Some of the best ideas start with a "what if", a throwaway thought shared over a coffee that somehow ends up turning into a reality. De:brief 2019 was no different.
At the end of 2018, I moved on from Shopify. It was an amazing journey, but after almost seven years, I felt the need for a change. I knew I wanted to continue to earn my living in the ecosystem and in early 2019 I started to work with Shopify focused agencies and app companies — many of which I had the pleasure of collaborating with during my time at Shopify.
Through our work together I gained a whole new perspective of the ecosystem. With Unite on the horizon, I wondered what a gathering after the conference could look like, if for nothing else than to bring those working at the forefront of the ecosystem together in something resembling a formal setting to discuss the big announcements and the impact it would have on our businesses.
I spun the idea by long time collaborator Cat Hunter and after she agreed to lend her well-honed event production skills to the mix, De:brief 2019 was born.
It was to take the form of a community-focused half-day event featuring panels which would discuss and dissect everything from themes and frontend to the app economy and beyond.
A venue was found, baristas sourced and deposits paid — it was happening. Events don't seem real until the first ticket is sold, so we must say a big thank you to Craig Cooper who took the plunge and became our inaugural ticket purchaser!
Amazingly, another 149 of you joined Craig (with many more our waiting list) and helped us put on an event that exceeded all our expectations.
We had every intention of hosting De:brief 2020 in the same intimate setting and at the beginning of 2020 reached out to previous attendees and Patrons to see if there was interest again. To our delight there was and by early March we'd sold out and secured enough support to host a, if not bigger, better De:brief post Unite 2020.
As we all know, things changed rapidly in March 2020 and not long after Shopify announced they would be hosting Unite as a remote event, and then not at all, we decided that we would follow suit — De:brief 2020 was not to be.
Who knows what the world will hold in terms of events for 2021. Will Unite happen again, let alone in person? I like to think positively that we will convene again and should the opportunity arise, and it feels right, then De:brief may happen once again.
To everyone who attended De:brief in 2019, to Cat Hunter for once again being the perfect collaborator, to all the Founding Patrons who supported in 2019, and finally those who pledged their help in 2020 I thank you.
Thanks for reading,
Bath, UK August 2020
After De:brief 2019 we invited our Patrons and guest panel chairs to contribute to our first 35 page annual report. The 2019 De:brief Report includes ten thought provoking and insightful articles from some of our industries leading experts and covers topics including Unite 2019, marketing, apps, and the retail team of the future.
I'll be honest, I'm very proud of the companies we got to work with on De:brief — the best of the best from our ecosystem: