AMA With Collis N.2

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Note: This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.

Collis is Envato’s wise and fearless leader. Every month we’ll choose a bunch of your questions, and Collis will answer them. You can add your questions to the pot by heading over to this Web form. It’s also a great place to catch his previous pearls of wisdom.

Here are this month’s questions:

As most of your employees, specially reviewers/moderators work from home around the world, how do you find them, interview them, and pay them? It’s very bewildering.

We actually have a mix of employees and contractors. Almost all our remote team are contractors who then invoice Envato each month for their work.

We find people to join the team in a variety of ways, sometimes through job ads, sometimes simply by asking people from the community who are particularly active, or sometimes by asking around with existing team members who have recommendations of other great people.

It’s really wonderful being able to work with so many talented people from around the world. We’re truly blessed and I really love when we get a chance to meet up in person and chat over tea!

Why is Envato not using SSL Encryption yet?

The main reason our marketplaces don’t use SSL is to do with the way the single sign-on is built. As you know we have multiple marketplaces over multiple domains which makes it a difficult project and it hasn’t ranked as high as some of our other projects (including other security projects).

However we do have a project to overhaul the whole setup as it has some other problems besides the lack of SSL security. So I’m really thankful to all our members for their patience on this front.

Any plans for a kind of “TechStorm” blog for reviewing and discussing hardware instead of apps?

That’s an interesting idea! Not at the moment, but it certainly is a cool idea! :-)

When will will become visible to all? Thank you.

Very soon! We’re now in a beta where any existing member can get in, and will soon be going full-live. I can’t wait!!

What historical figure would you most like to meet?

I would love to meet the American president Teddy Roosevelt. He had an amazing array of achievements including being the first American to ever receive a Nobel prize (he received the Peace prize). He overcame asthma and a sickly childhood to become a guy who won a medal of honor for bravery fighting, trekked around Africa and had a river in South America named after him. And there’s much more too, I highly recommend reading up about him.

I also have always loved a quote from him from a speech he gave at the Sorbonne in Paris. It’s called “The Man in the Arena”:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

What an awesomely inspiring quote. I find it to be a reminder that it’s really important to get out there and strive in life, to try your hardest and if you fail, well never mind because at least you took your shot!

Are there any benefits of starting or running a business from Asia versus rest of the world? I heard you guys started in Hong Kong, so with Singapore added to the mix, these small places might offer more opportunities for starting web business.

We actually started out in Sydney, but for a time Cyan and I were living in Hong Kong and running the business from there, and later on we stayed in Singapore, but sadly not for as long as I would like.

I think there are enormous benefits to starting in Asia, it’s such a dynamic place and there are so many talented people. The pace of life in places like Hong Kong has so much energy to it. I think it would be absolutely fabulous to live there permanently, and hope to do so in the future some day!

We have many talented authors, reviewers and writers from all corners of Asia from India and Pakistan to Malaysia and Thailand. In fact some of the best of the best come from these parts of the world, and I have tremendous respect for their work ethic, skill levels and warmth and friendliness!

Finally I should point out that one of our founders and my best friend is himself from Guangzhou in southern China. You can read about him here: Meet the Directors: Jun Rung.

Greetings Collis! Please make the support comments and replies searchable. It’s endlessly frustrating to have to click on each page and then search for help. I know it is on the list of things to do but please make it happen. Thanks!

I totally agree, we do indeed have a project to fix this. Sadly it’s been delayed a few times, but I’m hoping to make it a high priority in the coming months.

I’m really sorry it’s taken us so long! And thank you for putting up with our crappy comment system for so long. I really appreciate how loyal our buyers are and hope we can make life easier and easier in the future for them in terms of using our marketplaces.

Envato needs a “ProgTuts.” Nettuts covers JavaScript, PHP, Ruby and ASP.NET, but a ProgTuts could cover languages not typically used on the web, such as C++, C#, Objective C, Java, Assembly, the Shell, etc., and even languages for AI like Prolog and Lisp.

That sure would be cool to have stuff like Lisp! That language is meant to be super powerful but a bit hard to read if I remember correctly. We could also cover functional languages like Haskell. I remember learning some Haskell at university and it was very cool doing recursive programming.

Definitely on the list!

Hi Collis. Can you share what is the biggest mistake you have made, or the mistake that taught your most valuable lesson with Envato?

Oh there are so many!! Luckily none have been absolutely enormous mistakes, but I’ve made many small mistakes. I think it’s important to be making small mistakes all the time as it means you are trying new things and pushing yourself. Moreover from mistakes you often end up learning the most.

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made is that early on we didn’t do a good job of our accounting. We didn’t take it very seriously or invest in having good accounting and it was often quite late so that by the time we had our reports the business had moved on.

I think coming from a non-business background I didn’t understand how vital this stuff is. These days we are much more serious on this front and voluntarily undergo accounting audits every year to make sure we have a clean bill of health at all times.

Ultimately keeping good financial practices is vital to making sure Envato does well, and keeping Envato going well is vital to sustaining all our authors, writers and staff. This is a responsibility I take very, very seriously. Making those early mistakes helped drill in to me how important it is, so that I can do a better job in future.

How can I grow an awesome goatee like yours?

Well to start, I hope you are a man. Otherwise it’s going to be a challenge. I personally keep a photo of a goat in my wallet at all times as inspiration for my goatee. This really helps to get the most out of my facial hair!

  • Paulo Deucher

    I just wanna thank you for your creativity bro!
    You have a true gift for this.
    I wish you all the best.

    Paulo Deucher

  • Christophe Debruel

    some very interesting questions. The last one made me laugh 😀 totally random question

  • TrueThemes

    Great Article.

    I love what you said about making mistakes and that if you ARE making mistakes it’s a good thing because it means you are trying new things. Totally agree! :)

    I just want to personally Thank Envato for everything you guys do.

    You’ve made it possible for me to leave behind the corporate 9-5 and catapult into the WordPress Theming world.

    We now have a 3-man team and it’s all been made possible by your marketplaces. The future is bright and you’re marketplaces are literally changing people’s lives for the better.

    God Bless you guys

    Keep up the awesome work

  • cudazi

    I love that you picked Teddy Roosevelt!

  • Robin Jennings

    Great interview. I always enjoy reading about sucessful people and what makes them tick.

    I’ve really been enjoying watching Envanto’s meteoric rise.

    Whatever you’re doing, keeo doing it!