Because of recently announced new roles of Meet Magento Association we decided to add some more MMA interviews. Let’s start with Guido Jansen, Vice President West Europe.
1. Please introduce yourself in about 3 sentences!
I have a psychology background and always worked in e-commerce. Currently building a UX/Conversion optimization team at one of Europe’s largest online flower companies Euroflorist.com. Started with Magento in 2008 and been an active community member since :).
2. What would be the best/worst thing about one day without any internet-ready device?
It’s very relaxing not having the constant need to check what’s happening in the world, although I already disabled most notifications and usually have my phone on silent (no vibrate) anyway. Definitely helps with reading books. What I dislike most about having no internet when traveling is not having access to maps (because I forgot downloading it). Navigating is so much easier with it if you don’t know the area :).
3. What´s your favourite place in the world?
Either at home or traveling to new destinations :).
4. Remember: what was your career aspiration as a child?
I don’t know actually. I was definitely working towards improving myself on different levels, but never had a clear career path in mind. Until I was 22, the main thing that occupied me was swimming and I was always training more than I sat in college. I won many national championships and participated in European championships, but it was clear that getting to World or Olympic level would require a lot more money/training, IF I was even possible to reaching that. And honestly, swimming is not a real career aspiration: you don’t make any money with it (at least not in The Netherlands) and after 30, you’ll definitely be done with it. By then I still didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to become, but I definitely didn’t want to become an ex-sportsman with no diploma playing lifeguard for the rest of his life. So I finished by study in Applied Cognitive Psychology and was already drawn to the internet, open source and building websites. Eventually, those two came together nicely :).
5. What was your first contact with Magento? What make you stick around?
In 2008 I was working with CMS systems like Joomla! but those projects were usually finished when the site was launched. But for me, the interesting part actually started after launch: that is when you start interacting with customers and you can start optimizing for user behavior. E-commerce merchants were much more active in that area and when Magento came around it was years ahead of the competition and the switch was easily made. I started Dutchento.org (local Dutch Magento community), organized the first ever Meet Magento, invited Roy and Yoav and the rest is history :).
6. What do you like about your Magento life the most?
A lot of things ;). Traveling, meeting new people and working together with many people with a huge variety in background (check this awesome #BeforeMagento twitterstorm: sfy.co/a0vYW) are definately very high on the list. As a psychologist I have a big interest in different cultures and going to other countries is always a great way to get confronted with your own biases and learn new things!
7. If you were leading Magento what would you change? (development, whole company, events…)
I must say that in general I see loads of positive things coming from Magento in all areas since the split with eBay. It’s really promising for everyone. Two months ago I would have answered this question with: “Start an official partnership with the MMA and fully collaborate on global Meet Magento events”, but I’m very glad that we can check that box ;). Magento 2.0 in the eBay era had a lot of delays, but after Magento published a strict roadmap at Imagine 2014 they did stick to it and I think that reinstated trust in the project. Something I think we should continue for future development but the roadmap is not crystal clear right now (Anna Völkl did collect all announced changes on http://mage2roadmap.com, but no open roadmap from Magento itself). I hear from merchants that are looking to possibly switch to Magento that this isn’t scoring any points. Of course everyone that ever did an IT project knows that committing to roadmaps can be hard, but I think there are enough other projects that make it work. One example is Ubuntu (open source Linux OS): they have a fixed release schedule of 4 months development, 1 month alpha, 1 month beta and then release every 6 months. And they have a LTS (Long Term Support) version every 2 years. I think this kind of predictability would be a huge benefit to Magento developers and merchants planning their work and budgets. And of course that should be combined with a clearer roadmap on what is planned for the next release cycles.
8. What are your main responsibilities/projects in Meet Magento Association?
The main thing I’m working on right now is the Meet Magento World conference. It’s gonna be an awesome first-of-it’s-kind conference in the Magento community featuring the best speakers from local Meet Magento events and the best speakers from the online e-commerce industry in general. Great fun to work on and really looking forward to the event itself!
9. What was your favourite Meet Magento event that you didn’t organize?
The most remarkable I think was Meet Magento Vietnam in 2015. It was the first big Meet Magento event in Asia and we didn’t have a good idea what to expect. The level of interest in Magento and e-commerce from the participants and also TV stations and the Vietnamese government was an unexpected eye-opener. That being said, I really love going to ‘first’ Meet Magento events in a country. It’s great to see people get together that only know each other from online and meet AFK for the first time and see the start of new partner- and friendships as we’ve seen in many other countries.
10. What are your future plans with Magento?
My sweetspot is to develop new things for the community. This means I will be handing over some of the stuff I’m already doing for some time now (like organizing Meet Magento The Netherlands), but the Magento community has me in it’s grip so it’s with great fun that I’m working on new projects like Meet Magento World, this time with the great people from the Meet Magento Association to support me!