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Magento Is not Hobby Material – an Interview

This is is a re-publication of the interview with me that was published on the Cart2Cart blog on May 10, 2013.

Today we present to you an exclusive interview with Guido Jansen. Every Magento Community member knows Guido as a passionate evangelist of this platform, organizer of annual Dutch “Meet Magento” and speaker at numerous Magento events all around the world.

Read on to find out who shouldn’t use Magento, what’s the hardest part of switching to this solution and how to deal with it without causing yourself too much trouble.

Guido, you are well known firstly as a Magento evangelist. Actually, why Magento out of all eCommerce solution? What’s your reason for singling it out as the most deserving one?

I was already hooked to the internet and open source mindset from early 2000. When I first came in to contact with Magento in 2008, it was a very big step forward compared to other open source alternatives. Looking at the software and the drive of the company and community behind it I knew it was bound to be a very popular product and even a very competitive alternative to commercial products. Read more

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Awesome Dropbox alternative starts at 22GB free storage

Update 1: I already got over 500GB free lifetime storage at Copy, awesome!
Update 2: Now at > 1TB
Update 3: 1,652 Gigabytes and counting… :)
Update 4: > 3.0TB!!!
Update 5: 10.3 TB
Update 6: 17.3 TB

I usually post about Magento, e-commerce or psychology. But sometimes I encounter a cool online service or product and I cannot resist to share it with you :). In the same category I’ve share over 750 invites to a closed beta of Quora and shared many invites to Google+ and Wunderkit Pro when they were still in closed beta.

Today is another day for a product I think will be great: Copy.com.

If you know services like Dropbox, SugarSync or Skydrive you’re familiar with the concept of a cloud sync & storage service. Basically, you have a folder on your computer and whatever you put in there, it get’s synced to the cloud and to any other computer you’ve hooked up to the service. Great for backup and also great for sharing files and folders with anyone (even when the other party doesn’t use that particular service).

I’ve used Dropbox for a long time, but this weekend I came across Copy.com which seems to have a nice edge over Dropbox.

Sharing

Copy.com has a more elaborate way of managing file and folder permissions with people and groups which is great when you share a lot with friends, family, colleagues or clients. They also have a Corporate version if you want even more functionality.

Multiplatform, multidevice

Besides that, they started with apps for MacOS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android out of the box, that’s really great for multiplatform support and people using multiple platforms and devices (like I am).

The most important: loads of free storage!

But the biggest kicker for Copy.com is their storage (and what can be more important for an online storage service?). They start you of with 15GB of free storage (20GB if you use this link and an extra 2GB if you tweet about them) which is much more compared to the 2GB you get when you start with Dropbox. As an extra: when you refer someone to Dropbox, they give you 500MB extra storage. But when you refer someone to Copy.com they give you 5GB extra storage which can really give your online drive a boost and gives you the ability to maybe even backup and your complete music or photo collection online making it accessible across devices.

Update: I also discovered that there’s a copy.com app for Drobo (NAS system) which I already use and love. That way, it’s easy to sync the local backup on the Drobo with an offsite backup at copy.com. Set-and-forget, really nice! More about that can be found on the Drobo website.

So if you want to give it a try, you can signup here and we’ll both get 5GB extra storage. Good luck and let me know what you think of the service in the comments below!

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eCommerce in the Netherlands: Be Aware of Local Laws and Offer Prevailing Dutch Payment Solution

This is is a re-publication of the article/interview with me that was published on the aheadWorks blog on Februari 21st, 2013.

Since 2003 I was involved in several open source projects, doing mainly consultancy and some project management besides my Psychology studies. I started the online Dutch Joomla! community in 2004 and also organized national events for that community. In 2008 I came into contact with Magento and was really enthusiastic about it right from the start. Since people with webshops on Magento purposefully earn money with it (which is not always the case with a regular Joomla! website), budgets for developing Magento webshops are much higher, and thus, it is more interesting market.

I copied the Joomla! model to Magento and started a local online community, organizing national events and doing consultancy work.

Magento position in the Netherlands

Despite the economy being at a low point, eCommerce is still growing in the Netherlands. There’s a great interest in the Netherlands for Magento and related services. For instance, if you use Google Insights to track interest for “Magento” in the last 12 months, you’ll see the Netherlands on top.

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The difficulty in our region is to sell outside the boarders of the Netherlands. International legislation, logistics and customers are often focused on buying from within their own country, and that can be a challenge for foreign eCommerce companies.

The great thing about the Netherlands is that the average wages are high and many people have access to 3 or more internet-enabled devices. Shopping online is a regular thing to do for a large percentage of the population. 

If you want to open eCommerce business here, you’ll need to get into some local laws (for instance, currently our cookie law is much more strict than anywhere else in Europe) and offer the predominant local iDeal payment solution.

You also need to keep in mind that we only have around 16.7M residents, so if your business model requires scaling beyond that, you should be active in other countries.

Dutchento basis: people like to do business with people they’ve met in real life

Dutchento is Magento fraternity in the Netherlands. It feels like a natural extension of the online community we have. Once a year we bring together the brightest minds on eCommerce and Magento and show the greatest showcases. But more importantly people like to do business with people they’ve met in a real life. Dutchento is a catalyst of Magento business in our country.

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We have been organizing events like Meet Magento NL for a couple of years and the organizational part is worked out well. The most difficult thing here is to battle rising costs on the one side and getting sponsors on the other. Despite eCommerce being on the rise, we do notice that sponsors are on a tighter budget than before.

Dutchento helps us connecting people. The most important part is to link the people who want to build a new webshop (or build upon their current shop) with the right Magento partners and third party service providers like e-mail marketing, payment providers, logistics, etc. The sessions we have during the day (around 25) and business marketplace are also meant to show visitors which party has the right credentials for their needs, and what are the best showcases in their branch.