Volker Graubaum 0:00
Hi, my name is Volker and this is Application the TYPO3 community podcast. Welcome to Application, the TYPO3 community podcast. One, two.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 0:12
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. In today's exciting episode of Application that TYPO3 community podcast you'll hear the second part of a conversation I had with TYPO3 CMS Chief Product officer Volker Graubaum in March 2021. In the first part of our conversation focused and I talked about how he sees TYPO3 CMS, the TYPO3 association and the community's company TYPO3 GmbH the as enablers for everyone who builds uses and benefits from the TYPO3 project ecosystem. Go back and listen to season one, Episode 11 of application for more. In this episode, we learned about focus origin story in TYPO3 starting in 2002. And here's some of his stories and memories from the community's early days the introduction of the Extension Manager. The very first TYPO3training session focused first time at TYPO3 is famous community tech conference and snowboarding event TYPO3 board while finishing his graduation thesis, which was a business plan for the TYPO3 agency that Volker went on to found and run for 20 years. Even though the bank's assessing it told him that the internet was only a passing fad. In terms of focus role as Chief Product officer we touch on the importance of finding and developing new groups of users, new geographies, and verticals in places where TYPO3 is not an obvious choice. Volker tells a neat story about how TYPO3 was doing headless and decoupled before it was cool. And before those were actually terms for that, as far as I know, and makes a really superb point, saying, as a content management and delivery system, we have to know how to tell good stories and create good content if we don't know that we aren't able to deliver and manage. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed speaking with Volker to make it.
So let's shift gears for a minute. How and when did you get involved with TYPO3? How did you discover it? Oh, actually, it was 2002 I think
Volker Graubaum 2:34
that was between version 3.3. Better four, and 3.5. So it was actually at the time via Casbah said, Oh, I have to do something. And asked his wife if he has two weeks time alone in his cellar. And then he came out and then the Extension Manager was there. So that's that's actually, at least our how I remember that can be evasion, if you hear that, and it was not exactly like that. But that is a story that we all heard. And so yeah, actually, that was I think it was a summer 2002. And then because we both the web team, my later business partner and I were the leader of the web team of the knot Academy, a private high school where the deaf days used to be a few years ago on some and there we This was searching for new condo management system for the university or for the universities things a better word than high school. I was in a hoax. Yeah, it's a file Shula.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 4:01
Oh, so I, I believe that those are called Polytechnic in English, at least at least in the old days. But anyway, yes. At a Technical University.
Volker Graubaum 4:10
Yeah. And so we Yeah, we were looking and then we decided our TYPO3 seems to be the best system also, especially because the new Extension Manager and the possibility to create easily extension for that. That was a key feature at that time. And then there was the first training. I think it was in October, November 2002. And guess who was our trainer at that time?
Jeffrey A. McGuire 4:46
What am I really supposed to guess? Yeah. Was it material scriber?
Volker Graubaum 4:50
Yes, exactly. So, okay, so, yeah, it was there we meet my tsfs And then, yeah, it was a really funny weekend where we learned really a lot of things. And
Jeffrey A. McGuire 5:16
once again, I had some real connectivity problems during this conversation here. We got cut off, and I pick up the thread where we had left off. You were at the node Academy, and there was the first ever TYPO3 training and Mateus. Schreiber was the trainer.
Volker Graubaum 5:35
Exactly. At that time. Yeah, it was a really great weekend. And we learned a lot of not only about TYPO3, but also about the community. And then three or four months later, not sure about when the meeting was exactly we. Yeah, I was driving together with another community member from lubeck to pluton. To remember or to become part of the first TYPO3 snowboard. No, not the first, but our first TYPO3 snowboard tour
Jeffrey A. McGuire 6:10
Volker Graubaum 6:12
Exactly, yeah. And that's how everything started. And how describe the community.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 6:21
Describe the community in 2002.
Volker Graubaum 6:24
Oh, it was actually it was 2003 is Novato. And so, yeah, it was a very, let's say very small community at a time. But yeah, it was a really great very family. atmosphere we had. Yeah, all the fun doing snowboarding and doing other things. We have to study things we have to do because we have to finish a study work together with my partner. So we had only a few days. In the mountains and the rest we had to work but
Jeffrey A. McGuire 7:06
so you were up in the mountains, but you were actually being good students.
Volker Graubaum 7:09
Yeah, exactly. At least a little bit. And so yeah, but we met Caspar, at that time. He was there, of course. And there were, yeah, all the people from the LA Times there. Um, I think it was also Olivia's for snowboard to tobacco? Uh huh. And, yeah, it was fun, because we was coding, we was having fun. And that's what's the TYPO3 community was at that time. And for me, it is still like that, since we don't have an very hard, let's say, competition thinking on that. Yeah. Because the goal is not that we are competition between each other, but that we are competition with other systems.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 8:07
Right. And, and, and, and I would like to refine that even further. I'm not trying to, you know, bring down other or other open source systems or ruin the more or take stuff away, I think it's especially talking with me to describe a lot. He's very strongly convinced that there's so much work out there and so much internet and so much digital activity, that it's easier to build market and go new places and, and perhaps convince people to move away from proprietary solutions into open source rather than, you know, trying to compete with WordPress or Drupal or, or our friends and allies, really people who shares the same code and the same ideals.
Volker Graubaum 8:53
Yeah, exactly. Actually, there will be a can we have to be more present in some markets, and then we will competent, but that's not the first goal. And actually, when we are talking about Drupal, for example, we have of course, two sides of Drupal. We have Acquia on the one side, and on the other side, we have the Drupal community, which is Yeah, very open to and Drupal is very successful in Yeah, activating people too young to bring their self in the community work, right. And I think that is a place where we could learn a lot of things from Drupal, and how we can focus on including the people and recess written something about the taker and makers. Yeah, in finding the balance.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 9:50
I'll post a link to everything we talked about in the show notes, obviously, I just wanted to say that um, that's that's a nice that's a nice way to to look at other communities and other products, right? The developers and agency owners and community members in Drupal are very open, they're really into PHP, they love open source. And you know, when TYPO3, Benny and whoever was working on the patch, you know, fix the far wrapper security vulnerability that was immediately, you know, publicized and contributed, and Drupal took the patch that went into TYPO3, and other and other systems took it as well. And like, there's a real natural cooperation there. You know, and then you can look at the commercial level, or the promotional level, or all these other levels where, where Acquia comes in. And, you know, Acquia has, you know, full disclosure, my former employer, for all the good that Acquia has done in some ways. You know, there's some, there's some things that people can legitimately question and, and yet, I think that the creation of Acquia and made it possible for everyone in open source to reach higher, you know, because actually really positions itself as as competition with Adobe and, and an even bigger things. So I think I think they're, I think that all of us still have way more doors open because of the because of the the things that that Drupal has done and gone through. And I think that it is far from a perfect example. So we can also all learn from each other.
Volker Graubaum 11:28
Yeah, exactly. I think so too.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 11:30
So jumping back, I want to jump back now. And just mentioned that in my conversation recently with Adrian Zimmerman, I think every third sentence, talking about the TYPO3 committee he'd be like, yes, and of course, TYPO3 board and snowboarding and TYPO3 board and snow, but he loves like, He's such a snowboard for that it was really fun talking with him about that.
Volker Graubaum 11:51
I think it's very interesting to see because when you're looking even other communities, they have fun events. But the, when it starts on thinking about events in type of three, we first had fun events, and then became more professional in that time. That is
Jeffrey A. McGuire 12:20
so interesting, because because because it's definitely the fun came late to. I mean, of course, everybody had some drinks, everybody had a party or whatever. But like, getting together for the purposes of having fun is really an afterthought for most communities. That's interesting.
Volker Graubaum 12:37
Jeffrey A. McGuire 12:37
So talk to me about talk to me now a please about how you founded your agency. And and and that, you know, that company that you ran for 20 years and some of the people you, you brought in?
Volker Graubaum 12:49
Oh, actually, it's, we found a we, the three not teasers, but I work we was writing in sluiten was actually the business plan, because we had to study entrepreneuring. Nice. So we was writing the business plan for our company. At that time. Wow. And it was it was totally focused on open source. And there, it was quite funny, because we don't want to collect money, but the business plan was given to different banks to just to get the feedback for the voting for the for the results. Thanks. Oh, it's a really solid business plan. But the internet is a debt.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 13:42
The internet is just a passing fad.
Volker Graubaum 13:44
Yeah. Like, and, yeah, that was quite fun. But yeah. And then we found that TYPO3. And
Jeffrey A. McGuire 13:52
did they tell you did they tell you to do something else that they say like you should publish a newspaper or Oh,
Volker Graubaum 13:57
it was just a study work. So it's, but yeah, I started in it. And my partner joined later, full time. In the beginning, he was there. And at that time, I already worked with a lot of people from the TYPO3 community on freelance base. And I already always tried to think about how we can solve things so that it can come back to the core. And yeah, later, I became back made to now that was a time where I was still coding. We've founded the commerce commerce initiative. It wasn't a new initiative in that time, but three agency was to together was building a complete new shop system for TYPO3.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 14:55
Volker Graubaum 14:56
And, actually, at that time, it's seems to be the right way. But we would have, it would have been necessary to spend much more energy in there to make it. Stable future. Pay what year?
Jeffrey A. McGuire 15:12
What year? What year? Are we talking about?
Volker Graubaum 15:15
Oh, I think 2005.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 15:19
Right. So anyone listening now, who doesn't remember the 2005 internet, their word, not web services, there wasn't ecommerce, you know, via API, there wasn't this wasn't a thing really there. So much of what we take for granted now wasn't there. And just, it made perfect sense to start your own CMS in the late 90s. In the early 2000s, it made perfect sense to build it, whatever it was that you needed into the the package that you were using, I joined open source in 2005. And there wasn't into in 2000, in 2005, there wasn't GitHub, there wasn't even get right. And there wasn't. So there wasn't version control as a service, there wasn't all this free stuff. There wasn't a way at one official way to deal with patches or pull requests or whatever. So So communities had to build everything from scratch. So even though that sounds crazy now, because you just there's 100 different things that you can plug in to do ecommerce. At that point. That made sense, right now we see that you would have had to spend $100 million and be super specialized to succeed with it. But at the time that it wasn't clear that that's the way the internet was gonna go. Right. It was one possible future.
Volker Graubaum 16:40
Yeah, exactly. And so yeah, that was what we have buildings there. And actually, this Yes, extension was used in quite a big shops. We work together with the marketing factory on that, for example. And yeah, later then I stopped coding more and more. And then we had for example, Christiane Kuhn. In our company, lolly, lolly, who is now working for Benny Frank Nagler used to work for us CTO at jbH. Yeah. And so yeah, we had, yeah, actually, we was very near to the community at that time already motivated to make the community more professional. Yeah, so one point was working on the events, I used to be part of the event committee. And at that time, late, I became leader of what I started, as mentioned before, the first TYPO3 biochem, because I was very clear on the idea that we have to look around, we shouldn't be focused on TYPO3 what we are doing and how we are doing it. But we should also look around if we could learn from others. And
Jeffrey A. McGuire 18:00
that's still a situation though, in TYPO3, and so many communities look inwards first. And so do you think that's part of your job now as Chief Product Officer to also look around as well and see where TYPO3 fits?
Volker Graubaum 18:15
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. It's a very important part of my work, I would say because, yeah, of course, it's important that we are focused on what we are. We we couldn't say we are something totally different than what we are. But we of course, have to first and then second, we have to listen to the community, to all the people were using TYPO3 and know from the market, what's a need. But to adapt new user groups or verticals, it's very important that we are listened to the market itself, and have a look, what are people doing right now? And what are they going doing good? Where can we learn things and so on?
Jeffrey A. McGuire 18:59
So how do you research a market that doesn't know about you? How do you find and define and discover and communicate with people who could really benefit from using TYPO3, but don't necessarily know about it or consider it now.
Volker Graubaum 19:15
There are a lot of people where it's very easy to explain that TYPO3 is a really good choice. But they're afraid of the market. Especially when we look outside I would say duck and Netherlands.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 19:30
So Germans and Benelux let's say,
Volker Graubaum 19:35
Yeah, exactly, because outside TYPO3 heavens, the right range, so that you can find a lot of agencies and all that and I talk with a Swedish company, says actually, they would take TYPO3 but they're afraid that they are bound to me as an agency because no other agency who can do TYPO3
Jeffrey A. McGuire 20:00
Ah, okay. So outside of Benelux and da, there is less of a local service provider market.
Volker Graubaum 20:09
exactly it is and we have it in the Eastern Europe area. They are more we have in French, it's not so small but then it's becoming smaller. There are a few in Spain, there are few and UK but you have to search for them. Right. And
Jeffrey A. McGuire 20:28
so it's not a it's not a it's not an obvious choice. They're not there aren't those agencies just floating around like and in disel Dorf into sort of I think that there are maybe 150, TYPO3 agencies or 1000 or something. Right. So it's not, it's not the local choice. Okay. But how do we get the word out to the people, we could still help in those places? And how do we maybe and then is the problem also convincing more agencies to use? TYPO3?
Volker Graubaum 20:55
Yeah, that's also one part. There's a great initiative, the cocoa mon initiative, for example, which are focusing on creating new onboarding material
Jeffrey A. McGuire 21:06
is a TYPO3 community Marketing and Communications initiative that's happening in 2020.
Volker Graubaum 21:11
Yeah, that's one part to find new agencies and give them the right documentation and onboarding materials, so they can easily start them their companies will say our TYPO3 isn't that the old system there, it's quite easy. To show that we are very active community with a lot of integrations, a lot of active installation,
Jeffrey A. McGuire 21:37
very up to date code base.
Volker Graubaum 21:40
Yeah, and especially in terms of security, it's, yeah, it's very, very good. Because we have a very, very good security team flow
Jeffrey A. McGuire 21:50
plus small add four TYPO3 architecture, apart from an excellent security team and best practices. And using really up to date coding standards, the fundamental decision to have a back end system that can talk with any front end system you want. Also, since the beginning of time, essentially, is a huge advantage when it comes to security because you don't, you can't accidentally set something in the front end that opens up the back end to all sorts of attacks, that it's separate login and separate displays, it can be you know, and of course nowadays with with with headless and and front end frameworks and native apps and everything, all type of things just sitting there ready already to communicate with a digital front end world. But anyway, from a security perspective, really good decision.
Volker Graubaum 22:40
Jeffrey A. McGuire 24:01
There's a lot of communication to do now.
Volker Graubaum 24:03
Jeffrey A. McGuire 24:05
Right. And technology's there. The community is there that can always grow, that can always improve. Now more people need to hear about it. Speaking of telling good stories, what is the coolest thing that you've ever built or done with TYPO3.
Volker Graubaum 24:20
What's the coolest thing is actually, I think we make reuse TYPO3, four big tourism company. And they had this iPad catalog. And we make an aggregation of all the content coming from outside possibility to edit the content and enrich the content in TYPO3. And then we have created a grid system in the backend. So the people could use the different content types and the different content structures and put it at the right place in their structure. And the grid we had on the back end was actually the grid we had on the iPad. So after that we pull it out to the iPad, the content. And then they had a really, really great iPad app.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 25:15
So it was that it was that like an in store sales tool for them to take people through holidays? Or was it could I use that
Volker Graubaum 25:22
more catalog, it's more print catalog to read, like, they don't have the buying button at the time. It was getting the experience of all the great places they had. What is quite cool is that actually, what I'm describing here, right now is the job hepler systems are doing and what they are saying what they are the best for. Right. And when I now think about when we have done that. It was I think 2012 or 13. So
Jeffrey A. McGuire 26:04
any we're using it to integrate diverse data sources, enrich and organize the data and then output it to a native iPad format. Yeah, in 2012. That is pretty cool. It is.
Volker Graubaum 26:17
Jeffrey A. McGuire 27:38
Right? And before it was cool. And yeah, yeah. Interesting. And, you know, I wonder if the people who've done who've built that stuff, you know, 10 years ago, and before it had a name it before it was a trend. And look, I wonder if we forget to tell those stories, because it was, you know, so long ago, and it's so obvious that we can do it. Do we forget that other people need to know that stuff? Or that that stuff is still up to date and relevant?
Volker Graubaum 28:10
Yeah, I think we forgot it at that time. Actually, we was very, or we used to be very focused on the community with, I'm not sure what the founding gives us a situation was 2005 2006, something like that? I think, since we don't have this commercial view on that there was a lot of agencies working with that, who has a commercial view. But yeah, internally, the community don't have this commercial view. And it's like, it's not very interesting to tell the story from a business value side. Of course, we had the conferences and the developer days, where we are showing really cool use cases from a technical view. Right. So songs, you can find a lot of talks about really cool technical solutions we have built shot, we are not so focused on bringing making the business.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 29:06
Yeah. And that's actually, that's actually another thing that I've ended up focusing a lot of my career on you the technologists have a super great idea that has a real world application. And you get super duper obsessed with the implementation and exactly how to structure the API and how do we do the versioning. And what's the integration point and all that stuff? That's really really interesting and important, and no marketer, no budget owner without a technical background can even listen to you. It's just my knowledge of Rama, Rama Rama computer words, right? Even if you're explaining a really, really great idea, and I love translating between, okay, you know, good, great technical ideas and then the value that they actually deliver. That's like, that's something that I really really love. Doing and and and I was in open Source back when it was only developers, and it was only technical people, I know exactly what you're talking about. And if you even tried to bring a case study to a conference people, like, I had some of my early talks when I was trying to when I was trying to understand what what I was thinking, and I was presenting these ideas, these crossover ideas, and I was told I'm not going to name events, but I'm still a little bit hurt. Um, I was told that our conferences don't want soft talks. You know, if there's not a code example, in your talk, don't even bother applying next time.
Volker Graubaum 30:33
I think you said that before, too. And when I take over the conference, right. And I think 2013 I was the first conference I was completely responsible for. I described the how technical talk, maybe that no quote in slides.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 31:04
Okay. All right.
Volker Graubaum 31:05
So that was the switch. Because actually, when the conference was, the first time was, I think, 2005. And it was the first year official event, except this fun events we had. And then it was really cool, because as you mentioned, we are on we have was all developers at that time, and all technical people, and we had use cases, but you have to show how we have created the use cases and not what is the story behind them the why. And then, late, I think until two years later, the TYPO3 developer was days were started to develop very on code and totally focused on developers. And that was totally cool and great, because you could learn so much and attend on sessions and all that. And yeah, but the conference still stays at, let's say, on a top level tech conference.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 32:11
Volker Graubaum 33:56
Yeah, I think so either. But when what I started with the conference is that I say, okay, no code on slides. And we've actually that was, I think, first and Amsterdam the year before, we had a test day, we had two business day and a community day. So we have focused topics a little bit more seems specific on one conference. And then we later had the ward in Amsterdam, there was the TYPO3 award. Yeah, there when you joined us.
Unknown Speaker 34:33
Volker Graubaum 34:35
Yeah, it was and actually, it's was like, yeah, making TYPO3 more open events. We used to invite other open source communities and products before, but we invited the technical editor before and I think starting with Amsterdam, it was the first time that We invited different people, not only the technical guys to the conference, and that we have talked from people who don't know, TYPO3 in any way, and, but can tell things about content, creation of storytelling and all that. So I don't because they're all belongs to the community and actually is, yeah as a content management system, or economy management and delivery system. It's used to create stories, create content, and tell the stories outside and bring it to all the people out there. And so we have to know how we are creating good stories on telling good stories and creating good content. If we don't know that we aren't able to deliver it and manage it.
Jeffrey A. McGuire 35:57
Thanks to the TYPO3 Association for sponsoring this podcast. Thank you, b 13, and Stephanie coisa for our logo. Now see, beaucoup de como TYPO3 developer and musician x tall the noun 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.