This was not our first year at Imagine. However, there were still a lot of firsts about this year. It was our first time with the team, first time as sponsors. And, of course, first #RoadToImagine on motorcycles. All of these things combined made it an exciting week with no time to sleep, but a lot of time for business and learning. And fun… We didn’t forget to have fun!
The last few weeks before Imagine were busy with preparations. Our team worked every day to find the most adorable little stuffed snow dogs, which turned out to be one of the most popular pieces of swag during Imagine. But It’s not (only) about the swag, though. There were Magebutton prototypes, travelling around the globe, a mobile application created specifically for Imagine and many other details. We also celebrated another first: we decided Imagine was the place to show our joint venture with IronPlane which we have in place so we can work together and make our business grow.
Besides teamwork, this year our preparations were also different because of #RoadToImagine. Four friends – Brendan, Bret, Steve and Kuba – decided to go 3000 miles through Nevada, California, Utah, Idaho and Oregon. Besides many great stories and adventures on the way (you can read about them on #RoadToImagine blog), four Magneto heroes visited Magento headquarters in Campbell and met Mark Lavelle, who is not only CEO of Magento but also a great guy, who is full of energy and positive business thinking.
Next step was to meet SNOW.DOG’s client dme-direct.com and talk briefly about Imagine, business development and strategy for months to come. The whole trip ended in Vegas and to be even more precise, it ended right next to the pool in Wynn Hotel, the conference venue. This was probably one of the most unusual places to park a bike!
What really makes us happy is that a hashtag #RoadToImagine showed great success. People from around the globe tagged themselves on their way to Vegas. We all gathered there for a few days to explore, learn and make new business connections.
The rest of our Team (Kamil, Bartek, Maciek, Jacek and Marta) arrived in Vegas on Friday night. Maciek and Kamil decided to take part in Hackathon. We recommend 3 links as a result of 2 days of coding:
- Magento 2 Plugin Visualization – A tool to visualize which before/after/around methods of which modules will get executed in what order.
Great contribution of Kamil, congrats!
- Magento 2 Improved Template Hints – which makes writing documentation easier and more efficient
- Full list of Magento 2.0 features compared with Magento 1.x – useful summary of what Magento 2 can and can’t do
Last but not least, we also took part in #Magerunning (kudos to Brent Peterson for coordinating) before the conference. We enjoyed great views at Hoover Dam and in Red Rock Canyon, along with friends to run with which gave us another boost of energy before the kick-off of the legendary Imagine.
We are not alone when we say that this was the best Magento Imagine ever. Kudos to all people involved who used extreme attention to detail in organizing such a huge event. And details matter.
We were treated with smooth registration (at least on Sunday afternoon!), an on time agenda, electronic equipment at the marketplace booth for sponsors checked and ready to use on top of the million other “important & urgent” issues every event organizer has to handle. Meet Magento Poland (although a much smaller conference) has shown us what it takes to put on a successful conference, so we appreciate the huge effort taken by the Magento team. We are Magento!
And speaking of #WeAreMagento… well – this is the very heart of the Magento community, pumping life and energy to the whole Magento ecosystem. This is why we grow and learn and this is why developers want to spend their weekend in Vegas writing code to make work easier for hundreds of geeks around the world. This is also why people travel thousands miles to see each other, sometimes from the other side of globe. You could see hashtag all over Twitter about the conference and what was happening at the Wynn Hotel.
If you were at Imagine last year, you probably didn’t hear much about Magento and Mark Lavelle touched upon this during his keynote opening speech: “We are truly an independent company, it’s all about Magento now”. You could feel the Magento energy and power in every session or workshop room, on the breakfast balcony, in the marketplace area but, most of all, in the general session conference room.
Important announcements and knowledge sharing
Expected or unexpected, depending on how up-to-date you are with Magento ecosystem development, there were a few quite important moments, most of them during keynotes (second and third day):
- Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition
- Magento Marketplace
- Magento Masters Awards (Kuba, congrats again!)
- Magento Imagine 2016 Excellence Awards
- Magento 2.1 to be released in June 2016 – new ElasticSearch integration
Being an independent company brings a lot of responsibility but also lets Magento lead the business in new directions. Something we really liked about Imagine 2016 is that the knowledge went both ways.
The agenda was fully packed with presentations, workshops, discussion panels and merchant-to-merchant sessions. The first day of technical presentations was focused on Deep Dive sessions with Magento representatives. A lot of information centered around Magento 2, showing some of the important changes from the frontend perspective, integrations with most known services or migration from Magento 1.x to 2.0. The two following days brought a variety of presentations. Our developers, Maciek and Kamil highlighted two speakers:
- Talesh Seeparsan about security of online stores: “Security Arms Race: OWASP Top 10”
- Mathew Beane about the work with Magento 2 (deployment, test, dev and prod environments): ”Fully Stacked: Less Oops, More Ops for Magento Development“
We also took part in Magento Partner’s meeting where we were able to discuss changes that are planned in Magento Partner Program. We also heard a story of how Magento evolved since its ‘divorce’ with eBay. It is not very often that you are able to hear the true story behind this. It was very inspiring.
But, as we said, knowledge goes both ways. Magento was not only sharing their experience, but they were also listening to the community around the platform. We are glad that we had a chance to speak to Alan Kent, Magento Chief Architect, about Magento 2 frontend issues. Bartek, our frontend developer, created with his team a set of foront-end tools and SASS template, which is another valuable contribution to the Magento community. We are very happy but also a bit surprised by numerous people – freelancers, developers and also Magento representatives who came to our booth in the marketplace area to say hello and ‘thank you’ for this set of tools. Bartek was not able to join us at Imagine so he says: “sure, no problem, enjoy!” from the office.
Marketplace was opened Monday afternoon with more than 100 sponsor booths. We were lucky having our spot nearby the “Ask Magento” booths where our little stuffed snow dogs waited to be taken home. By the way – we are still looking for a cool name for our snow dogs. so if you have an idea, let us know!
The important thing is, that we didn’t just hand one of our snowdogs to anyone just passing by. We wanted to show how we work, and how we build solutions based on beacon technology so we were asking to download our application “Snowdog at Imagine”. Wireless communication via Bluetooth between the beacon and the application allowed people who visited our booth to check-in and get a snowdog as a reward.
However, it was not our application or even our cute doggies that were the hottest stuff at booth 57. We knew that we are working on something special when we were creating Magebutton – a simple phisical button to buy regulary online. But the interest, fascination and new business contacts are beyond our expectations. We were talking to numerous merchants, software agencies and developers, answering questions, exchanging business cards and showing demo of how Magebutton works in real life.
“Don’t click it, it’s really easy to buy something now…! Oh, you’ve just bought Ferrari, congratulations!”
Fun. Don’t forget fun!
Listen, we were in Vegas, right? It means we were able to combine business and fun in the most energetic and fabulous way – Magento parties! And there were quite a few of them. Starting with great Pre-Imagine party organized by Kim and Ignacio, followed by the Kick-off party in La Cave and then the Pixafy party on 28th floor of the Encore Hotel. And this all happened on Sunday, still before the conference even officially began!
On Monday we went to Sunset Terrace for another party next to the pool. Unfortunately, we didn’t win a dinner with Magic Johnson, but we had a lot of fun… especially when we were pulling strings. Literally speaking – we were adding our contribution to the #WeAreMagento wall. We are all different, but still have something in common. No need to name it, though.
This was definitely not the end of the evening. After Terrace we moved to the DotMailer party. Sadly, only 450 people were invited and not all of them enjoyed waiting in a line for quite a long while. But it was worth the time and effort, as the legendary XS Club speaks for itself!
All the parties combined can’t beat Tuesday afternoon and evening. If you know anything about basketball you probably know legendary Magic Johnson. If not do yourself a favor and look him up as he is not only an amazing basketball player but also an incredible person and talented businessman. During his keynote speech he decided to leave the stage and talk to 2500 people face to face. After sharing the empowering and motivating story of his career and business ups and downs there was a Q&A session. You should have seen the power of the Magento community when Permira – private equity supporting Magento growth – asked Johnson… to invest in Magento! There was a long one minute standing ovation! Yes – we truly are Magento.
Tuesday ended with the Legendary Magento Event Evening. There was a Cuban style venue, with hats, flowers, cigars and drinks all which made a the party a great experience. There were hundreds of Magento folks together on the dance floor, rocking the stage and keeping the party awesome! We are truly happy that we could spend this time with our friends from all around the world. It was an amazing evening and quite a difficult Wednesday morning!
Wednesday was the last day of Imagine 2016. Kuba with his 3 bike friends showed up again on stage in front of another standing ovation of 2500+ people. It was an incredible experience worth a selfie shot with Jamie Clark!
It has already been a week since we got back from Vegas. We are still inspired by keynote speakers, thrilled with colorful parties, amazed by the perfect organizing and motivated by the great interest in our sponsor booth (especially the Magebutton success). Going in, we were not sure if becoming a sponsor of such an event was a good idea. But we certainly don’t doubt our decision anymore.
See you all at Imagine next year and some of you at Meet Magento Poland in September!
And here is our own perspective of Magento Imagine in motion: