Adii Pienaar – Co-founder of WooThemes

[quote style=”boxed”]Make mistakes. I’ve made so many mistakes as an entrepreneur; it is actually ridiculous. But it is through these mistakes that I learned and I wouldn’t change that attitude ever.[/quote]

Adii Rockstar (born Adriaan Pienaar) is an entrepreneur, the co-founder of the successful online startup WooThemes and a general creator of Rockstar Awesomeness. Along with being a serial entrepreneur, he is also a designer and developer (CSS, PHP and WordPress), which has spawned his other company – a boutique design and development agency called Radiiate.

At the young age of 25, Adii has revolutionized both his business and personal life. Back in 2007 he decided to call himself a “rockstar”–so the rockstar tag is very much a result of some subjective marketing on his side. He’s just Adii to those who know him and it’s only online where the Adii Rockstar brand seems larger than life.**

Adii designs because he loves the creative freedom it affords him, while development appeals to his more logical side. Business is his real passion and it’s within that space where he is trying to design and craft his future.

What are you working on right now?

At the moment, I’m dedicating 99% of my work time to WooThemes. Having tried to work on a couple of side projects in the last 18 months (all of which failed), I’ve decided to keep my focus simplified and apply all of my energy to just one project.

Where did the idea for WooThemes come from?

In 2007 I was doing a lot of WordPress custom design/development work for clients.  I was keen to find a passive income source and I wanted to make the roll-out of custom WordPress websites much easier, so I created my first ever “premium” WordPress theme. This theme led to the introductions and subsequent collaboration with my WooThemes co-founders in July 2008.

What does your typical day look like?

I’m an early starter and I love being at the office before anybody else. I generally start my work day at about 7 AM and I then try to get out of the office by about 3 or 4 PM to get some exercise and fresh air. My mornings are almost always spent catching up on e-mails (personal, business and WooThemes customer support mail) and I routinely spend about 3 hours a day doing just e-mail (I think I’ve become rather good at this). I also try to handle most of my urgent to-do’s in the morning because I am at my most productive–I have found my day slowly starts petering out after lunch time.  I have a habit of working in the evenings, but it’s something that I’ve been trying to stop in favor of having a better work-life balance.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I work with an incredibly talented team that has all the skills and experience necessary to execute on my/our ideas. I have not been involved with the actual design and development of anything in ages, so I’ve become accustomed to trusting the team to execute our vision.

3 trends that excite you?

Cloud computing, worldwide broadband penetration and seeing more enterprise-like/B2B hosted services and digital products gain traction.

What is the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I used to do a lot of financial data capturing for my dad’s company when I was at school. It was an easy job that didn’t pay half bad. It is probably the most mundane thing I have done in my entire life, but it exposed me to real-life business (my dad was great at answering my questions) and also taught me attention to detail (which is something I’m not great at today, but I am most definitely always aware of the need to watch the details).

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Not much to be honest. I don’t think my/our journey has been perfect in any way, but through the imperfections I have learned a lot—and as a result, I feel like a better entrepreneur today.

What is the one thing you did/do as an entrepreneur that you would do over and over again and recommend everybody else do?

Make mistakes. I’ve made so many mistakes as an entrepreneur; it is actually ridiculous. But it is through these mistakes that I learned and I wouldn’t change that attitude ever.

Tell us a secret…

I’m a tad obsessive about e-mail. I hate having any e-mails in my inbox and feel the constant need to get my inbox down to zero.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Watch my presentation at WordCamp Cape Town recently, where I shared a whole bunch of money-making ideas.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. This has changed my attitude about customer service forever and is a must-read for any business owner that interacts with customers (so basically everyone).

If you weren’t working on Woo Themes, what would you be doing?

I don’t know–I’d probably try to be a writer.

When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it.

I heard this stupid joke today:

What is blue and doesn’t weight a lot? Light blue. 🙂

Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?

Elon Musk, I just love this guy’s ambition–plus he is from South Africa.


Adii Pienaar’s Blog:
Adii Pienaar  on Twitter: @adii