Jeffrey A. McGuire0:03
Welcome to Application, the TYPO3 Community Podcast. One, two. Welcome to Application, the TYPO3 Community Podcast. I'm Jeffrey A. McGuire, you can call me jam. And this is where we celebrate the TYPO3 community, sharing your stories, talking about your projects and the difference you make in around and with TYPO3 CMS. On this episode of Application, the TYPO3 community podcast, I continue my late 2020 conversation with Benni Mack, Core Project Lead of TYPO3, in part two. Benni, as a business leader of a digital agency using open source technologies, and as the technical leader of an open source project, Benni and I dive into trying to balance between open source and hypes, what's exciting in technology and what's new and shiny, versus the longevity of TYPO3 websites and the cost of maintenance and balancing fancy new shiny things, and consistent, reliable value. We also touch on corporate versus individual influence and benefit in open source making values based choices. And the fact that clients as many says, sometimes they don't need what they want. And you heard it here first, folks, we are announcing on this podcast episode b13's pivot to washing machines. Welcome to the podcast, Benni Mack.
Benni Mack 1:48
They don't know that they're using time.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 1:49
Exactly. Exactly. Hey, so let's shift gears a little bit. What currently excites you in the open source world?
Benni Mack 1:59
Jeffrey A. McGuire 2:13
Benni Mack 2:23
Jeffrey A. McGuire 2:25
Benni Mack 2:44
Jeffrey A. McGuire 3:58
Right, and at every level, and at every level of the stack as well. So, I mean, um, you know, you you were switching a little bit between hats, but you know, apart from your chainsaw hat that you have on your head, you have a you have a TYPO3 Project Lead hat and you have an agency lead hat up with B 13, where you're a co founder and c t Oh, I guess, right? So you actually need to make conservative decisions for your clients and your your business because you know, the infrastructure that you run has to be quite stable and quite solid. And you you can't spend all your time upgrading some random thing that somebody got excited about, right?
Benni Mack 4:34
Jeffrey A. McGuire 6:14
Do you think that the corporate enterprise adoption and use of open source is reducing our ability in general to also help and empower individuals and and communication among, you know, non non corporations, it used to be a real empowerment story and a real activism story, sometimes in a real, you know, science story is that, are we losing that because it's because corporations are on board nowadays,
Benni Mack 6:46
I wouldn't say so. Maybe for some projects, but in the open source world I live in. And because I am only part of a fraction here, I feel like the awareness is a positive thing. It's not just about, you know, I'll send you over a present or a check, or something. But some corporations might want to influence the way where everything's heading. But at the same time, there's some real humble thanks, you know, to the maintenance of open source. And that's, that's what I really like. And that's what I also see, that's cool. This opens up, you know, the freedom we get with open source, it's also that we are able to come up with new things. And I really like that this effort continues like that there's new things coming up from open source. And that's like, a no brainer, it's in our generation nowadays. 2020, it's, it's in our heads, just two quick stories. I read this book about Microsoft back then in 1995, they came up with their encyclopedia on CD ROMs. And you're able to install it on and there was this large company, Microsoft, they actually decided to shut it down, I don't know, couple of years later. And nobody thought that Wikipedia would actually be much better, more comprehensive and more people working on it. And that was like 20 years ago, or, or 15 years ago, there were open source clearly won, and nobody's actually holding on to Microsoft is like, Oh, you release something and it's not good. It's actually you know, that's how the mindset shifted and changed. And I really liked that about open source. I mean, open source open, thinking in the open and the web, where there's so much freedom. And
Jeffrey A. McGuire 8:33
does that influence the sort of a business person you are? Oh, yeah,
Benni Mack 8:38
maybe I'm not the perfect business guy. And our company is not like out for profit. Our company's values are based that we want to have fun in what we're doing every day going to the office and have fun with the people around us and with the customers we work with. And with the software we work with. And so we we also use another e commerce software in PHP, I can't name it, of course, because I don't want to give a bad reputation. But that was like a couple of years ago. And my colleague said, after a couple of months working with just that system, can we finally go back to TYPO3, it's so much more fun. And that's like, Oh, no, we make more money with that other system, we should, we should not use TYPO3, and he showed up in code. Yeah, ecommerce is where you get money. We're not that kind of people in our company. So that's why I don't know if it changes something, but it actually influences our decisions. Because we know that open source has a good reputation in general, also for corporations and decision makers and not for all of them because we need to tell them still. We're getting there. And that's why we're explicitly choosing that, because we see the future if you take the Wikipedia example. It's like it's a no brainer,
Jeffrey A. McGuire 9:53
your company. I know a lot of the team and we know each other fairly well. You are In my view of values based organization, you, you, as a leader care about your people. And I feel that your, your, your team, a lot of people in your company say that you feel like it feels like family and I, and I believe you. So I think you were sort of a values based company. And what you've just said fits with that. Having the choice and the flexibility of working with these tools means you also have the flexibility to revisit your decisions, I don't know, you're not bought in on a 10 year vendor license for some proprietary system, and you're just gonna like find right gray suit code for 10 years, just because cuz that'll pay for, you know, a bigger boat or something.
Benni Mack 10:37
Yeah, that's completely true. Even though right now, our company called b13, there's no TYPO3 in it. Because there's no coding in it. It's just a name. And not just a name, but it's a name, and it's not bound to whatever we're doing. If we're we don't have fun on using open source or maybe TYPO3 CMS anymore. We'll just build washing machines, or sell washing machines, because that's much more fun. And we can still wait a minute or be 30.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 11:08
Why washing machines?
Benni Mack 11:11
Just something that might be
Jeffrey A. McGuire 11:12
I'm tweeting b13 pivoting to washing machines.
Benni Mack 11:16
Yes, exactly. Anything, right, your
Jeffrey A. McGuire 11:19
clean clothes made in Stuttgart.
Benni Mack 11:21
So we know we're not focused on locking ourselves into any system. But actually, nine years ago, I was we were debating if TYPO3 still has a future. And some people do that regularly, and they should either re evaluate their decisions. And I remember many years ago, I was like, Hmm, what happens if temper three is not going to sustain and or like nobody's needs needs a CMS anymore? in two or three years, and we're like, well, we don't know yet. Still, people still use it. And we only know a fraction of people who use it, we still can stick to it and invest in there. And that invest in our our own future. So it's a kind of egoistic concept, because we want to, we want to use TYPO3 for a longer time, as are for a long time. And that's why we're also making it better. And and we we talked about TYPO3 being quite a sustainable project with with a long term vision and individual sites and applications that work for a very long time. does that leave you your desire to keep working with TYPO3?
Jeffrey A. McGuire 12:31
I guess it not only pushes you to keep TYPO3 up to date and relevant. But does that change the way that you that you sell it or that you deal with your your clients?
Benni Mack 12:40
No, because for our clients, we look at what they actually need. Sometimes they don't need what they want.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 12:49
I am tweeting that, by the way.
Benni Mack 12:51
Yes, that's totally fine. And we're helping them to find out what they need. And then they can make their own decision. and stick with us or Steven stick with another temporary agency or WordPress or a non open source system, which is totally fine, because it might fit better to their ethics or
Jeffrey A. McGuire 13:10
whatever solution. Sure. And if it's not if your if your relationship doesn't sit, right, it's it's nobody's gonna have fun with that. Right?
Benni Mack 13:18
Yeah, exactly. That's, that's, of course, another part. But if they just don't need TYPO3, then it would be overkill to to tell them use TYPO3. That's the only thing you can do. I don't think that's that's the solution. Because I don't know if everybody needs Kubernetes either, right? So you don't need to have Kubernetes for everyone, if you need to spend a lot of more money because of that.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 13:45
I don't know if we're supposed to say that in 2020. But okay.
Benni Mack 13:48
Yeah, I know. At the same time, six years ago, seven years ago, everybody was like, I don't need my own website anymore. Because I don't need a CMS anymore. I'll just put my website on Facebook, they did that. And that works. And some, some people don't even need a phone number anymore, because they do everything through Facebook. And that's good. But then I would never sell them that TYPO3. They obviously don't have the need for such a sophisticated system. Hmm. Hmm.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 14:16
So so you you try and find out what they actually need and what their goals are. Right. And so is it's your experience that people come to you and they ask for something specific, but it's it's like quite a long way down the thinking process. And and you try and understand the beginning of that, or where where they actually need to go to get the thing that they want rather than the thing that they've pictured in their minds.
Benni Mack 14:38
Yeah, exactly. So it's a lot of thinking together and find the best solution. Find a process where they exactly know if they need help or three if they need a CMS or something completely different. And sometimes they come to us because they need something completely different. And they end up with TYPO3, which is also nice. If you have an example of that. Yeah, one of our clients, they Just run their website with TYPO3. And then some other department in the corporation came to us and said, while we have our annual reports or quarterly reports, and we want to have them online, and here's our InDesign file it could we bring that on the web. And we're like, well, you can see the InDesign file, of course, it's not built in into TYPO3, but we can display it on as a separate website. And you know, that would be really fun to use. And work with that. Also, the same process we had with print magazines, where they switch from print first to online first. And that's, that's one of the examples where it completely makes sense for help to help these corporations to switch or companies switch to digitalization process and Kickstarter, and not just for their website, or their intranet. That's quite cool.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 15:51
I guess both of those specific use cases, you guys must have a bunch of XML expertise at epi there. Yeah, one of the stuff like that. One of my very early tasks at my first startup, was publishing documentation. And the state of things there was we were publishing PDFs on a regular basis. And in the beginning, it was only the PDFs, then it was the webpages available online and as PDFs, but we were writing the documentation online. And then I had the unbelievable pleasure of learning about XSLT transformations. And and, and we're working with LaTex at one point, which is L-A-T-E-X ... Yeah, boy, if if I never touch that stuff again. It'll be too soon. So thank you for taking Kevin and I'll call you a fine.
Benni Mack 16:50
Jeffrey A. McGuire 16:52
Who is it that you think people should get to know who is it that that I should call up and have a conversation like this with,
Benni Mack 17:01
you're sure if you're on TYPO3, in general, there's, there's one person you can't go around you, you will stumble over that person that's young, violent, great person, you should talk to him, he has so many insights, he's a very kind person. And what I like about it, about him are like his passionate about TYPO3. And that he built, built his company on top of three from day one and trusted the community or right now myself to trust in the TYPO3 community that TYPO3 will have a future. That's really, really amazing. And he's, he's really been a great partner in so many topics, string hosting, whatever, three,
Jeffrey A. McGuire 17:47
I would love to talk with you. And in terms of, I think maybe next time you and I talk, I want to talk about your ideas about contribution don't start now, he is an amazing open source, like a shining example to me of how contribution turns into value turns into, you know, jobs and companies and whatever. Because if I recall, rightly, people were having trouble installing typo. Three. He figured it out pretty well and started putting out videos of how to do that. And it kind of snowballed into him having a hosting company and an agency business and all sorts of cool stuff. Yes. Often violent. Absolutely.
Benni Mack 18:24
One of my my favorite heroes favorite persons to to work with is Marcus Klein, from Austria. He's been in the military courting a few years. And he has a lot of insights. He has a lot of special use cases. He knows so many features. And he likes to dig in the dirt and find out the reason why it was implemented in the first place. Give you a really, really good rundown on how it should be. So that's that's really cool.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 18:54
That sounds that sounds like a really interesting line of questioning. So he does like forensic coding or something.
Benni Mack 19:00
I don't know how he does it. He has a good understanding.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 19:04
All right, Nate, thanks so much for your time. I'm really enjoying this so far. And the next time we talk, I want to ask you in more detail about how you discovered it. the sort of things that you've built with typo three over the years, what you're proud of what you would have done differently. Yeah, I'm really, really looking forward to it. So next time we talk, what hat Are you going to wear? And I mean, the one on your head?
Benni Mack 19:27
I only have that one. So I'll Don't get me wrong.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 19:33
I swear I've seen you wearing other hats.
Benni Mack 19:35
Jeffrey A. McGuire 19:36
Otherwise, otherwise? TYPO3 community challenge. Send Benni a trucker cap for Christmas. Go. The more hats he gets the more different hats that we can see him wearing over time.
Benni Mack 19:50
That sounds great. I love that. Cool.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 19:53
Hey, so thanks again. I'm I'm really enjoying this.
Benni Mack 19:56
Cool. You're welcome. All right.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 19:59
Thanks to the TYPO3 Association for sponsoring this podcast. Thank you b 13 and Stephanie Costa for our logo. Merci beaucoup, Patrick Gaumond, TYPO3 developer and musician extraordinaire for our theme music. Thanks again to today's guest. If you liked 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 podcasts. You can find shownotes links and more information in our posts on TYPO3 dot org. Remember, open source software would not be what it is without you. Thank you all for your contributions