Ian Wilson Speaker Interview


ian wilsonIan started off his career by swearing off web design entirely. This lasted through most of college, at which point he realized that print design is not a super viable career path any more and succumbed once more to the toxic allure of the World Wide Webâ„¢

Since then his voracious appetite for learning has led him through design, development, writing for a fashion blog, and culminated in running his own design & dev agency- build/create.

WordPress just so happens to combine all of that goodness into a beautiful, user-friendly package, and thus, here we are.

Ian will be presenting “Introduction to WordPress Hooks” at 2:30pm in Room D and will also be participating in the “Building a WordPress Business” panel at 1:30pm in the Vandenberg Room.

Why do you use WordPress?

Because it’s easy for our clients to use, and easy to develop for, AND has an amazing community! It’s just that simple.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I started in something like 2006 or ’07- I was working in-house at a printing company and it was in Fantastico! After some dabbling in other content management systems in PHP and Rails throughout the years it became clear that WordPress was the only solution that didn’t make me feel like I was losing my mind on a daily basis.

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

It’s the best, seriously. You can make the most out of every second by talking to people, asking tons of questions, and of course attending the sessions that best address your weaknesses.

Once you do one, you won’t be able to stop. It becomes an addiction.

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

The most awesome experiences I find at WordCamp come from those moments when you’re killing time in-between talks. It’s inevitable that someone you talk to will have had the same problems as you at some point and next thing you know you’ve solved a problem that’s been haunting you for days/weeks/months.

Happens to me every time, and it’s just as awesome every time :)

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

We’ve worked on a lot of cool stuff lately, but I think the coolest thing we’ve been doing is looking at different custom functionalities we’ve developed for our clients over the years and seeing which pieces can be extracted and productized as plugins.

It’s a lot of fun to see what you’ve already done that you might be able to circle back to, improve, and sell in a whole new way.

What is your favorite part of WordCamps?

Meeting new people, hearing about the problems and victories they’ve had in their work. It’s really important to remember that we’re all in the same boat :)

What advice do you have for anyone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?

Start now, don’t wait. And equally important, keep track of the tactics you’re going to use to grow, and any changes you make to them so you can look back and see what you did that worked and what didn’t so you don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

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

I once was asked to blog for Huffington Post about children’s fashion, because I was running another blog dedicated to it at the time. That was very validating, though after my initial foray I realized that a larger audience means bearing the vitriol of a bunch of random people who don’t actually read what you write and are just there to troll and flame.

That part was not as awesome.

Name someone in the WordPress community who inspires you.

Though maybe not in the “community” in the strictest sense of the word, my developer Joe is probably my biggest inspiration when it comes to my work. We bounce ideas off of each other daily and are always collaborating on ways to solve the problems we encounter. I think it keeps us both on top of our game.

What has been your biggest WordPress related accomplishment to date?

Definitely when I released my first plugin. I guess it might not be a big accomplishment, but it felt like it anyway. I learned so much, and any project that helps me learn, AND I don’t grow to hate by the end, is an accomplishment in my book!

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

WordCamp helps me to gauge the climate of the WP community, see what trends people are following in each skill level, what things people want to see in future updates or plugins, etc. That then helps us to identify things we aren’t doing that we should start, things we should stop doing, and also the occasional business opportunity that is within reach that we just didn’t see.

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

Feel like you’re stuck in a rut, with any aspect of your business or job.

What is your favorite WordPress related resource?

The Codex. (Nearly) All truth lies within.

Where can we find you online?

@buildcreate on twitter will be the best way to track me down. I’m not always active, but I’m always lurking…