Hi! I’m Matt Cromwell
I’m passionate about the WordPress creator economy — those weekend devs building solutions to problems that turn into tiny products that mature into successful businesses.
But I didn’t start there. It’s been quite a journey. If you’re here, you’re interested for some reason. I’ll keep it as straight as I can.
More Education Than I Can Handle
I often joke I have more degrees than I know what to do with. I also joke how I studied music, theology, and history and of course landed in “tech”.
I had a passion to teach, and that was what I pursued. I found quickly though that I could “teach” most anything I picked up. I enjoyed so many things and felt like I was “mastering” them quickly. I was young and ambitious and in desperate need of humbling.
That humbling came as I was finishing my MA in History and looking into PhD programs. I had several options for pursuing my doctorate. At that time my wife and I also had a mortgage and two kids we were raising. We were surviving off my wife’s part-time work as a nurse, my part-time work as a web developer, and student loans — it wasn’t sustainable. And looking at my doctoral options and what the teaching field had become I felt like I was pursuing my teaching dreams at the expense of my family.
So I made the hardest choice of my life, and abandoned my dreams of teaching and jumped head first and neck deep into the world of WordPress.
A Career in WordPress
Throughout my teaching and education I was dabbling in the web. I loved using the web to supplement my courses. I built websites for my students on free domains using notepad. I loved CSS, specifically the CSS Zen Garden website. Then I saw this thing called “Kubrik” and thought “WOW, that’s exactly what I want my website to look like!” But it was powered by this thing called “WordPress” that I just didn’t want to mess with.
Then I dabbled in Moodle — a free open source course management platform. Moodle is what pushed me to find better solutions for normal websites.
Because I built sites for my classes, others started asking me to build sites for them. I ended up building websites for schools, churches, and nonprofit orgs just because I liked doing it so much. All of this I did on the side of my studies — and sometimes at the expense of my studies(!)
But the work focused my passions. I loved the fact that what I was creating and putting my creativity into was solving problems for people doing GOOD in the world.
Once I finally started charging for my website work, I found that client work was way too “feast or famine” for my tastes. I wanted something that was more consistent but gave me the freedom to continue to study and teach. That’s how I first fell into doing technical support with Adam Warner and FooPlugins.
I enjoyed Support because I was solving problems. Many customers would respond with huge amounts of praise and thanks for how I helped them. It was motivating and felt purposeful.
It was through Adam that I met Chris Weigman, and started doing the very first premium support for “Better WP Security” — which later became “iThemes Security” (foreshadowing!). Doing support for a security plugin really was like throwing me head first in the deep-end. I had to learn so much about how websites work, and how WordPress works in order to be effective. Luckily Chris was a patient and good teacher.