MageTalk Episode 213 – “I’ve Lost 3 Stone of Stress this Week” w/ Rebecca Brocton

The boys are joined in today’s episode by Rebecca Brocton and they discuss mental health, how to battle impostor syndrome, and how to overcome social anxiety when attending community events.

Listen now!

Show Notes

You can watch the video live stream here.

1:02 Rebecca’s In the House

Kalen and Phillip are joined in today’s episode by Rebecca Brocton (@RebeccaBrocton and Phillip brings up that Kalen has been streaming every day for 49 days.

Phillip says that she reminds him of a certain scene in Alice in Wonderland.

2:50 What are we talking about today?

Rebecca and Phillip tag-team hosted health breakout at MagentoLive Europe.

Phillip was speaking about physical health and Rebecca was speaking on mental health and the conversations were basically the same.

Mental health is a stigma that we tend to not talk about but Rebecca has been at the forefront of mental health awareness in the community.

5:00 What’s Been Happening in Rebecca’s Life?

A lot has happened since the last time Rebecca was on the show.

Rebecca is now on the board of the Magento Association. She has also started following a vegan and healthy lifestyle.

After being vegan for a while, Rebecca had one weekend of not being vegan and then realized that she wasn’t missing much.

Kalen asks if she has heard of or considered cricket protein

The boys are also intrigued by the fact that Britain does not have Disney+ at the moment and that Rebecca goes to bed at 8:00 pm every night.

Does Kalen have the ability to transfer curses?

15:12 The MageTalk Weight Loss Challenge

Rebecca took the boys up on the MageTalk weight loss challenge a few months back. Phillip has lost 154 pounds, Kalen lost around 32 pounds, and Rebecca has lost around 30 pounds for a combined total of 216 pounds.

The Magento Community has evolved to include more than just the platform and Phillip brings up the positive communication he has received on his weight loss journey.

18:40 Some Mental Health Commonalities

Kalen asks Rebecca if she is hearing from people that are struggling with mental health in the community.

It shocked Rebecca just how common work anxiety and other mental health issues are amongst the members of the Magento community. A reoccurring issue that she hears from community members is that they are suffering from impostor syndrome. Essentially, people get worried that their opinion is not valid and that they don’t know what they’re talking about. This feeling also permeates into other parts of our lives outside of work.

It’s easy to get swept up and feel like you’re getting dragged behind in the fast-moving Magento world while the rest of the community is keeping up and ahead of the curve. This is simply not the case and we are all in the same boat when it comes to harboring emotions like these.

Phillip states that one of the most authentic phrases we can say is “I don’t know” yet it is very hard for most people to admit that.  Phillip has been trying to admit this to himself more.

Rebecca also struggles with the level of expectation that comes along with the successes in her career. She leverages her own feelings and experiences in helping others who have similar feelings.

26:36 Combatting Impostor Syndrome

Kalen asks what people should do if they do feel impostor syndrome.

Rebecca says that this all depends on where they personally are in the battle against impostor syndrome. Reaching out to a friend or colleague and talking to get their opinions can sometimes be enough to combat this. Other times, peer voices may not be enough which is when you should consider professional help. Pursuing professional mental health can be a scary process as it is not always easy or available. There are also helplines that you can call that will just talk to you.

Rebecca also speaks about her own experiences with professionals in the mental health field and gives some great insight into the attempt to quantify the severity of mental health issues. Phillip has someone very close to him that struggles with feelings of inadequacy and how hard it is to quantify the reasons why we feel emotional pain.

34:48 Personal Battles

Phillip personally struggles more and more with co-dependency and breaks down what that means in his personal journey.

First, he needs people to like and approve of him and it’s like a drug. He craves admiration and approval and he goes about getting these in different ways. When you have platforms that give this approval, it can be very addicting and vice versa, if you don’t get that approval, it can be soul-crushing.

7-8 years ago Phillip had the idea that helping people gave him satisfaction and this eventually grows to the point where you have so many people depending on you and so many things to do that you start to let some people down.

You can only spin so many plates for so long until one hits the floor.

-Phillip Jackson

37:32 Some Questions from the Viewers

Kalen reads some of the comments in the live chat from the video stream.

He also reads a question from Gareth that asks for advice on how to deal with social anxiety.

Rebecca recommends starting slow and small in a situation that won’t trigger any trauma or stress. Maybe attend a small local event and try to not put too much pressure on yourself.

Rebecca also brings up that she put the phrase “Fake it until you make it” into practice.l She would expose herself to social situations in a confident way until it actually became less scary.

Try to take the pressure off of yourself.

Kalen has gotten comfortable going to Magento events but has been trying to go to events in Austin where he doesn’t know anybody and still feels some of the anxiety of the unknown. He advises planning to attend events over a period of years because each subsequent year brings more of a comfort and ease when attending the event.

The group also goes into some of the intricacies of small talk and best practices in how to socialize well.

Phillip brings up a recent Twitter thread from Willem Wigman (@willemwigman) in which he discusses burnout.

45:03 You Are Not Alone

Phillip tried to do as little talking as possible at the round table and MLEU because hearing other peoples’ stories enforced the message that we are not alone.

Nobody has all the answers, but it helps so much to know you are not alone.

-Phillip Jackson

Communities like OSMI provide safe groups of people that you can share your struggles with.

At the end of the day, it all about prioritizing yourself. It might feel selfish and that you are not doing what you should be doing, but it is imperative to take care of yourself. It takes a lot of courage and bravery to make difficult choices with your best interests in mind.

Some viewers bring up the fact that they do go to events but feel like they are hiding in a corner the whole time. Also, there is a common thread of feeling disappointed when leaving an event when you don’t feel like you have made up for all the effort it took to get there. This can get toxic when you constantly apply these pressures to yourself. Don’t forget that events are hard for everyone.

Prepare your interactions, have some questions ready, and have a goal of how many people you are going to talk to.

Also, an introduction from someone you know can be one of the most effective tools in forming new relationships.

54:16 Overcoming Obstacles

The group gets a difficult question from listeners on how to deal with the stresses of having someone in your life with a more severe mental disorder.

While this is a question better suited for a professional, Phillip points to never forget that you matter. Sometimes taking care of yourself is the only way for you to help others and it is not something to feel guilty over (even though that’s hard to overcome).

Sometimes other problems can make your own struggles seem like they aren’t significant in comparison. Your struggle is also important and you need to make sure that you are taking care of yourself.

1:01:16 Closing Remarks

Rebecca points out that there local groups and opportunities that you can reach out to in order to get the conversation going about mental health. Take a walk in a park, get out of the house, and take care of yourself.


Mentions / Links

-Rebecca Brocton (@RebeccaBrocton

-Willem Wigman (@willemwigman)

MageTalk Episode 213 Video Live Stream
MagentoLive Europe
board of the Magento Association


MageTalk Episode 212 – An Interview with Mage One

In today’s episode, the boys are joined by Rico Neitzel and Fabian Blechschmidt from Mage One to discuss how Mage One is keeping Magento 1 alive even after its end of life.

Listen now!

Show Notes

1:05 Broken Bikes and M1

Phillip and Kalen are excited to be recording today, even though Phillip broke his bike on the way into work.

2:27 Two Guests from Mage One

Rico Neitzel (@riconeitzel) and Fabian Blechschmidt (@Fabian_ikono) from Mage One are joining the boys later on in today’s episode.

2:52 Evolving Laws

Phillip brings up Kalen’s law for analytics software.

“All analytics software eventually becomes email marketing software”.

-Kalen Jordan’s Law of Analytics

Phillip then proposes a new law for Yoav Kutner (@YoavKutner) that evolves this law. (*Mainly because he doesn’t want the idea tied to his own name. *)

“All platforms eventually evolve to cannibalize their own ecosystem.”

-Yoav Kutner’s Law (*but really just Phillip’s*)

4:00 Shopify Email

Shopify just launched a new functionality called Shopify Email that brings email marketing directly to the Shopify platform.

How does this pertain to Magento? It doesn’t but the boys are going rogue today.

Phillip had some thoughts on the announcement.

Does building a new feature mean cannibalizing the part of the ecosystem into which that new feature fits? What does this actually mean for Shopify?

Shopify wants to own their audience, and taking email marketing into their own hands is a great way to do that.

12:40 Phillip Makes a Bold Prediction

Everything seems really great for Shopify right now and everyone is really happy. However, they just had the site crash do the makeup launch of Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson and this could mark the beginning of a shift.

Phillip compares this to the Magento honeymoon period up until the launch of features that competed with solution providers. Magento shipping, Magento payments, and the Adobe acquisition all directly cannibalized solution providers in the community.

Let’s just ignore the fact that Kalen and Phillip talked about Shopify for fifteen minutes at the beginning of a Magento podcast.

15:30 The Whole Magento End of Life Thing

Both Kalen and Phillip are really tired of the end of life conversation.

Kalen gives a spoiler about the interview to come and says that he was surprised by Phillip’s reaction to the Mage One interview.

19:58 The Guests Have Arrived

The guys from Mage One and here and Phillip struggles to pronounce their names even though he’s been practicing for seven years.

Fabian has been doing PHP since 2004, joined the Magento community in 2011, has organized hackathons and conferences, does a lot of talks at events, started Lizards & Pumpkins, and finally, started Mage One.

Rico invented the global Meet Magento brand with Net Research, works as a consultant and trainer, and develops custom programs.

Rico has some thoughts on the evolution of the Meet Magento brand and you can read it over at this blog post by Carmen Bremen.

23:27 Let’s Talk About Mage One

Magento 1 is reaching its end of life in June 2020. You have a decision to make at this time if you are still running Magento 1 and one of your options is to stay running Magento 1 and Mage One will provide ongoing support for the platform.

Mage One was built to provide longterm support for the Magento core and will extend what Adobe is currently providing.

Rico clarifies that they did not create Mage One because they thought that it would be a good idea, but created it because they saw demand for Magento 1 support. When talking to merchants, they would hear that there were Magento 1 stores out there that were running perfectly and that the owners of those shops didn’t want to change anything.

From this demand, the Mage One team set out to provide a support network for merchants that didn’t want to leave Magento 1. Adobe did not want to provide any support, so Mage One fills that now empty niche.

Kalen is optimistic about Mage One’s ability to provide security patches because a lot fo the patches were provided by the community initially.

Mage One also intends to take over the Bug Bounty Program.

This. But for bugs.

29:39 Some Clarifying Questions

Phillip asks what we can expect from Mage One in regards to how long they are going to be around.

At the moment, the Mage One team has a clear statement that they are going to be providing support for the next five years which is a very long time in eCommerce terms.

34:30 What Can a Merchant Expect?

Mage One provides patches which means that you don’t have to change your core. If you want to become a Mage One customer, your Magento 1 should be running on the latest version when Adobe shuts down their support. After this, you just have to apply the patch that Mage One provides. There is no maintenance, no onboarding, and the process is very simple.

(Also, sorry about the weird sync issues here.)

Currently, the plan is to provide patches as either a patch file of a zip file (so whatever you’re already doing).

In comparison, OpenMage will do what Mage One does and more, but the problem with this is that OpenMage is a community project that is unfunded, so in the end, the security patches will not be funded.

Seriousness and reliability are things that cannot be compared between a community-driven project and one that is funded.

41:33 Forking Magento

A while ago, Phillip took a Magento training from Matthew Turland (@elazar) and he was talking about forking Magento in 2009 for the chief reason of Magento being too slow.

Mage One is not a fork, but functions more like what support from Adobe would look like.

In regards to an SLA, Mage One is setting out to provide a patch with fixes within 30 days. In addition, they plan to implement a QPS (Quick Protection System) which a module that you install on your shop that acts as a firewall.

44:52 What Does the Future Hold?

Since Phillip has been hogging the questions, Kalen finally gets to ask one of his own.

Kalen asks if Mage One is an endeavor that will grow and become a good-sized business, or is it just a temporary measure to help merchants out for a few years before it phases out.

Rico clarifies that they will create a business model out of what Mage One is doing and apply that to other systems as well.

The idea was born because people love Magento (as does the team at Mage One) and Mage One just wanted to provide people a way to continue hosting their stores on the platform.

Phillip gets cynical (but are we surprised) and says that he isn’t very hopeful that people who have stayed on Magento 1 will not want to move off of Magento 1 in five years. He also adds that businesses should grow up and that nothing lasts forever.

51:52 About Those Price Points

Kalen points out that the price points make sense for what is being offered.

Based on the existence of something like Mage One, will more people be open to paying for the support of a free service?

Fabian gives some insight into how customers are responding to the pricing model. The team thinks that if your shop makes more money, then it is only fair that you contribute more to the maintenance and costs of the future of Mage One.

Also, revenue-based models are highly discussed amongst the team and they have their ways of finding out if merchants aren’t telling the truth about how much money they are making.

59:00 What About those Modules?

Unfortunately, Mage One doesn’t have the manpower to support all of the extensions and third-party modules out there. Their wish is that if a company is going to stop supporting Magento 1, that they will upload their code to GitHub so that the community can take care of them.

Mage One is also doing its best to form partnerships with the most important module vendors and extension providers.

In a surprise twist ending, Phillip informs us that he has been convinced that Mage One is going to be successful and will grow with correct partnerships.

I guess we all have surprises inside us sometimes.

Mentions / Links

-Rico Neitzel (@riconeitzel)
-Fabian Blechschmidt (@Fabian_ikono)
–Matthew Turland (@elazar)

Mage One
Shopify Email
Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson Makeup Launch Breaks Shopify
Lizards & Pumpkins
Rico’s Opinion on Meet Magento, Carmen Bremen’s Blog
Bug Bounty Program

MageTalk Episode 211 – Interview with Phil Hanson, Queue-It

Phillip is joined on today’s episode by his name twin Phil Hanson and they discuss virtual queue technology, how to handle massive traffic on your website, and of course, their sneaker obsessions.

Listen now!

Show Notes

1:02 Double The Phil, Double The Fun

Phillip is joined on today’s episode by Phil Hanson (@phlhnsn), who shares not only his name, but all of his interests.

Phil heads up the North American operation at Queue-It, which is a virtual waiting room for high-demand online events. When there is more website traffic than a site can support, they are passed off to Queue-It until the host site can accommodate them.

3:43 A Big Cupcake Shout Out At Imagine

Phillip has come across Queue-It the past a few times. Mainly when trying to buy sneakers.

Queue-It got a pretty big shout out when Melissa Ben-Ishay, the founder of Baked By Melissa, gave them a shout out on stage at Imagine 2018.

Baked By Melissa used Queue-It (which they implemented in only 15 hours by the way) to help orchestra Side With Love in which they gave away a million cupcakes for free.

4:57 What’s Up in the Magento Space?

Phillip asks Phil what he has been seeing in the Magento ecosystem in regards to how his business has been shifting in recent times.

Phil gives us the rundown and speaks a little bit about Queue-It is navigating through today’s technology ecosystem.

7:04 The Intersection of Work and Passion

Phillip brings up how his passions overlay with the work he does day to day. Inevitably, he brings up sneakers and asks Phil to talk about his intersections between his passions and work.

Are we really surprised the conversation got to sneakers?

Phil says that Queue-It naturally serves things that he is interested in: live music (he used to play in bands), sneakers, eCommerce, etc.

Phil also mentions that he comes from a smaller town where they still manufacturer Red Wing Shoes which could explain his shoe obsession. He was raised by a single mother and he couldn’t afford luxury footwear growing up, so it feels good to be able to afford sneakers in his current situation.

11:38 Some Familiar Brands

Phillip asks Phil to talk about some of the recognizable global brands that Queue-It has worked with.

Unfortunately, he can’t talk about the recent footwear brands but Phil does mention DTLR VIlla, YCMC, and Snipes just to name a few.

14:54 What Makes Queue-It Different?

Phillip mentions how Jeffree Starr broke Shopify with the release of his latest makeup collection and asks Phil to talk about what makes Queue-It different when it comes to handling large influxes like that.

With internet users being tracked on so many levels, Queue-It shrinks down their profiles to 4-5 main criteria to service each user and get them to the right place. With their set up, Queue-It is not exposed to customer data and easily passes security tests because they are not exposed to eCommerce site credit card data or sensitive user information. Over the years, they have also gotten to be masters at partitioning the traffic and distributing it effectively.

In a very intriguing example, Phil hints at a recent launch where they had 1.4 million users simultaneously queued for a release…

17:51 The Psychology of Waiting

With eCommerce, the general consensus is to not introduce friction into the customer shopping experience, so does waiting in a queue provide a better experience than having to refresh a page?

Phil clarifies that it all depends on what people are waiting for when it comes to whether or not they will wait in a queue. For example, there’s an 80/20 ratio of people who wait versus those who don’t on Black Friday.

A wait seems longer when you don’t have any information on how long it will be. You are more likely to wait if there is social proof of how many people that are in line in front of you that also value the product.

-Phil Hanson

Queue-It likes to call themselves platform agnostic, but they have a Magento plugin, Salesforce integration, and have seen a lot of uptake recently on Cloudflare CDN.

21:33 New and Evolving Lines of Business

Phillip asks Phil to talk a little bit about new and evolving lines of business that might be able to take advantage of Queue-It’s technology.

Social Media Influencers are started to sell more and more to their followers, and there are some platforms that are meeting these influencers halfway when it comes to selling their products.

Phil gives us the lowdown on some of the integrations they have been working on in collaboration with some influencers.

Influencers in the traditional sense are storytellers so it makes sense for them to choose a platform that allows them to extend that storytelling into their eCommerce platform.

-Phillip Jackson

Phillip also comments that eCommerce is typically reserved for traditional catalog setups and needs to move towards catering towards storytelling.

25:53 Some Music History

Phil talks a bit about his previous music experience. He liked to write songs from time to time but mainly played what people paid him to play.

Phillip suggests putting together a Magento community jam band the next time they get together.


Mentions / Links

Guest: Phil Hanson (@phlhnsn)

Melissa Ben Ishay

Baked By Melissa
Melissa Ben-Ishay at Imagine 2018
Side With Love
Jeffree Starr Breaks Shopify

MageTalk Episode 210 – An Interview with Ampjar Founder Pete Davis

In today’s episode, the boys mix up the format a bit by starting with a recap of MagentoLive Europe and then moving into an interview with Ampjar’s Pete Davis in which they discuss social media and Ampjar’s unique way on capitalizing on healthy social engagement.

Listen now!

Show Notes

1:02 The Foundah From Down Undah

Phillip wisely chooses to do his terrible Australian accent before today’s guest comes on the show later in the episode.

1:46 MagentoLive EU

Phillip just got back from MagentoLive Europe 2019. The boys debate if Phillip is the American Guido (@guido) or if Guido is the European Phillip.

Phillip recalls seeing Sander Mangel (@sandermangel) and Guido podcasting and commiserates with the hustle of podcasting live from an event.

3:29 A Quick Highlight Recap from MLEU

Magento has acquired a B2B product from Accorin which was the highlight of the product announcements. This is essentially a B2B purchase approval workflow.

In other news, Adobe Sensei is now going to be integrated within Magento.

There have also been continued efforts with PWA, a topic that Kalen wants to jump into headfirst because he has some thoughts. He got some traction from the Tweet below.

6:38 B2B API

Kalen thinks that B2B API coverage needs to get done like yesterday.

Phillip goes a little deeper into the B2B announcements from MLEU. Over the last two years at Something Digital, they have put a lot of effort into creating a healthy B2B practice, but they rely on Magento to have a proof of concept that they can then build off of.

Both Kalen and Phillip agree that it feels like with these product announcements that Magento has made an inch of progress over a mile-wide product map.

Maybe they should just work through one thing to completion and then move to the next thing.

Kalen has discovered the root cause of all of this: the magic quadrant. Phillip agrees that this is the reason why we are where we are.

9:14 “We’re killing it in the quadrant”

Kalen asks Phillip to explain exactly how this quadrant works because we’re talking about functionality that has been committed but not complete, yet Magento is a front runner in the quadrant.

Magento is only as good as its partner ecosystem.

-Phillip Jackson

The Magento ecosystem has always been comprised of technology partners. Forrester, the research company, performs a lot of research and want to see things first hand before they award their quadrant rankings.

commercetools has been named a visionary on the quadrant two years in a row and they are an API only product.

Gartner and Forrester aren’t going away, so the best thing that can happen is for the community to make their voice heard so that Adobe sees things through to completion. Losing business to other platforms due to better API integrations also might make Adobe see the light in this regard.

14:24 Some More MLEU Announcements

Sadly, this was the last MagentoLive and there won’t be another one. It was also announced that Magento Imagine at Adobe Summit 2020 will be the last Imagine and from then on it will be only Adobe events. The next Adobe-centric event that will take place in Europe will be Adobe Summit London.

Phillip and Rebecca Brocton (RebeccaBrocton) led a Health and Wellness/Mental Health table that went really well. Phillip and Kalen want to do a Wellness episode on the show and want Rebecca to be a part of it.

17:39 Any Last Thoughts?

Phillip would love if the people who didn’t like hearing from him would just unsubscribe.

Kalen has been putting out a lot more content and he’s been thinking a lot about what people think about him.

Phillip brings up a quote from Bernard Meltzer that sums up his feelings on releasing content or putting your opinions out there.

Before you speak ask yourself if what you are going to say is true, is kind, is necessary, is helpful. If the answer is no, maybe what you are about to say should be left unsaid.

Bernard Meltzer

If you can say that what you are going to say is true, kind, necessary, and helpful then who cares how often you post?

24:42 Pete Davis in the House

Founder and CEO of Ampjar, Peter Davis (@petedavisuk) joins the boys for an interview.

Pete grew up in the UK and then moved to Australia when he was 21 (and picked up the Australian accent in just three months).

He then takes us through his personal journey through sports marketing and the eventual founding of Ampjar.

Pete also takes us through the golden age of Facebook and his struggles with being the smartest person in the room all the time: mainly when dealing with teams at various big brands that kept asking him to repeat what he had done at other brands.

When you are an expert in a field, you rarely learn new things. Phillip deeply understands this. Spending all your time being the one who is talking can leave you feeling unfulfilled.

33:03 Social Media: Beyond the Standard Conversion

In the Golden Facebook Era, Phillip remembers agency life with people telling him that social media didn’t convert. From the people who did pay attention to social a decade ago, we learned that not every conversion happens at the moment, but brand affinity/awareness has a lasting value that is hard to quantify.

The people who did pay attention to social during this time are reaping the rewards now.

The boys also talk about the shift from organic reach to paid reach.

36:10 So what does Ampjar do?

Pete starts off with a disclaimer saying he is terrible at giving “the pitch” because it is evolving all the time.

When Pete saw all of the DNVBs doing social media so well and getting a lot of engagement but not capitalizing on other very important parts of the marketing, he saw a niche opportunity to fill those marketing gaps.

Pete asked what would happen if they could grab all of the great social content that these companies were producing and pull that content into a pre-built email campaign. When the brands go into Ampjar, they can edit the automatically generated campaign which is then sent in a mobile-optimized and spam-optimized format via Ampjar.

Just to throw some numbers out there, the average open rate for an Ampjar email is about 39% with a click rate of 4.8%.

After bringing some clients on board, they started getting questions from those clients asking how they could get more customers. So what if there was a way that Ampjar could put pieces of content from compatible brands into each other’s campaigns?

Kalen asks if was a brand that had a great engagement rate with his audience, why wouldn’t he just send more email of his own brand to his own audience as opposed to sending a referral campaign based on another brand?

Pete gives some of the reasons that he has received from actual clients as to why this arrangement works.

45:49 Email is Evolving

Email is becoming more social.

-Pete Davis

The skincare brand Lush just closed their social media channels because the organic reach they were getting just wasn’t good enough anymore. Now they are focusing on creating good content and sharing that content through email and their website. Emails are tailored to sell, but now these emails are focused more on storytelling, something that is typically reserved for social media.

Pete also talks about how some brands are sending emails that have nothing to do with their brand to build customer rapport and trust.

Most people would tell you that they enjoy finding products that fit a need and make them happy, and they would want to share those products with others.

-Phillip Jackson

Kalen points out that these emails aren’t just ads, but are also forms of content.

There is an element of repurposing content that you have elsewhere to ease the creative process. Kalen confesses that he has a newsletter for Commerce Hero that he hasn’t sent in in two months because he’s lazy about it.

50:26 The D2C Marketplace?

Pete brings up how Brooklinen was a callout on the post-checkout page on Casper’s website. This was an incredibly important part of Brooklinen being able to generate a significant amount of sales.

Brooklinen has started something called Spaces by Brooklinen that pulls in like-minded home goods brands and creates a curated marketplace of brands that don’t compete with but complement their brand. These marketplaces serve as a discovery mechanism that also adds to your trust of the brands you discover due to your feelings of the main brand on the marketplace.

Giving a customer the excitement of discovering something and being able to share that discover is very powerful.

57:05 Do you know Jason?

Phillip is curious about the Syndicate money that Ampjar received from Jason Calacanis and asks if Pete knows Jason.

Pete gives us the rundown of how he met Jason and the events that led to getting backed by the Angel investor.

You can also reach Pete by [email](].

Mentions / Links

Guest: Peter Davis (@petedavisuk)

-Guido (@guido)
-Sander Mangel (@sandermangel)
-Rebecca Brocton (RebeccaBrocton)
Jason Calacanis

MagentoLive Europe 2019
Magento Accorin Acquisition
Adobe Sensei
Adobe/Magento Integration
commercetools On the Quadrant 2 Years in a Row
Adobe Summit 2020
Adobe Summit London
Lush Shuts Down Social Media
Spaces by Brooklinen

MageTalk Episode 209 – “Just-in-Time-Doc’ing”

The boys are very energetic in today’s episode where they talk about the future of the world as we know it, what they would do with a billion dollars, and the spooky Magento 1 end of life looming ever closer.

Listen now!

Watch the video live stream here.

Show Notes

2:40 The Old Radio Style

The boys seem particularly spunky today.

Phillip brings up a podcast called The Jason and Scot Show and talks about their podcast style that is very “old radio.” He then gives examples of what this sounds like…

Kalen points out MageTalk’s capability to play to all ends of the podcast spectrum because they are the most flexible team in podcasting.

7:18 Remember When We Used to Clap?

Back when Kalen and Phillip started the show, they had to clap in order to synchronize the audio, so to give a nice “throwback” they do so again.

I’ll have whatever they had for breakfast this morning that gave them this much energy.

8:37 A Little MageTalk Quiz

Phillip asks Kalen if he remembers what the title of the first MageTalk episode was.

Feel free to play along at home.

Kalen doesn’t remember, but it was a good one.

Here’s a hint.

Kalen also gets quite the kick from Phillip’s Twitter bio. Kalen comes up with a great idea for a T-shirt.

13:09 Finally Some Content

Kalen brings up an article that Phillip wrote called “So Close to Being Complete” and comments on the ability that he has lost the ability to read long-form text. So to combat this, he asks Phillip to summarize the article for him…

Phillip throws up two minutes on the clock and summarizes the article. Essentially, there are a lot of things that are happening right now that will shape the future of the world as we know it for the next ten years. We are coming off of the greatest period in American economic advancement that we have ever known. A lot of the money we have in the world is being repurposed to see what consumers will react to.

How does the world progress in the next year? And how does Fight Club play into all of this?

Phillip also discusses the repercussions of having frictionless purchasing and how our perspectives have shifted when it comes to buying things.

If we’re honest with ourselves, a lot of what we do in eCommerce is very manipulative. It always comes down to getting people to make the decision to buy.

-Phillip Jackson

20:12 Treating Customer Better

At Future Commerce, they are trying to develop a story around knowing your customers and building a customer Bill of Rights of what good, mindful brands do to engage their customers.

Kalen gives a real-world example of a purchase he made of a cord and connects this to the mentality surrounding purchasing.

How do purchases meaningfully improve relationships? Where do we draw the line of buying things we don’t really need?

Brands that set the standard of not manipulating customers make things better not only for themselves but for people in general.

There’s an interest intersection between commerce, culture, and values.

-Kalen Jordan

24:00 Black Friday is Selfish

Every year, the number of people that buy products for themselves grows. It used to be about starting the process of buying gifts for loved ones but has shifted to be a much more self-serving day.

What are we really motivated by on these manufactured holidays that are designed to trigger a primal part of our psyches?

26:11 PreachersNSneakers

Kalen saw one of Phillip’s recent Instagram stories in which he tagged the account of a brand he ordered from. Kalen was confused by the fact that there wasn’t an actual website for the shoes he bought.

Phillip explains the story behind PreachersNSneakers and the podcast that stemmed from it.

In other news, Yeezy is now a billion-dollar brand.

Awesome Kanye West GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Phillip also brings the whole Yeezy thing back to Magento…


37:00 Monthly Vs. Annual Contracts

Kalen was recently ranting on Twitter about bait and switch tactics on monthly vs annual pricing.

39:43 What’s Happening in the World of Commerce Hero

Kalen recently brought Gary Smith (@askgaryanother) on board who has been doing his own consulting. Kalen needed some help with operations.

Kalen is also slowly but surely realizing that he probably shouldn’t be trying to do everything.

He goes over some of the cool recent jobs and heroes in his database.

Phillip talks about some of the really cool people that have been coming through his office in recent weeks.

There must be something about South Florida…

43:39 What Would You Do with $1 Billion

Kalen asks Phillip is he been following the StartUp Podcast which prompts him to also ask Phillip what he would do with $1 billion.

Phillip starts off by saying it’s an unfathomable amount of money but does give some detail on what he would do with several increments of millions of dollars.

Kalen has no idea how he would even begin to approach this amount of money.

But I have an idea…

Kalen gives some pushback on Phillip’s use of his imaginary money.

Phillip asks if Kalen had a billion dollars, could he build an eCommerce platform that rivals the feature functionality and the community of Magento.

Both the boys agree that the features would be doable, but how do you recreate a community?

They also discuss the ability to create memorable, large scale events with the vast amount of money that would be available.

53:03 Where Do Investment Dollars Go?

The boys discuss the ways in which spending money in the right way can give you credibility for your business. You are going to be spending money on things that the people who gave you the money care about.

Kalen brings up something that he recently saw that mentioned that Apple does not make acquisitions compared to every other large tech company.

Phillip points out everything wrong in this statement, so I guess the gloves are off.

57:52 A Content Plug

Phillip plugs his Magento End of Life Series over at Something Digital. If you get the chance, you should take a look at the blog series because it’s ooky spooky season and the series talks about how the plots of horror movies can be compared to Magento’s end of life story.

Something Digital has spent two years migrating their customers off of M1, so their entire portfolio is now on Magento 2 or Shopify+. Magento 2 itself is a moving target, so the move has been a bit of a slog.

1:03:03 Speaking of Good Content

Kalen only recently discovered Scott Galloway (@profgalloway) and Kalen had responded to a post he had made about Facebook’s inflated viewership metrics.

And he got a sassy reply…


Mentions / Links

-Gary Smith (@askgaryanother)
-Scott Galloway (@profgalloway)

Video Live Stream
The Jason and Scot Show
MageTalk Episode 1
“So Close to Being Complete”
Black Friday Is Selfish
PreachersNSneakers Article
PreachersNSneakers Podcast
Yeezy Is A Billion-Dollar Brand
StartUp Podcast
Magento End of Life Series
Kalen’s LinkedIn Post


MageTalk Episode 208 – “The Pillow of Authority”

In a particularly spicy episode, the boys are joined by Weidenhammer’s Aaron Sheehan and they discuss eCommerce costs in 2019, problems in the Magento community, and how product copy is so important.

Listen now!

Watch the video live stream here.

Show Notes

1:22 Aaron Sheehan In The House

On today’s show, the boys are joined by Aaron Sheehan (@AaronSheehan), the Commerce Director at Weidenhammer and occasional SQL Jockey.

Aaron’s appearance on the show has been long overdue.

Kalen last saw Aaron at the ShipperHQ Meetup and Aaron gives them a shoutout for hosting a great event.

3:00 Don’t Fear the RFP’r

Aaron gave a talk at the Meetup that he had developed a few weeks before for Meet Magento New York.

It was called Strategic Migration to M2: How to Run an RFP Process and was geared towards merchants in an effort to change the ways they approach spending money on development.

Let’s not just assume Magento 2 is a new coat of paint on an existing house.

-Aaron Sheehan

Obviously you need to do some work when looking at features, but you need to move away from making assumptions. Aaron also speaks to the importance of understanding the culture of the agency that you are working for.

In Austin, it was a less Magento-specific audience, so Aaron included possibly looking at other platforms to find an ideal fit.

8:00 No Strings Attached

Phillip brings up Merchant To Merchant and how he has found that most people believe that the things agencies tell them come with a string attached.

This idea triggered the creation of Merchant to Merchant because Phillip thought that a lot of the advice that merchants are receiving would be better received if that advice was coming from another merchant.

Phillip also proves his immense knowledge of the Spanish language during this segment. You’ve been warned.

10:52 Hammering Out Some Details

See what I did there?

Kalen asks Aaron to talk a bit about the types of clients that he deals with at Weidenhammer.

Aaron clarifies that he is contractually obligated to say that they will work with any merchant, on any platform, in any space but in the Magento space, he has seen that most of the growth has been B2B.

The flexibility that Magento offers B2B clients who have bespoke processes that they need to map to eCommerce is a big draw and where Aaron has seen the most amount of growth on Magento.

12:57 A Quick Timeout for a Review (But Make It Sassy)

Phillip derails the whole conversation to mention that the show got a review on Apple Podcasts…

Too bloated

I wish every podcast came with a shorter version of itself.

It’s just too much of self repeating and useless information.

Some episodes do have valuable stuff, others are just rumors mixed with product placements.

-hallandale-eater, 9/29/19


In reference to this, Phillip points out that so far in this episode, there have been zero rumors or product placements.

13:58 Product Photography as a Service

Phillip asks Aaron to speak a little bit more about the range of services that he feels might be applicable in 2019 and how merchants enter into conversations to discuss these services.

Aaron goes into some detail about how the potential to deliver more IT services as a large agency helps in these discussions as well as the potential to deliver smaller niche services.

Kalen jumps in to say that product photography and descriptions are part of such an interesting niche that is not serviced or mentioned very often.

The need of quality copy and quality photography is inversely proportional to the number of SKUs you have active for purchase.

-Phillip Jackson

Phillip also gives the recommendation to follow Kaleigh Moore (@kaleighf) for some great information regarding writing product copy.

18:18 The Deal with Yotpo

Aaron asks the boys if they have talked on the show about Yotpo, its inclusion into the core, and what that signifies.

Yotpo is a user-generated content media platform that has had a lot of growth in the last few years. They aggregate product reviews, product QAs, shoppable Instagram feed type items, etc. Yotpo acquired Swell last year and it was just announced that Yotpo will be automatically installed with Magento 2.3.3 and beyond.

Having Yotpo in the core makes it potentially easier to build out content around products and have richer product descriptions without having to pay a content writer to do it.

22:14 Phillip Gets Challenged

Phillip comments that in a very large catalog, you are physically unable to write copy for every item in that catalog. It’s an 80/20 split and you focus on writing the copy for the 20% of product that is meaningful, and the rest of your content comes down to product attribute data.

Phillip also states that he would love to be challenged on this, and Aaron steps up to the plate.

Aaron challenges by referencing the strong requirements that Amazon places on merchants that want to list their products on the powerhouse marketplace. Amazon tries very hard to force merchants to have a lot of information and a lot of photography, and it doesn’t get bigger than Amazon.

He goes on to say that what Phillip is commenting on is a perception about the relative importance of content on your site. If you have a large catalog, you are impacting your customer’s willingness to purchase from you because content generates trust.

Phillip rebuttals by saying that when we are talking about product copy, it’s very important to have well-formed copy that allows people to find you through organic means. But organic is not a free channel. To write copy either takes time from your internal resource or an investment in another resource to generate that copy.

Brands that get it wrong are brands that try to offload all of this content and product copy to their customers.

27:28 eCommerce in 2019

Aaron and Phillip get into the costs that it takes to separate from the pack of other eCommerce brands.

It’s more than you might think.

Phillip mentions that brands are spending more to cut through the noise of eCommerce because every channel is pay-to-play.

A lot of the conversations that Aaron has with brands are based around the fact that they need lots of expensive services because customers are demanding more and more.

The boys also get into the trials and tribulations of building your organic search presence and how expensive that whole process is.

There is no such thing as earned media because every channel you get is pay-to-play.

-Phillip Jackson

34:22 Loopy Logistics

Kalen jumps into the topic of D2C brands running into a wall when it comes to logistics.

Shopify just acquired 6 River Systems to compete with Amazon.

Kalen also compares how the rest of the eCommerce community compares to the worries of Magento and how the Magento concerns seem skewed from the rest of the world.

Should merchants have to care about delivery or should that be something that is solved in the underlying infrastructure of an eCommerce platform?

Both Aaron and Phillip weigh in with their viewpoints and give some great points when it comes to tackling these issues and a spicy debate ensues.

Aaron also calls out the Magento community for living in a Twitter bubble.

41:28 The Social Media Situation

Kalen thinks that in the Shopify community, speed has been solved (at least on the backend).

Aaron points out that there is nothing that people can do on Twitter when it comes to Shopify site speed because they don’t have access to the core, but there is so much more argument in the Magento Community, which is both a blessing and a curse.

Phillip is chomping at the bit to talk about the social media situation. He thinks that we spend an inordinate amount of time trying to affect things that shouldn’t be touched just because we can.

He was having a conversation with someone from Shopify recently in which he let them know that their success was in part due to not having half their staff futzing with the checkout. They only focused on the things that they could control.

Kalen agrees that it’s true that there is no Shopify community that can discuss the performance of the core due to lack of access, but is it arguing productive?

Developers in the Magento ecosystem should be modeling business logic and not be arguing over core performance.

-Kalen Jordan

48:16 Are we gonna talk about Magezine?

Kalen brings up the beautiful new print publication Magezine and you can check out an Issue #2 here.

You can get your hands on printed copies at various Magento conferences.

Phillip mentions that he probably won’t be asked to write for Magezine again…

50:07 One More Thing…

Phillip brings up how it’s interesting that we’re still seeing bundling in the age of Adobe and he thinks that it was painted by some people as a necessary evil that Magento had to entertain to claim they had built-in functionality.

Why, in the age of Adobe, are we still executing in this way?

Aaron has a LOT of thoughts on this. He says it’s very clear that Magento’s leadership’s goal is to climb to the top right of the Magic Quadrant. When you are chasing logos and labels, you have to make it through extensive corporate vetting processes that bundling checks the boxes for.


-Aaron Sheehan (@AaronSheehan)
-Kaleigh Moore (@kaleighf)

Video Live Stream
ShipperHQ Meetup
Strategic Migration to M2: How to Run an RFP Process
Yotpo Acquires Swell
Magezine Issue #2
Magento Magic Quadrant

MageTalk Episode 207 – An Interview with Rick Willet

Kalen is joined by Rick Willet on today’s episode and they talk about the state of Magento in Japan, Rick’s programming journey, and Rick’s performance career as a member of STOMP.

Listen now!

Show Notes

1:02 Down a Host, Up a Guest

Kalen is joined today by Rick Willet (@SlappyCoder).

Phillip is out today and attending the Klaviyo:BOS Conference.

2:24 Rick’s Story

Kalen asks Rick to talk a little about himself and what he has been up to in the Magento world.

Rick started developing professional with ColdFusion after getting bored working on static websites.

Rick also mentions that he grew up studying dance and drumming due to his father being a drummer/musical director. Four or five years into his development career, he got the opportunity to perform in STOMP, which he performed in for 10 years in New York.

We also find out that Ben Marks (@benmarks) was a professional drummer.

9:15 Back to Magento

After getting injured, Rick hated that he was stuck in his apartment and slowly started getting back into some coding with some action script. He got pretty good at Flash before Steve jobs killed Flash altogether.

This eventually led him to develop sites that required eCommerce functionality and that rabbit hole eventually led him to Magento in 2012. This was around the Magento 1.6 time.

At some point, the switch flipped, and Rick became very passionate about Magento and its open-source makeup.

14:09 A Work-From-Home Expert

Rick has been pretty much exclusively working remotely for the past seven years of his development career and admits that his home office is probably a little too tweaked out.

He also brings up that he’s starting a new gig soon at the BORN Group.

Kalen also has been working from home for about seven years and brings up how it certainly has its pros and cons.

Rick also points out that working from home has tapped into his history of being a performer and capitalizes on his mental capacity being highest in the evening.

18:36 A Japanese Love

Kalen asks what brought Rick to Japan.

First off, Rick’s wife is from Japan but he also finds that being in a country where the language is not his native tongue is very mentally stimulating for him. He also gets into his history with the country and what made him fall in love with it.

He also talks about the time when one of his friends literally saved his life.

Kalen mentions that Japan is one of the top places on his list of places he wants to visit.

Apparently, the quality of the food in Japan is striking, especially when you get out of Tokyo.

According to Rick, the celery is REALLY good.

25:13 Rick the Documentary Star

Rick gives us some history of how his documentary was made. Spoiler: he may or may not meet his wife in this story.

He also gives us a breakdown of what the documentary was about and the mission he had behind wanting to bring his skills and expertise in the world of percussion.

31:18 The Technological Galapagos

Rick refers to Japan as the “technological Galapagos” as their technology is far and ahead from what we have available in the USA.

There’s an interesting dichotomy between being very advanced in certain technologies but being completely disrupted by global technological movements.

They were building some amazing technologies, but a lot of them can’t be exported due to other countries not staying with the same technologies.

35:06 The Japanese Magento Situation

Where are programmers going to head with the newer generation of stores and sites?

Rick believes that Magento is in a good position with the changing landscape because of PWA. The easy integration between PWA and MySQL makes it easier for places like Japan to leverage the backend with any front end you want to use.

Rick also points out that the actual eCommerce ecosystem is not as advanced in Japan because there was simply no need to be up until recently because most of the behind the scene services were driven in the background by large banks.

To clarify, there was no middle man for payment services and transactions went directly through the banks themselves.

Kalen is floored by the fact that you can pay for online shopping items in cash at various convenience markets where your purchases are shipped.

42:14 Magento Devs in Japan

Kalen asks if Rick knows any Magento developers in Japan and what the situation is for Magento developers out there.

Rick mentions how he’s met some of the staff from Veriteworks which is the main solutions partner out in Japan. He also says that they’re contributing to some great stuff.

The lack of Magento documentation available in Japanese is a big reason why the Magento ecosystem has not developed as quickly. For self-taught programmers, this lack of documentation is a big hindrance to becoming fluent in the development language.

Hirokazu Nishi (@hirokazu_nishi) is a Magento Master and the CTO of Veriteworks who also organizes Meet Magento Japan.

46:30 A Huge Opportunity

Kalen brings up that Asian market of India, China, and Japan ihas huge opportunity in each of those enormous markets.

Rick dives into some of the big markets in Japan and how there are lots of areas to capitalize on in these markets by bringing the experience online.

A lot of people still find things on the internet via a portal that curates their experience.

The interplay between the real world and the digital world leads to more areas of opportunity.

-Rick Willet

52:29 Further Implications for Magento

Rick confesses that he didn’t realize his thinking was constrained to the world he had lived in until he began seeing how other countries use technology. He then takes this idea and applies it to areas of opportunity for Magento.

You are jumping past just selling a product and making peoples’ lives easier.


-Rick Willet (@SlappyCoder)
-Ben Marks (@benmarks
-Hirokazu Nishi (@hirokazu_nishi)

Klaviyo:BOS Conference
BORN Group
Hirokazu Nishi Magento Master Spotlight
Meet Magento Japan

MageTalk Episode 206 – Brazilian Blowout

In today’s episode, Kalen and Phillip introduce the MageTalk Fitness Challenge, review a lot of Magento Community events, hate on PWA, and get into some of the philosophy of eCommerce Platform Selection.

Listen now!

You can also watch the live stream here.

Show Notes

3:43 Gettin’ Your Fitness On

Kalen and Phillip are officially announcing a MageTalk Weight Loss Challenge.

If you want to join in, post a Tweet with #magetalkweightlosschallenge to get involved. And there might be prizes involved…

They brainstorm some possible configurations for the challenge but are challenging all of you MageTalk listeners to get your fitness on!

9:27 Speaking of Cool Titles

Kalen ran into Jenna Warren from Creatuity and he thinks that her title (Vice-President of Special Projects) is really cool. It has a very CIA vibe to it.

They also both agree that they need to get Jenna on the show.

11:14 Kalen’s Healthy Day-to-Day

Phillip asks Kalen to talk a bit about what his day-to-day routine looks like now that he’s getting healthy.

I’m surprised there wasn’t a banana joke here.

Kalen gives us the rundown of what he has been doing to lose an impression 25 pounds so far.

Here’s a sneak peek.

Phillip also weighs in with some fitness tips and how he has maintained his fitness model status. Are we a fitness podcast now?

Phillip recounts his recent front tire blowout bike accident and the resulting road rash.

19:53 Meet Magento New York Recap

The boys recap Meet Magento New York and Phillip heard that it was a pretty dope event. There were a lot of first-timers who had a really good time.

Neither Kalen or Phillip attended, but they got some serious FOMO from seeing how active Twitter was.

Kalen also talks a bit about how he has been trying to find the right balance with his community engagement.

The boys struggle to define what a Brazilian Blowout is. Keep it clean, boys.

25:32 A Plethora of Events and a MageX Review

Phillip finds it fascinating that in the space of a little over a week there was Meet Magento New York, MageX in Austin, Meet Magento Brazil, and Meet Magento Poland.

A lot of people attended MageX and it was the highest attended Magento event in the Austin area with the most merchants.

Kalen gives a shoutout to longtime Twitter friend John Davis (@jdavis2125) who he finally met at MageX.

27:47 Is PWA the New CBD?

Phillip likens PWA to CBD as they both have been proclaimed as a miracle elixir that cures everything.

But at least CBD actually does something…

There is definitely some stuff out there, but extensibility surely isn’t there yet.

Phillip gives us some insight and lets us know that Shopify has a very mature GraphQL stack for catalog, so PWA development is progressing faster on that platform.

Technology is a moving target, and you can’t just drop anchor and pin PWA development on the current technologuy stack.

-Phillip Jackson

Unfortunately for the community, Phillip predicts that PWA will only be applicable in the following scenarios:

  1. If you are a very small single operator that can focus on delivering one site at a time.
  2. If you are an operator that can build just what you need and only that.
  3. If you are a giant agency that has massive capabilities as well as clients with hordes of cash that they can dump into PWA projects.

Kalen thinks that for the Magento community, the answer to PWA is simple: go with one of the community PWA options.

35:28 A Pop Quiz for Kalen

Phillip asks Kalen if he remembers what date Magento 2 was launched, but Kalen nevers remembers these things.

The answer: November 17th, 2015. Coming up on four years. 

There was a huge focus for years on building the API stack, and there are still gaps in the API years later.

Kalen calls out Phillip for his alternate, super positive Instagram story personality.

38:03 A Deviation from the Norm

Kalen points out that Phillip has gotten away from being Magento-centric and is becoming more of a retail strategist. This is leading to him focusing less on platform specifics, and concentrating more on brand image and creating products that people love.

Phillip thinks of things as The Why, The How, and The What.

What does this mean and how can you apply it to your commerce strategy?

Art 3D GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

42:38 Is Here is a CMS tool for M2. It’s an extension, it’s open-source, and for monetization, there is a cloud option.

The announcement was made at Meet Magento Poland.

Phillip finds it interesting that the UI seems a little hard to use in that it requires a lot of choices. It seems like it’s going to take a lot of work to build. However, it is de facto the best option you have for a Pagebuilder tool in Magento open source.

If you put this together with a couple of modules like Yireo, you’ll end up with a package that is competitive with Magento Commerce.

46:28 Have you heard of Webflow?

Phillip throws a curveball and asks if Kalen has heard of Webflow.

Webflow is a modern SaaS equivalent of WordPress. It is an incredibly powerful drag-and-drop page builder toolkit for building websites and it has an eCommerce capability. The things that you can build with Webflow are incredible, and the fact that it’s free is truly incredible.

Well, we know Phillip is a fan.

You can design an objectively beautiful site in Webflow (as a designer) and then export that site to static HTML and deploy it wherever you want.

We are very close to having the developer skillset getting closer to the end user or the designer.

-Phillip Jackson

Most new brands that are launching eCommerce sites have small catalogs so they don’t need all of the infrastructures that Magento has for brands with larger catalogs.

The challange of being an eCommerce platform today is that you have to have a million features that aren’t good fits for everybody.

-Phillip Jackson

53:37 The Price of Admission

With the merger of the Adobe and Magento ecosystems, it’s exceedingly difficult to get into the higher-level partner ecosystem because of high costs.

The boys get into some of the details on the waves this high cost of entry is making within the developer community.

Shocked Shopping GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

58:40 Some Acquisitions

Kalen brings up some recent acquisitions within the Magento community.

Nexcess was acquired by Liquid Web.

Nexcess then acquired some of MageMojo’s data centers that had clients running sites on M1.

Mediotype was just acquired by Blue Acorn iCi.

1:02:12 Last Stab Shout Outs

Kalen gives a shoutout to Emily Pepperman (@bkbeltgal) who literally met Chuck Norris.

Mentions / Links

Jenna Warren
-John Davis (@jdavis2125)
-Emily Pepperman (@bkbeltgal)

MageTalk Weight Loss Challenge
Meet Magento New York
Meet Magento Brazil
Meet Magento Poland
Nexcess acquired by Liquid Web
Mediotype Acquisition
Blue Acorn iCi

MageTalk Episode 205 – Humming Makes Your Voice Better

In a surprise mid-week episode, the boys talk about the disruptive power of marketplaces, sustainable initiatives, and predict how AI might bring about the end of the world. Listen now!

Watch the video live stream here.

Show Notes

3:40 Humming Makes Your Voice Better

Kalen enlightens us with the information that humming makes your voice sound better. Both Kalen and Phillip talk about how their children are constantly humming.

4:54 The Fast Track to Magento Certification

The Magento 2 Certified Associate Developer Examn is not an easy test. Something Digital has a program that takes new hires and guides them from no knowledge of Magento all the way through being a certified developer. Phillip also goes into some detail on the mentor program that Something Digital uses.

Kalen asks if Something Digital has ever considered talking about how they organize their mentorship programs at conferences.

Phillip says that there has been some talk about open-sourcing the whole process.

10:25 A Useful Data Dump

Phillip brings up Hawraf, a company that shut down but dumped all of their data that wasn’t client-facing into a Google Drive that chronicles all of the tools they used and created when forming their business.

Getting a point-in-time snapshot of a creative agency at the top of their game that details successes and failures is an invaluable resource.

More companies, especially services organizations like a creative agency could benefit of having a culture of extreme openness.

-Phillip Jackson

Kalen remembers a payments company that used Github publically for everything that they did. He also brings up how he was recently watching a Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) video in which Gary says that he gives out all of his best tactics in a very transparent way.

15:27 An Interesting AI Shift

Phillip brings up a podcast called Culturally Relevant in which the host David Chen was talking about how they handle AI in the Matrix film universe and how AI would actually destroy the real world.

Kalen thinks that Elon Musk’s take on AI with the neural link is especially brilliant. Basically, we can’t stop AI from progressing, but the neural link will connect our brains directly to all of the AIs of the world and we will be essentially able to compete with the AIs.

I thought this was a Magento Podcast?

21:07 Marketplaces, API, and Magic Quadrants

Kalen saw a tweet from Tom Robertshaw (@bobbyshaw) about his upcoming talk at Meet Magento New York in which he’ll be talking about how to protect your customers from Magecart attacks.

PJ HOT TAKE – You can’t be Magecarted if you’re not on Mage!

Phillip also talks about some of his personal history of giving talks on the digital shopping cart and how marketplaces have the power to be disruptive in the industry.

Marketplaces create a unique opportunity for people to participate in retail where they wouldn’t normally be able to. You need talented people to be able to pull this off (especially on Magento cloud) so there are definite hurdles in creating a marketplace.

StockX was hacked with over six million customers records exposed, and if a large custom platform can’t keep customer data safe with enormous sums of funding, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Adobe/Magento was just rated as a top tier platform in the new Gartner Magic Quadrant and there was a fascinating article from commercetools CPO Kelly Goetsch about how this was the first magic quadrant that used API as one of the qualifiers for a top tier platform. This allows other competitors like commercetools to rise above larger companies because the game is changing.

35:21 Meet Magento New York Agenda

Phillip tries to remember some companies that attempted to use Magento to push the envelope and set trends in the eCommerce world.

Kalen was looking through the Meet Magento New York agenda and noticed that there was a lot to do with API and headless options. He also notices a talk on Adobe Sensei which he is really excited about.

The boys continue to beat the dead horse that is the lack of coupon code joke. 

39:02 The Rumor Mill is Turning

Phillip has heard through the grapevine about a restructure of Magento and Marketo within Adobe. It looks like the former Marketo CMO Sarah Kennedy Ellis will be heading the marketing efforts behind Magento as a product.

Magento is further separating its commercial sales practice from its enterprise sales practice and Gary Specter (@gspecter) is going to take over the commercial sales for both Magento and Marketo.

45:01 Hot Takes on Hosting

Kalen put out some tweets that were asking about where people did their hosting.

He got a lot of responses and a lot of people had very strong opinions on their hosting.

The boys give some of their hot takes on the ins and out of hosting as weill as some of the struggles that companies face if they want to host themselves without going to a hosting provider.

Spoiler: don’t do your own hosting.

55:30 Future Commerce Sustainability Initiative

Phillip has challenged both himself and Future Commerce to state what they are going to be doing to affirm their commitment to sustainable business practices. They put out a press release last week announcing that they have created their own Sustainability Initiative but will also hold their partners to this sustainability initiative.

Google Cloud is the only cloud provider that runs all of their server centers on 100% renewable energy, so all of Future Commerce’s infrastructure will be moved to Google Cloud.

59:09 Kalen Challenges the Data

There was an interesting graph that Kalen saw on Twitter that sparked some opinions.

Essentially, this graph is saying that startups are in decline, but Kalen doesn’t believe this at all. He personally knows so many people that own side businesses, and can’t imagine how this doesn’t apply to the American Economy in general.

Phillip speculates how this graph was created and essentially, the avenues that someone can take to start a business are now almost limitless, but back in 1979, there were far fewer ways to begin your own business. Entrepreneurship in 2019 in the United States can be associated with apps that don’t have to be registered with the state in order to be in business for themselves.

The boys get into the future of the show and what possible directions the content could go in.


-Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)
-Tom Robertshaw (@bobbyshaw)
Kelly Goetsch
Sarah Kennedy Ellis
-Gary Specter (@gspecter)

Magento 2 Certified Associate Developer Examn
Hawraf Google Drive
Culturally Relevant Podcast
Meet Magento New York
StockX Hack
Magento Gartner Magic Quadrant
commercetools Article on the Gartner Magic Quadrant
Adobe Sensei
Future Commerce Sustainability Initiative


MageTalk Episode 204 – What is the Future of Adobe Open Source?

Kalen and Phillip get into some serious gossip about the future of Adobe Open Source as they dive into the truth behind some high-level employee departures from Adobe. What does the future of open source look like?

Listen now!

You can also watch the video live stream here.

Show Notes

2:10 Just Do It, Buy a Technology Partner

In true Phillip fashion, he starts the show off with a Nike tidbit.

Are we surprised?

Nike just acquired Celect which holds a cutting-edge intellectual property portfolio across data science and software engineering. Celect’s cloud-based analytics platform provides proprietary insights that allow retailers to optimize inventory across an omnichannel environment through hyper-local demand predictions.

The interesting part is that Celect houses the data of some of Nike’s competitors like Puma and Aldo, so technically, Nike now owns that data.

5:53 What is the future of Open Source?

There was a recent tweet that shed some light on some pretty big news from the Adobe front.

David Manners (@mannersd) is leaving Magento for bitExpert over in Germany and Matt Asay (@mjasay) is leaving to head over to AWS Cloud.

Phillip will always remember David as the founder and creator of MageEngage, and once again reminds us of his superpower to resurrect dead podcasts with his words.

9:08 A Little Birdie Told Me

Kalen hints that he’s heard that someone else is leaving Adobe from an inside source.

Phillip tries to pry and get the dirt on who’s leaving.

Phillip also credits Kalen for teaching him all of his YouTuber skills.

10:52 Here’s the Deal…

There is a dramatic uptick in people leaving Magento (two so far….I guess that’s an uptick?).

The boys break down the details of who has left so far, and what that means for both Magento and the Magento Association.

Is the Magento Association just for events and has it done something that has directly affected open source?

To answer this, the boys have to head to the Magento Association website.

Eric Hileman (@ericvhileman) from MageMojo gives a lot of good feedback on this topic in the comments. Eric says that the Magento Association has no funding from Adobe other than Magento/Adobe paying for SmithBucklin.

If one or two people leaving Adobe as a company has a material impact on the future of Magento and open source, then we were probably doomed from the start. I would hope that one or two people do not have direct and total control of the open source vision at Adobe.

-Phillip Jackson

19:57 A Larger Shift

While one or two people don’t make or break the future of open source, is it indicative of a large shift?

Matt Asay was at Adobe for three years and nine months, and this is a pretty standard tenure for someone in the tech industry.

David Manners was at Adobe for one year and eleven months, so just under the two-year mark.

Kalen harkens back to when the acquisition was happening and how excited Matt was with the merging of the communities. Excited enough to leave altogether it seems.

Phillip also goes into some more detail on the logistics behind Matt Asay’s leaving. There might have been the possibility for a relocation that was not necessarily wanted by some of the open source team.

Does the acquisition of Magento strengthen Adobe’s stance on open source? The restructuring could be a hint at some very positive growth and not the harbinger of an open source apocalypse.

Does Magento give Adobe an advantage in open source?

35:52 Boons and Shifts

Phillip would put money on the fact that this is a chance for Magento to show that they are doing better than any other organization within Adobe. He also hopes that Adobe will shift and give Magento control over more aspects of the Adobe umbrella in the future.

Kalen points out that one thing that they are not giving to Magento is the ability to hire remotely. Magento was beginning to make several remote hires right before the acquisition, but with the acquisition, these remote hires are being reversed and a requirement to be within certain offices is being set.

Hiring remotely is a huge competitive advantage.

-Kalen Jordan

If someone is not willing to relocate and change their life around a job, then those people were probably more prone to leave at some point. This could be a strategy for retention to see what employees are in it for the long haul.

David chimes in that he was never asked to move and that remote work is still a possibility.

41:50 Jumping Ship

Kalen says that there is a non-trivial number of people that left Magento right after its acquisition by Adobe.

Tony Ciarelli from Something Digital worked as a Channel Manager at Magento for two years and offers some frame of reference for Ben Pressley’s leaving. 

43:10 Commerce Hero Updates

Phillip asks if Commerce Hero has been around long enough to have a median time of employment for its placements.

Kalen says that it would be useful if he could pull in the LinkedIn work histories, but claims that the LinkedIn APIs are a hot mess. To do basic authentication and get a basic avatar image, the API is great, but to do anything more than that, fuhgeddaboutit.

Phillip asks TJ Gamble (@ecommerceaholic) if his new streaming set up is working out.

Kalen also calls out Phillip for hating on the audience participation portions of the show back in the day. Phillip says that is because he used to be concerned about the purity of an audio podcast.

How times have changed…

45:19 Future Commerce Update

Phillip announces that Future Commerce has relaunched its subscriber email to shift to be more brand focused and that they are scaling out into market research.

Getting deep into market research.

47:44 Salary Survey

Commerce Hero is about to do a salary survey. All you have to do is authorize your LinkedIn account and then input your salary. Kalen says this authorization will make the survey more credible.

Phillip says he would absolutely fill out the survey if it was anonymous, but would absolutely not fill the survey out if he had to say who he was.

Phillip polls the live audience to see if they would take the survey.

Kalen incentivizes the survey by releasing more detail on the results depending on if you identify who you are.

52:00 A PSA from Phillip

Phillip says that if you are an agency that is listening to this episode, it is super important for you to be asking your customers what they think of you. It is also super important for you to understand what your customers think they need from you. You can get additional insights into this feedback depending on how you ask the questions.

All of this information is part of improving your company and making your customers happy.

Kalen goes back to asking how to get more people to take the Salary Survey.

54:59 Let’s Talk About (COUPON ALERT)

Kalen now has an account at and gives out some coupon codes.

Simply enter the code “MageTalk” to get a 4-week free trial.

Kalen is very happy that MageTalk can once again offer coupon codes.

Kalen also sings some praises at the content on and it makes him think about how much the Magento community has evolved.

A huge shoutout to Vinai Kopp (@VinaiKopp) for having a successful community-focused product.



-David Manners (@mannersd)
-Matt Asay (@mjasay)
-Eric Hileman (@ericvhileman)
Tony Ciarelli
-TJ Gamble (@ecommerceaholic)
-Vinai Kopp (@VinaiKopp)

Nike’s Celect Acquisition
AWS Cloud
Magento Association website
Future Commerce
Commerce Hero Salary Survey