Watch on YouTube

Listen Online

About Marcus:

Marcus Burnette is a community marketer with some web design and development chops. With over 13 years of experience in the industry, he’s honed his craft and built a reputation for delivering exceptional results. Marcus is the creator of The WP World, a WordPress community directory and resource.

Whether he’s designing custom WordPress websites, providing top-notch customer support, or using his marketing savvy to help businesses reach new heights, Marcus is a true all-rounder. He’s worked with small- to medium-sized clients across the board, and his passion for creativity comes second only to his love for the web community.

What is your job title?Founder
What is your company name?The WP World
What do you do with WordPress?Community and events, sometimes design and development
Describe the WordPress community in just a few words.WordPress is a fascinating ecosystem of people. It’s unlike any other community I know. It has it’s share of struggles, but it’s largely full of very helpful and supportive people.

Episode Transcript

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

Welcome to WPCoffeeTalk. I’m Michelle Frechette, your podcast Barista, serving up the stories of WordPress folks from around the world. And as I often say, today’s guest is a friend of mine. Not just somebody that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting or don’t even know, but Marcus Burnette is here today to talk to us about some different things that he’s been doing. I’m super excited. We, I just love running into you, Marcus, at WordPress events and things like that. And we do some side projects within WordPress that you and I manage to, and we can talk about that a little bit later too. But I want to say right now. So I’m reading this because I want to get it right. You are the community and events marketer, or a community events marketer at Godaddy, but you’re also the creator and founder of the WP World. So welcome to the show.

[00:01:15] Speaker B: Thanks, Michelle. I am very thankful to be able to call you my friend as well. Um, and we’ve run into lots into each other lots of times this year.

[00:01:23] Speaker A: Yeah.

[00:01:23] Speaker B: Especially at different camps and stuff. And it’s always, it’s always a great time. Thanks for having me.

[00:01:28] Speaker A: Absolutely. There are a lot of people that are, I’m friendly with in the community, right. And like, you just, you know, people, your friends, your acquaintances, whatever. But I, but you’re one of the people I actually call friend. Right. So I’ve got you and my phone and we could, we can actually text each other when we need to, kind of thing, so, but that’s really fun. So, um, so the first question is, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

[00:01:51] Speaker B: Yeah. And you, you covered a little bit of it already. Um, Marcus and I, uh, I work at Godaddy in the field marketing on the field marketing team. That mostly means going to events in the community, word camps and whatnot, and, uh, then also being in the community online. Um, I’ve designed like just hundreds of sites over the years. Um, so sometimes I call myself a designer and developer, but, uh, you know, not officially.

I live in Orlando, Florida, or right outside Orlando, Florida, with my, my wife and two daughters and some of the things that we like to do is go to, you know, theme parks and other things around Orlando. And when doing that, I like to take the camera. One of the things that you and I share also is a love for photography. You know, the whole wall right behind you there.

[00:02:44] Speaker A: Yeah.

[00:02:45] Speaker B: Love for photography. And we’re both on the WordPress photo directory moderation team. And like you said, a creator of the WP World, which I know that we’ll talk some about, but has stemmed from all of the community and event stuff that I’ve done in the last few years.

[00:03:01] Speaker A: Yeah. And I love that sometimes we’re talking, I keep saying this, we’re going to talk about this later, but some of our projects overlap really nicely too, and that we are really good about sharing out each other’s work, which I think is super cool.

[00:03:12] Speaker B: Yeah. Side projects, but side projects, I know.

[00:03:15] Speaker A: I don’t. I don’t have any of those.

[00:03:17] Speaker B: You and I are both racking up a nice roster of side projects.

[00:03:22] Speaker A: I know. Do you get the same question I do where people say, how do you find the time to do it all?

[00:03:27] Speaker B: Yeah, it’s. It’s chunks here and there and all over the place. My calendar looks like a rainbow of blocks of different things. It’s all over the place.

[00:03:38] Speaker A: My answer to that question is always, I’m a single woman who lives with cats. I have all the time I want.

[00:03:45] Speaker B: Yeah, I’ve. I’ve seen your list of side projects, though, and it still requires more than. More than the hours that are actually in a day.

[00:03:53] Speaker A: Yeah, well, we’ll see. Anyway, I ask everybody to bring a mug and something in it. So show us your mug, tell us about it. And what are you drinking today?

[00:04:03] Speaker B: All right, well, I think I know what mug you might have, so I went with a different one because I also have that mug.

But I decided today to go with my sky verge mug.

[00:04:13] Speaker A: Oh, very nice.

[00:04:15] Speaker B: One of the parts of my story is that I. I came to Godaddy through their acquisition of Skyverge. And so when I started at skyverage, they gave me this nice little yeti mug. And.

[00:04:26] Speaker A: Nice.

[00:04:27] Speaker B: I don’t drink a lot of hot things generally. I don’t know if that’s just from living in Florida or what, but it’s got to be a pretty chilly day. And even then I’ll have like a hot cocoa or something.

A warm hot cocoa.

So this mug keeps things nice and cold. And I have some soda in it.

[00:04:49] Speaker A: Very nice. Well, I do have what I ordered from your website, so I’ve got my, it’s gonna, there you go. The WP world mug, which I love. And I got the big one.

[00:04:58] Speaker B: I have mine on the desk. I got the little one.

[00:05:00] Speaker A: Yep. I. Anybody’s met me, you know, I like coffee, so I don’t usually drink coffee in the evening, but I felt like coffee today. It’s, it’s cold and snowy here. It is December, and it’s been snowing here today and rattling against the window. So I actually do have a. I wrote it down because I can always forget the words. Vanilla cinnamon latte is what I have right now. And it feels really good.

[00:05:22] Speaker B: Like it would smell really good.

It’s not like my, that’s how I like my coffee. I like coffee smells. I don’t drink it, but I do like the way it smells.

[00:05:31] Speaker A: Yeah, for sure. No, it’s good stuff. Good stuff. So I actually don’t know the answers to a lot of these questions whenever I ask anybody, because these are usually questions people don’t like, just launch into all the time. So tell us, how did you get. How did you first get started with WordPress?

[00:05:46] Speaker B: Yeah, so, like I said, I have been a designer and developer of sites for, I guess, probably a couple of decades now.

I started as a designer, really enjoyed digital design. I really can’t draw, but I can do quite a bit of, quite a bit of good stuff digitally on the computer and design. And so I started there high school, college, did some design stuff, and realized that I didn’t have a way to show anybody that wasn’t sitting next to me at the computer.

And so I was like, you know what? This Internet thing sounds like it might be a good way for me to share things with other people that aren’t sitting right next to me. So that led me to learning how to build websites with notepad and writing your elements and notepad and saving a file and uploading it to geocities and all that good stuff.

And then that led to me actually really enjoying building for the web. So I was hired by an agency shortly after college, worked there for many, many years. We worked ourselves into the world of CMSs with a different CMs, which has a logo of a drop. I’m sure most people know which one it is, and. But just learned how CMSs work in general that way for many years, and then they decided to kind of go a different direction. I want to say maybe in like, 2015 or so is when we switched over to WordPress and have been, you know, building stuff ever since. I don’t work at that agency anymore. We talked about being a Godaddy now, but that set me up for understanding WordPress and how it works. And we’ll get into a little bit of talk about the community, I’m sure.

[00:07:39] Speaker A: Yes, for sure.

[00:07:40] Speaker B: But basically put me on the trajectory that I am now. It’s given me a little bit of everything when it comes to different skill sets around WordPress, when it comes to designing, developing, I have a few plugins in the repo.

Again, I don’t by any means consider myself a developer, but I’ve learned enough along the way through the agency work and some, some of the stuff I’ve done since then. And all those side projects, great way to learn new things and so just kind of building on those things over time.

[00:08:11] Speaker A: If I was Nathan Wrigley and this was that podcast, I would name this episode all the side projects, but it’s not. So when you look at websites, whether you’ve built them or other people have built them, what’s something that you think that we as web designers, developers, builders don’t focus enough attention on that would make that site, you know, better for the end user?

[00:08:35] Speaker B: Yeah, this is, this is one that, that I reached back into my agency building days to kind of pull out. Just thinking about an answer to this question. And I think the answer is the end user. We get wrapped up in. You know, I’ll say from the designer developer side, I want to design something really cool, really fancy. Is that what the user really needs?

Probably not. It depends on the product, the site or whatever. As a developer, I want to build some really crazy, insane feature that does something really flashy and fun. Is that what the user needs?

Probably not.

Bring that in from what the client wants. They want a carousel at the top. They want to market everything above the fold. So you’ve got 19 slides up there that are sliding around. And what I think is easy on the web is to add, add to a site when most of the time what the end user wants is simplicity. They want to get to a site, they know where they are probably. They don’t need the logo to take up half the screen. They know what site they’re on. They don’t need a slider of a bunch of different things. They kind of know what they’re looking for.

Let’s just help them get to, I mean, that’s what we want to. Right. We want that conversion as right as the person running the site. What you want is for the end user to be able to get to the thing that they’re supposed to do easily and do it easily. So don’t make it hard to get to the checkout, don’t make it hard to pay at checkouts. Don’t over complicate by adding steps. You don’t need six pages of explainer content for what the thing is before they get to actually being able to make a purchase or, you know, contact you or whatever. And so I think it’s so easy to just add things to a site over time. And a lot of times what needs to happen is kind of things getting stripped away just to make things easy for the end user.

[00:10:38] Speaker A: I remember building a site with a flash animation to start and it was so cool. And I look back now and I’m like, yeah, it looked really awesome, but so cringe because, like, it just stopped people from getting to the content faster, which, of course is what, what we want, like you said. So now I think that’s brilliant. Focus on the end user to make the experience better for the end user. That’s great.

[00:11:02] Speaker B: Yes, exactly.

[00:11:04] Speaker A: What’s something that you wish you had known earlier in your WordPress journey that would have made life a whole lot easier?

[00:11:11] Speaker B: Yeah, this one. This one’s actually an easy answer, but it’s probably also a strange answer to most, considering what I do now. And that’s, I wish I had known the, the strength and value of the community.

Um, again, that sounds weird, being a community person now, but when I started using WordPress in and building with WordPress in like, 2015 or whatever, one of the reasons why we chose WordPress as the cms that we wanted to switch to was the community. I knew it existed. I didn’t talk to any of them. Like, I knew the community was there. If I had an issue with WordPress or an issue with a plugin and I needed to reach out and ask a question, like, I knew that there was a big community there, but I didn’t talk to any of them. I kind of just was in my little cubicle at the agency that I was working at. I head down designing and developing things. Um, you know, I googled some stuff here and there when I ran into roadblocks, but really didn’t know a whole lot about the community. And so it really wasn’t, unfortunately, until like, the end of 2019, beginning of 2020, that I really started to see, like, there’s this whole community out there of people that I can talk to. And then the world shut down and I was like, come on. I just learned about all these. Like, I went to, I think, two word camps before COVID and they were both in Orlando. And I was finally realizing, oh, there’s this, like, world of people that know all this stuff that I can tap into, can build relationships, I can help them out, they can help me out. And then everything shut down. And to, you know, to the credit of the World Wide Web, like, we were able to continue building community during that time, but it really wasn’t until, like, really the onset of COVID that I really understood the value and the strength of the community behind the, behind the WordPress project, behind the software itself, which love the software itself. But that community is such a big part of what makes WordPress different from everything else.

[00:13:13] Speaker A: Yeah, for sure.

[00:13:14] Speaker B: So it’s kind of a weird one to say that, like, I didn’t, I wish I’d have known it sooner, but I wish I had known it sooner. It’s not until really the last few years that I’ve really been able to be a big part of the community and get to meet people and, you know, see what they do, see how I can help them, see how they can help me and form these friendships.

[00:13:34] Speaker A: It took me about four years to get into the community as well, so that’s actually been my answer when people ask me the same question, so. And now, of course, you know, I’m the huge on community, as everybody knows. So it’s, it’s one of those things that once you find it, it’s like, okay, I’m here now and I’m staying. This is really freaking awesome.

[00:13:52] Speaker B: It’s so strange, though, because now that I’m, like, in the community, it’s not a small community. Like, it is a big community of people. So why do people that jump into WordPress take four years to realize that the community is there? I don’t understand.

[00:14:07] Speaker A: I don’t know, but it somehow, it just does.

[00:14:10] Speaker B: Somebody would just build a site that showed where people, I’m just kidding. We’ll get to that.

[00:14:14] Speaker A: We’ll talk about that in a minute. But before we get to that, let me ask you, you’ve been to word camps. Now I know because I see you there and meetups and other WordPress events. What’s an example? Or, I mean, let me ask my question the right way because I always stumble over this one, even though I wrote it years ago. What are some of your favorite wordcamp or meetup talks or experiences? Maybe something that was pivotal or inspiring moment for you? Tell us about it a little bit.

[00:14:38] Speaker B: Yeah, so I unfortunately don’t get to go to a ton of sessions and talks.

I’m at a lot of camps. I’m usually hanging out at the sponsor booth. People can come chat with me and stuff, but I don’t get a chance or haven’t in the last couple of years to really get to seeing some sessions as much as I’d like to.

However I did, I saw this question. I did think back to what might be a good answer here, and I’ve actually shared this story maybe once or twice, but not that many times. So the very first camp that I went to was here in Orlando, and I went to the camp because we had just started using WordPress at the agency. And I really wanted to see, like, I’m going to go to every single one of the sessions I can possibly go to. I need to learn this thing because this is what the future of our agency is depending on. That’s a small agency. There are only a handful of us. And so I was usually the lead on most of our web projects. I need to figure this thing out. And so I went to Wordcamp Orlando.

It was the very last session of the last day. I don’t remember whether it was one day or two day camp, but it was the last session of the day. And it was all about the query loop and how you can manipulate the query loop and stuff. Very interesting topic. And I was like, oh, this I think is going to unlock how I build websites. And so I left the session.

People kind of started heading out, heading home and all that stuff, and I just hung outside the session room for a few minutes and was like, I have one question. I’m going to ask the speaker if I can just get a little bit of advice on this one thing. And so they came out and they were like, oh, yeah, no problem. Let’s walk over here to, it’s like a little courtyard area. Let’s go over here and I’ll chat with you for a minute. And he ended up talking to me for 45 minutes. He lives in Michigan and was on his way to the airport after that.

Relatively well known in our community. It’s Brian Richards from WP sessions.

I didn’t know that. I didn’t know who he was from anybody else. It was the first time that I had been introduced to the community in any way was at this first word camp. So I didn’t know who he was, but he took the time, you know, he was ready to head, you know, ready. He’s done with his talk. It’s the last one of the day. He’s ready to go home. I’m sure took the time to sit with me for 45 minutes and tell me anything that I wanted to know about WordPress and building things with WordPress and the query loop and all of that stuff. And then I’m sure had to rush to the airport to get home. He’s got a family. I’m sure he was ready to be home with his family because again, like I’ve been to a number of these word camps now, I know when they’re over I’m ready to be home and be with my family as well. I’m sure he was done and ready to go home and I think that that stayed with me in a number of ways. One, just how approachable everyone is in the community, whether, you know, they’re a big name in the community or not. Everyone who speaks is more than happy to hang out before or after their sessions and talk to you about anything you want to talk about, usually WordPress.

And just the fact that somebody in the community would take the time to sit with me when everyone’s time is so valuable. 45 minutes is not nothing for someone to give their full attention to you and tell you everything you want to know because you’re new in this community and new to this software. And so that really stuck with me. Do I remember everything that was in that query loop talk? No, but I remember Brian sitting with me for 45 minutes afterwards on his way to the airport to take it. The time, yeah, to take the time to basically welcome me into the community.

[00:18:40] Speaker A: I love that. I love stories like that. I love when somebody finds somebody, ask those questions. That person does take the time and it means something to other people, whether they’re a celebrity in the WordPress universe or not, that somebody would take time out of their schedule, whether it’s on the way to the airport, on the way to the after party, whatever it is, to help one another. And that’s what I. That’s one of the things I love best about our communities. Like the first time I sat down at a happiness bar, I was like, what’s going on here? You know, and I thought there were people that were staff. No, it’s just people helping people. It was like the coolest thing. The coolest thing.

So we’ve hinted about it a little bit, but what is the WP world?

[00:19:25] Speaker B: I’m so glad you asked.

The WP world is a site that I started.

I technically started it about a year and a half ago, although I didn’t really make it public until about eight months ago or so. Now, um, and it kind of came about because I live in Florida. We have hurricanes that come through here and we had a couple come through last year and the year before that that were coming through where a number of our friends in the community live. And I, I knew of some of them, but I didn’t know of all of them. I didn’t know where exactly they were in relation to like the path of the storms and stuff. And I honestly just wanted to be able to check in with them before and after the storms to just make sure they’re okay, see if there was anything that could help them with and that kind of thing. And so if I step back, before that, I had started this little site. It had no name. It was just something that I wanted to play around with Google Maps API and learn how to put pins on a map and pull that info for the pins from a WordPress database. So that was already sitting there. And then I had this idea about having kind of a directory of where people in Florida live so that when hurricanes come through, I can kind of check, check on them and, you know, there’s contact info there. I can dm them on Twitter or whatever and say, hey, is everything okay? Do you need anything? So I took that little site that was sitting there with map pins connected to nobody in particular and kind of built this little site around it and said, hey, can I add some people to this so that the next time a storm rolls through, I can reach out and say, hey, is everything okay? And all the people that are there can also see where everyone else is. And we can all reach out to each other and say, is there anything that I can do for you?

Once that was started, I kind of got this itch to just grow it into a directory of everyone. Florida’s not the only place that has people with needs. I think some of that was inspired by then California having issues with fire.

So I was like, well, why don’t I just open this up completely? And rather than me adding the handful of people that I had asked, hey, can I add you to this? Why don’t I just turn it into something where people can add themselves?

And that way we know where people are when there are natural disasters or human made disasters, we can reach out and say, hey, how are you doing? Is everything okay? And kind of just build this community of being able to connect with each other, seeing where there are pockets of people. One of the interesting things to me is I didn’t realize just how big that Spain, the spanish WordPress community is.

[00:22:17] Speaker A: Yeah.

[00:22:18] Speaker B: Until I started the site and just had tons of people from the spanish community signing up and like, wow, I didn’t realize in my own little world over here in the US, just where other large pockets of WordPress people are. And I thought that that was pretty amazing. And so anyways, I’ve built that up again, tagging on to like what I do as a job at GoDaddy with the Wordcamps and stuff. I’ve built in some Wordcamp things as well so that we can kind of all connect the wordcamps to the people. And just trying to build this resource for, for the WordPress folks, for organizers of camps, for volunteers, for sponsors, for anybody that does something in WordPress, I want to give them a place where they can one kind of show that off, but also to connect with each other and connect with camps and the events and stuff and hopefully that helps bridge that, that gap of waiting four years before you realize where the community is.

[00:23:14] Speaker A: I loved it as soon as you launched it. I like to think I was the first person that put themselves in there. I know I wasn’t, but I was early. I was early.

[00:23:22] Speaker B: Yeah, I could check and see, but yeah, you were one of the first, if not the first.

[00:23:27] Speaker A: I’m sure I wasn’t the first, but I was excited about it. And for the longest time I was the only pin in my region right in this western New York. But I’ve convinced a few other people to join since then. So I’m not, I’m not this lone, this lonely pin.

[00:23:41] Speaker B: As fun as it is to see your little pin in your location, I want to see all the pins all over the place.

[00:23:46] Speaker A: I know it’s just going to be like flooded with pins. Where’s the land masses? I don’t know. That’s all the pins. Zoom in, zoom in. I love it though. I think it’s fantastic. And what’s interesting is while you were developing that, I was developing a side project that I had thought of,

And I had help with that because I’m not a developer at all. And so, you know, Mark Westgard from WS Forum, you and I both know him and I think a lot of people do. He’s, he did the, a lot of the back end connecting him. And also Katie Keith did. They both gave me software to use. They’re both listed on this, on the site as sponsors because they were so kind not only in gifting the software but actually doing some of the work on there.

And then Yoast Deval came in and he did some of the work on there for me too. And so, you know, it’s like, you know, you’ve arrived in WordPress when Yoast himself does the SEO on your website. I’m just saying it’s a bragging point for me.

[00:24:39] Speaker B: You’ve got the connections. The main help that I had, other than Mark also, you know, has graciously offered Ws form for the WP world and I use it all over the sites. It’s an amazing product.

[00:24:52] Speaker A: It really is.

[00:24:53] Speaker B: My main help was chat GPT. So while I, like I said I like to develop and design things, I’m not a professional developer. And so I developed some and chat GPT developed some and then I help.

[00:25:08] Speaker A: I think that’s great, helps me.

[00:25:09] Speaker B: And we’ve got a.

[00:25:11] Speaker A: But what’s really cool is, you know, so here’s like when people say, how come you have so many side projects? It’s because I want to do projects with people. I’m always like, like one morning Kathy Zanz and I was like, I didn’t want to do a project with you. Want to start a podcast? Yeah, let’s start a podcast. Okay, let’s record it today. We launched it on Monday, like built the website over weekend, launch the first episode between Friday morning and Monday morning because that’s really cool. And you’re one of those people I’ve always wanted to do a project with and we kind of do in that I, you know, I mean, kind of you, you have definitely. I don’t know how to do all that, but you have managed to embed, I don’t know, you tell us the right words. People’s pro profiles on WP speakers, what did you do with that?

[00:25:53] Speaker B: Yes, there’s, it’s not directly working together, but it’s working together in that our products are parallel and they connect at different points.

One of the things that I appreciate about WordPress and has been a huge help in building the site is the rest API that WordPress offers.

I’ve taken basically every possible chance that I can get to hook into WordPress rest API endpoints all over the place to make things happen. And so WP speakers, because it’s built on WordPress, allows me to reach into the WordPress rest API and pull information from there, minimal amount. The point isn’t to keep people from going to WP speakers, it’s to get people to see that they’re on WP speakers and that you should go there to contact them to learn more about the person, contact them to speak that’s the point of the site. Yeah, it’s really a teaser on the WP world to get people to go over to WP speakers and learn a bit more about the person and ask them to come speak at something.

[00:27:01] Speaker A: And so, and in true community spirit, you asked me first, it wasn’t like you said, hey, look what I did. You’re like, hey, could I do this? Which, I mean, you technically could do it without permission, but in a community, collaborative way. I was like, yeah, let’s do it. I mean, I’m like, super grateful that you want to do that. So. And now, you know, and now we’ve got you as a sponsor on WP career pages because you also have people, like, being able to mark themselves as looking for jobs and. Yeah, so just tell us more about the project. I’m going to shut up.

[00:27:32] Speaker B: No, that’s fine. We’re going to. We’re going to connect as many of our projects to each other as we can. Yes, but the reason why that makes sense, though, is because, like you said, you want to do side projects with, like, with people that involve people. And that’s what the WP world is all about, too. It’s about connecting the community. It’s about growing the community. It’s about giving the community resources to know about each other, to know about camps, to know about the businesses in WordPress. And so, like, all of your side projects make complete sense integrating with the WP world, because it’s all about building the community and providing opportunities for people in the community. And so, yeah, like you do with WP career pages to try and find, you know, connect. Bizarre. WP WordPress businesses with people looking for work. That’s the goal inside WP world, too. So why not put those things together.

[00:28:23] Speaker A: And try to get hired?

[00:28:24] Speaker B: That’s. That’s the whole goal there and then, same with WP speakers. I want people that have spoken or that want to speak to have the opportunity to say, hey, here’s where you can do that. And I don’t need them to do that through the WP world. They could, I guess, click over to somebody’s Twitter and dm them. But sure, you’ve built this whole thing for people to be able to contact folks that are looking to speak, and so why not drive traffic in that direction so that people can do that?

[00:28:51] Speaker A: Absolutely. I think it’s a wonderful thing when our community projects really complement one another and build for the community. Like, even if somebody came up with another speakers thing, if it was doing better than mine, I’d be like, cool. People are getting people to speak. Like, it’s not about competition because, like, it’s not like I make a lot of money off that. Right? Like, I had some early sponsors. Most of the sponsors are in kind sponsorship. It’s not a money maker. I’m not trying to make money off it, just trying to provide a resource. And so if it works, great, that’s the whole point of it, right? It’s not to. I mean, I want to retire someday, but I’m not going to retire on WP speakers.

[00:29:26] Speaker B: So, yeah, I. I am not turning people away that want to sponsor or add their businesses to the WP world.

[00:29:34] Speaker A: Um, yeah, I mean, I have that too. So, like, yes, for sure. It’s not like, I’m not saying don’t.

[00:29:39] Speaker B: But yes, I’ll be clear in saying that I am hoping to build it into something that is at the very least self sustainable. And that requires time. It requires money. It requires me being able to dedicate time to continuing to grow it and stuff. And so, I mean, there are opportunities for people to give me money to help build the site, help support the site. And you’ve done that as well.

[00:30:04] Speaker A: Nicely appreciate that.

[00:30:07] Speaker B: In addition to the integrations and collaborations on our side projects and stuff.

Yeah. And ultimately, I want it to be a resource. I want it to be self sustaining. And I want it to get to a point where I can then use the beasts to feed. Being generous in ways, like being able to send people to camps, which I know you’ve done a bunch of too, you know, paying for contributions and all that stuff is like future roadmap stuff. If I can grow the site to something that is able to sustain itself and be generous to other people, like, that’s, that’s the goal. That’s what I really want.

And so every feature, every resource, every bit of information, anything that goes into the site is hopefully feeding that purpose. Feeding, supporting the community and giving back and just growing connections between anyone and everyone in the community.

[00:31:07] Speaker A: I love it. It’s, it’s just a beautiful project and I love. So I do have one question, though. So I think it’s on the homepage, it says, who’s the northernmost, who’s the southernmost, who’s the eastern and western? Well, eastern and western depends on your location. So is it eastern and western based on where you live?

[00:31:23] Speaker B: It’s so, yeah, and those haven’t changed in a while. Those are strictly based on latitude, longitude, coordinates. So, I mean, yes, they kind of depend on where you. But so, like, if you just look at what we all commonly accept as a map based on Google maps and cartographers of the past, right. All the way to the west is, like, Hawaii and Fiji. Whatever is out there in the Pacific Ocean all the way to the east is going to be, like, New Zealand and Australia. And so it’s based entirely on latitude, longitude coordinates. Whoever has the highest.

[00:32:01] Speaker A: That makes sense.

[00:32:02] Speaker B: Negative number from the equator and. Or what is it? The prime meridian. Is that the.

[00:32:08] Speaker A: Yeah. Yeah, I think so. Okay. I was just curious, like, I’m like, where did we figure that out? I mean, north and south, we all got, like, poles. We had no poles, but I wasn’t sure about the east west thing, so. And I just showed you that I did not do well in my geography classes in high school. So there we go.

[00:32:22] Speaker B: No worries. Yep. They haven’t changed in a while. I’m waiting for waiting. Waiting for some folks at the polls or penguins to sign up or something.

[00:32:31] Speaker A: You never know. You never know.

That’s really cool. Well, I think it’s wonderful. If you are listening to this episode, go to Thewp World. If I said that right, I hope.

[00:32:44] Speaker B: Yeah. The WP world and also the both take you to the same place.

[00:32:48] Speaker A: Okay, perfect. So if you do mess up, I.

[00:32:50] Speaker B: Thought I had a little bit.

[00:32:51] Speaker A: I’m happy to hear that.

And add yourself. It doesn’t cost anything to be part of that project. Just like WP speakers is for you to be part of. So is the WP world. And if you’re in one, you could absolutely be in the other. They work together in a beautiful, harmonious way. But I strongly encourage you. There’s so many cool things. Like, on my site, you can just sign up to be a speaker on your site. There’s so many cool things too to do there. So absolutely visit the WP world and find out where you live on the map and look at. I mean, not find out where you live, but, like, find out who’s near you on the map and stake your claim on your little part of the world.

[00:33:30] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. And one of my favorite things is I’ve now added all of the word camps that have ever happened from 2006 on. And so you can go in and mark which wordcamps that you’ve been to, and we’ll end up seeing who has been to the most events or whatever the case is.

[00:33:48] Speaker A: And I’ll have to go update that.

[00:33:51] Speaker B: Yeah, it’s fun to keep track a little bit. I don’t know if there’s anywhere else currently online where you can easily keep track of which events that you’ve been to. So that’s a good place to do it. And then you can kind of show it off and say, hey, look, I’ve been to these. Or hey, look, I’ve been to everything. I had one person who just updated theirs the other day and it’s all like they’re in somewhere in Canada, but they’ve been to like every canadian camp since the beginning and it was just cool to see.

[00:34:18] Speaker A: That’s cool. That is very cool to see. I have not been to every word camp, even in my own area, but I did add some of them and I think you’ve probably added more camps since then. So I need to update my profile because I keep my list on an apple note. That’s where I have everything, so I can find it wherever I am. But yeah, nice to have a place like that.

[00:34:41] Speaker B: I manually started adding camps starting with 2023 and working my way backwards.

[00:34:47] Speaker A: Makes sense.

[00:34:47] Speaker B: And Scott Key Clark helped me out by pulling the entire list of camps and giving them to me in a format that I could import. And so they’re all there now. I still manually have to go through them over time to do a little bit of cleanup on each of the camp posts and make sure that all the information is there and stuff. But they’re all in there now to choose all the way from the first one in San Francisco in 2006 all the way up to. I mean, I have the 2024 ones in there as well. So all the way up to eu, I think, is the furthest one out currently in June.

[00:35:24] Speaker A: Very cool. I love that. That’s fantastic. Well, thank you for pulling that all together.

We’re going to get more information at the end, how people can get in touch with you about the project. But in the meantime, let’s jump into our rapid fire questions. As I say time and again, I will ask them rapidly, but you can take the time you need to answer them. They’re not really rapid. They’re just the second set of questions. Anyway, launch again. It just sounded good when I wrote it that way, but whatever. Anyway, so what are two or three must have plugins that you would recommend to somebody building their own website?

[00:35:56] Speaker B: Yeah, so I’m going to cheat a little bit, and one of them is going to be two plugins and then the other one will be one plugin. You said two to three, so I did three plugins. That’s all good. You don’t need all three, though. The first one is, I said ACF or pods, that’s my cheater because they’re both kind of do similar things.

But why custom post types and good field management isn’t part of core? I’m not sure. However, ACF and pods are both fantastic plugins that do exactly what you need them to do. By adding the ability to add custom post types and fields.

You can make a site without custom post types and fields, I suppose, but I haven’t come across one in a while that didn’t need that to some degree. So um, that’s step one. And then the other one that I put in there is uh, SVG support. Um, that’s a standalone and I’m also surprised that SVG support isn’t, uh, I I know why, security issues and all that stuff, but. Right, um, SVG support, I use svgs on just about every site for something and so I chose that as the other plugin that I think everyone should have.

[00:37:06] Speaker A: I do not have that. I will have to look into that after this for sure. So thank you for that recommendation.

[00:37:12] Speaker B: Absolutely.

[00:37:13] Speaker A: Did you have a mentor at any point in your WordPress journey that you could, whether it was official or unofficial? And who is it? Or was it?

[00:37:25] Speaker B: No.

Like I said, when I got started with WordPress, I didn’t really realize the communities, I realized the existence of the community, but not like specific folks in the community or didn’t really get to know a lot of people in the community at first. So again, I was at my desk in the corner, just typing away, just building away, trying to make it happen all on my own.

Since then though, I have gotten to meet lots of folks both online and in person. And so I did make a little mini list of people who I feel like have been somewhat of a mentor figure to me with the last few years. So you are on the list, Michelle? Definitely.

Bob Dunn, Courtney Robertson, Adam Warner, Sandy Edwards and Topher Derosha. Those are some people, I mean, there’s probably lots more. Those are some people that, like Brian Richards, have taken the time to say like welcome to the community. Here are some other people, have made some introductions for me, have shown me the ropes on, you know, how to do this, that or the other thing with WordPress and just be a functioning part of the WordPress society.

[00:38:42] Speaker A: That’s awesome. So the next question, you can’t name any of those people, so I’m just going to take that right away for you, watching your face to see if it falls, because we want to hear about different people, but who is somebody that you admire in the WordPress community and why.

[00:38:56] Speaker B: All right, so I actually did have a different person already here.

[00:39:00] Speaker A: Okay, good.

[00:39:01] Speaker B: But we did talk about him already, so I don’t want to get too inflated, but I put, I put down. Mark Westgard is who I admire in the WordPress community and I think that he’s just done something like not extremely unique, but somewhat unique in that he’s built a really amazing product, but also is like one of the most generous, like giving kindest people.

And a lot of times, right, you have like the product and I know who the, I know what the product is in the WordPress space or I know who the person is and he’s kind of like simultaneously built this reputation for an amazing product and an amazing person in the community. And so that is, I, I look to him in a lot of the things that I do with the WP world as well, both in trying to be giving but also in trying to just keep things going on the site. He updates his plugin probably to some people’s grievance.

[00:40:01] Speaker A: I tease him about that a lot.

[00:40:03] Speaker B: Three times a day or something.

I’m constantly, that’s what auto updates are there for in WordPress for what WS form. Just go ahead and hit enable auto updates on that one for sure. I promise you it’s never going to break the site and you will be so much happier not hitting update three times a day.

But, but I try to, you know, operate kind of the same way. How can I build the next most useful thing for somebody who wants to come to the WP world?

And, you know, how can I do that in a way that’s giving and helpful and generous to the best of my ability.

[00:40:41] Speaker A: As a matter of fact, I don’t know how many people know this, but I actually spent my birthday weekend down with Mark and his family, Casey and the kids for a long weekend in October because they invited me down. He cooks amazing by the way.

[00:40:56] Speaker B: I could smell the deliciousness through the picture, right?

[00:41:00] Speaker A: It was amazing. So yeah, 100% endorse that answer for sure. Okay, moving on. What’s something that you want to learn in WordPress but that you haven’t tackled yet?

[00:41:11] Speaker B: Yep. And this goes back to my not really being a developer.

I think we were challenged. It’s getting close to ten years ago now to learn JavaScript deeply. Yeah, I haven’t, I know very little non jquery JavaScript.

I’m so thankful that WordPress ships with jquery still so that I can keep using it because I do. But that’s definitely something that I haven’t really taken the time to look at from a development standpoint. I know that WordPress has and will continue to be more and more JavaScript heavy, JavaScript focused and so if I’m going to keep up, I’m going to have to learn some of that.

[00:41:59] Speaker A: Yeah, I hear you. I have, I also have a plugin in the repo, but I didn’t have to actually learn much to do it because it’s just a fork of hello Dolly and I don’t intend to ever learn any of the rest of that. So more power to you.

[00:42:13] Speaker B: I really like your fork of hello Dolly and I think it should just repeat.

[00:42:18] Speaker A: I mean it does tell you how wonderful you are every time you log into your website.

[00:42:21] Speaker B: Yes, everyone, everyone needs that every day I think, and I think that’s perfect.

[00:42:26] Speaker A: Oh, thank you. I enjoy it. Sometimes I surprise myself. I log into my own website like oh yeah, I forgot that I put that in there.

[00:42:33] Speaker B: Oh, I am amazing.

[00:42:35] Speaker A: I do deserve another cup of coffee today.

[00:42:37] Speaker B: That’s right, permission for more caffeine.

[00:42:40] Speaker A: Exactly. I mean, you know, it’s, sometimes you need the permission even if it’s from yourself.

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

[00:42:51] Speaker B: I tried to think back and I don’t have a ton of stories where I deleted a server or anything like that and the clients had to close their business. So thankfully I’m not going to complain, but thankfully I haven’t had a ton of those. I think the biggest mistake that I’ve made and that I am trying to not make as often is just going for it with a piece of code.

I just write something and I’m like well let’s run it and see what happens.

There’s been a couple of times where I’ve done that and I’m trying to update a field on a post and instead of updating the field on a post, it updates that field on every post and overwrites everything. And thankfully I’ve had backups for those times when that’s happened. So it doesn’t feel like a big mistake, even though it’s like oh, maybe I don’t want to overwrite every field on every post, but just restore the backup and it’s fine. But you know, that’s one of those things that I’m trying to do less of.

I have that safety net of the backups, but you know, just going for it with code is a good way to mess some stuff up.

[00:44:03] Speaker A: I mean, they call it cowboy coding for a reason, right?

[00:44:06] Speaker B: Yeah.

That’s how I like to operate, but it’s not always the best way.

[00:44:11] Speaker A: It might not be sustainable. That’s true.

[00:44:13] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:44:14] Speaker A: So flip that around. What is your proudest WordPress moment?

[00:44:18] Speaker B: Yeah.

And I had to think about this, too. Here’s kind of a side note for me. Like, personality wise, I’m pretty level, my highest high and my lowest low or pretty close to the middle. So where I’m like, I didn’t. Never had a big mistake. Maybe I did. I don’t remember. Right. I keep pretty low. So, like, my highest high is not that high either.

Maybe it is. So what I think, what I consider my proudest moment. I’m not a public speaker.

I spoke for the first time at Wordcamp Phoenix this past year. And so just kind of stepping past the public speaking part, you would think someone who is in a booth all day talking to people and does podcasts for do the woo and other things and talks to people wouldn’t have a problem standing in front of people and talking. But that’s not really my thing. So I was proud of myself for kind of stepping out of my comfort zone a little bit, thinking of something that I think people would be somewhat interested in and then going and doing it and speaking in front of people. So that is what I would consider my proudest moment. And again, that’s not nothing. Anybody, I think anybody who’s ever spoken at a word camp has tons of courage and is super brave. And, like, I applaud every one of them for it, especially having done it myself. So it’s not nothing, for sure. Like, speaking is a huge, huge thing, and I’m so thankful that people do it every time we have a camp because it’s what makes those work. But, yeah, that’s what I would consider my proudest moment.

[00:45:55] Speaker A: Well, congratulations. You did a good job from what I heard. I was at our table, at our booth, so I couldn’t be in your session, but I heard it was good. And your slides, I saw your slides. They were.

[00:46:04] Speaker B: Oh, yeah.

[00:46:04] Speaker A: Pretty freaking awesome.

[00:46:05] Speaker B: So that’s. That’s that. That way back designer coming out, the one that was like, I really just want to design things for the rest of my life, but I’m gonna have to build websites so I can share it with people.

[00:46:17] Speaker A: Exactly.

[00:46:18] Speaker B: So, yeah, I really. The. The camp, for those that aren’t aware, the camp was basketball themed, and I’m a big basketball fan. And so that was probably 50% of the reason why I even applied to speak was just because I wanted to be part of a camp that was basketball themed. Yeah, basketball camp.

I just wanted to be part of a basketball camp. There was no dribbling or shooting, and I really just poured everything into making those slides as on brand to the camp with all the basketball stuff that I could. So I am proud of the slides, too.

[00:46:52] Speaker A: I’m going to move my screen here, and if you’re listening, you won’t see this, but on the wall behind me is my. I got all the speakers, got a jersey, and so I got a sharpie, and as many attendees of that word camp as possible, my jersey. And then I was fortunate to win a gift card from Godaddy at that event, which bought the. Bought the case to actually hang that in my office. So I have that as a very special something in my office, too. So that was, that was a really cool cam, for sure.

[00:47:21] Speaker B: That was such a fun idea.

[00:47:23] Speaker A: Oh, thanks. It was. It was. I mean, you could hang it in your closet. You could wear it sometimes. You could have it on the wall all the time with everybody’s signatures that you enjoyed spending that weekend with. So pretty cool stuff. All right. If you weren’t working in tech at all, especially web tech, let’s say, what’s another career that you might like to try?

[00:47:41] Speaker B: Um, I think it would have to be something outdoors. I think I spend too much time inside. Um, I wore my Yosemite hat for this, just, uh, just to feel like I’m outside. I don’t know. It would have to be something outside. I was thinking maybe like a camping guide or something. I. Yeah, don’t do it often enough because it just gets so darn warm here for most of the year. But I really enjoy camping and being outdoors and making campfires and just being. Just exploring. And so I think it would have to be. It would have to be something outside, something exploration.

[00:48:19] Speaker A: Maybe you’ll go on survivor or something. That’d be fun.

[00:48:22] Speaker B: Yeah, that’s.

I’ve always thought about that. I do watch survivor. It’s one that’s a guilty pleasure. I know that’s not one of the questions here. What’s your guilty pleasure? Television show.

[00:48:30] Speaker A: Oh, I should ask that, though.

[00:48:32] Speaker B: Yeah, I’ll admit survivor is, we’ll say one of them, but I’m not dramatic enough for that show.

I’d be like, oh, no, you’re fine. You’re good. There’s no drama.

[00:48:45] Speaker A: No drama at all.

[00:48:46] Speaker B: My application video would be the most boring application video. They’d be like.

[00:48:50] Speaker A: They’d be like, pass.

[00:48:52] Speaker B: Exactly. We need somebody that’s actually gonna poke at others and get them upset, and I’m not that personality, so.

[00:49:00] Speaker A: Okay, so if being on survivor is not on your bucket list, what is?

[00:49:04] Speaker B: Yeah. This actually goes with the outdoor theme. This has been on my bucket list for a long time. I still haven’t made it happen. It might be a little while before I make it happen. It’s northern lights. It’s on lots of people’s bucket list. But seeing. Seeing the northern lights has always been at the top of the list is something that I really want to do. And again, that feeds the get outside.

[00:49:24] Speaker A: Vibe and the photographer vibe. Right. Because, like, the photographer vibe.

[00:49:29] Speaker B: Yes.

[00:49:29] Speaker A: I want to see the northern lights because I want to take the pictures of the northern lights. So I’m right there with you on that for sure.

[00:49:34] Speaker B: That northern lights picture would be a bucket shot. That would. I would just make huge and hang right here.

[00:49:41] Speaker A: Oh, heck yeah. Yeah. I’ve got. I think there’s 25 pictures behind me on the wall of my photography. I take them all down and put one giant lights.

[00:49:50] Speaker B: Exactly. Same, for sure.

[00:49:55] Speaker A: So show us or tell us about one of your hidden talents that the WordPress community might not be aware of.

[00:50:01] Speaker B: I don’t have anything to show.

[00:50:03] Speaker A: Okay.

[00:50:04] Speaker B: I think what I noted for myself here is that I don’t know if it’s a hidden talent. I don’t know if the community doesn’t know. Just good at puzzle games and escape rooms, and I kind of enjoy those. And so if anybody wants to see that, we’ll find an escape room at a word camp or something that we can do.

[00:50:24] Speaker A: That would be fun. I’m in. That would be.

[00:50:28] Speaker B: I love solving puzzles to, like, unlock the next thing to, unlike, just series of puzzles to unlock things, and it’s just super rewarding. And I like thinking I’ve gotten to, like, where I’ve watched a handful of escape room videos just to, like, kind of understand how people who put those things together think about certain things. And so, yeah, it’s just totally out of the box, and I love thinking out of the box to try and solve puzzles in strange ways.

[00:50:58] Speaker A: That’s so cool. During lockdown, a bunch of us. Mike demo headed it up. He is, like, the king of community, I swear. Got a bunch of us together to do virtual escape rooms where there was this. I can’t remember where the company was actually located, but the guy is in, like, a real person’s in the room.

[00:51:16] Speaker B: Oh, nice.

[00:51:17] Speaker A: Wearing a GoPro and then we’re telling him where to turn and what to do, and we did it twice. And we. That’s the only time I’ve ever actually escaped an escape room, because I’ve been to several before, is when we was working together with these other wordpressers who are obviously puzzle solvers too. And we got that guy out of there, but we couldn’t high five or anything because we were literally spawning in the United States. But it was a lot of fun.

[00:51:39] Speaker B: And that is one of the fun things about, like, escape rooms over puzzles, too, is I enjoy the, like, collaborative part of it where there’s, like, four, six, seven of us in a room, and we’re, like, working together to be like, is this something. I just pulled this out of a drain over here. Is that something like.

[00:51:57] Speaker A: Right.

[00:51:58] Speaker B: Oh, does this look like it could be a key maybe?

[00:52:01] Speaker A: Exactly.

[00:52:02] Speaker B: I love the collaborative part of those too.

[00:52:05] Speaker A: Yeah, me too, for sure. A lot of fun. And getting some people together to do it at a camp would be phenomenal. So if you do that, count me in, please. I will be there with you.

[00:52:14] Speaker B: Absolutely.

[00:52:16] Speaker A: So tell us how people can get in touch with you. So how do they, what’s the website? What’s your Twitter or whatever? Give us those details.

[00:52:24] Speaker B: Yeah, all the things. I’m mostly on Twitter x, whatever you want to call it these days.

I signed up for a way too long handle for myself. It’s Marcus at Marcus D. Burnette, but I also have at The WP World as well. So if you want to follow the things that are happening on the WP world, that’s a good place to do that. Otherwise, all that stuff is on my site, I at least made that nice and short. Or like you mentioned earlier, the WP world is where I’d love to see everyone sign up and see everyone’s beautiful faces and Twitter accounts and WP speaker accounts and everything else that’s going on there. All the things the WP world or, comma, either one of them will get you there.

[00:53:12] Speaker A: Perfect. Anybody who’s listening and can’t look those up right now, we’ll have all of those details on the show notes. So all you have to do is go to, find Marcus’s episode and all the links and including a transcript of today’s episode will be there for you to find. So, Marcus, thank you for taking the time to meet with me today and share a little bit of your story with us. Is there anything that you’d like to say before we sign off?

I think I forgot to ask.

[00:53:39] Speaker B: No. It’s been an absolute pleasure, Michelle and I super appreciate you having me on today. Just chat for a while. And more than that, I appreciate our friendship and look forward to seeing you at the next camp.

[00:53:50] Speaker A: Likewise. And I will see you there for sure. And everybody else will see you on the next episode of WP Coffee Talk.

We hope you enjoyed this episode of WPCoffeeTalk. Please share it with others who you know would enjoy hearing from the people who make the WordPress community the wonderful place that it is. If you are interested in joining us as a guest or a sponsor, please visit our site at