At the beginning of April I will be dusting off my passport and heading to Las Vegas for the first time. Is it because I have a new found love of gambling and showgirls? A need to visit a town with the Eiffel Tower, St Marks Square and an erupting volcano all within an easy walk from each other? No. The reason I will be heading to the bright lights of Sin City is to join the Magento Community at the 2013 Magento conference - Imagine eCommerce. Imagine eCommerce is Magento's global conference, bringing together over 1500 Magento partners, merchants, developers and of course, me. This is the third year of Imagine, and our lead consultant, Deryck (@futurederyck) was lucky enough to join the community there last year while the rest of us watched the Twitter feed with green eyes. Keynotes from Magento's Roy Rubin and Bob Schwartz were joined by guest speakers such as Tim Kring and Jim FitzGibbon as the great and good of the Magento community descended on a resort just south of the strip to talk all things Magento and put faces and voices to Twitter handles. So, in order to prepare for the event of the year in the Magento calendar, I've quizzed Deryck on what to expect from my three days in Vegas.
- Remember, in-between the parties, there is a conference you need to go to. The Magento community love a good party. Last year started off on Sunday afternoon with the PreImagine Pool Party (organised by stars of the Magento community @sherrierohde from Sweettooth and @magentogirl of Red Light Blinking) followed by Techies on the Strip - an event in the beating heart of Vegas, the bar of the Mandalay Bay (organised by Orange Collar Media). The first full night of the conference ended with party around the pool of the M Resort, a great opportunity to chew the fat with colleagues from around the world about the new things discovered in Bar Camp (yes - that does mean mini-seminars in a bar). And this is all before we mention the legendary main Magento event which last year featured the Rat Pack, dancing girls and cigars... The photos on the Magento website tell the story, which is a good job, as Deryck's recollection of the night starts to get a little hazy!
- Get involved with the great community spirit by joining the Magento Run Becoming somewhat of a Magento tradition is the pre-conference run, (organised by another Magento star @BrentPeterson of Wagento Creative). Last year it was the Labor of Love race through Lovell Canyon in the Nevada Desert. Deryck opted for the 10k not realising that the first 5k was uphill, but they do say you bond better with people you've been through an ordeal with!
- Oh, and there's the conference Last year there were some great keynotes from Magento spelling out the vision for the year as well as sharing customer success stories to inspire the community. This was joined by some out-of-the-box keynotes from the likes of Jim FitzGibbon who helped build the Four Seasons into the brand it is today. But it's not all about the big keynotes. There were plenty of breakout sessions to suit the side of Magento you are interested in - be it business or technical. There is also a great Marketplace which is an opportunity to meet Magento partners and service providers and grab some swag...who needs to buy plastic Elvis' when you can bring the office back their very own pair of MageShades?
The theme for 2013 is 'The Art of Commerce' and promises to be just as big and bold as 2012. Big announcements are expected (v2 of Magento being released perhaps?) and I can't wait to meet the Magento community old and new to find how we help each other build upon another successful year. Keynote speakers are yet to be announced, but the Magento Pre-Imagine Race is already being trained for (by Deryck at least) and we're all signed up for #Pre-Imagine... Vegas baby, here we come!