I was excited to head to Athens for the fifth Meet Magento Greece. Steficon is new to the Meet Magento organizer community, taking over from the previous event host, Converge. MM19GR hosted attendants from the USA, Latvia, India, Albania, North Macedonia, and Poland.
The opulent Zappeion Megaron was the venue of choice. It was built for the 1st modern Olympic games in Athens. It did host the games...only 9 years later! It is apparently the first building to have been built to serve modern Olympic needs, worldwide. The architecture was remarkable, but of course, there was more in store with respect to architectural masterpieces like the crowning glory - the Acropolis.
MM19GR was hosted at the same venue as the ECDM Expo 2019 and we had access to the marketplace and content of both events. The marketplace was extensive and we were glad we had 2 days to navigate through it all. Our phones were ablaze with social media support of the event as well as email and text messages asking at what time we would arrive. Yes, I was running late :) The view on the walk over was impressive and required many stops for photography and of course to wear down the battery on what would be a really active phone that day!
We were very warmly received by Michail Sarantinos of Steficon, as well as others in the community we had encouraged to attend - Alex Tse of Scandiweb and Ami Verma of Techies India to name a few. We were eager to meet the Steficon team as well. Michail sported orange pants so he would be easy to find indeed!
I was honored to have the opening talk of the day and I hoped it would be as motivating as I planned - a little Magento history, background on the Meet Magento Association and of course the Magento Association as well as multiple opportunities to contribute to and grow our community. My collection of hilarious pictures collected across various events was sure to help. I was scheduled to speak again later that day at the ECDM expo as well and I was glad to be able to attend a number of great talks in between. It was not clear what percentage of the audience at the ECDM expo was familiar with or using Magento so I had some research to do as well as use some on-stage interaction to determine what adjustments were necessary.
Alex Tse of Scandiweb was an energetic speaker and of course, PWA was a hot topic. His talk inspired lots of interest and he was certainly a tough act to follow!
Ami Verma was new to speaking at a Meet Magento event and did a great job. I enjoy spreading the word about community events and encouraging new speakers. He was grateful for the introduction and I am always pleased to see new speakers at community events. MM19GR hosted many great talks. The presentation decks are available here http://gr.meet-magento.com/presentations/
The day ended with a formal three-course dinner with conference attendees and dignitaries including the Vice Minister of eCommerce. It was interesting to interact with a broader audience of eCommerce professionals including diamond traders, as well as many just starting up with Magento. It was also amazing to be a part of Greek traditions, festivities, and of course wine!
Day 2 of the event left time for networking and covering the extensive marketplace. It was a great opportunity to meet with the broader eCommerce community. The ECDM Expo, according to their press release, welcomed around 3,500 visitors and more than 100 companies as exhibitors and sponsors. It was an incredible experience to speak at a general eCommerce event and later chat with folks who were only just starting up with or developing an interest in the platform. I look forward to further discussions with them.
Michail was an amazing culture and site guide and we loved chatting with him about recent trends, the economic situation, and life in Greece. It is amazing how many similarities we found across the various cultures at our table alone. It is indeed a small world and we hopefully did a great job of expanding our community.
- Marsha Naidoo