Quick questions Sarah Watz
Hi Sarah, can you tell us about yourself?
Since 2003 I’m running Pixpro Stockholm AB, a web bureau that helps companies and organizations to develop their business and communication with the help of digital market communication. We are working with integrated marketing (360) and we take a total grip where we work together with the client to develop a strategy and later on implement this. We also assist with implementation of platforms and system that automate internal process in order to make behavior triggered communication & dialog easier.
We are really good at the popular areas like Marketing Automation, Re-targeting and Personalized Websites. In these areas we help clients to get more leads, educate these leads in our clients products, services and fields of interest so they will buy/order when needs occurs and get communication & experience during the deliverance of the product/service that makes them want to share their shopping experience to their friends, that generates more customers for our clients.
We have been using Joomla! as CMS since it was forked from Mambo CMS during 2005. We have always had the ambition to attend and actively contribute to the Joomla community. The Pixpro team has arrange and been leading several JoomlaDays and JoomlaNights in Stockholm, I have been chairman for the Joomlaföreningen i Sweden for several years and since 2012 I been in the board for the organization that own the Joomla brand Open Source Matters, Inc. In 2014 I was elected President for the organization.
Photographer: Eric Lamy
You are recently home from JWC 2015 – what is JWC?
Yes, I'm now back in Stockholm again. JWC stands for Joomla World Conference and it's the yearly returning global event for the Joomla community. The community exist of users, editors, administrators, developers, people that running website companies and those who sells extensions and templates for Joomla.
This is the forth year that the event was arranged by the JWC team. First year it was in San Jose on the US Westcoast, second year it was in Boston on the US Eastcoast, third year it was in Cancun, Mexico and this year it is held in Bangalore in India. Next year it will be in Vancouver on the Canadian Westcoast.
The goal is to move the conference around the world in order to keep it exist from a economical and time consuming aspect and for users to be able to attend the event when the conference coming to a continent near you. But if you waiting for JWC to come for Europe I think you waiting in vain. We already have a yearly Joomla event that moves around within Europe that's called J and Beyond. Now in May the Joomla event will be held in Barcelona, Spain.
What will you take with you from the event?
It was totally fantastic to see so many people from India and the rest of Asia on site, they really took the opportunity to attend the JWC when it was geographically close to them. More than 70% of the attendees never had attend a JWC before. Most of them never had been to a Joomla event before. More than 60% was from India. We took the opportunity to celebrate Joomla 10 years during the event and it was lots of recaps from the journey to were we're now and it was lots sessions about the future of Joomla. All sessions was filmed and you can see them here.
During the afternoon "Joomla! in Action" many people didn't had experience to be a volunteer for Joomla before but they started to find a work group to operate with during the shift. The experience from before is that if you try this the probability that you continue collaborate is greater after an event like this. This is important because of Joomla is running by volunteers. And Joomla is a global organization that needs insight and knowledge from all parts of the world especially when it comes to prevent language barriers, take cultural, legislation and organizational difference in account.
During my welcoming speech at JWC I told them that it's important to use the time wisely in order to learn, network and after that share the knowledge and contacts they gathered during the event to the local users groups, colleges and clients. I saw huge activity and very active attendees at the event that showed that this approach was really naturally for them in their way to be and perform. Being at JWC was really awarding. If you never had the opportunity to go to an International conference before I really can recommend it. You will have a totally different feeling for the Joomla! Community and what Joomla means to the world.
What would you say about Joomlas role in Sweden?
As long developers on the website bureaus don’t show more interest for Joomla! then they do now there will be no change in numbers of websites running Joomla. The ones that use Joomla as platform for their web solutions often keep very loyal because Joomla gives them their strength and freedom as the CMS does. I would think that the popularity of the CMS will shrink but more keep at the same level as now.
Joomla is own and driven by the not-for-profit organization Open Source Matters, Inc, were I have been President for almost two years. It’s a membership organization so there are no share holders, no venture capital companies or investors supporting with money. All revenues are from advertising, partners or sponsors. This money doesn’t cover any big ad campaigns, global PR actions for companies etc. Instead there are locally potential to raise the awareness of Joomla by being an ambassador / volunteer. Every little activity makes a difference. You can contact schools that educate web developers and tell them about your experience from Joomla as a tool, distribute information about Joomla to journalists, start a user group (JUG) in your neighborhood and invite users and developers to share knowledge with each other.
When I show Joomla 3.x for people that have seen Joomla 1.x or 2.x and not have been so impressed they are totally surprised. They still think that Joomla is like the previous versions. So I often talk about “Re-Discover Joomla” to show the big difference between the versions. Developers that see the code from Joomla 3.x are often very impressed how Joomla has develop over time. But often it takes pretty much for a developer on a company to change CMS because it takes time to learn a new system and that time is often not there.
From 5 years from now, has Joomlas role in Sweden change?
Joomla 4 will be released 1.5-2 years from now. It will be a CMS built for changes due to that the web is developed faster and faster. And Internet of Things makes the web influence our life even more then today. Joomla! has always been driven of web development and safety. Every new big release has had features that other CMS didn’t have at the time but soon after implement in theirs. The new version could be a possibility to discover Joomla. If you’re curious about Joomla 4, you can learn more about it here.
What are you most looking forward to in 2016?
In the beginning of 2016 the Joomla organization will be re-organized according to a plan that I have been involved with since the last 18 months. It’s not only a re-organization but also a new working collaboration. The leaders in the new organization will be voted into by members and even the board will be voted into by the organization. The purposes of these changes are to be ready for coming year’s demand of agile development, competition and demand from US government. The advantages of the new organization is that volunteers in the different teams gets more freedom to take own decisions and it comes more clear how Joomla is organized and who is responsible for what.