Magento Q&A: Jamie Maria Schouren
April 6, 2018
Jamie is the Director of the Dutch eCommerce developer, DEITY.io, a Magento enthusiast, and a PWA evangelist.
Jamie, are apps dead?
I think apps are dying, they’re not dead yet... but they’re mortally ill!
Who downloads apps any more?
The average app download per user per month is zero. That’s true. When clients say to me, ‘I want an app.’ I say, ‘Why would someone download your app when on average they download zero apps every month?’
What do you think changed? We used to love apps.
I think apps are not easy. You have to go and look for the app, then download it. I think our attention level has shortened. Today, people use maybe three apps—a news app, a social media app, and a messenger app. The ones that will survive are apps that provide a service, like Uber and Facebook. Why should people have to download something just so they can buy stuff?
What does a PWA do that apps can’t?
The most important thing about PWAs is that you can combine the engagement level of native apps with the richness and easiness of building a normal website. The line is going to disappear between native apps and mobile websites. Websites need the engagement levels that apps have, they need push notifications, access to the hardware of the phone. And they need to work offline.
How did you start your eCommerce career?
I was studying at university to become an industrial product designer. At the end, I was making apps, and I really loved building apps because I could just make something: I had an idea, then I could build it myself without having to go to a factory. I’m impatient!
What were some of your early projects?
I was 20 years old, and one of the apps I made was for Johnny Walker, the whiskey brand, which was pretty funny because I wasn't old enough to drink it! I won an award for that, and that’s how my career started. I had my bachelor’s degree and the professor asked if I wanted to do a Masters, but I was already earning money and having fun. I later decided that being a freelancer didn't make me happy. I need people around me. And my social life disappeared so I got back into business.
Where did you start?
I started at a B2B lighting company that started as a traditional light selling company who took their business online. When I started there were about 10-15 people working there. When I left there were over 150, and millions of Euros in turnover. It’s pretty cool to build a webshop nearly from scratch and be part of that growth.
How did DEITY.io happen?
We first started out by making a webshop headless. The front-end was based on ReactJS and NodeJS, and through APIs we connected with both Magento 2 and Wordpress at the same time. This was so cool and fast that many customers wanted it. Later came the whole PWA thing, but originally it was a headless webshop. I was thinking that these PWAs and modular back-ends were so cool, that I should make it into a separate product. And I believed in it. I met some Dutch investors, and they had a lot of eCommerce experience (they build the first Zalando shop on Magento), and they decided ‘let’s do this!’ We built a company around it, and that was when DEITY.io happened, just half a year ago. It’s a microservice architecture eCommerce platform. I really believe PWA is the future, and there's nothing more exciting than building the future.
When you’re not working, where do you hang out online?
I like to play games. I play video games on the PlayStation. I love Horizon Zero Dawn, which was made by a Dutch developer. The game is amazing, so beautiful. Online I play Monster Hunter. I also play online games with other people on my phone.
What mobile games do you play?
I’m playing Game of Thrones: Conquest™ and, actually, my allegiance leader in my crew is from Vegas, so I’ll probably meet him when I’m at Imagine.
That’s awesome. Do you have any productivity tips?
I love what I do, I just try to eliminate all the stuff I’m not good at, and other people are much better at, that drains my energy. Keep loving what you do, if you don’t love what you’re doing, change it.
What was the last cool thing you bought online?
Some new shoes for Imagine. It’ll be my first time in Vegas. I’m really looking forward to it.
Where is the best shopping in Europe?
Milan. I just love high heels, my favorite is Christian Louboutin. I wish I had more pairs.
Did you know Christian Louboutin is a Magento merchant?
Really? They are? Who is building a PWA site for them? I should put a shout out in this interview. I want to build for them.
Will you do it for free?