Adrian Spiac is the co-founder of Cozmoslabs, a WordPress company that focuses on delivering premium WordPress plugins you can rely on. These include Profile Builder, Paid Membership Subscriptions, and their newest success: TranslatePress. Their plugins are well supported, maintained, and used on over 100,000 WordPress sites around the globe.
You can find Adrian on Twitter or LinkedIn. This is our recent interview with him, as part of our Kinsta Kingpin series.
Q1: What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?
I graduated from Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering, specializing in Multimedia. An analytical person at heart, I started writing code in 9th grade and quickly fell in love with it.
My WordPress journey began around 10 years ago when I teamed up with Cristian and decided to start a web development agency. Due to its simplicity, WordPress became our main focus quickly. The things we learned were shared on our Cozmoslabs blog, which eventually became the platform for launching all our WordPress related products.
Profile Builder, our first and flagship product, was basically the end result of a blog post. After noticing the limitations of trying to extend the default WordPress user registration in the front-end while also adding custom user fields, we published a detailed tutorial on the subject.
It got a lot of feedback from our readers and quickly became our most popular blog post. A couple of months later, the tutorial turned into a plugin, and this is how Profile Builder, our front-end user registration and profile plugin was born.
The gradually increasing revenue of Profile Builder is what helped us transition from a consulting and services agency to a 100% product oriented company.
Q2: What should readers know about all the stuff you’re doing in WordPress these days?
These days I’m focusing more and more on setting up processes to help grow our WordPress product business. I’m also learning to delegate more.
Since we’re working only 4 days/week (Fridays off), setting up structures is key for staying on track.
However lately I’ve been more focused on spreading the word about our latest multilingual plugin, TranslatePress. We also started sharing the lessons learned from developing and growing a new WordPress plugin in our trimestrial Transparency Reports.
Now and then I’m also involved in the development of our membership plugin Paid Member Subscriptions, since nothing feels better to me than actually coding a feature.
Similar to our first plugin, Paid Member Subscriptions was born out of repeated requests from our Profile Builder users for accepting payments and offering paid user profiles.
Creating a standalone plugin, instead of an add-on was a really good move, since the plugin grew beautifully and it’s now a fully fledged membership solution that can compete with already existing options.
Q3: What challenges did you face in getting to where you are now professionally?
Entrepreneurship brings constant challenges every day. I’m lucky to be part of a great team and have two business partners that always have my back. That doesn’t mean everything is rainbows and butterflies.
Some of the constant struggles revolve around being consistent. Whether it’s hiring the right people, marketing your products, offering great support or writing quality code, doing the right thing is hard. And it should be.
Learning to say no, giving up control, listening instead of talking and being more supportive is something I’m educating myself to do more often. And it can be painful sometimes.
Q4: Has anything surprised you while coming up in the WordPress world?
The community. And I’m sure it’s a general feeling. I am constantly amazed by the openness, willingness to share and help each other that is hard wired somehow in the WordPress community.
Local WordCamps are the place where I felt it at its highest, since there are just enough people to have extended conversations that eventually lead to more powerful human interactions.
Attending or even sponsoring WordCamps has been a great team building experience for us. It’s something we enjoy doing and will continue to do regularly.
Q5: What does the future look like for you in the WordPress world?
For us, we’re committed to making our products better and more powerful, while making sure we’re not sacrificing ease of use. We still see ourselves being part of the WordPress community for as long as it will have us.
In terms of WordPress future, it’s really hard to tell. Most probably WordPress will continue to grow in the following years due to inertia, with page builders and blocks becoming more integrated in the overall user experience.
We’ll probably see more niche software as a service businesses trying to plug into the platform’s growing user base. And some big players as well.
One thing I hope we fix is access to usage data. Right now, product builders in the WordPress space have very limited access to data. Proper usage tracking could allow us to do less guessing and act on facts to improve the overall user experience.
Q6: What do you look for in a WordPress host?
For me, reliability is key. Knowing that someone is there to solve any potential problems, get to the bottom of the issue fast, without going back and forth with support messages. Another thing is security, knowing that my data is safe and protected.
Other than that price, having great uptime and well-maintained infrastructure are also important factors when choosing a WordPress host.
Q7: What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from your laptop?
I really enjoy sport fishing. It’s like meditation to me, allowing me to fully disconnect from everything else and enjoy nature. I’ve been competing in fishing tournaments for almost 10 years now.
Last year I won the National Championship in Freshwater Fishing with Lures, so I’ll be part of the national team in the World Fishing Championship this year in South Africa.
As you imagine, it’s quite an addiction. One that keeps me sane, though. 😄
Besides fishing, I really enjoy reading. Reading 15-30 minutes has been part of my morning ritual for quite some time now. It helps me start my day in a well-balanced way.
Q8: Whom should we interview next & why?
I would suggest interviewing Pavel Ciorici from WPZOOM. He is a talented entrepreneur with an impressive attention to detail and I’m sure the readers will benefit from his insights.
I bought his plugin for a recurring payment newsletter. I later found out that although it gives an error message if the wrong card number is put in, it does not do it if the wrong date or CVC is typed in.
Also, the plugin used to send me an e-mail when there is a new subscriber, along with sending an e-mail to subscribers when they cancel their subscription, but the plugin no longer does that.
If that wasn’t bad enough, it took eight business days of exchanging e-mails with support. Yup, over a week!