Contentful is a global rising star among state-of-the-art CMS vendors. . With the recent funding round completed, the company has surpassed the 3 billion USD valuation mark. Its headcount and customer base are growing fast. Still, there is something different about them compared to other fast-growing companies. In my interview with Klaus Unterkircher and our Technical Director Tomasz Strumiński, we spoke about what it is like to be a partner and customer of Contentful and how it is to work with their content platform.

What bothers you most about bad software vendors?

Klaus: Many software vendors plan feature by feature based on client feedback or simply by following requests from their (typically best paying) clients. That usually ends up with the product organically growing and becoming more and more bloated with features that are very specific in scope, distracting for clients that don't need them, hard to adjust to individual requirements, and not easy to remove. The kind of limits and legacy support introduced by such features becomes a constant and growing problem - and this is not how you should evolve a software product in the long run.

"Contentful has defined a clear vision - and any new feature development follows it."

, says Klaus Unterkircher.

What makes Contentful different?

Klaus: Contentful has defined a clear vision - and any new feature development follows it. Of course, they also listen to client feedback, but they thoroughly reflect on how it fits into their overall vision and how they can react to market demands in a way that continues to be a good fit for all of their clients. Platform development is driven by that and not by the loudest customer demanding specific feature extensions.

What else do you like about the company?

Klaus: Contentful has a large and very diverse team. I believe that demands for, but also helps to maintain a clear vision of who they are and what they do. A diverse team brings a wide range of perspectives and prevents you from planning from within your small bubble - to illustrate what I mean: think about background, geography, or focus (tech vs. marketing). Contentful is a global player in a diverse market. Traditional software vendors tend to have a split between product development and sales teams. Often, this leads to empty or even false promises made by sales. With Contentful, I feel like everyone is on the same page.

"They do not overpromise to partners and users thanks in part to their excellent roadmap planning."

, says Tomasz Strumiński.

Tomasz: I like their German engineering spirit: when they do something, they do it properly. Their communication style is down-to-earth, collaborative, and supportive, which helps in being honest and open. They do not overpromise to partners and users, thanks in part to their excellent roadmap planning. For example, when a new feature is being added to the roadmap, they have a realistic expectation of when to roll it out to the users. And they only promise a new feature when they are sure that they can deliver it on time.

Klaus: At the same time, they have a diverse team that helps build software that serves a broad spectrum of needs.

Another aspect: They have a long-term goal. And since they are a well-organized company with great partner management, it makes them a very reliable partner to work with.

In the second part of this conversation we talk about the benefits and downsides of the Contentful API-first content platform, also known as headless CMS.