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Get to Know SpreeConf DC Speaker: Adil Wali

Posted on April 18, 2013 by Lynne Brehmer

Last Thursday we introduced you to SpreeConf speaker, Gregor MacDougall who will be talking about his experience migrating a large scale PHP based e-commerce store to Spree at SpreeConf DC May 20th – 21st in Washington, DC. Today we’d like to introduce you to our keynote speaker, Adil Wali. Adil is the CEO at Kemists and will be speaking at SpreeConf about lessons learned scaling multiple e-commerce businesses.

Adil Wali

Adil Wali

CEO at Kemists
Adil is a passionate entrepreneur and product visionary who loves the startup and high growth environment. He first connected with Spree through Crowd Interactive, a web 2.0 development company he founded that specializes in Ruby on Rails. Adil gets bored easily and likes to have fun, so he starts companies. He’s never had a ‘real job.’ He’s been a founder or investor in a bunch of stuff that’s failed. The stuff that hasn’t: ClearGears, ModCloth, Crowd Interactive, and Kemists where he is currently CEO. Some of you might remember Adil from SpreeConf Dublin. Adil was one of our most popular speakers and we are really excited to have him back at SpreeConf this year in DC.

Lessons from the Field: Scaling an eCommerce Business

eCommerce is one of the hottest and highest-growth spaces driving the world economy right now and while most companies attempting this space have quality products and a solid target customer, many of them will fail because they cannot execute quickly enough to beat their competition.

At SpreeConf, Adil will discuss lessons he learned scaling multiple e-commerce business, including ModCloth, one of the fastest growing companies in the world of fashion. The topics covered will be driven significantly by the audience, with the goal of providing tangible-lessons-learned with real ideas that you can try tomorrow whether you are on the technical side or business side of things.

Some of the topics Adil will cover include:

  • Data: why it’s important and how it breaks
  • Building and scaling a brand
  • Community, authenticity, and how to scale without losing your voice
  • Curation, product-mix, and how to not bore your customers
  • Premature scaling and how to avoid it
  • Scaling teams: ensuring structure and decision-making still work
  • Process: how to keep it minimalistic, but functional
  • Content strategy: taking SEO, SEM, and content seriously
  • Capital strategy: when and why money is important (and when it’s not)
  • Fulfillment and customer service: does it REALLY matter?

Getting to Know Adil

We asked Adil to give us his thoughts on the latest happenings in the e-commerce space and some of the interesting projects he’s working on right now.

What trends are most exciting to you right now?

Marketplaces of all shapes and sizes have come a long way since the early days of eBay. I think the future of e-commerce is being defined by some of the innovators in marketplace experiences. In particular, the use of location-based commerce and latent-inventory models is super interesting.

I think ‘the way we work’ is changing. The distribution of teams is no longer a setback, and for some pioneers, it is a distinct advantage. Furthermore, collaboration technology and global bandwidth have come a long way. This is changing the landscape of company creation and growth, not to mention fighting worldwide poverty in a serious way.

Any interesting projects you are working on that others might be interested in?

Yes! We’ve been thinking a lot about ‘the future of work’ and have been heads-down working on a way for worldwide freelancing to be merit-based and frictionless. That project is called Hiiro (pronounced ‘Hero’). It’s currently in private alpha, but we hope to release it just as soon as we feel like we’ve nailed the user experience.

What are you most looking forward to at SpreeConf this year?

I’ve been to a lot of conferences, and I’ve found the overall level of talent and scrappiness to be the highest among the SpreeConf crowd. That’s not to mention that the Spree platform has come a very long way in the last 24 months, and there are still a lot of new things for me to learn from the great tech talks.

What do you hope SpreeConf attendees remember about your talk when they get home?

I hope that folks will remember at least one interesting ‘company-building’ pattern that they can go home and USE within 60 days.

Do you have any interesting picks – blogs, technology, books, new companies to follow?

I know it’s a classic and that most people have read it, but Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the kind of book you need read once every couple years. I also think that Free Agent Nation by Daniel Pink deserves a lot more attention, even though it was one of his earlier works.

There are tons of new companies that are worth looking at: TaskRabbit and SilverCar are some of the folks that are really innovating with marketplace technology. Blank-Label is probably my favorite supply chain innovator right now.

Come meet Adil and hear his talk about lessons learned scaling multiple e-commerce businesses at SpreeConf DC, May 20th – 21st.

Get to Know the Creators of Spree

Posted on April 17, 2013 by Lynne Brehmer

It’s a really exciting time for Spree. We are now one of the top open source projects in the world. We have 3,835 Github watchers and 372 GitHub contributors who have made more than 9,000 contributions. SpreeConf is your chance to meet the creators of Spree, Sean Schofield and Brian Quinn, and to hear their plans for the future direction of the project first hand. Sean and Brian will share in depth details about the Spree roadmap and the new features included in Spree 2.0. Don’t miss your opportunity to meet Sean, Brian, and the rest of the Spree team in person at SpreeConf, May 20th – 21st in Washington, DC.

How it all Began

Most of you probably know that Sean Schofield and Brian Quinn are the co-founders of Spree. But what you might not know is how the Spree open source project started and how Sean and Brian met. Sean created the Spree open source project in July 2007 after trying several open source alternatives and finding they lacked the flexibility to build exactly what store owners wanted. Brian discovered Spree when he was searching for an open source, Rails based e-commerce solution for one of his client projects. Brian contributed several internationalization features to Spree and in the process got to know Sean. They began working on client projects together and agreed to start an e-commerce consultancy company which eventually turned into Spree Commerce Inc. Since then Sean and Brian have worked diligently to improve the Spree platform and grow the Spree community.

Sean Schofield

Sean Schofield
Sean is the co-founder and CEO of Spree Commerce. He is an experienced programmer and entrepreneur and has over a decade of experience working with open source in both Ruby and Java. Sean is also a member of the Apache Software Foundation as well as a committer on several popular Apache projects including Struts. Sean dedicates his time to the Spree open source project and ensuring that it lives up to his vision of being the most flexible, open source e-commerce platform in the world. At SpreeConf, Sean will share details about the new features included in Spree 2.0 including split shipments, the re-architecture of the Spree core and internationalization improvements.

Brian Quinn

Brian QuinnBrian is the co-founder and CTO of Spree Commerce. He has been using Ruby for fun and profit for several years now (before Rails 1.0.) He is also the author of the innovative Deface project. He enjoys tackling hard problems, learning new things, and building awesome software. At SpreeConf, Brian will introduce the Spree Integrator, a project our team has been quietly working on the last six months which enables stores to integrate with all the internal “stuff” that companies need to run their stores like drop shipping, accounting, analytics, warehousing, etc. Brian’s Spree talk will include a live programming exercise that everyone can join in on.

See You at SpreeConf!

Here are a few closing words from Sean about why he is excited for Spree Conf…“Conferences are all about connecting with people. We have a great online community but sometimes there is no substitute for meeting in person. There are people I’ve been working with from all over the world for several years now. It’s always fun to see them in person. Each year there are also new people in the online community that show up for the in-person conference. It’s great to meet the people behind the code.”

Don’t miss out on your chance to meet the creators of Spree and to connect with the Spree community. Tickets are selling fast. Less than 5 weeks to go!

New Documentation Site

Posted on April 15, 2013 by Andrew Hooker

Why new guides?

A while back, we put a lot of work into creating documentation for our API independent of the developer guides. Our designer Alexey (aka devilcoders) did a great job on the API guides, and we wanted to bring that great work into the developer guides as well. We also used this as an opportunity to go through the guides and clean out things that were confusing or out of date. To top it off, John Dyer ( LBRapid ) put together a few new tutorials, going step by step through getting started with Spree and using and creating extensions and deface overrides.

Starting with Edge

Currently, the new guides are available on Edge. Edge is our repository for documentation about Spree features that haven’t been released yet. Once the next major Spree version is released, the guides in the Edge repository will replace the current guides. We will continue to make the old guides available as we have in the past with our legacy guides. The Edge guides include documentation on the new Split Shipments functionality included in Spree 2.0. Make sure to give this section a read and let us know what you think about the new feature.

Preview the Spree Integrator

You’ll notice we included a section in the Guides called The Spree Integrator. The Spree Integrator is a project our team has been quietly working on the last six months and is the pillar of our new Spree Professional packages. The Spree Integrator is a new platform for extending the reach of your Spree store into a myriad of crucial business applications and services like drop shipping providers, accounting systems, transactional email services, custom applications and much more. Brian Quinn will explain more about the Spree Integrator at SpreeConf and will show how easily you can get started using the off-the-shelf services that we’ve built into the Spree Integrator and how you can create custom endpoints to process all the events as they happen in your store.

A Community Effort

While the Spree core team and staff did a lot of the work getting the guides converted, there were a number of community members who also contributed. We had 229 commits by 29 authors, including 14 commits by first time open source contributor Dana Jones. You can see all the contributions in a github compare

Contributions Welcome

We couldn’t do it without you! Especially if you’re new to Spree, or new to contributing to open source, the guides are a great place to get started. There’s constantly cleanup and improvement to be done. To contribute, simply follow the instructions here.

Watch for More

There’s more coming! We’re going to be looking at improving the developer guides in the future, as well as adding a guide section for users, covering things like how to use the admin interface. If you’ve got ideas for how we can continue to improve the guides, submit a pull request, leave a comment on this post, or open an issue on the repo.

Come Meet us at SpreeConf

The next SpreeConf is taking place May 20th – 21st in Washington, DC. SpreeConf is a great opportunity to learn more about what’s coming in Spree 2.0 and how to apply it to your store. We also have a great lineup of speakers from both the e-commerce and Ruby communities. Don’t miss your chance to meet the Spree core team in person and to connect with the rest of the Spree Community. Get $75 off with code “GUIDES” when registering at the link below.

Get to Know SpreeConf DC Speaker: Sandi Metz

Posted on April 11, 2013 by Lynne Brehmer

Last Tuesday we introduced you to SpreeConf speaker, Gregor MacDougall who will be speaking about his experience migrating a large scale PHP based e-commerce store to the Spree platform at SpreeConf DC May 20th – 21st in Washington, DC. Today we’d like to introduce you to Sandi Metz. Sandi is a software architect, programmer, and author and will be speaking at SpreeConf about practical guidelines for choosing what to test and how to test it.

Sandi Metz

Sandi Metz

Software Architect, Programmer, and Author
Sandi was a long-time software architect at Duke University, for whom she still consults. She has been solving real problems in large, long-lived object-oriented applications for more than twenty years. She is also the author of the book Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby: An Agile Primer.

Practical Guidelines for Testing

Tests are supposed to save us money. How is it, then, that many times they become millstones around our necks, gradually morphing into fragile, breakable things that raise the cost of change? We write too many tests and we test the wrong kinds of things. Sandi’s SpreeConf talk will strip away the veil and offer simple, practical guidelines for choosing what to test and how to test it. Finding the right testing balance isn’t magic, it’s a magic trick; learn the secret of writing stable tests that protect your application at the lowest possible cost.

Getting to Know Sandi

We asked Sandi to give us her thoughts on the latest happenings in the Ruby space and some of the interesting projects she’s working on right now.

What trends are most exciting to you right now?

I’m excited about the increasing interest of the Ruby/Rails community in object-oriented design (OOD). OOD is both a passion and a bias of mine, and I see a lot of applications that have grown to where they can reap its benefits. We’re in the midst of a massive integration where the ideas of the masters of OOD are being stirred in a pot with the needs of programmers to get real product out the door; we’ll all benefit from what comes from this mix.

Any interesting projects you are working on that others might be interested in?

I’ve agreed to create a video series for Practical Object Oriented Design in Ruby. I’m currently at the ‘watching video creation tutorials’ stage so it will be a few months before they appear, but I’m learning something new and pondering object-oriented design. This is a treat for me and with luck, will be useful for others.

What do you hope SpreeConf attendees remember about your talk when they get home?

I hope that SpreeConf attendees walk away with an understanding that testing is easy. And, experts are no different than you—they just know a few more tricks.

Do you have any interesting picks – blogs, technology, books, new companies to follow?

I’m intrigued by the Go language but haven’t found time to more than be interested. I’m reading Thinking Fast and Slow, which outlines how we think and is, well, thought provoking. I’ve also been enjoying Implementing Domain Driving Design, an informative and approachable exposition of DDD.

Come meet Sandi and hear her talk about practical guidelines for choosing what to test and how to test it at SpreeConf DC, May 20th – 21st.