A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

WP Motivate
WP Motivate
A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

In this episode, Michelle and Kathy talk about how the open source WordPress community is motivated more by collaboration than competition. Even for large companies, we’re all motivated by serving the WordPress users and the mission of democratizing publishing, leveling the playing field so that small startups and bloggers can create effective sites as easily as multinational corporations. At its heart, WordPress is a community-driven initiative where enthusiasts, experts, and novices alike come together to share, improve, and innovate. Instead of proprietary silos, the open source WordPress community is truly a global initiative where ideas intertwine and evolve, leading to better and more robust solutions. Even when there is conflict and disagreement, we tend to lift each other up towards a common goal rather than compete.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:01] Speaker A: Start your week smiling with your friends Kathy Zant and Michelle Frechette.

[00:00:04] Speaker B: It’s time to get ready for some.

[00:00:06] Speaker A: Weekly motivation with WP Motivate.

[00:00:12] Speaker B: Happy Thursday, Kathy.

[00:00:15] Speaker A: Happy Thursday, Michelle. How you doing?

[00:00:17] Speaker B: Good. Last week when I said that, you’re like, oh, it’s not Friday. Yeah, I still have a feeling about that. Every time we record on Thursday, too, it’s like, shouldn’t I be saying Happy Friday? But yeah, it’s getting close. The weekend’s close.

[00:00:31] Speaker A: Labor Day kind of screwed me up. Like, ever since then, it’s been like, why is this week so long? What’s going on?

[00:00:39] Speaker B: Same.

But Thanksgiving is coming, like, in a month and almost two months. Right. And then it’s the three day weekend. I mean, three day weekend.

[00:00:47] Speaker A: Yeah, but that’s, like, in the heart of Black Friday. So is it really a vacation?

[00:00:52] Speaker B: I know. I love that. I was like, oh, we’re off on Friday.

Not technically off. We still have to work. We could take a day off, whatever. But I just monitor all our social channels all day long. Last Friday.

It’s what we do. But I still do it, like watching movies on my couch and not doing other stuff. So it all works.

Yeah, but yeah, I have a topic for today. Sometimes we’re like, we don’t know what we want to talk about. I actually have a topic for today. So I love Nationaltoday.com. I go through there frequently. It’s a great way to pull ideas for social media. So, for example, this weekend I think it’s Saturday is online Education technology Day. And so for our product LearnDash, I can do a post like, hey, it’s Online Technology Day. We’re really grateful for all of you who are teaching, blah, blah, blah. Right? So I can make social posts out of those kinds of things. Hit the right hashtags, all that kind of stuff.

A week from Saturday is International Podcasting Day, and I’m kind of excited about that. So I had an idea to include lots of podcasters in the WordPress space. I’m not going to say a lot more about it in case it doesn’t actually happen, but I think it will happen. I think I got some people excited about Turn, very tight turnaround. But hopefully sometime next week we’ll be able to share something kind of cool about International Podcasting Day. But it also got me thinking about the fact that there’s so many of us in the WordPress space who do the same or similar things, right? So you and I work for Liquid Web, which is a hosting company. You work with Cadence, which know in the page building space. I work for all our brands. But anyway, I worked with Give before and all of those kinds of things. And I would go to events and people would be like, oh, how come you’re friends with so and so over at What Up Green Geeks? Or over at GoDaddy? Because aren’t they competitors? I’m like the people who ask that question usually aren’t in the WordPress space often or don’t really frequent the community, I should say, whether they’re using WordPress or not, because the truth is, yeah, kind of right. Like, we’re competitors, but number one, there’s enough to go around, right? Everybody should have can eat at this table. And number two, when we contribute to the community in those spaces and you were saying beforehand, you said it way better than I did, but when we bolster others, we lift ourselves up too, right?

Yeah. How did you say it? You said it way better than I did.

[00:03:33] Speaker A: Well, like, in the software space, at least some rep and Kadence and also all of the other stellar brands, it’s not like I’m exclusively only talking about Cadence because we have tons of, like, LearnDash. I’m doing something cool with LearnDash right now. I think it’s an amazing tool. So much fun. Item security pass keys. I’m really super excited about that. And I’m also super excited and passionate about security. So there are people on Green Geeks who are using those products. There are people on Liquid Web. There are people on, like, I don’t know. I don’t think that even in the security space.

I was at Word Camp US, and it was so funny because it was the first day there was a security talk, somebody from Ten up who gave a really good, decent security talk. It was good. So there were a bunch of people I had been talking to online and, like, Facebook groups, like the Admin Bar and Grid Pain has a really good Facebook group. And we were all, oh, nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. Oh, yeah. Oh, I’ve seen that malware before. And so we became just because of our common interest in security, we became really good friends. We’re all competitors. But it was so funny at WordCamp, US, we’re, like, all meeting each other in the hallway. Hey, there’s a security talk. You want to go front row? All of us, all across this one table. And then, like, one agency guy, and I’m like, hey, how’s it know? And he’s like, oh, yeah, I got the site that keeps getting hacked. And I’m like, you won the lottery.

But it’s like, we’re all competitors, but we’re all friends because we’re all working towards the same common goal, which is focus on the customer, which is focus on someone who’s trying to build something with WordPress, building out amazing things with WordPress. And we want them to be successful no matter what stack they have, no matter what decisions they’re making, no matter where they’re hosting. Because if they’re successful with WordPress, what does it do to the WordPress community? What does it do for all of us? It elevates every single one of us. So really, it’s like, I don’t care about the hosting. I don’t care about the software or the brands or who you’re repping or all of that kind of stuff, like, who are you doing it for? These end users, these agencies that are working with end users, even everybody’s trying to do something. As long as we stay focused on that as our common goal, whatever you’re doing, you help one person, you’re going to lift up everyone else. And that’s what it’s all about.

[00:06:13] Speaker B: Absolutely. So much so that in WordPress now at the Make WordPress Slack channel, there’s a movement, and I think Matt Mullen Mike even talked about it at WordCamp us that all of the different LMS are kind of working together. To make sure that there’s some portability between solutions and that we’re all kind of approaching things the same way, to be able to provide the best solutions regardless of which of our brands a creator decides to use. And I think that’s a really cool thing. Are we going to share trade secrets and things like that? Probably not. But are we able to come to the table and talk about how do we move forward as LMS systems right.

That’s repetitive. As learning management systems to do the best job that we can for content creators out there to be able to reach and teach. And I think that that’s a really reach and teach. I like that I’m going to have to use that somewhere anyway to reach and teach people.

Every creator is making content to help others in some way, shape, or form. That’s why we do education. And so if we can help those creators to do their jobs, it really does make the world a better place a little bit at a time.

[00:07:31] Speaker A: It does. And even with like, Cadence is working on Cadence AI, and it’s been a long process because it’s so innovative, it’s so cutting edge. But there’s other teams out there that are doing really cool things with AI and WordPress as well. And everybody that’s doing this is kind of like, here’s what we’re doing. Here’s where we’re at. Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s where we’re at. So we’re looking at, oh, look at that’s. Really interesting.

[00:07:56] Speaker B: Hey.

[00:07:56] Speaker A: And they’re doing the same with Cadence, and everybody’s kind of borrowing ideas. And it’s competitive, sure, in some respects, but it’s kind of like a friendly competition because we’re all moving towards the same goal. Right.

I don’t think there’s going to be market dominance. Like Cadence. AI rules. All AI for WordPress. It’s just too interesting of a space for just, like, one brand to do something. But the innovation that’s happening and the learning that goes back and forth, that happens more in the WordPress.

Who benefits from that is the end user, because that collaboration across brands, that, okay, here’s what the openness that all of these teams have and sharing what they’re doing, it makes tools better for the end user. And as long as we stay focused on that, stay focused on establishing trust with our users and giving them things that are going to be useful to them. Everybody really wins, right?

[00:09:02] Speaker B: Absolutely.

[00:09:03] Speaker A: Yeah. I just find there’s just more opportunity in collaborating over competition.

Yeah. And just even in post status slack, you see conversations happening. Like the security channel is like one that I watch a lot. I’m not that active because I got things to do. But everybody in there from the patch stack team, there’s other people in there, everybody’s talking the security like, would you see this? Oh, this better get patched. And it’s all towards helping get the word out about a vulnerability that might need attention or an attack that needs attention, that kind of stuff, that kind of collaboration. It’s just for the good of the community and that’s really how you build a brand. You don’t build a brand by tearing down someone else. You don’t build a brand by being like holding your cards too close to the vest and not being sharing of information, keeping that everything hush hush. You build a brand by constantly being of service.

It’s not oh, flash in the pan, we went viral and now all of a sudden we’re a big huge brand. It’s like consistently show up and be of service to the people who need you and that trust just and then if you have a bug or something goes wrong and QA should have caught something, that kind of stuff. Your audience is so much more forgiving of you because you have that consistent track record of being of service and being open and helping your competitor if there’s know that kind of thing. And I think those brands that do that well and collaborate well even with competitors are the ones that are successful. At least I agree.

[00:10:52] Speaker B: Opinion the phrase or the saying or whatever, a rising tide lifts all boats comes to mind a lot working in the WordPress space because the boats aren’t just our companies, the boats are all of our customers as well. And so when we contribute to the whole ocean then everybody benefits by not being left on the sandbar or whatever. I’m going way too far with the.

[00:11:20] Speaker A: Metaphor, but you understand there was actually a project called Tide, a WordPress.org project called Tide. And it was the rising tide lifts all boats and it was committed to code quality across all plugins. Because WordPress and being in this open source space is really interesting because you’ve got like 60,000 plugins in the repo alone. You’ve got Code Canyon plugins, you got plugins to the left, plugins to the right, plugins everywhere. And various coding standards that aren’t necessarily some of them are like top notch and some maybe not so much. That’s why we see plugin vulnerabilities so much. Just because there is that wide array of different types of ways of coding things and misunderstandings about certain things in the code. Like is admin. You see that? Oh well that looks like a test to see if someone’s admin. No, it’s not. It’s a test to see if it’s an admin page. And so then people use it wrong and then vulnerabilities happen, that kind of stuff. So how do we raise the coding standards across everyone who creates a plugin for the repo for sale, premium plugins, even? But that was the philosophy. A rising tide lifts all boats. So if we establish some standards that has a trickle down effect into all of the various people who are creating plugins, and then that raises all of the boats in the harbor, that all of our sites on various hosting providers. It’s good for everyone. Because I’ll tell you, I don’t know a single hosting provider. It’s like, hey, yeah, let’s look at some bad plugins, put them on my server, let’s see what happens. No, they don’t want that either. Nobody does.

[00:13:07] Speaker B: Right, right, exactly. And just like there are a million hosting companies, there are a lot of hosting companies, there are a lot of WordPress podcasts. You and I are on a couple of them or several of them. And I would never say to somebody, listen to this one, not that one, because WP Motivate is an entirely different podcast than the Cadence Beat or WP Coffee Talk or this Week in WordPress or any of them. They’re all bringing different information and different voices. And so I always tell people, every podcast isn’t for everybody. You might be like, oh, this is boring, I don’t get it, or whatever. Or you may think my voice is grading and you don’t want to listen to anything that has Michelle Freshte in it. Whatever. Find something that feeds your soul and that you enjoy or that you learn from that edifies you in some way. Listen to those ones. I’m not offended if you don’t like my I’m I’ve always said I’m not everybody’s cup of tea and I’m perfectly okay with that. So find things that work for you. You don’t like one hosting company, switch to a different one. You don’t like one plugin, find a different one. There’s lots of ways to contribute to the community without disparaging anybody else. And the truth is, the people who are good community members lift each other up constantly.

[00:14:28] Speaker A: Yes, got a lot of those. We met with the other kind too, but I just gravitate against away from some people might like that kind of stuff. Happy for you. I think there’s room for everybody in this community. And I think that’s really makes it that diversity of opinion, the diversity of perspective, backgrounds, needs, implementations.

There’s people who are doing amazing stuff with photography websites, and other people who are doing courses, and other people who are making some major cash with WooCommerce. All sorts of different things that people are doing with WordPress and that diversity of experience, and there’s so much to learn. And that’s one of the things I love about it.

[00:15:22] Speaker B: Yeah, me too. And I think that we all get motivated by different things. So even the people who are negative are motivating somebody to do something. Right.

I’m guessing some people get motivated by criticism. Right? You’re going to tell me how bad something is? I’m going to make it better. That’s kind of what I mean. Not necessarily like putting everybody down all the time, but we’re all motivated by different things. And I think that it’s one of the ways that we are a community of people. And are there some bad apples? Yeah, of course. There’s always going to be bad apples in any community.

But don’t focus on that. Focus on the people who are doing good things and the people that inspire.

That old.

[00:16:04] Speaker A: There’s a quote by Teddy Roosevelt, I think, about the man in the know, turn of the century. So it was all men back then. Right? But it was the man in the arena, the one that’s actually doing the work, the one that’s actually creating something of value.

You can’t pay attention to the haters because the haters are going to always well, sounds like a Taylor Swift song. Now haters are going to hate, right? There’s always going to be those who criticize, but the ones who are spending all their time criticizing and the ones who are tearing down others are not the ones who are creating. Because if you’re creating, you’re too busy for that. You’ve got your focus, you know who you’re serving, you know what you’re doing, you’ve got your plans. Just grind on it, get it done, serve your customers. And those haters are going to find somebody else to hate.

[00:16:53] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:16:54] Speaker A: They’re always going to be there.

[00:16:55] Speaker B: That’s right. Absolutely. So, yeah. I don’t know how to wrap this up. I just thought it was a cool topic. I’m like, I don’t know where to go from here, but yeah, I just think it’s go ahead.

[00:17:06] Speaker A: Yeah. No, I think WordPress is unique and successful because of that collaboration over competition mentality that so many in the space have.

I think that’s one of the reasons it will continue to be the CMS of choice is know, I don’t see any Wix camps anywhere.

[00:17:32] Speaker B: No, I think Weebly is a thing of the past. Right? Is that even still around Squarespace? I guess still is. I don’t know. But there’s no Squarespace, Camps or Wixcamps. Wixcamp just doesn’t sound good. Anyway, WordCamp sounds so much better, but.

[00:17:46] Speaker A: Yeah, so much more fun, too.

[00:17:50] Speaker B: Can I also take a brief moment? We are not sponsored, actually. We’re not sponsored by anybody. Like, we are our own thing. We don’t have any sponsors at this point. We’re not asking for sponsors. But when I say this, I’m saying it because we’re not sponsored by Castos. We host on Castos. And I just want to say Castos has recently made accessibility easier by no longer charging for their transcripts. And that is another way to be part of the rising tide that lifts all boats is offering things that make your activities more available to other people. And I just wanted to say thank you to them because we save money, we pay for stuff for this podcast, right? Yeah. We have free hosting because people host us and that kind of thing, but we pay for Castos and we pay for transcripts and things like that, and we no longer have to do that. So I just kind of wanted to give a quick shout out and say that when you have the opportunity to make things better for others and you can, and you can find a way to do it to make it accessible to everybody, that’s also a wonderful thing. So it’s not a commercial exactly, but it is a heartfelt thank you to them for making it easier for us to be available to other people as well.

[00:19:00] Speaker A: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Thank you, Castos. Yeah.

[00:19:05] Speaker B: Thank you, Castos. I don’t know what our schedule looks like next week. We’re going to have to record early next week because I got WordCamp Rochester coming up next week. Super excited about that. So we’ll try to get an episode in before that all hits. If you have ideas, things that you think we should be talking about, remember, we keep it positive around here. Drop us a line, hit us up anywhere that you know that we are. And we are happy to take your ideas and move things forward, but if you are listening to us, we assume that you are one of the people that contributes in a positive way to making that tide raise all the boats up. And we thank you for being such good community members, kathy, thank you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate working with you and the positivity that you bring into my life, so thank you.

[00:19:51] Speaker A: And the jokes oh, gosh, I want credit for my jokes.

[00:19:56] Speaker B: Your jokes are like when people write lol. I only write it to Kathy when it actually happens because I’m constantly trying not to spit out my coffee on my keyboard when she sends me something. Yeah. So thank you for that, too.

[00:20:11] Speaker A: You were too kind. It’s such a pleasure working with you, Michelle, and all that you do for the community. You are a machine. I don’t know how you do it, but I just sit in awe. Thank you so much.

[00:20:23] Speaker B: I don’t have all the things in my life going on that you do, and you so I have time. That’s what I tell people. It’s so true.

Anyway, I don’t know what day it’ll be, but we’ll be recording next week and we will see you all then. Thank you so much. Until then, we’ll see you later.

[00:20:40] Speaker A: Bye.

This has been WP Motivate with Kathy Zant and Michelle Frechette. To learn more or to sponsor us, go to wpmotivate.com.