Speaker Interview – Kyle Maurer

KyleMaurerKyle is the co-founder of a Jackson, Michigan based firm called Real Big Marketing which specializes in using WordPress to solve complicated problems for businesses. He is also the author of and a contributor to dozens of WordPress plugins, is the co-organizer of the Jackson WP meetup, is a co-organizer of WordCamp Ann Arbor, plays in a band and is an aspiring beer snob.

Why Do You Use WordPress?
WordPress does an amazing job of making things that are inherently complex very simple. Everything from basic content management, to user authentication to design implementation to serious development is made easy with this powerful and free software. Plus, it is getting better and better as time goes by.

When and How Did You Start Using WordPress?
Those were dark times indeed, the days when my development workflow was “cowboy” coding and my tool belt contained Adobe Dreamweaver and some hideous HTML templates. I was employed at some lousy place making lousy sites with a lousy boss for lousy pay. Then I was introduced to WordPress. Shortly after I started my own business and life has been great since.

What Tips or Resources would you recommend to a new WordPress User?
1. Your local meetup – Attend as often as possible and actively participate. Speak if you can.
2. WordCamps – Attend as many as possible and never sit alone. This community is your biggest asset.
3. Identify your specialties and then figure out who are the leaders in those disciplines. For example, if you’re a front end dev you need to follow Chris Coyier and css-tricks.com. If you’re into BuddyPress follow John James Jacoby. If membership sites are your thing, Chris Lema might be your guy. If you like designing things checkout Michelle Schulp. If beer is your passion, talk to me. All examples and not a complete list but you should get the idea.

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?

  • Have confidence in yourself.
  • Embrace the community and make friends.
  • Speak at meetups and WordCamps.
  • Raise your rates.
  • Wear your seat belts.
  • Don’t edit the parent theme.

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc)?

What’s a cool WordPress based site you’ve seen recently?
I think the new ManageWP plugins directory is pretty cool https://managewp.org/plugins/best

I’m also pretty proud of what we were able to come up with for a plugin we released recently http://renderwp.com

What do you like most about WordCamps?
WordCamps are where I get to spend time with good friends, make new friends, speak and drink some beer, all of which are things I’m passionate about.

Where can we find you online?
Web: RealBigMarketing.com
Web: KyleBlog.net
Web: RealBigPlugins.com
Twitter: @MrKyleMaurer