Kåre Mulvad Steffensen
I think my WordPress story is quite classic. I’m a programmer, and worked for some years as a PHP and ASP developer, turned project lead and eventually found my way back to building – I’m saying building not developing or coding here because that’s what I found in WordPress back in 2007-2008.
WordPress gave me a new way of creating websites that required much less development with a higher quality end product. So even though I’m educated as a developer, I buy into the whole builder category of WordPress fanboys 😉
Q. How did you get to know about WordPress? Share if there is an interesting story.
Ans: Around the same time as I discovered WordPress, I had moved to a new city – Copenhagen, DK and was involved in a group of people that was very entreprenant.
WordPress seemed as a a god fit for the for most of their projects. I worked as a webmaster at an event company and suggested this “new” system that would help us with time to market at a fraction of the cost. WordPress seemed to new and with no trackrecord at the time, so it was turned down in favor of some now dead and burried system 🙂
Q. What’s the most interesting project you have done to date in WordPress? What were your responsibilities?
Ans: I’ve made a ton of different WordPress powered websites and online solutions, but no project is more interesting than the first version of the GDPR tools that went in to WordPress core. GDPR was comming back in 2008 and living in Denmark in EU, it of course was quite interesting to me how WordPress would tackle this.
The main issue for WordPress – and still is – is the many plugins that can handle personal data in so many ways that the entire solution becomes non-compliant with simple installation of a plugin that gets acccess to too much data or handles data it collects in a wrongfull way.
I started asking arround on SLACK and talking to some of my developer friends, and it worried me that SLACK – the official place to geek out over WordPress was utterly empty on the whole GDPR subject.
Whiles reading the entire GDPR regulation, I also started writing up some pseducode on how the problem could be solved. I talked to Peter Suhm (https://petersuhm.com/) about it, and he helped me create a PHP framework that in theory could be put into a plugin that would then allow oher plugins to interact with the framework – “telling” which types of data the plugin processed and where it was stored and so on.
Meanwhile I finally got a lucky break on SLACK and got to talk to Allen Snook from Automattic and he set up a skype call with a legal person from Automattic – from there it’s almost history … A group was formed and Heather Burns was picked by Automattic to lead it. As you know, the GDPR elements came into WordPress well ahead of the EU deadline – as the only CRM in the world.
I’m now a component maintainer on the Privacy component of WordPress – although I must admit that shortly after I got my second kid, and time has been scares ever since 😉
Q. Have you ever been to any WordPress meetups or WordCamps? Share your thoughts on WordPress Community.
Ans: I started attending WordCamp Denmark (held in Cophenhagen, as the only WordCamp in the country), and after a few years joined the WordCamp team to help organizing the whole thing.
Naturally you also end up on stage, and I found it very awarding to do a bunch of live happiness sessions where people would ask for solutions to issues they had with WordPress – I would live on stage try to fix the issue – or ask for help from the other WordPress folk .
When the first WordCamp Europe came along in Leiden, NL, I went and have gone to all WordCamp Europes since – still waiting to go to Portugal!
Q. How does your workstation look like? Can you send us a picture?
Ans: Sure I can – it’s not that interesting, it’s just a laptop on a table where ever I can sit… very low key – well… age have creeped up on me, and a MOUSE has found it’s way into the stuff I always bring with me… and a pair of glasses so I can see the screen 🙂
Q. What interesting feature do you think you would like to see in WordPress and is currently missing?
Ans: I’m all for Gutenberg, and was very quick to shift to that 100% – looking forward to the full site editor. I’m also looking into Oxygen – the “theme”/framework that kind of suggests a new way to think of themes.
I think we need to see a stronger decopuling of front and backend, although Gutenberg isn’t going in that direction right now, I’m think it’s a way forward since we aren’t going to sit in front of screens for the rest of humanity – something else will come along, be it smart-glasses or whatever. But I’d like to see WordPress as a strong content editor / CMS working on multiple media outlets.
Q. Out of the current plugins and themes which one do you like the most and why?
Ans: Well Astra is the current go to theme, but the next big site I’m building is going to be on Oxygen. Plugins – hmm, as long as they provide the function I need and have a good Gutenberg presentation I’m happy – of course there a a set of go to plugins that i “always” use – like Yoast, but I think the go-to set of plugins should mostly be some that YOU as a developer/builder am happy with, rather than some that someone else deem the best…
Q. Any awesome technology you want to share other than WordPress?
Ans: Monday.com – I’ve worked as project manager, product owner and other project constallations and tried a ton of Project management tools but Monday.com have really found the best ballance between structure and dynamics.
Q. Do you like/love what you currently do in WordPress?
Ans: YES – Gutenberg is still very much under development and i’m exited to see where this is taking WordPress. At the same time I’m looking forward to try out Oxygen.
Q. Where do you find yourself after 5 years
Ans: I’ve moved towards digital consultancy for some years now, and I suspect that I will do more and more of that rather than building.
Q. Share something about your life other than work
Ans: I’m always reminded of a book called Microslaves or Microfers by Douglas Coupland when asked about my life – in relation to my digital worklife. In the book there is a description of how all the coders have a house with a kayak in the garrage – a status symbol of their outdoor lifestyle that they are’nt really living. It just sits there 🙂
I do enoy the outdoors, but between work and family life with my 2 kids and wife, the kayak just sits there, much like in the book.
It’s ok though. My oldest son like to go hiking with me, so I try to get out as often as we can !
Q. To whom you give credit for your success?
Ans: Life – I think the sum of people around me and the decissions i’ve taken based on those interactions are a great sum of people that have lead to what success I’ve had or have. Not one person.
Q. Can you give us some reference for whom we should conduct an interview next and why?
Ans: You should talk to Peter Suhm who is on a great journey with his new product Branch.
Q. How do you reward yourself?
Ans: Hmm – Coffee? 🙂
Q. Any suggestion for WordPress beginners?
Ans: Keep at it – and yes the learning curve is steeper than the 5 min installation suggests. Join a local forum and ask away – we’re happy to help at no cost!
And speaking of cost – don’t take the offers that sound too good to be true! The WordPress fb groups are filled with people wanting the solve your problem in a PM – don’t. Keep it in the open and free for others to benefit from your issues and the solutions that work.