Speaker Interview – Marc Benzakein

I have been involved with technology in varying ways and degrees since about age 10 when I started programming on the mainframe at the University in which my dad taught. Through it, I’ve been a programmer, network administrator, administrator, and most recently, WordPress developer.

Why Do You Use WordPress?
I use WordPress because it’s more than just an amazing CMS. I’ve said it a number of times, and I’m sure people will hear me say it for as long as it’s true: the key strength of WordPress, though, is not the software but its community. It’s a community that works the way community is supposed to work. We realize that the only way to make the product better is by lifting up the people involved with the product. This is not simply relegated to those that build Core, but to EVERYONE at any level who is involved with it that wants to take part. I was happy to find WordPress as a piece of software to fill my specific need at the time. But I feel especially fortunate to have been able to become involved with its community!

When and How Did You Start Using WordPress?
I started using WordPress because it was really easy to get a site up and running. Originally, I was building sites for my own purposes, mostly to run affiliate programs, and they worked well for me. I then developed my own company website and then helped my wife with her blog site. After that, the rest was history. I started building sites for clients and then, eventually got steady work until Stephen Carnam of ServerPress approached me about partnering up.

What Tips or Resources would you recommend to a new WordPress User?
ASK QUESTIONS and GET INVOLVED! One of the things I’ve realized after speaking to so many people at various WordCamps is that no one knows everything. And everyone wants to help! THIS MEANS YOU! People want to help you! People want to see you succeed. And if you think that you have nothing to offer back, you’re W R O N G! Everyone, no matter their experience level, has something to offer! Whether it’s volunteering at a WordCamp or getting involved with your local meetup or even blogging about your experiences, it’s never too early or too late to get involved!

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?
“The same as I’d give to anyone about any other business:

1. Be honest
2. Be fair

These two pieces of advice apply not only to your clients but to yourself. Never sell yourself short. People are coming to you for something because they see you as an authority. Make sure that everything you’re doing reflects that. If it’s too far above your head, you’re doing them a disservice by saying yes and if your price is too low, you’re doing yourself a disservice as well.

Relationships work ONLY if both sides of the equation feel like they are getting value out it, so pay attention to your gut and make sure that the value you’re providing is being returned or it will be a short-lived proposition.”

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc)?
I read Torque, and check out the emails I get from WPTavern a lot. Plus, I have a network of WordPress peeps that I chat with daily in which we share anything new that pops up.

What’s a cool WordPress based site you’ve seen recently?
I hear that the Milwaukee WordCamp site is going to be pretty knock-your-socks-off! 😉

What do you like most about WordCamps?
The people. No doubt. I have been to about 15 WordCamps and I’ve only been to one where I felt like I didn’t get much out of it. Upon reflection, it turned out that was completely my fault because it had plenty to offer.

Seriously, if you’re not getting to know people at WordCamps, you’re doing it wrong. The coolest people on the planet hang out there!

Where can we find you online?
Web: ServerPress.com
Twitter: @MarcBenzak
Facebook: ServerPress