Balance: Being a Corporate Wage Slave While Loving Open Souce

Short Form


How I went from contributing on the side to being hired to work on open source full-time.


Some of us fall into Open Source because it does everything we want, but our jobs don’t align. In the mid 2000s, I was working for a bank who banned open source code, and ran into WordPress as a way to put my writing online. The more I used it, the more I felt joy at working on code in a community that welcomed users as an integral part of development. Over the course of three years, I went from user to contributor to quitting my job at the bank. Now I work for a company who embraces Open Source so much, they pay for some of us to give back to Open Source as an official part of our jobs.


work-life, balance, career

Speaking experience

Multiple WordCamps: San Francisco 2012 & 2013, Chicago 2012 & 2013, Portland 2013, Las Vegas 2013, Boston 2013 for videos.

I will be doing a SIMILAR talk in Miami, directed at how you can get a job in WP without being a kick ass coder.


  • Biography

    Mika Ariela Epstein is better known as Ipstenu, the Half-Elf Support Rogue. Working for DreamHost as a WordPress Support Specialist and Manager (aka ‘WordPress Guru’), she solves any WordPress problem that comes up, trains everyone from support to marketing in why WordPress makes your life better, and still finds time to slash unanswered forum threads by night and wrangle plugins by day. A self-taught guru on Multisite and .htaccess, she has a passion for writing and technology and blogs about them whenever possible.

    The rumor that she has dice in her purse and tinfoil in her hats is in a constant state of Schrödinger proofs.