We follow with our interview series to WordPress people. This month, we have the honor of interviewing someone well known within the WordPress Community for achieving a unique feat: walking more than 700 kilometers during 32 days from his city near Rotterdam to the WCEU 2019 in Berlin to raise funds for a good cause in the WordPress Community. You already know who I’m talking about, don’t you? So, without further ado, please welcome Marcel Bootsman.
Hi, Marcel. Thank you very much for giving us your time for this interview. I felt very fortunate when I was invited to be a WCEU MC. And it was an honor to be able to introduce you in that crowded room. But before we talk about your presentation, we’d like to know more about you… please, tell us a little more about yourself and your relationship with WordPress.
Hi, and thanks for inviting me for this interview. I live in Berkel en Rodenrijs, a small town close by Rotterdam in The Netherlands. Together with my wife, two kids and a dog we live in a nice house, which also has a special place for my office. I’m not the guy who sit still, so I do some sports, like tennis, mountain biking, and since a year, long distance walking.
You created your company, nostromo.nl, more than 10 years ago. Could you tell us about how the idea started and what services do you currently offer?
The idea came to mind when I left my previous employer in 2009. I was building websites as a hobby, and I really liked programming and building useful things. On June 4th, 2009 I registered my company and I started as a “general” web development agency. This changed rather quickly when I discovered WordPress and saw how my clients really liked the ease-of-use. From that moment, about 1.5 years after I started, I rebranded to doing only WordPress-related projects. Not just development, but also maintenance, since that’s a thing most clients did not want to do themselves.
Most of our readers are starting their own business and I’m sure they can learn from your experience. As an entrepreneur, what has been your experience so far? What do you think is the most difficult and most rewarding thing about building your own company?
My experience as an entrepreneur is to always be ready to change. Listen to your customers, change your offerings, change the way you work, and always be ready to do this. Because if you don’t, others will, and you will fall behind.
The most rewarding things comes down to being able to earn your own money. Everything I have earned in the last 10 years, I earned because my clients love to do business with me and trust me. That really is a big reward for all my efforts to doing the best for my clients.
You also started becoming involved within the WordPress Community in 2010 and I know that you’ve contributing in very different ways. Could you tell us about your contribution to WordPress?
Well, I’m just addicted to contributing, and mostly organizing stuff. I’m a person that likes other people to be happy. And just using WordPress and earn money with it did not feel good. So that’s when I decided to start giving back, translating, helping out in the support forms, and organizing WordCamps. Since I’ve been part of the organizing teams for the first WordCamp Europe, WordCamp Netherlands and Rotterdam, I have gained a lot of of friends, and I’m happy to say these events really changed my life.
From your experience, could you also give any advice for someone who does not know how to start being involved in the WordPress Community?
If you don’t know something, ask others to help you. Or just take a look at make.wordpress.org and browse through all area’s which can be contributed to. Even better; go to a WordCamp or WP meetup and talk to people about your desire to start contributing and not knowing where to start. People will help you. Really.
Let’s now talk about your incredible walk. You’ve been walking during 32 days over 718Km to raise funds for DonateWC. First of all, what is exactly DonateWC?
DonateWC is a foundation that helps people to get to WordCamps and contribute. People can apply and if granted DonateWC will pay for their travel, hotel, or even WordCamp ticket if needed. This way, it’s possible for everyone to contribute to WordPress , independently of their financial status.
How did you came with the idea? Were you a great sportsman or had you had similar previous experiences?
It just popped in my mind a few weeks before WordCamp Europe 2018. Really don’t know where it came from. Yes, I am a sportsman, but not having experience in walking this far made it a challenge. And I like challenges.
Do you think this walking has changed you or your perspective of life in any way?
Definitely. I have changed. I’m more relaxed. Things I do not need to pay attention to, do not get my energy anymore. That brings me focus. Also I’m going to change some things in my business, to make sure clients are better served, and of course make me better money.
And I do not want to take you any more time but, as I already told you, in our interviews we always ask the guest to “prove” his humanity by sharing some epic failures of the past. So, come on, what did you do to screw it up?
When I was a teen, I played with the fireplace when my parents were out. When I was done, I thought it was a great idea to clean up, and use the vacuum machine to clear all the ashes (and still glowing wood parts). There I learned airflow and glowing wood parts are a good combination, except when a vacuum machine is in play…
And to end this interview, who would you like us to interview in the future? Tell us 3 WProfessionals that you want to be on the blog.
Thank you Marcel for this interview. It was a pleasure to share the stage with you at the WCEU 2019. And to you, reader, see you next week with another post in the blog and next month with another interview. Stay tuned for news!