Remkus de Vries stopped by ManageWP yesterday to hold an AMA. De Vries has been active in the admin side of the Dutch WordPress site since 2008, focusing on translations, forums, and releases. He co-founded and led WordCamp Netherlands and WordCamp Europe. De Vries is planning the launch of a theme business with his wife called Theme Mix.
People stopped by to ask questions about WordPress in Europe, being vegan, and as always, the future of WordPress.
Here are five takeaways.
How To Grow The European Market.
WordPress is a global platform and has a large following all over the world. That said, a majority of the business comes from the U.S. and Canada. Seeing as de Vries is Dutch, many people wanted to know how to grow the European market. For de Vries, the problem lies with the amount of different kinds of groups located in the continent.
“In Europe, but I’m guessing other continents as well, have to account for multilingual complexities, different customs per country, different taxes per country and different payment gateways,” de Vries said. “It’s a much more complex world outside the U.S. and Canada. I think the fragmentation of the market here is the biggest obstacle if growth is your primary concern.”
There are ways to reach these other markets. Global WordPress Translation Days are working to make WordPress more accessible to different parts of the world. The easier it is to translate, the more languages can be covered.
The Community Is The Best Part Of WordPress.
Because de Vries has been active in WordPress for over eight years, many people wanted to know what he’s learned in that time. One of his biggest realizations? The community is pretty great.
“I’ve made an incredible amount of friends over this common interest and the fact that people are willing to contribute so much of their time to improve all things WordPress is just amazing,” de Vries said.
With that, there are still things that can be improved upon. When asked what the community can do to continue to be awesome, de Vries brought it back to language.
“Going out of your way to connect to French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese (or whichever) communities is a great way to start,” he said. “There’s bound to be someone in every locale that can feed news to you and or translate/proofread it for you.”
The Future Of WordPress.
As with every AMA, people were curious about de Vries’ opinion about that future of WordPress. One thing de Vries would like to see is a more defined roadmap for updates that is made up of more than just a couple release cycles. This would be voted upon by not only the core team but other contributors as well. One of the biggest challenges de Vries sees for the future is “turning on the REST API and allowing WordPress to be used as a headless CMS.”
As far as the short term future, de Vries has one wish for 4.6.
“I’d like to dedicate a full release cycle to only fixing bugs instead of adding new features,” he said. “That would get my vote.”
The New Theme Business Is A Family Affair.
De Vries is launching a new theme business at the end of the month that he created with his wife. They plan to start with Genesis child themes, and then move along to stand-alone themes from there. Because there are so many theme companies on the market right now, de Vries plans to stand out by bringing a different kind of premium.
“The idea is to provide more than just a theme, more-so a solution,” de Vries said. “I’m careful not to go into complexity mode like many of the Themeforest themes do, but I do think we can take the ‘premium’ part to a higher level than what I’m seeing around me.”
Most of all, de Vries is excited about bringing his wife on board. One of his children might even have a role in the company some day.
Vegan Food Can Be Delicious.
After watching documentaries like Earthlings and Forks Over Knives, de Vries decided to be vegan. He shared a couple dishes such as black beans with stir fried vegetables, and vegan chicken shawarma. However, his most favorite is faux chicken curry dish that he conveniently doesn’t have a digital recipe for, though it sounds delicious.
Check back every other Wednesday for another AMA with a WordPress influencer!