Today, we are talking with Adam Warner, Co-founder of FooPlugins. Adam made great contributions in the WordPress community through his amazing plugins, like FooBox Media Light Box. Foo gallery plugins are also available in the official WordPress repository. He is well-known for his humble attitude and generosity in the WordPress community. He helps people with their problems in different WordPress groups on Facebook.
FooPlugins works on different initiatives to make the lives easy for WordPress users. Recently, Adam and his team introduced a plugin that installs as a Chrome Extension for automatic uploading of the captured screen to the connected WordPress site’s media. This image capture plugin is known as FooCapture.
In this interview, Adam discussed about his past experiences, personal life, and his adorable kids. Enjoy the interview.
Cloudways: You have been involved in WordPress for almost 10 years now. Being an experienced web developer, what were the challenges that you’ve faced during all these years? You also worked as a Sales Manager at ManageWP. How was that particular experience?
Adam Warner: There have been many challenges through those years, not the least of which was earning a steady income from what I loved the most, WordPress. My background and degree is in Advertising Design and that was in the early 90s, many years before WordPress existed.
It took me a number of years to find my particular voice and purpose in the WordPress community at large, but with each blog I wrote and each business I created using WordPress as the engine, it didn’t take long to realize that my passion in web development was about creating products and courses that show others how to leverage WordPress to build or enhance their own businesses.
Although my time with ManageWP was relatively short, it was an invaluable experience. Vladimir Prevolac and his team were first to come with an amazing product for managing multiple WordPress sites. Others have tried to duplicate what they do, but ManageWP has stood the test of time.
In the end, we mutually agreed that my personal entrepreneurial goals within the community didn’t allow me to perform at the level needed by the ManageWP team.
Cloudways: In your own words, your philosophy is not just about providing solutions, but it’s also about educating masses about WordPress. Being hands on with WordPress Multisite, teaching web development must have been an overwhelming experience. Would you like to share some thoughts about your consulting job? How did WP Pro Business start?
Adam Warner: It started as a result of restructuring of my goals within the WordPress and web development ecosystem. I ran a WordPress-focused site at WPModder.com for a couple of years earlier, but that site was never really focused on generating revenue.
WP Pro Business was my first serious foray into creating paid (and free) ebooks and video courses. It was intentionally focused on those of us who are not designers and not hardcore programmers. Tom McFarlin coined the term “Implementor” and that description fits me and my audience pretty well.
In the past couple of years, I have taken fewer and fewer consulting jobs. I love consulting and I love showing others what is possible with WordPress when the right plugins, themes, and marketing strategy are put together, but with two young kids, I have been forced to take a break from consulting simply because of time constraints.
Cloudways: You are the Co-founder of FooPlugins, known for developing astonishing and user-friendly gallery plugins. What’s the story behind it?
Adam Warner: The most important thing I have learnt in my life is that everything happens for a reason, and that every project you nurture, will lead to something bigger and better. FooPlugins was created after a forum conversation I had with a talented developer, which eventually turned into friendship.
In short, I pitched him the idea of working together on one WordPress plugin product. We would scope the idea together, he would program and I would bring it to market. That one product turned into several (and more are in the line) on FooPlugins.
We didn’t even meet for the first time until 18 months after being in the business together.
Cloudways: We all know that WordPress plugins and themes need timely updates. How often do you update your plugins? Name 5 of the plugins and themes that you can’t live without when it comes to developing a new WordPress site?
Adam Warner: The frequency of updates varies from plugin to plugin. We are constantly adding new features but just as often including bug fixes. As software gets updated, there will always be a need to provide updates.
This list is nothing new to many I suspect, but here are the top 5 plugins I include in every installation I do:
- WordPress SEO by Yoast
- Gravity Forms
- Sucuri Security Scanner
- And of course, our own FooBox Media Lightbox
Cloudways: Just for the change of mood, you are now married and have two adorable kids. Knowing that there is already a hectic schedule at hand, how do you manage your work-life balance? What’s the difference between Adam Warner at work and Adam Warner at home? How do you enjoy your spare time?
Adam Warner: I am currently working to create that difference. 😉
It is a serious struggle to work from home, while managing two young ones. What I have found is that I have had to change my workflow to be able to work in small chunks of time and to work at every chance I can get.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining at all. I consider myself very lucky to be able to work from home and spend the time with the family. But, it often means working for an hour, then focusing on family, then back to work for another hour or two. This happens throughout the day. I find that my most productive time of day is usually between 2:00 am to 4:00 am when everyone else is sleeping. 🙂
Cloudways: WordCamp—the flagship event—has now become a norm. Have you attended any? What are your views about these WordPress meetups and conferences? Do they help the newbies and WordPress community to meet and grow?
Adam Warner: I’ve attended dozens of WordCamps. They are an invaluable source of information created by users, for users. It’s often said that the best part of a WordCamp is not the sessions themselves (although they are great), but rather the conversations and networking you can do with other WordPress users in the hallways or out on a dinner in the evenings.
Not only are they a great place to learn from each other, but also a great way to get the word out to the community like we did during our official FooPlugins launch at WordCamp Miami.
Cloudways: You are an inspiration for many individuals. From whom do you get inspired in the WordPress? Name any five people.
Adam Warner: Well, thanks. I hope that I do inspire others. Here are my five inspirations in no particular order:
- Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little (creators of WordPress)
- Brad Vincent (my business partner)
- Mason James (CEO of WP Valet)
- Elon Musk
- Richard Branson
Cloudways: There is a regular WordPress release every four months. Kudos to the core team for its dedicated efforts! With so many developments going on, where do you see WordPress in the next five years?
Adam Warner: Like Matt has stated and like many are already building, WordPress will become more of a true application framework, powering sites and services we’ve never seen before.
Right now, it’s pretty easy to determine if WordPress is being used to power any individual site or service, but as the WP API continues to mature we will see products and services that look nothing like a traditional blog or CMS platform in the backend.
Our team has touched on this functionality with our FooCapture Chrome extension that utilizes the WP API to connect our extension to any WordPress-powered site for screenshot image uploads and Tom, Joe, Noel, and the rest of the team at Human Made have completely redesigned the admin side of WordPress for their Happy Tables Restaurant website platform.
In the next five years, WordPress will be powering much more than the 22% of the Internet.
Cloudways: You are a very active member of Advanced WordPress, the Facebook group. You share valuable content and questions. What are your views on these social media communities? How are these groups helping the WordPress community?
Adam Warner: I think they’re great. These communities arose from the sheer convenience of utilizing such popular channels as Facebook, but also because the official WordPress.org forums had gotten a bit overwhelmed and disorganized.
There is a concerted effort going on to bring more conversation and personal connections back to the official community and I am doing my part to help with that, but there is no denying that people tend to gather where there is a built-in audience and right now Facebook Groups is a great way to connect with like-minded people.
Cloudways: WordPress sites are vulnerable to security threats, such as brute force attacks, DDoS attacks, etc. How can we make websites foolproof against such attacks? Is there any remedial plan in place to address these security issues?
Adam Warner: No website is immune from those who want to disrupt the flow of communication. That said, you can certainly take steps to dissuade those attacks and their effects. Anyone who runs WordPress (or any other software) powered website should place security at the top of the list.
And that’s what WordPress allows a freely available communication platform for those who would otherwise struggle to make their voice heard to the world.
Cloudways: You know about Cloudways Cloud Platform. We provide optimized servers with faster page load times, powered by the combination of Nginx, Varnish, Apache and Memcached. How did you find one-click WordPress installation on Cloudways? What’s your opinion about Cloudways platform? What can we do to make it even better?
Adam Warner: I’ve been impressed with Cloudways from the very start. There was a very distinct push for web hosts to start specializing in specific software platforms like WordPress, and I consider Cloudways as one of the leaders in that respect.
You can follow Adam Warner on Twitter.
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