August 27, 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, freelance Magento developer and Magento trainer Vinai Kopp sits down for a chat.
Vinai was selected as a Magento Master for 2018 based on his 2017 contributions to the Magento 2 core on GitHub while serving as a Maintainer, for his efforts with the MageUnconference, consistently helping others in the community on StackExchange, and for educating the Magento community on testing in Magento 2 through speaking engagements.
Who Are You And What Is Your Role?
My name is Vinai. I'm a freelance developer and trainer. In my development work I mainly work with merchants. More long-term relationships, so not just, you know, for a module, but more working with a team every couple of weeks for a week or so, just to accompany them through a project. Right now, I'm working with a merchant who's migrating all their stores from Magento 1 to Magento 2. And, otherwise, I do training work, so I give developer trainings. And I'm building an online training platform called mage2.tv. So that's up and coming. We'll be public very soon.
How And When Did You First Get Involved With Magento?
That was in 2008. I was a freelance developer and wrote a quote for a customer who wanted to have an online shop selling article licenses, of all things, so I quoted that. I don't remember where I heard of Magento, but I recommended this new shop system that I read about, because I thought, “It’s just PHP. It can't be that hard”. He said yes so I had to deliver. I actually finished that store before Magento 1.0 was released, so yeah. It's no longer online unfortunately but it existed for some time.
What Made You Decide To Contribute To The Magento Community?
That was in 2009. Because I started early as a developer and I was asking questions on the forums and on IRC back then on freenode. I met the person there who was involved in organizing the first Magento conference in Germany, Meet Magento. I got invited as a speaker and ever since then, I've been doing a lot of presentations on technical subjects at conferences.
What’s One Thing The Magento Community May Not Know About You?
I also gave trainings on personal development. Everything from talking in front of people but also of realizing your potential and stuff like that. So, I've never talked about that before in the Magento context so there you go.
How Has The Magento Community Impacted You?
Oh, it's impacted at me a lot. Some of the people I met through Magento and in the community there have become, well, some of my closest friends and my life would be completely different without it. So yeah, can't overstate it enough how much it has impacted my life. I value them a lot.
What Is One Piece Of Advice You Live By And Would Like To Pass On To Other Developers?
A piece of advice would change over time. Currently, I'm at a point where I have to say, “You know, I just can do as much as I can, and I have to know my own limits.” I’ll just do things as well and as much as I can and see how far I get that way. Because if I try to do too much, it just doesn't work after all, right? It's because, by definition, it's too much.
Do You Have A Tip For Merchants And Developers To Maximize Partnership?
So for the merchants, I would say...well actually I would say to both really, listen to each other. If there is something you don't understand then be sure to ask until you reach a language that is compatible and connects. It needs time to get there, to that level of understanding. The payoff will be huge and, without that time investment upfront, it will cost later on.
What Does Being A Magento Master Mean To You?
It's really humbling, and it's been lovely. It's my third year as Master, being nominated as a Master, and being surrounded by these great people, being part of a group of these lovely, inspiring people. I feel very lucky and grateful to get that opportunity just to hang out with them and talk to them. I don't really think being a Master is, you know, being nominated as a Master, makes me special in any way. Just, you know, basically good luck in timing and being at the right place at the right time. But I'm very grateful for just to, you know, be able to be part of this group.