Today’s WPOI (Word Person of Interest) Helen Souness comes to us from Australia.
She is the new General Manager of Envato’s Marketplace! She has extensive experience and brings a global mentality to her new position.
Get to know Helen after the jump.
1. Tell Us About Yourself, The More ‘Unknown’ Facts the Better!
I am incredibly excited about working with the WordPress community and helping grow our authors’ businesses. I’ve worked in digital and technology companies for a long time. I first encountered WordPress in the very early days when we wanted to get a blog up on our website, and our own devs simply did not have time. A front end dev in the team and I bought a theme and got it up in a week or so. As far as I was concerned it was a miracle of speed and a great result, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
I have worked in technology and digital companies for many years now, most recently as the Marketing Director of SEEK Limited, the largest online job site in the world, with a market cap of over $3 billion. There I learned a lot about the fundamentals of building brands and marketplaces.
Before that, running lonelyplanet.com, I saw how important a community could be in helping build your product. Travellers are a passionate community and shaped our work there just as our author community shapes what we do at Envato.
I am a kiwi, but have spent most of my working life in London and Melbourne. I am a big traveler and have been to more than 50 countries, with 50 more on my list! I am loving our very global marketplaces, contact with the Envato team all over the world and our community who do such great work from every corner of the globe.
I find the global nature of the community another really exciting aspect of what we are doing.
2. You’re a Relatively New Member of The Envato Team, How is it Going so Far? What Was it About Envato That Made You Want to be a Part of Their Team?
I loved the culture and values of the founders and the Envato team from my first interview. This is a place that genuinely wants to make things better and serve the community, and I’ve already seen us make decisions putting the community above anything else. I love that.
As much as I am a business person, I have an even stronger desire to make a positive difference in my work. Since being here the Envato values have only become more important to me, but I’ve also really been enjoying the pace of our growth. We are constantly opening up new markets, delivering more, hiring more great people. A month here feels like a year everywhere else I have worked. It is amazing.
3. What is Your Favorite Part of Working With the People in The WordPress Community?
The WordPress community help businesses and people all over the world achieve great creative projects. A recent example was my friend Amelia who is building an amazing food blog on her own from home; the WordPress community made that possible for her.
I think the community is making a big difference; ‘democratizing publishing’ is absolutely true in my view. It is an exciting thing to be a part of.
4. What Can People Expect to See From You and the Envato Marketplaces in 2013?
We have big plans for this year. The whole team is really focused on doing more ‘front end’ improvements for our users, after working more on the platform level ‘back end’ of our sites last year. From search to item support and everything in between, we are doing a lot of planning and hiring right now to achieve ambitious goals this year.
Japh and the Review team are also working on our review submission requirements and workflow to make them public soon for WordPress and other categories, so watch out for that too.
5. What Side Projects or Passions Keep You Busy?
I really love to travel, and having worked in London and the US, we have friends all over. When I relax, my hobbies are very ‘non digital’ as it happens; cooking, eating and hand craft. The antithesis of my work!
6. What One or two Tips Would You Give Someone Who is Looking to Get More Involved With Envato’s Marketplaces?
The authors who have been very successful on our marketplaces really consider what someone is looking for in a theme or plugin, and what problems they’re trying to solve. It’s about aesthetics, usability and elegance, but even more importantly, it’s about identifying the real needs of a buyer.
Ideally if you can do the work you love to do, while considering closely what buyers need, then you will find that happy intersection between enjoying your work and making a good living!