Imagine 2018 — Lead the Charge

Magento Imagine - Make or Break Time?

Karen Baker
Apr 27 · 6 min read

Never in the history of Magento has there been a more pivotal moment than this.

And I should know — I could write a book if I could remember it all.

Short History — KB Style

What have been the pivotal moments, let me think:

  • The volcano and developer paradise being cancelled/rescheduled (problems were smaller then)
  • Magento 2 being announced (yes it was that early)
  • Schwartzy joining
  • eBay buying
  • Magento Go (Go Go away, no I didnt say that)
  • Yoav leaving, that was pretty bad
  • Schwartzy leaving (Love you Bob)
  • Roy bowing out (not sure if before/after bob, think after)
  • Lavelle taking the reins
  • ‘That’ Imagine with eBay Enterprise
  • eBay selling
  • Magento 2
  • Magento 2 (yes I repeated it the event was that large)
  • Cloud moves and core baking
  • PWA
  • Magento selling
  • Lavelle Leaving

And now. TBH I prob have blogs for all these moments, some I’ve torn down as they came up too high in rankings and were out of date, but I should post back up for historical reasons, would be fun.

So back to now — sort of

So now what? That’s the big question we all basically have. Whats happening now Magento? Who is in charge, where are we going here?

I think we need to look at Adobe Summit to know more

I was at the Adobe Summit. And honestly it was pretty cool. There were a ton of people, like a little town kind of ton of people, and what was crazy to me was when we saw The Killers. Why? Well —

1) the fact I’m even saying we say The Killers is a pretty crazy thing, and

2) when I was in the ‘arena’ (yep you heard that right, the t-mobile arena in Vegas) I looked around at 1 point and saw the stadium had people everywhere. It wasn’t full full, but there were people all over, it def was busy.

After the event as we are queuing for taxi (unsuccessfully) we suddenly realise they had taken over the outside area and basically it was like mini Magaluf out there. I’ve never been to Magaluf but you get the idea (they had a DJ). I got dragged to a dive bar by someone who shall remain nameless so didn’t get to see the fireworks that I heard happened. My biggest wish that night — to allow some of my staff to experience this with me, I knew it would blow their minds. Special memories were made that evening.

But back to the summit. The content was awesome, especially the marketing aspects. It was like a town, everything was there, and you could tell there was some serious business going down. My thoughts on it were honestly this is great, bring on this new world. I could see the opportunity for us in commerce, we want to go north, we have some large large clients, here are many more.

What was missing at the Adobe Summit was a natural ecosystem for Commerce. I mean people weren’t really talking about it too much, but the opportunity there because they were not talking about it was clearly large for tech providers and SIs alike. The experience was not in the room.

I have to be honest I wasn’t mad on the way they do the Adobe Insider stuff, for me it just felt a little artificial. I’m sure its not, I’m just all about inclusion and leveling the playing field. I get it, but I think things like this should be natural, they should be organic, not forced.

Gripe over, the other things that were weird — well the Magento event we turned up late (we were in a bar drinking with people that shall remain nameless — same people at dive bar….) — so maybe it was busier but when we got there it was pretty quiet. So that was strange. I’m not used to that. We could have filled that room and some, it needed an injection of Magento ecosystem.

I did go to a couple of Adobe events in the first evening, I found networking very difficult. There were a lot of suits, and clearly I don’t conform to that stereotype, plus I got impression there were lots of people from same firms that were meeting up. Me just interrupting their convo and discussing shipping strategy probably wouldn’t have gone down too well.

So Magento Imagine

Well so roll forwards and in 2 weeks we have Magento Imagine. In times gone by well its like a family reunion. This year I am sure will be no different. But it is different. There were be new people there, we do not have the lovely Mark Lavelle (you never thought I’d say that did you), the ship is a little drifting right now. Will the suits be more prevalent, will the influencers be influencing? Will we have a united group or a split with the old and the new (much like we say at the Hard Rock Hotel in 2014)?

On top of this there is a level of indecision we see. PageBuilder was as I understand (and I’m sure I’ll get corrected) assumed/told to be open source. Its not. Get the reasons why, but it is a change, and some people thing that was unfounded. There are rumors around (and we can deny this all we want) that Magento’s commitment to OS may be waning — plus we know (I was at the summit see above) that the commercials need to add up here, Magento is going enterprise, like it or not.

Personally I think it opens up opportunity, clearly its going to cause an ecosystem shrinkage, but for those that can move with it then the opportunity is huge. In an ideal world I’d love to be able to say it was the same as 5 years back, its not, this is where we are, deal with it. If you aren’t seeing the shift well look up.

So the question then is what about the mid-level market? Is this going to be a product for the 100M GMV+ merchant only, or even higher the 1billion GMV+ merchant? I doubt the latter, that’s too much of a jump. But will they still hit what is a lot of their M1 customers today (and I have the stats on this) — the 5–50m GMV client, or are they conceding these to BigCommerce and Shopify?

So What Shall We do

Well firstly that’s ultimately your decision, both on a business and personal level. But I’ll give you my take.

Be us. Be bloody us. That’s all we can do, and us is enough. Trust who you are, and what we are. Ask questions, push for answers, listen, learn, make sound business decisions, understand the landscape we are now in, make partnerships, find your allies, show Adobe what a special ecosystem we are.

I’m confident we can play in this new world, and I’m pretty sure they need what we are producing. I suspect we will see some arrogance, and some dismissal of our capabilities and strengths — but as always we can and will prove our credentials, and remember — the big companies aren’t always the best companies. I’ve worked in big companies, they aren’t all bad, but throwing a lot of dollars definitely doesn’t necessarily get you to the goal faster or even at all. Between us we have more experience than any other ecommerce ecosystem — and we can go from very small to very large sites, that's unique, and its precious. Trust us, trust you, and stand together and be counted.

And why did I put that history at the start? Because I want you to know we’ve already been through major change, and we survived, in fact we didn’t just survive we prospered. We can and will again.

Enjoy Imagine.

Karen Baker

Written by

CEO ShipperHQ/WebShopApps