Stephen from Brisbane (Australia)

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  • #3326
    Stephen Cronin
    Participant

    Hi All,

    I started using WordPress back in 2007 (version 2.1.3 to be exact) and immediately started writing plugins (most of which have since been retired) instead of blogging. Also talked at a few WordCamps here in Australia, back in the day.

    For the last 6 years I’ve worked for Envato as a WordPress Specialist, mostly in the theme space. Fighting fires, providing advice, working on projects, etc. Don’t code at all in my day job anymore and only sparingly on the side (mostly using Flutter, not WP). I work remotely from Brisbane, although the Envato office is down in Melbourne (about a third of the company is remote).

    I’ve listened to the WordPress Weekly podcast since, well forever… Even been a guest once. And yes, I remember when @mperalty was a host… Only listened to about half the episodes over the last couple of years, as I overdosed on WP (yes, apparently that can happen) and I tried to cut back on podcasts. Looking forward to the new podcast though.

    Also looking forward to the forums and chatting with you all. I’m inclined to lurk and wasn’t a heavy user of the old Tavern forums, but neither was I stranger to them. I’ll definitely popup from time to time here. Really hope this place is a raging success and Jeff works out how to make a living from it! ?

    #3351
    mperalty
    Participant

    That’s awesome. 🙂 I love seeing someone with a longer than a year or two history with WordPress around. Makes me feel good. I’d love to know more about what it is like to work for Envato. They seem like a pretty powerful brand. Do they hire often outside of Australia? If you don’t code, what does your position entail these days? Very cool that you are here.

    #3376
    Stephen Cronin
    Participant

    Thanks Malcolm,

    Envato is a pretty great place to work, they are very understanding, progressive and supportive employer that looks after their employees, gives to charities, supports diversity etc. The main downside is that the WP Project won’t allow me to speak at or organise WordCamps… ?

    Oh and also Envato is at the size now (600ish) that it has a lot of the challenges facing companies of that size: lots of different teams, a bit of bureaucracy creeping in etc. So that can be frustrating at times.

    What do I do? Using today as an eg: working on the requirements for a new category we’re launching soon, providing input into a couple of policy related projects, attending a post incident review of a vulnerability in a theme, etc. Oh and trying to keep up with reading about what’s happening with block based themes etc. So it’s a variety of things. Pretty hard to explain it to people though.

    We have people all over the world, but in recent years the majority of new roles have been in Melbourne. I think there are some tax law complications that makes it easier to employee people here for some reason.

    BTW I just went and read up on your name change – good on you for going ahead and making the change! That’s a brave move, so well done!

    #3416
    mperalty
    Participant

    So glad they treat you well, but weird that they won’t let you speak at WordCamps. And I can’t believe how large the company is, though it makes sense when you start looking at all the different plates they are spinning. Do you ever feel like Envato as a corporation doesn’t “care” about WordPress. I mean, it’s only a small piece of what they do and I don’t know how much they’ve given back other than maybe some sponsorships… I dunno. I just don’t feel like they are as invested in it as they could be. I know they aren’t Godaddy size, but I’d expect Envato to be trying to integrate/control/promote the community in the same kind of ways.

    As for what you do, I laughed a bit when reading it as it reminded me of Office Space. Where the guy is being interviewed and freaks out because he can’t explain why he’s needed. If you haven’t seen that movie or haven’t seen it lately, it is worth going back to.

    Tax law and remote work is such an interesting issue for sure and not one that is discussed often enough in the WordPress community.

    As for the name change… It’s something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I remember, but I felt like I had to stick with what I was given. It was the support of my wife that made it happen. 🙂

    #3436
    Stephen Cronin
    Participant

    Just to be clear, it’s the WP project that won’t let me speak or organise at WordCamps. I sort of get the logic: Someone sees me talk at a WordCamp and wonders who is this good looking intelligent guy (joke!) and googles me, then wonders who is this Envato, then ends up on ThemeForest and buys a theme that’s not 100% GPL…

    But it’s pretty heavy handed, especially since all my WP stuff is 100% GPL. I think I should be judged on my stuff stuff, not my employer, but the WP Project doesn’t agree. I used to be a little bitter about it, but long past that stage now. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Yeah, WordPress is only one part of what Envato does (albeit one that does pretty well). We sell themes/plugins for other CMSs, we sell stock images, video, audio etc etc. Envato is pretty active in the Ruby ecosystem (ThemeForest etc all run on Ruby) and we used to be more active in the WP space, but had to drop some sponsorships because of the GPL issue. And it used to be a little more adhoc – I could go to our CEO and say “there’s something over here that would be cool to sponsor” and he’d go “Sweet, let’s do it!” whereas as now things are more formal. But yeah, I’d rather see us more active in things. GoDaddy have really jumped in and decided they are going to shape things as much as they can.

    The tax law thing is interesting. I think a lot of companies in our industry are small enough that they can get away with doing things that aren’t quite right, but when you get to a certain size you can’t really do that anymore. Eg: when you have people in other countries and you don’t have a legal entity there, you probably employ them as contractors rather than staff. But if they are contractors then they can’t do certain things and you can’t give them training or certain other benefits, because then you’re treating them as employees, and various tax jurisdictions around the world are going to start saying “hang on”… And it gets very messy for both the company and the ‘staff’. I don’t know all the ins and outs of it personally, so may have some of that wrong, but there is some sort of pretty serious issue along those lines.

    Yeah, Office Space is a great move. Haven’t seen it for a long time though, must be re-watch time!! ?

    #3451
    Jeffro
    Keymaster

    Welcome to the forum Stephen. You mentioned in your post that you’ve been “Fighting fires” and I was wondering if you meant that literally considering what was going on there a few months ago. I remember that beer I drank with you at WC San Francisco in front of that Burger joint like it was yesterday. It’s pretty cool to have an OG WordPress users an Tavern support here on WP Mainline :). If I can figure out how to add badges to user profiles, I’m going to add an OG one.

    #3561
    Stephen Cronin
    Participant

    Welcome to the forum Stephen. You mentioned in your post that you’ve been “Fighting fires” and I was wondering if you meant that literally considering what was going on there a few months ago. I remember that beer I drank with you at WC San Francisco in front of that Burger joint like it was yesterday. It’s pretty cool to have an OG WordPress users an Tavern support here on WP Mainline :). If I can figure out how to add badges to user profiles, I’m going to add an OG one.

    Hey Jeff! So glad you got this going. I know you wanted to get the forums going again for so long!

    Nah, not real fire fighting, though perhaps I should have been, it was pretty bad. Just firefighting things like broken products, vulnerabilities, unhappy authors and any other sort of problems that come up. Not as cool as real firefighting!

    Yeah I remember that night in San Fran, it was great! And I reckon we had a beer in that place over the road from the Pressnomics venue too. Been a while since then though, need to find another opportunity. Could be a while in the current circumstances though… ?

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