Cory Miller, Founder of iThemes, took his spot in the ManageWP AMA chair this week and shared his thoughts on leadership, marketing, and, of course, the future of WordPress. You can follow him on Twitter @corymiller303.
Miller started his career as a newspaper journalist and in 2008 created iThemes, a company that now employs 25 people and services thousands of customers.
Here are five takeaways.
Only Seek To Control What You Can Control.
Running a company comes with a myriad of stresses and frustrations, and finding a way to deal with those is critical. Miller suggests thinking about what your unmet expectations are in that specific situation. If it is something you can control, move forward and fix the problem. If it is out of your control, don’t dwell on it. Things you can control include actions, reactions, feelings, thoughts, and attitudes.
Miller admitted before he began thinking about things this way, he wasted energy focusing on the things he couldn’t control. That’s not to say Miller never feels frustrated or angry, now he works to use the frustration or anger he feels to do something productive.
Talking About Mental Health Is Important.
Back in June, Miller shared a blog post explaining his struggle with mental health. Now, he never wants to stop talking about it.
“I want to see mental health talked about as much if not more as physical health and wellness. I want to see the stigma of seeking mental health help completed wiped erased. I want more people to feel empowered to seek mental health help from trained and caring professionals. I want to see people live happier and healthier lives as a result of the looking after their mental health,” Miller said.
Since publishing the story, Miller has received positive feedback from people who are too afraid to talk about what they’re going through. Now he realizes just how important bringing this to light is and is going to continue to be vocal about it so people know they can come to him if they need.
Trust Is The Biggest Factor When Making A New Hire.
Miller is no stranger to hiring new people; in fact, he wrote about it. Hiring the wrong person is not only costly, but it also makes for a painful and awkward situation. Finding the right fit is extremely important. Ask yourself, if you get along with this person, will your team? You don’t want to hire someone you don’t want to be around. Do you share the same vision? Varying visions can kill a burgeoning company. Ask questions to find out if you are on the same page.
One of the most important factors, especially with a company the size of iThemes, is trust. Miller often invites employees to his home. In fact, some were even at the hospital when his son was born. If a prospective hire wouldn’t do well around his children, he doesn’t move forward with the interviews. The last piece is skill set, and making sure the person can do the work.
The Future Of WordPress Lies With The Next Generation.
Predictably, a few people asked about not only the future of WordPress but the future of iThemes as well. The one thing Miller really wants to see continue in the community is events and activities geared towards children. Being a loving father of two, Miller can clearly see that saying the future lies with the children isn’t just a cliche. If we can teach kids how to code and love WordPress, then it will continue to be strong.
As for iThemes, Miller wants to keep having a greater positive impact on the lives of his employees and customers.
“I want to set the example for how work should be. For how a team should be. I want to have work hard, and play hard, with our team so when we’re older we can have many stories to share around the campfire,” he said.
Being A Dad Is The Hardest Job.
Miller has two children, a boy named Caloway and a daughter named Lillian. Growing up, he always wanted kids and thought he would be the best dad ever but was in for a shock when it came time to put it into practice.
Miller admitted this is the biggest challenge he’s ever faced, and he doesn’t always feel like he’s doing the best job.
“It’s been the most humbling stage of my life. I thought I had my act together, but I realize in the reflection of being a parent, I have so many areas of improvement to go. My children have taught me how to be a better man and human. And I’m working furiously to do so,” Miller said.
ManageWP is taking a break for a week then returning on Wednesday, Dec. 16, with Brian Gardner, founder of StudioPress.