Approachable WordPress

chrislema-face

WooCapeTown

In 2008, I joined the WooThemes Theme Club

It was early in the premium theme game for the WordPress ecosystem, but I had already been using WordPress for a couple of years and was getting tired of manipulating Kubric all day long.

So when the guy in London, the one in Cape Town, and the Norwegian decided to start up a little company called WooThemes, I was interested.

To be clear, I had no idea there was a “community” and I had been doing everything on my own, including:

  • Coding directly on the server
  • Changing core files
  • Directly changing theme files

Yes, I was a horrible hack and didn't know anyone and no one knew me. And while I didn't understand the whole unlimited use of these themes on as many sites as I wanted, I knew I was in the presence of rock stars.

In 2011, I branded my Mac Book

Skip forward a few years and people were going to WordCamps and I had started doing the same. And the thing I noticed was that people were putting stickers on their laptops like they were sponsors painted on Indy cars.

Since I'd deployed tons of WooThemes-based sites by then, I sent these guys a question about stickers. But they didn't have any. So I asked them to send me their artwork, so I could create my own. They didn't know me from Adam (by this time their business had taken off, and they had all sorts of customers – and clearly only 1 asking for stickers). But they replied with the artwork, and you can see what I did with it, below.

WooSticker

Since then, I've written about WooCommerce

Over the past 18 months, my interactions with WooThemes have mostly been in the realm of writing some posts about WooCommerce. Some twenty-five posts later, you can say that my interest and fondness for WooThemes hasn't diminished.

I met a few of them for 2 minutes at Pressnomics in 2012, which is to say that I was introduced to them when they were already halfway into their evening partying one night and I'm positive none of them would remember it.

Hear Me Here

Now let me be really, seriously honest with you. Because you have to hear this in order to understand that big smile in the photo (I'm in the back, on the right).

  • I do not build products in the WordPress ecosystem.
  • I do not sell almost any services in the WordPress ecosystem.
  • Until a little over a year ago, I had never written about WordPress.
  • Until this past year, I'd only presented at 3 WordCamps.

This is not the resume of an important person in the WordPress ecosystem. Even the fact that I'm a memorable presenter (even if I don't actually do technical education or even deep WordPress topic presentations) isn't something to hold on to or boast about.

I'm not saying I suck. I'm just saying this passion of mine to help empower people to succeed in the WordPress ecosystem isn't sitting on top of serious accomplishments like building a WordPress company with over 500,000 customers.

We can both agree on that reality.

This is what's truly amazing: Approachable WordPress

For the past few days I've been hanging out in Cape Town – the very same city where WooThemes has an office. I'm here because they invited me to come out here. I'm here to present at the WordCamp on Thursday.

The hospitality shown to me has been incredible. Amazing. Ridiculous in it's extravagance. All by the great folks at WooThemes.

But that's not what has me smiling in that picture.

No, what has me smiling is a truth bigger than WooThemes. What has me smiling is something I need you to hear – for you.

Ready for it? Here it is. I tried to find the right words for it, and to keep it short, and the phrase I came up with was “approachable WordPress.” Here's what it means.

Approachable WordPress (noun) – The reality that the relative ease of learning WordPress is matched by the relative ease of meeting, connecting, and enjoying time with the amazing thought leaders and successful entrepreneurs in the WordPress community.

That's it. I've said it before and will say it again. In 20 years of working in the high tech sector, I've never experienced this dynamic that feels unique to WordPress, in the ability for just about anyone to approach and connect with any of its superstars.

I spent an evening on a boat sailing around Cape Town with the rock stars from WooThemes. It was great news for me. But the great news for you is that you can do it too – and it doesn't have to be WooThemes – it can be anyone you want.

Want to talk to the guy behind WordPress 101 – hit me up, I'll introduce you.

Want to talk to the guy behind the Matt Report – hit me up, I'll introduce you.

Want to talk to the dudes that are the baddest podcasters in town – hit me up, I'll introduce you.

Who do you want to meet?

Here's the amazing thing – you don't even need my intro. Ping them directly on Twitter and watch – they'll reply.

That's Approachable WordPress.

About Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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