Yesterday met with Adii(Adriaan Pienaar) of www.adii.co.za for a coffee and a chat. Adii is someone making quite a bit of noise in the South African & International wordpress community. He’s a self styled WordPress Rockstar and online entrepreneur of note. Though I’ve interacted with Adii digitally through his website, facebook and email, meeting someone in person still is the only way to get a real sense of the personality on the other side.
So who is Adii (Adriaan Pienaar)
Adii is a great guy, holds an interesting conversation, is full of great ideas and is an example of a real success story in the making. I say in the making because I think he’s only just scratched the surface of his own potential, and has age on his side so to speak. I won’t divulge his age, but let’s just say he quite a bit younger than I thought and has achieved a huge amount in a very short space of time. I learnt a few interesting little things about his journey to becoming one of the most spoken about web 2.0 stars in South Africa. I can’t believe he’s only been in this game about a year now, it’s a true reflection of how the dynamics of the web has completely changed in a matter of months. Adii’s also gaining fame in the international wordpress community. I first started tracking Adii’s movements online when I saw an ad of his posted on wpdesigner.com, the site I found the free theme which currently powers my site.
The Premium vs Free Theme debate
An interesting and ongoing debate was sparked between Adii and Small potato of wpdesigner.com concerning whether wordpress themes should be sold or kept free. Even though the debate is ongoing, Adii has definitely changed my personal perspective on this issue. While wordpress was gaining momentum loads of free themes were developed and still are being developed and put out into the community as free downloads. With the need to set one’s apart becoming increasingly important, it’s only natural that uniquely designed themes would become much more valuable. The fact that a huge market for uniquely designed professional themes exists should speak for itself. I think the rise of “premium themes” for wordpress has definitely opened up the development of much more advanced layout, functionality and design streams in the wordpress community and can only be a good thing for wordpress development in the long run. As the premium theme space develops those offering free themes will keep pushing the premium developers to up their game. I’m definitely looking to enter this new market and hope I don’t miss the boat as I think wordpress has the potential to be a major problem solver for anyone looking to build a powerfully interactive website of almost any kind.
Adii’s latest creation, Premium News Theme which is a online magazine style theme has met with huge success and from what he tells me he’s making a pretty penny from it so far.
I’d been planning to do a Web Guru Spotlight with Adii for a while but sitting down and just chatting casually about a few things was much more insightful. I’ve still got a series of probing questions on their way to you soon Adii so be prepared to share your secrets to success.
Popularity can bite
We spoke about some of the challenges a web 2.0 entrepreneur faces, some of the strange interactions which sometimes happen in the online social networking space and about some of Adii’s plans going forward. You can be sure if you become popular online for whatever reason someone will come along to challenge that popularity in some way, not always in the most honourable way either. Adii has had to put up with his fair share of controversies. I know for a fact when it comes to staying popular you have to be good at keeping in touch with your readers and those who are using your themes. I think this is one of Adii’s strong points. Even when people comment on his site, and he gets alot of comments, he’s always there responding and engaging, something any blogger needs to learn how to do well. Speaking of his latest plans, One in particular is for a wordpress focussed community portal or online magazine which he has spoken about a bit on his site. I think the timing is right for something with a different approach and something which has a bit more of a community flavour.
The politics of the web 2.0 space has found it’s way to Adii in more ways than one, with more controversy surrounding using the name wordpress for his new wordpress magazine style portal. It’s still uncertain whether he will be allowed to use magazine in the name as well. In the run-up to establishing this new and much awaited community portal, one of the main tasks ahead is establishing a Brand. Adii’s insight into its positioning is much more mature than I would have expected from a man of his age and experience, and I’m slowly beginning to think I need to be upping my game in order to keep up with today’s web “Rockstars”.
I hope to play a role in the Branding of Adii’s new site, a much needed challenge and something I think might help promote my skills in the community, but lets not get ahead of ourselves quite yet.
Adii is currently undergoing a re-brand with an adventurous new logo design, something which will no doubt create even more attention for this already famous web “rookie”. I call him a rookie because I’ve been doing design since he was around 11 years old, but he’s definitely an inspiration to me and someone who has already influenced and I think will keep influencing how I go about what I do. He’s definitely inspired me to tackle my very own blog theme from scratch, something I’ve been putting off & procrastinating about for while now.
All in all it was a beneficial meeting, I learnt quite alot, made a good friend and become more of an Adii fan. Adii is a really down to earth kinda guy, very different than what you might expect from his Corporate looking Business man pic on his homepage, but an innovative business mind he most certainly is. Thanks alot for the meeting Adii, I’m looking forward to a repeat soon. Just so you know, this is not a paid for review, it’s just my take on meeting Adii.
Finally, I must recommend Seattle Coffee at Exclusive books in Canal Walk, Cape Town. They have a few comfy leather coaches at the back which creates a cool little chill lounge. Being surrounded by all those books has an interesting effect on ones thinking as well, and you can just pop into the store and grab a Mag or browse through some books for ideas and inspiration. Anyone else interested in meeting up for a coffee, a chat and sharing some ideas give me a shout.
PS: If anyone knows how to help me quit my coffee habit send me your recommendation. Ciao for now.