The time is nigh. After weeks (ok, months) of counting down, Magento Imagine 2017 kicks off in Vegas on Monday. If you’re anything like us, and everyone else tweeting about #MagentoImagine, you’re probably feeling giddy with excitement. Forget the proverbial kid at Christmas, you’ve not seen the real meaning of excited until you see the Magento Community on the eve of Magento Imagine!

This year Team iWeb will be represented by our MD, Nick Pinson, and Technical Director, Neil Boughton. If you see these two on your travels around the conference, they are very responsive to a big ‘Hello’!

Now in its 7th year, Magento Imagine brings together over 2,500 merchants, partners, developers and commerce experts from 45+ countries.

We’re into our 4th year of attending and we love it, for many reasons. It’s a great opportunity to exchange ideas, build relationships and hear from Magento themselves about the future of the platform. The fact it happens to take place amidst the glitz and glamour of Vegas is, admittedly, an added bonus.

What We’re Looking Forward To

We always come away with plenty to ponder, full of ideas and inspiration to share with the team and there’s always plenty of highlights, sometimes unexpected. Here’s a round-up of what we’re most looking forward to this year:

Serena Williams

A sporting icon and the ‘The Greatest Athlete Ever’ (Nike’s opinion, not mine) Serena Williams is undoubtedly an inspirational figure. Magento has promised that in her keynote Serena will:

Explore her philosophy for success, her approach to building a personal brand, and how she turns every challenge into an opportunity.

Sounds good to us. She’s got some pretty tough acts to follow mind, ‘Magic’ Johnson was a real hit last year and Malcom Gladwell was our all-time favourite. It’s probably too much to expect that she’ll spend 30 minutes volleying Magento swag into the crowd, right?

Magento – The Future

We’re expecting Vice President of Technology at Magento Jason Woosley to talk about the future of Magento in his keynote. I doubt we’re alone in eagerly anticipating this one, the room will be packed to the rafters. We saw Jason speak at Mage Titans in Manchester last year on ‘Community Engagement 2.0’ and he was excellent, very engaging.

Magento U: The Advanced Marketing Features of Magento 2, A Deep Dive

Guest speaker Hillary Corney, a Magento University Business Architect leads this seminar on Day 1 at 10am where she’ll be educating attendees on how to leverage the advanced marketing features of Magento 2 Enterprise Edition. Building a beautiful, well-optimised Magento store is one thing but getting people there to buy is another thing completely so I’m excited to hear about how Magento 2 can help with our marketing efforts.

Imagine 2016 General Sessions

Technical Deep Dive: Expert Guidance on Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2

What better way to pick you up post-American-size-lunch than a session on the practicalities of migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2. And we’re in safe hands too as James Cowie, Magento Technical Architect and Gordon Knoppe, Magento Business Solutions Architect, will share best practices for defining migration strategy, and tips and techniques for code and data migration. We’re expecting this to be a big theme for us in 2017 so we’re very much looking forward to this one.

Imagine 2017 Podcast

A fine way to keep up with all the happenings and announcements coming out of the conference, the MageTalk Live podcast featuring futurecommerce will broadcast directly from the Sponsors Marketplace stage. Magento Community luminaries Phillip Jackson, Kalen Jordan and Brian Lange will bring the knowledge and insights so if, like me, you’re having to tune in from afar, stick the kettle on and put your feet up.

Network, Network, Network

There’s sometimes a stigma attached to the word ‘networking’. Sure, call it relationship building if you like. But it matters not here, not with the Magento Community.  We just like to get out there and talk to our peers – ideas, thoughts, frustrations, inspiration, advice – and open our minds to new possibilities, techniques we’ve not tried before. All the better if it’s over a few beers poolside or on the Sunset Terrace!

Imagine 2016 Legendary Imagine Evening Event

Arriving In Style

Big thanks again to the team at Nexcess, we’re looking forward to taking full advantage of the limo pick-up service, transporting us in style from the airport to the Wynn.

Stay tuned next week for a round-up of our highlights and learnings.