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TXPQ What is life all about?
KP If I knew the answer to that, I'd probably be a lot wealthier. I guess my outlook is pragmatic; the Verve said it best in their song Bittersweet Symphony — "try to find some money and then you die."
TXPQ What motivates you or makes you tick?
As part of the Textpattern community, I also feel I can contribute to the development and growth of a powerful product, which is rewarding in its own lightKP A combination of things. Supporting my family — wife, kids, dog. I also love being at the edge of new initiatives, planning and strategizing, and executing well-laid plans that exceed expectations. In the field of web design, I can do this all the time. I love working with clients to plan the website, refining the design and structure, editing the content, until the final piece meets every one of their expectations and helps positively drive their business. As part of the Textpattern community, I also feel I can contribute to the development and growth of a powerful product, which is rewarding in its own light.
TXPQ Would you like to say anything about family, friends, where you live and life outside web design?
KP I grew up in New Jersey, lived in Philadelphia, and now live on the edge of civilization in Kansas. I love music of all genres; I cut my teeth on industrial music in my youth (think Skinny Puppy), but now embrace dub (Bill Laswell), jazz (Miles), alternative rock (Bloc Party), 80s new wave (The Cult), ambient (Steve Roach) and many more.
I love art, but have lost the time and desire to understand the nuance. My last museum trip was to the MoMA and I felt like an uneducated moron. I guess my second love is reading, everything from paperback fantasy to classic literature to non-fiction to business.
TXPQ You co-wrote Textpattern Solutions. How do you feel about that?
KP In a word, satisfied. I think the book came out very well; despite the fact it illustrates an older version of the software, it is still a magnificent tool. I get compliments all the time from other web designers and from clients.
Web Design and Marketing Solutions
KP Sure. It's a book that covers the strategy and tactics behind successful business websites. It analyzes every detail of a business website, from the homepage to the about pages to the legal disclaimers to offer best practices in content, layout and overall strategy. It also discusses marketing those websites, employing smart SEO, creating communication with prospects, and even buying media. It helps web designers understand how to offer smarter service to their clients, and helps business owners make the absolute most of their website. It is anything but another web design book talking about CSS or whatever (there are almost no code examples). In my opinion, it is a really good book.
TXPQ Your portfolio includes many fine sites. Any you'd particularly like to discuss?
KP All of them were fun and challenging in their own right. As a whole, they represent work for clients who wanted and appreciate clean design. Some web designers do not think they are particularly good, but that is OK — the designs serve their clients explicitly, and have all aided the business' marketing efforts. The most common thing I hear from business owners is "I want something clean and readable."
TXPQ What led you to becoming a web designer?
KP I've loved the web since I first experienced it back in 1995 or so. I started creating my own pages in Netscape Composer in 1996ish, and after my formal training as a graphics designer, it was a natural evolution to step into the role as a web designer.
I try to make my posts contributive to the community — something worth reading, or at least worth discussingKP Depends. I think blogging is like any labor of love — the passion ebbs and flows. There are days where you want to quit, others where you just write and write all day. I try to make my posts contributive to the community — something worth reading, or at least worth discussing. That's why my posting is infrequent. I have no interest in updating people about my personal life unless it's exceedingly interesting, and I do not want to post about business or design unless it's really worth reading.
TXPQ Any profound or shallow views about blogging, publishing and the web design world?
KP Most of it's crap. Some is good. I just try to stay with the latter group as much as possible. (Can you get any shallower?)
TXPQ Why do you use Textpattern?
KP Because it is more awesomer than anything else. I love the simplicity, speed and extensibility; clients love the ease of use and transparency in content editing. In a phrase — it just works.
TXPQ Do you use other CMS and how does it compare?
KP I've used Wordpress and Movable Type; I've experimented with Expression Engine, and my company is currently implementing Tridion. I cannot personally stand WP; I think it's just a blogging tool people are trying to force fit into something bigger. MT is OK. EE is OK; I like the logic and interface. Tridion is a monster; and I will report back in six months after the project is complete.
TXPQ How do you feel about Textpattern and the community? What improvements, if any, would you like to see?
I am routinely floored by how much time plugin developers volunteer to make Textpattern a better productKP My biggest thing is continuity and consistency between the various resource sites. Some people bitch about the lack of communication from the core developers, but to me the product works fine as-is and future updates are just icing on the cake. I think if people understood the scope and depth of the plugins available — and the extended functionality they offer — there would be less whining about core development time. Some plugins are simply astounding, and I am routinely floored by how much time plugin developers volunteer to make Textpattern a better product. I have donated to almost all of them through their little PayPal buttons.
Textpattern needs to have a design dept, a writing dept, both housed in a marketing dept that regularly interacts with the R&D dept.KP I have followed these conversations, and for the most part I agree with the criticisms from the community. I think the developers are doing a tremendous job driving the product forward, but I think Textpattern as a concept needs to be treated more like a business — it needs to have a distinct marketing effort around it in order to "sell" it better in the marketplace. Some people may roll their eyes at this since since it's a free solution among dozens of other free solutions, but TXP has a lot of standing power and a dedicated community that's willing to carry the flag. The "business" of Textpattern needs to have a design dept, a writing dept, both housed in a marketing dept that regularly interacts with the R&D dept. These are of course virtual. It just needs dedicated bodies and a spirit of true collaboration to make it happen. I guess the whole point is that Textpattern needs to graduate — from a marketing perspective — from Dean's pet project into a competitive CMS capable of driving real-world websites.
TXPQ Anything else you'd like to say about absolutely anything?
KP I say too much and I usually get in trouble for it. So this time I'll keep my mouth shut.
TXPQ Nah! That's me! You make a lot of sense and I feel we all welcome your views. Keep up the good work and thanks for the interview!