Interview With Devin Walker—The Man With A Plan

by Waseem Abbas  December 17, 2014

Today we have Devin Walker, the man behind WordImpress and many other WordPress projects. He is a master in web development and has worked on various platforms. Devin is also performing his responsibilities as Creative Technologist at Thought House.

Devin is a very reachable person on all social networks. He is available to guide people about the WordPress issues on different forums. He is also active on different Facebook groups for WordPress. Devin is also the admin of Advanced WordPress, a community of 11 thousand members.

In this interview, he shared the reason of choosing WordPress over other platforms. Plus, he told an exciting news about his personal life. When it comes his projects, he revealed his plans for the next year. He also mentioned the name of 5 people who inspired him the most in the WordPress industry. Enjoy the read.

Devin Walker Interview

 

Cloudways: Did you plan this journey in web development or was it all incidental?

Devin Walker: I started to develop websites in the late 90s when everything was table based. The CSS was just released and web design was still figuring itself out. I helped develop my high school’s website, and in college, I published articles online for the Arizona Wildcat School newspaper website.

I never really thought about designing and developing websites as a career until my internship at Anacomp, a document management company, during my senior year of college. I was able to get hands-on with different platforms and technologies and I really enjoyed it. From there, I was hooked and haven’t stopped trying to learn about the latest and greatest developments.

Cloudways: You have a diversified experience in web development. There are many open source content management systems. What made you choose WordPress?

Devin Walker: I’ve got hands-on experience with a lot of different platforms, both open source and proprietary. I find they all lack the flexibility, ease of use, and the community of WordPress.

I’ve found that WordPress allows you to create customized solutions faster more easily as compared to other content management systems. It is much more cost effective too. WordPress continues to get better with every iteration and I’ve been very happy developing with it for the last 6 years.

Cloudways: WordImpress is a catchy name. Who suggested it and what was the purpose for this initiative? What services are you providing at WordImpress? Where do you see this project in next five years?

Devin Walker: I’ve always appreciated a good play on words and there are too many WP projects; whatever’s out there already.

It’s important to impress users with design, functionality and support. Everything should stand out above the crowd. So after some thought, I decided that since we are building on WordPress and want to impress, then maybe we should just fold it into our name: WordImpress

Right now, we are currently working on redesigning and redevelopment of the current site and are working hard to push out some really cool things in early 2015. This includes re-entering into the theme market and also releasing a new plugin we think could be a game changer.

In 5 years, I see WordImpress as one of the most recognizable and respected names in the WordPress community.

Cloudways: What are your responsibilities as Creative Technologist at Thought House? What is the history behind it?

Devin Walker: Thought House exists to be a guide for our clients as we help to build better relationships with the customers by doing research, providing technological solutions, and advertising. I am responsible to ensure that all creative and development projects we do exceed clients’ expectations and are delivered on time and within budget.

Thought House is a 6-month-old venture and we are already working with some top brands in the franchise industry. I am very excited for the future of Thought House and seeing continued growth in 2015.

Cloudways: You are one of the admins at Advanced WordPress (AWP). We have seen the major success of this group in the past year. For how long have you been serving the community? Where do you see this group in next one or two years?

Devin Walker: Advanced WordPress was borne out of a need to raise the level of conversation in the community. I started to get involved by being an early member of the AWP meetup group in San Diego about two and a half years ago. I became friends with the founder Michael Bastos and told him that I wanted to get more involved in the community. He set me up as an admin of the group and I’ve been contributing ever since.

In the future, I see the AWP community becoming more structured. Right now, no one really knows who is in charge without asking and I think we have to grow outside Facebook. San Diego is our strongest base of admins and we have been discussing how to grow the group for the future.

For starters, we plan on launching a website that offers unbiased theme and plugin reviews, a free community-driven jobs board, and a weekly curated newsletter of the most impactful topics discussed within our various communities. I think we should also assign officers of the group and seek additional sponsors.

Cloudways: WordCamps are so important to the WordPress community now. We wish we could be there to attend one at San Diego. Being one of the organizers, how do you think these events are helping the community?

Devin Walker: WordCamps are a great way for the WordPress community to come together and learn about all the aspects of this great platform. They help the community tremendously by allowing users of all skill levels to come together in a casual learning atmosphere.

In San Diego, we are working hard to have one of the most memorable WordCamps of the year. We are doing this by scheduling a stellar line-up of speakers, hosting the event at an impressive new venue, and offering hands-on for plugin and theme tracks.

Cloudways: On the lighter side of life, what do you do other than WordPress and web development? You look like an athletic guy. Any interests in sports, gym, or music, etc.?

Devin Walker: Outside of work, I enjoy traveling with my fiancé and playing golf on the weekends. I am getting married in June 2015 and am really excited for that! I try to hit the gym at least 2-3 times a week.

Many people think that developers are all heavy bearded males. This really isn’t the case and I think more should be done to break that stereotype. I like what WordPress is doing to help foster interest within women and young aspiring designers and developers.

Cloudways: At this time of year, many WordPress companies are planning their next few years ahead. What goals have you set for the year 2015? Any special plans that you would like to share?

Devin Walker: If you want to be successful, you have to set smart and attainable goals. We have set several goals for WordImpress this coming year that includes releasing a new starter theme framework using Google Web Starter Kit and improving our existing plugins.

Of all our goals, I’m most excited to release a new plugin that will lower the barrier of entry for non-profits and organizations looking to accept donations for WordPress.

Cloudways: Other than WordCamps and AWP, you are very generous to help people who reach out to you personally with their WordPress issues. Any experience that you would like to share with our readers?

Devin Walker: I enjoy helping people to the aha moment: the moment of sudden realization of a fix or solution that was seemingly elusive.

Typically, they are very grateful and I’ve had some even offer to send me things like company swag to a bottle of brandy. It’s great to connect with people from many backgrounds from all over the world.

Cloudways: We all get inspiration from someone. Name the five people in the WordPress community who inspire you the most?

Devin Walker: That’s definitely true! I’m constantly inspired by many people in the WordPress community. The 5 people who inspire me the most are:

  1. Karim Marucchi (CEO at Crowd Favorite): He is continually sharing his knowledge and business expertise. He is always so friendly and approachable.
  2. Chris Lema (CTO at Crowd Favorite): He is the best WordCamp speaker ever, an excellent business coach, and prolific blogger. (I swear there’s two of him.)
  3. Matt Mullenweg (CEO of Automattic): One of the most influential people online for changing the face of the Internet. I’m forever grateful for WordPress.
  4. Syed Balkhi (Creator of WPBeginner): He’s a young, ambitious, and successful entrepreneur who has helped many WordPress users understand the CMS.
  5. Tom McFarlin (Pressware and WP Plugin Boilerplate): This guy is a serious developer and I have learnt a lot from his blog and Github repos.

Cloudways: You know what we do at Cloudways. What are your views about our platform and the 1-click WordPress installation?

Devin Walker: Anytime you can lower the barrier for entry to WordPress, I am a fan. I also noticed the servers are fast and my sites are loading very snappy. Good job guys!

You can follow Devin Walker on Twitter.

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About Waseem Abbas

Waseem Abbas was WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves to help people with their WordPress worries. He is a self-proclaimed "food explorer".

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  • Big things in store at WordImpress! Devin’s done an amazing work getting this company off the ground and running. Now he’s seeing it through and pushing it to the next level. Glad and honored to be part of the team, Devin!

    • Hey Matt, thanks for reaching out and sharing your thoughts. Cheers!

  • Jason Knill

    Devin and his AWP group is one of the more impressive things happening around industry collaboration. The Fortune 500 CMO-CTO world could learn a thing or two from the AWP guys and gals.

    • You nailed it, Jason. At AWP, we have seen a great number of WordPress problems resolved each day. Good WordPress content is also shared rapidly on the group. With the 23 admins and more than 11K members, AWP is rocking on Facebook. 🙂