Rob Wood is a entrepreneur woking on his photographic community website Lightstalking. Using WordPress as a platform, he started working out of his lounge room, until he found the experience was less than ideal ( or “Drove me mad” as was the quote).
Being at Fishburners has been great experience. Rob has found a large amount of knowledge on such things as SEO and business skills he can draw on from other members and mentors. Rob also noted unlike most start ups, he entered the space from the other direction. Instead of building the app and then looking for eyeballs, Rob’s Lightstalking community was already active, he needed to expand and improve the experience. Even when attending a talk with someone outside of what Rob does not believe can teach him something, Rob admits he does work away from the talk learning something.
Lightstalking is a WordPress based site and uses Amazon EC2 servers for the backbone. Using a mix of off the shelf and custom made plugins, he has made a site that overs the whole of the photographic scene. With over 11,00 members and some stunning content in the form of photo galleries, Rob is currently using Lightstalking as his day job.
In hindsight, Rob would have preferred to use only WordPress plugins that where actively supported, even if he had to pay for them. If only to be able to contact (or his words, yell) at someone when a plugin breaks.This is a curse and benefit of an open platform like WordPress. There is a lot of plugin and resources available for bloggers, however many, while free, come with little or no support. However there are also a strong WP community, so getting someone to create a custom plugin or code is not that difficult.
However, in my opinion, Rob is the kind of person I could learn from, as he has made a great content rich and active community sight, almost exactly what I have in mind for my own goals in this arena.