TYPO3 Interview with Heather, Author of Official TYPO3 Guidebook

Welcome to the TYPO3 Interview Series - 7! We are excited to launch the TYPO3 initiative for business executives, marketers, professional freelancers, decision-makers, etc. The ultimate goal, Inspiring people to communicate about TYPO3 eco-system by keeping the philosophy of OpenSource.

TYPO3 Interview with Heather, Author of Official TYPO3 Guidebook

Welcome to the TYPO3 Interview Series - 7!

We have launched the TYPO3 initiative for business executives, professional freelancers, 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. T3Planet has been developed and is focusing on having a "Fruitful TYPO3 Eco-System".

Here we have Heather McNamee with us for interview this week, the Technical Communications Professional at Open Strategy Partners and author of TYPO3 Guidebook book.

Read the article where Heather shares her views about history and potential of TYPO3 and open-source community, and how we can build a better TYPO3 Eco-system together!

Let’s hear about her journey with TYPO3, and a lot more.

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee
  • Interviewee : Heather McNamee
  • Company : Open Strategy Partners
  • Designation : Technical Communications Professional
  • Topic : Together Building a Better TYPO3 Eco-system

Hey Heather, Tell something about yourself to our audience.

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

Most of my work has always involved knowledge sharing of some kind. From teaching, to creating learning products and services, or creating learning materials and products… And I always draw from subject matter experts and translate that in a way newcomers can understand. In the software world, it turns out this is this an essential part of growing your audience, and that pulled me into marketing. I find that fascinating. I do miss teaching in person though! Working on the TYPO3 Guidebook has been a part of that for me.


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

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

I worked with my colleague Jeffrey A. McGuire (jam) in another company where I’d launched a training service and developed course materials. He knew my work in another context, and he told me when he started Open Strategy Partners with Tracy Evans, that he wanted me to be their first hire. That brought me into the TYPO3 project working on content with the TYPO3 Association.


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 TYPO3 journey?

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

A lot of content out there is so fantastic… if you speak German. I think it’s got a reputation for being strong in that area. It would be great if there were more developer tutorials in English, but thankfully T3Planet is doing really well to add to the resources! 

But maybe the missed opportunity was not reaching out to the early communities in other countries. 

Other open-source projects have sent ambassadors that endorsed global communities. I saw that when project leads Matt Mullenweg (WordPress) and Dries Buytaert (Drupal) went to India over a decade ago, this really sparked the community growth in both areas almost instantly. Having a major community figure come to your meetup or camp is hugely validating to contributors and users in other regions. 

I think the TYPO3 Mentorship program is going to help create these direct relationships too, in away.


Can you give us a sneak peek of TYPO3's future visions?

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

I loved hearing the community chat after Benni Mack’s presentation about improving TYPO3 for everyone in the next version. In the TYPO3 Marketing team, we’ve been talking about creating a better user and community onboarding experience. Meanwhile, we also need to get outside of the comfort zone and reach into other markets. I’ve spoken about TYPO3 at Drupal events, for example. 

I think TYPO3 has a lot of advantages because of the built-in core features. Even the content editor experience in TYPO3 can’t be matched in other CMSs without adding and managing a lot of contributed extensions. 

I wrote up notes from the last Marketing Sprint here: Marketing Sprint—A vision for 2021.


Unlike other CMSs, where do you think the TYPO3 opensource ecosystem lags behind?

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

I think the beginner installation experience is... unfortunately a bit of a brick wall for newcomers. 

When you load up Drupal now you get a first-time demo experience, which gives people an idea of what a site could look like or how it works when configured. However you can also choose a completely stripped down installation to see what that looks like too. 


Over the years, the TYPO3 open source ecosystem has evolved. When you look back, Are you surprised or feel lucky with the overall success of TYPO3? Where do you see it going in the future?

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

I think TYPO3 has been relatively stable, but meanwhile the market has grown. I think the big challenge is to help TYPO3 reach beyond the DACH region where it’s doing really well. We’re hoping the TYPO3 Guidebook will help! The book is available for pre-order.


As a TYPO3 Professional, What was your biggest challenge to building your TYPO3 business? Do you have any special tips & tricks for TYPO3 business people?

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

I find this a fascinating topic, but I’m not directly providing TYPO3 services. However, we did include a chapter about this in the TYPO3 Guidebook. The guide is titled “Creating a business around TYPO3.” The guide explains how you can sell and scope TYPO3 projects with customers. We also emphasize building relationships and knowledge sharing through blogging and speaking at events. 

In the TYPO3 Marketing team, we conducted a survey of TYPO3 Salespeople to find out what it’s like to sell TYPO3, and what could be improved to make TYPO3 more competitive. Selling TYPO3—What Salespeople Told Us. It was a small survey (we’d love more participants next time!) so it feels like just a start. 

In the next online marketing sprint, we’ll be working on competitor comparison materials to help sales teams position TYPO3 in the market. It’s Tue. 1st December 2020 13:00 - Wed. 2nd December 2020 17:00 (CET.) So we hope folks will sign up, especially if you have experience with any other CMS.


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

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

In everything we do, we work transparently with our customers, and I think that is owing to the open source experience. I can’t really imagine it any other way. Then I work with clients who don’t have open source experience and I realize how different things could be. 

I think companies that use open-source software should directly fund the open-source projects they rely on. I also think contributors should be in paid positions. I am self-employed, so I directly pay for a bronze-level membership to the TYPO3 Association. I have also contributed financially to other open-source projects and crowd funders. TYPO3 CMS is one part of a much bigger picture of open source projects. 

I highly recommend reading Working in Public: The Making and Maintenance of Open Source Software by Nadia Eghbal for some thoughts and research on open source sustainability.


As we are managing T3Planet, TYPO3 Marketplace, What do you think about the t3planet.com? What are some key factors & characteristics that would attract you?

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

I think having an ecosystem where people can sell digital services is great. I know the WordPress community relies on that to share skills and distribute specializations. I think it’s a fab idea and much needed!


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?

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

Well obviously, the TYPO3 Guidebook of course. It’s really hard to create content that works for a variety of audiences. We’ve tried by dividing the book into two parts, with clear explanations and hands-on guides. 

I think it would be great even to give to clients and customers when you start with them. I did some research with TYPO3 GmbH talking to digital agency leaders and strategists about what makes TYPO3 projects successful (or not). And clients who don’t understand TYPO3 will often make decisions that make it really hard to scope projects. But then, usually, client training doesn’t happen until projects are delivered and it’s more about enabling end-users.  

I think TYPO3 project managers could get further with customers by sharing the book and especially using the first two chapters, TYPO3 Showroom and Designing and Planning with TYPO3 to help them understand how to work with TYPO3, not against it.


Do you think TYPO3 still needs more active contributors? Especially in awareness, branding, and marketing.

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

I hope we can attract more non-technical contributors. That’s what the TYPO3 Online Marketing Sprint is all about. You don’t even have to know TYPO3 well, but we’d love to have folks who are experienced with other CMSs. Tue. 1st - Wed. 2nd December 2020. Each day from 13:00 - 17:00 CET. 


Besides TYPO3, what's your favorite open source CMS/Tool?

TYPO3 Eco-system Interview with Heather McNamee

I admire the Gnome project, they have done a lot that influenced other open-source projects, for example, with time-based releases.

Many thanks and appreciation to Heather for taking the efforts and time to conduct these interviews and sharing your views. 

If you too 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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