Andrey Rarst Savchenko Interview

When we started this interview series a little while back, I never expected to see such a high level of involvement. Most of the people that we reached out to agreed to do the interview straight away.

I was expecting weeks to go by before we get their answers back. However, the WordPress community keeps surprising me all the time (in a good way).

The same thing happened with @Rarst, aka Andrey Savchenko, whom I first met on Twitter. Actually, I met him in Berlin, volunteering for my first WordCamp, but we never really talked. I was busy volunteering, and he kept his distance. I didn’t really know what to make of Rarst. Plus he’s one of those people who doesn’t follow you back. 🙂

One year later, we met again in his hometown. This time Rarst was a first-time (and last-time, as he claims) organizer at the first WordCamp Kiev. I was the only Romanian there, so I couldn’t swing by unnoticed.

Turns our Rarst is one of the people that I spent the best time talking with at a WordCamp. A cynical being, yet with the right amount of irony, it was a pleasure to discover a kindred spirit.

Andrey Rarst Savchenko interview
For those who don’t know Rarst, he is a community elected moderator at WordPress Stack Exchange, a 6-time WordCamp speaker, he blogs at, and he takes THE best portrait photos of WordPressers (see his Flickr).

Here are Rarst’s answers about his affair with WordPress. You can find them too perky or even too blunt, but surely you won’t find them boring!

Enjoy the read:

Andrey “Rarst” Savchenko Interview

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

Andrey Savchenko:
I started to use WordPress for my site in 2008. I got into development side of things and later got active on WordPress Stack Exchange.

In 2011, I quit my day job and switched to WordPress development working remotely.

The most dramatic version of this story I could muster had been an opening essay of HeroPress project.

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

Andrey Savchenko:
When I hear “productive” I think these days people often mean “busy” and that is not something I like to be.

I look for engaging tasks, which make time fly and things happen. When I need some help to get focused I use Pomodoro timer.

How do you define “being successful”?

Andrey Savchenko:
I started to weave a definition of incredible wit and eloquence but realized I have no idea.

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

Andrey Savchenko:
I read science fiction. Alternate between cleaning and messing up my place. Play a bit of board games with friends and too much Hearthstone by myself.

What do you wish more people knew about WordPress?

Andrey Savchenko:
That query_posts() is bad for you.

Oh, and how GPL actually works.

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

Andrey Savchenko:
It is hard to tell. Much of public WordPress conversations revolve around mass market solutions. The advanced things happen in custom projects.

If I have to name names, Giuseppe Mazzapica and Alain Schlesser. They had been producing incredible code and content on advanced topics lately.

Describe the WordPress community in one word.

Andrey Savchenko:

What’s the one thing you’d like to change about WordPress?


I have no interest to change WordPress left. I learned to let it be what it wants to be and not worry about it.

Andrey Rarst Savchenko interview


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

Andrey Savchenko:
WordPress is a main threat to itself.

It chose to focus on users and pay for that with awful experience for developers. It is now the second most dreaded technology, according to annual StackOverflow survey.

WordPress moves higher and higher, but high is not always the same as forward.

What are your recommendations for a WordPress novice?

Andrey Savchenko:
Everyone can use things. Learn deeply how things work and how to use them well – be it code, business, or community.

That concludes our Andrey “Rarst” Savchenko interview. If you have any questions, please submit them in the comments, and we’ll somehow convince Rarst to come back and answer them. 🙂

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