Meet the Community: Andy Towler

The Basics

ClassicPress username: zigpress

Social Media Handles: ZigPress, @zigpress

Your website:

Where in the world are you located? Originally UK, then Malta for many years, now Philippines

What brought you to the Philippines, and how do you find the culture there to be similar or different from your experiences in Malta and the UK?

My wife and I have moved to the Philippines partly for family reasons (my wife is from here), partly because the low cost of living (compared to Europe) will enable us to improve our work/life balance, and partly because it’s a stunning country filled with amazing things to see and friendly, positive people.

The culture is not so different when you get under the surface. People are doing their best to earn a living, to provide for their children, and to put something by for a rainy day, just like anywhere in the world. Life can be tougher though – there is no free healthcare and an inadequate social welfare system – and maybe because of this, there is a strong work ethic, particularly in the younger generations, because there is a strong tradition of the younger members of an extended family supporting the older members when they become elderly.

Tell us about yourself — your occupation, hobbies, etc.

I started building websites for a living in 1999 and started working with WordPress in 2007. After working as a developer for various companies I’ve now been self-employed for almost 3 years. ZigPress started as a side gig and is now my main agency brand. Through ZigPress I design, develop and support websites and web applications, usually on the WordPress platform though I build custom web applications when a project demands it.

Other things I like to do include traveling, swimming and snorkeling, listening to music and playing the piano.

You offer a variety of products and service-based offerings. Which one do you enjoy the most, and why?

ZigPress currently has two main offerings – the ZigCare support and maintenance service for WordPress-based websites, and the design and build of new websites and web applications. Intellectually both are challenging for different reasons – with ZigCare, my knowledge of how many different plugins are coded and likely to affect others comes into play, and with design and build projects, it’s my systems architecture experience that is key.

I don’t think I can say I enjoy one more than the other – both aspects of the business are satisfying in different ways.

Other than the alarm clock, what gets you up in the morning?

My wife!

What’s your dream job?

I’m doing it.

Where do you see ZigPress in the next 3-5 years?

Over the next few years I will be working to generate an increase in the number of websites subscribing to a ZigCare plan, because that’s where I have more capacity. But I still enjoy design & build projects because each one is different. I have a Malta-based partner who helps me find new business (as well as working on SEO for my clients) so he will play a role in this.

How did you hear about ClassicPress, and what made you want to get involved?

I found out about it through the Advanced WordPress Facebook group, though I had been commenting that it was time for a fork since first learning about Automattic’s Gutenberg-related plans. After reading about the CP team’s aims and trying the early alpha I decided this was the right fork to follow.

How does ClassicPress fit into your overall plans for the future?

Recently I’ve decided to switch certain client sites over to ClassicPress – mainly sites where the client leaves the back end management to ZigPress, and also sites where all content editing is done using Advanced Custom Fields Pro (so Gutenberg wouldn’t be in the picture anyway). I will also be switching all ZigPress’s own projects over, and I will consider whether to use ClassicPress on a case-by-case basis with each new project I quote for.

It’s also worth mentioning that I develop and maintain a number of free plugins in the WP repository. All my plugins are and will continue to be CP-compatible.

Done good, done fast, or done cheap: Which two do you choose?

Good and fast. I’m an impatient perfectionist!

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Notable Replies

  1. Good to find out some more about you Andy. Another piano player!

    The ZigCare service is an excellent idea. I do the same sort of thing and find that people are quite happy to pay someone to look after everything so they don’t need to think about it.

  2. james says:

    I love this about our community. Definitely not the first (or even the second) time I’ve heard a similar sentiment here.

    1. I echo @james sentiments about how so many of us seem to be doing our dream job – or close to it.
    2. I think ClassicPress needs to start a band, with all these talented musicians in our midst.
  3. Jamm session during ClassCamp looks promising…

  4. klein says:

    I really like these Meet the community pieces, it’s a lot of fun reading about the people you see so much around here.

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