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Poll
Would you participate crowd funded development & priority tasks magement? Please vote on how much would you feel comfortable to spend on functionality
$0 6
$10 2
$20 0
up to $40 3
up to $60 2
up to $80 0
> $100 if it will be delivered within 2 weeks 3
Total Votes: 16
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dotbeyond.com
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******* I am not trying to teach you people how to live your life -just trying to make the point.
All my experience with Magento/Varien is that i
- installed the software (without any problems, which is already a good sign), went through settings and understood about 60-70% of functionality
- looked through Varien’s portfolio (good stuff - the company has potential)
- made one proposal regarding Universal 3rd party merchant affiliate feed parser
- tried to find if there are any plans to add functionality allowing to sell digital content and couldn’t find anything about it


Magento - Open Source eCommerce Evolved

It is really nice that someone finally decided to do something in this niche. Anything that could allow a non-programmer to add /upgrade store’s functionality without making manual changes to the system’s core by trying to follow “upgrade” instructions “open file ....find line 20432 , add ..., save, open file..” (hello osCommerce!) is going to be a big step forward…
- Adding Wiki will definitely help to support this application.
- Adding blog is a nice way of showing that the development team is still alive.

What else evolved?

Despite all your good intentions and positive first impression from application, reading your “big plans”, i already see that the project already contracted “monstrosity” virus, which is just a little annoying now, but has all potential to evolve into something more problematic.

What is Varien’s business approach for Magento?  How do you make money?

Choosing Open source model is nice move in terms of application’s availability, which greatly helps to company’s positioning on the market.  We’re all know that it is not enough for project’s success: things like application support and commitment are crucial.  What makes you think that in 1-3 years you will have the same enthusiasm and passion as right now?

Well, your roadmap provides some answers:
“...priorities can change and features may be moved to later releases”
“ ...  we advise you to not make any serious business decisions”

For Magento users (store owners, solution providers, project managers, entrepreneurs) eCommerce is about business decisions, money, time and commitment to their customers. 

“We are committed to providing the best eCommerce solution possible, and this roadmap is intended to keep our users up-to-date on where Magento is and where it’s going. This commitment to transparency extends to any changes we may have to make to the roadmap”

How is it even possible to talk about “the best eCommerce solution possible”, when Magento’s developers cannot commit to anything specific
It seems like Varien has a limited (possibly incorrect) understanding of transparency .
How about
- making public all development-related costs? 
- being specific about development-related schedules?
- “success rate” of being able to keep promises?

My proposal

1. To stop development of all new features.

2. To go back to what has been released and remove all “extra” functionality that could be removed.  Only a “bare minimum” should be left - something that no store could function without. It must be easy to install, easy to configure and easy to understand.

3. To establish business relation with community: Invest into yourself first (as a company) before trying to invest into others and do what you do the best:  write software that works and enables business. So please

- 3.1 Remove current roadmap and this forum ("Feature Requests"). Both things are useless “As-Is”
- 3.2 Enhance Magento community site by adding the following functionality
- 3.2.1 Implement something like a “Feature Request Board”, allowing users to post their functionality proposal requests (including description of functionality and the price, which this user is comfortable to pay to have this functionality to be developed:  $1, $10 , $300 $whatever.) All users in need of this functionality will be welcome to support this request by placing the amount they’re personally comfortable to contribute for development.  No money - no vote.  Nobody uses eCommerce application for fun.  People use it as a tool to make money and they will be glad to pay money for functionality that will make them money.  Nothing could be as objective as an offer based on free will.  Polls, number of beggars, marketing research - this is all waste of time. “Affordability” and communal involvement - this is what differs open source development from everything else.
The board should notify Varien’s sales representative when proposal gets certain # of offers, or when the total amount of offers exceeds $xxx. Sales rep should reply by posting an official estimate of development costs / time.  When the total amount of offers equals or exceeds estimated costs, the board submits an invitation to all participating users to pay the amount they proposed.  When the full amount has been collected, the project manager posts development schedule and the work starts.  Price, time, and success rate - this is the transparency i am interested in.

TBC

 
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dotbeyond.com
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- 3.2.2 Create a community store, which is going to sell crowd funded functionality.  The cost of the each upgrade will be calculated as total development cost divided by # of people who funded.  It could be marked down by Varien, which is going to collect revenues, that will compensate open source development costs and bug fixes. The best thing that ALL enhancements /additional functionality will be AFFORDABLE by “average” user

- 3.3 Core development team (Varien) must play nice and support 3rd party development. It could be accomplished by establishing something like “Creative Engineering Union” (CEU).  Anyone, who
—Programmed his own extension + wrote up documentation OR Designed a theme OR Submitted localization and made it available as free download through community site
—Disclosed his expenses
—Got approval from > 51% of union members

could become a CEU member for 1 month (with automatic extension for 1 more month for each new submission, OR by participation in at least 1 approval per month held by-weekly)

The benefit of joining/participating in CEU
- for developers: double credit for completed work.
- for designers/translators: a full credit for completed work.

The benefit of participation in CEU approvals is to maintain / grow compensation credit, that could be spent of any item in the store. Any developer, who topped X,XXX credits will be awarded “Certified Magento developer / designer” title, which will allow quote submissions (and overbidding Varien) on crowd-sourced projects, that pay real cash.

The benefit for community:
- New & free functionality/designs.
- Professional crowd quality control (meaning “No B.S.” - No fellow CEU member will approve phony/overpriced/incomplete submissions - all of them know what is acceptable).
- Learning to “think business”: If your current project requires 20 extensions with total of $400, it is always nice to find 3rd party coder, pay him $200 cash for some cool extension, submit it for public use and receive $400 credit.

The same community credit ("Karma points") system should be used for forums/wiki posts:  people who help other people should really feel that the time they spent helping community is compensated

I have much more to say about organization of crowd sourced /open source development.  Give me a reason to share it.

 
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Travis
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Quite the demands to a company that owes us nothing.

Have other open-source apps hurt us this much, that we have to call out Varien, who’s doing nothing more than attempting to change a stale game?  I think every intention is good on their part, and if you take the direction of Magento, having been developed from scratch in less than a year, and want them to pull a 180 on their plans, I have to disagree with that.

 
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dotbeyond.com
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Travis - 04 October 2007 03:11 AM

Quite the demands to a company that owes us nothing.

Have other open-source apps hurt us this much, that we have to call out Varien, who’s doing nothing more than attempting to change a stale game?  I think every intention is good on their part, and if you take the direction of Magento, having been developed from scratch in less than a year, and want them to pull a 180 on their plans

Demand?  what are you talking about ?

It was nothing but suggestion on how to streamline the development process, optimize and enhance their business model by getting in touch with reality.
I have no doubt that their intentions are good and my proposal is only about working smarter vs. working harder.

Travis - 04 October 2007 03:11 AM

I have to disagree with that.

So basically you disagree that developers should get paid. right?

May I ask about your involvement into Open Source products development/support?
If you don’t have such experience, then please answer one question:

Why do you think they should spend their time developing free software for your store?

 
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Travis
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Varien isn’t looking to develop a vBulletin.  If they were to charge a few hundred for a license, I’d still pay for it in a second.

While Magento is free, I don’t see developers (community members) needing to be paid for contributions.  I hope to be able to contribute modules and themes down the road and don’t expect to be paid for doing so. 

Wordpress has done a fantastic job at enabling people to contribute to the platform through plug-ins, and each contributor only expects appreciation and any traffic that may come from it, no financial restitution. 

If a developer were to create an extensive module, I don’t have a problem seeing a marketplace like Flashden.net implemented, but we’ve yet to see how Varien will manage and encourage contributions.

EDIT:  Ron, nice to see someone else read his posts as demanding.

 
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LorenzoG
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I can only agree with Ron. I have full confidence in Varien and I’m certain that they know what they are doing and where they want to aim the project to.

As Ron state, the product is only preview release and have only been there 1 month so far and everyone have to understand that this has to take some time for both the software and the Magento project to mature. People have different needs and I think the only way to solve this will be have a strong 3rd party developer community. But I think it’s still to early to try to develope 3rd part components before Magento is more stable and the API is on place.

I have for myself like 1000 desires for my business. Some I’m certain that Varien will provide us with, some will the community help me with and some I have to fix for myself (and hopefully be able to give back to the community).

I like very much what I have seen so far and compared to others open source and proprietary e-commerce software, Magento is unrivallled.

 
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iblastoff
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karma points? creative engineering union? give me a break…

 
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dotbeyond.com
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Ron Seigel - 04 October 2007 05:06 AM

how much the developers BEG for “coffee money” - it’s quite pathetic).

Why do they do this?  Use your little brain and try to answer this question yourself

 
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i960
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Whatever it is you are rambling on about, I hope Varien does the exact opposite.  I’m sure they already have a game plan that benefits themselves as well as the community.  Just let them do as they already have been.  Seems to be working so far.  They’ve come up with a fantastic application in a relatively short period of time, and they are releasing updates often.  I would gladly pay for Magento, but if it’s free, I’m going to accept it and never ever complain about how they are doing it.

 
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Maff
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I think someone’s looking for Roy’s job!  hmmm

 
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RoyRubin
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Opinions in this very strange thread have been voiced. I am closing the thread.

 
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