Share The Podcast:
Today we talk to Petya Raykovska who works for the growing WordPress agency, Human Made.
We recorded this at WordCamp Europe 2019 in Berlin, and the location that we chose was the main thoroughfare corridor! This means that we were really well placed to be found, but also that it means that there was a fair amount of noise in the background. But… it’s the noise of 3,000 WordPressers having a great time, and so I’m sure that you can ignore it!
We talk about how Human Made got started, how they have managed their growth to a count of 70 employees currently and how they manage their distributed working model.
We also talk about Petya’s relationship with WordPress. She started in 2007 and quickly became deeply interesting in the project; working with translating WordPress with the Polyglots team.
Then we have a chat about WordCamps and how they can open doors to all sorts of possibilities. This might be business opportunities or the chance to make real and lasting friendships.
WordCamp Europe is very close to Petya’s heart, having lead the team for many years as well as being a regular speaker. She gives an insight into how the increasing popularity of WordCamp Europe has meant that they teams have to work pretty much all year around to make sure that the event can happen. Lots of people, lots of teams, lots of hours dedicated by all the volunteers.
Petya thinks that volunteers is a great way to get yourself involved with the WordPress community if you’re looking for a way in. You meet new people and being to understand the mechanics of all the things that need to go into WordCamp’s organisation. You get to work on common tasks for a common goal.
Petya also has a real interest in helping the younger generation become involved with WordPress, and as such she has been running sessions specifically designed for children.
Now there have been many of these sessions in locations all over the world and many, many children have had a chance to get a feel for owning their own space on the internet. It’s such a great project.
It’s a lovely, wide ranging chat and I hope that you enjoy it.
Interviewed by Nathan Wrigley.
And remember… Together we can #PressForward
Featured on this podcast:
Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Welcome to episode 18 of the PressForward podcast. I’m Nathan Wrigley and I’d like to thank you for joining us again and if this is your first time with us, I hope that you like it and that you find it useful. Maybe you’d like to make listening to this podcast or regular thing and if so, you can subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player and this can be done by going to WP and UP.org forward slash podcast dash feed. The PressForward podcast is created by WP and UP. We’re a nonprofit working in the WordPress space to help you, your colleagues. In fact, anyone you can find out more about it at wpandup.org and I would urge you to take a look. The work is just beginning and we need your help to bring our support to the WordPress community. Maybe you could help us out financially. If so, you could go to WP and UP.org forward slash give or maybe you’d like to get involved with WP and UP.
Nathan Wrigley: 01:44 If so, then please visit WP and UP.org forward slash contact. All look for the social links in the website’s footer. Perhaps you’d just like to explore the content that we’re creating and if that’s the case, then there’s a [email protected] forward slash blog it’s always getting fresh content and it’s a great place to go for a quick read. Last week I mentioned a new project that we’ve launched and you’re going to find it over at headtwo.org it’s a bike ride being undertaken by Dan maybe and myself and other WP and UP team members. It’s happening next May and we’re riding from Berlin to Portugal. These are the locations of the previous and the next WordCamp Europe’s. The intention is to show that little changes can have a big impact over time. We’re not athletes and we’re getting on with our lives whilst adapting them slightly to accommodate the time needed to train for this 3000 kilometer road. If you feel able, please spread the word about this project to others.
Nathan Wrigley: 03:04 PressForward podcast is brought to you today by Green Geeks. Green geeks offers an awesome managed web hosting platform that’s built for speed, security and scalability whilst being environmentally friendly. Enjoy a better web hosting experience for your WordPress website, backed by 24 seven expert support and we thank green geeks for helping us to put on the PressForward podcast
Nathan Wrigley: 03:38 If you happen to be a regular listener of this podcast, then you’ll know that a few months ago we took a team to WordCamp EU in Berlin. I was tasked with interviewing as many WordPresses as possible. It was great standing in the corridor watching the nearly 3000 attendees file in and out of all the talks happening, the fact that we chose the corridor was great. It meant that people could easily find us, but it also meant that there was quite a lot of background noise, but I’m sure that you’ll be able to listen and enjoy the episode despite all that these interviews were really varied and you can catch the ones that we’ve already released in the PressForward podcast feed. Okay, so on to today’s episode today I talk with Petya Raykovska. She’s been using WordPress for many years and is a huge fan of its potential. She currently works for human, made a rapidly growing agency, although it’s based in the u k the team are distributed globally and we find out how that works out for them.
Nathan Wrigley: 04:45 We also chat about Petya’s input into the WordPress community from organizing WordCamp Europe as well as a host of others to leading the polyglots team. The team tasked with the important work of translating WordPress into different languages. We get into how Petya has embraced the WordPress community, making real friendships along the way. Petya has also been spearheading the initiative of getting children into using WordPress, creating events specifically aimed at children, getting them to set up a website and explore the possibilities that it offers. It’s a wide ranging conversation from someone deeply involved with many aspects of the WordPress community. And so without further ado, I bring you Petya Raykovska
Nathan Wrigley: 05:41 I am standing in the foot where Amari, I’m in the 48 between track three and track one. It’s WordCamp Europe. It’s the first day properly. There was the contribute today, yesterday, today, yesterday, and I’m with Petya and I coughs. Yeah. Yeah. Did I get that right? Yeah. You got it right. Yeah. So Petya tell me about like, who are you here with? Are you here alone? Are you with your business? Are you with your company?
Petya Raykovska: 06:08 Um, I am, I’m here with a lot of my colleagues from Human Made, but I’m also here with a lot of my friends from the WordPress community. I was a part of the WordPress community before I was part of humane. So, um, WordPress, my first family and then I, I became a part of this wonderful, wonderful agency called Human Made.
Nathan Wrigley: 06:29 Yeah. Human made is, it’s one of those agencies, the name just keeps popping up. Yeah. They really, enormously big. Did they do lots of, you know, high ticket items.
Petya Raykovska: 06:38 I was maybe 18th person got hired human made in 2000, beginning of 2015 and now we’re 70 people. Uh, so that’s uh, quite a bit growth, uh, in the past. What is it now? Four years? Yeah, just four years. Um, human made is one of those, I like to say human made is one of the boldest agencies in the WordPress, um, ecosystem. And, uh, we do a lot of kind of breaking stuff, uh, literally and you know, figuratively we do break a lot of stuff, but we also like groundbreak lot of stuff. Yeah. That’s kind of breaking well. You can’t really do anything, anything major without first breaking everything. Uh, but yeah, no, we, um, we are very progressive. We are bold. We do, uh, interesting. Um, interesting, really challenging stuff with WordPress. We work in enterprise, which is always very challenging when you’re talking about a platform that has an image of uh, you know, being by an of a mid level corporate website. Uh, no, we do, we do huge stuff for WordPress yeah. And, um, you know, we are also, uh, contributors to the WordPress community. A lot of our engineers are, um, our, um, core developers and, or develop major features of important plugins. We have a lot of plugins on our own. We open source a lot of our work. Uh, we have a lot of people that are not engineers that contribute to various other, um, various other areas in the WordPress community, myself included.
Nathan Wrigley: 08:16 Nice. I have a memory, and this could be completely wrong, that your head office is in a place called Matlock and that is true. Yeah. Matlock in the UK. I don’t even know where Matlock is in the UK, but I know it’s near where I live. It’s in the north somewhere. Yeah. Yeah. It’s close to the lake district. It’s beautiful there. It’s one of, it’s one of the most in the spring. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the UK. I love Matlock.
Nathan Wrigley: 08:37 And so it grew from Matlock. Yeah. Did the guys move from Matlock down to, I don’t know London.
Petya Raykovska: 08:43 Nobody MOVED anywhere we are completely distributed. So they, well, the first four people used to work out in the Matlock office, but that’s how many people would fits to this day. Like it doesn’t fit more than four unless you went, what just happened naturally? You know, they started looking for talent. They hired somebody in Australia, you know, they didn’t really expect them to get the train every morning to the Matlock office. So, um, yeah, it kind of happened like that. And then, you know, they started hiring people all over the UK, then Europe. Um, and then in the US and everywhere.
Nathan Wrigley: 09:21 Are Your developers then literally in all corners of the globe around the world, Australia, America,
Petya Raykovska: 09:27 Australia and New Zealand, the u s all over the US all over Europe. Does that make it fun? Asia and other Asian countries? It makes it a lot of fun.
Nathan Wrigley: 09:36 Yeah. Cause you’re meeting new people all the time, but also do, do you actually get to meet them?
Petya Raykovska: 09:41 Yeah, we do. We have at least one, at least once a year. We do a big country company retreats. Uh, it’s very important when you’re working remotely to, to know the people that you work with. Um, it helps prevent a lot of, a lot of issues and it builds trust and builds relationships. And, um, when you have a distributed environment, the relationships are what make people who are responsible, accountable, uh, and you know, caring about the other people that they work with everybody together at least one, at least once a year. But we do go to a lot of WordCamps are like small groups of us meet, um, in other locations as well.
Nathan Wrigley: 10:20 Yeah. How do you do your sort of day to day work? How do you communicate with the other guys? The other girls? Yeah. Okay.
Petya Raykovska: 10:25 Yeah. Yeah. So a well, but a lot of us come from the WordPress project. So communicating across time zones on cross borders. Isn’t that something that a lot of us were unfamiliar with when we joined? So I do have a huge Slack instance, we do have three big regional, uh, teams. We do collaborate cross regionally as well. We schedule all appointments so that, um, all the regions are kind of covered if we can’t cover every region with one, which I do another on the same tab.
Nathan Wrigley: 10:54 Okay. And, um, let’s talk about your relationship with WordPress. I mean, clearly you have a relationship with WordPress. You’re here, you’re very interested in it, you’re keen. Um, w how far does it go back? What year do you remember first looking at WordPress and thinking, Oh, this could be fun?
Petya Raykovska: 11:09 2007 was the first blog I created. I think I’ve been contributing since 2011. I started, uh, translating to Bulgarian. Then in 2013, I went to Lieden the first WordCamp Europe where I volunteered. And then from there on I joined the WordCamp Europe organizing team. Uh, later that year, um, I took a little bit more responsibilities in the Polyglots team. I became, uh, a global lead for Europe. Then I started leading the whole communication part of the whole translators team, just helping neutral slaters onboard from all over the world. So very busy. Well, yes I am, but we are a huge team. There are a lot of people that do a lot of amazing work. Um,
Nathan Wrigley: 11:49 Do you, do you like coming to these events? Do you feel like it’s a bit of a holiday? Do you feel like it’s a bit, a bit of work, a bit of holiday, a bit of play?
Petya Raykovska: 11:57 Um, I’d never thought of WordPress as being work in the general sentence. It started with um, you know, just the deep feeling of satisfaction of doing something that impacts a, a large number of people and then you started meeting these people in person. It’s just nice to kind of expand your day to day with this rich cultural experience. A WordCamp Europe is like that you just, it opens door to a whole water world just kind of makes earth very small place all of a sudden because there are people from everywhere and you, you only thing you need to do with like be open item, curious about everything that’s happening around you and uh, and it, it, it grows naturally. That’s not, I don’t see that as work, uh, necessarily just the thing that I do.
Nathan Wrigley: 12:48 Um, when this comes, do you get excited still about doing things like this? When WordPress, you, sorry, WordCamp Europe or wherever, do you still have that sort of like excitement about going,
Speaker 5: 12:58 being very excited about WordCamp Europe is something that I, that is very close to my heart. I, it’s um, the first WordCamp that I organized, the first word Cam that I led, um, I was part of the organizing team for four years and, um, and now I’m, I’m coming as an attendee. I come as a speaker, I come as a workshop, uh, lead, I do various other things and uh, and I come to see my friends. Um, my kind of large WordPress global family.
Nathan Wrigley: 13:31 Yeah. What goes on in the back because I’ve, I’ve not in any way committed any time into helping. Yeah. What goes on in the back, is that what you’re asking? What’s, I mean clearly an awful lot, but how, how, how many people roughly would you imagine have been involved in this and how, how long ago did they start planning it?
Petya Raykovska: 13:52 So, uh, if you’re asking about Berlin, I think there are a little over 60, 70 organizers this year. Uh, last year was like 50 plus. Uh, the year before was like 30 plus. And before that, like when we first thought when we’re like Leiden was organized by six people, Sophia, um, the year when my country hosted WordCamp Europe was organized by less than 10 people, local organizers for like a team of five, uh, and then like exponentially grew, uh, with every year and the number of attendees, the number of the people that wanted to come grew. So the organizing team had to grow. It’s um, a small, like not a small, like it’s a huge conference that is organized by uh, a big remote team. And they start almost immediately after the addition of the pre, previous addition finishes, the, the, the next edition starts. So for example, um, by the time Berlin is over, uh, it’s already clear who will host the next one.
Petya Raykovska: 14:59 And, uh, and uh, the team is kind of prepped, the local leads are known and then they opened this huge goal for organizers, for remote organizers. And yet they have a, a lot of teams, they have the communications team, they have local team, sponsors, team speakers, team that, that there’s so many teams that are doing contribute to the team doing different parts of this event and coordinating between each other. Do you think, do you think helping out at events like this would be a good way to, to introduce yourself to WordCamp’s the best way? Yeah. Start with volunteering. This is the first step. Volunteer, uh, at any WordCamp. Not necessarily work out your like your local workout. Just volunteer. That’s what I did and that’s what I did the first time I came to WordCamp Europe. I was a volunteer and you get an insider look into this amazing organization.
Petya Raykovska: 15:52 You meet the people, you get a chance to demonstrate the things that you are interested in and kind of make, I don’t know, just a step forward if you want to go and organize the year after that. So yeah, volunteering is a great way. Yeah. Do you like, do you like these big WordCamps or do you, not that you’ve got to have a preference, but is there a preference? Do you like the big ones to prefer the smaller ones? I Love WordCamp Europe. Uh, I love working here but I, I love small WordCamps as well. I really like, um, small WordCamps that are happening for the first time. The excitement and the kind of atmosphere of a buzzing first time experience of the organizers is very infections. If they’re really good vibe going on around a lot of them, I mean local WordCamps that are happening for a lot of concern like for a consecutive year.
Petya Raykovska: 16:50 That’s, that’s great too cause you again like see a lot of people that you already know. Um, and uh, you meet a lot of people that are there for the first time as well. I don’t know, local events are a great WordCamp Europe is just home.
Nathan Wrigley: 17:05 I’m really surprised I knew the numbers. I was aware that there was going to be 3000 people and then, then I arrived and I was, I was still amazed by how big it all is and how, what level of thought and attention to detail has gone into it. It’s amazing.
Petya Raykovska: 17:25 WordCamp grew almost twice in size from Seville in 2015 to Vienna in 2016.
Nathan Wrigley: 17:32 Do you think it’l get bigger. It’s 3000 like a ceiling or are we aiming for at ten, four?
Petya Raykovska: 17:38 I don’t think there’s a special aim, but we’re just trying to accommodate whatever number comes away. You know, we just prep for that. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: 17:46 You were saying earlier that you kind of like love the WordPress community. Do you do to people that you’ve met at these events, do they under being your actual buddies, your friends? Oh yes, of course. You’ve got lots of them. I’d like stories about meeting somebody at these kinds of events.
Petya Raykovska: 18:03 I’ve travelled a lot of friends that I met. WordPress community. I have them visiting me in my hometown and I organized trips with them. I organized trips specifically to see some of them. Um, yeah, I have a lot of, a lot of really, really close friends that I met through WordPress.
Nathan Wrigley: 18:22 One of the, one of the things that the charity has found out from the survey that we did, we did quite a large survey recently. We found out that a lot of people working, well, we only asked WordPress people. So that’s all we can say. But a lot people, uh, they find themselves to be quite lonely sometimes and that’s Berhard just trying to stop you as they, um, they, they find themselves to be like quite lonely and that you’re going to say hello, hello. And um, yeah. Um, find themselves to be like quite lonely. And so one of the thoughts is, Oh, this is a great way to sort of break that mold. And so hearing stories about, you know, people who show up, they don’t necessarily know people, but give it a couple of years, you know, make the effort buy the ticket come and real, actual, real life supportive friends can come from.
Petya Raykovska: 19:15 And not, not only for extroverted people as well because you can, like obviously you can tell from, you know, having met me like ten minutes ago, I’m quite an extroverted person so I don’t have trouble meeting people, but a lot of people have trouble meeting people and we’ve thought a lot about people like that. Uh, while organizing work. I’m curious if there are social events that are happening that are designed specifically to make people that are a little bit more shy and like not that outgoing. Um, we like their events, um, organized especially for people like that to meet other people and to kind of find common interests there. We had like tribe meetups and networking speed networking events and there are a lot of like little socials that are organized around common interests within the WordPress community. So, um, these things are well thought of and we realize that there are people that are shy and not really that outgoing and that’s absolutely okay. And four camps can work for you even if you’re like that. Yeah. And volunteering again, I can’t recommend volunteering enough. Like, this will give you some context, some ways to like break the ice between you and people that you then know, like common tasks and things to do together. You may need to jump into together immediately. Like just make you get to know the people.
Nathan Wrigley: 20:37 That’s a good… Never really thought about it in that content. Working on the same time with somebody that you’ve never met. That’s great. Yeah, that’s a good, yeah. I have in my memory reading somewhere that this week you did something quite nice involving like the family, the whole family, the children. Tell me about that.
Petya Raykovska: 20:53 Well, so in 2016, I, um, I led the team for WordCamp here and then after that, uh, I wanted to take a little bit of a kind of a break from, um, organizing WordCamp Europe first of all because you know, there’s, there were so many people that wanted to be involved, so, um, the team could do without me. That was absolutely fine. And second, because I really wanted to try and do something a little bit different than I had a number before. Up until that moment, I had gone for camps, organized, organized, WordCamps volunteered at WordCamps and spoken at WordCamps. And that was primarily what was what I was doing. Um, and then in 2016 we came up with this whole idea that we might try and like teach kids how to set up their own websites on WordPress one. So we did it for the first time in Bangkok and their first WordCamp. Um, and there were just the, a couple of kids that turned up like five kids that turned up, but they had so much fun with us, um, that, uh, you know, I decided that I want to do that more. So organize it in Sophia environment in Macedonia can like a bunch of other places. We organized one in London. I wasn’t there, but, uh, just helped. I prepared this, uh, documentation for working with organizers in this one and throw, uh, a workshop for kids. And it’s always so much fun. They just like set up their websites that they pick a topic, they learn to create contents, to add images, videos, things like that to change their themes. It’s like a game to them and they do so well with that stuff.
Petya Raykovska: 22:32 So much better than like a lot of adults, but it’s like their own thing, you know, and they own their content and teach them about how, you know, this is their own space and they can, you know, create and use it to kind of express themselves.
Nathan Wrigley: 22:45 They don’t come with any preconceived ideas either. Do they? So this, this editor, as opposed to that editor is of no importance. They’re quite happy to use the new editor.
Petya Raykovska: 22:55 Yeah, exactly. And it’s funny because we use WordPress.com and that changes we creation literally and it changes based on like what browser are you using and where you’re from in the world. And like automatically, like you get an likewise version if you, your browser language is set to German for example. And then you’re the volunteers that sit next to the kids are like, oh, I don’t know how to use WordPress in German. I was like, well figure it out the kid next to you knows it.
Nathan Wrigley: 23:21 Do you do this with the parents in the room at the same time or did the parents yeah, you can. The parents wants to stay.
Petya Raykovska: 23:27 They are more than welcome to stay if they want to just like, you know, have a coffee while their kids are having fun than the workshop, they can do that as well. That’s great. And you, you personally get a bit of a thrill out of it? Yeah, no, definitely. Yeah. Yeah. And we get a lot of volunteers. We get a lot of volunteers to help the kids because we want every kid to kind of have received special or kind of special attention and uh, kids move at different paces. We also organize it for, uh, an age group that is wide, large. We organize it for kids from eight to 14 years old. So that’s, yeah, that’s kind of a big difference. So when every kids or every two kids get like a volunteer working with them, they can move at their own pace and they can do, you know, it doesn’t really need to be a classroom vibe. It’s more of a like playground vibe. It’s really cool. Uh, yeah, we did it yesterday. I contributor to it, but we’ve done it during conferences last month in Vienna with a v during the conference day and it was still great.
Nathan Wrigley: 24:23 Did you have, did you hear Matt speaking earlier just to change the subject? Did you hear okay,
Petya Raykovska: 24:28 what did, what did, what did Matt say?
Nathan Wrigley: 24:31 Nothing at all. I just wondered if you’d had a chance to see.
Petya Raykovska: 24:33 I usually like, um, read summaries of, um, of maths, um, highlights.
Nathan Wrigley: 24:41 The reason I was asking really is because he spoke a bit about, about the future, you know, and you just go and six months into the future. So my segue from that was going to be, you know, do you, do you feel like WordPress is your future? Do you believe this community in five, six, eight years will still be going strong in the same way as it is?
Petya Raykovska: 24:58 Oh, I’m certain it will it’s already, I mean, let’s see how it goes through like t teen years there. There’s been turbulence in the, in the past couple years, but I mean, which teenager doesn’t really express experienced that. Um, now it’s been great seeing WordPress change and evolve and grow and it’s, there’s so much exciting stuff coming up. Uh, our way, I’m sure that if there’s one thing I’m sure of is that the WordPress community is not going anywhere. It’s, it’s bigger roles getting bigger, it’s getting stronger. There are connections made despite like, you know, rough patches and all that. There are a lot of people that are, um, getting closer to each other. So
Nathan Wrigley: 25:41 this, this statistic always keeps coming out, you know, this 30 something percent of the Internet, you know, and it just keeps crawling up 30.
Petya Raykovska: 25:50 Do you know how they know what percentage of that is in foreign languages? I’m going to be ignorant and say, I don’t know. It’s more than 50% of all of the WordPress installs currently are in languages that are different than American English.
Nathan Wrigley: 26:02 That’s amazing. I read something the other day about the Spanish team having completely nailed there.
Speaker 5: 26:07 The Spanish team, the Romanian team, the German team. A lot of like a lot of, do you know how many languages WordPress is translated into?
Nathan Wrigley: 26:15 I’m going to say all of them.
Petya Raykovska: 26:16 Well, no, there are thousands of languages, but we have it. We have it, uh, a like we are able to localize even more than 200. Uh, and more than a hundred of those are close to 100%. So it’s a, it’s a huge number and it’s an effort from thousands and thousands of people.
Nathan Wrigley: 26:34 It’s interesting because a lot of people who may be listened to this, maybe don’t know how that stuff works. How does WordPress,
Petya Raykovska: 26:40 he gets translated magic. Is it magic volunteers? You go to translate dot WordPress dot org. You choose your language, you go, you pick a project because you don’t actually only translate WordPress. You can translate all the plugins from the themes in the repository, uh, in all of the locales that WordPress supports. So you go to translate.WordPress.org. You pick a language and a, you pick a project and then there’s, um, there’s a, an interface that allows you to see a string in it’s original and then a box that allows you to add the translation into the language that you’ve chosen.
Nathan Wrigley: 27:13 You just get stuck in and, yeah. Yeah.
Petya Raykovska: 27:16 That’s how I learned WordPress. Yeah. I’m not a technical person, so I translated it then. That’s how I learned about like multiple functions, but I didn’t even know existed.
Nathan Wrigley: 27:25 Okay. When you, you sort of come to these kind of events, we’re obviously surrounded by a whole bunch of people and I have this, I have this, it’s not even a theory. I actually believe that the people that make up this community are a bit different and a bit special. Well, what, what I was, the way it kind of works for me is I’ve been to quite a lot of conferences that got nothing to do with WordPress. I’ve always, I’ve always kind of thought, I don’t really want to go to this conference. I’ve always been thinking, oh, I’m, I’d rather not attend. Whereas I get really excited about coming to these, and I don’t know what the difference is. I don’t know if it’s like an open source mentality. I’m not sure.
Petya Raykovska: 28:02 Now this is not about business. It’s never, I mean, a lot of it is about like, a lot of these people make their living using WordPress and a lot of people come here for business purposes as well, but the atmosphere and the overall vibe is never a corporate business environment. And like, let’s go build the future and sell a bunch of stuff and all that. It’s always about, you know, let’s help people, like even businesses come here being like, well, we’ve built this thing. We want you to try it. We’d love you to try it. We want to hear what you think about it. Uh, and I’ll have all of that. I know that, that’s the idea. We come, we come here with, um, as a company to just like build connections and meet people, share our knowledge. Uh, share our experiences, um, learn from others. That’s, that’s how we, that’s how we grow our company, you know.
Nathan Wrigley: 28:54 Do you get that feeling though? Do you do share my sentiment? The is special.
Petya Raykovska: 28:58 The special feeling? Yeah. I mean like, I mean, I feel very connected to this community, so of course I’m going to say yes. Um, there have never been a part of a community, uh, did that of uh, you know, the, the, the way I’m involved with WordPress, so I have nothing to really compare it to. You should ask Jenny Wong, she is a part of the PHP community and uh, and she can talk to you about what community is special and why. But this is, yeah, this is my home. So of course I’m going to say everything about this, this is, feels very special.
Nathan Wrigley: 29:35 That’s an interesting phrase. You just described it as being your home.
Petya Raykovska: 29:38 WordCamp Europe. Definitely. It doesn’t matter where, where, where it happened.
Nathan Wrigley: 29:42 Yeah. All the people that you care about when you come to these events or you, you said you were like an extrovert. So I was just wondering, you know, do you come to primarily meet up with the people that you’ve met in the past that you’ve, you’ve, you’ve exchanged, you know, necessarily you want to meet the you
Speaker 5: 29:59 At contributor day? I always love to meet the new, the new contributors to the Polyglots table. It’s like, it’s almost like discovering every time you discover different people, different cultures, languages and things, things like that. I come to see my friends of course, but uh, I always, I’m open to meeting new people to an extent. You know, people, you get tired, you want to like shove in a corner and kind of have a little bit of quiet time from time to time that that’s okay as well. And it’s okay sometimes to not like really feel like socializing all the time. It’s okay to come just to see the, your closest friends and like to kind of drag them into quiet places and they’ll catch up with them.
Nathan Wrigley: 30:39 Yeah. The, I guess some people listening to this may never have been to any event like this before. And I suppose when you look at the websites and things like that and you see the itineraries and you see the talks, you kind of get the impression that that’s what it’s about. You attend talks and sit in chairs and then go to the next talk and sit in another chair and then at the end of the day go home and for me it’s mostly about hanging out in the corridor.
Petya Raykovska: 31:00 I love that, that aspect of the good mixture, everything really. That is one of the good things about the conference grow into this extended that you can create a really neat schedule of like content that you want to be exposed to but you can also like find a lot of time to do interact with your, with your friends or to meet new people or hang out in the sponsor’s area. Like just walk around to go see the city that’s hosting the camp to go to some of the recommended places with the organizer team prepared. You can do everything and still like it depends on how you feel, what type of burst of person you are, how new you are to the community, your experience changes as you come to more and more of these events.
Nathan Wrigley: 31:45 My um, my kind of remit if you like for this next couple of days is to, is to record podcasts. I have a purpose which is, which is that, I’m just wondering from your perspective, do you have like a human made set of things to do? Do you have a like a little laundry list of things that human made would like to have like to have ticked off by the time you come
Petya Raykovska: 32:05 meeting more people getting introduced to more engineers. We could potentially work with project managers, we could potentially work with partners and uh, agencies we can partner with. Um, this is usually the human made agenda. Um, we don’t come here to like sell stuff. We, we come to make connects to create like friendships and make connections and um, you know, share experiences.
Nathan Wrigley: 32:28 Do you, do you see that it, it works on that level? Do you leave at the end of it and think, oh that that was probably in two days. I achieved what I could do in x number of weeks on the telephone.
Petya Raykovska: 32:39 I don’t really have a statistic like that, but I can definitely say that it’s always a amazing meeting people in person and it’s very, very useful. The the thing I can say that about is a quality time with my coworkers was that is what I can say that about like in in a couple of days we make, we make sure we have enough time to kind of just catch up and have enough face time to hold us for a little while. You know, while we continue our day to day stuff. That mostly happens over day internet. Yeah. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: 33:12 When, before we started doing this recording, I talked about the kind of the, one of the primary purposes of this charity and that is to give support back to people who might need it. And you said that you were open for a conversation? Yeah,
Petya Raykovska: 33:27 I am very, very open. I mean it’s, it’s easy. It’s very easy, both in the open source community and in businesses that are primarily distributed and remote too. All of a sudden feel overworked and very isolated. So it’s not something that we haven’t come across. Like on the contrary, it’s something that you see a lot. You see it in the open source with people trying to contribute and like dedicating more and more of their free time and like some people get really engulfed with it because again, the sense of fulfillment you get from the fact that you are doing something for such a huge amount of people, you know, you translate, uh, into, you know, uh, one of the most popular languages and all of a sudden thousands and thousands and thousands of people benefit from your work. And then you take pride in that, in this, you feel accountable, you keep doing it more and more and uh, and sometimes it can just swallow you if can just that I can just become too much. And then people don’t really realize that until they really burn out. Um, and it’s not, it’s not a good feeling. So we kind of have to watch out for each other
Nathan Wrigley: 34:37 and human made. Do you, do you have endevours to…
Speaker 5: 34:41 yeah. At Human Made a in agency life and business life is the same. Like the accountability that comes from being a part of our remote team. You know, we are all very autonomous in our work with day kind of great responsibility in everything we do. But it also like comes with always like the expectation of always being there, always delivering. Um, and sometimes live happens. So with human made we kind of have policies to support that. Everyone knows they are free to come forward and say I’m very tired. I am very burnt out. I am very, you know, this last project disasters me, I need to take some time off. You know, we, we make sure people take enough time off. We make sure that if somebody reaches some kind of a breaking point, their support it in many ways like time off is not the only way that you can, that you can help, uh, ensuring people can, you know, disappear for awhile is the only way you can ensure that we, we have policies for people to kind of see counselors. We have a lot of support that they receive from our people ops team, from their managers.
Nathan Wrigley: 35:49 Yeah. If I may ask, do you have any personal experience with those kinds of things.
Petya Raykovska: 35:55 she can definitely did. You’re actually catching me in a very interesting moment in my life. Um, I’ve been having some health issues and the best past kind of, I’d say the past two years. Um, and uh, I’ve always felt very, um, very strong accountability about the work that I’m doing, um, in the community at Human Made as well. So it’s, it would always be hard for me to like not work after hours or, uh, not take on a task immediately after, you know, with comes my way. And the, I’ve had a couple of periods of, um, very unpleasant burnout situations. And, um, at this point because of my health issues as well, like realizing that you need a little bit of an extended time off and leave something that is not, doesn’t really come naturally to me. I’m going to feel like, you know, maybe this will be a burden and maybe this will be too much.
Petya Raykovska: 36:50 But, um, with the support of my colleagues, um, I’ve realized that, you know, that I probably be taking care of kind of myself, um, talking to professional about, you know, the issues that I’m facing and trying to kind of navigate a little bit better. My, uh, uh, the balance between the thing that I do, which is it’s not really my job. It’s like what I do and, and, um, the rest of my life I do have, yeah, I do have personal experience with burnout and I, I would recommend to everyone that they just like watch out for the people that they care about the, to working in the community. Um, they’re very easy to spot symptoms of burnout.
Nathan Wrigley: 37:34 Um, and did you, you mentioned your, your colleagues, did the people who aren’t necessarily working with human made, you know, the people that we’re surrounded with now, did that, did that offer you any support?
Petya Raykovska: 37:47 You mean the people that are here, the WordPress community? Oh yeah, definitely. Well, it’s been amazing to see, um, to see the polyglots team. Um, just cracking on of course, like I never thought that it wouldn’t be able to go on without me, but it was really good to see that the foundation that you build with the help fathers is helping people, you know, keep going with their tasks and the community without you necessarily being there all the time. Yeah, that’s pretty amazing. It is quite amazing. Like the best thing that I, that has happened to me has been realizing in several areas actually like organizing events is another one. Like you organize an event, you prepare the documentation and you kind of share enough knowledge with other people so that at some point you can disappear and, and, and the event goes on super smoothly without, and this is like such as the lights kind of feel that, you know, it’s almost, it’s almost a little bit of a controversy.
Petya Raykovska: 38:49 Like the first you feel like, well, don’t they need me? I feel like, you know, I’m kind of expandable now, but on the other hand, you’ve moved on and now you can do different things and now you can move to another area. And there’s always another areas of the project that you can help happens with the WordPress global WordPress translation day this year. Uh, WordPress translation day day for the first time was organized without any, um, involvement. How my part, it was an initiative was started in 2016. It’s the first, it was the first global, uh, distributed contribute today. Uh, it had like meetups all over the world from station meetups all over the world happening in the same 24 hours and the global wife’s three and going for 24 hours as well. People joining from everywhere saying what the language they translate in. So since then we’ve done it every year. Uh, and in the last two additions I haven’t been um, involved with organizing. And in the last one I wasn’t even there on the day and it still happens and it’s, the results are absolutely everything.
Nathan Wrigley: 39:50 That’s a really interesting revelation isn’t it? That, you know, life can go on, you know, the, the team is big enough.
Petya Raykovska: 39:57 the theme is big enough. There are always people, there’s guys that are going to do pick it up. As long as you leave like a strong legacy and you do the best you can to make it clear that everyone can get involved. Why are you doing job?
Nathan Wrigley: 40:09 I think I’ve asked everything I want to ask, so I’m just going to say, is there anything else you want to add?
Petya Raykovska: 40:15 Um, I want to say thank you for doing this and I think that’s a charity is really important. I want to tell everyone that feels isolated than lonely sometimes, but that’s, that’s OK. And, uh, just like get busy around your local meetup per your local WordCamp and, uh, you will instantly feel connected with others. I can absolutely guarantee them.
Nathan Wrigley: 40:39 Thank you very much Petya.
Nathan Wrigley: 40:54 one of the purposes of the PressForward podcast is to lift the lid on topics that don’t get talked about enough to allow people to share their stories so that others might listen and by listening, they may gain an understanding that they’re not alone. There are other people out there who have faced the same situations that you are facing. They have found a way through and can offer support to you on your journey. Maybe the person is already in your life, but they might not be. And that’s what WP and UP is here for, to connect you with the support that you need. That’s the PressForward podcast is brought to you today by Green Geeks. Green geeks offers a specially engineered platform that gives WordPress users web hosting that is designed to be the fastest, most secure and scalable hosting available in multiple data centers. Their WordPress hosting makes deploying and managing WordPress websites easy with automatic one click install managed updates, real time security protection, SSD raid 10 storage arrays, power cacher and expert 24 seven support to make for the best web hosting experience. And we thank green geeks for helping us to put on the PressForward podcast
Nathan Wrigley: 42:33 that’s it for this week. Please let us know if you’re enjoying this podcast. If you find it useful or helpful, you can reach out to us at wpandup.org forward slash contact and remember that there’s a serious point to all of this and that is that WP and UP is here to provide help and support that help is available for you or people you know and can be easily accessed to the WP and UP.org website. Please spread the word about this new podcast. Tell your friends and subscribe on your favorite podcast player. Together, we can hashtag PressForward.