Aug 13

Introducing Paul Andrew – Market Blog Content Lead

Wed, 08/13/2014 - 04:16 — julie

Hi everyone, my name is Paul Andrew and I have just started work as the content lead for the Market Blog.

I live in the small but beautiful Scottish city of Inverness. Nessie is my neighbor and I am a real Highlander. I love football, Star Wars and Lego. I also love good design.

I wanted to give you guys a quick introduction into who I am, what I have done, and what my aim is for the Market Blog. Although, and I am really sorry about this, I actually wrote a lot more than I intended to, but I am just going to roll with it as it seems to illustrate the point I want to make.

A rare thing: clean shaven and wearing a tie.


My humble beginning into web design began way, way back in 1997. At the time, my new Windows 98 PC came bundled with Microsoft Office and that included the infamous Frontpage. Snigger all you like, Frontpage gave me my first insight into building a web site, and because of that I do look back on the application with a certain degree of fondness. I think I might be the only one though.

You’ll be happy to know that I eventually stumbled upon Macromedia’s Dreamweaver and Fireworks, which also lead to the grim realization that everything I knew about web design was wrong. Time to start learning all over again.

Thus followed a period of desperately trying to make sense of HTML and CSS. Without any decent online resources, references or tutorials, the only real option I had was to view the source of every web page I visited, copying and pasting as I went, until eventually I had hacked together what I suppose you would call a website.

Then up came WordPress, and it changed everything. Not just for me, but the entire design community.

I can’t quite remember how I first came across WordPress, but I do remember that it was version 1.5 and that it came packaged with Kubrick. I spent many hours dissecting that theme, just to get a basic understanding of how everything within WordPress worked. And the really cool thing about that period was that every freelance web designer seemed to discover WordPress at the same time. Self-hosted WordPress blogs started appearing everywhere, and it also seemed as though everybody in the community was either writing tutorials, sharing little snippets of code, or releasing free themes.

I was no different. I released a bunch of free themes, wrote a few basic tutorials, and I even launched a few WordPress powered sites. StylesInspiration came first, it was a simple gallery of creative CSS sites, next there was Speckyboy, a site I used for releasing my free themes and for sharing some of the cool web design resources I found on the web, then there was FireworksExt, and finally there was CodeVisually.

My underestimation of the popularity of Speckyboy is what has lead to where I am today. I never for a single second thought that I would ever work full-time on Speckyboy. I mean, I loved blogging, but come on, a full-time blogger? Nobody I knew did that. But two years after launching Speckyboy, I did take the giant full-time blogger risk. To subsidize my income, I also wrote a bunch of articles for Smashing Magazine, WebdesignerDepot, Design Reviver, and Noupe. Working for each of these guys really opened my eyes to what professional publishing was all about.

Speckyboy eventually hit the magical 2 million page-view mark, and I had to then give up all of my writing jobs to focus solely on it. I hired a few design writers and a couple of editors (hat tip to Jake, Oleg, Sufyan, Addison and Andy), and my job title unintentionally changed to chief-editor. And that is what I have been pretty much doing for the past 4 years.

So, I have been a web designer, a blogger, a writer, an editor, a chief-editor, and now I am content lead for Envato.

I suppose the point of telling you my ‘short’ story, is to show you how much the design community has evolved and has culminated into this creative and resourceful company I now work for. I mean, it took me 17 years of hard learning to get here, but it really won’t take you that long. Not with the multitude of resources that are available to you here.

Want to learn CSS or HTML? Head over to Tuts+. Needing an easy-to-edit WordPress theme for a new site you’re launching? Grab one from the marketplace. If you need anything at all, it can be found here.

What I would have given for a resource like this 17 years ago!

All of this leads me to talk about my aim for the Market Blog. It’s actually really simple. I want to take everything that the huge Envato community represents, that includes authors, buyers, staff, readers… everybody, and funnel it all into a creative and resourceful platform where you will be able to explore new tools, learn new skills, and ultimately, be inspired.

Do you know something, this job is awesome.

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