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Jocelyn Hendrickson is a Sr. Product Manager at Bluehost who is passionate about how Bluehost supports their customers and about a new launch called Wondersuite. She’s also an amazing artist, and a blast to talk to. In a word, she’s wonderful.
|What is your job title?||Sr. Product Manager|
|What is your company name?||Newfold Digital – Bluehost|
|What do you do with WordPress?||As Senior Product Manager – WordPress Commerce, I develop and enhance tools and features that empower businesses to thrive in a digital landscape. From ideation to execution, my role is to ensure we deliver solutions that make it easy to create websites.|
|Describe the WordPress community in just a few words.||Only a few words? 🙂|
Speaker 0 00:00:00 Welcome to WP Coffee Talk with your podcast barista Michelle Frechette. Special thanks to our sponsors Ws Forum and BeaverBuilder. If you’re interested in joining WP Coffee Talk as a guest or a sponsor, please visit our firstname.lastname@example.org and now on with the show.
Speaker 2 00:00:21 Welcome to WP Coffee Talk. I’m your podcast barista, Michelle Frechette, serving up the podcast and the the WordPress stories from around the world. And today my guest is Jocelyn Hendrickson, who is the senior project manager at Blue Host, which is now part of New Fold Digital. Hi Jocelyn, how are you?
Speaker 1 00:00:39 Hi, Michelle. I’m doing great. How are you?
Speaker 2 00:00:41 I’m good, thank you. As you were reminding me earlier, we’ve seen each other a few times this year already, which I can’t say that about almost anybody that I work with, but I, but I’ve seen you at a few word camps this year, so it’s nice to see you back on home territory.
Speaker 1 00:00:54 Yeah, same. Likewise. Yeah, I was really fun to be able to talk to you in Athens as well as in, uh, Bangkok is really great.
Speaker 2 00:01:02 Yeah. It’s, I love the word press community for those reasons that we can travel, we can see each other and it’s like all these touch points with new people, but also the same people and kind of continue to grow those relationships, which is super cool. Yeah. So I, I said who you are, but tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do with at Bluehost.
Speaker 1 00:01:20 Yep. So I am a product manager at Bluehost. Um, right now my area of focus is on WordPress commerce. And so a lot of integrations with WooCommerce and really just building out products that help to help merchants be successful online, you know, and make it easier than ever before for them to get their site, get their store up and going, um, add sales, get their products loaded. So I’ve been with the company for about 10 years and I just started working on the WordPress side of things Okay. Last year. So it’s been very, you know, I’ve, I’ve done a lot of other things, third party integrations with Google, or, you know, other things like that. So the WordPress side has always been handled by others, and it’s really recent, but exciting for me.
Speaker 2 00:02:03 So some, for some people, like a year into WordPress feels like a newbie to other people. It’s like, wow, you’ve been here forever, because that’s how WordPress goes, right. Which is like, yeah, I tell, I tell people that I’ve been using WordPress since 2012, and a lot of people are like, wow, you’ve been at forever. But then people who are like, oh, I remember when we just first got started. Oh, like, you haven’t been here very long, have you, Michelle? So it’s all a, a spectrum and I, I’m grateful that you’re part of it, so thanks for being
Speaker 1 00:02:29 Here. Oh, thank so
Speaker 2 00:02:29 Much. Absolutely. So I always ask people to tell us about your mug and what you’re drinking in it, and you said you have two mugs, so I can’t wait to see these. Go ahead. Let’s see.
Speaker 1 00:02:40 Yeah, so my first one I’ve got, um, this mug here. Let’s see if you can see it. It says Weirdo,
Speaker 2 00:02:45 Weirdo. I think I need one of those. I need to find a mug that says Weirdo <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:02:49 So a colleague that when we were back before pandemic days, um, brought in two mugs. One was weirdo and one was weirder or weirdest. And her and I were in the same office in our building, and she had our team that was in the same room vo on who would get weirdo and weirdest. And I ended up with the least weird one, but I just feel like it really rings true to true to me. But what’s in that one is, um, chai tea. Oh, very nice. So black, there’s a company called Black Scotty, they make a syrup, and that’s my favorite in the world.
Speaker 2 00:03:19 Ooh, I like that. We’ll have to put that in the show notes. Send me a link for that so we can, I can experience it too. So,
Speaker 1 00:03:26 Oh, it’s so good. If,
Speaker 2 00:03:27 If your first book says weirdo, what does your other mug say? Ew. David Shits Creek. Uh, I love it. I just started rewatching it for like the seventh time the other day. <laugh> Love it. Which
Speaker 1 00:03:44 Is always a great idea. Always a great idea. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,
Speaker 2 00:03:47 I saw a TikTok recently where the, where it said like, what’s a song that only exists in a Televis television show that just slaps? And that’s like every single person that was Dueting. It was like the Alexa song, right. <laugh>
Speaker 1 00:04:00 The Alexa song.
Speaker 2 00:04:01 The Alexa song course. It was so funny. Course, so course. Yeah. So we can bond over that at Word Camp Us, maybe <laugh>
Speaker 1 00:04:06 Perfect. Yes, I, it’s my favorite, but I have, I’ve got water in this mug because my chai team makes me too. You know, I got a, the trade off.
Speaker 2 00:04:16 Well, I can’t get this. Well, I have, I have a mug I haven’t had on the show before. This is from open source.com, and it’s a awesome, yeah. So Amy, June Heinlein sent me this one, and I’ve got coffee with, um, caramel macchiato creamer in it. And Yu I will re regret later that I’m drinking coffee at five o’clock in the evening, but for now, little bit on the edge. No, right. Yolo
Speaker 1 00:04:39 Today. Michelle’s okay. Tomorrow. Michelle May be a little bit irritated by it
Speaker 2 00:04:43 Tomorrow. Michelle is gonna be like, what did you do to me? <laugh>. So a year ago, you guys, about last year, I should say a year ago, I don’t know how long ago, but last year sometime you got started with WordPress. How did you get started with WordPress? How did that happen?
Speaker 1 00:04:56 Yeah, so I mean, I, I see a year ago, I’ve, I’ve been, and I’ve worked in WordPress for years, um, mostly because of, uh, customer service or understanding integrations for flu host. And like, you know, I’ve worked for the company for 10 years, and you can’t not know about WordPress for King <laugh> for the company. Like, it feels like a betrayal, you know? So I, I dabbled here and there for it. But, um, really a lot of it, we had a lot of shifts in our company, a lot of dynamic, a lot of changes to what was going on. Um, and there was just an opportunity for me to step into work on the commerce side of things with, with WordPress. And, um, I’d been working on more backend integration products or, you know, things with C panel and things like that. And, and I wanted a change of pace, you know, and so I said, yeah, let’s do it. Like, sign me up, let’s get into it. And so I just dove head first into documentation and playing around and understanding not only WordPress, but WooCommerce is, is a huge part of it as well. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> having to do both of those kind of as a, as a beginner. So
Speaker 2 00:05:58 Have you ever been part of a community like WordPress in any other area of your life? It’s like, so different.
Speaker 1 00:06:06 I can’t, I can’t say that I have, I mean, I mean, maybe like in high school, you know, like there’s, you know, you have the clubs and the, the communities there. But no, I mean, it, it is so different and yeah, what I’ve really loved is that any time I’m like, oh, I got this question and I don’t wanna ask this question because it feels like this is, I should know this. But every time I have to ask those questions, the responses are always like, yes, let me teach you. Let me show you. Let me empower you, and here’s how you find X, Y, or Z. And so it’s been, it’s been really great to, to dive in because I don’t feel like I’m reliant on being a complete expert, you know what I mean? I, I’m reliant on my own, I’m reliant on my own. Go, go to like, like my own desire to research and understand.
Speaker 2 00:06:54 Yeah. I love that. And there’s so many places you can turn to for information besides people. There’s like, all I have to do is Google, or honestly, there’s been times I’ve just asked a question to Twitter and lots of people are giving me advice, which I love. So pretty cool stuff. Hive mind, I think they call it. Right?
Speaker 1 00:07:11 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:07:12 So what’s something that you think people skip or don’t focus enough attention on when building sites that would make them better?
Speaker 1 00:07:24 Honestly, I think that the biggest thing that I’ve seen is people create their, you know, they, they have this dream. They wanna build a site, they wanna have an online presence, whether it’s for blogging or for their recipes or creating a store. And I think that they have expectations that they can just jump in and have their site and they’ll get traffic and visitors immediately, and they don’t understand all of the legwork that’s behind it. And so I think one thing that often gets skipped is planning and preparation for your site. Mm-hmm. I guess you have a dream, but like, understanding what your site structure is, what pages that you want to have, how that’s going to impact your s e o. Um, I mean, it’s, it’s a lot better to fail on paper than in pixels, and it’s a lot cheaper that way, you know?
Speaker 2 00:08:10 True, true.
Speaker 1 00:08:12 So I, I, I think that a lot of, like, the planning that goes into, and understanding and finding the target audience and knowing who you’re trying to reach is something that is not often thought about. It’s just kind of, okay, I started this site, but now what? You know, and then they have to kind of backtrack and do those same things and maybe redo a couple of pages. Um, so I think that, and a combination of being patient with yourself and setting realistic expectations and goals, um, you know, it takes months, it takes months to start seeing your success. It takes, it takes a while and mm-hmm. <affirmative> every month is going to be different, especially as you’re getting started. And so I think if you have those expectations set and you know what you’re going in for and you know, that you, you don’t launch and then all of a sudden you’re making, you know, hundreds of dollars in revenue your first day, like that’s mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, right. That’s just not realistic for, for most people. Um, I think, I think those things and, and also not understanding, um, the best way to communicate with their audience. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they’ll have a lot of jargon, you know, on their website, and people are like,
Speaker 2 00:09:19 Oh yeah,
Speaker 1 00:09:19 This is not making sense to me. You know? Um, yeah. So just plan ahead. Be easy on yourself. Do rough sketches, take a step Absolutely. Back. And make sure that you know where you’re going.
Speaker 2 00:09:32 When I was freelancing, I had somebody that I’d gone to high school with say to me, Hey, do you think you could build me a website? I wanna be a blogger. And I was like, oh, well, what do you wanna blog about? And she says, well, I don’t really know yet, but I heard you could make a lot of money blogging. I said, Nope, you’re not gonna make a lot of money blogging unless you know what you’re going for. You have a built-in audience to start with. And all of the things that come along that. And then when I told her how much it would cost for me to build her the site, and then it might take her three to four years even to make that money back, she’s like, okay, nevermind <laugh>. So yeah. I’m like, not here to discourage you, but I’m here to set realistic expectations. <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:10:07 Yeah. Which is, which is super important. And I think with that too, and, and I know that we hear this all the time, but SEO is so important for your, for your traffic and for your website. Absolutely. And so I take the time to learn, or at least get a base understanding of mm-hmm. <affirmative> seo. Yes. So that you’re set up for success.
Speaker 2 00:10:26 Absolutely. A hundred percent agree with you on that. When you think back over your, let’s say your Blue host journey, including WordPress, what’s something that you wish you had known earlier in that process and in that journey that you know now, but would’ve made life a whole lot easier sooner? Oh
Speaker 1 00:10:44 Gosh. There are so many things. I, I’m a person who is, I, I love learning. I, anytime I can learn something new, I’m learning something new. Like I have 10,000 my, I’m also in my craft room, 10,000 different crafts over on my table over there, cuz I learn how to do something and then I get started on it and then I get fascinated by something else. Um, but I think one of the biggest things, you know, so I, where I’d use WordPress or I’d help customers with that, I never have really taken the time to build out anything for me, no sight for me. And because it was intimidating and I wish that I would’ve just dove in earlier mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, because the end, the possibilities are endless. There’s so much customization you can do, you know, you can do so much with WordPress and with, especially with all the plugins out there and the community out there to help you mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, I just, I don’t know. I wish I would’ve invested a little bit more into doing that for myself.
Speaker 2 00:11:39 Yeah, I understand. I really do. When you think back over, as we mentioned Word camps earlier, but Word camps, other WordPress events, maybe meetups, things like that. What’s something, um, a moment perhaps that was, was kind of pivotal for you or, I don’t know, inspiring over the course of, you know, those kinds of events? Uh, tell us a little bit about what that might have been.
Speaker 1 00:12:03 Sure. Yeah. So my first word camp ever was actually Bird Camp Asia this year. Ah. So very cool. First time I’ve ever been. And then my second one was Athens, so
Speaker 2 00:12:12 Oh, oh my goodness. You start with the big ones, <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:12:15 I know, I know, I know. They’re like, my coworkers are like, okay. So now when you go to the smaller ones, like they’re not, they’re like this, don’t, don’t set yourself up for sure, you know, disappointment because these are not like that. Um, but, but still, it was really fun. And, uh, there was a lot of talks that I’ve had to go back and, um, you know, see if there’s videos for, to go watch them. Cuz I, I’ve been working at the booth talking to attendees, but I think the biggest thing that stood out is the people that I met in Asia, even though it was just the one time for the next couple days in Athens, you know, they saw me, they remembered my name, they remembered who I was. And it was just very, very friendly. And you know, there’s people who have been part of the community for a long time.
Speaker 1 00:13:00 They’ve seen each other at dozens of events. And I was never made to feel as though I was an outsider or like, you’re not one of us. You know, it was like, come here, come here. Yes. Let me show you. Let’s talk about things. You know, it was just very welcoming and, and I think that that, that made a huge impact on me just knowing, like, I was very nervous my first word camp. Like, I don’t know anybody and everybody knows everybody and not me. But I think, I think that that’s probably what made the biggest impact.
Speaker 2 00:13:27 Yeah. I can imagine that to be true too. I agree. Like, and, and it doesn’t matter where you work, it’s like you can be competitors. Like I work for Liquid Web, you look work for Blue Host and like, we can get together at a podcast, we can have a drink at, you know, a cup of coffee or a cup of chai tea or whatever and a at a Word camp. And it’s like, we’re not sharing trade secrets, but we’re not ever not friends either. And I think that’s pretty cool about
Speaker 1 00:13:51 WordPress. Right? Well, and, and in fact, uh, the GoDaddy booth there where we, where our booth was in Athens, it was right by those big glass doors to the kind of patio outside area where we took, took a big picture and it was so hot. It was so hot. And GoDaddy was like down and around the corner kind of by a fan. And so there was a few times that I went and I’m just like, hi, I’m here to just sit.
Speaker 2 00:14:17 I just wanna cool off for a minute. <laugh>,
Speaker 1 00:14:20 I just need not the sunshine beating on my face for a minute. <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:14:23 Like, I don’t need your swag, I just need the cool
Speaker 1 00:14:26 <laugh>. Yeah, exactly.
Speaker 2 00:14:28 I love it. That’s so fun. You’re right though. It’s like, it’s all like, Hey, have a seat. We’re all good. <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:14:33 Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:14:34 Fantastic. Well, tell us more about what’s going on at Blue House. I know you guys have some exciting things happening, so here’s your opportunity to share it. Tell us what’s going on.
Speaker 1 00:14:44 Yeah, so we just launched, um, it’s called Wonder Suite. So we have, it’s not a new product, it’s a new experience for Blue Host customers in creating their website. And so, and we actually demoed it at WordCamp Athens and had a lot of positive feedback, but it includes a couple of different aspects of it. The first is our onboarding, where we are, um, integrating into block patterns and templates so that as customers are telling us a little bit more about their website, so if they’re saying I’m in arts and crafts or I’m in weddings, then we start building previews using block patterns and templates that have to do with arts and crafts. So you’ll have a full homepage that has images and pictures and, and not just images and pictures, but copy that’s like unleash your Creative Beast or I don’t know, something like that.
Speaker 1 00:15:33 I made that one up. But, you know, it relates to what you do and, and, and the type of site that you’re building. Um, which is really cool cuz the onboarding, it doesn’t feel like onboarding. You feel like you’re already kind of designing and creating your site mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And we’re also integrated with Yo seo. So when they’re inputting their social media or you know, their logo and their site title and description, we’re giving them a headstart on their SEO without them knowing it. Right. Nice. Cause uh, yo seo, we, we activate that, um, for them mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and then the continuation of it, those same block patterns that we were talking about, we, uh, have Wonder Blocks, which is all built on core WordPress blocks. Mm-hmm. So nothing’s like super customizable. They’re, everything’s built on core, um, where users can go in and they can say, oh, I want a full homepage template, or I want a, I need a hero image.
Speaker 1 00:16:24 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it’s using those same, it’s using the same algorithm to display the same things that are like you told us your arts and crafts, so here’s arts, an arts and crafts header, here’s an arts and craft section title, here’s arts and crafts, uh, you know, telling ’em about like features. Um, so that’s really exciting because, and in fact, so Dave Ryan and I, we had to do a demo of, of the Wonder Suite for our company and he and I sat down and we built out a full website plus a store in about 45 minutes. Wow. Total. And, and we had including the store page, there was, there was four pages. Um, so it wasn’t huge, but we had a full homepage and about page Yeah. A contact page. Um, and then he and I, he’s a photographer and I’m an artist, so we took our art and photography and placed them on mock pictures, right?
Speaker 1 00:17:14 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So like, like I have this cute, I’ll have to send you the link cuz it’s so cute. I have this box that I drew, um, on my iPad and we put this little Fox mug and he’s just the cutest thing and I might put them for real life <laugh>. Um, I love that. And then two more things and I, I’ll I’ll be quick about it. Uh, yeah, that’s fine. One is our one cart, uh, plugin that, so yet we, we acquired y and so they built a lot of plugins for us and they built this beautiful plugin for merchants to be able to go and create sales discounts, promotions on their shop in a matter of few clicks. And what’s cool about that is that I’ve not seen any plugin like that on the market where it has so many different campaign options and customization options mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:18:00 <affirmative> all in one. Um, typically you see merchants, they have to install 3, 4, 5, 6 different plugins that may or may not be by the same author that may or may not be compatible with each other. Right. That always have a different, you know, look and feel to them in WP admin. So, so not only do, are they managing multiple plugins, getting plug and float, but they have to learn each new plugin every single time and manage them elsewhere. Um mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But yeah, there’s 13 different types of promotions. You know, buy one, get one free last deal and cart, uh, free gift and cart, you know, just to name a few mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and then the last part that I was super excited about is our, our embedded help, our WordPress help. Ooh, our customers. We hear from them time and time again. Like, I wish I had more help right here at my fingertips as I’m working on the thing I’m working on.
Speaker 1 00:18:50 And there’s not really anything like out of the box that’s, that’s really super helpful for all of WordPress and especially for the type of questions our users are asking. And so we, we built this embedded contextual help inside WordPress that is integrated with open ai. And so what’s cool is that we, you know, can ask it a question, how do I add a new user? How do I create a new page? It’ll give the customer the steps. And then as they’re clicking through WP admin, you know, if they’re on the homepage or on the dashboard and they click products or add a product over here, it persists in the, in the side n over there. Ooh. They always have that there for them. Um, and, and we, with it being integrated into OpenAI, we ask OpenAI one time and once we get an answer and we vetted that, it’s like Correct, we’ll we’ll store that in our, our database, which is super exciting. Nice. So it’s, you know, we, we have them stored and then we can build on what customers are asking us and improve Okay. The results that are given. So, wow. It’s, it’s super exciting. And then we have a unified look and feel with the Yoast plugin to kind of match their styling, um, make it feel a little bit more cohesive and again, not so like, jarring when you’re jumping from one plugin to the next.
Speaker 2 00:20:06 Sure. Oh, that’s really great. Um,
Speaker 1 00:20:09 There’s a lot packed in <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:20:11 I can see why you guys are excited to get that out in the market and let people know about it. For sure.
Speaker 1 00:20:16 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:20:16 Very exciting. And, and I love that you feel, I, I’m getting this feeling like you’re the mom who’s showing everybody their new, their newborn <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:20:23 Look, look, look what I do. Look at the pictures. Look at the pictures.
Speaker 2 00:20:27 Exactly. Have I shown you like <laugh>, those kind of thing? Exactly. I love
Speaker 1 00:20:31 That. All of No, but now, but now it’s sleeping. That’s right. Awake. That’s
Speaker 2 00:20:35 Right. And this is when I learned to walk and this is Yes. All the things. Yes. I love it. You can tell people who are, um, I’m not saying you’re a nerd like me, but you can tell the nerds because we have screenshots of tech on our phones <laugh> instead of just only our kids and our dogs and our cats and things like that. It’s like, yeah. I keep those in a separate file. Now some people are just scrolling through my photos, they’re not like, what’s this? I’m like, oh, that’s the dashboard <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:21:02 Yeah. I have a full folder dedicated to like, when I’m on a site and I’m like, that was delightful screenshot. And I save it
Speaker 2 00:21:08 To a folder. <laugh>. I know. We’re the, we’re the, well we’re not the original nerds cuz we’re not old enough to be the original nerds, but we definitely are.
Speaker 1 00:21:17 Very much so,
Speaker 2 00:21:18 Very much. And I’m proud of it. It’s all okay, you know. Yeah. It’s, it’s all good. You should get t-shirts made like nerd club or something, I don’t know. Yeah,
Speaker 1 00:21:25 Yeah. I’m all about it.
Speaker 2 00:21:26 For sure. For sure. So that’s very exciting and congratulations to you and the team on, um, being able to put that out to market. Very cool stuff.
Speaker 1 00:21:34 Thank you so much. Yeah, of
Speaker 2 00:21:36 Course. Are you ready for my rapid fire questions?
Speaker 1 00:21:39 Yeah. Deep breath <laugh>. Okay,
Speaker 2 00:21:41 We’re good. Deep breath in. Another, another hit of the tea. Okay. I, I always say I ask them rapidly, you take the time you need to, to answer them. So there are no gotchas. It’s just, it’s kind of like inside the actor studio when, um, James Lipton asks everybody, like, if there is a God, what do you wanna hear him say when you arrive at the pearly gates? It’s kinda like that, but a little less like gravitas. Okay. So here we go. <laugh>, what are two or three must have plugins that you would recommend to somebody building their own website?
Speaker 1 00:22:10 This has been, so as I’ve been thinking about the answers, this one has been kind of the most difficult for me to think of because of, like I said, like I’m not in there all the time. I’m not building out sites for other people. Um, but the couple that I’m really impressed by, one is cool, it’s called user switching, where you see Oh yeah. What your user sees, right. In a, in a better way mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I really love that for testing. I’m, I’m a huge, I’m, I’m a huge advocate for like, test your site, test your things like every single time, always test your changes and have other people do it. You know, put yourself in the customer’s mindset. Mm-hmm. So I think that that one’s really cool, um, to be able to quickly do that. Cuz to be honest, previewing your site when you’re logged into WP admin, it’s just not the same as seeing it.
Speaker 2 00:22:55 And also user switching is really helpful for solving problems. If you do, like, if you are running WooCommerce or things like that, like they say they can’t see it, what if I log in as them, what can I see? So yes, definitely. It’s a good one. Mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:23:09 <affirmative>. Exactly. Um, another one that I, I’ve used a couple times is Faker Press. You know, go in and, uh mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, throw in some fake content. So it’s like kind of a way to test themes so you can have a couple pages and posts and see what it’s going to look like without necessarily like dedicating yourself to that theme. And you can have the fake content in there. So I think that that one’s kind of cool cuz we mm-hmm. <affirmative> get a lot of customers that are like, sometimes they’ll have 20 different themes that are installed, you know, that they’re like, why is trying to find the perfect one? You know? And so I think that that one’s, that one’s kind of cool to be able to solve
Speaker 2 00:23:43 With that. Didn’t you settle on one yet? Can we get rid of the old ones yet?
Speaker 1 00:23:46 <laugh>, right. Can we delete this? Can we clean up some of this crap? Um, yeah. And then another one where, um, this is gonna come back to like my product management side of things, but, um, there’s a Kanban plugin, I think it’s just called Kanban Boards for WordPress mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And you’re able to create like project management in your dashboard and be like, oh, that’s cool. Hey, here’s all the things that I want to do for my site. And now I can prioritize those things because let’s get real, it’s overwhelming and daunting to build a website from scratch, especially Right. For new users. But being able to break down those tasks, focus on bit by bit. I mean, I I live and breathe by tasks as a product manager, so
Speaker 2 00:24:27 Yes, yes. Tasks are helpful. You can’t, especially cuz you like to check ’em off when they’re done and there’s a feeling of accomplishment when you can. Right? Oh, for sure. For sure.
Speaker 1 00:24:37 Yep.
Speaker 2 00:24:38 Have you had a mentor at all in your WordPress or Tech Journey? Um, whether official or unofficial, maybe somebody that you looked up to or somebody like you that took you another wing, that kind of thing. And who was it?
Speaker 1 00:24:50 I’ve, I’ve had so many, so many incredible experiences with people. So, you know, starting with the, with WordPress, I’m lucky enough to be able to get to work with people like John Deros. You know, I’ve got Chris Miles, we’ve got Mike Hanson. Mm-hmm. Uh, you know, we’ve got even Devin, Sears, the hype man. Like I’ve got so many incredible people who are well known in, uh, the WordPress community that are right there. And every single one of them. And I know I’m not saying all the names, we would be here for a long time, so I apologize <laugh>, but, um, every single one of them have have done something to help me, you know, at, at some point or another been just super patient with explaining things, um mm-hmm. <affirmative> like kind of I previously mentioned. Um, and then I think like in my career in general, I’ve, I’ve been able to work with some incredible developers who, so the reason I’m in product management is I, I originally was in customer service mm-hmm.
Speaker 1 00:25:41 <affirmative>. And, um, I just like applied for every single position I ever, you know, just needed more money, let’s be real. But eventually I was a, the department manager for a billing mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And while growing into that position, I just fostered such a love for our customers and like helping them out and seeing them succeed and be successful online. For me, in order for me to help customers be successful, it’s important that I understand the technology behind our product and not just like, oh yeah, here’s our product. Hmm. Um, and so I started scheduling me meetings with a few developers, you know, here and there and get time on their calendars and explain this to me, like, help me understand this. Um, I think one of the most empowering things is when you’re trying to build a new product is to say, I don’t know, I need help. Help me understand. Yeah, explain that better. But I mean, I just have had so many people, even in product management that have been like, oh, here’s some great advice. And I don’t know, I don’t know that I could pinpoint one person, <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:26:47 That’s okay. I love it. But I’m gonna make you pick one person for the next question. Who is somebody in the WordPress community that you admire and why? And it can’t be somebody you already named
Speaker 1 00:27:00 <laugh> <laugh>. Can we go back five minutes? <laugh>? Oh, that is, that is really good question. I know.
Speaker 2 00:27:09 It’s a tough one, huh?
Speaker 1 00:27:16 So, I think, so one person that I met, uh, when I was in Word Camp Asia was no talk. And I saw him again in Athens and, uh, you know, since Medium. And it was funny because I’ve read articles that he’s written or I’ve read his words before. I’m like, man, this guy’s cool. Like, you know, that or the other. And then met him in, in real life and he again was one of those people who were like, hi. Like, yes, we can be friends immediately, like, smile on my face, like, and, and in a or in Asia, I lost my voice completely. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I was talking, it was, it was gross to hear me speak. Let’s be rude
Speaker 2 00:27:48 <laugh>.
Speaker 1 00:27:49 And he’s like, okay, level one of the mall, there’s this place, it has this red sign. Get this type of tea there, it’ll change your life. You know, just super, super kind. So that was that. Um, and then I have to say, Michelle, you, I I’m very inspired by your, um, campaigns that you do at the word camps, you know, um, Michelle and me selfies and, you know, and in fact I was telling you that I have the one where your daughter is there and I never got around to posting it, but
Speaker 2 00:28:16 You gotta post it now so I can see it and share it with her. So that’ll
Speaker 1 00:28:19 Be good. But you’ve been, you’ve been very inspiring as I’ve been kind of going into the community. So especially as a woman, um, it’s, it’s really empowering to see your presence and the way that people really admire you.
Speaker 2 00:28:30 Thank you. Well, we need more of you in the community, so if I can help get more of you in the community, then I’m doing my job. Right. So, <laugh>, what’s something that you haven’t learned yet in WordPress that you really would like to?
Speaker 1 00:28:47 Oh geez. I think probably, um, creating my own, I mean, and the hard thing is, is like themes are not even gonna be a thing in the future. Really. Like with the blocks and patterns, like I say this, but creating my own child themes or being able to, um, create my own things in WordPress has been an endeavor I’ve not delved into. I mean, I’ve, I’ve tried around here, there on my local to see what I could see what I could do, but I’ve not completely dedicated myself to understanding a lot of like the WordPress
Speaker 2 00:29:20 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:29:21 Code based, which yeah, I understand. And it’s, it’s very, um, I’ve got too much on my plate for it. But that is something that I would absolutely like to work towards.
Speaker 2 00:29:31 I did something similar. I wanted to know more about what it means to develop a plugin. So, and I know that true developers will look at me and say that you didn’t really do that, or most of them are actually pretty kind and don’t say that <laugh>. But I took, I took a lunch hour when I was traveling in 2020 and literally over the course of about 45 minutes, I took Hello Dolly, downloaded it, reworked it so that it was my own plugin. Created something called Hello Beautiful. Where every time you log into your website, it tells you wonderful things about yourself to little pep talk on your own dashboard. I love it. And um, and then I was encouraged to, um, submit it to the repo so it actually exists in the repo. So I’m technically a developer and have word, have a plugin plugin in the repo. And it was because I wanted to learn a little bit more about what it meant to be a developer so that I, as somebody who was at the time working customer success, had a better understanding of the developers for the tools and technology that I was helping my customers use. And so, um, yeah, I recommended it and I, I actually <laugh>, it worked. As soon as I uploaded it to my website, I was like, oh my God, it worked. It just worked. So I, I tweeted that after. It’s a good feeling.
Speaker 2 00:30:40 I’m like, just built a WordPress plugin on my, um, on my lunch hour. Like, it’s that hard just to be funny. Right? No big deal.
Speaker 1 00:30:48 So
Speaker 2 00:30:48 No big deal. Like, you know, whatever <laugh> what I’ll do next week, maybe I’ll build a plane, I don’t know. But yeah, yeah, no, if you get an opportunity to play with those kinds of things, like the first time I just did a child theme just to be able to add functionality, it wasn’t even like, it really didn’t do much, but just to add functionality felt so empowering. So when you get a chance, you know, maybe in a lunch hour you can, you know, build something. I dunno,
Speaker 1 00:31:09 It is super empowering to be like, I did this thing, let me show you like, it, it feels good. And, and again, like I said, um, I, I have this drive to understand things like not just like know what they are, but like I, when there’s bugs or issues, I’m often digging in the code base. I’m trying to like replicate like, and, and so I can tell my developers, I can say, Hey, look what I have found you something, I found you. This is this helpful? And they’re like, oh, okay. But for me, one thing that I always say is that I strongly believe that with a bit of creativity and a dash of curiosity, there’s no limit of what you can accomplish. Like you just need, need a little bit of both and you can do incredible things.
Speaker 2 00:31:51 I 100% agree with you. I love that. Spread the word. I love that so much. Yeah. <laugh>. Now the other side of that is the next question, which is, what’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in WordPress and what did you learn from it? Gosh, but mistakes are part of learning and growing. So it’s not actually the opposite. It’s part of the, the journey and the process.
Speaker 1 00:32:13 I don’t know that I can say like biggest mistake, but like for me it was devastating. So I was trying to build out a demo site and I spent hours just being like, you know, creating fake products and finding the images and making sure that I had like this beautiful color palette, you know, and had it all set up. And, um, I, I don’t know what I did. I changed some setting to where my homepage was no longer my homepage and it was like some static other page that like, I don’t even know where it came from or what I did. <laugh>, I don’t even, I like, I couldn’t even tell you what I did to make this happen, but after that, all my pages, like even though I could see ’em in my page list, I, I would click on them and you know, I was getting like four oh threes and whatever.
Speaker 1 00:32:59 Oh no. And I was just gutted. I was gutted at what I did cuz I spent all of this time and I didn’t have a backup. And I was like, okay, it’s just a demo site. It’s not like I just took down our whole website, you know, like, I’m not sure I’m not impacting anybody except myself. But, um, I don’t dunno, I think probably just moving too fast and not like slowing down to make sure that I’m like, okay, do I really wanna hit safe changes? Do I really wanna do this? Like did I make a backup? Yes. So I think that that was, that was what it was. And I could not even give you replication steps if I tried <laugh>, it was just bad. It was a hot mess.
Speaker 2 00:33:35 It’s nice when we have versioning where we can go, okay, wait, go back. But we don’t always have that for every kind of stuff that we make. And that’s when you’re like, oh man. So no, I understand completely. And I have a private customer recently had me change something in their homepage and I was like, if I take that down how my, because they’re gonna wanna put it back up in a couple months, how am I gonna remember? So I, I made those blocks be like reusable blocks so that I wouldn’t have to remember what they said, but then they wanted us to go exactly like it was before. So I was just able to roll back the version of the page. Oh nice. It was even easier, but I was like, yeah, I had so many like safeguards in place. I would have to remember what it looked like or use the
Speaker 1 00:34:11 Remember what to do.
Speaker 2 00:34:12 Yeah, exactly. So I understand <laugh>
Speaker 1 00:34:14 The way back machine. I haven’t heard that in a while.
Speaker 2 00:34:17 Oh gosh, I use it all the time. <laugh>,
Speaker 1 00:34:20 Uh, yeah, same. Same. I mean I used to, when I was in support we would, we’d use a whole lot more. Not so much now, but very helpful.
Speaker 2 00:34:26 A a customer from about seven years ago said, Hey, I haven’t had a website in a while but I want it to look like it used to. Um, and so I had like, like, all right way back machine. It is. Cause I don’t remember what I built seven years ago for you and I don’t have a backup of that anymore. So. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:34:41 Nope.
Speaker 2 00:34:42 Every once in a while comes in handy.
Speaker 1 00:34:44 Yes.
Speaker 2 00:34:45 The opposite of that is what’s your proudest accomplishment in WordPress? Tell us about that.
Speaker 1 00:34:52 Um, I think it’s just really been my ability to dive in and understand things and kind of learn as I’m playing along. And there was, um, so with the block editor, one thing that was driving my um, my boss’s boss crazy is that when you view the page, you would see like the home contact about whatever, and he’s like, mm-hmm why does WordPress by default have this? How can I change this? And I like went and figured it out. I’m like, oh, here’s how you do it. You have to go to the templates and you gotta remove the post title and do this. And I’m like, look your titles and it sounds really stupid, but, and he’s like, it was that easy. And like it saved his heartburn cuz he was on, you know, he was on about it forever. Um, and you
Speaker 2 00:35:31 Were the hero. I love it. It’s
Speaker 1 00:35:32 Like I did a thing, I figured out this tiny little insignificant thing, but I, I think that, and then, um, the demo site that dev, uh, David Ryan and I built together, like yeah, it is not a real site, but I look at it, I’m like, dang, that’s pretty good. You know? And awesome. And I think too is that, uh, what we’re, what we’re building at Blue Host to empower our customers. So it’s not necessarily like what I have built, but being able to understand our customers and the pain points that they’re experiencing and really what the market needs has been really helpful for me to help drive and deliver on new innovative products for, for users to have.
Speaker 2 00:36:08 That’s wonderful. I love that. Um, if you weren’t working in tech though, what is another career that you might like to attempt?
Speaker 1 00:36:17 I, if I was not, if I did not have to rely on money, I would be an artist and I would spend my whole day painting or drawing, you know, doing digital art. I love, I love art. Um, a couple minor or, but I don’t know if you can see ’em, but I’ve got Oh, I see. Of mine back there and um, yeah, I actually last summer, was it last summer? Must have been, I took a digital art class from a Disney animator that was here, like local. Oh, cool. And he did a six week long digital art course. Um, and so that was, that was really, really fun to do. Um, yeah, I think, I think that that’s what I would do. I would do something that’s very creative, very hands-on, very like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, here’s my creations. Look at them. I love that
Speaker 2 00:37:02 <laugh>. See what I made,
Speaker 1 00:37:04 Adore them. Put
Speaker 2 00:37:05 It on your fridge. I know. <laugh>. I love that. What’s something on your bucket list?
Speaker 1 00:37:13 Oh gosh, I don’t even know. <laugh>, I don’t even know these days. Um, usually it’s survive my night without my children having tantrums for ma We’ve got five kids, our youngest is four, our youngest is four, oldest is 15. So it gets hectic. Um, no, but I think, uh, something on my bucket list. I want to scuba dive in a few more places. So we got my husband and I, ooh, got cert scuba dive certified last year and we went scuba diving in Mexico in April. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it was incr. I mean we swam with sharks and turtles and you know, these huge eagle rays. Um, but think that would be, that would be something is probably go to a few more countries and dive in a couple different places that have different, um, you know, yeah. Where the, except all the biomes are so different depending on where you are, the watercolor, everything. Mm-hmm. You know, that’s, I think that’s what I’d wanna do and, and do something to help with like the environment to do like cleanup projects as I’m doing it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I’m not purely just for like check out my GoPro footage, but I definitely did do that. Also
Speaker 2 00:38:17 <laugh>. I love it. You’ll have to share that later too.
Speaker 1 00:38:19 <laugh>. Yeah. Show us or
Speaker 2 00:38:21 Tell us about a hidden talent that you have that people in the WordPress community might not know about.
Speaker 1 00:38:27 I dunno. I think probably my art, you know, it’s something that I am, um, I don’t really, I don’t really publish a lot of it, you know, I, yeah. It’s usually for myself, it’s my, it’s my sanity, you know, I’ll take artb breaks so when things are too, I get too much in my head. I, I deal with a lot of technical documentation, a lot of technical things and it, my head just gets,
Speaker 2 00:38:49 Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:38:49 It’s too much. And so for my mental health, I take art breaks and I’ll sit and I’ll just draw and doodle. Um, or I’ll get out paints and just work on a bit of my painting mm-hmm. <affirmative> here or there. Um, but I think, like for me, I don’t, I just get so scared of sharing that with people. Like, it feels very vulnerable. Like it feels so personal and vulnerable. Um, and I think a lot of it is like my, my perfectionism. I’m like, but you’ll see my smudge from my eraser. You can’t see that. Like, that’s my eyes only, you know, like, it, it’s difficult. But I, I do, I encourage my kids, I mean, you know, we, we, I paint with my kids a lot as well. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we pull out the paints and we do projects together. In fact, this is one I did recently with my four year old. We did these two. So I drew, I drew this guy, this lion, I love it, the color. And she, and then she, she watercolors them, you know, and so they’re oh my gosh, quick, easy little things I
Speaker 2 00:39:46 Love. And
Speaker 1 00:39:47 Then I give her the paint and she watercolors it. And I, I just feel like being able to like lean into your gifts and regardless mm-hmm. Of your talent level. Like, I’m not asking my kids to be Picassos, but I think the self-expression and just trying is, is important
Speaker 2 00:40:02 And, and developing that love of it, right. Seeing what, if that’s your passion area and being able to like create for the sake of creation and not necessarily Right. Because it needs to be viewed and admired by everybody.
Speaker 1 00:40:14 Or because it’s a project at school that you have to do this even though you, you know, that you hate. Exactly. That you hate it. And I have tons of sketches that I’m like, I’ll never show anybody because they weren’t for anybody. They were just yeah. For me, cuz I needed them in that moment. It’s very cathartic.
Speaker 2 00:40:28 Yeah, I love that. But I do think you’re a really good artist and you should share it, but that’s just my opinion.
Speaker 1 00:40:33 <laugh>. Thank you Michelle.
Speaker 2 00:40:34 You’re
Speaker 1 00:40:34 Welcome. Thank you. That means a lot. <laugh>,
Speaker 2 00:40:36 How can people find you online if they’re looking for you on Twitter or any of the other new things that are out there? Um, Instagram, whatever. How do we find you?
Speaker 1 00:40:45 Yep. So I am Joss Hendrickson. Jos dot Hendrickson. I think one of them has a, not do my name’s too long to fit on any of the handles. <laugh>. So it’s j o c e Hendrickson, um, on social media. I’ll be there. Awesome.
Speaker 2 00:40:59 And we’ll have that on in the show notes. Yeah. We’ll find you. Perfect.
Speaker 1 00:41:02 Yep, that’s perfect.
Speaker 2 00:41:03 We’ll put it in the show notes. If you are listening to this and didn’t find us online, you can go to wp coffee talk.com, find Jocelyn’s, uh, episode and all of the information to get in touch with her. We’ll be there. So anything else you’d like to share before we call it a day?
Speaker 1 00:41:20 No, just thank you so much. Thank you so much for this opportunity. Um, it’s been such a pleasure and I feel very honored to be a guest on the show. Well thank you for joining me. Look forward to look forward to our future interactions and seeing you at Work camps. Absolutely.
Speaker 2 00:41:32 Well, the Honor is mine. Thank you for being here today. Appreciate very much. We’ll see everybody on the next episode of WP Coffee Talk.