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MageUnconf 2019 (A veteran's view)

· 3 min read
David Manners

Since it started all the way back in 2015 the MageUnconference has been high on my priority when it comes to Magento events. This year I was super excited not just to be back but also to bring along one of my new colleagues for his first MageUnconf experience.

An unconference is an event with no pre-selected speakers and longer breaks between each presentation. The first thing in the morning, apart from saying hello and getting a coffee, is the suggestion and voting for topics. Anyone who is attending this event can suggest a topic or a few that they would either like to hold or like hear from someone else. This means that anyone could technically share about anything as long as it gets voted for. For me this is one of the keys to this event, there are no rockstars just interesting topics.

This year's topics were varied as always. With topics including PWA, storytelling, project estimations, automated testing, Clojure (Script) and communication skills.
For me I always enjoy visiting the non-technical topics as I find that technical topics are often easier to get across via a blog post than inter-personal skills or project planning.

On Saturday I attended the following:

  • "How to start a migration project"
  • "Personal Knowledge Management"
  • "Remote tips" - at which I chaired the discussion
  • "Why don't they understand me? (Communication theory to improve your everyday human connection)"

On Sunday I attended two specific talks but also had many great discussions with developers throughout the day:

  • "Once upon a time"
  • "Time is an illusion"

I really enjoyed the topics on communication and remote work. As someone who has been working remotely for a few years now, I always feel like there is room to improve and this discussion certainly brought up a few ideas for me and my company. I often feel that communication is the key to success. You can be the best developer but without communication and other people skills you will struggle.

As I always find with these style of events the key is getting many differently minded people in one place. This is such a good way to get discussions started.

There were developers, CTOs, project managers as well as people working in agencies, working at merchants, and freelancers. Everyone providing their own view on the e-commerce landscape. If the only thing I left this event with was a wider perspective then it would be well worth it. That being said having seen six topics and talk with countless people during the weekend I left with a long list of things to research over the coming months and one very important date in my calender for 2020.