Geoffrey Smalling (CTO, Wine.com): Why performance measurement is an art form, how mobile is a game changer, and where the cloud fits in [PODCAST]

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a month since launching the Web Performance Today podcast. I’ve spoken with some really smart folks so far, and I’m tremendously excited about the upcoming interviews we’ve lined up.

Till now, we’ve heard from some great minds in the performance solution space — guys like Cliff Crocker and Theo Schlossnagle. This week, we’re going to hear from someone who buys those solutions: Geoffrey Smalling, CTO of Wine.com. (Full disclosure: Wine.com is a Strangeloop customer.)

Despite being the number one online wine seller in the world, Geoffrey still considers Wine.com a small ecommerce site, but the insights he shares are relevant to owners and developers of ecommerce sites of all sizes.

While Wine.com may not be an Amazon, it does an inspiring job of taking a big-company approach to performance. The company had its “aha” moment back in 2009, when A/B testing revealed that fast stripped-down versions of pages vastly outperformed the gorgeous bells-and-whistles versions. Since then, they’ve been on a mission to make every single release of their site faster than before, with a goal of delivering every page in 3 seconds or less.

Geoffrey and his team aren’t afraid to adopt new technologies. (On top of Strangeloop, they’ve also been using New Relic for more than a year, and Geoffrey is a big fan of their product; you’ll learn why in the podcast.) He also has a lot of experience with turning down technology vendors, and in this interview he shares his major pet peeves about salespeople.

I enjoyed chatting with Geoffrey immensely, but I especially enjoyed talking about one of my pet topics — mobile. Wine.com has experimented with everything from m.dot sites to iPhone and iPad apps, and the company does a phenomenal job of tracking its successes and failures. Geoffrey was remarkably candid in sharing some of these successes and failures with me. He also shared some astute observations on current mobile usage and where he sees this platform going.

I hope you enjoy this podcast as much as I did. Thanks for listening. :)

Listen to the podcast: Geoffrey Smalling

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