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About Bud:

I’ve teased Bud Kraus that in the dictionary next to the word “curmudgeon” you’ll find his photo. But the truth is he’s a mensch with a heart of gold. And this guy really knows his WordPress stuff! From speaker to teacher to writer, you can’t go wrong learning something new from Bud.

What is your job title?Chief Education Officer
What is your company name?Joy of WP
What do you do with WordPress?Teach, write, create courses, go to WordCamps
Describe the WordPress community in just a few words.All you need is love.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Welcome to WPCoffeeTalk with your podcast Barista Michelle Frechette, where we interview people in the WordPress community from all over the world. Every guest is asked the same questions and every guest has wonderful and varied answers about their history and their hopes. Special thanks to our espresso level sponsors, Bluehost, WS form, and Beaver Builder. And now on with the show.

Welcome to WPCoffeeTalk. I’m your podcast Barista Michelle Frechette, serving up the WordPress stories from around the world. And today my guest is Bud Kraus, who is actually not that far around the world from me. I think you’re about a six hour drive from where I live, bud, so you’re not that far at all. But you are the chief education officer at Joy of WP.

[00:00:54] Speaker B: Welcome to the show, Michelle. Thank you. And if I look up my window, no, I can’t see your house, but a couple hundred.

My eyesight’s not that good.

I could, you know, we’re close, relatively.

[00:01:09] Speaker A: Yeah.

[00:01:09] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:01:09] Speaker A: So I think it’s about. It’s a little over 300 miles from here to your general. I don’t know. I don’t know your address, but your general area anyway.

So for those of people who don’t know who you are, I can’t imagine who it is. But if there are people out there who. Who don’t know. Bud, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

[00:01:28] Speaker B: Okay. Well, I’ve been working with WordPress for about 14 years or so, and currently what I do is provide WordPress content for WordPress businesses. I am in the education field, so that’s how I got into that. And so I do actually teach people WordPress, but I more enjoy writing about WordPress, creating videos, things like that.

[00:01:50] Speaker A: Mm hmm. That’s awesome. And you are located in, I want to say New Jersey, but you might be in New York, New York state. I don’t remember now.

[00:01:57] Speaker B: Well, I’m in Nutley, New Jersey, 12 miles west of New York City.

[00:02:01] Speaker A: Okay. Okay. Because I know that I’ve seen you at work at Montclair and I know that’s kind of your general bailiwick is in that area. So I can never remember exactly, but I’ve also seen you in New York City, so I shouldn’t be so quick to hop on that. But anyway, so I asked everybody to have a mug and something in it. Do you have your mug?

[00:02:20] Speaker B: I actually do.

[00:02:22] Speaker A: Let me see. Show it to the screen.

[00:02:25] Speaker B: Are people seeing this? I didn’t even ask you. Am I on camera now?

[00:02:29] Speaker A: You are on camera. So this goes on YouTube and on podcasting, so you won’t be in both.

[00:02:34] Speaker B: My makeup on or anything.

[00:02:36] Speaker A: So tell us about that mug.

[00:02:38] Speaker B: Well, the mug is not anything special. It’s just been around a thousand years. It has no printing on it or it’s lost its print again. I have just a little bit of coffee, my third cup of the day.

[00:02:50] Speaker A: And how do you take your coffee?

[00:02:52] Speaker B: I always have it with trivia and with half and half.

[00:02:56] Speaker A: Okay, very good. Well, let me show you my mug. I always show mine, too. Mine says official.

[00:03:01] Speaker B: Wow.

[00:03:02] Speaker A: Yeah, it’s official. You’re awesome. That was a Christmas gift a couple years ago from a former supervisor of mine, Hazel Kempo, who said that to me. And I’m drinking tea because I have been ever since I got back. You know this. But ever since I’ve gotten back from word Camp Asia, I came back and had pneumonia. So I haven’t been sleeping well because I cough a lot at night. And so coffee at 05:00 in the evening for somebody who’s already struggling to sleep is probably not a good idea. So I’m drinking. I’m drinking dkft decaf tea. That’s called.

[00:03:34] Speaker B: Well, I’m fortunate. Yeah. You know, I’m fortunate because I can drink coffee and then go to bed.

So go figure. But I have to tell you a real quick little story.

[00:03:44] Speaker A: Go ahead.

[00:03:45] Speaker B: Yeah. You know, a quick little story about mugs. I used to have the most beautiful big word, camp New York City. It was either Winstina’s or Mervyn’s. I forgot. And it was like one of my most treasured mugs until it fell on the floor. We have ceramic tile in our kitchen. And that was the end of that mug.

[00:04:05] Speaker A: Yeah. Ceramic tile is like a death knell for anything that isn’t.

[00:04:08] Speaker B: It certainly is.

[00:04:11] Speaker A: Even curtain will explode on a tile floor.

[00:04:14] Speaker B: I think it’ll even destroy plastic. I mean, you just want to. You drop anything on that floor, the floor will own it.

[00:04:22] Speaker A: Absolutely. And you’ll be getting out the dustpan and the broom.

[00:04:25] Speaker B: I know.

[00:04:26] Speaker A: And you’ll still be. And you’ll still be finding shards in five weeks.

[00:04:30] Speaker B: I. Yeah, I know. It’s a beautiful floor, but.

[00:04:33] Speaker A: Yes, exactly. Well, you said you’ve been using WordPress for about 14 years, but how did you get started using WordPress?

[00:04:40] Speaker B: Well, that’s a great story, and one I certainly know. And it was, I think it was like about 2009 when I had a client who was a friend, still is, now lives in Charleston, South Carolina, who I saw recently.

And he said to me, he was a guy that was always very like, you know, two years ahead of everybody or whatever. And he said to me, hey, we were having lunch at the oyster bar in Grand Central, and he says, hey, bud, you should learn WordPress. And I said to him, rick, what, are you kidding me? I’m a rage against the machine kind of guy. There’s no way I’m ever going to learn that stuff. I like HTML and Cs, and then I go on and on and he just stops me and he looks at me very seriously. He goes, no, I’m not kidding. You really need to learn this for your career, for your future.

I said, okay. He goes, I will give you my login. Take a look around. They got these plugins and stuff. So it’s exactly what I did. Didn’t know what I was doing. I was looking at WordPress 2.6, I believe. And once I realized that you can make a child theme, then I realized, this baby is mine.

[00:05:49] Speaker A: The sky is the limit.

[00:05:52] Speaker B: Yep. Once I saw how that worked, it took me a little while to figure that one out. But once I figured it out, I said, oh my God. Because I knew you could do anything.

[00:06:01] Speaker A: With this miss options. Yeah, for sure. That’s awesome. Well, when you look at WordPress websites, when you look at websites in general, whether they’re yours or other people’s, and I’m not going to ask you to call out individuals, but in general, what’s something that you think that people skip or don’t focus enough attention to when building websites that would make them better?

[00:06:23] Speaker B: Okay, I’ll give you one that. Yeah, I’ll give you one right away. That’s on the negative side. Don’t use mega menus, for God’s sakes, please. They are such a. In fact, when I hear that they want to make a core mega menu block, my hair falls out. I mean, if you want to make a core and listen to all you developers out there, if you’re going to do that, then you might as well just make a core block out of everything. Okay? Because we don’t want that to be a core block. If somebody wants to make their own business out of, fine, but please don’t put that into core. It’s not accessible, it doesn’t work, it stinks. It’s just. It’s overload. I mean, let’s. You want to get started? That’s one of my big pet peeves. I’ve written too many posts called mega menus must die.

[00:07:10] Speaker A: You heard them. I heard it here, folks.

[00:07:12] Speaker B: Yeah. Other than that, I think they’re great. No, I have no opinion. No, I really, I don’t know. What do you think about mega menus?

[00:07:20] Speaker A: I don’t know.

I’ve never looked at the accessibility of a mega menu, but I have installed them and I think that they’re, you know, accessibility aside. So let’s assume that you can make them accessible. I think that there’s a time and place when they make sense, but I wouldn’t put them on every website all the time.

[00:07:39] Speaker B: No, no, I know it’s an answer to the question, how do we give access to all this content and all these links? And my answer is don’t. Because it reminds me. Remember in the olden days when we had websites with 300 links on the homepage?

[00:07:54] Speaker A: Oh, yeah.

[00:07:55] Speaker B: Because we didn’t know that people aren’t going to click on 300 links from your homepage. Well, do we have to go back to that experience? Didn’t we already learn that that’s not how this works, you know, that simplicity is, is just usually the better path here. But what do I know?

[00:08:12] Speaker A: I know it’s like white space. A lot of people just fill it all up. You got to have some white space too.

[00:08:17] Speaker B: So I get that. Exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:08:20] Speaker A: So what’s something that you wish that you had learned earlier in your WordPress journey that. That since you learned, it has made life a lot easier?

[00:08:28] Speaker B: Huh?

[00:08:29] Speaker A: Other than don’t use mega venues.

[00:08:33] Speaker B: What should I have learned earlier in my WordPress journey? You know, my WordPress journey is a little weird because, you know, I have never been fully committed to creating websites.

I have always been more teacher oriented, which, you know, that’s my love and that’s the thing that I do. So if I answered it from that perspective, you know, I really don’t have an answer. I wish I had known.

No, I can’t really put my finger on anything. You know, I will, I will say a little different answer, I think, than what you’re looking for, though, is when I first started teaching WordPress, this was at the fashion Institute of Technology in the city, and nobody was teaching it. And you had more students than you know what to do with. They were coming because there was no place to learn this. You know, I really, for the first time in my life, went into the class for the first class and just, I just. Is it wang it or wang it? Whatever, how do you say?

[00:09:33] Speaker A: Winged it. You winged it.

[00:09:35] Speaker B: Winged it, yeah, wanged it. I just, you know, just pulled it out of you. Know where at, which I normally do not do anything like that, but I just felt like I just knew it good enough, well enough just to, you know, and from that point on, I started really starting to put together ideas, something called a syllabus, and, you know, not just winging it. Yeah.

So I can’t really think that, you know, I wish I had known how to do x earlier when it comes to WordPress, you know?

[00:10:07] Speaker A: Yeah. Some people have said, like, they wish they got involved in the community earlier, but maybe you were an early adopter there, too. I don’t know.

[00:10:14] Speaker B: Well, you know, I started going, this is a really, I don’t know. I would think mine is sort of a typical path here in that, you know, I started going to meetups in New York City. We have a very, we had a very active group here in the city. And then I started speaking and the meetups, and then I spoke at work Camp New York, and then I went to work camp us, you know, and then I spoke at work camp Europe. So I sort of feel like I’m going on to, like, higher education as time goes on. I’m just, like, stepping up the ladder, but that’s just my journey. It’s certainly not everybody’s. You know, some people start at a flagship work camp, you know?

[00:10:50] Speaker A: Yeah, so true.

[00:10:52] Speaker B: My glad I came in this way. Yeah. Because I am socially, like, I get overwhelmed with people, you know? And so it’s just nice that, you know, I knew a little group and then the group got a little bigger, so on and so on, you know?

[00:11:08] Speaker A: Yeah.

[00:11:09] Speaker B: So I could, I could adapt to that as, as time went on. But, boy, I would have never thought in a million years that I would get sucked into this WordPress community and went, you know, hook, line and sinker and willingly, you know?

[00:11:28] Speaker A: Yeah, I know. I love it myself. I think people know. People know that about me. I don’t hide it. I don’t hide it well, anyway.

[00:11:35] Speaker B: Why bother to hide this, you know?

[00:11:37] Speaker A: No, there’s no point. There’s no point. Yeah.

When you think back over the word camp experiences you’ve had, whether as a speaker, attendee, I don’t know, MC, all of the different things, what’s an experience that you had that was maybe a pivotal or inspirational moment for you? And tell us a little bit about that.

[00:11:55] Speaker B: Okay. I think there were certain turning points that came about.

One of them really sort of like back to back, but two years in a row, I was a speaker wrangler at work camp New York in 2018 and 2019, and that’s when the doors started opening up because I used those opportunities to meet lots of people. I made it my business to make sure I met every speaker, introduced myself, thanked them for coming, blah, blah, blah. And, of course, I still know a whole lot of those people. They’re like my people, you know, that came to like, and I started realizing these people are really special. They’re, they’re, they’re. I just, you know, I just got hooked. And that was really the time I started realizing, oh, I like this WordPress thing, you know, I like the people that are in this thing. And so that was a real, those are real pivotal moments when I just started saying that this was, this was something that was going to be a big impact on my life. And of course, I didn’t even know at that time how big it would be, you know? Yeah, I really, you know.

[00:13:09] Speaker A: Yeah, I understand. Yeah. It’s kind of crazy.

[00:13:12] Speaker B: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

[00:13:14] Speaker A: So tell us a little bit about what you do day to day. So I know that you’re doing some teachings and things like that and writing. So tell us a little bit more about, you know, what. What does Bud crest do with.

[00:13:27] Speaker B: Yeah, well, for the next two days, I am teaching for a private business. There’s a business in New York that has online training, and I’m going to be teaching a small group of WordPress people, or students for WordPress. I don’t know where they’re from, probably all over the states and maybe Canada. I’m not sure that will go for, it’s 7 hours a day and it’s a lot of talking, but demonstration and hands on, and it’s a very set routine. First they’re going to do this, then they’re going to do that. Then it’s not like this is not winging it. Those days are over. It’s a very set piece that they just do this, this, this and this. And what makes it kind of challenging now is that you’re having people that are going to come to the class. Some of them are going to say, oh, I use that classic editor thing. Okay, some people are going to come to the class saying, I use that Gutenberg thing and other people are going to come, and we don’t use any of that stuff. We use elementor. So teaching is just very different because you have people coming in with different, not just different experiences with technology in general, but specific to WordPress. They’re using different tools, and of course, it’s very different. All the three things that I just mentioned. So how do you teach. Well, I just play it straight. I just teach Gutenberg because to me, that is WordPress standard today, and that’s what I teach. Yeah, yeah. And that sense. Yeah, that sort of makes sense. Right. And then other days when I’m not teaching, and I don’t teach all that often, but, you know, I do. And I never teach in class anymore. Heaven forbid. Class, you mean with people in it?

What’s that?

[00:15:02] Speaker A: Right.

[00:15:03] Speaker B: So no more of that, which I miss, because to me, I’ll tell you real quick, I always thought, like, my wife would say when they come, well, how was class today? I’d say, well, they laughed at all my jokes. So if they laughed at all my jokes, they thought the class was good. I never thought of, like, did they learn anything? No, it’s just, to me, I just had to get in there and make everybody laugh.

[00:15:30] Speaker A: Well, I mean, that is engagement, and engagement is important to learn, so.

[00:15:34] Speaker B: Right. And, you know.

Well, you know what? Yeah. You know, it’s just like my website today, my joy of WP website is funny. You know, people say it’s funny and it’s engaging. I don’t, I wanted to make another boring website, you know, like another corporate boring. No, I don’t have to do that. I’m one person. I could do any, anything I want. So I want it representing me. I want people to come to it and say, oh, that’s butter. Right. You know, and then see what else? Like, you know, that kind of thing. I wanted to make it authentic. It wasn’t too hard. So, okay. So otherwise, if I’m not doing that kind of thing, I’m either writing articles for Hostinger Godaddy or I just finished what’s new in WordPress 6.5 for Insta WP. I think doing that, you know, on a regular basis, you know, I’m sort of making, I’m trying to make a little bit of a cottage industry out of myself for the what’s new in kind of thing. So that if I learn it for instant WP, that I can write a blog post for XYZ, you know, that kind of. So they don’t get different content, but it’s the same knowledge.

And the thing, what I do is you have to be, you have to be very productive with your time. You can’t just spend a lot of time learning something and then a one of, you know, that’s what I try to avoid. It’s not that easy, but I try, but it’s, look, you know, I, the fact that I get to work with people that I love and respect, and I get to do stuff that they find valuable, and I love working. I mean.

I mean, come on.

So, I mean. I mean, I wish I had figured this out when I was 40.

[00:17:15] Speaker A: I hear ya.

How old are you, bud?

[00:17:19] Speaker B: Oh, I wish you wouldn’t ask me. That’s okay. How old? Do you know how old I am?

[00:17:23] Speaker A: You do? I don’t. I don’t know how old you are now.

[00:17:25] Speaker B: Well, I am the oldest person in WordPress.

[00:17:28] Speaker A: Are you sure?

[00:17:31] Speaker B: I asked Matt Mullenweg, and he said. He said to me, well, how old are you? And I told him my age. He goes, you’re not the oldest.

[00:17:41] Speaker A: I taught a woman a few years back who was 84.

[00:17:44] Speaker B: Oh, really? Well, you taught. See, I don’t know if you could teach me at my age, WordPress, you know? I know for one thing, I couldn’t learn Css today. Not a chance. Now, I know it pretty well. I know it very well. But if I had to learn it today.

So, anyway, I turned 70 last year, so I. You know, so anybody that might be listening, don’t feel sorry for me, because I happen to like this age more than any age I’ve ever been in my life, and I have never said that about any other age. Okay? So when I was 50. I didn’t say when I was 50. I was pretty miserable, quite frankly.

I would. I would not say, you know, I love being 50. No, I like this age is the best age I’ve ever been, so.

[00:18:29] Speaker A: And I saw you and your wife cutting a rug last year. You guys could dance.

[00:18:34] Speaker B: We? Yeah. Thank you. We. Oh, we love to dance. I mean, she is like a. Sort of more of a begrudging dancer than me, but me, she looked like.

[00:18:44] Speaker A: She was having fun. You guys were. You were commanding the dance floor at the pride party.

[00:18:50] Speaker B: Well, I don’t know about commanding the dance floor, but let’s just say I like to dance just about every day in one way or another. I just think it’s so, you know, music, dance, all that stuff is just very important to my life.

[00:19:07] Speaker A: And.

[00:19:09] Speaker B: It was that way since I was a little boy. I actually heard a Beatles song when I was a little boy, and I literally felt like it was called. I saw her standing there.

[00:19:20] Speaker A: Oh, yeah.

[00:19:21] Speaker B: And I was, like, in fifth grade, and I just, like, floated off the couch because I was so happy. And so just, you know, like, this is like, oh, my God. And I lost total control of my body and my mind, and I was dancing, and that’s how I danced today. I lost control of my body and my mind.

[00:19:41] Speaker A: That’s the.

[00:19:42] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:19:43] Speaker A: Well, so what project would you like to work on?

[00:19:46] Speaker B: Okay, so there’s actually two of them. Okay.

One is I’d like to learn how to use WP. Cli. Okay.

[00:19:56] Speaker A: Okay.

[00:19:57] Speaker B: Now, the only reason why I’m not using it. Well, one reason is like, you know, I don’t really need to, but if I learn how to use it, I can write about it. So.

And I’m only afraid because I don’t want to blow up my computer. You know, you can blow up your computer with terminal, and I am a little bit afraid about doing that. I was thinking about buying some computer just to practice in case I blow up, you know, Cli. But I think it’d be really cool to learn how to do it. I mean, I’m sort of on the edge. I could extend my skills to learn that, I think, you know. And then the other thing is, here’s a project I have been wanting to do for years. Okay.

[00:20:34] Speaker A: Follow me.

[00:20:36] Speaker B: Yeah. And now it’s probably been done, but not done well. I know it’s been done, but not done well. Okay.

[00:20:41] Speaker A: I better not be WP speakers if you. If you take down one of my projects, so.

[00:20:45] Speaker B: WP speakers. That’s exactly what I want. No. Funny you should say that.

No, it’s. I wanted to. The complete guide to WordPress terminology.

[00:20:59] Speaker A: Okay.

[00:21:00] Speaker B: And I would do it with pictures, video, you know, the whole.

[00:21:05] Speaker A: Well, let’s talk later then, because I own, and I think that’s a good place to do that, where it can live on and people can continue to edit and keep it up later on. So.

[00:21:16] Speaker B: Yeah, I’m not against. Of course I’m not against. But here’s the thing. There has to be a way to pay me for this of some kind, because I can’t do this for free. Because I want to really commit time to this. If I’m going to sink my teeth into this. And I have some pretty strong ideas and I have the skills to do it, I, you know, I just can’t. Can’t do this for free. So, I mean, that’s just an idea.

[00:21:38] Speaker A: Yeah.

[00:21:39] Speaker B: I don’t know what I would need. But I’m just saying, you know, because this. If you’re going to do this right, and I only want to do it if it’s going to be done right and well received and well used, you know, then you’re talking about a commitment of time. That’s what you’re talking about. True. And, you know, and here’s the other thing, Michelle. I was at a meetup in my. In Montclair about a week ago, and we got a really good turnout. Yay. And most of the people were.

The ones that were. There was a help desk, and most of the people were. There were dying for terminology. What is this? What is that? How does this relate to this? That’s my point. You and I don’t need this, okay? The regulars don’t need this, but the rest of the world that is struggling with this and trying to use it, I think they do need it in some way. So they need this. They need this information.

And, you know, because they’re working on something. What they didn’t understand and what I helped them do in about ten minutes was connect all the dots. How does this relate to this? How does that relate to that? You know, they would sort of, like, their mind was like a jumble of mush, and I organized their understanding, their information, so that they could use the tool. So whatever. But I like that. I did think I actually once thought about, you know, maybe this is a wiki.

[00:23:03] Speaker A: Yeah. I think one of the things about, and I’m not putting down anybody that publishes WordPress books because I own some, but every time we do updates and every, you know, within a year, you have to update your book. So if it’s in print, you can’t do that as easily as you can when it’s online. So just. Just some thoughts.

[00:23:21] Speaker B: But, you know, another thing, too, is that one last thing about this is that a lot of these terms are stable. I mean, you know, a page is a page. It’s not radically different than it was.

[00:23:31] Speaker A: But how many more term. How many more terms might you need to add within a year or two? That’s the. That’s the question.

[00:23:37] Speaker B: Well, also, how many do you are, like, core terms that you must have in there, and then you could have, like, other, like, more peripheral terms around those, you know.

You know, I don’t know. I haven’t. I once actually did write out a list of how I would, you know, but then I said, like, I don’t have time to do this.

[00:23:54] Speaker A: This is like, no way. In 2017, if you had written that book, you would not have included blocks, the block editor, full site editing. You would not have included, you know, headless. None of those things would have been part of that. So that’s what I think about is, like, putting it in something that’s a living, breathing document that can. Can move and flow with. With time. I don’t know. Anyway, just my two thoughts.

[00:24:19] Speaker B: Yeah. And you really have to think of, like, who is the audience for this? For example, you say headless. I wouldn’t think headless would be a word that I would put in my dictionary for the audience that I think of because they don’t really care. I would keep this real user, practical, user focused, so that the average person does not need to know what headless is. That’s just me, you know.

[00:24:39] Speaker A: Right. But they go to a beta and somebody talks about headless, and now they want to know what it means. They go to the book and it’s not there. So just.

[00:24:48] Speaker B: You can’t. You’re not going to. You would have to go in knowing. You’re not gonna be able to define everything. It’s just that.

[00:24:54] Speaker A: But you can in a wiki words. You can in a wiki because other people contribute. Yeah, exactly. Anyway, I’m just, I’m just devil’s advocating you.

All right, well, it’s what we do. We riff off each other. I love it.

[00:25:09] Speaker B: Yeah, I guess so. Yeah.

[00:25:12] Speaker A: Let me move into the rapid fire questions, as I always say.

[00:25:15] Speaker B: Here we go.

[00:25:16] Speaker A: I better sit up rapidly.

[00:25:17] Speaker B: You don’t have to forget I’m on tv here. Okay.

[00:25:19] Speaker A: You’re on tv.

You can take the time that you need to answer them.

[00:25:23] Speaker B: Okay.

[00:25:24] Speaker A: But they are definitely shorter questions than the above questions. Okay. So what are two or three must have plugins that you would recommend to somebody building their own website that exists today?

[00:25:37] Speaker B: Yeah, well, I guess so. I mean, if they don’t exist, I.

[00:25:41] Speaker A: Mean, you’re not gonna build it ten years ago.

[00:25:44] Speaker B: Well, the first one comes to mind is one that I just was talking to about a little bit ago, and that’s ws form by Mark Westgard, who, I think it’s not just the best form plugin ever made. I think it’s one of the best WordPress plugins ever made of any kind. So I would have that one.

And as much as I don’t want to say this, I want to come up with one more. I’m going to come up with Elementor. So I. You could. So, you know, I’m resent regretting, I mean. But I will tell you real quick, I’m doing a talk for the page builder summit, and it’s how to use elementary Gutenberg together, which people don’t even know that you can do that every. Everybody. You can. You can. Yeah. You can add your cake and eat it, too. So that’s what the, that talk is about. So, yes, those two.

[00:26:36] Speaker A: Very good.

[00:26:37] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:26:38] Speaker A: At any point in your WordPress journey, have you had a mentor or somebody that you look up to for guidance that might have taken you under their wing a little bit, whether it was an official relationship or not? And who was it?

[00:26:51] Speaker B: There has been nobody who taught me WordPress as a mentor. Okay. Nobody sat me down and said, you know, here’s what’s the pages and here’s. But as somebody who I have been inspired by and who has helped me, I guess, in my word, aside from you, because seriously, you’ve been in everybody’s WordPress journey. But it would be Bob Dunn, of course. And I say that because real quick on this one, I hunted Bob down for about three years online. I wanted to become friends with him. This was in the mid 20, like maybe 2014, whatever.

I sent him an email and said, hey, bob, you’re on the west coast, I’m on the east coast. Why don’t we do some online training together? And it was basically saying, hey, good idea, kid. Come back in a year. I’d say, what is this with this guy? And I’d come back in a year. He’d say, come back in another year. So he didn’t know who he was dealing with, you know? So bottom line is we, we finally met and, you know, he’s been a real friend and he’s been everybody’s real friend. And I have seen him change, often the better too, over the years. And so. So he’s definitely been instrumental in my WordPress community journey. Very much so, yeah. And one of the two, can I just add? I have to add Winston Hughes.

Absolutely. Winstina really is my usher, my ambassador into the WordPress community. She’s the one, along with somebody else who picked me to speak at Wordcamp, New York 20 1617, something like that. When we had it at the unit and I saw Winstein and I said, now that’s somebody I want to get to know. Nice. I did.

I have, yeah.

[00:28:38] Speaker A: So, well, my next question, you cannot say anybody you’ve already mentioned. Okay. So, okay. Because the next question is, who is someone you admire in the WordPress community and why? But you’ve already mentioned a few people, so we’ve already eliminated a few options for you.

[00:28:55] Speaker B: No one.


[00:28:56] Speaker A: No, don’t admire anybody.

[00:28:58] Speaker B: Hi.

Who do I admire?

I should have thought about this ahead of time.

[00:29:06] Speaker A: The questions are secret, but you knew them beforehand.

[00:29:09] Speaker B: Okay, I’m going to give you. How many names do I have?

[00:29:12] Speaker A: You can do one or two. Sure.

[00:29:15] Speaker B: Okay. So first, I’m going to give that to that distinction to beer. Good. Polly Hawk. Okay. Because Birgit is without her, I don’t know. I don’t know. I couldn’t keep up to date with anything. Okay. She is the one that condenses. All this stuff makes sense out of the changes that are happening in WordPress in a digestible, understandable thing. Every Saturday you get this newsletter, the Changelog and podcast. And I have been a follower of hers from like day one of the Gutenberg Changelog from very early on. And I just, you know, and then I got to meet her and love her and all that. So I’m a big admirer. And the other one I’m going to say is Josepha Hayden Schompassy. And the reason I’m going to say her is because it’s not just that she knows me, but that it’s, she’s inspiring.

I like she can get up in front of 2000 people and give a smart presentation. She knows how to talk to that large audience. I don’t think I could do that. And she’s been a real leader and shepherder of the WordPress community. It’s in good hands with her. And God, I’d hate to see her go, but one day that’s going to happen.

[00:30:35] Speaker A: We all go eventually, right?

[00:30:36] Speaker B: Well, I mean, maybe I’ll go first. Who knows?

[00:30:39] Speaker A: That’s true.

[00:30:41] Speaker B: Given my age, I probably will go first.

[00:30:43] Speaker A: I mean, you never know. You never know. Yeah.

Other than Cli, because we talked about that already. What’s something that you want to learn in WordPress that you haven’t tackled yet?

[00:30:55] Speaker B: Well, you know, I think I’d like to know a little bit more about theme Jason. So I did a, I did an article for Godaddy recently and it was on, it was a primer on black Grammar and it was, the rest of the article was, hey, don’t be afraid of this. If you know HTML and CSS, this is going to look very familiar and it does. But there’s also stuff in there that’s Jason notation that I am not as comfortable with. And I want, I want some help on understanding a little bit more about that even. See, it’s funny, even though I will not use it, I still have this like thirst for understanding how things work. So although that’s, yeah, that’s so you after this is over.

[00:31:44] Speaker A: No, I don’t know how to do that.

I’m not a developer, bud. I know a little.

[00:31:50] Speaker B: I’m not either. But you know, I always am pushing to learn something new.

[00:31:56] Speaker A: What is one of the biggest mistakes that you’ve made in WordPress and what did you learn from it?

[00:32:02] Speaker B: I think one of the biggest mistakes was trying to think that I could be a web designer because like, I have all the skills, but I just don’t have, or I no longer have any drive for this because, you know, I took, when you do that and you’re working for small businesses, you know, or startups, you’re going to take some pretty, some journeys that just might be a waste of time. You know, maybe you’ll just get paid for it. I’ve done, you know, I did some sites that were, were made and were never launched and I thought, you know, even though I got paid for it, like, what’s the sense? I don’t want to just do like, that’s meaningless work.

So I really got out of doing that kind of thing. Now I have found there have been situations where I will mentor somebody privately who I feel can learn this and has some skills that I could help them with developing their site and designing. You know, like if somebody comes to me and is a designer and they say, I want, I want you to take this design, let’s say this Photoshop composite, make it into a website and then teach me how to go from there, I will, I can do that kind of stuff. So it’s very limited to what I would do as far as making websites, but, you know, it’s just, it’s just not fulfilling to me. Like what I do today, it’s just not, you know, it’s not rewarding. I want to do something that, you know, a lot of people, excuse me, will read, see, hear. What’s the sense of just doing this, you know, and it just never gets off the launching pad.

[00:33:51] Speaker A: It doesn’t make any sense.

I agree. Yeah, absolutely.

Well, on the other side of things, what’s your proudest word? Press moment.

[00:34:00] Speaker B: Speaking at Wordcamp Europe. I mean, come on. I mean, that’s such an easy, that’s a layup for me. I mean, I still can’t believe, like you, you know, you said to me, you know, I can’t believe this is you, I’m paraphrasing you. I spoken on stage in Asia, I’ve spoken stage in Europe. Who in their right mind would ever think that, that, you know, I spoke in Greece, in athens, Greece, with the gods. Right?

[00:34:26] Speaker A: I know, right, the greek gods, you know, Zeus himself.

[00:34:30] Speaker B: Yes. I mean, what is, I know, but it’s still, it’s, you know, I’m just still amazed that I did that, you know, that was a very, not just a WordPress proud moment, but something very proud of my life that I got to do something like that, you know, I mean, really? That was just crazy. So, I mean, yeah, I mean, wow. I mean, if that never happens again, so be it. I mean, I want to do it again, but, you know, I mean, just be happy that you got that experience one time. A lot of people never get that kind of experience, so enjoy it. I do.

[00:35:09] Speaker A: So what? I’ll piggyback on that before I go to the next question. When I was in europe last year, you, I think you met my daughter. I took her with me.

[00:35:17] Speaker B: Sure.

[00:35:18] Speaker A: She’s in her thirties. She’s not a kid.

And when I travel, when I travel distances, I need, I need assistance, so I bring somebody with me. And so she’s heard me over the years say that people all over the world know who I am, but to a kid who’s, but to a kid, she’s an adult, but to a person who’s not in the WordPress community, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. And also, when it’s your mom, you think she’s got a self inflated ego or whatever, right? So I took her with me, and the day that I spoke, so I didn’t, I wasn’t on the stage, but I did a session and I was up in front of everybody and she came to listen. And before we could even get to the room in the area that I was in, people are stopping to take selfies. People are asking me questions. It’s also good to see you, all these things. And so we get to the session and, like, the room fills up and she’s sitting at the end. She’s just kind of taking it all in. And then, you know, I mean, people are, people are asking questions. I’m engaging with people. Afterwards, they’re coming for more selfies, all this thing. And so we finally, like, let loose from that area and we’re walking to another area and she says to me, I know you told me that you’re something of a celebrity in WordPress, but I had no idea you were WP. Madonna. The purple ambition tour.

[00:36:40] Speaker B: Yeah, that’s right, the purple ambition tour.

[00:36:44] Speaker A: So that was my, one of my proudest moments was that my child kind of got to see a little bit into what I do. Just kind of cool.

[00:36:52] Speaker B: Yeah. Yeah. And I think for me, it was my wife last year who got to see and got and really sort of herself got exposed to the WordPress community. And she thought, like, oh, all you guys are going to do is talk shop the whole time. And. No, that’s not what we do for.

[00:37:06] Speaker A: That’s from the truth. Yeah, we talk shop. We have to, but otherwise, we don’t know. International friends. Right, exactly.

[00:37:13] Speaker B: Well, I mean, that is what’s really cool, too, is that, you know, and I know that I have friends, acquaintances, associates, whatever. From around the world.

[00:37:21] Speaker A: Yep, exactly.

[00:37:22] Speaker B: And I would have never thought that was going to happen to me, especially when I’m 62, 63, 64. You know, most people my age are. Their circle of friends, and influence is getting smaller. Mine’s getting bigger.

[00:37:38] Speaker A: Yeah.

[00:37:38] Speaker B: So that is really wild.

[00:37:40] Speaker A: I mean, it is, right? For sure.

[00:37:42] Speaker B: Yeah. I mean, it’s not supposed to be that way, but hey.

[00:37:45] Speaker A: Exactly.

She was hanging out at the rooftop pool with some of my coworkers, spouses, and she’s in the pool, and there’s other people, wordpressers, that are there. And so people are introducing themselves, and she’s hanging out with some people, and somebody said, are you in WordPress? And she’s like, I know my mom is. Oh, so, well, who’s your mom? And she says, my mom, or her name is Michelle. She goes, Michelle freshet. I know her.

My daughter was like, really, mom?

[00:38:13] Speaker B: Oh, sure.

[00:38:14] Speaker A: It was just fun.

[00:38:15] Speaker B: Yeah. Really? They do.

[00:38:16] Speaker A: And, no, I. Yeah, I don’t have an ego about it. I love people, so when I get to meet people, I’m excited about it, but the fact that my kid now has, like, a higher vision of who I am, I’m not gonna lie. That felt good.

[00:38:28] Speaker B: So, you know, it’s okay to have an ego. Okay. Come on. Right.

[00:38:32] Speaker A: But I’m just like, I do.

[00:38:33] Speaker B: You do?

[00:38:35] Speaker A: What I mean is I don’t walk in and like, no, you don’t. Everybody must know me. Come worship. No, but not that at all. No, it’s okay.

[00:38:43] Speaker B: Listen, it’s okay to have an ego. It’s what? It’s.

[00:38:46] Speaker A: Yeah. It’s fun, though, right? It’s. It’s a fun community, and. And being able to help people and do the things that we do is pretty. Pretty exciting.

[00:38:53] Speaker B: I agree. I agree. I totally agree.

[00:38:56] Speaker A: Let me move on to the next question. The next question is, if you weren’t working in web. Web tech, anything to do with WordPress, what’s another career that you might like to attempt? Okay.

[00:39:05] Speaker B: I would be like my usual flip self here and say, I’d be an insurance, you know, but. Because I was when I was just starting out in my working life. But no, I would not be in insurance, but I would be sort of what I’ve started doing now, which is my dream was always to be in radio. Even though I don’t have a voice for radio, I have been a hopeless addict to talk radio, sports, politics, every since I was a little kid. And had I gotten the right direction, you know, I would have. I went to a great college, Ohio university, Athens, Ohio, for communications. You know, it’s a big communication school, which I didn’t want to study because I thought it was just communications was too easy. Why bother to study it so. But I could have, you know, had started a career in radio and television and broadcasting, and that’s really what I would, I would have loved. So how have I cured that now? Well, you know, I started a podcast recently called. Can I talk about this?

[00:40:10] Speaker A: Yeah.

[00:40:13] Speaker B: It’S called seriously, bud. And it’s a unexpected interview with somebody from the WordPress community that I release every Friday. You can get it on any one.

[00:40:21] Speaker A: Of their podcast aggregators.

[00:40:24] Speaker B: That’s right. Podcast aggregator, distributor, whatever they’re called. And it’s a lot of fun. Michelle, you have been one of the first, although I haven’t released your, it.

[00:40:35] Speaker A: Hasn’T gone live yet. I’m watching.

[00:40:37] Speaker B: No, it’s going to go, you’re getting there.

But it’s been a real interesting experience in terms of learning how to do interviews, in terms of editing, in terms of learning more about the people in the WordPress community. And it’s been very well received. I have to say I’m very fortunate because it’s unusual. It’s a different kind of podcast.

[00:41:00] Speaker A: Absolutely.

[00:41:00] Speaker B: I hope so.

[00:41:01] Speaker A: Anyway, so I want you to notice the self restraint that I had that when you said you don’t have a voice for radio, I didn’t jump in and say, but you have a face for radio.

Thanks, Michelle.

Come on. That’s a good joke. That’s.

[00:41:19] Speaker B: Come on.

[00:41:20] Speaker A: It’s a kind of joke. It’s a good joke.

[00:41:23] Speaker B: It’s kind of joke I tell about.

[00:41:25] Speaker A: I know, that’s why, that’s why I thought you’d like.

It’s okay.

[00:41:29] Speaker B: I don’t have a, I don’t have a, I have a face for radio.

[00:41:32] Speaker A: You do not. I’m just using it.

[00:41:34] Speaker B: No, that’s okay.

I’ve never thought of myself as a television person, so I’ve always thought radio would be more my style.

[00:41:43] Speaker A: There’s a little more leading radio too, right? Like radio talk radio is just more fun.

[00:41:49] Speaker B: Well, here’s the thing, too, and this is with podcasts too. Why I think they’re so popular is not that you can just take it anywhere because you could take tv anywhere now.

[00:41:56] Speaker A: Sure.

[00:41:57] Speaker B: But it’s just. It’s the theater of the mind, you know? So you imagine what people look like, what they think, what’s in the room, it’s in television. Leaves nothing to the very little to the imagination.

[00:42:10] Speaker A: True.

[00:42:10] Speaker B: So that’s why I’ve always been and, like listening overnight, to which I have and I still do to people talk. Your mind is so focused on what they’re saying. There’s no interruptions, no distractions, and it’s. It’s how I fall asleep every night listening to the radio.

[00:42:28] Speaker A: Yeah, that’s awesome.

[00:42:30] Speaker B: I can’t fall asleep unless I listen.

[00:42:32] Speaker A: And I like it perfectly quiet. But next question.

[00:42:36] Speaker B: Most normal people do. True.

[00:42:38] Speaker A: And pitch dark. I like it pitch dark, too. Yeah.

What’s something on your bucket list?

[00:42:45] Speaker B: Well, you know, I don’t like that question because, you know, that means I’m going to get croaked pretty soon, you know? Bucket list.

[00:42:52] Speaker A: No. You know, I actually call it a living list, but when you ask people what’s on their living list, they don’t know what that means. Oh, I would know. I have a living list because I have a list of things I want to do while I’m alive and while I can. But most people understand the concept of bucket list. But what’s on your living list, then, buddy?

[00:43:07] Speaker B: Um, we talked about the dictionary, so, you know, that’s something I want. The WordPress dictionary or wiki or whatever. But aside from, like, work stuff, because there has to be more than work, of course. Um, I would like a couple of things. One is I want to teach at least one grandchild how to play guitar. If not okay, because I think that would be, you know, I’m trying to figure out ways of giving them something of me that will last their lifetime so that they could say, oh, Grandpa buddy taught me how to do this, you know?

[00:43:42] Speaker A: Yeah.

[00:43:44] Speaker B: And then I would like to travel with my wife. Really nice. She’s. She’s a huge. She is the. I call it a travel concierge. Because there’s nothing like traveling with Arlene. Oh, my God. I mean, she takes care of every little detail. All I have to do is just show up and listen nice.

[00:44:04] Speaker A: Yes, show up and obey. Get in line.

[00:44:08] Speaker B: So. So next year it’s Paris and Porto, Portugal, or Portugal in general. Paris and Portugal. And then hopefully North Africa.

You know, she’ll say things, I want to go on a safari. Well, you know, Africa is kind of a big place. You gotta, you know.

[00:44:24] Speaker A: Yeah. Pick a place.

[00:44:25] Speaker B: Yeah. You got anything in specific? You know, I want to go on a safari, but, you know, I just. It’s funny, you just. It’s hard, you know, I’ve always been the kind of person that’s had a hard thing. Like, what do you see yourself in five years? Well, in my case, I hope I’m seeing myself alive because you never know, you know?

[00:44:48] Speaker A: I mean, you never know.

[00:44:50] Speaker B: Yeah. You don’t know. So I feel very, like I said, this is, right now is the best time of my life, and I feel very, very fortunate to.

To be where I am. I really am very fortunate, especially knowing the.

The turbulence and trouble and things that I’ve had to go through to get to this place. I think that makes it why it’s so great, you know?

[00:45:23] Speaker A: Yeah, I understand that. For sure.

[00:45:24] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:45:25] Speaker A: Yeah. Two questions left. The first one, okay. Is show us or tell us about a hidden talent that you have that the WordPress community might not be aware of.

[00:45:38] Speaker B: Well, I play keyboard too.

[00:45:40] Speaker A: Oh, see, I didn’t know that.

[00:45:42] Speaker B: Yeah, not very well. I play it like I play guitar. Not very well and hidden down.

[00:45:50] Speaker A: Jeez.

[00:45:51] Speaker B: What doesn’t they see?

I. I have to say that I’m trying to think.

I used to be very good with tools, you know, I used to use all the tool. I don’t really do it anymore. Partly because of my vision, partly because I lost interest, partly because.

[00:46:15] Speaker A: I don’t.

[00:46:16] Speaker B: Know, I lost whatever. But, um, now you were. Let me see. Oh, maybe they don’t know I can dance. Were you saying?

[00:46:25] Speaker A: That’s right.

[00:46:25] Speaker B: Did we go over that already?

[00:46:26] Speaker A: We did. That’s.

[00:46:28] Speaker B: Yeah. Yeah. So, yeah, I don’t think people know that. And, like, here’s my one last thing. Here’s my dream that we would go to, like, Wordcamp England. Okay. And they went for, like, the after party. They would play beatle music. I mean.

[00:46:44] Speaker A: Right.

[00:46:45] Speaker B: Only one person’s gonna appreciate it. You know me.

[00:46:49] Speaker A: Wordcamp Liverpool. Yes.

[00:46:51] Speaker B: Yeah, word camp. There you go. Word camp Liverpool. How great would that be, huh?

[00:46:55] Speaker A: That’d be awesome.

[00:46:56] Speaker B: Yes, it would. Yeah.

[00:46:58] Speaker A: Very cool.

[00:46:59] Speaker B: The after party at Wordcamp Liverpool. That would be something to go to. I think.

[00:47:03] Speaker A: I think so too. All right, last question. How can we find you online? What’s your website and your favorite social media handle?

[00:47:11] Speaker B: Okay, well, you can find me on Facebook. Just bud kraus. K r a u s. It’s pretty simple. No e at the end. And Twitter is joyofwp.

Okay. The website’s And eventually there will be a website called, but not yet. But the most important thing is to listen to my podcast because it’s good. No, it’s not just good. It’s fun. And what makes it fun is are the people and their stories like you, you know, that just, you know, like I’ve said, I get. I want to give people the opportunity to talk about their lives themselves so that we get to know you better. And hopefully that’s what the podcast is doing, you know? So.

[00:48:00] Speaker A: Excellent. Very good. Well, thank you for taking some time today to share your journey with me so I could tell your story and, you know, getting to know you a little bit better. I love that.

[00:48:11] Speaker B: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Don’t leave yet. I have to ask you something. You’re going to publish this? What? Are you kidding?

[00:48:16] Speaker A: Seriously, bud, we are.

[00:48:18] Speaker B: Okay, Michelle.

[00:48:20] Speaker A: All right. We’ll see you. We’ll see everybody on the. See everybody in the next episode of WP Coffee Talk.

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