Get to Know Your Speakers: Taylor McCaslin

1) What do you do for a living (company you work for, official title, daily responsibilities, etc.)?
I’m a Technical Product Manager living in Austin, Texas. I currently work at WP Engine, a managed hosting platform for websites and apps built with WordPress. I spend most days working to make the lives of WP Engine customers better. I listen to customer feedback, investigate new features, track down bugs, and help drive our product forward. My current focus is improving the developer tools we offer at WP Engine, making it easier and more efficient to develop WordPress websites on our platform.

2) How did you get into WordPress?
WordPress actually paid my way through college. I studied business, digital art & media, theatre, and computer science at UT Austin. That mix of studies provided me with a lot of great opportunities to engage Austin businesses—like local theatres—to help them build websites, powered by WordPress. I started a freelance business during college which ultimately helped me graduate college without any debt, and some extra cash in my pocket to fund my new technology habit. WordPress has always had a special place in my heart for the opportunities it opened up for me during my college years. WordPress has been my platform of choice now for over 5 years. I’ve built websites, mobile apps, ticketing systems, ecommerce sites, and headless backend systems on WordPress. I have yet to find something I couldn’t make WordPress do.

3) What’s a great experience you had at a WordCamp?
By far the best experience I’ve had was giving my multisite presentation to a packed room of 50-60 developers at WordCamp Philly in June. There is just something about having a room full of people with whom you get to share your experience. My favorite part of speaking at WordCamps is the Q&A at the end. I love hearing how people are using WordPress in new and interesting ways.

4) What are your non-WordPress, non-Computer related hobbies?
Well if I’m not playing with whatever new technology that’s captivating me at the moment (coin, vessyl, Apple Watch, nest, etc) I can be found experiencing the rich Austin, Texas art scene. Having studied theatre in college, I always enjoy attending a local theatre production. Anytime I’m traveling to a new city I always check out what’s on stage at the local theatres.

5) If you could be any fictional character, who would you be and why?
This one is easy, my inner tech geek makes this a no brainer: Tony Stark. I can just imagine what I’d do with a limitless supply of advanced technology, cash, and a best friend AI. I identify so much with Stark in the Iron Man series: endless curiosity, a knack for figuring out how anything works, and a drive to always be pushing the limits of what technology can allow us to do. Technology allows us to do more with less, it connects us to people we otherwise would never meet, it opens up new opportunities and drives innovation.