Dario Jazbec Hrvatin started as a web developer, but now he works as remote documentation manager and usability consultant with OnTheGoSystems, creators of WPML and Toolset plugins. He is a huge WordPress fan, and since his earliest freelancing years as a developer, he has always used WordPress as the main tool.
Hi, Dario, nice to have you with us again. Could you introduce yourself for those who don’t know who you are?
Hi! I am originally from Zagreb but I married and moved to Slovenia exactly 10 years ago. I currently live in Šentilj with my wife Katja, daughter Gloria and our Chihuahua Mrfi. Work-wise, I worked as a web developer, first as a freelancer and then as a lead developer for a known Maribor marketing agency. The thing is, from the very start, I used WordPress as my main web development tool. It just “clicked” the moment I started using it, and I would say my instincts were quite good.
The biggest change came three years ago when I started working for OnTheGoSystems, the company behind WPML and Toolset plugins. I started as a tester, then also got involved with the usability, and finally, I became the lead documentation manager for the company. OnTheGoSystems was crucial for me becoming more involved with the WordPress community and WordCamps, by encouraging us to participate, to talk, to attend, to connect, and to give back.
In addition to WordPress related work, you are also accomplished musician. Are you still performing with your band, and what kinds of music you’ve recorded so far?
Hehehe, that’s a very surprising question, thank you! Well, the band is called Helika, and I founded it. We released an album called “Djeca kiše” (“Children of the rain”), a few years ago, under the big local publisher Dallas Records. You can find it on all major online music services (helika.org). 😉 It’s a nice blend of rock, folk, acoustic, electric, etno, and alternative music. I coined a term for it and call it trip-pop.
We had some very nice live performances and I had really terrific musicians playing in it, really top professionals. However, after my daughter was born, I found that I really don’t have enough time to give to the project, as it would require and deserve, so I put it “in the fridge”. I have materials for the 3 next album written, I am just waiting for the time to record them. 🙂
You’ve been part of WordPress community for some time now. Can you tell us why you love so much being part of this community and speak on WordCamps and WordPress meetups?
Well, the very best thing about it is that it’s open to everyone. I started from knowing no one when I came to first WordCamp Croatia in Rijeka and over time, I came to know so many people. There are no “levels”, no hierarchy, you can simply start connecting with everyone. Besides that, it was always so awesome to meet people that share the love for this great piece of software that empowers everyone to create awesome sites.
When I was starting out, I was always looking for people that even know what WordPress is. And locally speaking that wasn’t so easy 7 years ago, or something like that. So, WordCamps alone opened a huge door for me into this all new world and community. I needed to experience that “real life” thing before getting to the online part. I don’t know if that is usual, but it’s a true story. It’s just like everything else in life, I guess… You need to see, experience something to become aware of it and appreciate it truly.
Inspiration is a concept that can hardly be explained and, at times, is even harder to find. Should we wait for inspiration to come to us, or do something about it?
My band’s bass player Stojan Kralj is a classical guitar professor and he always says: “Inspiration is like a muscle. You need to train it.” This is one truth about inspiration, if you want to be inspired, you need to work. The more you work, the more inspiration will come.
The other one is the hunger, I think. If you crave to do something, the inspiration is imminent. For example, besides few personal projects, I haven’t developed a web page for a client in more than 3 years. It’s just how it happened. But I still love doing that, so whenever I get a chance, I enjoy it so much that I don’t need the inspiration to strike me, it’s there the minute I start. Because I want to do it, I need to do it, and I love doing it.
The third part is the experience… You have to go out and experience things, new things. Don’t sit in your 4 walls and go through the same routine every day, literally and metaphorically. Look for things, try them out, seek out people that are involved in them… You know, start learning a new coding language, listen to new music, go out to a place you never went to before – or simply take a walk. Just go out and experience things and inspiration will be there.
The last thing is to remember to play. Yes, we have projects, meetings, deadlines, and whatnot. But to stay inspired, we should never forget to play. Are you designing a site for a client and feeling bored? Try doing something unconventional you would love to do. Maybe they’ll love it. Maybe they won’t, in which case you can redo it into something more conventional. But you’ll still be playing and allowing yourself to play. Even if it’s just prototypes or personal projects.
Did you get your ticket?
If you haven’t already, get your ticket for WordCamp Zagreb today. Tickets are priced at 20€ (around 150 HRK) which will give you entrance to the conference, (first) access to workshops on Friday and to Contributor day on Sunday. You will also get the drinks, lunch, incredible t-shirt and other cool swag from our sponsors.