I create highly dynamic web apps using cutting edge technologies

SSENSE Editorial CMS

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Work: Product Owner

The Context:

SSENSE creates a lot of editorial content, this is part of the company brand. As such SSENSE has a whole team dedicated to bringing it's customers the best content in luxury clothing. Historically SSENSE always used a traditional agency style workflow (Design->html integration->deployment) for every content piece & used no CMS to manage their content.

While that enabled them to create high quality pieces every time, this is not a system that scales well unless you hire a whole design/integration team. We needed to optimize the workflow, we needed something that would allow us to go faster & at the same time involve less people in the process.

The plan:

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

If you ever worked with an editorial team before you know that not only you have to approve the design, then the content needs to be approved, then you need to verify it all again when the integration is done. With our CMS we wanted to eliminate all this waste to have only one tool to do everything.

Our other goal was that designing article in the tool should be fast, so we made sure to do small tests throughout out the development where we asked our designer to recreate different website layouts just to be sure the tool was easy to use & fix things that were not easy enough to do.

The result:

We built the CMS in 3 sprints (1 month & a half) with a subset of my normal team (3 devs & 1 designer).

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

In the end not only did the CMS streamlined the workflow of the editorial team, making them faster & more reactive to quick changes, it also relieved pressure on the IT departement for editorial content integration & deployment. This enabled us to get a small boost on our sprint velocity & at the same time helping the marketing team improve faster the conversion rate of the homepage & editorial content.

SSENSE e-commerce website

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Work: Product Owner, lead front-end architect

The Context:

SSENSE website was about 6 years old when I came in the company, updating content was a real pain & any new feature development was taking an unacceptable amount of time. A luxury e-retailer commands a luxury website to be taken seriously & with the advent of mobile responsive websites the current implementation was just dragging along 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 codebase that has never been updated.

The Plan:

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

We also planned for the website to be a real front-end application taking into account seo considerations, the website never reload itself, changing page only involve changing the piece of contents it needs to. This is specially useful on mobile were ressources are scarce, not having to reload the page greatly improve the speed & 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 & also bringing a consistent experience across platforms & devices. We wanted a design quality that our competitors could not achieve & speed that would make platforms like Shopify shy.

We launched the new website & api after only 6 sprints (3 months). The website is responsive & 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 often under 1 second. Optimization has always been ongoing since the launch & in time we reduced the load time by 66% & improved sales.

WeddingDeck, Online Wedding Planner

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Work: Product Manager, lead developer

The Context:

Getting married is one of the wonderful thing in life, unfortunately it is also one of the most stressful experience a couple have to handle in their life, they both become project managers & 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 & the idea of creating a product that could appeal to both consumer & professional 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 space were pretty basic in 2012 & it seems there was no modern apps of this kind.

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

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

On the pro wedding planner side, 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 WeddingDeck logo, it was now their application without any mention of weddingdeck at all, giving them an edge when conpetitionning for a contract.

The pro version had also a more advanced user management layer making it possible to manager all of their accounts.

The result:

I sold the project in 2013 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.

I explain better on my blog what happened & you can also have a look at the weddingdeck marketing website.

Articles I wrote about WeddingDeck (from 2012):

Cakemail Mobile Application

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Work: Product Manager, lead developer

The Context:

CakeMail is a white label email marketing solution. In 2012 I had the mandate of evaluating the creation of a mobile application to be added in the IOS & Android appstores. Defining what the customers want, what is possible to do with our tight ressources & especialy 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 & tedious, or would cost more than our total dev budget in a year to make it awesome.

For example MailChimp (a much bigger company) at that time promoted their new ipad product as the definitive way of building email campaign on tablet, however upon testing it the app rapidly fall apart & making something awesome started being a monstruous task, email creation on mobile is just one of those thing that is very, very hard to do.

So I started planning would could be awesome useful features for the mobile app, what do you want to do as a CakeMail user on the go?

You are a marketing manager, you are at a restaurant, you receive an email from your devs, he is done with the changes for your next campaign. You want to see that right now, you open your app & you can preview the email on your phone, then hit send or schedule & voila. The power of email marketing at your fingertip.

Then you will want to look at your stats of course, we want you to want to look at your phone just to know how that a/b split test is doing, how much people are clicking links in your campaign.

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

The result:

Project executed in scrum fashion, it was completed in about 5 weeks, we developed simultaneously an IOS & Android app using HTML5 technologies & phonegap. The project was a success & so far has been used by more than 3000 CakeMail users.

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

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Overview

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

This is a time capsure of my time in web agencies & then slowly move into articles about building products.

A selection of articles I wrote:

Open source projects

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Overview

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 (still used a lot).

Doing open source is special, you always have contributions peaks & unless you have major contributors it is really hard to maintains 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 a float. I listed some of my open source projects below but my github account is really the full picture.

jQuery Validation Engine

This project started 6 years ago at a time where all front-end validation solutions were all pretty ugly. I wanted a solution that could take seconds to implement and was good looking. Fast forward 6 years later, the project has been downloaded more than 300,000 times (not kidding), been featured on Smashing Magazine, forked more than a 1000 times and is currently being watch by more than 1800 on github.

The project is still maintained.

Project Page

Automatic release notes with Github Issues

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

Project Page

Inker, a workflow for creating better email templates

Inker is one of the best way to build email templates, take back control over your html, never have again this big mess of tables you can't understand.

Project Page

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