An Interview with Zak Greant, Catalyst, Magnolia International Ltd.

Jan 25, 2013

Article ImageName With The Face: Zak Greant

Job Title: Catalyst

Organization: Magnolia International Ltd.


Job Function
With a title like "Catalyst," Zak Greant of Magnolia International Ltd., the company that develops the Magnolia open source enterprise content management system, has a wide-ranging remit. "I focus on community strategy, community development and contributor development," says Greant. "At its core, community work is about people."

At the strategy level, he works with community members, partners, and Magnolia staff to create and refine plans for supporting and managing the Magnolia community. The community development work aims to increase the capacity, health, function, and size of the overall Magnolia community. Closely tied to this, Greant says, "Contributor development focuses on helping to support and grow those members who put the most effort into the Magnolia community."
The job requires lots of travel to put him in direct contact with the community-Greant spends about a third of his time on the road, often in Magnolia's Basel, Switzerland, headquarters.

In a Day's Work
Greant says that along with morning meetings, the handling of emails and wiki editing-a few hundred email messages and wiki updates each day-comprises the start to his average day. "When I'm in Vancouver, I usually have a meeting at 7:00 a.m. so that I can work with European colleagues and community members before their day ends," Greant says.

The other constant? "Pinch-hitting," he says. "Most days I'll be helping a Magnolian or a community member do something like technical editing, copy writing, license review, strategic planning, presentation development, career development ..."

Most Memorable Customer Encounter
"During this year's Magnolia conference, I posted on Facebook that I was really looking forward to the presentation on Maglev [transportation powered
by magnetic levitation] by Åke Argéus and Kimmo Björnsson. A friend of mine posted moments later that Åke was a family friend. After their session, we sent our mutual friend a photo of us together!"

View From the Desk
"When I'm working in Vancouver, my office in an old warehouse building overlooks Burrard Inlet. From there I can see every type of transportation Vancouver offers: trains, float planes, cruise ships, cargo ships, cars, and helipads. When I'm working in Basel, I have a view of the Rhein, overlooking
an historic bridge."

Outside Interest
"I'm passionate about cooking. I love exploring cuisines and learning their essential elements well enough so that I can improvise with them."

If Not EContent, Then What?
"I'd split my time between running an experimental bistro, and doing electronic frontier research and advocacy."