Shutting down Magium (and (eventually) looking for a new awesome company to work for)

If you don’t know what Magium is, it is a Selenium based testing framework for Magento and other platforms that makes it much, MUCH, easier to test those applications.  I’ve been working on it since December and it is now 7 months out.  7 months of very little income (thank you to MagentoU for having me do some training work for you).  And after 7 months of working on Magium with little by way of progress (as a business.  The technology progressed quite nicely) I’ve decided that it’s time to throw in the towel.

It is, perhaps, fitting that I post this the week of the July 4th holiday as it was exactly a year ago where I was working through the holiday on building browser tests for a customer module for the Expert Consulting Group.  It was then that I discovered the horrid nature browser testing for those who are not QA professionals.  And while it was several months before Magium started to take form in my mind, the July 4th weekend of 2015 is when I was convinced that there had to be a better way.

Magium still is the better way, but it will not be a business for me.

Something like this of course requires some level of reflection.  This is now the second venture that I’ve folded in the past decade.  The first was trying my hand at mobile apps after I burned myself out at a previous job.  This time it was actually something that had, and still does IMHO, a lot of potential.  80% of Magento developers (and developers in general) do not execute automated browser tests with difficulty being the primary objection.  The approach I took for Magium significantly reduced the investment required to automate your browser testing, especially if you were not a dedicated QA person who knows what you’re doing.

But for whatever reason I was not able to make it stick.  I’ve been watching the installs on Packagist stay relatively stagnant and after switching to a services based method over a month ago I have not been able to drum up any paying significant  gigs.  It’s hard to try and build an open source project that few people show up for.  There have been several people who have expressed interest, and I’ve even had a few contributions.  But this is prima facie evidence that the mantra of “if you build it, they will come” is utterly false.

Not that I ever believed that anyway.

So, what to do?

Right now, nothing.  I burned myself out.  And it’s the middle of summer.  And I’m pretty sure I need some time to rest.  Shutting it down after I was so utterly convinced that there was business potential here is like a giant kick in the gut… or lower.  At least I can still tell inappropriate jokes.  Run for the hills if I ever lose that ability.

So right now I’m going to be staying put.  Maybe do some renovations.  Do some writing.  Do some work on Magium.  Hopefully do some recording.  Really hopefully do some recording.  It’s one of the only things I’ve ever done that has brought me no money but gobs of joy.  I still listen to my last two albums and love them, even though they aren’t as good as a lot of stuff out there.

Another thing I intend to work on is building my wife’s eCommerce empire.  By “empire” I mean the hundred small decorative accessories that she has accumulated over the past few months and are sitting idly in my dining room.  She has an excellent combination of eye for quality, eye for design, and eye for value.  She is quite talented in that regard.  I, on the other hand, can architect any website except the really big ones.  So, empire it is.

We’ll see how that goes.  Hopefully it goes well.  At worst my wife gets to exercise her gifts and you’ll get a wonderful little accessory for your house.

You’re going to buy something, right? 🙂

If you want to get on her New Product Newsletter, feel free to do so here.  We’re still a little ways from getting it up and running but hopefully it won’t be too long.

Here are the kinds of things you might see.


In the meantime, if you are a company who would like someone who has been a (in no particular order)

  1. Conference speaker (several times over)
  2. Conference MC (twice, I think)
  3. PHP Architect
  4. Magento Consultant/Developer/System Administrator
  5. PHP Consultant
  6. Sun System Administrator
  7. Linux System Administrator
  8. Book Author (3 books on PHP)
  9. Trainer
  10. Course Developer
  11. Product Evangelist
  12. Technical Salesman
  13. Sales Engineer
  14. Blogger
  15. Business Owner (failed, but who’s counting?)
  16. Member of the Zend Certification Board
  17. MCDPlus Certified Developer

… don’t hire me quite yet.

I need some rest.  Though it won’t be too long; I’m running low on Cognac and my Cointreau is gone.  But in the next month or two I will be looking for something to fill my time in exchange for gargantuan sums of money.  Product Marketing and Architecture sound interesting.  Having adopted my three children I have some unique family circumstances which causes me to lean towards a position where I can help at home here and there.  That’s not to say I would say no to an office position, but if given two equal opportunities and the only difference were working remotely I would take the remote position not because of the typical benefits of working at home (which I think are often exaggerated), but because of those unique familial issues I have.

I would be most interested in working for a (funded, or on its way to be funded) startup.  Creative established companies interest me as well.

I would love to do work with a music-based company.  Not required, but it would be nice to have both software and music as part of my career so the two could stop fighting.

If you are looking for a cog for your wheel I am not your guy.  A lot of companies need a lot of those, and many people dig that kind of work.  I have no quarrels with them.  But that’s not me and you wouldn’t be getting your money’s worth if that’s what you needed.

If you want someone who occasionally takes stupid risks that looks like genius in hindsight, and thinks about technical problems in a market-oriented way and writes gluten-free code, then I’m your guy.  Many companies claim to want people who “think outside the box” but don’t really mean it.  Not only do I think outside the box, but my box is a 10 dimensional chiliagon.  It’s scary in there but oh, so interesting.

If you would like to talk to me, drop me a line at [email protected].  I’d love to hear from you.

I will still be accepting consulting work for Magium, or anything PHP related, really, while I try to figure out the best place for me to land.

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2 thoughts on “Shutting down Magium (and (eventually) looking for a new awesome company to work for)

  1. Mark Won

    Hi Kevin,

    Although I’m a little late to the game, I just got your quick-start instructions working. I’m thrilled about the doors that this opens for us developers. You should be very proud of your work on this project because of how much you’ve simplified it.

    Good luck on your next journey and I look forward to hearing more about your future endeavors.

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