Brian Breslin

Building the web in Latin America: Prezentit

german martinez and juan pablo Scaletti

I had the pleasure of meeting German Martinez and Juan Pablo Scaletti on my recent trip to Lima at the local BeerTwit twitter and blogger meetup. These two guys are the brains behind Prezentit, a very cool new service that lets you build robust slideshows/presentations directly in your browser (without Flash!).

German was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions. (A spanish version is available here)
How did you start to work with web related business?
It all started with PreZentit, the idea of creating a web company from scratch seemed a fantastic idea, it was a big challenge and we learnt a lot in the process.

What do you think about the Peruvian web community ?
In Peru there is a large community of web users, but they use the web at a very basic level. They use the web more for fun than for work, the use of web applications has not yet become as widespread as in other parts of the world.

The number of web developers is growing little by little. Even though it is small there are people in Peru who are very well trained

What are the advantages/disadvantages of being a programmer/web developer in Peru?
The main advantage of being a web developer in Peru is that the cost of living and the price of web services like Internet are relatively cheap compared to the USA or Europe. This allows us to offer slightly lower prices than what is charged in those countries.

The great disadvantage is the lack of visibility. It is very hard to have your work become known in other countries. This is especially true about web applications such as Pre-Zentit.

Another disadvantage is the fact that most of the available information about web matters is in English. So it becomes essential for anyone who wants to grow as a web professional to have a good command of English.

How would you describe your Project, Prezentit , in l0 words or less?
The most user friendly online presentations editor.

Why did you create Prezentit
We realized that Power Point had many shortcoming when we wanted to create group presentations, so we decided to create an on line application that would solve these problems but keeping in mind our own needs.

What were your most important resources that you used to create Prezentit? What programming languages and libraries did you use to develop it?
We are big fans of Ubuntu and we created PreZentit using all kinds of free software. My partner, Juan Pablo Scaletti, was the main programmer. I think he is one of the best Python and JavaScript programmers in Peru. We used the framework TurboGears for Python and the library Mootools for JS.

In what direction do you think the Peruvian programming community is going to develop as regards the Internet?
I think web users are going to stop using desk applications and begin using more web applications.

The Internet will also become an essential work tool here.

What problems have you faced in working with foreign companies from Peru and in working with local Peruvian companies in Peru?
The greatest roadblock in working with foreign companies is the tools for payment. A large problem is not being able to link Pay Pal with a Peruvian bank account in order to receive payments easily. As regards local companies, they still do not realize the advantages that having a presence on the web gives them and most of them are not willing to invest in this presence.

Which are your favorite web 2.0 sites? Which ones do you see growing more in Peru than others?
Right now I am a big fan of Twitter. It seems like a fantastic idea to me. I also admire You Tube and Flickr.

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