Hey there! This is a new edition of our Themeisle interview series. Per Esbensen – the CEO of Codeable – will be our guest this month. He will share with us what it takes to be a great leader and keep your employees happy.
Before hearing Per’s success formula, don’t forget to check our previous interview with Nyasha Green if you missed it. Moreover, if you want to learn more from awesome web professionals, go through our collection of interviews to get your daily dose of motivation.
Per is an entrepreneur whose ultimate goal is to make people happy. Business matters, of course, but nothing makes him more fulfilled than seeing his community having fun at work.
With this mission in mind, he founded Codeable – a place where all WordPress experts can find clients, and grow together as professionals and as human beings.
You don’t have to be a developer to appreciate Codeable. The community built around this company is so awesome that we wanted to learn more about Per’s leadership vision. Here’s Per telling us his story:
Per Esbensen Interview
When and how did you start working with WordPress? Is there an interesting story here?
Eleven years ago, while I was running an online agency, we were working with TYPO3 (Danish CMS) and met Tomasz. There was an issue we couldn’t solve so I went to elance and found Tomasz through that post. Of course, he became my go-to guy.
Six months in, we had this idea and started building a business. We wanted to disrupt online outsourcing because the bidding war was creating a hostile working environment. It was a race to the bottom. We wanted to do something different.
After analyzing the market, we realized WordPress is big and was getting bigger. Starting a company with only one vertical seemed easy to do and that is how we came into WordPress.
We started to get to know the community. WooThemes was our first approach since they needed a go-to place for experts to solve their issues. They believed in us and our model.
WooThemes became WooCommerce and later was acquired by Auttomatic. We have grown together with these amazing players.
How do you define “being successful?”
I believe success is equal retention – where clients are coming back and employees/experts are happy to be part of our community.
Describe the WordPress community in one word.
Before starting Codeable, our agency was working with bigger brands in the corporate world. The best part of transforming my business into WordPress is the people. I love that everybody is the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or a dev; you feel relaxed.
The camaraderie, the sense of belonging, and working together for a common goal are thrilling. The Codeable Community DNA within the WordPress community is similar in its approach – it is built with and for experts.
What’s the no. 1 thing a new business entering the WordPress space should do?
New businesses in the WordPress ecosystem should find a way to embrace and involve the community within their product. The Open Source DNA for WordPress is about collaboration and sharing, finding a way to enable and work together.
What’s your favorite/must-have WordPress plugin and why?
The must-have WordPress plugin is WooCommerce. This is the primary way to transform a website into a store. This potentiates a business.
How do you help the Codeable team become growth experts?
To help the Codeable team become growth experts, we have a continuous learning process. We work with our experts in different areas to equip them to continuously grow – personally and professionally.
Developers don’t lend themselves to soft skills naturally. We provide ways for them to grow into who they are. That level of self-worth and value naturally expresses itself in quality work.
Additionally, we have a mentor/mentee program. We focus on their skills and we match them with complementary experts from different initiatives. We encourage our community of experts to work collaboratively, complementing each other. This naturally encourages cooperation instead of competition.
To support this program, we provide courses, sponsored courses, and skill chats. Our support team provides our experts with advice and encouragement in approaching clients to improve their sales and soft skills.
Essentially, we work together to make one another better – as individuals and as a community of experts.
Any tips on how to build a community around a brand and keep people engaged?
Building a community around a brand is about transparency. Keeping them engaged is about sharing what is that you want to achieve. We involve the community in how we achieve our goals. We have clear rules and guidelines to create a healthy working environment based on both trust and autonomy.
In my mind, you build a community by being an example. This means leadership and nurturing talent. A community doesn’t form around just anything – it forms around an idea. That idea is expressed in our Codeable DNA: honesty, transparency, support, and fairness.
What is driving you to keep doing what you’re doing?
Codeable has a clear mission – to disrupt the old-school outsourcing model. We will make a small dent in the universe creating a healthy working environment composed of top-notched experts and excellent clients that work together to solve problems.
Our obligation is to help grow WordPress by becoming the biggest fulfillment hub on the planet. We can solve everything WordPress. I want to build a human-centric company. This means we help experts value their work, enjoy their days, and deliver better results by being happy.
What’s your personal mission?
I am personally invested in changing lives, creating a healthy work environment, working smarter and not harder, and providing tools and guidelines for experts to work together and value their knowledge and work. I believe that creating a human-centric company is good business.
Building a company is not easy. It is hard work to move a mountain. I am working on stepping back, focusing on my family, and enjoying my life’s work.
That sums up our Per Esbensen interview. If you enjoyed it and want to learn more, please leave your comments in the section below. Also, if you have any ideas for who we should talk to next, feel free to share your suggestions with us!