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Interview: Jisse Reitsma

And it’s Friday again which means it’s time for the next Magento interview! After Vinai Kopp and Artyom Rabzonov it’s time for Jisse Reitsma!

Jisse is co-founder of Yireo, the Dutch company mainly know for it’s Magento-Joomla bridge solution called MageBridge. He is in charge of the companies development and you can connect with him online on Twitter and LinkedIn.

So let’s fill that gap in our knowledge and learn all about Jisse! :)

What did you dream of becoming as a child?

I actually dreamed of a standard mediocre life – a wife, kids and a house. Unfortunately I now have passed the 30 and I am still not there yet. What am I doing wrong?

My philosophy on life is…

Do good and you will receive good. It seems so simple, but it’s actually pretty hard some times.

What is your average day like?

A working day starts of with answering customers that have questions on both our free as our commercial Yireo extensions. That takes about 1 hour. After that, there is always projects or software development that ask attention. We tend the react quickly on feature requests, so things are never boring.

The ideal night out is…

Drinking a bit with friends or stroll down an avenue hand-in-hand with my girlfriend. I’m already happy with simple things.

I’m good at…

Object Oriented Programming in PHP.

I’m very bad at…

Sales.

What are you proud of?

Within a year and a half we have developed our MageBridge extension (a bridge between Joomla! and Magento) from the ground. Instead of being just a bridge, it has actually become a whole new technology of extending Joomla! with Magento extensions and vice versa. I’m pretty proud of the code base that has grown so rapidly, while the architecture is still fast and efficient.

How did you get involved in Magento?

I was actually forced into using Magento by business partner, who said Magento was going to be the next big thing. I’m always pretty stubborn when it comes to things like this, so I only touched Magento after three months.

I am (still/currently) involved with Magento because…

We are developing Magento extensions and giving Magento consults. Simply put: We are making good money with Magento.

What should every newcomer know about Magento?

Magento is a fantastic product, but it has a steep learning curve. If you’re just looking for a simple shop you will become very disappointed. However, if you want to take a dive and want to keep growing with your webshop, then Magento is definitively worth the effort.

Which feature would you really like to see added to Magento?

jQuery

And what feature would you really like to see removed?

ProtoType

What is the first extension you install in Magento?

Most of the time it’s our own MageBridge extension, because we simply sell more MageBridge webshops then Magento webshops.

What’s the first thing you would improve on magentocommerce.com?

Documentation. Everybody says that Magento is very complicated and that the learning curve is steep. However, there is little good documentation available. Luckily enough there are already many books out there about the administration of the Magento backend, but still – better documentation on webdesign and programming is still needed.

What are your plans with Magento in the (near) future?

With MageBridge we connect Joomla! and Magento, and while there are no big changes planned in Magento in the near future (upcoming months), there is still Joomla! 1.6 coming up – to make MageBridge compatible with Joomla! 1.6 will consume most of my time. But with Magento, we plan to release a couple of new versions for our Yireo Magento extensions. The usual stuff…

Complete the sentence “Magento changes the e-commerce landscape forever because…”

…it shows that commercial goals and open source ideals are indeed easy to combine.

Thanks Jisse for your cooperation! Next week I’ll interview Sherrie Rohde from Minerva Promotions. If you want to stay up-to-date, you can subscribe to the RSS feed, the Newsletter or my Facebook page.

Artyom Rabzonov

Interview: Artyom Rabzonov

Last week I started of a new series on my blog interviewing people from the Magento community all around the world. I started by interviewing Vinai Kopp, next up is Artyom Rabzonov!

Artyom Rabzonov

Artyom is CEO and one of the founders of the aheadWorks company from Minsk (Belarus) that we (probably) all know for all of it’s Magento extensions (and recently also Magento Themes). He works on (project) management and human resources and you can find him online on Skype (a.rabzonov), as aheadWorks on the Magento forum or on LinkedIn.

Let’s find out what Artyom has been up to lately…!

What did you dream of becoming as a child?

As many of USSR children I was dreaming of becoming a cosmonaut :).

My philosophy on life is…

Don’t hesitate, and never regret about the chosen way.

What is your average day like?

Nothing unusual – I’m an office dweller mostly ) My normal activity is team management, processing some incoming requests, establishing new partnerships, strategic planning – that’s what I’m busy with during a normal working day.

The ideal night out is…

That night out on Mallorca (Magento Developers Paradise – Guido) was close to be ideal – warm night on an island, bars, dances and a bit of alcohol. But the main component is company – joyful happy people whom pleasure to spend time with.

I’m good at…

PC gaming. Joke, that what I was good at some time ago ) It looks like I’m good at organizing people – that’s why we have a strong and smoothly working team now.

I’m very bad at…

Understanding new programming techniques. I used to be a programmer but in the last years my focus had moved to management and coordination. Hope to have a bit more time to overtake the knowledge in the nearest future, as computing is what I’m fond of.

What are you proud of?

I’m really proud of my company and of all what we managed to achieve during the last years. aheadWorks had been started over 5 years ago by 3 graduates – my 2 companions Cyril and Eugene, and me, and has turned into a reliable solutions partner with good positions on the market. Nowadays there are more than 30 people working with us and this number is constantly growing. I see many dedicated people here who love what they do and from the other side I see many satisfied customers – isn’t that what I must be proud of?

How did you get involved in Magento?

We had discovered Magento in late 2008, I was one of the first in aheadWorks who tried to use and develop for Magento, did some coding those days. We searched the forum, communicated with people, found an idea and implemented a solution. It was free and not too complex, however the success was obvious: the extension had hundreds of downloads in just a few days and many people were asking about new features.

I am (still/currently) involved with Magento because…

Simply because it opens great opportunities. It won’t be exaggeration to say that our primary focus is Magento. Strong community,
good architecture, scalability, unique distribution model, fast growth and evolution – all these things make Magento outstanding and attractive for us.

What should every newcomer know about Magento?

Magento has taken over e-commerce solution market, on its platform you can build basically any solution you need, but don’t expect it coming out of the box. A bit of patience and diligence and you can start selling absolutely anything – from 1-cent-pins to heavy machinery, from hotel bookings to magazine subscriptions – just put a bit of efforts and have your business running online.

Which feature would you really like to see added to Magento?

As our company sells digital goods we’d like to see stronger digital products support. But even more we’d encourage core development and refactoring.

And what feature would you really like to see removed?

Magento is quite consistent, I cannot say there is something unnecessary. The features we don’t use are required by other merchants so I can hardly recollect anything what must be removed.

What is the first extension you install in Magento?

Help Desk Ultimate and Advanced Reports, both by aheadWorks of course :) These products are somewhat required for any Magento based store as they add functionality you can hardly live without.

What’s the first thing you would improve on magentocommerce.com?

I’d like to see better Magento Connect. The Magento Inc. team did a good job organizing and structuring the extensions, adding new categories, filters, etc. Now it’s time to think about proper content. There are lots of neglected and lowest-quality extensions, test uploads, which perplex and frustrate merchants who look for extending their stores functionality.
Without proper content moderation or a kind of certification program Magento Connect will lose its power.

What are your plans with Magento in the (near) future?

Our primary effort during the last months is Magento iPhone Theme – a highly required and anticipated product. The release is planned on 24 November, and the last week we had published a video preview of the product which has already gained lots of feedback, we are receiving tons of new inqueries.
Another new upcoming products for this year: Order Flags extension which is dedicated to save time managing orders and make this process more effective; Popup extension for marketing and advertising purposes; and RMA extension, the name speaks for itself – it will add proper return material authorization ability into Magento. All these extensions were developed basing on feedback from our valued visitors and customers on our forum – forum.aheadworks.com
Also you can expect updates of Checkout Promo, Advanced Newsletter, Product Questions, Subscriptions and Recurring Payments extensions – all releases will contain new functionality and some fixes. So as you can see we are having hot time here )
Besides product updates we are also focused on building a strong Magento community here and plan to organize local Magento meetup events next year, which must be popular due to great number of local developers, and we know many of them work with Magento platform.

Complete the sentence “Magento changes the e-commerce landscape forever because…”

…it’s innovative, scalable, open source, easily extendible platform with amazing active community. It’s not only about the code – it’s about people, and there are thousands of people who love Magento and that’s why it will continue to prosper with no doubts.

Thanks Artyom for your cooperation! Next week I’ll interview Jisse Reitsma from Yireo. If you want to stay up-to-date, you can subscribe to the RSS feed, the Newsletter or my Facebook page.

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Hyperbolic discounting

:theory:
We discount the value of the later reward, by a factor that increases with the length of the delay. In other words: We prefer a small reward now over a large reward later on.

:application:
Rewards later, are worth less then rewards right now. People rather have €50 right now then €60 in a month. But that is inconsistent if you change the timeframe: people prefer having €60 in 13 months, rather then €50 in twelve months, although the wait for the extra €10 is still one month.

When you give discounts in your shop you need to take notice of this, or you can even play with it. If you have a points system in your shop you can offer small discounts right now and big discounts in the future, but people are most likely to go for the small discount, unless the reward for waiting is REALLY big.

Dan Gilbert explains this phenomenon in his TED Talk ‘Exploring the frontiers of happiness‘ (video). He starts talking about Hyperbolic discounting at 18:13, but I recommend you see the whole video as it is a great presentation.

Further reading: Hyperbolic discounting on Wikipedia

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Feedback 6: Competitors

Before telling about competitors I would like to ask if competitors for Magento already exist ;). After Guido posted a comparison of shopping cart software I was surprised to see the amount of e-commerce platforms. Actually I expected to see a couple of well known software, like Intershop, OsCommerce or Virtuemart. Wikipedia showed a huge list of e-commerce software with their pricing, creator information, latest stable version date, updates and license information.

I think the amount of the software is not a threat for Magento, but more like an opportunity to present the retailers a shopping cart solution with the best practices of the e-commerce world. Let’s take a short look at three of the open source competitors:

OpenCart

Another alternative for an open source shopping cart solution is Open Cart. This is a basic e-commerce platform meant for small business solutions. The interface looks like Magento and the menu structure too. You could say it’s a light version of Magento, like MagentoLight ;).

osCommerce
I heard from my colleges about the strange and too extended database structure of osCommerce. They were busy to migrate a complete database from osCommerce platform to Magento and not all data could be transferred correctly. Data migration is one of the most important issues the retailers have to think about before switching to another e-commerce platform.

Virtuemart
This is a shopping cart extension of Joomla! CMS providing a user friendly, basic interface. During the time I was also developing websites, I made one website with Virtuemart. If I didn’t know about the enhanced marketing possibilities, extensions (Magento Connect), and other great features of Magento, my choice should go to Virtuemart.

:magentoguru:

Vinai Kopp

Interview: Vinai Kopp

Today I start with a new series on my blog: Interviews with members of the Magento community. Who are they, what are they working on and what can we expect from them in the (near) future? Let’s start with my first guest and fellow member of the Magento CAB: Vinai Kopp.

Vinai is working as a Freelance programmer and web-developer since 1998 at his own company Netzarbeiter. He specialized on Magento since march 2008 and is mainly active training Magento developers and providing technical consulting. Vinai lives in Heidelberg (Germany) and can be found online on Skype (vinai_kopp), Twitter (@VinaiKopp) and XING.

Let’s find out what (s)he’s like…!

What did you dream of becoming as a child?

Most of the time I dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Then, as a teenager, I wanted to become a hippie, living of the stuff I created. I’m glad I took a different path, though :).

My philosophy on life is…

Attitude determines emotional response and the created results. I am responsible for my attitude towards people and events.

What is your average day like?

There are two types of days, in the home office and during trainings.

My office day:

  • Wake up the kids, get them off to school.
  • Shower and get dressed.
  • Scan inbox and create list of priorities for the day.
  • Work until midday when the kids come.
  • Cook lunch.
  • 30 min nap.
  • Work until evening.
  • Cook dinner.
  • Send kids to bed.
  • Read or DVD time.

During a training:

  • Get up at 5:30
  • Prepare day until 7:00.
  • Hotel breakfast.
  • More preparation or nap.
  • Off to the client, start training at 9:00
  • Developer Training from 9:00 to 18:00 with a couple of breaks.
  • Then, back to hotel, eat.
  • If net is available do mails.
  • If available, sauna.

The ideal night out is…

…having a funny and exciting time with a friend in a sweet location.

I’m good at…

…getting along with people, reading code, enjoying my life.

I’m very bad at…

…listening to people whine, doing things I don’t really feel like doing (booooring!).

What are you proud of?

My daughters! And that customers like my trainings a lot!

How did you get involved in Magento?

After some years with osCommerce (and derivatives) and becoming sick of it. I sold a Magento-shop to a customer. After he said yes I didn’t have a chance to back out of the contract and had to wrap my head around all the new things in the Magento core. Thank god I love learning new skills, otherwise I wouldn’t have went through with it.

I am (still/currently) involved with Magento because…

  • I love working with smart people.
  • I love learning.
  • It feels good to be able to cleanly customize Magento to do what I want.
  • The excitement around Magento offers brilliant business opportunities.

What should every newcomer know about Magento?

Everybody: it’s only worth it if you plan on doing several Magento projects or plan to create your own store and continue it for a long time.
Developers: there always are better ways to do things in Magento.
Project Managers: you will spend learning time in the first three Magento Projects.

Which feature would you really like to see added to Magento?

  1. A clean ORM.
  2. Multiple inheritance for Magento Classes.
  3. Tracing the position of Layout XML instructions on each block so they could be displayed with path hints.

And what feature would you really like to see removed?

EAV. I believe this is the main reason why scaling Magento is so painful after a certain size.

What is the first extension you install in Magento?

The German localization module, or the Market Ready German extension.

What’s the first thing you would improve on magentocommerce.com?

Speed. Add the possibility to monitor new threads in the extension section of the forums (I often miss new posts regarding my extensions).

What are your plans with Magento in the (near) future?

My plans are to further empower more and more developers to have fun creating awesome shops with Magento.
Also, I’ll try to get my feedback into the planning of Magento 2.0 – I hope Magento Inc. will open up some kind of communication channel for that, soon, like they announced.
The issues I would like to discuss mostly involve increasing Magento scalability.

Complete the sentence “Magento changes the e-commerce landscape forever because…”

..it inspires and empowers people!

Thanks Vinai for your cooperation! Next week I’ll interview Artyom Rabzonov from Aheadworks. If you want to stay up-to-date, you can subscribe to my RSS feed, the Newsletter or my Facebook page.

Curious sheep

Curiosity

:theory:
When we are presented with an interesting piece of information, we want to know more!

:application:
Curiosity is an important motivator of our behavior. It’s important for the discovery, development and improvement of ourselves and the world around us. As a webshop owner you can trigger this in several ways. You can present your visitors with interesting information, give a demo, show how the lives of others was greatly improved by your product or let people actually use (a tuned down version of) your product. The key is to tease people to give them just enough to want more!

:epsychseries:

Land-Rover-Defender-LXV_9

Product series

:theory:
The more items we have, the more eager we are to complete the series.

:application:
People like to collect and complete the set. Incomplete puzzles or images are a nag to our brain. Can you divide your product range into several (logical) groupings that people can ‘collect’? Or you can show them together to suggest the items being in a set to stimulate people to buy them all. You can show sets on your webshop, or e-mail people that already bought item A an B that they really should buy item C to complete the set!

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Chunking

:theory:
Make more efficient use of short-term memory by recoding information in familiar, easier units.

:application:
If you have a lot of information to show your visitors, try to give it to them in manageable groups or ‘chuncks’. This way, the information is more easily understood and recalled.
We also use chunking to make regularly performed operations more routine. It helps to understand the mental routines of your visitors when creating or changing a workflow within your website.

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