This month Mat Lipe Dot Com hit another milestone, 1,000,000 downloads!
What an amazing journey this has been and continues to be. It all started with a small problem I was trying to solve with sidebar menus that spawned an entire WordPress plugin business. At the time, I simply needed something that did not exist so I built it. Giving it to the WordPress community seemed like the right thing to do because I was using many other community plugins and wanted to be a team player.
But then something magical happened… people started using the plugin on their sites. Within a short time, I had several published plugins being used on tens of thousands of websites. As the user base grew, so did the support and maintenance requirements. Not to mention the ever growing list of feature requests. It quickly became clear that I could not maintain my plugins while working in a traditional 9 to 5 office role.
This got me thinking, am I a WordPress User or a WordPress Engineer, and what is the difference? I chewed on this idea for a few months. Eventually, I concluded that the difference between the two came down to approach. When faced with a problem a WordPress User will search for an existing plugin or solution. A WordPress Engineer will create a solution to the problem and make it available for WordPress Users. At the time (2011) I felt more like a WordPress User, but was certain I wanted to be a WordPress Engineer.
I left my position as Director Of Technology and went into the freelance space full-time. I dismantled my company at the time called Lipe Imagination and founded Mat Lipe Dot Com. This transition allowed me to build PRO versions of some of my most used plugins as well as take on challenging projects for many clients.
The journey has not always been easy, but is has been much more good than bad. While all of this company’s profit is either donated or put back into support, products, and infrastructure, there has always been enough revenue to keep the lights on.
Hitting one million downloads puts things into perspective on how much I cherish what I have built. I can whole heatedly say, “I am a WordPress Engineer”. Long live Mat Lipe Dot Com.