discussion doesn't need a particular number. These discussions will last for around an hour.

At the end of the day, you will likely emerge with deeper connections to your peers and potential mentors in e-commerce, while gaining a better understanding of the challenges you face and the potential solutions you can implement.

For more about the Unconference format, and advice for leading a session, see here. If you have any questions about the formats please ask them in the comments below or email us at coe [AT] wamda.com.

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