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WordCamp Europe Live interview with Josepha Haden, Executive Director of the WordPress project – #014

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Today we talk with Josepha Haden, the Executive Director of the WordPress Project, and what a wonderful conversation it is! This is another one of the talks that the WP&UP team recorded during WordCamp Europe 2019.

We’re back in the corridor, surrounded by approximately 3,000 WordPressers, so you’re going to have to cope with the background noise… and children!

Josepha has such a broad overview of the entire ecosystem, as it’s one of her roles to make sure that the WordPress Project has what it needs to flourish. That might be connecting with team leads and contributors to understand what they need, or making sure that funding moves where it needs to go for events such as WordCamps.

We speak about how she got started with WordPress; and interesting story in which her mother was the key influence, as well as how WordPress has changed as it has grown over the last 15 years.

We then chat about what it is that continues to attract Josepha to WordPress, which it turns out is teaching people of all ages how it can be used to bring their ideas to life.

We discuss current initiatives that she is interested in such as the increased focus upon diversity and bringing children into contact with WordPress.

It’s a great conversation, and a little window into the past and future of WordPress, brought to you in under three quarters of an hour!

Interviewed by Nathan Wrigley.

We hope you enjoy the show, please do subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. We’re always looking for feedback, if you have any thoughts or comments, please do reach out.

And remember… Together we can #PressForward 

Featured on this podcast:

Josepha Haden

Josepha Haden

Josepha is currently the Executive Director of the WordPress project, helping to coordinate and guide volunteer efforts across…

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Nathan Wrigley: 00:29 Welcome to episode 14 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. If you want to make listening to this podcast a regular thing, you can subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player. 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 the hair charity working in the WordPress space to support the WordPress community and the help is freely available WP and UP.org the work that we’re doing is important. Many people have got involved either using the support that we offer or by joining us to help out. To give you an idea of the amount of work that’s been undertaken. Here’s some recent data for you.

Nathan Wrigley: 01:29 WP and UP have provided roughly two and a half thousand hours of companionship and mentorship. We have over three and a half thousand members. Volunteers have donated over 5,000 hours and they have been over 6,000 event attendees. You can see that there’s a significant need for the support that WP and UP are providing and we’re always on the lookout for people who can help us. Perhaps you’d like to help us out and get involved with WP and UP to, if so, great you can support WP and UP financially by visiting WP and UP.org forward slash give or maybe you’d like to get involved with WP and UP. If so, then please visit WP and UP.org forward slash contact or look for the social links in the websites footer. You can also help us out by sponsoring the podcast just like Green Geeks have done

Nathan Wrigley: 02:39 The 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 experts support and we thank Green Geeks for helping us put on the PressForward podcast.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:11 today we’re back to the recordings that we made at WordCamp Europe earlier this year. You might have heard the press pause mini podcast series that we made in the run up to WordCamp Europe. If you haven’t, I can certainly recommend it. The mini series featured a collection of short WordCamp stories from members of the WordPress community. The contributors told us why they chose to attend, what experiences they had and what the impact of word comes had been on them. It felt like a great place to start, but we wanted to carry on and to that end, the WP and UP team decided to bring some recording equipment to WordCamp and talk to the attendees whilst they were at the event. We wanted to use this as an opportunity to record people’s stories, but also as a way to increase the awareness of WP and UP. And as such, we set up our equipment in one of the main thoroughfares of the event. It was magnificent and from a personal perspective, it was wonderful to talk to so many people with nearly 3000 tickets sold. There were people from all corners of the globe, from the young to the old. They passed us by and many stopped to find out what we were doing. As you can imagine, our location was quite noisy and this has made it into the recordings, but I like it that way and it seems more real.

Nathan Wrigley: 04:44 Let’s get to today’s episode. Today you’re going to hear from Josepha Haden in case you’ve not heard of her. She’s the executive director of the WordPress project, which when you think about it is quite an important role. She’s involved in shaping the direction that WordPress is taking, reaching out to as many people and as many teams as possible to ensure that the WordPress project is going in a direction that suits as many people as possible. She also interacts with regular contributors, many of whom report directly to her to make sure that they have what they need to get their work done. The conversation goes over a lot of ground. How Josepha got involved with WordPress, the growth of WordPress since it began, how the project is trying to be more diverse and include as many people as possible, including children. And so without further ado, I bring you Josepha Haden, it’s Saturday. Is it Saturday? Yes, it’s June 22nd. Oh, you’re good. You know way more about the calendar that I do. I can’t what day it is. I know it’s not Thursday cause I arrived on Thursday.

Josepha Haden: 06:00 You don’t actually have an excuse. You’re not jet lagged or anything. Right? I’m just rubbish. I came from the United States. Yeah. Where, you know, sometimes we are also a little rubbish. Okay.

Nathan Wrigley: 06:12 We’re stood in a, well let’s call it a corridor. We’re outside of track number one. And I am here today with Josepha Haden chomp chomp. Oh, I did promise. I would try to get that right. Oh, that’s good. Okay. Thank you. That’s very kind of, it’s a hard name. Yeah. So it’s the second day of talks at WordCamp Europe. We’ve had, uh, we’ve had, uh, uh, contributor today on Thursday. And then we had talked yesterday, including sort of packed auditorium with Matt Mullenweg and, um, and I’ve been joined today so that we can talk about, well, the WordPress project WordCamps all of that kind of stuff. Tell us a bit about your, your background.

Josepha Haden: 06:49 Yeah. So, um, I had a long and windy road to here, but I started as a music major, decided I wanted to, you know, be a singer forever. Nice. I, yeah. So that’s why I thought it was funny that we might sing to each other here. We’ll do that at the end cause I’m a fade away little tune. Yeah. And so I did that and, and it actually was while I was learning how to like market myself in that space that I discovered WordPress, my mother introduced me to WordPress. She built my first site for me. And Yeah, that’s a unique angle. Yeah. And she, so we learned about it together and she ended up kind of in the, uh, in the content and SEO side. And I ended up in the data marketing strategy side and then of course ended up here at, at WordPress.

Josepha Haden: 07:40 But I all the way through my career, I also volunteered with a lot of nonprofits, worked on a lot of boards. And so the work that I’m doing now as the executive director in WordPress is very comfortable. It’s very in my wheelhouse because it’s WordPress, which I’ve been using for a long time. It’s a nonprofit which I’ve been using for a long time and it’s also a lot of organizational work, which I’ve also been doing in a long time. And so it’s like a very unusual path to get here. But in the end it was somewhat inevitable. It feels.

Nathan Wrigley: 08:09 So if you wound on back the clock, let’s say, I don’t know, 15 years or something, it was all about the music. Did you have any conception that technology and you know, a blogging platform turns CMS would be any conception of that? Is this completely out of the blue? Really

Josepha Haden: 08:25 everything about my, my coming here, uh, actually was out of the blue. I never in a million years would have thought that I would be doing this work even even five years ago. Yeah. So I’ve been working as a full time sponsored volunteer to the WordPress project for the last four years, uh, and started taking on more, more public leadership roles about three years ago. And so yeah, I, and that all happened because I went to a WordCamp and the woman who hired me saw me doing work there because I had been doing work with training like urban core youth in Kansas City, how to use WordPress and how to change their lives that way. And, and she, she brought me to an event in order to take part in a conversation about inclusion and diversity. And then after seeing how I engaged with everything said, you know, do you want to do this full time for fun cause not for fun for pay. Cause like I had been doing it for fun and and yeah. And then the rest is history. I

Nathan Wrigley: 09:26 it was a really difficult question to answer, wasn’t it? Would you like to do this and get paid for doing it?

Josepha Haden: 09:30 Do my dream job and get paid. Yeah. Great.

Nathan Wrigley: 09:36 What a great story. I love the mother angle. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that one before. It’s normal, but it’s normally the people of our age sort of telling the parents how this stuff works. I think that’s fascinating

Josepha Haden: 09:47 because of that, a lot of people get confused. They’re like, you mean you taught your mother? No. My Mom taught me all about WordPress.

Nathan Wrigley: 09:54 I think there’s a, there’s an awful lot of confusion in, especially with people who have approached WordPress. Maybe they’re new to it. They, they’ve kind of downloaded it and they’ve tried it out and they notice that on the horizon somewhere. Okay, this is WordPress and somehow there’s this thing called Automattic as well and how do they connect with, so I’ve got it written down that you’re the executive director of the WordPress project, which is pretty exciting. What, what does that role, what does that even mean? What do you do on a day to day basis if we sort of tracked you around your office or home, wherever you’re working from, what? What do you actually get up to?

Josepha Haden: 10:27 What’s funny about that is I’m working on a blog post about that right now. This is good. you have the inside track on it. So, so the,

Josepha Haden: 10:37 my day to day work varies, but across the week it’s all basically the same from week to week. I have about 20, 25% of my time that is doing general outreach to um, either other projects or people within our own project to kind of get information on the, the next things that we need to work on. The projects that they feel we really need to prioritize. And also when I do outreach to larger groups and other groups besides besides WordPress is to just make sure that I have a clear understanding of what’s happening in our entire ecosystem as, as members of the open web. Uh, but then about, gosh, I’m going to say about probably 40 or 50% of my day is checking in with our regular contributors and checking in with the contributors who report directly to me. There are probably 30 people who directly report to me in some fashion and I check in with them pretty frequently. And then the remainder of my time is, you know, admin and back office stuff and making sure that we’ve paid for everything that that WordCamps need in order to function and the meetup groups need. And all of the, uh, just back office things that I would never ask a volunteer to do because it’s terribly, oh

Nathan Wrigley: 11:56 yeah. The, the, the thing that I often find is, is my question earlier, I sort of trying to allude to the fact that autumn most people associate a product with a company, you know what I mean? So you buy a product and the company made it. So this is a little bit of a, of a different thing. We’ve, we’ve got this, this company Automattic, and we’ve got this WordPress open source project. Yeah. How do they differ? How does one coalesce with the other? What is the difference? What’s the boundary where one stops and the other one’s starts?

Nathan Wrigley: 12:23 Yeah. So that’s an excellent question. And the unfortunate thing for your listeners is that most of the time I use my hands and illustrate in the air. I’m going to describe carefully what your hands are doing in the future. No, I’ll try to do that. I’ll try to explain it well while I’m also waving my hands in the air, like a small lunatic. Uh, but okay, so there is, so the WordPress project and everything to do with WordPress is separate from Automattic. Uh, Automattic is Matt Mullenweg’s company that he founded 13 years ago or something. Uh, and then WordPress as the project of course is 16 years old now. So there’s a little, there’s a quite a bit of overlap in that, in that right now. So those two separate entities, everything to do with the WordPress project is about the CMS and the community and, and the product that is WordPress, the WordPress foundation is part of that ecosystem and provides educational, um, structural things.

Josepha Haden: 13:26 So the WordPress foundation handles anything to do with do action Hackathon, charity Hackathons, uh, everything to do with our incubator programs tend to go through there. And then a lot of funding for open source, uh, trainings essentially. So things that really do work to further the goals of, of diversity and representation in technology. But then also educational work around just like being better citizens of the open web and all that stuff. And then the WordPress project, uh, is, you know, codes not owned by anybody and we’re all wandering around doing the thing. There’s also WordPress community support and that actually is the entity. It’s a public charity. It’s not considered a not for profit, it’s a public charity. And that’s the group that manages everything to do with WordCamps and, and meetups and things. I think you did that really well. Yeah. Without, without the need for any hand gestures. So good. Even though I was doing them with gesturing, but the words were more than sufficient. That was great. Perfect.

Nathan Wrigley: 14:32 Which aspect of the whole WordPress thing, you know, whether it’s your, um, additive you’re interested in WordCamps or your interest in diversity, which bit, which bit makes you most excited?

Josepha Haden: 14:47 This, the, the work that I love the most ever for WordPress stuff is always the teaching. Um, I have been teaching about WordPress and, and anything that I felt like I could share information on for my entire career as far as I can tell. And, um, and I especially love doing that for beginning WordPressers cause that is the hardest space. Yeah. Um, that’s the hardest part in my mind cause we have that myth of like we’re an easy to use CMS and we are easy to use. Exactly. All CMS is are hard and we are the easiest of the hard options, you know? That’s good. Yeah. And so like I really enjoy the teaching aspect because it’s, I think it’s so healthy to be able to say like, I understand that this is hard and I know that I’ve been doing it forever, but also like I see I see you and where you’re coming from and don’t listen to that voice in your mind that’s like, I should be better at this.

Josepha Haden: 15:46 Cause everyone says it’s easy. Like that’s just not fair to you or to any of your learning process. And so I really enjoy working with that particular type of, of stuff. Uh, for the work that I do now, I actually don’t get to teach anyone anything. That’s not true. I guess I teach people how to lead better, which is I’m also a really exciting thing that I get to do. But in this particular moment where we’re doing a lot of work on making sure that that we are future proof does a project that is really fascinating and interesting work and I’m very honored to be able to do it. So what do you mean future-proofing the project? That’s interesting. Yeah, so the, I know that Matt’s been saying for at least two years now that what will get us here won’t get us there. And when he talks about that, he’s referring to the technology.

Josepha Haden: 16:32 And that’s wonderful because I would never be able to be a technology futurist. And so to have someone in my court who’s like, I’ve got the technology is so great because I can just be like, you do technology. I’m going to go over here and work on our, on our people and our community and make sure that we’re there. So the work that I’m doing right now actually has a lot to do with making sure that our volunteers are better equipped to do the things that they want to do. All I, all I ever work on in my mind is like how to enable people to give their best work in the way that they want to give that work, uh, with like the fewest hurdles and, and, and the easiest tools that we can find. And so that’s a lot of the work that I’m doing and helping teams to have a better concept of how to run meetings, helping a team reps to know who to ask questions to and helping things kind of get settled in, documented as we go along

Nathan Wrigley: 17:25 a massive hierarchy going on, isn’t it? And there’s a huge volunteer base at the bottom and I get what you mean, but does that mainly me like writing documentation and coming up with policies that ought to be followed for this thing or that thing?

Josepha Haden: 17:40 Yeah. Well to, to address your first point, we actually, so the WordPress project right now only has informal hierarchy and it’s very confusing. And so I’m trying to help get that, that hierarchy that is currently informal, sort of more known to people because it’s so uncomfortable for so many of our volunteers to have to be doing work and hoping that they know who to ask, um, how to accomplish the next thing. Uh, and, and also hoping to, to help us get into a more formalized structure because at this point, like the flat management, the flat infrastructure works really well up to a point, right? And at some point it gets too big for one person to manage.

Josepha Haden: 18:26 Like when I think about the amount of work that I do in a week, if I, if I consider like asking a volunteer to do that kind of work at that scale, with that kind of time, like there’s, it’s just not a reasonable thing to request of a volunteer. And so, and so trying to get a little bit more formal structure so that the cognitive load, the mental burden that people have to take in order to do basic volunteer work is lower like that. That is a really compelling thing for me. And that’s kind of what I’m working on right now.

Nathan Wrigley: 18:58 Are there any things that you think are still, you know, not as good as they could be? Or is it just sort of tweaking and then keeping them, you know, just keeping on top of things or, or other just glaring areas where we, we haven’t even gone there yet. We haven’t touched that. We haven’t documented or even thought about that. What I’m thinking is, you know, you look at this, look at this conference and 15 years ago WordPress was like, there’s a little bit of baby, there was a little b2 thing, then this, I mean it’s meteoric growth. How do you keep up with this stuff? So that, that’s my question really are there areas where we’re not as good as we could be. Do you believe?

Josepha Haden: 19:34 Yeah, so I think we have a bit of a mix. I think there are some things that, that are really close to what we need and we just have to kind of fix it here and there. And there are some things that we actually had had no need to do up until now. And so we are are going to have to create it from, not necessarily from scratch, plenty of other organizations have done what we do.

Josepha Haden: 19:58 Um, no one has done exactly what we do, how we do it though. And so we’re having to work with the community and kind of identify, you know, if, if we were going to do these things, how would you, how would you recommend? And so we’re doing a lot of community conversations and in this case, when I say we, I mean me and, and the people in the global community team and a couple of the people on the core team who helped me kind of work through this stuff. So yeah

Nathan Wrigley: 20:24 I’ve just been watching as we’ve been talking for the last 15 minutes and 15 seconds, 50% watching who’s been coming down those stairs. And it’s, it’s mainly been men. Yeah. Is that, is that, is that something we need to address, do you think? Would you, would you like there to be, I mean, because I know you’ve got a diversity hat. Yeah. I don’t know what that looks like.

Josepha Haden: 20:46 Yeah. I feel like that’s a leading question. I feel like the answer obviously is yes. Yeah. So there is a bit of a problem with, with diversity in WordPress right now. It’s better than it used to be, but um, I, I always feel like there’s a distance you can go for all of those things specifically. Uh, over the last, let’s see, probably two years or so, I have been doing a lot of work to fix the inclusion aspect because when people, people talk about diversity and inclusion, they kind of get lumped together into a single thing, but they’re actually two different types of work. The inclusion work is I believe a leadership out sort of sort of work that has to be done. Leaders have to set the tone for how to make the space, uh, able for other people to be part of.

Josepha Haden: 21:42 And, and leaders are the ones who do that and everyone else has to come with the leader on that or, or the leadership group, whoever is doing that, that has to happen from within to without. And then the diversity work is doing outreach and asking people to come to you. And that can be done by anybody of course. But I always think that you have to start with making your, your community, your organization inclusive. Otherwise you invite people in to create a feeling of diversity, but you haven’t made it safe for them to arrive. Like you haven’t, you haven’t made it clear that they’re welcome. Uh, I feel strongly that it is never the, um, the traditionally underrepresented groups that are required to do the work of figuring out whether they’re welcome because if they show up to something and they’re not welcome, that could potentially be a dangerous situation for them to be in.

Josepha Haden: 22:33 And so I believe it’s, it’s the people who are already there, it’s their responsibility to say like, we accept you no matter what text editor you use or no matter how you identify with your gender and no matter how you identify with your sexuality. Like I think that’s really important for us to take that on as our job. And so I’ve been focusing on internal, uh, inclusion work and we’re starting now to do more productive diversity work. Jill Binder, uh, just just started, um, not even just started, I should be clearer. About a year and a half ago, she started working on this program that brings more women into, um, speaking opportunities at WordCamps because one of the things that happens when you speak at a WordCamp is that you build your, your credibility as a subject matter expert. And we just weren’t getting that many women into the space.

Josepha Haden: 23:28 And it wasn’t because people weren’t quote unquote trying, but it’s because they didn’t have a clear concept of how to offer actionable things and actionable ways for those women to get in the space and feel comfortable and know that they were going to succeed in it. And Jill Binders work, she has refining it over the last 18 months. And in the communities where they have, uh, engaged in that program that she said, she sat out, they have gotten to a 50, 50 split for representation for women and men at their events. And that’s a huge deal. Yeah. Yeah. And so we’re, we are supporting her in that and sponsoring part of her work with that also. And, and I would personally like to make a call to anyone who wants to support her, her monetarily, uh, in that work and continuing to teach other people how to do that in their communities. It would be the best thing that came out of, of any of my time this weekend if people would, would commit to supporting her in that work.

Nathan Wrigley: 24:33 That, that’s such a nice, nice little, like, I don’t know, summarize that. Beautiful. Can we say? One of the things that happened on here on Thursday, which I personally really like is the, when Petya did her, uh, children’s, I don’t know if that touches you or, but I just think that’s absolutely lovely. You know, for the, it’s not new, but it is fairly new. They’ve been going on for a little while. Do you want it, if you’ve got anything to add about that?

Josepha Haden: 25:00 I love our kids camp. Yeah. Number one. Um, and I, I think I love them for a, a slightly larger, larger Meta view reason than others. I, uh, as we talked about before, I have done quite a bit of teaching in my time, especially of of children and youth and I just the ability for WordPress knowledge to change someone’s life for the better and to change family patterns that we see is, is just jaw dropping. Like I don’t go into any of those classes or any of the kid camps or anything saying like we’re going to teach you word prison. You’re going to become rich and famous. Cause that’s never true. But I, I can say to them, I’m going, I’m going to help you have life skills that will help you become more employable no matter what you choose to go into. Because, and I gave a talk about this at a WordCamp in like 2014, 2015 is WordCamp New York. I really think that WordPress as a tool and as it’s, as the community, as the, the teams that we work on can be used as a vehicle for teaching students 21st century skills because we have this impossible focus on hard skills versus soft skills. You have to know how to code versus you have to like and, and the beauty of WordPress and how we do things and how we can do things is that if you get younger generations involved earlier in a space that is inclusive and and collaborative and communitive communicative in the way that WordPress can be when it’s at its best like that can change lives in a way that I, that I just, I mean it’s amazing every time that I see it.

Nathan Wrigley: 26:57 You know what your answer made me realize how ignorant I am of of that, that whole thing, because I was, I was really thinking what fun it is. That was where that was where it ended for me. Oh Great. The kids are having a really nice time. Yeah. They’re exposed to, I hadn’t just not even occurred to me about the bigger picture, the future prospects that come out of that. That’s, that’s really interesting. Wow.

Josepha Haden: 27:19 This is why I love my work so much in case anyone ever wondered whether I love my job, I love my job because I really feel like I can make an impact in such a, in such a, a broad and life changing way that I wasn’t able to before. This is an interesting thing you talked about Automattic a bit earlier. Yeah. So when I, when I took the job at Automattic, a number of people in my local community, like they asked like, why would you have this like nonprofit education, save the world through knowledge sort of thing. Why are you going to a corporation? Like what is that about? Why are you making that choice? And on the one hand, I did struggle with that idea. Uh, and on the other hand, having, having this type of resource available to me has helped me to multiply the, the change and the impact that I can have on the world. And not because anyone knows who I am. Like nobody knows who I am, but, uh, because well, you know who I am. Um, but, and, and it’s not about me anyway. Like, no one knowing who I am is the better version of this work. Um, but um, with all of these resources at that I can work with, I really feel like I’ve been able to make a much larger impact on the future of our community and our, and our lives. And I think that’s really, I mean I’m really fortunate to have that.

Nathan Wrigley: 28:48 Just thinking about the kid’s camp. Do they do the kids, this is a silly question cause we both know. No silly questions. Do they have to show up with their parents?

Josepha Haden: 28:55 Oh that’s it. That is not a silly question actually. That’s a real question. Ah, yes. They have to show up with a parent or guardian and also there’s a lot of legal paperwork that has to be done to make sure that we are um, handling all of our ave safely, that we are making sure that the children are safe and cared for and, and we don’t put anyone in danger. Like we’re very careful about that. We do when, anytime that we go to a new location, we do research on the laws in that area to make sure that all of the, um, all of the paperwork that parents sign and fill out is specific to that community, that location. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 29:33 Um, I’m just wondering if that would be, uh, that would be a nice place to go where the kids could somehow show up. I don’t know what the limit is. You know, I think in the UK, a 16 year old could autonomously probably show up and sign themselves in. Um, that would be nice though, you know, because I’m just thinking that there’s probably a lot of kids who could benefit from this, whose parents might not be able to bring them all or have a desire to bring. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t know how you square that circle or circle that square, whatever you say. Schools maybe, I don’t know if there’s an interaction between schools in the WordPress project.

Josepha Haden: 30:10 Well, and I went before I took on the leadership role that I have now. That was one of the things that I worked the hardest on was getting WordPress into educational spaces. But it turns out that open source, and I’m sure that this will not be surprising to anyone listening, but it turns out open source attracts semi and article people. Yeah. Because it’s like take power back into your own hands. Yeah. Uh, and so it’s really hard to convince a school that, you know, schools that rely on on a lot of like structure for their kids so that they stay in place and do what they’re supposed to do. And you can always find them. Like it’s really hard to convince them to take a curriculum that has as one of its basic tenants, these four freedoms of, of open source.

Josepha Haden: 30:59 And so there’s a strong resistance to that. And then also of course open source because there are so many people involved, it moves really fast and it’s borderline impossible to keep correct curriculum up to date because there needs to be curriculums and they need to be written upstairs should we say and yeah, trickled down. Yeah. So you can basically only do it effectively in, in like private schools and after school programs, which is good too. But there is an institutional reason that we don’t end up with WordPress in, in public schools. And I know that WP campus, that, that group works on that stuff a lot. Uh, but I think a lot of it is in higher education and not in, in, you know, basic elementary and secondary school sort of things, which is also arguably where we, we need it most. Yeah. Uh, but yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 31:47 Do you know much about no. WP and UP. No. Okay. So this is, you’re speaking to me and I’m, I’m here on behalf of WP and UP. Hello Nathan from Philippina. So this is a charity which Dan? Yeah, Dan Maby who’s now gone no longer waving a phone. He set it up in the UK a short while ago. And the idea is that over a period of time we gained sponsorship. That’s kind of the model that we’re going up. And we get some, some of the, some of the bigger players in WordPress community and they, they sponsor us. And in return for that we, we give support. So we’ve got a website, WP an UP.org and so primarily four focuses. The first is the most major one, mental health, the second one, physical health, third one, skills health. So, you know, PHP, react, those kinds of things. And the fourth one is business health. Know I have no idea how to file my taxes. Please got to get some help with that. Smart. Yeah. So the idea, particularly with the mental health, you spoke earlier about, you know, semi anarchical people, um, yeah. This community also a lot of isolated people, a lot of people that working by themselves, freelancers, a lot of us are freelancers working in a room, feeling, you know, maybe there’s, maybe there’s things aren’t working out what have you. And so the idea is that they will be able to give us a call, send us a tweet, send us a text message in some way and we will hook them up. Speaking of the children, we found them, there they are, oh, there’s the future of the WordPress community. Right? It’s still out there, the available.

Nathan Wrigley: 33:20 Um, and we, we hooked them up with some support and so far it’s been community based support. We are about to be invaded unless that’s very, cute should probably say it was a little child wandering amount. Right. It’s not an actual invasion. Yeah. Aliens. And so we’re trying to, we’re trying to help for free. It’s completely nonprofit. Um, that, that’s our purpose. So we’re trying to help this community. So I want to spend the next few minutes talking about this community and the children will just mill around amongst us. Do you, do you have a particular affinity? Do you, do you, you know, this community, do you feel that it’s different from other communities in the, in the, in the, well, in the, in the world, different from like, let’s say a Drupal community or any other community?

Josepha Haden: 34:10 I mean, I of course love our community the most, uh, but actually over the last year I have spent a lot of time getting to know the other communities as well. And there are so many similarities between who we identify as as a, as a general group and who they identify as as a general group. Uh, we all have kind of the same problems, you know, of diversity and representation and, and et Cetera, et cetera. Uh, but I, I think that the way that the WordPress community works with, with each other is, is very different. Um, and the way that they work collaborative collaboratively with the people that they identify, even as, as people not to necessarily be trusted, like the people who are employed by Automattic. Um, I as, as, as skeptical as many people are of the large of the, of the large group of people from, you know, Automattic or bluehost or Google that are in this space. I don’t think that that prevents anyone from still coming together and collaborating in a really healthy way. And again, that’s, you know, when WordPress the community is at its best, cause we also have our moments where we’re not that great cause everyone does because we’re all human beings. Um, yeah I think that there are probably a lot more similarities than there are differences in all of our communities.

Nathan Wrigley: 35:36 Speaking specifically of WordCamps, do you still enjoy coming to these events? I get really excited. Any, any other conference that I’ve ever been to that’s non WordPress related. I kind of always I have yo go to this thing.

Josepha Haden: 35:49 I’m actually excited to come to these things. Yeah. Um, I do, I still love coming to them. And actually I was just saying to my boss a couple months ago, I have most missed. So last year I went to a large number of WordCamps but didn’t speak at any of them and I really missed doing that. Public speaking is one of my favorite things that I get to do, just kind of as a general hobby. And I hadn’t gotten to do it at all last year really. I think I spoke at one event and uh, and I miss, I missed that part a lot, but every single time that I come to WordCamps, which is fairly frequently now, it’s just so wonderful to be back among like all of these people who care enough about each other to give pretty selflessly into making sure that the, that this project continues. And the thing like this tiny nuanced thing about it that I love the most is that the altruism inherent in giving of your time so that people that you will never meet, um, can have something better is just so heartwarming because the people who come to WordCamps are essentially the 1% of WordPress.

Josepha Haden: 37:05 There are huge numbers of people who use our tool, WordPress, the tool that we will never hear from that we’ll never meet that we’ll never know. And we still try to build the best thing that we can for them on their path. And I think that’s excellent.

Nathan Wrigley: 37:20 I’m looking around here and a lot of the people that I, that I see walking past, I didn’t know five years ago and they’ve become my actual friends. Yeah. My real world actual friends, I get to see them that much. I don’t actually get to sit down next to them. Right. But um, you know, that’s, my life has kind of been taken over a bit by WordPress. Did you have the same feeling to, is your, is your social network made up of lots of WordPress people? Do you, are you in it for that as much as for the code and the work that you do?

Josepha Haden: 37:50 Yeah, so that’s a, that’s uh, a complicated question. Okay. So on the one hand, yes. So as I do all of the work that I do right now to kind of look at our history and how we got here and how we can get into the future, I do often like have pictures from five or six years ago that five or six years ago when I saw them, I didn’t know any of them. And now I know like 80% of the people in that photo. It’s so interesting. Uh, and so yeah, of course they are. They are family. Like, you know, these are people that care about what I care about often and who love what I love often. But even when we have disagreements, it’s rare that I have disagreements that then cause people to never to me again, you know, it’s, it’s all, it’s mostly really respectful. Uh, and so that’s always lovely. But as far as like, how has WordPress become my life? Uh, I, I try not to do that because I have, I have seen the people who have been in leadership positions, not necessarily as an executive director cause that’s new, but I’ve seen people in, in leadership positions in open source really, really fall apart. Um, because all that they have is WordPress or all that they have is Drupal. And so they don’t have anything to refresh their, their minds and beyond that, when they have something that’s going wrong, if all you do is live and breathe your volunteering or your job or, or whatever, like you have no, you have no additional networks to help you. And so you become immediately hopeless cause everything is falling apart all at the same time. And so I make a good solid effort to have friends that don’t have anything to do with WordPress and to have hobbies also, uh, outside of all of that.

Josepha Haden: 39:45 And I think it’s really good for my mental health, but also I feel like it’s really good for, for me as a professional human being.

Nathan Wrigley: 39:52 Yeah. From the point of view of double WP and UP. That was, that was perfect answer. Told me it was almost like we’d rehearsed it. We have not rehearsed anything on. Right. Thank you so much. I think I’ve probably taken more of your time than I should have done.

Josepha Haden: 40:08 Well, I am delighted that you all had me. Thank you so much for the invitation today. What are you going to do for the rest of the day? Finally, quick last question.

Josepha Haden: 40:15 Oh for the rest of the day. So I actually met Mullenweg and I are going to go and and meet all the sponsors and check out their booths and see how they’re feeling about the event. And then I have a few more meetings and other than that, just wandering around seeing what people love the most about WordPress.

Nathan Wrigley: 40:34 I like the aimless wandering. I would be doing that. Lots and lots later. Absolute pleasure to speak to you today. Thank you so much. Thank you.

Nathan Wrigley: 40:51 One of the purposes of the pressboard 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 that 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.

Nathan Wrigley: 41:30 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 their support of the PressForward podcast.

Nathan Wrigley: 42:15 That’s it for this week. Please let us know if you’re enjoying the podcast. If you’re finding it useful or helpful, you can reach out to us at wpandup .org forward slash contact. Remember that there’s a serious point to all of this though, and that is that WP and UP is here to provide help and support that help is available to you or people you know and can be easily accessed theWP and UP.org website. Please spread the word about this new podcast and tell your friends and subscribe on your favorite podcast player and remember that together we can PressForward.

Josepha Haden: 43:11 Hello Dolly. Are we just going to sing to each other? Yeah. Hello dogs. So No, no, we won’t. I’m just gonna pause for a second.

Nathan Wrigley