Akshat Choudhary interview

Welcome to the second interview in our Pirate Interviews series, the newest project here at ThemeIsle blog. We really enjoyed doing the first interview, so make sure to check it out if you haven’t already.

Today, we’re talking with Akshat Choudhary from BlogVault:

Akshat Choudhary Interview – The Founder of BlogVault

Akshat Choudhary

Akshat Choudhary is the founder of BlogVault, one of the best backup plugins in the WordPress market. And we know how great it is as we tested it ourselves recently in one of our comparison posts. Spoiler; it got the highest rating in that comparison.

BlogVault is actually Akshat’s very first project for WordPress. And it wasn’t until 2011 that he decided to take the step. The rest, as they say, is history, and BlogVault is now one of the most useful and popular backup solutions for WordPress.

“Our aim with BlogVault is to provide the safest and the best way to backup a blog” – the motto of the company.

In the past, Akshat worked at ActivMobs, an SMS-based group messaging service, for two years. For another seven years, he was building network infrastructure products at Citrix Systems. During that time, he started running BlogVault, and taking his first steps into the WordPress world.

Let’s find out what he has to share about his journey:

When and how did you start working with WordPress? Is there an interesting story here?

Akshat Choudhary:
I got into WordPress in the most accidental way. I still consider myself a WordPress outsider in many ways and am a total novice. I can barely use the admin to create a post, for example. I do know the code inside out, but then that does not count 🙂

I got into WordPress because of BlogVault. About 5 years back, I was still employed as an engineer, when one of the bloggers I followed (it’s Jeff Atwood I’m talking about) almost lost his blog because of a server crash. Jeff Atwood was no Luddite. He was the founder of Stack Overflow and the blog itself was about programming and technology. At that time I thought that if someone as accomplished as Jeff could not have proper backups then there maybe an opportunity.

If I remember right, I had barely heard of WordPress then beyond WordPress.com. Upon researching, I learnt that Coding Horror was built with WordPress which appeared to be quite popular software then. This is basically how I landed up in the WordPress universe.

What do you think you’d be doing right now if WordPress didn’t exist?

Akshat Choudhary:
It is very difficult to say. There is a good chance that I would still be continuing as an engineer at my last company. It was a great place to work with some really challenging problems. Though I could have started a completely different product, completely unrelated to backups and WordPress too.

What’s your technique for staying productive throughout the day?

Akshat Choudhary:
Honestly, I need to learn how to be productive. I have enough number of distractions from Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, news etc. Having teammates does help, though. You can’t be the only one slacking around when the team around you is firing on all cylinders.

How do you define “being successful”?

Akshat Choudhary:
I really like making things. Building a product which solves a real problem and having customers who appreciate it is very satisfying. Being lucky enough to do this is definitely success at one level. At the same time, there are terrible insecurities associated with not being able to push the company forward to the next level and beyond. That is something that keeps us going everyday.
Akshat Choudhary profile

Building a product which solves a real problem is very satisfying.

What do you like to do when you’re not WordPress-ing?

Akshat Choudhary:
I got lucky to be making money by doing the thing that I enjoy the most. I really love programming and can do this all day. Occasionally though I do like to travel or go for a hike. Recently our entire team went for a week long working-vacation with a fantastic hike. We talk about it here.

What do you wish more people knew about WordPress?

Akshat Choudhary:
Definitely the community. I personally think that the community is the best part about WordPress. I have met so many wonderful people, some of whom have become great friends, because of WordPress. At any WordCamp you will see a huge bunch of people who come together in mostly selfless manner.
Akshat Choudhary profile

The community is the best part about WordPress.

Who’s doing things that are just cutting-edge and incredible in the WordPress space right now?

Akshat Choudhary:
If I may be a bit boastful, I would really like to believe that we are doing some incredible work, especially with MalCare, our new product. It is first product out there which can accurately scan a WordPress site for hacks and also clean it with a click of a button. I think Calypso is a great step forward for WordPress. While its impact may appear limited to the WordPress.org folks right now, I think it will set the agenda in the long run. I also like the folks behind WP Rocket. They have taken something which was considered a real pain and made it dead simple to use.

Describe the WordPress community in one word.

 

Friends.

What’s the main threat to WordPress these days? Other platforms like Ghost, or maybe things like Squarespace?

Akshat Choudhary:
I think there are 2 major problems:

(a) Maintaining WordPress sites on an ongoing basis is a real challenge. Especially with sites getting hacked, it can become its Achilles heel. For a non-technical person, which is the majority of WordPress users, it can become a serious issue.

(b) I do think that Squarespace/Medium do make many aspects of running a site much simpler. I would recommend them to most folks as they really make things simple. Having said that, as long as the community does not lose its way, WordPress is here to stay.

What are your recommendations for a WordPress novice?

Akshat Choudhary:
I consider myself a novice as I already stated. I would actually give an advice to people getting into WordPress development which is counter to what I often hear at WordPress. I do not think people should consider themselves as WordPress developers. They should really train to be a good developer and consider WordPress to be incidental. Any good worker knows her tools, and similarly someone in the ecosystem should obviously understand the workings of WordPress. That will make them more effective.

The main lesson Akshat just taught us is how to remain humble no matter how much you achieve, don’t you think? Considering yourself *the* expert can backfire, as there are always lots of things you don’t know yet. Do Akshat’s stories and ideas inspire you to work on your projects any different?