Being told I look like Gerard Depardieu. Which was meant as a compliment (the Gerard of 20 years ago) until Kayla, our trusty emotional support, pointed out his current condition. Ahoy, mateys.
Although, in some respects, I'll still take it as a compliment.
One tip I’ll share with anyone who reads this. . . get in early and register early. We always register and pick up our credentials right when registration opens on Sunday, sometimes before it even officially opens. Plus, you can avoid the lines. I hate lines.
Looking forward to Imagine 2016 and seeing how it feels now that Magento is an independent entity.
Business first, fun second, so. . .
Magento and their team has a DEFINITE sense of clarity and focus emerging since their separation from the eBay mothership. We could sense that in my 1:1 meeting, we could sense that in our informal conversations over pints, cocktails and slushy drinks, and we can sense that in conversations with merchants and other partners. It feels like a good time to be part of this ecosystem.
The conference is already off to a good start for us. I’ve had most of my day scheduled with 1:1’s, and Kayla can say just about the same thing. Annyetta has been with our clients and soaking up some of the breakout sessions and Magento content.
On a lighter but ultimately more important note, I pity those around me suffering through my single-minded and unwavering commitment to meeting Magic Johnson today, regardless of the 2500 other people interested in meeting him. I’ve been an unwavering fan only since 1978, so that should count for something. And he once nodded at me during the national anthem at a game. So, I assume he wants to meet me as badly as I want to meet him. I think we’re going to be friends. This is the last night I’m alive where I’ll be able to say that Magic hasn’t met me.
Day 2 of Imagine is where it really starts to happen. The keynote is always great, especially since Jamie Clarke is always entertaining and inspirational, and half crazy. The main Magento-focused topics were: 1) M2, 2) Order Management, 3) the emerging B2B capabilities, and 4) cloud edition. Those are all newsworthy topics, but the B2B and cloud edition topics are game changers. They’ll be releasing more info, but this new Platform as a Service, or PaaS as the in-crowd says, really will be a big time game changer. Magento was late to the cloud game, so it’s overdue in that respect. But more importantly, it will better position them with a larger variety of clients, which is a difficult combination to accomplish.
The highlight of the whole conference and every conference in the history of mankind happened . . . Magic Johnson. I happened to run into him in the hallway (the fact that I was conveniently loitering around the room he was coming out of helped), then we were treated to the most genuine keynote speech I’ve ever seen. Magic literally walked around the whole ballroom of 2500 people, with no script, talking of his life and career, both on and off the court. Then he took questions from the audience. He did all of this while taking selfies, doing knuckles, and sharing chest bumps. I admit I’m biased, but it was the most genuine and “connected” speaking experience I’ve ever seen.
The conversations today with Magento and our partners have been great and reaffirming. Our Magento-only focus has helped us establish credibility and trust, and the breadth of services we’re delivering with our employee-only model is creating some distinction, particularly our Digital Strategy and Client Services teams. I’m looking forward to making sure that the next round of investments we make in our sales and marketing practices dovetail with the investments Magento is making in the same areas.
Imagine always ends with a Partner Summit, which, in our 4 years, has always been incredibly valuable. This year was no exception. The executive team shared new developments in the Partner program, talked about sales and marketing strategies for the new M2 offerings (including cloud), and were refreshingly transparent about the journey Magento has taken, from the eBay acquisition to the eBay separation, and to today’s VC-backed independent company. This should be a big year for both Magento and Irish Titan, and I hope that our trip to Imagine is a big reason for that. For now, I’m happy to get out of Vegas, get home, see my family, and try to make some things happen.