Hi could you tell us a little about yourself and background?
My name is Jeffrey Carandang, also known as `phpbits` in the WordPress community. I am the creator of Widget Options, one of the top-rated WordPress plugins in the directory with more than 60k active install. I do have other awesome free plugins which you can see here: https://profiles.wordpress.org/phpbits#content-plugins I’ve been creating and supporting plugins full-time for more than 3 years now.
When did you first stumble upon WordPress?
I discovered WordPress in 2010 when I was in college. Back then, I was freelancing at Odesk and saw a lot of WordPress job posts and decided to take a look at them. I’ve been working on WordPress since then.
What product / website of yours are you most proud of and why?
I’m very proud of Widget Options because it’s the best plugin I’ve created so far. Being able to get positive reviews from customers is one of the best rewards a developer/creator can get. It’s also one of the main reasons why I’ve become known in the community.
Have you had any epic fails so far that you’d like to share with us?
Yes for sure! Lots of us probably did. It’s the way to success! :) I have a lot of failed plugins and unfinished products. I created a travellers’ community website and blog site and spent a couple of months developing it, but it ended up as a failure. It’s fun being a creator, but sometimes there are challenges along the way and lessons to learn after each bump.
In your opinion, is the premium themes / plugins market saturated? Are there any opportunities out there?
There are lots of companies on the premium themes/plugins market now, and many individuals are emerging. We have to be creative in order to stand-out, think something new and outside the box. With Gutenberg on the way, there will be a lot of opportunities and competitions for sure.
What’s your advice to new theme / plugin authors?
Just do it :) As long as you have the Minimum Viable Product, release it and just keep building. Value your customer’s feedbacks and suggestions; they’ll make your product better.
If you had the chance to add a single feature in WordPress core, what would it be?
If it wasn’t for Gutenberg, I might say better editor; but since it’s already on the way, it’s probably making sure that it’ll provide better on-boarding process for new users.
Is the inclusion of the REST API a decision in the right direction and why?
Definitely! It’ll be one of the best decisions because it lets us, developers, build better products using WordPress.
What’s your take on project Gutenberg?
I’m sure I’m not the only one loving it. I’ve been active on the development since the early stages and I can say that I’m really happy with what it is now. I actually have already created a plugin for it called Block Options, which is available at the repository: http://wordpress.org/plugins/block-options/ Developing alongside with fast-paced core team is really tough and challenging, but it’s really rewarding. You’ll learn a lot of stuff and improve day by day.
What’s your current hardware / software setup. Any apps you can’t live without?
I’m using the 13-inch Macbook Pro Retina – late 2013. I’m planning on getting a new one though. My favourite apps right now are Sublime Text for development and Local by Flywheel. I’m also a Trello lover.
What’s your typical day like?
Everyday is a productivity battle. I’m trying to focus on supporting my customers in the early part of the day, then improving products and coding in the afternoon. Still work in the evening, too, but it’s mostly marketing stuff and expanding connections. I’m also back to jogging and working out at the gym again just to have quality breaks from work.