I Just Wandered Into This

There are a lot of reasons why my wife is awesome. Sharing my life with someone who is so driven and focused on her ambition inspires me. One of the many positive qualities she has is how well she takes a compliment.

It’s something I’m working on to learning to emulate. I’m getting a lot better at not replying to a denial or compliment with a self-deprecating joke, which used to be my default.

While I still have work to do, I think the way I worded the last paragraph, compared to how I express the thought it in my “mental draft” of this article — “it’s something I fucking suck at.” shows my progress.

WordCamp US and Community Summit BadgesAt WordCamp US I met a lot of people who I had helped through support, an article or one of my plugins. I had to work hard to take these compliments well.

When we deny compliments we are not only being rude to a person who is being incredibly kind to us, we are tearing ourselves down. Negating compliments is detrimental to self-confidence, self-respect and self-optimization.

It’s lying to yourself.

#realtalk I’m Awesome

See, I can do this!

I know I’m awesome and I don’t need other people to tell me that. But, it is great when they do:) While I have historically let the lack of self-confidence that compliment sabotaging grows out hold me back. It’s stopped me from asking for high enough pay, its stopped me from asking for help from others, it’s stopped me from finding the right financing for my business.

But, it hasn’t stopped me. Like the River Tam sticker on my computer says “No Power In The Verse Can Stop Me.”

Stickers on my laptopMy computer is also covered in stickers representing a small portion of what I helped build this year and a collection of Wapuus representing a small sample of the many WordCamps I’ve attended.

While I still have a few weeks left, I wanted to share some of the amazing things I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of this year by highlighting some of the publicly available work I have done.

But first let me tell you the thing I’m most proud of: every single item on this list is a collaborative effort. For those who keep asking me how I do so much, the simple answer is: David Cramer. I get to work with many other talented people, but I’m very lucky that I get to call one of the best plugin developers out there, someone whose form builder plugin blew me away with its awesomeness, my partner.

CalderaWP LogoThe CalderaWP sticker is at the top and it’s a pretty one that I’m very proud of. Our logo was designed by Lindsay Jo Crenshaw. It’s a fun logo and we strive to make plugins that are fun to use for the site manager and end user alike.

Since launching in February, we released 17 updates to Caldera Forms, and increased active installs from 1000 to over 10,000. We also released literally more Caldera Forms add-ons then I know about. Seriously, I need to check David’s GitHub for new ones I haven’t found yet. Some of my favorites are:

Caldera Connected Forms – Combines multiple forms into one big multi-page form. This allows you to create complex sequences of forms, with conditional logic on which parts to show based on user submission. It also tracks partial submissions and puts the results into one email and one database email.

Dwolla for Caldera Forms – This add-on was part of a GPL-powered partnership with GiveWP. It was also the project where I learned how Caldera Forms processors work.

Easy Pods, Easy Queries & Clarity for FacetWP. These three related plugins are really fun tools for creating custom search interfaces, as well as making working with complex WordPress as a  CMS projects easier. Expect to see more iteration and possibly integration of these tools in the future.

URL Builder — I think this was one of my better ideas, and was definitely one of the hardest challenges I through at David. It’s a great plugin I really believe in that is missing a few key features and should be marketed very differently. This is one I will probably be looking for a new partner or home for soon.

Ingot — The automated A/B testing system for WordPress. This is the plugin that is my current obsession right now. We’re currently in beta and hope to be launched within the next month or so. It’s the first of what I hope is many projects that are executed by CalderaWP and a separate group of partners. In this case, Christie Chrinos and Andy Larreategui are handling the business and marketing while I focus on development with help from Roy Sivan.

I met Christie and Andy at a startup weekend in Tallahassee. Since then I’ve had a great time working with these talented people, and been able to introduce them to the wonderful world of WordPress. It was very cool to see the community welcome these two newcomers at WordCamps Orlando, New York and US. It was also great to see Christie start contributing to the Spanish translation of WordPress during WordCamp US contributor day.

Someone else will have to count all of the articles I’ve written for Torque this year. The fact that I get paid to help myself learn while helping others is so incredibly special to me. I am super grateful to Marie Dodson for being a great editor for and everyone at WPEngine who makes what I do for Torque possible.

Torque’s Ultimate Guide to the WordPress REST APISpeaking of Torque and WPEngine I totally wrote a book! The book, on the WordPress REST API was a really special milestone for me. It’s been downloaded way more than a thousand times and I’ve gotten such great feedback on it. Major highlight of the year, I hope everyone who reads it makes something cool with the REST API and shares what they learned by doing so.

Speaking of the REST API, it’s so much fun to work with. I’m using it in Ingot to power our admin — a single page web app written in AngularJS — and in the front end to track the testing. I’ve also released REST API add-ons for SearchWP and WordPress SEO by Yoast.

In addition I worked on REST API integrations for GravityView and several clients including CGCookie.com.

I also made 16 commits to the REST API itself and contributed quite a bit to the docs. The REST API earned me one of my three “props” in WordPress 4.4.

Some of my favorite plugins I worked on for clients earlier in the year used custom APIs. These were fun to build, but REST API all the things moving forward.

The first of those plugins is Editus (formerly Lasso) by Aesop Interactive. I wrote a custom front-end AJAX API, and implemented. I also refactored their PHP to be more efficient and added new features. I can’t explain how much I love the process of architecting or re-factoring a WordPress plugin — #thatkindofnerd

I wrote a very similar API to handle live commenting in Epoch by Postmatic. This plugin was Jason from Postmatic’s vision, which I lead the development of and executed along with David, Jason and his developer Dylan Kuhn. Everytime I comment on WPTavern, it makes me smile to watch Epoch work.

Speaking of Postmatic, David and I also added three new features to Postmatic, MailChimp import, Subscribe2 comments reloaded import and the subscription optins. Also I got to know Jason, learn from watching him build Postmatic and from all of his advice he gives us on Caldera Forms.

On the topic of awesome clients that are more than just clients, Matt Cromwell and Devin Walker from WordImpress are just great people. They are encouraging, full of great business advice, give great feedback on our plugins, as well as being vocal supporters and users of Caldera Forms. We also worked on two plugins for them this year.

While I moved away from Pods this year, I still contributed to the project. We launched Friends of Pods, a program to help support Pods financially and I just wrapped up a really cool REST API integration for Pods 2.6.

Even though Pods is no longer my main thing, I always want to be a part of it. Pods was my first WordPress team and I would not be where I am today without support, encouragement, mentorship and friendship I have received from Scott Kingsley Clark, Phil Lewis and Jim True. The Pods sticker on my computer is one of the fanciest stickers on my computer and one of the ones closest to my heart.

WordCamps and Community

I’ve been everywhere…

I have an article coming up on Torque about my thought on attending 8 WordCamps in a year. I just want to say how much I love these events and how special it is to be able to speak at so many of them.

WordCamps are an affirmation and celebration of this community. It’s an unimaginably supportive community. This was my first year selling WordPress products. Getting advice and encouragement from Ben Fox, Nick Haskins, Matt Cromwell, Jason Lemieux , Daniel Espinoza, Vova Feldman, Asif Rahman, Naomi Bush, James Laws, Corey Miller has been invaluable. Reviving these gifts of knowledge is humbling and its. a challenge to me to pay it forward as much as I can go help this community grow together.

Enough About Me

Y’all are awesome.

wordpress-logo-simplified-rgbI’ve been talking about myself way more in this article than I’m used to. Not going to lie, it makes me uncomfortable. But, I know none of it would be possible without everyone who reads my articles, uses my plugins, gives me great advice and encouragement.

This year was also my first time attending the WordPress community summit, which was a special experience. It’s a true honor to be invited to the event. Community Summit is a private, confidential event so I can’t share too much about it. But, to be with 150 leaders of my industry passionately debating how to best move it forward is an unparalleled privileged.

Honestly, this whole thing that I get to do is a privilege. I’m so excited to build on the groundwork that we — David, Christie, Andy, Roy and everyone else I work with and I have built. It’s what’s going to make it possible for all of us, everyone I’ve mentioned here and more grow together in 2016.

It sounds like so much fun.

 

2 Replies to “I Just Wandered Into This”

  1. Nicely put, Josh. One of the things a lot of us fail to do is recognize what we have done or the impact we’ve made. You’ve made a LOT of impact and continue to do so. Keep up the amazing stuff and “you are AWESOME!”

  2. Josh,
    I totally relate to the first thought in this post. A friend looked at me once after I dismissed her compliment and said,

    “You’ve just insulted me.”

    I was shocked.

    She went on to say that she can make a proper and objective evaluation and the dismissal of her opinion was an insult. I’ve been trying to be more gracious ever since.

    Great post. Congrats on the awesomeness.

    Bridget

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