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About Jamie:

Jamie Marsland has spent his career building online businesses and has held board level technical and commercial roles at private and publicly listed companies. His YouTube channel is dedicated to helping people with WordPress and has now almost 24,000 subscribers.

What is your job title?Managing Director
What is your company name?Pootlepress
What do you do with WordPress?Training, plugins and YouTube
Describe the WordPress community in just a few words.Lovely

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.

[00:00:30] Speaker B: Welcome to WP Coffee Talk, where I am the podcast Barista serving up the stories of WordPress from around the globe. And today I’m joined by Jamie Marsland, who is the founder and managing director of Poodlepress. Jamie, it’s good to have you here. Welcome.

[00:00:46] Speaker C: Thank you very much for having me.

[00:00:48] Speaker B: My pleasure. It’s always nice to chat with you. We haven’t had a lot of opportunity. I met you, I think, for the first time, face to face, where we actually like, hello, let’s say hello to each other in Werkamp, Europe. Last year or this year. I keep saying last year. It was actually this year, but my brain is already in 2024.

[00:01:07] Speaker C: It was this year, yeah, in Athens. And it was hot and it was great.

[00:01:10] Speaker B: It was wonderful. I had a great time there.

So for those who don’t know who you are, which would be hard for me to believe, that there are very many people out there who’ve never heard of you. But for those who have not met you or don’t know what you do, just tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

[00:01:26] Speaker C: So I run a company called Pootlepress. We’ve been going for about 1213 years now, I guess started off as purely a WordPress training business and we morphed into a plugin business. So part of, if you look at our business from a revenue point of view, I guess it’s half training, half plug in. And then I’m keeping this quite short. But then in the last few years, I’ve started a YouTube channel and that’s grown. I’m going to hit 20,000 subscribers probably in the next three weeks. So that’s grown. It’s growing quite quickly at the moment. Mostly focused on. Mostly focused on Gutenberg. I’d say that’s kind of, if you looked at it as a niche mostly focused on Nutberg, Gutenberg. I’m a big advocate of using Gutenberg and core and, yeah, that’s it really. That’s what I do.

[00:02:13] Speaker B: I love it.

[00:02:14] Speaker C: I’m actually, I’m kind of a youtuber now. So my kids call my kids, my kids call me a micro celebrity. Do you know what one of those.

[00:02:22] Speaker B: Is, tell me, what’s your definition of micro celebrity?

[00:02:26] Speaker C: Well, that’s what, this is what they tell me. This is a thing, apparently. So you’re not famous enough to walk down the street and say, anybody recognizes you, but you’re well known enough to make money off the thing you do. So I’m now making decent money from YouTube, from sponsorship and other methods. And that’s what they say. You’re a micro celebrity. In fact, I even had an invoice for one of my sponsored videos a couple of weeks ago that had influencer on it, which is like, wow, that’s, that’s good as well.

[00:02:58] Speaker B: So a little. A little side story. So my daughter attended Wordcamp Europe with me. She was my, my travel companion. It’s hard for, as a disabled person, to travel internationally without some assistance. So I was able to share that experience with her. And, you know, she’s heard me say over the years that people in WordPress know who I am and that they, they’re familiar with me and that you can go to other countries and meet wordpressers and they might know who I am. And that was all academic in her head, right? So she came to hear me talk at Wordcamp Europe and just heading in, people kept stopping for selfies and to say hello and all of this. And then I gave my talk and people were engaging and asking questions. And as we’re leaving, she said, I think you really are a WordPress celebrity mom. You’re like. She says, you’re like the WordPress Madonna Purple ambition tour.

[00:03:52] Speaker C: You know, I had the same, I had the same sort of, I mean, this has happened to you before, but I’ve been to word counts before.

Like, I was in Nashville a long time ago, and in fact, Matt Mullenweg introduced on his keynote, he demoed one of our plugins, plugin called Caxton. Anyway, so. But I was able to walk around that and absolutely nobody said hello, knew me, did anything. I was just, you know, anonymous person. This time in Athens, literally, you know, walking through the door in three minutes, people were coming up and asking for selfies and shaking my hand. And it was, you know, and it’s all because of YouTube, you know, because they feel they have this, they know you because they see you on YouTube. And it’s just, it’s just, it kind of brought home to me that YouTube’s a different level of engagement to anything else I’ve ever done. Really?

[00:04:42] Speaker B: Yeah, it really is. And you’ve carved out a niche for yourself, for sure. In WordPress where people. I know that name, I know that face kind of thing. And I’m going to be 100% straight up with you and tell you that until I saw your website and I saw your name somewhere, I honestly thought it was poodle. Like the dog.

[00:05:00] Speaker C: Yeah, yeah, yeah. A lot of people.

[00:05:04] Speaker B: It’s not.

[00:05:06] Speaker C: It’s not. Well, pootle is an english word, right? You might not. Do you have this word in America? So pootle means to kind of mooch around in a sort of unorganized manner.

[00:05:15] Speaker B: I looked that up today before meeting with you because I was like, I’m, I’m not going to ask him what it means. We’re going to look it up. But yes, that is what I discovered is it’s kind of like meandering.

[00:05:26] Speaker C: Yeah, it’s meandering casually without any real purpose, which isn’t the point of the business. But it’s a cute name and it’s a memorable name.

[00:05:34] Speaker B: I like it and I’m just glad there’s no white, curly haired dog as your logo. So that’s good.

[00:05:39] Speaker C: Yeah, but your point is, you know, Matt Cromwell always makes fun of me because he’s like, you’re the youtuber. And people don’t really realize I run a WordPress business. They just see me on YouTube. They don’t realize I’ve been toiling away with WordPress for twelve years, developing training courses and building plugins. That’s kind of by the by. And I don’t talk about this at all now on my YouTube channel.

[00:06:05] Speaker B: I just talk about it, don’t you?

[00:06:06] Speaker C: I mean, occasionally. Occasionally I’ll slip it in, but people really don’t want to hear that stuff from me. They just want to hear about the stuff that’s going to be show me.

[00:06:14] Speaker B: What you’re learning and show me your reviews of different things. And.

[00:06:18] Speaker C: Yeah, that’s a. I agree, exactly. Which I get. And let’s sort of understand how YouTube works now.

[00:06:24] Speaker B: I love it. And that you can make money off it is phenomenal. I have not lived, I’ve not risen to the level of creator yet where I’m making money on any of the social platforms. I just dabble, I just have fun. So I ask everybody to show me their mug and what’s in it and tell me a little bit about it. And you’ve got a great water bottle. So tell us about your water bottle. Today.

[00:06:43] Speaker C: I’m just cleaning, actually. So this is a water bottle from a place called Salema. Salemo in Portugal, which is an eco camping camp. That I took my family to two years ago on the coast, south coast, and that’s what I bought from it. And it’s got vodka in it, it’s got water in it. Obviously.

[00:07:06] Speaker B: When I do the evening shows from home. I have had spirits in my mug before. Absolutely, depending on who it is. So my mug is a liquid web mug. I do work at liquid web now as part of stellar WP, but the mug was sent to me when I was still not part of the liquid web family. And it’s a camping mug, so we have that kind of like, you know, in common. It’s that camp style. And I’m drinking coffee, cream and sugar.

[00:07:32] Speaker C: So are you a fan of camping?

[00:07:36] Speaker B: You know, once upon a time I was, but now I like to camp at like the Hyatt and the Marriott.

[00:07:43] Speaker C: Yeah, I’m with you there. I’ve got about five tents in my garage, but they kind of stay there.

[00:07:49] Speaker B: Yeah, the last time I camped, my daughter was, I think, eight or nine years old and yeah, I discovered that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had as a child and I was done with that.

[00:08:01] Speaker C: Yeah, I think it’s one of those groupthink activities that’s really rubbish, but everyone pretends they enjoy.

[00:08:06] Speaker B: Yeah. I don’t understand, like, let’s pack up all our food and live in the elements for a weekend. No thanks, I’ll pass. Catch me at the Hyatt on your way home. Anyway, tell us, how did you get started with WordPress?

[00:08:18] Speaker C: So I come from a corporate background.

I was running a few companies before WordPress, all around the web publishing space. So I worked in web publishing all my life. Started off in a company called this is a long, long time ago. This is the birth of the Internet. So we’re talking about 95 96, a company called Database Publishing Systems Limited. We did complex database publishing systems for publishers and also people like Shell Oil who had tech docs on oil rigs. All the data was stored in SQML and we then output it to things like CD ROM, intranets and paper.

[00:09:00] Speaker B: Wow, paper.

[00:09:01] Speaker C: Yeah, paper. Yeah, lots of paper. And we used to charge for these applications. These were high end enterprise stuff. So sort of a million pounds come up with. It was complex stuff. And then the Internet came along and actually you could start to do what we were doing as a business. Wasn’t my business for free on the Internet. We’d probably do about 60% of what we could do and then the business. I still remember the day the directors walked into the, well, our meeting room and said, it’s not good news. You’re being made redundant. And at the time, at the time, the administrators were walking around the offices picking up laptops and that was it. Business closed, and the directors just didn’t see the technology wave that was coming their way. They refused to acknowledge what was happening, didn’t want to see it, put their head in the sand. And I think you see the same thing, we’ve seen the same thing over a few times in technology cycles and I’m old enough to have seen a few of these and I think we’re probably going to see the same thing in AI. And I think we’re saying probably going to see the same thing with how WordPress is developing as well. The agency market’s not going to look like it does today, but I see a lot of people pretending that it’s not happening, but it is going to happen. I’ve seen it before, it’s going to happen. So anyway, that’s the side story. And then after that, I worked for a few other companies, ended up running them. One was a Plc, one was a limited company, and at the last business I was running, I was there for five years and they’d had enough of me and I’d had enough of them, so I left. But during that time with them, again, it was a publishing business. We were using a very expensive content management system.

This is. And then I discovered WordPress. And when I say very expensive content management system, actually it was low end, but we were still paying about $5,000 per site, per year, per license, which people you just find astonishing now, right? But that’s the low end of the sort of enterprise CMS market.

But I sort of got WordPress out one weekend and discovered I could do what my very expensive development team would take months to do. I could do it in like a week in WordPress. So I kind of bought WordPress into that business.

The development team hated me for it because they were very snooty about WordPress. They were developers and very methodical and they didn’t like WordPress. It was a horror show to them.

And part of that process I learned to love WordPress. And then when I left that business, I started pupilpress and started off just a pure training business.

I could sort of sense there was a market for people that wanted to diy it, to build their own websites. So I started running training courses on WordPress. All the training courses at the time were pound 500 a day, aimed at sort of enterprise market. I came in and I did a Google Ad. I still remember it. I put a big Google Ad out for 99 pounds, and I got my first customer that afternoon. And there was this big market of people that wanted to do it themselves. And, you know, that’s how the business grew over the years, and it sustained me for 13 years and grown a.

[00:12:13] Speaker B: Business off it, so that first sale is so exciting, isn’t it?

[00:12:17] Speaker C: Seriously, every cell is so excited when it’s your own business.

[00:12:19] Speaker B: Well, it is, but, like, that first one feels like proof of concept. Even if it’s like your brother in law, it still feels like proof of concept. Right. Yeah, we’ll pay for this, you know.

[00:12:28] Speaker C: Yeah, it’s incredible. I was driving. I still remember. I drive. I know exactly where I was. I was driving down the motorway. Well, my wife was driving. We were on the way to the south coast in England, and we were just going past a place called Bristol, and I was just checking my phone and I was there, it was ordering. I was just like, the most exciting moment. And I, you know, in my previous jobs, I’ve made, you know, big sales to enterprise customers. Nothing compared to a 99 pound sale when it’s your own business.

[00:12:55] Speaker B: Absolutely.

[00:12:56] Speaker C: From that moment, you’re completely hooked.

[00:13:00] Speaker B: I am.

What’s the word I want to say? I. Silly tweet. Sometimes. Like, extreme of consciousness tweet.

And I don’t usually tweet anything negative, but it was just, hey, I wonder if there’s a market for singing telegrams. I’ve always wanted to be a singing telegram. Similar to like, a cameo, right? And somebody replied and said, well, how much would you charge for something like that? And I’m like, I don’t know, $30, right? And they reply with a photo, like, hovering over the buy me a coffee where they’ve done the ten times the three dollar coffee.

[00:13:35] Speaker C: Wow.

[00:13:36] Speaker B: If I click this, will you do a song for me? And I’m like, sure. And so I go, what do you want, like a Christmas song? I’m like, okay, so, like, I recorded a Christmas song and I did my first cameo type thing. And then last night, I built a whole page to provide singing telegrams to the WordPress community because one person bought me a coffee.

[00:13:58] Speaker C: So, yeah, well, that might be it. That might be your future now. That could be it.

[00:14:02] Speaker B: Who knows? Absolutely. Anyway, it was fun.

[00:14:05] Speaker C: Where can we find it? Has it got a URL?

[00:14:08] Speaker B: It’s at Meetmichelle online. It’s one of the I built a link tree type thing at Meetmichelle online. And there is a button there to purchase a singing telegram. So.

[00:14:20] Speaker C: Can it be any song?

[00:14:22] Speaker B: So, because if it’s going to be public, I need to be careful of breaking copyrights.

So I just asked for people to provide the style of song. You’ll notice there’s no rap or heavy metal on the list because that is not my vibe at all.

And on that page, I took the Santa baby song and turned it into all WordPress. So there’s a sample that you’re more than welcome to listen to and critique, if you will, or enjoy.

Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. There’s so much that we can do with WordPress. And who knew that creating my own cameo type site would be one of those things that I would stumble upon. Right. So totally having tons of fun.

Well, let me move to the next question because I could talk to you all day and that’s not going to do either of us good.

But when you think about you demo a lot, you look at a lot of things. When you think about websites that people create, whether we’re designers, builders, developers, all of those, I always call this web builders if we’re in the industry, right. When you look at the sites that we all create, whether it’s yours or somebody else’s, what’s something that you think that we don’t focus enough attention on that would make our sites better for the end user?

[00:15:32] Speaker C: I think it’s the end user.

I think most of the talk, all the talk, I’d say 100% of the talk in the Facebook page builder groups is about the tool, or a lot of the stuff online is about the tool. There’s hardly any information about there about training requirements, technical debt, migration path, what happens when you don’t stick to core, going up non technical cul de sacs? I think that’s a huge area. In fact, I’m going to focus a lot on that area this year because my business has been built off the back of people having terrible experiences with WordPress, where they basically have a site built.

There’s been no conversation with them between them and the person that’s built it. And you can argue whose responsibility that is, and then they’re left with this site that they can’t change and they can’t edit, and they’ve basically got this brand now that’s frozen in time. So I think that’s a huge area.

I think there’s different reasons for why that happens. I think some of it’s unscrupulous. So some agencies I’ve definitely come across have used it as a way of getting money out of clients because they know the clients have to come back to them and because of the way they built it. Some of it’s just because, you know, when all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail and the agency are used to that tool, so they’re going to use it come what may, whatever the circumstances.

So there’s lots of reasons why that’s happened, but we are leaving WordPress customers with not a great experience of WordPress when they’re in that situation.

The whole point, well, one of the most important points about WordPress is that it’s a content management system, that is, the customers can manage their brand and their content with it. There will be some customers that never ever want to do that and leave it all to the agency, but there’s a huge swathe of customers that are left in the lurch because of the lack of focus on the customer. So I think that’s a huge area.

[00:17:33] Speaker B: I agree. And I think sometimes the customers that we have focus on what they want to see on their site as opposed to what their customers want to see. So there’s this whole domino effect that can come into play when we’re talking about how we build our sites. I think that’s a great point.

[00:17:49] Speaker C: Yeah.

[00:17:50] Speaker B: When you think back over your WordPress journey, which I think you said was about 13 years, did you say you’ve been doing this?

[00:17:56] Speaker C: Well, I think Pootle press has been going 13 years, but I was using.

[00:17:59] Speaker B: It so longer then.

[00:18:01] Speaker C: Yeah, I was using it for longer than that. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:18:03] Speaker B: So you think back over that journey, what’s something that you wish you’d known earlier in your WordPress journey that sure would have made life a lot easier.

[00:18:12] Speaker C: That is a great question.

This is going to sound a bit clear, but I wish I’d realized. I always knew that WordPress was open source, but I never realized how easy it was to engage. Not easy, but how it was possible to engage and influence the direction of the software or get involved in the project. So I’ve only recently started to do that. So I’ve had composite. So I think creating videos helps because it makes it easy for me to talk to people that are actually shaping the direction of it. But I think a lot of people outside of WordPress don’t realize that they can have a voice in it and that’s one of the most incredible things about it. You can get involved in it and shape its direction and the Gutenberg experience is a really, um, good, you know, I’ve been now talking to people who are, you know, rich Tabor and I’ve got a conversation tomorrow with one of the guys leading the theme block, theme team.

You know, you can, you can get involved and shape the thing, which is like, it’s an incredible thing. So I think that’s probably it. I didn’t, I didn’t, I knew it, but I didn’t really know it and understand that it was possible.

[00:19:32] Speaker B: I didn’t even know what open source meant when I first started using WordPress.

[00:19:35] Speaker C: Okay. Yeah.

[00:19:36] Speaker B: So I knew it was open source, but to me that just meant it was free. I didn’t understand free and open to all, as opposed to that you can have a play and how it moves forward and be part of the growth of WordPress, not just by using the product, but like you said, by influencing it. So, yeah, I think that’s very valid.

[00:19:54] Speaker C: I think there’s obviously frictions in that process and there’s the community constantly has these ruptures and these tectonic plates that, but, you know, name another piece of software that you can get involved in and shape and direct and actually if you’re, you know, if you want to write code for it, you can actually go and write and contribute to it. That’s kind of, that’s kind of a really great thing. So, you know, I agree. That’s the thing. I wish I understood more right from the outset. And that’s probably a message that doesn’t get across as well. I think WordPress does a bad job of, because I think WordPress is going to come under some strains over the next few years. And I think it’s a bit looking inward at the moment as a community. And I think it needs to try and sort that out as quickly as possible. And there’s going to be external threats.

[00:20:46] Speaker B: I think that’s part of it is our community is aging and we’re not necessarily bringing in the next. Yeah, you know, earlier, earlier is not the right word. Younger generations in. I mean, I sit here as a 55 year old saying that, you know, so I know. And I used to think my, like, look to my daughter as like, what are the, what are the kids thinking? But she’s 31 now. She’s almost 32. She’s not a kid anymore either. So, you know, it’s the generation behind her that we really need to do.

[00:21:10] Speaker C: I mean, do you think it does have a demographic issue, WordPress?

[00:21:14] Speaker B: I think so.

[00:21:15] Speaker C: In age and sex as well. Both.

[00:21:19] Speaker B: I think age more than sex. I think that there are plenty of women, they’re just not necessarily sitting in positions of authority. So I think that there’s a disparity there, but I think that as far as gender goes and sex, I think that there are lots of women and non binary folks in WordPress. They’re just not, they perhaps don’t have as loud a voice as some of the others do.

[00:21:42] Speaker C: So I might have told you this in Athens, but do you want a horrible stat?

Please tell me so. And this is fairly common across all my. Because I’m part of a secret club in YouTube creator secret club. So I’m part of that group. This is fairly common in all of us. Our stats are probably, when you look at the demographics, and we can’t trust these completely, but they’re probably skewed about 90% men.

[00:22:06] Speaker B: That’s great.

Yeah, very interesting.

[00:22:10] Speaker C: Now, I don’t know what the stats would be if you looked at a canva or other tools that aren’t so that a bit more feel more welcoming to me.

My suspicions is they’d be a very different demographic.

I know that YouTube just skew towards men anyway, but not that much. That’s very extreme.

[00:22:31] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:22:32] Speaker C: So my sense of it is there is a.

There might be a demographic time bomb ticking underneath WordPress that it’s not really aware of yet.

[00:22:41] Speaker B: That would be very interesting. Yeah, we’ll definitely keep an eye on that and we’ll circle back in a year and you and I will talk about it again and see where things are. You’re over here.

[00:22:51] Speaker C: Yeah.

[00:22:51] Speaker B: It’ll be an interesting conversation to have, for sure.

You’ve attended Wordcamps. We talked about that. I met you at. I was actually in Nashville, too. I don’t think our paths crossed.

[00:23:01] Speaker C: Well, exactly, because you wouldn’t have known who the hell I was, and I.

[00:23:06] Speaker B: Was an unknown at that point as.

[00:23:07] Speaker C: Well, so were you online at that point?

[00:23:10] Speaker B: I believe so. I know very few people. I was meeting people for the first time. I mean, I had been speaking at word camps, you know, a lot of local word camps, but I hadn’t done much as far as meet any of my heroes, as it were, in progress.

So, yeah, I was a relatively unknown person as well, but, yeah. So you’ve been a bunch of wordcamps. When you think back over the Wordcamp and meetups and other WordPress events that you’ve attended, can you point to a moment in time, whether it was somebody that you met, a concept that you learned that was kind of a pivotal moment for you, that you would look back on and say that that was significant. Can you tell us about that?

[00:23:52] Speaker C: I think it’s. For me, they’re always about the networking opportunity. So meeting.

I hate to say this, but meeting REMCs was really cool because you meet these people, but you see a lot of these people online and Twitter and stuff, but, you know, you actually get to meet people and go and have a drink. Like Matt Cromwell, I met for the first time, probably. And, you know, for me, it’s all about. It’s all about the people. As one of my old bosses that we used to gently mock, used to say, but he was absolutely right. It is all about those connections that you get that make it for me. So, actually, you know, standing next to remcast, this was a highlight, and somebody came up to us and asked to take a photo of me, I think. That’s right.

[00:24:36] Speaker B: He’ll be famous by association. Right.

[00:24:38] Speaker C: He’ll probably just. He’ll dispute that. But, you know, that’s kind of. He’s very well known and didn’t want to know him. So, yeah, it’s those chance encounters that you meet with people and the chance to actually, you know, meet them face to face that you can’t really. You can’t really compete with that. So I hope that answers your question somewhat.

[00:25:00] Speaker B: It does, absolutely. There. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what had happened, but there was a point in time where I stopped going to word camps strictly for the talks.

[00:25:12] Speaker C: Yeah.

[00:25:13] Speaker B: And now go to wordcamps. I mean, obviously, I’m a vendor there a lot now, too. I’m a sponsor with a lot of give and with SLWP. But aside from that, more to interface with people and to build that network and have those experiences of talking to people. I can honestly say that I have attended entire wordcamps where I never once sat in a talk. And I’m a little ashamed of that because I could still be learning, of course. But the opportunity to make those connections has become so paramount to the work that I do in our community that.

But, yeah, I completely agree with you on that. We call it the hallway track for a reason. Right. Like, stuff that happens in there and the talks.

[00:25:53] Speaker C: I mean, the talks are great, but you can kind of see those anytime. The bit you can’t do is the networking. So. And kind of, yeah, I don’t know whether. I don’t know whether there’s any discussion about having more interaction possibilities, because I think for a lot of people who aren’t necessarily. I find them quite. I find them quite intimidating, and I’m quite a social animal. So I think for a lot of people, it’d be good if there are other opportunities where they could actually have that networking that was sort of made easier for them. Especially if you’re not particularly introverted. Yeah, if you’re introverted, yeah, absolutely. Because it’s, you know, they’re intimidated places to walk into, massively intimidating or neurodivergence.

[00:26:36] Speaker B: And things like that that come into play with those interactions. For sure. Absolutely. So let’s dive a little more into poodle press and what you do or talk about YouTube, tell us, you know, let’s take five minutes and talk a little bit more about what you’re doing with your work.

[00:26:50] Speaker C: Let’s talk about YouTube. No, it’s not more interesting. So Pootalpress has focused over the last few years on Gutenberg, blocks and woocommerce. So we have a number of blocks, sorry, plugins, specifically around Woocommerce. We also have a plugin called Gutenberg Pro, which extends the core functionality of the core blocks so it doesn’t add new blocks into the plugin editor. But let’s. It kind of makes it easier for people to do what they want with Gutenberg. So it’s like a nice. Making Gutenberg easier for people.

And then YouTube has been a, you know, a journey of seriously doing it for probably two years. I try and do two videos a week on average, and it’s probably been a steeper learning curve and a quicker learning curve than anything I’ve ever done in my life because you learn, you know, you learn by fire.

You see very quickly what works because of the stats. You see very quickly what works and what doesn’t work. You get better at it.

[00:27:51] Speaker B: Brutal with the comments. I haven’t looked at yours specifically, but, yeah, my. My lot are pretty comments is, like, crazy sometimes.

[00:27:58] Speaker C: Yeah, I mean, I try not to. I try not to, you know, annoy people unnecessarily, and I try and be positive. I try and just show what’s possible rather than saying what’s not possible.

So my, my, the people, my subscribers are lovely, actually. I’ve hardly had any bad stuff. That may change. In fact, it changed today. But no, that wasn’t on YouTube. I didn’t publish that for people watching. I published a video on BriCs today which didn’t go down very well in the BricS community. But that may not go on YouTube. But, yeah, it’s been an incredible learning experience. So I’ve become.

I’ll be at 20,000 subscribers.

I’ve got sponsors lining up. And I love, I love. I mean, the thing to say is, I absolutely love it. I feel like I’ve come home to something I should have been doing a long time ago so I can see myself being a youtuber for the rest of my life, which sounds odd if I can monetize it. I can see myself being 70 and having a YouTube channel.

[00:28:59] Speaker B: You sound almost apologetic in the way you’re saying it. Own it. It’s wonderful.

[00:29:03] Speaker C: Yeah, I know, I know. But it’s kind of a strange thing to say that when people ask you what you do, you say, well, I’m a youtuber. That’s. That’s an odd sentence to say after you’ve been sort of running businesses for a long time.

But, yeah, there’s. There’s so, there’s so much. There’s so much learning, and I feel like there’s so much I want to do with it. I’ve got so many ideas. Like, when I started off, I had, like, two ideas of what to do on videos. Now my spreadsheet is like 200 ideas that I think are all really interesting.

[00:29:36] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:29:38] Speaker C: I want to get better at storytelling. I want to expand what the thing is. So I’m currently just very focused here. I want to kind of grow outwards as well.

So it’s cool. It’s a cool space to be in. And I think with AI video is going to be seeing real people because we’re going to have AI people, but seeing real people, I think, is going to have huge value as well. I think you can’t really replace that. So I think it’s a good space to be at the moment. I think it’s easier. The other thing is that I think with the pace of change at the moment, I think it’s easier to be a guide than a product owner, possibly at the moment.

[00:30:16] Speaker B: And you do both, so I can.

[00:30:18] Speaker C: See I do both.

[00:30:19] Speaker B: So you’re uniquely positioned to make that statement, for sure.

[00:30:22] Speaker C: Yeah. No, it definitely is easier because things are changing so quickly.

I would definitely hate having a product based on chat GPT at the moment or having a wraparound chat GPT. I think that must be a ferociously scary position to be in.

[00:30:36] Speaker B: I would think so, too. And I’m starting to see and be able to pick out when people write things through chat GPT. I think it becomes very obvious sometimes if they’re not careful how they use it. It’s like, oh, AI wrote that, you know, you cannot.

[00:30:52] Speaker C: Are you using it for stuff?

[00:30:54] Speaker B: I use it for idea generation more than anything else. And titles. I’m sometimes good with titles. And if it’s things I’m passionate about, I’m good with titles. So when I write articles for post status, for example, on my horrible experiences at work campus at San Diego, and I write a title called five days without a shower, people are like, oh, okay, you know, that’s a good title. Or misogyny. And WordPress is real. Like those titles grab you. But then I start, I want to write something about, you know, about a product or leaning into this, that or the other. And it’s like I’m only coming up with lackluster titles. And so I’ll turn to chat GPT and I don’t, I’ve almost never pulled a title exactly, but it sends me down the right direction to think about something that would be a little more attention grabbing.

[00:31:39] Speaker C: Yeah, I mean, I can’t wait for the day. I mean, I love, I love this stuff. I’m all over it. I can’t wait for the day when I can actually chat, chat to it and have a conversation and then tell it to go off and do something and then come back when it’s done it. I mean, that’s coming and that’s going to be fantastic, you know, going to be brilliant. A little friend in the corner.

[00:31:57] Speaker B: I love it. It’s fun. And I’ve noticed a lot of on screen chats, like the chat bots that people have on there to help on people’s websites now are very much AI generated. And not just pulling from a resource, but also pulling from conversational tones, from things like chat GPT. It’s very interesting.

[00:32:17] Speaker C: It’s, wow.

[00:32:19] Speaker B: It’s not something I ever thought would explode the way that it has, because it wasn’t something I even thought about. I’ve just, I’ve always been a writer. I write my own stuff, you know, so it’s, it’s very interesting, for sure.

[00:32:29] Speaker C: Yeah. My, my daughter’s at film school at the moment, actually, one middle daughter, and she’s obviously, there’s been this, the strikes in Hollywood around, the writers strikes around, trying to stop AI being used. And I just don’t see it. I mean, I think it’s a short term thing, but I think long term it’s, it’s going to come, isn’t it? I mean, once it gets really good, yeah, for sure. It’s never going to, it’s never going to get any worse than it is now. It’s only going to get better. So it’s a really interesting space. They’re all interesting spaces. But the creative spaces are really interesting.

[00:33:01] Speaker B: They are for sure. I did use it for one post recently where I almost used it word for word because I just needed it to give me a synopsis of something for a podcast episode that I created. I was like that actually summed it all up. I’m just going to use that. It was crazy.

[00:33:19] Speaker C: No, it’s like, I mean, it’s great for having a little reference that you can just pass something off to and say, check this out.

[00:33:26] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:33:27] Speaker C: Rewrite this. And you know, it’s fantastic.

[00:33:29] Speaker B: Yeah, for sure.

[00:33:30] Speaker C: And I do find though, that I do find that chat GBT four at the moment seems to be overwriting. It’s quite pompous when I’m prompting it. I know you can put your own settings in there, but generally the default setting is like, wow, that’s really. You’re overwriting. You’re trying to.

[00:33:44] Speaker B: I didn’t need five adjectives to describe.

[00:33:47] Speaker C: Yeah, a lot of my prompts replies are just be less pompous. Let’s try again.

[00:33:53] Speaker B: Did you know that you can ask it to write in the style of somebody that already is? That’s pretty cool too.

[00:33:59] Speaker C: That is cool. Yeah.

[00:34:01] Speaker B: I made the mistake of asking it to write my own bio.

[00:34:04] Speaker C: Okay.

[00:34:05] Speaker B: And I got a swelled head because it made me sound incredibly good. But it also made like had as my history working in places I’ve never heard of before. So clearly there’s some work to do. Yeah, that’s a lot of fun.

Let’s move into our rapid fire questions. I always say I will ask them rapidly. You take the time you need to answer them.

First question, what are two or three must have plugins that you would recommend to somebody building their own website?

[00:34:33] Speaker C: Yeah, I saw that one. I’d say none. Is that a fair answer?

I genuinely think you can build a site these days with no plugins, especially the way Google is now just ignoring meta descriptions a lot of the time as well, and rewriting page titles. I’m not saying SEO plugins aren’t good and have their place, but I think actually there’s really little need to have any plugins on a lot of slides. Terrible.

[00:35:02] Speaker B: Which is interesting coming from a guy who’s got plugins in his company.

[00:35:06] Speaker C: Well, yeah, but my plugins are like your question, to be fair to me, your question was must have plugins. Yes, I agree. I don’t think if you’re just building a normal, let’s say, your business, building a business website, you can build that site perfectly fine without any plugins.

[00:35:22] Speaker B: Yeah, that’s true.

At any point in your business or WordPress journey, have you had a mentor, whether it was an official person, official mentor, or somebody that took you under their wing? And can you tell us who it was?

[00:35:34] Speaker C: No, but I lean on people like Chris Lemmer for advice and in the past, Matt Cromwell, he’s my go to guy, and I have the text of Remcus, who I text stuff occasionally to when I’ve got questions around decisions to make. So I’ve got this informal network of people, which is fantastic that you can sort of lean on. Hey.

[00:36:00] Speaker B: Like a little mastermind group.

[00:36:02] Speaker C: You can like a little master group. And then I do have, actually, I do have an official secret mastermind group for YouTube with people like Paul from WP Tuts, Imran and some other great guys, Dave McCann as well.

And we share experiences around YouTube, which is great. A lot of times, a lot of the time, one of the big issues with running a YouTube channel is just your mental health. It’s absolutely terrifying.

And so that is like a part advice group, part support group. And those guys are fantastic, you know? So yes is the answer.

[00:36:39] Speaker B: I love that.

[00:36:40] Speaker C: That wasn’t rapid fire, was it? My answer?

[00:36:42] Speaker B: That was pretty good, though.

[00:36:43] Speaker C: That’s pretty good.

[00:36:44] Speaker B: I’ve had people talk like ten minutes on my rapid fire question. Like I said, you can take the time you need to answer them, so it’s all good.

The next question, you cannot mention anybody you just mentioned, so you have to think of somebody new, but who is somebody that you admire in the WordPress community and why.

[00:37:02] Speaker C: I’m going to say Anna from Anna Real design, she runs a design agency.

And I really like designers. I really like. I really like writers and I really like not singers, but songwriters. I like people that can create stuff and I like artists. I have a huge admiration for the. For those people. And she’s just a.

You can check her out at Anna Real design. She’s just a brilliant designer. And when you see brilliant design, just absolutely love her design. Plus, she’s forward thinking. She’s designing block themes as well. So, yeah. Hat tip to Anna.

[00:37:44] Speaker B: Hat tip to Anna. Perfect. What’s something that you want to learn in WordPress but that you haven’t tackled yet?

[00:37:50] Speaker C: Bricks builder.

Bricks builder. So we were speaking pre show how I’ve just been absolutely pummeled by the BRics community.

They hate me, but because I put a video out of me struggling to use bricks, the intention, and I wasn’t nasty about bricks at all. I was just me being hopeless with it and they didn’t like me for it.

So I think I have a duty now to try and understand how it works in a bit more detail. But I would say it’s probably the most unwordpressy. Oh, they’re going to hate me even more. But what the heck, it’s probably the most unwordpressy page builder I’ve seen. Okay. So it’s almost like nothing to do with WordPress and that has pros and cons, bricks community. But, you know, if you’re going to use it, there are some issues with that approach as well. That’s what I’m going to learn how.

[00:38:44] Speaker B: To maybe win some friends back in that group.

[00:38:50] Speaker C: No, I think they got, I’ve written them off then they’re never going to come back. But I think for my own sanity, I at least, like, I was so hopeless with this thing, I couldn’t even change.

I couldn’t really couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t change the background color of the website.

[00:39:04] Speaker B: Oh, wow.

[00:39:04] Speaker C: I was all over the place. So, yeah, it’s bricks builder for 2024.

[00:39:09] Speaker B: You’re the first person to ever say that. So let me know when. Let me know when you got to figure it out.

What’s one of the. Now, the next question I’m going to ask you, you can’t say bricks.

What’s one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made in WordPress and what did you learn from it?

[00:39:25] Speaker C: I released a plugin called block Injector, which is a great plugin.

And what it lets you do, I’m going to come to my answer. It lets you inject Gutenberg blocks dynamically anywhere within a website.

Cadence has a similar thing, actually. It’s called block injector, but I built it without thinking about the market at all.

The market wasn’t looking. I mean, we’ve got customers and they love it, but not many. The market wouldn’t know that they needed it. So there wasn’t. I was building a thing because it was a cool thing and was possible technically, but there wasn’t any great and it would be really cool for people to use, but there’s no market appetite for that thing. People don’t search for it on Google because they don’t know what it is, that functionality. So it was a classic product marketing mistake.

[00:40:18] Speaker B: You have to educate the community that they need you in order to sell.

[00:40:22] Speaker C: Your product and that. Exactly.

[00:40:24] Speaker B: That’s a steep hill. That’s a steep hill.

[00:40:27] Speaker C: That’s a steep hill and one that I don’t have enough lifetimes to do so. Yeah, but it’s still, you know, it’s still there and it’s a great plugin. So check it out, everyone. It’ll be.

[00:40:37] Speaker B: Your next YouTube video will be up.

[00:40:40] Speaker C: Yeah.

[00:40:43] Speaker B: What’s your proudest WordPress moment?

[00:40:46] Speaker C: I think that’s a great question. I think probably seeing, actually there’s been a few this year. Can I mention a few? Of course.

This is rapid. Matt Mullenweg demoing our plugin in the state of the world in Nashville.

That was amazing because that was kind of didn’t know that was happening. I was sitting in the crowd, so that was great. And I think some of the interviews I’ve been able to have this year because of my YouTube channel. So Yoast interviewed, Yoast interviewed Matt Mill and Wegg, and got to interview Rand Fishkin, who’s a big hero of mine.

So those. Those. Being able to meet some of those people and interview them and bring them to the YouTube channel has been amazing.

[00:41:28] Speaker B: I love that. That’s fantastic. For sure.

If you weren’t working in web at all, what’s another career that you might like to attempt?

[00:41:37] Speaker C: Well, I was very good at tennis when I was younger, so it would have been tennis. I used to be a tennis coach when I was very young, just sort of funding myself through college. So probably some kind of tennis academy. I mean, I love tennis. I love sport. So probably some sort of tennis academy, but I’m nowhere near doing that. But, yeah, it would probably be something around a passion that I have, something like that.

[00:42:02] Speaker B: So I admittedly and embarrassedly sometimes spend too much time on TikTok.

There was a video. The tennis thing just made me think, there’s a video of a dog is, like, leaning over the fence trying to get to this goat, and the goat has, you know, the horns on it, on it. And the owner of the farm had put tennis balls on the horns of the goat because it was causing, you know, mayhem, I suppose. I guess, with that, with the horns. And that dog was trying so hard to get those tennis balls off of those rams horns to play with. And that just popped in my head when you said, teddy, so if I find the video again, I’ll share it with you. But who knows? That was, like three days ago, but it was funny.

What’s something on your bucket list?

[00:42:51] Speaker C: Yeah, that’s a good question. So my children are. I’ve got three daughters, and they are two at university, and one’s just about to. She’s three years away from university. If she goes to university.

And at that point, me and my wife have agreed we’re going to be nomadic for a year or two, so we’ll travel the world and work as we go and take our various work with us. So that’s, that’s on our bucket list. Yeah.

[00:43:18] Speaker B: Well, when you get to New York, let me know and we’ll meet up with coffee.

[00:43:21] Speaker C: Yeah, I mean, there’s quite a few WordPress people around the world I’m going to stop in on. I think I love it.

[00:43:27] Speaker B: That’s fantastic. Yeah. Hit as many meetups as you can show us or tell us about a hidden talent you have that the WordPress community might not be aware of.

[00:43:36] Speaker C: Oh, gosh.

I don’t actually have it. Here we go.

This is really heavy. I can’t show you.

I could have juggled. But this is an amplifier.

[00:43:48] Speaker B: Oh, yeah.

[00:43:49] Speaker C: So that’s an amp. So I play in a band.

[00:43:51] Speaker B: Oh, nice.

[00:43:53] Speaker C: We’re called shenanigans. I play guitar and that’s. That’s my. So that’s my, that’s my. It’s not that hidden, but yeah, I don’t have a guitar on the background, which is unusual for a WordPress person, but yeah, I play, I play guitar in a band and it’s a big.

[00:44:08] Speaker B: Passion in my other office, which is my home office. I’m in the office office today, but in my home office, I have four guitars on the wall behind me.

[00:44:16] Speaker C: I think I’ve seen that, haven’t I?

[00:44:17] Speaker B: Yeah, you probably have. Yeah. And they were my father’s guitars. I inherited them from him last year and I did learn to play on them and I played for a number of years.

[00:44:26] Speaker C: Yeah.

[00:44:27] Speaker B: But I joke, I often joke about the fact that once I hung the guitars on the wall, I at least looked like a developer.

[00:44:34] Speaker C: Yes, that’s right. I do wonder how many people with the guitars can actually play them. You know, I think it’s probably quite a low percentage of people that play them.

[00:44:44] Speaker B: I could still play it, but I. I have long fingernails now that I really am vain about, so it makes it impossible. I’m not a flamenco player. So, you know, I’ve got the nails. It gets in the way, and I’m content to have them be decor in my home office.

How can people find you if they’re looking for you online? Give us your details where, you know, the YouTube, your website, socialists, whatever.

[00:45:09] Speaker C: Okay, website. That’s pootle as in p, not poodle. Some people say that Michelle and Twitter is pootlepress at pootlepress. And YouTube is YouTube. Jamiewp. That’s where you can find me.

[00:45:27] Speaker B: Excellent.

[00:45:27] Speaker C: And for anyone or just go on to YouTube. Go onto YouTube and put in the search WordPress Jamie, that will bring me up as well.

[00:45:34] Speaker B: Find you for sure. Yeah. If you’re listening to the episode and you are trying to figure out how to memorize those, you don’t need to memorize them. Go to Look for Jamie’s episode. We will have all of those links in the show notes for you. Absolutely.

Is there anything else you’d like to say before we wrap up this episode?

[00:45:53] Speaker C: No. Well, lovely to see you again. And I’ll see you next year initially, hopefully.

[00:45:57] Speaker B: Yes, absolutely. Lovely to see you as well. And for everybody else, have a wonderful day. We’ll see you on the next episode of WP Coffee Talk. Bye.

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