Apr 18 2017

Imagine: Long-time user, first-time attendee.

Magento. I’ve spent countless hour tinkering in the admin, managing development on the platform, and touting its flexibility and passionate community. However, I’d never experienced much of that community beyond the walls of Blue Acorn or over the phone and in emails. I needed some face time. It was finally time to head to Vegas and meet the community behind the platform at Magento’s annual conference, Imagine.

What Impressed Me: Magento 2 Adoption

If a conversation didn’t start with “How’s ‘2’ going for you?” it eventually made its way into the conversation. Most merchants and solutions partners admitted a rocky start with the platform but agreed their projects are now humming, and they can’t wait to take advantage of the out-of-the-box features.

The ever-growing offering of services that were considered custom on Magento 1 have a heavy sway on those considering upgrading or re-platforming. Analytics, CMS, responsive themes to use as a starting point, and cloud hosting help to consolidate third-party integrations, reduce fragmented contracts and allow merchants to focus on developing the best possible store, all in one application.

What Surprised Me: Depth of Technical Content Available and Variety of Attendees

Magento doesn’t apply a layer of marketing to their technical sessions, which was great for eCommerce professionals that were attending to better leverage the community to solve problems. Q&A at these sessions was more collaborative and productive than I’ve seen at other similar events. I’m not afraid to say that a few sessions were well over my head, but witnessing the level of collaboration and communication in the Magento developer community was one of the things that stood out to me.

Business-level sessions were not overly technical but also weren’t overly fluffy. The content was varied and targeted so that an eCommerce manager, a developer and a business development attendee could find a session that catered to their career without wasting time on topics irrelevant to their job role.

My Favorite Session: Building a Modern Mobile Customer Experience

Shinola, one of my favorite brands, presented about building a modern mobile customer experience. The team recognized that half of their users visited from a mobile device and designed the site with aims to make it feel like a mobile app. Desktop was then iterated from the mobile design. The technical considerations were interesting, but it was refreshing to hear that their development team was able to establish a mobile-first culture at Shinola, which resulted in an excellent mobile experience that translates smoothly to desktop.

Wrapping up

Altogether, Imagine was as rewarding an experience as promised by my veteran teammates. The community that extends well beyond the tight-knit group at Blue Acorn shares a similar level of devotion, enthusiasm, and openness. Issues are treated as problems to solve collectively, and transformational ideas are shared freely. I’ve always sensed a collaborative spirit from my interactions with the Magento team and our Magento developers, but it was amazing to see thousands of people rallying around these concepts. I’ll definitely be back next year.

If you were at the show and we didn’t get a chance to connect, you can contact me at shane.estes@blueacorn.com or on LinkedIn. If you didn’t make it out to Vegas but want to talk to someone about the platform, please feel free to reach out. Otherwise, I’ll see you next year!


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