Interview: Vinai Kopp

Written by Guido Jansen in
November 2010

Today I start with a new series on my blog: Interviews with members of the Magento community. Who are they, what are they working on and what can we expect from them in the (near) future? Let's start with my first guest and fellow member of the Magento CAB: Vinai Kopp.

Vinai is working as a Freelance programmer and web-developer since 1998 at his own company Netzarbeiter. He specialized on Magento since march 2008 and is mainly active training Magento developers and providing technical consulting. Vinai lives in Heidelberg (Germany) and can be found online on Skype (vinai_kopp) and Twitter (@VinaiKopp). Let's find out what (s)he's like...!

What did you dream of becoming as a child?

Most of the time I dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Then, as a teenager, I wanted to become a hippie, living of the stuff I created. I'm glad I took a different path, though :).

My philosophy on life is...

Attitude determines emotional response and the created results. I am responsible for my attitude towards people and events.

What is your average day like?

There are two types of days, in the home office and during trainings. My office day:

  • Wake up the kids, get them off to school.
  • Shower and get dressed.
  • Scan inbox and create list of priorities for the day.
  • Work until midday when the kids come.
  • Cook lunch.
  • 30 min nap.
  • Work until evening.
  • Cook dinner.
  • Send kids to bed.
  • Read or DVD time.

During a training:

  • Get up at 5:30
  • Prepare day until 7:00.
  • Hotel breakfast.
  • More preparation or nap.
  • Off to the client, start training at 9:00
  • Developer Training from 9:00 to 18:00 with a couple of breaks.
  • Then, back to hotel, eat.
  • If net is available do mails.
  • If available, sauna.

The ideal night out is...

...having a funny and exciting time with a friend in a sweet location.

I'm good at...

...getting along with people, reading code, enjoying my life.

I'm very bad at...

...listening to people whine, doing things I don't really feel like doing (booooring!).

What are you proud of?

My daughters! And that customers like my trainings a lot!

How did you get involved in Magento?

After some years with osCommerce (and derivatives) and becoming sick of it. I sold a Magento-shop to a customer. After he said yes I didn't have a chance to back out of the contract and had to wrap my head around all the new things in the Magento core. Thank god I love learning new skills, otherwise I wouldn't have went through with it.

I am (still/currently) involved with Magento because...

  • I love working with smart people.
  • I love learning.
  • It feels good to be able to cleanly customize Magento to do what I want.
  • The excitement around Magento offers brilliant business opportunities.

What should every newcomer know about Magento?

Everybody: it's only worth it if you plan on doing several Magento projects or plan to create your own store and continue it for a long time. Developers: there always are better ways to do things in Magento. Project Managers: you will spend learning time in the first three Magento Projects.

Which feature would you really like to see added to Magento?

  1. A clean ORM.
  2. Multiple inheritance for Magento Classes.
  3. Tracing the position of Layout XML instructions on each block so they could be displayed with path hints.

And what feature would you really like to see removed?

EAV. I believe this is the main reason why scaling Magento is so painful after a certain size.

What is the first extension you install in Magento?

The German localization module, or the Market Ready German extension.

What's the first thing you would improve on magentocommerce.com?

Speed. Add the possibility to monitor new threads in the extension section of the forums (I often miss new posts regarding my extensions).

What are your plans with Magento in the (near) future?

My plans are to further empower more and more developers to have fun creating awesome shops with Magento.Also, I'll  try to get my feedback into the planning of Magento 2.0 - I hope  Magento Inc. will open up some kind of communication channel for that,  soon, like they announced.The issues I would like to discuss mostly involve increasing Magento scalability.

Complete the sentence "Magento changes the e-commerce landscape forever because..."

..it inspires and empowers people! Thanks Vinai for your cooperation! Next week I'll interview Artyom Rabzonov from Aheadworks. If you want to stay up-to-date, you can subscribe to my RSS feed, the Newsletter or my Facebook page.

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