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Top 5 CMS Executives - 35 Years Old and Younger

While covering the content management industry, we get to meet many interesting people. Today, we’ll focus on those that are young, wicked smart beyond their age and extraordinarily accomplished — those that you want to keep an eye on.

With that, we present you the top 5 most talented C-level executives in the CMS world (who are 35 or younger).

The Why

Not to disappoint our often geeky audience, but no fancy scientific formula was used in putting together this list. Mere talent, smarts, professional accomplishments, innovation and the level of activity in the industry (good looks and levels of oenophilia didn’t count) is what went into the judge’s decision.

Pure awesomeness is what we looked for. The selection is not all-inclusive, nor is it entirely objective.

The Who

Hence this is not really a competition; we present the industry’s bright stars, the Empire-States of the CMS skyline, in a purely alphabetical order and let them talk about themselves and give us a peek into their lives at and outside of work.

Arje Cahn

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CTO of open source One Hippo, Cahn (31) is the main techie brain behind Hippo CMS.

Place of Birth

Near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the lovely village of Laren

Education

I studied Artificial Intelligence at the University of Amsterdam. During high school, and later during college, I wrote robotics software for motion controlled cameras, which was in a real pioneering phase back then but used in pretty much every movie nowadays.

Didn't make it to a degree - I was too restless and started my own company instead. Next to my professional work, I followed courses in Business Administration and management.

Professional Highlights (What are You Proud of?)

  • Being invited as a Member at the Apache Software Foundation.
  • Going across the pond and acquiring Bluesunrise in San Francisco, which was our introduction into the US market.
  • I'm proud of my team, and how smart they actually are. All I can be proud of for myself is that I managed to get the right people together in a room (or on a mailing list).
  • I'm proud to have co-founded a company that is still there after 10 years and two economic crises, and I'm proud of the level of expertise you get when sticking with a concept for so long.
  • I'm proud that we have a product that not just sells to the executives, but that also appeals to end-users, developers and sysadmins.

How Landed in the CMS Industry

As a child, at the age of 11, I operated a small bulletin board running RA. I got frustrated by the static behavior of bulletin boards, which drove me to write an application that contained something that you'd now call a hypertext server, as well as a graphical client to render pages across a modem connection. It never made it, of course, but the idea stuck and when the www came to be, I was completely sold to it.

In 1998, as part of my Artificial Intelligence studies, I worked on natural language algorithms and got interested in automatically generating metadata from natural text. I was gathering natural text (content!) for my studies, and at the same time I was working on a community website for robotics in the film industry. I wrote that first CMS not just to drive the website, but the larger goal was to use the data that the community members generated for my studies. My partners back then were smart enough to recognize that this was something we could actually form a company around - and that's how we started Hippo.

Things You Love and Hate About Your Job

Love:

  • Being surrounded by really smart people.
  • Building something. Watching it grow and get better.
  • Finding simplicity in things
  • Working online
  • Seeing the world and meeting people

Hate:

  • Not a lot, really.
  • Maybe the "me-too" syndrome that the industry seems to be stuck in every now and then.

Life Outside of Work

  • Taking care of my two lovely little daughters
  • Before that, I used to be a very active oarsman
  • As a professional oddity, I like reading books that contain lots of context, especially journals like Linnaeus' travels through Lappland, Van Gogh's letters and Samuel Pepys' secret diary
  • I can get very excited from a good glass of wine, a cheese platter and some fig bread. And a conversation about context and metadata.

Where to Find You Online

David Nuescheler

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CTO of Day Software, Nuescheler (35) holds many other titles, including the JCP star spec lead.

A typical Scorpio, Nuescheler is surrounded by a veil of secrecy. So, here's a little more info to balance out his "thin" Life Outside of Work (see below) contribution.

Also known as Uncle D, polymath Nuescheler is a Java brainiac. Ask him about micro-jax. Yet, there’s one type of Java he is not very fond of. So don’t be shocked when you see him consuming massive amounts of iced tea (to be exact — two liters for a two-hour meeting, according to our sources).

If you don’t see him on Apache.org mailing lists, try checking foursquare, which he thinks is “awesome.”  Simple check-ins would not be very Nuescheler, as he goes into solving technical venues-to-be-merged issues and giving geography lessons on his hometown.

Place of Birth

Basel, Switzerland

Education

Studies in computer science at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Professional Highlights (What are You Proud of?)

When I joined Day Software more than 15 years ago, the company was called Bidule. It is located in a former sausage factory on the outskirts of Basel, Switzerland, close to the French and German borders, and not far from good skiing in the Alps. As chief technology officer, I have been significantly involved in growing Day Software from a small multimedia agency to a global content management solution company.

I am also involved in Open Source and Open Standards as a member of the Apache Software Foundation and a committer on various projects as well the spec lead for JSR (170 and 283) (aka JCR), and the liaison and an active member on the OASIS CMIS technical committee.

How Landed in the CMS Industry

As a company we transitioned from being a Interactive CD-ROM and games manufacturer to becoming an interactive web agency to becoming a WCM vendor. I would say I didn't "land" in WCM, but WCM landed with me. I think external facing WCM is one of the most vibrant sectors in software altogether, as it combines the mission critical aspects of enterprise computing with an injection of agility and dynamics of the web age.

Things You Love and Hate About Your Job

I love working with a brilliant team at Day that thinks of how to advance content management and the web in general, through ground breaking research and contributions to the general public. Working with internationally acclaimed experts beyond the WCM space in expert groups, standards committees and open source projects is what broadens the horizon. WCM is a subject matter where I can learn every single Day from our customer base.

Life Outside of Work

(Editor's note: take #1) Life outside work?
(Editor's note: take #2) I am a passionate cook and a notorious "taste tester" and a massive consumer of iced tea, since I don't drink "java."

Where to Find You Online

Dries Buytaert

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