Miriam Schwab Interview – “Let’s solve some of the top performance and security issues in WordPress”
Do you know static WordPress? It is a technology that brings significant performance and security improvements to your business website. You can learn more about this concept in today’s interview with Miriam Schwab – the CEO of Strattic. We’ll also cover topics like marketing, personal mission, building our favorite CMS, and more.
Just a quick mention before we start. Be sure to check out our latest interview with Adam Connell if you’re interested in content writing and marketing. Or browse our full collection of interviews with other interesting people from our community.
Miriam Schwab is the mastermind behind it strategic, a company that turns your dynamic WordPress website into a static one. This might not sound too tempting at first, but the idea has been around for a while, and it’s actually a great way to make your website work a lot faster.
This technology improves your website speed and overall site security by a ton – without changing how WordPress works and looks (from an admin perspective).
Miriam discovered her passion for entrepreneurship when she saw an opportunity to build something very unique in Israel. She capitalized on a local market that lacked advanced WordPress skills and filled the gap with a solution that proved to be an enduring solution to a real need in the enterprise sector.
She was only at the beginning of Strattic’s journey. Now it’s an entire company with people contributing to the same goal: “Bringing static and headless architecture to the WordPress ecosystem” (in Miriam’s words).
Let’s listen to the great insights she shared with us below:
Miriam Schwab Interview – “I created Strattic to solve some of the top performance and security issues in WordPress”
When and how did you start working with WordPress? Is there an interesting story here?
After the birth of my fourth child, I realized that I needed more flexibility and opportunities in my work. I wanted to be able to take time off to attend school events, look after my children when they are ill, and work whenever I could outside of normal hours, e.g. B. after the children have gone to sleep in the evening. I also wanted to work in a field that would give me the opportunity to continue learning and work with interesting people. So instead of returning to my job after she was born, I quit and went freelance.
At first I worked as a copywriter and translator for companies, but my passion has always been technology, so at the same time I started teaching myself how to create websites. Eventually I felt confident enough to start building websites and I quickly realized that I needed to give my clients the ability to edit their own websites.
That’s when I started exploring the options and found the open source direction particularly appealing. After trying the big three open source CMS – Joomla, Drupal and WordPress – I fell in love with WordPress and started offering WP development services to my clients.
I was one of the first in Israel to offer WP services to businesses. So when companies started to proactively switch to WP I was well positioned to take over this business and I grew from a simple person to an agency.
What’s your technique for staying productive throughout the day?
For me, productivity means maintaining an overview and driving projects and processes forward. I also want to be as efficient as possible. Here are some of the tools I use to automate and offload Headspace:
- Google Calendar – what’s not in my calendar doesn’t happen. I have two calendars – one work and one personal, and as soon as something needs to be planned, it goes in.
- Gmelius – This app for Gmail redisplays emails awaiting a reply to remind me to follow up.
- TextExpander – Shortcuts for text I use repeatedly, like my email address, our website URL, my bio, etc.
I try to make sure I get enough sleep as I get up at 5:30 am every day. I also go for a walk every morning, it gives me energy for the day and I try to take breaks when I feel my productivity is slipping after spending long hours in front of my screen.
How do you define “successful”?
I don’t really think about whether I’m successful or not. But when I make a positive impact on the people around me, whether it’s my family, friends, co-workers, or clients, I’m happy with where I am. I am very grateful that I love my work and am constantly learning new things. It’s a journey, and the journey continues to be fun and interesting, and the joy of my work makes me feel successful.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I always laugh when people ask me what my hobbies are. I’m a co-founder of a growing startup and a single mom. So I don’t have much free time. When I do that, I enjoy spending it with my kids, family and friends, whether it’s going to the beach with my kids or meeting friends for coffee.
What would you wish more people knew about WordPress?
I recently saw someone describe WordPress as the largest no-code project on the web. It’s true! People are always looking for the next great no-code solution and WordPress gets overlooked even though it has existed and grown as the most popular and widely adopted no-code solution!
Also, the community is great. It makes working with WordPress even more enjoyable.
Describe the WordPress community in one word.
What’s the one thing you want to change about WordPress?
Well, I created Strattic to solve some of the top performance and security issues in WordPress, so that’s it 🙂
How do you see the development of WordPress compared to ten years ago? Is it on the right track?
WordPress has always been on track to remain a flexible CMS with a very robust ecosystem. However, usability became an issue as drag-and-drop web builders proliferated and WP’s editing experience started to feel really dated and clunky.
I think the push to make Gutenberg a priority was the right strategy to strengthen WP’s position and future.
What is the #1 thing a new business getting into the WordPress space should do?
Get to know the communities around WP. The community is very diverse in terms of location, experience, background and business models and there is so much to learn.
What do you think is the most efficient way to market your own services right now?
Ha, that’s the million dollar question (literally!). Strategies and tactics that worked yesterday may not work today, and there is a constant need for testing and adjustment. One person’s product may appeal to one type of user, while another product may not appeal to them at all.
So there is no uniform direction. However, there is one tactic that always seems to be effective in one way or another, and that is creating quality content.
Did your business idea surface after unpleasant experiences you’ve personally had with WordPress, or did it simply emerge as a solution to an existing need you discovered among WordPress users?
As I mentioned earlier, I started a WordPress development agency and created custom websites for businesses for many years. Over these years, websites have demanded more and more of our constant attention in terms of security, maintenance and performance. At some point I wondered if it was the right way for our customers to continue working exclusively with WordPress.
I started researching other solutions and came across an emerging trend of static site generators (later called Jamstack, Headless and Decoupled). I was really excited since these sites solved all the issues mentioned above – static sites are pre-rendered so they’re fast, WP and the server stack are gone so there’s virtually nothing to hack, and they scale infinitely.
But when I looked at what it means to create these pages, I realized that they are incredibly complicated and using them would mean reinventing the wheel on many things. And not only are they expensive and complicated to build, they also require a lot more developer resources to maintain.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that WordPress is still the best CMS out there. Yay! And then I thought – well how about we turn WP into a static site builder so we can get the best of both worlds – all the ease of use, familiarity and tools of WP with the speed, security and scalability of static sites . And so Strattic was born. 🙂
What is the biggest challenge in being a CEO?
I don’t know exactly because I don’t want to do anything else. I am very fortunate to have a great partner, Josh Lawrence, and we work together on all strategic matters. Our CTO is Zeev Suraski who co-developed PHP and brings a wealth of experience and wisdom to the table.
We’ve worked hard to hire amazing, smart, nice people to join our team and create a friendly, supportive work environment for everyone, which makes all the difference in our day-to-day experiences.
What is the culture of your company? What does Strattic stand for?
We sometimes refer to our culture as “nice and nerdy.” 🙂 It is very important to us that our work environment is respectful and supportive. We are also very family oriented – as family people we know your family deserves attention too and are not only very flexible in this regard but see this as an integral part of our team’s life that needs to be recognized and supported.
What is your personal definition of a “high quality WordPress website”?
A quality WordPress website is lightweight and effective. It is a site that is efficiently constructed and also strategic in its structure in support of business goals.
What is your favorite/must have WordPress plugin and why?
What is your preferred customer type? What about the client you least enjoy working with?
At Strattic, we truly love all of our customers. We love that they use cutting edge technology and look forward to trying a whole new, different and modern approach to deploying their WordPress websites. We love how engaged so many of our customers are with us, and the questions they ask help us to keep getting better and continue to serve the WordPress ecosystem.
What is your #1 rule when it comes to WordPress security?
Don’t run WordPress live 🙂. What? Yup. When you run your site on Strattic, your live production site is completely separate from the WP server and backend, meaning there is basically no attack surface. This is the safest way to run WP.
What do you think makes WordPress the most dominant CMS?
WP has been developed by the community for eighteen years, so it’s constantly moving in a direction that serves a large number of users. As a result, it continues to be the best CMS in its class thanks to its open-source nature, extensibility and tools, and an active community.
Are you part of any cool online/offline communities or groups? Can be any topic, not necessarily work related.
It has always been important to me to support other women in their careers. I have volunteered for many years on the steering committee of a very active professional women’s community, mentoring women who are looking to take the next step in their careers or start a business. I also speak at events aimed at empowering women, particularly in technology.
What drives you to keep doing what you do? What is your personal mission?
I’m excited to bring static and headless architecture to the WP ecosystem. I believe it helps people do their jobs better and makes the internet better for everyone. I also love my team and think it’s great that I can learn something new every day. It’s incredible.
What are the biggest challenges to keep up with your mission?
Finding the time to do all the millions of things I’d like to do. On the one hand, I know I have to be realistic. On the other hand, it’s frustrating that I can’t do more in one day.
That sums up our Miriam Schwab interview. If you liked it and want to learn more, please leave your comments in the section below. If you also have ideas on who we should talk to next, please feel free to share your suggestions with us!