Founder, Designer, Developer, Surfer

My Experience Creating Premium Themes For

The Collective Theme.

In a few words: Awesome. Educational. Empowering.

My experience working with the team at Automattic has been invaluable. As a self-taught developer, it was exactly what I needed. It’s an education in WordPress theme development directly from the source — the talented folks that have built the most popular website content management system in the world. Their team has taught, and continues to teach me the best ways to approach theme development. The experience has improved our products across the board.

The process has taught me to always have a fallback, and employ conditionals for everything. That’s more than a good lesson in theme development, that’s a good lesson for life. It’s taught me to test, test, test — then test again. I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist, but it has helped perfect my perfectionism.

Organic Themes has been providing a handful of our premium themes on the marketplace for over a year. And for nearly a year, we have been dominating that marketplace in sales — out performing every major competitor with only a fraction of the products.

We’re underdogs. The little theme company that’s been around for years, but not widely known or discussed.

As the designer and developer of our themes, it’s been a nice boost of confidence. In my line of work and isolated environment of Maui, I’m typically doing my own thing without much feedback from the outside world. It’s nice to know that people appreciate and use the products I’m building.

I sometimes get asked how I approach theme design. It isn’t scientific. It’s not even very organized. Much like our brand suggests, the process is organic. I simply design and develop websites that I would personally want to use. I don’t try to add every feature under the sun. I add the features that I feel compliment the design. Then I build it on the fly within the browser, changing and molding the design and concept as I go. I’ve worked in the corporate environment — building wire frames and multiple concepts in Photoshop. My process is the exact opposite.

Despite developing almost all Organic Themes, design is my first love. My development chops were learned out of necessity. What might take me 2 hours of fumbling around with code through a process of trial and error would probably take a true PHP or Javascript developer 2 minutes. Nevertheless, I usually prevail with a solution, even if it isn’t very elegant. Since my background is design, I’ve never been well versed in programming lingo. I’ve always felt inept when it came to code, particularly when attempting to discuss code with a true developer.

After working with, I can finally develop in confidence of knowing that I’m doing it the right way. That feels pretty good. Because like many things, there are a billion different ways to design and develop a website, and 99% of the people out there are doing it wrong.

I would like to extend a warm mahalo to the many people that have assisted in my extended WordPress development education, including Kirk Wight, Philip Arthur Moore, Michelle Langston, Caroline Moore and others. Maybe we’ll see you guys at the first WordCamp Maui!

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