These people educate themselves constantly and their Magento expertise is heavily based on their willingness to get and share knowledge they possess. They spend a lot to cross half the world to participate in Magento events and often invest their private funds to organize meetups and hackathons of their own.
It’s not fair that you may not know them well. From now, I will try to bring popular Magento enthusiasts to our blog and reveal their personality to you. And you can challenge them with questions and comments!
Today I’m glad to talk with Andre Gugliotti, Brazilian Magento Evangelist, the organizer of Bargento Brazil and the author of webinar series in Portuguese about basics and tricks for Magento developers.
Andre: Thanks, it’s my pleasure to be introduced to aheadWorks blog readers. I’m Andre Gugliotti and I work with Magento, this elegant platform, since 2008. Frankly speaking, I knew nothing back then, but I’ve been trying to master Magento since its very beginning. Initially, I worked as a developer and soon realized I can help companies better if I focus on a business aspect. And here I am.
Currently I run a small consulting company called Gugliotti Consulting that helps Brazilian companies increase profits and get more from their Magento stores. I also write a blog about Magento in Portuguese and I’m in charge of Bargento Brazil, the local version of French Bargento.
Q: Andre, how did you get interested in Magento in the first place and what was the reason you later focused on it entirely?
When I started working with Internet, I noticed a growing demand for eCommerce sites. In 2006 I looked for platforms to build online stores and the first I used was c97 (an Indonesian open source software that still exists, but was very limited at that time). As I needed more advanced functionality, I tried to adopt osCommerce (I even refuse to comment it) and few other platforms, with no success though.
As Roy Rubin says, “Then came Magento” :). I remember my first contact with it: I got the mail alert about a new tool that was coming to revolutionize the market. Later I couldn’t even test the Magento beta version (and 1.0, 1.1 releases), because no servers were ready to deal with Magento requirements. To install it, I should be an expert, and I wasn’t. Everything changed when I installed the Magento 1.2 release which really reshaped my career.
Q: Is Magento popular in Latin America and in Brazil in particular? Are there any features typical for eCommerce in your region?
Yes. I think, Magento is popular in every part of the world. Brazilian market is a huge one, but still at a beta stage, walking fast to the stable level. So does Latin American market. This means there are many opportunities for those who want to work hard and think out of the box.
After almost 20 years of economic stability people now can afford stuff that theirs parents couldn’t. Many households have PCs, tablets and smartphones and shop online without fear of being cheated or mugged. Dozens of new stores are opened every day and they require professionals to work on them.
I will mention two typical features that only Brazil eCommerce has.
The first feature is a strange piece of paper called boleto bancario that you can take as some kind of payment order. It is issued by stores and can be paid in any bank. Many stores receive payments through that, but we hope that soon they will be replaced by credit cards entirely.
The other feature is installments. Usually, when a customer buys something in the store and needs to split his payment, he deals with his credit card provider. Here we have the possibility of choosing the number of installments right on the checkout. So before a customer places his order, he can see the number of installments allowed for that cart. These terms are determined by the store which will receive the payment in the same number of installments.
Q: Bargento Brazil. Please, tell us about its history, milestones, and how you became responsible for it.
Since 2009 I tried to organize Magento events here in Brazil and it was really hard. We had an engaged community, but with a little sense of sharing and coworking.
Every time I said that I wanted to organize an event, I received the “don’t count on me” answer.
Working alone, I decided to join open source events as a speaker, where I talked about Magento and commitment to professional growth.
At that time I had been working closely with Magento HQ team and after talk with Philippe Humeau, one of the Bargento France founders, it felt natural to develop the Brazilian edition. Then it was only one step left to organize the first Magento meeting in Porto Alegre in November 2011. One year later the first Bargento Brazil took place in Sao Paulo.
But Bargento Brazil has a slightly different format: our events occur in different cities at bars or restaurants, putting speakers and attendees, knowledge and fun together with limited capacity (up to 100 people).
In 2013 Bargento Brazil will reach 6-8 cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre. Usually this sort of events takes place only in major cities like Paris, Madrid or London. However, with this format we can bring Magento events to minor cities, spreading Magento philosophy and waking up new professionals for great opportunities.
Q: You also have a blog where you educate audience and reveal Magento secrets. How did you get the idea to start a blog and dedicate it to Magento?
I started writing a blog just for fun. I’d never expected to gather a lot of visitors. The change came few months after, when people began sending comments and emails, thanking for my posts and knowledge sharing.
In my blog I talk about Magento, strategies, planning and guiding rules through all startup difficulties and deceptions for new entrepreneurs. Planning is usually not in favor, and surprisingly a lot of people start their businesses without it, even when they know almost nothing about their market (it sounds crazy, but it’s true). If I can help store owners avoid losses (and even bankruptcies) or drive young professionals to better careers, I think, my job is done.
During 2012 I streamed 4 webinars about career, themes, professionals and payment methods in Magento. They are available here. The 2013 agenda is not defined yet, but I will conduct another series of webinars, probably, in April 2013.
We invite guest speakers, but as far as most people in Brazil don’t speak English, we keep these webinars in Portuguese.
A little secret: I have plans to target screencasts and webinars to English speakers. Your comments about this idea will be very welcome.
Anyways, I can post texts from foreign writers in my blog, so if you want, just address me.