This week, Matt Cromwell took over the ManageWP AMA. Cromwell is a Partner and Head of Support at WordImpress as well as co-author of the Give donation plugin. He began working on websites to pay his way through college where he earned multiple degrees. After being offered the position at WordImpress, Cromwell left the life of academia and never looked back.
You may also recognize him as one of the founders and organizers of the Advanced WordPress Facebook group, which now has over 23,000 members and 30 administrators. People asked about organizing a Meetup, business changes, and of course the future of WordPress.
Here are five takeaways.
Create a Facebook group.
Cromwell is an organizer of the local San Diego Meetup group and knows a thing or two about what it takes to keep a WordPress Meetup alive. The biggest thing he’s learned, Facebook groups are a great way for people to stay connected.
“The Facebook group was a HUGE factor in the success of our Meetup. So much so that it now is it’s own BEAST of a global organization,” Cromwell said. “It’s helpful to be able to point new Meetup attendees to your FB group so they can keep connected with your members in-between Meetups. It fosters loyalty and anticipation.”
Have a place people can gather easily online, and make sure to stay active. Continue to post updates and answer questions so users know they will be heard if they reach out.
WordPress isn’t new.
When asked about the challenges facing the WordPress ecosystem, Cromwell provided a surprising answer: it’s a legacy product. Some people look at WordPress and think it’s already done. This can lead to fear in new developers and apathy in experienced ones. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a huge group of users who see the freedom WordPress offers to create beautiful, custom websites.
“So between those two moods or feelings about the project, I hope people continue to remain focused on the end-user and what’s best for them rather than whether or not they feel “cool” when they code for WP or not,” Cromwell said.
All new hires must have three distinct qualities.
Hiring support staff can be stressful, especially if you have a small business already. You have to make sure everyone works together efficiently and gets along. Cromwell suggests looking for three qualities.
“With regard to hiring support staff, there’s really just a couple primary qualities that are paramount:
1. Likability balanced with professionalism
2. Technical skills and troubleshooting skills
3. Strong ability to collaborate with a team and give/take constructive feedback”
For more, check out Cromwell’s talk about the matter from WordCamp LA.
No one is immune to pumpkin spice.
While some may try to avoid the allure of the pumpkin spice phenomenon, Cromwell wishes he could take it a step further.
“If there was a plugin that could deliver the glory that is #PSL I think I’d be building that right now instead of everything else in life. But alas. All our plugins do is plain drip coffee,” he said.
Don’t give dates to customers.
The Give donation plugin has been a successful way for nonprofits to get involved in WordPress. However, there was one distinct bump in the road, the team gave customers a timeline. They knew the most requested addon to the plugin would be recurring donations and began telling customers to expect it in the summer of 2015. The date kept getting pushed back, and people were not happy.
“Say you’re working on it, say you have NO Timeline whatsoever. Just keep building. But whatever you do, don’t set a date because that’s when you set yourself up for disappointment and failure,” he said.
The new season of ManageWP AMA’s is set to go through the end of the year.