Spree Commerce

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SpreeConf NYC Re-cap

Posted on March 06, 2014 by Shannon Madlin

Last week we hosted our fourth SpreeConf by returning to New York, which was the site of our first SpreeConf. It seemed our old stomping ground brought us good luck as we had our most successful SpreeConf to date! With the largest turnout and inspiring presentations, it was a great opportunity to network and meet with the awesome Spree community. Here’s a recap of what went down at SpreeConf 2014.

The Sessions

SpreeConf 2014 included two days of training and talks. We had 16 speakers, including Andy Dunn, CEO of Bonobos, Jeff Ma, CEO of TenXer and Amit Shah, CEO of Jirafe. They gave valuable insight into e-commerce as a whole and the opportunies and risks in growing a business from an entrepreneurial perspective. Here are some of the highlights.

Day 1

  • Jeff Cassimir – In the “Introduction to Spree”, Jeff used a creative approach to describe all the reasons that you should want to use Spree.
  • Ryan Bigg – In Introducing Spree 2.2 Adjustments, Ryan talked about the guidelines we used for refactoring adjustments, the complexities of sales tax, and all the improvements made in Spree 2.2
  • Brian Quinn – In his session, Backend Integrations with Spree Commerce, Brian discussed the latest changes to the Hub and how it makes things easier for users and is more accessible for everybody. He ran through a variety of common use cases, and how they’re handled within the Hub.
  • Antonio Silviera – Antonio talked about the new face of GoDaddy, why they selected Spree and an Open Source stack, how they’ve built their multi-tenancy system, and other features they’re putting in place for their customers in his session, Spree Multistore.
  • Daniel Sim Lind – In Spree Commerce Performance, Daniel fron Ninefold, told us about how Google and your customers value site performance, how to effectively test your site speed, and how their platform can help you improve.
  • Denis Ivanov – Refreshing his SpreeConf DC talk, Perfecting Your E-Commerce Frontend, Denis shared more simple improvements that will help with site performance and making you look good in search results.
  • Andy Dunn – In his talk, “E-Commerce is a Bear”, Andy discussed the opportunities and challenges in building a profitable, lasting company. He captivated the audience with his insights and stories gleaned from years spent growing one of the world’s most successful e-commerce businesses.

Day 2

  • Sean Schofield – In his session, Behind the Best Storefronts, Sean talked about the Spree Eco-system, the positive momentum, the new Spree Editions being open sourced and the Spree vision.
  • Ryan Bigg – Ryan discussed the expanding ecosystem that is Spree in his session, Whirlwind Tour of Spree Commerce Ecosystem, where he walked (or ran!) the audience through the wide world of capabilities that Spree brings to bear, set against his typical day interacting with the hundreds of Spree contributors around the world who make daily improvements to the Spree platform.
  • Daniel Honig – In Storytelling Through Content with Spree, Daniel talked about how Rails Dog uses the Spree platform to tell a story and create unique experiences online.
  • Jeff Ma – By using a blackjack metaphor, in Right Decision – Wrong Outcome, Jeff spoke about his adventures outwitting Las Vegas casinos armed only with data and a touch of social engineering. He drew a wide range of parallels to the business world, also covering common psychological pitfalls that tend to trip up even the most sophisticated among us.
  • Scott Raio – In “Controlling the User Experience”, Scott confirmed that he knows a thing about applied technology. In his talk, he enthralled the audience with next generation configurations of the Spree platform, including dressing room mirrors he equipped with RFID sensors that pull in live product information in real time from his Spree store.
  • Sebastian Bean, Dmitri Vassilev, Emmett Shine – Solving the Problem Puzzle: A Case Study was an extremely development driven session which focused on the overarching challenges with building a connected storefront on Spree, and gave tips and insight into how to best alleviate these challenges for a truly beautiful, high-end website on Spree configured for every imaginable need.
  • Bryan Mahoney – In Results Driven Responsive E-Commerce Best Practices, Bryan focused on advice for developers who are also building responsive e-commerce sites with tips and techniques that have worked well for the team at GoDynamo. Backed with compelling numbers, Bryan delved deep into 15 actionable UI changes that will drive a significant uptick in sales for your online store.
  • Amit Shah – “This will all be easier when we’ve made it big as a company.” Not so fast says Amit Shah of Jirafe. In his session, The Tyranny of Growth, Amit discussed that problems only amplify with scale. He went into detail about the right areas to focus on in order to scale with as much grace as possible.

Mixin Mingle with Bonobos

Bonobos was gracious enough to host a SpreeConf welcome reception at their headquarters. It was a great time to mingle with other attendees at SpreeConf, as well as get to know the Bonobos team and check out some of the new spring line in their men’s store. Special thanks to the team at Bonobos for helping us greet the SpreeConf attendees!

Whiskey/Happy Hour

SpreeConf 2014 concluded both days with a happy/whiskey hour sponsored by Avalara. It featured local microbrews, a selection of wines and the ever desired SpreeConf Whiskey – imported from Ireland. The whiskey was such a hit that we ran out in record time! Next time, we double the order! And you can buy your very own SpreeConf 2014 whiskey here!

Lightning Talks

At this years Lightning Talks, sponsored by Brightcove, we had such a large number of people sign up, including several first time public speakers, that we had to spill over into Thursday so that all speakers would get time to talk. Thanks to everyone who submitted a topic and for being flexible with such a huge turnout!

After Party at Shakespeare Pub and Snap

The two SpreeConf 2014 after parties were held at the Shakespeare Pub and Snap Bar. The Shakespeare Pub was a nice, warm change to the bitter temperatures in NYC. The setting was cozy and quaint, and lent itself to be the perfect place to get to know all of the SpreeConf attendees, talk shop and wind down from a great first day. Snap was a great location to celebrate the success of SpreeConf NYC and solidify future partnerships over a pint.

SpreeConf Photos

We’ve uploaded all of our photos to our instagram account using #spreeconf and to our facebook account. Please share any photos you snapped at SpreeConf with us!


We’d like to thank all our sponsors for their support of Spree and SpreeConf 2014, including Ninefold who sponsored the great breakfast and lunches we had, Stickermule who created the AWESOME posters at the conference and General Assembly who helped us promote the conference to up and coming developers. And a special shout out to GoDaddy, our premier sponsor, who provided some awesome (and much talked about shirts) and helped us with logistics leading up to the conference.

Thank YOU!

And lastly, thanks to everyone who made the trek to NYC to help make SpreeConf NYC a great place to talk shop, meet and mingle with community leaders and generally just take some time to enjoy the hard work and strides we are all making with Spree. If you have any suggestions or feedback, we’d love to hear it!