Welcome to ManageWP.org

Register to share, discuss and vote for the best WordPress stories every day, find new ideas and inspiration for your business and network with other members of the WordPress community. Join the #1 WordPress news community!

×

I'm Joost de Valk, founder and CEO at Yoast. Ask me anything!

AMA | May. 31, 2017

I've been using WordPress since 2006 and contributing to it since 2007. I founded Yoast in 2010. Yoast now has 50+ employees that serve 6.5 million websites (and many more people) using our plugin. This whole ride still leaves me pinching myself every once in a while, but it's certainly been great.

I run Yoast together with Michiel, Omar and my awesome wife Marieke. Marieke and I also have 4 kids and we live about 1 kilometer away from the Yoast office, in Wijchen, the Netherlands.

I'm passionate about LEGO, open source, open standards and their applications, as well as entrepreneurship in general.

I’ve got my coffee ready, so: ask me anything!

Hi,

How come you update the plugin so frequently? Feels like there is an update every week :)

via Andrew de Lisle

We do an update once every two weeks in a continuous cycle. Normally we have about 15 people working on the plugin, so two weeks of work is a LOT of code. A lot of bugfixes and both smaller and bigger enhancements.

If, on top of that continuous cycle, we find a bug that annoys a significant group of people, we push out a bugfix. This way we feel you get the best plugin we can deliver you and the test process is limited to a relatively small number of issues. You can understand that if we would do a release every two months, we'd have to test an enormous amount of changes, especially as some of our changes have an impact on other plugins as well.

via Joost de Valk

Hi Joost,

I have seen you almost everywhere, helping the WordPress Community, I always have a SINGLE question.

Any particular reason, you folks uses Animated Avatars? :D

via Mustaasam Saleem

Yes! We use them because they're very recognizable. You'll instantly recognize someone as working for Yoast :)

via Joost de Valk

Indeed!

via Mustaasam Saleem

Hey, Joost!

Thanks for being here!

Question, what are you guys cooking for us at Yoast atm?

via Milan Ivanović

I'm David Bisset - Freelancer & WordCamp Organizer - Ask Me Anything

AMA | May. 17, 2017

Born and raised in South Florida, I started coding when i was in Elementary school on an Apple IIe with Apple BASIC and I haven't looked back since. When I moved to ASP.net to PHP, it didn't me long to find myself using Movable Type as my first CMS. But after tackling enough client projects, I moved to WordPress around version 1.5 and haven't looked back since. Along with WordPress in general, I have a particular love for BuddyPress and have been using that since it's pre-beta days.

I also helped start WordCamp Miami, one of the longest running WordCamps. I've been involved with every WCMIA which has been going on for almost 10 years non-stop (we're just about the longest in terms of consecutive years). We've been honored to either start trends (like Learn JavaScript Deeply tracks or certain swag) or help make existing trends more popular (BuddyCamps, Kids Camps, etc.) We are also among the largest in North America with recent attendance topping 850. I am an official mentor of other WordCamps and also have been helping run my local WordPress meetups for a number of years. Not to mention other meetups/events I help out with.

I've done work with numerous startups and businesses. I currently work at Awesome Motive where i'm involved in building great WordPress plugins, particularly Envira Gallery. I love it there.

Aside from technology, I'm 40, have been married 15+ years, and have three beautiful daughters (thankfully my wife's DNA mostly prevailed).

I love pizza, Star Trek, MST3K, and if you see me at a WordPress event bug me for some swag because heaven knows i am still trying to get rid of all of it from past WordCamps.

Ask me anything!

Thanks for being on our AMA, David!

1) Name one thing you tried to accomplish for WordCamp Miami, but never did.
2) Picard, Sisko, Janeway or Kirk?

via Nemanja Aleksic

1. Making WCMIA more fresh and exciting in terms of formats I think. We've been "stuck" in the same track formats for a while even though we have brought in the Learn JavaScript Deeply track. It's hard to make moderate to drastic changes when you have a large attendee total - lots of people are used to the way we do things and don't like change. Luckily our 10th anniversary is coming up which is going to give us an excuse to do more interesting things hopefully.

2. Hard choice. Picard - because i think i'm starting to go bald. Sisko - Like him, I'm a father. Janeway - i'm into science and discovering lots of neat things that get me and my crew/family into trouble. Kirk - well, not a ladies man but i look good in yellow. And you left out Archer? Oh the shame. I think i'm more like Harry Mudd if anyone here gets that reference.

via David Bisset

Almost forgot: i want to get a WordCamp where the shirts are modeled after 60s Star Trek. Organizers in command yellow, speakers in science blue and volunteers are the "red shirts".

via David Bisset

Morning David!

I'm curious if there is one activity or element during WordCamp Miami that seems to get the best response from attendees. In other words, what do you feel attendees find to be the most engaging part?

Also, the trivia game was amazing this year! I loved that!

via Jodie Riccelli

1) How do you ace being so unpopular?
2) What do you think the biggest change in the WordPress ecosystem will be in the next 5 years?

via Clifton Griffin

What are the characteristics of the best WordCamp talks you see? What do you wish more people would do?

via Matt Mullenweg

I'm Aaron D. Campbell - WordPress Security Team Lead - Ask Me Anything

AMA | May. 10, 2017

Born and raised in San Diego, I now live in small town Oklahoma. Even after being here nearly four years, the small town thing still feels like a bit of a shock.

I started writing computer code about 26 years ago in 1991. Open source BASIC games that shipped with MS-DOS were where I started and I still think that open source and an open web are absolutely important to the human race as we move forward (big claim I know, but it's true). It's a large part of what motivated me to start contributing to WordPress just over a decade ago, and what has slowly moved to where I am today – funded by GoDaddy to work full time on the WordPress project.

Aside from technology, I'm 35, have been married 17 years, and have a 13 year old son. We live on a large piece of land, that used to be a kids camp, where I go hiking and fishing, ride motorcycles, and even canoe with my son. You should come to Camp Press and check it out.

I love beer and I love coffee. I'm a bit of a snob about both, but I'm okay with that. And now that I have my second cup of coffee in my hand...

Ask me anything!

Hi Aaron, thanks for being on our AMA!

- What's the daily routine like of a WordPress Security Tzar?
- How did you get into contributing to WordPress?
- How much are your kids in touch with technology?

via Nemanja Aleksic

I'm not sure there really is a "daily routine", although one can dream. If we're nearing a security release, much of my time is probably spent making sure every item going into that release has an owner, checking in with them regularly, testing patches, and generally coordinating between all the people involved.

Between releases I might be coordinating with hosts to try to get data about various issues we're working on, working with reporters to coordinate disclosure times, addressing people's concerns about specific issues when they're brought to my attention, or working to set up the tools and processes that we need to continue to scale our team.

----------

Before I started contributing to WordPress, I started using it for client projects. It was open source, which was important to me for flexibility and control as well as for learning from it and once a project was done it was simple enough that the client could run the site on their own. Even back in 2005. My first contribution actually came as a result of a bug I found while working on a client site. I opened a Trac ticket, submitted a patch, my code was added to core, and I was HOOKED. I've been contributing regularly ever since.

----------

My son is like most teenagers I think. He's not particularly interested in doing what dad does but he's also completely addicted to his phone, his laptop, and his video games. It's weird to think that he considers himself to be not very technical, yet daily uses a touch screen phone to stream movies out of the ether. His generation definitely has a different baseline for technology, and it's really quite exciting.

via Aaron D. Campbell

Hey Aaron,

It was great meeting you at WCCHI (finally:-)) and thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to answer the questions here.

What are the podcasts and/or news sites that you like to read and listen to?

Have you ever tried an espresso from the Jura coffee machine (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jura_Elektroapparate)? If you haven't I really recommend it. No matter which coffee beans you put into Jura the coffee tastes amazing.

I am looking forward to Camp Press & for trying out some Oklahoma beers:-).

Cheers,

Tina

via Tina Todorovic

Hey Tina, it was great to finally meet you too!

I don't do a lot of podcasts, but I never miss Post Status Draft (poststatus.com/category/draft/) although I often catch up in marathons when driving. I also like to listen to Office Hours FM (officehours.fm/podcast/) when I can, and recently discovered Developer Tea which I want to start listening to (spec.fm/podcasts/developer-tea).

I have not tried the Jura, but now I'm going to have to! I will say that I miss having access to the commercial espresso machine at my friend's coffee shop in Phoenix. A quality machine makes a huge difference for espresso. It's part of why I do french press or chemex at home :-)

via Aaron D. Campbell

Hey Aaron,

It was great running into you at WCCHI.

Does security team have any plans for the implementation of security checks for plugins that are submitted to wordpress.org?

I am looking forward to seeing you again at Camp Press (if not earlier).

Regards,

Dejan

via Dejan Markovic

Hey Dejan, it was fun hanging out a little bit in Chicago!

At the moment there's no plan to implement any kind of automated security checks into the plugin repository. It's been talked about, and it's something that I'm interested in personally, but it will also require a lot of careful planning and a needs to have a really great UX that goes beyond simply alerting you to potential issues. Static analyzers still return a lot of false positives, so guiding a developer through the process of identifying whether the issue is real and giving them a way to continue if it isn't – these are just a couple of the things that need to be solved before we ever start implementing.

Something we are definitely interested in doing in the near future though, is starting to extend out and have our security team cover some of the most popular plugins as well. Offering assistance and expertise first, and eventually maybe even allow reports to come directly to us. Assuming it works out well, we'll continue to extend our umbrella out over more and more plugins. It's really quite exciting. No one uses WordPress without plugins and themes, so keeping those plugins secure will help secure our users in a very direct way!

via Aaron D. Campbell

I'm Carrie Dils, WordPress instructor and podcaster. Ask me anything!

AMA | May. 3, 2017

I've had a long and winding journey from a freelance web designer in the late 90's to an independent web developer focused on WordPress at present. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I've learned that I thrive when I can help empower other people with knowledge. To that end, I:

* teach front-end web development, WordPress, and the Genesis Framework on Lynda.com / LinkedIN Learning
* help organize and volunteer at local WP community events
* travel the US speaking at WordCamps (one of these days I'll get out of the country)
* host a podcast for freelancers and creatives who work with WordPress
* writing a "real world survival guide" for new freelancers

When I'm not in front of my computer, I'm hanging out with my two rescue labradors, nursing a craft beer, and enjoying good food with my husband, Dave. I occasionally pretend to be athletic.

I'm armed with coffee and a laptop. Ask me anything!

How's the book writing process going? What was harder than you expected and what was easier?

via Joe

Hi Carrie,

Thanks for taking time for AMA.

Can you tell us a few big advantages to going freelance?

Thank you

via Bojana Milosevic

Hey Carrie,

Can you tell us what tools do you use on daily basis? Also, if you had a magic wand, what would you change in WordPress?

Thanks,
Milan

via Milan Ivanović

Hey Joe! Thanks for breaking the ice here. :)

The book writing process is so much more difficult than I anticipated. Of course it takes time to write, but there are all these other decisions in the mix like:

* will I self-publish (yes)
* will I do KDP Select (this is equivalent to the will I sell in a marketplace that keeps some of the $ but gets me visibility, or will I market myself and keep 100%)
* what's the marketing strategy (I'm working with Diane Kinney, so you know we had to talk about that early on)
* will we offer "packaged" variations of the book (yes)
* what collaborative writing tool will we use (after trying several options we settled on Microsoft OneNote)

Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

I think where I went wrong in the beginning was assuming I could treat the book like a "nights and weekends" project. It needs full, calendared attention just like a development project would.

All that said, Diane and I are still excited about the project and are pushing to get it out there. :)

via carrie dils

Hey Bojana,

You bet. The first advantage is that I'm not wearing pants as I type this from my home office. ;) Seriously though, my favorite things about freelancing are:

* Flexibility of schedule - I can set my own hours. I can leave during the middle of the day to go for a walk and not have to ask anyone's permission.
* Freedom to change directions - Last year I made a decision to stop doing client work so that I could focus full-time on teaching, writing, and podcasting. I'm free to take risks and move in directions more quickly than if I were part of a larger organization.

One thing I want to note, however, is that the best things about freelancing can also be the worst.

* Flexibility of schedule and working "whenever" is great, but it also leads to a lack of boundaries between what is "work time" and what is not. It's taken me years to get to the point where I consciously choose to not work on a Saturday (not answering email, not checking numbers, not even cracking open my laptop). As a business owner, your work is always with you and it takes a certain discipline (that I've long lacked) to set up appropriate boundaries around your time.
* It's awesome to be able to go in any direction with your business, but the flip side is that I bear 100% of the risk. There is no cushion (employer paycheck) to take when my projects fail.

To sum it up, freelancing is amazing and I love what I do, but it's not for everyone. I wrote more on the topic here: carriedils.com/freelancer-not-for-everyone/

via carrie dils

Hey Milan,

I spend a ridiculous amount of time in Google Drive. I don't know if that counts as a tool or not, but it's proved a great way to share and collaborate on documents and stay organized. Also for organizing, I rely heavily on Todoist and iCal.

I'm not doing as much development work currently as I was in the past, but when I do, I'm hanging out in Sublime Text and iTerm.

For my podcast, I spend a lot of time editing Audacity and prepping artwork in Photoshop. The one other tool I almost forget I use until I'm on someone else's computer is Spectacle. It's a Mac app that lets you create different window sizes/positions with shortcuts.

What would I change in WP if I had a magic wand? I think that I would change the current structure of WordCamp approval and support. It's a true labor of love to organize a camp and it's disheartening to try and adhere to a set of ideals that don't take into consideration cultural and geographical differences. I don't have a solution (I'm just here to complain - ha!) but there is no "one size fits all" and I wish they weren't treated that way.

via carrie dils

I’m Adam Warner, Community Evangelist at SiteLock and Co-founder of FooPlugins. Ask Me Anything!

AMA | Apr. 26, 2017

I discovered WordPress in 2005 and have been working on the platform and within the community ever since. To feed my entrepreneurial spirit, I’ve founded several WordPress-focused businesses that provided education, plugins and consulting services for online business owners.

I’m a true WordPress Evangelist in spirit and personality, and that also happens to be my job title with SiteLock.com.

I’m also passionate about my family (including two boys under five), robots, and of course Life, the Universe and Everything.

I’ve got my coffee, water, and a full charge on the laptop. Ask me anything!

How many weekends are you traveling a month on average?

via Courtney Robertson

Hi Adam,

Long time no see :) From Philadelphia I guess :) Thanks for taking the time for AMA

First of all, where are you buying those great T-Shirts that SiteLock is giving away on WordCamps :D

Just joking of course :)

In your opinion, what is the most important trait that WordPress Evangelist should have?

via Aca

Hey Adam,

Thank you so much for doing this AMA!

Would you mind sharing your tools that you couldn't live without?

And if you could change one thing in our Community what would that be?

Thank you so much, and see you on one of the next WordCamps!

via Milan Ivanović

Thank you for doing this Adam.

Let's break the ice with this simple question: Star Wars or Star Trek and why?

I am looking forward to hearing your answer :-).

via Tina Todorovic

Hi Adam,

Do you lean more toward coding or marketing, when it comes to product development?

What tips would you have for a side-gig premium plugin (add-on) to effectively market on a shoestring budget?

How do you set yourself apart from folks who are just in WP for the market share, and not the community? Is there a silver bullet there?

via Ben Meredith

Hi Courtney, thanks for stopping by!

When I started in April 2016, it was two weekends consistently but that soon turned into three. Since January of this year, I've traveled every weekend but three.

I have a wife and two kids and we've had to adjust our schedules when I am home to ensure we have QUALITY family time when we're all together. So far so good and I'm looking forward to a couple weekends home in May.

via Adam W. Warner

We are Tina Todorovic and Dejan Markovic, Co-Founders of Social Web Suite and HYPEStudio. Ask Me Anything X 2!

AMA | May. 24, 2017

Since we are closing the season 4 of Ask Me Anything series and as we are partners in business and life, it just made sense to us to give all of you something extra, so we will both be here today answering your questions. Our story with WordPress goes like this:

Dejan has been following WordPress from its early beginnings, but he has started getting more involved with the WordPress development in 2010. The first WordCamp he attended was in Toronto in 2013 where Dejan fell in love with the WordPress community. Deciding then to become more active and give back, Dejan became a co-organizer of WordCamp Toronto 2014, 2015 and a lead organizer in 2016, and he has been helping to organize WordPress Toronto meetups ever since.

Dejan wrote a book "WordPress Responsive Theme Design" https://www.packtpub.com/web-development/wordpress-responsive-theme-design in 2015., where he explains how to properly create a responsive WordPress theme. He was also a technical reviewer for the book "Learning Yeoman" https://www.packtpub.com/web-development/learning-yeoman in 2014.

Because of Dejan's love for WordPress, he persuaded Tina to go with him to WordCamp Montreal in 2014 where Tina quickly discovered why everyone keeps talking how awesome and welcoming WordPress community is. Meeting there some serious WordPressers like Carl Alexander (https://managewp.org/members/3698/carl-alexander), Kathryn Presner, Elida Arrizza and Chris Bavota, Tina started sharing Dejan's passion for WordPress and its community and has been involved ever since. Besides volunteering and co-organizing Toronto WordPress meetups and WordCamps (2014, 2015 and 2016), Tina enjoys meeting new fellow WordPressers and spreading the word about WordPress.

As they both share an entrepreneurial spirit they've founded several WordPress-focused businesses that provided WordPress development services, plugins, and the latest one being a SaaS startup.

While Dejan is involved in the technical aspects of their businesses, Tina does everything except development. However, they both have a strong interest in marketing and growth hacking, so they never miss Chris Lema's (https://managewp.org/members/483/chris-lema) talks at WordCamps and they enjoy reading the latest books and listening to several podcasts about marketing and growth hacking.

Dejan is a drummer and likes electronic music from ambient to drum and bass and psychedelic trance! Tina used to play Classical music on her piano and besides occasional trip to rock, pop and soul, that is the music she enjoys the most.

Extra points to anyone who knows of a chocolate that Tina hasn't tried and to anyone who set up a jamming session with Dejan:-).

We love everything WordPress & we have our laptops, chocolate, and water ready!

Ask Me Anything X 2!

Hey friends, great to have you here :) A couple of questions from my side:
- How do you envision WordPress three years from now?
- If you had a magic wand, what is the one thing that you would change immidiately in WordPress?
- WordPress & the community influenced your lives a lot, can you share with others what are the secret ingredients of that change?
- Dejan, what is the electronic drum set that you suggest for beginners?
- Tina, what is your favorite chocolate?
- Do we see each other in Paris? When can we expect you in Belgrade? :)

via Atanasovski Petar

Hey Guys! Love to see you doing an AMA here! What has been the biggest challenge in building what's essentially a social media platform on top of WordPress?

Also - Dejan I didn't know you played the drums - we'll have to set up a dueling drums session at WCUS ;-)

via Joe

Hey guys,

It is always cool to see a couple that is together bound in work and in life :)

I have few questions:

- As an organizers of WordCamp Toronto, what is your main challenge during planning and realisation of such big event?
- How much is WordPress a part of your life during one day session?
- Since You both play instruments, do You play along together occasionally? :D

Thanks :)
Nikola

via Nikola Kirincic

Hi you two! Good to see you doing an AMA on here. :)

What's the experience been like switching from client services to product development? Any advice for others considering the same pivot?

And with Social Web Suite, what have some of your biggest learnings been?

via Andy McIlwain

Hi Petar,

Thanks for stopping by.

1. It is really hard to envision the future of WordPress, so I can only say what I would hope the future will bring. I would like to see everyone from the WordPress community stepping up and explaining that WordPress is not just for blogging and that can scale. I would also like to see better (stricter) rules for submitting a plugin to repo and more plugins and themes using API calls.

2. From what I've already mentioned, perhaps the stricter rules for plugin submissions and more openness to submitting WordPress themes to repo are the things I would like to see implemented soon.

3. I can't mention here all the awesome WP peeps we've met during our journey and who has influenced our lives a lot (as we don't have enough time nor space for it:-)) but I just want to say that we've made some wonderful long lasting friendships along the way that we cherish a lot (for example, with you:-)). I believe the secret ingredients for a change are just to be yourself, be open to embracing new things, be willing to learn, and most importantly, don't be a jerk.

4. Now I know we will stay here forever as you've opened Dejan's favorite subject:-).

5. My favorite chocolate is (not-so-well -known) Ragusa chocolate (https://ragusa.swiss/ch/en/our-chocolates/), the Swiss chocolate named after the city of Dubrovnik. Although, I am known not to refuse a chocolate ever:-).

6. Unfortunately, we are not coming to Paris. It is simply not in the cards for us this year. Regarding Belgrade, not sure yet, but I promise we will let you know as soon as we buy the plane tickets.

Hope this answers your questions, as I have to run and answer other questions, too.

Cheers,

Tina

via Tina Todorovic

Hi Petar,
- How do you envision WordPress three years from now?
I think it's going to rock maybe more in the way of JS and API's

- If you had a magic wand, what is the one thing that you would change immediately in WordPress?
1. Open wordpress.com to plugins and themes (not only to selected people).
2. Open wordpress.com or something related as a PRO marketplace it can be another source of income to developers, agencies and Automattic too! :)
3. PAID REVEWS for plugins and themes and WordPress.org as an option, meaning free can still be option there but paid can be for developers and companies who don't want to wait 3 months for approval (plugin approval are faster though but there are only a few people who are doing that and they are swamped with work). In order to make WordPress more PRO we can't have only volunteers that will donate their time. We have to commercialize those services same as all other marketplaces.

- WordPress & the community influenced your lives a lot, can you share with others what are the secret ingredients of that change?
I used to be .NET developer and I was going to those meetups and conferences which were boring and people were there just to grab something and leave. Then I came to WordCamp Toronto in 2013 and it was totally opposite. Everybody was sharing everything, even how to become successful and all that kind od stuff and I said to myself this is a community for me (where I feel at home). I think Tina has the same opinion :)

- Dejan, what is the electronic drum set that you suggest for beginners?
Everything depends on the budget. I recommend Yamaha's for beginners and intermediate players and Roland more to Pro peoples :).
Budget kits from Alesis are OK too for the start :).

via Dejan Markovic

I’m Mendel, founder and head of community evangelism programs at GoDaddy, and Camp Press and Hiking with Geeks founder, AMA

AMA | Apr. 5, 2017

I’m a native Iowan who moved to Austin, Texas ~3.5 years ago. I’ve logged over a quarter of a million miles spending time with WordPress (and others like Drupal, Javascript, Freelance) communities all over the world.

I got my start with Turbo Pascal and Borland C++, and am a self-taught PHP (and sometimes, when I have to, .net) engineer. I’ve owned and run social enterprises, and have been through the ups and downs of owning my own small web agency.

I got involved with WordPress around 10 years ago when the ease of updates and stability of the plugin ecosystem surpassed other open source projects.

Since then, I’ve worked at GoDaddy for a little over 8 years, and have seen the continuum of progress that the company has gone through over that time.

I’m super passionate about building communities, coffee, whiskey, travel, and hiking. I’m an avid explorer, and love the city I live in.

Ask my anything!

Can you give us a list of everything Godaddy has acquired that WordPress related?

via Michael Terndrup

Hey Michael, thanks for stopping by. :) Since, I'm not an M&A expert, here's a resource to get yourself going on the quest for the info you seek. GoDaddy lists all press releases at this URL: aboutus.godaddy.net/investor-relations/overview/default.aspx. Our recent acquisition of Sucuri is released there, as well as previous acquisitions. It's a great resource to find both historical and future info.

via Mendel

Hi Mendel, great to see you on our AMA!

1) As someone who's been at GoDaddy since it's Danica Patrick days, what was it like to fight for a change in mindset that ultimately ended up with GoDaddy being very supportive of the WordPress community?

2) Is there an RoI from sponsoring WordCamps, especially with major events like WCUS asking up to $100k for the highest tiers?

3) What do you consider your biggest mistake as an entrepreneur?

via Nemanja Aleksic

Thanks

via Michael Terndrup

Hi Mendel,

Thank you for being on our AMA.

1. You wrote that you are at GoDaddy for a little over 8 years, and you were a part of progress that the company has gone through over that time. What was the biggest professional challenge for you?
2. If you can be a ManageWP feature, what feature would you be and why?
3. How you got involved with WordPress and what motivated you?
4. Three words to describe WordPress Community are?
5. You said you are passionate about community building. What do you think that WordPress Community need to be perfect?

Take your time :D

via Bojana Milosevic

Any suggestions on how to stand out from other people who offer website maintenance? I am trying civil groups and churches but still having trouble.

via Michael Terndrup

I am Kimberly Lipari, Co-Founder at Valet. Ask Me Anything!

AMA | Apr. 12, 2017

Hello! I'm Kimberly, Co-Founder and herder of cats at Valet.io (formerly WP Valet). Valet is a comprehensive site management agency. We provide larger businesses with the resources to create a stable infrastructure around their websites. Our approach is one of a kind and we really enjoy the variety of folks we get to work with. We've had the pleasure of working with folks like Mixergy, Social Media Examiner, Etsy, and Time Inc, to name a few.

We've had our share of changes and struggles along the way, but we're incredibly proud of how far we've come. We have over 30 active clients and hope to push out a Version 1 of our own SAAS style tool later this year to help folks monitor their website heath in the 5 key areas that matter the most. We had a BETA version out for testing earlier this year, you can peek at the demo here: valetmetrix.com

My position in Valet (www.valet.io) is a long way from my original career in Engineering Drafting. I graduated in Industrial Technology and spent the next few years designing residential subdivisions, working with professional surveyors, and doing 3D scanning. My husband and I started a family in 2009 and I started a new journey into the WordPress world. I have been enamored with this community ever since my first Word Camp (Miami).

This year my co-founder and I decided to change up or leading roles in the company and I'm moving to more of a General Company Managment role, so taking more of the day to day and directional voice in the company's future. I'll still have to manage Operations but I'm incredibly excited about contributing my own ideas to the long-term growth of Valet.

I live in Louisiana, near New Orleans, with my three daughters, husband, and one boy dog. We currently spend as much time as we can fishing and chasing the girls around to Soccer and Softball. My youngest is 3 but going on 13 so our lives are constantly full of glitter and laughter. I love to cook and spend time digging in the dirt whether it's gardening or turning soil for flowers.

I'd like to read more but usually only get to do so during travel, I really relish those times now! I've been a PTO mom, a soccer coach, and so many other things I'd never imagined in the last two years! I'm definitely looking forward to the next adventures coming my way. Oh, and today is my Wedding Anniversary!

Go ahead and Ask me Anything :D

Hey Kimberly, thanks for being on the AMA, and congratulations on the anniversary!

- Valet Metrix is a really great project. What's the biggest challenge so far on your road to becoming a SaaS business?
- When I talk about a successful website maintenance business, Valet usually comes up as an example. You guys negotiate $1,000+/month maintenance contracts, while others struggle to justify $10/month. What's your secret?
- Having 2 kids, how do you maintain your work/life balance?

via Nemanja Aleksic

Hey Kimberly,

Thank you for attending our AMA, especially on your Wedding Anniversary. So let's start with an easy question. How do you celebrate your Wedding Anniversary?

I think it's really exciting and brave to have total shifts in your career. How did you go from residential subdivisions to WordPress? And would you think about changing it up again?

Final thought. I met Mason when he was here in Belgrade, and he is just a ball of laughs and a pleasure to be around. How important do you think having a person you can trust and rely on is in the building of a successful business ? When do you guys get along and when do you not see eye to eye?

Next time make sure you come to Belgrade, and don't let Mason come without you!

Nevena

via Nevena Tomovic

Gumbo or Jambalaya?

via Trey Praytor

Hi Nemanja!

Thank You :)

Ok let's see...

- The biggest challenge is overcoming what's 'good enough' to get started and get out there. Our idea springs from strong feelings that we've all developed over the years so pouring that passion in and then trying to dial back the feature meter has been (and still is) tough.

- Glad to hear we come up in conversations, we spend so much time working it's hard to gauge what the public view is since we've grown up. Honestly, the secret is we don't do maintenance. :) We do website management. There are so many tangential threads in a large business that connect to a website, keeping software up to date is only a fraction of what we provide. We don't limit the scope of what we support and that is a great value to many companies. We hear from many folks in different positions in any given company; the IT guy, the marketing managers, event coordinators, etc. and we help them all.

-I have 3 kiddos, and I've always struggled with the phrase 'work/life balance'. Balancing is an act that requires continuing concentration and adjustment, yet many use the phrase in a way to mean they have it all figured out. I do exactly that, balance. Some days it's more kids than work, some it's more work than kids. The key, for me, was to stop beating myself up about it, no matter which kind of day it is.

via Kimberly Lipari

Hi Nevena!

Thank you so much :)

-Official celebration this year is going to be delayed until next week. We'll go out to dinner and dancing most likely. I've already gotten my gift and tonight we'll order out so we don't have to do the cook/clean routine!

-The short version of the career change is 'It's hard to find another job when you're 6 months pregnant' :D I was doing a lot of climbing in manufacturing plants and outdoor bridge work and wanted to dial back. In the end we figured I could do something on my own and started a small community newsletter, then a local crafters group, which led me to building a site in WordPress and then to getting hired on as product support at WPMUDEV. I've been learning software all my life, so I was a whiz at picking up WP and helping others with it.

-Mason had a great time in Belgrade and I will certainly be going with him next time! It's incredibly important to have someone you trust if you're going to be building something you hope to grow successfully. We've had to get a bit vunerable at times, which is counter-intuitive to business relationships, but essential in partnerships. That's allowed us to be honest and keep things stable between us through all the chaos over the years.

As far as getting along, I think we have learned to deal with each other's quirks and habits...We have no trouble getting along but can definitely frustrate each other. We communicate differently, and that has been a struggle over the years, but we've found ways to improve that consistently. Overall there is no comparison to knowing someone wants YOU to succeed. That's something we both carry for each other and makes a big difference.

via Kimberly Lipari

Gumbo, Cajun not Creole, with potato salad!

via Kimberly Lipari

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

AMA | Mar. 29, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask me anything!

Hi Petya,

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

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

via Aca

Hey Petya, thanks for being here!

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

via Nemanja Aleksic

Hi Petya!

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

Thanks!

via Juan Hernando

Heeeyyyy Petya :hugs:

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

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

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

Cheers!

via Milos Mihaljevic

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

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

via Petya Raykovska

Good afternoon, sir! Thanks for the questions.

Let's see.

WordCamp Europe.

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

Human Made & the community

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

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

Journalism

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

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

via Petya Raykovska
8 min read Nevena Tomovic
AMA | managewp.com | Feb. 17, 2017

Ask WordPress influencers questions, get professional answers

Season 4 of Ask Me Anything is starting on March 8th. This season we have lots of experienced WordPress professionals ready to share their knowledge. You can get some valuable advice on design, business, development, community involvement, marketing, social media and much more. Don't miss out!

Ask WordPress influencers questions, get professional answers

AMA | managewp.com | Feb. 17, 2017

After the Christmas hype, and the New Year celebrations, skiing holidays, and endless afternoons cozied up with a hot chocolate, there is one more thing to look forward to this winter. It’s better than your favorite TV show, it’s season 4 of Ask Me Anything. This season we have a power line-up of business owners, WordPress core contributors, freelancers, designers, social media experts and WordPress enthusiasts. It’s the season of all seasons, and it starts on March 8.
If you want to find out a bit more about the idea of the AMA, and why it’s important, have a look at Get Free Expert Advice From WordPress Influencers. For those who are interested in a deeper behind the scene’s look, this is for you, Ask Me Anything: WordPress Influencers Answering Your Questions. One thing is certain, this season is promising to be the best one yet!
Without further adieu, I want to introduce you to the main protagonists, our lovely contributors. Drum roll please!
Kristina Romero
Actress, Writer, Web Consultant, Business Coach, Rockstar Teacher. Kristina has lots of work experience and knowledge to share. If you need advice on starting a business, maintaining or creating

Hi I’m Kristina Romero, Coach at WP Elevation & RockStar Empires, Ask me anything!

AMA | Mar. 8, 2017

Hi all, I’m Kristina. Coach at WP Elevation and RockStar Empires, online business training I run with my business partner Troy Dean. If that wasn’t enough, I have my own WordPress web development company where we take care of over 40 websites on recurring website care plans and have custom built solutions for major celebrities and brands.

You’d think this would consume my days, but it’s only a fraction of my time. Amongst it all I raise my three children, all under the age of six, working from home here in Maryland and managing the flow of the impossible.

Back in the day I was an actress on a Daytime Soap Opera when two Emmy nominations and a few films later I left the industry to captain my own ship of entrepreneurship and never looked back.

I enjoy creative writing, the WordPress ecosystem, world history, travel and any book or movie that tells a good story.

I love helping others, especially those looking to work smarter, secure recurring revenue in their business and strike a successful work-life balance.

Ask me anything!

Hi, Kristina

Why did WordPress attract you more than acting? What does WordPress community have that your first "life call" doesn't?

via Bojana Milosevic

Hi Bojana, thanks for the question!

I was attracted to the idea of building something myself. With acting, I had to rely on getting hired, the script, the director... As I transitioned into screenwriting, I realized I still had to rely others to produce a product or no one saw my work! When I starting learning web design and development, there was something freeing about being able to take an idea and mission, work on it, complete it and launch it to the world - by myself. This is the beauty of the WordPress platform, it's easy for one person to do that.

I say this, and yet, I love collaboration and now work with teams on a day to day basis ;) But the concept is still the same, I'm able to create finished product daily and I love it.

via Kristina Romero

Thanks for being on our AMA, Christina!

1) I've always been wary of business/lifestyle courses, but I really like what WP Elevation is doing. Could you summarize WP Elevation for people who are on the fence?
2) What is the biggest mistake people make, when it comes to website maintenance?
3) How did you team up with that Aussie rascal, Troy Dean? :)

via Nemanja Aleksic

Hey Nemanja!

That Troy is a crazy rascal ain't he?! I'll get to that in a second :)

1) In it's simplest form WP Elevation is about giving all tools, resources and community to WordPress consultants, designers, developers, marketers, (you name it), so they can run a business that doesn't drive them crazy! Speaking from my experience, before WPE I was having trouble with pricing, business processes and frankly, just knew I was doing something wrong. WP Elevation changed my life, short and sweet.

2) The biggest mistake people make when it comes to website maintenance for their clients is not seeing it's a relationship. The biggest tech problem is not having a before/after checklist that looks for errors and changes after updates.

3) Now to that rascal - I got Troy's attention by taking action in WP Elevation and sharing what I learned, how I tweaked it and my successes with the community. Through the value I added, when it came time to expand, he reached out to me to join the team. We quickly developed a friendship and respect for one another. When he came up with the idea for RockStar Empires (a program on how to build an online empire through e-learning) he knew I wanted to shift into that space anyway and pinged me on Slack to see if I was interested in partnering. Took me one sec to agree :)

via Kristina Romero

As a new father myself and I'll be the one home during the day, what's the trick (albeit I know there isn't any tricks at all) in order to be able to juggle working and taking care of a child?

My wife is still home and we ran a test day and I found it extremely difficult to be able to do any high energy and deep concentration type of tasks while watching the little one.

I know most everyone I talk with (friends & family) think I'm nuts for giving this a try and that it won't happen, but I know folks like yourself have done it.

via Jason Resnick

Hey Jason!

Where to begin?! A few rules to live by:

You can't do high concentration tasks with a small child in the room. When you are with a small child, that's your job. Things you can do with small kids:
- Check and reply to email
- Social media promotion (following, reading, commenting)
- Listening to podcasts, webinars and videos

For high concentration tasks, you have to set aside time to devote to uninterrupted focus. I recommend a sitter that comes to the house if you work from home. It can be just three hours, but you can knock out a lot in three hours!

It's too much pressure to try and squeeze in uninterrupted time while babies nap, never plan on it.

I've found success doing two things:
- Scheduling a sitter to come watch the kids at home while I work on high concentration tasks (scheduling tasks for that time only, and phone calls for that matter). My schedule is three days a week M/W/F.
- Hiring team members who can share the load and address items I can't get to. Considering that hiring offshore staff is less than what I pay a sitter in the US, this is a more cost effective solution.

Hope that gets you started in the right direction!

via Kristina Romero

I am Tammie Lister, an Experience Designer at Automattic, Ask me anything

AMA | Mar. 22, 2017

Hi

I am really excited to be around today to answer your questions. A little bit about me...

I currently live in the middle of England and work at Automattic as an Experience Designer in the Theme Division. I have a varied background including psychology, design, front end development and user experience. I even once upon a time studied art; its been an interesting path I've followed through freelance to Automattic. Before joining I was for several years focused as a community designer, helping design communities for BuddyPress.

I am a long standing WordPress contributor, committer for core themes and design team rep. I am involved in a lot of different contribution areas and have also organised several WordCamps. My open source journey has seen me be part of a lot of different areas, allowed me to see lots of different parts of the world and helped me be the person I am today.

When not at a computer I spend time doing yoga, with my dog and husband and I still enjoy creating art.

Ask me anything :)

Hi Tammie,

I hope your day is going great.

Thanks for taking the time for AMA.

What is the biggest danger to WordPress in your opinion?

How to improve the User Experience for newbies in WordPress?

Thanks :)

via Aca

Hey Tammie,

Thanks for coming on to AMA.

I have a few questions for you. I am a designer myself and at the moment I am looking to expand my skills to front-end development. Do you find it useful to know both, and how did you go from design to front-end?

You did a great talk on WordCamp London about the importance of knowing your user. I agree entirely that it's essential to incorporate UX research in everything you do. But, how do you convince others to invest time in this?

Thanks,
Milica

via Milica Spasojević

Hi Aleksander,

Two very good questions, thanks for asking.

In WordPress I think the biggest danger is the bias of experience, being clouded by and accepting the 'WordPress way' of doing things. It is crucial to step outside that headspace, its also incredibly difficult to do. We are not our only users, yet we create often like we are.

As far as improving the user experience for new users in WordPress goes, I think right now any step on that path is a big improvement. I feel we need to iterate, test those changes and then bit by bit move the gauge. One thing I feel really does this is looking at the language we use in our interfaces - we don't always do that and we need to.

We need to acknowledge our post install experience is not great for a lot of users. Starter content helps this a bit, but we should be guiding and supporting a lot more.

via Tammie Lister

Hello Tammie,

Thanks for taking out time from your busy schedule.

I have just a few questions:
- Page builders slow down the site? If not, any plan to integrate into the core?
- Do you keep human psychology while structuring the design?

Looking forward to your answers.

Thanks!
Mustaasam Saleem

via Mustaasam Saleem

Hi Milica

That is awesome you are looking to expand your skills.

I actually have gone both ways in my career - I studied software engineering (of all things) right as the web became a thing (feeling super old saying that). After a while being a starvingish artist I wanted to actually get a career that paid well. I was though always a tinkerer in code, so it fit. I had since a child poked around computers, despite my education being psychology and art focused.

I have found for me doing creative code helps me. I can highly recommend exploring Processing JS for example: processingjs.org/.

As a designer I do value knowing how the bricks work in sense of code. If you are interested in the WordPress world I think themes are a great in road for that. Hope you have fun exploring code. Seeing code like a paint brush to create with helps.

Thanks so much for your compliment on my talk. As far as convincing others to invest time, that's not always easy. I would say though, user research doesn't have to take time, or much time. When it feels like a chore or gets in way of process.. thats when its a problem.

Think of lean, low friction and cheap cost (time is a cost) ways. Just doing cheap research also means you can prove what a little bit does and then build on that. Nothing like proof on a small scale to lead a client to invest in a bigger amount. Same goes to making it part of the process you work in. I used to have it as part of that for clients.

via Tammie Lister

Congratulations on getting the theme review queue below 100! When I browse the theme repository I don't usually think about the possible path it took to get a theme up in front of me. Thank you for your contributions to the review process.

via David McCan

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'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 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 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 JazzFan Junkie

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 JazzFan Junkie

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

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 Peshev

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

via JazzFan Junkie

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 Peshev

I am Sonja Leix, Independent Digital Strategist and Web Designer. Ask Me Anything!

AMA | Apr. 19, 2017

Hello! I'm Sonja and I work remotely designing websites for clients all over the world. I don’t specialize in an industry, the way I work is how I differentiate myself. In all things design I focus on a content and user centric design approach and use research and a deep discovery phase to inform my design decisions. I work directly with my clients in a very collaborative way, and occasionally join agencies on their projects as well. I cover the full project cycle from Discovery, UX, Visual Design, to Theme Development, but also often collaborate with other experts.

My background is design, I worked as a Graphic Designer for over 10 years back in Germany, where I grew up. I aspired to move into web design for a while before I created the opportunity when I moved to New York City in 2009. This is where I first learned about WordPress and connected to the local community. I can say with certainty and affection that the community drew me into using WordPress and actively being involved for so many years now. I certainly found family there and so much support.

I contribute back to the open source project in several ways. Currently my primary focus is helping organize WordCamp Europe in Paris. I lead the design team (amazing people!!) and am very excited to see you all in Paris in June (there are still tickets available!). I also contribute to the Polyglots team by translating plugins into German and from time to time speak at WordCamps and other events. The talk I’m most proud of, mainly because I felt the most vulnerable and I was able to connect with the audience the most, was my talk about the Impostor Syndrome during WCEU last year.

Being a freelancer hasn’t always been easy. I had to learn a lot of things the hard way and I am happy to help any of you avoid some of my mistakes. To me, as a business owner it’s curcial to create a network of support. I am grateful to have found that within the WordPress community and in other amazing mentors, so I’d like to pay it forward.

I left NYC a couple years ago to embark on a journey of ultimate freedom as a location-independent designer. 20 months, 34 cities, and 11 countries later I found home in Boulder, Colorado last Fall. I love what I do, the flexibility of working remotely and being able to make my own schedule is priceless! When I’m AFK I try to be in nature as much as possible. Boulder is an amazing place to live and be active. I climb, snowboard, bike, and hike. I also still travel a lot. I’m currently in Europe to prep for WordCamp Europe and visit family in Germany. Today I’m saying hello from Krakow, Poland.

Now it’s your turn. Ask Me Anything!

I'm sitting on a plane getting ready to take off at 7:14am. Should I order a coffee or Heineken?

Have you run into any of the pitfalls of working remotely that some people experience? If so, which ones and how did you confront and fix?

During your outdoor adventures have you had any moments that scared you?

via Adam W. Warner

Haha! Hi Adam, thanks for stopping by! I'd say get a coffee unless it's your day off.

There are definitely a few pitfalls I experienced while traveling and working remotely. I'd say unreliable or non-existing wifi is the hardest to fix. That usually meant to either take a forced vacation (which is not always possible) or to move on. Timezones can sometimes be tricky, but I personally don't mind getting up in the middle of the night to get on a client call since everything else is usually asynchronous allowing me to make my own schedule. Lastly what took me some time to figure out while I was a nomad, was finding my flow. I realized being in one place at least 3-4 weeks helped me settle in, explore the place, and be productive at the same time. You travel a lot for work too, do you have anything to add / share?

Luckily I haven't had any scary moments during any of my outdoor adventures. I must say that being in nature and doing some fun but somewhat dangerous sports, like climbing / bouldering, or riding through trees and amazing powder on a snowboard is always humbling. So I try and stay safe while still having plenty of adrenaline pumping through my veins ;)

Safe travels, Adam!

via Sonja Leix

Hi Sonja! A very interesting story, thanks for sharing it!

How many hours per week do you actually work ? Do you have any schedule? Do you have a base of clientele or it's always a matter of searching for new ones?

Thanks!

via Ann Taylor

Thanks for the answers. I chose coffee btw ;)

via Adam W. Warner

Hi Ann, nice to meet you! Thanks for your questions.
How many hours I work per week? It fluctuates, always depends on how much work is on my plate. Most of the time it's about 40-45 hours a week, currently more. I try to take weekends off to be able to recharge. When I first started out as a freelancer I worked 16 hour days and weekends and you can imagine how draining that was. Over time I was able to gain more skills, up my fees, and as a result work less hours but with better results. Win-win :)

I don't have a fixed work schedule, but for me it mostly ends up being pretty normal business hours (which don't always align with my clients timezones). When I travel I try to work early mornings so I can take a break for fun activities and then work some more in the afternoon/evening.

I get a lot of business through referrals from past clients and clients also come back with new projects or redesigns. I have two ongoing clients, which send me work as they need me – it's not as easy to plan in but they are fun to work with. Other designers / developers sometimes send clients my way, either to collaborate on projects or because they are fully booked.

I'm very fortunate at this point in my business that I don't need to advertise or actively look for work, but it hasn't always been this way. Is this something you're struggling with or would like some pointers? In that case I would suggest to network within the community at meetups or WordCamps. Finding people with a complementary skill set will help find projects to collaborate on. There are also great platforms to pick up additional work like Codeable.io. In general not being shy to share what you do and how your skills specifically can help clients or agencies is always a good start.

via Sonja Leix

I had a feeling you would. :)

via Sonja Leix

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 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

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 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

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 JazzFan Junkie

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 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 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 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

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