James has been in the WordPress community since 2006. He’s been a user, a freelancer, an agency owner, a theme and plugin developer, a community wrangler, marketplace rep and hosting company marketing director. You could say he’s hit the home run of involvement in the WordPress ecosystem.
James got his start in WordPress through his local community, building websites for people and organizations that interested him. In 2012, James went from building sites for himself to building sites for others when he took the leap and went full-time as an agency owner. It wasn’t long before James found himself actively involved in the PageLines community, building themes, plugins and even a course website to help people do more with WordPress.
Eventually James was hired by PageLines where he spent time building community, working with add-on creators and helping to ship new products to users. It was while hanging out at WordCamp San Francisco in 2014 that James made his first friend in the WordPress community. Someone who invited him to attend another major conference called Pressnomics a few months later.
While at Pressnomics 3, James had the good fortune to meet many people in the business community of WordPress. Drinking interesting beers with Pippin Williamson, watching Chris Lema smoke cigars with Shawn Hesketh under the orange trees in the hotel courtyard to listening in as Syed Balkhi and Thomas Griffin discussed their takeover of the world and eating BBQ with the Envato team.
In fact, the Envato encounter would prove to be a pivotal connection as toward the end of 2015, James would become the WordPress evangelist for Envato and spend the next five years travelling around the world meeting WordPress creators and attending WordPress events. He even moved his family from Ottawa, Canada to Melbourne, Australia.
James has continued to work with prominent brands in the WordPress ecosystem, including Rocketgenius, StellarWP, and others. He has learned a great deal about teamwork, leadership, and culture through his roles and experiences, which led him to launch TeamWP, a platform that aims to help WordPress teams improve their skills and create amazing places to work.
What do you enjoy most about working in WordPress?
The people! No matter where you go one of the things that’s great about WordPress is that you get to work with some amazing people. Often, when you change roles or even change companies, those relationships continue on and you discover new ways to work together and new opportunities to create impact.
What do you love most about your Post Status membership?
I’ve been a part of the Post Status community since day one. Early on I didn’t feel qualified to speak up in the Slack chat because who am I to say anything when surrounded by so many people I respect and admire. Over time, the community has become a really valuable place to cultivate relationships and discover new opportunities for collaboration. It really is the center of WordPress business and I recommend it to everyone who is looking for a group of like-minded people to connect with.
What business/web/WordPress advice do you have for others in our industry?
Go to a WordCamp as soon as you can and make a friend. Find someone on Twitter whom you respect, ask about it in the Post Status slack but find someone you can connect with in-person at a WordCamp. It is one of the most important business decisions and investments you will make in your business and your career. I owe my entire career in WordPress to a friend/connection I made at my first WordCamp.