Petya Raykovska is one of the most active members in the WordPress community. She’s part of the WordCamp Europe team and one of the coordinators in the WordPress Polyglots team (if you ever go to their channel in Slack, you’ll see her leading skills!). I had the pleasure to meet her during WordCamp Barcelona in 2015—she’s a wonderful person who’s always ready to help her peers. Without further ado, here you have our questions and her answers.
Thanks for the interview, Petya. It’s a pleasure to have you here! For those who read us and don’t know you, please tell us something about you and your relationship with WordPress.
I have a very affectionate relationship with WordPress 😀 I’m a Senior PM at Human Made, one of the top WordPress agencies in the world, I also organize Human Made events like A Day of REST and A Week of REST alongside the HM events team. I’ve been a WordPress contributor since 2011 when I started translating WordPress to Bulgarian. I helped organize a couple of the WordCamp Sofia editions and in 2014 was a part of the local team for WordCamp Europe in Sofia. I’ve been involved with WordCamp Europe ever since. Running communication for WCEU 2015 in Seville, leading the team for WCEU 2016 in Vienna and organizing the application process for host cities for 2018.
Since early 2014 I’ve also been heavily involved with the WordPress Polyglots team – my main contributing focus for WordPress. I love it, adore the people who contribute translations, and find it really inspiring to be a part of a truly global team. My job is to help translation teams (there are about 160 of those) in their effort to bring WordPress to people speaking their languages.
WordPress is constantly changing and evolving. How do you stay up-to-date? Who do you follow?
I follow the
make.wordpress blogs for the development changes and updates – I like getting information from the source. Everyone can do that – the blogs are open for everyone to read and comment on. I read Post Status to keep up with the business ecosystem – Brian covers everything that matters in his daily notes and provides in-depth analysis for anything major that happens in the WordPress world.
What’s the contribution or development you’re most proud of?
Growing the Polyglots team and being a part of the WordCamp Europe team. I think they’re both really important and I’m happy to have had the chance to be a part of both. The Polyglots team grew more than twice in size in less than two years. We went from less than 5,000 contributors to more than 10,000 since March 2015. We’re facing big challenges – there are thousands of themes and plugins to translate on translate.wordpress.org now, but we’re meeting them as a team and things are working out great.
I’m proud that we managed to turn Polyglots into one team where everyone helps the others, no matter what language they translate to, as opposed to 160 teams working on their own. I’d say that’s what I’m most proud of.
As for WordCamp Europe, it served an extremely important purpose for the European community and as a consequence for the global community as well. A lot of local communities were born out of WordCamp Europe, a lot of great community relationships started during all the WCEU editions. The Serbian, Croatian, and Slovenian communities were jump started in Sofia, for example. The Italian community met for the first time in Seville and now they’re blooming with more than 10 meet ups and two WordCamps in less than a year. And that’s to name just a few.
I believe WordCamp Europe inspired WordCampUS and with the growing of Asian communities and local events I’m really looking forward to a WordCamp Asia at some point.
It’s a real honour for me to have had the opportunity to help all of this happen.
Sometimes we make things look easy, when they aren’t… Why don’t you share an epic fail with us?
The great thing about being a part of a team as opposed to doing things alone is that there are no epic fails. There’s nothing that can’t be mended. Luckily it’s very hard for me to break WordPress because I don’t code. Not impossible! But would be very hard. I make mistakes all the time, but somehow all of them are easily mended. They also teach you things, you know. But how about this – I almost leaked the jazzer name for 4.6 before the release day when I published the subtitles for translation. I thought I got off pretty easy on that one, and the translators, ever vigilant, noticed it and kept it a secret for almost 10 days. It never really leaked.
WordPress is highly customizable, thanks to both plugins and themes. What plugins and themes do you recommend? Do you miss anything in WordPress?
I can’t recommend a particular theme as we do custom themes for clients at Human Made. I do appreciate the awesome variety of themes on the directory though, it’s so great for users. My sister’s e-commerce site runs Artificer by WooThemes, a really cute free theme, and my site always runs one of the the default WordPress themes. I love Twenty Fifteen and still use it, I ran Twenty Thirteen before that. I’m looking forward to Twenty Seventeen.
There’s plenty of people working on WordPress (or considering to). Do you think it’s possible to make a living out of it? In your opinion, what business opportunities are there?
Working on WordPress or with WordPress? If the question is weather you can make a living working on WordPress, there are many people these days that get sponsored to contribute full time. Big agencies and hosting companies are investing, so to say, in WordPress by sponsoring the time of contributors to work on different parts of the project. A lot of people are contributing as a part of their jobs, including myself. I’ve been lucky enough to find a company that appreciated the work I did for the Polyglots team and that’s officially a part of my role at Human Made now.
If you’re asking about basing your business on WordPress – the answer is of course, yes. WordPress powers several industries – from creative ones to agency work – development, design, e-commerce, affiliate marketing, SaaS and what not. Think about all the WordPress managed hosting platforms. There are huge opportunities for curious brave people. Just look at the pool of WordPress freelancers.
The best thing is that the barrier for entry is so low that it’s really easy to get started. If you want to get serious about it, becoming a part of the community is essential. With a WordCamp every week in a different part of the world these days, it’s really easy to get involved.
Where do you see WordPress in 2 to 3 years? How would you like it to evolve?
I’m looking forward to the REST API being a part of core. I’m really curious to see WordPress used more as a headless CMS, combined with different front ends, powering different platforms, being integrated into large builds. Like a lot of companies are already doing. Obviously I’d like to see something happen with multilingual features in WordPress, but I don’t think that’s really in focus right now. Front-end editing features are something I’m looking forward to as a user.
Finally, who should we interview next? Tell us 3 WProfessionals you want to see here.
You should chat to Noel Tock, who runs our product at Human Made and recently, together with our CTO Joe Hoyle, built Nomadbase.io, powered by WordPress, the REST API, and Node JS. You should go talk to Konstantin Obenland, who leads the upcoming redesign of the Plugin Directory, a really important project for the whole ecosystem. And Francesca Marano, who is a true force of nature – a blogger, business owner, developer, WordPress contributor, a real community addict and an amazing woman.
Thanks again to Petya for this wonderful interview. And, as always, stay tuned for the next one!
Featured Image by Luca Sartoni.