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Magento evangelist Brent Peterson shares his community experience

August 24, 2015

4 Min Read
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Brent W. Peterson has an aim. He wants to make sure that every online shop on the planet is made with Magento. In his talks and presentations, he has always tried to show how easy it is to create shops using Magento.

He also owns a web agency named Wagento Creative, which is known for its customer-centric Magento-based projects. He is also the Lead US Forum Moderator on popular Magento forum, MagentoCommerce. He has also completed the Magento U Developer’s Course.

Brent W Peterson interview

His voluntary experiences are not Magento exclusive. Brent actively support the American Liver Foundation and ran a marathon earlier this year for this charitable organization.

In this interview, Brent discusses the Magento Community spirit, his influencers, speaking at Magento events, how he relaxes in his off-time, and offers a bit of advice for newbies to the Magento Community. Read on to gain wisdom from his experiences.

Cloudways: Brent, how did you come up with the word Wagento? What does “W” stand for? When did Wagento come into being and what was the motivation behind this project? What were some of the major challenges you had to face while starting up a company?

Brent: The “W” comes from turning the “M” upside down. My wife had been running an eBay store at the time and she is the one who started our agency with a business partner. Eventually, she bought out the business partner. I am just the person who comes up with crazy ideas… like a “W”.

Cloudways: Brent, you have vast experience in software development. Why did you choose Magento in the first place to create your own company? According to you, what makes Magento supercede other ecommerce platforms?

Brent: I think that “vast” is an overstatement. I chose Magento originally because a client of mine wanted to use it and it looked like a great option. The Magento Community is the reason that Magento is so great.

Cloudways: Brent, you are one of the most recognized people in the Magento community. What advice would you give to a newcomer who wants to be involved with the Magento community? You are Lead US Forum Moderator for Magento, what are your key responsibilities?

Brent: If you want to become involved then I would start answering questions on Magento.SE and the Magento forums. I would attend Magento events and commit your modules to Github so others can try them.

I think that Sherrie Rohde is the Lead Moderator now for Magento. 🙂 I try to help her with whatever she needs.

Cloudways: Brent, How do you see Magento in comparison to other popular cart systems like OpenCart, Woocommerce, Drupal Commerce, etc.?

Brent: I will go back to the community, the quality of the product and the scalability that sets Magento above the competitors. Magento is the platform that will tick all the boxes when you need scalability, customizability and a solid community that is contributing to the codebase.

Cloudways: The Magento community is growing fast. A lot of people are now contributing to this community. If someone wants to contribute to this community, how would that be?

Brent: I think I answered this earlier, but I would say make a module that people want and get people to use it. If the module is good then people will pay for it. However many developers are contributing their modules on Github and allowing others to collaborate.

Cloudways: Do you think events and meetups are a good way to increase engagement in community? What are your thoughts on Meet Magento events?

Brent: Events and meet-ups are the best way to allow for many Magento-ites to get together and share stories, code and thoughts.

Cloudways: You were a speaker in Magento Live UK. What was your talk about at the event?

Brent: I spoke with Deryck Harlick on the topic, “Magento in 90 minutes” The idea was to show others that Magento is as easy-to-setup as a SaaS platform. We successfully demonstrated that you could setup Magento, lightly modify the theme, load products and then buy something. In fact, we finished our setup in 68 minutes and someone else was able to buy something before I could.

What was the best part of Magento Live UK that you would like to share with our readers?

Brent: It was the opportunity to see my European friends that I don’t normally see during the year.

Cloudways: Brent, let’s set Magento aside and talk about your personal life. I follow you on linkedin and I saw you like listening to music. Which type  of music do you like? Are you a fan of rock music?

Brent: I listen to two stations all day: I start with BBC Northern Ireland, then switch to BBC6. I have a particular fondness for Irish music (having had a business there [Ireland] in the past). BBC6 plays an eclectic mix of music that you never get bored with.

Cloudways: Let’s talk about Mage-Run! What made you start this amazing thing? Share some exclusive advantages of running with our readers. How many MageRun events have you organized yet?

Brent: We organized our first Magerun for the first Magento Imagine conference in Las Vegas (not the first one in LA) The idea came from my wife Susan who is a Boston Qualifier and general Rock Star Runner. She said we might as well find a race to do while we are in Las Vegas. We had done quite a bit of running at Imagine #1 and then at the X.com conference in San Francisco in 2011. I met some great Magento devs (like Kuba Zwolinski, Vinai Kopp, Ben Marks).

Magento Running Team before the big race. Las Vegas 5K 2014

Magento Running Team at Las Vegas- 2014

We would find a time to run at every event we attended. It isn’t me that organizes all the events, it’s the community.

Cloudways: Brent, what are some must have extensions that you recommend to use with Magento stores?

Brent: I think there are so many great extensions out there that it is hard to put your finger on anyone.

Cloudways: Brent, there are individuals who tend to inspire us with their work and thoughts. Name some important people in Magento community who have had a profound impact on your life and your career?

Brent: Bob Schwartz is the one who encouraged us to start Wagento. Vinai Kopp has helped me tirelessly when I had programming questions and of course, Ben Marks has always been supportive in the Magento community. There are so many more that we can’t list them all here.


You can follow Brent W Peterson on Twitter at (@brentwpeterson)

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