Magento Imagine 2018 Conference Day 1 Update

April 23, 2018 by Paul Byrne

Business Environment Magento 2

Magento Imagine Conference

In case you’re not familiar with the Imagine conference that Magento hosts every year, it’s not what I would call your standard tech conference. This one is very community-driven with a focus on discussing, discovering and sharing solutions to common problems.

Imagine 2018 Vibe

While past conferences have been a little top-down, this year’s conference has more of a bottom-up vibe to it. Magento seems to be getting serious about increasing community engagement and has showcased many of its new community initiatives like Magento MSI (multi-source inventory) and their PWA (progressive web application) initiative.

Magento MSI is being developed completely by community resources while Magento has taken the role of scrum master. Because it is hard to gauge when resources to develop will be available (the bane of community development projects), kudos to Magento for spearheading this.

The PWA project is taking more of a ‘framework’ approach, announcing the technologies they will support and providing guidelines with a minimal number of absolute directives for developers.

Additionally, last year Magento corporate was back on their heals a bit after launching Magento 2 with too many bugs. However, they took the feedback from developers and merchants and focused on bug fixes over feature development. While far from bug-free, things have improved drastically over the past year.

Having Phil Jackson, a true superstar of the community, definitely underscores the desire to communicate community inclusion as part of the Magento spiritual core.

Key Themes for Magento Merchants and Developers

PayPal sponsored a breakfast first thing today and covered both mobile conversion and the importance of Millenials, which are related topics.

In emerging markets and among Millenials, even in the B2B space, the device of choice tends to be the smart phone. That’s not a big revelation for most, but, the implications are that Millenials don’t work during your customer service hours and, frankly, feel like making a phone call is a ton of work. Since they will be 75% of the workforce (including buyers) in less than a decade, we better start developing mobile-first if not mobile-only.

PWAs is another key theme of this conference. Of course, this ties in with the mobile-first movement. Designing sites to function in questionable-network-permanence environment is an absolute requirement and it is good to see Magento embracing rather than rejecting that change.

Mark Lavelle Imagine 2018

Spoken Themes


Mark Lavelle’s opening address focused on leadership, community values, and the cornerstones of Magento:

  • Be an owner - own results
  • Be agile - anticipate change
  • Be the community - active participation in the ecosystem
  • Be innovative - always raise the bar
  • Be a team - foster and environment of respect, fairness and inclusion


Magento is touting a number of success metrics including the fact that Magento is the number 1 contributed PHP application on the internet, among others. While Magento has a lot to talk about, its competitors (see Shopify Plus, Oro Commerce and others) are also making amazing strides.

Mark wants Magento to be a thriving community in 10 years with more merchants, more success stories and more impact. We all hope he pulls it off!

What this means for Magento Merchants

Magento 2 is fully entrenched and stable. Merchants that have not moved should embrace the moment and make the Magento 2 decision quickly. There is a lot of innovation on the Magento 2 platform and none, besides security patches on Magento 1.

Commerce technology will continue to change at an ever-quickening pace. You will need to look for ways to embrace change an innovation without breaking the bank. It can be done, but, you’ll probably need a partner to advise you along the way.

Magento, for now, is still a solid choice. Ignore the critics, they were wrong for the past 10 years. Magento is a solid platform with a vibrant community. Viability an momentum are on the side of Magento.

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