For a business, date and time is so important that every business needs to track them regularly. The task can be so easy if you can do it on your website with all other features.
This is the solution the talented entrepreneur Ashan Jay gives to us with his very own plugin EventON.
EventON is an event calendar plugin where the users can own all of its data away from big corporations owning and selling user data. It is a well-designed calendar solution with a number of features for the users.
Today we are going to talk with Ashan. We are very happy to have him for our today’s interview.
We will try to know more about his work and the background of his signature product EventON. We will also try to know more about the features of his plugin and as always will get some of his valuable advice for our audiences.
Our Audience Would Love to Know About Your Journey. Could You Please Share How Your Early Life Was? How Do You Start Your Career? And What Was Your Turning Point in Your Professional Journey?
Hello, well thank you very much for setting this up and doing an interview with me. I feel like a celebrity haha but I am no better than you, I am just a human like you 🙂
So a little about my early life, I grew up on an amazing island called Sri Lanka about 15 minutes from the beach.
We were a middle-class family which was very poor compared to the US living standards at that time. I came to the US for college thanks to some miracle situations that really worked in my favor.
After college I wanted to become a financial analyst. But little did I know that my career in web and marketing was to be started right then.
As things didn’t work out as I wanted with my financial career in 2008 during the great recession in the financial industry. I’d say the turning point in my professional journey is the 2008 recession.
If it wasn’t for that, I would probably be working in a cube farm, working my butt off to get promotions to make more money and minding someone else’s business, sucked in a rat race that I could never get out of.
So I am very grateful for. I guess, for not being able to get a full-time job after graduating from college 🙂
That’s when I started a website and advertised web and marketing services. I had no idea how to code, so I learned PHP from online tutorials and made a project management system (Called PAS) (as practice) for my use.
I still make my own systems, it’s a great way to learn. The support system we use for EventON is a WordPress plugin I made myself.
It’s not available to the public, just yet. From that website, I landed some contract jobs doing WordPress web development work, which was a nice gig.
During this time, I’ve gotten myself into WordPress and in 2011, I made the AshanJay Event Calendar plugin. And in 2013 I stopped all contract work and focused fully on EventON 🙂
What Made You Start a Plugin Business? Where Did You Get the Inspiration of EventON? Why Do You Feel the Need for an Event Calendar Plugin Though There Were Other Options Already Available?
So the whole reasoning behind EventON is to create an event plugin where the users can own all of its data away from big corporations owning and selling user data. And then I got into creating a calendar that is very sleek and minimal.
I think a lot of the inspiration for EventON came from just the design trends at the time to be minimal – away from cluttered designs that were at the time.
I think I read that when Henry Ford made a car, he was not the only one making cars so many others were doing it. So there are always going to be others doing what you want to do, I don’t think that’s a reason to not do it.
There were a lot of other calendars when I made EventON and actually that helped me see how others are doing it and how I can adopt some of those concepts and create my own unique variation of a calendar.
And that’s how EventON was born. It’s so interesting to see now with the success of EventON, other new calendar plugins copying EventON design elements. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery right 🙂
What Makes EventON Different From Other Event Calendar Plugins? What Are the Features You Love Most in EventON?
I think EventON addresses a unique group of people that are looking for a more design-forward calendar on their website. Something that is more minimal but can do a lot of features of a standard calendar.
As far as features on the EventON main calendar: I like the various layouts you can do on the calendar from clean tiles design to the colorful event bubbles. I also love the lightbox view of events.
And then on EventON Addons, I love our tickets addon. It is a very versatile addon and allows customers to sell tickets to their events and generate income without paying a commission on ticket sales. You can show guest lists and check-in guests.
Tickets addon is the bedrock and you can combine other addons like Seats, Bookings, Reminders, QR Code checking, Variations and Options, and Dynamic Pricing addons into Tickets addon to make it even more powerful solution to be able to do even more things with it.
EvertON Already Has 51k Plus Users. So Who Are the Main Users of EventON Plugin?
We are seeing more and more independent developers and designers using EventON for their client websites. We have also seen a lot of churches and yoga studios using EventON. Not to be too biased, it’s a great tool as a web developer.
If your client wants an event calendar on their site, drop in EventON and some addons do some customization to collect the bill – done. If you were to develop all this from scratch it would take hours and would cost clients a lot of money too.
So I think it’s a great tool that is relatively cheaper and quick to implement for independent developers and designers.
The WordPress Ecosystem and the World is Changing Every Day. The Needs Are Also Changing. How EventON Manages to Cope Up With the Change Happening Frequently? What Challenges Do You and Your Team Face in This Process?
Certainly, you know I am very grateful for the existence of the WordPress platform and its expansion for such a long time. I think the percentage of WordPress websites on the web is growing everyday, which is great.
I love the changes present in WordPress. I think the latest move in WP is towards more react and Gutenberg editors.
So with our recent updates, we have added a Gutenberg compatible EventON Calendar block that we fully combined with our existing shortcode generator.
So it’s amazing to see new directions from WP and it’s existing for me to see these changes and to adopt them into EventON and it exists in the WP ecosystem.
As for challenges: like with any changes in the beginning there is always going to be this learning curve to the new things.
So in that beginning phase, it’s easier for us to feel overwhelmed and feel like “Holly crap there are so much new code techniques out there that we need to learn and we are never gonna keep up” But then once you overcome that learning curve, it’s like arriving at the top of a mountain – and you see “ah well it wasn’t bad after all”.
We don’t need to learn all the new fancy things. New things today are only going to be new until tomorrow’s new thing becomes today’s new thing.
We Find EventON as a Very Colorful Plugin. What Was the Idea Behind This? Do You Want to Express Your Love for Color as a Medium Here?
Haha crazy thing is I used to wear just black and white shirts when I was in college. I think my wife added color to my life 🙂 Sky blue is my favorite color and the warm summer orange-yellow presents a nice contrast to the blue.
So basing on that I’ve made EventON colors and the colors of the EventON calendar is of course customizable based on user’s color choices.
What is Your Plan on EventON? What New Changes and Features Users Can Expect From EventON in the Future?
So we just recently released an amazing new addon called RSVP Points, which allow users to sell, gift or grant points to their customer, who can later use those points to RSVP to events.
I just got done with it and I’m pretty excited about all the cool features that come in this addon.
As far as future developments, we are thinking about some new design layouts to present events. And probably more improvements in live virtual events integrated with EventON.
We are also planning to improve a lot of our popular addons with various features that certainly improve the functionality of them.
Would You Please Tell Us About Your Plan With WordPress? And as a WordPress Enthusiast How Do You Picture the Future of WordPress?
WordPress has a huge support base so I don’t think it will go away easily. It is evolving very nicely with changes to the web’s needs and what users are favoring from time to time.
But that doesn’t mean it will be there forever. Every great thing will fall eventually. Even the greatest Babylonia collapsed.
We can only create stories about what will happen in the future in this moment. But this moment right now is the only real thing and in this moment, WordPress is doing a fantastic job in supporting various individuals making a living.
I am very thankful for the existence of a platform like WordPress. At this moment it is evolving nicely with changes to new technologies. Take a look at the latest 5.5 release, man it made all my WordPress sites so much faster 🙂
On Your Website, You Showcased Some of Your Art. And Also You Mentioned That You Love to Travel. So Tell Us What Else You Love to Do. And Also Tell Us Something More About Your Art and Traveling.
Sure thing, recently I have been really enjoying morning meditations and yoga. As for travel, there is not a whole lot of traveling you can do now with COVID 🙂
As an introvert, this whole COVID lockdown has been an amazing change of events for me to reflect on what I am doing and to see what is really important in life.
As far as art, I used to paint a lot when I was little and had kind of stopped in during college and I certainly enjoy being able to get back into it.
When the virus is done, I sure plan to hop on a plane and fly somewhere cool just like most people 🙂 It is probably going to be in Sri Lanka.
Our Audiences Would Love to Get Some Tips and Advice From You. So, What Are Your Advice and Success Tips for the New Entrepreneurs?
Don’t take shortcuts to avoid struggles, struggles are presented in life for a reason, to teach us some lesson. Accept it and find what you can learn from it. Without the struggles I had in my earlier life I would never be where I am at now.
For someone interested in developing WP Plugins, I’d say: You don’t have to have the perfect or the best product to enter the market.
Build something, get it out there, your first customers will be your testers and feedback-givers – but be fast at fixing issues. No one wants to pay for a broken product.
After all, all software products have issues, that’s what updates are for 🙂 So if you are hesitating on whether to release a plugin or not, remember there will never be a perfect time like right now.
I’d also like to share this, that took me a while to realize: don’t measure your success by the amount of money or the positions or the things you can buy or things you own, all those things once achieved you will realize the hollowness in it.
100 years from now, none of those will matter. They may give you immediate satisfaction right now, soon to be realized that more of it is needed to feed the crave.
Instead focus on how much you have grown as a person within yourself, the lessons you’ve learned, and how many lives you can affect positively and help – now that. no one can take away from you and will give much joy!
Thank you very much for doing this interview with me! You have a great blog with amazing content. I hope this will help you in some way 🙂
In a Nutshell
Releasing your first plugin is quite difficult. Rechecking all the loopholes and trying to improve more can be a reason for the late release. But Ashan gave you an important suggestion.
He said, “So if you are hesitating on whether to release a plugin or not, remember there will never be a perfect time like right now.” Start it now and see the result you want.
Thinking a bit different is not always bad. Sometimes your simple solution can make others’ lives and work easy. So don’t stop thinking differently. And work hard for your dream.
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