And the winner is…

Magento Imagine 2017 is almost here, and after finding ourselves with a ticket to spare, we wanted to invite one lucky Magento developer to join us at the conference.

We held a contest and received entries from Magento developers around the world. After much anticipation, we are very excited to announce that Simon Sprankel will be joining the dotmailer team at this year’s Magento Imagine conference! We got to sit down and learn a little bit more about our lucky winner…

When did you become a Magento developer?

Good question! I just had a look at the local.xml of one of my oldest shops and fortunately, it matched my memories. I started playing with it in 2010 with Magento 1.3 and my first shop was released in 2011 (Magento 1.4, I guess). It was a small shop for the boss of a local store, where I worked as an assistant. The online shop was first built with xt:Commerce and after a while, it was no longer a suitable solution any more. I studied computer science, so I got the request to look for a new solution. Magento was clearly the new rising star in the ecommerce stratosphere, so I quickly decided for go with it. And so, the journey began…

Until mid-2014, I developed Magento stores on a part-time basis during my studies. Since October 2014, I have been doing it full time as a freelancer. I started selling extensions under the name of Modulwerft last year as well.

Tell us what you like most about Magento?

I really love the flexibility of Magento – you can simply customize it to your needs. You can develop customizations in a clean and future-proof way. This got a major bump with M2 as well. Now, finally being able to contribute to the Magento core via GitHub is a big plus as well.

Besides these technical advantages, it is the Magento community, which makes working in this area fun. The Magento community is open, friendly and cooperative – this is amazing! I love getting to know new people or meeting old colleagues on conferences, hackathons and other events.

Have you attended Imagine before?

No, I have not, so I am sooo excited to go there! For a freelancer from Europe, all the costs for Imagine are too high to justify it from a business perspective. Hence, this seems to be a one-time opportunity to experience this core Magento event. I have been to quite a few European Magento conferences so far, so I am looking forward to comparing Imagine with those. I guess Americans tend to create even more thrilling events and know how to party, so this should be fun!

What are you looking forward to at this Imagine?

I am really looking forward to just being there; I have heard a few things, but could never really understand it all. What will probably make this event unique for me is that I will meet people from the American Magento community. I know many people from Germany and many from Europe as well, but I have never met any American community members in person. So come and say hello!

Apart from that, I guess the sessions will be awesome as well. Many people propose talks for Imagine and only a few are accepted, so the quality should be quite high.

What are the top sessions you are looking forward to attending?

I think there are three sessions I am looking forward to the most. First, “How to Pass the Magento Marketplace Extension Quality Program” since I am trying to grow my extension business, so this is a highly important topic for me. Second, “Expert Guidance on Migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2”, because I have many existing customers, which need to be migrated to Magento and because Magento 2 will finally be my start of using composer (yay!). Lastly, “Making Your Life Easier with the Magento 2 CLI”, because you never know enough about the CLI.

Simon’s top sessions:

Who do you think are the top influencers and people you are looking forward to seeing at Imagine?

There are so many great people and influencers in the Magento community, that this is a tough question. I am especially looking forward to meet people from the American Magento community. For instance, Kalen Jordan, Phillip Jackson and Brendan Falkowski directly come into my mind.

Have you been to Las Vegas before? What do you love and hate about LV?

I have never been to Las Vegas before. So if anyone wants to give me a sightseeing tour on Saturday, tell me! 😉

The Magento Community is definitely very unique and valuable to the Magento ecosystem, tell us what makes it so special?

What makes the Magento community so special is that it feels like a big group of friends. There is no real negative competition. People care about each other, meet at events in their free time, share cars on their way to events, travel around the world to meet etc. I hope this will remain the same for many years…

What’s your casino game of choice?

To be honest, I have never been in a real casino and was never really into this whole gambling thing… Let us see if this changes in Las Vegas!

Simon still has one more week until he hits the Las Vegas strip (and the conference rooms) but we think he has already hit the jackpot!