Interview with Mike Sullivan at xenFrench.com
Can you give us a brief bio?
My name is Mike Sullivan and I'm one of the XenForo Ltd founders. I'm 29 and have been involved in some way with forums since I was about 15. I'm American, but about 7 years ago I moved to the UK. A few years ago I moved up to Glasgow, where I still live with my wife.
What are the advantages of XenForo compare other forum software? why buy XenForo ..
Well, if you're here, then I suspect you already know...
But really, we try to focus on user engagement and keeping people coming back and involved in the forum. We tried to think about how things are done today rather than how they were done 10 years ago.
I know that work is currently oriented primarily on Xenforo, but many people are looking forward to great addon as CMS, gallery etc. ... is it already planned? (PS: For me, the addition of a gallery is definitely a big advantage )
Other add-ons are definitely something that we have in mind, but only after we feel that we have the scope to take on the additional tasks without short changing the core forum product. Equally, we want to make sure that the XenForo framework supports the add-ons we want sufficiently.
XenForo cause a big BOOM in software forum, did you expect was that?
Well, we certainly hoped that it would, but we really didn't expect it. It was a pleasant surprise and great validation.
There are many similarities with Facebook, is this intentional?
Insofar as they are good techniques to keep users engaged and so on, yes. However, we've pulled our inspiration from many services and simply from our own ideas.
The current team is made of 2 developers and a business manager, is this enough, do you expand your team?
It suits us well. Adding more people does potentially allow us to take on more, but more people does create its own challenges.
However, we can't forget our moderators, specifically Brogan, Jake, and Slavik. We wouldn't be anywhere without them.
When you are away from Jelsoft, did you know what you were going to guide you?
We really just looked at today's trends on the Internet and combined that with our own ideas. We had no idea if it was going to work, but based on the reaction we got, it definitely did.
Besides the internet, what are your usual activities?
These days, it seems mostly like I'm working.
I play the drums. I have my (electronic) drum kit right next to my desk, so I'll usually take a break to play for a bit.
Then I'm also into photography. Sometimes I'm really into it, but other times I'm happy not taking a camera with me. At an event, it's very easy to get sucked into the camera and the photos, rather than actually watching what's going on. I have to strike a balance.
Finally, though I really don't get to play them that much, I'm still a bit of a gamer. Unfortunately given that I don't have that much time, RPGs are by far my favorite genre. I grew up on Final Fantasy.
Kier seems to be more oriented on Announcements and tutorials, do you have respective tasks? And Ashley, but what is he of his days!
Well, that's been a bit different these days. However, we do have difference tasks. Really, we just gravitate more to our strengths and comforts. I'm not really interested (in general) in recording videos of new features, though I do like writing the posts to show them off.
I'm usually been happy hanging out behind the scenes working on the technicals.
How and who found the name XenForo?
I think Kier came up with it. We liked "Foro" as it is a bit different than calling it "X Forum" (though it still means forum in Spanish) and we liked how it sounded. "Xen" sounds cool and also means "different", so it all worked well.
Kier and you each work on his side, you do they make in meetings in one or the other?
Kier and I used to live quite close to each other so we used to meet in person and work together very regularly. Now we're about 400 miles apart so most of our meetings happen over Skype.
Which are your time slot working?
In general, I keep "normal" working ours as my wife does as well. However, I'm a bit more flexible. I'm not that productive in the mornings for example.
And as the founder of a start up, my work is never done. Even if I'm not properly "working" (as in, sitting down and coding), I'm always involved with XF, either by being on the forums or answering support tickets. My job is never done.
How your friend (Evalyn) she sees your work, she gives you tips, opinion?
Well, she's not really my friend - she's my wife.
I do show her what I'm working on but she doesn't really give me her opinion that much. In general, I find it better to show some previews to our moderators and to get feedback from there. A few features have had good improvements from that while they were being worked on.
Do you think officially support other languages?
In the future, perhaps. However, it's a big project to work on so I don't think we have any plans for it right now.
Which are your future plans professionally and personally?
Personal and professional are totally intertwined for me.
Really, the focus right now is simply on finishing XF 1.2. Then I suspect the focus will shift to RM 1.1 and XF 1.3. Beyond that, I have various thoughts but nothing to talk about right now.
Tell us something we don't know about you and XenForo!
I've mentioned this before in a different interview, but I'm a big extreme metal fan. For example, I like bands likeGojira and Fleshgod Apocalypse. Metal is very drum-driven, so that might be why.
In terms of XenForo, we occasionally throw some easter eggs in. As a moderator, try to spam clean yourself (you'll need to enter the URL manually).
A final word for the French community?
I know it took a while to happen, but thanks for the interview and thanks for supporting XenForo!
(soon translate on xenFrench.com)