display eventbrite events by alan fuller

Alan Fuller – Founder of Display Eventbrite Events

February 22, 2024 / Plugins / 0 comments

I am Alan Fuller and my business is FullWorksPlugins. I live near Woking, England,  and have lived in the area for most of my life, such as Bahrain, for 9 months. I live with my wife and have two grown-up children and two grandchildren.

I have always been practical, from the earliest of ages, taking things apart and putting them back together, from Meccano kits to electronics to bicycles, motorbikes, and cars.

The Journey Began

I spent just 1 year in University in 1977, where I first discovered computers,  18 is a rather late start by today’s standards, but then it was unheard of. I found I really enjoyed coding -in Algol 60.

I left and in 1978, at the age of 19, I got a job as a trainee programmer but first, they trained me in operations and my first major task was automating the operational procedure. You could say a very early start in DevOps.

Later, I became a contract programmer and later landed in permanent positions as Project Manager, Development Manager, and CIO for some blue-chip names. So, my digital foundation has been long and solid.
Being in senior roles when the web really took off meant I wasn’t too hands-on with the technology until my son went to university. Whilst he was there, he came up with a business idea and paid someone to develop a website, but the developer had taken on a task that he couldn’t deliver, so Dad came to the rescue.

I knocked up the website, integrating a PHP package for the functionality, and it worked.  In lesson 1, you can have a working website and a good idea but if you don’t have a marketing plan and budget, you will not sell a lot.

There is a lot more to this journey, but fast forward to 2011, and my son was working at a digital marketing agency but decided to leave.  I suggested we pool my technical skills with his digital marketing experience and create our own Google Adwords business, which we did. And the first WordPress site I built was our business site.

Very soon, we were building lots of WordPress sites and we focussed on that and dropped Adwords as a WordPress web agency. Like many, we had a handful of mainly free plugins published that solved client needs.

Alan with his team

Fast forward again to 2016, and my son left the WordPress business to set up a non-technical business. As I have no design eye, I morphed the business into the plugin business it is today.

The Need for “Display Eventbrite Events”

Display Eventbrite Events by Full Works Plugins

After my son left the WordPress website business, I was unsure what direction to take. I happened to stumble on a group of local business consultants and thought it would be fun to team up with them.

The way they tried to win business was to hold free events, like the ‘How to set a strategy for your business’ sort of seminar. These they put up on Eventbrite.

They had a WordPress website, like many, but there really was no easy way to dynamically display Eventbrite Events on a WP website.

So, one afternoon, I wrote the original plugin ‘Widget for Eventbrite API’. It worked and so, as there was nothing straightforward on the WordPress repo, I published it for free. As it grew in popularity and requests came in, I added premium features and layouts.

So, how is it different from the rest? Well, as far as I know, it was the first, and as it has grown, it has grown into the most complete solution.  Since its success, there have been several entrants, one blazen enough to copy large chunks of our code, as the GPL allows.

If you look in their code, you can find the attribution. Imitation is the best form of flattery.  It is also a two-way street; they improved some aspects of usability so we learned from their efforts and incorporated similar improvements.

Display Eventbrite grew organically, starting as a free plugin and then adding premium features. I was never dependent on the plugin income as I had income streams from other WordPress activities such as reseller hosting and custom work.

I’m passionate about providing support and I built the plugin primarily as a ‘developers’ plugin, but over time, the average WordPress site creator has become less and less technical.

The main issue I had was justifying the amount of time I spent on support versus the price I was charging.  Basically, I was charging too little, so I had to increase my prices dramatically over time.

I have two significant products, one in the Events space – a sort of self-hosted Eventbrite Lite – called Quick Event Manager ( soon to be rebranded Fullworks Event Manager ).  I was given this plugin a few years ago by a developer who wanted to get out of the plugin space, and I have been supporting and developing this ever since.

The other is Fullworks Anti Spam, which grew out of a failure.  I decided to develop a security plugin that would do the ‘Fullworks.’ I spent a year building the MVP but when I launched, I could not make any sales at all against the giants such as WordFence.

So, I cut my losses and mothballed it.  A few months later, a beta tester asked if I could split out the anti-spam part as they had a client that would pay, so I did and Fullworks Anti Spam was born.

I created a free version that just handles comments, not forms, and doesn’t have the clever machine learning parts, and that acts as a pipeline to the pro version. I have 9 other plugins that I look after, mostly free.

Myself with my Brilliant Team

Our workplace is the ether.  We communicate via Slack, and we track issues and support via YouTrack, so an image of my team and me all together is not really possible. Although there are only 3 of us, we are on 3 continents.

Alan’s Workspace

Advice for Business Owners

Starting your own business is easy.  Making money is a bit harder.
I am fairly cautious, so my advice would not necessarily suit all.
I would say  

  • Make sure there is really a market for what you are offering before investing too much time or effort.
  • Don’t expect too much at first.
  • Keep working on your plan.

There are so many choices and much will depend on your personal attributes.
If you are great at selling and designing, start an Agency.
If you are fantastic at writing and engaging on the web, try Blogging.
If you are solution-focused and great at code, try Plugins.
If you are great at design and great at code, try Themes.
If you like technology, servers, and support, go Hosting.

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WordPress & Beyond

My vision is to combine Display Eventbrite and Quick Event Manager into Fullworks Event Manager. This will enable those who want to use Eventbrite and those who want to use a self-hosted events system to use one product, mix and match.

I see WordPress continue to dominate the website scene. The Site Editor is only just getting going, so  I see that the next 5 years is just the maturity cycle of making site building more accessible.

I can’t see any threat from the known competitors – Wix / Squarespace or the open-source projects  Drupal / Joomla.  There will always be room for these and others but the threats are from the unknown competitors.
Who would have thought 18 months ago I wouldn’t regularly use Google to research how to do technical things?  AI must have had a significant impact on technical blog traffic, at the very least.
The way we use mobile apps to manage everything, from our heating to our fitness, and the way we use Alexa or others to manage reminders and get some helpful information, is there actually a future for a website?

My Love for the WordPress Community

Ok, so I suffer to some extent from Social Anxiety Disorder, which makes me put off attending face-to-face meetings, so I have never attended a WordCamp or a face-to-face meetup.

Strangely, I’m fine on virtual meets, even with video, and very comfortable with online chats like Slack.

I have attended a few meetups online and have always learned a lot.  In many ways, lockdown was helpful for my situation.

I don’t make friends easily, so the list of virtual contacts I would classify as possible friends is short. Maybe Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) simply because she was always helpful when dealing with my plugins, and Ben @ LayerWP because he has always been supportive.  Apologies to those that I haven’t mentioned.

Oliver Sild of PatchStack. I have had a passion and interest in security for a long while.

How I Keep Myself Updated

PostStatus Slack, various blogs, and podcasts tend to be sporadic. I also frequent the WPSlack a lot, especially #PliginReview, #Forums, #Meta, and I consciously volunteer time to provide support on the general wp.org support forums.

I Have a Life Other Than the Work

I have one serious hobby, which is Sailing Dinghy racing.  Every Sunday, you will find me competing in sail races at our local lake. I am also a qualified Sailing Instructor, which I do on a voluntary basis, so you may find me coaching adult beginner sailors.

At Dingy Racing

Always a family get-together. Eat, drink, and be merry.

Anywhere that is not too hot and not too cold is remote and beautiful. We have a Motorhome ( R.V. ) and enjoy taking trips in the UK and Europe with it.

Alan’s RV

I don’t have a pet but my son’s dog seems to like me.

Son’s Dog

Connect With Me

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