Editor’s note: Continuing our Interview Series with the most eminent Magento experts, we are happy to share our conversation with Brent Peterson today. Brent is a Lead US Forum Moderator for Magento, co-founder of a web agency named Wagento, certified Magento Solution Specialist and just a well-known personality in the Magento community. In the interview, he talks about the start of his career and influencers, as well as discussing how to become Magento certified, and a lot more.
1. Thanks for joining us today, Brent. Please, tell us a bit about your background. How long have you been working with Magento and why it has become your choice?
I started in retail with a chain of computer store in the early 90’s. By 1998 I realized that it was getting increasingly difficult to make money building computers so I sold my store(s) and decided to pursue software. I had some knowledge in Microsoft Access so I told my first client “Of course I can do that!”. I spent the next 30 days working and learning 20 hours a day to get a Microsoft ASP site up and running. It was called UKHomes.net. In 2009 I was contracting with a supply company when the owner said “I found this software called Magento and it’s free.” You can learn it or leave. (He said it more diplomatically). I stayed and really dove into Magento. By April 2009 Magento had asked me to help moderate the forums and I started recruiting moderators to help!
2. How would you differentiate Magento from other e-commerce solutions? What is the unique feature that sets Magento apart from other shopping carts?
First, it has to be the Magento community. No other platform for eCommerce has such a huge and supportive community. There are so many resources and so many people continually integrating the product that other platforms can not compete at this level. Second, Magento is open source so you can change the code anyway you want. (Just don’t edit the core!) This has it’s advantages over SaaS platforms in that you can make your site to be anything. It also allows for any integration with no restrictions. We have integrated AS400’s and socket connected legacy systems.
3. Do you often make use of any third-party extensions while developing a website? Are there any modules that you lack when working with Magento 2?
Yes we use third party extensions and as every site is different what we lack we can normally find in the community.
4. Being a Magento certified solution specialist, what piece of advice could you give to those who want to become certified? How did certifications help in your career path?
It is important to know HOW to use Magento and how to use the Magento Admin. Being a Solution specialist helps you to know some of details that are often hidden in Magento or are not more widely used (Many that should be). Most Solution integrators will select a job candidate who has passed the exam rather than one who just says they know a lot about Magento.
5. What does being a Magento Master mean to you? What did you feel when you’ve been awarded? Any motivational words to the beginners who want to become Magento Masters in the nearest future?
Of course being selected as a Master is an honor and being recognized by the community is important. I am honored that I have been selected as a Magento Master and feel humbled that someone thinks that I deserve this recognition. There is no formula to becoming a Master, you only live, eat and breathe Magento.
6. You’ve been organizing lots of Magento-centric events. What is the driving force that motivates you to take an active part in various Magento community meetups?
I love the Magento community and bring together community in one place, in one country is highly rewarding.
7. Could you name some people from the Magento community or Magento itself who have inspired you throughout your journey? Are there any blogs to follow or books to read that you’d recommend to newbies?
At one point I thought I might want to be a Magento trainer and I was sent to training in Chicago for Magento U. My two trainers at the time where Vinai Kopp and Ben Marks. They both taught me that A) I can’t know everything and B) I don’t know everything. Since then they have continually inspired me through both technical knowledge and evangelizing Magento. Sherrie Rhode is another figure who has worked tirelessly to build a great Magento community.
8. As a founder of the “Wagento” company, what difficulties did you face in developing it and how did you tackle them? How did you come up with the name Wagento?
First, I am a co-founder with Susan Peterson. Without her leadership Wagento would not be. We face difficulties like any other company. We tackle them by using a system called EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System). We have weekly 90 minutes for each department. We have a clear accountability chart and we organize into departments. This is an ongoing process and certainly is not complete, but it has helped us to get structure into our organization.
9. A million thanks for accepting our interview invitation. To conclude, would you be so kind to lift the veil of your future plans, projects, and undertakings?
We are now selling actively into India and have our first Cloud PWA project there. I am very excited about emerging markets and look at South and Central America and great growth points. We are launching a module for Magento soon as well!
We are very grateful to Brent that he took the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions, and wish him good luck in the future endeavors!
Sure you want to leave? Take your time to read our previous interview with e-commerce evangelist Thomas Robertshaw. He shares his thoughts and ideas regarding the e-commerce industry in general and the Magento platform in particular. The interview is definitely worth your time, so don’t miss it.
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