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Acquia Engage 2016: Day One

Acquia Engage is back for 2016 and the first day did not disappoint. The conference opened up with a warm welcome from CMO Loren Jarrett, followed by CEO Tom Erickson and CTO Dries Buytaert giving their traditional “State of Acquia” address.

Tom and Dries

Dries and Tom’s presentation centered around the five pillars that have shaped Acquia’s product strategy over the past year: open source, open APIs, cloud, security and governance. Acquia’s fearless leaders also shared stories of customer success including the digital transformations of MTA, Nestle and NASDAQ.


Day one’s General Session continued with a presentation from IBM’s VP of Content and Marketing Platform’s Rudy Chang, who discussed the company’s digital transformation. IBM has found that in order to launch products successfully and achieve full adoption of new technology, they need to take what Chang calls the “Velvet Glove and Sledgehammer” approach. This approach favors early iterative development instead of top down mandates and has proven successful for IBM.

Rudy Chang IBM

Next up was an interesting overview of how technology is changing the world via our partners at WPP. Presenters included Martin Coady of VML, Bret Otzenberger of Mirum, Laurent Burman of POSSIBLE, Gabriel Stern of Wunderman, Jorge Teyssandier of Globant and Jessica Criscione, of Ogilvy. The panel was moderated by WPP’s own Annie Miller and focused on artificial intelligence, virtual reality, machine learning and creating natural interfaces.

MRM / McCann, NASDAQ and Mother of All Demos II

Laura Simpson, Global Director of McCann Truth Central, had some really interesting insights in her presentation The Truth About Youth. Laura has been studying how how millennials create and interact with content. Some of the key takeaways included that “adult” is now a verb, over editing photos and using hashtags is “uncool” and that content is now expected to be both instant and frictionless.

Laura Simpson

Then the program shifted from youth culture to financial services as Brad Peterson, Executive Vice President and CIO of NASDAQ took the stage. Peterson lead us through the evolution of NASDAQ and their recent move to Drupal 8 as the platform for their 3000+ investor relation websites.

Finally, it was time for the sequel to last year’s most anticipated event: The Mother of All Demos! Chief Products Officer Chris Stone and his team of engineers took the stage to talk about recently released Acquia products and to walk us through live demos as well as what’s coming in the future. Chris was also joined on stage by Magento CEO Mark Lavelle. Yesterday, Acquia announced its commerce partnership with Magento.

Acquia CPO Chris Stone

Track Sessions

Yesterday’s track sessions offered a robust mix of Tech Talks, Politics of Digital and even the chance to steal some of Acquia’s customers’ best ideas. Acquia’s Preston So and Jacob Suchy teamed up for a Tech Talk to discuss how decoupled Drupal can power your entire digital ecosystem. Brian Carty shared how Steward Health reinvented their website to put the patient first in the Politics of Digital track. Emmis Radio’s Jeff Tracker and Tat Wza discussed with Acquia’s own Chuck Fishman how they leveraged the power of digital to redefined what it means to broadcast radio.

Acquia Engage Award Winners

Congrats to all of the winners of the Acquia Engage Awards that were announced yesterday!

(The remaining winners were announced early this morning, too.)

Mod Society

Day one wrapped up with The Blue Drop Lounge party in the ballroom that was equal parts epic and swanky. Guests enjoyed the photobooth and gaming tables while The Mod Society got everyone moving... except for the folks who were glued to the TV to watch one of the most legendary World Series’ ever between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians.

World Series Game 7

Congratulations to the Cubs on their historic win! We know something about that here in Boston. We'll be back tomorrow with a recap of day 2. For live coverage, please follow us on Twitter or #AcquiaEngage.

Photo credit: Samara Vise

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