Pantip Nok Treerattanapitak, Photo by Koy

Welcome back, folks! Today we have a beautiful interview with a wonderful person from a pretty exotic country (at least, from my humble perspective, here in Barcelona). She’s Pantip Treerattanapitak (or Nok, if you will), a member of the WordPress community in Thailand and of the people nominated by Caspar Hübinger a few months ago. She’s contributed to WordPress Core, she’s spoken at and organized WordCamps, she’s a Thai Translation Editor… She has a pretty impressive resume, doesn’t she? Let’s learn more about her and Thailand!

Thanks for the interview, Nok. It’s a pleasure to have you here! For those who read us and don’t know you, please introduce yourself.

Thanks, David! I work as Product Management at Smartzap. We’re a software development company focused on AI software. Our main service might not be directly related to WordPress, but sometimes our clients ask us to create a website for them, and most of the time that means we’ll use WordPress.

I found WordPress in 2012, while I was looking for a CMS software for my clients. I liked it because it’s easy to use and customize, even if you’re not a developer. Currently, I design and develop themes for my clients and side projects.

My first contribution was back in 2014, when I submitted to a theme I built.

You’re an active member of the WordPress community – you’ve contributed to WordPress Core, you’ve been a WordCamp speaker and organizer, you’re a translation editor… Why? How did you decide to join the community?

I got a problem with the theme review process when I submitted my theme to the directory, so I came to the community (WordPress Bangkok Meetup) looking for some help! From that point on, I just realized how awesome the WordPress community is. I was really impressed, so I looked for more information and thought of joining. Moreover, the WordCamp Bangkok organizer team was also gathering from the meetup as well.

Regarding my role as a translation editor, I have to thank Global WordPress Translation Day 1! That was the first time I translated anything for WordPress. We learned the process, tools, and many things from that event. Translations are very helpful for Thai people, who are not familiar with English–it welcomes more people to use WordPress.

In my opinion, contributing to the project is not about the time you spend working on tasks–it’s an opportunity to learn and improve yourself while you do it!

You’re from Thailand, an exotic and beautiful country. I’ve never been there and I don’t know much about it… so, please, tell us a little bit about Thailand and the business opportunities it offers from a technological (WordPress) perspective.

Oh! I’m not a good narrator… ? There’s a saying that goes “one image speaks thousands of words”, so maybe this one video can speak thousand and thousands of words about my country:

Back to WordPress, there’s a lot of people interested in approaching to the community: meetups, Facebook and direct contacts, people looking for a copywriter, developers and trainers seeking for help with the WordPress projects… More new active contributors submit their themes, plugins, and translate. WordPress statistics show that the current version in Thai has almost 900k downloads, which is larger than ever before. In general, I think the WordPress community in Thai is growing, so it looks like a good sign for WordPress business opportunities.

Back to the community… Bangkok was one of the “first” cities to have a WordCamp (back in 2008 and 2009). Surprisingly, though, the third one didn’t arrive until earlier this year. We always talk about how great WordCamps are and the benefits they bring, and so we encourage local communities to organize their own. But we don’t talk often about the other side of the coin – when WordCamps just “stop being”. What happened in Bangkok? How did you re-engage with the community to make a new WordCamp?

Well… I’d like to know that too! ? To be honest, I don’t know the reasons why WordCamp Bangkok vanished. But I can share some key tips to have your own WordCamp in your city anyway:

  1. Local community. Very important thing! If your local community is weak, it will be hard to build the proper team and engage everyone in your community.
  2. Volunteers. As we all know, WordPress contributors are volunteers—we don’t get paid or get any personal benefits in return. WordCamp organizers are also volunteers. Organizing a WordCamp takes a lot of time—it’s an event for 100 or more people! You’ll be a little exhausted if you have a full-time job… So it really depends on teamwork ?
  3. Money. You can’t run the event without money, this is a truly sad story of the economic world. Thanks to WordCamp Central, you’ll get some support with the event budgets, but you’ll also need to find local sponsors. So, again, if the local community is weak, it’ll be slightly harder for the team to find sponsors.
  4. Global community team. Most WordCamps are not run by professional event organizers. So, whenever you face a problem, you have the global community to support you—read the guidelines, ask for help, discuss, report.

WordPress is highly customizable, thanks to both plugins and themes. What plugins do you always include in the websites you develop for your customers?

I always use Jetpack with my client websites—there are so many features packed in the plugin that it’s great for almost any kind of website. It even allows you to monitor and manage multiple sites from one place, which means I can help my clients faster!

Sometimes we make things look easy when they aren’t… Why don’t you share an epic fail with us?

I don’t know if it’s an epic fail or not… but I was disappointed with my decision to buying a WordPress theme from a popular theme marketplace. I remember I thought “hey, premium themes look cool and, with them, I’ll be able to support all of my client’s requirements with all the features it includes.” But, unfortunately, the reality was completely different.

The theme was huge, so I had to spend plenty of time to read their guidelines and tutorials. Moreover, even if there’s an endless list of features bundled in the theme, programming is still required. And, funniest of all, I even had to turn off or completely remove some of those features to optimize the website!

Where do you see WordPress in 2 to 3 years? How would you like it to evolve?

I’m really excited about the Gutenberg project. Once it merges into core, the WordPress as I know now might turn upside down. I don’t know if the final result will be good or not—but I just don’t want to see WordPress getting old. So, it’d be nice if more young developers and speakers join the WordPress community.

Finally, who should we interview next? Tell us 3 WProfessionals you want to see here.

Shinichi, a Japanese guy who helped me with my theme and welcomed me to the WordPress community. Next is Mayuko—she’s a WordPress enthusiast in the Asian community and can tell you a lot more about the WordPress Community in APAC. The last one is Pongvipak, a WordPress user and GTE of Thai. I think his story can inspire all of those who aren’t developers but want to contribute nonetheless.

Thank you very much, Nok, for the interview. I really enjoyed learning more about your experience, and I’m sure our readers will love it too. Stay tuned for the next one!

Featured Image by Koy.

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