Juha-Matti Santala
Community Builder. Dreamer. Adventurer.

Hi, I’m Juhis,
pleased to meet you!

I build communities, write code and teach programming

I'm a developer community builder with a very versatile skill set and a holistic view on how to build great communities. One day, I can design and create new strategic initiatives with different key stakeholders from developers to management and marketing and on the next day, I'll be welcoming developers who join an event and be the last one to close the door after a successful day.

My background in software development gives me a great ability to discuss technical topics with developers and my expertise in building engaging communities that people enjoy being a part of is a perfect match for developer advocacy.

I'm a founder of the frontend developer community Turku ❤️ Frontend, Python community archipylago, debugging newsletter Syntax Error and a Youtube show codebase. I'm also an admin in a Finnish developer community Koodiklinikka and I help developers start new local communities.

A close-up of me on a stage with a microphone, wearing a suit jacket and Boost Turku t-shirt underneath

There are many stories. This one is mine...

Who am I?


[Teemu] Hey! Should I look at the camera or the microphone? Yeah, I'm Teemu

[Lucia] I'm Lucia

[Anssi] I'm Anssi

[Mojjammil] I'm Mojjammil

[Suvi] Hi, I'm Suvi

[Iida] My name is Iida Hokkanen

[offscreen] Okay, then you can tell me about Juhis

[Lucia] Hmm, Juhis is a great community builder and community developer

[Anssi] Juhis is one of the pioneers of community development here in Finland in the IT scene

[Iida] I think Juhis' strengths in building communities are his wide network and and also his encouraging nature

[Mojjammil] Even though I didn't get to know Juhis for very long time but for me he turned out to be someone I decided to look up to

[Suvi] He has been mentoring and coaching our startup teams in LaureaES for a few years now And every single time his workshops are the most liked of the whole program

[Lucia] The biggest strength of Juhis is his approachability

[Anssi] Juhis is the kind of person that works for long-term goals he's not there for an overnight success He truly loves what he's doing

[Iida] I'm also a subscriber of Juhis' newsletter and even though I don't always understand all the topics he writes about, I still read them because you can really feel the excitement through his texts and you get inspired yourself as well

[Teemu] When you look at the dictionary and open it up from the, like the word 'pöhinä' there's a picture of Juhis in there, that's for sure.

For a long time, I've struggled to write about myself or figuring out how to tell about me. Since I consider myself a community guy, I asked a few people from those communities to tell you instead.

The amazing people in this video are

  • Teemu Mäntyharju, my co-founder of Turku ❤️ Frontend
  • Lucia Nazarro, my colleague from Futurice
  • Anssi Ketopaikka, my colleague from Boost Turku
  • Mojjammil Tanzil, together with whom we organized workshops at Shortcut
  • Suvi Lehtonen, LaureaES powerhouse
  • Iida Hokkanen, a Boost Turku Startup Journey alumni

This video was produced by great people at Awara.fi.

Latest blog post

Home-cooked, situated software

I consider myself as a “Saturday evening hobbyist” when it comes to software development but recently I’ve learned better terms like home-cooked software and situated software. For this month’s IndieWeb Carnival, I explore these terms and my relation to them through the tools I build.

» Read the whole article
Syntax Error's logo with an illustrated yellow rubber duck with a distressed face and text Syntax Error next to it

Syntax Error

Syntax Error is a monthly newsletter that helps software developers turn a stressful situation into a joyful exploration.

We've all been there, right? You write some code and run it. But it doesn't work. Maybe it's the compiler or interpreter that is complaining or maybe it runs but doesn't work as intended. You start sweating a bit, since it's Friday afternoon and you'd rather be on your way home than fixing that nasty bug.

Debugging can be a stressful situation but it doesn't necessarily need to be. For myself, debugging is one of the parts of software development that I actually enjoy a lot. It lets me role play Sherlock Holmes, dive deep into the code and using techniques and tools, figure out why the computer is not doing what we wish it to do.

Now I want to share what I've learned with you so you could stress a bit less in your life.

Featured in Python Bytes Podcast.

Sign up today!

Potluck deck


Potluck is a semi-universal deck that fits into a pocket and plays dozens of different games. It's my passion project and the fourth installment in my Minimal Travel Table Top Game Collection series.

Its 106 hand-crafted cards are designed to play some of my favorite games on the road.


As a developer and a community builder, I read a lot and watch videos about those topics, mostly from individual personal blogs. Weeklies is where I share weekly those interesting bits of information.

Every Sunday, I take a look back at what I found interesting, educational, entertaining or inspirational over the past week and share them with my readers.

A room full of people sitting in chairs, listening to a man speak in front of the audience.

Turku ❤️ Frontend

In December 2015, I set up for an adventure: I launched Turku ❤️ Frontend (pronounced Turku Loves Frontend) in a city where meetup and developer culture had dried out for a while.

Ever since, we've grown into a welcoming community of over 500 developers, designers and students in the Turku area – making us the largest and most active meetup in the region.

Monthly meetups, hackathons, happy hours, Code in the Dark tournaments and open source promotion campaigns, we've established our place in the Turku tech scene. A scene that has been rapidly growing and attracting new companies to open offices in Turku ever since we started.

Read the whole story of Turku ❤️ Frontend →


archipylago is a community for Python developers in Turku, Finland. We organize monthly events: meetups, sprints and social gatherings to bring together developers, students, hobbyists and anyone curious about Python programming language.

Together with my mate Dan, we founded the community in the end of 2023 and are currently building up the community and raising awareness.

Blue and orange vibrant background, two portraits slightly overlapping on the left and big text in the right saying Let's build forms that are accessible

codebase Youtube show

codebase is a celebration of developer culture. A live coding live streaming Youtube show where I get together with people from different developer communities and we build things using technologies they know better than I do while chatting about technology and life.

Season 1

A Pokemon TCG deck, a Charizard card next to it and text 'Pokemon TCG Digital Toolkit, a collection of tools for Pokemon TCG players'

Pokemon TCG Digital Toolkit

There are a lot of great tools for Pokemon TCG players. No matter if you play digital, paper or both, these tools can help you build decks, playtest, share and improve your game.

I collected to this list tools that I have built, some aimed directly for players, others for content creators and developers who build tools for players.

Check out the Pokemon TCG Digital Toolkit!

A collage of event logos with TEDx, PyCon CZ, PyCon Estonia, PyCon Finland, DevRelCon 2021, PyCon Sweden and Django CPH

International Conference Speaker & Organizer

I love sharing what I do and what I've learned, whether it's about technology or communities. Speaking in meetups and conferences is my favorite way of doing that since I can combine sharing stuff, learning stuff and meeting amazing people.

So far I have spoken mostly in Python conferences due to my love for the Python language but most of my talks are not language specific so I would love to talk in larger variety of conferences in the future as well.

In addition to speaking in conferences, I'm part of the team organizing React Finland and its successor, Future Frontend, an annual frontend conference in Helsinki.

Some of my talks

I also regularly speak in meetups and other events.

Food items scrattered on the edges with text Helsinki Dev Lunch in the middle

Helsinki Dev Lunch

Helsinki Dev Lunch was a lunch gathering of software developers, students, hobbyists and other people interested in meeting developers, eating lunch and talking with people.

Started in August 2019, we come together once a month for the most casual developer meeting in the world. No corporate sponsorships, no agenda, no presentations - just great people and good food.

I ran it until summer of 2022 when I moved to Berlin.

In the spring of 2020, the concept was adopted by developer communities in Tampere and in Turku.

A collection of banner images for various articles and talks

Dev Breakfast Newsletter @ Futurice

In the summer of 2019, I started working as a developer advocate at Futurice and one of the first things I started together with our marketing was a newsletter for software developers. In the beginning, the idea was to share articles that had sparked discussion amongst our developers in our internal comms – I figured that if our people were interested in them, people we wanted to reach might also be.

The best decision we've made so far with the newsletter was in the beginning of 2020 when we pivoted the newsletter to be curated by a changing cast of developers instead of just me. This helped us make the newsletter more relevant to a wider audience and to give a spotlight to amazing people I get to work with daily.

Another decision that I'm happy about that we made from the very first newsletter issue was to provide all of them for readers on our website without a need to register. Not everyone wants to give their email address to companies and I respect that.

I managed the newsletter until the summer of 2022.

If you want to get a small collections of interesting articles – from developers to developers - to your inbox once a month, you can sign up at https://futurice.com/devbreakfast.

And if you're more interested in design than tech, we also have https://futurice.com/design-breakfast for designers.

Talk: Communities in Marketing

I love sharing what I have learned from building products, communities and events. I gave this talk on the eve of my 30th birthday at Fraktio's Perjantaipresis event. Despite the text in thumbnail being in Finnish, the talk is in English.

For those, you who don't have time to watch 40 minutes of talk, I also wrote a blog post that summarizes the learnings.

If your company needs help in building a meaningful community to strengthen your relationship with your customers, get in touch.

What people have said about me?

Linda looking at camera, black background
Linda Liukas
Rails Girls and Hello Ruby
"In a short time Juhis has become an irreplacable part of the Rails Girls Community. He knows how to steer volunteer excitement into tangible projects, and gets stuff done whatever the size, scope or geographic location of the project. Juhis is very self-driven and understands the dynamics of community management well."
Essi Knuutila
Essi Knuutila
Global Head of
Digital Marketing
"Juhis is an absolute joy to work and collaborate with. He really listens and then brings his knowledge to table in a clear and humble way. We co-created a developer newsletter together and in collaboration managed to grow the audience +700 people. Without Juhis the newsletter could have never been established and become the media it nowadays is. I’m also impressed in the drive Juhis has towards tech community building and how he really embodies the title “developer's best friend”. And must say, that he could also call himself marketing's best friend."
Dave sitting in a chair
Dave Fowler
"Juha-Matti has been an absolute pleasure to work with during his year at Chartio. He's an excellent, bright, pragmatic and motivated engineer. He was always excited about his work, and always incredibly productive."
Benjamin Balder Bach
Benjamin Balder Bach
Django Day Copenhagen
"At two occasions, Juhis has spoken at Django Day Copenhagen, both virtually and since then physically. Juhis has passion and creativity and makes people smile, laugh and feel good. He knows how developers think and how to inspire them and overall sends great vibes through his interactions with other speakers, participants and organizers. Our event only got better though Juhis' participation ❤️"
Closeup of Arielle looking at the camera holding a tea cup
Arielle Tannenbaum
Community Strategist
"I chose him to be one of 10 Hosts in our Slack community of over 4,000 members, and he has constantly impressed me over the past 6 months. He brings warmth to each of his interactions, and is always thoughtfully supporting every member he meets."
Portrait of Konsta
Konsta Weber
Boost Turku
"Juha-Matti really manages the community with all the sides necessary, attracting new members, getting the actives to commit more and helping our startups fly. His shift from an engineer to the community side is visible in his ability to communicate to tech people."
Neon sign on brick wall saying This is the sign you've been looking for

Let's Get In Touch!

Send me an email at juhamattisantala@gmail.com and let's talk about how I can help you reach your users, understand their needs and desires and build more meaningful relationship with your community.

And if you're interested in learning more about community building and technology, I share my learnings openly in Mastodon and in my blog.