There have been two blog posts that have been shared immensely recently, both on Smashing Magazine about being a top WordPress developer and a top WordPress professional.
Both articles are fantastic and Siobhan McKeown and Jonathan Wold really share some neat insights from their experiences with WordPress. I liked both of them because I have experienced both myself, starting as a WordPress developer (starting at Strayhorn, WordPress v1.5) and then building a successful contracting company and then leading a team that develops a WordPress Theme as it’s core flagship product, thus moving me into the sphere of a WordPress professional.
And it all started with a love for blogging over a decade ago. Yes, I was that guy who was uploading .html files via FTP to share my thoughts back in 2001. I officially moved onto a hosted solution (Xanga) early the next year and have been blogging ever since.
But it was WordPress that effectively changed my life, opened my eyes to the power of Open Source and the amazing community as well as showed me the potential to earn a living through it.
The result? It helped finance my marriage (and everything that goes with that), the birth of two beautiful girls, 2 graduate-level degrees (these things are not cheap!), a house, and obviously everything in between. Is that crazy or what?
When I say that I owe much to Matt Mullenweg and the greater WordPress community and every single person who ever touched and contributed to core I really mean it.
Sure, I’ve developed products and led companies that use other technology than WordPress, but I can’t seem to escape my love for this darn application – it’s just so close to my heart.
It’s taken years to develop this career, this vocation, this calling, and a lifestyle around this application but it’s been 110% worth it. If you’re just entering into these waters as a WordPress developer or professional then trust me, it’ll take time, but you’ll learn things along the way that’ll make you an incredible person.
There are a few explicit takeaways from all these years is a simple truth that I hold close and that I try to share and promote as often as I can that will serve you well as you continue your work with this incredible technology:
1. Giving is Better Than Receiving
Besides the fact that it’s that time of the year where we’re all thinking about all that we have to be thankful for it’s universally applicable all the time with WordPress.
As soon as I possibly could I’ve been doing what I can, in small and large ways, to give back to the community. Free plugins, free WordPress Themes, free tips, tricks, tutorials, how-tos, you name it. It doesn’t just give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside – it actually is part of the practical ethos and philosophy of what we do in open source and it is the point of joining a community to begin with.
Start there. Just as John F. Kennedy once spoke to his fellow americans (with my contextual edits):
My fellow WordPress users, ask not what your community can do for you, ask what you can do for your community.
The first thing you need to do is think of how you can give back before you learn to profit from the ecosystem. This will return to you in spades, trust me.
2. You’re Never There
You may eventually become a “top” developer or “top” professional but those that we believe have “made” it know that there’s another mountain to climb, right after we finish the one that we’re on.
In open source and especially in WordPress your work is never done. There’s something more to learn, another use of it to explore, and thousands (millions) of people that still do not know about it. It is your job to fill those gaps and provide the help that many need to get to where you are.
Your journey never stops – that’s why our team here at WP Daily decided that there was still room for yet another WordPress-centric blog. Trust me, there’s still room for more.
We’d love your help building up this community but if you have the itch and scratch to build your own then we won’t stop you, in fact, we’d love for you to do it.
Go, we’re behind you 100%.
3. Collaboration Over Competition
This is such a hard pill to swallow but it’s the reason that we decided to put it into our Manifesto. Because without a constant reminder you will not believe it, you won’t act up on it, and you won’t practice it – it’ll be just words.
Sure, the team behind WP Daily is 8BIT, who is partnered with Automattic with a Premium WordPress Theme and we make our living as individuals and as a business on our product. So why, then, start reporting on our so-called competitors? Why give them press, air time, click throughs, and hard dollars in sales?
Because that’s what WordPress is all about. If you don’t believe this then you’re hanging out in the wrong waters. Open source enables us to promote our competition without fear of financial loss. Open source, when you believe it in every facet of what it means (beyond GPL), pragmatically, philosophically, culturally, then you see it’s truly about co-existing in harmony with everyone.
In fact, one of the greatest recent pleasures of launching this blog has been the incredible response from some of our, again, so-called competitors, who want to promote it, share it, and even contribute articles for us. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
Collaboration doesn’t mean that we can’t profit and be competitive – it means that we prioritize it way ahead of competition and our choices are determined out of what can benefit the greater ecosystem at large, not just our personal pockets.
I have a lot to be grateful for and WordPress is a huge part of my life and most likely a part of my greater legacy. I hope I can do as much good for those that will come after me as those that have come before me.
This community is the best online community ever established – but it can become even bigger, even better. That’s why WP Daily exists. That’s why I want you to join us in our effort.
WordPress is deeply embedded into our lives. For some of us it is our life. Amazing.
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