I was born in Israel, originally from a town close to Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean sea. My younger sister (a lawyer and a Java developer), and my parents (a retired chemist and an aviation engineer) are all based there.
Like many, I wrote my first lines of code on my Spectrum Sinclair when I was 8 (Basic) – a computer bought for me by my parents.
I live with my family: Limor my partner and our three kids Yuval, Yarden and Nophar in the south of Spain in the province of Cadiz in a small village not far away from the Atlantic. When I’m not working, I like spending time with the family, swimming, going to the beach, carpentry, biking, hiking, and reading.
Before I came to Spain (just after the millennium changed), I was the lead web developer for a startup bank in Israel (SSI and on Sun Java server, for Netscape and using DreamWeaver for whoever is old enough to remember that here :).
Then I began teaching web development in Israel and also later in Spain. In the meantime, I was also freelancing both for clients directly and for agencies. Actually, for a few years, this was my winter job since during the summertime, Limor, and I ran a successful bar and small restaurant by the beach.
Around 2005 I was into Drupal and later WordPress, which I really liked since it made my life easier in terms of developing quickly and effectively to meet my clients’ demands. I joined OTGS a few years ago when I was really fed up with working directly with customers and was looking at openings for remote jobs. I was already a WPML and Toolset client so I knew the products quite well before joining – I sent my CV on the wpml.org website and luckily there was an opening for the Spanish support forum (David was handling this together with some dev work and it was becoming too much).
Quite true. For a long while, I was handling the Spanish forum alone along with some part-time compatibility work Amir had started (together with Dominykas and David). Compatibility grew into a bigger project and the team naturally had to expand – Srdjan came from Toolset, Vuk joined, then Konrad came from the WPML core team, Harshad from WPML support and finally Ahmed (M) & Mohamad (K). From small beginnings, just a couple of themes a month, we now test around 30 a month plus the escalated queues, compatibility dev work, and marketing activities ……. With this growth, my work shifted to managing the project and handling fewer testing tasks.
As you mentioned, I am also managing support activities and trying to improve how we communicate with our clients. This started around a year ago when Amir noticed some issues in the way we handle support and asked me to make some suggestions to see where we can improve. I worked with Peter analyzing where and what needed polishing. Actually, this has grown into a continuous task needing my daily attention.
The main challenges for me in managing support is the number of people involved, not to mention the long time it takes from when you make a change until you notice the results. Every day, I go through tickets and look at procedures focusing only on keeping our clients happy with WPML and Toolset.
Apart from all this, I try to be helpful with marketing whenever Marine needs me (I know many authors). I write documentation, I am involved in QA (it’s good for me to know what’s going on with the software) and a few other tasks I take once in awhile.
Since I am involved in many activities I need to be very strict with allotting my time and setting priorities. For example, every day I set myself the goal of fulfilling the most important tasks (usually urgent emails, prioritized YT tickets or reading support tickets that need attention). All the other tasks come next in hot pursuit (replying to emails, writing docs, assessing performance). Through experience, I have learned how to manage quite well so far, though there’s always room for improvement!
Timezones are a challenge … I stay late a few times a week when I need to communicate or check things involved with work done by others in different time zones. When I do this I usually take a longer break during the day to adjust my schedule to fit in with theirs.
I am pleased to say that I hardly have clashes or misunderstandings with anyone (at work or outside of work). Honesty and straightforwardness are very important for me in my personal life and I try bringing that to work too. Of course, due to my zeal for accomplishing the best, I realize that at times people might have felt I was abrupt, but honestly, I am not :) I have great respect for everyone and for all their hard work.
To be entirely honest, working here does affect my family life, especially in the busier times (like nowadays with WPML 3.8 just around the corner, plus end-user forums and the Toolset compatibility project kicking off). It’s not always the easiest thing to do, balancing my family’s needs with my work responsibilities. What I try to do when I am off the computer is to be 100% with the kids and my partner – I do not have my phone on me, I do not look at Slack/Skype when I am not working. I try to keep a strict boundary between the time I am at work and the time I am not. This is very important, I think. Having a separate physical space for work is another very healthy thing both for work and for the family.
My kids are still young, but I try to teach them to be thankful for what we have, to be honest with themselves and with others and to respect the world they live in. All other things should fall into place if they succeed in achieving this.