Nestor González has 12+ years of experience in ecommerce and has been with Magento for 5+ years. In this interview, Nestor share his experience with Magento and with Magento community and talked in detail about Magento 2. He said “The main selling point is that it’s easy to upgrade. Right now with magento 1, I usually prefer to apply the patches than to perform a version upgrade.”
Nestor also talked about advantages of attending Magento events like Meet Magento and Magento Running event. He also shared his craze for Magento running event and said that “Last year I paid for the shipping cost of a shirt of the Magento Running event from the MageRunner Man Itself: Brent Peterson.” I hope the readers would love this interview with a very experienced developer of Magento and online commerce.
Cloudways: Nestor, you have 12+ years of experience in e-commerce and business development. What challenges did you face during this period? How did you start your career? What is the story behind you getting involved with Magento?
Nestor: Great question!
I think I always had the “entrepreneur bug” with me, plus I was always into technology. So I think it was natural when the 2 things finally got together.
When I was at school, I made most of my “lunch” money as a PC Support Technician fixing computers of friends, family, neighbors etc. After a while, I was in charge of the computer support of many small companies in my town.
Then I moved to Venezuela to go to the University (computer Engineer at UCAB). So, since I had not much else to do there, and barely knew anyone, I started to build a ‘e-commerce mall”. You can call it a Marketplace today. It was actually the main page build with PHPNUKE and each store was a oscommerce setup. The products were divided by categories, and appeared at the frontend of the PHPNuke “Mall Portal”. I rented a few stores, but that didn’t last long (Although I learned a lot!).
A few months later, I returned to Brazil. Many things happened in between, and one day I was talking to a client and he asked me if I could build a website for his business. He actually had a farm where he bred mini horses, mini goats and mini pigs.
I created his website, and one month later I saw on TV that Paris Hilton had a piglet. The next day I called that client, and asked him that I wanna build my own website about the piglets and I wanted to resell his piglets.
Since I was always a Tech person, with this simple action (calling a client to resell his piglets) I learned so many things, like SEO, business, public relations, and many more things about real business. My website exploded and suddenly I was selling mini pigs to cities I
ve never heard of. I got calls from TV shows interested to exhibit the piglets. It was amazing, then after a year or so, no one was talking about minipigs anymore, that ended, but the learning stayed.
After that I tried a few other things, and ended up building a ecommerce store for women accessories to sell handbags, rings, jewellery and many things like that. At that time I started with Prestashop, then I moved to Magento, then got back to Prestashop, then moved to Magento, it was a Love /Hate relationship with Magento and FINALLY I fell in love with Magento and never looked back anymore :-)
But most importantly, I realized that all my fun was in the tech stuff of the e-business, so it didn't take long when I was having more fun, selling my knowledge and services of Magento on my own store. So officially in 2011, I switched gear and I’ve been working only with Magento services, and I can tell you, these last 5 years have been the most happy years of my life.
Cloudways: You are a Magento Certified Solution Specialist. You also provide Magento store support. What is the common query you get from Magento store owners while providing Magento store support? As a certified solution specialist, what’s your advice for merchants about how they can make their store secure and smooth?
Nestor: Definitely the main queries about Magento Support Services are:
Magento Bug Fix
To the merchant's my advice is:
Instead of repeatedly adding new “shine” functionalities that won't result in benefits to your customer’s experience, try to focus a little more on polishing what you already have. Meaning, providing a fast experience with a good hosting, clean layout, ease of use, and for the love of God, apply the patches! It’s not that just because the patches don’t bring a new functionality falling under any Marketing lingo that you shouldn't invest on having you store protected.
Cloudways: Nestor, what’s your recommended Magento certification learning platform? What’s your advice for youngsters, who want to pursue a career in Magento and want Magento certification?
Nestor: Im glad I was able to take the exam, and almost everything was related to real life experience, so my platform of learning was actually doing it, living it.
And I think this it’s not only for Magento, but for anything you choose to do in your life: choose what you really love and enjoy to do. Everyday I see many and many “Magento Developers” (actually really smart people), that come and go because their focus was only about making money. Those people don’t last long. I’m not going to lie. It’s awesome to make money, there are A LOT of opportunities to make money with Magento (developers and merchants), but in the long term, you are going to be more happy and satisfied with life making a living loving what you really enjoy doing.
Cloudways: You develop many Magento stores. What are the major problems you faced during development? Share your first project journey with our readers. In Magento 2, what functionality do you like? Did you think merchants can increase their sales with Magento 2? What would be your recommendations for those e-merchants looking to upgrade from 1.x to the Magento 2?
Nestor: Oh my… the first full Magento project to a client was an incredibly bad experience (for a few moments I thought it was going to be the last).
I built the store, everything was working, tested, all beautiful and ready to go. But I didn’t have a clear idea about the limitations of a server. I chose a dedicated server, and thought everything on it was going to be fine.
When the day of the launch came, it was a nice feeling of mission accomplished. However, I didn’t have an idea of the power of the social network of that client. The store was only live for a few minutes after his post on social networks. Everything crashed. A bunch of people started to complain at the fan page, and I was sweating without really knowing what was going on. So in those few moments I really had to learn everything I could about caching and applied it on a live store (not recommended). But at the end of the day, everything was saved! The feeling of mission accomplished returned (this time sweating and with shaking hands, and feeling my heartbeat).
About Magento 2: the main selling point is that it’s easy to upgrade. Right now with magento 1, I usually prefer to apply the patches than to perform a version upgrade. With Magento 2, the upgrades will be extremely simple with the new releases every quarter. It’s going to be like a new store with improvements and new functionalities every few months. The estore will always be new and as fast (and maybe faster) as the day of the launch.
And for the merchants that want to upgrade from Magento 1.x to Magento 2.x, here in Brazil maybe it will take a little longer because the essential extensions like local shipping methods and payments methods are not ready right now (and I’m actually working on a few of them). But as soon as those extensions are ready, I highly recommend merchants switching to Magento 2. I’m not going to lie and say Magento 2 will make you sell more, because an e-commerce business has so much more than just the platform, but Magento 2 will definitely have a much better proposing value with a platform that is always updated, and offering the best experience for the customers.
Cloudways: Nestor, what is your finest accomplishment that you are really proud of :)? Is there any famous quote or motto that motivates you and helps to achieve more day by day?
Nestor: The finest accomplishment that I’m really proud of is this little girl right there (Already a “Magento Doctor”)
One quote I really use everyday is the one from Richard Branson: Screw It. Just do it. Mainly because of any new idea, there is always: what if it goes wrong?, what if doesnt work? what if…? what if….? Screw it. Just do It.
Cloudways: Well, what do you think about Magento extensions and modules? Do you think a good developer should rely on these tools? Tell our readers some of your favorite extensions which you think any developer should consider using?
Nestor: I really love the ecosystems built around Magento. There are companies to provide solutions for Magento hosting (like Cloudways), there are companies that provide great quality extensions that helps an e-commerce business succeed. So yes, I love the solutions provided by many extensions. I don’t see any problem with a good developer using a good magento extension, of course some cautions are needed. Like anything, there are also really bad extensions that should be avoided.
The top 5 extensions that in my opinion provide the best value in different areas of a Magento webshop are:
Abandoned cart E-mail from Amasty
One Step Checkout From Inovarti (it is built specifically for the Brazilian market)
Color Swatches Pro from Amasty
Advanced Reports from AheaWorks
Cloudways: Nestor, in your opinion, what are the advantages of attending the Meet Magento and Magento Imagine and other Magento conferences for amateurs who want to involve themselves in the Magento Community? How has your experience been so far with the community members :)? Have you ever attended a Mage run event :)?
Nestor: That is an event I really want to go to. Last year, there was someone streaming from a cellphone and that feeling of having a bunch of the Magento peeps live, in one place seems awesome, like a concert of your favorite artist.
Last year I paid for the shipping cost of a shirt of the Magento Running event from the Mage Runner Man Itself: Brent Peterson. I really enjoy that T-shirt, and it actually motivates me to care a little more about health and so I started running at least 3 days a week. And that actually improved many things in general.
Cloudways: Some people find it hard to manage their work-life balance. With a hectic schedule already in place, how do you find time to manage yourself? Share your interests with our readers.
Nestor: Thats still is a work in progress for me, it is something I really need to improve, because since I have the possibility to work anywhere, I end up working anywhere at anytime. But that’s something that I still will postpone to maybe 2 years ahead, with so many things going on with Magento 2 and e-commerce in Brazil, right now it’s time to go all in.
Cloudways: Every one of us gets inspiration from some influential personalities. Name some of the people within the Magento industry who have influenced and inspired you throughout your life?
Nestor: Great question, I silently follow the steps and get motivation in different areas from different people inside the Magento community:
Health: Brent Peterson
Entrepreneurship: Kalen Jordan
Technical Knowledge: There are many, but the main one: Alan Storm
The kind of Boss I wish to be someday when I have my own Magento agency: Brent Peterson, Ignacio Riesco and Tomislav Bilic
Gratitude: Roy Rubin and Yoav Kutner
Cloudways: Cloudways is a managed application hosting platform that provides a management layer over DigitalOcean, Vultr, Amazon AWS and Google Compute Engine. Do you think Magento performs better on cloud servers as compared to shared hosting environments? What is your opinion about the Cloudways Cloud platform?
Nestor: Without doubt Magento performs better on a Cloud Environment, but not only on any cloud environment, it should be a environment optimized for the specifics of Magento. I wish I knew Cloudways since the first day I started with Magento. Remember the story I told at the beginning of this interview, about the first project launch failing because of bad server preparation? None of that painful experience that could take me out of business in the first project would have happened if I was using Cloudways. And I really value companies that invest in solutions to make the use of Magento as simple and powerfull possible.
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