Since launching WPTavern.com, I’ve had the distinct pleasure to watch people become a part of this community with very little WordPress knowledge and within a few years, either work for themselves or for an established WordPress centric company. This new series will highlight folks that have been a part of the WPTavern community since the beginning to find out what they’re up to and what role, if any, WPTavern played in their success.
First off Len, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’re up to these days?
I was born in Winnipeg back in ’64 (yes, I’m that old) and moved to a small town in my late teens. I returned to Winnipeg about 30 years later, which is where I am now. I’ve worked in various fields including being self-employed for 13 years.
I’ve been online in some form since 1999-2000. I started out by building my own static HTML sites. Like so many others I soon moved on to GeoCities and Tripod etc eventually settling on Blogger when it was still owned by Pyra Labs.
I think it was 2006 when I quite accidentally discovered WordPress while surfing the web. I believe it was v2.0.4 and I was hooked! I immediately bought a hosting package, set up WordPress and haven’t looked back since.
I was always on the search for new WordPress-centric sites and would pursue the Codex everyday in my search for knowledge. Before I knew it I started to help out in the WordPress support forums.
These days I’m employed in the roofing/construction field although I would really like to move on to something else, what that is I have no idea. I still blog although not as often as I would like. Life keeps getting in the way.
Why did you decide to join the WPTavern forum in 2009?
I decided to join WPTavern back in 2009 for 2 reasons: a) I was eager to learn as much about WordPress as I could and b) I could see that the Tavern was going to become a thriving community and a rich source of information.
How did the WPTavern community help you progress with WordPress in the past 4 years?
This ties into my previous answer. When you’re passionate about something be it software or whatever else you can learn so much more by rubbing elbows and hanging out with others who share your passion. The Tavern forum quickly grew into a huge database of knowledge as I knew it would. Because of the social aspect of forums you just learn so much by reading various threads and by participating in discussions. More importantly the atmosphere was laid back and fun as opposed to a support forum. When you’re having fun you learn much more quickly.
What was your involvement with WeblogToolsCollection.com?
My involvement with WeblogToolsCollection.com. As I said earlier, I stumbled upon WordPress back in 2006 and started to search for WordPress-centric sites. That search led me to WeblogToolsCollection.com which at that time was the première WordPress-centric site. I visited the site every day including the forum. I soon gained an interest in WordPress themes. I started to help out in the WLTC forums by meticulously inspecting the various theme submissions. Mark Ghosh noticed my efforts and eventually made me an administrator in the forum. Prior to a new theme release being published on the main site it had to first pass my inspection in the forum where it was initially submitted. Of course I had help, there were a few others doing what I did, I was not alone.
After some time I began to fill in as an author on the main site here and there when the regulars were on vacation etc.
After a few years my involvement with the site began to wane, not because I lost interest, but because real life began to take over. My increasingly busy schedule in the real world left little to no time for the virtual one.
You have your own WordPress centric site now called WPCanada.ca is the site still active and what are your plans with it?
I have my own WordPress-centric site at WPCanada.ca as well as a personal blog at LenKutchma.com. Additionally I use WordPress multisite to showcase the various child themes I’ve built for the Genesis framework by StudioPress. http://demo.wpcanada.ca/
The site is still active although I haven’t done much blogging lately. It’s been some time since I released a new Genesis child theme as well. The reason for this is, as I have stated above, is my busy schedule. When I get home at 8pm after putting in a 12 hour day it’s already 9pm by the time I have a shower and eat dinner. By then I’m exhausted and blogging or building a theme is the furthest thing from my mind.
I plan to keep on blogging and building themes because I enjoy it. However I can only do so as time allows. It’s that darn “real life getting in the way” thing again.
Have you had a chance to attend a Canadian WordCamp? What’s the enthusiasm like up there for WordPress?
I’ve never been to a WordCamp. Ironically we had a WordCamp up here in my hometown of Winnipeg this past weekend. It was the first time Winnipeg has played host to a WordCamp. Unfortunately I was out of town for a few days in Ontario and could not make it. It was organized by Automattician and fellow Winnipegger Ian Stewart and from what I understand he did a fabulous job!
There is a large and active WordPress community up here as evidenced by the regular local WordPress Meetups. The first time I attended a local meetup I was surprised by how many people shared my passion for WordPress.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the general WordPress Community?
What would I like to say to the General WordPress Community? I suppose this is where I say something deep and profound but alas that is not the case. Although I think the software is great I think the community that has developed around it is greater. I’ve had the chance to meet some wonderful people and make some cool friends. It is the community that makes WordPress what it is. You can develop the greatest product or service known to man but if no one notices or is interested it is destined to fail. In the WordPress Community I see people going out of their way to help others. In the end that is what life is about.
Whether you are a theme author, plugin developer, doc writer, core contributor, forum helper, WordPress news publisher etc, the contributions are what make WordPress what it is. And it is these people who make the WordPress Community the most awesome community I’ve ever been involved with. To everyone I say thank you!
This is a great idea for a series!
I know how you feel Len, there’s never enough time to work on all of your own projects. It’s too bad you didn’t make it to WordCamp Winnipeg, I drove up from Minnesota and Ian and the rest of the organizers did an awesome job on their first WordCamp.
I had a lot of fun hanging out in Winnipeg and I’ll definitely be back.