Speaker Interview: Ryan Markel

Ryan Markel is a Happiness Engineer for WordPress.com VIP and a St. Louis local. I’m happy to be able to slip him some questions for our Speaker Interview series. I hope you enjoy it too.

You can read more about him at his speaker bio. Ryan will be presenting on Jetpack.


NILE FLORES: What got you interested in WordPress?

RYAN MARKEL: I had been involved in blogging basically since it was a thing, and tried pretty much everything available at the time. WordPress is what “stuck.” I’ve been using it ever since.

NILE FLORES: What is the most interesting WordPress-related project you’ve worked on?

RYAN MARKEL: I work daily on WordPress.com VIP, which is by far the most interesting thing I have ever done with WordPress. We support high-traffic and complicated WordPress sites for major publishers and companies, all on WordPress.com.

NILE FLORES: Name 3 WordPress plugins that have always been on your MUST install list, and why.

RYAN MARKEL:1. Jetpack – the essentials for almost all WordPress sites. It covers so much of the necessities and makes WordPress better out of the box.

2. WP Super Cache – at least for shared hosts, having static caching is a must for site speed. This is usually the second thing I install.

3. Akismet – because no one likes spam. 🙂

NILE FLORES: What is something interesting about you that the WordPress community doesn’t know?

RYAN MARKEL: I participate in a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network every year called Extra Life – it raises money for local hospitals. In the last two years, I’ve raised over $1500 for St. Louis hospitals. It’s a great program that has real benefits for kids who need treatment for various illnesses.

NILE FLORES: In regards to new WordPress users, what one or two pieces of advice would you give them that could be very helpful?

RYAN MARKEL: CREATE! You should start creating, writing, and posting as soon as possible when you start a site, and do this as often as you can. Experiment. Shotgun code and design. See what sticks.

The more you actively create, the better you will come at creating and the less work it will seem to be.