I've been using WordPress since 2006 and contributing to it since 2007. I founded Yoast in 2010. Yoast now has 50+ employees that serve 6.5 million websites (and many more people) using our plugin. This whole ride still leaves me pinching myself every once in a while, but it's certainly been great.
I run Yoast together with Michiel, Omar and my awesome wife Marieke. Marieke and I also have 4 kids and we live about 1 kilometer away from the Yoast office, in Wijchen, the Netherlands.
I'm passionate about LEGO, open source, open standards and their applications, as well as entrepreneurship in general.
I’ve got my coffee ready, so: ask me anything!
Born and raised in South Florida, I started coding when i was in Elementary school on an Apple IIe with Apple BASIC and I haven't looked back since. When I moved to ASP.net to PHP, it didn't me long to find myself using Movable Type as my first CMS. But after tackling enough client projects, I moved to WordPress around version 1.5 and haven't looked back since. Along with WordPress in general, I have a particular love for BuddyPress and have been using that since it's pre-beta days.
I've done work with numerous startups and businesses. I currently work at Awesome Motive where i'm involved in building great WordPress plugins, particularly Envira Gallery. I love it there.
Aside from technology, I'm 40, have been married 15+ years, and have three beautiful daughters (thankfully my wife's DNA mostly prevailed).
I love pizza, Star Trek, MST3K, and if you see me at a WordPress event bug me for some swag because heaven knows i am still trying to get rid of all of it from past WordCamps.
Ask me anything!
Born and raised in San Diego, I now live in small town Oklahoma. Even after being here nearly four years, the small town thing still feels like a bit of a shock.
I started writing computer code about 26 years ago in 1991. Open source BASIC games that shipped with MS-DOS were where I started and I still think that open source and an open web are absolutely important to the human race as we move forward (big claim I know, but it's true). It's a large part of what motivated me to start contributing to WordPress just over a decade ago, and what has slowly moved to where I am today – funded by GoDaddy to work full time on the WordPress project.
Aside from technology, I'm 35, have been married 17 years, and have a 13 year old son. We live on a large piece of land, that used to be a kids camp, where I go hiking and fishing, ride motorcycles, and even canoe with my son. You should come to Camp Press and check it out.
I love beer and I love coffee. I'm a bit of a snob about both, but I'm okay with that. And now that I have my second cup of coffee in my hand...
Ask me anything!
I've had a long and winding journey from a freelance web designer in the late 90's to an independent web developer focused on WordPress at present. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I've learned that I thrive when I can help empower other people with knowledge. To that end, I:
* teach front-end web development, WordPress, and the Genesis Framework on Lynda.com / LinkedIN Learning
* help organize and volunteer at local WP community events
* travel the US speaking at WordCamps (one of these days I'll get out of the country)
* host a podcast for freelancers and creatives who work with WordPress
* writing a "real world survival guide" for new freelancers
When I'm not in front of my computer, I'm hanging out with my two rescue labradors, nursing a craft beer, and enjoying good food with my husband, Dave. I occasionally pretend to be athletic.
I'm armed with coffee and a laptop. Ask me anything!
I discovered WordPress in 2005 and have been working on the platform and within the community ever since. To feed my entrepreneurial spirit, I’ve founded several WordPress-focused businesses that provided education, plugins and consulting services for online business owners.
I’m a true WordPress Evangelist in spirit and personality, and that also happens to be my job title with SiteLock.com.
I’m also passionate about my family (including two boys under five), robots, and of course Life, the Universe and Everything.
I’ve got my coffee, water, and a full charge on the laptop. Ask me anything!
We are Tina Todorovic and Dejan Markovic, Co-Founders of Social Web Suite and HYPEStudio. Ask Me Anything X 2!
We are Tina Todorovic and Dejan Markovic, Co-Founders of Social Web Suite and HYPEStudio. Ask Me Anything X 2!
Since we are closing the season 4 of Ask Me Anything series and as we are partners in business and life, it just made sense to us to give all of you something extra, so we will both be here today answering your questions. Our story with WordPress goes like this:
Dejan has been following WordPress from its early beginnings, but he has started getting more involved with the WordPress development in 2010. The first WordCamp he attended was in Toronto in 2013 where Dejan fell in love with the WordPress community. Deciding then to become more active and give back, Dejan became a co-organizer of WordCamp Toronto 2014, 2015 and a lead organizer in 2016, and he has been helping to organize WordPress Toronto meetups ever since.
Dejan wrote a book "WordPress Responsive Theme Design" https://www.packtpub.com/web-development/wordpress-responsive-theme-design in 2015., where he explains how to properly create a responsive WordPress theme. He was also a technical reviewer for the book "Learning Yeoman" https://www.packtpub.com/web-development/learning-yeoman in 2014.
Because of Dejan's love for WordPress, he persuaded Tina to go with him to WordCamp Montreal in 2014 where Tina quickly discovered why everyone keeps talking how awesome and welcoming WordPress community is. Meeting there some serious WordPressers like Carl Alexander (https://managewp.org/members/3698/carl-alexander), Kathryn Presner, Elida Arrizza and Chris Bavota, Tina started sharing Dejan's passion for WordPress and its community and has been involved ever since. Besides volunteering and co-organizing Toronto WordPress meetups and WordCamps (2014, 2015 and 2016), Tina enjoys meeting new fellow WordPressers and spreading the word about WordPress.
As they both share an entrepreneurial spirit they've founded several WordPress-focused businesses that provided WordPress development services, plugins, and the latest one being a SaaS startup.
While Dejan is involved in the technical aspects of their businesses, Tina does everything except development. However, they both have a strong interest in marketing and growth hacking, so they never miss Chris Lema's (https://managewp.org/members/483/chris-lema) talks at WordCamps and they enjoy reading the latest books and listening to several podcasts about marketing and growth hacking.
Dejan is a drummer and likes electronic music from ambient to drum and bass and psychedelic trance! Tina used to play Classical music on her piano and besides occasional trip to rock, pop and soul, that is the music she enjoys the most.
Extra points to anyone who knows of a chocolate that Tina hasn't tried and to anyone who set up a jamming session with Dejan:-).
We love everything WordPress & we have our laptops, chocolate, and water ready!
Ask Me Anything X 2!
I’m Mendel, founder and head of community evangelism programs at GoDaddy, and Camp Press and Hiking with Geeks founder, AMA
I’m Mendel, founder and head of community evangelism programs at GoDaddy, and Camp Press and Hiking with Geeks founder, AMA
I got my start with Turbo Pascal and Borland C++, and am a self-taught PHP (and sometimes, when I have to, .net) engineer. I’ve owned and run social enterprises, and have been through the ups and downs of owning my own small web agency.
I got involved with WordPress around 10 years ago when the ease of updates and stability of the plugin ecosystem surpassed other open source projects.
Since then, I’ve worked at GoDaddy for a little over 8 years, and have seen the continuum of progress that the company has gone through over that time.
I’m super passionate about building communities, coffee, whiskey, travel, and hiking. I’m an avid explorer, and love the city I live in.
Ask my anything!
Hello! I'm Kimberly, Co-Founder and herder of cats at Valet.io (formerly WP Valet). Valet is a comprehensive site management agency. We provide larger businesses with the resources to create a stable infrastructure around their websites. Our approach is one of a kind and we really enjoy the variety of folks we get to work with. We've had the pleasure of working with folks like Mixergy, Social Media Examiner, Etsy, and Time Inc, to name a few.
We've had our share of changes and struggles along the way, but we're incredibly proud of how far we've come. We have over 30 active clients and hope to push out a Version 1 of our own SAAS style tool later this year to help folks monitor their website heath in the 5 key areas that matter the most. We had a BETA version out for testing earlier this year, you can peek at the demo here: valetmetrix.com
My position in Valet (www.valet.io) is a long way from my original career in Engineering Drafting. I graduated in Industrial Technology and spent the next few years designing residential subdivisions, working with professional surveyors, and doing 3D scanning. My husband and I started a family in 2009 and I started a new journey into the WordPress world. I have been enamored with this community ever since my first Word Camp (Miami).
This year my co-founder and I decided to change up or leading roles in the company and I'm moving to more of a General Company Managment role, so taking more of the day to day and directional voice in the company's future. I'll still have to manage Operations but I'm incredibly excited about contributing my own ideas to the long-term growth of Valet.
I live in Louisiana, near New Orleans, with my three daughters, husband, and one boy dog. We currently spend as much time as we can fishing and chasing the girls around to Soccer and Softball. My youngest is 3 but going on 13 so our lives are constantly full of glitter and laughter. I love to cook and spend time digging in the dirt whether it's gardening or turning soil for flowers.
I'd like to read more but usually only get to do so during travel, I really relish those times now! I've been a PTO mom, a soccer coach, and so many other things I'd never imagined in the last two years! I'm definitely looking forward to the next adventures coming my way. Oh, and today is my Wedding Anniversary!
Go ahead and Ask me Anything :D
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!
Season 4 of Ask Me Anything is starting on March 8th. This season we have lots of experienced WordPress professionals ready to share their knowledge. You can get some valuable advice on design, business, development, community involvement, marketing, social media and much more. Don't miss out!
After the Christmas hype, and the New Year celebrations, skiing holidays, and endless afternoons cozied up with a hot chocolate, there is one more thing to look forward to this winter. It’s better than your favorite TV show, it’s season 4 of Ask Me Anything. This season we have a power line-up of business owners, WordPress core contributors, freelancers, designers, social media experts and WordPress enthusiasts. It’s the season of all seasons, and it starts on March 8.
If you want to find out a bit more about the idea of the AMA, and why it’s important, have a look at Get Free Expert Advice From WordPress Influencers. For those who are interested in a deeper behind the scene’s look, this is for you, Ask Me Anything: WordPress Influencers Answering Your Questions. One thing is certain, this season is promising to be the best one yet!
Without further adieu, I want to introduce you to the main protagonists, our lovely contributors. Drum roll please!
Actress, Writer, Web Consultant, Business Coach, Rockstar Teacher. Kristina has lots of work experience and knowledge to share. If you need advice on starting a business, maintaining or creating
Hi all, I’m Kristina. Coach at WP Elevation and RockStar Empires, online business training I run with my business partner Troy Dean. If that wasn’t enough, I have my own WordPress web development company where we take care of over 40 websites on recurring website care plans and have custom built solutions for major celebrities and brands.
You’d think this would consume my days, but it’s only a fraction of my time. Amongst it all I raise my three children, all under the age of six, working from home here in Maryland and managing the flow of the impossible.
Back in the day I was an actress on a Daytime Soap Opera when two Emmy nominations and a few films later I left the industry to captain my own ship of entrepreneurship and never looked back.
I enjoy creative writing, the WordPress ecosystem, world history, travel and any book or movie that tells a good story.
I love helping others, especially those looking to work smarter, secure recurring revenue in their business and strike a successful work-life balance.
Ask me anything!
I am really excited to be around today to answer your questions. A little bit about me...
I currently live in the middle of England and work at Automattic as an Experience Designer in the Theme Division. I have a varied background including psychology, design, front end development and user experience. I even once upon a time studied art; its been an interesting path I've followed through freelance to Automattic. Before joining I was for several years focused as a community designer, helping design communities for BuddyPress.
I am a long standing WordPress contributor, committer for core themes and design team rep. I am involved in a lot of different contribution areas and have also organised several WordCamps. My open source journey has seen me be part of a lot of different areas, allowed me to see lots of different parts of the world and helped me be the person I am today.
When not at a computer I spend time doing yoga, with my dog and husband and I still enjoy creating art.
Ask me anything :)
I'm Matt Cromwell, I have a wild and crazy job history and educational background that magically landed me at WordImpress  as Partner, Head of Support, co-author of the Give Donation Plugin , and more.
I'm obnoxiously proud of the fact I began web development by building websites for churches with Notepad in pure HTML and CSS. My first exposure to WordPress was when they released the Kubrick theme  -- I was in AWE of its fancy rounded border with subtle gradient background.
I started building sites for churches to fund my education. First for my Master of Arts in Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary and then for my Master of Arts in History at San Diego State University, which of course made perfect sense to go with my Bachelors in Music Education .
Miraculously, I understood web development pretty well. I loved teaching, but I also wanted to get paid and provide for my family. So while I kept studying and paying for my education, I also built sites and earned more. The tipping point happened when I looked into a PhD in History and what that would cost my family compared to taking the offer to build-out the products at WordImpress. I haven't looked back since.
I'm also the Lead Organizer of our Advanced WordPress Meetup in San Diego. We started the Advanced WordPress Facebook group back in 2012 and it now has over 23K members and over 30 admins from all parts of the globe. We recently did the largest WordPress giveaway in history with over $100K in prizes given away to over thirty lucky winners. Our little Facebook group has come a long way in a relatively short time.
Through it all, I also blog regularly about Religion, Politics, and WordPress at my personal site .
So, what do you want to know? Ask me anything! Don't forget to refresh the page to see answers and other questions.
 - https://wordimpress.com
 - https://givewp.com
 - http://binarybonsai.com/kubrick/
 - https://www.mattcromwell.com
Hey, I'm Tom! I am the owner and lead developer at Pressware. We're a small (that is, a two-person) development shop that uses WordPress for building custom solutions for small businesses and individuals. I also work as the Editor for Tuts+ Code where we publish numerous, free tutorials on learning new skills in various languages and technologies.
My background is in computer science, and though I've used WordPress since 2005, it wasn't until 2010 when I began to focus primarily on using it as a foundation for building solutions for others. Now, I enjoy speaking at WordCamps, my local meetup, and talking with others who are using WordPress is any capacity - be it for blogging or a foundation for application development.
I blog daily on my personal blog, and I've recently started another one that focuses on running a business, time management, productivity, and things like that.
When I'm not at my computer, you're likely to find me spending time with my wife and our two daughters as well as our two crazy terrier mutts. I'm also into fitness, so I try to fit about an hour of working out into each day. And when I've caught up on everything else (which is rarely, but it does happen :), you're likely to find me playing guitar or tracking some music in GarageBand.
Ask me anything!
 - https://pressware.co
 - https://tommcfarlin.com
 - https://heyimtom.com
My name is Brian Krogsgard. I'm the editor of Post Status ( https://poststatus.com ), a news and information website for WordPress professionals. It's my full time job, where I manage a community, write a members-only newsletter, and do other activities to promote an ecosystem for folks to be better informed at whatever they do in the WordPress space.
I've been heavily involved and writing in (and about) the WordPress community since 2010. After spending several years as a WordPress developer in two agencies, I went full time on Post Status in December 2014.
Ask me anything!
Hey there - I'm Jake Goldman, and I like to say I've been "making with the web since there was a web to make."
I started making websites in the 90's when I was still in high school, taking on my first paid gig in 1997. Over the next 14 years, I worked in the technical and creative services industry as a developer, designer, manager, and salesperson... usually wearing several of those hats at once. I've worked for huge organizations (the U.S. Navy) and tiny organizations (employee #2 at my last job). I went through the first browser wars, built interactive applications in Flash when that was a thing, spent too much time working with a proprietary ColdFusion CMS, and even "designed" a few web ads (yikes).
In February of 2011, I started a consultancy focused on WordPress engineering and UX called 10up. While I had ambitions to grow (I didn't call it "Jake, Inc."), having spent the last 5 years in senior management, I thought it would be nice to take a year off from managing teams and focus on projects I could handle as a freelancer, maybe collaborating with a few contractors. I'm bad at saying "no" when opportunity knocks, and before 10up's first year was over, I'd grown the team to 8 employees, with some noteworthy showcase clients, like TechCrunch and Trulia, already under our belt.
Since that first year, 10up has organically grown in size and scope. Today, we are ~130 full time staff strong and as financially healthy as ever, with expertise spanning virtually every aspect of making and supporting even the most complex and high scale web projects. Our expertise goes much deeper than WordPress (still our preferred CMS), and includes user experience and creative design, monetization and advertising strategy, front and back end engineering, and of course, project strategy and management. Last year, we had a client project featured on Google's home page (it uses the WordPress REST API, and yes, it stayed up), and saw 4 client projects nominated for Webby Awards (AMC.com won). Since mid-2015, we've helped Adobe relaunch 99u, helped Microsoft launch Windows 10 with an official media and consumer launch microsite, collaborated with ESPN to release another flagship property (The Undefeated), helped both the New York Times Co. and Washington Post with some publishing tool projects... and the list goes on. An analysis of the impact of iOS 9 Content Blockers that I co-authored was featured and quoted in publications like Time, AdAge, and Daring Fireball.
I'm also very proud of 10up's continued tradition of investing heavily back into in the open source platforms we depend on. We're the only agency that employs a Lead WordPress (Core) Developer, likely the largest contributor to WordPress behind Automattic, our company plugins are listed as "active" on ~1 million WordPress installs, and projects like VVV and Flexibility have become standbys. Our team has spoken at events around the world: phpWorld, NTC, ZendCon, CSSCONF, Gilbane, and of course, anchor WordCamps like U.S. and Europe - to name a few.
The journey has been inspiring... and exhausting, exhilarating, emotionally draining, and unbelievably educational and maturing. Even in our toughest moments, or when I'm agonizing over a mistake I've made (in classic type-A fashion), I've always tried to keep perspective, and remember just how fortunate I am, both professionally and personally.
These days, when I'm not working with team 10up, I'm usually chasing around one very curious 10 month old daughter. In the event I get a bit of independent free time, I've been cultivating an interesting in cooking, and indulging a home-automation interest. My podcasts playlist consists mostly of political and issue commentary, with a sprinkling of Apple enthusiast news. I do enjoy a good Netflix original, but with my new daughter in the picture, a "binge" looks like finishing one episode without interruption. I'm eager to travel more, again, when I can.
Excited to answer your questions. I founded Human Made 6 years ago with Joe and Noel, we're one of the world's leading WordPress client service firms. We specialise in large-scale WordPress, usually 6-7 figure accounts with enterprise or big media. We run a line of professional conferences, so far based on the WP REST API and remote working. Our work internally has turned into several products, including Nomadbase and Happytables. We're bootstrapped at Human Made but have also gone the VC route with products.
We intentionally put a lot back into WordPress, through our work directly on Core with things like the WP REST API, Accessibility, Polyglots as well as our level of community involvement.
We're 40+ Humans spread across the globe, from the West Coast of the US all the through to New Zealand.
I spend a lot of my time focused on strategy, hiring, Humans & finances.
Ask me anything!
Hello! I'm Sonja and I work remotely designing websites for clients all over the world. I don’t specialize in an industry, the way I work is how I differentiate myself. In all things design I focus on a content and user centric design approach and use research and a deep discovery phase to inform my design decisions. I work directly with my clients in a very collaborative way, and occasionally join agencies on their projects as well. I cover the full project cycle from Discovery, UX, Visual Design, to Theme Development, but also often collaborate with other experts.
My background is design, I worked as a Graphic Designer for over 10 years back in Germany, where I grew up. I aspired to move into web design for a while before I created the opportunity when I moved to New York City in 2009. This is where I first learned about WordPress and connected to the local community. I can say with certainty and affection that the community drew me into using WordPress and actively being involved for so many years now. I certainly found family there and so much support.
I contribute back to the open source project in several ways. Currently my primary focus is helping organize WordCamp Europe in Paris. I lead the design team (amazing people!!) and am very excited to see you all in Paris in June (there are still tickets available!). I also contribute to the Polyglots team by translating plugins into German and from time to time speak at WordCamps and other events. The talk I’m most proud of, mainly because I felt the most vulnerable and I was able to connect with the audience the most, was my talk about the Impostor Syndrome during WCEU last year.
Being a freelancer hasn’t always been easy. I had to learn a lot of things the hard way and I am happy to help any of you avoid some of my mistakes. To me, as a business owner it’s curcial to create a network of support. I am grateful to have found that within the WordPress community and in other amazing mentors, so I’d like to pay it forward.
I left NYC a couple years ago to embark on a journey of ultimate freedom as a location-independent designer. 20 months, 34 cities, and 11 countries later I found home in Boulder, Colorado last Fall. I love what I do, the flexibility of working remotely and being able to make my own schedule is priceless! When I’m AFK I try to be in nature as much as possible. Boulder is an amazing place to live and be active. I climb, snowboard, bike, and hike. I also still travel a lot. I’m currently in Europe to prep for WordCamp Europe and visit family in Germany. Today I’m saying hello from Krakow, Poland.
Now it’s your turn. Ask Me Anything!
Built my first website in 1995, wasn’t much of an industry back then so I worked in banking for a while before deciding to make the switch over to freelancing to now running Human Made with my friends Tom & Joe . We do plenty of big agency work, but I’m mostly excited about all things product. I’m also a WordCamp Europe organiser and have run two Swiss WordCamps. My day is filled with front-end dev, designing in sketch, creating keynote decks and jumping on calls.
Things that I’m either working on or excited in participating in:
- Founded Happytables  with Tom & Joe, a platform which previously was a squarespace for restaurants. We learnt a lot from that which is why we pivoted the business and are aiming for a much larger segment of the industry; unifying various restaurant software into one and producing insights that restaurant staff can on the same day. Built with React and the REST API.
- Nomadbase , a platform for digital nomads to find each other. We’re working on an exciting mobile app built on React Native and the REST API.
- Vienna . The current WordPress mobile app is quite Automattic-centric (by favouring JetPack) and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. However, I think that it’s important that a vendor-neutral alternative is available to the community. This is also a React Native project, so I’m looking forward to contributing (and you should too).
- Exploring the core experiences of WordPress; creating content or consuming content. Be it front-end editing, live collaboration, new page builders, new interactions for readers, etc.
- WordPress as an Application Platform. WordPress growth has slowed down (maybe even come to a rest?), it will be very interesting to see how it evolves with the REST API coming in.
- The thought of more regional (WordCamp Nordics) and continental (WordCamp Asia) events. They’ll grow faster than we think.
- Building teams and companies that have progressive ways of working and employing/compensating people.
- Been a nomad for 3 years, so all things remote working  Check out our remote working event "Out of Office" 
Things I’ve worked on in the past:
- Founded Project Reality, which went on to become one of the largest gaming modifications of the last decade.
- Founded Game-Artist.net, a community for game artists, ended up selling it to CG Society.
My name is Marie Dodson. I'm the editor at Torque Magazine, an online publication for and by the WordPress community. I work closely with a network of writers to publish excellent content for WordPress professionals -- from plugin and theme roundups, to dev tutorials, WordPress news, and beyond.
I love writing about WordPress and engaging with the community. Ask me anything!
Hey everyone! My name is Gabriel A. Mays and I'm the Head of WordPress at GoDaddy.
What I Do
My role involves everything from leading our WordPress products and strategy to identifying acquisition opportunities, managing partnerships, hiring new WordPress team members, evangelizing WordPress inside the company and helping GoDaddy be a better member of the WordPress community.
Like most WordPress folks, I have an unconventional background. Previously, I was a Captain in the Marine Corps. A combat veteran, I spent two years between Iraq and Afghanistan operating on small, embedded teams. While in the Marine Corps I met my wife, who's still an active duty Marine F/A-18 aviator and just finished two years as #8 on the Blue Angels.
I discovered WordPress almost 10 years ago after trying just about everything else building sites for myself and others. On my last 12-month deployment to Afghanistan I spent my free time learning about business, startups and teaching myself to be a better developer.
I learn by doing, so while deployed I decided to build a SaaS product that abstracted the complexity to give small businesses beautiful, fully functional websites in 60 seconds. Further, it'd integrate with hundreds of other apps to automate business processes. For example, when a customer submits a form it'd automatically create an invoice, schedule an appointment, add the customer to an email newsletter and CRM, send a text message summary, etc. The idea was to give businesses more than a website, they'd also get a way to automate their business.
This was challenging to do working from a tent in Afghanistan with limited internet connectivity on an old $300 duct-taped laptop. But it didn't matter, during the process I fell in love with building products, strategy and WordPress--there was nothing else I'd rather be doing. Halfway through that 12-month deployment I knew what I wanted to do next: leave the Marine Corps and build products that help people leverage WordPress to build businesses as great as their ambitions.
I launched the startup shortly after returning from deployment and soon had my first customers. After attending a Y Combinator startup event I met one of the partners from Google Ventures who became a mentor. I decided against seeking funding, but through connections I eventually met Jeff King, SVP of Hosting at GoDaddy.
At that time, I felt the same way about GoDaddy that many WordPress folks used to, but decided to give it a chance after learning about the new leadership team. I was impressed, they "got it" and were investing heavily to turn things around, so I agreed to do a product demo and stayed in contact with the team.
Over the next two years my startup spun off a new product targeted at high end real estate investors (also on WordPress) in addition to the existing product for small businesses. It was fun, but exhausting. We didn't hire fast enough (we were self-funded) or iterate fast enough. We remained profitable, but our opportunity to be a dominant player faded.
In late 2014 my wife joined the Blue Angels as #8 where she'd be traveling 300 days a year doing airshows for the 2015-2016 seasons. This inspired me to take advantage of the opportunity to try something new. Around the same time GoDaddy was looking for someone to lead WordPress and I accepted.
A year later, here I am. I absolutely love what I do and I'm incredibly proud of what the team has accomplished in the last year. We still have a lot of work to do to give the WordPress community the amazing experience it deserves and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be part of it.
I look forward to answering your questions and meeting you at the next WordCamp or Meetup. You can find me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gabrielmays and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gabriel.mays.
Hi, I’m Shane. I’m a partner at Modern Tribe Inc. We’re a fully-distributed agency and products company, working remotely with over 60 talented folks across the globe.
We work primarily with enterprise-level clients, including Fortune 500 companies, universities, government institutions, and the occasional well-funded startup. We’ve had the opportunity to work with brands you all know: from Stanford and Harvard, to eBay, Disney, Nike, Levis, and so many more.
We’re also pretty well known for our suite of events management plugins, including The Events Calendar, Event Tickets, GigPress, and others, which support over 500,000 active users.
I’ve journeyed through all the roles in an agency, starting as a solo developer in 2000, to designer, ux / ui and strategy, project manager, product manager, ops manager, technical director, director of sales and am nearly at the point where I actually spend a lot of my time being a CEO.
I live in Santa Cruz, CA and shape my work around my life. Currently I am learning the art of coaching U8 girls soccer and am starting a new girls surf club for my daughter and her friends. I have some awesome trips this quarter, having just returned from Punta Mita with my leadership team, and heading to Dakar, Senegal in a few weeks, followed by the Canary Islands in December. My wife and I are in the hunt for a city to move to for a year
I’m a surfer, real estate investor, freelance evangelist, Gov 2.0 advocate, speaker, toddler wrangler, intrepid traveler...
Ask me anything.
My name is Luca Sartoni. I spent the last 15 years helping companies to achieve success. I started as a developer back in the days, but I found my real potential when I explored the shared ground between marketing and software, implementing data-informed strategies.
I freelanced most of my adult life and two years ago I joined Automattic as a Growth Engineer.
I also actively contribute to the WordPress Community and I co-organise WordCamp Europe.
Ask me anything!
I am the Spectrum Division Lead at Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. The Spectrum Division is in charge of domain names.
I started developing online products from Paris, France in 1994, managed and monetised high profile domain name portfolios from 1998. In 2004 I found my internet consultancy firm in Geneva, Switzerland.
I am originally from Italy, studied photography in Paris, France. I have been leading remote teams since 1998. After Italy, France, the US for a short while, and Switzerland, I currently live in Vienna, Austria. I dedicate most of my free time to the WordPress community through the organisation of WordCamp Europe.