It feels natural to start my first post here with “Howdy”, and even though I’m not from Texas, my wife and I got married just outside of Austin, so I like to think that gives me a little more street-cred than your average.
For starters, this entire site is powered by Give, and the nice folks there were kind enough to comp me copies of their Stripe and Recurring add-ons. It’s also sporting the new Atomic theme from ArrayThemes, and aside from really liking their work, they’re a local Wisconsin business, so I joined their theme club to show my support.
I was able to put this entire site together in a few days, thanks to the work that everyone else has already done. This is one of my favorite things about WordPress – there are so many great people sharing their best work, and everyone just trying to do their part to keep all of the other parts humming along.
Eventually, though, feeling good about doing the right thing is supposed to translate into a profitable business, but that isn’t always the case, especially for me – I focus on niche corners of WordPress – or Daniel Bachhuber, who loves building tools by-way of WP-CLI, or Boone Gorges who spends around 50% of his time volunteering on WordPress and BuddyPress. (I know there are dozens of others who give more than their value back to the community, too, and I’ll add you here if you’d like.)
But, if you ask me, I’ll never really tell you how empty my tank is, because it’s constantly being refilled by the love and support of the greater WordPress community. When someone says “I really love WP Multi Network” or “BuddyPress saved me hundreds of hours of time” I feel so good having helped someone out, that I’m ready to power through another month even if my checkbook isn’t.
I’ve been really lucky this year to have spent January to now working on WordPress core, thanks to my friends at Pantheon and Pagely. During this time, I’ve had the same conversation with enough people to know there’s “something” really cool to the idea here, without knowing exactly what to call it. After a brief call with Cory Miller (of iThemes fame) he gave me the nudge I needed to continue my 2017 experiment with its own branding, and so this site was borned.
My name is John James Jacoby, and I’m sponsored by the WordPress community to work on various bits and bobs all around WordPress. Somedays that means all security all the time, and other days it means reviewing a plugin (like Give) and making recommendations about how it can be improved, and usually it means keeping on-top-of a few dozen really important long-term initiatives and lobbying for their completion with dozens of other people all trying to do the same or different things.
How did I do it? By doing it.
Lots of companies are filling full-time positions for WordPress core contributors. I was one of Automattic’s first official Dotorg hires back in 2010, and other companies (10up, Yoast, GoDaddy, etc…) have followed suit. Unfortunately for me, the things I think are great, and the way I stay busy, is by remaining independent and floating from project to project trying to make everything better, and that only pays the bills if you ask people for money, so here we are.
Thanks to the generous donations of 218 people, I did this full-time for 9 months back in 2014, and am doubling-down and trying to do this full-time all year for 2017 and into the foreseeable future. Ideally, and with enough support, I’ll be able to mentor others into similar industry sponsored positions, provide grant programs for specific community initiatives, travel more outside of the United States and share more of the awesome stuff y’all have allowed me to do.
Thank you all again for your generosity, trust, and support with all of this, and look forward to more from me here soon! 💜