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Interview With Michael Bastos: Founder of Advanced WordPress

October 29, 2014

6 Min Read
Reading Time: 6 minutes

An individual can become the master of his own destiny. People with big dreams always find their way. This is the universal truth and nothing but truth. There are a very few individuals, who dream big and most importantly achieve them.

Michael Bastos Interview

He defines himself with this rightful statement. “I always believe in setting goals and having an aim in life”. He is the man for whom, the whole process starts from a positive thought and a community where one can survive with it. He is none other than Michael Cabral Poubel Bastos, Founder of Advanced WordPress Facebook group and Pricels.com.

Continuing with the series of interviews, today I had a chance to interact with him. Bastos is a former US Marine and now an experienced WordPress and Ruby on Rails developer. In this interview, he shared his life experiences and much more about WordPress. Enjoy the read.

Cloudways: Software Engineering, then the US Marine, and then back to development. So much stress, so many decisions, and risks. Also, you are married and have children. How do you feel about the ups and downs of life? And, then how did WordPress came in?

Michael Bastos: I was lucky enough to do what I loved early in life, but during high school back in the 90’s, I realized that I was missing discipline and leadership skills in my life so I joined the Marines looking for that challenge. I signed up and a month later September 11th happened and my life changed forever. I did multiple combat tours to Iraq as well as around the world and served for 8 years before returning to the private sector.

I was married in 2007 and now have two kids. I would not be where I am today and would not have the ambition I have today if not for the Corps.

I work long hours not because I have to but because I want to, but I still make time for the kids while they are awake. I don’t see it as stress but as a way to provide for my kids and grand kids what I didn’t have myself. I got into WordPress around 2009 when a lot of my server and systems clients at the time also wanted a website.

Cloudways: What was the reason behind initiating the Advanced WordPress Facebook Group? Did you imagine that one day it will become the largest Facebook community for WordPress?

Michael Bastos: We, as a team, didn’t really care about that. We were just tired of always talking about the same things and never pushing the envelope with our discussions, that’s why we limited the conversation to advanced topics and started banning simple questions and discussions.

We seem to go through a cycle where the quality of the discussions drop as we get more folks but we have a great group of admins, whose job is to remove posts that don’t fit the group’s advanced nature. We don’t always succeed and sometimes fall short of our goal but managing 10K folks in your free time is itself a full time job so things are going to slip through.

Cloudways: When did you decide to add more people as admins to help you running the community? Have you set any criteria of choosing admins or they are just the best and most contributing WordPress influencers of community?

Michael Bastos: Early on, I started adding folks to help with managing posts. I’ve been hands off for the most part trusting the admins to make the best decisions as it relates to using their best judgement when removing discussions that don’t fit. Sometimes people get upset because their stuff was removed.

We’ve considered moving to a post approval process but realized that it might reduce the level of engagement so we’ve depended on admin judgement when reading through posts.

Cloudways: How was your life as a senior developer at amco.me and what made you switch to MojoPages.com? Is it just the high paying opportunity or there are other reasons too?

Michael Bastos: Working with Amco was an amazing 7 month experience. I learnt a ton of new concepts while working with those guys, and it was the kind of development environment I want to replicate one day with my own company.

My reason for moving had less to do with getting paid more and had more to do with spending fewer weekends catching up. Everyone does it but the reality is that if a company has to have it’s Devs working 4 weekends in a row then there was a failure with how you gather and track requirements.

I’ll miss the team at Amco but the Mojo guys are doing something very different from what I’ve worked on in the past, so it’s a great challenge. They are also in the process of rebranding and rebuilding and it’s profitable so we are in a perfect position to build something awesome.

Cloudways: What is the background of Pricels.com? Is it a family-made business or a business-made family?

Michael Bastos: A little bit of both. Pricels.com is a project I’ve been working on over the past year. Our goal is to create a system for anyone to track anything with a price tag anywhere on the internet. All of it is hosted on AWS so getting the architecture right has taken some time, but it will be released at the end of the year.

It has been designed for B2B services but is scalable enough to handle a consumer version and we’ve already got some initial customers, we’ve shown the beta to them, and they are ready to jump on board when we launch.

Cloudways: Where do you see yourself in the next five years? Any hard plans or targets to achieve or just going with the flow of life?

Michael Bastos: In 5 years, I see myself as a CTO, either of my own company or of another, like I said earlier I tend to be a bit ambitious and work towards those goals, but having kids changes your perspective on your priorities and what’s important to put your focus behind.

Cloudways: On the lighter side of life, human being is a social animal. Do you have any interest in sports or food or traveling or anything else?

Michael Bastos: I’m originally from Brazil so soccer or futbol is the only sport I follow. I’ve traveled the world during my time in the Marines, so I’m done with traveling personally. I take my wife with me every time I attend a conference so we tend to make work trips into mini vacations but that’s about it.

Like I said before, I’m lucky enough to really be doing what I love to do so my free time that I spend coding is one of the best hobbies I can possibly have. It teaches me things I never would have tried or experienced if I just did it for work.

Cloudways: You are handy with PHP, Ruby, Perl and Java. With these expertise of developments and experience on several projects at different languages, you have many options in life. WHY WordPress?

Michael Bastos: A lot of my day job today is in rails but I still have WordPress projects that I work on and maintain. What keeps me in WordPress has less to do with the code and has more to do with the community.

The things we share at the AWP San Diego Meetup keep my interests in WP sharp and give me ideas or other projects, so it’s a virtuous cycle that keeps me a part of the WP community. Only an unskilled or inexperienced programmer blames a language or framework for what they can or cannot do.

Cloudways: You will be organizing WordCamp San Diego 2015. How is your team of 8 people supporting you and what are the new things that you are bringing to this WordCamp that will help the community?

Michael Bastos: The WCSD 2015 team is great. We have a lot of AWP folks this time around helping out as well as others from outside of the community so that we cover a broader scope of views. We decided to do things differently and instead put together a more concise schedule of discussions and topics that would prove valuable to attendees and went out to find the speakers to fill it.

Cloudways: Who are the top 5 people that you recommend most to reach for help related to WordPress issues and why?

Michael Bastos: These are the five people I recommend:

  1. Yaron Guez – Fellow developer who’s got one hand in WP and one hand outside like myself.
  2. Devin Walker – Local front end designer/developer who is exceptional at what he does.
  3. AJ Zane – A master at Foundations and is doing WP right with the latest and greatest tools.
  4. Brandon Lavigne – A developer who is also willing to try the hardest things for the sake of learning.
  5. Matt Cromwell – Product guy turned developer, who has really shown his skills in the local SD community lately.

Cloudways: Please share your views with our readers about Cloudways platform for WordPress.

Michael Bastos: I haven’t tried Cloudways yet, but I can say that I’m a huge fan of any tool that helps folks easily deploy to cloud based services. It would be interesting to see these systems deployed to Google and other providers as well.

You can follow Michael Bastos (@BastosMichael) on Twitter.

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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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