I am Sam, CEO at Mageplaza. I live in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, located in Southeast Asia. I studied technology in a class of talented students at the University of Hanoi. I was born and raised in Hai Phong, a coastal city in the north of Vietnam. Outside my professional life, I’d love to perceive myself as a family man, a dad of 2 kids with one in the oven 😀
The Journey Began
I was a technology geek, and had a special interest in e-Commerce technology. I had worked with WordPress in the Vietnam market before knowing about Magento. After some time experiencing several platforms, I found the Magento platform very promising and realized great opportunities in the Magento community. My decision to join this community became a life changer for me.
I heard of Magento for the first time in the early 2010s through my profession in a development company in Hanoi. They were a Silver partner of Magento back at that time. As I started working on several Magento projects, I gained so much knowledge and experience with this platform. Magento was the number one e-Commerce platform for small and medium-sized enterprises. Therefore, the number of users was huge.
My interest in Magento grew very naturally even though this platform was perceived as complex and challenging to work with. And I believe Magento got my attention for that same reason. It was a promising market that few dared to jump into and I told myself that I wanted to conquer this challenge. I didn’t want to undertake something that could be done well by anyone, so I decided to take the more challenging and therefore more rewarding route.
The Need for Mageplaza
Around the time I considered creating my own company, the e-commerce market was still developing in Vietnam. I knew we had an educated workforce capable of developing a product that could be competitive across the globe. So, I took the first nervous steps in what would lead to the company you see now.
The market now is saturated with products similar to ours, perhaps even those that seem cheaper or more convenient in the short term. That is where Mageplaza is different. We want to create long lasting relationships with our customers and to do that we want to create a mutually beneficial joint venture that ensures our customers feel supported and can feel our commitment to them through our dynamic and consistent support.
As other start-up companies, the most challenging aspect we had to face was how to present our core values to our customers. And as stated in the last question, we knew how we wanted to be different from our competitors, but how to convey that message to our customers clearly and fully was the hard part.
The worst experience might have been when we had to cancel a project in Magento 1, the precursor of Magento 2 now. The reason was because we were too focused on the technical aspect of our products and neglected the business/marketing side of it. We learned our lesson though, that customers should be the center of everything and your products should be born for the benefit of customers
One of the moments I am most proud of is when Mageplaza hit 10 million downloads over 230 extensions worldwide. Our brand has spread widely in more than 170 countries around the world and become the most popular extension builder for Magento 2. It was a big milestone for us.
Myself with my Brilliant Team
Brian on VMM 42km trail run:
Our teammate – Jacker – finished 100Km with the Magento flag on the trail during 22 continuous hours. VMM is the hardest trail race in APAC:
Advice for Business Owners
Just do it and learn your own lessons. No one is born with the perfect set of skills to start a business or run a company however we need to develop into this position through our experiences. Also, you can start a business for any reason, but ensure that whatever reason that may be, you have a genuine passion for it. It’ll be a huge motivation for you to pursue your goals.
I would suggest PWA that one should focus on to start a Magento related business. Headless commerce will become our future for its advancement in payment, page loading speed and shopping experience. I see so much potential in this
Magento & Beyond
My first and biggest dream since the first day has always been to help a million online merchants increase their revenues. Hence, as much as Magento is my biggest focus for now, I’ve got my eyes on other e-commerce platforms and other technologies too. In the future, we will keep focusing on e-commerce. To grow our business, we prioritize customer experience as we perceive improving customer benefits as improving our own profitability
With Adobe’s acquisition of Magento, we have been witnessing a lot of dramatic changes in this platform and I believe that this will take Magento to a very bright future. It wouldn’t surprise me if this platform becomes the number one choice for upmarket e-commerce enterprises.
Every e-commerce platform comes with pros and cons. I believe Magento is still preferred by its own customer segmentation
My Love for the Magento Community
Back to the time when all of us were still free to physically gather up in big Magento events, I did enjoy them lots. Now I do still follow and attend these events online to keep myself updated with Magento news, releases, new technologies and solutions. These events are a big chance for me as well as for the community to meet like-minded people, learn and share our knowledge, seek partnership and motivation for what we all are passionate about
I’m grateful for the great community that you and I have been a part of. Without every little contribution from everyone in this big community, we would not have the success and create as much value for our customers/clients as we are doing right now.
How I Keep Myself Updated
I keep myself updated thanks to the Magento community, Adobe newsletter for Magento, and other resources such as HubSpot, Growth Hackers and many more.
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
As my work makes me attached to some sort of electronic devices, I would rather spend my free time doing something physical. I play badminton or run frequently to keep myself active. During the lockdown time, as I cannot go outside, I play with my two kids, read or have quality time with my big family.
On big occasions like New Year or Independence day, I often visit my hometown in Hai Phong, enjoy the festive spirit with my loved ones and breathe in some fresh air. I travel sometimes with my family too.
My favorite travel destination should always be nature. Trekking and camping on a nice mountain is always on the top of my list.