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I'm Petya, Senior PM at Human Made & Polyglots community lead, AMA!

Mar. 29, 2017

Hey everyone, excited to be here to chat today. This is me in a nutshell:

I'm Bulgarian who's rarely home. In the past 2 years I've been moving around the globe a lot trying to help Human Made with big media enterprise clients as a Senior PM, organising WordPress events and professional development conferences around the WordPress REST API (A Day of REST).

My background is in publishing, marketing and PR. I was brought up professionally in the basement (IT department) of the biggest business media publisher in my country Economedia by passionate people who also cared about Free Software. I care deeply about quality journalism and digital media.

I got involved with WordPress in 2011 when I became a translation editor for Bulgarian. But my real journey started after WordCamp Europe 2013 in Leiden, where I was a volunteer and met the global community for the first time. I've been in love with WordPress ever since and that one WordCamp was followed by a rollercoaster of events that brought me here today:

- I applied to host WCEU 2014 with 4 other awesome people from Sofia. Won the pitch. Hosted the event which was a blast.
- I attended the Community summit in SF where I was given the responsibility of leading the Polyglots community alongside Dominik Schilling who's our tech lead
- Got a job at Human Made ❤️ and started working on client projects and traveling across Europe to speak at events and get to know the community. Spoke at 10 WordCamps in 2015 and made a lot of friends.
- Helped organise WCEU 2015 and was nominated and selected to lead the 2016 organising team in Vienna.
- Organised two Global WordPress Translation Days in 2016 - remote contributor days dedicated to localizing WordPress which helped the Polyglots team get closer and kick started many local communities around Asia

These days I'm focusing on client work and events at Human Made, growing the Polyglots team, helping the WCEU team select the host for 2018 and a small passion project - organising more WordPress workshops for kids at WordCamps around the world.

I love live music, go to a lot of festivals, climb and kill for chocolate and carrot cake.

Ask me anything!

Comment
29 votes   Flag
Aca

Hi Petya,

I know that you have a great day and thanks for taking the time for AMA.

If you have a magic wand what is the one thing you would instantly change in WordPress?

Reply
Petya Raykovska

Hey Aleks, it's a pleasure to be here and that's a good question. My first thought was menus, as I've lost count of the number of times I've forgotten to hit save and lost a bunch of work. But the customizer is taking good care of that these days. So I have another answer.

Mobile apps. The current apps are a result of the passionate work of a very limited number of people who had to deal with a lot of restrictions as well. I'd love for them to get to the next level, be more independent, get a bigger user base and gain a broader contributor base. I believe it will make them better. It's what I'm missing right now.

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Nemanja Aleksic

Hey Petya, thanks for being here!

- WordCamp Europe 2016 has been a huge success, but also a huge challenge. What was the most exhausting thing about it?
- Human Made has an interesting way of advertising by supporting the WordPress community. Can you elaborate a bit more how the company supports your involvement?
- What's your take on the role of journalism in a world where clicks and page views are becoming increasingly dominant?

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Petya Raykovska

Good afternoon, sir! Thanks for the questions.

Let's see.

WordCamp Europe.

WordCamp Europe has probably been the greatest challenge I've faced so far - both on a professional and personal level. It's very complicated having to manage a team of people the majority of whom are smarter and more experienced than yourself. The need to control things is something that comes naturally to me but that need should be controlled as well in a volunteer environment where people know what they are doing. There's a gentle balance between having a firm grip on the event and not getting in anybody's way so that the experience can be enjoyable for your team mates. I think the challenge grew progressively with the growth of the number of attendees, with the pressure that growth brought along. So keeping that balance was exhausting. But it was well worth it - the adrenaline and inspiration that comes from watching an event of that size unfold was enough to keep me going for months.

Human Made & the community

The company is an amazing place for anyone involved with the community to be. Mostly because how you are involved, how you contribute and what you decide to do is entirely up to you. We get support to travel to events, contribute online and chose our own paths in the project. I am really grateful that Tom, Joe and Noel recognize that supporting people to work on things other than core is extremely important. That allows us to invest in Accessibility, Polyglots, events, core, docs... It allows me personally to get to know the people I work with on the Polyglots team in person. Which makes a big difference.

I wouldn't call it advertising - we try to make an impact where we can without looking for anything specific in return. But by giving us autonomy to invest their time on the project the way they see fit, Human Made naturally gets something extremely valuable in return - our loyalty and good people that apply to work for HM all the time.

Journalism

Sigh... I'm worried, but with me it comes down to two things:

- Trying to educate everyone around me about how important checking article resources is. My parents to start with. All the kids around me.
- Helping good people create powerful tools for independent journalism across the globe. I can do a lot better in that regard and I will.

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Juan Hernando

Hi Petya!

Travelling so much, with so many different tasks to focus on, what helps you to keep everything in order? And I mean not just apps or calendars (which I'd love to know too) but habits, schedules or whatever makes you go on every day.

Thanks!

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Petya Raykovska

Hey Juan!

Routines definitely help. Learning not to take too much on also helps. For a control freak I am a huge disappointment when it comes to habits and keeping things in order :D I don't really have a specific schedule other than the one determined by my weekly meetings. The important thing for me is to keep myself motivated by doing things that matter to me. That's what helps me go through everything and when I lose focus on that traveling starts taking its toll. Otherwise it's just a fun enhancement of whatever I'm doing at the moment.

There are three things that I need enough of to be on top of things: confidence, communication and complete transparency with my teams - if those are in place, projects succeed. Spending time with my family and friends which I learned to do online when it's impossible to be at the same place. Facetime! And last and maybe most important - taking on new projects that excite me.

That said, here's a list of apps that I'd parish without: Slack. TripIt. Dropbox. Wunderlist. Facetime. Swarm. I get way overboard using Swarm but I'm currently every parent's dream - they know where I am all the time :D

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Milos Mihaljevic

Heeeyyyy Petya :hugs:

First, I must say that I love your energy and how you handled things on WCEU2016!

Could you tell me a little bit about how you ended up in translation team and why?

I like how you bring yourself into everything you do so could you tell me what makes you move? What is your secret mojo? :)

Cheers!

Reply
Petya Raykovska

Hey Milos, how are you! Hugs back.

Translations :) Back in 2011 me and a bunch of co-workers left the company we worked at at that time and created our own web agency. We decided to try developing using Open Source solutions and started experimenting with WordPress and Drupal. We quickly decided we loved WordPress and didn't love Drupal as much so we focused on building websites with WordPress. We were working for Bulgarian clients and that's how I found out that the Bulgarian version of WordPress hadn't been updated for a while.

I was lucky to have a direct line to Nikolay, who had done the first draft of translations for WordPress in Bulgarian but had moved on to contributing to other areas, so he was happy to introduce me to the process and completely offload it to me. That's how I started translating. We had to bring WordPress 3.6 to 100%, text extensively and then release. It was a lot of fun. It got me curious about the processes behind GlotPress, the integrations with .org. I think that same curiosity is what pushed me to get involved with helping other translators as well. That and some really inspiring people I met on the Polyglots P2. Ze and Caspar, Birgit, Chantal, Adrian Pop. So you can say curiosity is what brought me to the team, it's the people I stayed for :)

And what makes me move... I guess that idea that what I do can have an impact that's so much bigger than me. If WordPress powers so many websites and half of them are in a language other than American English, than that's millions and millions of people that benefit from something that I am involved with. And then on the day to day all the friendships, the opportunity this project has given me to really open my eyes about the world. It's education you can't get anywhere else. Priceless.

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Adam W. Warner

Hi Petya,

We've seen a lot of growth in the number of Meetups, WordCamps, and WordPress-related events in the past couple of years. So much so, that more often than not, there are several camps/events happening on the same dates.

With this in mind, what are your thoughts on the future or WordCamps and other events? Will each camp continue to grow? Will they fracture off into smaller camps in more cities? Will WordCamp Central eventually just have to stop approving camps that have date/location overlap?

Reply
Petya Raykovska

Hey Adam, excellent questions, all of them.


So first and foremost, if you haven't watched this talk by Rami Abraham (WordPress The Next Generation), go see it: wordpress.tv/2015/12/12/rami-abraham-wordpress-the-next-generation-a-look-into-wordpress-sites-5-20-and-50-years-into-the-future/. It's amazing.


I feel WordCamps should grow naturally into what each local community considers is right for them. I don't necessarily love the rule about WordCamps being a city based venture mostly because communities are so different everywhere and no way in hell one rule can apply to all. Rules are not necessarily a bad thing and it's amazing WordCamp Central is there providing support for events that need it be it for a lack of financing or know-how or resources. But I think WordCamp organisers should have autonomy and be trusted to organise their local community based on its specific needs.



As long as the end goal remains the same - get people together to make connections, share knowledge, empower growth in the spirit of free software I think allowing organisers a bit more freedom would be best.


Will WordCamp Central stop approving WordCamps on the same date? I hope not and they shouldn't. The project is growing, the community is growing, as long as number of attendees is growing I don't think number of WordCamps is crucial.


What I think is crucial is getting events started in areas that don't have active communities. FWIW I think this is where the main effort of WC Central should be focused. And there are already some really nice steps toward that with the WordCamp Incubator Program (wptavern.com/wordcamp-incubator-program-to-launch-in-indonesia-zimbabwe-and-columbia). More!

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JazzFan Junkie

Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

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Petya Raykovska

A horse sized duck! No way. Tiny horses sound way better.

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Ahmad Awais

Hey, Petya!

Thanks for doing this! Here're a few questions:

— Been reading about you here and there for a while now, how do you manage to do all this?
— How would you rate yourself on a scale of procrastination (1-10 ten being the highest)?
— HumanMade looks like an incredible agency! Could you talk a bit more about how do they help you with your open source contributions? Do you get paid time off to do that? Basically, what's the culture around being an open sourcerer in HumanMade? I'd love some insights.
— What does your normal day look like? Night owl or early bird?

Looking forward!

Reply
Petya Raykovska

Hey Ahmad, happy to hear from you :)

— Been reading about you here and there for a while now, how do you manage to do all this?

I don't think I do as much as people believe, I'm just in a privileged position and lucky to be supported by my company to contribute. Everything else is pretty much what I described in my previous answers - I stay motivated by picking up projects that I'm passionate about and I guess it's catchy.

— How would you rate yourself on a scale of procrastination (1-10 ten being the highest)?

I am the worst, I'm -10. I do everything in the last possible second, I'm a hopeless deadline junkie. Translating is my favourite way to procrastinate to this day. If I really need to do something I suddenly get this inescapable need to go translate and approve strings.

— HumanMade looks like an incredible agency! Could you talk a bit more about how do they help you with your open source contributions? Do you get paid time off to do that? Basically, what's the culture around being an open sourcerer in HumanMade? I'd love some insights.

Contributing is a part of my job. Human Made supports many contributors, not just me. I've got colleagues contributing to core, accessibility, docs, the REST API, community. This is Human Made's way to give back to the project as our whole business is based on WordPress. We also get covered to go and speak at events. A lot of my colleagues are meetup and WordCamp organisers.

— What does your normal day look like? Night owl or early bird?

Depends on the timezone. I don't even know which way I'm jetlagged anymore. I'd say I'm more of an early bird than a night owl these days but then again that really depends on where I am at any given moment. My schedule depends on my meetings during the day and as I don't force everyone to reschedule every time I fly to a new place sometimes I have meetings that start pretty late. Sometimes I have meetings that are very early in the morning. I try to adapt to my calendar.

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Ahmad Awais

Well, thanks for the answers. Keep rocking!

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Maedah Batool

Hey Petya,
Thanks for all the contributions. WordCamp Europe 2016 was the time when I first came to know about you and was pretty amazed the way you led the entire event.
My question is that what was the driving force which kept you going and helped you organize such an incredible event.
Looking forward!

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M Asif Rahman Ⓦ

Hi Petya,

No other question. Just want to thank you for contributing to our community. Your growth has been amazing. Keep Rocking!

Reply