With DrupalCon Europe 2020 approaching fast we wanted to introduce our speakers at the conference to our readers. Who are they and what do they do at 1xINTERNET? What can we expect to hear during their talk? Let's start with Dr. Christoph Breidert, Co-founder and Managing director of 1xINTERNET.
Play's instruments and tries to stay active during his free time
So, Christoph, what is your story? Where do you come from? I was born and raised in Germany, my father is German, my mother is Danish and I have one younger sister. I'm married to Baddý from Iceland and we have two children at age 10 and 8. We live in Frankfurt, Germany, but we also spend a lot of time in Iceland, Denmark, and Spain with our families and at our 1xINTERNET office in Conil. I studied engineering at University of Karlsruhe and I have a PhD in computer science from Vienna University of Economics and Business. When Im not working I like doing sports and I try to keep active. I enjoy cooking nice food for family and friends, playing instruments and listening to music also takes up a bit of my free time.
How come you founded 1xINTERNET? Baddý and I always wanted to found a company together. We started working with Stefan, our third partner in the company, on several software projects using Drupal in 2010 and we founded 1xINTERNET in 2013 with the aim to build up a digital agency built on Drupal. Like all new companies we started small, but we managed to grow the company over the years. Today, we are 45 colleagues and we plan to grow further.
Great satisfaction when we deliver successful projects
What is your role at 1xINTERNET, what part of running a business do you enjoy the most? I am responsible for project management and innovation at the company. We focus on delivering great projects to our clients and to deliver innovative and engaging solutions. For this we need to organise ourselves well, so different colleagues work together on projects as well as we contribute to Drupal and to our internal innovations.
I enjoy a lot to facilitate great teams. This can be for a customer project, an innovation project, directing our project management team, our marketing team, and so forth. We have really smart and motivated colleagues in our company, and sometimes there are these special moments when a team delivers something great, that gives me great satisfaction.
I also enjoy building innovative software solutions. We strive to build the best software solutions possible. We usually adopt new technologies early which allows us to be involved in the most innovative projects in the Drupal ecosystem. I really enjoy seeing, that after we have invested in new technology and it pays off with some awesome projects.
Pen and paper in the morning helps me to visualise the day and to get organised
What are your most challenging tasks at work and how do you organise yourself? Sometimes, it is hard to switch between different tasks. This happens when a lot of assignments turn up at the same time. In these situations it can be difficult to stay focused. Also, it happens that unexpected things prevent me from getting everything done. This can lead to me not being happy with the result of my day.
At 1xINTERNET we organise everything with issues. For this we use Gitlab. For internal communication we use Slack. For external communication and meetings we use Google. We have great guidelines at 1xINTERNET on how we organise our work. But even though we are really structured, it can be hard to decide what to focus on.
For me it is the best to sit down in the morning with paper and pencil and write down the most important things that I want to accomplish. This can be for the day, the next few days, or even more time. My selection is based on what delivers the highest value to our company, and what I would like to do first. I keep this list on my desk, and it is a good feeling to tick things off this list. Besides this I have routines for checking Slack, issues, calendar, and email, which helps me not to overlook anything.
Looking forward seeing people in person
How has working during a pandemic affected you? Anything positive you can think of after this time? Our team is spread around Europe and it's been like that before the pandemic hit the world so our working environment has not changed really. Most of the team is based in Germany around our offices in Frankfurt and Berlin. Then we have a team and an office in Spain and in Iceland. In total, our team is located in six countries, we have 18 nationalities and we speak more 23 languages natively at 1xINTERNET, for me this is amazing asset and very valuable for our company.
To foster our team spirit we have always mixed our teams for projects. It is a lot of fun to work with different colleagues and allows everyone to learn new things and spread the know-how.
For us the pandemic has not changed our daily work much, since our work is organised in issues and our meetings take place online. We also continued to grow during the pandemic.
However, a large part of our company culture is the camaraderie between colleagues. We encourage everyone to work from our other office locations frequently. Also in the locations colleagues meet for lunches, dinners, game nights, parties, and many other activities. We also visit many events and gather the whole company for a strategy meeting and Christmas-party every year. These times together are very important, and I personally really miss meeting everybody.
Showcasing our editorial experiences
Now you are going to be talking at DrupalCon, what is your session about? My session is about the editorial experience of Drupal. At 1xINTERNET we focus a lot on delivering great editorial experience with our projects. Often projects are focused on the end user and there is too little attention to requirements of the editors. But it's the editors that use our software, therefore we also have to focus to simplify their work. In the session I will show how we build editorial experiences at 1xINTERNET.
What can we expect, who will benefit from attending? Most of the session I will showcase real projects and how we build our editorial experience. Our editorial experiences are built around the most common user journey of the editors, and we have clear guidelines on how we build editorial interfaces. All the libraries we use are open source, and I will point the attendees to the Drupal modules we use.
I think it will be interesting for participants to see how other companies envision great editorial experiences. I hope the attendees will get new ideas for their own projects and get a good start, if they want to build experiences similar to how we do it at 1xINTERNET.
More about collaboration than the competition
Have you attended many DrupalCons? Any fun memories you want to share? All Drupal events are great. Everybody in the ecosystem are really open and it is more about collaboration than the competition. I always enjoy the events because you meet interesting people and get new ideas for your company.
What is happening at 1xINTERNET - any interesting products or projects we might expect to hear about? Many of our clients need similar solutions. Often they have multiple websites and want to operate them with the same source code. For this we have a product that solves the underlying complexity nicely. Also clients often need to share content between websites. This can be as part of a digital asset management system, a product information system, or a content hub. For next year we have planned to launch these as products to help our clients select from proven solutions.
Anything else you want to share with us? The pandemic is hard on everybody because of the restrictions on our personal lives. We see this in our team and also with our clients. However, we also see better collaboration and understanding because everybody is in the same situation. I wish for us all that we can focus on the positive outcomes of the restrictions and not the negative effects.