About

This is essentially a collection of things that define me.

Speaking at WordCamp Milano 2016.

Human Made

I work at Human Made, a top-tier WordPress development agency and WordPress.com VIP partner. We specialise in large-scale WordPress websites, bridging the gap between the open source communities and big media / enterprise companies, create online products, and run professional conferences, so far based on the WP REST API and remote work.

The Human Made team, Petritoli (Italy), 2017.

My day-to-day life at Human Made consists of several activities, mainly including product management / research / marketing, writing things up, and all things considered just getting stuff done.

At Human Made everything happens remotely and asynchronously. Since we proved to be rather successful at what we do while not being in the same place or time zone, becoming a passionate remote working advocate over the years seemed a pretty obvious outcome.

WordPress & FOSS

I’ve been using WordPress since 2007, when I built my first website. WordPress is such an important part of who I am—not just as a blogger, but as someone who strongly believes in freedom of speech and expression. WordPress makes it so easy to publish content, and by doing so it gives everyone the chance to speak, and ultimately to be heard. Isn’t that awesome?

Francesca Marano and I working on something together, WordCamp London 2016 Contributor Day

In case you didn’t know, WordPress is free and it’s built and maintained by thousands of community volunteers. People who use or work with WordPress, and invest their time to give something back to the project, according to their skills and areas of interest. I contribute back to the project in any way I can, mostly with community-related stuff—i.e. mentoring new speakers or organising WordCamp London 2018.

I’m also part of the Italian WordPress community, which I contributed to re-build in 2015—WCEU in Seville was the real turning point.

Speaking

I love sharing what I know at conferences and meetups. I’ve spoken at pretty big events (i.e. WordCamp Europe), as well as niche meetups with just a few people listening. I normally don’t care about how many people listen to what I say, sharing the knowledge matters whether your audience is 2 or 20k human beings.

I normally speak about a wide range of topics, including product, remote working, writing, productivity, hiring, co-working, and user support. Check my talks on Speaker Deck (slides) and WordPress.tv (videos).

Here’s a map of events I’ve spoken at:

Sports

I’m a fairly active person. I lift weights five times per week, assisted by my online coach Daniel Zigler, and practice Brazilian jiu-jitsu at a Roger Gracie Academy—still a white belt though!

I consider myself a sports junkie, and that’s a big part of my life. I’m a rugby union fanatic, love MMA, and watch a fair amount of tennis (at least most of the majors). I grew up watching a lot of football (what you Americans call soccer), but I don’t enjoy it as much as I used to anymore.

Coffee, tea, beer, whisky, etc.

I’m both a coffee and a tea enthusiast, and I enjoy the occasional single malt, IPA or glass of red wine. Most of my experiences in this area are documented on my blog about drinks and travel: Franz Drinks.

Music

I play the bass guitar, and I’m proud to say that over the years have done some nice things with it.

I’ve been on stage countless times as a sideman with several artists, mostly pop-rock bands and singers-songwriters.

As a bass player I try to be as much versatile as I can. I don’t focus on genres, and you can hear me practicing really anything, from latin-jazz bass lines to hard rock & heavy metal.

The studio work I’m most proud of is certainly with a project called Two Naked Oceans, back in 2012. It Ain’t and Vivid Reds are the two songs I recorded with them, very good stuff that you should check out.

Linguistics

Not many people in my current social circle know that I have a Master’s Degree in General and Applied Linguistics. If you don’t know what linguistics is, this is how Wikipedia defines it: it’s the scientific study of language, and involves an analysis of language form, language meaning, and language in context.

My main areas of interest were pragmatics and information structure, functional linguistics, philosophy of language. Formally, I might say some of those lost their relevancy in who I am today. But there are so many occasions where that kind of training helps me during my daily life.

One example: being able to appreciate how people distribute information in a sentence or a text, through tone, high-level syntax, etc., is a remarkable support when I need to determine the true point that person is trying to make. Makes a freakin’ good BS detector, if we want to ditch the academic vocabulary for one second.