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Do you know my friends at Reaktiv Studios?


You might be nervous around Tattoos

If you’re in your forties, like me, then you may have grown up in a family that didn’t really value or appreciate tattoos. Oh it wasn’t just my family – because my friends and I talked about getting them and we all agreed – our parents would kill us.

Some people lock their car doors when they see a certain kind of person (ethnicity, gender, social class) walk by. Given my background, I might have been the kind of person to get nervous when a person with a sleeve of tattoos walked by.

After all, they’re tough. You have to be to let needles poke at you all day. Right?

Today, it’s almost the opposite. You have to be worried about the people who don’t have tattoos – because we’re the strange ones.

Anyway, all of that is to simply say this: it’s easy to understand why you might look at Andrew Norcross (or John Hawkins for that matter) and get a bit nervous. They’re covered in tattoos!

But the truth is that both these guys are amazing and incredibly friendly people!

Now, if the tattoos didn’t scare you away from Norcross, his profanity-laced “I don’t give a @#$%%&^*” attitude on Twitter might also scare you off. I hear you, but again, you’d be judging a book by the cover, incorrectly.

The Real Reason to Fear Norcross

No, there’s no reason to be nervous around Norcross because of his tattoos or his language. But fear him you may – because he’s incredibly smart. He’s definitely one of the smartest folks I’ve met in the WordPress community – and I’ve met a ton of people.

And smart folks should scare you. In a good and healthy way. But be warned. Because they’re thinking about things on a different level than the rest of us. They’re connecting dots we’re not even aware exist.

Did I mention that before he was a web developer, he worked at Raymond James? You know, the folks that do multivariate calculus and use differential equations to determine how to maximize your wealth? Don’t use them? Yeah, neither do I. But I hope one day I might need them.

Trust me when I tell you, that’s the kind of guy you want looking at your code or writing some code for you.

Smarts isn’t everything

I know, some of you are bristling. Wait, you protest, smarts isn’t everything. You tell me that you know plenty of amazing people that aren’t brainiacs, and I agree. You also note that some of the smartest people you know are jerks. Exactly. I agree.

But not Norcross.

His own story, one he’d have to tell you, is compelling. But a big part of it is his wife Bri – who also works with him at Reaktiv Studios. She runs the business and the house, the kids, and so much more.

I’ve told you before – marrying up is the only way to go!

Bri keeps things organized but also reminds Norcross that he’s a human like the rest of us. In fact, when he’s away from his computer I think she gets on it and hides shortcuts just to keep him on his toes.

But wait – there’s more!

In case you thought Reaktiv was just the two of them, you’d be missing out on another incredible developer and amazing person, Josh Eaton.

Josh, another very smart dude, figured out how to travel around the world for a year (with his wife), and get others to pay for parts of their trip by blogging about it. I’ve heard of travel bloggers but never met one in person that actually got free cruises and such.

Josh, like Norcross, seem to absorb WordPress more than study it. They look at core, look at themes and plugins and almost like osmosis, just “get” it.

So these days I just watch Twitter for when someone says something like, “Don’t you wish WordPress could do X?” and I know that within minutes, there’s a 50% chance that Norcross is going to write back, “One sec, I have that coded up somewhere” or “Hold on, I think I can do that real quick.”

The generosity of Norcross and his team is incredible when you’re watching for it.

Why am I telling you all this?

First, you should know that neither Josh, Bri, or Norcross went to college to get degrees in WordPress or Building a WordPress Business. They’re all self-taught. And yet they’re all amazing!

So the good news for you is that if you’re a person thinking about creating your own shop to build themes or plugins, you should get to know Reaktiv and learn from them. They demonstrate that it’s possible to learn this stuff and run a successful business around it.

Secondly, if you’re building a plugin or theme, you should know that Reaktiv offers a service to review your code. They’ll do a great job helping  you find places to improve.

And lastly, follow them on twitter. Then you’ll see exchanges like I do. And you may even be the recipient of their generosity.

@nphaskins I have code for that if you want it. — Norcross (@norcross) July 20, 2014

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