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 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.