Meet Magento Switzerland 2014 Impressions

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Sylvain Rayé, Ben Marks and Guido Jansen are speaking about the first Swiss Meet Magento event and sharing their thoughts on the release of Magento 2.0 

Held in the halls of Riverside-Glattfelden Hotel, beautifully located near a leafy spot in the Winterthur region, the first Swiss Meet Magento event gathered around 300 people. 24 keynotes with a large variety of eCommerce and programming topics were delivered by experts in their domain.

We have interviewed Sylvain Rayé (one of the main organizers of the event), Ben Marks  (a Community Evangelist at Magento) and Guido Jansen (one of the brightest event speakers) and asked their opinions about the conference and thoughts on the upcoming release of Magento 2.0.

Profil_bg-e1399072905938Sylvain RayéOrganizer of Meet Magento CH, eCommerce Maker B2B B2C. Magento Expert. OroCRM Akeneo Pioneer

“I truly believe that the success of Magento 2.0 largely depends on the commitment of the community.   If all the community people support it, adopt it and help to make it better, I’m convinced it will be even more successful than now.”


Question: This year you have participated in some of Magento events as a speaker. Now you have tried the role of the event organizer. Does it feel different?

Sylvain: Yes, totally. When you just deliver a speech at the conference, it’s one thing.  When you organize it, it’s an absolutely different feeling and vision of the event.

As an organizer, you have to deal with lots of challenging ‘backstage’ issues, manage various event aspects, make sure everything is in order and under your control. In addition, organizing an event of this type requires cooperation and rapport with lots of different people, so you need to be able to communicate and find time for everyone.

As you said, this was the 1st experience in organizing Meet Magento for me. And to be honest, I had to learn a lot to organize the conference the best possible way. Hopefully, me and my team managed to do that.

Question: What were the biggest challenges and trouble when organizing Meet Magento event here in Switzerland?

Sylvain: Shaping the conference agenda and marketing the event were, perhaps, the most challenging tasks I had to deal with.

First, when organizing such a conference, you need to surface the best content, pick up most interesting and trendy topics on eCommerce and Magento development.

Second, mainly because Switzerland has a relatively small market, it’s quite difficult to promote the events of such a kind here. In addition to promoting the event online, I had to go to various locations, talk to people, convince them that the conference will be interesting for them and good for their businesses.

Question:  Almost all of the keynotes at the conference were in English. Why did you decide to choose this language for the German speaking audience?

Sylvain: We tried to organize an event that will be interesting both for the local and international businesses.  That’s why we chose English as the main language of the conference.

However, attracting foreigners to come to the event wasn’t the main reason. You know, there are four national languages in Switzerland: French, German, Italian and Romansh. We wanted to organize Meet Magento that would be interesting for all the Swiss businesses, without an exception. Not only Swiss-German or Swiss-French ones. That’s why we chose English, as it is the international language of communication.

Also, in general, English is not a problem for the German speaking people. As you probably know, last week there was Magento Live! in Munich,  and it was both in German and in English. No one needed translation actually.

Question: You know, everything is changing, and so is Magento. What are your thoughts on the upcoming release of Magento 2.0? Do you believe it will be more successful than its current version?

Sylvain: I truly believe that the success of Magento 2.0 largely depends on the commitment of the community.   If all the community people support it, adopt it and help to make it better, I’m convinced it will be even more successful than now. That is why we organize Meet Magento events – to get the community actively involved.

Question: Do you think that Magento 2.0 can reshape the eCommerce landscape?

Sylvain: You know, to reshape something, you need to have a different vision of it. At the moment it’s hard to say what changes Magento 2.0 will bring. Some technical improvements still need to be made and some important points concerning the framework and features need to be clarified.

But I believe that if Magento manages to introduce a product that will be easy-to-use for an average shop owner and a customer (who just want to get the best experience and don’t care much about technical aspects), it will definitely have a success.

We thank Sylvain for the interview and wish him good luck with organizing more Magento events in Switzerland.

A cool fact about Sylvain Rayé: changes hair style every season.



vwx8LOOK Ben Marks, Community Evangelist at Magento

“From the developer standpoint, Magento 2.0 is a cleaner code base with a clearer, more consistent architecture.  So basically this is one of the things that facilitates testing. I think the ability to write and alter code and know that you are not negatively affecting anything else in the system is vital, especially in eCommerce.”

Question: Please share your impressions about the 1st Meet Magento Switzerland event.

Ben: If you go to a lot of Meet Magento events, which I’m lucky to be able to do, there’s always a constant level of quality everywhere. But there are also distinct features in each region, which I think make all of them successful.

Talking about this conference, it’s great to see the 1st time event with so many people having business, going to the talks and getting valuable Magento experience.

Question: Which of Meet Magento events was the brightest and the most memorable this year?

Ben: Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to visit each conference. I have attended the events in Milan (Italy), New York, Romania, Brazil and … Switzerland obviously.

Romania was good for me, because it was my first time there. You know, even flying over the Carpathian was magic. Also, for me, as an outsider, was surprising to learn how big the Magento community was there, how much business was going on in this region and how high the level of production was.

Also, I enjoyed Brazil a lot. It was a smaller event though, but the Brazilian hospitality was just amazing.

Question: Ok. And the next group of questions is about the thing everybody in the community is talking about now – Magento 2.0. What do you personally expect from the platform upgrade?

Ben:  From the developer standpoint, Magento 2.0 is a cleaner code base with a clearer, more consistent architecture. So basically this is one of the things that facilitates testing. I think the ability to write and alter code and know that you are not negatively affecting anything else in the system is vital especially in eCommerce. So the testability for me is probably one of the most important things about Magento 2.0.

Question: As it has been recently announced, the developer demo version of Magento 2.0 is coming this December, right?

Ben: Yes, true. But note that it’s not like Magento 1. Mainly because this time we are making our own framework. There are plenty of good PHP networks out there, but we decided to make our own. We are following some of the PHP framework interoperability group, PHP FIG; following some industry standards, PHP standard recommendations – PSR, and we are using Composer.

We know that Magento 2.0 is going to be playing like a lot of PHP networks and a lot of other PHP apps. So our main task for now is to make sure that it all works well.

Right now we are working on the platform. And in December we are putting out our best idea of what Magento 2.0 is. Then we collect all the feedback from developers, roll it up and in March the platform should be compete.

After that, we are going to start the merchant side of it. That’s when we’ll take the final version of the framework and go through all the eCommerce functionality in Magento. This is already happening a little bit, but later we’ll be primarily focusing on this.

Basically, what we want to do is to make all the functionality of Magento 1 exist in Magento 2.0, but with all the proper refactoring. For example, right now if you go to Magento and look at Sales – Order object, it has more than 20 dependencies in its constructor. This is really not ideal, and it means that this class is doing to much and hard and expensive to test.

After all this job is done and the platform gets polished, we will launch its final version during the last quarter of 2015. When Magento 2.0 is released, there will be the Enterprise version, the Community version, and we will support Magento 1 for the next three years.

We thank Ben for the interview and wish him good luck with the community and Magento 2.0 next year.

 A cool fact about Ben Marks: Ben has the coolest Mac in the whole Magento community




 Guido JansenConversion Manager for Comparison International at Sanoma, speaker.

“I’m sure the new version of Magento will be popular. It has a lot of potential for the platform and the ecosystem in general.  However, this is unlikely to become popular at once – the transition stage from the current version to a newer one will take some time.”

Question: You have attended lots of Meet Magento events this year. Which one was the best in your opinion?

Guido: Well, it’s hard to say and single out the best one, as each Meet Magento conference is unique.

But, you know, I love seeing the events happening for the 1st time, like it is right here. It’s always great to discover new places, new people, emerging markets – all that is real fun.

Question:  You know, everyone in the community is talking about Magento 2.0. What are your personal expectations from the new version of the platform?

Guido: Well, I personally expect that it will go stable in the next 20 years. 🙂

Question: Do you believe that Magento 2.0 is capable of reshaping the whole eCommerce landscape?

Guido: It’s hard say for now. I’m sure the new version of the platform will be popular. It has a lot of potential for the platform and the ecosystem in general.

However, this is unlikely to happen at once – the transition stage from the current version to a newer one will take some time. People need to master it, get used to it. Now we all are just in an early adaptation phase, there’s still a long road ahead of us, and we all need to learn what kind of beast Magento 2.0 is.

Question: Guido, we loved your presentation is was just amazing (follow the link to watch it). Could you share more tips on online persuasion with our blog readers?

Guido: Sure.

Question: When talking about reciprocation in eCommerce, you mentioned the fact that in order to attract people, you need to provide some type of enticement for them. That can be a free month of subscription to your service, a free app, a free e-Book, whatever.

But I guess that these days there are tons of such free stuff online, and people just take it for granted. They lost their interest to such things. Is there any way to revive their interest to things they are used to get free of charge?

Guido: Yes. Let me draw an example.

Here, at the conference, anyone can get a free pen. And no one cares about the name of the company written on it. Everyone expects to get a free pen, pencil, notebook, and things like that. But this stuff  is not really special to them. Because it’s impersonal.

Make it personal, and people will love it again. You can generate a personalized discount coupon, a pen with somebody’s name, etc. Remember the latest Coca-Cola campaign?

But note that it also won’t work if you trade free stuff for something. For instance, you ask to subscribe to your newsletter to get a free book. In this case you aren’t offering a book for free actually, you are trading it.

Question: Talking about trading, you know that now lots of companies offer free stuff, but when you actually get it, you discover that in order to get the functionality or the features you need, you have to shell out. For example, downloading a free app that does almost nothing unless you unlock the paid features. Is such type of deliberate deceiving ok, or it can hurt your business?

Guido:  Well, it’s all about ethics actually. Personally, I don’t like this tactics.

I believe that you should inform people before they get/download something that has limited/restricted functionality. Each offer of such a type should be properly labeled to tell people what they can actually get. No more, no less.

Otherwise, you have a very little chance to engage with these people later.

Question: I can’t but agree.

And the last question: in your speech you said a lot about different means of persuasion. You know, now we are living in a visual world. Do you think that images can work as a more effective means of persuasion than text?

Guido: I think both can work well. It really depends on a type of a website and a customer. I did some tests with chaining images and text, and I should say that both can bring good results.

I haven’t seen any A/B testing with videos. And frankly speaking, I doubt that video is a good option here (as it distracts people). But text can be one of the options you can change videos with.

We thank Guido for the interview and wish him good luck with and a bigger number of bight conference performances next year.

Cool facts about Guido: Guido is an avoid Coca-Cola fan.


Good bye Switzerland! Untill next time!

I strongly believe that 90% of your problems can be solved by marketing. Solving the other 10% just requires good procrastination skills. Love cats, blogging, design, photography and...yummy burgers with bacon. Guilty pleasure - Japanese Anime (... and burgers).


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