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I’m Gabe Mays, Head of WordPress @ GoDaddy. Ask Me Anything!

AMA | Dec. 7, 2016

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.

My Background

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.

Thanks,
Gabe

Hi Gabe! I'm a big fan of everything you guys have been doing over the last few years to be actively involved in the community.

What do you look for in an acquisition and what's the basic process like?

via Joe Casabona

Hey Gabe

Absolutely love your story, glad to have you here! Here are my questions for you:

- What do you think presents the biggest challenge for WordPress growth at this moment?

- You are active in hacker news community too. What would you say are the differences between managewp.org and that community and what can managewp.org learn from that community to improve?

- Can a random person fly in an F-18 in any way (including knowing you)? :)

via Vladimir Prelovac

Hi Joe, thank you! Great question.

There are different factors in considering an acquisition. The core question comes down to whether to build, buy or partner and it's a blend of art and science.

First, what do we believe about a market and how would we deliver the best experience?

Can we win through a partnership? If we consider it a core competency, we'd want to build or buy. When core competencies are involved partnerships typically only makes sense in certain cases, e.g. to validate a hypothesis prior to further investment or if we believe it to be a temporary solution due to changes in the industry (e.g. what assumptions is this product/service predicated on?).

For partnership, there must be a clear vision of how the companies can complement each other long-term. This is especially true for things that aren't part of our core competency and don't make sense to build or buy as part of our business.

To build, do we have this capability in-house and/or are there advantages to doing it organically? To buy, are there any existing solutions in the market that customers love or that do it better than we ever could? Are there talented teams that'd bring something special to the company? Are there other reasons to accelerate through acquisition?

Above all, the key question for me is: does 1 + 1 = 3? Can we do things together that neither of us can do alone and couldn't be achieved through a partnership? Synergy is key.

I hope that helps!

Thanks Joe,
Gabe

via Gabriel A. Mays

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

via Dodgers Benny

Thanks for being on our AMA, Gabe!

1) The GoDaddy Managed WordPress hosting PHP version has been stuck at 5.4 since forever. What's going on there, and when can we expect 5.6 and 7?

2) A lot of people don't know that you guys published a pretty solid theme called Primer and published it on the WordPress repo. Can you tell us a bit more about it?

3) GoDaddy had a bunch of surprises these past several months: ManageWP and WP Curve acquisitions, Beaver Builder partnership, Primer theme, Pro program. What's next?

via Nemanja Aleksic

Hey Vladimir! Thanks, great questions.

- "What do you think presents the biggest challenge for WordPress growth at this moment?"

WordPress benefitted from such strong product market fit and, subsequently, such high growth that there weren’t the typical feedback mechanisms forcing us to make certain parts of the product better.

That combined with a fuzzy vision/focus have diffused the investments made. I'm excited about Matt's comments at WCUS about the new core release process and think it's the right step to make progress in key areas we'll need to stay relevant in the future.

We also need to figure out how to get more companies investing in WordPress, which Matt touched on in his WP Growth Council post. This is a great idea and I've responded to the WP Growth Council survey with some ideas. There are some key things that need to change for some of the larger WordPress companies to invest more.

- "You are active in hacker news community too. What would you say are the differences between managewp.org and that community and what can managewp.org learn from that community to improve?"

We're getting better at this, but more diverse perspectives and borrowing lessons from other communities would strengthen the ecosystem and the products we make. We should seek global maximums vs. local maximums.

For anyone curious, a good first step is to browse Hacker News and Product Hunt. Personally, I browse every article submitted to Hacker News and every new product submitted to Product Hunt, though I only read/investigate the interesting ones.

- "Can a random person fly in an F-18 in any way (including knowing you)? :)"

Haha. They do have a program to fly members of the media, celebrities and people who do a lot for kids in their communities. Time to start the Vladimir News Channel I guess ;)

Thanks Vladimir,
Gabe

via Gabriel A. Mays

I'm Tom Willmot, CEO at Human Made; AMA!

AMA | Nov. 30, 2016

Hi!

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!

Hey Tom,

Thanks for doing the AMA here. :)

1) I believe the most sensitive question in the field is sales and lead generation. Could you tell us a bit more about what's your sales process, do you employ sales people at Human Made, what's the breakdown of incoming inquiries (say, through WP.com VIP, organic search, social media, conferences)?

2) What do you see as the most essential investment for a WordPress agency in terms of marketing and sales costs which strengthens the brand and generates more exposure and leads?

3) What is the most important piece of advice for negotiating and closing a deal with enterprises?

Thanks!

via Mario Y. Peshev

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

via Dodgers Benny

Easy! 100 duck-sized horses. I'd build a tiny chariot.

via Tom Willmot

Hi Tom,

Whom will you hire and why?

(a) Person w/ talents, but may be less experienced.
(b) Experienced Person, but may be w/ moderate talents.

Thank you!

via Omaar Osmaan

Happy to share!

1) Most of our leads come to us, around a third referred from WordPress.com VIP, the rest being Product, IT, Digital executives reaching out. The people that come to us usually have a connection to a past project / relationship / Interaction. Social media and organic search are not sales channels for us, enterprise and big media is all about network and people.

On the outbound side, we've had most success identifying companies/markets that would make good clients and then build those direct relationships with the right people internally. Things like sponsoring / speaking at industry conferences (we recently had a booth and drinks event at Digital Media Asia), industry meetups, etc.

We have a Commercial Director/Head of Sales, Ant Miller who owns this internally. In practice, selling is a team effort, often including engineers, strategy, PM etc.

2) Hire people who are used to talking to enterprise.

3) The bigger accounts are about account management and relationships, just being able to build the thing isn't enough. You need people who can talk to their executives and middle managers, use their language, make them feel comfortable and help them succeed. That's often quite separate from delivering a good product.

via Tom Willmot

Thanks Tom, appreciate the insight!

via Mario Y. Peshev

I'm Matt Cromwell, Head of Support at WordImpress.com. AMA!

AMA | Oct. 26, 2016

I'm Matt Cromwell, I have a wild and crazy job history and educational background that magically landed me at WordImpress [0] as Partner, Head of Support, co-author of the Give Donation Plugin [1], 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 [2] -- 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 [3].

So, what do you want to know? Ask me anything! Don't forget to refresh the page to see answers and other questions.

Also, #hiroy.

LINKS
[0] - https://wordimpress.com
[1] - https://givewp.com
[2] - http://binarybonsai.com/kubrick/
[3] - https://www.mattcromwell.com

Hi Matt,
Long-time reader, first time caller.

Would you say that Rainn Wilson stole your look or is it the other way around?

via Michal Bluma

Also, what do you feel are currently the biggest challenges in the WordPress ecosystem?

via Michal Bluma

I have no idea what you're referring to. I am an Island. An uncopiable figure. Though if he wanted great fame, looks, and humor I wouldn't blame him if he did emulate me a bit. [/end sarcasm]

We have a running joke in the office that I look like Rainn and Devin looks like Drago from Rocky IV. See here:

twitter.com/learnwithmattc/status/671911228676005888

Thanks friend!

via Matt Cromwell

That's awesome.
...as are you.
I've been following your evolution over the years.
You put so much heart and passion into everything you do and put out there.

Do you miss working more on the production side or is product/service/support where you love being the most?

via Michal Bluma

Biggest challenge in the ecosystem is not fracturing or losing the open nature of the community. WordPress definitely is a legacy product and if it was done from scratch today it would look dramatically different. That makes new developers not want to adopt it, and longstanding WordPress devs just tired and ready to move on. On the other hand, actual WordPress users continue to be excited about the power WP gives them to create their own sites beautifully and well. I'm really proud of a friend of mine who put this site together with a lot of hard work, but pretty much all on his own: www.woodstockalbums.com/ -- testimonies like that don't happen in Jekyl or Drupal or any other platform.

So between those two moods or feelings about the project, I hope people continue to remain focused on the end-user and what's best for them rather than whether or not they feel "cool" when they code for WP or not.

via Matt Cromwell

Excellent points.

It'll never be a #shinyNewThing.
Hopefully, it'll remain a mature platform that finds the balance between meeting the end users' needs for ease of use and remain an extremely easy platform to dev for.

Thank you for your thoughtful response.

via Michal Bluma

I am Paolo Belcastro, dotblogger at Automattic, ask me anything!

AMA | Nov. 16, 2016

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.

Thanks for being on our AMA, Paolo!

Who originally came up wih the .blog idea?

via Nemanja Aleksic

Well, it depends on the context: when ICANN launched the program leading to the launch of hundred of new TLDs, they opened applications and several companies applied for .blog, it was definitely one of these ideas that just makes sense.

When we became aware of said program at Automattic, we felt we had to be involved, for obvious reasons, like how well it fits with our offer, and less obvious ones: some initial applications assumed at making .blog a closed TLD and we made it out mission to make it as open as possible.

via Paolo Belcastro

Hey, Paolo!

Please let us know about your daily routine. How does your day look like?

Thanks, Paolo!

via Milan Ivanović

Hey Milan!

Interesting question... I like to think that I'm not very much a routine person, to be frank.

I wake up in the morning, usually between 7 and 7:30, and the first thing I do is a quick check of Slack to see if anything requires my attention urgently. Some people very close to me consider this an obsessive or compulsive behaviour, but I actually need it to be able to enjoy the next hour with my family. Once I know that nothing urgent is waiting, I can have breakfast with my wife and two daughters in peace.

My day is spent mostly working, from home or outside, from my laptop or my phone. I like to move around, I like to enjoy the freedom that comes from working online (I'm writing this from an Uber in Paris), and I accept that the price to pay for being able to work when and where I want is to somehow being working at all times.

This means that my day is very dependent on several factors, going from my family needs to my travel schedule (I spend about 1/3 of the year on the road).

I have three very separate roles these days: Leading the Spectrum division at Automattic, managing the .blog project which belongs to an Automattic subsidiary, and leading the organisation of WordCamp Europe 2017, and the needs of each of these audio have an influence on my day.

Overall I spend 12 to 14 hours per day online focused on these activities.

I always close my day, around 1am, by checking Slack one last time before sleep, like in the morning, knowing nothing urgent is waiting for me allows me to sleep better.

via Paolo Belcastro

Hey Paolo! Thanks for doing the AMA!

What was the .blog application process like and did Automattic consider any other TLDs?

via Joe Casabona

No, we didn't, and still don't, consider other TLDs to this time: .blog is very specifically tied to our activity and services, and we have a strong emotional investment with it.

The process was *really* long and very unusually bureaucratic for a company like ours used to iterate very fast on things. Between the day the auction was closed to the day the TLD was "delegated" (the technical term to say that it was activated on the DNS root servers), sixteen months went by, of constant back and forth with ICANN along a multi-step process where each step involves writing long and boring documents :)

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate that ICANN is very thorough in vetting the companies running TLDs, after all, we have now the responsibility of all domains registered on .blog, and many people and companies will soon rely on it. I just feel that some steps could be streamlined and accelerated.

On the bright side, that time has given us the opportunity to discuss and define our strategy, and get ready to run the TLD from the technical standpoint.

via Paolo Belcastro

I’m Noel Tock, Product & Partner at Human Made. Ask me anything!

AMA | Nov. 2, 2016

Hi all,

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 [1]. 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 [2] 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 [3], 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 [4]. 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 [6] Check out our remote working event "Out of Office" [7]

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.

Fire away!

[1] http://hmn.md
[2] http://www.happytables.com
[3] http://nomadbase.io
[4] https://github.com/joehoyle/vienna
[5] http://realitymod.com
[6] https://medium.com/digital-nomad-stories/the-nomad-way-of-work-f638a11a02ff
[7] http://www.outofoffice.hm/

Hi, Noel. Back in September, I tweeted to @humanmadeltd but got no response. So, I'll ask here:

twitter.com/DonnaCavalier/status/772265509764993024

@humanmadeltd Anything ever happen with selling @wpremote ? hmn.md/2015/11/06/wp-remote-deserves-a-better-home-so-were-selling-it/ … Wondering if it will be reliable in future.

And the followup question regardless of the answer is...how do you think is best to handle phasing out a product without hurting users who love it?

via Donna Cavalier

Hi Donna,

Thanks for those questions and apologies you didn't get a reply! We're still seeking the right home for WP Remote. What that means in practical terms is that WP Remote isn't sold for parts (i.e. someone who just wants the domain/brand/etc.) but is instead acquired by a group who wishes to continue/enhance/build on it. The sale of ManageWP to GoDaddy highlights the need for aggregation and a single place of administering your portfolio of sites. We had a lot of ideas for WP Remote ( medium.com/@noeltock/redesigning-wp-remote-72163e94a128 ) but just didn't find the time to execute them. We'll continue to run the WP Remote servers for the foreseeable future or till we find the right buyer.

In terms of phasing out, I think the core elements are clear communication with a healthy amount of lead time if feasible. For example "We're closing X, this means Y and you have 6 months from now to find a replacement.".

Let me know if that answers your questions, cheers!

via Noel Tock

Will I see you and your team in Thailand again next year?

via Kevin Ohashi

Yes! Various trips to Thailand planned again, especially Koh Lanta :) Keep an eye on WordCamp Bangkok, no website yet but I think the idea is end of February 2017.

Would be great to hang out again!

via Noel Tock

Hi Noel! Great to see you doing a AMA. WordPress still seems to be getting a bad rep in corporate/enterprise space. What do you see as the top 3 (or 30) steps needed to get WordPress adopted in the enterprise realm?

via Michael van Lohuizen

Great to have you have on an AMA Noel.

That is a quite impressive career and a list of accomplishments, congrats!

- Did you originally built WP Remote because of a need or because you wanted to explore the market? If it was because you needed a tool like that, what happened to that need and what tool(s) you use nowadays for the job?

- Can you share a recent sketch/design of yours?

- What do you think about the e-sports phenomenon?

via Vladimir Prelovac

I'm Tom McFarlin. I'm the owner and lead developer of Pressware. AMA!

AMA | Oct. 12, 2016

Hey, I'm Tom! I am the owner and lead developer at Pressware[0]. 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[1], and I've recently started another one[2] 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!

[0] - https://pressware.co
[1] - https://tommcfarlin.com
[2] - https://heyimtom.com

1) What is your biggest code "pet peeve" you see in WordPress that really drives you up the wall? (Whether it is contributor code, core code, random function snippets...)

2) Do you miss anything about the Standard Theme?

3) Coffee, Tea, or other?

4) Muffins, Scones, Bagels, or other?

5) Finally, if you had one word of encouragement to people wanted to get involved in contributing to WordPress what would it be?

via Benjamin Bradley

> 1) What is your biggest code "pet peeve" you see in WordPress that really drives you up the wall? (Whether it is contributor code, core code, random function snippets...)

This is a good question, though I can't say an actual "pet peeve" comes to mind -- even if I sit and think for a moment. If I had to pick _something_, then I'd have to go with two things: Code comments and more focused classes/functions/modules/whatever-you-like-call-it.

Aside from that, I'd love to see more of the following:

- Developers adhering to the WordPress Coding Standards,
- More modular code (not necessarily OOP, though that's my preference), but well-organized and documented code,
- Use of 'newer' language features in PHP (such as namespaces even autoloading, when available),

Some might also say greater compatibility with the PSRs, and I'm torn -- I'd like to see that, but I also understand WordPress' commitment to backward compatibility so changing coding standards will need to be something that has a defined milestone far from when it's planned.

> 2) Do you miss anything about the Standard Theme?

Not really. I had a blast working with the team who built it, and I learned a lot about WordPress when working on it, but I still keep up with most of the guys.

We've all moved on to things that serve our greater interests/passions so I couldn't be happier for all of us, to be honest. We're all doing what we want to be doing, and I still keep up with most of them (as in, I talk with them *at least* once a week - though daily with a couple of them - either via texting or phone).

> 3) Coffee, Tea, or other?

Coffee.

> 4) Muffins, Scones, Bagels, or other?

Right now, I'm on an oatmeal kick but were it not for that, it'd be who grain bagels.

> 5) Finally, if you had one word of encouragement to people wanted to get involved in contributing to WordPress what would it be?

This can be somewhat of a tricky question to answer because the idea of "contributing to WordPress" is so broad. This can be from writing documentation to writing code and anything and everything in between. There's almost something for everyone.

With that said, I'm going to assume you're talking about code since that was part of your first question.

And when it comes to that, I recommend that people work on understanding the coding standards and the APIs first. Yes, this will take a bit of time (so if you're expecting to get your code committed to core quickly, then push pause on that thought). You're going to need to build things, you're going to need to chat with people, you're going to need to share your code and be open to critique (sometimes a lot of it), and it's going to help if you've looked at other patches and the WordPress source code itself.

It will also help to have a strong understanding of how things in the software work - from the database schema up to how information is presented in the templates.

Then I think it's safe to "un-pause" that desire to contribute code, look for a good first bug[0] and try working on it. If your first commit isn't accepted, it's no big deal. In fact, this happens to a lot of people, but so what? Try again :).

There's a worldwide community of very smart people working on this software. It shouldn't be easy to join the ranks, but it's worth the effort.

- [0] core.trac.wordpress.org/tickets/good-first-bugs

via Tom McFarlin

If you consider the facade pattern, the factory pattern, and the mediator pattern - what would you say they have in common, how are they different (beyond function), and which would prove to be most helpful in a complex application built on WordPress?

via Chris Lema

This sounds like an interview question.

My answer: they're all equally delicious when printed on an ice-cream cake.

via John James Jacoby ⚡️

All my questions for Tom sound like interview questions. :)

via Chris Lema

Hey Tom; huge fan!

What motivates you to keep producing?

What was your very first experience with WordPress?

What is your favoritest plugin of all time: BuddyPress or bbPress?

via John James Jacoby ⚡️

I'm Jake Goldman, Founder & President of 10up. Ask me anything!

AMA | Oct. 19, 2016

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.

Ask away!

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

via Dodgers Benny

Definitely 100 duck-sized horses. A horse-sized ducks sound terrifying.

via Jake Goldman

Everyone usually says 1 horse-sized duck. I don't understand it! You have the right answer, it DOES sound terrifying.

via Dodgers Benny

Congratulations on the success of 10up!

What advice would you give your 2011 self? or your 1990s-era self?

via Bill Dennen

Hey Jake

Glad to have you here. Got a ton of questions for you :)

- What's your second most liked CMS?

- Do you deploy vanilla or modified WordPress ?

- How does a web agency land Techcrunch and Trulia as clients in its first year?

- How do services of this type scale? Would increasing your revenue 10x require adding roughly 10x more people to your team?

- Have you ever thought of your own conference dedicated to web professionals out there?

- What is your greatest challenge nowadays?

via Vladimir Prelovac

Jake,

We love Managewp. Dashboard for all our sites have been a blessing. Have you found anything that will incorporate the magic of managewp with error logs?

When we updated plugins/themes/Core via ManageWP, we cross our fingers hoping that nothing breaks.

via Jimmy Blanco

We're Tomaž Zaman and Per Esbensen, founders of Codeable - ask us anything!

AMA | Nov. 9, 2016

We've met on Elance some 7 years ago, when Per was running his web development agency specializing in TYPO3 and 3D animation and Tomaž being a certified TYPO3 integrator.

Together we were working on a couple of enterprise-y websites for Scandinavian companies and after two years, both observed a decline in attitude towards online freelancers; It was a race to the bottom which resulted in low prices and a shark tank environment.

We decided that standing by as the industry went haywire just wasn't good enough so we've set out to build what we think was the best approach to online freelancing: No bidding, Quality control, Freelancers being colleagues rather than competition - so we founded Codeable [1]

In those early days, while doing the market analysis, we also found the best possible open-source community in the world: WordPress. We felt we could be a constructive part of this community, and we were not wrong - working with some of the most popular plugin authors and renowned businesses to provide great support for their clients beyond their capabilities has been both a humbling and a rewarding experience!

And to this day we're constantly trying to improve the freelancing experience by making a promise of quality to the clients and a promise of fair treatment and payments to the freelancers.

In more operational aspects of the company, Tomaž takes care of the technical parts like servers and infrastructure, development, technical blogging, while Per is the chief of our fanatical customer support, legalities and accounting.

[1] https://codeable.io

Ask us anything!

Hello Tomaž and Per,

Thanks for having this AMA here.

Great job with running Codeable along with external freelancers and delivering good projects. As you have also worked with in-house developers and employees, what is the most challenging part of running the show with external freelancers and how do you deal with that? Say for example, if a freelancer is not able to deliver the project in a good condition, what role your company plays in that situation and how do you convert that not-so-happy customer into a happy one?

via Sanjeev Mishra

I did not know that you both came from a TYPO3 background. What (if any) hurdles where there in switching your focus from TYPO3 to WordPress and what descions/changes did you have to make to accommodate this?

via Jonathan Bossenger

Thanks for being on our AMA!

1) What's the biggest challenge you face when vetting new freelancers?

2) Where do you see Codeable in 5 years?

3) Tomaž, when did you find the time to have so many kids? :D

via Nemanja Aleksic

The hardest part of working with external freelancers isn't the code or their skills, it's how to communicate both with us and their clients in the most effective way. There are time zone issues, cultural differences, language barriers, all seemingly working together to screw things up for us :)

But, we somehow managed to tame these issues by first focusing on the freelancers, rather than on clients; We have a long list of rules we demand our experts to follow to the letter, lest we terminate our working relationship. We also make sure they don't fight over projects but rather help one another winning them, which is only possible if the amount - or rather the ratio between the number of projects and number of freelancers in the system - is just right.

Finally, and probably most importantly, we make sure they are treated like the experts they are and paid well, and on time. This is their job, first and foremost, and everyone should be treated respectfully at it.

And regarding your customer happiness question, it's actually simpler than most think it is: When people have problems, they usually understand it takes time to solve them, so what they mostly want is to be heard and understood. As a company, you just have to be there for them, let them know you are on it (and mean it!) and update them on the progress of resolving their issues. Needless to say, having an awesome customer support team is an absolute must for any company, yet few are aware of that.

via Tomaž

1. The sheer volume of applications we get on a daily basis is not a challenge in itself, but it takes a lot of time and energy because we like to be thorough, so we either invite acceptable ones to a Skype interview or deny the unacceptable ones. In any case, we have to follow up, explain why they were (or were not) accepted, feelings get hurt, explanations need to be made,... And when the accepted freelancers start working, we manually monitor their performance for the first month to increase the changes of their success. Interestingly enough, only about 20% of accepted freelancers "get it" (the Codeable way of doing things) and stay for the long run.


2. When people ask us about our business model, I usually explain (apart from the obvious: we're a 2-sided marketplace) that we're a freelancing insurance company; We make sure that clients get their work done in time by a professional, and we make sure that professional gets treated respectfully and paid properly for their work. That's why I see Codeable becoming a central hub where most of the WordPress freelancing work gets done. We're already taking a lot steps to see that happen: We're partnering with the biggest plugin development companies and agencies to both provide work and support to their clients or to give them more work coming in from ours. Granted, it's a lot of work for us, but very satisfying to see things coming together and yielding results everyone's happy with.


3. In the evenings, like everyone else :)

via Tomaž

Very little actually. TYPO3, like WordPress, is written in PHP, so switching was not that difficult. But it didn't matter much, because we ourselves don't do actual development, freelancers that work through Codeable do, and we make sure they know WordPress well. And that's the beauty of the WordPress community, everyone can contribute because it's not just coding skills that matter. So we're contributing in other ways (the internal Codeable team).

via Tomaž

I am Shane Pearlman, Partner at Modern Tribe. Ask me Anything!

AMA | Oct. 5, 2016

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.

Thanks for doing this. Great how these AMAs help bring people together. Given I am in the Bay area now I have some 'local' questions for you:

- Is the water ever warm at Santa Cruz? Where do you surf?
- Do you invest in local real estate? What do you think about the prices in the Bay area?

And a WordPress related question.

- What kind of website management tools your agency uses for ongoing website maintenance?

via Vladimir Prelovac

Welcome. From your intro, it sounds like you are living your dream.

* What are your challenges in pitching WordPress for the enterprise?

* If there was one feature that you would like to add to WordPress that would make your life easier, what would it be?

* How do you balance the need for guiding and protecting children with their need and the benefit of a "free range"?

* Read any good fiction lately?

Thanks for sharing.

via David McCan

Hi Vladimir,

> Is the water ever warm at Santa Cruz?



Absolutely. That said, I still never surf "naked" here. Its wetsuit weather pretty much all year round, although I do wear a shorty when I longboard on hot days. Water temp can get into the mid-high 60s at the peek of summer. I love watching the tourist charge across the sand in their bathing suite towards the ocean, put a toe in and then leap 3 feet into the air and turn back.

> Where do you surf?

I'm an east side santa cruz local these days and mostly long boarding at the moment. I surf Pleasure Point and Sharks regularly. I freaking love Privates and Bombora / New Brighton when its really big. I have been a spending a lot of time at the Capitola jetty lately, as my daughter Sassy is getting her surf on and started a girls surf club. They all ride my costco SUP (all 5 of them on the same board) on waves together. Its crazy cute.

> Do you invest in local real estate?

Half of my portfolio in is Santa Cruz County. The other half if in Seattle core. In fact, Peter (partner at Tribe) and I bought a run down duplex with ocean views right below UC Santa Cruz and are in the middle of a remodel right now. I run a local quarterly social real estate meetup (typically between 15 - 40 people show) and just posted the next one if someone wants to come grab beers: www.meetup.com/Santa-Cruz-Real-Estate-Investor-Meetup/events/234635979/. I am actively looking for my next deal if anyone has a lead (small multi family or apartment building). I love Santa Cruz county and would gladly own more property here. Santa Cruz has 5 major economic drivers: large university (UC Santa Cruz), tourism (over 1M visitors a year), agriculture (Driscol, Martinellis), tech (35m drive to silicon valley), action sports (oneill, santa cruz bikes / skate). Each of these is a massive industry and if one suffers, our community keeps on trucking. There is limited expansion space keeping prices strong.

> What do you think about the prices in the Bay area?

They are really quite heated. The base math no longer makes sense for MLS priced deals unless you can find something super unique. I am pretty much looking off market these days. The challenge is that while I look for both upside derived from repositioning (remodel / change of tenant base...) and at least 5-6% cash on cash return, there are people from china and institutional investors who consider 3% cash on cash return a screaming deal compared to a negative 10yr swiss bond.

> What kind of website management tools your agency uses for ongoing website maintenance?

I assume you are asking if we use managewp or a similar service. Nope, we’re bespoke. We have been experimenting with managing AWS servers using ansible to roll out environments (infrastructure as code) when we aren't partnering with the big WP hosts (WPE / Pantheon...). We run our own deployment process pulling from a git branch and basically pay attention to the sites we manage. We don’t provide substantial small-scale maintenance work outside of active engagements, but when we do (and for our internal stuff) we do monthly sprints, and we have tickets on each sprint to go upgrade stuff. Each upgrade batch gets QAed on use specific environments. We never, ever upgrade stuff directly on the live site.

via Shane Pearlman

Shane, what keeps you up at night?

via Peter Chester

> What are your challenges in pitching WordPress for the enterprise?

We've made massive inroads as a community in making the case for WP in the enterprise. I spend less time having to put forth WP and validate it as a player than I used to. That said, the biggest pundits (e.g. Forester's CMS Report / Gartner) really don't back WP as a viable enterprise CMS (yet). Ultimately, my guess based upon conversation with John at 10up and Kareem at Crowd Favorite etc is that there is no advocacy body with funding to push the narrative and pay for studies. Automattic sells to the masses while Acquia spends six figures+ on funding analyst reports targeting enterprise. We don't have a cohesive voice. We have put time and money on a smaller scale; e.g. the higher ed survey with 486 responses from educational organization and a white paper which have had a notable impact in the higher ed space. Probably my biggest challenge is the folks you never hear of within the community. The global agencies are starting to provide WordPress services and we are running into them during the sales cycle in places we never did before. As it continues to be less niche, competition increases.

> If there was one feature that you would like to add to WordPress that would make your life easier, what would it be?

A truly modern and well coded media manager.

> How do you balance the need for guiding and protecting children with their need and the benefit of a "free range"?

Oh man, I'm finding the different between my two children changes that answer entirely. Frankly, before having kids I was 100% in the nurture camp. It was all the parents fault. then I had kids and they came out with genuine personalities out of the box. As one of my buddies said, my job as a parent is to mess you up just enough to ensure that you are interesting. My daughter is extremely cautious. Early on Julie and I agreed that our best tactic was to carefully push her into the widest range of uncomfortable situation possible to expand her comfort zone. My son is super independent (so far - he is just 2) and couldn't be more different. While he isn'r prone to recklessness like many little boys, he need and wants very little shepherding.

> Read any good fiction lately?

Heck yeah. a LOT. When I am not crunched (or derailed by pokemon) I go through about a book a week. While most people play games etc on their phones, I tend to read during those small moments each day and it really adds up. My daughter and I are on the final book of "Alcatraz Vs. the Evil Librarians" and they are so, so good. They bring a nuanced mix of humor and whimsical adventure, with just enough grit to keep me engaged as an adult. I've pretty much read everything I can get my hands on by Brandon Sanderson and am in awe of his ability to produce volumes at quality. My next book is Drifters from Mitchner. I've been on a bit of a streak loving books featuring anti-hero thieves. Both the Legend of Eli Monpress series by Rachel Aaron and Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch were super fun.

via Shane Pearlman

There are so many direction to take this. Thankfully the answer is no longer my kids.

I live in the future. Viscerally. Things that I see 6 months out for me are very real and I react strongly to them. Which can lead to people thinking I can be overly dramatic (grain of truth). Peter is a heck of a lot more chill than me about a lot of things (his nihilsm certainly helps). Today, managing our growth and building a new layer of leadership is my great challenge and I'm enjoying it greatly. Frankly, Reid is making that happen and without him leading it, we wouldn't be 1/3 as awesome. The growth we have faced has certainly kept me up working late at night more than I would have expected. These are some new adventure, moving from managing projects, to managing people, to managing managers. The level of operations and compliance required for a cross state / international team of 60 people is definitely noteworthy.

In the world I live, I am profoundly worried about the re-emergence of global level mega-corps which have no accountability to anyone, not employees, customers or governments. The fact that corps have rights equal to a human being is nutty. This election has me worried as Trump is a human manifestation of many of my fears.

I live in california and am highly aware of water.

via Shane Pearlman

I'm Brian Krogsgard, Editor of Post Status. Ask me anything!

AMA | Sep. 7, 2016

Howdy!

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!

With some of the recent a8c acquisitions (WooCommerce, WPTavern) do you think that you would ever be approached by Matt to quire PostStatus and if so, would you consider it?

via Jonathan Bossenger

What made you decide to start Post Status, and switch from development to journalism?

via Gilbert Pellegrom

What's the biggest threat to the WordPress ecosystem right now? Are most people aware of it, and what can we do to avert this threat?

via Nemanja Aleksic

Where do you see Post Status a year from now? Would there be any additional features or perks?

Also was been the biggest (in your mind) scoop or news story you've had the chance to report on, or which one holds a special place in your heart?

via David Bisset

What's a typical day in the life of Post Status journalism? Do you primarily scout out stories, or do they come to you? Or is it more of a natural progression of events in the ecosystem that cause a certain topic to bubble up to your attention? How do you organize everything in your pipeline to ensure a balance of completeness and timeliness?

via Jonathan Christopher

I think acquisitions like WooCommerce are extremely different from WP Tavern.

WooCommerce (then WooThemes) was a strategic acquisition, and is already one of the main legs of the stool for Automattic's revenue (that's how Matt and I discussed it at WCEU during our interview at least: wordpress.tv/2016/06/25/matt-mullenweg-interview-and-qa/ ). It's got a chance to be a huge component of their business.

Other acquisitions have either been technology acquisitions, or acquihires (for staff). Those cost less and A8C has had mixed results to their effectiveness, but they are still strategic.

When WP Tavern was acquired it was more of a lifeline by Matt to keep a blog that had been prevalent in the WordPress space for a very long time going. And it wasn't for some time after that until Matt staffed it with Jeffro full time, and Sarah as well. It's still not a money maker in any way, but it's good for the community to have coverage of what's going on, and I think that's why Matt is happy to keep it going; he supports plenty of stuff with no clear payday.

That said, no, I don't think Matt would ever want to buy Post Status, and it's not for sale. To be honest, if I ever did want to sell, I wouldn't want to sell to Matt because he's heavily intertwined in the coverage. WPT does a good job keeping things separated but it's not the kind of situation I'd ever want to see my readers in and I think if I did want to sell (I don't) there would be plenty of other people interested in the site.

via Brian Krogsgard

I'm Luca Sartoni, Growth Engineer at Automattic. Ask me anything!

AMA | Sep. 28, 2016

Good morning,
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!

What is your favorite sport?

via Chantal Coolsma

I practiced Aikido for many years, but I would not call it a sport.
I'm hardly attracted by any TV sport, however I'm intrigued by the napping power of F1. It must be the soothing sound of the engines, or something like that. I remember the Monaco GP as the best way to sleep thought my summer Sunday afternoon when I was younger.

Of the ones I like, I would choose Cricket as the most interesting to watch. I have no idea about the rules, but it's very fascinating nevertheless.

via Luca Sartoni

Hey Luca,

I have a few questions for you.

1.) As a freelancer for most of your life, what encouraged you to start working for Automattic?

2.) I attended your public speaking workshops, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Are you planning on creating part 2? For those of us who have attended the first ones.

3.) You write a lot about photography, and you did the 365 day photography challenge. Can you pick a favorite photograph, and why?

Thanks!

Nevena

via Nevena Tomovic

Thanks for being on our AMA!

1) You held a great public speaking workshop on WordCamp Belgrade that people referenced several times in the past few months. Could you break down the workshop exercise into a couple of bullet points?

2) What do you think the biggest threat to the WordPress ecosystem will be in 5 years?

3) Value proposition: a lot of WordPress devs don't know how to convey value to their clients, ending up overworked and underpaid. What's your advice to them? You can't say "be like Super Mario" :D

via Nemanja Aleksic

Hi Luca - thanks for doing this AMA!

I'm very interested in what you defined as "implementing data-informed strategies" in marketing.
I was wondering if you'd mind elaborating further on the career shift you had made from a developer to a marketing strategist. Was there a specific event that made you realize that one trade is more magical for you than the other? Can you pinpoint one strategical marketing/growth process of which you are feeling proud?


Love your photos, BTW!

via Kobe Ben Itamar

1.) I was intrigued by Automattic since a friend of mine joined the company in 2010. Other friends joined and their experience was so positive that I was wondering if there was a chance for me too. At the end of 2013 the planets aligned because I left a company I contributed to start up in the previous two years and Automattic was looking for a Growth Engineer. So I successfully applied.

2.) The workshop you attended at WordCamp Split was just a 90-minute intro. The full training is 10+ hours. So, yes, there is a part 2, a part 3, and even a part 4!

3.) My favorite photograph is definitely my street portrait of Jeff Goldblum. It happened by chance to meet him in New York and I didn't miss the opportunity to get a good picture of him. luca.blog/2015/12/09/a-gracious-encounter/

via Luca Sartoni

I'm Marie Dodson, Editor at Torque Magazine, AMA!

AMA | Sep. 21, 2016

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!


Hi Marie,

Thanks for being on our AMA!

Torque has built quite a reputation in the WordPress community, which is especially impressive given the fact that you're owned by WPEngine, but maintain a high degree of independence. Have you ever had to reject a WPEngine article pitch, in order to protect the Torque reputation?

via Nemanja Aleksic

How do you find balance between your techie and non-techie articles? Is it really formulaic or more, "It would be cool if we published this?"

via Joe Casabona

Hi Marie,

I had the opportunity to meet you at WCEU16, it was great! Thanks for your time doing this AMA :)

As a WordPress editor with lot of experience, what do you think is the biggest challenge that WordPress will face in the coming years?

--
Reyes from worona.org

via Reyes Martínez

Hi Nemanja!

Thanks for the question!

We hold WP Engine stories to the same level of consideration for coverage as for any other WP company. We have a general criteria for what makes something newsworthy that dictates whether or not the story gets covered. If it doesn’t meet those standards, then we don’t write about it.

This has enabled us to keep our editorial independence while also being aware that WP Engine is in fact a big player in the ecosystem and as such warrants coverage when appropriate.

via Marie Dodson

Thanks for the question, Joe!

Editorial planning is formulaic for us in that when planning the calendar we break our content down in the following categories spread throughout the week: Tutorials, Developers, Community, Plugin & Themes, and WordPress beginners.

From there, we work with our amazing contributors (who are a mix of developers, designers, enthusiasts and freelance writers) to select relevant topics that fall into the aforementioned buckets. This really helps us ensure that we are serving content to all of our readers — techies and non-techies alike.

All of that said, there are definitely times when we add the "it would be cool if we published this" stories to the calendar!

via Marie Dodson

Hey Marie,

Thanks for chatting to us on AMA.

I work as a designer, and I have been meaning to get more involved with website design and publishing. What do you look for in your designers? What are the most important characteristics, and how closely do you work with them?

Thanks!

Milica

via Milica Spasojević

I'm Mario Peshev, CEO and WordPress Architect @ DevriX. Ask me anything!

AMA | Sep. 14, 2016

Hey there,

My name is Mario Peshev. I'm the CEO of DevriX, a distributed WordPress company with 25 folks (3 WordPress Core contributors) across 7 countries specializing in long-term business, development and growth retainer contracts for successful businesses.

I built my first "website" in 1999, along with my first automated programs in QBasic and Pascal (for educational purposes). I've been actively participating in hundreds of digital endeavors ever since, with WordPress being my true passion as the perfect framework for the Web.

Ask me anything!

Hey, Mario,

Thank you so much for doing this AMA.

My first question would be on the current state of WordPress and where do you see WordPress in, let's say two to five years?

I know that DevriX expanded a lot lately (devrix.com/about/team/) and would like to learn more about the challenges you guys were facing? What was the most challenging thing with getting that many people?

And the easiest one: Are you coming to WCSofia2016? :)

Thanks!

via Milan Ivanović

Hey Mario,

My question is related to your switch from a freelancer to a business owner. Recently I have been doing lots of interviews and asking people what made them go for it, and where do you start?

What was the first step from a freelancer to a business consultant?

How did you get along with all of the business side of things?

Thanks!

via Nevena Tomovic

Hey brate,

Happy to be here, thanks for having me :)

1. That's a good question. One of the things I've been trying to discuss at large US WordCamps is the lack of a roadmap or any public long-term planning that would make your question obsolete. This was covered again recently in the "US vs. THEM" series of posts (ironically "us" is also the abbr of the United States which is very applicable with the European, Asian, South American or African communities).

Personally I don't see any drastic changes with WordPress in terms of innovations or massive enhancements coming soon. Other than the REST API which has been pending for, I don't know, a couple years now maybe, the rest would be mostly admin updates and revamp, probably some simplifications here and there. I assume that two or three really innovative features would pop up over the next 3-5 years, but nothing revolutionary per se.

My main problem with the plan that I personally see myself is that we're competing with Wix, Squarespace, Tumblr and the like, which I don't see as major competitors in the business space, and it also seems to be a "race to the bottom" to some extend. But that's a complicated matter and we'll see how this one goes over the next couple of years.

2. Growth is always complicated - it was easy when there were 6-8 of us, then getting to 15ish was a nightmare as we had to start introducing more strict policies and management layers in order to handle everything. Additionally, we branched out into several departments - currently technical, creative, marketing, business development, each having a senior lead coordinating with other folks in the same department and brainstorming together with the other team leads.

There are various issues there - from interviewing, test assignments, hiring procedures, security policies, onboarding process and what not, adhering to the company guidelines and regulations and what not. I've shared some tips and tricks in my talk from WordCamp Europe this year in Vienna - wordpress.tv/2016/07/03/mario-peshev-managing-remote-wordpress-team/ :)

3. Yup, we're 10 people or so from DevriX there, and maybe some of us will speak... :)

Cheers

via Mario Y. Peshev

Hey Nevena,

The switch was challenging indeed, but frankly I did spend a few years at large enterprises working closely with all departments (including building financial software applications, eRPs, CRMs and the like), then a few years as a freelancer and living with a business owner (my mother) for a while, which thought me invaluable lessons on running a business and everything outside of your core skill set - i.e. accounting, legal, project management, sales, building a personal brand, etc.

That said, a successful freelancer already employs most of the skills/qualities needed for a business owner - especially when working with other freelancers and consultants for a few years.

The main challenges with hiring were the higher monthly income that I had to guarantee in order to pay salaries, and spending my business days coaching and mentoring while working at night. I think that Shane from Modern Tribe once said that he's gone through the same, and hiring the first employee is the hardest thing, the second one is easier, and so on.

For me building the business meant working on larger projects, solving more problems, specializing in different fields and delivering more results in a shorter amount of time. A freelancer's business is on hold when he/she's away, while a business is always running, which was driving me forward. :)

via Mario Y. Peshev

Hi Mario! Thanks for the AMA. We met at WCUS and I asked you a bunch of questions, thanks for being so supportive to the community and for having answered all my questions. WordCamp hallway tracks really pays off :)

Question 1: Are you attending any WordCamp in the US in 2016?

One of the best articles you wrote in my opinion was about the so called "WordPress Developers" that don't code. To me this is the biggest problem in the WordPress ecossystem. I had many conversations with clients that had bad previous experience with people that "sold" themselves as developers but they are just integrators or designers. And to make things worse, because of theirs lack of knowledge, they blamed WordPress to these clients.

Question 2: Do you think an official trainning/certificate could help? What are good WordPress courses for developers that you recommend?

Hope we can meet again sometime soon.

Thanks a lot!

via Emanuel Costa

Hey Emanuel,

Sure, it was a pleasure - I recall sitting next to the watercooler in the main sponsors' area while talking WordPress and business :)

1. Probably WordCamp US this year, although I haven't bought the tickets yet. Other than that I don't plan any US trips over the next months, but it depends on the business meetings planned for the 4th quarter.

Thanks for referring to devwp.eu/dont-call-yourself-a-developer-if-you-dont-code/ - it was somewhat controversial based on the comments (and the fact that it made it to reddit and hacker news in just a couple of hours), but unfortunately it's true. That's one of the biggest bottlenecks for me in the WordPress ecosystem, having hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of service providers offering services under the wrong label. I don't mind site builders installing themes, but I feel really uncomfortable when people who offer development and programming services can't tell PHP from JavaScript.

2. I do, but that's been discussed numerous times at large WordCamps and there's the concern of commercialism of a training institution (or hacking the certification path one way or the other) while limiting people who can't afford paying for a training or a certificate. It's a complicated matter, but for starters I firmly believe that we need to define some titles the way that the Drupal community does through Acquia, i.e.:

www.acquia.com/customer-success/learning-services/acquia-certification-program-overview

Apparently they classify service providers in different categories, from Drupal Core experts through back-end and front-end developers down to site builders, which is totally okay as long as the client is aware of what they're paying for and what qualification does their service provider hold.

But yeah, it's tough - we'll see what will happen over the next years :)

via Mario Y. Peshev
7 min read Nevena Tomovic
AMA | managewp.com | Sep. 2, 2016

AMA On ManageWP.org Is Back For Season 3

Have a look at who is coming up on season 3 AMA! Fantastic people sharing their experiences, don't miss it!

AMA On ManageWP.org Is Back For Season 3

AMA | managewp.com | Sep. 2, 2016

I am very excited to announce that this year, we have 3 months packed full of great WordPressers who are going live on ManageWP.org for 8 hours, so you can ASK THEM ANYTHING. Want more advice on how to start a WordPress business, need some tips for your website design, interested in how to start a photography blog, always wanted to be an editor, want to know how to get there? Now you have the opportunity to ask these questions and get answers from those who have been there and done that. AMA The Beginning
In the past we have already had 26 WordPress influencers come online and chat to our readers, and the engagement has been overwhelming. Looking back at these times, we realized we wanted to take our AMA to the next level. This year we have tried to put together a list of people with different experience, so that you have the opportunity to ask questions in all areas of expertise.
AMA was started in August 2015, with our very own Vladimir Prelovac, as the first AMAer. Since then we have had the pleasure of featuring Bob Dunn, Mason James and Michael Torbert – this is just to name a few. There have been so many useful questions, that I can’t wait to see what will happen in

I'm Jeff Chandler, Founder of WP Tavern, Ask Me Anything!

AMA | Mar. 30, 2016

Hello there! I currently reside in the wonderful state of Ohio and host the WordPress Weekly podcast. I'm the founder of WP Tavern, one of the largest sites devoted to WordPress and I've been writing about the software for more than eight years, it's one of the few things in life I'm good at. I enjoy watching trains, the Back to The Future movies, meteorology, the 90s, especially the grunge music era, and good food. What more do you want to know?

Who would you characterize as the Doc Brown of the WordPress community?

via Drew Jaynes

Hello Jeff, nice talking to you.

You took one month vacation recently, what contributed to take such long break from writing for WordPress Community? How's that impacted/improved your dedication towards your job/passion?

While there are many large groups in Facebook about WordPress, there isn't many active/large community for WordPress Users/Developers (at least that I know of)- is it because big social platforms like Facebook/Twitter fills the gap? Or, WordPress Community are distributed in nature?

Thank you. :)

via Omaar Osmaan

Excellent question. In thinking about it for awhile, I don't know of anyone off the bat who I register as being the Doc Brown type. However I'm going to ponder this some more and see if I can't nail it down by the end of today. He's a crazy wild hair scientist that Marty looks up to and is friends with. If I'm Marty, I don't know who my Doc Brown is.

via Jeff

Writing about WordPress for a living is a daily grind that has its ebbs and flows. The last four months of 2015 was a rocky road for the Tavern as I started to lose control of the commenting situation on the site. I spent more time putting out fires started by commenters than writing content. I dealt with upset readers on Twitter and generally, I was in a bad mood all the time. It became so bad that I finally drafted a comment moderation policy and banned someone for the first time in the site's history from commenting on the site.

Also, many of the comments on the Tavern are rife with negativity. I don't know if it's something in the water or what but people sure do have a lot to complain about these days when it comes to WordPress. It's a much different atmosphere than it was 4-6 years ago where the Tavern comments were filled with people helping each other out while discussing the topics at hand.

The break from the Tavern and all things WordPress helped clear my mind and gave me a much needed break from the grind. What's interesting is that I didn't miss my job as much as I usually do when I take a vacation. Usually, I work more on vacation than I do during a normal week but this time, I stayed away and didn't miss it.

This is a scary revelation because it hints to a number of things but I'm in the process of trying to get back to the point where I miss my job when I'm away. By the way, if anyone is working for an employer that has one of those cool unlimited vacation policies, don't be afraid to use it. If you feel an extended time away will put you back on the right track, do it!

RE: Your second question, it's because the Tavern doesn't have a place yet for them to congregate :) I think it's because of the distributed nature of the community and between all the social networks, maybe there doesn't need to be one big place.

However, it would be awesome if the Tavern was that place where developers, users, and all people inbetween could gather to talk WordPress, share ideas, and help take WordPress further. Something that goes beyond comments and is more of a community. I think the Tavern can become the second largest WordPress community outside of WordPress.org. It's one of the things I'm hoping I can start working on this year.

via Jeff

Thank you, Jeff- for the in-depth answer!

I really hope to see Tavern become more of a community- it would be super awesome! :)

via Omaar Osmaan

Yeah, I should've phrased it as "Who is your Doc Brown in the WordPress community?"

via Drew Jaynes

Hi Y'all I'm Josh Pollock, AMA

AMA | Mar. 2, 2016

I'm a WordPress plugin developer, educator and entrepreneur.

I am the founder of CalderaWP. We make Caldera Forms, an awesome drag and drop, responsive form builder and many other awesome plugins. I am also a co-founder and developer for Ingot, an awesome A/B testing tool for WordPress. I also write a lot about WordPress and wrote a book on the WordPress REST API and am a core contributor to WordPress.

Besides WordPress, I'm really into music, science fiction and coffee.

Ask me anything...

Take care,
Josh

BTW Find me on the interwebs here:
CalderaWP.com
IngotHQ.com
JoshPress.net
twitter.com/Josh412

Josh - we all know you write articles for your own blog, Torque, etc. but where / who do you turn to when you want a blog to read, or to learn something new?

via Roy Sivan

Hi Roy

via Josh Pollock

Pirates or ninjas?

via Chris Wiegman

There are a few people I go back to a lot.

Carl Alexander (carlalexander.ca/) is someone who I really credit with taking me from hacking PHP together to understanding how object-oriented PHP should be done. #carl2016

I also read a most of what Tom McFarlin writes his stuff is excellent. Pippin's tutorials have also been really useful to me.

I should also say that I read all of your Angular stuff and that's been super useful to me. I copypaste from your Github liberally as well. #thanksroy

Also, they write a lot less, but Chris Wiegman and Ryan McCue are really good at making complicated stuff very clear and I never miss what they write.

via Josh Pollock

Pirates.

via Josh Pollock

What's your favorite plugin that you didn't write?

via Chris Wiegman

Hi, I'm Michael Torbert, lead developer of All in One SEO Pack

AMA | Apr. 28, 2016

Most of you know me as the lead developer for All in One SEO Pack, but to my wife I’m just a Star Trek geek. I currently live in North Carolina, but am originally from Virginia. I’ve had a variety of work experiences before WordPress, including a network operations center engineer, working for a SAAS forms company (before there was Gravity Forms), and then my own Semper Fi Web Design (http://semperfiwebdesign.com), before I launched a variety of commercial plugins, most of which are on http://semperplugins.com (some are hosted elsewhere, and others were sold).

I started playing with WordPress in 2007, but really got into the community in 2008. I started traveling all over to go to WordCamps, and have been organizing the Raleigh WordPress meetup group and WordCamp Raleigh since 2009 and 2010, respectively. You’ll find me often in the .org forums, helping out where I can.
I’ve even gotten my wife into the WordPress world lately. She’s a project translation editor for Tibetan and Chinese on translate.wordpress.org.

Feel free to ask me any questions you have about WordPress stuff, but there is a lot more to me than just WordPress. Outside the office, I love to travel, fly my DJI quadcopters, eat foods from all over, Audis, college football, my Nikon, and so much more.

Hello Michael, and Welcome!

Do you have a secret plan to release a new plugin or will the All in one SEO remain the flagship in your plugin fleet?

Kind Regards

via Aleksandar Savkovic

Hi Alek,

At the moment, All in One SEO is going to remain the flagship. We have a handful of other plugins (not all are related to SEO), and will be coming out with more in the not too distant future, in addition to some more for SEO.

via Michael Torbert

Hi Michael, was great chatting with you at PressNomics! I didn't have the chance to ask you how did you start with All in One SEO. What's the story behind the plugin?

via Vova Feldman

Hi Vova,

It was great talking to you at PressNomics this year as well. That’s what I love about that conference, meeting smart people doing innovative things. :)

The first developer of All in one SEO Pack was a developer who went by the name of Uberdose, launched in early 2007. About a year later I took the project over, and eventually built a team and community around it. The Pro version launched in late 2009, and helped paved the way for the commercial plugin industry. Then in 2011, we launched semperplugins.com as its new home.

via Michael Torbert

Hello Michael, nice meeting you- :)

What is your biggest pain points, if any, for running All in one SEO Pack that may bother you time to time?

Thank you.

via Omaar Osmaan

Thanks for the details. I'll hit you with another two if you don't mind :)

- What is your favorite thing in running a product in the WP ecosystem vs. other environments?
- On the contrary, what you don't like in running a WP product?

via Vova Feldman

Howzit, I'm Mark Forrester, Co-Founder of WooThemes, AMA

AMA | Mar. 16, 2016

I'm excited to be here to answer any questions you might have about building web businesses and living in Cape Town, South Africa. Thanks for having me ManageWP.

I'll try check-in here regularly throughout the day.

How is life after joining Automattic family?

via M Asif Rahman

As it seems I am the only one awake now, let me ask you few more question if you don't mind?

1) What is your thought about SaaS in E-commerce?

2) If anybody complains about eco-system is little costly and learning curve is little higher than average WordPress, what will be your answer?

3) Why it's so hard to get into WooCommerce Official Addon Listing? I only hear developer's frustration as it take very long to get an answer and most of the time the answer is negative. Why is that? Don't you want to have your door open for any good developer?

via M Asif Rahman

Thanks for being here, Mark!

I have a couple of questions:

1) You're a CEO of a highly successful company, a father and a dog owner. How do you juggle all these duties?
2) What was the dynamic like between you and the other WooThemes founders, back in the early days?
3) A lot of WordPress developers don't have the soft skills to match their coding skills. As an entrepeneur, what is the single most common mistake they're making, and how should they fix it?
4) How hard is it to hire remotely? What is your number one concern when you screen candidates?
5) What's the biggest mistake you've made in your professional career?

via Nemanja Aleksic

BTW Adii posted this question on the announcement post:

"Serious question: Will Benitez save your beloved Magpies from the drop?

More serious question: Thoughts on this? www.shopify.com/blog/113145925-introducing-shopify-for-wordpress "

via Nemanja Aleksic

Hi Asif,

Life is good thank you. Being part of the Automattic family provides many benefits for the product, team and community. We hope that is apparent in our recent releases.

For myself personally, it's obviously been an adjustment going from the owner of a business, to the lead of the WooTeam within a bigger organisation, but I'm enjoying the learnings, the experience and the network Automattic provides. It's also quite liberating - not having to now worry about every operational aspect of the company, having more experienced teams available to us (e.g. Distributed HR, Finance, Law).

via Mark Forrester

I also need to seriously make sure I post questions in the right places. :)

via adii

Hola, I'm James Farmer, Ask Me Anything....

AMA | Feb. 16, 2016

Hi, I'm James Farmer and let's get the WordPress persona non grata thing https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/10-years-as-a-wordpress-entrepreneur/ out of the way first yeh? Tick. Done. I'm sure we won't hear anything more about that ;)

In other news I founded http://edublogs.org in 2006, co-founded the business side of https://premium.wpmudev.org a few years after and have since had a crack (and often failed) at pretty much every WP business under the sun.

Currently I'm CEO of Incsub, based in Melbourne Australia, run by an awesome worldwide team of folks who do far more important work than me.

Ask me anything...

Thanks for being on our AMA, James!

- What was the most promising idea on paper that you failed to turn into a successful business, and why?

- What are the most important parameters when hiring remotely, in a scenario where that person is not connected to your current team in any way?

- How different is the Australian WordPress community from North America and Europe?

via Nemanja Aleksic

Happy to be here :) Email notifications would make me even happier lol.

> - What was the most promising idea on paper that you failed to turn into a successful business, and why?

Probably the thing I was most excited about for the longest time was a project called blogs.mu (great domain name huh!) which we launched in 2009 after about 6-9 months of dev and basically did to Multisite, what Multisite did to WP... namely start your own blog network.

On paper it looked awesome, not only because there wasn't (and still isn't lol, for reasons I'll come to in a minute) anything that did that, but also because it was a defensive move against anyone creating a similar tool that would (in my mind at least) trump the Multisite hosting and management platform I had built on top of Edublogs - now campuspress.com - as it'd be free / easy etc.

Unfortunately, as it turned out, the demand for third party hosted, largely diy, multisite network creation ispretty much 0 :) The new Ning I was not going to be.

But you only find out by trying!

> - What are the most important parameters when hiring remotely, in a scenario where that person is not connected to your current team in any way?

I've written a massive post all about this including some serious tricks and techniques: premium.wpmudev.org/blog/starting-your-internet-business-part-3/

In a nutshell though, be specific, require people to jump through hoops, set financial stuff early and hire until you can't hire any more.

> - How different is the Australian WordPress community from North America and Europe?

I wish I knew!

I actually setup and ran the first ever WordCamp in the Southern Hemisphere back in the day, which was lots of fun, but as you can find out in the post I linked to at the top of this article, I was pretty quickly pushed out of (for good and bad reasons, mea cupla, etc.) the WP community en large, especially in Australia... and I haven't been invited back... so I can't tell you :)

via James Farmer

Hi James and thanks for your time.

You obviously run a very successful WordPress based business. How do you see things unfolidng for WordPress in the upcoming years and what do you perceive as the biggest threat to WordPress growth?

What do you expect from Upfront?

Do you ever wish things between you and Matt settled down, and if yes, what could be the first step from your side?

via Vladimir Prelovac

Thanks Vladimir, pleasure to be here :)

> You obviously run a very successful WordPress based business. How do you see things unfolidng for WordPress in the upcoming years and what do you perceive as the biggest threat to WordPress growth?

Squarespace, Wix, Webs and schmancy new players in that market... I mean have you even *seen* how many Squarespace 'developers' there are out there, it's crazy and only gonna get crazier.



Especially, and fundamentally, due to those platforms becoming both easier and more powerful, and WP still basically being something that needs to be hosted.

I think wp.com has a strong future, I think Calypso is a big part of that, but the individually managed self-hosted WP that we know and love, in 5-10 years I think we'll be the CMS equivalent of an Ubuntu user.

> What do you expect from Upfront?

Oh, only the World and everything in it :)

More seriously though we just released 1.0 after a massively insane year of learning about function, process and how to even cope with something this complex and significant, and the new product, and how we are developing it, is far far better premium.wpmudev.org/blog/upfront-1-0/

BUT we're nowhere *near* done yet, in my mind this is like wp 1.0, when we get to version 4, oh my.

Huge things on the horizon are different user roles, a completely redesigned front-end posting experience, the BUILDER (oh my word that'll be exciting, only 18 months late lol), a brand new UI that we've already been working on for a few months and rolling it out on Edublogs and CampusPress, which will be an experience in itself.

In terms of the business, I want to make it far far more accessible to regular WP users (i.e. free, although of course it already is GPL) although of course WPMU DEV members will get extra goodies.

Fundamentally though, and above all else, I want to make using and customizing WP far far better and more accessible experience for authors, admins and developers alike... give us a chance to keep those third party systems at bay for a bit ;)

> Do you ever wish things between you and Matt settled down, and if yes, what could be the first step from your side?

Maybe a nice Turkish bath? ;)

In all seriousness, of course, absolutely, we've been swimming upstream for most of the last decade 'cos of this, imagine how we could be doing if we got the same support and approval as Cory, Pippin or any of that crew, it'd be insane not to want that, from a business perspective.

From a personal perspective I feel like I already have made the first move, in a very public and (for me) somewhat cringeworthy way with the post referenced up top, I'm obviously still a little upset, and I think given all the water that's flown under the bridge me and jeff/brian/matt etc. are never gonna be best mates, but I don't lose any sleep over it (I literally used to) even if you can generally start me on a pretty good rant by mentioning how we are 100% ignored (check tavern, post status etc.) by these people and yet link to them copiously and without question in the WhiP premium.wpmudev.org/blog/get-the-whip/

I'm full of first moves :)

via James Farmer

Hi James! :)

What have been the 5 biggest lessons in building Edublogs that, given a second chance, or a whole new business sector, you would learn from and not make again? While I have no use for the site; we never used it when I was in school, they subsequently do now though, I love how it's run with WordPress.

To touch base on the "whole new business sector" above, if you had the chance to create another Edublogs (and we'll exclude CampusPress), something outside Education, what would it be and why?

I'm in the process of building something similar (WP.com/Edublogs), for a sports sector; what helpful articles should I read?

Do you not Open Source any aspects of your business, on the likes of GitHub (for example) like other successful companies?

Can you see Edublogs going down the same route as WordPress.com with Calypso? Do you use the REST API within Incsub?

If it wasn't for WordPress, where/what do you think you'd be doing today?

Thanks for your time!

via Mark McWilliams

Hey Mark,

Should be called Ask me Everything :D I might be a bit shorter with these just so that I can make my next meeting (only 30 mins, will be back)

> What have been the 5 biggest lessons in building Edublogs that, given a second chance, or a whole new business sector, you would learn from and not make again?

Never as for donations, it doesn't work, don;t ask teachers to pay either, it's their job and they aren't over the moon about handing over cash to do work they are generally already poorly (and unfairly so) paid for... really focus on the enterprise and institutions, from day 1.

> To touch base on the "whole new business sector" above, if you had the chance to create another Edublogs (and we'll exclude CampusPress), something outside Education, what would it be and why?

Probably something in the small business space helping people both set up, and actually succeed, on the web.

> I'm in the process of building something similar (WP.com/Edublogs), for a sports sector; what helpful articles should I read?

Well it's marketing marketing marketing so I'd get over to the Moz blog, Conversion XL is also awesome (I'm going to CXL Live in Austin end of March, very excited!) and there's a lot of good marketing stuff on hacker news etc. Too much to point to individually.

If you can't drum up an audience you won't succeed. So you need to start there.

> Do you not Open Source any aspects of your business, on the likes of GitHub (for example) like other successful companies?

Everything we do is 100% GPL, we're experimenting with using github etc. we have a lot of stuff on wp.org profiles.wordpress.org/wpmudev/#content-plugins

> Can you see Edublogs going down the same route as WordPress.com with Calypso? Do you use the REST API within Incsub?

Yes :) And WPMU DEV, perhaps too. I'm not a techy so can't really comment on REST.

> If it wasn't for WordPress, where/what do you think you'd be doing today?

Probably some sort of entrepreneury thing, I've been focused on running my own business since I was a kid, so that was always gonna happen... I used to think about starting my own school.

via James Farmer

I'm Pippin Williamson, founder of numerous plugins, a reviewer for WordPress.org/plugins, a cyclist, and avid craft beer lover. Ask me anything!

AMA | Oct. 14, 2015

Hello!

I am a WordPress plugin developer living in Hutchinson Kansas.

6 years ago I began my journey working in WordPress and today I am the owner and CEO of three companies and the founder of several large eCommerce based plugins, including Easy Digital Downloads, AffiliateWP, and Restrict Content Pro. I have also written well over 200 plugins, I help review plugin submissions on WordPress.org, and frequently contribute back to WordPress core. I also co-host a podcast about WordPress development called ApplyFilters

Outside of WordPress and development, I love cycling, hiking, great coffee, and craft beer. I'm an avid homebrewer and a lover of sour beers.

My wife and two daughters are the heart soul of everything I do.

Ask me anything!

When building a new product, do you have any recommendations for how to find and approach influencers to help spread the word and help make new releases successful?

via Clifton Griffin

What's a big issue that you see while doing plugin reviews for WordPress.org? Not necessarily the most common, but common enough to be worth mentioning.

via Joe Casabona

Serious: Do you #FeelTheBern?

via Mizner

I've never been one to "hunt people down" and ask for them to help promote a product launch. While it can obviously be a very successful strategy, it is just not me.

I have never entertained the idea of someone promoting my product just because they might be able to earn a few affiliate dollars on it. Instead, I want people to promote it because they truly love and support the product.

To answer your question, I think one of the best things you can do is try and get a few influencers to not only promote your product but to back it 100%. I promote plugins like SearchWP avidly because it is a truly great plugin, not just because I consider Jonathan a good friend.

How do you get it into influencers hands and attention? That's a harder issue, but I'd start with reaching out directly. Tip: be short, to the point, and honest. People that get hundreds or thousands of messages everyday hate reading yet-another-spammy-help-me email. Keep your email or message less than 300 words or less.

Another tip: write, write write. Write on your own blog, write guest posts, write on Twitter, write on Facebook. Put material out there. While people won't always find it, you're guaranteed to be more successful if you have writing out there than if you have none.

via Pippinsplugins

Biggest: people not following directions.

We get submission after submission where people have copy and pasted some code into a file and uploaded it. Even after we email them to inform them of various issues, we will still get the same exact code submitted with zero changes.

via Pippinsplugins

Yes. He's one of the first candidates I've been excited about in a long time. It's so refreshing to see one that is genuine and not driven / funded by big money.

via Pippinsplugins

Hi, I'm Troy Dean from WP Elevation, ask me anything.

AMA | May. 11, 2016

Hi Gang, I'm super excited to be here for the next 8 hours answering nay questions you have about running a WordPress consulting business, running a successful membership community website or selling courses online.

Hey Troy! What's the number on thing you wish you knew about making and selling online courses before you started WP Elevation?

Also what plugins do you find useful in combination with LearnDash and BuddyBoss?

via Amber Hinds

Hey Troy,

What's yor take on all the new top level domains. eg: .courses, .school etc

With many specific names for courses taken, is getting a generic name.courses a good idea?

or is it better to come up with one's own unique domain name like you did with wpelevation.com and be seen as an international brand vs having the .com.au that may confuse an international audience in that the course or brand is predominantly Australian?

Dan

via Daniel Doherty

Hey Troy,

I'm blogging, creating videos, posting on social media. Do you have any tips for generating more leads when you are starting out and word of mouth is too slow?

Thanks,
Nathan

via Nathan George

Hey Amber, great question.

The number one thing I wish I knew three years ago is that community trumps content. It doesn't matter how great the content is in your online course, if there is no sense of community students feel isolated and are more likely to drop off without completing the course.

Since we build the community aspect, we are averaging 65% completion rates and a massive increase in word-of-mouth referrals.

In terms of plug-ins we find the BuddyBoss Wall (www.buddyboss.com/product/buddyboss-wall/) and the Social Learner for LearnDash solution have been epic (www.buddyboss.com/product/social-learner-learndash/)

I hope that helps.

via Troy Dean

Hey Dan,

I think for any marketing site the .com is a must have. It's just so ingrained in our behaviour and I think these new top-level domains are a bit of a gimmick for registrars to increase revenue.

Of course I could be wrong :)

via Troy Dean

Hey Nathan,

The number one best thing I have ever done to generate leads is to speak at conferences, meet ups or any other live event.

It forces you to fuel up on your knowledge to make sure you know what you are talking about and it positions you as an authority in your field.

It also forces you out of your comfort zone which is where growth happens.

I hope that helps.

via Troy Dean

Hi, I'm Collis, CEO/Cofounder of Envato, Ask Me Anything!

AMA | Nov. 17, 2015

Hello! I'm Collis, in 2006 I cofounded Envato, the company behind ThemeForest, CodeCanyon, and Tuts+. I got into WordPress in 2007 shortly after we launched the company because I wanted to start a blog. I soon got into theming (being a web designer) and even cowrote a book on theming (a long time ago, it's not a very relevant book now!) These days most of my time is just running Envato, but I still work with WordPress for my personal projects, and am really excited to be here to do an AMA!

Hi Collis!

I love, love, love everything you've done with Envato over the years. Your company is very largely responsible for helping me get to where I am today.

As a fellow founder and business owner (though a much smaller one), I'd love to hear about some of your primary difficulties in scaling your company. You famously started Envato with just a few people in an old men's bathroom. Now it's a huge company. What were some of the challenges you faced in growing from 1 or 2 to 50+ employees?

via Pippinsplugins

Hi Collis

Thanks for taking time for this AMA.

I am curious do you remember what were Envatos biggest hurdles and how you overcame them going from 3 to 30 employees; same for from 30 to 300.

Do you use remote workesrs and what is your general stance on that?

What excites and what scares you the most about WordPress future?



via Vladimir Prelovac

Hi Collis,

we are non-exclusive author on ThemeForest and would like to know if ThemeForest will consider increasing non-exclusive rates?

via Ana Segota

At times, the relationship between Envato and other parts of the WordPress world (WordCamps, theme best practices, licensing) has been fractious. It seems to be better now, but Envato properties do still feel a bit isolated from other parts of the WordPress "community". What changes could occur -- on both sides -- so that the Envato community (Envato employees, ThemeForest authors, etc) and influencers in the WordPress community have greater interaction?

via Brian Krogsgard

Hey :) Where can I get a cool avatar like yours designed?

What do you see as the biggest avenues for Envatos growth moving forward?

via Tom Harrigan

:-) Thanks Pippin!! I'm certain you would have been very successful with or without us, but I'm super proud that we got to have a hand in it. Two of the biggest challenges I can think of have been:

(1) Having to learn all the stuff which wasn't anything to do with making web products.

Like probably most founders, I was working on Envato because I liked making web things - blogs, marketplaces, products! For quite a while, probably too long, I just pretended most of the other parts of running a business didn't really exist. A few years in when our team was really starting to grow past like 20 odd people, I started to realize that I needed to grok things like managing people, finances, legals, communications and the like. I made SO many mistakes in these areas, and some of them just take time to really understand. And what's most challenging I think is that you're kind of doing it all while also still worrying about the product and most importantly about growth.

(2) Learning to delegate
And on a related note, over time I've realized the only way to scale is to delegate and bring in great people who understand their areas. Even this has been challenging to learn (for me!) For a long time I still wanted to be in the details of things, and would worry that someone else wouldn't be able to do it as well. I remember delaying getting our very first reviewer because I was adamant that nobody would review items as well as me. Turns out, literally the first person we brought in was way better.

Even so, learning to create a great team and rely on them is one of the biggest challenges I think. The mix of letting go, plus learning how to set clear expectations, plus being able to find good people, plus giving feedback when it doesn't go to plan, plus helping them grow in their careers, plus, plus, plus. It's pretty complicated. I guess people are pretty complicated :-)





via Collis

I'm Brian Gardner, Founder of StudioPress, Partner at Rainmaker Digital. Ask me anything!

AMA | Dec. 16, 2015

I'm a designer and a writer, but most known for creating the premium WordPress theme market.

I'm living the dream in the suburbs of Chicago with my wife Shelly and 11 year-old son Zach.

Most people know me as a Starbucks addict or Sarah McLachlan fan -- both of which would be right.

So what else do you want to know?

Hey Brian,

We've known each other for a while, dating back to the digital nomad blog concept and possibly even a few "chapters" before that. I wanted to say thanks for always speaking from your heart -- and not being afraid to do so.

Over the years as I watch you (and your team) evolve, I'm curious, how do you validate that *next* idea? What math or spaghetti-against-the-wall method do you use to allow yourself to commit to it? Do you start with "how can I say _no_ to this?" Lastly, for the partners at RM, are these personal brand missions critical to the overall business and do you all discuss each?

via Matt Medeiros

Hey friend! I'm probably going to hit you where it's unexpected right now, but I find myself stuck in a situation and am thinking you can help.

You know I've been a SP/Genesis user since day one, pretty much. I love it. I love all the themes and the ability to totally customize what I'm doing. However, I'm running into issues where clients want the whole drag-n-drop page builder elements of themes like Enfold and Divi.

I can't stand using them. I've successfully convinced many to leave them and come to the Genesis side (hehe).

But they're growing in demand, I think.

Any plans on incorporating/developing a clean plugin for Genesis for this stuff, or is there one? Or should I just tell those people to find someone else?

via Lara Kulpa

Hello Brian!

Thanks for making StudioPress and the Genesis themes. They have helped me in my Design business tremendously.

I'd like to learn the Genesis platform and how to design themes for it, actually just being able to customize them to whatever my clients want is my goal. But I don't know what is the best route to take without spending years becoming a developer. Is there a way to learn to modify StudioPress themes quickly. And is there a place to learn the genesis platform inside and out?

Thanks for your help.

Jon

via Jon Dalrymple

With your current minimalist approach to themes, with no sidebars, where do you see churches and other like sites putting important but peripheral information such as service times, physical location, special events, etc. And still keep essential information about the organization front and center?

via Paul Oyler

Hey Matt -- good to hear from you!I don't think there's a way to validate an idea ahead of time, so for me it's pretty much as you said -- throw it against the wall and see what sticks. Thankfully my role in our company isn't to create every idea, rather ones that pertain to design -- primarily StudioPress/themes.

It's no secret over the years I've redesigned my blog umpteen times, and to be honest it's only partly because I'm creatively schizophrenic. The primary reason I do this is to test design ideas and gauge the reactions I get from my audience.

As for personal brands, I'm a huge advocate of companies encouraging the employees (or partners in my case) to build them. I think the stronger the personal brand, the stronger the company brand. I think that relationship should be a symbiotic one, where the company pushes the personal brand and the person pushes the company brand. I know I go out of my way to do both, because I think they are both beneficial to each other.

via Brian Gardner

We've been asked this a number of times over the years, and the reality is that it's something I doubt very highly we'll ever do. We simply have too many other priorities on our plate. Do I think it could be a valuable thing? Yes, absolutely!

Which means I think (cough) this is a golden opportunity for a developer in the Genesis community. Someone who sees a void with high demand, and wants to supply something of extreme value.

Hint, hint.

via Brian Gardner

I'm Cory Miller, Founder of iThemes.com, ask me anything!

AMA | Dec. 2, 2015

I love talking about entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing, career advice and of course my beautiful amazing kiddos (Caloway and Lillian). :)

I'm a former newspaper journalist turned web entrepreneur. Started iThemes in 2008 and now we have 25 people, thousands of customers and are focused on making people's lives awesome.

What else do you want to know? :)

Hi Cory,

I see lots of plugin companies struggling to scale. Things are easy when your just a founder or two, but at some point there becomes more work than two can handle. When it's time to hire your first employee there are a lot of details to sort through...

What position should we hire? How do we hire the right person? Dealing with taxes, legal, etc...

Any advice on this front?

via Ross Johnson

Hi Cory! Which would you rather fight: one horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?

via Dodgers Benny

Ross, great questions!

I will just share from my experience and unique situation and leave to you to pull the truths out for yourself and particular situation. Fingers crossed, here goes:

When I started iThemes in 2008, I knew I wanted to hire people and build a team ... mainly because I didn't want to do everything myself and frankly I wasn't talented enough to do it. Although for the first 6 months or so I was the only full-time team member and did or managed most everything by myself (with the help of one contractor).

In the early years, the answer to the question "What position should I hire?" was very simple. I identified the areas in the business I hated and/or was very bad at. That came pretty easy for me because I was very motivated to find people that enjoyed and were great at the things I sucked at and/or was miserable doing.

So I looked at all the categories of work that needed to be done -- everything from site maintenance, marketing, taxes, legal, support, development, project management -- and assigned a name to them ... and in the beginning my name was on most of them. And then based on my own personal pain or failure at doing some of them ... rapidly found new names to put on those tasks.

In later years, hiring was more ... what firepower do we need to roll out new products and features .... as well as scaling questions like, "Who needs more help?"

By the way, I've written extensively about How to Hire Your First Employee (Team Member) here:

corymiller.com/hiring-your-first-employee-step-by-step-guide/

Re: hiring the "right" person ... that's something I have been trying to hone in and refine on for the last 7+ years now and will always be learning more about. Admittedly it's the most frustrating, painful part of the hiring process because if you don't find or get the "right" person doing the "right" job, it's a costly, often painful misfire. And that's ALWAYS the hardest part of the job -- telling someone they are no longer part of the iThemes team.

Here are some notes / thoughts on finding the "right" people for your team (giving the caveat that we've failed and broken these many times over):

* Would I invite them into my home or to be around my children? -- This is about Trust. It's non-negotiable. I invite our team into my home, and when our children were born, many of them came to the hospital and held them on their first day in this world. If I don't trust someone on our team to be in my home, or around my family, they don't belong on our team ... or in my life. I know we all pay lipservice to this, but it needs to be said again -- trust is a foundational, immutable law. Break it and we've got serious problems.

* Do I enjoy being around them? This is about Fit-in-Ability. The essence of this is, they need to fit in our existing team and with me. Our culture has been defined by having a small group of diverse and passionate people who are supremely committed to each other, the mission and the customer. The acid test for Fit-in-Ability for me has been asking myself: Would I want to spend my precious time with them at dinner with them? And then, would the members of our team want to do dinner with them as well? Sure, we're not always going to like each other. Conflicts happens. But at the end of the day, are we compatible? I cannot underestimate the importance of this. In my experience, building a team of supremely committed people means they sync and like each other, despite their differences. Which is why each month we try to do a nighttime hangout at one of our team's houses in Oklahoma City where our office is located. We invite team members and spouses/significant others to come and eat and drink and be merry. I'm always thankful for the voluntary participation of our hangouts because it tells me that we do in fact LIKE each other enough to spend our "free" time together. And that tells me that when the crap hits the fan ... we'll pull together FOR each other through the bad times. (By the way, for our remote team we try to get "Elbow Time" 3-4 times a year with them and I also seek to travel with at least one team member whenever possible to WordCamps etc.)

* Do we share the same values and vision? This is very hard to determine at first because people are getting better at interviews and at saying what they think you want to hear. But if someone doesn't share the same values as our team, it becomes apparent very soon. That's why we tell stories a lot here. Examples of experiences that demonstrate what we value most. Additionally, do they embrace the vision of the company and where we are headed? In the past we had some team members who did not embrace the vision but wanted to steer it in their own direction. That'll never work. Part of boarding the ship here at iThemes means embracing the vision that I (and we) have for it. If you don't, you belong on another ship, and maybe one of your own.

* And finally, it comes down to: Can they do the job? Skills are vital. You have to be able to do the job we assign you at iThemes. But it is the last priority question that we typically ask.

Whew. Hope that helps.


via Cory Miller

I'm a lover, not a fighter.

via Cory Miller

Answer the question!

via Brad Williams

That's not how this question works :(

via Dodgers Benny