Like with many of the more personal posts in this blog, I’ve been chewing on this subject for quite a while now. I would like to take some time and reflect on the role I play in the Magento and/or eCommerce space.
Magento-busy since 2008
Since writing the first drafts of the Magento user manual (published by O’Reilly in early 2009) in late 2008, my business life has been dominated by this piece of software. Starting from a couple of webshops I built on the basis of Magento, I spent a good part of last year traveling through the country and educating clients on how to use Magento and how to develop individual extensions. In the beginning of 2010, I had the chance of working in a major multinational Magento project and got to know how clocks tick in those setups. My responsibility was for the project to benefit from my knowledge of Magento, both from the end-user and the programmatic point of view. Being a fairly sufficient developer myself, I could talk directly to the developers and even add a bit of code here and there. In other words: I got to know Magento pretty well, especially in those busy quarters 1 and 2 of 2010. In between, I wrote a couple of articles for online and print t3n and the O’Reilly blog, started the Magento podcast with my buddy Rico Neitzel, spoke at the Meet Magento conferences and helped making the Magento developer handbook (published by O’Reilly in 2010) see the day of light.
I don’t intend to brag here – although I have to admit that seeing my own writing in the shape and form of a book still makes me proud – but simply wanted to outline what has happened during the last years and how I gained the Magento expert status somewhere on the way. This status was a door-opener, enabled me to meet many interesting people and look behind the scenes of ambitious eCommerce projects. And, not to forget, the Magento fame allowed me to charge very decent daily rates and, besides other things, enabled me to be picky about the projects and customers I wanted to work with and find the time to read and blog about interesting developments in eCommerce. Thanks a lot!
Mid-2010: Turning point
So, you might ask, what’s your problem? Well, from the business point-of-view, there is none: Almost daily I get Magento-related questions and project queries and I could just carry on and live a very happy life in ecommerce. However, about halfway through 2010 I started questioning the Magento approach, both from a technical as well from a business point of view. I realised that many clients I got to know struggled not despite but because of the software and the company behind it. Important questions, regarding software security issues for example, remained unanswered, and the wish for more transparency and community support is still acute. In this respect, news of the recent eBay-Magento deal was the cherry on the cake. If today someone tells me that he or she is doing or planning something Magento-related I cannot help but think a regretful ‘really?’.
So what now
There is more to eCommerce than eCommerce software. And there is more to eCommerce software than Magento. I got to know other software such as Shopware and OXID eShop pretty well during the last couple of months and I will continue to investigate interesting developments in the eCommerce space. My aim is to be able to provide objective answers if someone asks me for my opinion on their eCommerce strategy. If a little Magento/eBay/xCommerce comes along the way, I don’t mind at all – but I’m not wearing my Magento dude uniform for work anymore.