A couple of days ago someone on Twitter asked people how they got their last job and I answered.
— Petya Raykovska (@petyeah) September 10, 2017
Several replies and reactions later, I realised that even though I have expressed my gratitude to Tom and Noel many times, I’ve never taken the time to actually tell the world what I have been able to do because I got the opportunity to join Human Made in early 2015.
It’s one of those mornings where I’m feeling particularly sentimental and it feels right to sit down and post this long overdue recap as a thank you to the people who enable and support me but also to the people who volunteer their own time without a company backing them.
So here it goes…
Leading the Global WordPress Polyglots team
What started as a simple job translating WordPress to Bulgarian turned into a cause and mission for me – helping the WordPress translators to bring the platform to as many users as we can – beyond borders, beyond cultures. I’ve been organising chats, talking to people, creating new locales, learning about languages, pushing core changes, helping new editorial teams, rushing teams to get their locales to 100% around WordPress releases, creating strong ties with plugin and theme developers and the core team. 24/7, outside timezones, working hours, language barriers, my work with the Polyglots team taught me to be humble, patient, appreciative, accepting and respectful. And I believe it’s made a difference. The Polyglots team organises global events, has a team of mentors helping volunteers, grew more than 200% since 2014 and currently translates WordPress into 169 languages.
Organising Global WordPress Translation Days 1&2
The first two WordPress Translation Days were huge for the Polyglots team. I dedicated a huge amount of time coordinating the efforts of thousands of volunteers to put a 24/7 live streaming on complete with hundreds of local events across the globe. Together we organised the very first global WordPress contributor day which helped the team grow more than 100% in less than a year. Read the recaps of WP Translation Day 1 and WP Translation Day 2.
WordPress Translation Day 3 is happening on September 30th and I’m extremely happy that it’s organised by a team of WordPress Polyglots that only need my help occasionally. Being able to enable a successful Polyglots leadership team is what I consider one of my biggest achievements so far <3
Leading WordCamp Europe 2016
The beautiful madness that is WordCamp Europe was the true beginning of my WordPress story in 2013 in Leiden. The people, the energy, everything. I believe WCEU 2014 is what got me hired at HM (thank you, Noel!) and they supported me completely while I helped organise WCEU 2015 and led WordCamp Europe 2016. And I was not the only human involved with these events. Siobhan, Noel, Ana, Elodie, Franz, Jenny, and many other humans have been a part of this team and I’ve lost count of all the others who have volunteered at the event.
Organising WordCamp Sofia 2015, 2016, 2017 and WordCamp Varna 2017
As much as I’m in love with the idea of the global communities coming together at events like WordCamp Europe and Global contributor days, local events are important. They are the beating heart of WordPress. Sofia has one of the most vibrant, active WordPress communities in Europe and its local WordCamp has become a tradition. For the 7th time this November WordCamp Sofia will welcome more than 500 WordPressers in the fantastic Arena movie theater. Supporting the event and helping grow the organising team has been a core mission for me in the past couple of years.
What’s more, this year my little Bulgaria had its first WordCamp outside of the capital – WordCamp Varna gathered 250 people in the beautiful seaside for a weekend of WordPress and is also likely to become a tradition.
Speaking at WordCamps
I never thought I’d become a public speaker. But after 34 talks in three years at numerous FOSS events (mostly WordCamps) I have to admit that I probably am one. I speak about community, languages, localization, cross-cultural communication, the future of work, lessons learned as a part of a remote company, agency work, WordPress in the enterprise, building media sites with WordPress… anything I feel would be useful to communities around the world.
Exactly a year ago, at the #WordPress community summit in SF, I got trusted with a role on the Polyglots leadership team. I was there on a travel scholarship, feeling like an impostor among giants. I had never spoken at a WordPress event, didn't speak 4 languages like most of the real polyglots and I was not a technical person. The only thing I knew was that I really wanted to do it. So much that I decided to turn my life around contributing to WordPress. I got lucky to find the right people to support that decision. Today WordPress has almost 70 complete translations in languages across the globe that get automatically distributed thanks to language packs. The Polyglots team has more than 4000 contributors and growing by the dozen every day. Themes and plugins are now a part of translate.wordpress.org. I feel humbled and extremely proud to be a tiny part of all that. And lucky. So lucky for all the friendships on the way here. Exactly a year after the community summit, I spoke at #wcsof (shot by @noeltock above speaking about #i18n & #l10n). It was my 10th WordCamp talk for 2015, at the third WordCamp I'd organized in 14 months. It's been a hell of a ride. Thank you to all who shared it with me ❤️
Public speaking is a rewarding experience that helps me learn a lot and organise my thoughts on complicated subjects. Sharing what we do and how we do it is an integral part of our culture at Human Made and we are all constantly encouraged and supported to speak at events we think will benefit from what we’ve learned.
Organising contributor days and mentoring other orgsniers
As part of my work I’ve tried to encourage every WordCamp organiser I’ve spoken to to have a contributor day around their events and I helped organise a lot of these across the globe. The contributor day decks Jenny prepared and I borrowed and modified have been used by many other organisers worldwide.
— WordCamp Varna (@WordCampVarna) September 3, 2017
Organising WordPress workshops for kids
One of the things I appreciate the most about Human Made is the autonomy I have in making decisions about how to contribute. After four editions of WordCamp Europe, I decided to look for a new challenge and let other people get involved with the magic of the global event. Even though it’s on a completely different level, organising WordPress workshops for kids has given me a new purpose – and yet again – a new idea to spread across the globe. I’d love to see a workshop for kids around all WordCamps and I wrote an organiser kit for anyone who’d like to have one. So if you want to have one, let’s talk!
— Petya Raykovska (@petyeah) September 3, 2017
Thank you, Human Made ❤️
I like to quote Daniel Pink and “Drive” often with his “Autonomy, mastery, purpose” theory about people’s motivation. I believe the reason I am so happy working for Human Made is because it gives me all three. I am not micromanaged, I’m free to do things my way, trusted that I will do my absolute best without being checked or monitored. I work and learn from some of the most skilled, inspiring people in tech. And I am free to give back to WordPress.
If you are running a WordPress business, consider supporting contributors. You can support a developer, a translator, a documentation writer, a help forum volunteer, a designer, a marketing expert. We all make WordPress.org.
Thank you, Tom, Noel, Joe for your generosity and vision.
I am grateful every day.