Another Imagine come and gone. Every year right after the event is over, my perception is that it went by quickly, but then after a few weeks go by (and for the remainder of the year), it feels like Imagine is the longest and largest event of them all. I think the impact of the event imparts this feeling. It’s like an iconic pop song: it only takes a few minutes to listen to it, but the quality of the lyrics, musicianship, and production will influence people and artists for years to come. This year (like the six before it) certainly took on its own sound and tone that will provide the setting for this coming year. And while there were many themes and melodies that I heard resounding from the walls of our now nearly perennial location (the Wynn), it was a line so craftily crooned from the lips of Jemaine Clement that got stuck in my head: ‘it’s business time’. Oh yes, it’s all business at Magento.
To understand why I feel this is the main takeaway from the event, we must start by rewinding the clock to 2016. Last year Magento had recently been acquired and had just released Magento 2.0 five months prior to Imagine. If that wasn’t enough they also recently released the Magento Commerce Order Management product, a new Marketplace, and then released their Cloud Edition at Imagine. There was a lot of momentum, commitment, heart, transparency, and love, and frankly Magento was doing a phenomenal job with their say/do ratio. Last year was a blood-sharing handshake with the community. With all this in mind, I think everyone (community + Magento) was holding their breath just a bit. It wasn’t a ‘roll the dice hold your breath and let’s see what happens’ it was an ‘Ok here we go’ like a deep breath in before a band launches into the most technical song of their set.
So here we are now, shredding. We’re in the thick of it. Magento 2.1 has proven to be an outstanding release. I had the opportunity to attend the Fit for Commerce breakout session where they provided details on the cost and timeline to build on Magento. The data demonstrated exciting news: sites built on 2.1 are less costly and faster to build than on 1.X or 2.0. And while everyone acknowledges there is still work to be done, the consistent message I have heard, received, and witnessed on 2.1 is that we have the platform of the future. There’s the key – this is why I say Magento was all business: the existing Magento platforms were the highlight of the event. This was apparent in both the stated and subtle messages of the event:
- The product announcements – Magento Social, Magento Shipping, Magento BI Essentials, B2B, and Advanced CMS – build upon and enhance Magento’s flagship product: Magento Commerce Cloud.
The Magento booth in the sponsor marketplace was the most impressive it’s ever been. It was staffed to the max and consistently had Magento leadership on hand. This was completely necessary; the booth was always busy. Hundreds of demos were provided and probably thousands of questions answered.
The mainstage presentations were mostly toned-down. There were no additional performances, no pumping drums, nothing particularly epic about the presentations. I feel like Magento was saying “we’re not a conference company, we’re a product company – we don’t need to one-up ourselves every year”. To be clear – everything was beautiful and professional, but it seemed more focused on the product, community, and merchant stories than on the “pizazz” to show them off.
Magento leadership was on-script to a T (except for the comical F-bomb from Paul Boisvert – who is easily my favorite presenter from Magento). Last year had a few brilliant off-script moments that inspired and powered the year ahead. This year didn’t need them.
The merchant stories presented were stories of extreme success. Devlyn Optics was able to deploy Magento Commerce Order Management in less than ⅓ of the time as a competitive offering.
The timing around this couldn’t be better. Magento is compelled to be focused in this way because the market is responding to their products in a staggering way. Magento is expected to grow its presence in digital transactions by over 100% in the next three years. Merchant attendance of the event was the highest it’s ever been. Every single sponsor I talked with was beaming with delight; opportunity abounds. Magento’s faithful community is seeing the fruit of the promises and commitments made years prior. This brings me back to the theme – it’s business time – for the whole community.
On MageTalk LIVE ft. futurecommerce, I said my impression of the event was that in a sense, it felt like we were ‘going through the motions’. What I mean by this: we (Magento + community) have so much going on right now, Imagine is just another one of those things. We’re just doing more of the same: empowering merchants’ success in commerce. And we’re doing a lot of it. To me, it felt like conference was amazing, necessary, and full of great data – and everyone was sitting at the edge of their seat in the keynotes, patiently waiting to get back in action. As Magento made clear – this is an ever-expanding community of people who are passionate about this platform. As passionate as musicians who love their craft and are in the middle of their most exciting tour ever.
To experience more of the conference, be sure to read the top tweets from the #magentoimagine stream on Twitter. Learn more about Magento’s announcements.
Final note: congratulations to Something Digital’s own Phillip Jackson on his incredibly informative breakout session on compliance. We will post a link to a video of his talk when Magento releases it.
Written by Brian Lange, Director of West Coast Sales