Magento Q&A: Joshua Warren
March 7, 2018
Joshua is the founder and CEO of the Dallas-based eCommerce agency Creatuity. With over ten years of experience, he’s a Magento Master with a black belt in innovation.
So, Joshua, what’s the tech scene like in Texas?
One thing that I like specifically about Dallas, is that there is some technology culture here, but it’s nothing like Austin or the Bay Area. If I want to seek out the tech scene, I can. But if I want to disconnect for a little bit, I can too.
How do you like to ‘disconnect’?
Between cell phones, the smartwatch, and all this other great technology, it’s getting harder to truly disconnect. But I really enjoy a walk around the neighborhood, and getting some fresh air. Because when you’re inside there’s always a screen within arm’s reach now. I also really enjoy traveling, especially to off-the-beaten-path areas that expose me to something new or unique. For example, a recent trip to Tokyo DisneySea really blended the familiar and the foreign. It was there I discovered the "Gyoza Sausage Bun" (pictured on right) – which is as awesome as it sounds.
What does Magento mean to you?
There’s something very powerful about the combination of open source and eCommerce. Commerce basically brings the money, and open source brings that camaraderie – a sense of being part of something greater than yourself. When I first discovered Magento, at the time I didn’t sit there and think ‘hey, this piece of software is going to change to my life.’ But it actually has.
When Amazon’s patent for one-click purchasing expired, you developed a one-click payment feature for Magento. Why did you decide to release it as open source?
We could have sold it as an extension. Or keep it to ourselves and only use it for our clients, or we could have released it to the greater community. Part of the decision was a sense of pride in the Magento platform. By open sourcing it, I made sure that the feature is in the core platform. Now everybody has it. It’s just another feature that shows that open source works. Magento works.
What are you working on next?
We’re working on a chatbot that breaks a lot of the conventions of chatbots. It doesn’t run on Facebook, it actually runs within your Magento store and enables voice commerce. So, voice commerce already exists, and chatbots already exist. So we took it a step further, and this agent has a physical presence in the real world, via robotics.
You seem to be focusing more on the real world.
I’m doing a lot with omnichannel and trying to see what things we can bring into the physical world, and into stores. We have a few things in early phase development, but we are working on things we can get in stores that are powered by Magento.
It seems you spent so long moving in-store experiences online—now you’re doing the opposite?
Stores are experiencing more and more challenges. I think a lot of stores are looking to eCommerce for the answers. We’re looking at ways stores can take what we’ve learned in eCommerce and apply them to the physical world.
What don’t you like about physical shopping?
When I do go to a store, I’m often complaining about it! If you have a specific thing that you want, and you need to go to a store for it, you want to get into the store, get that thing, make your payment and get out the door. But that doesn’t happen. Sometimes it's intentional. For example, a grocery store will try to funnel you through the store to try to sell you more things. Sometimes it’s unintentional like there are only two cash registers open. It feels like in-store experiences are set up to take as much time as possible: ‘We got you in the store now, we’re gonna keep you in here!’ That's what frustrates me. How can I use technology to improve that?
Has eCommerce changed the way we shop in real life?
I’m a person that has become pretty spoiled by eCommerce. It’s made the world a lot smaller. We can order from a company that is so small that before eCommerce we wouldn’t have heard of them. But you have to be careful because now, as shoppers, we have some pretty unreasonable expectations. It’s great that Amazon delivers so fast. That used to be amazing. Now that's just the expectation.
Where will it go next?
Amazon is now using machine learning to find out what you need before you know that you need it. They’ll go ahead and stage it at a warehouse near your house. It starts to feel a little scary when you think about it, but I do think that there's a balance in a lot of this. No one’s stopping to talk about what is okay. What is this new normal? And what does it mean?
Do you have a daily routine?
I’ve been reading a book called “Morning Rituals.” It outlines the rituals of all sorts of famous and productive people going back hundreds of years. The one thing that stood out is that everyone’s routine is different. Some people wake up at 4 a.m. every day and work out for an hour. At first, I felt bad because I tried that and it didn’t work for me. Then I realized the way people become productive is they find out what works for them.
What's the last thing you bought online?
I was in Japan last year for Meet Magento Japan, and I found a line of cool toys called Star Wars Space Opera. The characters actually march to songs from the movies. I bought some back, but when I tried to buy more online, it was impossible. I found a small site, Sano.shop, that just specializes in selling things from Japanese stores to Americans. I have a Darth Vader and two stormtroopers.
You were behind the excellent Magento mosaic at last year’s Imagine. What have you got planned for this year?
We’re doing all sorts of things. I’m looking forward to it. I’m giving a presentation and then we're putting together a unique sponsorship. We want to do something in a similar vein to the mosaic, something that the community will get really excited about. Watch this space.