My name is Sebastiaan van der Lans, the founder of WordProof, and I live in Amsterdam with my soon-to-be-husband Mirco. I started studying to become an engineer.
In 2016, I started my WordPress agency ‘Van Ons’ and switched my study to media at Amsterdam University of Applied Science and also teach open-source software at the same university.
My first job was working as a receptionist at an elderly home during my study years. This felt like having over 100 grandparents. While I was doing my homework, many residents asked me what I was working on exactly. This made me develop my passion to explain complex stuff in an easy language. Hindsight this was such a valuable and forming time!
The Journey Began
At my high school, I was the DJ and organizer of our school parties. A friend of mine was an amazing programmer and we made a deal, I played a romantic song for him, so he could ask his crush to dance and he taught me the basics of PHP. This must have been around 2003.
When I learned PHP, I started to build my own CMS. While building all features myself, I stumbled upon resources on WordPress more and more.
The Need for WordProof
Even though the internet has brought us many good things, it has a deep-rooted issue: trust. Quite obvious, as trust wasn’t part of the internet’s design. The internet was built to connect computers to computers.
As computers do not dream; do not care about power or self-enrichment, no ego. Therefore, we now suffer fraud, manipulation, and theft daily on the internet, which echoes back to the real world.
So, to save the world, we need to fix the internet. Simply said: if information impacts your life, you deserve transparency and a sender who takes accountability, for the first time in history, an open, simple, and therefore inclusive solution is available to make transparency and accountability the default on the Internet: timestamping information on a blockchain.
Blockchain is such a new technology, often associated with Bitcoin. Some are scared of blockchain because of this. Below are a few projects that we’ve done so far.
- WordProof Timestamp – the WordPress plugin to timestamp
- Laraberg – Bringing Gutenberg to Laravel.
- WP GDPR Compliance – 1.3M+ downloads, 100K users.
- Agency “Van Ons” – Amsterdam-based open-source agency with 25 amazing developers, full-service with a technical DNA. We remix WordPress, Laravel, and React Native.
Myself with my Brilliant Team
Advice for Business Owners
JUST DO IT. If you build a product business, learn how to develop an interactive prototype yourself. Especially if you want to onboard investors, make a product prototype before you raise capital. This takes out a lot of risk for your potential investors and therefore gives you better deal terms.
Secondly, what I learned over the last two decades, is that developers love to work for someone who at least understands their job.
WordPress enhanced and democratized the world of publishing. I’d love to see more initiatives on the cross-border of blockchain and WordPress. The blockchain space can learn so much from the experience and community building we’ve done over the last 17 years!
WordPress & Beyond
After onboarding the European Commission and Yoast’s founders (Marieke and Joost) in the company, we have the firepower to scale up fast, with the involvement of Joost, we’re working on making timestamps.
In a couple of weeks, we’ll launch WordProof for Shopify and we’ll add plenty of features for WooCommerce.
Before the end of this year, over a million timestamps are placed by professional news outlets.
Simply said: if content matters, it needs to be timestamped. Consumers will demand it, search engines will reward it, policymakers. In a few years from now, if you’re not time-stamping your content, you’ll be considered a fraud; what are you hiding?
I recently wrote the article Empower. In five years from now, I expect WordPress to have consistently over 50% market share and over 500 million timestamps to be placed from WordPress dashboards.
My Love for the WordPress Community
I’ve been part of the WordCamp Netherlands organizing team since early on and have spoken at the north of 25 WordPress events over the last decade. It’s such a warm and inclusive community. One of the coolest things I have done in my life was doing a keynote on WordPress and Blockchain.
I had always been very uncertain about my English, and I dreamed of that not being a barrier anymore. Therefore I sent in a speaker propoopensal, in English (supported by a friend who helped me to fine-tune language). After sending in the talk, I followed all sorts of courses to improve my English, and halfway through a 5-day course, I received the invitation to speak.
Speaking at WordCamp Europe, and practicing this talk at several meetups, inspired me to improve my English superfast. This changed my life!
How I Keep Myself Updated
I am a Twitter and YouTube junkie! Twitter is a great way to catch up, and I always combine going to the gym by listening to meetups from all over the world.
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
I love to travel, and I’m in love with Amsterdam, my hometown. Soon I and Mirco are going to marry.
Don’t tell anyone, but the holidays are my favorite working days! As everyone else is taking some time off, I use that opportunity as the perfect time to strategize the new year.
I Reward Myself by
My companies are proud of continuous sponsors of the large Pride events in Amsterdam. And once a year I try to visit Mandali.org for a week of meditation. It’s such a moment of rest and self-care! A happy founder is a happy team :).