We kicked off the morning with XPOLogistics' CEO Brad Jacobs leading us through a town hall style keynote. Jacobs offered some interesting insights. At one point he posited that humans would one day be extinct and replaced by some sort of human/robot hybrid. While this was a bit Terminator for some of us, Jacobs continued to offer his belief that there will be an era when relationships won't matter. He later talked about how XPO works hard at the "human stuff" in reference to building their company culture, so it is a bit unclear how all of this intersects. Jacobs sees the industry morphing into an information business as opposed to a transportation business, and we agree. He also offered that his best advice is to listen to your customers and deliver what they are asking for - one of SwanLeap's core principles. The conversation quickly turned to change and Jacobs shared that change is inevitable. He said the most important technology is any tech that reduces or eliminates keystrokes. He went on to say that any 3PL that wants to thrive and grow must invest in tech - something else we agree with whole-heartedly.
Jacobs spent a lot of time in the change conversation on the idea that extinction is guaranteed by birth - no matter how good your idea is today, it will eventually be irrelevant. We have to let the inevitability of death drive us to continually innovate. On the topic of robots, Jacobs encouraged us to envision a world where no one has to work.
Brad Stone, a self proclaimed Bezo-ologist, shared some insights into "the everything company", Amazon. Stone cautioned us all to be careful what data we allow Amazon to collect because they are famous for observing and then taking the opportunity for themselves. As such, Stone implored the audience to create the future they want to see - stop waiting.
We saw more rapid fire demos and then SwanLeap CEO Brad Hollister joined Drew McElroy and Lidia Yan for a High Growth CEO panel. Hollister boldly proclaimed that April 28, 2019 was the day the music died. Transactional brokerage is on its way out the door as Amazon has made clear their move into the transportation sector. This season will be a land grab for forward-thinking 3PLs and Brokerages who chose to innovate and seize the future.