A life of learning, products, and WordPress

Matt Report WordPress & No-code
Matt Report WordPress & No-code
A life of learning, products, and WordPress
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I’ve known today’s guest before I even ventured into the professional WordPress industry.

In fact, it wasn’t his themes that revolutionized my thinking, it was the checkout process. Brian Gardner launched a theme company using a payment portal and delivery tool called e-junkie.

I just checked, they still exist, they were the Gumroad before Web 3.0 was even a thought in Web 2.0’s mind. I couldn’t believe it. Someone could zip up WordPress code, put it on a website, set a price, and someone could buy it?!

I wanted to do the same thing.

But until then, I had an agency to run so I used Revolution Themes, then Genesis, then to the whole StudioPress suite to make that happen. Fast forward, Gardner not only sold SP to WP Engine, but he left the gig shortly after, only to make a return with his latest product, Frost.

Enjoy today’s conversation with Brian Gardner, Principal Developer Advocate at WP Engine, creator of many things and many blogs. Find his newly redesigned blog at briandgardner.com.

If you fancy supporting the show, buying me a digital coffee or joining my fantastic private Discord server, head on over to buymeacoffe.com/mattreport — I’ll shout your name from the Twitter rooftops.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Matt: so many folks who sit on the sidelines and Monday quarterback like me I see folks sell their business and , and they joined the team and I know in my heart that as a builder, as an entrepreneur, , they won’t be there that long.
[00:00:14] And they’re there for a year. I think roughly you were at WP engine for a year after selling studio
[00:00:20] Brian: press to them longer than that. But it sort of been to which in and of itself as a piece of conversation. Go ahead.
[00:00:26] Matt: And then I saw you sort of leave P and L I was like, yep. I knew it. And there’s nothing wrong with that because God that we have such a passion to build something, but I don’t know of anyone who’s who sells it to the company, leaves built something else, sells it back to the company and.
[00:00:41] You’re going for a hat trick question, mark.
[00:00:44] Brian: No. No. And in fact, it’s, it’s funny, you are the only person who, with the exception of Bob Paul, Lacey, who had months ago made a kind of comment about that. You’re the only person in this round when I got hired and when Frost was acquired to actually have.
[00:01:01] Pointed that out. And of course I took that bait and this is why we’re on the show today. But I talked to our PR team and I was like, look, this is just something that could be a thing that people might talk about or in this context. And surprisingly, and that’s fine because it’s really, it really was a news event.
[00:01:16] This time around Yeah. I was just like, okay, what are the possible negative reactions? People might have to something like this. And I was like, that’s about the only thing I can come up with. Well, people may point out that this happened and it, whatever, it’s all good. Everyone’s happy. You’ve built a
[00:01:31] Matt: lot of stuff from digital products to courses, to eBooks, to blogs, to knit mail email lists and newsletters, like all things that were in some form or fashion, a business, a micro business.
[00:01:43] When I saw you. Go back to a WP engine and they had acquired frost in my head. I started thinking, you know what, these, and this is my words, not yours. And I hope it doesn’t offend you. But these micro products are almost like a fantastic calling card to get an awesome gig. Right. Ha had it not been you, but somebody else in this position, it could be like, I built an awesome little product.
[00:02:11] And sometimes the weight of that is like, oh God, I got to S I get up market. I gotta sell it. I gotta promote it. I gotta support it. I got to take over the world. But then sometimes it’s like, no, I can actually use this in place of a resume and get an awesome job somewhere. Is that a fair statement?
[00:02:27] Brian: I would think so.
[00:02:28] I don’t think that that necessarily applies to everybody. We know right now, Matt, that the competitive landscape in WordPress is off the charts, especially in light of the behemoths. And, and we’re one of them, right? WP, engine, GoDaddy, liquid web, all those it’s really difficult to, and I’ll conversely, make a counter argument here after this.
[00:02:47] It’s very difficult to like create and launch something new and have it be successful and widely adopted and so on now, conversely. That is also, if you have the idea, something really, really brilliant, that really solves a problem that catches a lot of users and stuff like that. Then it becomes because of aforementioned behemoths, a very interesting acquisition piece, right?
[00:03:07] Go to liquid web. They’ve bought a lot of things lately. None of them have been, well, that’s not true. Some have been larger, right. Eye themes and so on. And then some of them are just like smaller pieces that kind of fill a niche that allow them to use their sort of their. The abilities to reach and build and support from an infrastructure standpoint, a subset of people.
[00:03:28] And so it can work. It can be, I wouldn’t necessarily say that should be someone’s business plan. Just given my tenure in the industry and the success I’ve had, it’s been helpful to have that sort of be true.
[00:03:41] Matt: Web hosts, obviously WP engine being one of the largest, if not the largest managed WordPress hosts in the industry GoDaddy liquid web.
[00:03:49] I think a lot of folks myself included have sort of illustrated this picture, that well, we all kind of hypothesized that they’re all looking to build and curate their own WordPress experience. Without giving away the secret meetings, maybe at WP engine and the secret sauce. Is that, is that something that you see coming down the pipe, maybe if not WP engine others, and maybe why they acquire fros and studio presses to sort of put these pieces in place.
[00:04:19] So when you come to a WP engine, you experienced WordPress. You go to liquid web, you experience it that way. Is, is that something that you see as holding true in the year 20, 20
[00:04:28] Brian: a hundred percent, a hundred percent. I think we see it on several levels. And even outside of the WordPress market, just the, sort of the consolidation, the platform building, go daddy sold domains back in the day.
[00:04:39] Then they went to hosting. And then when they realized that the people who are buying those things would buy other things or are doing other things. Then all of a sudden they’re an email marketing company and then, oh, WordPress explodes. Now we’re going to be a WordPress hosting email, but like, like, and so yes, it makes sense.
[00:04:54] And everyone’s good at what they do. And when you really find what you’re great at, then you sort of, I wouldn’t say exploit, but then you really sort of double down on that by looking around in the space and saying, Hey, are there products that align with what we’re trying to do? And is it, is it better for us to acquire those products?
[00:05:10] Because it takes us less time to build. We can go right to market. We can, there’s an existing audience as studio press was a huge audience that WP engine picked up and things like that. So yeah, I would say that’s a fair state. Do you know,
[00:05:21] Matt: there’s in the news and the courting eh, in the week of this week, it’s January 13th.
[00:05:27] And we’ve seen over the last week, just a lot of discussion of paying contributors in the WordPress space. It’s something that I’ve always thought of too, like going way back, like how. All these folks volunteer. They all have to go through the stress of like a theme developer. Like I was way, way, way back in the day, asking them why didn’t this team get approved?
[00:05:47] Why are you telling me I have to adjust this tab space in the functions file. Like it’s so subjective. I should just be like, lots of stress. That folks don’t really need to go through as volunteers now resurfacing again, how to get people paid. I think hosting companies are in a good position since.
[00:06:06] Winning off of the back of WordPress, that there could be something there, more sponsored contributions more ways to it doesn’t doesn’t maybe always have to be about payments. It could be about featuring or highlighting or spotlighting folks because not everybody wants to make money off their volunteer ism with WordPress.
[00:06:25] Is, are there any efforts or maybe. Contributing more to core with paid positions, let’s say. Is that kind of a topic fall under a principal developer advocate at WP engine? Are those the kinds of things you hear in field for the company?
[00:06:41] Brian: Yes. WP engine did not hire me so that I could go write code for WordPress.
[00:06:45] Let’s let’s be clear about that. Damn they did. However, Hire me because of my expertise, my tenure in the field, my ability to understand the value that I could bring through the WordPress and WP engine sort of relationship. And as part of the leeway and the latitude I’ve been given to go do my thing. I brought on Nick Diego, who is an engineer.
[00:07:07] And I learned V and he, he actually was supposed to backfill me with frost before the acquisition for us was going to be a side project. And because of my job, I brought in Nick to help sort of carry the load until I realized how much Nick and I aligned and what a resource he could be. And so I made the recommendation that we hire him as part of a developer relations so that we could do the very thing, right.
[00:07:28] Part of his responsibilities and part of what I pitched was. There is an opportunity for us to sort of lead the space from a thought leadership perspective to help contribute code as he and I were both knee deep and code following along, the Gutenberg development where press 5.9 and stuff.
[00:07:43] And I said, there’s a lot of things that we’re finding as we’re working through building our thing that instead of just trying to like make a fix or a hack inside of our product Contribute that code or that patch or the fix, or the suggested way of doing things upstream back to WordPress.
[00:07:59] And so a lot of the work that we’re doing now is in fact core contribution stuff. Nick is also going to be doing some stuff with learn. And so w. WP engine just really understands the value of sort of the five for the future stuff. We’ve got several members committed to that. We just recently did it contribute to WP day where we really encouraged a lot of the folks in the community to do stuff like that.
[00:08:20] And so I’m because like you said, I have one with WordPress for 15 years now. Right. It helped me leave my day job. Provides for my family and stuff like that. So I always have a place in my heart. It’s easier now because I have the backing and support of WP engine and our resources to kind of make that move.
[00:08:38] And I’m not getting any resistance from the higher ups there. They, I think they see the value and the contributions and sort of the, the PR that comes from that. There’s some, there’s some benefit there. But we just want to see WordPress get better. So our products and our customers experience.
[00:08:54] Matt: How does frost fold into speaking of customer experience? How does frost fold into the. The existing suite of softwares that you sold them studio press. How does that merge? Is, are we still too early on, on those days for those, for those discussions, but how does it fold into the experience of WP engine users or potentially even studio press users?
[00:09:15] So
[00:09:15] Brian: this pet, let me give some context. So th this past summer after a sort of a failed attempt at doing something in the real estate space I came across an article. Written by Justin tablet on WP Tavern. And in that article, he was talking about block patterns and this is sort of as like the patterns kind of were hitting their infancy and they talk about there being a pattern directory and stuff like that.
[00:09:38] I’ve obviously followed WordPress even while I was sort of away doing some things with real estate. I was like, okay, we sold studio press in part because I had no idea what the future of WordPress was going to be. Right. That was part of the reason we just didn’t have the resources. We weren’t sure we, we didn’t want to compete.
[00:09:52] And so we sold that.
[00:09:58] We talked, I’m a creator. I’m always thinking I always want to build and do stuff like that. And so, so when I was on this article, I went over to the, the pattern repository or the directory and it, there was like a little tile of patterns and there’s a button that said click to copy code or whatever, copied it.
[00:10:13] I went into my blog, so I was doing something and I just hit paste. And like this thing showed up like this arrangement of design. And I was like, wait a second. I like that. That’s like a theme agnostic design agnostic thing. And I think it was like, at that point was when sort of, it was very, very like original epiphany that kind of backed the frost project.
[00:10:33] When I was like, wait a second. Now I understand where we’re presses going. Right. These idea of blocks and styles and patterns and layouts that like kind of all these words being thrown around. And I was like, wait a second. So I can create these sections of. Website and in one click allow people to import them into a page.
[00:10:50] And like, if you did that five or six times, you could essentially allow people to build a homepage and like literally 20 seconds. And I was like, okay, so that that’s sorta was the, the original fire that was lit around frost. And so, because at the time it just made sense. I built frost originally as a Genesis child theme, just because right.
[00:11:08] Part of the family. It was what I’ve always known. And so we launched a paid product called frost and it was a theme and it was a corresponding plugin that had all of the designs and the patterns and stuff like that. And then full site editing started to become more of a thing. And so I installed Gutenberg and realized.
[00:11:25] There’s going to be life after Genesis the framework, because a lot of what full site editing does is what Genesis did it handled markup and the ability to move things around. And so I said, well, Let’s do what I did back in 2006, let’s open up a bunch of blank files and start writing a theme from scratch.
[00:11:43] And so current version of frost, probably three months ago was literally just sort of modeled after stuff I saw. I think it was on Carolina’s full site editing or some tutorial on like, what is. Full site editing theme, look like it’s got to have these files, the structure, it’s a complete paradigm shift from where it was.
[00:12:00] And I was like, let’s just see if I could do this. And so I basically replicated the design of the Genesis child theme version of frost and started building out current version of frost. So that became a thing. And we launched it, started selling it. I was trying to extend a little bit of financial runway so that I could keep playing around with what I was doing.
[00:12:17] So I reached out to Heather Bruner, our CEO just to say hi to check in and just see if she knew of anybody in the industry who might be looking for some contract work. And at the same time internally, they were talking about WordPress developer relations. And she says, funny, you should ask because we’ve been thinking of this position and I don’t know.
[00:12:34] That there’s anybody better suited for it than you, which is the intersection of what I told her design community and WordPress. And so, we worked out something that made a lot of sense at the time frost was on the outside which I felt conflicted about because a lot of the work I was going to be doing was around WordPress and building and stuff like that.
[00:12:50] And so, ultimately I made the recommendation that we just bring it into. Into the fold so that I can work on it. Full-time we can use that as a way to demonstrate where WordPress is going to teach folks in the community what’s going on. And so on.
[00:13:02] Matt: So it doesn’t detach from you. It’s not like, okay, now it’s gone into the abyss of WP engine.
[00:13:07] My
[00:13:07] Brian: is not. And Nick and my F yeah, no, it’s under our full control. It’s a developer relations project.
[00:13:13] Matt: Yeah. Did you, when you sat back, did you have those same feelings of okay. I going to do this again. I have to build, well, you already have a headstart with your brand and recognition and followers and all that stuff.
[00:13:26] But even that, I’m sure you’re still like, oh God, I gotta, I gotta do this all over again. I gotta set up a checkout system. I have to set up a licensing system. I, I have to market this thing. I gotta support. And I
[00:13:36] Brian: gotta do all this stuff a hundred percent.
[00:13:38] It was exciting just because it had been since studio press formed way back in the day where I was really fully in control, as we merged into Copyblogger in 2008 or nine, and then for like 10 or 12 years, we had sort of the infrastructure of the company and stuff like that.
[00:13:52] So I didn’t have to like, bear that load independently. As I had at the beginning of studio press. And so like, it’s a different space than it was back then. And, and thankfully I have the cloud, the email lists sort of the reach, the exposure to WordPress. So it made sense. It didn’t quite hit the way I was hoping that a studio press did back in the day, but again, we’re in different times and that’s okay.
[00:14:16] But you know, like at the end of the day, what it came down to was for the last 15 years I’ve been doing sort of the self-employment entrepreneur things start up, you feel sort of a thing. And even like early on into frost, I was like, this is going to be another long thing and that’s fine. I like this kind of thing.
[00:14:33] And I think it would have done well on its own. But I was just ready. I was ready for, and I wrote about this on a torque article about seasons change. I was just ready to finally work for somebody else to, to have access to team members, to be fully supported, to get good benefits, pay, like all of those things.
[00:14:48] I just, I needed a mental break and, I foresee this break being of several years, not just like a couple months, so
[00:14:54] Matt: you said, I feel like frost didn’t hit. Maybe like studio press fell, but different times, is that a gut feeling?
[00:15:02] Did you measure it , instinctually as somebody who’s launched so many things, did you just kind of know like, okay. I’m not feeling that momentum as I maybe did 10 years ago, Yeah.
[00:15:13] Brian: Like when you sell something, when you build something and sell something, like you kind of get into this mindset, like, oh, I could do it again.
[00:15:19] Right. Once lucky, twice. Good. And, and had I stuck with it, like just me and or Nick at that time, it would have taken probably some time to really get it to a point where it was humming WordPress itself sorta was getting in the way, because it just, it wasn’t delivering things that we were looking forward to using and stuff like that.
[00:15:35] So it was part gut. , okay, this isn’t going to make me a hundred million dollars. Like maybe even a hundred dollars would be great sort of a thing. But I just, as like, like I wanted, I wanted power behind it, not just to have to rely on me. And like I said, I was ready, it was serendipitous me reaching out to Heather, her coming back to me, presenting the offer.
[00:15:55] And it’s kind of like, she was like, basically let you do what you want to be doing and what you’ve been doing for 15 years, just under the guise of WP engine and, having gone through the acquisition and the transition for the year afterwards. I had a ton of insight into their culture. And that made it a really easy decision to make, because that was not, is this a company I want to work for?
[00:16:15] Cause the answer is hell yeah, I knew, I know how the cultures there. I think a lot of people on the outside don’t understand how, how cool and great it is, especially we’re 1200 strong. But I was like, wow, this is like almost a dream.
[00:16:26] Matt: Yeah. I remember people talking about WP engine, just like when, when they hit 400 people, they, wow.
[00:16:32] Like, that’s amazing. And now it’s like triple and probably just chasing automatic, which I, I think just hit the 2000 mark or just under 2000. So, it’s pretty amazing to see like pure. Play companies. Because again, WP engine is only doing WordPress, right? You haven’t introduced at other CMS yet.
[00:16:50] Right? There’s nothing they’re getting into headless that might introduce some stuff that might be outside of the realm of WordPress, but you’re certainly not hosting Drupal anytime soon,
[00:16:59] Brian: correct? Correct.
[00:17:01] Matt: That’s awesome. Can we chat about the real estate endeavor for a moment? You said it fair.
[00:17:09] Anything that you can point to as to maybe why wrong time global pandemic, what was going on with that, with that real estate endeavor of yours. And why did you decide to just exit it?
[00:17:21] Brian: So I’ve always been interested in real estate. We’ve bought and sold houses over the years, probably 10 over the last 20 years and an agent press, which you may remember was a thing that we did a copy of.
[00:17:31] For a few years. So we dabbled in it and I realized just how bad design and marketing is in that space. Generally speaking compass being the exception and maybe a few others. And so I was like, okay, well I have, through the years, I’ve made several relationships with people sort of higher up in the real estate industry.
[00:17:50] So I knew I’d kind of have like an easy launch pad. I get design. I could build it on a WordPress. I’ve got some spokespeople people who could sort of be advisers to the company who are, experiencing Zillow and all that kind of stuff. And then the pandemic hit and what happened really was probably a couple of things.
[00:18:04] One, it probably just wasn’t built in packaged the right way. But number two real estate agents got really, really busy because of the housing. They, they, everyone, you would follow it. Oh, I have 36 offers today. Like nobody has time or at the time they didn’t feel the need to have a website because their business was exploding.
[00:18:24] I don’t have time for a website I’m standing in line at open houses. Like, and the sad thing is like in six months or a year, whenever the housing market comes back to earth. Done dental need it, then they’ll be like, oh crap. Cause now that you’ve got a bunch of new agents, people who jumped into the market because of all of what was going on.
[00:18:41] So then like the, the demand will go down, but like the supply of agents then is there. And so there’s more competition, but I was like, I, I don’t have time to weather, all of that. And then frost kind of came up and, things with agent engine, just kind of, weren’t really doing its thing. And I was like, I was okay with that.
[00:18:55] It was a good college try
[00:18:57] Matt: because it was more like it was more agency. Experience than just a product, right? Cause
[00:19:02] Brian: you were, I know it was more product based. It was more, we call it digital spaces where we sort of built Jason Schuler of WordPress fame sort of built this profile management system, which I thought was really gonna take off with like associations or, brokerages that had teams of people that wanted to sort of showcase them individually.
[00:19:21] Like the idea on paper was really, really good. I think we just poorly executed at the wrong time. So. But I’m okay with that. Like lessons learned, right. We’re here where we are.
[00:19:29] Matt: Yeah. Yeah. I tell you it’s what an interesting time, because you had real estate agents who, you know, probably whatever, maybe not immediate at the pandemic hitting, but a couple months in just being just the fish were jumping into the boat.
[00:19:44] You didn’t even have to cast a line in they’re like website. I don’t have time for a website, but then. This whole range at an opposite end of an industry restaurants who are like, oh, we never launched that website. And now we have to do takeout a hundred percent of the time. I know I had, I haven’t been in the, my data.
[00:20:04] I, my dad runs the agency. I’m well beyond that at th at this point, but it still runs. And I had tons of people calling me at that moment. Literally watching the news restaurants are shutting down, calling me up. Like, I need that website, Matt. , where, where are you? Five 10 years ago when we were telling you to do this a crazy, crazy time for web and for people who haven’t caught up at that point.
[00:20:26] When I look at. You were saying before, like one of your aha moments with Gutenberg was I copied and pasted and it was kind of like, wow, I can see where the vision is going. Matt Mullenweg could always talk, has always talked about WordPress being like the operating system of the web. That was something that was always interesting to me is what really kept me motivated with WordPress.
[00:20:48] I now see this hearing him say that Gutenberg is bigger than WordPress, sort of, kind of nonchalantly in the state of the word. I kind of see maybe that same thing of fusing, like the operating system with code. So Genesis studio press remember back in the day, you’re building it all through the functions.
[00:21:06] PHP file. I can imagine a world where now you’re just copy pasting snippets of code, like the query blocks and stuff like that. Pre pre queried for you. Like all the codes there. Boom, copy paste it. And now I’m developing air quotes to the listener. Who’s only listening to audio. Developing by copying pasting snippets of code and dropping blocks in do you have any other future out look on, on where Gutenberg might be going?
[00:21:31] Maybe things you might be looking at to build into Gutenberg. Into frost that would push the boundaries.
[00:21:38] Brian: Nothing monumental. I We’re just obviously following along where WordPress is going, this it’s taken us three years to get here. We’re working through this now full site editing thing, which I th I think is still gonna take some time.
[00:21:50] Right. Which we’ve already seen the delay from December to January. And I was in full support of that. Cause I didn’t think it was going to be ready and I’m more than okay. Especially now that I don’t have to. Like obsess over building a product and like put food on the table based on what I sell. Now it’s like kind of a kickback and just follow along as it’s happening.
[00:22:09] And, Nick and I are on get hub and select daily, oh, do you see this commit? Do you see this change? And I’ll be honest. I don’t know that there are many people in the group of people who are at the forefront of what’s going on with WordPress. Then he and I right now, because we are so. We practically have alerts going off, in our own heads.
[00:22:27] I just posted 30 seconds ago. How would I see that? Because we, we love it so much. We, we absolutely are infatuated. We call ourselves black editor, fanboys. Like it’s, it’s kinda crazy and almost embarrassing the extent, but 15 years later, I’m still in love with WordPress. The way that I was and even more so now, because I’m starting to see.
[00:22:46] WordPress itself, starting to solve the problems that we tried to solve back in the day with like magazine style themes and stuff like that. It’s so easy to want to still primarily build your own thing and around it. And, we’re presses now making it so easy with where it’s going. It’s not perfect and never will be, but they’re doing things in a way that make it really easy for people like me to sort of identify where the opportunities are.
[00:23:10] And especially those who love design. I could do so much with just WordPress core and a simple theme so much. And that’s how I felt back when I launched revolutions. Like, Hey.
[00:23:20] Matt: And as a product owner and business owner, software developer, you kind of get that this stuff iterates over time.
[00:23:28] And when Gutenberg first launched and everyone just like flipped the table, which, I was one of those folks too, but it was more about how, it was being communicated, how it was being like, whatever the Pictet at the time and enrolled that it had nothing to do about. You know the features of Gutenberg.
[00:23:43] Although I still struggle with trying to like grab a block and put it in between two columns is like still a thing that I have to like wrestle and throw my computer with. I always knew like, Hey, this thing’s going to get better.
[00:23:54] It’s just version 0.0 0, 0 1 that we’re at like, don’t we all like, there’s so many software people in this space. Why was everybody losing their mind? That it wasn’t good enough yet? This software’s never good enough day one. It always gets better over time. Any thoughts on like the iteration of Gutenberg or how you looked at the launch of Gutenberg when that.
[00:24:12] Yeah,
[00:24:12] Brian: I was the same way. I wasn’t sure it was very clunky. I think it kind of got rushed out back in that, that one December. But I think it had to be, I at some point we met that’s written before about 1.0 and shipping and iterating and stuff like that. And so I think it was a necessary evil I think Gutenberg, the plugin being a thing now sort of, kind of pulls up.
[00:24:30] From the core and like the general consumer standpoint, like seeing these sort of iterations and breaking changes and things like that, they’ve put it in the plugin, which, which is helpful because it allows people who are developing for WordPress to see what’s coming to know how to address it. When it looked like a lot of people, when 5.9 launches, they’ll be like, oh, w what’s changed since 5.8.
[00:24:50] Oh, my God, if you even knew, like so much has changed, but like, we’ll be ready for it. Like frost will be 100% production ready when five, it is already, but you know, when 5.9 ships will be fully taken advantage of all the things. Cause we’ve been on the Gutenberg daily trail ever since then.
[00:25:06] But speaking of Sarah McLaughlin, one of the 11 tweets I’ve favorited in my 15 years of Twitter was her response. She did ask me anything and I said, what’s your favorite quote? And she quoted Gandhi’s be the change you want to see in the world. And , obviously that that’s sort of ubiquitous and we see it all the time.
[00:25:21] But when it comes to WordPress and the direction, and this is sort of like Nick and my north star, which is, oh, this isn’t working, we’re frustrated with how this works. Well, you could do two things. You could piss about it and like, go on Twitter and talk about how bad it is. Or you can roll up your sleeves and figure out how to make it better.
[00:25:36] And that is a lot of what we’re doing. With developer relations at WP engine, we’re teaming up with people on automatic side where other people’s sides, rich Taylor is a good friend and we’re trying to figure out how do we, universalize some things and just like really be that change.
[00:25:50] And, we hope not only will that make WordPress better, maybe some of the people on the sidelines, these Monday quarterbacks as you call them, maybe it’ll say, Hey, maybe there’s something to like, Approach that they’re taking, and maybe it’s less about, dogging the platform that helped us win and helping it when, when, when for others and stuff like that.
[00:26:09] Matt: Yeah. I can tell you that the one thing that Sort of afraid of is just the the pollution, I guess, of the block directory and what that potentially leads to in a customers. I say customer, I’m thinking I have agency on my mind, but thinking of you logging into somebody’s website, who’s not a WordPress aficionado.
[00:26:28] And then. You have a thousand plugins installed. What’s wrong with you? I can see that same thing happening with like the block directory, especially some of the things I’ve already starting to see where product companies are starting to inject their icon into like a, I don’t know. I’ll call the task bar.
[00:26:46] I don’t know what the official WordPress name is for that tray that sits above the editor where you can expand in different. And then, like I w installed a couple of themes the other day on one of my test sites. And it was just like, it looked like the bottom of my windows machine. Like all these icons, , oh, crazy.
[00:27:01] We go again. , I don’t want this. I can see some people doing like animated gifts now. And , oh, come on. , this is bad enough. Notifications already bad enough. Those types of things that you, you hope to maybe standard eyes across other product companies, is there like an official place you start to document this kind of thing to get everybody together or in a perfect world.
[00:27:20] Is there a place you’d like to have for folks to rally around these types of things?
[00:27:26] Brian: A good question. W we are guilty of that. Nick, Nick built a black pattern Explorer plugin. That adds a very I think we just recycled one of the core icon components that are part of WordPress. So again, we’re not trying to do anything proprietary, so, we’ve created.
[00:27:41] Block pattern, explore that very much is maybe maybe inspired what WordPress itself did in core. And we’re looking to sort of expand on that and use that sort of in an experimental sense to help inform how things work, how it can be used, and then to take the things that we’re building and push them upstream into WordPress, via pull requests.
[00:28:01] And so, we are trying to, again, it’s easy because for us, it’s not a product that will. WP engine over any kind of metric. Like this was sort of brought in with the intent of, it’s not gonna make any money, just use this to help go and grow and do all these things. And so, we’ve always back when Nathan and I Nathan Rice and I built Genesis, like we always sort of defaulted to WordPress core practices and standards and design and UX and all that kind of stuff.
[00:28:28] And so. It’s just an eight and eight at this point, for whatever we’re working on to not be like a blinking Marquis across an admin notice thing. But I understand that it happens and why it happens. And, I think WordPress adding more capabilities to the core software, kind of. To be perfectly honest, that it knocks out the need for a lot of things.
[00:28:49] Some of the black libraries that exist and things like that, like we’re pressing now has that in core. So like, I’m hoping to, like, as we’re press gets stronger with functionality that some of the needs to, to like to do what you said, won’t be there. And I don’t know if I answers the question, but are you happy to see the customized.
[00:29:08] 1000%. I, I hated it from day one. I hated it from day one. I know we did some stuff with it and studio press. I was never a part of that. Cause I refused I’ve used it for a few things like custom CSS when I was in an emergency or, header, photo, script kind of stuff. But like I hated it. I never liked it.
[00:29:27] I’m thrilled.
[00:29:28] Matt: Yeah. . Amazing times, Ryan, what would help you and your role at WP engine call to action? Where can folks find you to connect with you to help the cause to join you at WP engine?
[00:29:41] Anything or anywhere you want to point people
[00:29:42] Brian: to a yes, the Twitter is probably the place that I’m most I’m most active and most available. At B Gardner, you could put that in the show notes, if you want. Tweet me, follow me, DME, whatever. Twitter is usually where we hang out. I’m on Instagram, that’s more personal Starbucks shots and baseball things.
[00:30:00] So that’s less interesting to people in the space might not be tweeting about baseball. Yeah, no kidding. I’m on LinkedIn and I think it’s B Gardner 27 and I was late to that party, so I didn’t get the handle I wanted, but but Twitter is the place. I’m, periodically dunking [email protected] actually working on a new design, kind of using that as a sandbox.
[00:30:19] Yes. Oops. I’m doing it again was always sort of the tweet when you saw that tweet, I redesigned it. And so people have, I’ve trained people to never, ever think that there’s going to be the same design as, as was there the last time, but that that’s how products get built because I use my own site as a sandbox.
[00:30:34] So, but yeah, Twitter is the best place. Obviously or for WP engine, we’re always looking to build our team, not necessarily developer relations quite yet, but The Genesis team is hiring for an engineering person. And just whether it’s support. I We see a number of people come up through the Genesis community who are now working there, lots of rock stars.
[00:30:52] Like it’s just a great place. So, if you’re a WordPress person and you’re looking for a job, hit me up on Twitter and I’ll see if there’s something that’s Always hiring great people. I think David Vogel, Paul once said we don’t hire something to the effect of, we don’t hire qualified people. We’ve hired great people.
[00:31:07] Like it kinda just works itself out that way. So, or we don’t hire out. I can’t remember what he said. I don’t, I don’t wanna mess up that quick, but it was really, really good. And I was like, wow, that’s really cool. So quote here
[00:31:17] Matt: pretty much. My report.com maryport.com/subscribe. Join the mailing list.
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[00:31:41] Five minutes is your favorite five minutes of WordPress or on the WP minute.com. Check it out. Join the. Get your name heard in the credits of the show. Talk about WordPress news. That’s fun stuff. Thanks for hanging out today, Brian. I’ll see everyone else in the next episode.

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