Interview with Fayyaz Khattak – Magento Community Manager in Cloudways

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If you follow the Magento Community on Twitter or regularly read the Magento Digests, you must know this guy. Fayyaz Khattak is a Magento Community Manager in Cloudways. He is also one of the most active, helpful and proficient members of the community.

We’ve interviewed Fayyaz and asked him to disclose some secrets of effective community management, tell about his company and share his vision of Magento future. 

  1. Fayyaz, you are currently working as a Magento Community Manager at Cloudways. Why have you decided to take this position?

It was back in December 2015 when our co-founder Aaqib Gadit interviewed me for the post of Magento community manager, and he asked me the same question. My answer was that I see a lot of potential for learning and growth in this field. I believe that the Magento community is a great place to learn about the platform.  I can undoubtedly say that almost every member of Magento community knows my brand “Cloudways” and me very well.

I think there isn’t a single organization that is engaged as much as Cloudways when it comes to helping out people and figures out how Magento works. The way we are engaging in the community is remarkable, and we always look for new ways to improve our workflows for better results.

  1. Tell us a bit about your role within the Cloudways team. What are your duties and responsibilities in the company?

Well, as a Magento Community Manager at Cloudways, my objective is to learn and share relevant content about PHP & Magento development with the community. The idea is to educate community members and solve Magento related issues that are posted in various forums and groups.

I usually attend local Magento meetups & sessions, where I educate individuals about Magento and the Cloudways platform by sharing my expertise through various channels such as chats and blog posts.

I also conduct interviews with Magento influencers, developers, Magento officials & contributors and also follow up with new trends in the Magento Community. I also love to talk to newbies & students and share great resources with them so they can learn more from the talent and experiences of the experts in the field.

Last but not the least, I also resolve Magento performance issues raised by our clients.

  1. What challenges did you face on your journey to being a community manager?

Previously, I was working as a software engineer for a web development agency. Like many developers, I loved writing PHP and JS scripts. When I joined Cloudways, community management was very new for me. However, I accepted the challenge and never looked back 🙂

I learned the fundamentals of content marketing and community relations and quickly become proficient in various areas of Magento 1, Magento 2 and other concepts of community building.

I believe that my success as a community manager is due to the dedicated and excellent team here at Cloudways. Here, I would like to mention three of the most important members of the team. First is my manager, Ahsan Parwez, who is always there for every member of the team. The second is the Content Manager Saad Durrani, who helped me a lot in understanding the principles of content creation and marketing. The third one is Muhammad Saad Khan, who always guided me related to the community engagement and connection building.

  1. Let’s talk about your company, Fayyaz. How would you describe Cloudways to a stranger not familiar with your cloud hosting service?

This is an interesting question. To a layperson, Cloudways is a hosting service that allows you to deploy your website within minutes. It is fast and affordable and doesn’t require the user to be knowledgeable about system  and server administration.

  1. How easy is the Cloudways hosting for an ordinary merchant with no technical background (who is not a developer or a technical personal)?

Using Cloudways is very easy, especially for a non-technical person. Essentially, Cloudways is point-and click cloud hosting platform.

All you need to do is signup, select your PHP-based application (Magento, for instance), select your preferred provider with a suitable plan, choose the location (based on latency factor) and hit the launch button.

Now, go and get a coffee, and by the time you finish the cup, your server and application will be ready.

This efficient platform does not need further configurations and management. The server and the application is ready for action. Check out this video for more details.

  1. I guess you may have heard some complaints that Magento 2 can be … slow in some scenarios. What is your approach to optimizing hosting speed for the 2nd version of the ecommerce platform? What about Magento 1?

People do raise Magento 2 related complaints, and the most common issue for most developers and users is the performance of the platform. However, I would say that Magento 2 is not slow. It has some basic requirements, and developers must ensure that the hosting solution is able to provide these requirements for Magento 2 powered stores. Most importantly, a developer must be aware of the Magento 2 best practices.

Magento demands rock solid performance from the underlying MAGENTO HOsting solution. The requirements may vary depending upon the store size, resources, traffic, and the number of orders. These requirements comprise of hardware resources and cache technologies that offer the perfect set of resources for a Magento store.

Cloudways has a unique recipe of server and cache mechanisms called ThunderStack. It comprises of Nginx and Apache as web servers that are supported by Varnish Cache and Memcached/Redis. As a result, Magento stores (both Magento 1 and Magento 2) work at supersonic speeds that can easily handle high demands of a sales crunch. In addition, our ThunderStack also incorporates PHP 7, PHP-FPM and database managers (MySQL and MariaDB).

  1. It’s hard not to notice that Cloudways team is very famous in the Magento community and make a great contribution to its development. How do you guys manage to be so helpful, responsive and active?

As I have already mentioned, we always look for new ways to improve our workflows. We focus on latest trends and keep our knowledgebase updated and current. That’s why we always a few steps ahead in helping others, and are able to actively contribute to the community.

I will share a secret with you. Even though we test and implement new ideas, very few give the expected results. However, we are rarely demotivated by failures, and this spirit helps us continuously deliver our best to the community.

We get our updates from top influencers in the Magento Community. I personally follow Max Yekaterynenko, Ben Marks, Paul Boisvert, Sherrie Rohde, Elena Leonova, etc. to get the insights and updated news about the Magento.

  1. What advice would you give to newbies who want to build an active community for their startup brands?

If you want to grow your open source project/startup and want people to interact with your team, the best strategy is to build a community around the project

Once the community is active, you will discover that there are three basic types of users:

  • Maintainers: People who actively contribute to your project. They are mainly the core contributors and the moderators of your forums and groups.
  • Vocal Users: People who discuss ad spread the news about your project. They are the users who highlight issues and problems. The problem is that there is no certain way of knowing whether these users are happy with your project. However, their activities will bring in new users and relevant marketing content and actions.
  • Quite Users: People who just use your product and stay quiet. They have no further ideas and like to wait until the new version is out. They are in the majority and all planning for further development/project expansion should take this group in consideration.

This is the power of a community where you understand different types of users/people and act smartly according to the industry standards.

I have listened to many people with excellent thoughts about creating and growing communities. One I like the most was a brief session from Mike McQuaid, software engineer at GitHub.

  1. Fayyaz, please name five tools you use for your job activities every day?

The five tools that I use every day are:

  1. Cloudways Platform.
  2. Google Analytics.
  3. GitHub and Sublime Text.
  4. Slack.
  5. Mixpanel.
  1. And the last question. From your standpoint, how do you see the future of Magento?

With the release of Magento 2, the future’s pretty bright. Magento 2 has already become the top choice for many merchants, and many store owners are planning to migrate from Magento 1 to Magento 2. Magento will shape the future of ecommerce industry and will remain the leading platform in the market.

We thank Fayyaz for the interview and wish him good luck in his career.


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