Front-end Lead & Partner

Full name: Mathias De Ridder / Home office: Mechelen / At Wieni since 2024

What do you do at Wieni? 

In my role at Wieni, I work on different things that help the company grow. First of all, I remain a passionate front-end developer across various projects, particularly focusing on the vision for headless CMS solutions. Additionally, I've taken on work related to forecasting and financial management for Wieni. On the sales front, referred to as 'Newbizz' within Wieni, I contribute to creating pitches, with an emphasis on lean & mean trajectories, and a focus on headless platforms.

What inspired your passion for front-end development?

My love of front-end development began many years ago. It all began when I discovered my passion for the web at the age of 15, where I started sharing Photoshop tutorials on my personal website. As time went on, I realised that there was a possibility to turn this hobby into a profession and earn income from it. By the age of 17, I started creating websites as a freelance side job instead of going for the traditional student roles at companies.

This continued throughout my studies when I started studying at Devine and into my professional career. On top of this, I have a strong interest in projects that combine hardware and software, where physical elements are combined with coding and programming. This passion extends to my side job of programming and installing light installations, where I enjoy creating something in real life that integrates with technology.

What did you do before Wieni?

At LUON, I worked on mail templates and had the opportunity to work on photography, video editing, and After Effects, sparking a passion for visuals. After a while I focused more and more on front-end development. After LUON merged with iO in 2018 my ambitions remained high. As a result of this, I co-founded Kinsmen with my nephew Wietse in 2022, with an emphasis on front-end development and headless CMS platforms. This is the way.

During my time at LUON and iO, I also worked for a company called For Flavor Studio, specialising in light installations. Myself and a group of friends create led and neon installations that are always concept-based and custom-made. What began as a festival over a decade ago has evolved into a small company involving the installation and programming of light installations, even buying our own materials to take on larger projects. Despite facing challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, we continue to build unique light installations in our spare time.

What do you enjoy most about Wieni?

Wieni has its own special vibe. It's well-organised with meetings, outings, and events, plus some fun traditions like "Wieni of the week." They pay attention to small things like the knowledge center and unique hand gestures during meetings.

There's also a strong sense of trust between colleagues, which makes for a great atmosphere. Wieni's strength lies in its personalised approach and focus on treating the web as a gift. They always think about the end user and are not afraid to challenge partners when needed.

In short, I like working for Wieni and the people there are a great addition to both my private and professional life. The more, the merrier.

What do you do outside of work?

I'm deeply passionate about travel, whether it's exploring Canada with a camper or trekking 150 km through the Balkan mountains. As long as there is adventure and challenge involved, I’m all for it. 

Another hobby of mine is remote-controlled aeroplanes. It started with my father who was an enthusiast and passed this passion on to my brother-in-law and me about a year and a half ago. We sometimes gather in the summer to fly our planes together, and I've built one from a self-build kit, combining my love for hardware and software once again.

Hiking is another favourite pastime, especially long hikes of 20 km or more, where I spend the whole day on the move and return home exhausted. Cycling is also a passion; last year, my girlfriend and I took a train to the north of The Netherlands and cycled back home over four days.

I also love baking bread. I once took a sourdough bread course and it felt overwhelming, and to be honest, it was. So, I decided to bake regular bread a few days a week instead. It's turned into a relaxing evening routine that I've been enjoying for quite some time now.

What is a unique skill of yours?

I love using Excel. I've created quite a few detailed spreadsheets where I plan every aspect of my travels, including accommodations, activities, and finances. People often ask me to share it when they're planning their own trips, which makes me proud of what I've created. It might seem geeky, but it's surprisingly useful in everyday situations.