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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

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

AMA | May. 11, 2016

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

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

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

via Amber Hinds

Hey Troy,

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

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

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

Dan

via Daniel Doherty

Hey Troy,

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

Thanks,
Nathan

via Nathan George

Hey Amber, great question.

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

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

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

I hope that helps.

via Troy Dean

Hey Dan,

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

Of course I could be wrong :)

via Troy Dean

Hey Nathan,

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

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

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

I hope that helps.

via Troy Dean

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 Casabona

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

AMA | Dec. 7, 2016

Hey everyone! My name is Gabriel A. Mays and I'm the Head of WordPress at GoDaddy.

What I Do

My role involves everything from leading our WordPress products and strategy to identifying acquisition opportunities, managing partnerships, hiring new WordPress team members, evangelizing WordPress inside the company and helping GoDaddy be a better member of the WordPress community.

My Background

Like most WordPress folks, I have an unconventional background. Previously, I was a Captain in the Marine Corps. A combat veteran, I spent two years between Iraq and Afghanistan operating on small, embedded teams. While in the Marine Corps I met my wife, who's still an active duty Marine F/A-18 aviator and just finished two years as #8 on the Blue Angels.

I discovered WordPress almost 10 years ago after trying just about everything else building sites for myself and others. On my last 12-month deployment to Afghanistan I spent my free time learning about business, startups and teaching myself to be a better developer.

I learn by doing, so while deployed I decided to build a SaaS product that abstracted the complexity to give small businesses beautiful, fully functional websites in 60 seconds. Further, it'd integrate with hundreds of other apps to automate business processes. For example, when a customer submits a form it'd automatically create an invoice, schedule an appointment, add the customer to an email newsletter and CRM, send a text message summary, etc. The idea was to give businesses more than a website, they'd also get a way to automate their business.

This was challenging to do working from a tent in Afghanistan with limited internet connectivity on an old $300 duct-taped laptop. But it didn't matter, during the process I fell in love with building products, strategy and WordPress--there was nothing else I'd rather be doing. Halfway through that 12-month deployment I knew what I wanted to do next: leave the Marine Corps and build products that help people leverage WordPress to build businesses as great as their ambitions.

I launched the startup shortly after returning from deployment and soon had my first customers. After attending a Y Combinator startup event I met one of the partners from Google Ventures who became a mentor. I decided against seeking funding, but through connections I eventually met Jeff King, SVP of Hosting at GoDaddy.

At that time, I felt the same way about GoDaddy that many WordPress folks used to, but decided to give it a chance after learning about the new leadership team. I was impressed, they "got it" and were investing heavily to turn things around, so I agreed to do a product demo and stayed in contact with the team.

Over the next two years my startup spun off a new product targeted at high end real estate investors (also on WordPress) in addition to the existing product for small businesses. It was fun, but exhausting. We didn't hire fast enough (we were self-funded) or iterate fast enough. We remained profitable, but our opportunity to be a dominant player faded.

In late 2014 my wife joined the Blue Angels as #8 where she'd be traveling 300 days a year doing airshows for the 2015-2016 seasons. This inspired me to take advantage of the opportunity to try something new. Around the same time GoDaddy was looking for someone to lead WordPress and I accepted.

A year later, here I am. I absolutely love what I do and I'm incredibly proud of what the team has accomplished in the last year. We still have a lot of work to do to give the WordPress community the amazing experience it deserves and I'm grateful for the opportunity to be part of it.

I look forward to answering your questions and meeting you at the next WordCamp or Meetup. You can find me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gabrielmays and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gabriel.mays.

Thanks,
Gabe

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

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

via Joe Casabona

Hey Gabe

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

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

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

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

via Vladimir Prelovac

Hi Joe, thank you! Great question.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope that helps!

Thanks Joe,
Gabe

via Gabriel A. Mays

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

via 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

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

AMA | Dec. 16, 2015

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

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

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

So what else do you want to know?

Hey Brian,

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

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

via Matt Medeiros

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

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

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

But they're growing in demand, I think.

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

via Lara Kulpa

Hello Brian!

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

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

Thanks for your help.

Jon

via Jon Dalrymple

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

via Paul Oyler

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

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

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

via Brian Gardner

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

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

Hint, hint.

via Brian Gardner

I’m 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 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 Casabona

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 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 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

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

AMA | Oct. 14, 2015

Hello!

I am a WordPress plugin developer living in Hutchinson Kansas.

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

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

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

Ask me anything!

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

via Clifton Griffin

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

via Joe Casabona

Serious: Do you #FeelTheBern?

via Mizner

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

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

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

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

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

via Pippin Williamson

Biggest: people not following directions.

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

via Pippin Williamson

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

via Pippin Williamson

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

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 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 am Mason James. Founder of WP Valet and wearer of a great many hats. Ask me anything.

AMA | Sep. 2, 2015

Woot! Apologies for the late start. Still learning how these internets work apparently.

3 years ago I started WP Valet because I couldn't find help for clients that needed month-to-month WordPress support. Today our team of 18 works tirelessly to provide marketing, strategy, migrations, support, development, optimization, design, copy, insights, reporting and a variety of other things based on our monthly customer needs.

We're self-funded and have had to figure out remote teams, organization, process, contracts, employee compensation, being an employer in multiple states, how to communicate as a team of 1-2, 5-10, and 15+.

Because I started late, I'll stick around late with anyone who finds this interesting. So go on, ask me anything :)

Thanks so much for doing this Mason, looking forward to the questions that get put to you!

From above, it sounds like your company offers many different services, which seems to fly in the face of what I read ever where, which is to niche down / solve a very specific need.

Do you feel being so broad has helped or hindered you? And depending on your answer, why do you think it's helped/hindered you?

via Ryan Love

Welcome Mason :)

1) What is the the task that you guys get asked most often to do for your clients?

2) If you could change one thing in WordPress what would it be?

3) What do you perceive as the biggest threat to WordPress continuing to grow its marketshare?



via Vladimir Prelovac

Hiya Ryan!

Yeah. You're right about our content. We center almost all of our conversations (digital or otherwise) around the idea of ongoing monthly support. That's how we started and it's still the core of our DNA.

What does monthly support look like? To us, that means making sure the entire digital experience is a healthy one. We have a "Maslow's hierarchy" approach to digital health and continually measure and iterate to achieve better results.

So, yeah, we'll answer support requests - we do that everyday. But we go beyond that by anticipating needs across several spectrums and providing happy improvements pro-actively as we spot them.

Because a client may not always know the difference between a support request and custom dev, or whether something relates to a technical server or an SEO setup (and sometimes they're related or the answer is 'both') we don't attempt to throttle their requests. We actually try to help educate them on how their current site measures up across speed, usability, traffic, and content and provide insights that bring real-world improvements.

See!? I can make even a short question into a long answer :) Keep 'em coming!

via Mason James

Hiya Vlad! Thanks for the welcome :)

1) What is the the task that you guys get asked most often to do for your clients?
A. Speed up my site please!
Speed optimizations is by far the biggest request we get. In tandem with that is usually a laundry list of "small fixes" or customizations that interrupt their regular work flow or annoy them on a regular basis.

2) If you could change one thing in WordPress what would it be?
A. Language translation/management is still a huge pain. Even when setup correctly it's not intuitive to most content publishers. Media management still has a ways to go too, but that's getting a lot better :)

3) What do you perceive as the biggest threat to WordPress continuing to grow its marketshare?
A. It's much easier to show growth when you have less marketshare. With WordPress having as much as it does already, continuing to grow will be a challenge. The rest API is the most exciting new development to me and it's progress will ensure WordPress adoption for a long time time still. Externally, I think Facebook is a pretty big threat (internet.org)

via Mason James

Sorry I'm so late to the party. I don't know if you're still around, but thanks for answering these questions. I love that you don't throttle requests, but educate users. That's great! I've looked at several of the services in this space, and honestly, I can never remember which is which. Help me remember you over the others. I seriously need to refer several clients to a service like this. Simply put, why you? Help me to remember you when I refer clients, and not the rest.

via Donna Cavalier

Wow, Donna!

What a wonderful, weighty question for me. Here I thought I might get away with a "What ticketing software do you use?" or "How fast is your average response time?" but no way, let's cut right to the chase! (seriously, I dig it)

Why us? To put the answer, simply "We make life easier. We got this."

Where do you see valets in real life? When an event is of utmost importance and when expectations are at their highest! That's exactly where WP Valet fits in as well :)

More completely: We provide services - and we really, thoughtfully provide them. The educational, pro-active stuff I mention above? Yup. That's all part of it. Since we're talking about services, I'll use a metaphor that's near and dear to me - food!

A good food service experience would include (here in the US anyway) a tasty beverage - Coke Zero if you're me. Good service would imply that Coke Zero is generally available. A company may have a staff member (in this analogy, a waiter) check up and see if you need a refill - that's helpful. They may also have a tool that helps them keep your Coke Zero topped up in the form of a soda fountain. That's also helpful. It's more-scalable (cause they don't have to pay a person) and you have unlimited access to the soda. Pretty good!

Many companies try to offer the same "self-serve" style. They'll leverage a tool (even an awesome one like ManageWP - which I highly recommend) to help them provide this. Again, that's all good. You may have to do some work yourself, but at least there's Coke Zero.

Great service would include having a dedicated waiter who takes the time to check in and make sure the Coke Zero situation is going well. They'll ask how you're doing, how your food tastes, and, noticing your glass is empty, they'll ask if you would like any more.

That's great! As long as they're around, you're not worried. You know you can have Coke Zero throughout the meal. This is challenging for a business because they need attentive people who enjoy customer service and interaction. The end result though is totally great.

At the far end of the spectrum you have a fantastic, world-class service experience. This includes a human again, but this time you never have to ask for the Coke Zero refill. In fact, you never even heard them ask either! Any time your glass was half empty a new glass appears. Great service requires a human that understands context. They see the event is important - an anniversary or a birthday - and they know how to engage or stay in the background out of the way. They won't interrupt conversation, but wait quietly ~anticipating~ your needs before you think of them. They're ready with the wine list, ready with drinks, dessert (and also ready with the check :D).

That final experience, of truly excellent service, with your needs anticipated and met before you asked. And as part of the expected service they even provided guidance (insights!). When you weren't sure what option was best for you or other members of the party, the server anticipated that and provided recommendations. Again, you don't have to ask, the server anticipates any hesitation and pulls from their knowledge to provide insight wherever required and stays out of the way, taking care of your beverage and everything else that makes the entire dining experience enjoyable.

Is there a character limit on these AMA responses!? What we do at WP Valet is train our associates in the art of excellent service. All of our valets from designers, to backend developers to SEO consultants or anywhere in between are trained and regularly guided in providing top-tier service. From little things like going over the words we use and the way we talk, to larger things like a company-wide ability for any valet to spend up to $50/day on any customer need - no permission required. Just do it!

We also chose our name very carefully. Valet's immediately provide the connotation of an elevated experience and superior service. You don't see them at Burger Kings or the Motel 8. Where you see them are in the places where the event is important and the expectations are at their highest. That's where you'll find us too and, I think, it's what makes us truly different.

Whew. Thanks for your question, Donna. I think now I'll skip the coke zero and grab a nice red wine instead :)

via Mason James

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
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 am Luis Rull CEO of Mecus, Ask me anything

AMA | Mar. 15, 2017

My name is Luis Rull Muñoz. 43 years old. I am Spanish and I live in Sevilla.

I am Luis Rull, from Mecus, EBE, Polyglots #es_ES team, WCEU,.... (and many more things)

I’ve working with WordPress since 2006: All my professional career has been with WP.

I do not code, but I have an enormous respect and admiration for people who does. I love to translate clients words into ideas that coders and designers can efficiently work on. I always try to make all my peers work as easy as possible, taking away annoying tasks like payments, flattery with clients, negotiations with suppliers…

My most fulfilment jobs has always been related with Community: WordCamp Europe in Seville, Polyglots team, es_ES team (where I am GTE),…

I am cofounder of EBE (eventoblog.com), a congress about technology and civil engagement which began as a blogging conference in 2006 with a very special speaker, Matt Mullenweg.

My company, Mecus, has been a WP agency since 2008, first with Rafael Poveda and now with Vicente Herrera (dev) and Abel Sutilo (design). We’ve done more than 60 different projects and I believe the best is yet to come. WP helps you to implement almost any idea. We do crafting, special projects that no one else wants to do at a affordable price and time.

I love making others dreams come true in the digital world, but someday my (our) own side project will take over our full attention.

I am a proud husband and father of two kids who enjoys simple things with them: playing, drawing, maths (¡), reading, travelling and listening to music

Hi Luis,

I am really happy to see you here on AMA.

Would you mind telling me how important for you is contributing to WordPress and where do you see WordPress in 5 years?

See ya in Paris :)

via Aca

Hello Luis,

What would your perfect WordPress project look like? What kind of projects do you like the most?

via Mariano Pérez Caro

Hi Luis :)

As you may know, I have and work in a WordPress agency and I would like to know: how do you search and find the professionals (like Rafa, Vicente and Abel) that will work with you in your projects in Mecus?

Thanks for this AMA!

Ibon.

via Ibon Azkoitia

Contributing to the project means to me that WP is not "a tools i use". It gives me emotional link to it. It's not like Firefox, Apple, One Plus,... It means its not something I consume or utilise, but something I belong to, something i, in a small amount, build and develop. It's also a way of escaping my small world of clients, colleagues, family,... and be a part of a team that's changing the world.

I am part of a team (es_ES Polyglots) that gives te opportunity of using a great tool to millions of people who does not speak english. I may sound childish, but It's amazing to help some many people. I've never imagine to be in such a great position. I am very helpful that my teammates at make.wordpress.org/polyglots/teams/?locale=es_ES let me contribute in such a great role as GTE.

The experience of organizing WCEU in Seville two years ago as "man on the ground" was also great, woking face to face with the people you usually talk in slack and see the result of your work in the analogic world for ones was great See it

via Luis Rull

Good morning Luis! Just two questions:

1/ Which are the most common misconceptions you find when talking with clients (or possible clients) about a WordPress site? Which is the best tactic to overcome their fears? (e.g. security, scalability…)

2/ Which are the main benefits of helping in the WP Community? What would you say to someone that thinks that it's just unpaid job with nothing to get in return?

Thanks!

via Juan Hernando

In 5 years WP will be a truly CMS, not a great HTML generator. REST API in gaining traction, but most people see WP as a tool for the web. I see it as a container and a place to insert and edit content that will be deliver to any device available: from a screen, to an app, but also to your watch or even you amazon cart.

In the HTML country, the trend is clear: developing great projects without coding at great prices and small amount of time (IMHO).

I also will like the app devs to see WP as a great tool to deal with annoying things for them: databases, security, editing content,... We need to evangelise more to the app developers on this.

via Luis Rull

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

AMA | Sep. 14, 2016

Hey there,

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

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

Ask me anything!

Hey, Mario,

Thank you so much for doing this AMA.

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

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

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

Thanks!

via Milan Ivanović

Hey Mario,

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

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

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

Thanks!

via Nevena Tomovic

Hey brate,

Happy to be here, thanks for having me :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers

via Mario Peshev

Hey Nevena,

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

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

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

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

via Mario Peshev

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

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

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

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

Hope we can meet again sometime soon.

Thanks a lot!

via Emanuel Costa

Hey Emanuel,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Mario Peshev

Hi! I'm Rachel Carden, a web developer/designer at The University of Alabama and community/event organizer (WPCampus). Ask me anything!

AMA | Nov. 11, 2015

Hello!

I'm a web designer and developer living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama and have lived in this great state all my life. I started using WordPress 5 years ago when I took a job at my alma mater, The University of Alabama.

I've worked in the world of higher education for 9 years, first at Mississippi University for Women (Columbus, MS), then Samford University (Birmingham, AL) and then back to my alma mater, The University of Alabama, where I'm currently in my second position as the web developer for the Division of Student Affairs.

Multisite is my friend.

I have a degree in graphic design but my passion meter tends to learn towards development. I've built my fair share of custom themes and plugins for my job and for fun. I've never released a theme to the WordPress repo, but I have a few plugins available and some that are in development.

I'm a big proponent of collaboration and professional development and am the organizer of several communities, meetups, and conferences, including WPCampus, a new community and conference focused on using WordPress in the world of higher education.

Outside of WordPress and the web, I love spending time, and traveling, with my bad-movie-loving boyfriend, Josh, fitness, anything remotely related to Disney, and binge-watching old TV shows on Netflix and HBO GO (currently watching Boardwalk Empire).

Ask me anything!

p.s. Roll Tide!

Hi Rachel, thanks so much for doing this, looking forward to seeing what questions our members put to you!

Now, onto my questions...

What are some of the biggest challenges you face with running WordPress multisite and how do you deal with them?

What features do you think multisite is lacking the most? Or what's on your feature wishlist?

How's WPCampus coming along?

P.S. For some reason it appears this post isn't being pushed to the front page despite having more then enough vote strength, so it's probably not getting as much attention as it deserves, bear with me while I look into this!

via Ryan Love

Have you found that your design background helps you as a web developer? Has it given you more of a "feel" for how to develop a website that also looks good?

via Adam Wayne Fout

Hi Ryan!

Some of the biggest challenges I face with multisite are also its strengths. I use (and love) multisite because it allows me to easily manage my network of sites in one place with one codebase (core+plugins+themes) and one database... but that also means I'm managing lots of sites with ONE codebase. If something goes wrong in a plugin, it goes wrong everywhere, or at least everywhere that plugin is active, so I have to be double sure of any plugin I put on my network and I have to be double sure of any changes I make to MY code since any push I make to the server will affect basically all of my sites. It is, sometimes, not for the faint of heart.

Up until now sharing one database was a big pro for me because it also meant I could easily share content across my network by just querying the database and pulling from any table/site I want. Now with the REST API at my fingertips, that's slowly becoming less of a need. I've enjoyed experimenting with the API to help share content across my sites and get rid of all those crazy custom queries. :)

The other big issue for me is, dare I say it, security. I have NEVER had a security problem. I've never been hacked (although they've tried) but the worry is still there sometimes because all of my sites share the same database. Our database is constantly backed up and I could be up and running again in minutes but I worry when it comes to potentially sensitive information, e.g. information gathered from forms. In my last position, where I had a large multisite network, I setup an entirely separate WordPress install that was locked down with every security measure our OIT department could throw at it and we used that install/domain solely for any online applications/forms that gathered potentially sensitive information. I didn't feel comfortable enough to host that on the main network with all of the other sites.

Our sites are hosted here on campus and thankfully my server admin is pretty awesome and does a pretty good job of securing things down. Our campus also has a VPN so, using .htaccess, I block the WP login page so it is only accessible to folks on campus. This basically got rid of any and all brute force attacks.

I have no problem telling people multisite is not the answer for every project but I am a big fan. Having everyone in my division on the same network also allows for my content managers to move from site to site easily and with one login which makes everyone super happy, especially since I wrote a single sign-on plugin that allows for our users to login with their campus username and password. :)

As for what it's lacking? I wish it was easier for plugin developers to add settings pages to the network admin so it was easier to make their plugins multisite compatible. I wish it was easier to share content across sites on your network (thankfully the API is here which is one solution). I need to start writing these things down when I come across issues because my mind is blank but I'm going to be writing code for my network all day today so I'll post any more I can think of. :)

WPCampus is going splendidly! We are currently asking for universities to apply to host our first event, which is available on our site: wpcampus.org/apply-to-host/

Lots of ideas are being worked on for ways our community can provide value to members and non-members alike so be on the lookout for some WordPress in higher ed resources in the near future!

via Rachel Carden

Yes, it definitely helps from both ends! My creative/design background not only helps me develop solutions that look good, it also helps me think differently when problem solving. My developer background helps my designs go further because I know how all the gears move so I have a complete picture in mind when I'm deciding what design or layout is best for my content. I'm also not restricted in my design because I know what is and is not possible.

Knowing how your bread is made and buttered can be quite an advantageous skillset. :)

via Rachel Carden

What are the hardest parts about using Multisite in an educational environment where departments have varying needs?

via Brian Krogsgard

How has working in education, maybe specifically higher-education, affected how you code when working on something that isn't for work? Have you learned new things or created new standards for yourself that you now use, and if so, what?

via Roy Sivan