Magento has long surpassed the phase of being solely about the product. Here’s why Magento – and the community revolving around it – is all about the stories.
We as humans are wired to recall stories. We can easily connect with them and we enjoy those which hit the inspiration button, challenge us or get us emotionally charged.
Being part of the Magento world for a year now (yay!), I’ve seen many people writing stories – crafting plots and making heroes out of their agencies and clients – without ever realizing they are doing it. How is it possible that community which breathes life into so many heroic-like sagas is so unaware of it?
Now, you already saw me mention the word “hero” once or twice so far. Actually, I toss it around not for the fun of it but to illustrate a point. When I say Magento community is full of storymakers who are heroes or make them, there is a big fat chance you’ll relate to the expression. Reading the sentence goes from “That cool guy over there gets to be the hero.” to “Well, I might be that hero!”. Or, even better: “I am that hero! My client is that hero!”
And you are absolutely right about that one. You and your customers are the heroes in a perfectly aligned story Magento lays out before you.
But, let’s step back for a second. Let’s think about what happens, from an objective point of view, so you or your customers could be the heroes?
Million stories, one frame
Joseph Campbell explained it nicely in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”. In this book, he explains a “common template of a broad category of tales that involve a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed.” Roughly translated, what Joseph Campbell is trying to say is: from Aristotle to Shakespeare, from story artists of Hollywood to Magento community, we all keep telling the same story. We just “paint” it differently.
Hero’s Journey is, in fact, a very simple concept. It’s made of 12 simple steps but, to simplify it even further, we’ll divide them into 3 major acts.
Act I – Set-up (Where’s your hero now, where has he been, and where are they headed? Who were they when they started their journey? What does your hero want to achieve? What’s at stake and what propels them into action?)
Act II – Conflict (What are the obstacles and who helps him fight them? How do they work to overcome the hero’s challenges? When is your hero on a cusp of victory and what happens as a setback?)
Act III – Resolution (What does their success look like? How has it leveled them up? Reveal the moral of the story because that’s what counts!)
Recognizing those in everyday situations can be a challenge but – it can be done. Let’s look at the examples from the Magento community.
You as the hero
How did your company/agency start? When, and how, did you get involved with Magento? What have you worked on so far? What is your current project and what are the challenges you are facing while working on it? How are you fighting those challenges? Do you go through official Magento literature, ask for help from a friend also working with Magento (we tend to stick together!) or go to Inchoo’s blog to seek an answer? How do you, eventually, overcome the challenge and what does the final result look like?
Note that this is exactly what we do at Meet Magento conferences. You share the story, laid out as described, to offer assistance to people who might have the same problem or are, as Joseph Campbell would put it: “in search of a mentor”.
Your organization as the hero and you as the mentor
Same lineup with a small twist. You are the one who has the experience and knowledge and you are the one who assists youngsters (interns, for example) on their path.
I see this story at Inchoo all the time. We have Ivan Weiler, who is close to Yoda in our circles, and he is the mentor who helps our company find the right dev solution.
Your customer as the hero, your company as the mentor and your product or service as the gift that helps them in their quest.
This narrative is what we often do, without even being aware of the fact. Every time a potential lead contacts you, they are contacting you due to the certain setback they’re having. That means it’s up to you to find out all about the set up (who are they and where are they headed?) and help them with resolving conflict. Remember to share the setbacks in all their gore and glory – our minds are wired to love overcoming obstacles. Eventually, if you’re doing your job right, your company turns to mentor and Magento becomes the answer which leads to success.
Bear in mind that our connection with a story fades if we struggle to follow, understand or relate to what’s going on.
That gap, in our case, is bridged by Magento itself. Why? Because we all work within the same environment and struggle with same things.
Without ever realizing, we’ve created a story around Magento now popularly called Magento community. In other words, we continuously live our stories. After all, every story is better being shown, rather than being told. Congrats to every individual working with Magento and showing amazing stuff – day in, day out.