I’ve been a part of the WisdmLabs Business Development team for less than 6 months, so it was great that they gave me an opportunity to participate in WordCamp Mumbai this year. It was an opportunity I did not want to miss. As a WordPress developer in the past, and now on the biz dev front, WordPress has been a key part of my life here at WisdmLabs.
WordCamp for me was an opportunity to learn new things and meet new people.
I was pumped. 🙂
I decided on connecting with a few people beforehand (Twitter is an incredibly effective platform, for a quick chat).
I got in touch with Bryce Adams, (at the time) a Support Ninja at WooThemes, and a speaker at WordCamp Mumbai. (He’s officially a full-time Developer at WooThemes now).
Bryce was cool about meeting up in Mumbai. His session was going to be about ‘The WordPress Settings Experience: And Why It Sucks’. You know a session’s going to be interesting when it has a cuss word in it. 😀
Bryce spoke about enhancing user experience by reducing settings options in the admin panel. The idea he proposed was great. I wouldn’t have guessed this was his first session at any WordCamp.
After the session I had a quick talk with Bryce over -I’d like to say a couple of beers, but it was- tea. Here’s a gist of what we discussed in person and a few followup questions over email.
To begin with, I wanted to know about his journey into WordPress development, and what living in Thailand was like. When asked, here’s what he had to say, “I started travelling 3 or 4 years ago and haven’t stopped since. In that time I’ve in lived in Laos, Thailand & Australia, spending time in between exploring. I spent a lot of my spare time learning basic WordPress development. I was then lucky enough to get a job back in July last year working for WooThemes. The rest is history!“
“(Moving from Australia to Thailand was) A big cultural shock but a lot easier than some would think. I love the Thai culture so living there wasn’t difficult at all.“
For a guy having learnt web development in his spare time, it was amazing that he had built Nomad SMS within 3 days!
I knew that WooThemes values product support a lot. In fact, I had heard every developer at WooThemes has to start out doing support. As a Support Ninja at WooThemes, I wanted Bryce’s general opinion on the importance of support and plugin quality. I asked him, “Can good support save a poorly built plugin?“.
Bryce: “Yes, but at the end of the day, it will only temporarily save it. Customers deserve the product they thought they were buying, so quality is very important.“
If he had to rank ‘Users, Revenue, Popularity, Quality and Brand Image’, in an order of importance, he said it would be, “Quality, Users, Brand Image, Revenue, Popularity“
When I asked Bryce about his takeaways from WooThemes, he said, “(His key takeaways from WooThemes were) Learning and working as a team.”
This explains him talking a lot about learning on his blog too. He mentions development being tough but a continuous learning process. When asked about how he kept improving he said, “Just practice. I’ll get an idea or project in my head and then just build it, or at least, try to build it. It’s all about trying and learning from your mistakes, and even more importantly, just building things – simple, but valuable minimal viable products.“
Bryce- Experimentation is an ingredient to building a great plugin. Can’t be afraid to take risks.
For those of you who didn’t know this, Bryce has his own venture Captain Theme which builds plugins. I was curious to know ‘Why the name Captain ‘Theme’ when you build plugins?’. He said “Haha. When I first started developing ‘premium products’, it was just themes. I actually didn’t even know how to build a plugin at the time. Slowly I learnt though, and now only make plugins. Themes are tough and take real design talent – something I don’t have.“
Lastly when asked about his experience at WordCamp Mumbai, he said, “Great! Everyone was so welcoming and Mumbai was just a really cool place in general. Definitely hope to go back again soon.“
To know more about my experience at WordCamp, I’ve written all about it on my own blog, be sure to check it out!