Myself and Dave attended the Internet Retailing Conference (IRX) on Wednesday and frankly I wasn’t prepared mentally or emotionally for what we experienced.
The IRX is my favourite event of the year. We don’t go there to exhibit, instead go to meet our peers and the cool people (that’s you), oh and of course for me and Dave to actually meet face to face. We work together every day, however rarely meet up in real life. With Skype there is rarely a need too!
However this year was different, very different.
On the train on the way home it started to sink in what had happened on that day.
We had met the people face to face that we had been helping with UnderstandingE. People like you that we had never met before, didn’t know existed in “real life“.
All we see is pseudo names and email addresses, but meeting soo many people who were so grateful for what we had created in UnderstandingE; well, I don’t think any form of preparation could have prepared us for what actually happened that day.
Below is what I wrote down in my notepad on the train on the way home.
Today was so moving, as I write this I’m having problems making the words legible.
We got to meet so many cool people, real people, yes “real people” that had been following our tutorials and courses.
The people we met, for many of them they could have never envisage making their own websites, let along using Magento and then using it to sell on to eBay and Amazon using M2EPro all from one system.
I had not even considered the impact we had made to sooo many people.
We had people walking up to us and shaking our hands and saying “thank you”. I didn’t have a clue who half of them were until I read some of the name badges and put 2 & 2 together and matched them in my head to usernames or email addresses.
On the way back from finding decent coffee, I was walking up the corridor, there was one chap that walked up to me and said “hey Matt, thanks for the tutorials, you’ve been a massive help to me and shook my hand profusely“. I still don’t know who he was and I didn’t seem him again.
Strangers walking up to you, shaking your hand full of excitement saying thanks. I can tell you, that was one of the weirdest, most humbling experiences I have ever had.
Random people walking up to me & Dave, full of excitement.
One of our friends came over to me and said “Matt, I’ve got your biggest fan, I know she’d go nuts to meet you“.
I thought he was taking the piss.
We walked over to the stand and was introduced, what I was met with was something I don’t think anyone could get used to.
The sheer expression on the woman’s face, a gasp and massive smile, you couldn’t fake it. It was the kind of expression and response you’d see for some pop celebrity.
She was so genuinely thankful for what we had done to help her and her team. So much so she had made our tutorials a requirement for new employees to watch.
And then there was Maria.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget the chat with Maria.
Maria had followed the tutorials along and built her own Magento site and her own multi channel software. Maria had quit her job several months ago and was now working for herself full time.
It had all started by accident (I’ll save the full story for a Podcast). Maria hadn’t envisaged that she would end up running her own business, let alone making her own website and selling on eBay & Amazon. Hearing Maria’s story and how the video tutorials had helped her was something that knocked me side-ways.
I still remember the pause as I was trying to digest what I was hearing.
Here was someone sat no more than 2 feet away from me, telling me & Dave how the tutorials had helped her and where she was now.
Maria has good problems and while you or Maria maybe selling products and myself & Dave are in the business of video tutorials the similarities were strikingly similar.
Running your own business is a weird one. There is no user manual that comes with it.
Yes there are things that you must do, but for the most part you’re left alone to figure out what should and shouldn’t happen. There was Maria right in front of me that we had helped expedite several of the things “you should do”.
On the whiteboard back at home in the office we have this stick character that we call “Bob”. Bob is the person we focus on when working on anything relating to UnderstandingE and ask ourselves questions such as “Is this what Bob would need”, “Is this important to Bob?”, “What would Bob think?”.
Bob is having a sex change.
We’re now calling our stick character, “Maria”.
A real person, someone whom I’ll never forget.
Note: Maria if you’re reading this, I was completely humbled by your story and I’m extremely proud of you.
Time after time, we were told that when asking for pricing on Magento websites around the show they were being told, £10,000, £12,0000 and £20,000 for Magento website builds.
“Is this normal?”
“Matt, you’ll never believe how much I was just quoted for a Magento website”
Dave pulling me over to have a chat with another random stranger. “Matt listen to this“. “Twenty grand I was just quoted“. I couldn’t believe it.
These quotes didn’t even include the set up of M2EPro, that was extra. One company wanted another £1,500 just to make the website responsive because their base package at £12,000 didn’t have this as a default option.
Come on, we’re in 2015. Go back 3-4 years and yea responsive design wasn’t really common place and your best option would have been a separate mobile site, however responsive designs are now the de-facto standard.
How can these people sleep at night knowing that their offering is so crap? They have to charge an extra grand and half just for ensuring the site is at today’s standard.
That’s like going into a bakery and serving last weeks bread. I seriously wonder how some people sleep at night.
Back on topic. So the IRX show.
I had gone to the show to have a chat with Dave, someone who without his help UnderstandingE would have never started. I had gone to have a catch up with a couple of friends, but what actually happened was very different indeed.
I’m still dumbstruck by the whole day if I’m honest.
I’ve got children and I’d personally put what happened on that day on-par with them being born. A very, very, very humbling experience indeed.
I don’t know how to end this post if I’m honest. I hadn’t even considered what might happen on Wednesday, but what did was unbelievably amazing.
Let’s end with the words that make the most sense.
A very humbled Matt and a humbled Dave