Happy Forty Matt πŸŽ‚

Wish you a happy birthday, Matt!

In less than 6 months, I will also turn forty.

Looking back, I feel there must be a reason that the God has sent you to this world ahead of me. So that you can build bridges and remove obstacles from my journey.

The ecosystem you have built gave me a voice, a purpose, an identity, and a community where I found my tribe. It provides for my family, insulates us from inflation, allows us to enjoy a family vacation leaving laptop back home. Whatever little I have achieved in my life, it’s hard to imagine pulling it off without WordPress.

You have inspired countless people. Nothing new there. But on your birthday, I want to recall three incidents that were transformative for me and my professional venture. I do have more memories, but I don’t want to get late to the party! So keeping it short.

First interaction at the last WordCamp San Francisco in 2014

It was my first time in the US, and I strongly believed then that it would be my last trip, as things were not going so well. So I just wanted to express my gratitude to you for building WordPress, hoping that we will never meet again. To my surprise, you thanked me back for whatever little contribution I did until then. You might be just being modest, as I don’t think I did anything noteworthy until then. But you were genuinely interacting with all people, no matter how big or small contributions they did.

In the same event, during your Q&A, I asked a question which was not entirely unique. But you literally followed up with me when we bumped into hallway track, after the WordCamp and even connected me to your colleague to take the conversation forward. It made a just another person in the WordPress community feel a lot more valued.

I came back to India encouraged to fight more. I was on the brink of collapse, but those small interactions with you cheered me up to fight for the next two years, and then your VIP came to the rescue!

Above has been a reason, I try to use your least possible time at WordCamps. I feel your 2 minutes with a new person in the community can cheer them up and set them for bigger things. πŸš€

Selling open source based on merit

In a WordCamp Europe talk, I guess with Om Malik, during Q&A I guess, somebody asked a question I am unable to recall correctly. It was on the lines that we should raise more awareness around open source to beat propriety software. Something I used to also feel strongly about then.

But then in your reply, you have said something on the lines that we should build WordPress better in terms of features. A user should first choose WordPress over any propriety software only because the software is better. Once they make a choice and inquire about the pricing, they should be in for a sweet surprise that it’s free and GPL.

This transformed how we approached clients during pre-sales. We relied less on the fact that WordPress is open source and spent considerable efforts on preparing demos packed with comparable features to their existing CMS. It led to much higher conversion! πŸ†

Embracing wider open source

As we became more enterprisy, we have had clients that needed auxiliary systems, which sometimes cannot be optimally built using WordPress. So we did a few Laravel, Node.js, Python projects here and there. Ranging from building a Chrome extension for Google, to a large WordPress product company’s SaaS backend handling their AI features.

While they were happy about the outcome, they felt we should talk more about our other capabilities more often. While I appreciated their good thinking for us, I always felt some awkwardness pitching anything apart from WordPress. Because we have been proudly β€œa WordPress agency”.

Around the same time, a few colleagues started feeling that if we connect WordPress with more open-source stuff, there will be higher conversion compared to leaving people to use propriety solutions for their connected needs. More open source in the stack, more win for collective open source!

Just when we were having debate around above, during your interview with Mike Little and Dries Buytaert, when you said, β€œI am the open-source guy”, it broke my mental deadlock. πŸ’₯

Thanks again for everything you have done. πŸ™Œ

Keep inspiring! ❀️


Comments

2 responses to “Happy Forty Matt πŸŽ‚”

  1. Thank you so much Rahul! What a journey we’ve both been on. It’s been an honor to watch what you’ve started grow from a small seedling to a organization that others should emulate and follow. And your work to bring on future generations, to share knowledge, really inspires me. I hope we can both continue contributing on our paths in the future, and I can’t wait to see what the coming decades bring.

  2. Rahul Bansal Avatar
    Rahul Bansal

    Thanks for taking out the time to read, and for your kind words. πŸ™

    I am certainly excited to contribute even more in the future.

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