Magento Masters program has been around for more than 3 years now. Basically, the program was created to recognize and award top contributors in the community. Those, who shape the industry, deliver the unique Magento implementations and advocate for the platform at local and international events.
Recently, I was honored to interview Oscar Recio – Magento Master 2018 in the Maker category and the 1st Spanish to receive this award. We spoke about his experience with Magento and its community, his vision of the past and future of the platform and his way to the Magento Master Award.
Vitaly: Oscar, I’d like to introduce you to those our blog readers who don’t know you. Please, tell us who you are, where you come from, and what your journey with eCommerce has been up to now.
Oscar: I’m currently working as Technical Director of Interactiv4, where I started as Senior Developer almost 4 years ago.
I began my career in eCommerce in Barcelona, in the city where I was born. I worked for a local company that had their own eCommerce Platform. Next, some life circumstances made me move to Zaragoza, where I started projects with Magento. And after receiving an offer from Interactiv4 I couldn’t refuse to come to Madrid.
Here, I have been lucky enough to work with projects of all kinds, scale, and difficulty. That has made me understand a lot of aspects, including those that don’t directly relate to eCommerce technologies.
To be honest, the total number of the eCommerce projects I’ve managed to complete is revolving around 80%. I have to be realistic, not all of them were as successful as expected.
Vitaly: When did you first start to work with Magento? What was your impression of the platform at that time?
Oscar: As said before, I was in Barcelona working on some other eCommerce platform and I was curious about what was out there. Magento drew my attention and got me interested.
But to tell the truth, at that time Magento seemed very complex to me. That was the exact reason why I decided to go for it. What is worthwhile is never easy.
I started working for another company without having much experience in Magento but with a huge desire to gain it. I’m convinced that the desire to do something is the best motivator to start something new.
Vitaly: Talking about your career path, you started as an eCommerce Web developer, was engaged in project management and team coordination. Now, you are the lead Magento developer at Interactiv4, where you are working on various projects, elaborating development strategies, carrying out various types of research. On top of that, you are an active Magento community maintainer. How do you manage to find time for all such diverse activities?
Oscar: Embracing all the responsibilities you have at your main job and contributing to the community can be quite a challenge. But it’s doable.
Above all, it is a matter of knowing how to distribute time you can devote to each thing. Also, you should understand the value of each thing you’re doing and sort out those with the biggest importance.
I will not lie to you if I say that sometimes I have to spend hours on solving some issues of the community. And quite often it happens in my free time. But you know, that for some reason, it’s worth it.
My girlfriend fully understands me, which is great support and inspiration for me. Besides, in Interactiv4, they allow me to do my community chores together with my daily work, and that is fantastic.
Vitaly: Recently, you were awarded with the Magento Master 2018 title in the Maker category. What is more, you were the first Spanish who managed to do it! Congrats on that! How do you feel about receiving this award? What was your first reaction when you learned about it? Did you get «a raise and a vacation in Hawaii» from your company’s management? 🙂
Oscar: Thank you so much for the congratulations.
In fact, I felt like Spider-Man, not because I could climb the walls like him, but because as his uncle Ben once said: “With great power comes great responsibility”.
The responsibility to be an example for the whole community is quite a challenge.
But with that challenge also comes a bunch of sweet benefits: you get hands on all the platform insights, can explain everything that Magento entails, beyond the Framework. You are always in the spotlight, which gives you a great opportunity to meet and interact with people from different cultures who work together hand in hand.
As for my feelings about receiving this award, you know, that was one of those cozy days in the office, with a thousand of meetings and a lot of work. When I got home and was in bed, doing the last email check, I suddenly saw the email from Magento.
It was a true shock for me, a real sensation! I think my neighbors also remember it, hehehe.
After receiving this award, I did not get a salary increase, for the moment. But I got more respect, responsibility and sometimes that money does not pay.
Talking about Hawaii, it may not be the final destination, but we are preparing something, I can not say more, for now. 😀
Vitaly: Any motivational words for those who want to become Magento Masters in the future?
Oscar: Enjoy everything you do, and results will come. If you do not enjoy it, you will not be able to get the taste of it.
Vitaly: Oscar, you are actively contributing to the development of the Magento community with talks, events, answers on Stackexchange, Twitter, etc. Which channel do you consider to be the most effective to spread the knowledge about the platform?
StackExchange / Magento Forums: To spread technical knowledge.
Twitter: For news and events.
Events: To meet new people and their points of view, you also learn a lot outside of your comfort zone.
I love participating in events because when you spend 10/15 minutes talking to someone, you realize that there are many things that you still don’t know.
Vitaly: In one of your keynotes, you said that Magento 2 was the best e-commerce framework on the market for developers to work with. Could you elaborate on this?
Oscar: Basically, in Magento 2, they have done a spectacular job of Engineering, especially at the level of Backend. Now, everything makes sense. It is much more structured and allows you to develop in an orderly manner.
The platform retains all the power to be customizable and has also been updated to the latest “technologies” with dependency injection, service contracts, etc. Additionally, the possibility of using Composer to work with third-party libraries makes it the reference framework for eCommerce.
Of course, there are more alternatives in the market, but Magento has that special something that makes it unique.
Vitaly: What was the most challenging issue/task/question you managed to solve for the Magento community? Could you tell about it in detail?
Oscar: There are many problems to solve out there.
I remember one, especially in the old forums of Magento (Sorry, I can not put the link since the old forum does not exist anymore).
We were talking about the performance of Magento 1.4 . A lot of people participated in it, and collectively we all defined the way that was the most optimal to solve the problem that the person who was asking had. I remember it because we had to do a lot of tests, even connect to his servers to explore the problem in detail.
There was also a task we did in Interactiv4 that I have a very good memory of. Mainly because it was sheer fun!
We had a project that was a marketplace where the entire catalog of different vendors that also had Magento was grouped. We had to communicate the orders between them and instead of using the Magento API (it would have been perhaps the most logical), we implemented what is known today in Magento Commerce as Split Database. We split the databases so that they worked in a joint database of catalog and sales of all sellers and was identified by the vendor ID within the marketplace so that everyone only saw their products, orders, etc.
It was funny to see that implementation in Magento 2, if it is true that it was a different approach but the same basic idea. It saved us a lot of headaches, and we managed to develop it in just 2 weeks.
Vitaly: Some people say that now Magento has become a way too advanced and complicated solution, and hence it is shifting its focus towards enterprise-level customers, while moving away from small and mid-size businesses. Do you agree with this? If yes, in your opinion, why this is happening?
Oscar: I think we are in a mature point of eCommerce, where businesses are getting more complicated in their bases, at the level of integrations, etc. To address all these problems you need a robust solution. The solution may not always be easy, but it should be safe and stable. Magento is the platform that meets these requirements.
As for smaller eCommerce businesses, I would like to emphasize that if you choose a platform that will be able to handle your growth, you can’t but opt for Magento.
I have seen a lot of cases when merchants chose a cheap and easy solution for a start, but after a year they had to invest a lot of money to rebuild their eCommerce businesses almost from zero.
As for me, I prefer to invest well from the beginning to avoid unexpected negative influence on my business in the future.
Vitaly: Let’s get aside Magento and talk about your personal interests. How do you spend your free time? What are your favorite pastime activities, hobbies? Where do you get inspiration from?
Oscar: I am a very calm person, when I’m not working I try to spend all my time with my family and dog.
Oscar: I do not have any complicated hobbies. I like to improvise, so today I’m interested in something, and tomorrow I may totally lose interest in it. Yes, it is true that the things I like most stop being my hobby to become my passion.
I’m always looking for inspiration in that or the one that marked a movement. For example, Steve Jobs is one of my references, his vision was beyond the Hardware.
I also like people who had some influence on my life and the way I see it. I think my family and my friends are my best inspiration because in the end, you learn from what is closest to you IMHO.
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I don’t want to end without saying thank you for this opportunity to tell you a little more about me. It is an honor to participate in your blog especially after so long using your extensions, etc 😀
We also thank Oscar and wish him good luck in his career (and a bunch of other prestigious professional awards).