Interview with CLT Member Peter Bui
Peter has been working with Joomla since its beginning and is a member of the Community Leadership Team (CLT). He co-leads a web design and development agency based in Sydney, Australia and runs probably the most popular Joomla weekly podcast/videocast called Joomla Beat wherein he explores the Joomla world and gives light to talented newbies as well as talks with well-known people. Being a professional web-developer, Peter also loves working with new technologies and engineering templates, or doing strategic planning or consulting. In his spare time people may find him practicing yoga. I am glad to introduce an interview with this interesting and creative person. Enjoy!
"My biggest request of the community is to be respectful of one another and help where possible to promote and build up Joomla's profile."
– Peter Bui
Peter, you've been using Joomla since it began, and walked a thorny path over the past decade and now you are a member of Community Leadership Team (CLT) as well as being involved in your own Joomla related projects. What is your secret to keeping up such a high rate of activity?
I think there are two aspects to keeping the high level of activity in Joomla. One is that it is a part of my own business and career. So if I wasn't heavily involved in Joomla I would lag behind and not be at the forefront of what is available and possible with Joomla in general. Making sure that I know what is going on and what I need to know gives me a competitive edge. The other aspect is that I have a passion for it. I love meeting people and love the community around it, and this passion keeps me going. I've made friends in the community and enjoy giving back, which keeps me coming back.
Joomla Beat has become a very popular podcast since you’ve started presenting the Joomla world as it is, talking with well-known people, as well as introducing new names to the listeners. How was such a concept born?
I'm an avid podcast listener. I do a lot of learning from podcasts and I started following other influential podcasters such as Pat Flynn, Chris Ducker and the the man that taught a lot of these online podcasters, Cliff Ravenscraft. I wanted to teach others about Joomla and engage with others around the world that also love Joomla as well. Sharing their stories with the rest of the Joomla community and other passionate Joomla people. So as a New Years resolution, I said to myself that I was going to do a podcast all about Joomla and keep it going as long as I possibly could. Almost two years later it is still going. It hasn't been easy but I'm still hanging in there.
If someone would like you to introduce their extensions or a project on Joomla Beat, what are the criteria or rules they should follow on for getting your attention?
It is a bit of a slow process as I have so many interviews and content episodes scheduled up and ready to go. If anyone wants to talk to me, be interviewed or have their extension reviewed, I ask that they fill in a form that can be found on the Joomla Beat website so that I can get an article produced about their product or service first. Once there is interest behind it, then we'd move to an interview or video review. I also ask that the person set up a good microphone and internet connection on their end to get the best recording possible. In most cases, a smart phone and an interview done via Skype are good enough.
Many developers who are using Joomla wonder from time to time: how to get financial stability working on Open Source products? According your own experience, can you give a little advice on how to convert a hobby into a job, and vice versa, and be successful?
From my own personal experience, it actually took a few years in regards to getting my own Joomla business up and running. It was a transition from working in government agencies and in advertising agencies part time until I had enough work and contracts external to those to take the dive and get into designing and developing within my own business. I was lucky enough to have teamed up with my partner and girlfriend, Martina, at that time, to help grow the business. Our skills complimented each other and really helped the business to grow. The other aspect was that we found out what we were best at and concentrated on selling that first.
Joomla has a strong position in the education sector and is friendly to public institutions. But there might be strict technical requirements to keep a website up to local standards (accessibility, etc). Does the CLT have plans to expand default Joomla features according to these standards?
Indeed there are a lot of strict regulations around the world in regards to making websites meet particular standards in regards to accessibility and more. This is something that I'm very passionate about and have been trying to drive and gain momentum in this area. There is a prime opportunity at the moment to make Joomla a highly accessible tool for online publishing, and I helped start an initiative to make this happen. In 2015 we have to start making moves in regards to just this. We as a project will start looking at educating our contributors and community, analyzing what needs to be done and set up goals and working groups to organise it. Not all of this has been confirmed yet but the wheels are in motion and people are eager to contribute.
By the way, there is an interesting story where you convinced one government institution to use Joomla. How did you get an invitation to speak, how did you present your case, and what was the final outcome?
We have a few Federal Government clients and there has been a big push in regards to moving government in Australia to Open Source, and also to an open CMS platform that wasn't Joomla based. For this particular client we have been working with them for a number of years, so presenting the new version of Joomla to them and doing a side by side comparison with the alternative solution gave them a really good understanding of how management and publishing content would work on either system.
Once they saw how Joomla 3 worked in comparison, they were sold and were interested in changing over three of their websites to Joomla 3. It worked perfectly with their workflows, culture and their internal and external requirements.
Is it be possible to coordinate long-term CLT goals with JUGs and other local communities and get them involved in the global process of Joomla development?
It is indeed possible. Every year the CLT sets out goals in regards to what the we want to achieve together as a group. Some of these goals may cross paths with the other leadership teams such as the accessibility goals of the project. These goals sometimes dictate what the working groups actually do. For example, this year there was a goal to revamp the Joomla Extension Directory, budgets were allocated and the teams were organised to make that project a reality. It was quite a long process but in the end it has yielded a great result, ticking off one of the goals of the CLT.
Over the course of the year, new ideas and new goals come up and plans are set in motion the following year to try and achieve these goals. It is really important to keep in contact with people and local communities and listen to their concerns and desires for the project to try and incoporate then into overall goals if they are suitable.
Peter, what are your long-term plans with Joomla, and which marketing strategy are you going to use this year to reach those goals?
Over the next year, as a business we plan to promote Joomla upgrades from Joomla 2.5 to Joomla 3. It is an important part of website maintenance and security to make sure that your websites are up to date and secure, and we will be marketing ourselves and this service. We will also be pushing Joomla as an accessible publishing platform for people and organisations that want a fully accessible solution. We believe that there is a huge market opportunity for this, and we want to make sure that we are at the forefront delivering the best accessible solutions possible using Joomla.
And the last question… What are you expecting from the global community – some activity that may help Joomla to became better? This might be kind of a wish to the readers of this interview…
My biggest request of the community is to be respectful of one another and help where possible to promote and build up Joomla's profile. Respecting each other on social media and within the project itself. It is really important to make sure that other people who are looking and watching us see a positive and cohesive environment where they can join and contribute. In regards to helping promote Joomla, I'd love to see more and more success stories, and case studies of people using Joomla for their projects and clients. The more others see this, the more I hope it will perk their interests in using Joomla for their next project. Be respectful and show your passion for Joomla.