The 2014 Hippo Get Together was held on May 16th, in the heart of a sunny, serene Amsterdam.
The CMS Critic team were in attendance, in the form of Mike Johnston and myself.
On the morning of the event, Mike and I made our way to the venue - the trendy Amsterdam Trouw Club - before taking up our front row seats. As usual, we were live-tweeting the event from start to finish using the #HGT14 hashtag.
For some very quick highlights of the Hippo Get Together 2014, check out Hippo's brilliant, "HGT14 In 64 Seconds" video below. You might even catch a glimpse of the CMS Critic team!
Marketing Versus IT & The Future of Hippo
The event was being presented by Hippo's Community manager, Bas Van Leeuwen. He welcomed everybody formally before handing the stage over to Tobias Jeger - Hippo's Lead Developer - to kick off the first talk.
Tobias wasted no time, jumping right into the Marketing vs IT dilemma which many companies face. A worthy topic to get the audience's juices flowing.
Being on the IT side of the fence, he put forward some of the key flash points between the two opposing sides, highlighting how marketing teams could improve their approach.
Tobias Jeger, Hippo CMS Lead Developer: "Marketing, if you want us (IT) to be happy, please respect our development best practices." #HGT14— CMS Critic (@cmscritic) May 16, 2014
Immediately after Tobias Jeger's presentation, marketers everywhere will be pleased that they got their rebuttal through none other that Sonja Wraith, Hippo's head of Marketing.
She offered up some highly interesting statistics regarding the IT vs Marketing clash, and drove home the lack of support marketers generally get from their friends over in IT.
Sonja Wraith ended the quasi-debate on a positive note though. She underlined the need for both marketing and IT teams to work on improving communication and collaboration in order to bridge the gap between the two sides.
Before the Get Together's first Coffee break, Arje Cahn, Hippo CTO, wrapped up the points put forth by Tobias Jeger and Sonja Wraith, and gave a brief insight into how Hippo CMS is working to help bring the two feuding sides together.
He touched on Hippo's aim to introduce A/B Testing features, as well as their brand new user interface, which is currently in the works.
Hippo Essentials, The New UI & Happy Hippo Customers
Hippo Product Manager Oscar Scholten also used his time to discuss the upcoming Hippo Essentials, a frame work offering a range of tools designed to help get Hippo projects up and running faster than ever before.
He mentioned the integration of Hippo certified plugins, video plugins, & other key features like blogs and banners, all of which are needed to start projects quickly and effectively.
Oscar Scholten from Hippo "With Hippo Essentials we wanted people to have better out-of-the-box experiences when they start projects" #HGT14— CMS Critic (@cmscritic) May 16, 2014
Hippo's Get Together also offered some high profile customers a chance to air their experiences with the platform.
Hugo Valk for example, the lead developer of I-Bridge, a Randstad company, presented some interesting insights into how Hippo CMS helped build their online presence better than ever before. He detailed how Hippo had an immediate impact on things like site speed and general SEO.
Speakers from ElasticPath, Finalist and Oracle also delivered presentations.
Anton Bensdorp from Hippo also expanded on Arje Cahn's earlier mention of Hippo's new user interface. He spoke about the need to revamp Hippo's UI to help support new, less experienced user types, relocate functionality & to also accommodate different screen sizes.
Anton Bensdorp from Hippo: "We're changing the UI to support new user types, relocate functionality & to support diff screen sizes." #HGT14— CMS Critic (@cmscritic) May 16, 2014
He also touched upon a handy new feature of the new UI, which allows publishers to view autosaved content edits,which are individually presented in an accessible list. The ideas is to make edits easier to track, and content easier to publish.
Open Source, Open Friendliness
Away from the scheduled talks and presentations, Hippo Get Together 2014 offered up an extremely pleasant atmosphere.
The Club setting was about as unique as they come - but it worked. There was plenty of space to move around and converse, meet new people and hear new Hippo-related stories. Everybody seemed to have a blast.
A number of friendly Hippo representatives were on hand throughout the coffee breaks and lunch times, holding flowers - an indicator that they were there to help out and answer any questions.
Hippo T-Shirt were handed out and quick thrown on by attendees. Many though, were already rocking the Hippo T-Shirt from the 2013 Get Together. That tells you all you need to know about the passionate and loyal Hippo community, which only continues to grow.
All in all, the event was a resounding success. Attendees had fun, heard some juicy insights into the future of Hippo, and got to celebrate the nature of open source software.
To top it all off, attendees were invited to join the Hippo team on a boat trip through Amsterdam to cap off the evening. What more could you ask for?
For more information on the Hippo Get Together 2014, check out their official website.
Additionally, be sure to explore more of Hippo via our CMS Directory.