Upon learning of the passing of Kevin Mitnick, Kathy is thinking about how hacker culture and the hacker mindset can be applied to so many areas of life. Michelle shares her thoughts about how knowing how to hack, and where to hack, can be some of the most important value we bring to problems. Hacking outside of limitations doesn’t have to just apply to computers. A lot of hacking culture came from getting free long distance through phone phreaking, and all of the personal computing we use today has its roots in hackers breaking out of limiting mindsets. Where can you playfully hack yourself out of perceived limitations?
Speaker 0 00:00:00 Start your week smiling with your friends, Kathy Zant and Michelle Frechette. It’s time to get ready for some weekly motivation
Speaker 1 00:00:07 With WP Motivate. Happy Friday, Kathy.
Speaker 2 00:00:15 Oh my gosh. T G I F
Speaker 1 00:00:18 And all capital letters, like an H one header tag and exclamation points and bolded. Yes, exactly. Yes.
Speaker 2 00:00:27 Yes. SEO’s gonna pick up on that T G I F for sure.
Speaker 1 00:00:31 . Amen. Oh, weeks can be challenging. And they can, even the really good ones, you still get to Friday and you’re like, yeah, this is good. I need to, yeah. I need a couple days for myself. .
Speaker 2 00:00:44 Exactly. Well, I, you either have a sense of relief or a sense of accomplishment, right. You get to the end and it’s like, that is true. Oh, look at all the things I’ve done. You know, I know you keep lists of like all of the things that you got done in a week and I’m just like, got this out. Got that out. Oh, things are done. Yeah. That’s great. . But this is A T G I F I’m so glad this week is over.
Speaker 1 00:01:09 . Same. Although I did get a lot done too. I will say that. Yeah. I checked a lot of things off my list this week, but at the same time, it’s like every single one of them felt like an uphill struggle. . So
Speaker 2 00:01:19 Really
Speaker 1 00:01:20 , I mean a little, but yeah. Not in a bad way. Just in a, i I couldn’t just sit down and do it. Like when you need other inputs from other people that you’re also beholden to their time schedule and their list. Yeah. And so, and it’s not a negative thing, right? It’s not like, oh my God, so-and-so won’t give me what I want. No, it’s more like a okay. I I’m not the highest li thing on their priority list, so I just have to like, wait now and work on the next thing until I can get back to that one. And Yeah. And I’m sure there are people who are sitting there going, when is Michelle gonna give me something that I need? And I’m not prioritizing them in the same way. So, yeah. I mean, it never feels, feels good happens, but it happens. Yeah. So you were just talking a few minutes ago about hacking and I
Speaker 2 00:02:06 Yes.
Speaker 1 00:02:07 . I love it. Tell me more about, so when
Speaker 2 00:02:09 I, so when I went to New Orleans, um, I check in, I, I treated myself to staying at the Four Seasons. Used some points, but they give me my key and I’m staying in room 1337, which is le you know Yeah. From the old hacking days and you know, the threes for ease and all of this stuff. So I immediately, I can’t help myself, but I laugh cuz I’m doing a security talk the next morning at WP Campus. But it kind of stuck with me and I’ve been thinking a lot about hacking. And then this morning I wake up and find out that Kevin Mitnick, who’s like the OG hacker, right? He was the one that, um, really pushed the envelope with breaking into systems and whatnot back years and years ago. Um, and I remember when I was getting into security, uh, there were all the free Kevin bumper stickers and everything cuz he was actually imprisoned and, and called a danger to society because oh my, he tested systems, right? Mm-hmm. . And, um, there were, there were even, um, people, I think they said that he could, uh, set off a nuclear war because of phone freaking, cuz he could phone freak into NORAD and set off nuclear bombs and everything. But he just passed away. And so it’s kind of like this, this end of an era. And since Hacking’s been on my mind,
Speaker 1 00:03:33 Yes.
Speaker 2 00:03:34 Um, I have some issues that I’m dealing with with insurance companies. Not, um, they can’t tell me why there’s problems. There’s a 60 day investigation as to why they’re not covering us because we don’t live in Michigan. That’s the issue. That’s what they’re saying is the issue. We don’t live in Michigan. And Liquid Web HR says that shouldn’t be happening. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan says it shouldn’t be happening. And yet I log into the portal not covered because service wasn’t rendered in Michigan. And I’m like, what’s going on folks? Well, we’re gonna have a 60 day investigation to figure this out. And I’m like, we’re gonna put you under case management, which is just, if you’re ever dealing with healthcare and they put you under case management, it’s going to annoy you because they’re just going to want to know everything about your case and you have to go over all of the medications.
Speaker 2 00:04:21 And then they tell you all of the side effects. And I’m like, I already know all of this. He’s been on the same meds for a year. Like, yeah, there’s nothing, it’s just like another level. I’m like, why can’t we just solve these original problem of not being covered? And now we’ve lost his primary care physician, all of physical therapy is shut down. And so as I go to take a shower, shower thoughts, I’m like, I’m just gonna have to hack this too. Mm-hmm. , everything that you think is a limitation is an opportunity to hack yourself out of it. So that’s my thinking this week.
Speaker 1 00:04:53 Sometimes, sometimes that’s the only way. Like you gotta rely on your own resources. I, um, I I I tell people when I, when I was working at Give, before we were even acquired, we at Give, there’s a, um, an add-on that you can use for sending, um, uh, uh, for, I’m trying to remember the word for, for at tribute, right? So you can, it’s called tributes. So like I could give to a do like to the local dog shelter in honor of my friend Kathy’s aunt. Right?
Speaker 2 00:05:23 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:05:23 And, and you could set it up so that when you do that, an email goes to Kathy’s aunt that says, Michelle just gave $10 to the local dog shelter in your name. Yay. Well, I figured out a way to use that without any code or anything else to turn it into sending e-cards. So you could then have a, um, you know, a whole like e-card system. Like let’s say you’re the local, um, state park and the state park is doing a thing. You could have pictures of the state park, like from the Adirondacks, and you could say, you know, to send this e-card, it’s $5. It goes to the, you know, to, to the, to the, um, nonprofit. And you send this e-card with a picture and whatever sentiment you want to Kathy’s aunt. So it’s no longer a gave $5 in, you know, honor of, or in memory of somebody more like, Hey, I want you to see this beautiful picture and it costs me $5 to send it. And I said, I hacked, give WPS tribute’s add-on. And Devin was like, um, let’s not use the word hack. I’m like, no, like an IKEA hack. Not like a, like I broke the code hack. Like, that means two different things. So, so yeah. Yeah. Sometimes you can hack things in a very positive way. I think about like the Ikea situation that way. Like, oh, that bookshelf, I hacked it and now it’s a headboard. I mean, you know, whatever.
Speaker 2 00:06:43 Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, I’ve always thought, well, the original creativity that came into computing, like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak who created personal computers and created mm-hmm. , you know, the computing systems that we were using today. Yeah. The, the initial start of that was those guys and they were phone freakers, like Kevin Mitnick too. Uh, they that, the funny thing was there was a whistle that you could get out of the bottom of a box of, um, captain Crunch that made the perfect tone for analog phone, freaking so he could get free long distance.
Speaker 1 00:07:20 Oh no. Oh, I love it. It’s
Speaker 2 00:07:22 Hacking’s just like childlike playfulness to find new ways of doing things. It’s like that creativity, that innovation mm-hmm. , it’s all innovation. And so I am, one of my lifelong missions is to take back hacking as a positive thing as a positive term rather than a negative. Yes, you can hack into systems and yes, you can change systems and there’s a lot of malicious actors who do hacking, hacking, but there’s a lot of good that comes out of hacking and a lot of creativity out of breaking out of limitations, breaking out of this box of this is the way things work, or this is the way things should be, or this is the way we’ve always done things. Or this is the way our organizational chart works. Or all of these shoulds that people have to like, live in these boxes of this is the way things are gonna be. No, you get to decide. You get to decide how you’re gonna wanna live your life or how you’re going to experience things. And so today, you know, in honor of Kevin Mitnick today, we are all hackers. I’m a hacker. And, uh, I mean
Speaker 1 00:08:36 Apparently I have to,
Speaker 2 00:08:37 I’m have myself outta mind. Yes, you’re, well the whole like link tree replacement thing, that cadence, you know, we, we kind of had a, a big thing happen with all of that, you know, that kind of created a, a lot of people copied that original hack was yours of here’s, here’s, uh, link tree. You can only build this type of thing on Link Ree. It’s like, no, you can build it, you can build it on your own platform.
Speaker 1 00:09:00 Absolutely.
Speaker 2 00:09:00 And so doing, you hacked a solution mm-hmm. ,
Speaker 1 00:09:04 It’s, it’s like differently purposing and not even repurposing, right? Yeah. Because repurposing means you take something that had a purpose and change its purpose, it’s just differently purposing it. Right? So, yeah. Yeah. I like that. It, it’s finding loopholes sometimes. Like, you know, like Yeah, perhaps the way you’re going to hack the insurance situation is you’ll figure out where the chink in the armor or the loophole is and be like, there, that’s what it is. Fix that one box, uncheck that one box and it’ll be like, oh look, you’re covered again. Good. Now get me back , my physical therapist. Get me back by primary care. Right? Like, all of those things can fall into place and it’s, it’s really interesting. I recently, okay, we all know I love TikTok cuz I tell, talk about it all the time, but like, I love watching the TikTok where the unexpected happens.
Speaker 1 00:09:49 Like the, when there’s, when they open up the channel gates, um, I don’t know if that’s what they’re called, like the, the spillways or whatever on a dam and like the like a hundred yards of sludge and mud comes out, you’re like, wow. And then the water runs clear, right? It’s like you gotta get rid of the things that are blocking that don’t really belong there, but somehow end up there. And that’s a act too, right? To get, to figure out how to make things work better. Yeah. It’s like, it’s like the, um, I think I talked about this before. The guy with the chalk, did I talk about that before? The, with the he, this is the like a story from, I don’t know if it’s even true, right? But from my M B A classes where a guy gets hired, he built the system, he no longer works for the company or he’s, you know, they bought company, bought the system from him, whatever, and they, or he works for the company, something like that.
Speaker 1 00:10:38 Um, and they say it’s, it’s broken. The system’s not working. We’re not, we’re not producing whatever it was ice cream or whatever. And, and it’s costing us like $2 million a day in lost production. And so he flies in, he pulls, he, he walks around, he’s listening to the pipes, he is looking at the pipes, he’s taking it all in. He walks over to this one area, pulls a piece of chalk out of his pocket, puts an X on the pipe and says, this is where your issue is. Fix. Replace this pipe and you’ll be back in service. Yeah. Yeah. Flies home. They get a bill the next week from him. It’s like, you know, $4,500 for the air and the hotel and $30,000 to solve the problem. Yeah. And they’re like, and they call back they’re $30,000 for a x on a pipe for just a line drawing of with chalk. Like that’s ridiculous. And he’s like, yes, but did you know where to put the check mark? Did you know where to draw the X on it? Right. So finding those issues is locating the bottleneck, what’s caused the bottleneck, those kinds of things. You hack it, you figure it out and you open up possibilities and channels and even just getting things functioning back the way that they’re supposed to.
Speaker 2 00:12:36 And, um, I I see so many people who are like, oh well this is the going hourly rate. Mm-hmm. And like yeah. But you have 20 years of experience building sites for people even outside of doing WordPress work. Like that’s valuable. And if they your clients don’t see that value, then it’s time to up your rates and get new clients. Yeah. Or just stick with the clients that know that value and anybody who’s like trying to like make you lower your rates because this is the going rate for web design in our community mm-hmm. or whatever. Just don’t do that yourself. Like Yeah. Really know your value.
Speaker 1 00:13:14 Remember it’s a dollar for the chalk and $29,999 for knowing where to use it.
Speaker 2 00:13:20 Right. Exactly. Exactly. And WordPress is free. People aren’t buying WordPress, they’re buying your knowledge Yeah. For making sure that somebody has an open source system that they can control, that they can build their digital life on. Mm-hmm. and knowing how to, like even the marketers knowing how to use all of the different social networks, but then driving that traffic back to Yeah. A place that’s owned by the client. So important. So yeah. Know your value , we see hack your value
Speaker 1 00:13:49 , hack your, Ooh, I like that. Hack your value. We see it in Lego, right? Like I’ve got a lot of Legos. Yeah. You can’t also, I mean I think you can see that everybody is awesome over here. And then there’s also, this is, this plant is a Lego plant, but you can’t see is over here to my right is, and if I move it, it’ll all fall apart cuz we know how Legos are, especially if I I’ve built them, but is the bonsai tree. Yeah. And the bonsai tree has these little leaves and whatever, but it also comes with, um, a, a bag that you can take the leaves off and are placed with pink flowers. So it’s like the, the tree and bloom. But if you look at the flowers, each one is a little pink frog. Really? So they actually used the frogs from some other kit that you can replace on the Lego leaves with, and it looks like this tree is in bloom, but as soon as you look closer, it’s just like covered in pink frogs. And sometimes , and I don’t, I don’t know if there’s an analogy of kissing the frog to get the princes or whatever, but sometimes you can use things for other purposes and you can create beauty out of frogs. I don’t know. There’s, there’s something there. .
Speaker 2 00:14:54 Yeah. Yeah. Well it’s true. It’s, um, well there’s beauty in, there’s beauty in everything.
Speaker 1 00:15:01 Yes. Course. Just
Speaker 2 00:15:02 Have to look at it in the right way.
Speaker 1 00:15:03 Well, this, I was through the fabrics. This guitar right here, Uhhuh, that is the one my father played my whole growing up life. Right. These other ones also are his, and these are the ones he played later in life. But this one, the neck is broken. It can no longer be played as a guitar unless I put a lot of money into Yeah. Taking it to a repair shop and trusting them to fix it the right way. But I don’t play the guitar anymore. I, I haven’t played since my daughter was before my daughter was born, she’s 31. So I don’t really play anymore. I don’t need to get that guitar repaired because now it’s repurposed as art and, and art and sentimental art in my own office. And so I hacked that freaking guitar .
Speaker 2 00:15:49 That’s awesome. Mm-hmm. . It is. Yeah. Well, yeah. And it’s got so many memories. That’s so cool.
Speaker 1 00:15:55 Exactly. Exactly. So hack away, Kathy, I can’t wait to hear how you hack the insurance system. I mean, not illegally, if any like, you know, um, what is it, uh, for in, for this, this podcast is for educational purposes only.
Speaker 2 00:16:10 . Yeah. Yeah. Whatever that that’s the thing
Speaker 1 00:16:13 That little disclaimer we, we should put out there. But, um, yeah, I mean I just, I love that and I love how like you were able to find the hospital bed for so much less because you understand the right ways to do things. Um, and, you
Speaker 2 00:16:28 Know, and the standing frame, I got that for Yes. I got that for like, even less than the hospital, but people are like, oh, my, or the therapist when they were coming, um, were like, wow, that’s a really good one. How’d you get it? And it’s like, set, he lost his right side and so it’s got the handle on the left side so he can still like, raise himself up
Speaker 1 00:16:44 And Oh,
Speaker 2 00:16:44 Good. Um, not that he wants to, he want hacking him to Yeah. . But it’s, you have
Speaker 1 00:16:51 To, yeah.
Speaker 2 00:16:52 No, it’s, um, hacking is really, it’s just like a mi the, I think one of the reasons why I like it so much is because it’s just all about like how you see things, how you think about things and the story you tell yourself about what it is that you’re experiencing. Mm-hmm. . Because if you tell yourself, this is frustrating, this is difficult. Oh my gosh, there’s a message on my phone from Blue Cross just now coming in and you know, I have that trigger of like, what now? Right. Um, I just want my solution. Right. I know it’s not gonna come from
Speaker 1 00:17:24 These people. Uh,
Speaker 2 00:17:26 The what story am I telling myself right now as I get that trigger? So it’s like putting that buffer zone so I can hack myself. So I, you give yourself a little bit of space and then it’s like, okay, this message is coming in, what do I do about this? Like mm-hmm. , how am I gonna hack this situation? How am I gonna see it differently? Right. And tell myself a different story so that one I don’t get upset, and two, that I can create a better experience. And then also I kind of have to just like wonder like, you know how sometimes bad things happen and you look back and it’s like, okay, well I understand why this happened and maybe it’s still a bad thing. Like him having a stroke, it’s still a bad thing. There’s, I there’s nothing. Well, there’s a couple things where he was like stressing himself out a lot before. He doesn’t do that anymore. So it’s like silver lining all thing to have to do to yourself. Yeah. So looking for silver linings. So I’m like, in the middle of when you’re soaking in it, it’s really hard to see that, to see what kind of benefit could be coming from it. But I’m looking at this, I’m trying to see, okay, let me just see that. Like, maybe I need to go take another shower.
Speaker 1 00:18:32 ,
Speaker 2 00:18:32 What’s about the shower? They say it’s like ions or something. Like it changes like the way, changes the way you think. Mm-hmm. Because there’s always like shower thoughts, like things that you think about when you’re like in water or something. Maybe I need to take another shower and just like keep thinking about how this can , how I can hack this. But also I have to hack myself first. I have to hack my mind. Mm-hmm. . Otherwise I can’t hack the thing. Mm-hmm. , I have to try new ways of seeing it. Otherwise, like, even if you’re trying to hack into a computer system or you’re picking a lock or whatever, you have to think about it in a different way. You have to try different angles. You have to try different vulnerabilities or try different, um, different tactics, different strategies in order to, to hack into something. And there’s this whole like method of like growth hacking too. That’s another thing I like about like marketing is we’re hacking. We’re hacking our audience. We’re hacking, hacking perceptions. We’re hacking how people see a brand by trying different messaging. So mm-hmm. , it’s all, it’s all up here. It
Speaker 1 00:19:39 Is. I just, well, and I and you, you made me think too, like your attitude and your gift for kindness, the way that you interact with other people, it’s, it’s maybe your, your human nature, but it also is a way to hack. Right? So when I think it was, it was either the, the standing frame or it was the bed when you went, they, they’re like, bring a te bring a truck because you know you’ll have to do this yourself kind of thing. And you got there and they’re like, oh, let me help you. And like, yes. Right. And it was because you didn’t show up and be like rude. You didn’t show up and be like, matter of fact you weren’t like, let’s get this home. You were yourself, you were kind, you were, you approached things with empathy. You are just who you are.
Speaker 1 00:20:24 Right. So in spite of, and I know I, I I’m not like, you’re not ma little Mary sunshine with no matter what happens, this is fine, it’s okay. Oh, I lost my right arm. It’s just been a flesh wound or whatever, you know, from . Yeah. There are times when you cry and you scream and you yell cuz we’re all, we’re human. I mean, yeah, I’m really speaking about myself right there. But yeah. But, but to keep that away from the people that doesn’t need to affect, right. So like you’re picking something up from somebody on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. They don’t need to know that you had a shitty day. And that things that just frame it positively and, and the wonderful things, wonderful things happen. So it’s, yeah. Here’s your hack for the day. Positive attitude, not always easy. Let’s try for it.
Speaker 2 00:21:11 Yeah. Yeah. Definitely having a positive attitude and knowing that all things are miracles happen all the time. It’s just, I do. Are you open to receiving it? Are you open to see it? Are you open to having something be different? Wow. I don’t even feel like I need therapy later today, but I’m
Speaker 1 00:21:29 Gonna still keep my 30. I would go go. I got all stuff to talk about . Absolutely. But it is always good to talk to you and it does feel therapeutic and no matter how, like there you go. There’s your hack. Talk to a friend who helps make you feel happy because there’s so much to say about that. Even if all you do is bitch at each other and you’ve not, not about each other, but like vent, I should say vent, uh, to each other about what’s going on. Got my hair done. I ne it never really looks purple in this light, but it is really bright purple. Uh, got my hair done last night and my hairstylist, I almost said my hair therapist , my hairstylist I’ve known since high school. And she and I, she’s one of my best friends. And the, the two to three hours I spend with her every month while she does my hair, we talk about everything. We talk about our parents, we talk about our kids, we talk about and, and it’s not like the oh, and Lydia is so accomplished. She’s like, oh my god, that little Brad didn’t respond to my text for three days. You know? I mean that’s the kinda stuff that she and I could talk about and I leave feeling better because like, I’m not the only one .
Speaker 2 00:22:32 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:22:33 Right. So talk to friends. It often helps too. It’s the best hack. Friends. Friends are friends are the best life hack .
Speaker 2 00:22:39 So They are, they really are. And I’m grateful for your friendship, Michelle.
Speaker 1 00:22:43 Always. Likewise. Thank you. Well, we dunno what next week. I’m, I’m hoping that next Friday you come on the show and you’re like, the insurance hack worked. So let’s put that all out positively for this week. Um, I do hope that everything works out. And then for you listening at home, thanks for hanging in there with us. We do ramble a little bit from time to time, but it’s all good stuff. And I, we hope that our rambling, our venting and our life hacks also have a positive and, uh, a positive impression on you and in a positive effect. And that this week carries you through in a wonderful and beautiful way. Thank you. Okay. Bye bye.
Speaker 3 00:23:20 This has been WP Motivate with Kathy Zant and Michelle Frechette. To learn more or to sponsorus, go to WPMotivate.com.