MICES has brought together the e-commerce search community since 2017. The acronym stands for ‘MIx-Camp E-commerce Search’. There are two aspect of ‘mixing’: it brings together people from different backgounds – developers, product managers, UX designers, data scientists, vendors, all sharing an interest in e-commerce search. The other aspect of ‘mixing’ lies in its format as it combines talks with self-organizing BarCamp sessions.
Combined with the fascinating topic of e-commerce search, the diverse backgrounds of the attendees and the event format already make MICES a special event – but what makes it really stand out is that it is a community event. The defining moment was probably the second MICES in 2018: in my opening remarks, I argued that we would all benefit if we built a community in which we shared our understanding of e-commerce search and our solutions (although not necessarily the ‘secret sauce’!). In the first talk, Karen Renshaw (Head of Search and Content at Grainger Global Online) shared how she approached search improvement work as a long term process in her organisation. The problems that Karen described sounded all too familiar to many attendees, but this was possibly the first time they could see that others were struggling with similar issues – and that at MICES they would have the chance to exchange minds with people working in a similar role in this niche domain of e-commerce search. When Doug Turnbull (then CTO at OpenSource Connections) finally advocated for overcoming silos and joining hands by means of open source technology to allow e-commerce firms to sustain the competition of Amazon, a feeling of togetherness and community had become palpable and this is still at the heart of MICES today.
MICES is not only an event for the e-commerce search community but also an event by the community: the many tasks done by helping hands (from making name badges to setting up the room) and generous support by our sponsors helped us to keep admission to MICES free of charge. Last but not least, we are very thankful to those community members who volunteered to set up workshops and participate in panel discussions at the last two MICES event, which made the online format a lot more worthwhile when ‘Zoom fatigue’ had already started to affect many of us.
After two years of online events, we are happy to bring the community back together and meet in person again this year. For the first time, we will also set up a MICES event in the US (Charlottesville, VA, 26th April). E-commerce companies in the US are facing similar issues related to search to their European counterparts – from understanding and measuring search success, via finding the right organizational setup for search product development and searchandizing, to dealing with search technology choices and to applying data science to search. No single company has perfectly solved this – but we can learn from each other and provide better search to our users and customers.
We hope to see you at MICES 2022!
For more information, registration and the call for talks see https://mices.co
- Charlottesville, VA, 26th April (on the day before Haystack – The Search Relevance Conference for which tickets are now on sale)
- Berlin, Germany, 15th June (on the day after Berlin Buzzwords)
Not sure if the topic you have in mind will make a great talk, or do you want to propose a different format? (workshop, panel etc). Feel free to get in touch with us by emailing info[at]mices.co