• A Meet Magento Poland Recap

    I finally made it out to Meet Magento Poland, one of the oldest in our series of Meet Magento events.  I remember getting advice from one of the organizers, Marta Molinksa, many years ago before I hosted MMNY so I was excited to finally attend an event she set up!

    This was to be the 8th MMPL and I was eager to experience the result of Snowdog's many years of event experience. The first was back in 2012 and it’s exciting to see how the event has progressed. 

    One of the unique things about MMPL is that it is hosted at a new venue each year, sometimes in  a new city as well!! To not only find great spaces but to expertly manage various details of setup and logistics is a huge undertaking. I am told they prefer a new venue to offer attendees a unique experience each year. I love that it is a 2-day event, especially since we traveled quite  a distance to attend! It is always amazing to have an additional day of great content and networking.

    This year, the event was in an amazing industrial space that has been converted into a museum in Katowice. “Walcownia, is a multi award-winning antique space. Originally a mill for rolling zinc sheets, the incredible 100-year old machinery is still preserved and operational.”  Katowice was refreshing and is perhaps not a place we may have visited outside of the event, so we were grateful. The city had just recently instituted a new policy which meant almost all businesses were closed on a Sunday. This was a little traumatizing for folks in overdrive on conference mode :) but delightfully infectious to see folks relaxing.

    The Snowdog team did an amazing job with dramatic lighting and unique stage setups. Three stages of content made it tough to choose which talk to attend.

    It was no surprise that there was standing room only at Jisse Reitsma’s talk “How Magento extensions will fit into PWA”. PWA continues to be one of the hottest topics at events we attend. 

    The demo was really popular as an open-source option for pagebuilder functionality.

    Remus Lucut’s talk, “Grow and optimize your business using SaaS tools” drew a crowd as did Igor Miniailos talk, “A long way from Monolith to Service Isolated Architecture”

    Igor was also very willing to later share details on his talk which is always helpful. I was delighted to find a few members of the Magento engineering team at the event who are always willing to be helpful.

    Ignacio Riesco did an amazing job as MC and looked rather comfortable on stage! :) Hats off on pronunciation of Polish names!

    The afterparty was really fun and we spent quality time with great people. The tattoo booth added hilarity and maybe even my 3rd Magento tattoo! We were sad to leave, but we were convinced by Ignacio Riesco to leave the downtown area and split into 2 taxis only to find the only open location of... wait for it... a KFC! It was so worth it to sit down with friends and fellow Meet Magento organizers to compare notes and plans to help each other over a bucket of KFC at 2 am :)

    I look forward to MM20PL, the city and venue of choice, and our tradition of ending yet again with a gourmet KFC experience with friends, old and new!


    -Marsha Naidoo

  • Meet Magento Romania Recap

    Little did I know when I was invited to speak at MM19RO that it was the 6th Meet Magento event in Romania!  This was my first trip to the country and I was excited to visit the capital city, as well as meet with the Blugento team once again. With 5 years of experience and an extensive network in the region, I was sure this would be an event to remember.

    MMRO was previously held in Cluj-Napoca, Blugento's home base, and this was the first time the event took place in Bucharest. The Sheraton provided a lovely venue with great speaking rooms for both the tech and business tracks. 

    I have to admit, I spent more time at the technical track once I heard Anton Kril of Magento give the most entertaining, deeply technical talk I have ever heard. I am not sure anyone else can place such an amusing spin on the evolution of the Magento API.

    I’m glad I attended Jonathan Roeder’s talk as well, that demystified the role of a principal scientist at Magento. Now, my world is coded in terms of what are cats and what are not cats :) Guess you will have to find the video to understand... ;)

    Adrian Balcan's talk - “Taking VSF from Local Env to K8S Production & Operations” was certainly one not to be missed.

    Igor Miniailo, as usual, did not disappoint. His talks usually feel like opening a floodgate of great info! I heard him speak less than a week before MMRO, but he managed to give yet another amazing talk, “The long way from Monolith to Service Isolated Architecture.” I also managed to discover another of Igor’s skills and passions later that night at dinner: dancing! No, I am not joking, he is a great dancer!

    Lunch at the event was one of the best I have seen at a Meet Magento event and the Ziband (with members from the company Zitec!) concluded Day 1 with an amazing rock performance.  What’s more, we got to hear Ben Marks on drums which is a rare treat. I learned that a drummer needs to be invited to use another drummer’s sticks!

    Day 2 was well attended and the audience was extremely responsive. One of the things that stands out for me is that Blugento pulls off an amazing event, and is incredibly collaborative and helpful to other event organizers. I loved that Vlad Stanescu conducted interviews with speakers. I am looking forward to listening in once they are published!

    I hoped I’d have the chance to meet Thomas Fleck, one of the founders of the Meet Magento Association, but I guess I will just have to go back next year. 

    Bucharest was easy to navigate and accommodation and meals were fairly inexpensive. I was glad to have a day to explore the city. Even though lots of the amazing architecture had been destroyed through history, it was still exciting to find those which were not. We also found one of the most impressive bookstores around!

    The Blugento team was kind enough to host drinks with speakers which offered great one on one time with some locals whom I had not spent much time with previously...except on social media of course :) Marius Strajeru and Remus Lucut stand out in my mind and will certainly be lifelong friends. I had previously met Vlad Stanescu at Imagine and he has been really helpful to Meet Magento organizers. As a follow-up, I was touched that they all made time to come find me at the end of Magento Live Europe to say goodbye before heading home. This is why I love this community!

    -Marsha Naidoo

  • MagentoLive Australia 2019 Highlights

    Nineteen hours of flying you say? Yes please, especially when that means exchanging the polar vortex and shoveling my driveway for 25C, the beautiful Darling Harbour, and the pleasure of attending Magento Live Australia 2019! What a great chance to catch up with the movers and shakers of the Magento world in the Asia Pacific region.

    We invited all MLAU guests to a happy hour the night before the event. Research was necessary in order to find the perfect location! After a picturesque walk around Darling Harbour scouting out locations, we found ourselves at a lovely outdoor location right next to the ICC. Of course, we needed to sample the menu and were intrigued by this location that featured a Campari bar! We had an amazing team building session at Fratelli Fresh assisted by some of the best negronis ever. Great happy hour, if you’re ever in the area!

    We returned the day after to welcome our happy hour guests. We finally got to buy Ben Marks a negroni (long story) and he was not a fan :) He politely nursed it until we rescued him with a beer.  The Paypal team was amazing and stopped by before their own team building. Always great to see them. Those amazing negronis, beer, wine, and great company made it a success and we ended happy, full and ready for MLAU!

    MageMojo Happy Hour

    Bright and early the next morning we headed over to the ICC for day one of MLAU19. Let me say it now – the food was great! Truffled eggs in a breakfast burrito and plenty of good, strong coffee – just the thing to fight off jet lag and get things started on the right foot.

    We made sure to attend Paypal’s panel on Closing the Mobile Revenue Gap – a huge issue in ecommerce and we’re certainly doing our part to make sure your site loads as fast as hell. As always, Rob Long hosted a stellar panel with experts like Zee Aganovic, James Horne, and Alana Fennessy.

    We have to admit that we mostly attended technical talks – go figure, we’re a bunch of geeks! Big standouts were Anton Kril’s talk where he managed to not accidentally deprecate anything (maybe) and Alex Paliarush’s talk on the ever-improving graphQL support in Magento. Of course, PWA was a hot topic – Magento’s PWA studio has just been released, and sites that can move to PWA promise to have many advantages over those who don’t! Blake Morgan and Carolyn Breeze (Braintree)  lit up the stage with engaging talks on customer success and the future of payments. Delighted that we had the unique opportunity of chatting with Carolyn later that evening and yes Carolyn we are waiting for your submission to Meet Magento New York 2019! :)

    After a long first day, we were ready to party! We headed down the harbor side to the official after-party. What a blast!

    Afterparty food

    Two things really stood out. There was a photo booth that took synchronized pictures from a bunch of cameras and combined them into cool hologram-like printed pictures – rotating the picture changes the angle of the photo you see. The coolest thing by far was the DJ table. It was a lighted table with a bunch of small tiles around the edge, each with a unique QR code. Placing a tile on the table would alter the music being played at that moment – add or remove a bass line, drum line, melody, etc. Moving the tile on the table would change pitch and volume and raising all the central tiles at once would stop all of the music! It was really intriguing to play with different combinations and figure out how it worked!

    This particular team seemed to hog the DJ booth :)

    PayPal DJs Rachel Campagnolo and Rob Long

    Great fun hanging out with everyone there, and of course, the end of the after party is never the end!  Next up, the after-after-party at the Pyrmont Bridge Hotel bar (aka PBH) open 24hrs! No more needs to be said!

    Next morning we were ready for day two – with a very healthy infusion of strong coffee! Thank you, Magento for professional coffee makers!

    One of the highlights on day two was the dev exchange. This was set up as round table discussions, each with a specific topic, and a moderator (usually from Magento) to help spur conversation and answer questions. We attended both the devbox and the Magento Association/event organizing discussions (two subjects near and dear to our hearts). We enjoyed this chance to freely trade ideas with attendees interested in the topic at hand.

    We arrived in Australia with some awesome Mojo Stratus branded headphones that we were dying to give away. We encouraged guests to enter the draw and as the event drew to a close it was time to pick a lucky winner. A random draw came up with Andrew Beale as the lucky winner. Luckily he was still at the event. The headphones surely served him well on his trip home. Look out for the MageMojo team at your next event, you may be lucky enough to snag one of these!

    Sadly, it was all too soon time for us to take the long, long flight back home to winter! We packed our bags with Timtams and Vegemite and headed to the airport. We had just gotten to love the expression “How ya going?” and who knew Jennifer Garcia is a DJ at heart! We look forward to our next expedition down under – and to Imagine 2019!

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