At the time JomSocial was owned and run by Azrul Rahim. Then the company was bought by Merav Knafo. Under her management, I learned a lot and rose through the ranks to be a project manager.
The Journey Began
One day she decided and rightly so to step away from Joomla, or at least diversify the company’s portfolio and get into WordPress. That’s how PeepSo began.
As the first WordPress project for the company. Moving to WordPress was a no-brainer, its market share is growing unlike Joomla!’s.
After working on PeepSo for a couple of months, I got a call from Merav with an offer to buy the project out. Since I and Matt were working on it from the beginning, we knew everything there was to know about it.
I decided to jump on the opportunity with Matt. A few years later, here we are.
The Need for PeepSo
I think the beginning is explained above. But what really sets us apart can’t be grasped in just one factor. It’s a multitude of them. Starting with the fact that we make all of the ‘must-haves’ for a community to work.
That means everything is designed to work together and does work well together. In comparison, if you want to go with a solution like BuddyPress. Great, you have a free base. What then? You need video, photo sharing, real-life chat, etc. You have to go with 3rd party solutions.
BuddyPress doesn’t have it all. If you go with 3rd party solutions, one developer can make a Photos plugin. Another video. Yet another one will make a real-time chat etc.
These developers don’t talk to each other. When there’s an update of one, it might break something else. If there’s an update to BuddyPress itself and you’re using a 3rd party Photos plugin that needs to be updated by the developer but isn’t you stuck on an outdated BuddyPress version?
The second essential thing is support. We have put a lot of effort into providing the best customer support possible. Time and time again our clients tell us that this is hands down the best experience they have had with any other WordPress company/developers they worked with.
Not my words, read the reviews 🙂 As opposed to many common practices, a support forum where you will or won’t get a proper answer is not how we do things. We have dedicated professionals on staff to handle any and all questions.
Thirdly, we actually use our own software. We have built our own community on our website for our clients. To our knowledge, none of the other competitors actually use their own software.
Even the ‘almighty’ BuddyPress uses bbPress (a forum plugin) for their own ‘community’ needs. That should definitely tell you something.
The biggest challenge is to actually get people to know about you. So, awareness is key. The best experience is when you get to meet people in real life who actually know and use your products.
I have met a couple of them throughout the years. The worst experience is the uncertainty of new projects/products. Because you never know what will work and what won’t.
But if you believe that the product does actually work and you actually KNOW that it does provide a solution to a problem, then you just need time and exposure.
This one provides various solutions for EasyDigitalDownloads. We created these solutions for our own needs and then decided to share them. Again, an example of our own software that we actually use.
A-Social Login Plugin for WordPress.
Myself with my Brilliant Team
Our team is 100% working remotely. Even before covid. Everyone on our team has the freedom to move and work from wherever they want.
I used to live in Bali for 3 years, then in Kuala Lumpur for 3.5 years, in Budapest for 6 months, and now in Manila already 2 years+. You can see my office in the picture below.
Eric Tracz Work Station
Advice for Business Owners
It’s not easy. Get ready for long hours, and lack of sleep. Be sure to have a product that actually works and solves a problem.
You can be the best developer or a business person out there, but if the product or at least the idea/direction is not solid. You can’t make it. It’s a jungle out there.
No. Nothing in particular. However, first, look deep within yourself and ask what you are actually good at. Then go from there.
WordPress & Beyond
Furthering the plugin portfolio and integrations with other developers’ products. Nobody can do it all. Connections and partnerships are important.
WordPress will continue to grow. There’s no doubt about it. As a leading platform for pretty much any website and an enormous community behind it, it’s hard to predict anything negative. Especially with the general direction WordPress is taking like headless etc.
Moreover, I don’t see any threat to WordPress. Over the last decade or so you could see other CMS rise and fall. None of them came even close to what WordPress is doing.
My Love for the WordPress Community
Covid is hopefully over so recently I attended WordPress Meetup in Manila (BGC). In February I’ll be a speaker at WordCamp Cebu 2023. So if you’re in the area, please do come.
Not to mention the fact that whenever we can’t fit custom development within our schedule, we send our clients their way and all of them are happy.
There are a lot of people there whose stories are great. It’s hard to pick just one.
How I Keep Myself Updated
Definitely the WordPress roadmap, alpha/beta releases. Additionally WordPress, WooCommerce slack channels. Playing around with new releases of major (in their respective niches) plugins and themes.
Collaboration with other development companies. Going over popular blogs like WPTavern also helps.
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
Ride on my Ducati Monster or play video games with Matt but I usually spend time at home with my wife. To be honest, I like Japan a lot. I’d love to go back there. Laos is fantastic too. It really does depend on what you’re in the mood for.
Eric Tracz Bike Ducati Monster
For example, in a couple of weeks I and perhaps 10 other guys will go to Vietnam, rent motorbikes, and have a tour of north Vietnam. About 2,000km in a week. With constant traveling, having a pet would be rather irresponsible.
I Reward Myself by
Travel is a good one. I also love Legos. I think you can see a couple of sets in the photo of my office. There are a bunch more that you can’t see there.