About Sebastiaan van der Lans

Hi, my name is Sebastiaan van der Lans. I have been introducing myself as a commercial nerd for almost 15 years; being very passionate about Open-Source.

I write, teach, and build products and businesses while loving my Rubix cube, traveling with Mirco, and listening to Rick Astley.

WordPress: Operating System of the Internet

At the age of 18, I co-founded web agency ‘Van Ons’ (2006). Since 2007, we work extensively with the software WordPress; empowering 35% of all the websites on the internet which makes it the operating system of the web. More importantly: WordPress is open-source software, being actively developed by a community of tens of thousands of developers and creatives instead of one corporation.

Open Source software + Community = Market Leader.

As many individuals and businesses in the multi-billion WordPress ecosystem, with Van Ons we continuously make contributions to the WordPress ecosystem:

  • WordPress GDPR Compliance plugin, 1,3M+ downloads, being used by 100K+ websites (2017);
  • Laraberg, bringing WordPress’ Gutenberg Editor to Open Source framework Laravel;
  • I co-organize(d) multiple WordCamps and WordPress meetups (2015, 2016, 2020), while being a speaker at dozens of WordPress events.

WordPress has been my passion for years; it gives me so much trust in what people can achieve when working together!

Nowadays, Van Ons is a leading WordPress agency; it’s a team of 25 open source nerds, serving more than 25 million page views a month, working with the biggest publishers, lovely charities and decisive SME’s in the Netherlands and Europe.

To me, WordPress is the proof that open source software plus communities have the potential to revolutionize anything it touches.

What if … there was a technology that enables us to bring open source to more than ‘just’ publishing?

Blockchain + WordPress: Operating System for an Inclusive and Entrepreneurial Future

In 2013 we built our first Bitcoin project. Bitcoin is open-source software, utilizing blockchain technology which opened my eyes immensely. For the first time in history, we can transfer value between people, without any middle-man.

The open-source way of thinking I learned in working 10+ years with WordPress, is applicable beyond ‘just’ working with content.

Working full-time in blockchain from my WordPress Point-of-View, trusting principles of openness, collaboration and inclusivity, we have the opportunity to redesign doing business as a whole. If we can make this work the coming decade, the long term impact of this will be absolutely mindblowing.

I believe Open Source to be the only way to build a pro-privacy, anti-monopoly, open web.

Dries Buytaert, founder Drupal

I really love to build bridges, and make pragmatic solutions! That’s why I founded the start-up WordProof (2019), to bring the benefits of the blockchain ecosystem to the WordPress ecosystem and the other way around.

WordProof introduces content timestamps, which help publishers to make their integrity verifiable and helps readers and buyers to verify sources; ultimately leading to a trustworthy and open web.

WordProof is the coolest thing I’ve seen so far on WordPress and Blockchain.

WordPress’ founder Matt Mullenweg at WordCamp Europe 2019

Blockchain has the potential to bring the opportunities of open source to billions of people. Timestamping is a logical first step to do so!

Advocacy: Out Teach your Competitor

I share (almost) all I know. Sharing methods and technology which helps society forward is my passion. Doing business is so much more fun if you have communities around. Investing in customers, the community and in new generations creates a healthy base for an inclusive, collaborative and positively inspired society.

This is why I teach regularly; for example at the Amsterdam University of Applied Science, on the topics Open Source software and entrepreneurship. The students rated me as the best external teacher of 2017/2018, after 50 hours of lessons.

In 2017, after 10 years of running ‘Van Ons’, I wrote the pragmatic book ‘Handbook for Digitale Transformation’ with Robert van Eekhout (co-founder Van Ons), after learning that while the Dutch economy was growing, 90% of SME’s were not growing at all. The book aimed to help experienced entrepreneurs to transform digitally. It got recognized by the State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Mona Keijzers who mentioned it in her speech to leading SMEs.

Great storytelling and well-designed user experiences are fundamental for the adoption of anything; from technology and products to believes; you name it.

That’s why I regularly teach and give keynotes on open source, WordPress and a Manifest for a 100% Open Source Future.

Celebrate progress, tomorrow is just a dream away.

Walt Disney

Presentations and Press

A few links: