Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley.
Jukebox is a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case the 20th anniversary of WordPress.
Today is a little bit of a departure for the podcast. It’s an episode all about the last 20 years of WordPress.
You’re going to hear a round table discussion with four WordPressers talking about their thoughts on the last 20 years. It features Sarah Gooding, Aurooba Ahmed, Masestro Stevens and Jess Frick, with David Bisset as the discussion moderator.
They cover many topics, and it’s great to hear so many varied opinions about what’s been of importance in the evolution of WordPress.
If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all of the links in the show notes by heading to WPTavern.com forward slash podcast, where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.
And so without further delay, I bring you, David Bisset, Sarah Gooding, Aurooba Ahmed, Masestro Stevens, and Jess Frick.
David Bisset: Well, welcome everyone. Uh, thanks for coming. This is the one of a few podcasts to celebrate the 20th anniversary birthday, christening, whatever it is you want to call it, of WordPress. Uh, yes. 20 years old. That’s it’s, it’s just barely attending college at this point. Isn’t that great? We have four sweet people with me here that I wanna introduce tonight.
We are going to do a, kind of like a news draft. So we are going to pick the favorite WordPress moments of a couple of categories, and we are going to pick them so that if, um, So if somebody picks something that, that, that the another person had on their list, that person that comes after them is gonna pick something different.
So you’re gonna hear unique things coming out of every one of our guests this evening. So let’s, let’s start our introductions. By the way, random.org picked our, picked the order. This is going in so that I am not playing favorites. Aruba, you are first on our panel. Tell us about yourself. Hi everyone.
Aurooba Ahmed: I’m excited to be here with all these lovely people.
I’m Aruba, I’m a WordPress developer. I build plug-ins, websites, all that kind of good stuff. And I’m up here in, uh, by the Rockies in Calgary, Canada,
David Bisset: the Rockies. All right. Next on our list is Sarah Gooding. Hello, Sarah. How you doing?
Sarah Gooding: Hi, David. Thanks for inviting me. Um, I’m Sarah Gooding. I’m the editor at WP Tavern.
I’ve been there, it will be 10 years in September. Um, I live in Florida. I moved there two years ago, um, during the pandemic when my husband’s job changed and we moved down here and yeah, still love WordPress. After 20 years
David Bisset: you’re well working. Yeah. You know what, um, Aruba, how long, when did you first, uh, get into WordPress?
Aurooba Ahmed: Um, I would, I think it was 20, it was 2008 or 2009.
David Bisset: Okay. So about, about the same time as me. So I don’t know, somebody will do the math in the second. Sarah, how about you?
Sarah Gooding: I think it was around 2006 for me, but that was maybe just like trying it out. Okay. So like, um, when I started working in WordPress, it was 2008, 2009, so that’s when I started in years.
Yeah. Making websites for clients and. Things like that.
David Bisset: So, uh, yeah. So like, so Jess, you are up next. Can you tell us in your introduction to how long, at the end, how long you’ve been with WordPress? Absolutely.
Jess Frick: Uh, I’m Jess Frick. Thank you for having me, David. Um, I am director of operations for Pressable, and I have been playing with WordPress since 2008, working professionally in it since 2010.
David Bisset: Wow. It’s 2010, so we are, so it’s the oldest I, I’m per, well, I’ll introduce myself a second. Maestro. Yeah, you’re up, you’re, you’re, you’re fourth, uh, in the order. It’s chosen by random.org. So why don’t you introduce yourself, sir.
Maestro Stevens: This is random.org that you keep pointing to.
David Bisset: Yes, I am not. Thank you, David.
Maestro Stevens: Yeah. Uh, my name is Maro Stevens. Um, I guess I am the preemie, the youngest person on this panel when it comes to WordPress. I started my, um, Uh, WordPress Journal in 2018.
David Bisset: Maestro, can you put yourself a little bit closer to the mic?
Can you hear me? Can you hear me better now?
A little bit better, right? Guys?
Girls? Mm-hmm. People. Humans. Yes. Okay, go ahead, Maestro. I’m sorry. So, yes,
Maestro Stevens: I started in 2018. Um, so I guess I’m the youngest person on the panel when it comes to WordPress and uh, I’m an agency owner of the Iconic Expressions.
David Bisset: Great. Well, yes, young, young Whippers now, but, but that, that does give us a perspective though, cuz us old timers like to, like, to remember the, the good old days.
So we need, we need some young blood. Um, so let, oh, that makes me fifth in the, in the rotation. In case you don’t know me, um, consider yourself very fortunate, but for those who may want to learn more about me, I’m David Bisset um, I’ve been worth, I think I’ve been with WordPress since about 2006 or 2007 ish.
Um, 2008 is when I founded with some help. Where? Camp Miami. So I was with about WordPress for about a year and a half prior to that. So that’s kind of like how I do the math. Uh, I currently work at Awesome Automotive. I currently had a project, uh, WP Charitable, um, which was required by Awesome Automotive last year, but it’s a, but for the longest time I have been a freelancer.
I’ve been a employee, uh, employee and owner of a number of companies. Um, also a member of, uh, uh, post status. So I’ve been doing, I do, I’ve done a whole bunch of things. So that is our panel for this evening. Um, so why don’t we get started? And again, we are looking at the last 20 years of WordPress. So when, so that is certainly a lot of history to cover.
And of course some of you are gonna be aiming for certain years and others will be aiming for others. So I’m gonna be very surprised tonight if any of us snags someone else’s picks in terms of news. And what we have this evening is that we actually have three categories that we are going to try to cover this evening.
And, um, I kind of, I usually don’t like to give categories or, or, or themes per round. If we have time after these three, we’re gonna do arou, uh, I’ll bring out your dead or, or, or whatever is left in our pockets type of a thing. But I thought with 20 years of WordPress, That is so, um, that is so broad to cover that I, it was almost impossible probably to, I wanted to make it a little bit competitive, so I kind of narrowed little things down to at least three categories.
So the first category that we’re gonna cover is a, a memorable WordPress release or something within a WordPress release, any WordPress release. Then that was our first thing that we wanted to cover. So, Aruba, let’s start with you, um, category WordPress releases. So what, what was your pick for your memorable WordPress release in the last 20 years?
Aurooba Ahmed: That would be Thelonious WordPress 3.0, which was really the first WordPress release that I paid attention to when I first started using WordPress. And it made a big splash in the world of blogging. I remember there was this really big blog called A Beautiful Mess. They came out with this course called Blog Love Design, and it was all about like using the new 2010 theme, which is when those, you know, 2010, those style of theming for default themes started.
Oh. And using that to customize it and uh, create something really cool and you could now create custom menus for the very first time. And multi-site was merged. I mean, it was a really, really intense release that paved the way for a lot of what we think of WordPress, like core default. Of course WordPress has this sort of features, you know, but before that it didn’t have them.
David Bisset: I totally forgot about multi, uh, multi-site. Um, and I, and I didn’t know that three cuz remember prior to that, um, it was two separate products, which was kind of weird. Yeah. Right. If you wanted WordPress, it’s weird, you wanted to download WordPress, fine. But if you wanted to download WordPress M U.
That was a separate download
Aurooba Ahmed: and it was like a whole thing to try to set it up. And with WordPress 3.0 it became a lot easier to make the switch if you ever wanted to turn a single site installation. It’s, it was still a process, but way easier with WordPress 3.0.
David Bisset: Who remembers, who remembers WordPress when that came out?
Jess Frick: Oh yeah. Aruba skunked me on the first one.
David Bisset: Oh really? Yes. You got sniped. Really? You were gonna pick three? Pick 3.0 Wow.
Jess Frick: It’s literally the first one on my list.
Aurooba Ahmed: Oh. Milestone release. Yes.
Jess Frick: Incredible taste
David Bisset: and, and a nice round number too, which for WordPress you can’t always guarantee. Right now there’s another round number that I’m not gonna talk about that, that’s probably pretty significant too, but, okay.
So Aruba Robot, WordPress 3.0 is your, is your first pick what in a snipe right out of the gate. So congratulations on that. Alright, so Sarah, you’re up next, me and, um, your memorable WordPress release.
Sarah Gooding: I think probably one of the most memorable ones for me was 5.0
David Bisset: and that’s the other one.
Sarah Gooding: Yeah. Um, 5.0 is such a, a big release.
Um, Especially leading up to it, all the agencies and freelancers are trying to get their themes and plugins ready so that they’d be ready to go with the, you know, with the latest and greatest that WordPress had to offer. And it was such a, it was a big leap. Um, and then the, the timing of the release was like right at WordCamp us, and I think it missed some of its, its dates and so they had previously identified, um, like, if we missed this date, we’re gonna push it to January so that we’re not doing the release while everyone’s traveling.
But then, um, Matt switched it, I guess at the last minute. He’s like, no, we’re going for it. And yeah, there was this up, there was just, you know, a, a huge outcry with, you know, people who were frustrated and they’re like, why do we have to push it so hard? And it was just, it was like, It was like giving birth.
I think, you know, it was, you’re, you’re just going through this process and it was, of course, it’s gonna be difficult at times. And, you know, eventually everybody’s on board and everyone’s working together, um, releasing their tutorials, their open source stuff to help people, you know, get on board with the block editor because it was, it’s probably the, the largest technical leap that our communities had to navigate of, of all time, I think I would say.
And, um, it was an exci, it was really exciting time. I mean, I was, every day there was, there were articles to write about what people were thinking and feeling at the time, and there was a lot of frustration, but also it was, uh, it was just something that needed to happen because our editor had been, had been looking dated for so long and we needed to make that big jump.
So I think that’s probably one of the most reme memorable ones for me in, in recent memory.
David Bisset: Yeah. I’m gonna go on, on a limb. For me personally, say that was probably the most controversial WordPress release. Period. Yes. I, I worked for a plug-in company at the time and I was literally making changes to our plug-ins release to get into the repo in the ho in my hotel room.
So I’ll just kinda leave it at that in terms of how much stress that, uh, and I think a lot of people were doing pretty much the same thing. So I have to say that I think, uh, the number one most stressful word press release was for me, 5.0. Uh, I can’t imagine it was probably stressful for Matt and everyone else too.
Most controversial though, I think, at the very least for, for that. And I think it’s still 5.0 down to this day. You just remember the, the nu the version numbers just branded into the My brain, so 5.0. All right. Great. So now it’s gonna get interesting. Sarah. Swipe my number two. So Jess, um, can you think of a enough it literal second one.
Jess Frick: I just wanna say though, for, you know, WordPress three, what was cool was the, the editor changed. Mm-hmm. And that was what made me go full-time and WordPress. That’s when it started to be pretty enough for me to play with it. Purdy. And then it was pretty though, and it got prettier. Um, I have a note here that it was 3.7 when WordPress became the most popular CMS in the world,
David Bisset: huh? Accord, according to Matt,
Jess Frick: uh, according to WordPress history.
David Bisset: Okay, that’s fine.
Jess Frick: Um, I think it was built with, it was through, built with. I’ll take
David Bisset: their word for it.
Jess Frick: I’ll find the link for you for the show notes. But yeah, that, I thought that was significant because that was just when I feel like the entire editing experience changed.
Um, But then also agreed for WordPress five. Um, I remember, uh, WP 1 0 1 was one of the big sponsors, and they pulled out of the show because they had to redo all their videos.
Sarah Gooding: It was, it was chaos.
David Bisset: So, to be clear though, yes. Are you picking which WordPress version are you picking? Or have you
Jess Frick: Well, they, those were my two.
David Bisset: Oh, those were you too. Okay. I’m sorry.
Jess Frick: Talking points, but since I can’t pick either of those, I’m gonna say the first all women and non-binary release of 5.6. Ah,
David Bisset: okay.
Jess Frick: That I feel like we’ve got another one coming up too.
David Bisset: Mm-hmm. Yes. We can’t talk about the future.
Jess Frick: That’s, I know we’re, we’re looking
back right now.
We’re just looking back.
David Bisset: Yeah. So WordPress 5.5 0.6 was a major milestone too. In terms of, in terms of that. And I think it’s set, set pretty much a, an example of how those are going to roll in the future. Like we have a second one coming up. Um, did anybody here participate in that? No. Okay. Kind of, well, we kind, we were rooting for the side, but there was, there was so much diversity in that release.
I was, I was very glad to see that, not, not purely from a diversity angle, but as much as just there was excitement and contribution in general because of that. Yeah. And the more that you can expose contribution in general, I think the better off the WordPress project is even when we quote unquote went back to, after that, we went back to, I, for lack of a better word, a normal release or a, a standard release theme, which is no theme at all.
It’s, it’s basically, I went say hand. So Jess 5.6, excellent choice. Maestro, we come down to you. I, I I, I w I’m very interested to hear what your pick’s gonna be cuz this, these were the top three I could think of off the top of my head. But, uh, go ahead. I haven’t been sniped officially, but, uh, because I knew there were gonna be people that picked it anyway.
But Maestro, what is your favorite, or what is the most memorable WordPress release for you?
Maestro Stevens: I feel like I just got sniped right now. Um, two times. Uh, Jessica hit one on the head, um, and you kind of was alluding to one, but I’m gonna go with 5.5. If we gonna go with points. Let’s go with the point system.
I’m going with 5.5.
David Bisset: Okay. Um, that, that’s a, that’s a release. Points of releases.
Maestro Stevens: Points of releases, right? The point of release. Yeah. So, oh, I’m gonna take a different direction and go with 5.5 because it was, it was a release that I felt affected a lot of people’s reason for, you know, being, uh, hired or paid for maintenance because it involved auto updates and once that came out it screwed up a whole bunch of people’s, you know, um, source of income or reasoning or opportunities because I know there was a lot of resistance and pushback when people were saying, well, I don’t need you anymore cuz I can auto update my own site.
So, um, that’s what I would say was one of the biggest ones for me.
David Bisset: I, I actually had someone who went along that same path, but fortunately they used, they used bad plugins, so they’re, so they turned those auto updates off pretty quick. It actually reminded me, and I don’t know what version to this is off the top of my head, but I remember when auto updating WordPress itself was a big controversy.
Um, and I don’t, I’ll figure it out what the version that was, but I remember na for you, for those of you who may remember Nathan, he’s still with us. He’s just not with the WordPress project anymore. Directly for over like a year and a half explaining the concept of WordPress auto updating on major versions.
There was a lot of. Controversy, um, pushback a little bit in terms of do we want to auto update this much of the web? So I, so I can understand that for plugins, right? You know, I, you know, it’s, I think it’s taken time because people paid for WordPress updates too. Like, they’ll just say, Hey, can you just update?
And, you know, they would probably update the plugins at the same time. So, yeah. But you know what, I think in this day and age, there comes a time to evolve. I don’t think, I think auto updates aren’t on many sites for very good reasons, especially probably governmental and educational sites. But 5.6 auto updates did cause a blip in the timeline, right?
So that’s a good choice. I think that’s pretty good. And I totally actually forgot about that.
Aurooba Ahmed: So I, it was WordPress 3.7 when WordPress could auto update.
David Bisset: See that? That to me would’ve been my second choice because it’s now, now, now it’s, I guess it comes down to me, my turn. Um, that would’ve been my second choice because I remember going to so many conferences going to the conference in Arizona, that name, now I’ve Page Lee conference and I’m forgetting in the loop.
No, no, it’s, although they think they talked about it there as well, but, um, yeah, I’ll think of it in a second. I’m just drawing a blank. Uh, it’s, it was PressNomics. PressNomics. There you go. Um, I think it was PressNomics, but I do remember attending a couple of conferences and Nas was there on stage or something, trying to explain how they have been talking to a whole bunch of people about WordPress updates and auto updates and people were scared, so, uh, not scared, concerned, whatever word you wanna throw at it.
And everything’s fine now. So the plugin thing is gonna stray now, but, Because remember, I’ve been with WordPress a long time. I noticed no one went back to the one point WordPress releases. So I’m going to pick WordPress 1.5, which which came out in February, 2005. That release came with pages, comment, moderation, tools, and Kubrick.
Does anybody remember Kubrick? Maestro? You probably don’t. That’s okay. But Kubrick.
Maestro Stevens: Stanley Kubrick. Stanley Kubrick, or
David Bisset: the theme was named after him, but Google Kubrick and turn on Google images and you’ll see a blue. What the internet basically looked like in terms of blogs for like, for like seven years, cuz everybody was using Kubrick.
Um, when WordPress came out, this was before like the two thou, the, the, the year themes came out. You’ll see it, you’ll see it. Um, it, not only that, but it also came with a new theme system. That’s when WordPress themes came out in WordPress, 4.1 0.5. And Matt announced themes with these words. And I quote in WordPress 1.5, we’ve created an incredibly flexible theme system that adapts to you rather than you expecting to adapt from it.
You can have your entire web log. Remember those words, run through a single file just like before, or you can literally have a different template for every single different category. How far we have come from a site editor today, from to February, 2005 when WordPress 1.5 came out. I mean, for me, Paige’s was.
The biggest deal, um, because I, and this is the version by the way, that I actually jumped on board WordPress full-time with, was WordPress 1.5. Um, coincidentally because I think prior to that I was trying, I was just at the point when trying out other brow browsers, it was movable type. There was PHP, nuke, I forget what else was out there, but like, I needed something, but I didn’t need a blog.
I needed something to build a client’s website with. And you really couldn’t do that without pages. So when 1.5 came out, pages was the chef’s kiss back then, really young chef’s kiss back then. So anyway, my pick is WordPress 1.5, so that was round one. A little bit of more, uh, sniping than I thought was was gonna happen.
But let’s go ahead and just not waste time and moved around. Two, our round two category that, uh, we picked out was, um, I think most memorable WordCamp. So just to clarify this for the audience, um, this could have been a work camp experience or it could have been the, the work camp itself. Maybe, maybe the atmosphere around it, the community around it, whatever.
Um, as long as it was a memorable, your, your most favorite WordCamp. Memorable experience. So, Aruba, we’re gonna start with you on this. Sure. And if anybody gets sniped on this, I’ll be blown away. But go ahead, Ruba. You go ahead. Start.
Aurooba Ahmed: Okay. I’m not sniping anyone with this one. I’m pretty sure. No, I’m like a hundred percent sure it would be word pit.
WordCamp Calgary. So my hometown’s WordCamp in 2016, which was the very first time I spoke at a WordCamp. And it was also the first time I realized that WordPress was more than just software. There was this whole community around it. And the vibe was, I. Like it was more about more than just code. There was a lot more going on underneath the surface that you might not know unless you are participating in these kind of community events.
Um, and I feel like, and it could just be because that’s when I entered the time, but that’s when community efforts really started to become more of a thing in WordPress world. You know? Uh, I think work, the first WordCamp US was just like a year before that and, you know, things were starting to gain steam.
So for me that was a very, very memorable time, very personally. And if it wasn’t for that WordCamp, I don’t even know if I would be here in on this podcast. So yeah.
David Bisset: I’m looking at the 2016. It’s, the theme was make period WordPress, period. It’s sing period. That was the theme of the camp. Mm-hmm.
Aurooba Ahmed: Because our Calgary theme for that year was music.
Okay. We had a city theme going on that year for a lot of stuff. And so the WordCamp, um, sort of theme sort of fed into that as well.
David Bisset: Make sure to include all, make sure when you provide me the links for all your items to include the mm-hmm. URL to the work camps. I’m assuming that, assuming that there’s still exist, this one does, uh, work camp, work camp, uh, websites were so, so straightforward and simple back in 2016, which Oh yes, is really, to me, that’s not that far.
That’s not that far ago. I’m getting old. It was a two day event on May 28th and May 29th, 2016. And this was your first, I didn’t even have a avatar.
Aurooba Ahmed: I didn’t even have a avatar at the time.
David Bisset: Do you remember your talk? They don’t have your gra Yeah. Your avatars missing. Yeah. Do you remember your talk?
Aurooba Ahmed: Yeah.
At the time, uh, it was, I think it was on theme development using Git. So like how to push your theme from your local environment to your hosting environment. But with just git, you know, deployment was not like a very sophisticated thing in the WordPress land at that time. Um, and I was using get hooks to create this sort of custom workflow so you could like push everything up.
And that’s what I did my little talk on.
David Bisset: Yes. It took a while to find it because shame on them. They’re schedules are graphics on the WordCamp website, so I couldn’t search through text. They’re JPEGs, so yes. Shame on you. Yes, they’re shame on you. All right, so hey, we were learning, we were learning. Moving, moving, moving on here before anything Sarah.
So what is your, Sarah, what is your. Best or most memorable Word, camp moment or work workout? No.
Sarah Gooding: Does this, this include, does this include WordCamp announcements or just like major announcements that were done at WordCamps? Or does, or is it just meant to be your favorite?
David Bisset: Most memorable. Most memorable to you.
And some people can take that is, I was there when this historic thing happened, or, you know, something personal to you. Now keep in mind our, what our next round will be, which I won’t spoil. So if it’s more closely related to that, then that’s the only thing maybe. But you know, I’m putting you on the spot here, I realize.
So just go ahead and share. As long as it’s, um, legit, legit work camp event. I, uh, event of some sort.
Sarah Gooding: My first WordCamp was WordCamp Vancouver in I think 2012. And I was a speaker there. It was a, it was also a buddy camp. And so I was speaking about Buddy Press and I think I talked about like how you could add little jQuery animations to make it cooler.
And I hardly, I can hardly remember because I was so hungover. Um, oh,
David Bisset: I just, oh, what year was this? What was the year was this year? This was 2012. Oh, so this was before the ch before the child.
Sarah Gooding: Oh yeah, before I had kids. And then I think the next year was Buddy Camp Miami or was that 2014?
David Bisset: Oh, don’t, don’t even get me started.
Sarah Gooding: And I brought my dog to that WordCamp and it was my first time in Miami and somebody offered me like a hundred thousand dollars from my dog, or they offered my husband and he wanted to say yes and, but he knew that I’d be so angry.
David Bisset: Um, I can see why that one came in second place though.
Sarah Gooding: Yes, buddy Camps were my first entrance into Ward Camps and those were the ones that I tried to make it do and, um, really enjoyed the most.
Meeting all the people I’d met through, uh, buddy Press and in the forums and contributing and I miss. And, uh, those were very memorable for me.
David Bisset: I miss Buddy Camps, so if anybody who doesn’t know what a Buddy Camp is, is basically like a conference within a conference for Buddy Press. If you don’t know what Buddy Press is, go to buddy press.org.
But it’s software that’s still maintained by, officially by Automatic. It is a social platform. It is the sister project. I, I’ve always considered it’s sister project of BB Press, which is a form plugin, but we don’t go into that. But yes, we did. I forget we had for one or two years Buddy Camps in Miami too, but Vancouver 2012 where Sarah gave her first talk, can’t remember it cuz the brain cells are destroyed, so she’ll, we’ll have to take her word for it.
That’s great. That’s, I always like it. What was, what was your favorite WordCamp? The one I can’t remember. Dude, well, I
Sarah Gooding: remember, I
David Bisset: remember it, but alcohol poisoning here.
Sarah Gooding: I met so many people there for the first time I met Matt Mullenweg, j Tripp, and you know, like there were a bunch of lead developers there just back then, like not, you know, the work camps weren’t huge.
They were really small and it was exciting to, you know, meet the people who were working on WordPress. For real.
David Bisset: Yeah. Back then, the WordCamps were so few and far between when you went to one, chances are most of the core contributors we’d be there. You know, it was because we had to travel. Um, and the website is just as does still exist, October 13th, 2012, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at a, at Barnaby campus, Bernabee campus.
However, and by the way, when, when, if you’re listening to this, go look at these, um, old work camp websites, links that we’re sharing because you want, I’ll, you’ll get a kick of the people that we’re sponsoring them too. And their logos, if they still exist today, you get to see their old logos and if they don’t exist, you get to see who was uh, sponsoring work camps back in 2012.
So, Sarah. Yeah. Work Camp Vancouver gets my thumbs up because it’s got a buddy camp attached with it. Eventually we will get to a work camp in the us. So Jess Jessica, is that gonna be you? It’s gonna be me. Okay. We’re, what were camp is most memorable to you.
Jess Frick: So I actually went outside the box on this cuz I didn’t know how it was gonna play out.
And so I’m coming at it from a different side. Favorite themes and the swag that got away. Favorite themes? Hmm. Favorite themes. I absolutely loved WordCamp Orlando. I’m a fellow Florida in here, Uhhuh. Um, I absolutely loved WordCamp Orlando 2015, which was Harry Potter.
And then 2018 was space with nasa.
Cool. So, yeah, definitely my favorite word, camp themes. But then the swag that got away, I wanna honor you, David. It was those WordCamp Miami lunch boxes.
David Bisset: Oh, wait a minute. Wait a minute.
Jess Frick: Oh no, you’re gonna tease me with it.
David Bisset: I’m telling, find it in a second now. You see, I’ll find it in a
Jess Frick: second. All the cool swag everybody has.
And those were the ones that I was like,
Aurooba Ahmed: oh, I don’t know where,
David Bisset: where they’re within or where somewhere. Yeah, I, I will put a link, I’ll put a link in the show notes, but I’ll send it to you. I, we actually have a, um, I have a picture of them on my old blog. Um, so if anybody’s wasn’t aware, so I’m, I’m confused.
So the Harry Potter one is the, is the one you want, right? Is is your pick. Right. But you’re
Jess Frick: Well for theme,
David Bisset: for themed. Oh.
Jess Frick: For theme the way that you, you know, cuz most of the WordCamps will have like a cool theme. And so obviously I’ve gotta stick with my hometown glory and go, you know, Harry Potter versus NASA Thai.
Um, but for the swag that got away, definitely WordCamp Miami.
David Bisset: We had an eighties theme that year. That’s why the lunch boxes Yes. It back you. I’ll see it, I’ll see it in a second.
Jess Frick: Um, it was like a Miami Vice thing, right?
David Bisset: Yes. There were multiple lunch boxes, so it depended on what you saw. We, we kind of put a lot of, um, not to turn this into Work Camp Miami discussion, but we put a lot of Easter eggs into our work camps.
So if we have a theme, it’s like, if you didn’t see the one sponsored poster of the Breakfast Club, then you. Didn’t you, you wouldn’t have known about it, and it was just special for that. But yes, so I, you know, we can only pick one. So I’m putting you down for Orlando 2015, but I’m very honored that your, that your backup, that your second place was WordCamp Miami. I’m, ooh, where? Camp Miami. What year was that? I like to say it was 2018. It was 2018 was it? I think for our 10th year. Um, yeah, but I was supposed to be there and I wasn’t. All right. Well, Maestro, uh, so far nobody’s hopefully taken your picks. So, um, what would, what WordCamp would you put up as your, as the one that you, uh, remember fondly of?
Oh, wait, we can’t hear you.
Maestro Stevens: Since I never technically attended a WordCamp. Um,
David Bisset: not even virtually.
Maestro Stevens: So I spoke at Work camps virtually in 2021, but I didn’t attend work camp as a attendee.
David Bisset: Were you a ghost?
Maestro Stevens: But I’m gonna take it to the left a little bit. Um, I would say no, I was not a ghost.
David Bisset: Okay. But you attend if you spoke, you attended?
Yeah. You just didn’t physically attend?
Maestro Stevens: I didn’t physically attend cuz that was the year that we had to virtually attend. So, um, yeah, uh, it
David Bisset: was north. Oh, so it’s a seance you attended, I mean, you, you were there?
Maestro Stevens: Yes. Yeah. Yes. Uh, attended, um, Northeast Ohio work camp in 2021. So, and what I mean by attendance, I’m talking about like, I didn’t just go there to go or attend, I was speaking, so that was the big part of my attendance versus just going to a world camp as an attendee, if that makes sense.
David Bisset: So that’s the one who stood out. What was your talk on?
Maestro Stevens: Uh, my talk for 2021 was, um, five. Look at my notes here. It was, uh, about modern marketing for, uh, minority and underrepresented businesses using WordPress.
David Bisset: And was that the first one you physically attended? The one you spoke on? Virtually? Virtually.
I’m sorry. Virtually, yes. I’m sorry. I’m getting my, see, that’s why my blood sugar’s low. I’m, I’m, I’m fasting right now and my doctor said as it wasn’t a good idea to come on a podcast while that was going on, so forgive me, but how did you speak at any virtually, have you spoken virtually before at anything before that?
Maestro Stevens: Never. Never a WordPress specific, uh, topic based scenario, but other things I had, yes.
David Bisset: Okay, so you did, so it wasn’t your first real, it wasn’t your first rodeo. Just a just a little bit different speaking in front of a different audience though.
Maestro Stevens: So prior to then, so I’m 36 years old. I feel like I gotta put this out here.
I feel like I don’t judge, I’m real young here. Like you, you try to call me out with the Stanley Cooper thing. So I’m saying I’m 36. My, uh, I, you’re
David Bisset: younger than me, sir. So you take, well, I’m, you take the ball and
Maestro Stevens: run with it. I’m saying this to say, um, I, I started the WordPress late, so I didn’t even know WordCamps existed prior to 2018, which all of you were well endowed into the WordCamp WordPress system.
So thank you. It was totally new for me at that time.
David Bisset: Well, are you looking, are you planning on tending another one?
Maestro Stevens: Do you want me to drop a secret?
David Bisset: Oh, yes, yes. I need the ratings.
Maestro Stevens: So, um, hope, I don’t know when this is gonna air, but, um, I actually am hosting a workshop at Work Camp Europe. Athens. Greece.
David Bisset: Well, there you go. Wow. That is a Well, that escalated quickly. That’s what, that’s amazing. Well, congratulations. Don’t, don’t say anymore cuz we don’t want to get you in trouble. So you are going to be, have you ever spoken out of the country before? No. Oh, so it’s gonna be, wow. I’m gonna watch the, uh, cam, I’ll, I’ll have to find someone to point a camera at you cuz get, get, get you in your most nervous moment.
Tune into an animated gift because my therapist says that’s what works best for me and my condition. So, very good. Very well done, sir. Okay. Well, northwest Ohio, they need some representation. So, Northeast, excuse me. Northeast. No, we don’t wanna, no,
Maestro Stevens: they’re, we’re serious about that now. N eo
David Bisset: now we serious about that.
We don’t wanna represent the northwest. Those sons of motherless goats, those people. This, that’s a, I can’t swear on this. All right. Northeast Ohio 2021. It is. And welcome to the, welcome to the 2020s. So, Uh, work camps on our list. So last ends with me. I’m gonna go with, uh, I I I didn’t wanna pick, uh, any work camp Miamis.
Um, I think that would’ve been way too easy if, if, uh, cuz I, I, I’ve been involved in the organization of that for a decade. I will say though, that work Camp Miami, I think Pat we already mentioned 2018. I, if I had to pick one of that, if I had to pick a second place, that would’ve been it. We had a thousand people at the FIU campus.
That was also the same year. The bridge collapsed. There was a bridge collapse at, at the, um, at the campus. Uh, there was some in like a day before the conference, a bridge spanning over a highway collapse that connected the school with the parking lot. And it was major pana. It was, they had to close the school.
Um, fortunately we were able to keep open. It was just pure madness. Uh, we had to coordinate with the. With the WordCamp committee to, to, to make sure things were okay. And communication got out and people were, it was, it was just a, for the first day it was really a big mess. And it was very sa It was a sad occasion too on top of it, cuz some people did, did lose their lives.
But on the, on the, uh, what helped, what helped deal with that is that we had over a, still over 1,011 hundred people attend that conference, which was the largest work camp Miami in one of the largest non regional work camps up to that time. We think that’s the one with the, where we did have our 80 eighties theme.
We had people dressed like, uh, various eighties stars giving, giving talks. So we asked, we kind of had a costume contest at the same time, um, and the swag. But since I can’t pick a work camp Miami, I’m gonna go ahead and pick work Camp West 2016. Just, I just, this is, um, I’m kind of cheating a little bit by going with the, um, Go.
Well, let’s see. Going with the, sorry, I’m just doing, I’m gonna have to edit this out.
It was the very first one, right? Actually, I got my picks mixed up. I got my, oh, I got my picks mixed up. So anyway, um, don’t worry, I’ll edit that part out. But we’re the, actually the work Camp Miami 20th 10th anniversary was my pick. I will find a way to edit this to make it sound coherent, but yes. Work Camp Miami 10th anniversary.
I got to pick my own work Camp Miami as my most memorable moment. And just to repeat myself, because I’m gonna edit out the part, I’m gonna delete the last part. Um, I got my work camps mixed in. So like I said, there was an 80 theme. We had over a thousand people come. There was that. That was that unfortunate incident.
The bridge collapsed. Um, so we got off to our rough start, but everybody, we, we couldn’t, we didn’t have our pre-party because of that incident, um, at the work Camp Miami. But Friday our workshops went off with a good start. Um, we had three workshops, I think like a couple hundred people came to those. Um, we had Matt show up for Work Camp Miami for the 10th anniversary.
Uh, he was in the neighborhood. He decided to drop by and we had at the very end, one of the most attended closing remarks, um, ever. We have a really great picture of it. I’ll, I’ll try to remember to put it in show notes. It’s a really good PR picture for any work camp, but especially for us. We also had like a two day kids club and anytime someone says, um, like, like what’s a good example for a kids club?
And for me personally, it was that two day kids club that we had at Work Camp Miami. And it, it really, like a lot of good things happened at that work camp from an organizer that I’m very proud of. But I will always look fondly at that 10th anniversary. The kids, the kids’ club or the kids’, um, workshops were the highlight because they, we had, we actually split it up between young, young kids between, I don’t know, between five and 10 or five and 12 or six and 12.
But we had one for the teenagers, the high schoolers, and the first day on a Saturday, they actually learned how to use WordPress. But on the second day we taught ‘EM marketing. So not only do they learning how to build WordPress websites, e-commerce websites, specifically on day one, but on day two they were taught how to market those websites.
Um, And that to me is a model for the getting the younger people more interested in the word in WordPress going forward. It’s not just, this is how you blog or this is how you move a block. Yes. But you really, these days especially need to teach the young people how it really applies to them when they, when young people, I’m gonna throw out some young kids’, kids’ terms here when they’re on the tos, when they’re on the tu toots, whatever, over in the Instagrams, like for, they’re not very hard concepts or networks.
Right? But, but even more so is like, how can I use this platform either to entertain myself or how to make money or how to get myself popular? Which hopefully when you get old enough, eventually it turns into how can I make a living off of this? Or how can I use this to my advantage? And the technology comes second to those priorities, right?
So, Our kids camp. That was the whole point of teaching kids, okay, this is how you build something. But tomorrow we’re gonna show you how you can market this and sell. If you wanna make any e-commerce story, this is how you market it. This is how you get into the search engines, or this is how you use these plugins.
This is how you create a business plan, which was actually part of the course. So anyway, work Camp Miami 10th anniversary, the eighties theme just ruled. Um, I wish I had a poster, um, but I’ll share the link in the show notes to a lot of the posters we took, like we had a back to the future theme for our sponsor posters.
It was just a really great time. So anyway, I digress. Hopefully I’ve covered over some of my mistakes and now you know what my next gonna be, but we Camp Miami 10th anniversary 2018 was my, was my pick on that. Alright, so now we’re in round three. Thank and this is why we didn’t do it live people. Round three last category, Aruba.
We are going to cover now the state of the word announcements. So you didn’t have to be there in person. Just to clarify, you didn’t have to be there in person. You didn’t even have to be into WordPress at the time, technically speaking. But if there’s anything historic, anything that stands out to you. Um, the favorite, Matt Moway, so this is Matt.
Matt was giving these in person up until Covid. So I believe his last in-person WordCamp, uh, state of the word was 2019. And I don’t think he’s done in-person state of the word since. Sarah could probably back me up on this probably, but I think he’s done virtual ones ever since, starting in 2020. And uh,
Sarah Gooding: I think he did, didn’t he do one in New York City or one or two?
He did in New York City with a small audience. It wasn’t like at a WordCamp, but it was like, yeah, yeah, you’re right. You’re technically, but, um, yeah, it wasn’t attached to a WordCamp.
David Bisset: You’re right. I, I misspoke. So not attached to WordCamp. Not a WordCamp. Yes. Used to be a U WordCamp Us. Um, Tradition.
Exclusive. Yeah, yeah. Tradition at the end, everybody would line up, get into the room, get into this big room, and people would approach the mics. Um, some infamous people would’ve questions every year. Um, and if you, sometimes you, sometimes you couldn’t answer, sometimes you couldn’t get to all the questions.
So, and then in 2020, I know he did a couple of virtual ones every year, and then I’m gonna guess 2021, he probably started, um, having them in the Tumblr office. I could be wrong on that. Mm-hmm. But it was a small audience. But ever since then, they, they were disconnected from WordCamps in 2019. Now your favorite, um, this is the announcement.
So you can pick, you can you all pick and pick the same state of the word, but you can’t pick the same announcement during the state of the word. So that’s, so that’s that, those are the rules. So Aruba, in case any of that made sense, What would you like to tell us would be your best, your, your, your favorite, most memorable state of the word announcement or a state of the anything mentioned at State of the Word, I should say.
Aurooba Ahmed: So the very first WordCamp I went to, that wasn’t WordCamp Calgary was WordCamp US 2019. And that was very memorable for me. So it was the very first time I also saw a state of the word in person and the thing that really I still remember to this day. And it really drove home for me. What we are now doing with WordPress was when Matt told us that the slides were all made inside Gutenberg.
Wow. That every single one was using and they had just sort of finished live coding it. You know, Ella, one of the core contributors, she had built this plugin and it lets you basically use reveal js and have this block. And so each slide was just a block in this single document where Gutenberg page and it was full screen and it had like really lovely design, even had a little bit of animation and it was like, wow, you know, this, this is, it was such a clear demonstration of what we were capable of, what we were trying to aim for.
With the block editor and I just, it was, it was, it was a core or a press memory for me for sure.
David Bisset: I’ll try if, if you, when you send your links, if you, um, you people have done so much work enough, I really appreciate it. If you can, if you can find the video and find that timestamp to that mm-hmm. When you made that announcement, that would be great.
I almost wanted it that point to have WordPress be a slide maker. I’m surprised no one has really come out with the plugin for that since, or maybe they have, but that must be There is a plugin. Oh. To make slides out of
Aurooba Ahmed: the original plugin is in the repo and since then there have been multiple other plug-in plugins that, you know, let you create slides with WordPress that are out there.
Yeah. Well that’s, I’ve done it for a presentation myself. It’s really cool. Lots of fun.
David Bisset: Okay, so that was work Camp US 2019, right? Yeah, that’s right. The last in person one I, I remember. Mm-hmm. I remember. Mm-hmm. Being in the audience. I can’t remember that specifically cuz I was probably tweeting too fast.
Okay. Well great. That’s fantastic. So we still, we have the Gutenberg. Hey, turns out these are slides announcement from Work Camp US 2019. So Sarah, so you I’m sure covered a lot of state of the words at the tavern over the years. What was the one that stood out to you? Or what announcement or something brought in the state, in a state of a word, stood out to you the most?
Sarah Gooding: Yeah, I usually do a writeup every, every year for the state of the word. And, uh, 2014, um, in, at Ward Camp San Francisco. It was the last ward camp San Francisco. And Matt announced this is the last time we’re gonna be here and, uh, we’re next year we’re gonna continue with Ward Camp us. So that was like a, a major change.
Um, And it was kind of like WordPress was stepping into its global destiny, I felt like, because, um, he also at that time announced that it was a big turning point for the project because, um, the number of non-English downloads surpassed the number of English downloads of WordPress. Yeah. So the software was just getting more of a global user base.
And, um, he announced that basically they’d outgrown their flagship WordCamp and we’re moving it to a whole, a bigger one. And, um, we out, we outgrew I R C and we moved to Slack that year. So that was kind of a big thing. It was a major change for the project’s, communication tools. Um, and at that time, I think Fiber, the future had just started.
So he, he said during that address, this is what’s gonna take us from 23% to 30% or 40%, 23%. And it was so ambitious at the time. It was, I mean, who, who could imagine at that time that, that WordPress would be 40% of the web? And um, it was just an exciting time to be a part. I was, I was there at the WordCamp, um, but there was so much energy because WordPress was growing so fast and it was every year you’re gonna expect it’s gonna grow and grow and outpace all its competitors.
And uh, it was a great, it was just a great time to start getting involved because um, the energy was, was so good at that time.
David Bisset: Yeah, I remember the excitement about award camp us cuz it definitely, there wasn’t anything beyond a city level at that time. Maybe, maybe, maybe a few regionals, maybe, you know, along those lines.
But it was nothing on a continent. Well it’s not a continent, David, you gotta go back to school on a country.
Sarah Gooding: I think they might have, they might have done WordCamp Europe by then, I’m
David Bisset: not sure. Was Work Camp Europe first. I think it, yes, I think it was so,
Sarah Gooding: and there was kind of a rivalry for a while.
Seemed like, you know, WordCamp Europe is bigger, or WordCamp US is bigger. And then remember just back and forth every year.
David Bisset: Remember I remember WordCamp, I remember Matt saying that he wanted WordCamp us to be bigger than that. I, I didn’t think that, I didn’t think that was gonna be possible cuz just on geography alone, um, just because Europe is just so much bigger in terms of, in terms of that than a, than a US would, would, would be able to.
But yeah, so we did have Work Camp Europe, but, but really regardless of size work, camp US is a, is the flagship event of all the work camps, at least in my mind. And it’s not just because of size, it’s just because it was, I, I think because of that. Day in 2014 where it’s like, and I guess maybe, maybe it is a, maybe it is a United States centric thing for me, cuz I live in the US but it was kind of along the lines.
I’ve seemed like that was Matt’s home WordCamp. And as WordCamp US kind of progressed, taken two cities every year. Was it? It was, yeah, it was the same city two years in a row. Move on to a different city. Matt just seemed to embrace the, remember the boot on stage in Memphis. Um, he just seemed to embrace the, I mean, where Campy West was Matt, and it’s not, it was, it was not it, you know, the two seemed pretty closely linked together and although he did attend work Camp Europe, um, I don’t remember him giving a state of the word at work Camp Europe either moving forward.
He always did it in San Francisco and then kind of did it at us, um, for a while. So that to me was always like the home work camp because Matt was always. They’re doing his state of the word. That was, that was the, that was the central thing. And of cor of course, Europe was, was bigger, but it was, it was the WordCampy west that always seemed to be a special home for that.
So I, I guess that, does anybody ever, did anybody ever attend the last one in San Francisco in 2014? I, I was there. Yeah, I was, I was there too. I think that was the one where they had the fire alarm or the medical emergency or something too. Mm-hmm. And, uh, yeah, it was very tightly packed in there. Um, the state, when Matt did his state of the word, people were sitting, like, I, I was, I had, I had to get like there an hour before just to be in the front row and super glue myself to the seat.
Which was embarrassing because I didn’t bring a change of pants. So anyway, that’s a different story. I so work camps San Francisco 2014 when we announced work camp us among all the other things that Sarah mentioned too. So that is a very memorable war camp and what I can appreciate cuz I was there. All right, Jess, keep this train going along here.
What work camp, or excuse me, what state of the word announcement sticks out in your mind?
Jess Frick: Also exciting, but in a different way. 2018
David Bisset: WordCamp US 2018. Yes. It
Jess Frick: was as if the entire stage was surrounded by gasoline and half the audience had pitchforks, like the tension was palpable in the room. And everybody’s like, oh my God, what is he gonna say when he gets on the stage?
And he starts with this video of people just talking about how crappy the interface was on the old WordPress. And we’re like, yeah, actually he’s, he’s not wrong. And then they show. Guttenberg. That was when Morton got up and brought up some really reasonable questions about transparency, and I think that was the first time a lot of people really started thinking about, you know, how much transparency is there for contributors?
And, you know, what do you have a say in? And honestly, like, I don’t wanna turn this into like a Matt Fangirl moment, but honestly that was one of the times where I most admired Matt’s leadership of the project because I felt like he really stood in front of the team and took the bullets and then said, Hey, I hear you.
I feel you. Feel free to get involved and make, you know, informed opinions in our dev meetings and we’d love to have you, but otherwise maybe just hang out. Um, I, I feel, and that’s of course me cribbing it, but I thought that he handled it with. Grace and elegance. And I thought that at the end of it, people were a lot more, I feel like the vibe was a lot more relaxed and excited about the go forward.
You know, most of the WordCamp had, you know, built up this tension and it definitely felt a release after that. Um, yeah, I, I had been to other state of the words, but none really shined quite like that for me. Um, now Matt’s, Matt’s a great leader and I’m not just saying that because he’s, you know, essentially my boss, um, but also because he is my boss.
Um, but it really was a really great moment, I think, for the WordPress project. And that was when I really wanted to get involved into contributing. Um, cause you know, if you’re gonna cry for transparency, you should probably do something with it.
David Bisset: It took a lot of guts to probably get up there because like you said, this was the same event.
Where a couple of days before people were in their hotel rooms coordinating with teams to get their stuff ready for Gutenberg. Right. Um, controversy going forward and like, wait, I, the amount of discussion, because remember, you know, this was before where camp started, so once I think, I think when I think we got out of that mode of rush, rush, rush, rush, like updates happening every, you know, probably on Twitter we were just monitoring the, the entire.org forms was, was just nuts.
And, um, slack was nuts. Um, I think it was, it was Slack then I think, right? Yeah. It was whatever form we were communicating with, it was, it was, it was nuts. And then work camp started and then you had that. Like he’s taught, like that wasn’t the fir, that was the last thing at work camp us. Right? So you had hallway was, I remember having hallway conversations about the, and I won’t, I won’t go into it.
I mean, it was, it was more just nervousness than negativity, but it was just like, you know, people were on edge. And for Matt to have that state of the word and like in that kind of, um, I, it, it took a lot, it took a lot of guts to, for anybody to do that and, um, for anybody to ask questions. And that did lead to conversations with Morton and then from thereafter about transparency.
Does any, does anybody remember, um, that particular feeling in the community at that time?
See, seeing some nods there? Yeah, that’s, that’s okay. I wouldn’t have answered that question either vocally and been on the record. That’s fine. Uh, there’s too much, uh, uh, I, I think people forget. Like how hectic it was then. And I think because of the way Matt handled that, even with probably looking back on it, I think some things maybe could have been handled better in hindsight.
But, but you know what, what, when you look back on something, what’s, how does that differ from anything, anything else in terms of how you can handle anything better? I did make a notable, he did make a notable comment about more transparency. Yeah. Um, because honestly, up to that point in time, the reason why things weren’t so hectic is because it’s not as transparent as things are today.
And that’s, that’s how I looked at it. If everybody feel free to, you know, jump into here, I’m, but now that with especially Josepha, um, over the years being more transparent, the things on.org, I think a lot of that transparency would’ve taken us over time, a lot slower to evolve if it wasn’t for. How Matt handled that and the people asking him questions deserve as much credit as that.
But that was a very difficult time too, because the media, there was a lot of media attention on that state of the word outside of WordPress too. And I’m not sure if people remember that, but, um, I remember like news organizations and I, I don’t remember the, the ones that existed then probably don’t exist now.
So I don’t know what, but a lot of news organizations, this was in the news, is that the one where the mayor came on stage? I can’t remember. But this was on, this was in the news. This was, um, this was big news to the, to the entire internet that WordPress, whatever market share hold the time has launched This Gutenberg editor and Matt Longway was in the news was, was on lot of tech websites that were not WordPress related.
It was a big deal. So that probably was the most media attention, media focused. Hectic nervous ball of nerves type of state of the word that probably I can ever, ever think of. So that was definitely one for the history book. So where camp u s 2018 in Gutenberg.
Sarah Gooding: I think all that, that controversy was so healthy though, because you had all these really high profile contributors and business people who were like, no, this isn’t ready to ship yet and you’re giving us three days notice.
And it was, it was, it was a discussion. And, and Matt was very present there. He was in the dev meetings and he, he was back and forth and, and you gotta remember like all these people really grew up together in their careers. I mean, this is, some of these people have a 20 year history together. Yeah. You know, at least 10 or 15 years for a lot of the people who own the, these big businesses or have been contributing a long time.
And you know, some of ’em are real brave to speak up and be like, Hey, this isn’t cool. We don’t want releases like this in the future. And, um, You know, the, it’s amazing to see how the project, the project has changed over the years, and especially Josepha has been just amazing. But, but they, all these people have grown up together and they’ve, they’ve matured together and the project has matured and it’s, it’s really a cool thing to watch.
And, uh, I think controversies like that are, are good because it means that people feel free to talk to each other still. It’s not just some, some cold corporation style thing that the, you know, it’s a family and people are gonna speak their minds and, and it’s healthy and it, and I like that. It was an exciting time.
David Bisset: I’d be honest. I mean, to me, I think some people stuck I, the further away we get from that moment, which is, it was 2018, so that’s like what, five years from, it’s, it’s a distant memory now, but I know some people look back and instill with a bit of anxiety. Uh, so
Jess Frick: I don’t think 2020 and 2021 were real. So it really was just like two years ago.
David Bisset: Whenever some, i I, this will always be a word can, well, it’ll always be a time where somebody’s gonna say, well, you know what, back then this happened and it wasn’t great and blah, blah, blah. But it, it kind of like, it was definitely a, like a growing up point in terms for the whole community. It’s time to put our big person pants on.
And yeah, some Matt admitted some things were not, were his decision, but they weren’t, they weren’t right. But they were his decision. They took responsibility from ’em. And we have some of the things today. We have the trans, we have the transparency today and things today because of the conversations that came from that.
Aurooba Ahmed: we also have more contributors now because of it. I mean, I’m one of those people who was affected before that. I had never contributed to WordPress before 2018. You know, uh, the, the merging of Gutenberg decor was not just a moment of like a chapter change for the software or even for the folks who were growing up.
It was also a moment of it created space for new blood, which I don’t think really existed before. And I still think that, you know, we’re also doing work to make contr, uh, contributor stuff easier for everyone. But that was for me, a really big, like milestone. Like looking at it from, as in just coming into that community at that time.
Like, oh, okay, I, I could actually do something here too. You know? I don’t have to just wait for all these other people who’ve been here for the last, like, many years, these, uh, the legacy folks and, uh, and wait for them to do something. I could maybe do something too. So, and you’re walking. That’s something.
That’s how I remember looking into it.
David Bisset: Yeah. And you’re walking in brand new, like, why is everybody so nervous?
Aurooba Ahmed: Well, it was still nerve-wracking, right? Like it was also one of those things that affected, it was an economic. Problem because it affected people’s livelihoods in a very deep and impactful way that other updates didn’t necessarily do, or other updates before They did create that impact, but it was almost always a little bit positive.
But this one was like, it could be positive, it could be negative. It’s like a, like we took something that was like this and we said, oh, okay. It’s like this now. Like, what, what’s going on? Took a leap. So it’s different.
David Bisset: Yeah. And there was also the four phases of Gutenberg and very, mm-hmm. And then which, which, which kind of laid out the entire plan, which we are still going, we’re entering phase three as we speak.
So anyway, Maestro, we want to get to you, um, state of the word announcement or anything you want to tackle there.
Maestro Stevens: I’ll segue the, um, the phases of Gutenberg. I think that for myself and then with Aruba, what you were saying as far as the, uh, contributing to like bridge them together. I think it, I don’t know if it was 2020 or 2021, so anybody can help me out.
But I got really excited when Matt started talking about the collaboration. Um, that was something that, it was just super cool bringing Google Docs type features, you know, um, to WordPress. And for me, um, as a new contributor, that was, uh, in essence, um, I would say a part of, um, how I feel like other people can contribute that aren’t really WordPress savvy by being able to at least collaborate with other word pressers.
Um, that was awesome. I believe it was 2020 when he was, if I’m not mistaken, the, uh, instead of the word, um, when he had mentioned it. Cause I started watching them after they were, uh, they weren’t, you know, attributed to the WordCamps themselves.
David Bisset: Yeah. Collaboration’s big. Uh, we’ll find the, we’ll we’ll see if we can find the time set.
I honestly can’t remember. Like the four phases were always laid out and collaboration was always phase three, but I can, but there was very little detail in the very beginning, like 2018, what those phases were actually gonna be. So 2020 sounds about right cuz I, um, I remember sitting virtually getting more information about the collaboration stuff and over, over the years it’s gotten a little bit more detailed, but what about, well, Maestro, since uh, I, since you’ve been, you’ve been humbly listening to all of us Jabber about our old days.
What specifically about the collaboration stuff stood out to you the most? Why, why would you be excited about that particular phase? Why did that stick out in your mind?
Maestro Stevens: Well, I felt for a while it was kind of annoying, um, having to
get permission or kick somebody out. Of being able to edit the page. Ah, and that would like that, that hurt a lot of production time. Um, it made people have to communicate a lot more. It made you have to wait, um, if you are patient or not patient. It made you have to practice patience. Like you got kids. Um,
David Bisset: I kicked them out of their blogs all the time.
Maestro Stevens: Yeah, right. You know, so it was, it was, uh, for, for, for me and for some people that I knew, it was definitely a great, uh, aspect of them being able to work alongside. And so that was different for, um, me working with a designer and a developer. The fact that they can both, like if they can both be in, when he announced that if they can both be on the same page at the same time along with myself and we’re all kind of doing our own thing, we just have to wait for each other.
That to me was just invaluable. Cause I’ve been using Google Docs forever and I think a lot of people have, um, have, have gotten used to being able to like edit things in real time. And it was the real time factor that I thought was so cool. I had no idea. Word Press. Was going to do or could do?
David Bisset: Do you think that could be the next wow factor in terms of Gutenberg?
I mean the, I mean, we, full side editing is big, but to the outside world, I don’t think it has been as revolutionary because well, side editing exists, right, exists outside of WordPress. But I, correct me if I’m, I’m this, hopefully we get this out in a video form, but I, in case you’re listening to the audio, everybody’s nodding their head yes.
I just want to let that, I just wanna make that clear. Uh, but I’m imagining the collaboration more than just editing a Google Doc type of a thing. I, I’m hoping, I’m hoping that collaboration also means I’m seeing someone drag a block here while I’m dragging a block over there on the page. Big, my like.
Yeah, that’s the level. Like we think of collaboration as Google Docs, which is fine cuz we’ve grown up with that. Google has nailed that functionality and over the years other people have caught up. Even, you know, apple and other people took a while for them to polish that out. That wasn’t their strength.
But now, but now it’s, you know, like that’s table stakes now in terms of if, if you’re collaborating, if there’s any collaboration at all. Like unless you’re a journal app that is just you or the author, there has to be some sort of sharing or collabora, you know, live, you’re seeing someone else’s cursor on your screen, right?
It was built into Apple’s os later on. But Google pretty much set the, set, the standard moving forward. But you know, so that is a standard. So if that is done in WordPress, editing a document, editing text, uh, I’m hoping there’s more and I hope WordPress gets that, that wow feature factor. Kind of back, which is difficult to do when you do open source, cuz it’s not like you’ve kept, you can’t keep something hidden.
Right. And then release it, because that’s not, you’re not gonna get open source con contributors doing that. It’s all gonna be out in the open. So it’s not gonna be a surprise to us. But I’m hoping that you can start dragging blocks and building pages, like seeing things being built in front of you and just like, um, I think it was, was it was, was it, I forgot.
I’m sorry. What? Who was who? Who was com Uh, I think Jess said, I think it was you about like when go, that video started that guttenberg about all these people complaining by the editor and then you saw the new editor. I want to see a video like that when, when the, when the collaboration tools come and you just see live on a video or even live like this is, this is this whole, how about the slides were, somebody should just like, you know that that meme with the dog and the, and the, and the railroad tracks from a walls and grot.
Yeah. Yeah. Um, you know how he’s putting down the railroad tracks really fast. There’s a tr as he’s building it as the train goes. I would like to see that in slide form, in WordCamp, state of the word maybe, or something along those lines. Some live demo or live presentation or really slick video of really cool collaboration tools.
So I think,
Aurooba Ahmed: I think if you put collaboration and multilingual together in one video, it’s like p
David Bisset: yeah. It’s, I can understand multilingual and I understand people’s, like, why don’t you put multilingual before that? Because we really need it. We really need it. I can understand why it’s the last one because I think that’s the most complex part.
I think that could be the most complex of all, everything. And you, you wanna map your things out probably before you start breaking things up in terms of translations. But yeah, just imagine esp uh, I don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves, but like, I, I, I’ll, I did like a what would be a, um, ooh, there, there’s a good question.
But then the following work, uh, after that at Miami in 2016, Unknown to me. He, he put like in one of his slides, like a, um, let’s see, hold on a second here.
But that he found the worst possible picture of me and put it next to it. Now that’s bad for two reasons. One, because that’s not, I don’t think a representative of War Camp Miami cuz it wasn’t just me. Um. Other organizers were involved, but two, that was just a bad picture. And I remember you look so happy.
Well, I was young and I, I don’t know if I had kids back then, but the point is, the point is, is that I was in the audience and I saw it and I was live tweeting at the time and like, you know, I almost had to change my pants. It was, it was just the moment. And I c it was just the, probably the most embarrassing.
And I had people looking at me going like, man, you, you look just as just like that guy. And I’m going, yeah, that’s me. And uh, but so I got to be on a slide, just, you know, next time, you know, I wish my PR people would, would’ve coordinated with his PR people. So anyway, I’ll include a link to that picture in the show notes.
But that was probably like the work camp 2016 I got on a slide and I don’t think that’s gonna happen twice. So that’ll be etched in history. I’ll never get a better picture. Yeah, I look better. You know, we could use another slide. But anyway, that’s, that was my story. All right. So we went from us. We, so we, we went from 2019.
All of these were work camp uss, of course, except for San Francisco in 2014. So I think that’s not a surprise there. Um, actually 2020 was virtual, so not, not work camp us. So anyway, that was, that was fun. Now as we wrap things up here, is there, I’m gonna go in order one last time or one last time. If there’s anything real quick you wanna bring up, just like we can’t be as detailed as we were before.
There’s gonna be rapid fires. Is there anything that we didn’t bring up one or two quick memories that didn’t fit into these categories? Aruba, we’ll start with you.
Aurooba Ahmed: Hmm. I can’t think of anything. I am very happy to not have gotten sniped and got all my memories in.
David Bisset: Okay, that’s fine. If, if you’ve got, if, if you’re happy, I’m happy.
Sarah, is there anything that, that’s, that, uh, you. That didn’t fit into those categories you’ve covered over the years that,
Sarah Gooding: uh, I have more that do fit into the categories, but, um, nothing outside categories. Uh, I had a couple other links that I thought were interesting, um, that were, that actually happened at WordCamp Europe.
Um, in 2017 in, in Paris. Matt announced that the Gutenberg plugin was ready for testing. And I thought it was kind of, kind of cool because he hadn’t been doing big announcements at WordCamp Europe. I mean, he was, he would usually save all the big announcements for WordCamp us. So that was like a major thing that the European WordPress community got to be first in on, or, you know, they got to hear the news first.
And then in, um, the next year, like one year later, I think it was June, 2018 when he unveiled the roadmap for how Gutenberg was getting into core. And it was just like months away, which started like every, all the people, um, were just scrambling to get ready at that point because he was like, okay, here it comes, we’re gonna go for it in 5.0.
And um, and that was an exciting time. I remember I contacted probably like 10 or 15 different people who had freelance businesses or agencies, and I said, what, what are y’all doing to get ready? And then I, I wrote this post about morphine. You know, some of, some people were like, I’m just gonna wait and see and I’ll see if anyone likes this block editor or not, and then maybe I’ll update.
David Bisset: Some people are still doing that.
Sarah Gooding: And then, you know, and then there are others who were like, oh, we’ve already dedicated an entire team to get us ready for Gutenberg. And we’re, we’re already, you know, they’re giving a very good, uh, just very good PR as far as their readiness for it. And, uh, that was a fun time.
So I thought that was cool that he saved, he had given both of those big announcements at WordCamp Europe years later. Once that was just, it was established as just, I think it was the biggest WordCamp for a long time.
David Bisset: Yeah. Agreed. Agreed. So, Jess, Jess, anything we missed?
Jess Frick: This might, this is probably gonna sound way cheesy when I say it than it is in
David Bisset: my head.
You’re on a panel with me. You’re safe because I’ll Okay, cool. Standing next to me, you are the opposite of cheese. What?
Jess Frick: So, you know, uh, Mr. Rogers, you know, he’s quoted as saying, you know, when he was afraid his mom would tell him to look for the helpers. And when I think about the history of WordPress, I think about the people in the community and the countless, you know, GoFundMe and somebody gets sick and they can’t work, or their kid gets hurt, or, you know, during C O V I D when so many different things were upside down.
And, you know, we’ve talked a lot about the really cool, about the really technology, but what’s been amazing to me is to see people that have come together over the years and all the cool things that they’re doing, um, to support one another. Um, even as recently as like last week, everybody was pitching in to help somebody who somehow found themselves homeless.
You know, it’s, it’s been really, really cool to see so many good people join together under the umbrella and all the good that we do for open source and personal. I told you it was gonna sound kind of cheesy. Uh, but I mean it,
David Bisset: Well, I, there’s so many different aspects of the WordPress community that could fit into, um, Kim Parsons is, do I have that name right?
Yes. Okay. Sh not the first ex, not the first example of, of a member of the community passing away, but I bel But it was, it was, she was well known by a lot of people and which started the, um, the WordCamp Scholarship. Scholarship. Right. I’m sorry. Thanks. Mm-hmm. Thanks. So, but she is just one example of so many, like we have scholarships for, for, for diversities now, now for other people.
There was, um, the, I can think of a half a dozen people that have passed away over the years too, that have gotten there every year. We remember them. Um, and that’s very kind of, Very unique for a community for to do something like that even on, um, regardless of the scale. So yeah, the community really kind of pitches together.
And we also kinda have fun too. We, we, we do podcasts like this, um, you know, you know, of our own free will except for that one person and blackmailing to be on this panel today. But other than that, we’re doing this because we are a tight-knit community. So, yeah, I think that’s great. I think that’s a great thing to keep in mind over the past 20 years, you know, and there’s, there’s, there’s drama, but I mean, it’s, it’s, we’re we’re still a collective group for the most part.
Um, so finally, uh, my
Jess Frick: Sarah mentioned earlier. People are growing up together.
David Bisset: Yeah. Bringing ki bringing their own kids to work camps. Right. Somebody, some, somebody supposedly conceived one at work camp I am at don’t that, so that’s not at the event. I meant during the weekend. Okay, we’re gonna have to edit that one out.
All right, moving on.
Aurooba Ahmed: Wait, wait. I take it back. There is one like length thing that I wanted to talk about
David Bisset: Uhoh, and that was when her eyes lit up. When soon as I started talking about conceiving children at work camps, her eyes lit up. You’re gonna have to go. Go ahead. Go ahead. You’ll ahead Back over.
Aurooba Ahmed: Yeah. Um, that was when Woo Commerce joined WordPress. That was a moment. Oh, it was a big moment, right? Because Woo. Commerce like woo themes, they were doing so well and they had become fast, become the fast, like the most popular e-commerce system in. Like e everywhere on the web and then automatic, uh, it was like the one, like a really big notable acquisition from Automatic before that there, I don’t know, I have no idea actually if they had done any other acquisitions before then.
But that one was like, it started the train of acquisitions a little bit and it was like, oh, we were Democrat democratizing publishing and now we’re democratizing e-commerce. And now it’s like democratizing like all kinds of other things, social media, et cetera. Right. But WooCommerce really, really began that sort of, um, moment in time.
Right. For automatic and like how it affected all of us in the WordPress community,
David Bisset: uh, au Speaking of acquisitions, I, you can’t go with 20 years of WordPress without talking about the acquisitions that’ve made in the last decade. Right. We saw the first decade of all these people that were starting companies like, um, like, um, Saed, Saed Automotive, but also Pippin and mm-hmm.
Uh, like all these people who I’m drawing punks on right now, the first 10 years you would see them at the work camps and then most of them have moved on or sold their businesses or become acquired. And who’s, you know, the last, especially the last five or six years, so many WordPress companies that we saw give birth in the early part of the WordPress days now are more mature or they’ve been absorbed into larger companies and people that were working out of their basements are now like managing like dozens of people at height level companies, um, and, and the hosting companies too.
Right? Remember when hosting was so immature in the 20, uh, in the early days? Oh, yeah. And, uh, acquisitions. I, when you, when you said that I remember, um, I think it’s more recent, but in August of 2019, Tumblr Joint Automatic, which was huge. And yes, I think we still have to see the ultimate fruits of that labor because we’re starting to see Gutenberg and Tumblr now.
Aurooba Ahmed: And in day one, which was in the news pretty recently as well, the journaling app.
David Bisset: Yeah. So, and then I think that if anything is going to outlive, like what Matt said, if anything’s gonna outlive WordPress, it’s gonna be Gutenberg. Right. That’s, that’s, that’s the ultimate. So it’s so exciting to see how automatic is automatic’s non WordPress business.
Not directly. We used to think of word of automatic as wordpress.com, but over the years with its acquisitions, it’s, it’s now, it’s now so much more, but it’s affecting WordPress in ways that we never, I didn’t think we are, would realize, uh, 10 or 15 years ago. So, Micra, are you with us?
Maestro Stevens: I am back. Sorry about that.
My computer is freezing, so I had to restart it.
David Bisset: No problem, sir.
Maestro Stevens: It’s overheating.
David Bisset: Oh yeah, you’re, you’re, you’re just too hot. All right. So, Hmm. Okay. I’m gonna have to, I wanna, wanna bet with my wife just now. Just thought I’d let you know. Um, said something like that. All right. So maestro, uh, bring it home for us.
Is there anything about, uh, that we may not have, uh, touched on tonight in terms of your, of, of terms, of things in the WordPress history, especially from your perspective?
Maestro Stevens: I can’t think of anything. I think that we’ve touched on mostly everything I would say for me specifically, uh, back in 2020 when I was introduced to, um, o one of one of the plugins, themes and, and, uh, block plugins that I use in cadence, it was a very, um, revolutionary experience for me.
To say the least. I was using Elementor, I was using a page builder before then. People were talking a lot of crap about Gutenberg, a lot of controversy. I’m just keeping it real with you. Um, people were saying it was ready, it wasn’t ready. And then, um, you know, after testing a whole bunch of different, um, plug-ins and themes and they’re all, you know, a whole bunch of are, are so great.
But if I wanted to invest into an ecosystem, kind of like Apple, unfortunately, I thought my investment with Apple kind of suck right now. Cause I’m like, I got this expensive computer that just overheated, but I digressed. Um, uh, it was keep blowing. That changed everything.
David Bisset: Well, thanks. Okay.
Maestro Stevens: Yeah. That changed everything for me.
David Bisset: Well, that’s fantastic. Well, I mean, I think you’re, I I think we have a very good representation here and, and you especially because you’re coming in on the last couple of years and seeing it from that kind of different perspective with those kinds of eyes. Um, Is kind of, kind of now in 20 years, we’ll, we’ll be able to get from your point of view in like the mid midterm, you know, like the, the golden years, not the golden years.
The, uh, kind of a golden age we’re entering into, uh, WordPress right now. So very, very excited to have you back along with everyone else in a few years and see, and see if your MacBook survives so we can talk to you a little bit more. So I wanted to, I What’s that?
Maestro Stevens: Just, um, just to touch on what you just said real quick, I think that, um, based on what everybody has talked about, cause you just made a good point.
So if I can give any context, like I’m not an old schooler here, so I’m really trying to help with different type of, um, generation and new type of people. I’m just keeping them 100% honest with you. That’s the way, reason why I’m, I’m, I coin myself and I’m called the fresh Prince of WordPress because I’m trying to give a fresh perspective.
Oh, a lot people have no idea.
David Bisset: Does that make me the, um, Carlton I.
Maestro Stevens: Uh, that was a good one. I see where you’re going with that one. I know Will Smith here. I don’t slap people. Alright. Um, but still, uh, the whole point was is that people don’t know that it has evolved a lot and there is a lot of people trying to enter into, uh, WordPress without that understanding that it’s not what it used to be.
So I love having conversations with people like you all, cause I get both perspectives. I get people who have been there for 10, 20 years. Like if you have never heard of it trying to get it in and they’re like, I can’t do all that development stuff and all that code stuff and all that, and I have to teach them.
Like, it’s not that it’s not the same, you have that opportunity, but it’s not that. So I think that this is fun.
David Bisset: Yeah. And I, I. Maister and I, this is the first time we’ve been face-to-face. I, he actually reached out to an invitation that I left on Black Press, which again is one of the many examples of how the community is trying to address, um, all the different aspects of that it, that it can in terms of diversity and outreach and finding new people, young, old, whatever.
And I really appreciate you reaching out to me through there. Um, It’s, it’s great to have all these different kinds of channels. Um, at least it it, because not everybody is on post status. Not everybody is on Twitter. Not everybody is here for various reasons. We can only, we can only be in so many channels at once.
Right. And it’s personal to us. So, you know, I’m in my channels because it mean, you know, it’s because of me. My, my livelihood, my background. I’m in these certain places. I can’t be everywhere. And everybody else is different. But we overlap in such ways that finding you in finding you in that area was, was, was a very, very, very thankful that you reached out.
Um, cuz otherwise we wouldn’t have that kind of perspective and viewpoint from from, from that. So, anyway, I’m gonna go around and we’re just gonna close out. It was great having you all. And I want you, you can mention where people can find you on social or, you know, or, or, or whatever you wanna mention to bring up.
We’ll, we’ll start with Rupa first.
Aurooba Ahmed: All right. Well, I’m at Aruba pretty much everywhere, including a website, aruba.com. I’m also the co-host of a fun dev focused, uh, podcast called View Source, if you wanna check that out. View source.fm. And that’s me,
David Bisset: Sarah. Uh, it’s nice to meet you. I appreciate you Ruba coming on.
And I, I don’t mean to rush. I’m just, you get nervous when, when things close down and, um, you know that my kids are still locked in that closet and I, cuz and I really do need to feed them. So I’m, I’m not, I’m not pushing this along, uh, um, by, on purpose, but, you know, I’m getting a little nervous. Um, Sarah, I don’t know where, where people can find you.
Can you help me out on that?
Sarah Gooding: Uh, you can always find me at the tavern wp tavern.com and I’m on Twitter at Poly Plummer. I’m on Mastodon, Facebook, Strava. I’m on almost every social network, so get ahold of me any way you want. Slack. Um, I’m on post status and then the WordPress
David Bisset: Slack. Yes, I’m on a lot too.
Anything that doesn’t have my family, I’m there. I just wanna also say too special call out to WP Tavern. As far as l i when, I don’t know when it, I forget when it was established, but it was so early on. I think it’s, I think WP 2009, it is practically part of WordPress history. It should be put on a podium in terms of, of WordPress history media.
I think the tavern is, is top of that list. So I really, Sarah, you, we all the WordPress community kind of owes you a debt of gratitude. I know it’s not an easy job, believe me, I know Jeff was the one who, who started, we’re gonna have ’em on, on, on the other, on the other podcast. But you have been so instrumental over the years.
The entire publication has been instrumental over the years, covering the highs and the lows and the detail for the articles. You did a, did a terrific job. I’ll think Jeff on the other one. But I wanted to thank you personally here. You’ve been so much a part of the WordPress history just as much as the community and WordPress has.
Sarah Gooding: So thank you David. I appreciate that.
David Bisset: Thanks for that. Um, Jess, where people can find you. Oh God, I’m starting to sound like Yoda. That was barely a sentence.
Jess Frick: It was great.
David Bisset: Where people find you bee,
Jess Frick: where people find me bee, pressable.com, uh, pressable.com for work. Um, you can find me on the socials at renew.
Be, and I dunno, like, like the other ladies, I’m pretty much everywhere, so not hard to find. Okay. Not too many Jessica Fricks running around in WordPress. Oh, well that’s, that probab not too many Fricks in general, but
David Bisset: if, if I had enough energy, I could comment on that. Maestro. I know, Maestro,
Jess Frick: I tune it up for you.
David Bisset: Thank you. And I missed as usual, Maestro, where can people find you?
Maestro Stevens: I’ll piggyback off of Jessica. There’s not many people with the name Maestro Stevens. So if you Google me, I’m the one and only, um, and if you wanna find me, just look for me on LinkedIn.
David Bisset: Okay, that’s fine. Fantastic. You’re avoiding most of the socials like I should be doing right now.
I, and, um, I, if anybody wants to find me, um, as long as you’re not delivering papers to me, my, uh, you can find me, um, at david bi.com or David bi.social. Um, that’s where I pull all my social media into one WordPress website. So in case. Certain social media websites cease to exist, at least my post will be there.
You can also find me on post status and, um, I am doing a little, uh, news website called WP front.page. So, uh, with WordPress News with my daughter as we experiment. A little bit of that, if that’s, you may be able to, that still might be around by the time you listen to this, so go ahead and check that out.
Again, I want to thank my, my panelists. You’ve been great sports. We’re gonna have links to everything they talked about in the show notes for this. Um, and thanks again everybody. Thank you. All right, you have fun.
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