Yoast Care fund: An interview with Dan Maby

Dan Maby

Nominated by:
Michelle Frechette

Today we’re interviewing Yoast Care fund recipient Dan Maby, who received a nomination from Michelle Frechette. Michelle nominated him for everything he contributes to the community. Let’s find out what he does exactly! But first, nominator Michelle would love to tell you why she nominated Dan:

Nominator Michelle Frechette: “Dan has committed countless hours, energy, skills, and his own money to build a resource to support the WordPress and remote communities through Big Orange Heart. Along with that has come events, platforms, subcommunities, and unfathomable goodwill. We will never know how many lives he has touched by creating Big Orange Heart, even helping to save lives and livelihoods. I can think of no more deserving person than Dan for this award.”

Let’s get to know Dan Maby!

Thank you for those wonderful words, Michelle. Now, let’s get to know this all-rounder by asking him some questions:

Hi there, Dan. Could you tell us what you do?

I wear a few different hats and I love the variety it offers me. I run a business that delivers design and development services centered around the WordPress CMS, with a particular focus on membership requirements. I run and support multiple events across both the WordPress and PHP communities. I’m also the founder of Big Orange Heart (formerly WP&UP), a registered charity with a mission to support and promote positive well-being and mental health within remote working communities.

So tell us, why WordPress?

I came to WordPress for the software, and I stayed for the community. My journey started in 2004, yes, WordPress 1.0 (well, if we’re going to get technical, it was 1.0.1 when I first tested it). I needed a blog for a business I was running at the time online. I could have written a custom solution, but I’d heard about WordPress as a project and wanted to give it a test. I was impressed from the start with some of the features it gave me out of the box.

Fast forward several years and I found myself becoming captivated by the community around it, first online, then in-person. I started attending local meetups, through which I was introduced to WordCamps. In time I developed a business that centred around the software, and I’ve been incredibly privileged to become part of the community.

At the heart of WordPress are the people.

Who is your WordPress hero?

I don’t have one, I have many! I’ve had the honor of meeting so many wonderful people across the global WordPress community over the years, that it’s impossible to name one hero. When I look at the incredible work that has been, and is currently, being accomplished by people donating time to the project, I feel humbled to be a small part of it.

From the tireless efforts of people like Allie Nimmons and Jill Binder towards creating a more diverse and inclusive community, to the wonderful Graham Armfield, Bet Hannon and Rian Rietveld and so many more helping to build a more accessible web. Cory Miller and Leo Gopal for their personal openness towards mental health, or Alain Schlesser and Gary Jones for sharing their incredible code quality. Kathy Zant and Tim Nash for scaring the pants off me many times when talking about security. The unstoppable passion from Taco Verdo, Adam Warner and Francesca Marano when it comes to the community. Heather Brunner, Syed Balkhi and Marieke van de Rakt for their contribution to the business of WordPress. And of course Giles HT, Michelle Frechette, Paul Smart and Barbara Saul for their endless passion and giving to Big Orange Heart.

These are just a few of the people I highly respect across our community but, of course, there are so many more!

What contribution or moment are you most proud of?

There have been a few moments that I’ve loved, some that instantly spring to mind; sharing the stage with Barbara Saul as we wrapped up another wonderful WordCamp London. There have been many times when I’ve looked back at the WordPress London Meetup audience and felt a real sense of accomplishment too. But the delivery of Big Orange Heart (formerly WP&UP) is by far the one I’m most proud of.

I’ve not done it alone by any stretch of the imagination. There’s been a wonderful team that has joined me on the journey. And it’s a journey that’s only just begun.

The registered charity has now delivered over 10,000 hours of free well-being and mental health support, to our community members. We’ve seen over 16,000 members join us and delivered almost 150 events. I’m excited to see where this goes.

Where can people find you? Online, WordCamps, or at other meetups?

If you add /danmaby to the end of almost any social network you’ll find me. But the place I’m most active is across the Big Orange Heart community. All are welcome to join us, it’s free and incredibly welcoming. The website of Big Orange Heart is the place to head to, to be part of it.

My DMs are open on most platforms too, and I’m always happy to take the time to talk about WordPress, you, your well-being, and life in general. Also, be sure to join the team and I at WordFest Live 2021.

Thank you for this interview, Dan. And for all of your contributions to the WordPress community! If you’re reading this and know someone like Dan who deserves a nomination for our Care fund, just go to our Yoast Care page to nominate them!