WP 20th Anniversary: Cast of Characters Part 1

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Part 1

David Bisset: [00:00:00] So once again, I have blackmailed. I I, I've invited four people from the WordPress community to be able to join me here independently. Um, they are come of their own free will and we are at a focus of, this is WordPress's 20th anniversary, 20 years. I have dirt that is younger than WordPress in my yard, that WordPress, 20 years.

It's amazing. Any software or anything in this day and age has survived that long. And, um, I wanted to sit back with a couple of people in the WordPress community and talk about the last 20 years and that is a big stretch at time. So what we have done is we are doing kind of like a memory or news draft.

So that means we are gonna go around, around the panel here, um, in an order selected randomly by random.org and. We're all gonna share a, a, our favorite memory of a couple of categories, and hopefully no one [00:01:00] will take someone else's, uh, pick. But if they do, hopefully they have backups. And we're gonna spend a couple of minutes on each, each of our p people on our panel are gonna tell us why they picked it and how sign, why is it significant to either WordPress history or themselves or both.

So anyway, let's go around and introduce, uh, the panels. Uh, panelists have joined us today. First is Ken, how you doing? Ken?

Ken Elliot: Um, I'm Ken Elliot. I am co-owner of Be Creative Media Solutions in Columbia, South Carolina. And we just, we're kind of an agency, small agency, providing website, um, solutions to small and medium size businesses, companies, and organizations.

My first introduction to WordPress was back in, I wanna say 2008 or either 2009. Um, used it to kind of build a small nightlife website and got into it, learned a little bit about it, and [00:02:00] have been using it ever since

David Bisset: 2009. Yeah. Wow. That, that's almost as old as, uh, WordPress itself. I mean, I know I started work camp in 2008, so that's, to me, that's, that's 12, that's 12 years, I think 13.

Long enough time. Yeah. So you're, you're one of, you're kind of an old timer. All right. So, um, next on our list is Ray. Say Hi Ray. Hello.

Ray Morrie: Um, I'm Ray Morrie, as you can tell from my accent. I'm Australian, I'm based in Melbourne, and I published the repository, a weekly digestive news from across the WordPress ecosystem.

Um, I've been lurking around the WordPress community for a while now. I, I first started using it probably around the same 2008, 2009, just as a hobbyist blogging, and then used it to develop websites for, um, a couple of local nonprofits. Um, cause my [00:03:00] background's in computer science, but I also studied journalism.

I worked in, um, uh, newspaper journalism for Fairfax and News Limited in Australia before deciding I had enough of that. And, um, in 2013, I decided it was a change. I went to work for WPME Dev as the editor of their blog. Um, after several years there, I started consulting for myself and, um, and now I, uh, run the repository and have been since 2019.

David Bisset: Yes, I read that every week. Um, next up is Eric. Hey, um,

Eric Quebec: Eric Quebec, um, longtime freelance designer and writer. Um, I wanna say I started using WordPress. Uh, I think the first usage was probably like for a project in 20, in 2007. Um, but not regularly, like exclusively until around 2010. Um, now it's [00:04:00] kind of like what I've used for every project and, um, I also like to write about it.

Um, you can see me over on specy boy.com and the WP Minute

David Bisset: Specy Boy, yes, that you heard that, right? Uh, we will include all these links in the show notes, but if you see Becky boy in the show notes, that wasn't a copy and paste error on my part, that is, that is where you can find Eric. And last but not least, uh, Jeff, uh, I like, let's, let's try to find how people might know you, Jeff.

Jeff Chandler: Uh, yeah. Hello, my name is, uh, Jeff Chandler. Um, got involved with WordPress around 2006, 2007, at the height of all the Web 2.0 stuff. I was using Jum at the time. I have a Jummah user and they had just forked from Mambo. And all these years later, um, I actually understand what a fork is now. I didn't know at the time, but, um, uh, the commenting feature of WordPress is actually the one thing that led me to using the software.

And once I got to WordPress Bog, [00:05:00] I was, I've, I've been sick ever since and I haven't regretted it. So I've been, uh, working with WordPress for a long time. I'm the founder of wp tavern.com. I'm no longer associated with that site, but at one time it was the bees knees of. WordPress sites in the WordPress community, and I've been around a long time, and so this show's perfect for me and I can't wait to go down memory lane with the rest of y'all and see what, uh, see what some of the memorable moments are that you have.

David Bisset: Yeah, this is almo this in about 10 years. This is gonna be ge geriatric press because all of us here are old or, um, we've done, I've had conversations with people that have, that have been in WordPress maybe a couple years before, uh, maybe, maybe 20 18, 20 19. But all of us remember a lot of things. So I am, I'm very interested in get in hearing what you all have to say.

So our first category is, is, uh, WordPress releases. So can your first up, so, uh, you get first pick. And, uh, by the way, if [00:06:00] anybody wants to know my history, I'll throw that into the show notes, but I, I, I'm using my time today to throw additional questions to our panelists. If you want to hear anything I have to say, there's another episode that I'll link to in the show notes where I give my pics as well, and I may mention them in, in passing.

But I wanted to, um, I wanted to keep as much time for our panelists today here as possible. So can name your WordPress release.

Ken Elliot: I've been trying to decide heavily, but being that this is a draft, in a draft, you always go for the top player, the top pick that the top person.

David Bisset: That is a strategy. That could be a strategy.

Ken Elliot: Of course, we know number ones have always had instances where they aren't always number one, but I feel very confident in this being the number one overall. Most talked about release in the word press. Community sense. And it has to be,

David Bisset: you know, there's no prizes. [00:07:00] Right? Okay. Go ahead.

Ken Elliot: There's no prizes.

Well, hey, you know what? There's pride. A big, there's

pride. There's a pride. There's pride. But, um, it has to be five. Oh, I mean, there's no way around it. Five oh was the big one we're talking about. This was the big release of our beloved block editor Gutenberg. Um, it is available. It's the big dragon drop.

Here it is. Let's plug it in. Let's do it. Let's not just grab some short code to make stuff look good in the actual editor. Let's actually add stuff. Put it in there. You can just grab it and drag stuff around. That has to be like the number one most talked about release and people are still talking about it to this day, so it has to be All right.

David Bisset: Well, that's a, that is a good pick. Does anybody remember the time when the 5.0 came out right before work Camp us? Does anybody remember? What things were like then at where Camp US have think in Philly at 2018.

Eric Quebec: A [00:08:00] a little controversial at the time, wasn't it?

David Bisset: Wow. Okay. We've

Jeff Chandler: WP Cast WP Drama. Hello.

David Bisset: Can you, you have very quickly achieved the understatement of the podcast award, so congratulations there.

Um, I remember I was working for, uh, for a company, uh, we were working on a plug-in. I remember being my, in my hotel room like on that Wednesday or Thursday before Work Camp weekend. Um, like trying to make sure things were all ready to go forward, to push out to the plug-in repo. Uh, so I spent my, a couple of days in a hotel room or for that.

So that was me, that's what I was doing already in Philly. And there was lots of conversation going on in the forums and I think there was doubt if there was gonna, it was gonna happen. And then Matt was involved and Matt said Matt at some point came down and. Made the announcement. I can't remember when.

My details are a little bit fuzzy. Um, but if anybody [00:09:00] remembers that time, I w maybe rose colored glasses maybe are, or, or, or just our memory, memory sells, dying a lot.

Ken Elliot: A lot of optimism for certain That's the best way to approach it. Lots of optimism

David Bisset: there was that. Yes, I, I remember. Um, and maybe, we'll, well maybe we'll touch on other things related to this later in another category, so I don't wanna spill the beans too much.

But that was, I, I think unless anybody else they want to add to WordPress 5.0. For me, that was a controversial, probably the most controversial release. Among other things, but controversial, if somebody asked me that, I would go for five. Oh. So,

Jeff Chandler: um, optimism is one word. Omg. WTF is another. To describe what was going on there after that release, because a lot of people were looking at it and wondering, uh, these are uncharted waters that we're going into now.

What is going to happen? What, how, how am I going to change my business? How am I going to adjust to the new way of doing things? And a lot of [00:10:00] consultants and a and agencies were flat out scared. They didn't know they were now rushed into this, uh, time period of uncertainty

David Bisset: or the fact it was going out very quickly at that time at all when it, when it, when it could have been waited.

Um, I think in retrospect it went went okay and a lot of stuff came out of that. But, um, good and stuff that we needed to work on. But yeah, it was, I remember having hallway conversations before the state of the word, which was at the end of word campos about it. And a lot of people were. Having some vivid conversations about it.

Jeff Chandler: So I, I, I think, I think at Word Camp EU was when Matt Mulloway, uh, kind of officially announced that Guttenberg was coming. I think at, I think at that event he actually released maybe, uh, it was part of it was beta or it might have been Alpha, but it, that was the first chance that I think we all really got to see what this Gutenberg editor was going to be about.

But yeah, we're Kemp us and we're WordPress 5.0 was the official Oh, everybody gets a [00:11:00] chance to use it now.

David Bisset: Yeah, we could talk about it. That could be an episode on its own. But anyway. We'll, 5.0 definitely left a scar in my mind, or, or, you know, a nice Rosie Garden, whatever. Both, both simultaneously. Ray, get me out of this, uh, trap.

I duck myself in. What, what, uh, WordPress release do you favor?

Ray Morrie: Oh, I'm just happy that Ken didn't pick my pick. I was like, don't pick mine. Um, the most memorable WordPress release for me, um, as a woman is, um, WordPress 5.6 Simone, um, the first ever all women non-binary identifying release squad. Um, it was, it was just really great to see such a great contributing team put out a solid release.

Um, You know, um, led by Joseph Hayden, um, who took on the release lead role. Matt Mallon. Weg wasn't really, um, wasn't Project Lead for a change. Um, and the, um, incredible, um, Helen [00:12:00] Hui as, um, core Tech lead. Um, and that's just two people to highlight. There, there were so many talented people who took on core contributor roles, um, for the first time to make this release.

And I'm really excited to see it happen again, um, for 6.4 later in the year. Um, at the time I really appreciated, um, Peter Wilson's comments. He's an, um, a sponsored core contributor from, um, also Motive, and he said at the time that. And I've written it down here. The, um, the WordPress 5.6 release has been the smoothest I've seen for several releases.

And he also said something along the lines of, it'll be a huge benefit for the WordPress project if, um, the 5.6 release squad were to run another release soon. So it's been, by the time 6.4 comes out, it'll be about three years since that release. So finally, it's happening again soon. Um, but yeah, that's, that's amendment release for me.

David Bisset: Uh, excellent. And yeah, that, that is, I'm glad it's happening again. I'm glad it's not a one off, and [00:13:00] I'm hoping we can do these enough times where it starts to get more frequent or at least, if not the frequency, then the, uh, then the, then the ease maybe, uh, or using that to get to more open that up to more con contributors set by setting an example.

Right. So that's, yeah, absolutely. I have a good feeling about that. So, speaking of good feelings, Eric, I'd like to hear your WordPress release. Okay. Update. Yeah.

Eric Quebec: So I tried to go for something that was big, but kind of obscure. So I'm gonna go with, uh, way back to WordPress 1.2. Codename. Mingus. Don't ask me who Mingus is.

David Bisset: It's got gotta be a jazz. It's gotta be a jazz one, right?

Eric Quebec: It's be jazz. I thought it was a Beavis and Butthead reference at first, but that, I'm just kidding. Don't, don't, don't come up me week now.

David Bisset: Now I'm gonna get emails, but go ahead.

Eric Quebec: But, but this was, this was huge because it added the plugin architecture.

Where [00:14:00] would WordPress be without a plug-in architecture? Um, that's what initially separated it from every other c m s out there. Um, anyone could come in and build something onto WordPress. Um, you know, folks, uh, I believe in South Africa built, uh, the original WooCommerce. Uh, we've had, you know, gravity forms Yost.

Um, yeah. Thousands and thousands of plugins have come from all over the world, and we wouldn't have any of that without a plugin architecture. So I think that's something that, um, is an early milestone, but one I think we ought to recognize is, you know, being pretty huge for, for the history of, uh, end future.

David Bisset: Yes. Taking that primarial soup and pull out a 1.2 Jeff, uh, bring it home for us. What is, what is what, what word for release tickles your fancy. Oh, I've been

Jeff Chandler: around a while. I've, I've seen a few things, but [00:15:00] one of the most memorable WordPress releases for me was word WordPress 2.5 brer. And this is kind of a two-parter.

There's kind of two releases. They go hand in hand, but 2.5 Brer actually was released on a Saturday, March 29th, 2008. So it was released on the weekend. And it was because during Matt Mullenweg's, uh, keynote presentation at Word Camp Dallas, he actually announced it on stage. It was like a live release oh to of WordPress.

And it was the first and has been the last. He has not actually released a major version of WordPress again while on stage, uh, during an event, or at least on the weekend. And 2.5 was huge because it came with a redesign backend that was, were happy co. They collaborated with Happy Cog Designs and it turns out that, uh, the, the redesign backend was not well received by the community.

Uh, And really the core team didn't know why. And so there were some [00:16:00] investigations that took place. And Ja, Jane Milo, her name's, she goes by Jane, Jane Milo now, but back then she was Jane Wells. She started leading this community initiative and they came up with the co named Crazy Horse. And the Crazy Horse Project is what became of WordPress 2.7.

And this was a, a really fun time to be part of the WordPress community for me because Jen was, uh, asking, she was, uh, publishing polls on WordPress org. She was publishing in forums. She was creating all these different ways to gather feedback from the community. And like for the first time, it felt like my voice mattered.

It felt like I had a chance to influence the design and development of WordPress. And once 2.7 was released, it was a huge hit. We had drag and drop in the back end. You can must around with your dashboard. Everything looked great. And, uh, It was, it was all led by her and, and a team in the community. And ever since WordPress 2.7, I haven't had [00:17:00] that same experience or that feeling where it feels like I'm really, truly a part of the designer development of WordPress and it makes me sad.

But man, those were, those were exciting and memorable times for me.

David Bisset: And you, that's 2.7, right? Yes. Okay. Just making sure. So yeah, I, the, so, um, what, what feature in particular in 2.7 stood out to you the most?

Jeff Chandler: Uh, the redesign backend where you can, I think that's the first time where we were able to control drag and drop, uh, dashboard modules and just sort of, sort of the redesigned ui.

A lot of small things turn into a big. Turned into a big thing and it was, uh, it was really cool. It was way better than the outsourced collaboration with Happy Cog in 2.5. So I think they learned their lesson. Let's just, let's just stick in-house from now on.

David Bisset: Happy Cog is a word I haven't heard in a long time.

And if you, if you don't know what Happy Cog is, go ahead and Google it. Fine listener. But that shows [00:18:00] you how old we are. I

Jeff Chandler: think. I think Jeffrey Zelman was part of Happy Cog.

David Bisset: He's at Automatic now, so, you know. Yeah. Full circle. Uh, for me, uh, in case anybody was asking, um, 1.5 was my pick, um, because it introduced, uh, themes I believe, and, um, you can't because, because plugins came first, right?

Actually it came with pages. I'm sorry, I'm getting my, uh, uh, it came with pages and themes, I believe. And um, and you know what the default theme was in February, 2005. What is the only theme that you ever saw for years before the default WordPress themes? It was Kubrick. Kubrick. Yes. That blue son of a motherless goat that everybody saw.

Nobody changed, right? With that, but it head rounded corners. Yeah, but so do I. But you don't see me that popular. So anyway, FI 1.5 came out in [00:19:00] February, had pages, which I, I, I needed, I needed a cms, I didn't need a blog for my clients' pages was right up the comment Moderation tools co. It had Kubrick, it had a completely new theme system.

So, And maybe, maybe that's how I remember. It's a completely new theme system. Maybe it had themes prior to that, but um, it theme system was enhanced in Kubrick, like for the next, probably for the next seven years or something. I think Kubrick was, you type a WordPress blog in a Google images, you saw the same Kubrick default theme.

So, um, anyway, let's go on to round two. Those were all great picks. Uh, I feel sorry for any WordPress versions in the three or four range, but that's okay. Um, we are now gonna go on to Word camp experience. So this is a, this is kind of broad, so, um, you can go ahead and, um, pick a work camp in terms of location or year.

Um, that's kind of like what we're looking for. And there probably was [00:20:00] something in particular that stood out for you for that work camp. This work camp can be a physical one you attended. Or it could have been a virtual one as well. So we had a question on that before. But yeah, you know, attending means you actually absorb the knowledge, preferably live.

You didn't ha whether you spoke or not. So anyway, um, Ken, um, name us your favorite, most memorable word camp over the years, if you had to pick one.

Ken Elliot: My first US camp in Nashville. And for some reason, I don't know why, but I think my expectations, I came in a little bit tempered only because I wasn't too sure what was the difference between us and the local conferences. And so I was still kind of green at the time. I had just went to my first war camp in Atlanta, 2016, didn't followed up with 2017, [00:21:00] and then I was like, well, you know, I've done that.

Let's go and see what an actual national US WordPress conference is like. And so when I finally got there, Nashville, I saw they had renting out the convention center. I was like, okay, no big deal. I've seen a lot of places rent out convention centers and they don't pack it out. Um, but when I finally got there and I saw just how massive WordPress was and how many people attended and how many vendors attended and how many people were just genuinely excited to be there and was willing to talk and discuss, and discuss and brainstorm and just have conversations and not just, Hey, I wanna stage, let's have a conversation, but hey, let's get into a hallway and, you know, we can powwow some ideas out.

It was phenomenal to me. Um, of course the weather was quite cool. It was a little bit of snow, um, there in Nashville, but I definitely got to enjoy a lot of it in, [00:22:00] like I said, Nashville. So far is my favorite national conference, um, US conference.

David Bisset: Yeah. Nashville was pretty good. And it was, uh, it was December 4th and through the sixth in Phil, actually, you said this, I'm sorry, what year was this?

Because I'm getting this mixed up with one in Philly. It's not the first work camp you, it's the first one you attended. What year was that? The first one I attended? Yeah. In 2018? Yes. 2018. Right. Yeah. So that was in Nashville. I'm not sure what days those, I dunno if it was October or November. I can't remember exactly.

I'm pulling it up here in a second. Uh, shame on them for not putting, of course they don't have um, they don't have the date on the website. Exactly. I'm, anyway, um, yeah, that I thought, I thought Nashville was pretty good. I don't remember snow. I remember something that pretended it was snow. [00:23:00] Uh, like I, I, I felt like somebody was sneezing on me constantly.

That was about all I can remember of, of the weather. But hey, I, I'm from Florida, so I really shouldn't be picky. I believe it was into early December as well, at 20 in 2018. Yeah, something like that, because that's usually the, where they fell in between. And the, uh, and the thanking post on the website of was from December 19th.

So I'm gonna, I'm, I'm gonna say it was for 2018. It's probably the first week in December. Sounds about right. So, great. Well that's great. That's first word. Camp us is always memorable. Um, on that level of a scale, no matter if you went to a previous Word camp or not, Ray, uh, what work camp, uh, sticks in your mind?

Ray Morrie: Uh, I don't get outta Australia much for, for Word camps. Um, but um, The biggest and best one I've attended was, um, word Camp Europe in 2015 in [00:24:00] Seville, in Spain. Um, it was my first really big word camp, um, and it was just, it was a lot of fun. It was for a start. Seville was hot as hell. I saw this great name, um, when I was looking it up yesterday, I think it was, it was well in, in Celsius.

It was 40 plus degrees. But I saw this great meme, um, of someone explaining the geography of where Seil is in Spain. And it was, um, like a picture and space of Earth. The sun and Seil was somewhere really close to the sun. Um, but it was just a fantastic event. The location was great. It was, um, at a, a kind of conference, hotel venue that had a pool.

So when I wasn't attending the hallway track or popping into presentations, I was spending time by the pool with, um, colleagues from W P Me Dev where I was working at the time. And it was just such a. Such a vibe, you know, those, those, um, big events are such a vibe. [00:25:00] Being able to just go up and say hello to people that, um, I'd spent so much time meeting and talking to you online, conversing with on Twitter.

Um, and then, um, just being in Spain as well, um, I love that they nap during the middle of the day. They're out late at night having drinks and eating,

David Bisset: and you can do that when you have no kids and you take a nap during the day. I know.

Ray Morrie: But, uh, it was, I didn't get much sleep that week and it was, I was exhausted when I got home and I was happily exhausted and I can't wait to hopefully do it

David Bisset: again soon.

Yeah. 2015, we forget how long Europe's been around. I can't remember. There was one work camp Europe that was not there, was notorious for heat and it like, I forget, it was like the after party. It was so hot that people couldn't. Could barely attend it or something like that. I don't know if it was 2015 or, it's hard to tell because they're all in the, they're all in the same general time of the year over there and pretty much anywhere in Europe [00:26:00] is pretty much quite warm over there, um, in most, most countries.

But that's fantastic. I, um, I have yet to attend a real live work, campy. I spoke during Covid times. I was there virtually. So I'm really envious and would love to go, but I have to bring my whole family with me or they'll shoot me. So I have to wait until a good opening where they don't, don't miss me.

Same way over here. Yeah. So, okay, we have a US and we have a Europe. Um, let's see, what, what does Eric have in store for us?

Eric Quebec: So I picked, um, the first word camp I went to, which was, uh, word Camp Philadelphia in 2011. Um, At that point, I had started using WordPress pretty regularly. I did not realize the community that was surrounding it at that time, and I was actually just blown away that the event was well attended.

I learned a lot, I met a lot of cool people, and most of all, I [00:27:00] loved how informal it was. Um, you know, used to like a tech conference, you picture all of these people in, you know, fancy Elon Musk outfits or whatever.

David Bisset: Oh, great. Now, now the AI's gonna turn against me in the transcript now.

Eric Quebec: Sorry, Elon. Not sorry.

Um, but just the, the, um, the great community vibe that was there, um, that people of all backgrounds, all user levels, all developer levels were there. Uh, I was just starting to learn how to, you know, like rip a theme apart and kind of customize it at that time and. There were people that knew, you know, knew it like the back of their hands, and I was just so amazed that they were coming there of on their own time to teach others.

And I, that just kind of sold me on this kind of hippie ideal of open source and WordPress. So I think that Amen. [00:28:00] Hey man, can you, can you spare a few comments? Do, do you have a, a kismet? I don't know.

David Bisset: Bless you. Uh, sorry. No, I shared the link to, to, I found the, uh, the Philadelphia Work Camp website in 2011.

I just shared it with you all. Take a look at it for a second. First of all, how simple WordPress or camp websites were. Absolutely. Um, now I see what WP Ho WP Engine is giving all word, camp Philly attendees free hosting for life. See that in the up on the right hand side? Oh. Click here for details. You may wanna see if that deal is still good.

Um, but if you ever wanna have an interesting time, go to these older work camp websites, any, anything before maybe 2016 and look at the sponsors, um, for, you'll see old logos of, of current ones, and you see companies that may not exist anymore, but you, like all of us might remember back in the day. So there's, um, and I'm, and forgive me [00:29:00] if, uh, I don't mean to imply that these may not longer be with us or they've been absorbed, but I'm just reading off.

I'm looking here. I see, I guess that's theme builder or is it ibu? Uh, the construction, the yellow construction hat, um, backup buddy jet pack with the actual jet pack as the logo. Web Dev studio's logo hasn't really changed that much. Um, but yeah, this, remember when Sticker Giant, um, sponsored all the work camps?

If we are giving away free stickers, which they might still do. Um, anyway, it's, it's a nice look. It's, it's a nice piece of history, this website too. So I, um, it sounds, it's fundamentally your first, you'll never forget your first work camp. You never forget your first, you know,

Eric Quebec: and I love that they keep the websites around because Yeah.

It is something nice to revisit over time. You can, you know, look at people that maybe haven't, you haven't seen in a while or, you know, that you had forgotten about, are still on those attendee lists.

David Bisset: Yeah. It's nice to [00:30:00] see, uh, Nascent's face again. Uh, alright. Right. This badges still exist.

Ken Elliot: This is just off

David Bisset: topic.

Do badges still exist? Yeah. For, you mean for conferences or you mean for this 2011? What does anybody have? Do you still have your badge, Eric? Yeah. I see. I may have it in a,

Eric Quebec: in a, uh, closet somewhere.

David Bisset: What we what did you mean? Uh, Ken? Yeah. Cause I see the

Ken Elliot: badges are still here and I was like, I'm speaking speaker, sponsored

David Bisset: with people still do that.

Yep. Hey, listen, you know, if you're somebody like me, you need, you don't have a lot to brag about, you know? Anyway, so Philly 2011, that's our oldest picked work camp so far. So Jeff, uh, time to share yours.

Jeff Chandler: I'm going way back again. I'm going back to 2008 Word Camp Dallas. Took place in Frisco, Texas. In fact, Frisco City Hall.

And that's the first time I was able to, it was my first work camp [00:31:00] and it was the first time I was going to be able to meet Matt Mullenweg in person, firsthand. And at the time, he was the closest thing to a celebrity, uh, that, that I could remember. I mean, I thought he was, he was everything. He was a celebrity.

He was great. He was like a rockstar to me. And to, to be able to meet him was great. And he actually attended. That work Kemp event a bit late because he had just had his wisdom teeth pulled. So he was, when he was walking in, he had his mother on one side and his sister Charlene on the other, and he was woozy.

And we were all wondering how could he do his presentation if he just had his wisdom teeth pulled. But somehow he plowed through it. And I remember him, I talked his ear off and he was so accommodating and he was not like, he was not like a celebrity at all. There wasn't this paparazzi, he was very, very, uh, willing to, to, to give you all his time if you wanted to.

And he talked to everybody who wanted to talk to him in, uh, the [00:32:00] stature of where he is and how he co-created WordPress and the way he interacted with everybody, and how much time he gave me. That really left an impact on me. And I've, I've remembered that ever since.

David Bisset: Wow, that's a waste of teeth. Wow.

That's, that's an interesting story. I didn't, I didn't know that you, you on Twitter today, you did share a video. That's not the video you shared today of him speaking, was it?

Jeff Chandler: Yes. That's the, that's, that's the, uh, no, no, no. That was when he was at Work Camp Chicago. The only video that I know of, and I don't think you could get to it anymore, it was taken by John Pudi.

He helped organize, uh, word Camp Dallas back in the day. He actually had a video recording of Matt doing his, his keynote session. But the last time I tried to access it, the video was no longer online. And as I was going back in time, looking through the various memories of WordPress and trying to find things, so much of the history now has just been erased.

It's, it's been, it's become internet, uh, uh, what do they call that? [00:33:00] Internet, not internet garbage, but sort of the, the loss, the lost part of the web. And, you know, for, for many people that's a good thing. And for others, as a historian like me, who likes to go back and look at these websites and videos and these and these photos from all these events back in the day, cuz back in 2008, most of us, a lot of us were kids.

We were just turning 20, maybe 21. I was like 300 pounds less heavy than I was now, I can't believe it. But, um, we like, grew up with WordPress and now some of us are half the age or twice the age of WordPress and, and a lot of that history link rot. That's what I was thinking. A lot of this WordPress history is becoming lost to the point of it's irrecoverable and it's just, it only exists in people's heads, it's memories and it's very sad.

David Bisset: Yeah. And that's, that's a big reason why like, especially in this social age now, where like you put a lot of stuff into a social network, even small things that don't seem important. Um, That's why I built David bi social to like suck in anything instantly [00:34:00] from not just Twitter and, uh, Mastodon. But like anything on GitHub now or anything on Tumblr, Arlington, it's like you never know where it's, you know, it may be gone tomorrow and you can't wait.

You can't rely on the internet archive to, uh, to keep that around. Uh, and it is part of WordPress history. So like, thankfully now so much for, for a decade or more has been, has been archived and like wordpress.tv. But I mean, stuff like that, like, um, I shared a link. Um, the video's not working for me, but this is probably what you were probably referencing in terms of the length where the video wasn't working.

Um, apparently this was not a state of the word. It was a lecture on WordPress 2.5 and beyond from Dallas 2008. Does that sound familiar? Yes. Yeah. So I mean, I may give it the old college try, uh, later on. Um, but there is no. There's no video showing up on the page here, so I imagine it is. It is. S

Jeff Chandler: l i I, I know I tried to write about it and I referenced it one time [00:35:00] on the tavern, but I don't know if I, I tried to contact John and I tried to say, Hey, can I please have a copy of this video if it exists, or can you please gimme access to this so I can upload it and preserve it?

And he never got back to me.

David Bisset: Well, it's um, it's un viddler, right? Uh, the where I found it, that sounds like a very unusual, it's unusual Spider-Man villain. Um, but I've never heard, never heard of that one before. Okay. Well, great. Um, so that, that covers a, that covers like a quite a big span there. So Ken had work camp US 2018.

Ray had Europe in 2015. Eric had Philly in 2011. Were going down and Jeff finally in 2008, um, as for me, um, Uh, I, you know, like I've done work at Miami for so long. I thought our 10th anniversary, which was eighties themed, went up pretty well. We had a thousand people. We had Matt show up. It was fun. Um, I talk about that later.

Um, 2019 was also a favorite for me because, um, [00:36:00] I don't know, as a father, my daughter like disappeared where I was sitting, we were sitting together. She disappeared during the state of the word and like I saw her the next, I looked up and there she was asking a question to Matt about ch about kids in WordPress.

And um, yeah, it was actually, it was very well done just from the photography standpoint. I had a really good picture of my kid I could take home. So, and then there was, um, and we'll get into another memorable war camp moment in our next round, which is, by the way, state of the word announcements. So this could be not, uh, you don't have, you are picking the announce, the part of the state of the word announcement, not the entire.

Thing itself. So if all of you pick the same word camp or state of the word bit from, from a Word camp, then that's fine. Just, you can't pick the same part out of that. Uh, anyway. Who am I saying? I'm allowing you

Jeff Chandler: to, if anyone here says, learn JavaScript deeply, I'm hanging up. [00:37:00]

David Bisset: Should we just take that immediately off the table?

We shall see. So can you start us off? What's, what, what's a state by the way, these, I just, I, the state of the word doesn't have to have been the ones that he, that, uh, Matt has given at a Word camp. Um, obviously when Covid started, he switched to the online versions of that. Um, I think he did it with the first, first year, I believe.

Right? And then there was virtual only. And then I believe starting in 2021, we, he started hosting them in a small crowd in the Tumblr offices. Could I have my dates on that? So Aaron, we associate them with state of the or with word campes, but it doesn't have to be. So these are just whether, however he delivered it, it was a state of the word.

So can you start off first, um, that being said, cuz I wanted to clarify those, those, uh, those rules.

Ken Elliot: I feel like I've been down this [00:38:00] road. There's a, there's a couple of things that stand out to me, um, that I'm trying to really, really decide, but I guess only can choose one. And I think it's that 2018 announcement where he said to, and I know you're gonna hate it, Jeff, I'm sorry, but he says to learn blocks deeply.

That's exactly what he said.

David Bisset: Did he say blocks? He said to learn blocks deeply. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Act at, at Nashville, at the, uh,

Ken Elliot: state. Say the word he said, learn blocks deeply because. Being that Gutenberg was the next revolutionary thing in the editor, he clearly learning the stuff deeply is a very good catchphrase for Matt.

So that's what he said. And that's what, and go check out the video. He said Learn blocks deeply.

David Bisset: Okay, so L B D. All right, that works for me. Ray, how about you? Which, which announcement you want to throw on the table here? [00:39:00]

Ray Morrie: Yeah. In a similar vein to Ken, um, I was tossing up between 2017 and 2018, but I will go in 2017.

Um, you know, during the state of the word, um, Mathias Ventura got up and, and, um, did his demo of, of Gutenberg and, um, Matt's really good at, um, you know, throwing out these one liners. Hey, um, he said something like, um, I love this great quote. I came across my prep, um, Matt Mullen said, uh, when describing Gutenberg, think of it as a thing that will be here for a while.

And, uh, it is. Um, so yeah, that was horrible for me. Just, you know, the, that was the state of the word where, you know, that was the beginnings of the, the Greenberg project roadmap, you know, the four different phases. And of course in then in 20 se uh, 2018, he added on, uh, the collaborate, collaboration and, um, [00:40:00] internationalization, um, phases for the roadmap.

And, uh, yeah, in 2023, here we are still, uh, still working on Gutenberg, but, um, um, with the, the, the beta tag removed now from the side editor,

David Bisset: Yay. No more beta. No more beta. Well, didn't he didn't, he hasn't. Um, Matt's been consistent with this message for a while, that he expects Gutenberg to outlive or outlast or outgrow WordPress.

Ken Elliot: Yeah, I think that's the goal. Cuz I don't, I think when I was listening to his message, of course it wasn't the state of the word in San Diego. Yes. Last year. Um, 2022. But he did say that he would love for the editor to eventually replace the, what you see is what you get editor. Mm-hmm. And I want to say, looking at that [00:41:00] cuz he's hoping it could be implemented onto other platforms that could utilize something like a Gutenberg editor.

David Bisset: We're already seeing it outside WordPress, right? Yes. You're talking about what?

Jeff Chandler: Um, yeah, it's available in Drupal.

Eric Quebec: Tumblr too, right?

David Bisset: Mm-hmm. Tumblr too.

Ken Elliot: And I think now that they purchased day one, I would not be surprised to see

David Bisset: Gutenberg make its way there too. So definitely. But that, and that started, I think Ray is, is good in pinpointing that year in terms of 2017, where we started to get that hint where it was gonna be, not just for WordPress.

That's something much larger. So that's a good one to keep in mind. All right, Eric, you're up.

Eric Quebec: All right. So I think the moment that Word Camps became kind of a really big national deal is 2014 when, uh, Matt announced the word Camp USA would be taking over for Word Camp San Francisco. Remember, [00:42:00] San Francisco used to be the main event in America every year.

Um, and he also talked about, you know, The potential for other anchor word camps in other continents. And so of course we have Word Camp Europe and now the first, uh, word Camp Asia this past year. I thought that was, you know, kind of a, a precursor, um, kind of a big announcement at the time that, you know, it wouldn't just be centered in Silicon Valley anymore, that it would be kind of a, a roving event in different places.

And I also have to note that I'm looking at a, uh, a tavern article from, uh, the event in 2014. And David is actually, uh, quoted on here in a tweet that, uh, he is quoting Matt. So, you know, it kind of comes full circle a little bit As David disappeared. I don't know where you went.

David Bisset: I don't know where he went.

Jeff Chandler: You know, you know, as, as you say [00:43:00] that there as, um, as now we're in sort of the. After pandemic era. I mean, the pandemic's not over. We're still in the midst of the Covid pandemic, but as conferences come back, there is interest. And there are a handful of, handful of people currently working on trying to get a Word Camp Canada to go, uh, trying to get that established.

So it'd be, it'd be cool to see something Cade based happen in the future.

David Bisset: I remember all the, you know, since we're talking WordPress history here, remember all the various, uh, various discussions we had with Word Camps over the years. Um, if I step on your pick, Jeff, just let me know, but I, uh, I'm just talking about like in broad, in general, like, like there was, there was talk about WordPress conferences, like what would, if you could do it on a cruise ship for example, I remember there was, so there was people trying to look into that.

I remember there being some discussion of like, what constitutes a, like what constitutes a location right? [00:44:00] Like is was like work camp Southeast us, is that a, could that, is that a thing? Is it a state, is it a city? You know, as, and we all grew up. Uh, there used to be, or I'd say used to be, but I, I, it could still be a, a thing.

Remember there's like work camp, um, work camp Northeast, I'd like to say, but that's not it. It like include mid-Atlantic. Was it Mid-Atlantic? Yeah. And then I guess there's, was there ever a work camp Australia Ray?

Ray Morrie: No, there hasn't been a national one, but there's talk of one. Well, there has been kind of rumblings of one for next year, but I, I dunno anymore about that.

I'd love to see one though. That'd be a lot of fun.

David Bisset: Yeah. Uh, but I, I was there for coming back to Eric's pick. I was there for any, was anybody, did anybody see it virtually or was it there for the 2014 San Francisco one. I,

Jeff Chandler: I, uh, I attended the last word, camp San Francisco.

David Bisset: That was the one, right? [00:45:00] That was 2014, wasn't it?


Jeff Chandler: Yeah. Must have been 2014. And I got to experience the, uh, fire alarm at 2:00 AM in the hotel there. Scenario that seems to happen at

David Bisset: every Word camp Now, that was also, wasn't there, there was also like a, um, medical thing happening there. I remember being outside, being forced outside. There was an alarm pulled or something.

Uh, I thought it was a medical related emergency. And anyway, I was with John Jacobi outside and everybody was outside waiting to come back in. I don't know. I could be getting my medical emergencies mixed up. I'm getting into

Jeff Chandler: that. No, no, I'm pretty sure. I'm pretty sure it was a fire alarm and, and everybody, it was during the day.

It was during a session or just after lunch or something. Everybody had to go outside and then everybody was allowed back in.

David Bisset: Yeah, so that was fun. Nice. Good force networking perspective there. All right. So yeah, I, I've, I was never the biggest fan because of being from Florida. That's, that's kind of like a long flight to San Francisco and I think now it's probably all for the best cuz, um, to, to mix up the [00:46:00] cities and everything.

So anyway, that's, that's, that's just me.

Jeff Chandler: So that's a good point. I had, I had one question for the panelist here, since we're around Word camps here before we move on. Before 2020, everywhere you looked, there's WordPress meetups or Word camps. Word camps for this city that size of city two in one city, if you wanted to, after 2020, COVID has wrecked conferences, has wrecked meetups.

And I wonder, are we ever gonna get back to that same saturation point of where we're actually talking about, well, there's too many word camps or there's too many meetups. Uh, because if you look at the word camp schedule, and some of 'em haven't been added yet to their schedule, there's still a work in progress, but there are not too many scheduled this year, uh, for, you know, uh, actual word camps, at least in the us.

David Bisset: I think that's happening to the industry as a whole too. I, and it's kind of, that's, that's a little bit for me, it's kind of an apples and oranges comparison, but it does give me a little bit of an inkling in terms of conferences in general, because work camps are volunteer based and most of the other [00:47:00] conferences aren't, they're usually paid, but even the paid ones have slowed down a little bit.

And there's a whole bunch of different theories because of that, which I won't, I won't go into. But, um, uh, yeah, I think, oh, if you look at word hams or WordPress's 20 year history, this is definitely kind of a little bit like somebody shook the eche sketch a little bit and wiped away a little bit, uh, wipe things away.

And I think it'll. I think it's going to come back, but it's probably not gonna be as quickly as we think. And it may not be in the same way we're used to going, because I think we're running on autopilot a lot for a lot of those conferences. Fine speakers, fine tracks, put talks in, boom, done. You know, and a lot of that kind of depends on your area.

Um, I like to see, use this opportunity to hopefully see some different things too. But yeah, I, I see the same thing you do, Jeff.

Ray Morrie: Yeah, me too. I've seen it. Um, I read a, a article from Master WP last year about [00:48:00] that I guess phenomenon in Australia. A lot of the word camp organizers or a WordPress, um, meetup organizers I spoke to, we were starting to get really burnt out in the lead up to the pandemic cuz there was often just one or two people, mostly one person.

Organizing the meetups on their own, and they saw the pandemic as an excuse to say, see up, I'm gonna step away for a while and take a break because I'm burnt out. Um, and a lot of these people, um, are, are trying to start things back up, but realize that they need some help. So it's, it's just a matter of more people stepping up and, and offering to help out.

Um, yeah, it would be, it'd be nice to see more activity happening in person, but yeah, like Dave was saying, and like, we just need those volunteers to, to turn up.

David Bisset: There's nothing wrong with smaller word camps too. Size isn't everything. I'd rather have a different format or something unique. It's like where we live in

Ken Elliot: South Carolina, like Columbia, we have the one in Greenville. I think before, [00:49:00] um, the pandemic, myrtle Beach was getting ready to start one up, and then we were close to Charlotte. I think Charlotte was getting ready to start up their work camp. And so because we have these cities really in an hour and a half distance from Columbia, it was. Too much going on. Okay. I wanna support greenville and Charlotte and, um, Myrtle Beach and Atlanta, where I think, you know, to some extent it would be better to have one big state location like, you know, maybe, uh, revolving just like, uh, where Kemp us where it revolves to different cities here in South Carolina.

We can do Greenville, charleston, Myrtle Beach, um, and just mix it up. But I think bringing all those pieces together into one big organ organizer team would be better. Cuz like I said, you're end up in a place where everybody's kind of competing for, Hey, we're the best work camp. No, we're the best word, camp mighty. Clearly it's the best word. Camp in Florida. There's no denying that. But there's other great word camps as well.

David Bisset: We've been, we've been [00:50:00] talking about that. I, that idea's come up more than once. Like, Hey, we do Florida. Let's all, everybody in Florida get together and we'll, we'll pick a central location or something.

But yeah, sp speaking of which, Jeff, I, I don't want to get, I don't wanna move on though. We've, I wanna get your pick so, What's your, what's your, uh, state of the word pick?

Jeff Chandler: Okay, so my state of the word pick is a little obscure, but it's important to me. I went through it, it was a fun time during the midst of covering all things WordPress, and it comes from Word Camp Chicago 2009.

Mm-hmm. Matt Mulloy announced that the WordPress themes directory would add a section for commercial themes that were 100% G P L licensed. And what this did is it provided an incentive for commercial theme companies to embrace the license while getting a large amount of exposure. And one of the reasons why it's so memorable to me is because throughout the time period of 2009 to 2012, a lot of commercial theme companies in the WordPress space were just.

We're just starting to learn [00:51:00] what the G P L was. And Matt was very heavy on pushing about the four freedoms and embracing the freedoms. And so many of us in the WordPress community had no idea what he was talking about. What is this license and why would we give away our things for free? And a lot of themed companies were restricting usage on images and themes and limiting people to what they could and couldn't do.

And so there was a lot of education that happened throughout the WordPress theme community between those years. And one of the most memorable high profile debates about the G P L came between Matt Mulgan, Chris Pearson

David Bisset: was just gonna bring that up.

Jeff Chandler: Yeah. Of DIY themes. That's the most recognizable debate that, uh, as far as I'm concerned, hasn't been settled.

I mean, everything's quieted, but we've seen it flare up time and time again over the years a little bit. But now I, I, I really looking back on it now, I'm very happy and appreciative of Matt. Pushing so hard and getting so many resources out there at the [00:52:00] various word camps and sessions and round tables and meetings about the G P L and trying to educate everyone as much as possible about what the four freedoms are, what they stand for, what it means for the foundation of WordPress and, and what it does for the end user and how companies can benefit.

And while there are still companies skirting the lines and trying to do things that aren't really the G P L way, I think because of all that education and because of the foundation that Matt laid with these companies and volunteers, that so many companies that came afterwards have embraced the G P L and has it been as big as a problem as it could be?

David Bisset: What was his name again? Who? The, um, Chris Pearson. Yeah, that was Chris Pearson. Yeah. Yeah.

Jeff Chandler: D i y themes, most notably, uh, uh, famous for the thesis theme.

David Bisset: Yeah. Uh, wh when, remember when they, um, they were on the same show [00:53:00] together?

Jeff Chandler: Yes. Yeah. What was, I was looking at, I was trying to look that up. It was a podcast, it was by a gentleman, I forget the name of it, but he hosted the debate between the two, and it was, uh, it was fantastic.

You know, it was great popcorn eating entertainment. Okay. I think that, but it's, it's, it's still out there. I'm pretty sure it's still out there.

Eric Quebec: Didn't, Matt, at one point mention, um, that he bought thesis.com eventually. I think that was at a, a word, a word, state of the word address, wasn't it?

Jeff Chandler: There's, there's thesis theme or something, and there's some copyright and trademark stuff to get involved between the two. And he's always been messy.

David Bisset: He admitted later he did. Yeah, but I don't think he, I forgot what he admitted at the time. I, he did something over. I think he, he talked about something,

Eric Quebec: I, I wanna say, he said something like, something like, if you don't believe me, go visit thesis.com.

I, I'm paraphrasing. And it's like, okay, so everybody goes there and [00:54:00] sees, oh, that was that site. Yeah.

I mean,

Jeff Chandler: and, and the interesting thing, another interesting tidbit about the announcement when he, when he announced, uh, the GPL kind of commercial license director is Matt actually, or actually, no, this was during a debate with Chris Pearson.

Matt volunteered. He says, if anybody wants to buy a hundred percent GPL licensing from one of these companies, I will buy it for you. And he spent a considerable amount of money on purchasing all these GPL license themes for people that took him up on his offer. And, uh, that did not make Chris happy.

David Bisset: Good, Lord.Man, that was, see, that was, um, according to this, it was maybe in 2010 they had that conversation. But I mean, obviously prior it was building up to that for, for a period of time. Mm-hmm. So I was, uh, I, I was still in that phase in my participation with the Bird Press community where I was using WordPress.

We started working at Miami in 2008. So I was, I was firmly in the, I was firmly in the community at that point, but I was just [00:55:00] ignoring all of that high level stuff. Like, you know, the, the, the, you know, the uh, the high level gpl, whatever. As long as WordPress is there for me next week, I'll, I'll be fine.

But yeah, that was one of, that was I think one of the first major, major times Matt really put himself out there. In mean, I think that's notable. That's very notable cuz I can't remember him prior being in any sort of, um, controversial light one way or the other.

Ray Morrie: Yeah, I was reading about it yesterday actually.

It's just so fascinating looking back on that history. Um, I found an old interview he did with, um, Shavon Mc McKeean, um, for the, the WordPress, you know, the first 10 years book. Um, and

David Bisset: Oh, awesome. That's an awesome interview.

Ray Morrie: Yeah, and he was itching to take the court, the, the case to court to have the G P L in, in, you know, um, that whole debate in court.

And he was, I guess, disappointed that it, it didn't go that far, but, um, yeah, just I, [00:56:00] I've gotta add also, it was really, um, I've, I've, I had a bit of a laugh when I saw in Post Outta Slack recently, I think it was, um, Carl Hancock, who'd, who'd put, who'd asked chat G B T or to, um, you know, talk about the history in, I think song or rhyme or something.

And it was just amazing what chat G B T came back with the whole history, but, um, in a, in a format that was a bit fun to read.

David Bisset: All right. I agree. It was amazing. Okay, so we've covered our WordPress versions, we've done our word camps. Um, we have our, now we've had our, uh, state of the word and we've, so let's, we're gonna use the rest of the time that we have to kind of chew the fat a little bit on, on.

Any various corner of the WordPress history that, that we want to chew on. I'm gonna get things started here, so, uh, I, and, but this is now open, this can be open format just for the sake of time. I don't wanna put anybody on the spot now since with all the history that's been [00:57:00] going on, especially since uh, Ken's pick of WordPress 5.0.

If, if, if you could boil it down to a single theme or a couple of words, what would you want a Gutenberg phase five to be? I'll give you a minute. I can edit this, this silence out so you can take it. Okay.

Jeff Chandler: Can you add the Jeopardy theme song? That'd be great. This is a great time for it.

David Bisset: Just don't overthink it.

But I mean, we have four phases of Gutenberg, right? Maybe I'll, I'll pull that up cuz they do have names attached to them, right? Gutenberg.

Jeff Chandler: Uh, four, three is collaboration, and I think four is, uh, translations. Internationalization.

David Bisset: Yeah. So here they are according to Google. Um, phase one is easier editing with the block editor or just the block editor.

Two is full site editing, three is multi-author collaboration, and four is the multilingual support. If you had to add [00:58:00] on a fifth, and now keep in mind the fifth stage will not start anytime soon. So what, so if you want to be a little forward thinking, so, um, feel free,

Ray Morrie: I would probably throw out there, um, and it's, I guess it's something that we're seeing in a lot of other tools, but, um, ai, you know, we are seeing tools like notion, um, Google Docs experimenting with it, but, you know, auto complete with ai.

Um, it'd be interesting to see that. Um, and it might be something in, in, you know, we're seeing a lot of, as, as you are, um, covering David on, um, WP Front page. Um, we're seeing a lot of tools that are incorporating ai. Um, it might be something that we see in Gutenberg eventually.

David Bisset: Yeah. What if I always thought like, what if you could just tell it and it would build the Gutenberg theme for you, or a Gutenberg site for you, and then you can kind of take it from there?

Well, well,

Jeff Chandler: I, I, I can tell you there, there are companies right now [00:59:00] working with AI and they're gonna attach it to their onboarding process. And you tell the AI prompts, what area of business are you in, what customers are you looking for, what do you like in your site? And it will build you a theme in design and have content ready to go for you.

And that's, that's where we're headed.

David Bisset: Do you, what is your, what, what are your thought? We've, just for the next, I was gonna say the next 20 years of WordPress, because we've, we've done 20 already, but even for the first, next five. So if we're sitting here talking about 20 on the 25th anniversary, what do you think is going to be the biggest thing that we're gonna talk about over that?

Is there anything that's gonna overshadow the release of the block editor? Or is do you think that it's gonna be, uh, you know, slow but linear progress? Do you think that there's anything that we're gonna go Wow, in five years? Do you think it's ai or do you think it's [01:00:00] maybe if, if there was a phase five, is it gonna be like, like we'll have more, better media, uh, or asset management, or, I did a poll on this a little bit a while ago when people were just talking about image and, you know, asset management and, and ai and then, People also obviously want the, the, the big, the other answers.

Obviously there was accessibility in there, but I, I feel some of that stuff can be included and we work on that continuously, but is there going to be another big wow factor in the next five years?

Jeff Chandler: Here's, here's, um, yeah, go ahead Ken.

Ken Elliot: Uh, and it's one thing, and matter of fact, David, you just mentioned it, um, in the post status, um, chat, maybe yesterday or the day before, a dedicated location where all the notifications will be at so people don't have to go and scroll through all the notifications and click Xs and get rid of all that stuff because that is the biggest vein.

Of existence right now. I mean, just to have to go through it. I'm sorry if that triggers me a lot.

David Bisset: No, [01:01:00] let's talk WordPress, let's talk about all the, the, the memes that have made fun of WordPress over the years, starting with the admin notification system. Go ahead, Ken.

Ken Elliot: Like, like we just, I mean, there are so many other platforms that have done notifications so seamlessly.

If everything is right there and all you have to do is just dismiss it, or if you need to install something, you just press a little button to update or install or whatever. But now it's become such a commercial grab of sorts. Like, Hey, here, have you ever tried, have you tried our premium or have you tried this?

Or maybe you forgot to do this, and now what? You went on to your website originally to do in the backend. Now you're inundated with a whole bunch of other stuff. That doesn't mean anything to you except it's an upsell. So I would love a much focused, dedicated section, and I know they're working

on that, and I'm super excited about the project.[01:02:00]

David Bisset: Even if you take any marketing out of it.

Jeff Chandler: Pardon of me. David, would you like to upgrade to the pro version?

David Bisset: I'd like to, if there's a pro version of my life, I would love to. I would love to. No, I'm just, I'm just,

Jeff Chandler: I'm just, I'm holding up some cash. I'm reenacting a WordPress dashboard right now.

David Bisset: Even if it's just alerts.

Do you reme do either. I still see WordPress websites that just like, just on the fact is of, um, um, uh, this needs to be updated or, or just the fact is that, um, kind of getting on a side point here, literally it's like, Sometimes when I install a plugin, I can't find it. Like, we're like word installed on the side menu.

Is it, is it own menu? Is it like, so the consistency of the notices and the menu placement of where plugins go. I think I, I like to piggyback off of Ken's idea and just, I would love to see that, and I don't want this to turn into a love to see like, pick apart WordPress, um, now cuz that's a different podcast.

But like, I would certainly like to see that as part of WordPress's history moving forward.

Jeff Chandler: What do you think you can make, you can make that your [01:03:00] 20th birthday wish for WordPress? Make it a birthday wish.

David Bisset: Uh, last time I made a, the last time I made any sort of wish I had three kids, so I think I'm gonna, oh, I'm gonna bow out on that.

Um, you can't, but, um, on another subject though, you can't talk about WordPress's history especially all of us are old enough to remember, um, like, I'll throw out, remember w p Candy. Oh yeah, yeah. Remember that? Oh, I just wanted to throw that name out there. I really don't have anything much to go about that.

We had a lot of interesting experiments. The first 10 years of WordPress was really, really interesting. You had news sites getting off the ground. Um, Magazines that didn't make it. Uh, you had, uh, people that kind of were there one next day and gone from the WordPress community disappeared or something.

And then you had people that stuck it around. And this is when site bulky, when Pippin, when all of these people created a single plugin or single blog and then [01:04:00] started a massive, um, you know, relatively speaking, massive empire from there. Right. And today we see some of these still exist. Some of them exist as ac as, um, acquisitions or, or different forms.

So we, so when I ask this question, I am, I am really focused on, on your perspective of, of remembering the early days of WordPress. What would you say is the biggest acquisition that has affected wor, has affected WordPresses, uh, history or could affect WordPress' history?

Ray Morrie: Oh, I would throw out their, uh, automatic buying work commerce.

That was a pretty big one.

David Bisset: That's one that has come up in discussion. Yes, very much. Why so, yeah.

Ray Morrie: Uh, I, I guess at the time, it, everyone, there was a lot of surprise in the community because people were expecting, well, maybe automatic will build their own tool. No one's really expecting that they'd buy commerces.

Um, and it, it marked a, a big [01:05:00] shift in, um, WordPress moving way from being just a blogging platform to a, a competitor with, with, um, e-commerce platforms. Um, and it's been interesting to see how it's, it's evolved and it's allowed, um, uh, WordPress to compete more with, you know, uh, platforms like Shopify.

David Bisset: Eric, I, if I can, yeah, I wanna get your, sorry, go ahead. I, I know you have to leave soon, Eric, and we're gonna be wrapping this up shortly, but I wanted to get your 2 cents in.

Eric Quebec: Yeah, I, I just to expand on what Ray was, is talking about, I, I can tell you as a Woo Commerce user at that time, running an update of that software was like torture because something would always break.

And I don't mean that in any way to disparage the people working on it, cuz I know they're working very hard, but automatics acquisition brought a level of stability in time that I, I don't cry when I update WooCommerce anymore. [01:06:00] And so I've thanked them for that. Um, it, it's actually worked out really well, uh, I think for WordPress and it's, it's brought a level of stability to the software and to the ecosystem around it.

So I just wanted to add that in.

David Bisset: Jeff, in your times covering with WP Tavern, maybe, do you have an acquisition that stuck out?

Jeff Chandler: No, I mean, there's, there's so many. I think just a collection of all the various services as a whole that forms automatic is, is really, really the big one. I mean, uh, yeah, woo Commerce is, is way up there in terms of the biggest one, but I, I can't, nothing really sticks out to me off the, off the top of my head.

David Bisset: How about, here's mine. Um, I think Tumblr has a good potential. Um, it hasn't turned a profit yet, according to Matt. Um, but I think with I'm, it, it still has that potential for me to, to kind of represent the Gutenberg outside of the WordPress space that we talked about. [01:07:00] It is there in Tumblr now. Um, I thought that was a really big announcement and the way that an, that way that acquisition went where it was pennies on the dollar, like they got it for a steal.

And, um, Matt is now the, like, still I think the ceo, um, Right now, which is an amazing feat considering everything else he has to balance himself

Jeff Chandler: with. Well, well, the, the awesome thing for Matt and Tumblr and WordPress is that Tumblr, they, they, it's, it's entirely a different audience from WordPress. It's the younger generation.

It's, you look at how they market it, how they tweet things. Everything is like, cool hip, Mimi, let's just have fun type of deal. It's like, it's like a totally separate thing. It's all, it's all about the younger generation. So it'll be interesting to see how that comes into play later on for

David Bisset: WordPress's future.

Ken , did you have something?

Ken Elliot: I think what was really interesting about the Tumblr acquisition was we had just reached that point where a lot of people were very interested in Tumblr, and then of course [01:08:00] the accusation scandal type stuff. Okay. What are people doing on the platform? This platform is just letting people with the wild West at that point, and so people are like, oh gosh, Tumblr is going to the wayside, like.

Another social media network that may go to wayside, but we'll see. Um, so at that point when Matt made that acquisition, it's like, oh, there's somebody actually saving Tumblr. And it's, you know, Matt, it's automatic, it's WordPress, you know, and I think that actually put a bigger spotlight on WordPress cuz it's like, okay, the owner, co-owner, co-founder of WordPress is putting money into Tumblr.

Hey, maybe there's more to this community. Maybe there's more to this WordPress thing than, and I mean, I was looking at data just, um, the other, you know, earlier this week when we were talking about trying to get this to together. I mean, WordPress has grown almost 15% in five years based on numbers 30% to 43.

So that just means more people [01:09:00] have been checking out wordPress. And I mean, it could simply mean people saying people are just installing it onto different domains, but. I would feel there's a lot more people trying to learn about WordPress cuz there's so much opportunity in the

David Bisset: space. Right. I'm trying to think of anything that could be left.

I mean, 20 years is a long time.

Jeff Chandler: Uh, I, I have something I would, if you would, great. If you would, uh, it would be awesome if I can mention two things.

David Bisset: Oh, yes. First time caller. Go ahead.

Jeff Chandler: East of the Rockies. Um, so it's, I know it may sound like we're harping, I might be going back and harping on WordPress 5.0, but in terms for me, the most historical significant WordPress release has to be WordPress 5.0 Bebo, because it represents the delineation of before and after Gutenberg, before WordPress 5.0.

It was tiny m c e Visual Editor, short codes after 5.0. It's a visual black building interface. It's a huge change that took place in December of 2018 and that we're [01:10:00] still going through it today and we're gonna be going through it for the foreseeable future. So WordPress 5.0, I mean, it's a, it's a, it cannot be understated how big of a milestone released that is.

And the other thing I was thinking about, and I saw this in a Slack channel the other day, and it's had me thinking for weeks now. And they brought up the fact that the first 20 years of WordPress, a lot of companies started in the WordPress space and were built and maintained and spearheaded by the WordPress community.

They helped them grow. All the customers. They leaned on the community, they gave back in the community 20 years into WordPress. Now, 20 years later, a lot of these companies are huge. They're big. They no longer, they no longer need the WordPress community if, if WordPress disappeared, if the community disappeared, they would just go on continuing to make money.

And I was thinking like, that's a very sad, very sad thought for me. That the influence and the community and what we did for these initial companies, that if really if we [01:11:00] just disappeared, they would go about their way, they'd still profit and losing us. So it wouldn't make a difference to them. And man, that it sucks to think about that because it's the truth.


David Bisset: I think, I think the WordPress community, I think has really matured over the past 20 years too overall. And we've always had those points in time where there is that WP drama, um, which I think now that term is, that term originally started, that term has evolved over time. And we've seen it in social media where a word is originated and it's been appropriated by someone, and it's turned into something that previously had meant to be slightly enough, slightly different, but enough to, I don't use that term on social anymore, because now it's, it's, it's taken on a different meaning than I remember it to be very, very early on.

But even with that, there was all these, there's been controversies and, and things throughout the community. And the community for most part, I think has done very well handling it. I [01:12:00] remember, um, Throughout, throughout WordPress's history, there's always, there was always that, um, conspiracy that automatic was, you know, fill in the blank.

Automatic was, was doing things, um, various things. But, but, and I remember, um, various people would ask Matt at state of the words about transparency and I think 5.0 really was a, was a, was a milestone. I, I don't know if milestone's the word, but like, when 5.0 came out and Matt was, remember again, that was a very hectic weekend and Matt was concluding the state of the word and we had people asking questions and a lot of that transparency stuff really.

Came, came about. I, I don't know if that's where the, um, remember the governance project? I think that maybe, probably had it start in there. Everybody's shaking their heads. Yeah. For people who are just listening, not seeing the video, the governance project, uh, about that. And, uh, I think transparency has gotten better over the years since then.

Especially it's, especially with josepha. [01:13:00] But then I think also there's all these other opportunities the community has. Remember Loop, loop conference, um, if anybody remembers that, um, uh, there's a nice link of the tavern. Uh, there's actually a nice link you actually wrote about that on the tavern, Jeff, believe it or not, um, remember the ticket prices?

Uh, you don't say. Yeah. Well actually no. Actually that was Sarah. I, I, I think it was Sarah in 2014, but I think you were still involved at, at the time. I remember you being involved in that. I've,

Jeff Chandler: I've wrote at least about one LU comp that happened in Utah, and Ryan Sullivan was behind a, he helped

organize it.

David Bisset: And the other conference in Arizona, um, uh, page Lee. Yeah, I know. I keep drawing a blank on that too for a number. PressNomics. PressNomics. PressNomics.

Jeff Chandler: There you go. And there's, there was another conference that was up in the Midwest near Minneapolis called Prestige.

David Bisset: Yeah. And there was also one's dedicated to just publishing.

So like, it's all of this ingenuity from the Word Press community that's kind of really kept it strong. So [01:14:00] we've, is is there anything that, I just wanna, as we close down here, I just wanna be sure if there's anything left on your list, big or small, that you think that we haven't covered over the last 20 years and the next little, last 90 minutes that you think that, um, is worth mentioning at all?


Jeff Chandler: I'll go real quick. You mentioned something about the future of WordPress, like within five years I think it would be great if somehow we got, we upgrade the data set. Of all the various AI bots they get together, they create great code, and they redo the WordPress media library. So it's done. Nobody has to code it.

The bots will do it for us, and we'll finally add something that's great to use. Right? That's, and then, and then, um,

David Bisset: that's the plot to terminate five, by the way.

Jeff Chandler: But, uh, but, but, but my personal wish five years from now, I hope that the WordPress backend gets some sort of redesigned, cuz I would like it to be modern.

I don't wanna log the WordPress and feel like I'm some data entry specialist. I want it to like, greet [01:15:00] me. I want it to be, I want to look forward to going into the WordPress backend. I wanna look forward to going into the editor and writing my posts and doing what I have to do. And I hope that within the next five years we can get to that point.

David Bisset: Yeah. Redo the admin interface a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's always been, I, I always, I like to see, since we're talking about the future, I always just like to see more time and attention directed. Uh, Toward, uh, once Gutenberg phases are over, uh, addressing that kind of miscellaneous stuff would be great.

Um, and while catching up on bug fixes and things that we need to do in the meantime, you know, WordPress needs, if you're a Mac user, if you remember Snow Leopard was a release that Apple very mostly just paused and just did a cleanup of stuff. And I'd like to see that for maybe one WordPress release and then kind of go forward from there, but also still be competitive.

So, you know, you, it never really stops. So that's, that's, that's my wish. Um, we've covered so much. If there's anything else, feel free to interject now. But there's, you can only cover so much in so many [01:16:00] period of time. There's been so much happening over the WordPress over the years. Some stuff worth remembering, some stuff that stayed with us.

Um, I also like to remember, um, all the people who, um, um, like Kim Parsons, is it Kim Parsons, um, for the mm-hmm. People. She's the one. And I'm, I've talked about this in a previous podcast, so I'm not gonna go into deeply here, but people in the WordPress community that have, that have passed away, um, we, I, we do a good job as a community remembering them through various grants and, um, various ways to remember them every year as well.

Jeff Chandler: So, yeah, I, I, now that you bring it up, and because of my background of writing WordPress news, some of the hardest posts I've ever had to write throughout my WordPress career are obituaries. And for the longest time, I didn't have to write one, and then I finally had to, and that was, uh, that was tough to do.

David Bisset: Yeah. I really appreciate all the, all, all that level of dedication's not something you see every day. So whether, whether it's, um, people working with the [01:17:00] kids' camp programs or, or working on diversity, um, um, especially Ken, Ken, Ken, uh, the, um, you know, um, uh, all of the other things too, not just conferences are, like Black Press, for example, is a.

It. That's how Ken reached out to me. And I, I, I think I put out a call on there, to be honest with you, but yes, yes, I put it out a call, a number of places and, and it is great to have these things created a side, um, not, maybe side's not the right word, but like we have post status, we have black press, we have all these member created organizations, and I'm glad they exist because, uh, my daughter's comfortable in going to various, in these various things.

But, um, but also it's a great opportunity to see how big the WordPress community is and how good it is in the various niches, no matter what kind, whether it's an underrepresented group or it's somebody who just wants to learn this piece of JavaScript or this technology over here. Um, that's how I view the WordPress community as a whole.

Um, [01:18:00] so anyway, um,

Jeff Chandler: Ken, Ken Black Press is awesome and I hope that, I do know that there are some things afoot within the community where a transgender type space is being created. So you look at Black Press, you look at what's being created here, and because of our Ruckus society, we need these safe spaces.

And so thank you Ken for creating Black press and for everyone else out there, thank you for creating safe spaces for members of our WordPress community to feel safe in that.

David Bisset: And the younger community too. Yeah. I'm not the, I'm not the creator, so I mean, no, I'm sorry. Did I say that Ken? I just, I just found you there.

I'm not the creator. I, I'm, I'm, we connected there. One,

Ken Elliot: the active owner organizers there. Um, so you can go on the Black Press site. I was it, um, black press wp.com. I think that's what it's, but um, if you go there, then you can go and go to the media kit and you can see our founders, um, [01:19:00] which is joe. Um, Also, um, Naisha, I think Ali is there as well.

So I feel like I'm forgetting somebody. I am, um, destiny. Um, and so those are like the founders of the actual, um, black press, um, organization page. And what we've been kind of doing is doing like rotating organizers because you know, sometimes people have insights or inputs that they would love to share or provide or advise, and sometimes you don't always wanna be the, the, um, captainship.

So let's help other people spread their wings so they can provide an amazing opportunity to not only grow, um, the whole diversity and inclusion piece, but also grow wordPress community as a whole.

David Bisset: That's a good. Good place to end because I think we are now out of, out of time. I want, yeah, so [01:20:00] like everything that we've made do me a favor.

Anything that you think that is worthy of throwing into your notes, please do, because I can't, I won't be able to keep track of everything. We just, we just came up with, um, I really appreciate all your time. Let's go around one last time and do our, uh, just let people know where they can find you all. Um, so let's start with you Ken.

Ken Elliot: Sure. You can find me on social media. Like I said, be creative is be creative.net, the agency, but if you wanna find me, I'm on Twitter as who am I these days? Here's my handle.

David Bisset: That's a good handle.

Ken Elliot: Um, as Kenneth speaks, my apologies. So you can find me. Um, Twitter, Kenneth Speaks, I think also on Instagram, even though I'm not using Instagram like that.

And then you can find me on LinkedIn as I think either Ken Elliot or Kenneth Elliot. Either way.

David Bisset: Doing a fine job, Ken. Keep it up. Uh, you can, I don't, these days I, I can't keep track too. I'm barely [01:21:00] using Twitter nowadays, relatively speaking. I'm on blue sky, I'm on orange pasta. I can't remember. I can't keep these things straight either.

Uh, was that okay? And I didn't want to, I want to make sure. No, that was, that was it. Okay. I, I

Ken Elliot: think those are the big, the major ones. Social media is kind of the best place to find

David Bisset: me. Good. And of course, and obviously ob obviously you're very easy to find with bla in, in Black Press as well, so Absolutely.

I encourage people to reach out to you there. Ray, how can, how can people find you?

Ray Morrie: Uh, you can find, uh, well the repository website, uh, the repository.email is where you can sign up to. Um, my weekly email. And I'm also on, um, Twitter, the repository WP on Twitter. Um, yes, come and subscribe and, and follow, um, our WordPress news.

David Bisset: Yeah. Thank you very much by the way, you, uh, anybody who's been in it for that long in news deserves, uh, Deserves some extra. Thanks for being part of the, being a stable news source in the WordPress community. Thank you.

Ray Morrie: As you said, they get a, uh, WordPress news, [01:22:00] um, like WP k come and go. So, uh, yeah, I've gotta hand it to Jeff as well for starting WP Tain.

And I, I, I also wanted to call out Sarah Gooding, who, um, has done an incredible job as well, um, as a, as a WordPress historian over the years. She's been, I think this year mark's like 10 years since she started at WP Tappin.

David Bisset: So we recorded, we recorded an episode with her last night, so hopefully you'll share that with you.

Do you remember there was, what was the One News website that was crazy for a year or two? Man,

Jeff Chandler: WP Daley. Yes.

David Bisset: I don't think, I don't think I could have ended this without at least mentioning that one, but that's,

Jeff Chandler: that's the one, that's the one that wrote and published a story about Andrew Nas getting married.

And everybody got really mad, said, that's not WordPress news.

David Bisset: Oh my God. All. I didn't even remember that. I j i, I didn't even remember that one. All right. Poor, poor Andrew, Eric where can People find you.

Eric Quebec: I'm still sticking it out on Twitter at, uh, Clarks [01:23:00] 88 and you can also find me@clarks.com.

David Bisset: And you do work for WP Minute?

Eric Quebec: Yeah, I'm at WP Minute. I'm at Spec Boy, I'm pretty much everywhere you want

David Bisset: to be. And Jeff, to close, to close things out.

Jeff Chandler: Uh, uh, you can follow me on Twitter at jeff o j e f f r zero, or until, at least, until Elon burns it down. Um, if you wanna support independent news on the WordPress base, check out WP Minute by Matt Maduros and the folks over there.

Please consider contributing. Uh, independent news is great and we need more of it. It costs money, time, and money to, to do news and not a lot of people or organizations wanna pay for it. So check that out. And last but not least, Ray, you are awesome. Your repository is awesome, your accent is awesome, and thank you to whoever came up with the title of WordPress historian.

The first time I read that, I was like, that's cool.

David Bisset: Yeah, I definitely, I, I can't even remember what I had for breakfast this morning. So I am that, that mantle [01:24:00] definitely needs to be, uh, grasped by people. A lot more qualified than, than anybody on the Alexa of me. Um, you can find me, um, on, I'm on Twitter still at, at to mention media david bis.com, David bi.social.

You'll be able to find me. Anywhere on there. I keep a repo of all my social media there, but also all the links there, various, well, my daughter and I run WP front.page, so that is just a collection of cook cur curated links. But if you have an RSS feeder you wanna visit a couple of times a week, that's great too.

So I wanna wanna thank everyone for their time. I greatly appreciate it. And it was nice going through these, um, this, this, uh, history that we kind of all collectively shared, most of us have experienced in going down memory lane. But anyway, thank you all again and, um, you have a, we'll, we'll look forward to our next to touching base in a year or two.

Thank you. Yes, thank you. Say goodbye, Jeff. Uh, goodbye, Jeff. Yeah, thank you. All right.[01:25:00]

WP 20th Anniversary: Cast of Characters Part 1
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