TYPO3 Talk With Mathias Bolt - TYPO3 is a Powerful CMS!

TYPO3 Talk With Mathias Bolt - TYPO3 is a Powerful CMS!

Welcome to the TYPO3 Interview Series! In the TYPO3 community, mostly interviews are organised for techies, we are excited to launch the TYPO3 initiative for business executives, marketers, decision-makers etc. The ultimate goal, Inspiring people to communicate about TYPO3 eco-system by keeping the philosophy of OpenSource.

We have been interviewing and inviting TYPO3 business people to share their views to build a better TYPO3 eco-system for a better TYPO3 tomorrow. T3Terminal has been developed and is focusing on having a "Fruitful TYPO3 Eco-System".

It’s a pleasure to share the very first interview, this week we have been honored by Mathias Bolt Lesniak, the TYPO3 Certified Consultant, Editor, Integrator, an active participant at TYPO3 Association Board and works at Pixelant’s Norwegian division. 

Mathias talks about the power in TYPO3 and open-source community, and how we can build a better TYPO3 Eco-system together!

Let’s hear about his life in time, journey with TYPO3, and a lot more. Mathias, welcome to mapping the journey.

  • Interviewee : Mathias Bolt Lesniak
  • Company : Pixelant TYPO3 Agency
  • Designation : Executive Officer
  • Topic : Building a Better TYPO3 Eco-system

Hey Mathias, Tell something about yourself to our audience.


I live outside of Oslo, Norway, where I work in Pixelant’s Norwegian division. I am also responsible for communication in the TYPO3 Association Board.


First question, How did you initially get involved with TYPO3?


That was back in 2003. I was reviewing different CMSes for a website project, and I got a tip about TYPO3. After trying (and failing) to write my own CMS, it was the platform that did the things I needed. Two things were especially important in the choice: Multi-site support and fine-grained user permissions.


How do you contribute to TYPO3? How does your company encourage open source business practices?


Pixelant’s business model is built entirely on open-source software and TYPO3 in particular. Publishing our code means we contribute to a vibrant community that also helps us make our products better.

With t3kit (check out t3kit.com), have even gone one step further than many other agencies. By open-sourcing our “magic sauce”, we have created a TYPO3 website package that is aimed at speeding up every part of an agency’s site creation process. We use t3kit for every site we make, and a number of other agencies use it too. As agencies, contributing to a common starting point for sites should be just as natural as contributing to the CMS itself.

Of course, we also contribute to making TYPO3 better. We created the image-cropping feature that is now a part of the core, and we’re spearheading the Frontend Editing project at github.com/FriendsOfTYPO3/frontend_editing. I would like to encourage more of the TYPO3 community to contribute to this project. I think frontend editing will get more and more important over the next few years.


As a TYPO3 business executive, When you look back, Are you surprised or feel lucky with the overall success of TYPO3?


I’m not a business executive, but I have been working with TYPO3 for a long time. I am not surprised about the success of TYPO3. Luck has no significant role in that, but a lot of hard work and difficult decisions has made it into the great product it is today. On the other hand, we should consider ourselves lucky to have such a great bunch of people in our community.


As a TYPO3 Marketer, What was your biggest challenge to building your TYPO3 business?


I could say that TYPO3 is a powerful CMS, but not a well-known brand outside of Central Europe, but that’s very superficial. Although it could be a challenge, it is something that changes the direction of the marketing from being about the brand to bring about the actual features of the CMS. The features are the real strength and highlighting this is one of the tasks the TYPO3 Marketing Team is taking very seriously and where we’re seeing great results.


Over the years, the TYPO3 business ecosystem has evolved. Where do you see it going in the future?


Bringing in the end-users—the buyers—into the community will be important going forward. Agencies and their customers both use TYPO3, but for different reasons. By listening more to the end-user’s thoughts and input we can build a CMS that’s not only perfect for agencies, but that also speaks clearly to the demands of the end users. I’m not saying that agencies misunderstand their customers, but that the customers’ perspective is important in shaping the product.


TYPO3 is 20+ years old OpenSource CMS, Although we have very little CMS Marketshare. eg., At present, TYPO3 0.6%, WordPress 63.6%. In your personal opinion, What do you think about what we majorly missed in the TYPO3 journey?


I often see this question asked, but I think it is based on wrong assumptions. TYPO3 and WordPress have very different goals. I would rather say that both are successful CMSes within their customer segments.

Naturally, I would like TYPO3 to have an even larger market share everywhere, and not only in our sweet spot, the professional business, higher education, and government sector. However, placing blame is not going to get us there.

The market is swamped with essentially meaningless and over-hyped marketing-messages from our proprietary and closed-source competitors. Lacking the money to build similar cloudy messages, open-source often falls into over-simplification or focusing on bling—essentially lipstick on a pig.

Essentially, open source is a difficult balancing act, but the TYPO3 Association and Company are doing a great job. The upcoming TYPO3 Guidebook is one example of how this works: Published with New York-based publisher Apress, TYPO3 is coming across as a solution that is great to work with, but that also has the real technological advantage, through tidy code, true performance, and long-term reliability. The professional’s choice.


For people, it’s challenging to understand the philosophy of OpenSource and Business together. What’s your opinion on making a successful OpenSource Eco-system by maintaining the ethics of OpenSource?


We have to talk more about the ideals of open source. A the same time, it’s important to recognize that these are ideals and not laws. Freedom is one such ideal, and thus it’s important to understand that while contribution and community are important to a successful open source project, we can’t demand more than what the license requires. Instead, we should talk about our success stories and how contribution and community are core to that. We should also highlight how collaboration and taking responsibility in an open-source project can strengthen democracy, civil society, and overall freedom across borders.


As we are managing T3Terminal, TYPO3 Marketplace, what are some key factors that would attract you? What do you think about the T3Terminal.com?


I think it is great to see a shop like t3terminal.com come online. Giving vendors the possibility to distribute open source work and get paid for it is an important way to support the creation of new and better TYPO3 software. On the improvement side, I would love it if T3Terminal made this benefit even clearer, as well as highlighting the benefits of the GPL license and the open-source nature of the paid products. Those are sides of open source we speak about too seldom.


What characteristics do you look for in a reliable TYPO3 Marketplace must-have?


The easier the install and update process becomes, the better. Buying is an easy step, but easy maintenance means less money spent over time.


In your opinion, What’s the #1 mistake that you see TYPO3 businesses/agencies make?


I don’t look for mistakes in others. When mistakes happen, they have one purpose: I learn from them.


Who is your open source mentor/hero? Can you name some people (at least 5) whom you follow to get knowledge and updates of the TYPO3?


Here are some of the unsung heroes of the TYPO3 community. People whom you never hear about, but they do an important job in the non-coding realm. 

  • Alina Fleser
  • Altan Tosun
  • Amy Hunt
  • Carlos Llanos
  • Tony Lush

There are many more. Next time you ask me, I’ll give you another five.


What are some places, blogs, and online communities you would recommend to our readers that you think are the best places to get help about TYPO3?


Post your questions on StackOverflow. Even though I love the TYPO3 Slack, asking and answering on StackOverflow means your question is available in search engines for others to benefit from.


Do you have any special tips & tricks for TYPO3 business people?


Being a community, TYPO3 allows your employees to build a more personal bond to one of your core technologies. Invite them to join the community and become TYPO3 Association members. Hint: Writers, sales people, and marketers are underrepresented, but will benefit greatly.


Would you suggest some ideas on how TYPO3 could be expanded globally?


Join the TYPO3 Content, Marketing, and Documentation teams. Those are not about coding, but easy to join for everyone. They are central to all of our expansion efforts. We actually need more non-coding contributors, and it requires so little to join that it should almost be a requirement for every contributing agency to also contribute to these teams.


Last but not least, Apart from TYPO3, What're the things you love to do?


Skiing, swimming, and of course effective web writing.

We heartily thank Mathias enough for taking the time to conduct these interviews and sharing your views. 

One more thing, if you want to share your views regarding the TYPO3 Eco-system, you are more than welcome. Feel free to reach us or drop us a message in the comment section below.
Also, thanks to all Post Status readers, we will see you at the next interview. Till then stay tuned :)

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