Business of WordPress news w/ Rae Morey

WordPress news is hard. I mean, it’s hard to turn it into a real business.

I get away with covering WordPress here on the Matt Report because our guests share lessons on how they built their business or spend time telling us how they navigated the community, until they found their way.

But news? Well, that’s why The WP Tavern has been the only name in town for a while, loaded with two critical components: A dedicated staff and they are funded.

If you want to make it, you do things differently, you do things like Rae Morey‘s The Repository newsletter. Today we’ll chat about building her WordPress news newsletter, background as a journalist, and explore what it really takes to make all of this work.

Thanks goes out to Malcare today for sponsoring a month of Matt Report and The WP Minute. You can help us by visiting

Episode transcript

[00:00:00] Rae: It’s a completely not in the WordPress world at all. So our processes is, as you said, an experiential design and creative technology company, and we develop experiences for cultural and tourism organizations.

[00:00:14] So, you might go into a gallery or museum and experience an audio tour and we create immersive experiences where you can. Wander around a space and he audio that that’s designed, especially for that space. It moves with you around, around the gallery or exhibition. We do precinct technology, virtual queuing, augmented reality experiences, and we do exhibition design in.

[00:00:40] A lot of different spaces, for example we’re doing a a brand new exhibition smack bang in the middle of Montana at the moment for there for first street project there. We do we do the audio guide for the Getty in Los Angeles. So that’s an example of the kind of thing I do for my, my day job.

[00:00:58] There is communications manager. So I look after Publicity marketing anything to do with words, I guess, on the website? Yeah. That’s, that’s kind of what I do for a day. 

[00:01:09] Matt: Does anybody ever give you like a side eye when maybe a customer comes in and they’re like, we have a WordPress website that they look at you and be like, Hey, we think we know somebody who kind of knows this to implement whatever project we might have.

[00:01:23] Rae: I don’t know. I, I, to be honest, I kind of played down what to do with WordPress, because I don’t want to be that person that people kind of like go to asking for, help me with my website. Yeah.

[00:01:33] Oh, I I hate to say, but our website and our process is actually uses Drupal. So I’ve had to learn that this year not, not my decision, but yeah, it’s been interesting seeing what the competitions. 

[00:01:44] Matt: Yeah, that was the, the second, most serious application I used to build websites was Drupal before or slightly after a front page.

[00:01:51] Well, I guess throw Dreamweaver in there too, but we went front page Dreamweaver and then Drupal and then WordPress triples, fantastic platform. I think I wouldn’t use it today, but I th I still think it’s a very powerful 

[00:02:04] Rae: platform using it compared to WordPress at the moment. Very different platforms.

[00:02:10] Matt: How do you find time to to do the repository and works by birds and you have a family? How do you, how do you structure your day with all of this stuff? 

[00:02:20] Rae: The honest answer is I have no idea.

[00:02:21] I, I think over the past couple of years I don’t know if you’re aware, but Melbourne where I live here in Australia has been the most locked down city in the world. We’ve had the most restrictions lockdowns out of everywhere. It’s just the circumstances I guess, here, but it’s given me a lot of time to look at.

[00:02:36] To spend on side projects, I guess. So when so the, the repository I started that with came guest star from male poet back in November, 2019. And that was just before the pandemic. And so I guess the repository in a way became a bit of a handy pandemic passion project that I was working on while in locked down and has continued through to now.

[00:02:59] And. [00:03:00] Yeah, I was, I was also on maternity leave from my day job throughout 2020. So that gave me a lot of time and focus on building up the newsletter and yeah, since returning to my day job part-time I’ve, I’ve just I guess structure my week so that, Part time work and also have the repository for a Dane half a week.

[00:03:21] So just try to split up the weight to fit everything in. And also I’m very fortunate to have a partner who. Who I cope? Well, shouldn’t say co-parent with where to very much together, but we split our parenting duties 40, 50, 50, which is we’re very modern family in that respect. So yeah, we both prioritize our careers, but also our son.

[00:03:44] So, yeah. So there, there is a way for moms with a lot of things on to, to do all the things that they are passionate. 

[00:03:53] Matt: Do you have a certain structure and I can, I can share mine as well for, for the WP minute, but you have a certain structure that you would, you wouldn’t mind sharing on how you keep track of all of the news.

[00:04:05] And this obviously is happening throughout the week. Are you jotting things down and the to-do lists in a notion document. And then at the end you go to write up the email and you just sit down with all of those notes in front of you. How does this all come curated? 

[00:04:18] Rae: Yeah, look, there’s no pulling back the curtain.

[00:04:21] There’s no special, fancy way that I do it. My background is, is in journalism. I studied journalism at uni and so I naturally just do a lot of note-taking all the time because I’m just every time I see something, I think, oh, that’s really cool. And I use apple notes on my my medical kit or my iPhone, I’m an apple person and everything sinks.

[00:04:44] And so I’m constantly taking notes. And I guess with the repository I use to track something like 70 or 80 different websites and blogs. And so I go through that periodically throughout the week just to track what what’s happening and keep on top of everybody’s latest updates. I’m also checking Twitter all the time on my phone.

[00:05:06] And it’s a bit harder to save tweets, so I have to yeah. Finding a way to do that really well, but I’m always checking Twitter, whether I’m No throughout the day or in the evening while I’m watching TV, having having a scroll. And that’s mostly, I guess my research for the pository just between those two, just seeing what’s going on.

[00:05:27] And I guess also just catching up with people throughout the week in the WordPress community, whether it’s just aiming on on Twitter or chats over emails and Coles. Those are the kinds of ways that I keep in touch with what’s going. 

[00:05:42] Matt: Sure the the newsletter there’s. So there’s a, you just said that there, you’re probably tracking 70 to 80 sources of, of news or at least new news that you can throw into an RSS feed and put into.

[00:05:53] Feedly probably 20% of them. I would reckon are [00:06:00] our newsletters or have a newsletter component to them. Your newsletter is unique to, to me, by the way, or listen, let me take a step. I’m honored for you to be here. I’m not a journalist, I’m not a great writer. I struggled with words, in fact and I look at your piece as something that is it’s fantastic.

[00:06:19] It’s unique. It’s creative. I look at it as a conversation that, that ends up in my inbox. Before I knew who you were. I had some other voice in my head, but then I realized that then I found out who you were. And I was like, oh, now it’s your voice. Every time I read the newsletter, like I’m hearing it with this Australian accent.

[00:06:37] And it’s fantastic. But it’s, it’s much more of to me anyway, like a S a conversation, maybe a story. Was that on purpose? Is that a strategy? I don’t want to slap strategy on art, but is that a strategy of yours to make it different than. 

[00:06:53] Rae: When when Kim and I originally started the repository, or at least before, actually before we started the repository and we were talking about ideas because Kim and I are both journalists in previous life.

[00:07:05] And we wanted to bring something to the WordPress community. Then I guess, in a way there was an ulterior motive of showing off male poet platform, but also. Well, as, as former journalists, we just wanted to put something together that brought the WordPress news in a way that was, I guess, a lot of new stories in WordPress tend to include a lot of opinion, but we wanted to bring other people’s opinions to the fore as well.

[00:07:27] We wanted to increase the diversity in the news, but not just by having lots of different new sources, but bringing people’s opinions that you might. You might not otherwise see. So the, the format that we came up with and, we still have to this day was looking for looking at a particular issue from a lot of different perspectives.

[00:07:52] So we, like a story recently, like I know the word, it’s not just the actual state of the word video, but lots of different blog posts in opinions, from different people and what they make. Of the state of the word. So you can kind of, read about read about a new story, but also get the context of where that story fits within the WordPress world and then varying opinions on what people thought about that.

[00:08:15] So, you can get that kind of more nuanced viewpoint from, from different people and, and have that way of understanding any issue. From different viewpoints because not everybody looks at things the same way. It’s nice to kind of read something, but then understand where, where it fits in the ecosystem.

[00:08:31] And that’s, that’s the approach that we were going for. 

[00:08:34] Matt: This is a huge question and I’ll let you dissect it and define it and pull pieces out of it as you see fit. 

[00:08:41] WordPress news, like what is somebody with a journalistic background? What does that really mean? Or what should it really mean? And maybe even before you answer that, can you help clarify, like what at journalists [00:09:00] produces versus let’s say an opinion piece or a commentator might produce, because to be honest with you I didn’t discover this recently, but for many years I was just like, oh, I don’t know the difference.

[00:09:12] I didn’t know that you, that a journalist doesn’t really put opinion into their, into their piece. And there are certain guidelines that one should approach journalism with versus, I would say like somebody like a Kara Swisher, who’s what I would say is maybe a celebrity journalist, but no longer a journalist I think is much more on the commentator side.

[00:09:33] For probably many different reasons, but anyway, could you help us define what journalists means to you should mean in the WordPress space? 

[00:09:41] Rae: Yeah, it’s interesting because there’s definitely. Of everything in the WordPress community. I worked in, in newspaper journalism, and so it was very, and I guess the newspaper I worked for, it was very straight in that it was, new stories to get one report on one side of the debate and the other side.

[00:09:58] Of the debate. You make sure you have balanced views on a topic and you present that and that’s purely without any kind of opinion. And you try to be as objective as possible in the way that you present it. So that’s, I guess, very traditional old fashioned old school journalism. That’s kind of where my background is, I guess, in that, in the WordPress community.

[00:10:22] I don’t really have anything, I guess the closest to that would probably be Sarah Gooding at WP Tavern. And even then some of her pieces can have some opinion inserted here and there for, for her context. She’s, she’s been in the community for a really long time. So her opinions, I, I find it fairly valid, but but yeah, that’s not really, I guess, old school journalism as, as a lot of people would say it And then you get.

[00:10:47] Yeah, I think blog, blog posts and things like that, where people offering an opinion that’s I wouldn’t really class that as news, so much as it’s opinion and people adding their perspectives to the debate. It’s, it’s an interesting one in the WordPress community. We don’t have a lot of new sources.

[00:11:03] A lot of people have tried to start WordPress news over the years. Haven’t been, haven’t been that successful because it’s. It’s not a business that is profitable as we’ve seen more broadly in, in the news industry with the rise of the internet and, the fighting for advertising and paywalls and, and all of, all of that kind of thing.

[00:11:23] In in WordPress, we could, we could definitely use more new sources, that the greater diversity you have with news the more accountability businesses have to have to operate in this environment. The more and more scrutiny, the better, I think, in terms of, businesses operating and, and making sure that they’re operating above board It would certainly be nice to have more new sources.

[00:11:45] It’s, it’s certainly great that there are a lot of people who, who blog and share their opinion. But yeah, I think there’s definitely room for, for more harder news in the WordPress community, particularly, over the past year, how we’ve had so many [00:12:00] acquisitions, right. And we were going from an ecosystem full of, I guess, small to medium businesses to, we’ve got big corporates and multinationals, I guess, like Google that are operating in, in our in our ecosystem.

[00:12:12] And, we want to keep those businesses to. No, around what they’re doing. And I, I’m not saying way to, to scare them, that they shouldn’t be in our ecosystem, but, just to, people want to know what’s what’s going on and, and, and make sure that they’re operating in a, in a fair.

[00:12:27] Matt: Let’s say news article or piece or research even if you went to an acquisition that happened a year, two years ago we might be checking in on, let’s say something like an eye themes was probably the one that I can think of at least off the top of my head, that dates pretty far back, big company getting picked up by a hosting company.

[00:12:46] And now Corey who started that company now runs both status. One might say. Let’s take a look at what happened with these acquisitions in terms of employment. Are the people still there? Is the products. What it was when they acquired it. What is the price point look like? Have these, big hosting companies, which catch a lot of heat because they are big hosting companies.

[00:13:08] Did they just roll it into their mega solution? And the once artismal piece of themes is just gone and it’s just another toggle, it’s just another toggle on the dashboard, right? Is that a fair assessment to say that’s the kind of news that we were journalism that we would want to see in the space, or at least maybe you would want to see in the space, not trying to put words in your mouth, but 

[00:13:30] Rae: yeah, I think that kind of journalism would be good.

[00:13:32] I guess, It’s interesting because we work in a space with some really big companies and there are lots of acquisitions going on. It’s it’s it’s, that would be interesting to say, the, the, the the quality and the end product that’s offered to, to users is that being maintained, as I know there’s been a bit of angst with also motive of buying out people plugin, Sandhills development it’d be interesting to go back in, as you say, in 12 months time.

[00:13:56] And from looking at that story as a journalist, you’d probably want to Find long-term users and get their perspectives, whether that’s on the record or as background for a story and maybe speak to stuff. If they’re happy to speak, even anonymously, get their, their views on how they think the.

[00:14:16] Transition has been yeah, those are the kinds of interesting stories that we’re not really seeing so much, we’re saying the, the, the acquisition and the sale, but we’re not really seeing the I guess the journey of how acquisitions are tracking. We’re not seeing what’s happening to, particularly with automatic buying out so many distances, what are happening to those businesses?

[00:14:36] They bought quite a few in the, in the past year and the past few years have been interesting to say, what’s, what’s happened to the end product house has been absorbed into it, automatic and and, and it has it, has it been for, I guess, the greater good in supporting those employees and, and the businesses, but also providing a a more polished product for the end user.

[00:14:57] If that, if that was the purpose of the, of the equity.[00:15:00] 

[00:15:01] Matt: I think another, another topic would be something like a core, core contributors, which companies are funding core contribution to the WordPress core. I think in Matt’s state of the word, which I do have the slides on the WP minute.

[00:15:15] So I’ll try to link up in the show notes. I think he showed a graphic of automatic somewhere in the seventies. Person, mark a Yoast coming in again, this is just off the top of my head. I think second place with maybe 14 people. And then it’s like GoDaddy who just acquired Pagely who’s a multi-billion dollar publicly public.

[00:15:36] Are they publicly traded? I better not see, this is what, this is what makes a real journalist. They don’t just say things like, I think they’re a publicly traded company. If they’re not, they’re really big. And they’ve got billions and billions of dollars, but I think only four or five people. Actually contributes to core and word press is a massive part of their business.

[00:15:53] Why aren’t they doing? Why aren’t they doing more for, for WordPress what’s, what’s the reason. And how much are they really benefiting off of open source? I think a lot of people give Matt an automatic, a lot of heat around the fact that, well, this is an open source product and, and this is just all funneling to the top of to make more money, but it’s oh, by the way, There are billion dollar hosting companies leveraging this to who are not giving back.

[00:16:20] Yeah. And don’t 

[00:16:21] Rae: forget Google as well. They’re, they’re pretty massive company. And, and I’m not sure exactly how many people they’ve contributed to the, how are they contributing to WordPress 5.9. But. Yeah, it’d be interesting, but you also mentioned Yost in there and I wonder if they’ll increase their contributed the numbers now that new fold digital has acquired them.

[00:16:39] It’d be interesting to say, how that contribution space changes and, and also in the state of the word Matt shared how he liked to see that landscape of contribution change in the coming years. So, Yeah, it would be, it would be great to see those big businesses putting back more in as far as five for the five, five for the future goes it’s great to see so many smaller individuals and businesses contributing.

[00:17:04] But also another interesting story I think is over the, over the past year, there’s been a drop in, in volunteers and contributors to the project. And an automatic is picked up the lion’s share of that work, which, you can’t fault automatic for, stepping in and, and supporting the project in that way.

[00:17:22] It would be great to say. Nice. Some of the bigger businesses stepping in and putting out resources for that too. I was really pleased to say XW pays as has, has put up contributors for the performance team and it’d be great to see more businesses like that who have that kind of expertise to be able to, to.

[00:17:39] Could contribute their people to different parts of the project. Would that help? Because it’s not really just about developers. It’s also about marketing and design and mobile. There, there are a lot of different end-to-end education. There are a lot of different spaces that need country.

[00:17:54] Matt: And what we’ve I’ve hoped we’ve just done is illustrate how important WordPress news [00:18:00] is and could be if there was more funding in the space. So how do we make money doing this? Ray, I wanna, I wanna pivot and talk about that a little bit because you, you, you have. The, what I’m going to say, the only vehicle for content you put out for WordPress is the newsletter, the repository.

[00:18:17] You’re just sending out email. You’re not doing a blog, you’re not doing a YouTube channel. You’re not doing a podcast yet. And you monetize that through through sponsorship. It’s. Well, I’ll let you, I’m not, you don’t have to say any numbers. It’s not a full-time job for you. In other words, it’s not supporting you.

[00:18:34] Full-time compared to your day job. Maybe one day will like, what do you think it’s going to take to make the repository of full-time job? Is there another. Of an audience in the WordPress news space to build a true air quotes, air quotes business, or should it be selling NFTs to support this 

[00:18:55] Rae: maybe, but who knows how long that’s going to be around for?

[00:18:58] To be honest, I don’t see their positories a full full-time job for me. I started it as a bit of a side gig. I thought that would take four, maybe four hours a week. And, and how it’s more like a donor. So it does take a bit of time to put together because it’s, it’s solo single stories, reading everything.

[00:19:16] And in making sure that, I don’t want to just pick any, tweets to include in the newsletter. I want to make sure that I’m trying to find as many views as possible. And the ones that I’m including in the newsletter, a representative of, of the, of the views that you know, are in the community as well as any of that.

[00:19:32] It might be a bit unusual. The, I think that it’s an interesting one funding. I’m very lucky to have GoDaddy in element or sponsor sponsoring the newsletter this year. They’d been fantastic sponsors. One thing I do is when I enter into an agreement with a sponsor, I make it clear that.

[00:19:52] If that, I want to retain editorial independence. So if there are any stories that involve them good or bad, I’m going to include them in the newsletter. Even earlier in the year when automatic mail poll was sponsoring the newsletter for the all of last year and, and And that was fantastic.

[00:20:10] It allowed the newsletter to really great. But then when automatic bought out male poet automatic began took over sponsorship of the newsletter for the first quarter of 2021. And that was part of the agreement as well. I made sure that any stories involving automatic rules, you were going to report on those.

[00:20:28] I think it’s really important. If any publications have sponsorship agreements of that type, that it is very clear that editorial independence is important and, and that’s separate from sponsorship. There are lots of other different models as we’ve discussed before as well, of the podcast.

[00:20:48] There are lots of different models for, for funding use. It’s, it’s a bit of experimentation, I think there’s philanthropy as we’ve seen that philanthropic or philanthropic funding [00:21:00] model. There are a crowdsourced kind of funding models. It’s, it’s an interesting one because at the end of the day, P everybody wants news, but not everybody’s willing to pay for it.

[00:21:10] And that’s, that’s the struggle is real there. It’s really hard to overcome that because for a long time, these is. Well, my speed. Well, it’s been free on the internet. It’s easy to find sources. A lot of people think that they can find it themselves, but the convenience of having a newsletter letter, like the repository brings it all together and makes it more accessible.

[00:21:30] Yeah. 

[00:21:31] Matt: How do we encourage, ah, I’ll I’ll fall on this grenade. You don’t have to agree with me. Okay. I’ll be, I’ll be the guy who says it out loud, but. How do we encourage better content? To be made. And I say content specifically, because I know not every, not everyone doesn’t want to cover the inside baseball of, of WordPress.

[00:21:58] They don’t want to dive deep into stories. I get it because it’s a very small audience. And maybe we’ll talk about that in a moment. Like it’s kind of a small audience who really cares about this stuff versus like, how do I build this element or site to make a thousand dollars a month? That’s a much larger audience who cares.

[00:22:16] Again, air quotes cares about WordPress. How do we encourage others to create better content? Or do you have any, any words of wisdom on how to create better content so that we all the content creators in WordPress, whether it’s a journalist, a, an opinion piece, or maybe even a tutorial. That businesses take us a little bit brands that sponsor us or donate to us.

[00:22:39] Take us a little bit more serious because I’ve overseen. I’ve. What I’ve seen is the over-saturation of asking for like donor donations and sponsorships, and then the content never gets made. And what I feel like is that kind of hurts us. Maybe not, I don’t know, but it kind of hurts us where we knock on that, that brand’s door.

[00:23:02] And we say, Hey, we got this great thing. We’re pouring so much effort into it. And they go, yeah, that other person burned me for $5,000. And they didn’t really, they didn’t do the ad read. Right. Or they didn’t create the amount of content that we thought, or, the content didn’t bring us that much traction.

[00:23:18] So, you have this, I’m giving you 5,000. I want 5,000 in one. Any words of wisdom for elevating the quality of content or is it just like survival of the fittest? 

[00:23:29] Rae: Yeah, that’s a really interesting topic. In the good question. The only way I guess I can answer that is, is from my own experience.

[00:23:36] When. I started the ripples of trails or, really fortunate that I guess I was the writer for the project. It was a collaboration between myself and Kim. So I was writing, Kim was basically bankrolling. He didn’t, he was, running his own company, didn’t have the time. So, there was a collaboration between the two of us.

[00:23:53] We talked, discussed the news and, and made the website and we kicked it off with, I think, seven subscribers. I [00:24:00] can’t remember in the first issue, not many And we got, got up to about a hundred subscribers and it kind of just plateaued for a while, but we kept on going and slowly and it snowballed, but it took probably a good year of, of the newsletter to really get into.

[00:24:21] To really start growing our subscribers. I think by that stage, we might’ve had two or 300 subscribers by the end of the first year, we were a bit deflated. We thought we’d have more subscribers. And we were trying to try to, become more well known and, and get more people reading. But it’s a, it’s a pretty hard thing.

[00:24:39] And so. When it, when it came time for came to step away when male Paul was acquired and then automatic finished sponsoring after they acquired male poet. I was kind of in a spot where I didn’t know where I was going to go next with sponsorship. And it was that, that good year of very slow growth and just focusing on writing something quality that attracted GoDaddy to, to sponsor they would, at their hour, they were our first sponsor who really saw what we were, what we were aiming for with the newsletter or by that stage.

[00:25:14] No. I was really luckily. So, Laura Nelson, who works at a male poet in their marketing, she’s now at world commerce. She was absolutely critical in helping develop that relationship. She’s a fantastic member in the WordPress community, so she helped introduce us and yet he’s still a sponsor and it’s, it’s there.

[00:25:34] Adam and Courtney and their belief in the newsletter and, and, and wanting to, they also have a sponsor section in the newsletter that allows them to share events and, and, and other pieces with the community. That’s, that’s been critical in the, the ongoing. Publishing of the newsletter.

[00:25:51] Yeah, these kinds of projects can’t really can’t happen without money family to support. So it’s, it’s an interesting one in terms of, how do we keep these kinds of things afloat? And as far as going back to your question about quality content, I think I think a lot of people want to make money really quickly.

[00:26:10] And yeah, of course, who doesn’t, everyone wants to make money, but sometimes it does take a slow burn and working on something with the aim of producing something high quality. Is going to make some money in the end. And I’m happy to say the, and happy to share that. Then the repository is profitable for me.

[00:26:27] It’s not going to be a full-time job, but for what it, what it is at the moment. And I don’t have plans for, major expansion, but it is not well, I, I don’t have big plans to have a podcast or a big website and do lots of reporting. People subscribe the same, pretty happy with what it is at the moment.

[00:26:48] And, and I am happy to share that in, in the new year, Allie Emmons is coming on board to help with community outreach and in increasing the number of voices that are in the newsletter. That’s really important for me to make sure we not just, rinse [00:27:00] and repeating the same voices over and over again, the newsletter.

[00:27:03] We want to make sure that people. Who are doing awesome things and they might not be as vocal. We want to make sure that they’re included as well. And, and I want the newsletter to be a source of, of amazing work that’s happening across the community, not just the same things over and over again as can happen in, in some spaces.

[00:27:22] Yeah. Other than 

[00:27:25] Matt: one of the things that I think is a challenge is, is that I think. What we want is we want the, maybe not even average WordPress user, but maybe above average WordPress user to want to turn into the news, like turn excuse me, tune into the news. Right? Because Hey, maybe the above average WordPress user is an it professional and she manages a hundred multi-sites for a university.

[00:27:53] And. Not in the WordPress community, but my God, wouldn’t you like to know when awesome motive buys those, the suite of plugins that you use, and suddenly you’re like who the heck is awesome motive. And if I was tuning into a news coverage, maybe somebody doing a piece on who automotive is and the background and the history, et cetera, et cetera Yeah.

[00:28:13] I don’t know if you’ve thought about this. I don’t know if this is something that maybe you even plan to go into with the newsletter is like, how do we, how do we dip into that segment of the reader of the demographic? I think of a local newspaper, all of a sudden. We’re doing fashion week and it’s I know what’s going on here.

[00:28:32] Right? One, you have advertisement that to hope. You’re, you’re hoping that you’re doing fashion week and you’re getting some new eyeballs on the, the, the baseline publication, maybe at that it raises more readers in the long run. Is there something like that that we can do without, selling ourselves to affiliate links 

[00:28:49] Rae: in?

[00:28:50] That’s a tough question. How do you, how do you broaden your own. It’s a hard one because we’re pressing uses so smaller niche and how you reach that kind of other level of, of, users is a, is a tough one. I don’t know if I have any answers today. I’d be interested to hear from other people who might’ve done it successfully, because I can’t think of how it, it just feels like there’s a, almost like a Seton barrier between.

[00:29:18] The people who, who read S I guess, serious WordPress knees that, core contributors and developers and small business owners and people who are very involved in the community. And then everybody else, it just seems like a big step. And Yeah, I don’t know. I just don’t feel that they’re that necessarily interested in, in how WordPress comes together or if people who you use a platform like that, every will be.

[00:29:47] That’s a, that’s a really interesting area to explore. 

[00:29:50] Matt: I’m going to say, I’m going to say something in hopes that Sarah Gooding is listening to this and she, and she uses this in the, in the headline. But I think that the cap on the audience [00:30:00] and you could probably. Again, you don’t have to reveal anything from your side, but I think the cap on the audience of people who really care about the inside WordPress news is probably right around 3000 human beings on the face of this earth is the number that I would say of people who actually care about.

[00:30:21] What Matt says in the state of the word and how it impacts WordPress, for, for, for years, I was gonna say most months, years to come or really care about, themes getting acquired. I think my number is about 3000, maybe on a good day, 3,500, but I’d say 3000 is the global reach of WordPress news.

[00:30:41] Yeah, I can use that, Sarah, if you want. 

[00:30:45] Rae: Well, I’ll tell ya. I don’t have that many subscribers to the newsletter. It’s it’s, it’s an interesting one. Like how, how many people are really interested in WordPress news because I’ve spoken to. People who work at automatic and some other WordPress businesses who work with the community, but aren’t necessarily interested in the community or kind of want to be kind of that stick away because they don’t want to be too involved in it.

[00:31:12] So it, it, it is an interesting number, but also, we’ve got the English speaking people who are involved in the community, and then we’ve got the non-English speaking people who have communities in other parts of the world. So who knows, if I assume that number, you’re thinking probably English speakers.

[00:31:29] So if we think about the people who are non-English speakers and are very involved in WordPress, like you can see all the amazing work that Mary job is doing in Africa. And, The amazing word camp that was held would would camp Spain recently, and the community’s just so passionate over there that they even produce a live late night a late night show pre recorded.

[00:31:52] But. There, there are people really passionate about WordPress and the community. Oh WordPress the recent word camp in in Portugal, Portugal recently. Yeah, looking at just their their daily schedule of, of, of. Throughout the the two days it was all very community-based and the events I had on day two, where, where everybody getting together and doing things in person together the whole cop that, that whole event was around community and nurturing, connections with people.

[00:32:22] And, and so there. You, it could be 3003 and a half thousand people who are really just in WordPress and, and know knowing more about WordPress news. But I would say that number would be. A lot bigger. Once we start thinking about non-English speakers. And I think that’s an interesting area to explore that.

[00:32:42] How do we kind of bring the, those communities together, the English non-English speakers? How do we bring those people? As just, people who interested in WordPress regardless of language, and that’d be an interesting one to explore the next year or two, as we get closer to exploring when, [00:33:00] when language and translation becomes the, the dominant focus of the program.

[00:33:06] Matt: Piggyback off of this conversation of how many max amount of audience I might have the WB minute who has only been around for about six ish months. The biggest piece that it saw was big story that it, so I was Paul Lacey story about Gutenberg and how that Gutenberg has impacted himself, but also his, his opinion on how it impacted.

[00:33:25] The community at one saw about 2200 2300 views to the, to the article and about almost 400 downloads to the podcast episode. And of course, anything that you bring up around Gutenberg and. It’s impact on whatever mean Gutenberg’s impact on whatever the community, the software performance is always going to get a look or view.

[00:33:51] Are there any other hard hitting topics you think that might be that we haven’t explored yet? By the time this episode goes out, it will be 20, 22 something this year you think, which is kind of interesting that folks should be paying attention to, or the next time. 

[00:34:07] Rae: Oh, yeah. I’m interested to see how the acquisition train goes next year in terms of more acquisitions in the space.

[00:34:16] And also you can’t really get away from Gutenberg. That’s going to be a big focus of next year. It really jumped out at me during the state of the word. When Matt was saying, we only have a handful of, of block themes and you’d like to see 3000 by the end of next year. So, interesting to see, I, I guess one of the interesting stories will be how, how blockchains become more commercialized as well.

[00:34:39] Are we going to see. More, same authors once w 5.9 comes out are they going to feel ready to really explore that space? We’re going to see a lot more of those themes on, on ThemeForest and other kinds of Marketplaces like that. Be interesting to say how that rolls out next year, because after that Matt was talking about, venturing into collaboration as the focus of the next phase of the roadmap for, for WordPress.

[00:35:03] So are we going to see blocks wrap up next year or continue, kind of fall into the, into the following year? Yeah. And I, I think the, the other thing is also probably most seriously thinking about volunteers and contributors to WordPress, that was a big focus of the state of the word.

[00:35:18] And, and with the lack of volunteers, thanks to you, the pandemic, that’d be an interesting thing to watch next year. Where are we? It’s, it’s mostly sponsored people who are contributing to WordPress. We, we see a lot, a lot of that. I was going to say, more of a drive to have more sponsored people working on the project, or, we’re trying to recruit more people who, who aren’t sponsored.

[00:35:40] That’d be interesting thing to watch next year, as far as contributions go and how that increases or potentially decreases, I guess. 

[00:35:49] Matt: Gutenberg everywhere blocks. Give me all the blocks. Ray, this has been a fantastic conversation. I really can’t. Thank you enough. I could go on for another hour, but I’m sure you’re sick and sick and tired of hearing me.

[00:35:59] Where can folks [00:36:00] go to sign up to the newsletter and say, thanks online. 

[00:36:03] Rae: Well, if you interested in joining the repository, it’s it comes out every Friday, go to the to sign up. Thank you so much for having me on the podcast. Matt. I’ve been listening for years and yeah, it’s, it’s really an honor to, to 

[00:36:18] Matt: be feeding.

[00:36:19] No, I, I, I, it’s a pleasure and an honor having you here as well. I also love the repository. Go sign up the show. The links will be in the show notes. Hey, if you want to support independent WordPress news or content number one, sign up for the repository. And if you are a big business and you’ve got some bucks, make sure you knock on raised door to say, Hey, I’d love to sponsor the news.

[00:36:44] And then when you’re done with her, she will send you my way to spend $79 to join the WP minute membership. Get your hand in the weekly WordPress news in our private discord interact with folks like Ray and others who produce the [email protected] slash Matt report. We’ll see you in the next episode.


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