I was given the opportunity to interview Jeff Starr, the author of Perishable Press.
How long have you been using WordPress?
I’ve been using WordPress since 2004. At the time, WordPress was at version 1.2, just a baby. I’ve been working on the Web designing and developing since around 1999.
What made you start using WordPress?
I had been hand-coding database-driven sites before discovering that
WordPress could save a lot of time by doing it out of the box. WP was very basic back then, but you could use themes and plugins to extend and customize things depending on what was available. Eventually I got into writing my own themes, plugins, tutorials, and was utterly hooked.
What is your favorite WordPress Plugin?
Akismet. It’s a difficult decision, as there are thousands of amazing plugins, and hundreds that I’ve used personally. But most consistently I find myself activating Akismet and simply enjoying the results: spam-free comments on every site. It’s free and it just works.
Is it hard to run a company, be a web developer and author all at the same time?
I would say it’s very challenging, and increasingly so as time goes on. The technology is evolving at break-neck speeds and competition is increasingly fierce. In that context, working on multiple projects simultaneously requires tenacity, motivation, and focus. Thankfully I have help when I need it.
Is there anything you don’t like about WordPress? Why?
There have been things along the way that have bugged me about WordPress, but overall I couldn’t be happier. It’s come a long way in the ten years that I’ve been using, contributing, and developing with WordPress, so the long-term success I’ve achieved is worth any setbacks or issues along the way.
How long did it take you to write/publish Tao of WP?
I wrote and published “The Tao of WordPress” in about eight months, including site development. Comparatively, Chris Coyier and I wrote and published “Digging Into WordPress” in about 12 months or so, also including site development.
Do you consider yourself famous or well-known? If not, do you want to be?
Not at all. I may be known within the world of WordPress, but outside of that I am just a regular guy, and enjoy being that way.
Do you like what you do?
Honestly I liked it a lot more before it was my primary source of income. For years I worked full-time as a lab technician, while also working 40+ hours per work doing web design, development, blogging, and helping people online basically for free. It was a LOT of work, but the steady income from the lab-tech job provided a sense of stability, and I was learning TONS of good stuff. Around five years ago after going full-time with web design and online work, the weight of things got heavier and the hours actually increased, from 80+ to more than 100 hours per week. Since then I’ve better learned how to manage my time and resources, and now continue to enjoy the work that I do.