In a very short time, Sujay Pawar has garnered global attention. His team, Brainstorm Force has produced some of the most popular products in the WordPress space including Astra Themes and Ultimate Addons as well as ConvertPro and All-in-one Schema Pro.
Recently, the company announced that the Astra WordPress theme has been installed on a whopping 40,000 websites, all within less than a year. It is fast becoming one of the most popular themes due to its ease of use, fast performance, and their intentional development to be used with the best page builders in the WordPress ecosystem.
Did you know that Brainstorm Force is also a user of the MainWP plugin? Pretty cool.
Recently, I asked Sujay Pawar, Co-Founder of Brainstorm Force and Astra Themes, a few questions about business and WordPress.
Q&A with Sujay Pawar of Brainstorm Force
What kind of tools/apps do you use to keep yourself on pace?
As a tech entrepreneur who is running a 40 people company, I use many tools. Here are some of my favorite ones that I can’t recommend highly enough:
Projects & Communication:
- Trello for managing projects and organizing things
- Slack and Google Hangout for communicating with teams
- Google Apps for Email, Calendar, Sharing Documents and Spreadsheets
- Dropbox for file sharing
Code & Geeky Tools
- Sublime Text for code editing and GitLab for version control
- Linode for deployment and hosting
- Freshdesk for handling support as a helpdesk
- Monosnap for capturing screenshots and quick videos
WordPress Plugins and Themes
- MainWP to keep track of 20+ websites that we manage and maintain on a daily basis.
- UpDraftPlus for Backups
- And our very own, Astra WordPress theme and suite of plugins in the agency bundle!
What are your top three pieces of advice for other WordPress Professionals?
Pay attention to your health. Spend time with your loved ones.
We love our business and work. But be sure to take time for yourself as well. Develop some hobbies outside of work. It keeps you fresh and energized.
Invest in things that save your time.
We’re in the business where time is our greatest investment. So don’t be afraid to invest in tools that save your time.
Surround yourself with smart people who you can learn from.
Keep learning and improving!
What do you like to do for fun? What are your favorite hobbies?
I love trying new apps and software just for fun. I have purchased many deals on AppSumo, only to try the new software in my free time. When I’m away from the keyboard, I like to taste different Indian dishes and read books.
What book or resource had the biggest impact on your career?
When I was 17, I read “The Dream” by Gurbaksh Chahal which was the source of my inspiration while starting Brainstorm Force. It is an autobiography by an Entrepreneur who sold two businesses for over $300 million at the age of 25. Around the same time, I remember watching Pirates of Silicon Valley for at least 10 times, haha!
How do you want to see WordPress improve?
I would love if WordPress starts pushing hosts and users to get on the latest versions of PHP and make 7.0 version as the minimum requirement. It is very surprising that WordPress still supports PHP 5.2.4 which is declared as “Unsupported” came to “End of Life” in 2011.
Besides many benefits for the developers, PHP 7.x executes 2x faster compared with PHP 5.x versions. If WordPress starts recommending PHP 7.x aggressively, we will see a faster, more secure and better Internet as it is 30% of the web.
What do you see in the future of the WordPress ecosystem?
WordPress, which started as a blogging tool and became a better CMS platform with custom types & fields in the 3.0 release. After introducing REST APIs in the 4.4 release, developers started considering it as an application framework. Now that 5.0 is almost here, we will get better editor with Gutenberg.
The WordPress core team is focusing efforts on Customizer improvements as well. These changes are directly targeted towards making WordPress even easier for beginners.
So in the near future, I see WordPress becoming more popular and acquiring new users; which means even more opportunities for WordPress professionals!
What was the best piece of advice you ever received in life and business?
The business best advice I read is from Jeff Bezos of Amazon. It was something like, “Find things that don’t go out of fashion and invest in them”.
For example Speed of the websites. No one will ever say after few years, “My website was slower” or “I wish Brainstorm Force offered slower support.”
So I always try to invest in the fundamentals rather than running behind trends. The other personal advice I received was from my mother. She said, “The only thing that will stick with you forever is your health. So take good care of it.”
Makes great sense, right?
What are some of your future goals for the Astra Theme?
Our goals are small and incremental, yet ambitious. With each release, we strive to make Astra easier, faster and rock solid. We want Astra to be the theme that everyone will trust to build their websites.
How does your team use MainWP?
Our team loves MainWP! As we manage over 20 websites of our own, MainWP helps us greatly keep track of all of them from one central dashboard. We’ve tried several WordPress administration tools and MainWP beats them all with self-hosted control, stability, reliability, great features and affordable price.
What are other WordPress tools part of your dev stack?
AntiSpam, Backups, Security, SEO, Contact Forms and Analytics are crucial parts of every WordPress website. Just a few days ago, I wrote a blog post that covers some plugins that I install on every WordPress website.
Wrapping it up
I appreciate Sujay taking the time to answer the questions. He and his team are super busy making sure their products get better every day. Brainstorm Force is an example of what can happen when your team works hard and works together.