(This is more of a personal post than normal. If that’s not your thing, sorry, but at least I warned you!)

My name’s Michael Martin, and I’m the person behind Pro Blog Design. If you’ve ever emailed in, tweeted, or left a Facebook message (or most likely, even if you’ve just left a comment here!) then you’ve talked to me before.

And if you’ve been here at all before, you’ve definitely read articles I’ve written (and naturally if you’ve worked with us, you’ve probably had more emails from me than you actually wanted!)

But you’ve never seen a photo of me.

In one week from today, I launch the biggest project of my life, and it just doesn’t seem fair to ask you to purchase something from me without knowing who I am.

So you’ll have to forgive this being a bit of dull post. It’s for those of you who really want to get involved with PliablePress and take part in shaping what it becomes. The first step towards that is introductions.

So Who Am I?

Michael Martin Well, that’s me over there on the right!

The reason you’ve never seen a photo before is that I was fairly young when I started Pro Blog Design.

I’m 20 now, and have the reputation of 3 years writing and designing at Pro Blog Design to back me up.

When I started out though, I was 17 and wondered if I’d have trouble with people taking me seriously or not. I never lied about my age, I just avoided bringing it up.

The awesome thing about the internet though is that the very best people (ie. the ones you actually want to work with, and the ones you want to be your customers) really couldn’t care less what age you are (Or where you’re from, or anything else for that matter). They just want you to know your stuff.

It took me a while to realize that, and I probably could (and should!) have put photos online before now. Maybe a few people would have been put off, but not the important ones (A few especially perceptive clients even worked it out because of the times I sent most of my emails at, and none were bothered).

Kind of nice to have done that now, I think I was the only person in the world to have Facebook and not have a single photo on it!

What All Do You Do?

I’m a full time student at Queen’s University, Belfast, studying Computer Science (It’s good most of the time, but if you were having concerns about Flash now, have you ever even heard of Adobe Director? Yawn…).

Pro Blog Design is where the real fun happens though. When I started out, and for quite a while afterwards, this was all a one man show. I wrote all the posts, handled all the communications, and did all the design and code work.

Now I still write a lot of posts and do all the communications, but instead of writing every post, I often hire other writers and then work as an editor. And instead of doing all of the design work by myself, I now oversee it and guide the project (Though I do most of the coding myself, and all of the coding in Chameleon of course).

Why change to a team effort? Well for one thing, I needed to. Productivity is one thing, but there’s a point where even the most colorful of to-do lists and focus tricks aren’t going to take you any further…

The best reason though is that I get to work with people who are better than me. If you hire us to design your website now, you’re going to get a much better site than if you’d hired just me 3 years ago.

Why? Because I work with designers who are better than me. I’ve done enough design work myself to know a fantastic designer when I see them, and that’s why at Pro Blog Design, you only get the best.

Sorry if that seems like a copout as a freelancer, but anyone who thinks they’re the very best at everything they do just isn’t being honest with themselves. Everyone has strengths, and the only way to build something awesome is to find people who rock at the areas you’re just “good” in.

For me, that meant graphic design in particular (Ever notice how I don’t write Photoshop tutorials? I can make your site as user-friendly and functional as you like, but for really eye-grabbing graphics, I knew I needed to pair up with an awesome designer)

The Exciting Part

So now you know who I am and what I do, I have some news to share with you. Up until now, I’ve always had something full time to work on aside from Pro Blog Design (i.e. university), but that’s about to change.

The next year in my course is supposed to be spent working in industry for a year. For me, it means that come June I’ll be working full time on the web for (at least!) the next 16 months. And I can’t wait!

So if you thought everything up until now was good, just wait until I’m able to go at it full throttle! And naturally, PliablePress is going to be a massive part of that.

If you made it this far down the post, thanks for taking the time to read it all. Now that you know me, I’d love to know you.

With PliablePress, we really are going to involve you in everything. We’ve done enough work on the web to have a good idea of what you will like, but it’s not possible to know that better than you do.

If you want to get involved and help shape PliablePress, I’d be delighted. A big part of that will be in discussions on the user forum when we launch, and on the blog, but the first step is just joining the newsletter. We’re going to have some big questions on it soon and I’d love to hear your opinions.

And if you’ve been following along in the background in all this or we haven’t spoken much before, please do introduce yourself in the comments (let me know who you are and how I can help you!). I’m not joking in the slightest about wanting to get to know you.

It’s just 7 days to the launch. I hope this post took you a little further along the road to trusting me to make your site rock!

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