Magento in Transylvania

16 September 2014

Autumn each year is extremely rich in e-business conferences around the world, but this year attending only Meet Magento series is already a challenge to the most avid traveler. So, despite the sincere desire to visit all the meetings, I had to make a difficult choice and plan a few of them.

One of them was the Meet Magento Romania (#MM14RO), held in Cluj-Napoca, a picturesque city in Transylvania last weekend, to which I was invited as one of the speakers.

[…] The region of Transylvania is known for the scenic beauty of its Carpathian landscape and its rich history. In the English-speaking world it has been commonly associated with vampires, chiefly due to the influence of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula as well as its later film adaptations and extensions.

Source: Wikipedia

IMG_4979This quotation, more or less, can be summarized as general knowledge about Romania in Poland, we can say that despite the short distance from our country, this knowledge is not too impressive. Fortunately, thanks to the organizers of the conference, we had a chance to know the real value of the region and city. On the Friday before the conference, Mindmagnet invited his guests to a “city tour” during which we learn that this is not necessarily only vampires in Transylvania, but instead it’s full of fascinating, multicultural history and huge potential for development international business. Cluj-Napoca is the second largest city in Romania and the largest academic center – every year in October to 350 thousand citizens joins another 100 thousand students. This fact alone makes the city fills up new companies, start-ups and cooworking spaces.

Meet Magento Romania has been officially scheduled as a one day event, but together with the accompanying events, it brought three intense days of sharing knowledge and experiences, establish business contacts and good fun.

Friday began with sightseeing, after which we had the opportunity to meet other speakers and conference sponsors for the welcome dinner in the city of Cluj. With great local wine and Italian cuisine we could unofficially start the meeting.

Saturday’s conference was certainly a great continuation of Friday’s meeting. Two thematic paths allowed each of the 350 guests to choose something for themselves. From the point of view of a foreigner, a huge plus was that a large part of the presentation was in English, so even despite the lack of live translation, I was able to visit a large part of the presentation.

For volunteers there was also an opportunity to participate in the run along the nearby trails with the local runners club. People following conference within Meet Magento series probably are already well aware that around Magento has built up quite a large group of running enthusiasts, combining business and outdoor activities before or after every conference (#MAGERUN). If you’re not a fan of running and like extreme programming, there was also something for you – half day hackathon in nearby location.

How to briefly summarize MM14RO? First of all, great organization and very hospitable local team. It’s hard to believe that this is only the first edition organized in Romania. All the elements were perfectly ready – from a good location in the center of Cluj, great access to wifi (although it’s probably just standard in Romania), an interesting “welcome kit” for speakers (local 50-percent gift to warm up) by a solid substantive conference up to official conference Audi cars driving guests where needed (!).

We can’t forget about the key element of all Meet Magento meetings – the great international networking at the after party. Beer, Pálinka (previously mentioned fruit brandy) and local wine helped to establish valuable business contacts and new friendships.

For sure I want to go again to Romania next year, the more that we may have a direct flight from Warsaw to Cluj soon… Romania grows extremely fast and new business opportunities just wait there. If anyone would like to talk about conference sponsorship in Romania next year, you will have to chance meet Mindmagnet team  in Poland during the Meet Magento Poland in 2014 as well as next week in New York City.

I am glad that SNOWDOG once again is able to support the Meet Magento, providing mobile application to handle the event (if you do not have, feel free to download). MM14RO was the last test before the introduction of new iBeacons functionality next week in New York. If you want to personally test the opportunities offered by this technology, and still do not have your ticket, don’t wait and register for #MM14NY with code Snowdog20MM (entitles you to 20% discount). Definitely worth it!

Kuba Zwolinski
Kuba Zwolinski