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NetSuite SuiteConnect In Review: A Different Kind Of Event From A… Different Kind Of Company?

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I recently attended NetSuite’s international touring affair, SuiteConnect, at its only US-stop. It was a very different event than any I’ve attended in recent years – from any tech company. And since we pride ourselves on being direct here at RSR, I must also say that not only was I impressed, but I was genuinely surprised. Allow me to explain.

We haven’t been engaged with NetSuite in a long time. We used to (founding partner Nikki Baird and I didn’t miss a single annual user event from 2011 to 2017). But in fact, the last time we had any interaction at all with the company was way back in 2018, when Paula Rosenblum and I attended SuiteWorld in Las Vegas. Since then, we’ve been legitimately blind to their endeavors.

At that time – and I don’t think I’m talking out of turn here – there was very much a vibe to NetSuite. Every analyst knew it, and it was a common point of conversation among retailers, as well. The company had been bought by Oracle in 2016, and the sense was that it was a company to be seated at the right hand of the Ellison. Bravado and tech-bro culture swirled openly, and since we stopped staying in touch, I simply did what most people do: I assumed the status quo continued. My mistake for making assumptions.

What I experienced last week in New York simply could not have come from that same company.

From NetSuite Founder and EVP Evan Goldberg’s opening keynote, there was a palpable difference in the tone of the messaging. NetSuite, for reasons I can certainly wager a guess at, today appears humble, hungry, and doing all it can to provide solutions to its SMB customers that won’t make them feel second tier. It was the exact right show for the moment.

What Made This Event So Unique

In my experience, most events can be broken down into four main components in review: venue, format, content, and access. And SuiteConnect 2024 earned – from me at least – the highest points possible in each of those areas. It may well be the best event I’ve attended in nearly 20 years of being an analyst.

The following are the reasons why, broken down by category.


Venue isn’t really the exact word here, but for purposes of categorization, it serves its purpose. Where an event is in the world, how much of a draw that town/city is, whether or not anyone would want to visit that place at that time of year, how easy/difficult it is to get to, how easy/difficult or time-consuming travel is once on location – all go into venue. And this event couldn’t have been easier. Get to New York, get to the hotel, walk a couple hundred feet to the building next door for the sessions the next day. Done and done. New York in the spring? Much more desirable than New York in the snow. Add in a direct flight for nearly all involved, a very nice hotel, the avoidance of the need to walk convention-center distances between sessions (only to be late for half of them) and the net is simple: a really well-thought-out venue. Having hosted events in a previous life (and attended more than a hundred in this one), this is harder to pull off than one might think.


While venue may be important, format is more so. Part of what made this event so unique was its agenda. This was a single day that had been expertly programmed. It started at 8am, ended at 6:30 pm, and not a moment was wasted in between. The content (more on that in a moment) was a huge part of what made this program work, but had the content stayed the same in a format spread out over 2 days (or 3 days, or 4), much of the value would have been lost. A 2- or 3-day event means 4 or 5 days out of the office. And because most people value their time more than ever (especially those of us who spend a great deal of it attending events), this is a big deal.


In truth, content should be the only thing that really matters. It’s not – but it is the most important. Everything else is a value-add when content is solid, new, and informative. And this is where SuiteConnect’s star shined brightest.

Mr. Goldberg laid out the company’s vision for how to “do more with less” for both current clients and the prospects in attendance, while Brian Chess, SVP Technology and AI, dug a bit into the newest “advise and assist” capabilities (the most impressive of which – Bill Capture – converts commonly used docs and messages to generate proper billing docs.) In fairness, it was highly practical and quite a bit cooler than it sounds.

But while this was all fairly standard fare, NetSuite then presented a series of customers to tell their own stories. Jamie Siminoff, the Founder of Ring, took his company from an idea of I-wish-my-new-iPhone-could-tell-me-who-is-ringing-my-doorbell to a sale to Amazon for $1.15 billion dollars less than 15 years later. In his own words: “NetSuite is a company I don’t even want to think about. I need an accounting company, and I just can’t have it delay me from where I’m going.” Did it? “NetSuite was one of the few partners that never broke along the way… It never once bottlenecked us.” Jamie also shared details of his next project, Latch, soon to be rebranded as

Later in the day, Edyta Krynska, Vice President of Operations, UNTUCKit gave a private presentation to the media and analysts in attendance about the retailer’s journey with NetSuite so far. What made this tale so particularly interesting is that the company’s challenges and opportunities are emblematic of so many of the most exciting brands around right now: success online leads to a desire to open stores, all while still operating on Shopify and trying to cobble together solutions for the physical world that enable growth not just in the US, but in hotbed cities across the world (and also at 3rd party department stores). Quickly. We also got to hear from Diana and Michael Levy, the co-owners of Undercover Snacks, a brand whose growth story is so American-dream-y and meteoric that it’s challenging to wrap one’s head around it (short version: mom makes homemade snacks for her own kids with gluten and nut allergies in March 2017 – today they own one-of-a-kind specialty manufacturing plants to meet demand for sales at Target, Costco, Walmart, and as a free handout on all United Airlines flights.

Later in the day, the media and analysts in attendance were shuttled over to Bleecker Street, where we got to visit three different NetSuite retail customer storefronts. The owners/operators of each were there to greet us, explain their origin stories, and answer questions about their experience with NetSuite to date. The highlight here was talking with Bill Carrig, the President & COO of Little Words Project. You might recognize the bracelets his wife Adriana invented, which feature square beads spelling out words of affirmation to girls and young women in the face of all the pressures they constantly face in modern society. Taylor Swift and her fans get it – and the company’s story is genuinely compelling. It’s about kindness, and it’s also a business that is absolutely on fire. You can check them out here.


Time was when tech companies allowed analysts much more access to their end-user clients than they have of late. A very early client of ours used to allow us closed door 1:1 meetings with decision makers from their retail customers once a year. A few years later they started adding a vendor-employee chaperone to the conversations. The frequency of these meetings then started to space out. Today, if we’re lucky, we get a carefully curated presentation and a chance to follow up with questions via email. In these hypercompetitive times, most tech companies seem more focused on ensuring the approved talking points get out, while the nitty gritty (or as most people like to call it: the real story) stays close to the vest.  

Not so at SuiteConnect. Every speaker throughout the day (and a few that weren’t on the docket) were trotted into the analyst briefing room after their main-stage presentation to answer any questions – and I do mean any questions – that the small collective of media and analysts in attendance had.

I was able to ask questions I simply could not at any other event in the past decade. I got to ask the founder of the hosting company about components of their solution set that didn’t make it into his main stage presentation. I got to ask private label vertical clothing retailers about their plans for more sustainable fabrics and how they market to younger customers overwhelmed with choice. I got to ask food manufacturers about how they source their ingredients and how they choose/interact with their retail partners. I got to ask billionaire entrepreneurs to share details about what they hope to reinvent next. And I got to ask every one of them who was on their short list at the time of system selection, and why they chose NetSuite. And what they’d learned. And what they’d wished they known. And and and…

All the while, reps from NetSuite kept the Q&A moving briskly. This wasn’t subtle, and was clearly done to put some serious guardrails around the conversation. The net result of this, of course, was that it likely kept the folks being grilled with questions at ease that this wouldn’t go on for an unnecessary amount of time. Anything more and they might have just clammed up. But because it was handled in such a professional way, we all benefitted. It was just plain excellent.

What It All Means

I learned a lot about NetSuite in the course of exactly one day. I got to tour several of their retail customers’ stores and ask decision making reps from each of those retailers about their journey to- date and their plans for the future. And I did it all while flying out on a Wednesday night and home on a Friday morning. It was an incredibly productive use of time.

In the end, what I hope more than anything else is that SuiteConnect can help serve as a model for other folks tasked with hosting events. Events matter. Meeting up with people matters. And in this age when so many of us are grappling with the concept of “what are events meant to be these days?”, this one offered up some fine answers. Shows are meant to me more than just a chance to share germs and walk around yet another expo hall full of booths that feel a lot like someone’s check-a-checkbox task. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. The company’s messaging around workforce management, in particular, fell a bit flat, as did some of its messaging around AI. But they are hardly alone in this regard, and audiences tend to be fairly astute at discerning when AI is being hyped up just because it has to be. However, on the whole, SuiteConnect was fantastic. This was a chance for retailers to tell their story in a supremely candid way. It was a way for analysts to get access to those story tellers – and ask real questions – with the exact right amount of guardrails in place to keep those story tellers willing to share.






Editor’s Note: SuiteConnect Dubai, Sao Paulo and London already happened so for our readers in the UK, Brazil and UAE, you’ll have to wait until next time. However, Mexico City and Tokyo are happening in May and July, respectively. If you have the chance, catch one of them. You’ll be really glad you did.

Newsletter Articles April 17, 2024
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