Today, in the Challenge Accepted. episode of our podcast, we have John Surdakowski, founder at Avex, Shogun Investor. John has seen the beginnings of web development, as he has over 20 years of experience in building the web, from Web 1.0 and Flash animation to the explosion of mobile and e-commerce. In 2015 John started growing his freelance business into a boutique digital agency, with a focus on fashion, lifestyle and premium products. Avex has partnered with many major brands such as Hugo Boss, O’Neill, Undefeated, Starter, Rocawear, Shutterstock, HBO, UBISoft, Sony Music, and many more. In 2019 Avex was invited to become a Shopify Plus Partner becoming an agency specialized in helping brands navigate the e-commerce space.
In today's Pioneers. episode of our podcast, Piotr speaks to Michael Lukaszczyk, CEO and Co-Founder at GraphCMS, one of the first GraphQL based Content Management Systems on the market. Michael talks about the journey of building a successful company from a very small startup in the B2B business. He shares his perspective on the most important aspects you need to focus on when building a new product or company and talks about the perseverance it took to pioneer a market that was not yet educated about the benefits of GraphQL. He also shares some future plans for the company and discusses current tech trends that he finds most interesting at the moment.
In this week's Balance IT. episode, Agata speaks to Angela Ortiz, Social Impact & Sustainability Entrepreneur. Angela is the author of "8 Principles That Will Make You An Effective Leader In Social Impact" and has over 9 years of experience in CSR. Her company, Stratechist Consulting, specializes in providing savvy solutions for companies & SMEs that help them enable effective CSR strategies and social impact programs. During this week's episode Angela talks about her journey from volunteer for local communities affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the Honshu region of Japan, through CSR manager and advisor at H&M and Adidas, to building her own CSR consulting company. She discusses the most difficult obstacles both large and small companies face when building their sustainability program, employee engagement, and explains how to effectively align your impact initiatives with your line of business.
E2N is a software company founded in 2009 specializing in intelligent employee management and effective planning of personnel allocation that is known for its amazing UX. Its main premise is digitalization and food and hospitality is their main industry sector. Today, Markus Lorenz speaks to Björn Raupach, the CTO & Founder of E2N about his journey since starting the firm with only two other partners. Björn answers questions about building a SaaS business back in 2009, the tech stack, serious company growth, and even gives some crucial advice to young developers and future CTO's about building your first product and finding the perfect product-market fit.
In this week's Challenge Accepted. episode of our podcast, Piotr's guest is Adam Maschek the CTO of Westwing Home & Living. Westwing is an international eCommerce platform selling home appliances, furniture, decorations and much more. The platform could potentially face many tech challenges, as one of its most frequented API's processes up to 180,000 requests per minute in peak traffic. However, Piotr and Adam talk about more than just tech efficiency, front-end or back-end, purchased or in-house solutions. They also talk about leadership, HR, resources, and how technology is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to issues that every CTO of any size organization has to face.
Today's episode features Mihaela Mazzenga, Chief Technology Officer at Sharper Image, MACH alliance ambassador, a solutions architect, and a product strategist. Mihaela has recently led her team at Sharper Image through a full-blown migration from an enterprise monolith into a composable commerce setup. In today's episode, Mihaela and Piotr discuss the various operational issues, budget issues, and issues of scale that stem from such a transformation, from the perspective of the CTO of a highly customer-focused health and wellness platform.
METRO revolutionized an entire industry when it was founded: the arrival of the cash & carry concept enabled customers to find everything they needed under one roof. Today METRO offers not only the goods but the complete 360° wholesale experience. In this week's Challenge Accepted episode, Piotr speaks to Vahid Gharavi - Director Of Engineering at METRO.digital about the role of eCommerce at METRO, its architecture, the optimal team structure at this scale, and the biggest tech challenges of a global company with almost 100,000 employees.
Matthias Patzak is the Principal Advisor at Amazon Web Services. He is an expert on lean-agile operational models at scale and has led many successful cloud transformations that resulted in shorter delivery times and increased business value for the businesses involved. In today's episode of the CTO-CTO Podcast Markus Lorenz speaks to Matthias about some of the biggest challenges that companies who want to go through digital transformation face, helping mature companies become eCommerce centered businesses, how being customer-centric is the key to innovation, and why most companies don't think big enough when it comes to their own digital journey.
In this week's Balance IT series episode, Agata and Antoine talk about building a green tech startup in the midst of the pandemic, and how looking for a more meaningful and fulfilling professional career can start with helping online shoppers calculate and offset their carbon footprint. while they're finalizing their purchase. April 2020 was when Varena Junge and Antoine Verger co-founded of Yook, a Hamburg-based online shop extension that makes climate action as easy as ordering your favorite shoes online. Tune in for some quick facts on CO2 emissions, but also hear the inspiring story of building a green tech startup from the ground up.
ElasticSearch is the default search engine for anyone who wants to build a search box. Lucene is the algorithm behind ElasticSearch, and other popular search engines but, although this technology is great, it's been around for many years. MeiliSearch, an Open Source solution co-founded by Thomas Payet, is challenging the market monopoly in terms of search and is currently providing a popular and user-friendly search engine building experience for developers. In today's Challenge Accepted episode, Piotr speaks to Thomas about starting at the very bottom and developing your own OS solution, challenging huge market players, growing a faithful following, and plans of monetization.
In today's episode, Piotr speaks to Brian Flynn, Serial Entrepreneur and Investor at FounderPartners, who has over 20 years of experience in business and startups and over 10 in investments. Piotr and Brian have a unique conversation about building companies, all stages of funding, the difference between unicorns and mustangs, and why letting go of your own ego and focusing on your customers when it comes to your company's growth can be actually the most beneficial in the longterm. Brian also shares the mindset that led him to a couple of multi-million exits for the companies he founded.
In today's episode of the Pioneers series, our guest is Nishant Patel, the Founder & CTO at Contentstack™ – a leading CMS and Content Experience Platform (CXP). Nishant is a technology visionary with an extensive track record of spotting and setting industry trends and creating software products that power digital transformation and further the rise of the API economy. Today, Piotr speaks to Nishant about the beginnings of cloud and API-first technology, building products inside services companies, how Contentstack became a headless CMS leader in just few years, and together they even try to define the recipe for success.
In this episode of the Pioneers. series, our guest is Art Boyd, Senior VP at Mirakl. Although Art Boyd had a successful career in finance at Citibank, he decided to move on to a more risky environment of enterprise software development and spent many years working for ATG, Oracle and Magento. Art discusses with Piotr the importance of building your career on the right fundamentals and focusing on long-term benefits, and how he managed to meet 100% sales performance goals for 4 years in a row at Mirakl. He also explains why he puts so much focus on relationships, and how Mirakl became a pioneer and market leader.
In this episode of the Pioneers. series, our guest is Finbarr Taylor CEO at Shogun. Finbarr started his career as a software engineer who studied Computer Science in Scotland. As a software engineer, he worked for Groupon, Pebble Tech and Y Combinator. His experience in various Silicon Valley companies gave him the skills and network needed to start his own successful startup, and eventually, become CEO at Shogun. Shogun grew very slow until their break on the Shopify App store and eventually blew up closing two successful funding rounds last year. Tune in to hear the details of this founder story.
In this episode of our podcast Agata's guest is Christian Rühlmann, CEO of circulate.global. This is an environmental service platform that offers plastic neutrality to both individuals and brands. What gave Christian the wake-up call that led him to become the CEO of an environmental startup? What really happens to the plastic that we conscientiously segregate? Who should be held responsible for plastic leakage into our rivers and oceans and why is plastic still the most widely used packaging material in 2021? These and many other questions answered, shocking truths revealed but also actions that you can take today to start making a change are all shared in today's episode.
Welcome to the 30th episode of the CTO-CTO podcast. Firstly, we have another Challenge Accepted. by Stephan Schulze, the CTO at Project A who is an expert in helping companies develop faster and better than their competition. He is a CTO who is not only interested in tech but also in the wider ecosystem around tech (such as Product, Business Intelligence, Data, Marketing, ect.) and today he speaks to Piotr about the challenge of being a CTO in an Operational VC. Secondly, we speak to Markus Lorenz, our new podcast co-Host, who after years of leading Digital and IT in Lampenweld, just became Divante's General Manager for the DACH region. Markus and Stephan are long-time collaborators, and you will hear more about the details of their business journey in this episode.
Tech Crunch's recent news of Polish-American start-up Saleor raising 2.5 million USD in seed funding went viral a few days ago. In this week's Pioneers. episode, Piotr speaks to Filip Felician Dames, Entrepreneur and Investor at Cherry Ventures, the VC that made this and many other impressive investments happen since it was founded in 2013. Piotr and Filip talk the "founders first, investors second" motto, investing in Open Source products, and most important criteria for becoming a Cherry VC’s portfolio company. Filip also expands on the key qualities for a successful founder beyond just having a vision and being confident in your project, and reveals which investments he's missed and which he's most proud of.
In today's episode, Piotr speaks to Kapies Vallipuram, Director of Software Development at ALDO Group. ALDO is a Canadian retailer that owns and operates a worldwide chain of shoe and accessories stores. Kapies was in charge of the ALDO Crew Loyalty, ALDO's global loyalty platform that integrates the offline and online customer's experience. Piotr speaks to Kapies about headless, API-first approach, what it took to make a successful implementation of ALDO Crew Loyalty in only 6 months, and why, instead of building it themselves, they chose the open-source platform to host their loyalty engine. Tune in!
Celebrating International Women's Day, this week in the Balance IT. series of our podcast, our guests are Natalie Pilling and Aleksandra Bis, the two founders of Dare IT, a mentorship program that is meant to help women start working in the IT industry and accelerate the growth of their careers. The technology sector is still struggling with gender equality, with reports by Statista and The National Center of Women and Information Technology showing only 25% of all jobs in IT held by women in 2020. Today I ask Natalie and Aleksandra some questions about the program, why equal representation matters, the impact of mentorship, and how to find the right career path in tech even when you're completely new to it. We even discuss our favorite TV series and why it's the best thing that's happened in the media for women in years.
In this episode of the Pioneers. series of our podcast, our guest is Fabian Wesner, founder of ROQ, ex-CTO of Spryker. Fabian started his career as a freelance developer, who then became a part of the team building Zalando Lounge who quickly became the CTO of Rocket Internet. His vast experience in multiple companies led him to recently create his own business, a next-generation web app platform called ROQ. The ROQ platform is designed for SaaS enterprises and is based on some groundbreaking principles like single language restriction for the entire platform. He is a Clean Code and SOLID principles evangelist, who calls himself a very "hands-on" CTO. Tune in!
In this episode of the Challenge Accepted. series, Piotr speaks to Harini Janakiraman, Head of Technology & Associate Partner at Antler. Antler is a global early-stage venture capital firm that builds and invests in the defining technology companies of tomorrow. Harini tells us about her experience at Antler and their data-driven decision process for finding and investing in early-stage startup founders. They work with big data to find the top 1% of potential founders and also provide support, access to network and resources, coaching. Harini also shares some tips on how to find the right Technical Founder and how to minimize investment risk at the early stages.
Victoria Schmierer is a Business Development Manager at the Zalando Recommerce team and Positive Psychology advocate. I invited her today to speak about the new Pre-owned fashioned offer at Zalando; the one European e-Commerce retailer that needs no further introduction. We will talk about how the idea of selling Pre-owned fashion originated and how it's being implemented, whether or not it's successful and what are Zalando's plans in terms of expanding into this new pre-worn clothing market. Tune in!
In today's episode, Piotr speaks to Pierre Burgy, the co-founder, and CEO of Strapi. Strapi is a leading open-source CMS, which proudly boasts a community of over 30,000 members on GitHub. Piotr finds out from Pierre about the open-source business models he has considered, and which ones he's actually adopted as well as how the team managed to build such outstanding user loyalty. They also talk about marketing strategies, how headless CMS's actually work, and what was Pierre's biggest learning of his career.
Commerce Layer is a headless commerce platform and order management system that lets you add global shopping capabilities to any website, mobile app, chatbot, or IoT device. Today's conversation is with Filippo Conforti, the CEO of Commerce Layer. Piotr and Filippo talk about Filippo's experiences as a Ruby on Rails developer as well as implementing global commerce for one of the biggest fashion houses in the world, Gucci. They also talk about what makes Commerce Layer unique and so easy to implement for companies looking to go online who don't have the budget or the resources to manage a full-stack eCommerce system, they also talk about future plans and innovative technologies that Commerce Layer is currently trying out.
Finland based Mirka is one of the biggest sand-paper and tool manufacturers in the world. Today's guest is Mathias Rönnlund, Systems Architect at the company. Piotr speaks to Mathias about the B2B project based on SAP Spartacus. The conversation then moves to IoT and Microsoft Azure and ways of leveraging the Cloud-Native approach without getting into a vendor lock-in situation. Among many other topics, Matthias shares his rule of thumb for managing the organization which is: don't generalize too early. Even at their scale, this rule allows Mirka to operate at a startup's pace, yet with very well organized and set industrial processes. Let's begin!
Zalando has been setting industry standards since its early days in 2008. A huge part of the success of this retail phenomenon is its primary focus on software development. Zalando's migration towards microservices architecture is still a model-case for many engineering initiatives. This week Piotr speaks to Jan Hegewald, Zalando’s Director of Engineering of the Product and Category Experience. From this episode you will learn about the structure, processes and the day-to-day challenges of the 200 teams powering the biggest European fashion store. You will also hear Jan's thoughts on how to find the difficult balance between great architecture, clean code, and the need for speedy implementations. Tune in!
In Today’s episode, Piotr talks to John Wiliams, CTO at Amplience. This story starts with Amplience being a startup centered around building flash-based media software right before Steve Jobs announces the death of Flash and the reign of HTML 5. John talks about how the company took this seemingly devastating turn of events and made it their biggest market advantage pivoting into headless content management long before headless became a thing. Amplience currently provides services to over 350 of the world's leading commerce brands and is a proud member of the MACH Alliance. Other topics John and Piotr discuss are Headless eCommerce, Microservices, API First and the Cloud. Tune in!
In today's Pioneer's episode, our guest is Sasha Vidiborskiy, the Principal at Atomico VC (his biggest investments include Skype, Pipedrive ...). Sasha shares 10+ years of investing experience with us including the best and worst cases he's seen in his career. He discusses what is at the core of the Venture Capital business, explains his process for sourcing talent, and shares why being ambitious, and having a game changer mindset are his most important categories for an upcoming entrepreneur. This episode guarantees great advice for anyone entering business and looking for investors, VC's and supporters who will help take their company to the next level.
In today’s episode, Piotr speaks to Christoph about the challenges of building a successful enterprise-software startup. Christoph is the CEO of Talon.One, a platform that allows you to manage marketing campaigns as well as customer loyalty and rewards solutions all in one place on an enterprise scale. Christoph also founded one of the biggest German take-away delivery startups Lieferando.de, and shares his personal insights on building diverse teams, investments and the need to reinvent your business in order to stay relevant on the market.
Next.js has become a standard framework for React applications. Wondering how this happened? In today’s Pioneers episode, we speak to Tim Neutkens, the very young yet accomplished Next.js lead and co-author. Among some of the topics Piotr and Tim discuss are how adopting this framework impacted the hosting platform and vice versa, how they managed to build a community around next.js, and what cooperation with Google Chrome and Facebook's React team actually looks like. Tune in!
Eli Finkelshteyn is the founder and CEO at Constructor.io, an eCommerce search engine for improving conversion rates. Eli, a search engine expert is someone who started out his career with a rare mix of interest in both Linguistics and Computer Science. During this episode Piotr speaks to Eli about his passion for ancient languages, transparency with clients, Constructor.io’s business goals, and what helping people and being a programmer have in common.
Rocket.Chat is not an "Open Source Slack". It's much more than that. Today, we speak to Gabriel Engel, founder & CEO. With companies such as Audi, Deutsche Bahn, U.S. Department of Defense using this communication platform of the future, there’s no doubt the company's vision is strong! Gabriel also shares his view on redefining communication and why building a truly open-source product is both the most impactful approach when helping non profit organizations around the globe, but also great for business.
In today's Pioneers. episode, our guest is Adam Sturrock, the co-founder of Moltin and MACH Alliance ambassador. Piotr and Adam discussed the beginnings of Moltin and what it was like to build a successful startup in Newcastle, England, back in 2013. Adam also talks about the struggles of moving to Silicon Valley, his first six-figure deals, empowering developers, consulting companies on headless architecture decisions and the lifecycle of companies.
Today, our guest is Carsten Thoma, investor, entrepreneur, co-founder of Hybris (SAP), an eCommerce platform that pioneered the market back when less than 2% of global transactions were executed online. Some of the topics Carsten talks about are solving complex issues on a low budget, the importance of proximity to the customer, and how genuine and foolproof company culture is built. Carsten’s journey from founder to entrepreneur to corporate executive is truly praiseworthy, so tune in to find out all about it!
In today’s Challenge Accepted. episode our guest is Boris Lokschin, CEO and co-founder of Spryker. Boris talks about the challenge of entering an already established and saturated eCommerce platforms market with Spryker, and still winning big time. He also discusses why microservices are not for everyone and he even shares the biggest lesson of his professional career.
Today’s episode is part of the Pioneers. series and our guest is Peter Lepeska, CTO of Acceleration Research Technologies at ViaSat, Inc. Amongst other topics, during this conversation Peter talks about how being a bike messenger with a hacker mentality has influenced the entirety of his career in technology and eCommerce. Other interesting topics include satellites, browsers, app fatigue, and advice on how to get out of your comfort zone when you want to keep creating innovative products.
This week, as part of the Pioneers. series of the CTO-CTO podcast, we are hosting Matt Gorniak, CEO of Threekit. Matt has over 20 years of experience in the enterprise software space, and as he says, his aim was always to solve common challenges that turned out to be too difficult to be solved by his competitors. Matt, a true pioneer, talks about his success with selling his ventures to Oracle and Salesforce, building the G2 business software comparison portal, but also talks future with 2D, 3D, and Augmented reality platform Threekit- his latest project.
If you’re familiar with the term "street style", or you’re into sneakers, fashion, or culture, this episode is for you. Today’s guest is Philipp Triebel, the Head of Engineering at Highsnobiety, an online lifestyle news site, which has gone a long way from a small team of 5 people writing articles online. In this episode of the Challenge Accepted series, Piotr and Philipp discuss the difficulties of turning an online lifestyle magazine into an eCommerce store while figuring out the best way to accommodate the specificity of the “drop” sales model on their website.
Today, in the Challenge Accepted. series, our guest is Jonathan Ribas, the CTO of Parisian fashion house Zadig & Voltaire. Jonathan talks about the strategy of implementing a successful move of the Zadig online shops from Magento 1 to a headless Magento 2 framework, with a unified PWA Vue Storefront front-end. You will hear all about the challenges of this implementation while taking under account differences for various locations, like shipping, payments, and also the challenge of building the PWA with node.js for the first time.
This episode is part two of the conversations about the digital transformation at Marc O'Polo. This week's guest is Matthias Zielezny, Head of Software Development who unlocks this challenge from the technological perspective, discussing technical solutions, headless eCommerce architecture, managing developers' work, and custom-built solutions.
This week's guest is Steffen Sandner, Digital Intelligence Director at Marc O'Polo. Steffen has been leading this unquestionably difficult process and this episode is all about how he approached it, all while building a brand, dealing with failure, and managing teams remotely during the global pandemic.
This week's guest is Ulrike Mueller, a former CTO known for creating innovative software products throughout all of her career. This episode is packed with over 30 years of experience and insights, and key advice for young CTO’s on both technical aspects of the role, but also priorities, team building and the mindset needed to be successful in this career.
This week's guest is Halil Köklü, the CTO of Lovecrafts, who talks about the challenges of implementing a headless e-commerce solution for his company.
In the Pioneers. series we explore the mindset and technologies required to shape the future of ecommerce. This week's guest is Kelly Goetsch, Chief Product Officer of commercetools.