Matt Medeiros lives in Boston, MA. He has studied Computer Networking Systems and then became WordPress blogger and podcaster for freelancers and small businesses. He is a co-founder at Slocum Studio, and later launched MattReport, a rapidly growing WordPress podcasts for digital businesses.
In this interview with Cloudways, Matt discussed his personal life, entrepreneurship, and advice to business owners using WordPress as their CMS.
Cloudways: Hello Matt, thanks for taking out some time from your busy schedule. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Matt: Is there enough space on this web page for me to do that? Kidding. I do a lot, but it all points back to WordPress in one way or another. Whether it stems from the client work that we’re delivering at the studio, to the podcasting, I’m on a constant exploration of online business and branding. Everything I do is listed here.
Cloudways: While surfing the Internet I came across your social profiles, I noticed that you have studied Computer Networking Systems. How did you find your path to glory in the digital world?
Matt: I remember interacting with my first computer, I can’t remember the name of it, but it ran an early version of DOS. To load apps, mostly games in my case, you had to run every command by hand. Sounds silly now, but for a 8 or 9-year-old, it was quite an achievement. That passion for tinkering with computers lead me to become a product manager at a local Internet service provider. The hands-on experience of building and maintaining networks, also lead to me to understanding the application layer, like Apache, MySQL and eventually WordPress.
Cloudways: Matt, when did you first discover WordPress? How do you compare WordPress with other content management systems? Suppose there is no WordPress, what would be your second choice?
Matt: I was working that the ISP as I mentioned earlier, and we purchased another ISP which had a Drupal shop attached to it. A few of their devs left during the transition and the design team wanted nothing to do with Drupal anymore. It was the end of Drupal 4.x going into 5.x, so it wasn’t easy to style. They turned my attention to WordPress, which we ended up investing in to keep that arm of the business going.
Cloudways: Matt, your first WordPress agency is Slocum Studio that you founded with your father. What is it about? And how is the work going? What were the challenges you faced in the starting?
Matt: Service businesses are a funny thing, you’re only as good as your last project. I’ve been operating that now for nearly 10 years, and it’s been quite an experience. Solving problems for customers can be a very fulfilling job. The challenges are like everyone else in the space: finding new clients, retaining old clients, and generating multiple streams of revenue.
Cloudways: You have developed many WordPress plugins and themes. Could you please shed some light on the most popular among them?
Matt: Conductor Plugin is our baby. It has certainly been a challenging plugin to market, but I enjoy it, and it serves a niche vertical of customers. Distilled down, it’s a query builder for WordPress or lightweight version to Drupal Views. You can query for your types of content, and display them in a variety of ways. Post grids, lists, tables, sliders, and so on. It’s quite powerful for a WordPress professional to have in their toolkit.
Cloudways: Since you are the founder and co-founder of many WordPress resources, what challenges did you face during the early days of your digital venture?
Matt: Getting my name out, and giving an audience a reason to listen to me. I think this is important for anyone looking to grow a product or service business — regardless if it’s WordPress. You need to find a way to truly connect with an audience, not just sell to them. Be willing to help, have thick skin, and do your best.
Matt: Have a solid foundation, starting with enterprise-grade hosting and some 3rd party security services. Hire the right team to develop your website, and make sure they adhere to good coding practices, document everything, and use proper versioning.
Cloudways: Besides WordPress development, you have vast experience in marketing consultation, blogging and audience building. What will be your suggestion to business owners on boosting their businesses?
Matt: Start yesterday. Seriously, so many people are getting into the game of media creation that a year from now, your potential customers are going to be spending more time reading, watching, and listening to your competitors. Choose one social platform and medium to pursue in the beginning, don’t get overwhelmed. The worst thing you can do is wait.
Cloudways: Matt, you are the founder of Matt Report – One of the fastest growing podcasts. How did you come up with this unique idea?
Matt: Fastest might be a stretch 😉 It’s taken nearly 4 years to get 100 iTunes reviews (in the US) but that being said, it started from attending WordCamps. I remember sitting in the audience in NYC and hearing people chatting about wanting to meet the top developers in the space. Having just started my agency, I needed a vehicle for connecting with this community, and I saw that as an opportunity. An opportunity to host discussions with the top talent, and potentially connect them to others. I thought it was going to be just a blog at first, but I found producing audio/video was a lot easier for me.
Cloudways: I have read your articles and reviews on different WordPress websites. Is it your hobby to educate the WordPress community by sharing your experiences?
Matt: It’s a passion to help people with their products and overall branding. While I don’t claim to be an expert, I do believe having a second opinion or point of view from someone that’s been doing it a while, very valuable.
Cloudways: You have attended many WordCamps, could you please care to share your experience with us? And how these meetups are beneficial for WordPress as well as for the WordPress Community?
Matt: WordCamps are great for beginners, it’s nearly impossible to find another event at such an affordable rate to provide the amount of value that they do. I also host a local WordPress meetup, and while it’s a small group, they are committed to learning all things WordPress.
I’d also add that as you get more experience, invest in other “WordPress conferences” like Pressnomics and LoopConf.
Cloudways: “All work no play makes Jack a dull boy”, everyone wants to be relaxed, what do you do when you are not clicking away on the laptop?
Matt: I enjoy spending time with my son, and trying to carve out some time for running & exercise.
Cloudways: Everyone has buddies, can you name some of them from within the WordPress community?
Matt: My podcast audience and all two-hundred people that I’ve interviewed 🙂
Cloudways: Considering your experience and achievements, covering everything in a short interview isn’t possible. I must have missed out on something 🙂 Is there anything that you want to tell the world?
Matt: Trying to get pixel perfect will be the death of you. If you’re a creative trying to launch something into the world, or you’re a business owner and you need to generate revenue — just launch. Seriously. So many people sit in the mud trying to find their favorite shade of blue, it’s not worth it.
Unless of course, your business is selling blue t-shirts.
Cloudways: Finally, could you please send us an image of your desk or workspace exclusively for our readers? 🙂
Thank you, Matt, for your time!
Follow him on Twitter.