Originally published in Finnish on

Seven years and eight months ago, I was at a crossroads in my life. I was in need of new challenges, and the hustle and bustle of Helsinki had started to wear on my soul.

Dude was also at a crossroads around the same time. On the coding side, they needed additional support when Kristian joined as the second designer alongside the existing dynamic duo of developer and designer.

By some magical coincidence, our paths converged at that crossroads around the same time, and the conversation came up in an IRC chat with my friend. That friend happened to be Roni “Rolle” Laukkarinen, one of the founders of Dude, with whom I had been discussing WordPress and life for several years.

We met up for a drink (or several) in early February and talked for many hours. In fact, it felt like I was talking to old friends, and the conversation flowed smoothly from the beginning. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way because they asked me to join the team early the next morning.

That evening was undoubtedly one of the most pivotal moments in my life so far. I took up the offer and moved to Jyväskylä for work, swimming against the current as the mainstream flowed towards Helsinki. The rest, as they say, is history.

Some time ago, Dude and I find ourselves at another crossroads. However, it’s not a traditional T-junction where we go in different directions. This crossroads is more like a Y, where we must decide which branch to take.

After a long and difficult discussion at the crossroads, I decided to take a different path from Dude. So, our paths will diverge, but not completely. We will continue our journeys on parallel roads, working with WordPress, and along the way, these paths will surely intersect on smaller dirt roads.

My last working days were in Tampere, where I helped to organize the WordCamp Finland event on September 14-15th.

The end of our shared journey at a WordPress community event feels somewhat like a magical coincidence as well.

I met Rolle for the first time in person at WordCamp Finland in 2015. We have always participated in the community events and, every year, the developer team has traveled somewhere in Europe for WordCamp Europe.

Throughout these years, the company has supported and enabled my involvement in the beloved WordPress community, from organizing monthly meetings to participating in podcasting and mentoring the world’s largest community event.

A lot has happened since February 2016, both in and out of work.

As a company, Dude, with Juha, Roni, and especially Kristian, helped me not only with the practical aspects of moving but also with settling into the city. Kristian even took care of my cat during my trips to Helsinki when he was allergic to cats. With Rolle, we solved the world’s problems over a special-tasting beer, and I went cycling with Juha or took a bike taxi after a night out. Over the years, colleagues turned into good friends.

From the very beginning, I was involved in and was taken into the entrepreneurial side of running the company. We even once watched the company’s account balance together at a Monday meeting and wondered how to pay the first employee (me) a salary. We got through that, and salaries have always been paid on time.

So, it was almost natural when I had the opportunity to join Dude’s select group of partners in 2019. At that time, Dude had a strength of five, soon to be six people, which felt like a huge leap at the time. Currently, Dude’s headcount is 11, and the company has grown into a seriously respected digital agency. We have been incredibly fortunate with the people we have hired at Dude. Everyone has brought something valuable – skills, learning, or experience.

And indeed, the years have offered a wealth of learning and experience, not only in coding but also in business, teamwork, sales, marketing – everything you can imagine running such a growing circus requires.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without amazing clients and partners. Thanks to your trust, I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of unique and exciting websites and services. I wouldn’t have believed at the start of my career that I would get to work on projects with such diverse needs and challenges. Thank you for the projects, meetings, brainstorming sessions, and years. Even the tough times have been instructive moments.

Doing anything alone is not possible, of course. Thanks also go to current and former team members: Henri, Kari, Niku, Riku, Tuomas, Elias, Jenni, Joni, Miska, Luka, Arto, and Maria. All of you have given me the opportunity to learn, and hopefully, you’ve learned something from me as well.

Thanks also go to countless acquaintances who have been along for the ride, offering help, support, and a listening ear when needed. It hasn’t always been easy for you either when Dude has been running at full speed.

Thanks also to you, the reader. I have always been pleasantly surprised by how many people follow Dude, and even strangers have come up to say hello in various situations. Clearly, Dude’s positive vibe has managed to shine through to outsiders as well.

The biggest thanks go to Roni, Juha, and Kristian. Thank you for taking that leap of faith and trusting me, and for continuing to trust me. Thank you for this rollercoaster ride of body and mind.

As a good acquaintance said: the world keeps rolling, and we need to roll along with it. See you at WordPress community events and other occasions! My journey in web development is far from over.

Small life update

Updating my now page was a long due. I’ve moved the task on Akiflow forward countless times. Now that I’m finally updating that page, I figured out tha I might as well write a small life update on the blog. Well, this post also acts as an easy way to tell some big-picture things simultaneously for a large number of folks, since I will be contacting some personally during the coming days.

To those who might not have known previously: I’m a partner in the boutique digital agency Dude. We focus solely on designing and developing solutions built with WordPress. The growth of the company during the last few years has accelerated since we decided to push things forward a tad more ambitiously. We’re now at nine employees.

This year started with big news at work. Few weeks into the year, one of the four partners told that he wants to step down from day-to-day work at the end of month. More about that on the company blog (in Finnish, sorry). tl;dr no drama related, he just decided that it was time to do something else after working with websites for 19 years as an entrepreneur.

This partner happened to be our CEO and sales person.

Maybe needless to say, even the stepping down was planned well together to be as seamless as possible, it has caused extra work load for the three of us remaining in day-to-day operations.

Be not mistaken, load would have been high anyways since all four of us had agreed earlier to put pedal to the metal and go to the moon Our plans for future were, and still are, very ambitious. A little more about this again in company blog (and again in Finnish).

I appreciate and love my partners. Couldn’t imagine running the company with anyone else than them. And I’m thankful about the fact that years ago they trusted to hire me as an first employee. Working together to grow the business is best thing I can imagine doing now and in foreseeable future.

Given the situation and our plans for Dude, I’ve needed to switch my focus from multiple different things to almost solely into our company. That means time contributed to WordPress project has decreased dramatically. Cycling club and advocacy work has also decresed into the lowest possible amount acceptable for chairperson.

All that is more or less planned and conscious choice. I’ve should have made these decisions bit earlier. And most importantly, inform some folks earlier. But it’s hard. It’s real hard when you love everything you do, want to help all the important projects and support the people in these communities.

In case you have any questions, thoughts or just want to talk or say hi, and I haven’t yet reached out to you – feel free to connect. Always happy to chat

Services and apps I use weekly

I find people sharing their toolbelt of different services and apps interesting, as those appeal to the mindset that is always looking for shinier alternatives and ways to trim any overhead off from days.

Haven’t shared my toolbelt earlier, so decided to do so. My philosophy for services and apps is that the simpler it is, the better. Many do try to solve too many things and pack features that are only loosely related, ending up being nightmarish for users.

I’ve been using the majority of the items listed for years now – it’s up to you to decide whether it tells something about them or me. In any case, hope you find some new services or apps to give a try!

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On mentoring a flagship WordCamp

This post turned out to be a long one. Fill your WCEU2022 Flaske bottle or favourite cup with your preferred refreshment and sit back.

To whom didn’t already know, I mentored the WordCamp Europe 2022 in Porto, Portugal which ended just a few days ago. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by volunteer organisers that are fellow WordPress users from our community. WordCamp Europe is something that we call a flagship event; a big conference spanning 2-3 days that gather attendees who represent a broad geographical area. Currently, our community has three flagship events: Europe, US and Asia.

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Stop Resilio Sync from draining your macOS battery

At work, when developing WordPress sites we share the same database and media files between all developers as well as with staging. This means, that every time someone uploads a new image to the WordPress media library, the image needs to be transferred to other developers as well.

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Fighting against work boreout

In the Finnish coding related Slack community, Koodiklinikka, was a good discussion about work boreout.

That discussion got me thinking, and I almost said that I’ve never suffered such a thing. In fact, it has happened once. So I thought, why not share few tips on how I battled it then and how I battle it today.

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WordPress and climate emergency

Climate emergency is here. There’s no doubt about that.

We are not here for me to tell everyone what climate emergency means or what it causes to everyone’s daily life in the coming years. We are here because I realised something uncomfortable.

WordPress community does not talk about climate emergency at all enough. *

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How to disable user status updates in BuddyPress

I’m extending the client’s website to have social elements like public profile pages, profile activity, some custom-created content and such. Because I do like to build things myself, my first thought was to build all of this by myself from start. Not so great idea after thinking it thoroughly through.

I did look up some different options and landed to use BuddyPress as a core to provide all the usual profile things and such. It seems to work very well together with Restrict Content Pro which is a huge advantage. But oh well, I think you are not after the story about the site and plugins used.

BuddyPress has a lot of actions and filters to modify it, so it was a little surprise that there is no filter to disable status update functionality in user activity streams. That little text area where user can write their updates like it was a Facebook or something… The updates are then visible on users or in the selected group’s activity stream.

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On switching jobs.

I feel like this year has again started with many posts about how people are switching jobs. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure it has been the right move and I’m really happy for them. Nevertheless, it has caused a little bugging feeling inside me.

When people share about their new jobs, they are justifiably always excited. The little bugging feeling is, that I think those posts do need a counterbalance. In the form of posts telling how great people’s current job still is. Otherwise, it’s easy to fall into thinking that you should find a new job just because “everyone is changing jobs, should also I?”.

Continue reading “On switching jobs.”