VP of BD and Blockchain Editor @ Hacker Noon
We spoke to the CEO at Strapi, an open-source Headless CMS as it heads out to gain a head-start over competitors from the traditional space.
Find the interview transcript below:
How do you explain what you do to your mom?
Strapi empowers companies all over the world to design, manage, and distribute content anywhere.
How would you describe Strapi to potential customers?
Strapi provides an open-source headless content management system (CMS) that decouples the back-end — which stores all the content, databases and files — from the front-end applications, which include websites, web, and mobile apps.
Because the content is accessible via a well-structured Application Programmable Interface (API), Strapi can be adapted to fit a large number of different use cases to build powerful omnichannel digital experiences.
Who would you call your key competitors and what advantages do you hold over them?
Contentful is closest and quite successful, as well. The big difference is that it is a closed source SaaS that is quite expensive. Ghost is not nearly as flexible, compared with Strapi, and has limited scope — more inclined for blog sites.
Traditional CMS such as WordPress and Drupal are also trying to redefine themselves as Headless but face some challenges associated with their dated architecture and codebase.
Did Strapi ever hit breaking point? How did you bounce back?
Finding money to build the company and pay ourselves even a small salary was at the beginning the closest we got to a breaking point.
Quite honestly, I think the reason that kept us going is that we created our own Content Management System (CMS) because we needed one ourselves and it was built out of necessity.
Later (which took several years), this became Strapi, which we shared as open source.
How diverse is your team? How did that help Strapi?
The Strapi team is not as diverse as I would like to be, but we’re actively working on changing that. However, the Strapi community is as diverse as it gets with people participating in every part of the world.
There are 450 external contributors on GitHub with different backgrounds and skills.
We’re forever grateful for the support of these active contributors. Strapi wouldn’t be the same without the feedback from all of these people. That’s why our team should be as diverse as our community.
Given the different purchasing power of different geographies, how do you price your products to obviate the disparity?
A very good question. We have just recently introduced our first product intended for enterprise use, which is the first time we’ve done pricing.
We based our price and paid plans on buyer-specific features so that we can continue to deliver value to the Strapi open source community while charging enterprises for the security and governance features they require.
What’s your take on closed-source products masquerading as open-source?
Well, of course, there is no place for that. Either you have a truly open source project at the core or you don’t. A quick look at the project repository activity and license file should be enough to evaluate the open-source nature of a project.
We’re a young company, completely dedicated to open source and committed to continuously improving the governance of the Strapi project.
Is disregard of copyright by open-source proponents a canard overblown by a vocal minority?
It’s hard to say and probably not fair to generalize but in my opinion, these frictions are often necessary to keep everyone honest. As an industry, we’re all trying to figure out an open-source model that is fair for all the different stakeholders. It is a complex topic and the facts often vary depending on the specifics of a given situation.
What’s something about the open-source movement that no one is talking about and why?
Everyone I know is talking about open source! At this point, open source is very accepted and a standard set of expectations is starting to emerge.. I continue to be amazed by the support and involvement of the Strapi community. It’s what has kept me motivated since the very beginning.
Would you call it a paradigm shift or a part of the bigger picture? Why?
Both – clearly we have seen a paradigm shift where it seems now the inclination is first to open source and not proprietary commercial software. As part of the bigger picture, we’ve seen open source as a big contributor to cloud computing. There is a mutual dependency there — it’s hard for one to exist without the other.
What’s your message for Hacker Noon readers?
If this is the first time you are hearing about Strapi and have an interest in modern frontend development, check it out. You can get started for free in 3 minutes. And, you’ll become part of a large, vibrant community dedicated to making Strapi the very best and most widely used Headless CMS in the world.