We spend a lot of time around here talking about WordPress and all things WordPress related. Not much surprise there; we’re a WordPress business and well, WordPress is really pretty cool. There’s a lot to talk about! The list of things queued up on my Trello board to write about is extensive because there’s so many great things going on in the industry. Something new to write about crosses my mind fairly frequently.
What hadn’t crossed my mind until recently was the notion that people might be interested in seeing what the insides of a small WordPress development company looks like. We had a support ticket submitted recently by a college student studying software engineering, curious to see what life may look like when he enters the field. That’s the inspiration for this; it stands to reason that there are a good many other people who may have at least a passing interest in the same. If you’re one of those people, hang out with us for a minute and we’ll dive into the nuts and bolts of the WP Ninjas!
Things Ninjas Do
CEO and CTO
James Laws is our Chief Executive Officer and Kevin Stover is our Chief Technology Officer. This dynamic duo first conceived of Ninja Forms and Ninja Demo, our flagship products. Their roles are split as their titles suggest they might be: James is the business brains and Kevin is the technical brains.
Kevin developed the product, on his own initially, and James used his business sense to turn that product into the WP Ninjas. Today James remains focused on managing the business aspect of the company, managing our sites, growth, marketing, mission, and direction. Kevin oversees the ongoing development of Ninja Forms and Ninja Demo. Those roles don’t have a wall between them either though. There’s overlap, and the two meet regularly for general brainstorming about the future.
Whereas a large software company might employ developers that are specialized in specific language for tasks focused in their specialty area, a small company has to be more jack-of-all trades. There is a diversity and subdivision of strengths, though. Our development team is responsible for- you guessed it- the ongoing development of our products.
At the risk of starting an internecine conflict within our company, I’ll say that support is arguably the most important thing a company has going for it. Our core mission is one of contribution to the WordPress community. We aren’t achieving that if we don’t have the pulse of our WordPress customer base and work constantly to strengthen and improve that relationship.
With that said, Zach Skaggs heads our support team as our official Director of Happiness, with Justin McElhaney and Devin Balram by his side. Justin and Devin spend their days in the support queue working with our customers, forwarding tickets on to our developers and collaborating developers (third-party devs that contribute to Ninja Forms via extensions) as needed. Zach helms the support department, maintaining the digital infrastructure needed for the job and working with customer analytics.
This is me. We have two blogs, one for ninjaforms.com that deals with form specific content, and another for wpninjas.com (that you are reading right now) that deals with WordPress related news, tutorials, and more. I keep up with our blogs, our Friday Roundup each week, shownotes for James’ joint podcast mastermind.fm, and website analytics. I research, write, and share information all day long. It’s pretty awesome!
As our business has grown, we’ve had to become more meticulous about how money flows through the organization. Jeremy Moore is our in-house finance guru and takes charge of sales forecasts, expense and revenue monitoring, payroll, and essentially all things budgetary. He’s not special enough to have a picture on our website. I’m not sure why. Consider this a mental reminder to do something about that.
What makes our office home away from home isn’t limited to our individual roles and responsibilities, and there are some roles we all share. Devin is our social media account manager for example, but it may just as likely be James when you see our @wpninjas account tweeting. Zach and I both work on analytics, and everyone has a role in marketing as the need arises.
Things aren’t all work around here either, though. Devin is the hipsteriest hipster that ever hipstered when it comes to coffee. The man has a $300 coffee setup in the office and Jeremy owns a coffee shop in downtown Cleveland, TN near our office. We have a ping pong table (I’m told the sophisticated thing to call this is a table tennis table), and we play highly competitive and veeery amateur table tennis matches every day. We use the pinpon.co slack integration to keep up with who’s beating who and talk trash accordingly. Stuff like this might not be business, but it’s the part the atmosphere that really makes being a part of this company awesome. It’s also great for clearing your head before diving back into code or queue or writing.
I could keep going for a while, but I think that pretty well covers the scope I had envisioned for this article. We hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour through our company and have a better idea of what the insides of a small WordPress dev company looks like than when you started. We’d be happy to answer questions in the comments. Quiz away and, as always, happy blogging!
…and Seth, thanks for the idea!Ever wondered what a small WordPress development startup looks like? Come take a virtual tour!Click To Tweet