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Achieving “Inspiration” at the Marketo Summit

“Inspiration.” That was the theme of the 2015 Marketo Summit.

It felt fitting for me as a first-time Marketo attendee. The theme of “inspiration” did just that, and inspired me. From the amazing keynote speakers, to the informative sessions, and overall friendly vibe, it turned out to be a great experience. I feel fortunate to have attended.

My first experience of the Marketo Summit was an early Monday morning.  I walked up to the Mascone Center, opened the door and heard, “…Few times I’ve been around that track, so it’s not just gonna happen like that, because I ain’t no Hollaback Girl, I ain’t no Hollaback Girl…” The beautiful voice of Gwen Stefani was the first to welcome me to the Marketo Summit as I watched the DJ rock out to the record while businesswomen danced along to the beat. It all brought a smile to my face and set the tone for the duration of the Summit.

After a two-hour welcome reception, the true anticipation came from the knowledge of who would be our upcoming Keynote Speakers. I knew this would be a highlight, as I had heard other attendees reminisce on last year’s successful Keynote from Former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton. This year, the speakers may not have been as high profile as an ex-First Lady, but they were definitely major influencers in their own right; Marketo Chairman and CEO, Phil Fernandez, editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, and Grammy Award winner, John Legend.

Fernandez took over the stage, enlightening the crowd on the future of marketing. Mass advertising and campaign marketing were identified as strategies of the past, and the future would be focused on engagement marketing. He really opened my eyes to what the world of marketing could look like. He inspired me to learn more and take a deeper look at the entire industry.

The next speaker was Arianna Huffington. Wow! She was absolutely amazing to listen to. Funny, witty, inspiring, captivating…she had it all. Her view on disruptive marketing and true inspiration really resonated with me, and quite frankly, the entire audience. The best quote I took from the entire experience—well, besides how every company should install napping rooms—was this: “Live life like everything is rigged in your favor.” What a great line, and such a positive message. I couldn’t resist. Before I knew it, I was forking over a few extra bucks and her best-selling book was mine to take home.

The last speaker of the day was Mr. John Legend. I’m not extremely familiar with his music (*gasp*), but I was excited to hear what he had to say. His Keynote session kicked off with a beautiful song—eclipsing the DJ’s “Hollaback Girl” from earlier. Next, he started talking about his life and his humble beginnings as an analyst at the fashion design company, BCBG. Legend went on to reveal his secret the creativity, carving out time in his daily routine to focus on creativity and nothing else. It was so inspiring that I too, have began scheduling my creativity. Thanks, John!

John Legend
John Legend performs a song at the Marketo summit.

 

The final speaker of the summit was Salman Khan—a funny, sensitive, and inspiring individual. If you don’t know who he is, he founded the Khan Academy—a non-profit organization that offers first-class education to everyone–everywhere. What an undertaking! You could feel his sincerity and pride in his vision as he shared videos and stories of students who succeeded in the Khan Academy. He talked about one student in particular; a young man who dropped out of high school not once, but twice. The Khan Academy allowed him to graduate at the top of his class. He then went on to college and began interning for the Khan Academy. Salman was proud to let us know that the young man was crucial in developing one of the products, and is now a full-time employee of the Khan Academy. Could that story be any more inspiring?

All in all, for me, the Marketo Summit definitely lived up to its theme, “Inspiration.” I left invigorated, educated, and ready to tackle the world of marketing. The announcement has already been made—next year’s summit will take place in Las Vegas, and I cannot wait to attend and be inspired all over again.

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How We Maintain Code with Version Control

There are a lot of moving parts under the hood of a website, and we take great care in making sure that they are working together smoothly. A common question we get is just how all the code is managed when we’re building a new site, adding new features, and working on bug fixes. Often times, there are multiple engineers that need to work together. Though you may never look at a single line of code, it’s still nice to understand how things work for an extra bit of peace of mind.

Where the Code Lives

The first thing a developer will do on a new project is create a brand new repository on GitHub. This is a private, remote place for the code to be stored. From there, we can give access to as many people that need it, and we can also use another tool to send it off to a server, similar to uploading files via FTP. With GitHub, we can see all the branches that have been made, and who is making what changes, but we’ll get to that later.

Multiple Website Locations

Your site will live in more than one place, so that we may run many tests, and make sure things are ship-shape before publishing it live. Here’s a basic view of how that works:

1. Local
Your developer will set up a web server environment on their computer just like the one your host provides. This will let them make a website locally without even needing internet access. It’s where they will test their code before it goes anywhere else.

2. Staging
Once a layout, feature, or fix is ready to be reviewed, it gets sent off to a staging site. This is a secure, private website just between you and your developer, where we can take a look at changes and play with test content.

3. Production
This is the actual, live site that the whole world sees. 

Git Commits and Branches

git_branching

“Git” is the name of the version control system that we use to manage code. When your developer makes a change on their local environment, they’ll commit it to the repository with a message that explains what the changes mean. Then, those changes get pushed up to the remote repository on GitHub. Another developer is then able to pull the changes, if they need them. But rather than working with a single codebase, we use different branches to keep from bumping into one another, and to separate features and fixes.

The master branch is where production-ready code and features are stored. It gets deployed from GitHub to the production server. Staging is the git branch where we do all of our new feature testing and bug fixes, and it deploys to the staging server. When we want to add, “feature abc,” for example, we copy master into a new branch and call it, “feature/abc.” We then make all of our changes there and test it locally. When it is ready for you to test on the staging site, we merge “feature/abc” into staging, so that it will become visible on the testing site. Once the feature or bug fix is approved, we then merge “feature/abc” into master, so it can go to the live site.

Using the feature branch method lets us work on multiple features and fixes at once. Let’s say in the middle of testing “feature abc,” we need an urgent “bug fix xyz.” We can follow the same steps as before; create a new branch from master, test on staging, then merge “bug fix/xyz” into master. Since it is separate from “feature/xyz,” we can deploy it to the live site separately.

What about Content?

Each site will be its own separate install of WordPress, local, staging, and production. This means they each have their own database. The database is where content is stored. If your developer edits a page on his local site, that change will not be made on the staging or production sites. The same is true for any of the sites. Content is managed separately, and never the twain shall meet. This is great, since we might want to test out how a new image or a change in text will look on a page. We can do that on the staging site and look at it together before we make the same changes on the production site. Another example would be writing a new blog post. Most likely, the best place to do that is straight from the production site. WordPress provides a way to preview these before you publish, so there’s likely no need to test them elsewhere.

We’re so happy that you’re working with us to meet your goals. If you are looking for a long-term partner that will grow with your business, then you’ve come to the right place…we’re in it for the long haul!