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Interview with Frank Bültge

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Frank Bueltge
Frank Bültge – Business Partner at Inpsyde

For those of you from Germany involved with WordPress or WooCommerce, Inpsyde and Frank Bültge, must be familiar names.

Frank, a software developer, WordCamp speaker, translation contributor, is a business partner with Inpsyde GmbH and Carl Zeiss AG. 

WordPress has been his companion for years now. Apart from that he also engages himself with SAP Business software. He has built popular plugins like WooCommerce German Market, BackWPup pro, MultilingualPress, etc.

Apart from being a great WordPress developer, Frank is also a sport enthusiast. He loves mountaineering and cycling, which he does on a regular basis, when not spending time with his family. It’s surprising how he manages to make such good use of his time with so much on his plate 🙂

Frank Bültge was kind enough to spare some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for us. So let’s see what has to say about his jouney!

(Note: Here’s the original version in German)

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Tell us about Frank when you take WordPress out of the equation? How do you like to spend time when you’re not managing Inpsyde.

My name is Frank Bültge and I work both as a co-founder and shareholder of Inpsyde GmbH as well as the head of the SAP PLM Environment at Carl Zeiss AG. Both companies are completely different, and have different goals. At times I tend to follow others’ goals apart from mine. But what’s most important to me is working with people, specially in big teams, which is my prime responsibility.

I spend a lot of my time on the computer. However, working on products is secondary as opposed to solving problems between people and their expectations of results. Also, thoughts, visions and priorities for the future are very important to me in my daily life.

Work is important, but family comes first. I also dedicate my time to my family. Here, there’s much to give, and to receive. Finally, I use some time for sport. I love freedom and hence I’m fascinated with mountain sports, which requires adequate preparation. Apart from that, cycling is something, that always fascinates me. Mountain climbing helps me clear my head.

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What is your typical workday like?

I usually start at around 8, before which I workout and spend time with my family. I then proceed to complete particularly intensive tasks, which include reading mails, collaborating with people, etc. Over the day, there are meetings with different people on different topics. Generally I get time after 5, to attend calls and go through posts. If I get more time, I engage myself with tasks like new development or coding.

That’s the end of my first job i.e till 6 or 7. A cycle ride again after that and solving small or big family problems and spending time with them really helps. After 8 starts my 2nd job, where plugins are to be supported, corrected and further developed. That’s how my day goes and at the end I just hope to have had a ‘productive day’ and be satisfied.

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What’s Inpsyde’s unique selling proposition (USP)? What distinguishes the company from its competition?

The USP of Inpsyde

I believe that the quality and connection to open source and how we think about it makes a big difference. Customers benefit from the fact that their free products are well maintained. We take care of them, without being dependent on service requests.

At the same time, I appreciate the know-how in the team, I find the quality of the code extraordinary and very thoughtful. Often this does not matter to the customer, but over time one learns to appreciate quality and maintenance. What I really appreciate and the USP of Inpsyde is the reliability and dedication of every single member of the team.

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You’ve developed a number of plugins. What thought process is involved in converting an idea into a plugin?

I can only speak for myself, since I do not come from a typical developer background. I’ve learnt how to program using the “Trial and Error” method. Basically, understanding the problem is enough to think of a solution. I often need this thought in my everyday life, whether a plugin or a complex process, there are problems and there are goals. The road between them is to solve the problem to achieve the goal.

In order to create a solid solution, a solution that I am satisfied with, personal development is very important. A solution that might be old, might be still effective.

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WooCommerce German Market, BackWPup Pro und MultilingualPress – Which was the most challenging plugins to build and why?

I was primarily involved with MultilingualPress. The product was an idea, which I implemented in WordPress long back with a partner. We always thought that standard WordPress was not flexible. That’s why we often used this solution for various customers. But we never had a standard, because the requirements were totally different. The primary idea still remained the same however- basic WordPress multisite and linking of objects.

MultilingualPress still supports its standalone standard and maintainability, but it has completely changed in general. The free product can be used and extended in many ways. The team has achieved a very different level of quality in the code. The solution has become more stable and flexible, new ideas are on the waiting list.

MultilingualPress has always been a love of mine so far. For me the idea is right, but complicated only because multisite in the core is always somewhat neglected. The tickets concern less users, less developers are interested and the complexity is higher.

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According to you, what factors make a plugin successful?

Maintainability, extensibility

This can be seen from my point of view as – Need. I know too many poorly built plugins that are very successful. That is why factors such as maintainability, extensibility, cost, quality are great and important to me; but they are secondary to usability.

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What would Frank Bültge advice be for all those who provide WordPress services?

Important Factor

An important factor is passion and patience. Working on and with free products attracts many users, but also many ungrateful users. One himself/herself must be happy and satisfied. In the end, you are the one who can be successful, not the software.

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What are 3 things you like best about being involved in WordCamps?

People, people, people.

Without them, the other aspects that arise at these meetings are secondary. The emergence of friendships, exchanges, ideas, learning, comes with and through the people. WordCamps ensure this. It’s the people and not just the code that is the focus.

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If you weren’t involved with WordPress, what career path would you have chosen?

I like working with my hands, craftsmanship is a passion of mine- whether at home, in the forest, in the workshop, in the garden. Managing something on my own gives me more satisfaction. Incidentally this is also a reason why I always liked to work with WordPress. The achievement was usually widespread and recognized.

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Thank you Frank for your precious time. You definitely set an example for our readers on how to manage time and be an all-rounder. All the best for your further journey. For those who want to know more about Frank can follow him on Twitter @bueltge or visit his website.

Prajakta Gupte

Prajakta Gupte

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