When I started working with Magento, it quickly became obvious that this is not just another e-commerce platform but also a remarkable and a vibrant community. Blogs, podcasts, webinars – they all give you a feeling that you are a part of something bigger. But I sensed a real influence of Magento community only after attending Meet Magento Poland 2017.

If you are still a Magento newcomer and you’ve never attended any live event – don’t postpone it for a long time. Going to Magento community conferences is like a boost that gives you new ideas, inspiration and so much more to help you keep doing great things every day. Here are my key take-aways of what I have experienced at the event, and I encourage you to check it out yourself too.

Meet Networking.

While you can network anywhere where there are people, Meet Magento for me was the best place to start good relationships with like-minded folks. Yes, you can network with people via LinkedIn or follow them on Twitter. But let’s be honest, face-to-face meetings bring you much more opportunity for new insights rather than tweet-chatting with people you’ve never met.

A big thank you goes to the organizers, who were very kind to let me join the sponsor and speaker pre-party. Out of the 4 people attending the conference from our company I was the only one who would not speak at the event. Whether it is mere luck, the organizers big heart, or being a part of Atwix – I don’t know what is the key to it. But make sure that if you have a chance to join the party – go for it! Party is the best opportunity to make good connections, and not so obvious – an opportunity to learn. For example, the party star Ignacio Riesco taught me the first rule of project management:

“No project should cross two holiday seasons”

It is so simple but there is so much wisdom in it. I am sure, there must be a million dollar story behind it. But the party knowledge should be brief.

Another good networking tip was brought by Kuba Zwolinski on how to have a great conference experience for yourself and make it smooth for others. Thanks to this tip every event ahead of me will be so much better. Meet the Pac-Man rule that Sonja Riesterer has originally brought into the community:

“Leave room for 1 person to join the group”

Just on a side note, what I would really love to see next time, are QR codes on badges. I wish I could scan them with my phone to connect to a person’s twitter account or LinkedIn page. It would make all the networking so less stressful for me.

Meet Teammates

You wouldn’t expect, but you get a very high-level bond with your teammates. It all starts from the road. It always does. Traveling by car with your colleagues for about 6 hours from Bratislava to Krakow gives you time to reflect on many things. You could talk through many matters that normally wouldn’t arise in office. And we came up with so many ideas, that you would have only generated on a company-wide brainstorming session.

I do think that it is better to attend events with your teammates. It gives you unique opportunities to synchronize and come up with a bunch of cool ideas. But also I strongly advice you to do it when traveling and not to stick to each other at the event itself. Cause you might brake the very Pac-Man rule and actually miss the whole networking opportunity.

Meet Inspiration.

In the era of content you can get inspired quite easily. Numerous blog posts, live streams, videos – and Magento community has generated quite a lot to get the vision. But nothing will compare to a live speech. These 40-minute talks are just the tip of the ice-berg of real life cases, experiences, and even failures of speakers, who came to share.

With Ben Marks opening keynote on the updates that Magento has in store, it felt like Christmas gifts were already coming. Meet Magento Poland also came up with a perfect lineup of speakers. Jamie Maria Schouren and Michał Wujas were talking about micro-service platform approach. Sonja Riesterer shared her knowledge on content marketing, Anna Völkl – on security and our Yaroslav Rogoza and Mariya Zayac – on Magento store performance. Literally, every talk that I attended was amazing!

I had a chance to listen to inspiring and informative presentations from Sebastian Klett on how to work with agile Magento projects on fixed budgets. Tomislav Bilić shared his experience on how to grow a team. Viacheslav Kravchuk, our CEO, was sharing a story of company transformations. My personal favorite was Anna Karoń with her thoughts about why we should care about online shops being accessible to everyone.

We had to leave early and it’s painful for me to imagine what great talks I’ve missed. So next time I will make sure to stick around for the whole event and fully enjoy the program.

Meet VR.

It was a center of the conference lounge zone and the first time I (and a lot of people I talked to) had this experience. I’ve never thought that a roller coaster that looks so cartoonish would feel like a real experience and you would feel dizzy afterwards. Would I ever imagine that walking on a board edge that hung from a skyscraper rooftop felt so real and scary, even knowing that there was no rooftop in the real world?

I was told that lounge zone is not a common practice on Meet Magento conferences. Really?! Thank you Meet Magento Poland 2017 for this innovation! If only there were power sockets available…

Meet The Feeling

Everything that I have experienced at the event inspired me there, and excites me even today. I got so many new ideas and desire to work not just more, but on what really matters. That it is totally worth it!

Jack Weatherford in his book “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World” (highly recommend it!) says that the Mongol empire had changed the world by making commerce spread all over the conquered nations, which facilitated communication, knowledge sharing, and cultural exchange.

I think that today e-commerce does the same. And certainly it feels like Magento and our global community are spearheading this process.

If we have not met at the event I would be more than happy to connect and we will surely find things to share. You can reach out to me in the comments below and on my twitter @Oleksiy_Lunkov. Looking forward to hearing your feedback and some stories about your conference experiences.