This speaker that will join us at Meet Magento Croatia doesn’t need a huge introduction. Almost all of us in Magento community at some point stumbled at something Karen Baker wrote, tweeted or shared in any other form. Last year, she surprised us all with unannounced visit to MM17HR. This year, we are pleased to welcome her at the stage of Meet Magento Croatia with “From a free Extension to a SAAS Product – How you can do it too” presentation in which she’ll share her story about entrepreneurship and eCommerce world in general.
Without further ado, meet Karen!
Hi Karen! It’s an honor to welcome you to the stage of MM18HR! Last year you surprised us all with the unexpected visit to MM17HR. How was your time in Osijek?
Last year I had an operation which caused me to lose my voice, and a lot of confidence as a result. Coming to Osijek really was therapy for me, it was a last minute decision to see how I would cope in conferences and to give me a complete break from the trappings of everyday life. I remember being quite petrified (which is unlike me) when I arrived at Budapest airport and was looking for the car with no sat nav or map to follow, but I survived and I found Osijek a beautiful town. I’ve long known Tomislav from Inchoo and it was great to spend some time seeing the wonderful new offices (which are something only others can dream of)! I left Osijek much calmer than I arrived (in part due to a great walk Tomislav recommended me to go on), so thank you for all your hospitality.
— Inchoo (@inchoo) March 17, 2017
Your interest in IT started at the very early age. What brought you to it (an unintended pun 🙂 )?
In the early 80’s all the kids had computers, there were Vic20’s, Spectrums, C64s, and I had a BBC (my parents thought it would be more educational). It was in reflection the best present they could have bought us (it was actually mainly for my older brother), and now I realise the sacrifice they had to make to buy it, paying it off monthly. I was immediately addicted to it, and the games quickly bored me. It was the possibilities, the fact I was in charge, and I knew quite early on the boundaries were my imagination. IT to me is part of who I am and how I think.
With interesting work background that includes corporate world, eCommerce and startups, you are definitely qualified for sharing your business experience as a learning opportunity for everyone. Please, share a few key takeaways from your upcoming MM18HR presentation “From a free Extension to a SAAS Product – How you can do it too”.
I don’t often talk about the WebShopApps/ShipperHQ story, but as I get older I feel a responsibility to discuss it more to try to encourage the next generation. I plan to talk about some of the lessons we learned both from an engineering and a business perspective. My hope is that people can leave with a view of this is possible, not to sweat the small stuff, and how to stay laser-focused on your goal. I want people to understand the seemingly impossible is possible, and how to take small steps to achieve your goals.
You are one of the most vocal individuals in the Magento community and (in)famous for doing things differently. One of the topics you’re covering in your presentations is how you at ShipperHQ “really feel about Magento open source”. We can’t wait to hear more about it! Can you share a sneak peek with us?
For whatever reason I’ve become a bit of a ‘loud’ voice around Magento, and often I’ll question what they are doing, and what the community is doing. I fully get open source, we have some open source code and we would love to do more of it in the future. We are also a business, as is pretty much everyone at the conference, so I want to just open the discussion on what that means in terms of open source and working within the Magento ecosystem.
What would you say that were the most important lessons entrepreneurship in eCommerce has taught you?
To trust myself, to accept that I can’t change everything, nor should I. I’ve learned the importance of the right team, and the right customer. To remember that this is a rollercoaster and there will be good days and bad days, and that’s okay.
Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?
Thanks for beating us in the world cup semi’s 🙂
My youngest just said ‘who do we support now mum’ – I said back ‘ it’s okay boy I’ve got friends in Croatia we are with them now, we will get a flag and that’s who we are with now’ – he smiled, first defeat but he knows already it’s family #realMagento @inchoo @tomislavbilic
— Karen Baker (@wsakaren) July 11, 2018
Looks like some wounds still haven’t healed. 😀