September 19, 2018
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 Tom Robertshaw, eCommerce Evangelist at Space 48.
Tom was selected as a Magento Master for 2018 based on his 2017 contributions through educating developers on Progressive Web Apps and Cognitive Commerce through speaking engagements at Magento-centric events and on his blog as well as both moderating and consistently helping others on the Magento Forums.
Who Are You and What Is Your Role?
My name is Tom Robertshaw. I'm eCommerce Evangelist at Space 48, so I spend a lot of time working both on the developer side supporting them, because I've had quite a few years experience now, and kind of bridging the gap between them, what we can achieve, and then obviously from the merchants' needs and requirements.
How and When Did You First Get Involved with Magento?
I first started with Magento back, it must have been 2010, 2011. I was actually studying Computer Science in university, wanted to do something on the side and that was just when Magento was just releasing. My friend introduced me to it and it was, like, it kind of blew me away with the amount of features that it had, kind of revolutionized the kind of eCommerce world. It's just kind of grown from there, just the years and years worth of investments into building on top of it, extending it, and just meeting so many different people. It's been a fantastic experience.
What Made You Decide to Contribute to The Magento Community?
Typically, if you were a developer, you quite often can come from the background of enjoying releasing code and, you know, sharing with other people. It may be even just in the form of blog posts and sharing your experience or learning from others, and that. So, yeah. I think probably from quite an early stage, that's something that I enjoyed doing as I was learning Magento. I enjoyed writing blog posts because it was a way of, like, you know, solidifying what I understood, or what I might not have understood at the time, and you get that feedback from the other community members.
How Has Becoming a Magento Master Impacted Your Life?
Being a Master is still kind of new. It's the first year. I've been in the Magento Community obviously for quite a long time, but, you know, [my] first time being a Magento Master and I'm really, like, grateful and humble. It feels strange to be, you know, have your name against some of the titans in the space. So, yeah. First off, I'm incredibly humbled for it and I hope I can kind of serve the community well. Not necessarily whether I deserve it or not, but it's being part of that group, being in front and then, obviously, eyes are gonna be on you in terms of what you're doing during the year. And I hope that I can just continue sharing the message and doing good work.
What is One Thing the Magento Community May Not Know About You?
Something that many of the Magento community won't know about me is in the last three months I learned to ride a motorbike and it's like having a brand-new thing. I thought I'd do something a bit crazy. People that know me might know that I don't take too many risks on, so a motorbike is a bit out there. But I'm loving it, kind of fallen in love with my Triumph Street Triple and ready for the summer.
What Is One Piece of Advice You Live by And Would Like To Pass On To Other Developers?
I think one thing to kind of think of as you're a developer and you're learning [is] we can spend a lot of time learning new technologies, but actually, something that can really help us in our career is just spending more time understanding customers. It can be easy to be negative towards them or feel like it's kind of us versus them a lot of the time. But obviously, they're trying to do the best for their business and with the knowledge that they have. And so I think there's a lot of opportunity for developers to actually spend some time putting themselves in the merchant's shoes. And hopefully, that, together with a bit more empathy, can lead to a better solution and then happier relationships.
Do You Have A Tip for Merchants and Developers to Maximize Partnership?
I think one of the simplest things to do for the client and merchant and developer relationship is just to speak more often. We know that so much of our time is spent either in Slack or emails or whatever. Actually spending more time face-to-face or, is just as simple as Hangout video calls. Doing that more regularly rather than having that kind of separation, either through a project manager or through text, where so much is lost. I think doing face-to-face stuff is really, really valuable.
What Does Being a Magento Master Mean to You?
Being a Magento Master is an amazing privilege. I feel like I've spent so many years in the ecosystem and I'm just so grateful to have that recognition. And so, yeah. I'm just kind of proud of that and being able to continue educating developers as much as possible and can keep the conversation going.