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About Atif:

Atif Riaz is hugely passionate about two things, health care and design. He invests, builds, develops, and runs brands with a keen focus on healthcare. We had a great chat getting to know him better and learning about all the things he does with WordPress.

What is your job title?Web Architect
What is your company name?The Scan Clinic
What do you do with WordPress?Plugin Developer
Describe the WordPress community in just a few words.Full of surprises!

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Welcome to WPCoffeeTalk with your podcast Barista Michelle Frechette, where we interview people in the WordPress community from all over the world. Every guest is asked the same questions and every guest has wonderful and varied answers about their history and their hopes. Special thanks to our espresso level sponsors, Bluehost, WS Form and Beaver Builder.

[00:00:23] Speaker B: And now on with the show.

Welcome to WPCoffeeTalk. I’m your podcast Barista Michelle Frechette, serving up the podcast stories from around the world. And today my guest is Atif Riaz, who is the web architect at the scan clinic and also works in code snippets, which I have a little bit of experience, both good and bad. With bad is all user error. I will say that right from the start, that was user error. It was nothing about code stuff. I know.

So, no, this is not a slam on code stuff. This is a Michelle doesn’t know what she’s doing back in the day comment. Anyway, welcome to the show, Atif. It’s really good.

[00:01:02] Speaker C: Thank you. Thank you for the invitation. I really appreciate it and lovely being here.

[00:01:06] Speaker B: It’s good to see you. I think we met on WP builds this week in WordPress. Yeah, that was awesome.

[00:01:12] Speaker C: It was interesting, actually, just because I’ve done it twice, WP and on, both times it was the same people. It was you and James Giroud. And I was like, wow, this is such a. I don’t know, did we plan this? How did it happen?

[00:01:25] Speaker B: Isn’t that funny? Yeah, that is funny. Well, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do and where in the world you’re located, because I think that’s always fun to hear, too.

[00:01:35] Speaker C: So I am based in London in the United Kingdom. So you kind of briefly mentioned I work for a health and technology company.

So I’m the web architect. I also look after, you know, it’s a small business, small health company. So I have a few hats. I do look after day to day operations and anything it they throw at me.

If you have web or you have digital it, anything in your title, they’ll throw it at you.

[00:02:03] Speaker B: Can you fix my phone? My mother’s VCR isn’t working. Can you stop at her house and fix that?

[00:02:09] Speaker C: Yeah, no, literally, we had a problem with our server and I’m like, I’m fine. I’ll give it a go. I don’t have to take a look.

So the company, the health companies, what we do is we have physical health services. So diagnostic things like ultrasound scans, blood test, physiotherapy we have locations where you have these things, and we also have some digital health services which kind of combines the two of things that you might see, like some telehealth things and physical health services. So that’s in a nutshell what I do. And on this, I’d say, like the side. Side also, I work with code snippets. I’ve been there for maybe a year now. It’s something just that happened out of my passion and interest of WordPress and the web. And I met the co founder Verdi, and, yeah, that’s me in a nutshell, trying to keep it as short and sweet as possible.

This is one topic lots of people could just go on and on, and I’m going to try and not bore everyone just by talking about me.

[00:03:10] Speaker B: Well, we have a lot of questions ahead of us that we’re going to be able to learn so much more about you. So let’s jump. Let’s jump right in, show us your mug and tell us the story about it and what’s in it.

[00:03:21] Speaker C: Nice. Well, this is my mug.

[00:03:24] Speaker B: It was a gift from dad of all time.

[00:03:30] Speaker C: I’m the best at something. Yeah. This is why I have this mug as my favorite mug, because I’m the best at something.

[00:03:36] Speaker B: I love it.

[00:03:37] Speaker C: Typical british thing of me. It’s got tea in there. There’s tea.

[00:03:41] Speaker B: Okay.

[00:03:42] Speaker C: And at the moment, obviously, based on the time of recording, it’s like nighttime here, 10:00 and actually, it’s very, this is a very typical situation for me. I have a cup of tea, end the day, and I have a cup of tea to start the day. I’m not a huge coffee drinker. I think the caffeine just goes a bit haywire for me. But having a tea, and it’s not like, I’m not going to say this is some fancy lavender or chamomile tea. This is the type of tea you go into, like a 711 or something, and it’s like half price. You know, it’s just your standard tea. Just some black tea with some sugar and milk. Yeah. And I just. It’s become my routine now, you know, I just have a nice cup of tea, take some time, maybe have a chat with my wife about the day or watch something on tv, and that’s it. The mug was actually a birthday gift from my wife, and I have two daughters, four and five. Not sure if they really give that much input into the mug, but they pick. They gave it to me last year, my birthday.

[00:04:48] Speaker B: Oh, very nice. That’s the kind of thing where mommy says, do you think daddy will like this mug? And they say, yes, absolutely.

[00:04:55] Speaker C: It’s the kind of gift we’re like, I have no idea what to get daddy for his birthday, and it’s tomorrow. What should we do? I know. Let’s get him a bug that says, best dad. And he can’t complain.

[00:05:03] Speaker B: He’ll love it. He’ll love it. Let me show you my mug today. Is, it is from my college. I graduated college a long time ago, 1991. And this was one of the things that I got as a college graduation gift. So I have had this mug a very long time.

[00:05:23] Speaker C: Immaculate condition. You kept it in amazing condition I had. Yeah. This has got chip on there already.

[00:05:29] Speaker B: Well, when you have a, when you have a podcast called WP coffee talk, people send you mugs a lot. So I have over 100 mugs in the cupboard, so I probably don’t use the same one very often. So they stay nice that way, which is a blessing and a curse. They take up a lot of space, but I love them. Send me your mugs. It’s all good.

[00:05:48] Speaker C: I’m going to send you a mug. I’m going to send you a mug.

[00:05:50] Speaker B: Okay. I would like that very much. So funny.

So let’s, let’s see. How did you get started with WordPress? Tell us a little bit about that.

[00:06:00] Speaker C: Yeah, I mean, it’s always been kind of a building. Websites, web apps and things has always been like a real passion and a hobby. I’ve really enjoyed it and I, back in the day, I think it all started with Drupal. I started out with Drupal and I got to grips with Drupal and, yeah, I thought it’s, you know, I didn’t realize at the time how awkward and difficult it was until I, then I started, you know, one door leads to another door. I then started the Drupal and then it opens your horizons to actually, okay, there’s more things than just Drupal out there than stumbled into WordPress. And I was like, hey, they make it so much easier to do things like update the site. It’s just one click where on Drupal, it’s a nightmare. It’s a real nightmare to update. You have to like, take all the files and then copy them and then there’s some files which you still insert then. That was really my doorway into, into WordPress. And, gosh, that was, I don’t even want to think how, how long ago that was. That was some, some time ago and it was, it just stayed as a hobby, to be honest. And. But more recently, after I finished like university and started in actual adult work life, I happened to find myself in marketing departments and then happened to always, it’s like the right time, right place, right time, always someone happened to find out I know something about websites or web and so they would just chuck stuff at me to do. And I think that’s the best way of growing and learning with websites in general. But specifically, I think with WordPress working on something and not just some hypothetical working on, even if you can come up with a project, a dummy one, but make it in your mind as real as possible, it really makes leaps and bounds on how to progress with it.

[00:07:41] Speaker B: Absolutely.

I don’t have a story like that. I needed to learn how to build a website and it was, somebody said, hey, use WordPress. So I did.

There’s a little more to the story than that. I did build a couple HTML sites in my MBA program, but basically when I was like, I need to build a website quickly, it’s like, hey, have you tried this?

[00:08:01] Speaker C: No.

[00:08:01] Speaker B: How do you do that kind of thing? So it worked and I’m still here.

[00:08:06] Speaker C: So what was it for?

[00:08:08] Speaker B: So the first website that I really like in earnest built that was on WordPress was for a nonprofit that one of my best friends and I had started for a massage therapist. It doesn’t exist anymore. We’ve moved on to other things, but it was a very good lesson. Her husband built the site and then we had to learn how to use it. And that was my first foray into WordPress.

[00:08:28] Speaker C: Cool. Do you think WordPress was like the first thing you came across? Maybe just because it was so popular at the time or you think, was there any other reason why WordPress was the thing?

[00:08:37] Speaker B: Yeah, because it was her, her husband was a WordPress developer, so we kind of didn’t have a choice. But it wasn’t like I looked at all the options and said, I’m going to try this one.

We inherited the site that he built for us and he told us, we started to send him the content. Like, he’s like, okay, what page? And then he said, oh, no, I’m not putting the content on there. I built the infrastructure. Here’s your login. You figure out how to put the content. And so, yeah, that was the first part of the lesson and I loved it. So I said, teach me how to buy a domain, get hosting and put the domain on the hosting and then I could do the rest. And so he did.

[00:09:22] Speaker C: Nice, nice.

You just reminded me, actually the company I worked for, the first website they actually had, coincidentally, was a drupal site. And I was a little bit involved in that, not so, so heavily. It was more just helping to update and add some things. And I remember the agency that did it, it just refreshed my memory because this was at a time where I was trying to discover WordPress and I remember speaking to them once and just said, what made you choose, Drew? You know, I’m seeing WordPress is taking off and they’re like, no, no, WordPress, it’s going nowhere. It’s got too many bugs and it’s always getting attacked. There’s so many viruses, you know, trust me, Drupal’s the way to go. And you’ll see watch in 510 years time.

[00:10:06] Speaker B: Okay, let’s, let’s have that conversation again.

Perhaps they were mistaken.

Oh, my goodness. Well, when you look at websites, whether they’re WordPress or otherwise, whether you built them or somebody else did, what are some things that you think that we as developers, designers, web builders don’t focus enough attention on that would actually make our sites better for the end user?

[00:10:34] Speaker C: That’s a good question. I think a lot of the time, you know, there’s always, I find you get a tunnel vision when you’re working on a site. You see things through one lens. Maybe you’re seeing things through a design point of view. You know, I want it to be the best looking site, or maybe you see through an SEO point of view. I need it just to rank well or you’re seeing it through too much of a. This is a part of a sales funnel and often, you know, making a good site, it’s very difficult in terms of what do you mean by a good site? Because you may have the most, prettiest, amazing site with all these animations and things, but it might not convert anyone and it may rank nowhere, so no one’s ever going to see it. So I think one of the things which I’ve learned over the time is trying not to see a site just through one lens. Try to take a step back and, okay, I’ve got this design. It looks great, but how does it fit in with the user? Journey the flow? What am I trying to get the user to do? Because ultimately, you know, the site itself isn’t like, it can be a piece of art depending on it. But most of the time, site is similar to maybe a store, you know, that you’re building and you’re trying to take your user on a journey somewhere. So thinking about that flow and also thinking about the other things of, okay, building it to good standards. And especially now, accessibility is such a huge thing. And also SEO, making sure keywords there, the right structures there. So one of the things which I think I try to do now a lot is just when I have a frame, a wireframe or something, and I take a step back, I try my best to take a step back before building anything and say, okay, three or four different lenses I try to put on it. What is the kind of way I should tack it? Hope that makes sense.

[00:12:27] Speaker B: It does make sense. Absolutely.

Focusing on conversion means that you’re actually providing information that people want to read as well. So you’re building the site for the end user as well as for yourself, which makes a lot of sense for sure.

[00:12:40] Speaker C: Because actually, quinton, we have, again, for the company I work for, we have an SEO agency that we work with and they, I remember, built, they were, they were trying to say, ditch your current site, we’ll build you a site. And they showed us some sites that they built and they were the ugliest sites I’ve ever seen. Like, I would be like, what is, you know what? There was no sense of any design. And they, but they kept saying, yeah, you know what? This is one of our best converting sites because it not converting, sorry. It always ranks well on Google. We get page one and we’re always positioned one to three on it. And I said, okay, maybe, you know, might be, but what you have to see from you might do all the work in getting a user from Google onto your site. But if they land on your site and it’s so clunky or it doesn’t look good or it doesn’t give a good impression to the user, they may just forget it. So, you know, it’s not just, you can’t just, you might get tunnel vision on one thing.

[00:13:35] Speaker B: Yeah. What’s your bounce rate? I don’t care if it’s on page one. What’s your bounce rate.

[00:13:41] Speaker C: Exactly?

[00:13:42] Speaker B: When you think back over your time working with WordPress, what’s something that you wish you’d known earlier in your journey that would have made things a lot easier sooner?

[00:13:51] Speaker C: I think it’s very naive of me maybe just to think it’s a lesson I always keep learning, actually. So I feel like I’m just too stupid to learn this lesson. I keep learning this lesson again and again that, you know what, there’s a saying and I’m sure I don’t know if it’s a british saying or american saying, I think it’s an american saying, actually, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. We have that too. It’s an interesting saying because it’s a very gruesome saying and I have no idea how to skin a cat. So I actually don’t know what that means, but.

[00:14:22] Speaker B: Sounds disgusting.

[00:14:23] Speaker C: Exactly.

But it’s so true, I think the meaning behind it, because if you take it into the WordPress kind of context, one of the things which I initially got stuck on is I found some resources on how to build with WordPress and I just stuck with that. And I kept going with that, with that. And it was actually, I think the first site used OceanWp theme and changing things like the site title or things is all in the theme functions. And I remember I thought, this is just the way you’re doing. There’s no other way of doing it. But then obviously, as you start to become more familiar, you start to realize actually there’s many other ways to do things and there’s page builders, even as a thing, you know? So I think that’s one of the biggest things to learn. And I think that’s one of the things which a lot of people I’m seeing, especially within the page builder world, it’s becoming very tribal. You’re on one build and that’s it. There’s no other way of doing it. But there’s more than one ways to build a site.

[00:15:26] Speaker B: True. Absolutely. It’s about what it does and how it converts as opposed to what tool you’re using. As long as.

[00:15:32] Speaker C: Yeah, they’re tools. You use the word. You got the word right there. These are all just tools. We are like handyman and this is just one of our things in our tool, but in our toolkit, I used.

[00:15:44] Speaker B: To say, especially as a woman, I’m going to say this, but you can use a hammer to pound a nail, or you could use a high heel. They both get the nail in the wall.

I don’t wear high heels anymore, but if I did, I could still be pounding nails with them.

You can’t really do it with a croc, though. Just in case you were wondering, crocs don’t work anyway, moving right along as you think over WordPress events that you may have attended over the years, I don’t know if you’ve been to any word camps, but meetups and online events, things like that are just your time in the WordPress space. Has there been maybe a talk or an experience, something that was pivotal or inspiring to you? And could you tell us about it.

[00:16:29] Speaker C: I think this is actually my biggest regret, actually, because the community side of it is something that I only really came to know much later into my WordPress journey. Unfortunately, I didn’t really haven’t been to any of the wordcamps yet, because I think actually, when I started to realize more, there’s a real community here, and they’re not just people that are judgmental. I mean, there will always be some people like that. But of course, by and large, yeah, they’re quite welcoming and quite, you know, open, which is quite new as well.

This is when I started to get more into just reaching, connecting to people, talking to people. And then there were these meetups, but then COVID hit happened, so everything for me has just been virtual. I haven’t. So I would really love to do a workout. And in the UK, I don’t even think. I don’t even know if we have a Wordcamp here in the UK or if there’s more than me.

[00:17:22] Speaker B: There was pre pandemic, but there are still meetups there for sure. Leeds has a meetup, so there’s some meetups in the UK, but it’s been a while since there’s been a wordcamp.

[00:17:32] Speaker C: Yeah, it would be nice to go to a Wordcamp just to experience it. I’ve heard so much about it. And you, especially whenever we’ve been on the, you always talk about the wordcamps and the kind of the buzz and the environment. It’d be nice. Maybe even get to see you face to face, you know?

[00:17:46] Speaker B: You would for sure. Maybe you should put the word camp Europe. Tickets are on sale anyway.

We’ll talk later.

So tell us a little bit more about the work that you do. I would. I know that you work at Scan clinic, but I want to talk more about code snippets because I think that’s going to be something that more people are going to want to hear about. So tell us about, for anybody who doesn’t know what code snippets is, can you give us a little bit of the background about what the product is?

[00:18:13] Speaker C: Sure. So it was actually one of the.

I think it was actually the original, like the first plugin for WordPress that helps get bits of code. So the idea, the whole theme of the whole idea around it is obviously most things to do to extend or add to WordPress.

All is basically built around bits of code to add on, and there’s many ways to add those codes depending on the type of code. It could be PhP code, it could be JavaScript code. It could be styling code for front end. You can add this to your theme. If you have a child theme, you can add these files there, you can add it to your functions Php file. But the whole ethos and goal was let’s try to get away from all this kind of, you know, very developer type of ways of adding it. Let’s make something which is part of the WordPress admin dashboard, which it makes it nice and easy to use and to manage. So the plugin essentially allows you to add bits of code that can help extend or extend your site, make things better, easier, save you time, and make, allow you to manage them. That’s the core essential of the product.

I was a longtime user of code snippets. It’s always been one of the main plugins on every site. I’ll have code snippets. And really I had no more involvement than that. Then the community side, like I said, I got into it quite late. I got into the community side, and then I actually got to know verdi Verde Hines. He’s the co founder, and you may know him more from Elementor. Elementor, yeah. So I got to know him through the community and the elementor community. And there was some elementor meetups, virtual elementor meetups, and he was one, one of them. So I got to know who he was and had some interactions with him. Then I found out that he was involved with Carl snippets and I was like, oh, awesome. This is one of the plugins I always use. I threw tons of ideas at him and also I was working on just decide, you know, I’m like a person who has 100 ideas and I start ten of them and then I drop five and then I of ten more. And I had this idea of this really fun, like, small little web platform. That way you can share bits of code with each other and give each other reviews and feedback on them and things like this. And I kind of mentioned it to him. I said, you know, I think it’d be cool. And then he said, you know what, this is actually something we’re working on at the moment.

And he said, it sounds interesting what you’ve done. Show me what you’ve done. So we just got connected. And long story short, he took my web app and made it into code slip. It’s cloud. What is cloud now?

[00:20:53] Speaker B: Oh, that’s so cool.

[00:20:54] Speaker C: Yeah. So I then he said, look, do you want to come on board and become part of the team or a small team? But I think, you know, having someone dedicated to cloud and working to make it integrated with the plugin would be awesome. So I said, yeah, sure, why not? I love, yeah, cat me in and the rest is history. So we lost.

I would say I’m rubbish with dates. Maybe July, August. We actually released the code snippets integration with the cloud. So now, first we just had the cloud app and you could use it as a way to find snippets. And we’ve got repository of thousands of snippets.

We added features of like AI, checking of these snippets, AI verification, all these cool things, but there was still a disconnect. But now you have a full way of backing up snippets that are on your site to the cloud. So it acts as a backup repository. You can download snippets from your cloud onto multiple different sites, and there’s a few cool functions that you can do.

[00:21:53] Speaker B: Now, one of the things that I like, I was telling you, I think might have been before we started recording, might have been after, I don’t know my brain as much, but I started using code snippets when I was working with givewp because we would, people would write in and they’d say, I want to change the word donors to contributors. I want to change the word donors to friends of things like that. And we didn’t have a way built in, I think they do now, but we didn’t have a way built in at the time to just change some of that verbiage. And so we would you, we would send them code snippets and tell them about the plugin to be able to activate that. But in order for me to be able to give directions to somebody on how to use it, I tried to use it myself, and that’s where the user error came in that I was like, okay, what am I missing? And it just turns out silly things like, oh, you forgot the last semicolon, or things like that that will just kind of make things not work the way they’re supposed to. But what I really liked about it is I didn’t have to build a whole child theme just to start to incorporate some of these different things, which is why when they put the CSS editor right into the customizer, I was like, you mean I don’t have to use either jetpack or a child theme just to put, change the color of.

[00:23:02] Speaker C: The font or something?

[00:23:04] Speaker B: Yeah. So that’s what code snippets was like for me as well. I didn’t have to do all of this extra work just to get one simple thing accomplished. And so I appreciate it for that. And I heard you say earlier too, that a much better experience now than it was when I first started using it, because if you’re not a developer, you’re like, what did I mess up and how do I fix it? Now I have to FTP in and turn off that plugin and ah, you know, kind of thing. Yeah, much, much better.

[00:23:35] Speaker C: So we’re trying, we’re trying. We get lots of flack, but we’re trying. But actually, interesting point. We have, I think, close to 900,000 users active in stores. And vast majority of these people, through our analytics and reaching out to them, they’re not developers, they’re just people. I have a small business and I have a site and I needed to add change exactly like what you said, I needed to add something or change something. So I’m just using code snippets. So I think definitely we trying our best to cater to this because there are, I’m the first to say there are alternatives. Now, nowadays there’s so many alternatives and they’re charging like hundreds of dollars a year for all these plugins. But you can see they’re very much geared towards more, maybe more developers and they’ve got more smog developers tools. Not to say that we don’t, but I think there’s are more geared towards that. And I think, I think what we have should be geared towards more the normal, average user who may not be so tech savvy.

[00:24:37] Speaker B: Yeah, I think also too, like, I mean, I was talking about child themes, but plugins don’t, you can’t have child plugins really, so you can have add ons.

But it wasn’t like I could just build my own child plugin to go with give or something else. And that’s where code snippets also comes in. So because obviously we don’t want to. Obviously we would have. Yes. People make the mistake of editing the software and then the update comes through and they’re like, where did my changes go? And with code snippets, that doesn’t happen either.

[00:25:05] Speaker C: So I know this pain. I had this pain with Drupal many a time making changes and then an update, and then, oh, I forgot to back up that fire.

[00:25:14] Speaker B: Now I’m going to be up all night working on this. Fill my world’s best dad mug up again with more tea, because this is going to be an all nighter for sure. Well, let’s move into the rapid fire questions. They aren’t really rapid fire. And I was talking to Matt Madeiros yesterday, I said, I got to change the name because they’re not rapid fire questions. I asked them the same speed and everything else, and you can take the time you want to answer them. Perhaps they aren’t as in depth answers. Maybe that’s why I call them that. But anyway, take the time you need to answer them. So the first one is, what are two or three must have plugins that you would recommend to somebody building their own website?

[00:25:52] Speaker C: I mean, there’s one, the name of it, it’s called code something. Code snippets, I think it’s called.

[00:26:00] Speaker B: I was like, if he’s not coming up with code snippets right now, I’m going to reach across the ocean and smack you. Yes.

[00:26:07] Speaker C: Make it seem genuine, like I’m not just trying to, you know, yay.

Yeah, there’s one code snippet. Definitely is one. What else do I always use?

I mean, I always use. To be honest, I don’t. This is a bit. I find it controversial with some people. I really don’t like to build with Gutenberg. I just. I don’t like it. For me, it’s like a marmite thing. You either love it or hate it. And I’m in the hated camp at the moment.

Blocks and patterns and all these things are still out of my head. But. So I always use a page builder. At the moment, it’s either elementor or it’s bricks. And I’ve used bricks a lot more recently. I find it a much nicer experience. So bricks is always one, which I use other kind of like very, very boring type plugins, developer type plugins.

[00:26:59] Speaker B: That’s.

[00:27:00] Speaker C: Yeah, I don’t, I don’t want to recommend them because it’s like what, what?

[00:27:07] Speaker B: All different, like abilities of people. Listen to the podcast, so if somebody’s brand new, they’re not going to go be like, I put it on my website. Now what?

[00:27:15] Speaker C: Now what? This is what he recommends.

[00:27:18] Speaker B: Like, what do I do with this? Exactly.

[00:27:20] Speaker C: Get alive.

[00:27:21] Speaker B: All good. It’s all good.

[00:27:23] Speaker C: There’s one I always have as well, which is called, aside from all the other things, it’s just one that just comes to my mind now is called WP adminer. And so it just goes back to the days of Drupal. Whenever you wanted to see something in the database, you’d always use phpmyadmin.

From the hosting, you’d click on phpmyadmin. So this kind of allows a way of using the WordPress database. You can see the tables and.

[00:27:49] Speaker B: Ah, okay.

[00:27:50] Speaker C: Yeah, it opens it in the browser and it’s so much easier. It’s just one click and you can open. It opens a new window and you can see. I found it very useful for the. But it is like the most non flashy, non sexy plugin. Yeah, I’m sorry, you know, I mean.

[00:28:05] Speaker B: Plugins are supposed to be under the hood. They’re not supposed to be flashy and sexy. So it’s all good. It’s all good.

Now, themes, we’ll talk about themes another time.

Those better looking.

At any point in your WordPress journey, have you had a mentor, whether it was an official mentor or somebody that you looked up to and tried to emulate, or maybe somebody that just kind of unofficially took you under their wing?

[00:28:27] Speaker C: Yeah, that’s a good, good question. I don’t think I’ve ever had, like an official mentor. No one will ever take me. I’m not sure why.

It’s not for lack of trying. Yeah, I’ve reached out to many. Yeah. And yeah, it’s quite desperate and sad, but no one’s ever taken me.

[00:28:45] Speaker B: But you’re unmentorable.

[00:28:49] Speaker C: They tried and then it. Yeah, this, that, the other. But I have had some, I would say unofficial people that I always will look at their content or if they put out stuff. One who really comes to my mind straight away is, what is his real name? I know his YouTube channel, WP Tuts. His real name is Paul, Paul Charlton. He’s going to be annoyed at me because I actually spoke to him a few times.

Forgot my name.

Yeah. How could you do that? He’s always someone and he’s introduced me to a lot of things. He introduced me to bricks. So I have to say thank you to him for that. He would be like the main one, I think. There’s Imran Sadiq from Web squadron. He’s another one that I do follow quite a lot. They’re not like official mentors, I would say, but they’re the people I do follow.

[00:29:40] Speaker B: Okay, so for the next question, you can’t say either one of them. So you have to think of somebody else. But who is. Who is somebody that you admire in the WordPress community and why?

[00:29:51] Speaker C: There’s this woman. She has purple hair. I don’t remember her name. But you cannot, you will not miss her if you see her. She’s very distinct. She’s got these cool glasses. She’s got. Yeah.

No, actually, no, I’m not saying this just because I’m on your podcast. And I’m having coffee with you. I do admire, I don’t know many people in actual official WordPress communities, but I have learned about some of them and actually through WP build. So for people like yourself, I really find, you know, some of the things you’re doing very admirable. And your whole idea about making it more inclusive for people, I think that’s really cool and awesome. I think we live in a world where we’re becoming more and more divided and I think we need more people that are trying to undo that and make it more inclusive, rather divisive. So I really applaud you for that, and thank you. There was a woman who Nathan mentioned in the reviews team. I really can’t remember her name. I’m rubbish with names, honestly. But she apparently, maybe you remember he mentioned her. She’s someone who was really working at it by herself.

Was it the code review team? I think Mika?

[00:31:01] Speaker B: Mika upstairs?

[00:31:02] Speaker C: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I’ve got a lot of respect for her, admiring that. You know, she’s putting in so much work. I had no idea she’s putting in so much of her own free time at work. And I think just generally I admire just hearing more and more of these kind of stories that it’s people that aren’t getting any kind of financial gain or what kind of gain, it’s just that satisfaction that they want to be part of something and give to something. And I think that’s amazing. And I can’t think of many other communities where you would see something like that.

[00:31:36] Speaker B: Hmm, yeah, I can understand that. That makes sense. Yeah. Cool. Thank you. I’ll take.

[00:31:41] Speaker C: Do I get to ask you any questions? Are this all like.

[00:31:44] Speaker B: I mean, you can if you really want to.

It is a conversation. Go ahead.

[00:31:50] Speaker C: I see, like. Yeah, I’m really. I love your background. Like, things in the background, maybe, obvious question, but like, photography and music, are these like, two of your passions?

[00:32:01] Speaker B: Yeah. So all of these photos are photos that I took and had Photoshop.

[00:32:06] Speaker C: Thank you.

[00:32:06] Speaker B: Do a lot of nature photography. And then the guitars.

This one here is the one I learned to play on. This was my father’s guitar. They were all my father’s guitars, to be sure. This one and this one, which you can’t kind of see at the corner of there. I never played those. Those were his. And then I don’t even know where this one came from. But when he passed away in 2022, I took his guitars and I thought, if I hang them on my wall, I will look like a developer.

But I did, actually. I used to. I haven’t played in a long time, but I used to. And you can’t see, but above them are two trumpets that were also his that I also played. And then on the other side of the guitar, you can’t see is my mother’s flute, which I do not know.

[00:32:53] Speaker C: How to play, but it’s.

[00:32:54] Speaker B: Yes, my music. Well, yeah. Kind of cool, huh?

[00:32:58] Speaker C: That’s really cool. Yeah. What stopped you playing? Is it just busy with work or is it.

[00:33:04] Speaker B: When I was pregnant for my daughter, I couldn’t hold the guitar anymore when she was born, I had no time and it just fell away. It fell away from it. So maybe someday I’ll pick it back up again.

[00:33:14] Speaker C: Nice. Is it just the one daughter that you have?

[00:33:17] Speaker B: I do, yeah, just one.

[00:33:19] Speaker C: How old is she?

[00:33:20] Speaker B: She’s 31.

[00:33:21] Speaker C: No way.

[00:33:23] Speaker B: She’ll be 32 very soon.

[00:33:24] Speaker C: Yeah. Wow. You have to give me some tips.

How do you have so much energy and look so fresh?

Look at me, I’ve got white hair everywhere.

[00:33:34] Speaker B: And I drink coffee. I drink a lot of coffee.

[00:33:38] Speaker C: Okay. The pee is going.

[00:33:41] Speaker B: I usually only drink one a day, unless I have. I had a. This was a half a cup because it’s 05:00 at night, but yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. I was born with it in the.

[00:33:50] Speaker C: Web space at all. Is she in the WordPress community or. She comes something completely different.

[00:33:56] Speaker B: She has a WordPress website that I built for her.

[00:33:59] Speaker C: Nice.

[00:34:00] Speaker B: And she came, she came with me to Wordcamp Europe last year and made a lot of friends, which meant that she also came to Wordcamp us last year because she wanted to see those friends again. And I believe she’s going with me to Wordcamp Europe again this year. So awesome. Kind of in the WordPress space. But although she doesn’t do anything with WordPress, she’s in banking and she is a dj on the weekends, so.

[00:34:18] Speaker C: Wow. Okay, cool.

[00:34:21] Speaker B: I’ll send you her, her dj website later that I built for her.

[00:34:24] Speaker C: Nice. Nice.

[00:34:26] Speaker B: Okay, let me get to. I want to get through the rest of these questions.

[00:34:28] Speaker C: Okay.

[00:34:30] Speaker B: Don’t derail me. No.

What’s something that you still want to learn in WordPress but that you haven’t tackled yet?

[00:34:38] Speaker C: I would really love to know. I would really love to learn more about the core. When I say core, I know that WordPress is shifting a lot onto using reaction. And I’m not a react, I am.

I do know PHP. I am a php kind of guy.

I do build outside of WordPress. Totally. I do build web apps. Using PHP frameworks like Laravel. I’m a Laravel developer, but I know WordPress is moving more and more into react and even code snippets.

The main founder of Code Snippets, the original developer is to obviously publish team and he’s a react developer and he started to rebuild some of the things in react. So I, I would love to learn, I would love to learn react. Although I hate react, I say it’s like a, I don’t know, it’s like a self loathing kind of way. I hate react, I hate looking at it, I don’t like the way it functions or the way it’s set up, but at the same time I want to learn it. I don’t know, it’s a weird philosophy.

[00:35:40] Speaker B: I understand. I think there’s things that like, I hate. Well, I don’t anymore, but I hated driving, but I always wanted to learn how to drive. So you know what I mean? Like, yeah, I mean, there’s other things in life that are like that.

[00:35:50] Speaker C: I think if you, if you’ve ever seen like the way that react, not to try and get to bore you with anything or go too deep into any technical jug, but like the way that react kind of works is the way I’ve been so used to things is so you have, you know, you’ve got your HTML, you’ve got JavaScript to do, you know, adding functionality and things, and then you’ve got PHP, which is like server side. Well, whereas react, it tries to really blend HTML and JavaScript all into one. And it’s just sometimes it’s so confusing, like reading it because you’re like, there’s bits of HTML and JavaScript combined and it’s like a different type of HTML and it’s, yeah, from that respect, I really don’t like it. It just confuses me more, but it just seems this is where it’s going, the trend is going.

[00:36:33] Speaker B: You’re gonna have to learn it.

[00:36:34] Speaker C: Yeah, you have to get, you have to get on board or otherwise you’ll be left behind.

[00:36:38] Speaker B: It’s like moving to a country where you don’t speak the language, but if you’re gonna live there, you better learn to speak the language for sure. What’s one of the biggest mistakes you’ve ever made in WordPress and what did you learn from it?

[00:36:52] Speaker C: Joining the code for snippets team.

[00:36:58] Speaker B: Oops.

Okay, moving right along, moving to the next question.

[00:37:08] Speaker C: I don’t know. Mistakes, we all make mistakes, you know, I don’t know if I can think of any specific mistake that, you know, I regret it. I’m definitely one of those people. If I look at, if I work on something and then I work on something else and I look back on what I previously worked on, like, what was I thinking? You know, I’m very. I think I’m my harshest critic, so I think I would probably say everything I worked on up to now, what was I thinking? But I think things that I learned from it is I always like to keep a critical eye, and I think that’s something which, you know, is something you should always do. You should be a little bit of your harshest critic in a positive sense, in that you shouldn’t just, you know, there’s a saying here, sit on your loins. It means just, you know, take it. Take it easy. You know, you think you, you’ve now accomplished everything. You’re it. We’re in a world where technology is always changing, design is changing, trends are always changing, and, you know, keeping up to keeping up with it and keeping fresh and keeping things moving forward, you need to have that critical eye. So I think that’s one thing I learned just about being a bit harsh, but not too overly critical of yourself, where you’re depressive.

[00:38:26] Speaker B: That makes sense. Absolutely. Okay, so what is your proudest WordPress moment?

[00:38:32] Speaker C: Joining cosnippers.

[00:38:35] Speaker B: Good save, good save.

[00:38:39] Speaker C: Our proudest moment. Actually, it’s funny because, you know, I’m not sure if you’ve seen any of the James Bond films with Daniel Craig. And there was one of the films, I can’t remember where he becomes aoo. And it’s a part of the thing of becoming Double O is, is that you need to have two kills or something. You need to kill twice to become aoo agent for Ms. And someone said to me something like, you need to have your name or a contributor or something on two plugins in the WordPress repo. And then you can call yourself a WordPress developer or something like this. I remember it was too, they said. So I had my name on Cosnippets, and then I helped a friend who I actually learned through the Met, through the community. He was making a small little plugin just to, for a specific client and maybe just to help other, other people. And I helped him and through a lot of the work that I did for him to help, he said, look, I’ll put your name as one of the authors because you’ve done quite a bit of work for me. So then, as it happened, it went live. He sent me the email when it’s gone live on the repo. And I was like, yeah. And he actually mentioned it to me. You’ve got two. You’re now a WordPress developer. So I think that was just a proud moment to say, yeah, I’m a WordPress developer.

[00:39:54] Speaker B: That is very cool. I have one plugin in the repo that I rebuilt, hello, Dolly, with a couple extra things in there.

And I’m one of the team on Givewp, although I am not an author of Givewp. I’m one and a half of a developer, although I really only know CSS. So let’s not talk any further about that.

[00:40:18] Speaker C: It’s all good. We’re all learning, you know, it’s so good.

Yeah, I’m sure you know more than someone else who doesn’t know what CSS even means.

[00:40:27] Speaker B: So, yeah, I’m not putting myself down, I’m just saying, somebody can’t say, can you build me a plugin for this? I’d be like, no, but I can direct you to people who can.

[00:40:40] Speaker C: Yeah, I think a lot of the time this, this questions do kind of bring this, this thing that we all kind of face is this imposter syndrome that we have. And I think that’s something that I had coming, just working on some of these WordPress, actually even working on the code snippets, contributing to it and adding to it. You did get this kind of imposter syndrome because at that time there was maybe 700,000, 800,000 active users. And I was like, wow, it’s going to get pushed out to all these users, and if I mess it up, there’s not like, no one’s going to notice.

[00:41:13] Speaker B: They will let you know, I promise.

Okay, so if you weren’t working in web and tech right now, what’s another career that you might like to try?

[00:41:28] Speaker C: I mean, I’ve always had these, like, you know, like many people have these wild visions of being like an astronaut or something. But, yeah, if it was something like really dream kind of scenario. Yes.

Space has always been something which is fascinated me. I was a Trekkie boy, you know, through and through growing up, every day from school, come home, always watch an episode of Star Trek. And I think, I think technology, just passion for technology came from Star Trek, just seeing all these things and thinking of the future. And so I think going to space, I think being involved, something to do with space would be awesome, and I think the world would be happier, me leaving the planet.

[00:42:17] Speaker B: Didn’t your bug say best dad in the world. It would have to, you’d have to like cross off world and put like universe or on the moon or something like that.

My goodness. Well, what’s something on your bucket list besides space travel.

[00:42:37] Speaker C: WordPress related? I would say it have to be going to a webcam. That’s definitely going to bucket list.

I’d love to do it more high in the sky, I think.

Although contribution to cosine is something I would love to definitely just maybe contribute something to just the core in some way and know, like, you know, like, let’s just say there’s, I don’t know, in the settings, there’s a new button that does something cool and, or even doesn’t do something cool. It could do something lame, but it’s something useful just knowing that. Okay, I did that and it’s on millions of websites. I think it’s just something like, cool. It’s a nice accolade, a nice feeling just to think, yeah, you know, I contribute to something bigger than myself.

[00:43:26] Speaker B: It does feel nice when you see your username show up in the people who contributed to the core.

[00:43:33] Speaker C: I remember you. Yeah, I saw that on the last one you had your name. Yeah. That’s nice feeling.

[00:43:40] Speaker B: It is. It really is. Especially when you’re not a developer. Right. So when you’re not a developer and you can still contribute in a way that really pushes the project forward, that feels even more exciting because you don’t have to be a developer to contribute to WordPress, which I think is a wonderful thing about us.

[00:43:56] Speaker C: Okay, that’s very true.

[00:43:58] Speaker B: Now the next question is always the fun, interesting one, but show us or tell us about a hidden talent that you have that people in the WordPress community might not know about.

[00:44:09] Speaker C: A hidden talent.

I mean, I don’t have any hidden talent. I mean, it’s gonna be like the, the thing I could say actually is something unique about me. I don’t know if that’s a good way of answering. And I always, I always used to answer this as like icebreaker sessions. Yeah, yeah, I have this.

It’s gonna sound really weird, but actually I have this skin condition called vitiligo. Maybe it’s where I get patches of my, oh, you know it. Okay. And it’s something that Michael Jackson actually allegedly had. So I always used to break eyes by saying I have the same condition as Michael Jackson and I’d always get people look at me, what, what’s unique about you? And I’d be like, yeah, I suffer from the same condition as Michael Jackson.

[00:44:58] Speaker B: So this goes, I promise the story goes along with exactly what you just said. So my daughter, my daughter’s biracial, first of all. So she had some little patches of vitiligo when she was little that actually.

[00:45:09] Speaker C: Oh, cool. Wow.

[00:45:11] Speaker B: They kind of colored in over the years, which was kind of nice for her because it was right in the middle of her face, and I didn’t want her to have that feeling of whatever. But anyway, when she was about nine, eight or nine, I guess, she was doing a project, and she had some friends over from school, and I can’t remember why they were talking, but somebody said something about Shirley Temple. And Lydia turned to me and she said, shirley Temple did she used to be black?

I said, well, her name. Her married name was Shirley Temple Black? Is that what you mean? She said, no, didn’t she used to be black? I said, lydia, people don’t change. Like, if you’re black, you’re black. People don’t go from black to white or white to black. She goes, Michael Jackson did, you little booger?

I said, okay. Not usually. Not usually.

[00:45:59] Speaker C: He’s the exception to the rule.

[00:46:02] Speaker B: But, yeah, and I’ve never told that story on the podcast before, so if she listens, because she’d be like, mom, how could she tell that story?

Anyway, if people are interested in connecting with you, how do they find you? Website, social media. How do people connect with you?

[00:46:18] Speaker C: They can’t. No.

[00:46:22] Speaker B: Call my agent.

[00:46:23] Speaker C: Call my agent. Yeah, reach out to cosmic. No, I’m. This year, it’s on, I want to say, bucket list. So my thing list of things to do is become a little bit more social. I am on LinkedIn and on Facebook, but I’m trying to embrace social media. I was really on social media when I was at university, and then I failed a bunch of exams, and I was like, okay, I have to get rid of social media. And then, since then, I never went back on social media. So I’m trying to embrace social media now. It seems to be the only way some people, even in my family, will talk to me. So I’m on Facebook and on LinkedIn to search for. Search for my name and just say hello. Yeah, it’d be nice to. It’s always nice to meet new people and reach out. Even how we met through the WP builds, it’s been awesome just to meet new people and connect and have a chat.

[00:47:11] Speaker B: Absolutely. So I will get those links from you, and we will put them in the show notes for this episode. So if you’re listening to this episode and you want to connect with Atif, then all you have to do is go to, find his episode and look at the show notes there where I will also have a transcript from this episode. So if you’re interested in reading as opposed to listening, there you go. It’ll all be there in one place. Thank you so much for taking some time to spend with me today. It was so great to get to know a little better. I have laughed a lot, which is a great way to end day. I love it.

[00:47:41] Speaker C: Me too. Me too. Thank you. No, thank you for having me. I really appreciate the invitation to join and it’s been awesome. Yeah, it’s really nice day. Nice way to end my day as well. I’ve had a blast. Thank you.

[00:47:52] Speaker B: Excellent. Well, we’ll connect with you again soon, I’m sure. And everybody else will see you on the next episode of WP Coffee Talk.

[00:48:00] Speaker A: We hope you enjoyed this episode of WP Coffee Talk. Please share it with others who you know would enjoy hearing from the people who make the WordPress community the wonderful.

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