I create highly dynamic web apps using cutting edge technologies

SSENSE Editorial CMS


Work: Development Manager

The Context:

SSENSE creates a lot of editorial content; this is part of the company brand. As such, SSENSE has an entire team dedicated to bringing its customers the best content in luxury clothing. Historically, SSENSE has always used the style and workflow of a traditional agency (Design->html integration->deployment) for every content piece, and has never used CMS to manage their content.

While that enabled them to create high quality pieces every time, it is not a scalable system unless you were to hire a whole design/integration team. We needed to optimize the workflow. We also needed something that would allow us to go faster while at the same time reducing the number of people required in the process.

The plan:

Wordpress fans beware, this isn't your typical CMS. We wanted to provide the editorial team with a tool that they could not only use to write their content (instead of using a word processing app), but also completely design their article directly into the CMS. We eliminated time wasted in Photoshop and text revisions which was costing us a lot of money.

If you have worked with an editorial team before, you will know that not only do you have to approve the design, but you also have to approve the content and then verify it all again when the integration is done. With our CMS, we wanted to eliminate all of this waste so that we can be left with only one tool to do everything.

Our other goal was to allow the design of the article in the tool to be quick. We did a number of small tests throughout its development where we asked our designers to recreate different website layouts in order to be sure the tool was easy to use and fine tune the system to be quick.

The result:

We built the CMS in 3 sprints with a subset of my normal team.

Not only can the editorials be designed directly on the website CSS grid, but private previews can now be sent to our editors easily; scheduling articles and the homepage publishing workflow is now easy. That means that it is possible to change the homepage in 1 hour for a flash sale, and then go back to our regular homepage without any code deployment or direct human management, enabling our marketing team to have a lot of fun by testing different campaigns.

In the end, not only did the CMS streamline the workflow of the editorial team making them faster and more reactive to quick changes, it also relieved pressure on the IT department regarding editorial content integration and deployment. This enabled us to get a small boost on our overall speed of deployment and at the same time help the marketing team improve the conversion rate of the homepage and editorial content.

SSENSE e-commerce website


Work: Development Manager, front-end lead

The Context:

The SSENSE website was about 6 years old when I came in the company. Updating the content was a real pain and any new feature development was taking an unacceptable amount of time. A luxury e-retailer requires a luxury website to be taken seriously, and with the advent of mobile responsive websites, the current implementation was just dragging down the company. It was also really hard to hire excellent developers to work on the website since nobody wanted to work in a badly engineered, 6 years old code-base that has never been updated.

The Plan:

In this case, a rewrite was the only way and a long term vision was planned moving into this project. That meant building an api, a solid css framework enabling us to make quick changes in the future, introducing agile practices to the team, introducing tests into development cycle and basically putting the foundations in place for years to come.

We also planned for the website to be a genuine front-end application which takes SEO into account. The website never reload itself; changing pages only involved changing the content of each page. This is very useful on a mobile platform were resources are scarce; not having to reload the page greatly improved the speed and user experience.

The result:

We took great care to micro-iterate some stories in each sprint, always improving the user experience that we were providing and also bringing a consistent experience across platforms and devices. We wanted a level of design quality that our competitors could not achieve, and the laoding speed that would make platforms like Shopify shy.

We launched the new website and api after only 6 sprints (3 months). The website is responsive and uses an independent api than can be used by other products like the CMS. In time, we also did speed optimization sprints which enabled us to provide a loading time of under 1 second. The optimization has been ongoing since the launch of the site and in time, we reduced the load time by 66% which improved sales.

WeddingDeck, Online Wedding Planner


Work: Product Manager, lead developer

The Context:

Getting married is one of the wonderful things in life. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most stressful experience a couple has to handle in their life. They both become project managers and not everyone is cut off for this job.

What if there was a solution that would not only help the groom get organized but also improve the workflow of professional wedding planners; a product they could use everyday. At CakeMail, I learned a lot about building white label apps, and the idea of creating a product that could appeal to both consumer and professional alike was instinctive; generating revenues from both sides is a fun idea (not that it is always a good idea).

The plan:

I started to build a small set of features that could put WeddingDeck on the map. Products in this market were pretty basic in 2012 and it seemed that there were no modern apps of this kind.

My priority was not only the make handling all the wedding tasks easier but also to improve the wedding experience as a whole. That meant that instead of sending invites by mail, you could send e-vites and get a real time list of people that have accepted your invitation which makes the reminder process much easier.

Each account also included their own wedding website with integrated maps for both the wedding and reception, a printable interactive seating plan and everything else to make listing simpler. A user system made it possible to invite your friends to help you with your wedding within the app.

On the pro version, each wedding planner had an unlimited number of weddings with the same features as a normal user. The planner could very simply upload a logo the would replace the WeddingDeck logo as it was now their application without any mention of Weddingdeck at all, giving them an edge when competing for a contract.

The pro version also had a more advanced user management layering system, making it possible to manage all of their accounts.

The result:

I sold the project after signing more than 10,000 members & having some small press, this was a side project & at that time having a tight schedule at work I decided that selling it would be better than keeping the project & doing nothing with it.

On my blog I explain what exactly happened better and you can also have a look at the Weddingdeck marketing website.

Articles I wrote about WeddingDeck:

  • Selling a side project
  • WeddingDeck 3 months after
  • Launching WeddingDeck

Cakemail Mobile Application


Work: Development Manager, lead developer

The Context:

CakeMail is a white label email marketing solution. In 2012 I was mandated to evaluate the creation of a mobile application that was going to be added to the IOS and Android appstores. We defined what the customers want, what is possible to do with our tight resources and specifically what our user would want to achieve with the mobile app.

The Plan:

A touch screen is generally not something you want to do heavy work on. Creating an email campaign from scratch would be too long and tedious, or it would cost more than our total development budget to really make it good.

For example, MailChimp (a much bigger company) at that time promoted their new iPad product as the definitive way to build an email campaign on tablet, however; upon testing it, the app rapidly fell apart and making something awesome started being a monstrous task. Email creation on a mobile device is just one of those thing that is very, very hard to do.

I then started planning something that would be awesome with useful features for the mobile app domain. What do you want to do as a CakeMail user on the go?

You are a marketing manager and you are at a restaurant. You then receive an email from your developers saying that he is done with the changes for your next campaign. You want to see that right now so you open your app and you can then preview the email on your phone and hit send or schedule. Voila!. The power of email marketing at your fingertips.

Then you might want to look at your stats. We want you to want to look at your phone just to know how that a/b split test is doing or how many people are clicking the links in your campaign.

Then there is the usual email list management. You might meet someone interested in what you do and then could ask him if he wants to get into your mailing list. You therefore need to be able to add him instantly.

The result:

The project was executed in a scrum fashion; it was completed in about 5 weeks and we simultaneously developed an IOS and Android app using HTML5 technologies and phonegap. The project was a success and so far it has been used by more than 3,000 CakeMail users.

Position-Absolute, blog on product management & front-end dev

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Position-absolute.com is a blog I started 7 years ago. I wanted a platform to share my knowledge, challenges and to be challenged. Over the years, it has had more than 2 millions visits. It currently gets 25,000 hits a month and has more than 100 articles on UX, researches, entrepreneurial adventures and front-end development.

It is a time capsule of my time in web agencies and then the slow movement into articles about building products.

A selection of articles I wrote:

  • Revisiting the design workflow & To include design in your sprint?
  • Data mining user behaviors in web apps
  • Death to monolithic libraries
  • Overtime and web developers
  • Where front-end web development will be in 5 years? (Chuckle... Boy was I wrong..)
  • The front-end developers burden (first article I ever wrote)

Open source projects


Early in my front-end developer career, I started contributing to open source projects. One of those projects was, at a time, one of the most used jQuery plugins for form validation.

Doing open source is special; you always have contribution peaks and unless you have major contributors, it is really hard to maintain multiple projects while working on other parts of your career. I was fortunate to have a lot of contributors on some of my open source projects that helped me stay afloat. I listed some of my open source projects below but my github account is really the whole picture of what I did.

jQuery Validation Engine

This project started 6 years ago at a time where all front-end validation solutions were pretty ugly. I wanted a solution that could take seconds to implement and had a good look. Fast forward 6 years and the project has been downloaded more than 300,000 times (not joking), been featured in Smashing Magazine, forked more than a 1,000 times and is currently being watched by more than 1,800 users on github.

The project is still being maintained.

Project Page

Automatic release notes issues with Github

Writing release notes is painful. This plugin takes the hard work out and connects directly linked to your GitHub repository and mashes up some release notes by you using your milestones, issues and comments. It comes with a website but can also be plugged in anywhere.

Project Page

Inker: a workflow solution for creating better email templates

Inker is one of the best ways to build email templates; you can take control of your html and never again have this big mess of tables you can't understand.

Project Page

About me

Awards & speaker