Seat 10C. On my way back home to San Francisco from Imagine Commerce 2015 in Las Vegas.

This conference was a blast.

Flying home feels like coming home from a big scout summer camp. I met so many interesting people, old and new friends and had some truly inspiring discussions. I feel my brain is exploding. (The lack of sleep and the open bars might have been contributing to this as well.)

There's one thing stuck in my head. A quote from Craig Hayman, President of eBay Enterprise:

"Open source wins every day. Every time."

And he's totally right about that, although I'm not sure if we mean the same thing here.

For me this year's Imagine was all about open source and winning, on so many different levels. Here's my recap:

Magento Hackathon

The weekend started with the Hackathon. The biggest Magento Hackathon in the US so far: 33 developers from many different countries working on around 10 different open source projects both related to Magento 1 and Magento 2 covering a wide range of topics from testing and quality assurance, building developer tools, creating a platform that allows you to easily create interactive tutorials to ideas for a REST API driven checkout workflow.

So, how is this related to "winning"? Actually it's not related to "winning" at all. The Hackathon was not a competition. On purpose. As soon as there are any prices involved the friendly and collaborative atmosphere would easily switch into a highly competitive, goal-oriented work-mode with no room for exploration, experiments and social interaction. After all this is what a Hackathon is all about. And maybe this is exactly why I consider the Hackathon the best part of the last week.

5k race

Early Sunday morning a group (again, the biggest Magento Running team so far) joined the Findlay Classic 5k race.

The team won prices in almost every age group (Too bad the guys from Germany were so damn fast and occupied the first three positions in my age group. Okay, I have to admit that they may not have been to only ones being faster than I was...)


The topic selection for this conference is mostly driven by what's interesting to merchants (and maybe influenced a little bit by sponsorhips...?! :) I was looking forward to the barcamp sessions that was packed with a ton of highly interesting technical talks. I got to speak about "Continuous Integration and Deployment Patterns" (slides will be published soon) and had to rush to the airport right after that.

Omnichannel Partner of the Year Award

Talking about winning I also have to mention the "Omnichannel Partner of the Year" we received. I'm proud of this award since this reflects a team effort. I also believe this is the result of a strong focus on open source solutions that AOE has had from day one on.

"Open source always wins...". And that's true, not only because open source may be the better solution from a technological point of view since there's more smart people contributing, but it's especially true because open source usually means that those people are passionate and do really care. And I'm proud to say that we have quite a few of those at AOE...

Magento Pioneer of the Year Award

OK, so this is why I'm actually writing this blog post. (I hope you're still with me and didn't leave after looking at the pictures...)

As you might know Marius and I won the Magento Pioneer Award:

So, what's this all about? The Imagine Excellence Awards page says this:

Active Magento developer in the Community who embodies the unbound spirit of collaboration and innovation. This individual should have made significant contributions to the development of the Magento platform and its extensions including code review, GitHub, making useful, freely-available tools and contributing to the body of knowledge.

I'd be lying if said I wasn't very happy about this. I had no idea I would actually win until Ben told me to wear a nicer shirt shortly before the keynote (looks like he didn't tell Marius about that :). After all I the group of nominees is quite a bunch of rockstars, ninjas and gurus... For the rest of the conference everybody was shaking our hands and once walking through the casino people I have never met before turned around and shouted "Congratulations, well deserved" to me.

I'm flattered when people tell me that they like my blog posts or screencasts, use my modules all the time, and thank me for organizing the Hackathon, but all this hyping makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

I feel bad about receiving the award knowing that there are so many developers that have been doing amazing things in the last months or years (...and this really isn't me fishing for even more compliments). There are so many people out there writing fantastic books or blogs, organizing great community events, create entertaining podcasts and publishing or contributing to really great tools and modules. Most of these people weren't nominated and some of those aren't even visible in the community.

With this post I'd like to encourage everybody to publish everything that might be interesting to somebody else. Don't be ashamed of publishing code because you might think it will be able to keep up to any standards (you know, some of my stuff is really ugly - especially some of my early modules. And nobody ever seemed to care about it...).

"Do good things and talk about it."

Speak up and make yourself heard. Be part of the conversation. Contribute whatever you can. This is the only real win for any open source project.

Also, don't underestimate the power of honest feedback. You think something is great? Please let the author know. Leave a comment, retweet his/her tweet or tell him/her in person. This is what makes always my day and what what's driving a healthy open source community.


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