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A Magento Conference Worth Imagining – and Attending

Posted by | February 14, 2011 Magento Blog | 5 Comments

Magento Imagine eCommerce Conference
Who would have imagined that a small eCommerce services company would embark on a path to revolutionize the eCommerce marketplace? Who would have imagined that the software they developed would, in two years’ time, process more than $25 billion in transactions, power some of the world’s most renowned brands, employ more than 240 people, and create an entire marketplace for developers, consultants, and marketers alike? Who would have imagined that they accomplished this all within three years’ time? Well, they did, and so did we.

This was the theme of Roy Rubin’s keynote speech at the first ever Magento Imagine eCommerce conference. Magento’s accomplishments over a very short period of time are astonishing, but not surprising. Roy also touched on an analogy I frequently use – a pre-Magento / post-Magento world in eCommerce. When Magento first came to market three years ago, we were keenly aware of its power immediately, and we quickly jumped on board as an early adopter of the product and the partner program. Our goal is to provide best of breed software, with best of breed services to empower our clients to sell more. And Magento provides just that – a platform that we can leverage strategically to help our clients in the difficult process of continually moving that needle.

Its successes are not surprising to us, but the pace at which this has all happened sure has. Magento has become the fastest growing eCommerce platform in the world, and is poised to become the largest open source software company as well. With everything happening so quickly, they managed to find the time to host their first ever Imagine eCommerce Conference. In 90 days’ time they put together one of the best conferences I personally have attended.

A Conference for the eCommerce Ecosystem

The near two day event took place in LA at the Hilton LAX, and was flawlessly executed. I’m not just saying this to kiss some orange Magento butt – it truly was well put together. It was a high energy, enthusiastic event showcasing Magento’s successes, accomplishments, and direction. The underlying theme since day one for Magento has been to empower the “eCommerce ecosystem” – and their presentations demonstrated just that. With the introduction of the Magento Go platform, they are now able to reach merchants from the earliest stages of startup, to the largest retailers in the world with Enterprise Edition. With new offerings including 24×7 around the world support, training and certification classes, an expert consulting group, robust mobile applications, and a unified development platform to work across all flavors of Magento – they’ve aggressively put together the infrastructure to sustain this growth and the marketplace they’ve created.

The event featured inspirational keynotes from the likes of Blake Nordstrom and Alfred Lin of Zappos and breakout sessions to focus on specific topics. The breakouts were divided into two tracks – technical and business – which covered topics ranging from unit testing in Magento to how to leverage the Enterprise platform to grow revenue. This allowed for topical breakdowns that would appease the crowd of roughly one-third developers, one-third merchants, and one-third partners. The feedback we received from many attendees of the sessions were overall positive, and seemingly more useful than some of the “fluff” you encounter at many other industry conferences.  Two evening events held at the Hilton and at Magento HQ showcased a true, LA style party complete with DJs, food trucks, cocktails, and fun.  As a Magento partner ourselves, we were also treated to an invite only event and dinner at the Encounter Restaurant LAX.

Magento also announced the next Imagine eCommerce Conference to be held in the fall 2011 in Europe, and if you’re able to make it I highly recommend it. Otherwise, they’ll be back in the states soon I’m sure, and I look forward to the opportunity to revisit the experience.

The Magento Community

For us, the event was extremely successful becuase it allowed us to meet with the folks at Magento, passionate community contributors and developers, Magento partners, clients, other Magento users, and extension developers. These relationships are ultimately at the core of Magento’s model – this is the eCommerce ecosystem – and it was all brought together in one venue to share ideas, network, and dream big. Our clients that attended had positive feedback, and they’re excited to know that they’re on a platform that is going to support them through all stages of their business. I’d like to take a minute to mention a few people that we had the pleasure of getting to know in person after having spent years conversing with many of you on twitter (@blueacorn) – it was great spending time with you all (in no particular order).

Ashley Schroder (@aschroder)
Alan Storm (@alanstorm)
WebShopApps (@webshopapps) – Karen, Cara, Genevieve
Unirgy (@unirgy) – Boris
Vinai Kopp (@vinaikopp)
Sumo Heavy (@sumoheavy) – Bart and Robert
Brent Peterson (@brentwpeterson)
eBizMarts (@ebizmarts) – Ignacao
Classy Llama (@classyllama) – Erik and Kurt
Sessions Digital (@sessiondigital) – Alistair
Adam McCombs (@adammccombs) and Robert Banh (@robertbanh)
Sweet Tooth (@getsweettooth) – Jay
Rackspace (@rackspace) – Jacob, Thomas, Jake, Doug

All of the folks at Magento especially (too many to list here but I’ll try) Mosses, Scott, Susie, Kara, Adi, Roy, Udi, Brian, Tim, Melissa, Ryan, Paul, Bob, Yoav, Andrew, Rhonda, Brittany, Shannon – we look forward to the continued empowerment of the eCommerce ecosystem and working closely with you all.

Some of our clients (both in and out of the conference) Sarah, Randy, Jason, Alison, Ethan, Pete, and John it was great to meet face to face and discuss how Blue Acorn and Magento are going to empower you for long term growth.

If I left anyone out (we had lots of great conversations there, hard to track of them all) I apologize. There is a great flickr feed of photos from the conference as well as on Magento’s flickr feed. Simon Lilly also put together a great collection of presentations, videos, and blogs from the conference that if you weren’t able to attend – I highly recommend you spend some time reviewing.

Thank you all for making it such an enjoyable time and for taking the time to chat “eCommerce” with us. We look forward to the opportunity to spend some time together again soon but in the meantime – Go Go Magento Go!

About Kevin Eichelberger

Kevin Eichelberger is the founder and CEO of Blue Acorn, a premium eCommerce agency helping retailers and brands achieve growth through a data-driven approach. Founded in 2008, Blue Acorn is the byproduct of Kevin’s great passion and knowledge of all things eCommerce. Kevin’s data-driven approach has culminated in a strong, growing business that’s success is closely tied to the success of its clients. When he’s not immersing himself in eCommerce, Kevin works toward expanding Charleston’s tech community by serving as a board member for the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation, and is also a mentor and advisor to several startups. A business-savvy technologist, you can find Kevin evangelizing about data, optimization and eCommerce.

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