On Community

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xthemeusers-blogpost

My name is Kyle Wakefield, and I’m honored to be able to lead the team here at Themeco. Typically, posts on our blog are written by “Themeco,” however today I’d like this one to come from me personally as this is a topic near to my heart.

My whole life I’ve been surrounded by people who have supported me. I was raised in a loving home by a mom and dad who loved sacrificially. I was encouraged to try new things, to play sports, to take piano lessons. My parents looked for opportunities to ride that incredibly hard line of protecting me from harm while not being afraid to let me fail.

In addition to my parents, there were countless friends, family, and other special people in my life who stood in the gap to further support me in ways I’m convinced I’ll never fully be able to appreciate this side of eternity. I had and have people who love me unconditionally, no matter what. Authentic community.

As Themeco was forming, this thought of meaningful relationships was ever present in my mind. I was passionate about business, but I was equally passionate about people. I also knew the blessing of having people in my life that were trustworthy and dependable. Would there be a way to merge those two together? Would customers even care about this sort of stuff or do they just want a product?

Now one of the greatest and equally most terrifying things about forming a company is that you can literally create anything you want. From the ground up, you get to make decisions about anything and everything. For Themeco, I wanted to be known as a company that served people well – as I had been served so well by others. I wanted to be known as a company that extended grace to others – as I had been extended grace many, many times. I wanted to have a company that genuinely cared for people beyond just the “business” relationship. That was the hope.

About 6 months ago, I received a message from Martin Mosley. Martin was an avid X Theme user and was interested in facilitating a Facebook group so that other X customers could interact and help one another. He was not the first to ask about this, but at the time my thinking was that it was a great idea but not something we could officially get behind.

To his credit, Martin persisted and several weeks and conversations later, there was a small admin team who were ready to take on the responsibility of managing the group. We determined it would be user run and administered but that we (Themeco) would keep a close relationship to the group.

There was certainly some trepidation on my part. Did we want to let other people manage our customers? How would they treat them? What happens if (fill in the blank) happens? These sort of questions and many more like them were swirling around in my head, but I was equally inspired that someone else would want to take of their time connect with others about our products. It is a special feeling to see someone else be passionate about something you helped create. He was inspired by something we did. I was now inspired by something he wanted to do.

To be sure, being in authentic relationships with people involves working through the good and the bad. There are disagreements. There are misunderstandings. There are hurt feelings. These things happen on all levels. But there are also many, many great aspects. Encouragement from a colleague who has faced a similar problem. A tool that someone shared that is perfect for your client. Maybe even just a simple “like” to a post you were sure no one in the world would care about. When you put people together who genuinely love and care for one another – who are committed to coming back to the table to serve one another and to be part of something greater then themselves – the outcome is a beautiful tapestry that is ever expanding.

This is exactly what we have going in the X User Group at Facebook. It is not uncommon to find the most seasoned of pros helping the newest of beginners with a question they may feel ashamed to ask. It is not uncommon to see several people offering to reach out to someone privately to help them with an issue they are having, and it is certainly not uncommon to see why so many people who enter the group comment how they’ve never seen anything quite like this – in the real or digital world. From business strategy to marketing insights to in-depth conversations about all the many aspects to running a digital business with X and Cornerstone – post at any hour of the day or night and within minutes you’ll have several helpful answers.

As I reflected on how best to convey the heart of this group and why I think it is the only group of its kind, I asked each of the admins to share a bit about themselves, the group, and their hope for you as part of it. It is a great pleasure and honor for me to be able to introduce you to my friends Martin, Steve, Matt, and Karen – your rockstar admin team.


martinmosley

Martin Mosley

Q: Why did you want to get involved?

I have always believed that we can each achieve more as part of a team than by working individually. 

Having worked with X on my own personal site, I could see that it was more than simply a WordPress theme. It was a new way of doing things. The support team at Themeco were working hard to create something that went beyond the expected. They were creating an environment. I was surprised though, to see so few users contributing their own solutions in the Themeco forums.

 It seemed to me that users, whether confirmed professional developers or designers – or simply dedicated individuals building their own web pages, could benefit from being part of a team – or perhaps more appropriately a family of X users.

I founded the group and made a few posts referencing it in the Themeco forums. I’m not sure what reaction I expected, but for a while it was a little lonely around here. 

Even then, it was good to help one or two people who were having difficulty on their voyage with X.

All that changed when Kyle and Themeco agreed to mail X users and to let them know the group was here for the benefit of all. We went from a handful of members to several thousand in a matter of days.

Q: What is your favorite aspect to the group?

There is always a risk with rapid growth and I won’t pretend it has always been easy, but I had – and still have – a clear vision of what the purpose of the group should be:

A family of users, all sharing the same difficulties and successes of working with the environment we know as X and Cornerstone.

 Here to support one another with a view to getting the most from that environment regardless of our differing skills or varying personal objectives.

 To work together to add even more value to the toolset X and Cornerstone provide by promoting creative user development of templates and extensions which build on the already remarkable framework we all use daily.

 There are certainly many differing ways we can each contribute to this vision – and it is that which I appreciate most.

Let me say that the admin team are a remarkable group of individuals, each committed to the X environment and each giving willingly of their time, experience, and expertise for the benefit of others. We don’t always agree – but we do share the same common goals.

Q: What do you hope people take away as being part of the group?

I hope that members find the sense of community here, that they feel it adds value to the X environment, that we encourage creativity and that our members also get pleasure from sharing with others.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

My background is as a strategic manager. I led the development and delivery of sport, leisure, cultural and environmental services in a large local government authority for more than 17 years. I was also Executive Director of the second philharmonic orchestra in the UK and worked with some of the best known classical and contemporary musicians around the world.

 I gained an MBA in the early 1980’s and followed it with a BSc in computer science.

 My primary interest today is as an historian and genealogist. I help people around the world research their family histories and understand the social and local history of the areas their family lived. You can also find me at xthemeusers.com, a site to further support X and Cornerstone users.


stevewoody

STEVE WOODY

Q: Why did you want to get involved?

Because I was given the opportunity to help create something. There is no better feeling than one of gratitude from serving others and knowing that you are contributing above and beyond yourself. Also I was promised free cake.

Q: What is your favorite aspect to the group?

For me it’s knowing that in a world full of noise and disruption, pain and suffering there are still moments where people can relax. Safe spots within technology where the best interest is at the core of everything and the community is the focus which is often lost online.

Q: What do you hope people take away as being part of the group?

I hope that group members take away sound advice that helps them to make better decisions in their life, hobby and business. I hope that people step up to become better versions of themselves to support others and that everyone is always asking better questions.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

My name is Steve Woody, I’m a UK Veteran. I’ve been homeless 3 times and lived in a car for 6 months and also been bankrupt through a bad gambling addiction. I turned to website development through an identity crisis in 2011. I decided that I would immerse myself fully in learning everything I could and have since written an international bestselling book called Plan Your Website. I have a beautiful daughter who is my world and a wife who completes me. I now focus on Online Strategy and the User Experience / Customer Journey which allows me to work with some amazing people around the world. I’m blessed to have the ability to work from anywhere with an internet connection and have systems in place to handle the day to day running of my business so I can focus on the things I love, like spending time in the X Theme User group.


mattfrost

MATT FROST

Q: Why did you want to get involved?

I came into the group when there were around 15 other people in it. Not only was I a big fan and dedicated user of X, but I was more impressed by the values that Themeco employed as a business, which I strongly identified with.

Q: What is your favorite aspect to the group?

Becoming an admin for the group was a great opportunity for me to help extend those values, and build a community which was founded on friendship, co-operation, generosity of spirit and kindness. I’m proud to be associated with it and with over 6,600 members at the time of writing. The thing I find most rewarding is how so many of the group give their time freely to help others, whilst expecting nothing in return. For me, that’s community at its very best.

Q: What do you hope people take away as being part of the group?

It’s my sincere hope that group members not only find answers to problems, or tips, tricks and hacks (which they will, in abundance), but that they also find and feel part of a thriving community, a dynamic social environment and a family.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

As well as being a small part of this huge family, I’m a web designer and founder of The Lime Green Web Company. I extend the same core values to my clients as I do the group, which is why I’m proud to call so many of them my friends. I love helping my clients succeed in their businesses, from developing their online strategy to carefully planned implementation. It is extremely rewarding to be a part of their journey. You can learn more about me on my website where you can also get my free guide “11 Steps To Effective Web Design.” And of course, you’ll find me in our amazing community, where you’ll always be most welcome.


KC300x300

KAREN COOPER

Q: Why did you want to get involved?

I actually have no idea why I was asked to join the admin team, but that’s what happened, and after some consideration I accepted. At first I was a little apprehensive joining the ‘X-Men’ and also wondered whether I could do a worthy job, but I needn’t have worried, my fellow admins and Kyle from Themeco were welcoming, supportive and have been a pleasure to work alongside; they also make me laugh. I am still here because I enjoy being part of a community where so many people get involved and interact in so many positive ways, that alone is rewarding for me – plus no one has complained (as yet) and I have made some new friends :-).  Watching the group grow both in numbers and knowledge and seeing how community collaboration manifests itself into so many amazing X Themed websites is an ongoing pleasure for me.

Q: What is your favorite aspect to the group?

Hmmm… that’s a hard one to narrow down… I love that people from all over the world, with such a diverse range of backgrounds and skill levels can meet in one place to share their individual experiences of building websites with X Theme and Cornerstone. I particularly enjoy watching members interact, improve, grow in confidence and, in turn, contribute to the community. (Also, I pretty much learn something new every day in this group – I never stop learning in this business)!

Q: What do you hope people take away as being part of the group?

I hope ALL members feel welcomed and have a sense of belonging to a place where they can return again and again for support from like-minded, non-judgemental people who are willing to freely share their own ideas, issues, knowledge and achievements. Understanding that we all had to start somewhere, with different strengths and weaknesses, makes helping others resolve issues that we ourselves had to deal with at one time or another, a very rewarding experience – it seems incredible that so much support can be found on a FB group.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?

I have lived in Barbados, New York and now the UK. I have a degree in Commercial Art and Design, and I have been in the design and web development business for over 20 years. I hand coded my first ‘website’ in 1997 in html, it wasn’t pretty or particularly functional (major understatement). I have a little company (KC Graphics (UK) Ltd) which I started over 20 years ago, and a small talented team who are very service and customer focused; we work mostly for small to medium sized businesses – I get a real buzz from being part of their growth and success. We have loyal, satisfied customers and 85% of our work is via word-of-mouth. It was hard in the beginning, still is sometimes; I remember what it was like, and I know a little support goes a long way. We are always available to take on design and website projects, and we offer free estimates on request. Our motto is ‘Keeping Things Simple’ and that applies to work and life in general, my clients have enough to do without us making everything seem more difficult. Two words I would use to describe myself: integrity and trustworthy.


I am beyond thankful of the contributions of these incredible people. Their tireless commitment to serving the Themeco community is something for which I will be eternally grateful. I am also exceedingly thankful for the thousands of other people who contribute of their time and expertise to make this the truly exceptional place that it is. And now it is your turn. We look forward to welcoming you into the community!

17 Comments on “On Community”

  1. Matt Frost

    Kyle, it’s an honour to serve the Themeco community. Personally, I’m a better man for knowing you and even though I falter (regularly), your inspiration sets me on the right path again. Being a small part of the group is immensely rewarding. Thank you my friend.

  2. J.J.

    I have received so many useful tips and practices from the community! Everyone is super cool and it feels good being a part of it.

  3. Sean Scott

    And this is why I will always support Themeco with everything they do. With so much negativity thrown at us daily, it is nothing short of awesome to see the positivity. Thank you very much to Kyle and the entire Themeco crew. Keep up the Xcellence. :)

  4. Marty Cohen

    Participating in the X Theme Facebook group has been a great experience. It has enhanced the pleasure and satisfaction I get from using X. Everyone I’ve interacted with has been friendly and supportive and I’ve been happy to return the favors when I had something to contribute. So thank you Kyle and thanks to all the admin group for our interesting and educational Facebook group. Marty

  5. d.s.

    Since i don’t like Facebook one bit i won’t join that group but it’s nice to see that a community forming around a commercial product is well supported by that products company.

  6. Martin Mosley

    Kyle, It has been and remains a privilege to help the community of X and Cornerstone users.

    You and the entire Themeco team have made this possible, not only by producing outstanding products, but through the ethic you transmit to all your users. It is that ethic, that vision, which underpins all you do and which inspired me and no doubt many others, to go the extra mile and create the community which is so important to us all today.

    I’ve also said it before, and will no doubt do so again, it is the remarkable commitment of so many individuals which makes the community what it is. Thank you to each and every one of you.

  7. Ian de Jager

    I had a good chuckle at Steve’s comment, “Also I was promised free cake.”

    Since having joined this community, I’m having free cake almost every other day. I’m totally in awe of the selfless contributions made by other members. This is the most helpful and supportive group I’ve ever joined.

    In fact, there’s a life lesson to be learned here. In the short period I’ve been a member of this community, I’ve realised just how incredibly far one can go in life (and in business) when you put people together who genuinely care for one another.

    Lekker man. Very lekker. :-)

  8. Francie

    Are you kidding me? I didn’t know I could make new friends by learning WordPress and buying a theme! How cool! :o)

  9. Rick Malkin

    I’m always humbled to be treated with such great respect each time I ask something (not often) on FB and within the support at Themeco.

    I like the trip I have been on with X and the community, and am looking forward to the journey yet to come.

    Thanks to the Admin Team for doing a great job and thanks to Kyle and the Team at Themeco for creating a wonderful and powerful Theme.

  10. Anvesh

    May be people of the group are from different geographies or backgrounds but one common thing that connects them is they all love WorPress and Theme X :)

  11. Rick Young

    Hey guys, so grateful you formed this support group. It’s very empowering. Great job!

    Just a feedback – it’s hard to navigate inside the pages of Facebook to look for topics. Would you be so kind to consider forming a sub-section for beginners or non-developers? This way, we can learn and build on what we have together. The new ones may then catch up and contribute back.

  12. Fabi Paolini

    Hi guys! I love the group! I’m having a huge issue though. For some reason, I have lost access to the Facebook Group. When I try to get to the group, this comes up:

    Sorry, this content isn’t available right now
    The link you followed may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you’re not in.

    I would really appreciate it if you could remove from the Facebook group and try to add me again. My name on Facebook is Fabi Paolini-Benavides.
    Thanks!!!
    Fabi

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