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Meet the ‘gatekeeper’ of yithemes.com – Francesco Grasso

Francesco is the developer of yithemes.com and the more recent project of Proteo. He makes sure that the main website runs smoothly as well as many other projects. Apart from development he also looks after the training for the company, a hugely vital role central to YITH, but who is Francesco and how did he join the company?

Just to confuse matters more, his colleagues don’t call him Francesco but Ciccio for two reasons. Firstly, this is a nickname given to him since he was a small child, and secondly, there are a few other team members with a very similar name.

So let’s find out about Francesco ‘Ciccio’ Grasso’s life at YITH

“I initially worked as a computer system engineer, then as a freelance developer and finally I joined YITH. The company organized a free training course on WordPress development back in 2013. At the end of the course, the best students faced a trial period with the prospect of being hired permanently.”

“After an initial phase of training in the company, I was entrusted with a large and ambitious project as a stress test. I was well followed and learned a lot from that project. Now I take care of following the development of the company’s main site and other important projects. I also review the frontend of many of our projects.”

Describe a typical working day from start to finish.

“The typical day begins with a tour on the wordpress.org forums of the theme and plugins that I develop. Then I go to check the ongoing projects and tasks on asana. After that, I dive into the development of the current project. During the day there is no lack of opportunities for several video calls with colleagues to update us.”

What is the best moment of the day?

“Early in the morning, when I am fully focused on the project I am following. I also really appreciate the update calls on the projects in progress with Nando and Sara because they have always excellent ideas for making important improvements and changes.”

How do you describe the relationship with your colleagues?

“Each colleague of YITH is special in a different way. I am fortunate to have colleagues whom I have known for many years before joining the company. And many new friends that I can truly call friends.”

Francesco’s main responsibility is looking after yithemes.com as the company’s theme developer he is also the proud author of the Proteo project. This is a WooCommerce optimized theme that is freely available from wordpress.org. Both projects face many challenges on a daily basis and in the words of Ciccio: “there is always something to learn. Training is a process that never ends if you are ambitious.”

“yithemes.com is always a challenge because we must bring the maximum of current technology but at the same time not introduce breaking changes that could confuse the user during the process of choosing and purchasing our products.

Proteo is our great return to the WordPress theme market. In this case, cleanliness of the code and compliance with all WP policies are the top priority.”

WordCamp Catania | Francesco, second from right, posing with Matt Mullenweg and some of the YITH team during WordCamp Europe | WordCamp Catania organizing team, with Francesco third from right.

Francesco lives in Acireale, a baroque city in Sicily. An island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea and often referred to as ‘the cradle of many civilizations’. Francesco was the lead organizer of last year’s WordCamp Catania with arguably the youngest attendee.

“I live with my wife and our little son Salvatore. (fun fact: I think it was one of the smallest participants of WordCamp Catania since it was in mom’s belly when I organized the WordCamp Catania 2019!)

Dividing between work from home and he is always complicated because he is very attached to me, but we are finding good compromises 🙂

I followed a course in computer science, though not graduated from the university, I think I have passed the many tests that life has thrown at me as a developer. (who knows, maybe one day I will decide to do it … I only need a few exams to complete it).

Do you have any other passions and hobbies?

“Computers, drawing, movies, travels, and since a couple of months photography…”

What food gets you motivated and makes you hungry thinking about it?

All Italian food is good 🙂 Difficult to find something that is not 🙂

And finally, what do you think about Pizza with pineapple?

“No, no, no, no… it’s a crime!”

Francesco has been an employee for over 7 years and has seen the company through different stages. Francesco has been to many WordCamps and was also booked to go to WordCamp Europe in June 2020. Due to the Corona outbreak, this now takes place virtually, but there is no doubt that you will see ‘Ciccio’ at many more future WordCamps representing YITH in our iconic green shirts. Connect with him on twitter @franc_grasso

Find more about Proteo take a look here>

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