Thomas Griffin is all over the place. And I mean that in the best way possible. He’s an expert WordPress developer of both themes and plugins. He’s a talented golfer. He’s a WordCamp speaker.
Oh yeah, did we mention he’s the guy behind Soliloquy?
Check out the interview below to catch a glimpse into his skill and personality as today’s WPOI (Word Person of Interest):
1. Tell Us About Yourself, The More ‘Unknown’ Facts the Better!
My name is Thomas Griffin, and I love Jesus, my wife, my family, golf and WordPress. I graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Business Management, and yet somehow I ended up building stuff on the web for a living. I started my first business in middle school selling Pokemon cards on eBay.
I am a scratch golfer and love to play any chance that I get (and can afford!). In fact, I love golf so much that my goal in the not-so-distant-future is to be making a living playing it! I also play a pretty mean drum and guitar. 🙂
2. How Long Have You Been Working with WordPress? When Was Your First Experience?
I’ve been working with WordPress pretty exclusively for the past 3 years. I’ve worked with clients of all shapes and sizes (from small business to Fortune 500 companies) and have built more plugins and custom themes than I can count.
My first experience with WordPress was using it to create a website dedicated to singing. I wanted to try and make some money with AdSense, and quickly found out that was not a good way to make money. However, I loved tweaking and messing with the site, and that is eventually how I got into developing with WordPress.
3. Why Did you Start Soliloquy? What Was the Chief Motivation?
Soliloquy was birthed out of frustration with client projects. Every client wants a slider, and every client wants to have control over that slider. I was always on the hunt for a plugin to fit the bill, but being a performance and UI minded man, nothing was even close to satisfactory.
You were either having to load a whole bunch of unnecessary cruft with features that you didn’t need, or the UI was so bloated that not even developers could figure out how to use it. I finally got fed up and decided to make my own for a project that I was working on.
After getting into developing the plugin, I realized that I might not be the only one who would need something like this, so I turned it into something that could be distributed if I wanted. After getting feedback, I decided to try and sell it for some extra income – and well, the rest, they say, is history!
I think that’s part of the reason why it is so successful. I didn’t create it hoping that there would be a market for it – I knew people needed a good slider plugin that was ridiculously fast and easy to use. 🙂
4. How Have You Seen WordPress Grow and Change and Where Do You Think It’s Headed?
I started using WordPress right before 3.0 and the custom post type revolution. I only knew WordPress as a blogging platform when I first started, but 3 years later, almost all of the themes and plugins that I build are now based around using WordPress as a CMS with blogging functionality.
I think this type of usage is only going to increase as more and more businesses begin using WordPress for their web platform. Publishing in any regard is obviously of first importance, but I think we will continue to see a diversified and liberal use of publishing all types of content in the years to come.
5. What Can People Expect to See in 2013 for Soliloquy?
I’ve got lots of exciting things planned for Soliloquy in 2013. One of the cool things coming is a facelift to the media management. When WordPress 3.6 drops, Soliloquy will begin to utilize all of the new media interfaces, including its own custom workflows for creating different slide types: images, videos and HTML slides.
I’ve also got some other neat things planned, such as thumbnail navigation (which is long overdue) and slider themes (which are coming very soon!). I really want Soliloquy to be the only place you need to go when it comes to sliders in WordPress, and I think you will see a lot of updates and Addons that point Soliloquy in that direction.
6. Any Personal Side Projects or Passions that Keep You Busy?
I do have a new web project in the works that I am really excited about which is due to launch soon, but I can’t share the details just yet. 😉
Outside of the web world, I really do love playing golf. I practice as much as I can and am seriously pursuing playing golf professionally in the next few years. I also like collecting cards of all types (sports, gaming, CCG, etc.), so I’m always trying to find an extra side project or two to fund my hobby. 🙂
7. What is One (or Two) Tips for Those That are Getting into WordPress?
If I had to step back 3 years and give myself advice when I first started, there are a few things I would mention:
First – learn how to research. Google and Stack Overflow are your best friends. If you can’t figure out an issue, don’t let it scare you. There are thousands of tutorials and walk-throughs online that can help you with your problems. Don’t let snags and hang-ups deter you from doing what you love. Trial and error makes a mighty fine teacher. 🙂
Second – actively seek to build relationships with those in the WordPress community. There is no way I would have gotten to where I am today without building relationships with people already in the industry. Attend local WordPress meetups and WordCamps. Work to build relationships with those who have already worked down the path you are about to start.