Application: The TYPO3 Community Podcast

Meet Stefan Busemann, Multi-talented TYPO3 Contributor, Germany

September 09, 2021 Jeffrey A. "jam" McGuire, Open Strategy Partners, TYPO3 Association Season 2 Episode 6
Application: The TYPO3 Community Podcast
Meet Stefan Busemann, Multi-talented TYPO3 Contributor, Germany
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode I speak with Stefan Busemann. Stefan began TYPO3 in 2005, rapidly became a TYPO3 freelance developer, then a TYPO3 agency founder and owner around 2010. In that time, he has been a huge contributor to the project in many ways, and today, he is still a TYPO3 Association Board member, Supervisory Board Member of TYPO3 GmbH, and a member of the TYPO3.org website team.

Read the full post and transcript here.

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LET’S CONNECT 

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THANK YOU TO:

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

Welcome to application the TYPO3 community podcast.

Stefan Busemann:

Hi, I'm Stefan Busemann, welcome to application that TYPO3 community podcast, your stories, your project, the difference you make

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

one to one Welcome to application, the TYPO3 community podcast. I'm Jeffrey A. McGuire, you can call me jam. And this is where we celebrate the TYPO3community sharing your stories talking about your projects and the difference you make in around and with TYPO3 CMS. In this episode, I speak with Stefan Busemann. Stefan began TYPO3 in 2005 rapidly became a TYPO3 freelance developer and then a TYPO3 agency founder and owner around 2010. In that time, and since then, he's been a huge contributor to the project in many ways. And today, he's still a TYPO3 Association Board member, a member of the TYPO3 company supervisory board and a member of the TYPO3 dot org website team. In our conversation, we go into open source project sustainability, international expansion and project governance. And so very much more recently, we had some data loss and recovery issues around the podcast, I had to fix all that to get the latest season two episodes produced. And I am so glad to be back on a regular schedule again. Now, we recorded this conversation in late 2020. Deep in the pandemic here in Germany, and the last 10 minutes or so of this episode were really interesting, but didn't quite fit in with the flow of the rest. Listen right to the end for Stefan thoughts on remote work versus nice offices in in person sprints. All in all, I think this is a warm, wonderful and informative conversation with a warm and wonderful TYPO3 human. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed talking with Stefan. Stefan, how long have you been using TYPO3? And how did you discover it?

Stefan Busemann:

It's a good question. I think it was in my company I was employed many years ago, I was working in a consulting agency. We had a on a website, of course, and I was tired of paying agencies just for changing some words and pictures. And I thought there must be a better way. And I think it was at the end of 2004, when I asked my apprentice to look for a system. And he found TYPO3. And he himself attended the first TYPO3 conference in California, which was in 2005. And he came back and he was so delighted and said, Hey, this is a great community a great tool. And we need to introduce this. At the end of 2005, I found my first role. And the post editor, I was the editor of my first own website, build was TYPO3, I was very happy. Then my colleague and I set up a intranet for our consultants. And we our task was to to introduce a knowledge management database. And so we coded a system which was built on digital asset management called dumb. It's an old module, which is not in place anymore, it is now fairly file extracts layer, we call it our first own extension. And at some point, we decided, Okay, we wanted to contribute or we wanted to provide that extension also to tr. And so we published the extension, that was very first time where I get to touch with the development. And so I attended in 2006. And second developer days in Swiss was, for me a great adventure, getting in touch with all that international guys from the community. I was heated up then. And then at some point, it's starting to get funny because once that extension was in the T er, some guys asked me, okay, it's a cool extension. I would like to have their feature and I would, I would pay you. So I started to freelance as a developer, I introduced some additional features. And then I went the Chinese to the next step, I got a type of 3d developer I got TYPO3 minutes later, I got in touch more and more with the community. Since 2009, I'm organizing the user group in Munich. Together with Peter kraoma, I was drawn deeper and deeper into the total system. I was very proud to get also in touch with Kasper, the great group of TYPO3, because at the former times, I was also in the video team and we recorded the TYPO3 conference in developer days. And so this was my first official role because then in Casper went away, I was the head of the TYPO3 video team and so it was the next step. This was then also the step that I was suggested to join the type of free Association Board. And then I started to be the secretary of the board. And I was organizing the elections, trying to improve the association organization. And then one step for another, I got thrown also into the TYPO3. org website team. And now I'm there where I am, I'm still in the board and the website team, and then supervisory board of the company. And since 10 years now, I'm also a company owner, which into code and we're doing only TYPO3 so I'm really living TYPO3 Wow, types, both breakfast, lunch and dinner, right. Okay, so tell me about into code we started 10 years ago, two friends of mine, Alexandra Kayla, which is an author of polar male, which is well known extension. And Tina Agus tiger, she left us in the meantime, because she wants to get to have a family. We started the company, and we're growing very fast, up to 25 employees now. And our focus universities and, and b2b enterprise business, we are quite happy to be part of the whole story of the whole adventure. And the success of TYPO3 is our success. So I'm very interested in that TYPO3 will remain successful.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

One of the things that I care about, one of the things that I have been thinking about a lot in the last couple of years is that TYPO3, CMS is open source, it's PHP, both of those things are very important and quite accepted in the world. Now, a lot of businesses and governments and universities and so on they, they use those things, TYPO3 isn't as well known as it should be. I think it's time to get the word out again. And I think I'm hoping that someone will listen to this podcast and get inspired. There is the first book in English about TYPO3 coming out soon. Where do you think TYPO3 could or should go now,

Stefan Busemann:

TYPO3 started in Kasper in Denmark. And then somehow it's Reddit very fast to to Germany and to Swiss and Austria. That is the reach where we are quite very successful. In my audience, we should look for regions where content management is needed at all, for example, Africa is a good region where we could head there getting websites online and helping the organizations to grow and they profit from our software. Yep. Still, it is a it is a dream to be also successfully North met in North America, of course, right. One reason why TYPO3 isn't that successful still is that there is maybe a different culture, to set up projects, for example, because I think the way the projects are done with TYPO3, especially in Central Europe, is very sustainable, that a project is used for a very long time a website is updated as upgraded is reflected. But it's not built from scratch. I think in America, at least my impression that projects are often built from scratch, and thrown away after three years and looking a few years and and using a different tool or a different set up. This may or may not maybe fit to the TYPO3 approach.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

That's interesting TYPO3 is certainly has a lot of instances that have been online for 10 years and more. It is, quote unquote, hard work to set it up. But I think that it's because a lot of the system makes you do it the right way and make make choices up front, the upgrade paths have always been good. And I know that you can still take up 4.5 instance and get it through a couple, you know, some work, but you can get it up to version 10 right now and add features to it. And that's that's really, really impressive. Would you say that as a matter of culture, that TYPO3 has chosen sustainability as a design principle.

Stefan Busemann:

I'm not sure if this was done by design that just happened. I think the way that TYPO3 is like it is is based on Kasper's idea to have a highly customizable system, which is structured in a way that it can be extended very easily. This combination allows us to customize the system very well. To follow very different approaches to to integrate solutions. This is one part of the success and one part of the hell because you have to some people compare TYPO3 with a Swiss Army Knife where you can do many, many things with but you have to know the tool to do the things right the project is somehow made by volunteers or by contributing work done for other people back and needs people's time to take care of so it's never done and it's never finished and it's never perfect, right? Then the documentation could always be better. And if I take a look at the project product, which what what improvements we have made in the last few years, I think we are, we're heading in the right path, the product is defining more and more better defaults. For example, how to how to set up a template, how to be pre configured, so that the learning costs is getting less steep than it's that it was in the past. And I think that's the right way, the system must be very easy to set up, and people must have fun to use it. I like the focus on making backend interface that's good for the people who work in it every day for content, authoring for editing for moderation and approvals. You know, I really, really appreciate how that's have the structure support that one of the big advantages of type three is that has a kind of abstract view on data that, that you can use the list module to seek to identify and, and work with different data types, that you don't have to extend the system, the core system, without fuse in the back end, you can edit a calendar entry, a new entry that you can any type of record type can be edited to the to the back end very efficiently. And I think this is one of the big advantages of TYPO3. Because it manages content. Well.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

It's good that it does, right.

Stefan Busemann:

Yeah, I think we need to put a lot of effort into next year's into the documentation and into the onboarding of for more international community. I think that that is the key to stay successful. And also to get more growth into our community. The top three association is trying to push that topic in on two different levels. We try to organize For example, this year's the ultra rich sprint concept, due to Corona, it not happened would have been very cool. But maybe next year, hopefully we'll be able to see each other again in person. Have you been involved in the mentoring at all this year? Yes, I'm involved in during my board work. It's not my responsibility area. But of course, I'm informed. And I think that's a great way to spread the word about TYPO3 and also help students around the world to improve their life and their work and work possibilities, career possibilities.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

So we're testing out at this phase of the podcast, we're just getting rolling the recording the first conversation, so we're testing out this tagline, where it's the TYPO3 community podcast, your stories, your projects, the difference you make. And I love in open source that we've built and given ourselves tools and all of our friends and predecessors have given us so much to work with that can help people communicate, build community, give themselves career opportunities, change their economic fortunes, it's it's it's such an empowering feeling. And I, I love to see people from different places and different backgrounds coming and discovering it. And I don't just need for a mean, for example, what's it bytes for babes in South Africa, we're using TYPO3, which is a fantastic thing that people should be looking at. It's really cool. And I'm hoping I can meet them sometime. But I know a woman who was a career changer in her mid or late 50s, who became a developer and works as a defense, a professional developer using open source software, because people were generous enough to share the documentation to do videos online, because she, every buddy in the West, more or less has a computer now and more or less has access to the internet. And she could go and make something of herself at at a phase in her life when when, you know, that would have been considered unusual in the past. You know, I met in Austria, I met a Joomla contributor who won that community award a few years ago. And she's also in her I think she's in her 70s. And she had answered something like 6000 support questions in their forums. And it's just what she does. And it's so empowering to make a difference in the world.

Stefan Busemann:

That is the good thing of open source and a positive community that you have the freedom to do everything. Once you understand that construct. You can do everything in a in an open source project you have, you have much more fun, because some people are thinking they have to wait for for allowance to do something. I think it's the opposite. You can just do it. If someone doesn't like it. It can be reverted. So,

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

Oh, I see. Yep. It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Right?

Stefan Busemann:

Yeah. I know the TYPO3 common community now for 15 years. And in that time, a lot of things shifted. Because 15 years ago, there was less competitors at the market. The whole, the whole ecosystem was not that professionalized. Companies weren't that big. Everything was a bit smaller. many stories appeared in that decade, for example, we have that story with CEOs and two products in parallel, a lot of confusion about the future TYPO3. But everything worked works now very well. And I think we are on the right way. But it's a different situation. Now, as I told you, everything is professionalizing. Now, and that's also a reason why the TYPO3 association made the plan five years ago to set up a company, which is taking now a lot of operational work for us now, and also ensures us financial contribution for the whole TYPO3 project. Right? that change is now I think, is also necessary in the type of community that we need to introduce some governance to allow us to lead the community also into the future. That's a big challenge for the next years. Because the more the community is growing, the more conflicts you have to solve, and the more challenging it is to keep the good spirit.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

Yep. And there's a concept where people say you should write contracts in the good times so that you're prepared for the bad times. And I think it's important as the community is growing, and as the potential damage is growing, because more and more people rely on TYPO3 economically, more and more people do their work, more and more companies have their infrastructure on it right, if something goes wrong, the damages is potentially much greater. I think it's really important to focus on preparing structures and processes that can also scale and not just focusing on a particular incident or a particular small problem. But looking at what could have helped avoid that. Or how can we deal with things in principle in the future so that we have patterns ready so that we're ready for that sort of thing, preparing for more growth and more success more. And in ever improving onboarding experiences for new users is great. There's some good training material out there. I think it's a problem that there's a lot of outdated technical information online for older versions. And I wish we could learn how to clean that up. I think sharing our successes is a good idea. And I think that something else that people should, could to help people choose to be part of this is the community structure, the typo three project is, in my experience, organized in a really smart way that I think is a shining example that other people can follow. And maybe a reason to come in. There is a community and an a vibrant community of professionals. It's focused a lot around agencies and delivering client websites as a fundamental mission of the technology. And then it has a nonprofit association that in my view, has done a very good job of taking care of the community and making the best decisions it could, and building structures for events, and so on. So a solid nonprofit, like a lot of projects have, and a really solid community of people who are genuinely nice and welcoming and smart. And that decision that you took five years ago with the community with the association, to build a commercial arm, as 100% subsidiary of the association and to represent the community and by its actual articles of incorporation, the rules that govern the country, by law, it cannot, must not will not compete with anything anyone in the community does. And it's there to negotiate and to build partnerships with industries to represent the community to be able to show up and have have conversations at eye level with much larger and non open source organizations. I think that's an incredibly smart move. It's been running now since 2016 2017. Yes, so I know that it's profitable, which means that it can sustain itself. So it must have been a good idea. And you say it's contributing back to the project. How do you think that's going what's what's next.

Stefan Busemann:

In the first one or two years the company had a phase of setting up and finding also the mission and vision. We had a business plan, which was focusing on different projects. And I think since since this year, at latest, we know where we are heading to. We have a strong product for the company, which is the so called LTS extended long term support, which provides us a lot of financial contribution to the project. The next step is now that the company For me is taking over the processes of the TYPO3 Association, like setting up a proper ecommerce system for managing the memberships or the Partner Program, which is now the professional service listing. We have a merchandising shop, I think more products in that way will come so that the company will provide us financial profit for the project. And in this Yes, we can have some advantages of that construction, for example, the company will now be able to raise the cooperative from 350,000 to 500,000. euro. So this is a direct contribution for the TYPO3 project, which will help our project and the community and the product quality.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

Nice. It's great. Growing, developing, moving in the right direction. sounds really good. What is the coolest thing that you ever built with TYPO3?

Stefan Busemann:

It's always the first baby, you have the first laugh. And this is what's my extension, which I built with my colleague, the knowledge database, where you were able to select PDF documents by combining different search parameters, which project were where I was very proud of. So for us,

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

so you could you could you could set parameters to search for data points, and then they were turned into PDFs. Is that right?

Stefan Busemann:

No,

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

or the information was pulled from PDFs and turned into data?

Stefan Busemann:

Yes,

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

that's pretty cool. 10 points for Hufflepuff. for that one. What are your favorite features of TYPO3?

Stefan Busemann:

I think I love abstract data, a few forks for more or less the tcaa because you can use

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

the table configuration array.

Stefan Busemann:

Yeah, thank you, you can define a different setup set on data items. And tcaa is rendering. The TCP TCP configuration engine is rendering the TCP forms. It's rendering, it's rendering the tcaa definition. So you know, I'm a structured guy, and I love to structure data.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

Okay, so we'll just write TYPO3 approach to structured data, because I saw your eyes light up and how you were just going to fully geek out on like, Well, you see, actually the TC takes the part of venues, observe them and then renders and then if you take the variables on them, which is great. And TYPO3 is all about that stuff. And that's that's where it all comes from. In the end. What should everyone know about typo? Three,

Stefan Busemann:

that I think we have to create a community on Earth.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

Okay, and what's something that people generally don't know about TYPO3 that maybe they should?

Stefan Busemann:

Maybe people think TYPO3 is very complicated. In fact, I think it isn't, because TYPO3 is very structured, as I told you before. And the main concept of TYPO3 is the page tree, where somehow everything is organized by that tree. And maybe that's the reason why it is successful in Germany, because the Germans like to structure everything. And that TYPO3 is, is a structured system, right? So I love that approach of the tree where you can organize your data in a very visual, visual way. You see in the back end the navigation structure in the front end. And that's I think that is a huge advantage. I am a big fan of the hierarchical organization of the page tree and some of the tricks it does. Did you know that there is the crazy tree limiter inside? Yeah, there's a variable called Tracy tree limiter, a crazy tree limiter, and it is sets to 9000 9999. Page tree has a maximum recursion level of 9000 9009.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

Now from a UX perspective, if your website has 10,000 minus one levels of information architecture, I think you're probably doing it wrong. But maybe that'll be useful when TYPO3 is dealing with machine learning recursion data sets or something in the future. So good to know. Thank you. That's a cool bit of trivia trivia that could go on the trivia night pretty well. But but it could be it could be that my knowledge is outdated.

Stefan Busemann:

Okay, asking the audience in our comments on the blog post on this or the the episode where you're hearing it or to us on Twitter, crazy tree limit or variable? Is it still 9999 into 2020? Going back to the thing that you said before, when you said Well, maybe that's why it's so popular in Germany, because it's so organized. So the old TYPO3 community motto was inspiring people to share right? What if we change it to TYPO3 ordinal must sign I think it would fit. I think then we would limit the success finally only to Germany.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

Okay, you have control We did a great deal to TYPO3, starting with finding it and starting to use it in 2004. And then writing your own extension, going through being on the video team on the Association Board, starting your own company helping, presumably hundreds of clients along the way. Tell us about a time that the community helped you,

Stefan Busemann:

I think they they helped me. A lot of times, especially, I learned so much from the community, about technology, about ideas approaches, which I was able to introduce in my company. For example, one one big thing was with the whole tenuous integration with Git lab, I was learning in the TYPO3. org website team. And so I was able to carry a lot of best practices into my company. And that that's the thing which I can recommend everyone contribute. build up your own network. Give and get.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

Stefan Busemann your feature request for TYPO311 What is it or TYPO315

Stefan Busemann:

I would love to see a better experience for editors in regards to file management, that people are able to look for, for assets via categories that they can have a more powerful switch at the moment, you have to know the folder where the file is stored, or you have a simple Full Text Search, but it's not powerful. I want to I want to use categories, I want to have the possibility to have a big preview image of assets. Okay, that would be my greatest wish.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

And that would be incredibly helpful. And I think it would match people's everyday expectations of how how things work on the web today and how things on their phones work today. So that makes total sense. And we know it's well within reach, we know the pieces that we can put together to make that happen. So okay, so that seems like a valid topic for the next couple of Sprint's. We can pass that on to Benni Mack to make sure that he gets his marching orders so to speak. In a normal year, if someone wanted to come and contribute, I would say hey, go to TYPO3.org find out what the next sprint is get in touch with the teams doing it they'll help you find a place to stay and you can go and do this in September or wherever in but humbug or Munich or Hamburg or Spain or whatever it is, how can I find and join contribution activities as of late 2020. And how do I how do I join a sprint

Stefan Busemann:

in 2019 it was very easy because we had regular open Sprint's to which we announced at TYPO3 dot org and social channels in 2020. It was much different because we had to we had to try to onboard people remotely, which was happening and was quite the same way that we introduced that we announced that Sprint's on TYPO3 dot org. And we try to use also the social media to announce sprints. And then we had a an uplink where people could enter their names into a note where they can find the channels where they can reach out on teams, for example, the discord on slack channels where they can get in touch. But I think this is an important topic, I see. There's also a lot of room for improvement. And this should be one of the most important projects for 2021 that we improve the onboarding experience and improve the onboarding documentation, make it easier to get in touch with people and teams,

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

and really take into account now that not everyone can show up in person every time. And it doesn't matter if that's because they're in an interesting place. Or because none of us can travel right. I think that that's probably an accessibility and inequality issue that could really help us enrich the pool of contributors that that can come to us.

Stefan Busemann:

I think another important aspect which everyone should know is that you don't have to be a programmer to to contribute. For example, I am a very poor programmer. My colleagues hate me if I start coding PHP. A lot of I know a lot of old stuff. So very well old versions of TYPO3. I can be very helpful that newer versions I'm not the best colleague to ask, but there are so many different levels where where you can contribute to the project for example, I think in within the next two weeks, there will be a marketing sprint where people who who have just great ideas for marketeers they can attempt there. We are always looking for people who are willing to contribute to the board for the association people who would like to steer an organization and improve the processes in the organization and then are many other examples where you could contribute without being a programmer,

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

right. And so on the technical side, of course, developers and programmers have a lot of opportunities in the TYPO3 core or maybe with underneath Steiner on the server team, or all of that infrastructure stuff and all of the actual project. Of course, the community itself has a number of groups that make it easier to contribute, because they're directed at specific activities, the marketing group, you mentioned, there is a Communications Group, which not only puts out the TYPO3 newsletter, but if you want to write something that's related to TYPO3, you're not the best writer, they actually have a process for helping you get your blog post together, and maybe getting it on TYPO3.org, for example, which is, which is interesting. There's the design group, and then there have been special groups set up for particular projects over the years. So there, there are a ton of really, really interesting activities and 2020 is so dominating, right, but like, normally, I would say, is there a local user group in your town, if yes, go there and hang out. And then if it makes sense, you help organize it next time, or you bring sandwiches or whatever, I think the modern version of that is a little bit different, and who knows what its gonna look like next year. But anything that you can do with or to help humans can become relevant in this space to

Stefan Busemann:

another important project, which we are actively working on is the visualized contribution project. It's the aim to make the contribution of many people more prominent. For example, the company introduced the developer Appreciation Day, in the past, there were only the quad developers mentioned with their commits. Nowadays, we have also included the TYPO3 document citation improvements improve us, and the TYPO3. org website improve us. And at that level, we want to start to make the contribution of individuals more transparent. On the other level, we want to also provide a benefit to companies who sent their employees to contribute and provide them for example, a benefit that they will get end up in a ranking higher than other companies who do not contribute.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

Yeah, when you and I started in open source, it was all developers all the time for developers. And of course, contribution meant literally only code and it made perfect sense to give people contrib credits for patches and so on. And because we have become a whole economy, a whole whole community, and there are lawyers, and there are business people, and there are designers, it's it's hard to put a specific value on a thing that someone does, but it's important to recognize and remember that everyone is needed to make the rich, vibrant group that we have supporting these activities. And here I'll try a trick. Now, it's important to remember that your stories and your projects are how you can make a difference in the world. Right. On that note, that feels like a perfect place to say thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today and sharing your experiences. And thank you so much for all of your contributions and inspirations over the years. It's really, really great. Thank you so much,

Stefan Busemann:

many thanks.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

Thanks to the TYPO3 Association for sponsoring this podcast. Thank you b 13 inch Stephanie coisa for our logo. Merci beaucoup PAtrick Gaumon TYPO3 developer and musician extraordinaire for our theme music. Thanks again to today's guest. If you like what you heard, don't forget to subscribe in the podcast app of your choice and share application that TYPO3 community podcast with your friends and colleagues. If you didn't like it, please share it with your enemies. Would you like to play along and suggest a guest for the podcast? Do you have questions or comments? reach out to us on Twitter at TYPO3 podcast. You can find show notes, links and more information in our posts on TYPO3.org. Remember, open source software would not be what it is without you. Thank you all for your contributions.

Unknown:

Okay. Hi, I'm Stefan Busemann. And sorry I cannot remember that. In fact, I got it wrong as well. I'm going to put it in the chat in zoom Hold on. And this could go into the outtakes Of course um Hi. I'm you can remember this part, Stefan was run. Welcome to application that we're trying that as the name application, the TYPO3 community podcast, podcast and then wait a second and then say your stories your projects, the difference you make. Okay, do you see that in the chat? Do you see that in the chatter? I tried to read it. I still read no classes. Really, I have, I have glasses everywhere. It's terrible. Stefan was showing us his really super beautiful office and boardroom, which I think is kind of, I mean, I wonder it could also be sort of going to waste this year because yeah, a lot of people are working at home these days. So it's a pity to have a beautiful office and nobody is using it. Yeah, the office was always a crucial part of our company. When we founded our company, 10 years ago, we had a very small office, I think, only 28 square meters. And then in 2012, only two years after we started, we decided to move on to a large office with with over 400 square meters. So it was a huge investment for our young company, by having not 1000 euros per month per year, but 64,000 euro per year, so of rent, of rent, yes, but I think it's worth it and marketing in on a different level for us to form. Our employees should have a beautiful place to work where they have fun, and whether they wants to be there because it's it's nice, they must feel comfortable. Second thing is that we want to show to our customer that we are a high level company. And the third of them, if we want to get new customers, they should be somehow impressed of this and of the work we invested them.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

That's an interesting challenge. I have been involved in American companies trying to start business in Europe, and I have myself helped a company start getting into Scandinavia, it's hard for people outside of Europe to understand that this European Union is just not one big economy, where all the rules are the same always. And so for Americans somehow doing business on the phone is totally normal. And I know I know, sales people who like sell $100,000 of services on the phone, right, and it's fine couple of phone calls, get it done, cool. In Germany, you need to have that lovely table with your logo shining out of the middle of it in Super modern renovated antique building that you're in like you, like you said you It helps if you can impress them and give them a nice cup of coffee and that sort of thing. And that feels old fashioned from the outside. But relationships are really, really important here. So in Germany, I think you need to meet in person a couple of times and get a feeling for each other. But I believe that once a commercial relationship is is established in Germany, that there's a lot of trust and maybe more trust than an American relationship, I think the assumption of, of the relationship is deeper here, I don't think you can sell 5000 euros of services without maybe going out to dinner twice. So they need even more sort of TLC,

Unknown:

the bigger motivation was to impress our customers or potential customers. But during the years it shifted for me, for me, the employees are getting much more important than the customers because the employees are real value, because they do the work, they need the creativity, and they must feel happy at the work. And the work is is a big important part of our life, we spending maybe 20 to 30% of our life during the year in the office. So office must be the place where you want to be happy,

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

being a multicultural person and believing that people from a lot of different places could be listening to us. That's also such a German perspective. You know, oh, I spend 30% of my of my time in the office, especially on the in the United States, that's like half your life 60% of your life 80% of your life people. For the longest time, there was a huge focus on how much time you're there and who comes first and who leaves last and all of those things that have nothing to do with actual value in productivity. And I wonder on the one hand, I think someone said that Europeans identify with their families and their hobbies first and Anglo Saxon so English. Americans at least English speakers identify themselves with their work first. With all of us being forced to work at home, and managers being forced to look at the value of what the employees are delivering, I think that's a very normal concept for those of us who work in, in open source and in and in it. And a lot of us have worked remote for a long time. But I think that maybe there's a chance to really focus to value delivery and, and a more human culture somehow,

Unknown:

these days with this Corona situation, move the whole story into that direction, because mostly people are working remote now and you don't have control, you have to trust your employees that they deliver, and they are measured by the things they deliver. For us, it was always important to say that we want to limit the hours of work per week, no one should work more than 40 hours a week, we don't pay any extra hour. Because we think and we are sure that creativity needs also time for to rest. It's important that you have enough spare time. And we don't want to have any raises who stays the longest in office

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

for myself, especially in 2020. So in real time, we are talking later in 2020. This year has been incredibly stressful. And at open strategy partners where I work, it was the right time to focus on operations and the right time to focus on process and delivery. Because I found I had absolutely no energy for creativity, I there were no new ideas flowing, it was really, really hard. And like I said, I thought I knew remote work. I've done that a long time. But this was a This was another level of of isolation and stress and so on. And now, things are a little better, and things at our company are going well. And I'm finding creative energy again, you know, I had the chance to take some time off. I think it's absolutely right. And I think working at home, people are tempted, I know, I used to like, oh, after dinner, I'm just gonna check that one email that I wanted to look at. And then all of a sudden, it's one in the morning. And that's terrible. So I think we have to probably turn around and give our employees that same or our colleagues, our friends that same coaching and recommendation even when they're not in the building, right? Because there's a risk that, especially if you like what you do, right,

Unknown:

that's always the hard part. And, and in the special case of open source work, the work and hobbies are always starting to mix up. So we asked the border where you start working way and working for the company, whereas the startup the contribution for the project. So this is always a bit to differentiate a bit hard to differentiate what we introduced in the company this year, were coding nights, where we wanted to provide an offer to our employees that they can use the creativity at night, at one first, the first Thursday in the morning months, we stay on a voluntary base in the company and we code together we try to find two or three topics, maybe one is an improvement for the company for a company tool, maybe a second is contributing to TYPO3 to a project. And then it's the boundaries are not that hard. So at some point, you start working for the company. And at some point, you start doing yourself to contribute to the project,

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

you talked about the sort of do something for the company do something for open source. We know it doesn't happen every day in every project. But I think we're also really, really lucky in open source, we have these amazing tools that friends and acquaintances and people before us who we've never met have invested millions of hours of coding and brilliant ideas into the tool we start working with for a client project, when that client needs something that we've never done before or there's something new in the world, we get the chance to build that and feed our families right and have nice colleagues. And in the best case, we get to give that back as well. If it's a functionality that's going to be it's it's going to be relevant to other people you know, then you can actually spend that coding night like polishing up the client feature and then abstracting it out into the into the medic case and giving it back to everyone I love that.

Unknown:

And this year was was also a challenge for the open source teams. As you may know, I'm contributing to the TYPO3 or quick website team. In the past it was always a good behavior to attend a sprint to travel to a town and having two or three nice days working focused on the project short and then traveling back. This wasn't happening this year. We were not able to travel, we should stay at home. And so it was also for us for for the project. new challenge to coordinate Remote Sprint's remote nights and motivate people to contribute not in a focused way, because if you're at home, you get disturbed by by the family or not strapped. There are a lot of other possibilities to do it the evening. So it's maybe not the first option to two to contribute to an open source project. This was also a new experience to motivate people that they still contribute to the to the project. And we managed it by introducing the remote days having a fixed day in the month, it's the 15th of the month where we are having our remote night. So we were able to bring also the project to next level by upgrading TYPO3 to version 10, the TYPO3. org website or extension repository to version 10.

Jeffrey A. McGuire:

I like that TYPO3 is running the most current version of itself, I think that's always a good sign for a project. And from my experience of years of user groups and that sort of thing, it is definitely easier for people to join and and be successful if they know it's always the first Thursday, it's always the 15th it's always whatever. And nobody has to think where or how or when. And that part of the decision making is taken care of. That's cool. At our company, we've spent quite a lot of time figuring out how to turn our in person workshops into online workshops. And most of them can be done and I think we're starting to succeed with them as well. But it's been a really interesting challenge. How does it sprint? Right? How does the coding community contribution event look different when you're online?

Unknown:

Let's start with the things I missed, which I do miss most. That's the personal relationship and sitting next to the desk to each other, shout through the room and ask other people for help. That is not that easy, because you have always to set up a dedicated phone call or a video call, it's not possible to get that feelings through that kind of channel. That is a challenge. What works quite well is if issues or tasks are prepared very well that people can can work on them for automated. So we introduced a complete remote sprint where we said we have a stand up in the morning, a stand up in the afternoon and a stand up in the evening, where we meet at a fixed time and where we talk to each other what what we what we achieved during the day. What happened also a lot that was a different tool. You know, maybe most of the community uses at the moment slack for communicating in product sprint, we were using discord, which has a similar approach. But some some things are organized in a bit different way, for example, that you have that room concept where people can join a room and switch rooms. And you see also who is currently in a room. So that is also a good concept. You could also sort of do the topic by table concept of sprints where you have the multilingual room and the performance room and the version 10 upgrade room. And I can see them and choose where I want to be That's fantastic. discord is also designed to work well in lower bandwidth situations, which is probably helpful. What I learned this year is that there is no perfect tool, audio and video. I don't know how many tools I've used this year for video calls, I'm still looking for the perfect one. For me, the perfect one would be one which does not use much CPU consumption because you don't want to have a heater at your desk. What I see also which which harms the project and the community is somehow if we using that walled garden like Slack, where much of the communication is just within tool, it's not visible to the outside, it's locked in, you can't find that communication and discussions on the internet so and they also they can disappear and it's that makes it harder in my eyes. It's always light and shadow but for us for the teamwork, slack and discord and other real time communication is really good for coordinating the work remotely. But it's not very sustainable in regards to visibility to what's gonna be for example, we are