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Imagine eCommerce 2011 Conference Wrap-Up - Magento’s Inaugural Conference Rocks Los Angeles!

On Feb. 7th-9th Magento held its first-ever Imagine eCommerce Conference, and WOW was it a success! More than 600 merchants, developers, partners and sponsors – from 27 countries – gathered at the Hilton LAX to learn, collaborate, party and interact with the Magento ecosystem. Before we get into the highlights, a quick note to say that we are working to gather all the videos and slides from the keynotes and breakouts and will post back on the blog with a link once everything is available ... so stay tuned.

The Conference Started Monday Night With a Cocktail Party


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Tuesday Morning Began with Magento's Keynote Presentation


Before the presentation began, attendees watched an introductory video, and Bob Schwartz stepped on stage to welcome everyone and introduce Roy and the Day 1 Magento Keynote.




Major Magento Product Announcements

The main keynote was the appropriate stage to announce new Magento products as well as updates to existing products, and this was indeed the focus. Here's what was covered:

Magento Enterprise Edition 1.10
  • Enhanced import and export functionality with up to 40 products/second
  • Increased Server Performance - better transaction volume and faster load times
  • Major enhancements to the call center functionality for all product types and configurations
  • Enhanced payment functionality
  • Added capabilities for wishlist functionality, assisted shopping for customers and an improved shopping cart experience
  • Gift wrapping

Magento Go was introduced as a hosted, SaaS service designed for small and emerging merchants who want the benefits of selling online, without the complexity of managing servers and software. It provides them with a robust platform at a cost that any small business can afford.

Magento Go includes these key benefits for small and emerging merchants:

  • PCI Level-1 certified solution
  • Fully supported by our team of experts via email and/or phone
  • Complete Design Control
  • Industry-Leading SEO
  • Support for Multiple Languages and Currencies
  • Powerful Coupon and Discount Tools
  • And much, much more

During our Day 1 morning keynote, we introduced this fun video, highlighting the benefits of Magento Go:




Roy then continued to introduce the Magento Go Platform. When we created Magento Go, we realized that we needed to infuse it with the DNA of Magento - it's ability to be extended by YOU, the community and ecosystem of developers and partners. That's why we also announced the Magento Go Platform at Imagine, a Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution that will enable developers to build applications for Magento Go, just as you have built for our deployed editions. The energy & creativity of the Magento development community meets the SaaS environment, that’s what the Magento Go Platform is all about!

The Magento Go Platform features a full range of APIs that will expose all of Magento’s functionality, both front-end and back-end, to developers. The Platform uses best of breed open standards, such as OpenSocial and OAuth, and developers can use any programming language to create applications.

Magento Go Apps will work both on our SaaS and our deployed products of Community, Professional, and Enterprise Edition - enabling developers to write applications once and deploy them across all of Magento’s solutions.

The Platform will launch in beta soon, stay tuned for more updates.

Magento Mobile for iPad and Android

Like the iPhone version, Magento Mobile for iPad and Android enable merchants to create branded, native storefront applications that are deeply integrated with Magento’s market-leading eCommerce platform. Now merchants can provide the best shopping experience possible to customers based on the device they are using. And of course, Magento provides an industry-leading mobile web shopping experience for any customer that does not have your native application installed.

Magento Community Edition 1.5

Magento Community Edition 1.5.0.1 includes these key features:

  • Improved Import/Export functionality for Products and Customers
  • Ability to add and manage composite products when creating or editing orders from the admin
  • Alternative media storage using either the file system or the database
  • PayFlowLink HSS integration
  • Upgraded Zend Framework to 1.11.1
  • And much more...

View The Magento Keynote Presentation Slides


Imagine eCommerce Conference Day 1 Keynote - Roy Rubin
Imagine eCommerce Conference Day 2 Keynote - Yoav Kutner

The Conference Featured All-Star Guest Keynote Speakers


Blake Nordstrom, President of Nordstrom

Blake Nordstrom, President and Director of Nordstrom, Inc., and his company take great pride in customer service and he led off his presentation with the thought-inspiring, “If you are talking about customer service, you are not doing it.” From there he explained the customer service difficulties facing his chain of specialty apparel stores. Nordstrom pointed out that today’s consumers point to companies like Amazon and Zappos as companies with great customer service pushing the traditional “brick and mortar” stores and their “human interactions” down the list. Nordstrom said that today stores like his have to realize that the customer is in charge and will dictate experience, and on top of that, each customer may want to dictate their individual experience. Now more than ever, the retailer has to be customer focused, not just customer driven.

“There are some areas of business where you have to maintain financial and operational disciplines and be thoughtful about change, and there are areas where you can’t go fast enough, mobile is one of those.” Nordstrom, like many retailers expanding their presence, cited mobile as an area where the company is exploring a number of intriguing technologies and opportunities.


Brian Walker, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

Starting his presentation, Walker told conference goers that they can no longer think of just eCommerce or, for that matter, just commerce. Instead, he said, “We can’t just drop the “e.” We have to blow it the hell up.”

In place of the traditional model of eCommerce that many in attendance were familiar with, Walker presented a new business model “The Era of Agile Commerce.” This new era, said Walker, is not about multi-channels but rather about touch points. With the advent of the super-connected customer, there are more places that consumers are going for information and retailers have to cater to this. However, Walker warned that retailers must not lose focus of seemingly antiquated touch points, like telephone customer service, as many consumers still rely on and desire them.


Warren Aldeman, President, GoDaddy

GoDaddy President and COO Warren Aldeman entertained the audience with his company's famous Super Bowl commercials, including the most recent version which had just aired three days prior. Warren's key messages to merchants were that you have to "go big" to get big, you can't grow your business if customers can't find you, and that sometimes you need to take your message offline to be found online. These are certainly all important messages for Magento merchants who are always looking beyond the technology to understand how to grow their online businesses.

Adelman also spoke of the importance of customer service and has pushed within GoDaddy to make customer service important. Not being able to make it an external message as much as he’d like through advertising, he has turned to transforming his company’s customer service internally. From holding contests where employees can win “mortgage for a year” and trips to exotic locales, Adelman has kept his customer service representatives motivated and happy, which has led them to producing fantastically in their jobs interacting with customers.


Naveed Anwar, Senior Director, PayPal Developer Network

Naveed helped educate Imagine attendees about the tremendous opportunity mobile presents to eCommerce merchants. He showed how smartphone adoption is faster than desktop and notebook computers, and that soon more people will access the Internet through smartphones than through computers. Naveed also showed data from the 2010 holiday shopping season that placed mobile commerce growth rates at over %100 per year!


Marten Mickos, CEO, Eucalyptus Systems

As the former CEO of open source database company, MySQL AB, Marten Mickos knows open source. Mickos explained how the Internet is finally reaching everyone, especially through mobile devices breaking down the final barriers. He went on to discuss how the entire online and ecommerce world runs on open source – these companies are at the leading edge of technology and they have decided on open source. Openness creates it’s own “lock-in” through loyalty and the investment of the community in the success of the project. He closed his presentation with his vision of how more and more of technology, including more of the eComerce ecosystem - is moving to the cloud.


Tuesday Night Food Truck Party at Magento Headquaters


After a full day of keynotes and breakout sessions, everyone was ready to eat some good food and relax with friends and colleagues. Everyone jumped into Hummer limos for a quick ride over from the Hilton LAX to Magento's Culver City headquarters, where LA's famous food trucks were awaiting them.

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Swag Shoppe

The Imagine eCommerce Conference featured a Swag Shoppe. Magento turned its sponsors into "merchants," asking them to forgo their usual giveaways (pens, yo-yos, etc.) for premium "swag" that would be available to attendees for purchase through the Swag Shoppe. Attendees could use "Magento Dollars" that they received by meeting with the sponsors to make purchases of the sponsors' swag from the Swag Shoppe. Our sponsors did a terrific job providing great swag, including laptop bags, hockey jerseys and dancing robots!

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Conference Wrap Up and Thank You

After the final keynote on Day 2, Magento President and conference MC, Bob Schwartz, closed out the conference with a heartfelt thank you from him, Roy, Yoav and the entire Magento team. He invited all Magento employees onto the stage to share their gratitude to the entire Magento Community who have enabled Magento's success over the last three years.



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Before Bob closed out the conference, he treated everyone to a quick video summarizing the conference:




A special thanks to our sponsors:



Silver Sponsors

  • Avalara
  • PredictiveIntent
  • Celebros
  • Nexcess
  • Interapptive/Shipworks
  • Optaros
  • Ixtens
  • CorraTech
  • TheFind
  • Zend

BRONZE

  • Order Motion
  • EmailVision
  • Moneybookers
  • The Grand River
  • Pitney Bowes

We Hope To See You at Imagine

With Magento you're going places, and we want to help you get there.Stay tuned for more information about future Imagine eCommerce Conferences, and we hope that you can join us in shaping the future of eCommerce.

Heading to eTail West next week?  See you there!

Calling out to all Magento Customers and Partners, will you be at eTail West in Palm Desert next week? I’ll be there for a couple of days with Magento President Bob Schwartz. Let us know if you’ll be around and maybe we can connect! Not yet a Magento customer or partner? We’d love to meet with you too and share what all the Magento buzz is about!

I can always be reached at phil@magento.com or follow me on Twitter @MagentoBizDev

Phil Robinson, Vice President, Business Development – Magento, Inc.

Hanging Out with Magento International Community - Magento Imagine

Wow! Magento Community Rocks

It has been an amazing few days.

My Magento Imagine eCommerce Conference kick-off - actually started on Sunday morning when Roy, Yoav and Bob invited our International Community Leaders and myself to a Community Leaders breakfast at Loews Restaurant in Santa Monica. We dined on the patio, which had a gorgeous view of the beach and the Santa Monica Pier. The topic of discussion community, Magento and of course, the Imagine Conference. Community leaders got a sneak peek of the program guide -- and there were smiles all around as we enjoyed a breakfast buffet while getting to know each other.

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In attendance (Starting with Roy Rubin moving clockwise) Roy Rubin(CEO Magento), Bob Schwartz (Vice President Magento), Yoav Kuntner (CTO Magento), Susie Sedlacek (Training and Documentation - Magento) Guido Jansen - (Ductchento, The Netherlands), Philippe Humeau - (Bargento, France), Brent W. Peterson - (Us Forum Moderator), Gabriel Bouhatous (Bargento, France) Nick Weisser - (Swissgento, Switzerland) Not pictured: Rhonda Rondeau - (Community Manager, Magento) and Rico Neitzel (Meet Magento, Germany)

The Getty

After breakfast, we hopped in our Magento sponsored 12-seater van, and headed back to the Hilton, to retrieve Rico who had sadly missed his connecting flight after entering the country. The minute we hit the hotel, I was already meeting Magento folks, and chatting up a storm with soon-to-be event-goers. Even on Sunday morning the hotel was buzzing with talk of Imagine and what great things were going to happen at this first conference, or what new things might be announced. Once assembled, it was time to take off and go have some fun. We were even joined by a few others that I had not met yet, but as I always say -- the more the merrier.

Back in the Van, we headed to the Getty Museum. The Getty Center is famous for its beautiful architecture as well as well known art pieces that it houses. There are usually some kind of special exhibition or event going on to check out. This time, Imagining the Past in France, 1250–1500 was on display, which I felt was ironic considering we had several guests in attendance from France. The Getty has some of the most amazing views.

Community Towering over me at the Getty image

Venice Beach

Since our friend Rico missed Breakfast - I promised him lunch on the beach and that's exactly where we went next, and what a better place to go then Venice? Street performers, skate boarders, sand and sun! We had a great time hopping along the beach and checking out the sites, and yes we had lunch on the beach! Not just any lunch, but pizza and hot-dogs! We spent a great deal of time watching the amazing skate-boarders and just getting to know each other.

Community at the Skate Park in Venice image

Some of us parted ways at Venice, and some went back to the hotel. I had to go, as there was still a lot to do before the Imagine Conference! I know the party continued into the night as I watched tweets from 3rd street Promenade in Santa Monica.

First Day - Imagine eCommerce

Monday night was the kick-off party. I was lucky enough to arrive several hours early and finally able to meet Sherrie Rohde - our US design forum moderator and Magento M finger enthusiast! Throughout our flickr gallery of amature photography, you will see her posing with a number of folks, making the Magento M that she's now made famous!

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Throughout the flickr stream of photo's we've uploaded -- it might look something like the Rhonda, Sherrie and Rico show. The three of us took more pictures than I can count with various employees, and new Imagine Conference friends. We pretty much stuck together throughout and I couldn't have asked for a more memorable experience.

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Magento Community

In this next photo, I'd like to formally introduce you to Sherrie Rohde and Brent W. Peterson. I cannot say enough wonderful things about them. They were here before I came on-board at Magento and they're dedicating their time as volunteers of our US Community Forums. Sherrie wrote our online design guide and handles the Html/CSS/Design forum while Brent consistently works on everything else. He answers questions on our boards, and has been recently being very active with @ask_magento I don't know what I'd do without them! This picture was taken at our Imagine Conference kick-off party.

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Some of our photos were downright silly, which is the sign of having a really good time! In this photo, we have Guido Jansen from Dutchento who came all the way from the Netherlands. Guido has been a huge asset to me since joining the Magento team and now, a very good friend. He taught me many things about Magento when I first came on board, which was just awesome, as a new employee just learning the ropes.
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Manhattan Beach

After the amazing conference, breakout sessions and parties -- we were tired! But... I wanted one last night with the folks who could join me, so this time it was our German Community! We quickly stopped by happy hour before we headed off to our next adventure! Joined by Rico Neitzel, Daimen Luszczymak, Imagine Conference speaker Vinai Kopp, and of course Sherrie and Brent -- it was off to Manhattan Beach for pizza. We found the tiny little place, looked funny, and according to Rico -- smelled funny too! It did, however have some really great pizza and the company? OUTSTANDING! I think we laughed for almost 2 hours straight. As you can see from my face in these photos - it is bright red. That's a sign of me laughing so hard that it was hard to breathe! We had pizza, we skipped along the pier arm in arm (literally), we posed in that famous Magento M fashion!

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Thank You

I cannot thank Roy, Yoav and Bob enough for bringing us all together. The Imagine Conference has just been an amazing experience. There are not enough happy adjectives to describe how I feel. I met so many amazing people, amazing companies, and made many new friends. This has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I can see it's only going to get better!

I'm looking forward to future events and working with our awesome Community! Thanks to everyone for making this event so memorable. Check out our flickr stream and stay tuned for the professional photos which will be coming soon.

GO-GO MAGENTO!

Imagine eCommerce Conference - Highlights From Day 1’s Afternoon Keynotes

Greetings from the afternoon keynote sessions here at the Imagine Conference.  Yet another standing-room only crowd, it’s amazing to see the interest from the Magento Community.

Starting us off is Naveed Anwar, Senior Director, Paypal X Developer Network.  He’s a great choice to kick off the afternoon, given his passion in building communities.  Obviously this is something that we at Magento believe in and want to continue to foster – and we absolutely share Naveed’s view that developers will shape the next wave of ecommerce.  (One interesting note – PayPal reserves 30% of their roadmap for community input).  Naveed is speaking today about the growth in mobile commerce.  It’s hard to believe how much of retail is still an untapped market for ecommerce (at only 4% of total retail), but expect mobile phones to significantly help bridge this gap.  Partly by shopping, but also significantly by paying – with a virtual wallet on your phone.  Paypal seeing tremendous growth in mobile payments over past few years, and you should too!

Next up is Martin Mickos, CEO Eucalyptus and former CEO of MySQL – who I’ve seen present a number of times over the past 10 years and always provides some though provoking content.  As Bob noted in his introduction, “Martin knows Open Source”.  Here are some of Martin’s highlights from today on open source and openness in general.  The internet is finally reaching everyone, especially through mobile devices breaking down the final barriers.  This entire online world and ecommerce world runs on open source – these companies are at the leading edge of technology and they have decided on open source.  Openness creates it’s own “lock-in” though loyalty and the investment of the community in the success of the project.  Amazing to see open source moved all the way from operating system (linux) to online commerce.  Open source provides immediate trust – because it’s open.

Closing up the afternoon is Brian Walker, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research with his freshly minted presentation “Welcome to the Age of Agile Commerce” (it’s always great to get a first look at new analyst research).  At this point, it’s not longer about “e”commerce, it’s just commerce, multi-channel commerce including (of course) mobile.  Smartphones are so new still (many have owned for less than a year), still starting to see beginnings of mobile shopping and mobile payments.  Online stores / online sales are mainstream, but still see strong influence of physical store presence.  And very few people are getting multi-channel right, because it’s actually quite difficult.  There’s a need to focus on the “customer lifecycle” rather than channels.  It’s now the era of Agile Commerce – looking at how you optimize customer touch-points, not channels.  Put the customer at the center, and go from there (and call Brian if you need some help!)

Now it’s off for some “Food Trucks & Fun” at Magento Headquarters.  It’s been great to meet so many interesting people and exciting companies here at Imagine.  Thanks to everyone for attending and sharing with us.

Magento’s Imagine eCommerce Conference Starts Today

After much anticipation, February 7th 2011 is finally here.  Today is the first day of Magento’s inaugural Imagine eCommerce Conference.  More than 700 merchants, developers, partners, industry experts, sponsors and speakers have all converged in Los Angeles at the Hilton LAX for the opening reception that begins tonight.

Everyone is very excited, and a pre-conference buzz has already sparked on Twitter.  It’s going to be a fantastic event.

Speakers
The confirmed list of keynote speakers is an all-star roster of eCommerce and technology visionaries:

  • Blake Nordstrom, CEO, Nordstroms
  • Alfred Linn, Former COO, Zappos
  • Marten Mickos, Former CEO, MySQL AB
  • Warren Aldeman, President, GoDaddy
  • Naveed Anwar, Senior Director, PayPal X Developer Platform, PayPal
  • Brian Walker, Forrester Research

Registration
Be sure to sign in early at registration on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.  The conference is entirely sold out, and we want to make sure everyone makes it into the Tuesday morning keynotes on time.  You can check in beginning at 12pm this afternoon, and the registration desk will remain open until 8pm this evening.

A special thanks to our sponsors:

Silver Sponsors

  • Avalara
  • PredictiveIntent
  • Celebros
  • Nexcess
  • Interapptive/Shipworks
  • Optaros
  • Ixtens
  • CorraTech
  • TheFind
  • Zend

BRONZE

  • Order Motion
  • EmailVision
  • Moneybookers
  • The Grand River
  • Pitney Bowes

Swag Shoppe
Be sure to visit our sponsors in the Imagine eCommerce Marketplace to learn how they can help you grow even more successful online.  Each visit to a sponsor is worth “Magento Bucks” which can be used to purchase cool schwag in the Swag Shoppe.

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Tuesday Night Magento HQ Party LA-Style
On Tuesday night, Magento is inviting everyone at the Imagine Conference to Magento’s worldwide headquarters for a night of food, friends and fun...Los Angeles style. We’re packing our parking lot with Los Angeles’ world-famous food trucks, representing the best “street meat” from around the world.

Follow Imagine on Twitter
If you are not attending Imagine, we encourage you to follow us on our blog and on Twitter with @MagentoImagine for live tweets on news and announcements on Imagine eCommerce.  You can follow the entire conversation with hashtag #MagentoImagine.

5 Ways To Use Twitter at the #MagentoImagine Conference

A great blog post at Business Daily News Daily on how to use twitter most effectively at #MagentoImagine. You’ll find the twitter handles of all of our speakers. Check it out and make sure to follow @MagentoImagine for the latest updates! 

Magento’s Imagine eCommerce Developer Un-Conference

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Jonathan Beri here from Magento’s product management team, and I am very excited to be hosting Magento’s Imagine eCommerce Un-Conference.  The un-conference is an opportunity for us Magento developers attending the Magento Imagine eCommerce Conference to huddle up and talk Magento tech shop.  To help lead the conversation, I’ve invited developers to demo some of the more innovative things around Magento and eCommerce they’ve been toying with:

  • Alan Storm - Magento Developer and eCommerce Blogger
  • Ashley Schroder - Head Software Engineer, World Wide Access
  • Praveen Alavilli - PayPal X Platform
  • Vasiliy Seleznev - Core Team, Magento
  • Alexey Samorukov - Senior System Administrator, Magento

Topics include design, optimization, widgets, payments & more!

After some fun demos and solid tech talk, we’ll hit the Hilton LAX bar for what developers do best....party!  We’ll get together for happy hour and networking.

So, if you’re a developer and will be joining us at Imagine next week, please join us on Wednesday afternoon at the end of Imagine for the un-conference.

If you aren’t able to attend, you can follow-along from home on Twitter with @MagentoImagine and hastag #MagentoImagine.

Marten Mickos and Warren Adelman to Speak at Magento’s Imagine Conference

Magento’s Imagine Conference is just 5 short days away, but we’re still not done adding premium speakers and content. 

Today we’re very excited to announce two amazing speakers to our list of keynote presenters:


Marten Mickos,CEO of Eucalyptus Systems and former CEO of MySQL AB





Warren Adelman, President and COO of GoDaddy Group Inc.


In his “Open For Business” keynote, Marten will talk about the open source infrastructure software that underpins some of the most transaction-heavy online services and ecommerce sites.

Warren will discuss strategies for building a business among the “buzz and BS”

You can view a complete list of speakers and sessions in the conference speakers page.

With over 550 attendees, the Imagine eCommerce Conference is completely sold out.  However, you can follow along from home with real-time updates on Twitter by following us at @MagentoImagine or by monitoring hashtag #MagentoImagine.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all in LA

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