We spoke to Akoova’s CEO, Osvaldo Spadano, about the Magento Cloud hosting company and their sponsorship of Meet Magento UK 2019.
He talks us through their mission to ‘Close The Gap’, their thoughts on the passionate Magento community, and what ‘problems’ (instead of trends) merchants should focus on tackling in 2019.
1. Can you tell us a little about your company?
Akoova was born out of frustration. As a CTO of very successful online retailers, I could not find a satisfactory solution to fully manage the hosting and the whole technical operations of our Magento online stores. There was always that dangerous gap between developers and operations that caused utterly frustrating and expensive finger pointing. We weren’t alone, the whole industry was busy “Minding The Gap”. With Akoova we set out on a mission to “Close The Gap” and liberate online retailers.
2. How do you feel that your company fits into the wider Magento community?
First and foremost at Akoova we focus on continuously creating and delivering value to our clients, the merchants. They are the reason why this thriving Magento community exists.
This value is amplified by closely collaborating with their developers and eCommerce professionals; that is why we don’t hide behind a ticketing system, rather we insist on continuously collaborating with developers on Slack. By engaging in intelligent conversations with them, we “Close The Gap”, and everyone benefits from it.
We prefer to support and sponsor community-driven events, such as Meet Magento UK, Magento Meet-Ups, and Mage Titans.
3. What were your reasons for sponsoring Meet Magento UK?
Meet Magento UK is an event driven by a passionate community and increasingly designed for Merchants. We love supporting the effort of like-minded people on a mission to help retailers and the eCommerce industry.
4. What was your highlight from MM18UK (if attended)?
The highlight was when Jamie Huskisson first told me about Meet Magento UK and he made this tweet come true: https://twitter.com/jhuskisson/status/880093408966127616 where I pledged my support.
5. Why do you think it’s important to take time out to come to events like ours?
Merchants and developers often face common problems, previously / currently faced by their peers. It is about the power of sharing and learning by leveraging the hindsight, insight and foresight of a whole community. You cannot beat that! In fact one of Akoova’s pillars is “We don’t believe in hindsight unless it becomes foresight”.
6. What do you think makes the Magento community so unique?
We often hear about Open Source, Open API, Open SaaS and Open Graph. The Magento community is a great example of “Open Passion”.
7. What do you think has been the biggest leap forward in the eCommerce industry so far?
At Akoova, we believe in Continuous Improvement and Continuous Innovation at any level – Product, Process, Service and Business Model levels. What’s dressed-up as a leap, is often the result of a long learning and experimental journey.
One of the biggest leaps forward in the eCommerce industry was the 1st of Amazon’s leadership principles: “Start with the customer and work backwards” – https://www.amazon.jobs/en/principles. That’s a very powerful principle, borrowed from Lean Thinking. In fact most of Amazon’s philosophy and culture is modelled around Lean Thinking / The Toyota Production System. “Customer Obsession” should be the North Star for any Merchant.
8. What trends, tactics, or tools should we be focusing on in 2019? What do you predict we’ll see this year?
At Akoova, we don’t believe in silver bullets and solution-based approaches, we believe in problems – “NO PROBLEM IS A PROBLEM”. I know, it may sound odd, let me explain.
We believe on Finding the right problem first, Face that problem and accept that we may have been wrong on how we understood it, Frame the problem and the learning required for a novel and clear understanding of it, and finally, Form the experiments for finding a solution, while capturing this knowledge in standards.
The questions for merchants out there is: what problem should they be focussing on in 2019? Don’t chase the latest CRM, PIM, ERP or tactical solution, which may take years to implement, cost a fortune and ultimately create new problems rather than solving any.
I can predict a problem in 2019 though. Customers’ expectations will increase, because the best merchants and other industries keep raising the bar. How will you raise your bar, what problems will you solve for your own customers?
9. Why should merchants attend Meet Magento UK 2019?
Because other merchants will be there eager to share their knowledge. Be part of that exchange, it is very beneficial, it can save you from making mistakes at your own expense.
10. Why should attendees visit you at The Mermaid on June 19th?
Akoova likes to be different and stand-out. This year you will find us outside of the Sponsor Marketplace, because… We’ll be wearing the “CLOSE THE GAP” t-shirt.
Talk to us because we want to know about your problems and do everything we can to help you. For instance, we could make an intro to one of our awesome clients who had a similar problem, or to other people we respect and who are capable of helping you out. And if Akoova can help you by taking on undifferentiated heavy lifting, freeing you up and give you the headroom to focus on the next problem, wouldn’t that be great?