Chris Lema is a well-known figure in the WordPress community. He is a WordPress consultant, speaker, and author who has been involved in the WordPress community for over a decade. He is also the founder of the popular WordPress hosting company Kinsta. In this interview, we discuss Chris’s journey in the WordPress community, his thoughts on the future of WordPress, and his advice for aspiring WordPress developers.
You can find him on Twitter as well. Below is our recent interview with him, as part of our Kinsta Kingpin series.
Q1: How did you originally get involved with WordPress?
I originally got involved by simply using the product. I had been using TypePad personally and DotNetNuke for projects with my clients. Mid-year 2005 I found WordPress and shifted everything over to it. That said, for the first year or so, all I did was create small sites that only used pages – no posts, no archive pages. So it was a surprise to me that people said it was only for blogs.
Q2: Which WordPress events will you most likely be attending in 2016?
I’ll be speaking at WooConf – a conference just focused on WooCommerce. I’ll also be running CaboPress – but dates haven’t been announced yet. Other than that, I’ll be organizing WordCamp San Diego, and will be speaking at WordCamp Milwaukee.
Q3: What’s your day-to-day like at Crowd Favorite?
My mornings are in meetings – whether it’s with my team leads, with my entire development team, or with our exec team. My afternoons are spent either on calls, or producing material – from white papers to estimates and quotes to reports (findings) for clients as part of a discovery process. So half the day is very people-centric and half the day is just me and my computer.
Q4: How has your experience been with Rainmaker?
I really enjoy Rainmaker. It’s a perfect solution for a lot of different kinds of people. In this case, for my blog, since I wanted to limit my focus on simply content creation over feature development, it’s been great.
Q5: If you wanted to host a site that wasn’t a good fit for Rainmaker, what features do you feel are must-have for any managed WP host?
The managed host game continues to change. A lot of people now are in the space and so what used to be unique is now table stakes. I think my answer, however, will always be about the people side of things rather than technology. Do you have solid account management and support? Is there an escalation path if you’re asking for something unique where the answer is normally “no” but could be “yes” for the right price? The human side – and a phone number to reach them – is critical.
Q6: If you could change one thing about WordPress, what would it be?
It won’t happen. And I’m ok with it. But it seems like we named the free side of things .com and the commercial opportunities .org and that’s very confusing to people. I would have loved to see that switch. 🙂
Q7: Where do you see WordPress going in the future?
I think the community of people that use WordPress without being developers will continue to grow. And agencies like 10up, WebDev, Modern Tribe (Editor’s note: you can read our interview with Travis Totz from Modern Tribe here), Human Made and Crowd Favorite are pushing it up towards larger and larger projects up market. So it will grow at the top and the bottom of the market. What that means is that we’ll end up needing to keep thinking about various kinds of users and what they need – and they won’t all be happily aligned with each other. I’m hoping this will be best solved by continued efforts to get the API into core.
Q8: I see you’re using Clarity to give advice, how has your experience been with that?
It’s been absolutely fantastic. I probably do 10-20 calls a month and I get to help in focused ways while hearing tons of great things (peoples, projects, stories) from folks.
Q9: What kind of stuff keeps you busy outside of WordPress?
I have a wife and two kids that keep me busy. Beyond that, I love reading – and so that’s something I do daily. And lastly, at least on a weekly basis I love having a great cigar.
Q10: What’s your favorite vacation destination and why?
I love Cabo San Lucas. It’s my favorite place in the world. But I’m specifically talking about a specific resort – and that’s why I hold CaboPress there.
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