Speaker Spotlight: Ashley Shaw

Ashley-150x150We are proud to announce the organizer of this year’s WordCamp Cape Town 2011, Ashley Shaw from LightSpeed WordPress Development as a Speaker on the Tech/Development Track. Ashley will be hosting a session on the art of scaling WordPress.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am the founder and owner of LightSpeed WordPress Development (also known as lsdev.biz), a specialist WordPress Web development studio based in Cape Town. My passion is building WordPress solutions that facilitate and encourage online social interaction.

Why WordPress?

From my experience WordPress is simply the best Open Source CMS out there. Ease of use coupled with extensibility along with a thriving community of dedicated followers makes for an unstoppable force on the web. This allows us to produce the quality of work that we do. I also believe strongly in the WordPress ethos of clean, usable software within a truly open source framework.

What are your thoughts on the WordPress community as a whole? And the South African WP community?

The community makes or break open source software. WordPress in particular has grown an impressive following, and with around 15% of the entire web running WordPress. A lot of users are genuinely passionate about WordPress, and not just developers but end users and blogger newbies too.

The SA community is also growing in leaps in bound – there are more WP fans out there than I would have ever realised before organizing this event.

Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Cape Town?

I spoke at the last event in 2008 and lept at the chance to organize WordCamp this year when the opportunity presented itself. Having worked with WordPress for all of these years and learnt so much I feel I have a lot to share and give back to the community.

What is your talk going to be about?

Scaling WordPress using similar technology to WordPress.com.

What are you most looking forward to at WordCamp Cape Town?

Networking with other WP geeks.

What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?

I want people to walk away knowing more about scaling WordPress, the issues involved and the potential. Hopefully they would have gained more insight, and have lots more questions.

What is your favourite WordPress theme and/or plugin, and why?

Gravity forms is my favourite plugin because it just works. The quality exceeds every expectation and it continues to improve. I have never had any issues with it.

Share one WP tip

The less plugins, the better. They are the root of all evil.

Who in the WordPress community inspires you? Who do yo u follow?

Everyone says Matt Mullenweg, I find him incredibly inspiring. Joost de Valk from Yoast.com is right up there. Recently there was a huge “fight” about copyright infringement, he was logical and vocal about the issues.

What is the most exciting improvement to WordPress that you have noticed in the last year?

The UI has improved radically, menus are one of my favourite new features and custom post types have completely changed the way we work we different content types. Actually there are so many it’s hard to choose a clear number one – looking back I think this has been one of WordPress’s best years yet in terms of new features and improvements.

Where do you see WordPress 2 years from now?

The world’s leading CMS, and not just for blogging which is an old stigma many seem to still cling too. In the past few years WordPress has turned into a fully fledged CMS capable of any and everything and at LightSpeed we will continue to push the limits of what WordPress can do. The possibilites are honestly endless.

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6 Responses to Speaker Spotlight: Ashley Shaw

  1. Ignatius P. Vermaak says:

    Looking forward to Wordcamp, can’t wait to see people get as excited about WordPress as you evidently are. Keep up the good work Ashley!

  2. Great stuff on bringing WordCamp back to Cape Town Ashley! I’m really excited for the Publisher Track.

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