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By CTO-CTO Podcast
CTO-CTO is a weekly podcast for Chief Technology Officers in eCommerce.
In the Pioneers. series we explore the mindset and technologies required to shape the future of ecommerce. With the Challenge Accepted. series, we put theory into practice in order to solve a specific problem, and tell you all about it. Tune in to stay up-to-date with the latest!
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26. Pioneers. with Fabian Wesner, founder of ROQ, ex-CTO of Spryker
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!
March 4, 2021
25. Challenge Accepted. with Harini Janakiraman, Head of Technology & Associate Partner at Antler
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. Tune in!
February 25, 2021
24. Balance IT. with Victoria Schmierer on Pre-owned fashion at Zalando
We are very excited to bring you Balance IT., where Agata will be talking to various guests about specific Sustainable business practices. Instead of just sitting around complaining about our own negligence, the deteriorating condition of our environment, and mindless consumerism, we want to shine a light on those who are actually making change happen. We will be showing examples of how technology is helping companies have a positive impact on our planet and the communities we affect by our businesses. We want to keep you informed and help you make the right choices as investors, business owners, and most importantly consumers. We would also like to inspire you to take action because there must be a million ways to start making change happen today. My first guest is Victoria Schmierer, 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!
February 18, 2021
23. Pioneers. with Pierre Burgy, co-founder & CEO of Strapi
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. Tune in!
February 11, 2021
22. Pioneers. with Filippo Conforti, CEO at Commerce Layer
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.
February 4, 2021
21. Challenge Accepted with Mathias Rönnlund, Systems Architect at Mirka
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!
January 28, 2021
20. Pioneers. with Jan Hegewald, Director of Engineering at Zalando
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 recent 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!
January 21, 2021
19. Pioneers. with John Williams, CTO at Amplience
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!
January 14, 2021
18. Pioneers. with Alexander (Sasha) Vidiborskiy, Principal at Atomico
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. 
January 7, 2021
17. Challenge Accepted. with Christoph Gerber, CEO of Talon.One, founder of Lieferando
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, 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.
December 31, 2020
16. Pioneers. with Tim Neutkens Next.js lead and co-author
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 adoption 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!
December 24, 2020
15. Challenge Accepted. with Eli Finkelshteyn, founder and CEO at Constructor.i
Eli Finkelshteyn is the Founder and CEO at, 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,’s business goals, and what helping people and being a programmer have in common.
December 17, 2020
14. Challenge Accepted. with Gabriel Engel, founder and CEO of Rocket.Chat
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, and the U.S. Department of Defense using this communication platform of the future, there’s no doubt the company's vision is strong! During this conversation, Gabriel 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. Tune in!
December 10, 2020
13. Pioneers. with Adam Sturrock co-founder of Moltin
In today's Pioneers. episode, our guest is Adam Sturrock, the co-founder of Moltin and MACH Alliance ambassador. Piotr and Adam discuss 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. 
December 3, 2020
12. Pioneers. with Carsten Thoma, co-founder of Hybris (SAP CX)
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!
November 26, 2020
11. Challenge Accepted. with Boris Lokschin, CEO and co-founder of Spryker
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 how he managed to still win over this market big time. He also discusses why microservices are not for everyone and he even shares the biggest lesson of his professional career. 
November 19, 2020
10. Pioneers. with Peter Lepeska, CTO of Acceleration Research & Technologies (ViaSat)
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.
November 12, 2020
9. Challenge Accepted. with Tobias Ouwejan, Lead Architect at SAP
Today’s Challenge Accepted. episode is a conversation between Piotr and Tobias Ouwejan, the Lead Architect for Commerce at SAP. After a decade working with customers and partners on Hybris commerce implementations, Tobias moved to the product team where he joined the Enterprise Architects team, which he is now leading. Today, Piotr speaks to Tobias about the challenge of implementing the Spartacus project, the application that allows you to build your own branded, JavaScript-based storefront for SAP Commerce Cloud. 
November 5, 2020
8. Pioneers. with Matt Gorniak, CEO of Threekit
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. 
October 29, 2020
7. Challenge Accepted. with Philipp Triebel, Head of Engineering at Highsnobiety
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. Let’s begin!
October 22, 2020
6. Challenge Accepted. with Jonathan Ribas, CTO of Zadig & Voltaire
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.
October 15, 2020
5. Challenge Accepted. with Matthias Zielezny, Head Of Software Development at Marc O'Polo
This episode is part two of the conversations about the digital transformation at Marc O'Polo. Last week, we spoke about this challenge with Steffen Sandner, the fashion enterprise's Digital Intelligence Director, who spoke about the transformation from the perspective of brand-building, managing teams, and finances. 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. 
October 8, 2020
4. Challenge Accepted. with Steffen Sandner, Digital Intelligence Director at Marc O'Polo
For every problem you have to solve in your daily business you will find at least two exactly opposite solutions, and making the right choice is not always easy. Thankfully, in the Challenge Accepted. Series of our podcast our experienced guests analyze a specific problem they’ve encountered and rate various solutions they tried for themselves so you don’t have to. This week's guest is Steffen Sandner, Digital Intelligence Director at Marc O'Polo. Marc O’Polo is a Swedish-German fashion label that generates more than €472 million Euros annually. The company supplies more than 2,500 stores and retail partners in more than 40 countries and has recently embarked on the digital transformation journey with a focus on headless architecture. 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.
October 1, 2020
3. Pioneers. with Ulrike Mueller (former co-founder of Demandware)
This week's guest is Ulrike Mueller, a former CTO known for creating innovative software products throughout all of her career. She started back in the 80’s as a programmer, and was part of the movement that pioneered the Software as a Service model for eCommerce on an enterprise scale. Building the technical foundations, software, even hardware, years before the SaaS model was a standard. The most notable platforms she helped create are Intershop in the 90’s, Demandware in the 2000’s, and New Store in 2015. 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.
September 24, 2020
2. Challenge Accepted. with Halil Köklü from LoveCrafts
With the Challenge Accepted. series we put theory into practice in order to solve a specific problem, so you don't have to. 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. 
September 17, 2020
1. Pioneers. with Kelly Goetsch from commercetools
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.
September 9, 2020
Welcome to the CTO-CTO Podcast!
A short introduction to the podcast from Piotr and Agata, who explain why they came up with the 2 series, and what the podcast is all about. 
September 1, 2020