[How did I begin with Joomla] Episode 4: Parth Lawate’s tips for Joomlapreneurs
Hi Joomler fellows,
Welcome back to our “How did you begin with Joomla?” story. Featuring in this 4th episode is Parth Lawate, a CEO of Techjoomla and he is also the Strategic Marketing Manager at Joomla. You can say Hi to him via his Twitter @parthlawate.
Read on his love story with Joomla and wait for him to reveal his best tips for Joomlapreneurs!
1. Could you please tell me how you began with Joomla? What made you fall in love with Joomla?
Our Joomla Story goes back a long way! It was back in 2004 that we first looked at Mambo. I was still an Engineering student back then and we were mainly using PHP Nuke and PHPbb among other systems to develop a Non-profit Environment related portal. If you knew PHPNuke back then installing a 'Feature' meant editing a Zillion files based on a Text help file to add code.
Coming from there, when we looked at the futuristic 'Extension Installer' in Mambo and the extensive Administration interface – It was love at first sight. That’s how our love affair started and continued with Joomla when it forked in 2006 and it’s been an enduring relationship since then. We had written an article about this in the Joomla community magazine sometime back. You can read it here.
One cool thing about this relationship is that if you don't like something in Joomla, you can actually do something to change it ;) which is kind of different from your typical love affair ! Not that it’s easy ..but hey it’s possible!
For me why I love Joomla is a lot of things. One key factor since the Joomla 1.5 days has been the stronger MVC architecture which allows for better code management. Coupled with the strong extension developer community around it, there is little you can't do with Joomla by doing a mix and match of custom Joomla extensions and off the shelf ones with much less time and effort.
One of the key things I believe in and hold close to my heart is 'The Open Source Spirit' which allows us to create & use a lot of common code and focus on creating innovative new solutions rather than duplicating. Joomla allows me to practice this!
2. You are working on the Joomla Marketing Leadership team as the Strategic Marketing Manager. Could you please share with us about your task?
On the Joomla marketing team our goal is pretty clear. We need to increase Joomla adoption which is important for the Sustainability of the entire Joomla Eco system and all the people dependent on it. This includes for us everyone touched by Joomla – The end users, system integrators, Consulting companies, extension developers, webmasters, designers, translators etc.
My main role is to define the strategy for the Joomla Marketing team. A lot of this has to do with the Product positioning, target customers and some also has a 'Community Angle' where we work on strategies to increase the active community around Joomla.
Since Joomla is not run by any single company, it’s the Community that powers its development and support. Building a strong, active and educated community is critical for the better success of the Product.
Community is the people and the better people we have the better our product will be. I've explored this in detail in an article in the Joomla Community Magazine.
It’s of course a chicken and egg situation! It’s also true that a good product will attract great people. So I feel as a Project we need to focus on both these aspects with equal importance and build evolve Joomla as the needs of the Web and the connected world in general change.
The important aspect of my role is to help define and evolve a strategy for this to happen. We regularly liaise with the PLT & CLT to ensure these inputs are shared with them.
On the tactical side the Marketing team works on a lot of areas. From marketing new Joomla releases to writing copy for the various sites, blogs and press releases to helping various Volunteer teams get the word out about the work they are doing to designing various artifacts needed across the project as well as help with any Events and Sponsorships the projects in getting involved in. The list is quite large and we need a lot of help!
I'd like to take this opportunity to ask people to help us by joining the Marketing team :). It’s a challenge I'm sure you will love. It’s not every day that you get to be involved in Marketing a project that powers a large slice of the Internet, has such a global reach and touches so many lives!
3. Could you please share some tips on running a Joomla service: some tips to understand Joomla market better or promote the project better? These tips will be very helpful for startups.
Sure. I'd like to give you a little background first to help you understand the role Techjoomla plays in the overall scheme of things.
Our parent company is Tekdi Technologies and it provides consulting and development services around Joomla to clients all over the world. At Tekdi we are focused on providing world class Joomla development services.
Techjoomla is a smaller team within Tekdi focused on doing Joomla based extension development and today we have some pretty popular products in the Joomla space like SocialAds, Quick2Cart, Invitex, JGive, JTicketing and Shika to name a few.
Then we have AppCarvers which is another small team within Tekdi that focused on Mobile application development. Here we provide consulting and development services and also offer some Products both related and unrelated to Joomla.
We are also releasing a new framework of sorts (or rather more of a development methodology) based on the Ionic framework called as Unite soon. Later a Joomla App Packaging system called JUnite will also be released. All open source and free!
Now for us the key to running these Product and service divisions is that they align to each other and are all part of what we call the 'Tekdi Sustainability Cycle' which is derived from the 'Open Source Spirit' that I talked about earlier allowing us to create a lot of common code that’s reused across divisions.
It allows us to do much more with less. More common code means less maintenance across projects, products and clients and more time to innovate. This is of course more theoretical and has its implementation challenges.. But we are an agile company and are continuously evolving and striving to do better.
I know this was a bit of a longish background, but it will help give perspective to the suggestions I have for fellow 'Joomlapreneurs' – Shall we call them? :)
a. Start thinking with the Open Source Spirit. See how your next project can help you contribute – either to Joomla (Either the core or by releasing code on your own) or to an open source Project you use. This will help in the long run to ensure that you have less code of your own to manage making you more sustainable. Engineer your solutions to contribute.
b. Try and do more with less & always be ready to change – Bootstrap, Implement, observe, measure and change. Keep doing that. Don't stop ever!
c. Listen to your customers. It might not be possible to implement everything they have to say immediately (or ever) but make sure you listen to them and give them your feedback
d. Solve a key problem. If you solve a critical problem with a great solution, the less marketing you will need to do!
Coming to Promoting Joomla the Product and the Project & selling it to your clients
The first thing you will need to ensure before you sell Joomla to your clients is to really understand the product well from all aspects both from a technical and business perspective.
You can sell better when you know better. Don't let your love for Joomla overshadow the Solution you are offering! Sell on logic and emotion of the solution you are offering which is powered by Joomla. A client will care more about the solution usually than what powers it.
You will also come across clients that have 'heard' that WordPress or Drupal will provide a better solution. Go into the sale donning your Logic hat. Hey sometimes it may well be the better solution. But more often than not it’s more of a 'crowd' effect than logic.
5. Anything else that you want to share with us?
First of all, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you guys for the awesome work you are doing for the Joomla community and the cool templates you have integrated with our products!
Also I'd like to ask more of the Development community around Joomla to come forward to participate in what I'm calling the 'Spirit of Open source' movement and start thinking 'Contribution first' for all your projects. We plan to publish detailed blogs and experiences of the challenges we have faced and what we have done to overcome them soon!
If more of us can do this and contribute on various levels of the Open source stack as well as the Joomla stack, we can ensure sustainability in the Joomla ecosystem which is great for everyone! So are you up for it?
Thank you for a very inspiring and helpful sharing, Parth Lawate!
How did you begin with Joomla?
With this series, I hope that you can learn some tips about using Joomla as well as connect to Joomla community better. Interested in this series? Feel free to share it to your friends.