Petya Raykovska is the senior Project Manager at Human Made Limited. She has been using WordPress since 2010 and started contributing translations in 2011. She is well versed in leveraging digital media and builds digital platforms for traditional media.
In this interview, Raykovska talks about her involvement with WordCamps, open source projects and her work with WordPress community.
Cloudways: Hi Petya, Thanks for joining us today. Could you please tell our readers a bit about yourself and share your career history? How did you start your career? Who motivated and inspired you? What challenges did you face during your initial career?
Petya: Hello and thanks for the invite! Tell you about myself. I’m Bulgarian, working on enterprise projects and events at Human Made, one of the best WordPress agencies in the world. I come from a background of enterprise publishing and marketing. I used to work for a big business media publisher in Bulgaria before starting a small WordPress agency with some friends. I got involved with contributing to WordPress in 2013, translating to Bulgarian and volunteering at WordCamps. In 2014, I was a part of the team that won hosting WordCamp Europe 2014 and in early 2015, I started at Human Made.
Nowadays, I am a WordPress contributor, translator, and event organizer and work with highly motivated, very inspiring people from all over the world on making WordPress global and getting people together at events like WordCamp Europe.
Cloudways: Currently, you are working at Human Made Limited. May I ask what are your responsibilities there? Could you share any interesting stories?
Petya: Human Made is an amazing company and I’ve had the chance to adopt several different roles since joining the company. I started with client work and project management, building big WordPress sites alongside our amazing dev team. A big chunk of my time is dedicated to contributing to the WordPress Polyglots team as well. I also helped organize WordCamp Europe for the past three years and I was really lucky to have Human Made back me up and allowing me the time needed to focus on that. In 2015, we formed an events division at Human Made, lead by the awesome Siobhan McKeaown.
As far as stories go, there are so many! We are a fully distributed company and my favorite time is our yearly retreats where we meet in person and have a chance to interact live. This year, we went to Slovakia after WordCamp Europe and I got to teach everyone to waltz! It was fabulous.
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Cloudways: Petya, you were at WordCamp Europe 2016 recently as a speaker. How WordCamps are beneficial for the community? How does speaking at WordCamps help you boost your career? Do you have any specific buddy or a group of buddies that you love to hang out with at WordCamps?
Petya: I was actually an organizer, not a speaker at WordCamp Europe. I did the opening remarks because this year I was given the responsibility of leading the team. The role switches between different people each year. In 2016, it just happened to be me.
WordCamps are extremely important for the community. They are the base of our community, where friendships and connections are built and knowledge is shared so we can all grow.
I think WordCamps are a great representation of the spirit of Open Source—the way we share what we know with others, even the mistakes we’ve made so others don’t make them. Not to mention all the friends we all make during those events. I met my future colleagues at WordCamp Europe in Sofia, I met some of my best friends these days at various WordCamps around the world.
We often gather together around WordCamps and spend a few days co-working from different places around the world.
I am lucky to say I have friends and favorite people everywhere I go. I adore the Italian community, I made so many friends there last year. I’m in love with Portugal and have an amazing time with the people in Lisbon and Porto every time I go. There are several people from the Swiss community I can’t wait to get to hang out with every time we happen to be at the same place. And so many more, I can tell you about amazing WordPress people around the world for the next few days if you let me 🙂
Cloudways: There are a lot of CMS in the market. Why do you choose WordPress? If WordPress is not available in the market, what will be your alternative option?
Petya: WordPress is open source, extremely well-documented and has an amazing community. When I started building websites, I tried WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. WordPress was the most accessible of them, had the lowest barrier for entry for someone like me that was not a seasoned developer. Then I met the community, started contributing and there was no going back. Once you contribute to an open source project, it becomes yours. If there was no WordPress, I would go for a project that carries the same values: Open source, right license, strong community. There are many projects like that these days and I would love to contribute to other projects too. But we only have one life and 24 hours per day.
Cloudways: Could you please share your experience and tips for setting up a better WordPress Community?
Petya: Local meet ups, regular ones even if you have to get together to grab a few beers and watch WordPress.tv videos and discuss them. Global events and big WordCamps are great for learning from the experience of other meetup organisers. If you’re organizing WordPress events, connect with others at least once a year.
WordCamp Europe gets everyone together at least once a year. Open your meet up for everyone to be able to attend and speak. Don’t limit content to development and design. Let others organize as well—the more organizers among your local community, the better for the community in the long run.
Cloudways: What are your perspectives on the future of WordPress? Do you think that the WordPress market will keep on growing? What is that one feature that you would love to see in WordPress?
Petya: I think WordPress will keep building amazing editorial features and will be used by big media more and more.
Cloudways: Could you please describe your typical workday? Are there any other projects that you are proud of? Can you share some of the most complicated or most interesting projects that you have worked on recently?
Petya: My day-to-day involves moving around a lot. As I’m location independent, I love traveling to different places. I rarely spend two weeks in the same city unless I’m home. I work from cafes and co-working spaces, practically anywhere with stable Wi-Fi. I spend my days between the Human Made and WordPress Slack channels, GitHub and P2s—the blogs that we use for asynchronous communication both internally at Human Made and for Make/Polyglots. I talk to people a lot. I organize event activities. I do publicity and marketing, I write documentation. I read a lot, my primary activity outside of work. When I’m in Bulgaria, I go climbing and hiking with my friends, who I see less and less and really miss.
One of my passion projects is the remote contributing day focused on translating that we organized with the Polyglots team for the first time in April and we want to expand further to even more parts of the world. Global WordPress Translation day is 24 hours of contributing translations to WordPress combined with live streamed sessions about i18n & L10n. It was such a joy to organize with my fellow Polyglots and I’m really looking forward to the next one.
The “A Day of REST” event series is something I’m very excited about as its main purpose is to help WordPress developers up their game and learn a new way to build projects with WordPress. The “A Week of REST” boot camp is coming up and I’m excited to see the projects that will come out of that workshop. A Day of REST Boston will happen in March and there will be beginners and advanced workshops around the conference that I look forward to make happen.
Cloudways: Within the WordPress Community, who do you consider among your best friends?
Petya: Best friends? I have people I love and trust and enjoy seeing and spending time with, others that have mentored me and helped me grow. I can’t really name all of them and relationships are different where there is so much distance between people. I love my colleagues and try to hang out with them as much as possible.
Cloudways: Let’s leave WordPress for a while and talk about your personal life. What do you do during your free time?
Petya: What free time! 😀 I think travel will probably be the most accurate answer to that question. And music! I’m quite addicted to live music and usually travel to either go to a WordCamp or see one of my favorite bands. I try to escape to my remote mountain hut in the Bulgarian mountains whenever I can and I try. I see my parents as often as possible. I give my sister a hard time. That’s a favorite thing for me to do in my spare time.
Cloudways: Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform for everyone, offering 1-click installation for WordPress with great caching solutions and optimized servers. What’s your opinion on managed cloud hosting services such as Cloudways?
Petya: They are awesome and help users so much. I’d love to see hosting companies work with users more, helping them update both WordPress and versions of PHP. That’s something that will help WordPress in the long run and I hope every company providing managed WordPress hosting takes it seriously and makes it their mission. You’re extremely important for keeping the WordPress ecosystem healthy.
Cloudways: Just for our readers, can you please send us an image of how your workspace looks like? 🙂
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Saud is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WooCommerce Hosting Platform. Saud is responsible for creating buzz, spread knowledge, and educate the people about WordPress in the Community around the globe. In his free time, he likes to play cricket and learn new things on the Internet. You can email him at [email protected]