Today we get another insight into the Argentinian WordPress community, courtesy of QuadroIdeas founder Javier Schvindlerman.
As well as running his premium theme shop, Javier is also heavily involved in the WordPress community in Argentina, making the long-overdue Buenos Aires WordCamp a reality at the end of May.
In today’s interview, Javier talks all things WordPress — his background, his involvement with the WordPress community, how the community has evolved, and the direction he thinks it’s headed.
As always, I want to say a big “thanks” to Javier for finding the time to answer our questions. Let’s get on with the interview!
For readers less familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself and your WordPress background?
Sure! I’m a developer/stage manager/musician. I was born in Argentina, spent many years living in Israel, and I’m currently living in Buenos Aires again.
I’ve always had many different occupations, but I spend most of my day involved with WordPress.
You’ve been in the WordPress community for several years now, but could you tell us how you first became involved with WordPress?
Well, I’ve always been involved with web technologies. I went to a technical high school and started programming on Pascal when I was 13 years old. I think you are very lucky when you get to be technically challenged from a young age, and you need to solve conflicts by means of tools you don’t really know how to use yet.
By 2008, when dealing with a website for one of my (then) current projects, a web tutorial lead me to WordPress. I used it to build a site in a matter of minutes, and was completely sold.
During your time in the community, what different areas have you been involved with?
Since we create themes for a wide spectrum of people, I do a lot of user support. We deal with complex requirements from advanced developers that are trying to make super cool stuff with some part of a theme, and we also help customers that barely know what the Dashboard is and are struggling to create a menu.
Also, these last two years we’ve been heavily involved in growing the WordPress community here in Argentina. We came to a WordPress-anniversary-meetup first, and immediately felt we needed to help there. The community has been growing beautifully with more and more people joining and sharing knowledge and experience.
Last year we discussed the possibility of hosting a WordCamp in Buenos Aires after many years without one. And after a lot (a lot!) of work, it became real! We’ve spent the first half of this year co-organizing it, mostly, with the great folks at @NiceThemes. It was hard and exhausting, but extremely rewarding. 🙂
What has been the best thing about working with WordPress for you?
For me, it has to be the way WordPress empowers people. Because having a web presence is so important, you need to be online and have a space of your own to make a lot of stuff happen. I’m not saying you absolutely need to have a website — we know that isn’t true. But having your own online real estate can make a difference.
In that sense, WordPress can open doors for someone who otherwise wouldn’t have the means to. The ability to create an online display for your ideas, your products, or whatever you have to say, is huge. At the end, technologies aside, I think that’s what the whole WordPress ecosystem is contributing to.
How has the WordPress community changed since you started?
It has gotten bigger, for sure. And wider. I guess the wider it gets the more varied the needs of the community get, right? WordPress is far from being a “blog platform” today, and the users and developer communities behind it reflect it.
What advice would you give to anyone getting started with WordPress? Which direction would you yourself go if you were starting over again?
I don’t think I would do anything different. During my time working with WordPress, I’ve used it to run personal sites, I’ve developed client projects, and I’ve been building commercial themes for a while now. Whatever you can do to keep learning will help you enormously on the next part of the road. There’s definitely a learning curve when you begin, especially if you are not PHP oriented. But it’s an easy one.
If you are just starting with WordPress, I’d try and think that everything you want to do with it is possible. You just need to find the right way to do it. There is an infinity of online forums, Facebook groups, blogs, etc. which can help you if you don’t have the answers yet. Just go ahead and try to do it.
What do you think the biggest mistakes WordPress website owners are making?
Can’t think of anything in particular right now. 🙂
What do you think the future of WordPress holds? What would you like to see?
The future of WordPress is looking bright, that’s for sure. I’d like to see a more open discussion about what the current needs of the whole user spectrum are. Being a community mostly run by developers (top notch developers) that spend valuable time making the core what it is, I think that sometimes it’s easy to miss the big picture of what the end user is trying to do with it. Sure, educating users is fundamental, but a lot of times we on the other side can learn much more, as with any other case, just by listening and watching.
Once again, huge appreciation to Javier for answering our questions!
As we discussed at the end of Juan’s interview, it’s great to see WordPress thriving in all corners of the globe. This doesn’t happen by accident — it’s reliant on individuals pulling together to grow their local WordPress community. Just because a WordCamp isn’t coming to a city near you doesn’t mean it has to be this way forever. As Javier and Juan have proved, if you work hard enough, you can make these events happen — it’s really inspiring stuff.
Before we finish, I strongly recommend that you head over to QuadroIdeas to check out some of Javier’s beautiful, handcrafted themes! That’s all for now, though; thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again next week!