INTERVIEWS WITH LEADING EXPERTS
Nick La - Founder of Themify
1. What is your background and why did you start Themify and what was your vision?
Hi there, my name is Nick and I’m the CEO of Themify, a premium WordPress company that began in 2010. I got my start in graphic design, working for a number of various companies while writing and updating my blog regularly. Surprisingly, the blog became incredibly successful, as I shared how to apply design and illustration well in web design and WordPress.
My genuine interest in design and web creation turned into something bigger when a friend of mine named, Darcy Clarke, and I had an idea to design and code our own premium WordPress themes with the ability to use a drag-and-drop builder. We created one of the first successful drag-and-drop WordPress builders during that time.
2. What are the biggest challenges and achievements in running Themify?
One of the greatest challenges running Themify on a day-to-day basis is ensuring that you have the right team members in the right positions – or putting your aces in their places. Regardless of skill, finding people who care and are passionate about what they do is important. I feel lucky to have such a team in place, and the sheer volume of positive feedback for our support service and customer care daily is a product of this. This is both an achievement, but a goal we are constantly working to improve and do better with.
3. What approach do you take when trying to find solutions for your software as far as usability, what your customers want etc?
We are always doing our research and testing what else is out there in the industry, but also looking forward to innovating and creating completely new features and products that haven’t been done before. We have several key team members who test, retest, and test all of our products over and over, to make sure that the final product in our users’ hands is something amazing and of great value.
4. Any tips for anyone who wants to get into the web/software industry
For those who are looking to break into this industry – passion and a willingness to learn will take you far. There were times at the early stages of this company where I perform every single job, including user support, accounting, developing, designing, and blog writing. But I was passionate about our product, and was even willing to google how to write certain code in order to get the job done. There is nothing that will take you farther than that.
Vihbor - Founder of Weblizar
1. What is your background and how did you start in the web industry?
I am an IT background engineer, started work in early 2013 in the web industry. My interest in the web development increased when I was working for a company, I came up with a thought I should start My Own. Then after having work experience of two years I left the job and started my own.
2. What was your vision when starting Weblizar?
Vision was clear and simple - to make beautiful and useful web Products for the web world.
3. What are your proudest achievements and challenges when running Weblizar?
Produest Achievement is we are now team of 15 super talented engineer working under one roof and also My two Themes were in features list in 2014 on WordPress.org
4. Any tips for those starting out in the industry?
Just follow your dreams.
Paul O’Neill - Opera Singer
1. How did you get into Opera and what is your musical background?
I came to Opera through musical theatre. I had sung in musicals at school as well at choirs and studying guitar. I then enrolled in a part time Musical Theatre Certificate course at WAAAPAb and then moved over to operatic education.
2. What are proudest achievements and biggest challenges?
I became a Young Artist with the Berlin State Opera and worked there for about 7 years. During that time I was lucky enough to sing with some of Opera’s biggest names like Placido Domingo, Daniel Barenboim and Rene Pape to name a few. It was also my greatest challenge in that I moved to Germany and not only had to work and learn the language but 3 of my children were also born there. It was an exciting and intense experience.
3. When approaching a role what is your process?
When approaching a new role one has to take into account the size of the role and how much it will demand of the voice. The secret then is to find the ways in which to sing the role without stressing the vocal mechanism whilst recognising what the composer and conductor requires.
4. Any tips for getting in the music industry?
My best tip is to get the most knowledgeable and supportive people around you. You will need them for your entire career. The work, work, work!!!!
Cecilia - Digital Marketer
1. What is your background and how did you get into digital marketing?
Hello! My name is Cecilia and I currently work as Digital Marketing & Communications Specialist for Themify, one of the leading premium WordPress companies in the industry! I first got my start in communications working as an editor and PR associate for a Canadian jewellery company throughout university and college.
An opportunity came to work at Themify part-time, while I juggled another job and full-time journalism school. I fell in love with documentary filmmaking and video production, but found it hard to turn these dreams into a professional reality, and when a full-time opportunity at Themify presented itself, I jumped at the chance. With my previous work in PR and communications, this next role was a perfect fit and I was eager to learn more about the tech world and flex my digital marketing chops.
2. What was your process in solving a marketing or communications problem and finding a solution?
There are many facets to digital marketing and just one of those roles includes taking care of clients and anyone who approaches the company with a question, issue, or request. Whether it is through social media, email, or a comment on the blog – I believe you can always take the high road in meeting clients halfway and in diffusing tough situations. Luckily, we haven’t had too many challenging situations and we have some amazing users in our community, but there is always an opportunity to grow trust and camaraderie with them.
3. Your market is international can you share your insights into the advantages and challenges you face marketing to the globe as opposed to a focused local area for example only marketing country or local wide marketing?
Our market is indeed the entire population on the internet. This has presented both advantages and challenges as there are some who you don’t share a language with. But Google Translate is one of our best friends, and gets the job done to be able to effectively help and speak to people from all over the world. When marketing to different countries – we don’t use approaches that are too different or unique from others in the industry. We find that people respond to great technology and great developments. When the product is good and your service is even better, that just may be one of the best marketing tools.
4. Any tips for those who want to get into digital marketing?
I would highly suggest picking up skills interning on your days off at smaller businesses to pick up skills and learn how to leverage some of the apps we use every day to create moments of connection and genuine interest in your target communities. Getting creative with your marketing campaigns isn’t the hard part. Staying creative and doing something new is.
When I feel like I’m in a rut, I take a walk through Twitter and web in general to get inspired and see which social shares of blog posts or sales promotions catches my eye and why. Aside from the marketing aspect, you will be conversing a lot with the community where the business lies, so having a real passion for people is a must. Don’t forget to collaborate, even when it won’t always benefit you directly, helping those around you helps you grow along with your industry. I was able to start an interview series on some leading WordPress creatives and innovators and though it may not always drive crazy traffic, it certainly will pull the eye of a group of thinkers who appreciate the industry and enjoy learning about the process and not just the product.
Cleve Williams - Jiu Jitsu
1. How did you get into BJJ and why?
By accident. 2 months after stopping kung fu I caught up with an old school mate who started training with Christian Thiele as he worked with him. No Holds Barred (pre ufc) had just come out. So went along to this jiu jitsu class & it was weird & hard.
2. How do you prepare yourself for a comp?
At my age now 41 I do functional training & also interval training. I find this strengthens my mind now. Still gotta some hard comp rounds but I don't smash it too much. I don't need to cut to much weight so its eat clean & maintain weight.
3. As a coach and head of your own school what are the biggest challenges as far as running your own business and as a coach?
At first it was selling my product. Why I was the best. Now it's maintaining my students, trying to get new ones; what technique are we doing; paying the rent; merch... it's everything all rolled into one. My biggest thing is making time for my kids. They are now looking at other sports so I still want to be involved.
4. Explain your approach to coaching is?
BJJ is complex so I try & explain things in a simpler way. I was always confused in the early days. I like to keep it funny to. I also like to keep it high tempo. You need to learn to think on your feet & adjust the class as required. There's always things to learn about teaching.
Thank you all who made this
possible & Gave Up Your Time
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