April 22, 2019
Every year, thousands of developers and partners make contributions to Magento. They improve code, create extensions, and squash bugs to ensure that Magento remains the most powerful platform on earth. In 2018, one solution partner led the pack in contributions. This agency scored a staggering 5,745 points—awarded for the quantity and complexity of contributions—logging more than double the score of their closest competitor. The winner was Atwix. But how did they do it?
“We are very happy to be number one because contribution is one of the pillars of our culture,” explained the company’s founder, Viacheslav “Slava” Kravchuk. An eCommerce pioneer since he was a teenager, Slava was one of the earliest Magento adopters, and he currently sits on the Magento Association’s Board of Directors. Slava founded Atwix in 2010, to offer B2C and B2B end-to-end Magento implementations, design, performance optimizations, and ongoing maintenance, development, and support. Today Atwix is one of the longest-standing Magento Solution Partners, and a key sponsor of the 2019 Imagine conference. The agency develops projects for high-growth commerce operations like Cabinets.com, a furniture brand on Inc.’s list of the fastest-growing US companies, and Coyuchi, a unique home textiles company. Remarkably, Atwix does all this without a central headquarters.
A Global Agency
“We have three physical offices, but all of them are equal,” explained Slava. “Staff can also work from home, or they can travel. It keeps things fresh.” In the past few months, Slava has run the company from a camper van tearing across the plains of Africa and sent emails from a border post in Sierra Leone. “You would be surprised at the mobile coverage in remote parts of Africa,” he said. “They have no plumbing but they have a mobile payment system.”
Most Atwix team members are distributed across Austria, Slovakia, and Ukraine. They stay connected on Slack and discuss their latest contributions and eCommerce projects on lively video calls. Atwix boasts a dozen Magento contributors who shaped the technologies behind PWA Studio, GraphQL and Multi-Source Inventory. They were one of the first Magento Commerce 2-certified partners in the world, and share their knowledge at regular contribution events across Europe. Having so many certified Magento team members is vital to the team’s success, said Alex Lunkov, a project manager at Atwix: “The value is huge because these certifications help us prepare the most effective solutions, so the client doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel. We are just leveraging Magento capabilities.”
Atwix team members also dominate the individual contributor leaderboard. Yaroslav Rogoza, a Magento Master who lives in Slovakia, came in third with a respectable 1090 points. “It’s an honor for me but it wasn’t my goal to be a top contributor,” he said. “My angle was just to be a part of the community. I like making the world better with every line of code!” Yaroslav admits there is competition among the big-hitters, like Krish TechnoLabs and Interactiv4— but Atwix is already the number one contributor of Q1 2019. “It’s important for some merchants to hire an agency with major contributors on their roster,” he explained. And in baseball terms, Yaroslav is one of the league’s MVPs (Most Valuable Players).
The Winning Culture
Ask any Atwix team member about agency life, and they’ll say they love the culture. “We take it seriously,” said Slava. “As with any culture, it’s hard to define. You know it when you see it. There’s integrity, professionalism, and a healthy spirit that makes the environment positive. It also has to be fun to work with your colleagues.” For fun and for free, Atwix designs popular MageTalk stickers, posters, and wallpapers—they also publish the monthly ‘MageNews’ digest, featuring the latest Magento happenings.
The team looks forward to contribution days hosted at Atwix locations across Europe, and they co-host online events where developers gather to collaborate on new ideas. “We invest a lot into those programs,” said Slava. “We all get together at least twice a year. We host a camp and share our knowledge in a workshop. Sometimes the topics don’t mention eCommerce at all. Besides all the Magento technical talks, a recent workshop discussed how to stay healthy while working behind a computer all day.”
The Atwix team likes to leave their screens and embark on various outdoor adventures. In 2017 they scaled Hoverla, the highest mountain in Ukraine. “The challenge was to keep pace because we all had different levels of fitness,” Slava said. “Everyone reached the top. We felt something similar to when you launch a project for a client, a little exhausted, but so happy and proud of the team effort.” Each year, Atwix also hosts a legendary party to celebrate the company’s birthday. It involves a ritual that is said to involve absynthe, but remains a company secret.
Contribution is at the heart of Atwix. Slava ensures that the company stays involved with various local charities. “We often team up for different activities, for example gathering money and buying and delivering some food and other items to kids in the local orphanages.” They also hold “family week” for team members, when employees take their loved ones for dinner. Afterwards they post a picture in the company’s Slack channel. Atwix picks up the check. “Team members have met and fallen in love at the company,” Slava added. “Actually I’m a godparent to a child of Atwix! She’s too young to code yet...but she can already use an iPad.”