Dan Cameron Story

My WordPress Story.

I had to go back in the archives to find out how long ago this was, which I knew it was a long time ago because I started blogging before my daughter was born and she’s now 9…sidetrack…anyway, in 2004 blogging was really popular, especially at the church we were going to, and out of a recommendation I started using Movable Type. I didn’t really like blogging that much but was came out of it was a hobby to tinker with the technology and figure out how it worked. At that point I was using Dreamweaver to build sites for my job and I was not (really) familiar with anything database driven up until that point; I didn’t even know about CSS. CSS was the first “code” I wrote …I remember messing with the CSS on that site for hours!

Okay, so after a few months of a few blog posts and a ton of template changes MT went paid only. I was already familiar with WordPress since a friend was using it for his blog, so it became the obvious choice. For those WP users: the version of WordPress I installed was version 1.2!

That transition blew my mind, I already knew a little bit of CSS and HTML but PHP seemed comprehensible. Movable Type was using perl, and if you’ve looked at any perl you’d understand why I felt blown away. Keep in mind I wasn’t a “programmer” at all, I just liked trying to change this by breaking them and then figuring out how to fix what I just broke. With WordPress I could change the site in real time, no site rebuilds. Of course, all cowboy coding with text edit and an FTP client.

So that’s not only my WP origin story but how it became a hobby that later became more.

My WP Developer Story.

As I continued to play with WordPress more than actually using it 1. In 2005 I released a bunch of themes, they’re somewhere on Google Code, which I’ll be taking down (before you read this) so no one finds them and judges my current skill set off those hack jobs. [be right back...]

That year I also released Search Everything which ended up being surprisingly popular, I was so proud. For the longest time if anyone googled “WordPress Search” it would be at the top. Lorrelle linked to me, it was awesome.

Those years when WP was a hobby I tried to involve myself a bit in the community. That was the time I also I learned a lot, still all for fun since my job(s) were all very technical, e.g. e-commerce projects with webshpere and salesforce programming.

Making money with WordPress.

In 2008 our son was born and I went full-time freelance the same day; quiting a good job for something I had no idea what I was getting myself into was tough. Luckily my wife Sara was a big proponent in the choice, she believed in me when I didn’t. In less than a couple weeks I started Sprout Venture.

In the beginning there were small projects…yes, elance was around back then. All PSD to WP theme projects.

My “career” changed when Shane and Peter took, what I believe, was a chance with hiring me and getting me to do a lot of front-end development. Those projects they trusted me with was a huge jumpstart for me.

I look back at that time seeing how naive and stubborn I was but also realizing that I learned a lot.

Working for Shane and Peter (now ModernTribe) was like school: time was spent learning and building friendships. Luckily all the people around me were my professors and friends. To this day relationships from that time are still strong. Damn, I owe a lot to those guys, more than a beer or two.

I transitioned during those school years to do more back-end development. Which I enjoyed a bit more, since functionality is the ultimate requirement, not the undefinable “make this look good” that front-end development imposes.

What happened to Sprout Venture?

During those years(?) I still split time with Sprout Venture and Shane and Peter. At some point I had to stop working with Shane and Peter and Reid, reluctantly, to start on another project .

A good friend (Nick Ohrn, who I worked with at S&P) referred me to a client who wanted to build a group buying plugin for WordPress. That plugin, which I thought was going to be a few months at best, turned into a 5 year stint that continues to this day under Sprout Venture.

What am I doing now?

Only one thing, Sprout Apps. I’m jumping head first into this journey and I expect it to be a long one (hopefully that’s true).

Notes:

  1. Which was a lot because apparently I blogged a lot back then.