January 3, 2020
Magento Masters contribute a lot to the Magento Community so, naturally, people want to know what makes them tick. In this Magento Masters Spotlight, we’re chatting with Joseph Maxwell.
Who are you, and what is your role?
My name is Joseph Maxwell and I’m the founder of SwiftOtter Solutions outside of Kansas City. We are a solution integrator, so we provide services to build out Magento websites, as well as, what I also really enjoy doing, the certification aspect of it. We help people, developers, and project managers, salespeople, become certified and achieve those goals in that department.
How and when did you first get involved with Magento?
That went back to 2011. I know there’s people that go back even early but that was plenty early enough for me. We had a client that was running PDG Cart, it was one of those really old CGI-bin technologies, and they wanted to move to Magento, Magento Enterprise at the time, and they asked us if we would be willing to help them learn and work through this process. We undertook it and it was a terrific experience. That’s really what kicked off my love for Magento. Right at the beginning I had to get certified and just work through the process. It was really excellent.
What made you decide to contribute to the Magento Community?
Back in the Magento 1 days, there was really no such thing as open source contributions. Magento put out their releases every once in a while, and hopefully you liked it. Obviously, there were really cool features that were coming out, but there were really no contributions. Any contributions that were done had to be done through modules. When Magento code 2 comes around with the ability to contribute, and the open source involvement, if there is a bug fix or a bug in the system it’s not necessarily Magento’s fault—all of us can pitch in to resolve that or all of us can pitch in to provide an improvement. It’s extremely exciting and democratizing in that way to be able to contribute. From the actual product perspective, I’ve enjoyed being able to contribute and provide some bug fixes. Beyond that, just in the community, being able to help people and see that grow has also been a really great experience.
How has the Magento Community impacted you?
From like six, seven years ago, 2011, I have full invested all of me into it, and it’s been extremely worth it. Coming to the conferences, meeting people, building these friendships—it goes so much deeper than just a program or a whole bunch of code. It’s helping people, working with people, these friendships, these relationships. Plus, it’s a tool, in my opinion, that enables merchants to sell more and to become extremely flexible and agile in the markets that they’re working with. For me as a personal aspect I really enjoy the ability to help people plus be able to contribute, to work with our merchants and to take them to the next level.
What’s been your favorite Magento event to attend or organize?
My favorite event is Imagine. I love coming here. It’s the global conglomeration of all of my friends and many more people that I enjoy meeting. Imagine is terrific. In that concentrated three day, two and a half day, time of being able to sit down and chat, to learn, talking to other agencies, talking to merchants—listening to their experience, the new information that’s coming out about Magento, hearing the great success stories. It’s really motivating and inspiring to me in that way.
What’s one thing the Magento community may not know about you?
I would say the Magento community probably doesn’t know that I play music. I play the guitar and several other instruments. That’s a great way to unwind after a busy day, head in the trenches, you’re working hard. It’s fun to be able to hang out with my wife and kiddos and be able to sit down and relax, play some music. My daughter has a ukulele now, so she enjoys playing that with me so that’s something that we really enjoy doing.
What is one piece of advice that you live by, and would like to pass on to other developers?
I love to be able to help people and that’s really been the motivation behind all the certifications. I’ve spent, over this past year, hundreds of hours working on developing that and it’s really exciting to be able to help people. As much as we can give of ourselves to others, that really has made the Magento ecosystem what it is. There are so many incredible people out there that are giving back. The other night, Sunday, I heard a great way to summarize that and that’s extend yourself. Giving of ourselves in every way possible, whether that’s something small like a smile or helping somebody out with one of their Magento problems sort of thing or it could be something greater like what everybody tackles—coordinating a conference or something bigger along those lines. Just giving of yourself, extending yourself, to be able to help others achieve their goals.
About Joseph Maxwell
CEO, SwiftOtter, Inc.
Joseph is passionate about helping people with Magento—merchants, and developers. He started working with Magento about eight years ago—and it was a rough road to learn it. Joseph has now written hundreds of pages of study material for Magento developers so they can come up to speed much faster than it was for him. He has seen that skilled Magento developers make for happy Magento merchants. Merchants benefit from speedier development and increased revenues from better-performing sites. When the day is done, Joseph is happiest spending time with his wife and two children.
Joseph was selected as a Magento Master for 2019 based on his 2018 contributions on GitHub as well as through serving on the Magento U Certification Advisory Board, organizing the Kansas City Magento Meetup, and guiding many through their Magento 2 certification exams through the creation of extensive certification study guides.