Dustin Hartzler Speaker Interview


Dustin Hartzler of Automattic

Dustin Hartzler is a WordPress developer, podcaster and Happiness Engineer at Automattic. His passion is teaching other how to use WordPress effectively.

His weekly podcast Your Website Engineer has been downloaded over half a million times and in 163 countries.

Dustin enjoys speaking at tech events where he can actually see his audience :) He’s spoken at a dozen WordCamps across the midwest and at New Media Expo, Financial Bloggers Conference and Podcast Movement.

Dustin will be presenting “You’re Doing it Wrong:13 Mistakes that WordPress Beginners Make”.

Why do you use WordPress?

I use WordPress because it’s my job :)

But if it wasn’t my job, I would still use it as it’s simple enough to do the things that I need it to quickly, yet robust enough to build the most complex sites possible.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I got started with WordPress in 2009 when a friend wanted me to build a website for his local political campaign. I had heard about this thing called WordPress and decided to check it out.

I almost quit using in the middle of the project because it took me three times longer to do anything, since I had to look up and research how to use WordPress along the way.

What would you tell someone to convince them to attend a WordCamp?

WordCamps aren’t your typical boring work conferences. They are all day workshops where you can learn about WordPress and meet other local (and sometimes not local) WordPress users and fans.

The cost of admission is really affordable and it normally includes lunch and some other WordPress swag.

Tell us about something awesome you’ve experienced at a WordCamp in the past.

Last year, at WordCamp Grand Rapids, I had the opportunity to meet and hang out with two of the members of the ServerPress team.

After they demoed their software for me, I was able to interview them on a podcast and they let me give away a one year license of their software to my listening audience.

I’m still good friends with these two and sometimes they show me behind the scenes of future releases.

Give an example of a cool WordPress project you have worked on recently.

At WordCamp Milwaukee, a small team of us built this website for a small non-profit in Milwaukee.

This was an official activity of the WordCamp and it was fun to spend some extra time throughout the day building a website for a non-profit that only had a Facebook / Instagram online presence.

What is your favorite part of WordCamps?

The two reasons that I go to WordCamps are to learn something and to meet people.

WordCamps have different tracks so users with any skill level can learn how to use WordPress better.

My other favorite part is meeting people. I try to make it a point to meet one or two people at each WordCamp I go and spend most of the WordCamp learning about them. I also try to make it a point to ask everyone how they use WordPress.

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related.

I’m a husband and father who loves spending time outside / playing sports.

Oh, and I’m tall. Don’t be surprised when you meet me at WordCamp Ann Arbor :)

Name someone in the WordPress community who inspires you.

Brian Richards of WPSessions.com.

He just left his position at Web Dev Studios to spend all of his efforts creating the best video learning site for WordPress at WPSessions.

What has been your biggest WordPress related accomplishment to date?

My biggest accomplishment is that I now have my dream job as a Happiness Engineer at Automattic.

How have WordCamps impacted you and your business in the past?

I’ve formed a lot of friendships with folks around the midwest and now I’m more excited to go to WordCamps to hang out with my WordPress buddies.

Fill in the blank for other attendees: “If you __________ then you should come talk to me at WordCamp”.

If you’ve just started using WordPress within the last year, then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.


If you’re interested in working at Automattic, then you should come talk to me at WordCamp.

What should someone learn before attending your talk at WordCamp Ann Arbor?

How to install and use the WordPress Dashboard. Then we’ll cover some of the mistakes that most WordPress users make.

What is your favorite WordPress related resource?

Right now, I’m loving the video lessons at WPSessions.com.

Where can we find you online?

YourWebsiteEngineer.com or DustinHartzler.com