This week I have the pleasure to publish an interview with Gillbert Pellegrom, the creator of the Nivo Slider and a developer who recently joined the ThemeZilla team with Orman Clark. Enjoy the reading! :)
Hello Gilbert, first of all, let me thank you for providing WPCrown Magazine with this interview, it is a great honor to have you. How are you today?
I’m good thanks. Hard at work so can’t complain.
How did you start your career? Tell us about the experience of getting things started and watching them come into life, is there anything you wish you had done different in the beginning?
My “career” started while I was at uni. I was doing a Software Engineering degree which covered a range of programming but was fairly light on the web side of things. However I found that I loved creating websites. So I spent most of my spare time teaching myself HTML, CSS and PHP. Eventually I got to the stage where I started being asked to do small websites for friends, so I decided to start freelancing to bring in some much needed cash. I can’t really think of anything that I “wish” I had done differently when I started out. I loved what I did and spent most of my time doing it. The only thing I might “regret” is that it took me two years to decide to get in to Web Development as a full time job. I wish I’d pulled the trigger sooner.
You are known for being the inventor of Nivo Slider, a tool which is used by a lot of designers. How to you think that it influenced your career? What is main secret to become a popular and successful designer?
The Nivo Slider has been a huge and unexpected success. When I built it I literally had no idea that 2 years later I’d have my own company and small team running from basically just the Nivo Slider sales. It has actually influenced my career in a big way as it introduced to the world of “business” something which I previously had no interest it. I was happy being a developer and just building things. But now I relish the challenge that running a business brings and having that different mindset when it comes to product design and development. Making things is fine, but making things that sell is a whole different ball game.
I don’t think there is any “secret” to becoming successful. Having said that, there are no magic “get rich quick” recipes either. Hard work, smart decision making and a bit of luck are all required to be successful in my opinion.
What does your workplace look like? What equipment and tools do you use for your development?
I have a small office which I use to work in daily. It’s a separate room from the rest of the house which I think it important to separate my work life and my “offline” life. I do all my development on an iMac and I have a Macbook Pro for when I’m traveling. I also have an iPhone and iPad which come in useful for testing websites and procrastinating.
In terms of software I use Sparrow for my emails, Coda 2 for my programming, Photoshop for my image editing, MAMP for local development and Cornerstone for version control. I listen to Spotify pretty much all day and use TweetBot for tweeting.
Recently you became a member of the ThemeZilla team, next to Orman Clark. Tell us more about the experience so far and what are TZ’s plans for the future?
Working with Orman has been a great experience so far and I love working in such a talented team. Orman has some amazing design skills and a sharp eye for attention to detail. So far I’ve been building themes and building our sites, like the new www.themezilla.com and http://snippi.com. I’ve learned so much in my time with ThemeZilla and continue to enjoy the challenges that I’m faced with daily.I can’t say too much about our plans for the future other than keep your eyes peeled for some awesome WordPress themes ;)
I imagine that developing takes a good part of your time, but how do you enjoy your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?
I try and spend as much time with my wife and friends/family as possible. I’m a bit of a film buff and I quite enjoying taking in the amazing scenery that we have up here in the north of Scotland. I also enjoy driving (fairly fast), playing my PS3 and drumming. I’m also fairly involved with my local church and spend a good bit of time helping out in various ways there.
Thank you again for this interview, as a final word, is there any advice you could give to the developers who want to follow in your footsteps?
I’m no expert but if I was asked for some advice I’d have to say work hard, love what you do and remember to spend time in the “real” world with real people.