An Interview with Guido X Jansen: “I fell in love with Magento and stayed for the people.”

An Interview with Guido X Jansen: “I fell in love with Magento and stayed for the people.”

Editor’s note: Today, we are honored to have Guido X Jansen participate in our Interview Series and discuss the main aspects of Magento platform. Magento guru who has an educational background in Cognitive Psychology, community founder and organizer of the annual Dutch “Meet Magento”, as well as a speaker at numerous Magento-related events all around the globe – Guido shares his thoughts about the e-commerce, Magento solution, online psychology and a lot more. Enjoy reading!

1. Guido, you have a quite interesting background in the different fields with more than a decade of work experience. Can you tell us about the milestones of the tipping points of your career?

When living it day by day you don’t really experience big shifts or tipping points. It all feels more gradual. In general it’s always been about exploring multiple ideas, seeing what sticks and using that as a foundation to build on.

I suppose one of the more exciting milestones for me was my first international presentation on Persuasive Ecommerce in Brazil in 2012. Another shift was moving from the agency side to client side in 2014, which at the time definitely gave more depth and control over my work. And of course being part of the inaugural board of the new Magento Association will be a very exciting challenge for the upcoming years.

2. I have noticed that you have studied psychology and communication science. How do you use these skills in your jobs and speeches?

Many online companies and their employees use websites and other digital tools to communicate, but unlike offline stores most of them don’t actually see or speak with most of their customers on a regular basis. The only “feedback” most get are in the form of analytics and sales reports that are often only seen days or weeks after the customers actually visited their (online) store. This makes digital businesses much more scalable than the offline variants, but this also creates a gap and a delay in the customer feedback for the employees. Feedback they would normally receive directly when working with customers. This greatly inhibits our sense of what works for your customer and the ability to directly do something about that.

In my daily work I help product owners/ business restore this feedback loop. Just like at university this usually means running (online and offline) usability studies and running many experiments to validate our hypotheses to find that sweet spot between a better user experience and a higher business impact.

Having a background in psychology definitely helps when trying to persuade people to do something, whether it’s in business meetings or on stage :)

3. Being a Magento Evangelist and Dutch community founder for the Magento e-commerce platform, why did you choose Magento out of all e-commerce solutions? In your opinion, which capabilities and tools help this shopping cart dominate the e-Commerce market?

When I first encountered Magento it was 2008. It was years ahead of any competitor and there was really nothing that could compete with the product. Apparently many people worldwide felt the same way and started using the product, resulting in an ever expanding, amazingly responsive community. I fell in love with the product and stayed for the people.

4. The Plumrocket team visited Meet Magento Netherlands in 2018 and were impressed with the high level of the conference organization. You were a Vice President of Meet Magento Association in Western Europe. Can you share your memories on how Meet Magento Netherlands went live? Are there any difficulties during the organization of such events? What piece of advice can you provide for the individuals who want to start organizing Magento events in their country or city?

Thanks for the compliment! The first Meet Magento event (ever) was born on January 27th 2009 in Utrecht. I hosted the event for 100 early adapters and I was very happy to have Magento’s founders Roy Rubin and Yoav Kutner to give keynotes at the event.

This year we will host our 11th annual Meet Magento event in The Netherlands and every year we have many (often self-imposed) challenges to overcome; for instance we want to improve networking and get more non-Magento merchants to come. We also want to attract more students to the event.

If you want to start a Magento event: definitely reach out to the Magento Association and connect with other organizers in the Meetup organizer subforum on magento.com. Lots of resources and good advice can be found there!

5. Guido, you’ve been recognized as Magento Master in 2019. What steps should one take to obtain this title? Can you provide any suggestions for beginners who want to become a Magento Master in the future?

If you want to be on the list, read the Magento Master posts on magento.com to see what criteria people are scored on. Think about things like Github PR commits, organizing events and speaking at events. But in general I wouldn’t recommend having “becoming a Magento Master” on the top of your To Do list. It’s highly dependent on what others are doing that year, which is out of your control. Instead focus on contributing in ways that you’re comfortable with, that you enjoy and that are in the area where you want to grow. If you do that you’ll keep growing as a person and get recognition because of that, maybe even in the form of a Magento Mastership… :).

6. It is impressive, you have a broad involvement in the Magento community. Now, you are a member of the inaugural directors board of the newly formed Magento Association. What are the main objectives of the organization? What is the difference between the Meet Magento Association and Magento Association?

The new Magento Association is dedicated to fostering and supporting technology projects, community events, training and education, and online collaboration. The Magento community has a rich history in building collaborative programs and successful events across geographies. The Magento Association is building on that to complete the vision: An open, healthy and powerful Magento ecosystem for continued success of future generations.

The Meet Magento Association was a great community initiative based in Germany. The MMA took the first steps in bringing together Meet Magento organizers, coordinating the events, increasing their impact. The MMA was able to expand the Meet Magento event series from just a handful of events in Europe to over 40 yearly events worldwide. The amazing thing is: all of these events are organized by local community partners, Magento itself was not involved in the organization. An impressive achievement unlike any other tech community in the world.

To take it to the next level, many discussions took place between Magento and the MMA and it was decided that the best next step was to create a new association, funded by Magento/Adobe.

The newly formed Magento Association has a different structure/setup that aligns more with the increasingly international activities and allows us to expand beyond “just” coordinating Meet Magento events. We the Magento community have a very exciting time ahead of us!

7. Guido, you have shared your knowledge at conferences and business events around the world for more than 8 years. You teach not only psychology, e-commerce, conversion optimization, etc. but speak about customer experience. Since today’s clients become more demanding about everything and want to be reached in a personalized way, can you give ecommerce-store owners any recommendations on that?

Sharing knowledge publicly is in my view very much in line with the open source ideology. For me personally teaching and presenting is a great way to grow and learn professionally.

To start with personalization you really need to have a firm grasp of your (main) customer segments, their goals, challenges and concerns when trying to reach those goals (in general, not just on your website). And not just by looking at your analytics but also combining that with user interviews and other qualitative research. Only after that you can get a good idea of what types of personalization will add value and you can select or build a tool to enable that.

8. To conclude, can you name 3 books that had an impact on your life and career path?

I read (or actually listen) to a lot of (audio)books so it’s really hard to pick just 3, but here are some of my favorites:

We want to thank Guido for chatting with us and providing a substantial amount of helpful information for our readers. Wish Guido all the best of joy and inspiration!

Before you leave our blog, take your time to read the previous interview with Brent Peterson. You can discover useful insights about Magento platform, find out how to become Magento certified specialist, and much more.

Note: If you are searching for a simple way to expand Magento e-store functionality, check out Plumrocket Store and find your desired extensions.

 

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