In the wake of the news that Umbraco Codegarden has been cancelled this year, I thought it might be nice to brighten up everyone's day with a MVP post.
Steve is a new Umbraco MVP for 2019/2020 and is one of the organisers for Umbraco Spark.
Job Title: Co-founder and Technical Director @ Gibe Digital
MVP Status: New
Twitter account: @steve_gibe
Website / Blog: https://www.gibedigital.com
How did you first hear about Umbraco CMS?
I've been working with Umbraco since v4. I first used it as a headless content source for an ecommerce website I was developing.
Although I've been using Umbraco for quite some time, I didn't get involved in the community properly until about 7 years ago. I own a company called Gibe and through that have hosted a few meetups and hackathons. I've even organised 2 (so far) Umbraco wine tasting nights. The big new thing for us was hosting Umbraco Spark.
How long have you been part of the Umbraco community and what do you like / dislike about it?
The community is so friendly and welcoming, so it's easy to get involved and feel part of something. Especially Codegarden, the festivals and meetups. The meetups are a great way to meet new people I've met a few friends by attending them. It's a bit daunting as the regulars all know each other but, in my experience, everyone made an effort to involve you that before you know it you're a regular to. I enjoy Umbracoffee, it's a good way of keeping up to date with what's happened over the last week.
Have you been to Codegarden? If yes, what did you think about it, if no, is there any reason why?
Yes, several times. It is by far my favorite conference to attend. It's always an amazing experience, everyone should go!
How did it feel when you received the notification that you were being awarded an MVP award?
Has being awarded the MVP made you look at things differently / has it changed anything in your day to day life e.g. asked to do more Umbraco talks? Asked more Umbraco questions at your workplace?
I think it's changed the way I feel about myself. Umbraco isn't the main thing we work on, it's a tool we use but most of our time is spent doing bespoke development or our own e-commerce platform. Because of this I'd always felt a bit of an outsider. I think some of that stemmed from a bit of imposter syndrome. I was chatting to Pete Duncanson at the first Codegarden and, in true Pete style, told me straight out that's a load of rubbish. Essentially just get stuck in and stop worrying. The MVP award just confirmed that. It obviously didn't hurt that as an agency we decided to jump in with both feet to the community, become gold partners, trained everyone up and run a conference.
If you could offer a new member of the community one bit of advice, what would it be?
One thing I'd always done is have the Umbraco source handy. That way when something doesn't work as you expect you can step through and see what is happening. 99 times out of 100 it'll be a fault in your own code but you really get to see how it works and understand the structure. I've always done that and seeing other peoples code is always a learning experience. If you find a bug you can report it and you could even have a go at fixing it. I guarantee you'll learn stuff by doing that. So, assuming you're a backend developer, clone the source down, compile it and have a play.
Tell us about 1 of your most favourite things whether it's a band, a colour, a bit of software you couldn't live without, an item of clothing, a book, anything but tell us why you love it so much.
I love cars, but in particular american muscle cars. I've always wanted a Mustang so when they started releasing the new models in Europe I made it my mission to get one. It feels like the last real chance to own a V8 before everything goes electric and self-driving. There is something about the noise of a V8 that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
What does a typical day look like for you during the working week?
Pretty busy, it was Gibe's 10th anniversary this year and I can't remember a single quiet period since we started. I don't get the chance to do as much dev as I'd like. I'm mostly troubleshooting, planning and reviewing PRs these days. I loathe meetings so we try and keep the process pretty streamlined, I always pick the least comfortable chair in any internal meeting so there is a strong incentive to make sure it finishes promptly.
What do you do in your spare time? Hobbies?
I have too much I want to do and so little time.
I have a increasingly hard to keep track of 17 month old daughter.
I was elected this year as a councillor for Portishead town council.
I maintain a couple of Umbraco modules, and have a half dozen started but not finished.
I try and speak at some of the Umbraco events each year.
I'm an avid games player from board games and computer games to VR and tabletop wargames.
I enjoy tinkering and electronics, I've just about finished putting together a self built drone, which was a huge learning curve.
Anything else you'd like to share with the Umbraco Community?
If you're a developer and want to learn something new consider coming to Umbraco Spark, excuse the plug. One thing I've found is as the community grows and diversifies so have the festivals to cater for the more varied skillsets involved with Umbraco. This is not a bad thing. But for me a self-confessed hardcore backend developer these events were targeted almost exclusively at me. Now I find there is less that appeals directly to me. So now there is a gap in the market for a conference which is just for developers, this is what we aimed to do with Spark.
Where to find Owain