Meet our Mascot: An interview with Pulley the Ibex
If you've spent some time on ez.no or visited an eZ booth at a conference in the last year, you probably came upon a surprising sight with a big beard and two elongated horns. Meet Pulley, eZ's mascot and the most talented developer ever to come out of the salt-licking ibex community.
I sat down with Pulley for an exclusive interview. He arrived at eZ's Brooklyn office wearing a t-shirt with the slogan "I'm not afraid to commit." After taking five minutes to get his horns through our doorway, we got down to business.
David: Hello Pulley. Now, I've heard you're not just an ordinary goat. Forgive me if this comes off as a little uninformed, but what kind of goat are you?
Pulley: I'm glad you asked. I'm an Alpine ibex, capra ibex to be scientific. We are wild mountain goats from the European Alps. We're known for our strength and agility. I was born in 2011 in the Swiss Alps. Have you been? It's a lovely place for a vacation.
David: I've never been but I hear the skiing is fantastic. So how did you come to be eZ's mascot?
Pulley: I was approaching my fourth birthday when it all happened. I was minding my own business, licking salt off a rocky mountainside as ibexes usually do, when a mysterious red-bearded hiker approached me. We got to talking and it turned out he was a creative type. He began drawing on a pad of paper, and when he turned it around to show me his sketch, I was pleasantly surprised to discover he'd been drawing me. I'm not a showy type, but well, I was flattered. Baaa!
Our red-bearded designer Hakan's first sketch of Pulley
The next thing I knew, he was offering me a once-in-a-lifetime gig as the mascot for eZ Systems. Of course, over the years I'd developed about a dozen websites and apps with eZ Publish so clearly I wasn't going to turn this opportunity down. eZ has a history of naming major releases by mountains so it's quite fitting their mascot is an ibex.
Support your local ibex!
In honor of Pulley, eZ has adopted this ibex at the Wuppertal Zoo in Wuppertal, Germany.
eZ's donation goes to providing care and resources for the ibex. He was nice and calm, though trust us, the ibex isn't always so composed. Have you ever heard a goat scream? (Warning: Plug in your headphones and turn the volume down)
David: Wait, did you say you've developed websites and apps? Are you trying to tell me you're a goat, I mean, an ibex developer?
Pulley: Yes, that's right. I'm also an information architect and a marketing technologist. I know, I know, you're surprised. But you humans should stop underestimating animals, especially goats. Everywhere I go, I get the same smirk you're giving me right now. Baaa!
David: Uh… no, of course not, Pulley. I've met plenty of animals who write code and model content. Sure, sure, no problem. So… (nervous pause) what's the significance of your name?
Pulley: It's actually my nickname but everyone started calling me it back in high school and it stuck. I was a gifted mountain climber from an early age, and I was also fascinated with source code. I lived it, breathed it, I even tried writing songs in PHP, but that didn't go so well. Anyways, I was regularly submitting pull requests on open source projects, ya know, when you tell other developers about changes you've pushed to a GitHub repository. That's how I got the name Pulley.
Well, that and because there was this one time when my friends caught me trying to mountaineer with a pulley. "Those are for humans," they teased me. You live and learn. Anyways, most ibexes where I'm from get lousy nicknames but I always adored mine. The only thing I love more than open source is organic alpine salt. It has just the right amount of iron. Mmmmm….
Pulley licks his lips repeatedly.
David: You must get a lot of love at developer conferences.
Pulley: I don't know about that. (Pulley's cheeks start to redden like a strawberry.) I'm starting to pop up here and there. I'll be at the SymfonyLive events in Paris and Cologne this month. The Symfony community is really welcoming, and of course I can't get enough of the PHP crowd. There's so much innovation happening. It's a very exciting time to be eZ's mascot, and to be a developer on open source projects. Baaa!
David: eZ adopted the Symfony full-stack framework back in 2012 for eZ Publish Platform 5, and our new open source core eZ Platform is also based on the full stack. What does this mean for the eZ and Symfony communities?
Pulley: Now you're starting to ask me questions I can sink my teeth into. The eZ community has so much to gain from eZ's decision to go full stack. To make a long story short, eZ developers can take advantage of any bundle in the Symfony ecosystem, and there's plenty of innovation happening within the Symfony and PHP communities such as puli(.io), Silex and Polyfill Components.
If you have Symfony experience, developing with eZ is simple - we use the same components all the way through the stack. But it doesn't stop there. The Symfony community also has much to gain from eZ including a repository, UI and REST API. This is the message we'd like to share with the Symfony community. I only wish they had a mascot I could snuggle up with.
David: We attended MarTech USA in San Francisco recently and there were many marketers taking a look at what the CMS and DX vendors had to offer. What role do CMSes play in the martech landscape today? You mentioned you're a marketing technologist so I'm curious what you think about this.
Pulley: Ahhh, MarTech was good fun, and I just love San Francisco. I'm pushing eZ to open an office there so I can take advantage of the weather and that Philz coffee. Now, where were we? Yes, MarTech. There were many interesting tools there - account based marketing, predictive analytics, CRM, marketing automation and many others. Across the board, most of the tools represented in the exhibitor hall were top-of-the-stack solutions.
This is where CMSes differ. Baaa! We're towards the bottom of the stack. A business's CMS is core to its marketing strategy and most of the other martech tools out there sit high above the CMS, especially if you're talking about an extensible platform like eZ's.
David: At the conference, Scott Brinker said there are now over 3500 solutions in the martech landscape. That's 87% more than he found in 2014. What do you make of that?
Pulley: It's pretty unreal to think that there are 3500 solutions in only about 50 categories. Scott's analysis uncovered 220 sales automation, enablement and intelligence tools and 186 social media marketing and monitoring tools, for example. The truth is, martech is incredibly saturated and this means vendors have a real challenge ahead of them to rise above the crowd. The marketing message is critical but what's going to set the winners apart from the rest of the pack is innovation. Every one of these vendors, including eZ, needs to be listening to users, releasing new innovations and constantly iterating.
Having such a massive martech landscape also presents significant challenges for businesses who are looking for the right set of technology and tools. It comes down to understanding your goals, asking the right questions and thinking ahead to ensure you invest in solutions that have the capacity to evolve with your business.
Scott Brinker, ion interactive co-founder & CTO and editor of chiefmartec.com, identified 3,874 marketing technology solutions in 2016 - almost twice as many as last year. Click to view enlarged image.
David: What would you say are some of the top things an organization should consider when evaluating content management platforms?
Pulley: I talk to marketers, editors, content strategists, developers and end users all the time, and everyone wants a seamless user experience. Organizations looking at new CMSes should consider every user type, not just the developers or the editors. If you're going to engage today's mobile end users, it's no surprise that you have to think beyond your website.
A multichannel approach to content delivery should be at the top of everyone's checklist, so you can feed content to sites, native apps, digital kiosks and the Internet of Things (IoT). This means you want a CMS with open APIs and a flexible repository - one that separates content from presentation ensuring you can reuse content in various platforms and channels.
David: Thanks Pulley. Now for a truly serious question. Who are some of your favorite mascots?
Pulley: It's hard to beat Github's octocat and, of course, the elePHPants are the godfather of mascots in the developer world, in my book. We've been hanging out some. They love the horns. Baaa!