Thomas Patrick Levy says he started using WordPress, “like everyone else. I came to WordPress after creating my own custom CMS. Because like why would I use something like WordPress when I’m a skilled-enough developer to build a all that stuff on my own?”
He spent a long time maintaining that platform and, ironically, combing through the WordPress core codebase for hints on how to build his system’s functionality. He also had other projects during that period — almost all of them on WordPress.
Through this experience, Thomas came to understand how WordPress works and feels it was an invaluable base. He explains he learned a lot about programming in general from reading code, stating that it helped him understand something the codex could not: how the part (the function or the feature or the hook) fits into the greater system.
When asked about WordPress mentors, Thomas turned back to code. “While I don’t have mentors, I do have codebases. GitHub is my greatest mentor. I spend a lot of time reviewing codebases of other developers and development teams. I spend a lot of time simply watching their issue threads and interactions to see how they interact with their users and community and each other. I find that tremendously helpful and I have learned a lot through this process. My most-visited GitHub repos are WooCommerce and Yoast.”
His favorite comic is The Tenth, which he explains as something similar to a hipster’s Incredible Hulk. He’s blue instead of green, and telepathically communicates with a woman named Esperanza., though Thomas admits the details are a bit vague beyond that.
When asked about the superpower he would like to have, Thomas wished for the ability to fly (with caveats). He wanted to place restrictions on his superpower. Thomas explained, “I can only fly a few feet off the ground and I can only fly as fast as I can run. Let’s call this the ability to ‘hover.’ All these superheroes are so misunderstood and even persecuted. I can barely stand a 3-star review on my plugins, I really don’t need the whole world talking about this guy who’s flying around not saving the world. If I could hover people would be all, ‘I mean, I guess that’s cool’ and that’d be about it.”
We expect that his plugin will gain more acclaim than hovering, as his plugin, Rhythms, will empower WordPress users to imbue each and every reader of their blog or website with the superhuman ability to read faster than they can even think. He went on to add that, “Rhythms is to your WordPress site as nootropics are to every techie; we can all benefit from it but we’re not sure if it actually does anything.”
“Superheroes always have that period of adjustment where they do not understand or accept their power when they first discover them. They go into hiding and they get angry even but eventually the hero comes to accept and embrace their powers. Upon installing Rhythms, you will not quite understand your new-found powers and you will need to take some time to adjust before you fully comprehend and appreciate your site’s super powers. This is what it feels like to be a superhero.”
Thomas joined the WordPress scene as a last-minute volunteer at WCLAX 2015. Prior to that he had only ever been to one WordPress event and had only ever been to one even remotely related Meetup. As a volunteer, Thomas found out WordCamps are about more than talks. He realized that he stood out as a volunteer because the organizers give him a different colored shirt and told everyone to ask questions of the people in that colored shirt. Thomas explained that helping others made him more comfortable at WordCamp.
“I’ve only been to a handful of camps but I know that WordCamps really matter.” What I see is a huge number of humans that are fulfilling themselves through hobby and business. My company exists only because WordPress allows us to build extremely powerful websites for our clients at a price that they can afford. And since my company exists I get to sit in my pajamas on a Monday morning drinking coffee on my couch with my dog and writing some weird responses to an internet interview about a fake plugin I made for fun a few months ago. And at every camp I see a few hundred people at different places on their own journey finding their own freedom and happiness. That’s pretty cool. I can’t handle it every month but every few months it’s a great thing to remember and experience,” explained Thomas.