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About Nathan:

Nathan Wrigley is a full-time podcaster – and almost all about WordPress. (With a few other projects here and there.) Founder of WP Builds, podcaster at the WP Tavern Jukebox, and all-around delightful human, Nathan brings a wonderful sense of humor to all he does, while still focusing on the things that matter. It was fun to turn the tables and have this esteemed podcaster as a guest on WPCoffeeTalk.

What is your job title?Podcaster
What is your company name?WP Builds
What do you do with WordPress?Drone on and on about it!
Describe the WordPress community in just a few words.The best thing since, erm… nothing. There’s nothing better!

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.

[00:00:23] Speaker B: And now on with the show.

Welcome to WPCoffee alk. I’m your podcast Barista Michelle Frechette, serving up the WordPress stories from around the world. And today my guest is all the way over in the UK welcoming Nathan Wrigley, who is the captain cook and bottle washer of WP Builds.

[00:00:49] Speaker C: The entirety.

[00:00:50] Speaker B: Of it, and the creative behind WP Tavern Jukebox as well. And I’m sure there’s other things that do and we’re going to dive into all of those things, but welcome, Nathan, it’s good to have you here.

[00:01:01] Speaker C: Oh, lovely. Thank you. Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. Love being on your show.

[00:01:06] Speaker B: I’ve been on yours often enough. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought to ask you to be on mine before now.

[00:01:10] Speaker C: It’s very kind. Thank you.

[00:01:12] Speaker B: I’m glad to have you here. So tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

[00:01:16] Speaker C: Okay. My name is Nathan Wrigley. As you just said, I run a podcast for myself, if you know what I mean. So that is to say that it’s a podcast that I set up with a friend of mine called David Womsley.

[00:01:26] Speaker B: It’s called.

[00:01:26] Speaker C: Called WP builds. You can google it. And we feature interviews with people in the WordPress space. We also have live shows which you are a very, very frequent guest on. But I also do another podcast for the WP Tavern, which is called Jukebox, and that is not mine. I do that for other people, let’s just put it that way. And so that’s basically it. I used to make WordPress websites, but pivoted over to making content and that’s what I do now, basically.

[00:01:58] Speaker B: So, point of correction, I am a frequent co host. Not a frequent.

[00:02:02] Speaker C: What did I say?

Did I say guest? Oh, that’s so ridiculous because I do.

[00:02:07] Speaker B: So much behind the scenes.

[00:02:09] Speaker C: I know, I know, I know. And every time I fall into this pitfall. So just for context, Michelle is a co host on the this week in WordPress show and I always slip into the word guest and. And it’s wrong. She’s not, because you do a lot of work and you helped me out a lot. So apologies. I am sorry.

[00:02:27] Speaker B: No, problem.

[00:02:28] Speaker C: It’s.

[00:02:28] Speaker B: It’s just made me laugh right off. I’m like, we just had this conversation yesterday, Nathan.

[00:02:31] Speaker C: Yeah, we did have this conversation yesterday, and I feel thoroughly, thoroughly ridiculous for stepping into that.

[00:02:38] Speaker B: It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s just funny.

So I know you showed me your mug, but show everybody your mug and tell us about any story behind it.

[00:02:47] Speaker C: Okay, so this. This is the mug, but basically, this could be any mug. I don’t really have a story, but I am a huge drinker of coffee. In fact, much more so than is probably healthy for me. I was thinking just the other day, I need to cut it down. I’m probably on a. Maybe it’s not that much. I don’t know. But I’m on about six of these a day, so it’s probably about three pints of coffee. What I’m trying to pivot to, and I’m getting better at it, is not a mug, but a glass full of just water. And I’m trying to. I’m trying to be a good. A good person in the new year of 2024, and I’m trying to drink just water. But I do have. I do have an ember mug, which is one of those fancy, schmancy, keep it warm, Internet of things mug. But I don’t advise having it. Just stick with your ordinary mug. It’s much better.

[00:03:35] Speaker B: Well, I will show you my mug. Today is the free. I was turning the wrong way. Free mom hugs.

[00:03:41] Speaker C: Nice.

[00:03:41] Speaker B: From dot. And it is an organization for allyship for people in the LGBTQ community.

[00:03:49] Speaker C: And so I have too many mugs, Michelle. Literally, I have about, honestly, maybe 40 or 50 mugs, and I probably only use about five of them because they’re my favorites. I need to do a purge, but.

[00:04:02] Speaker B: I had over 150 of them.

[00:04:05] Speaker C: Oh, okay. I’m a novice. What the heck?

[00:04:07] Speaker B: Well, if you had, your podcast was called coffee Talk, would probably send you more mugs, too. But I did just do a little bit of a purge through and gave some away to an organization for people who are moving into the United States. And so I just need things. And so all of the ones that were not near and dear to my heart.

[00:04:29] Speaker C: Right. It’s funny how you do that, though, isn’t it? You get, like, in the same way that you get a favorite. I don’t know. Favorite. We call them jumpers. I think you call them jerseys or a favorite t shirt or favorite pair of shoes or something. You do, don’t you? You tend to tend to migrate to. Oh, that’s my favorite mug. There’s something about the shape of it and the feel of it. Yeah, yeah, I’m with you.

[00:04:49] Speaker B: My favorites are usually that they hold more coffee because I, simple criteria, almost never have more than one cup in a day, but it needs to be a big cup first thing in the morning.

[00:05:00] Speaker C: Oh, okay. So in that sense, you’re a professional in the amount of cups you’ve got or mugs you’ve got. I’m a pro in the amount that I consume.

[00:05:08] Speaker B: And I thought you were going to say tea because I thought that’s what all british people did was.

[00:05:12] Speaker C: You know what? It’s funny that because I actually genuinely don’t know any else that drinks tea, I think that pivot happened during my lifetime. I think more or less everybody’s gone over to coffee. I’ll be so hammered on social for this because I bet everybody does actually drink tea. It’s just nobody that I know. So that whole pinky finger thing. Nah, nobody’s doing.

[00:05:33] Speaker B: I’m putting that out on social as soon as we get done recording this. Anyway, how did you get started with WordPress?

[00:05:40] Speaker C: Okay, so I.

It really, like a lot of people, I think I began a long time ago with web, really when it was new, and I just saw that there was this opportunity to forge a new career and I really was directionless. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. And all of a sudden computers were getting to in everybody’s living room and the Internet came along and so I started playing with building things with HTML and css and then, you know, the typical story. Then a friend said, will you do something for me? And I said, okay. Then another friend, and then they told their friends and so it went. And then I experimented with later other cmss, like Drupal and Magento and Joomla and all of those. And then finally, in about 2014 or 15, finally decided that WordPress was the thing. And I tried it out, loved it immediately. There were a few things that I didn’t like as much as the other cmss, but on balance, it was significantly more in tune with what I was doing. And I haven’t used anything else since. Literally, that’s all I’ve used to build websites and really happy to have found the community. That was another peculiar thing. I genuinely didn’t see that coming. I just saw it was a piece of software. And then, I don’t know, maybe a year after I started using it, got in a Facebook group or something like that, and discovered that there were people, human beings behind it and many of them, much like you, have become friends. And it’s really unusual. I didn’t see that at all and I’ve got no intention of moving away. I know that a lot of people are sort of caught up with SaaS apps and other platforms and things like that, but really I think WordPress will be my bread and butter until I finally hang up my computer.

[00:07:22] Speaker B: I’m trying to picture that now.

[00:07:23] Speaker C: So, yeah, it’s a bit awkward, isn’t it?

[00:07:28] Speaker B: I would look different than a laptop.

[00:07:29] Speaker C: Just switch it off. I’ll just turn it off and throw it away.

[00:07:33] Speaker B: Oh my goodness. When you think of websites, whether you’ve made them or other people have made them, what do you think is something that we as designers, developers, web builders don’t focus enough attention on that would make our sites better for our end users?

[00:07:49] Speaker C: You know, I was thinking about this when I initially read your series of questions and I came up with this answer, which I’m not entirely satisfied with because I think I could have gone in lots of different directions. But on balance, this is what I think and that is that I think when the Internet started there was this promise that it was going to replace magazines. So, you know, you’d go to the store and you’d buy a magazine and you’d open it up and you’d be diving into it and it would just. In many cases a lot of work was done on the design and it looked beautiful and we tried to mimic that with online and then discovered that really the two didn’t work. Suddenly people were starting to use different size devices and you had to reduce the width for certain screen sizes and know, responsive and all that. But I, I would like to see really interesting designs come back round again so that it, so that we went back to what we used to do in print. And I think advent of things like grid, which is a sort of layout technology will, will make that much more possible and yeah, hopefully those kind of things. Again, I’m not. There’s lots of different things that I could have said around that, but I would like, I would like there to be more innovation in the way that things look because I feel that things like page build bound us into these like horizontal rows, one row, another row, another row, and it’s getting a bit samey and I mean, they’re great tools, don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy using them, but it’d be nice to see some of those innovative designs and actually, oddly the WordPress showcase, which is a, you google it, just WordPress showcase. Google it and go. They’ve just had a revamp of it and they’re displaying WordPress websites which are innovative in many different ways. And one of the criteria for getting on that website is that you’ve got an innovative, you’re doing something innovative with design. So that’s well worth looking at because some of those are just great.

You look at them and I think, I wish I’d done that. But as I’ve said many times, I have the design skills of a potato.

So this has worked for somebody else, not for me.


[00:09:57] Speaker B: I agree, though. I think that we can do amazing things and we’ve gone. When I think of like the first sites I built in 2010, 2011, that kind of thing, or even earlier, before I even knew about WordPress and I was using HTML and things like that, we tried to cram so much onto the page. It was like when you open a page in a magazine and it’s like there’s so much text and there’s so much pictures and that kind of thing. And then we’ve gone through this minimalist phase of the Internet with like white space. White space. We need more white space. There’s probably somewhere in between that, right. That is like the perfect aesthetic or whatever your site is.

[00:10:34] Speaker C: Yeah. I guess the nice thing about the print layout is that the editor and the designer, they knew what everybody would be looking at and, you know, so they could get it exactly right. And accessibility aside, you know, because obviously you couldn’t zoom in on the print or anything like that. So there’s all of those concerns, but you could get the design pixel perfect. And we really haven’t had that. We’ve had, you know, collapsing by viewports and media queries and all that kind of thing. And now we’re into the era of, well, moving into the era of grid, I think people will be able to be much more flexible. So if it’s really wide, oh, let’s go crazy and make it look like this, and then if it’s normal width, but most people are looking at, okay, we’ll make it look like that, and then if it’s on a mobile, we’ll do something entirely different and it’ll be much more fluid and, well, responsive is not really the word anymore, it’s more intrinsic design. But I think that’s going to be interesting. And I’m looking forward to the web being more exciting to look at.

[00:11:30] Speaker B: I remember when responsive first became a thing because nobody had smartphones up to that point. Right. So it didn’t matter. It really didn’t matter if it was a laptop or a bigger screen. It pretty much operated the same way at that time. And Jetpack came out with a toggle where you could just go in and toggle and it would be a responsive. It didn’t look anything like your website, but it presented in a responsive way. All of my clients at the time that didn’t want to pay for upgrades got that toggle turned on, and then they were like, why does my website look so terrible?

[00:12:02] Speaker C: Yeah, yeah.

[00:12:03] Speaker B: You don’t want to pay for an upgrade.

[00:12:04] Speaker C: Yeah, I remember that. I remember building a website for, in a platform called Magento, which was an e commerce platform, and that you literally had within the stack of files, you had a. Sorry, the directory structure. You had this stack for the normal presentation. Then you had all these other templates for what they called iPhone. It was just iPhone at the time. And everything went in there. And typically it was, it was just minimal. Maybe some nod to the color of the website or something, but basically the text would be presented and that was it. But do you remember Steve Jobs when he stood up and he introduced the iPhone and there was that whole pinch to zoom thing and he demonstrated that. I don’t remember which website he was looking at, but he demonstrated a newspaper or something, and the whole newspaper was on the tiny screen. And then he zoomed in and he pinched in and everybody was, you can actually view a website on a phone for the first time. And of course, that’s such a poor experience. But. But that’s all we had. And it was good enough in. It’s good enough in the time. And obviously, you know, everything that we’re doing now will be superseded and outdated. But for now, I’m looking forward to.

[00:13:05] Speaker B: Grid, I will tell you that. And I am not proud of this. It was as recent as last weekend that I tried to pinch open print media.

[00:13:15] Speaker C: Yeah, I’ve done that. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:13:17] Speaker B: It’s like, I need to see this bigger. Oh, yeah, shoot, it’s paper. I cannot.

[00:13:21] Speaker C: I know. And that just tells you how far you’ve come, right? You. You are really, really.

Everything is on a device now. I no longer buy a newspaper. I used to be an absolute daily newspaper purchaser.

I do a similar sort of subscription thing, but it’s online. I consume absolutely everything. Even the book has been replaced. I mean, I’ve got a few books above my head, but I don’t buy books anymore unless there’s a compelling reason why I want it on my lap or on my desk. It’s all on a e reader of some kind.

[00:13:54] Speaker B: Yeah, of. I buy the book if I’m getting it autographed by the author because I really don’t want them signing my phone.

[00:13:59] Speaker C: Right. Yeah. That’s kind of weird.

[00:14:04] Speaker B: My goodness. What is something you wish you had known earlier in your WordPress journey that would have made life a lot easier?

[00:14:10] Speaker C: Well, I think the answer to this is not, and I’ve alluded to it already, it’s not really easier, it’s just better. And that would have been the community. I wish I’d discovered that. And actually, funnily enough, looking back, I discover that there are similar communities surrounding the other cmss that I was using at the time. So there’s a. There’s a Joomla community and there’s a drupal community. And I imagine they’ve all got their strengths, weaknesses, characters, interesting events that they throw on and all of that, but I wish I’d discovered that sooner because it really has brought. It’s just brought some thing into my life. I can’t quite parcel it up for you, but there’s. There’s something that I can’t quite capture, something really magical. I know, honestly, I know we drone about the WordPress community all the time, but I am convinced there is something a bit weirdly good about it.

And again, I can’t encapsulate it. I can’t quite tell you why that is. But there is something profoundly nice about.

I’m going to say everybody, clearly, that can’t quite be the case, but everybody in the community.

There’s just something interesting about people who want to dedicate their time to a project where they might not necessarily see a return on that investment, but they realize that playing it forwards is a good thing for humanity. And it’s nice to be able to build tools that our children will be able to use and that people can use to spread their messages and have their voice online. And I don’t know what that thing is that’s different about that intuition. But the people who have that intuition seem to be people that I get along with. That was a very verbose and worthy way of saying I like the community.

[00:15:48] Speaker B: I’m sure you love the community.

[00:15:49] Speaker C: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s right. Yeah, I love it.

[00:15:54] Speaker B: Um, I know that you haven’t been to as many wordcamps as me, and that’s not a slam. It’s just that I can see the badges hanging behind your head.

[00:16:00] Speaker C: There’s not so many. No, there’s a few there, but not as many. Yours would be like a wall. Right.

[00:16:05] Speaker B: I have. I’ll send you a picture later. I think I counted the other day. I’ve been to about 60 wordcamps.

[00:16:11] Speaker C: Oh, yeah? That’s a lot more than me. Yeah, this is not the full monty. I think I’ve probably been to about ten or twelve, something like that.

[00:16:17] Speaker B: Oh, nice.

[00:16:18] Speaker C: Yeah, yeah.

[00:16:19] Speaker B: So when you think back over those experiences, whether they were and even online experiences that we’ve had, you know, through the lockdown and things like that, is there a pivotal moment or maybe a talk that you heard something that really made a difference for you through one of those events or experiences that you can tell us about?

[00:16:38] Speaker C: Yeah. And sorry to sound like a broken record, but I’m basically going to say the same thing. And it was arriving at the first word camp.

I won’t give you the exact story, but basically I thought to myself, well, let’s give this thing a go. And I really had massive expectations that I’d get there to discover a room full of nerds that I wouldn’t get along with. And that was fully what I thought. I thought, throw a coin in the air, 50% of the time, it’s going to come down, room full of nerds, back away and go home. Or maybe, on the other hand, there’ll be something for me and I’ll get into it anyway, within minutes, I was like, whoa, chatter, chatter.

Having a good old gossip with people and met people immediately. And so that. So it isn’t one experience. It was that first wordcamp where I thought, boy, what have I been missing here all this time? And that just goes into everything that I do now. If you think about it, my whole thing, my job, if you like, is being a community member. I don’t mean that to sound as grandiose as maybe it does, but, you know, to me, I like to connect people and push their stories out there.

[00:17:49] Speaker B: And that’s my job, too, so I’m okay about that.

[00:17:52] Speaker C: Yeah, yeah. But it was that. So it wasn’t a particular moment in time. It was just that first wordcamp that I attended and discovered that there was like minded people that I enjoyed spending time with. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly.

[00:18:05] Speaker B: Night. I 100% understand that. I went to my first wordcamp, and then I was like, when’s the next one? Where can I go? Like, I’m, like, looking for that. And I was like, okay, there’s another one. In two months, I am there, you know? And then the next year, was wordcamp us? The very first one. And what do they say? The rest is history. So, yeah.

[00:18:23] Speaker C: And they talk. There’s a lot of talk at the moment about changing around the format of wordcamps and everything, and I’m sure that’ll be good. I’m sure there’ll be experimentation which will work, probably be things which fall flat on their face and aren’t that great. But I’ve just really, you know, if nothing did change, I would still enjoy attending those events. But I understand that maybe we’ve got to be mindful of the audience getting older and getting new, younger people into the. Into the user base of WordPress. And so things have got to change because, you know, it’s just the nature of it. But I would keep attending exactly what we’ve got forever if nothing good changes.

[00:18:59] Speaker B: Me too.

[00:19:00] Speaker C: I get the need to change. Yeah.

[00:19:02] Speaker B: That does make us old.

[00:19:03] Speaker C: Yeah. We definitely fit into the older demographic, you and I, Michelle, I think.

[00:19:08] Speaker B: I mean, it’s the way it is. My hair would be gray also if I didn’t color it purple.

I wouldn’t have needed the wig that I wore to be you if I had let my hair go natural.

[00:19:21] Speaker C: Yeah. I don’t know if anybody knows that story, but Michelle wants dressed up as me, which I literally, I think I spat out liquid.

It was quite. It was quite hysterical. I doubled up when I saw that.

[00:19:35] Speaker B: One of the things I’ve ever done.

[00:19:37] Speaker C: In my life.

[00:19:42] Speaker B: Then I thought I was going to outdo it this past year, and you were like, oh, what are you dressed as? Like, you had no clue.

[00:19:48] Speaker C: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I didn’t. Yeah, yeah. That was kind of weird.

I showed my children the picture of you dressed up and my wife the picture of you dressed, and we had an equally enjoyable experience watching it over and over again.

[00:20:01] Speaker B: On days that I’m sad, I pull out that video and I just watch, like, that two minute clip on my phone. Not gonna lie.

[00:20:08] Speaker C: Yeah. There’s something infectious about laughing at people laughing, isn’t there? And I. Did I giggle?

[00:20:14] Speaker B: That was fun. I will never be able to top that, but it was a lot of fun.

So I gave you a title. I don’t know what your actual title is because you didn’t tell me of Captain Cook and bottle washer.

[00:20:29] Speaker C: That’ll be it.

[00:20:30] Speaker B: Oh, thanks. I mean, you know, there’d be worse things to be titled, but you do a lot with WP builds, and you also are podcasting over at the tavern, and I think about all of the stories that you look into and the people that you talk to every day tell us a little bit about what it is you love about what you do.

[00:20:50] Speaker C: Oh, honestly, there are some, you know, like any job, there are some days where you think, oh, maybe change it up and try something else. But the majority of the days, like, I don’t know how lucky I am. It’s ridiculous. I get to speak to these people who I like about a subject that I’m interested in. And I’ve always loved talking my, oh, boy, you can ask my parents. There’s quite a lot of stories where I, you know, guests would show up and kind of ask to leave early. I mean, that’s an exaggeration. But like, doesn’t he talk?

[00:21:24] Speaker B: Make him stop.

[00:21:25] Speaker C: Yeah, exactly. That, that kind of thing.

And I just get to discover stories. People communicate with me and email me directly and say, I’ve got this thing, can I talk to you about it? But in a lot of cases, I’m just looking at the WordPress news, all of the different websites out there, and I find things that I’m interested in and that pique my interest and I contact them and we get into an exchange and invariably it turns out they’re really nice people who’ve got something nice, you know, to pitch or to sell or to just describe, and we get them on the show and there’s no real pattern to it. I don’t have an exact workflow to work through. I just keep my eyes peeled. Loiter in a lot of the slack channels, loiter on a lot of the, you know, the RSS feeds of these different publications and then just cherry pick the things that I think people would be interested in. There’s a bit of a treadmill process to that, in that, because I do things weekly, I have to be fairly mindful to keep up with it.

And so there’s that. But honestly, it’s such a straightforward thing to do and I really, really enjoy doing it.

And again, given the industry that we’re in, I’m thankful that it’s an industry where people tend to be nice. And I don’t fall into conversations where there’s falling out or there’s an adversarial tint to it. It’s just, okay, tell us what you got. Let’s talk about it. Show me it’s, describe it, tell me what you’re doing, that kind of thing. And so I’m thankful for that as well because I don’t like forming out with anybody and, and I don’t have to in this. And I’ve completely lost sight of what it was that you asked me, but hopefully that satisfies some portion of it.

[00:23:14] Speaker B: So you are mostly recording and editing what you’re recording and putting that out there, especially for tavern, I’m assuming.

[00:23:23] Speaker C: Yeah.

[00:23:24] Speaker B: This week in WordPress is live. That’s an hour and a half every Monday.

[00:23:29] Speaker C: Hey, you’re the co host. Did you know that? Just so that, you know, in case.

[00:23:33] Speaker B: You’Ve forgotten, I used to be a guest, but now I’m the.

[00:23:36] Speaker C: Yeah, that’s right, you’ve been promoted.

[00:23:40] Speaker B: What I love about that show is sometimes you have people who have been on there before, they know exactly what to, what’s coming. And sometimes you have people on there who are like, you can just tell, like, what have I gotten myself into?

[00:23:56] Speaker C: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s a bit of a. I think you are going to get that when you, when you go live. And basically to get on that show, there is a process of filling out a form that’s, that’s more or less it. Um, you, you. I say you. Not, not you, dear listener, you, as in Michelle, you, you do a lot of the, the spade work there and finding people and putting them in my direction and pointing them towards that form. But it’s a bit of a gamble. I mean, maybe one day we’ll get somebody on the show who literally refuses to open their mouth. But we haven’t had it so far. Honestly, isn’t it amazing? You just put the people there. Some of them express trepidation that it’s going to be weird or strange or a nervous experience. But I think it’s true, saying you’ve done so many podcasts, you can probably attest to this once the record button is pressed and they’ve realised that actually, this is just a chat.

[00:24:46] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:24:46] Speaker C: Then, then they go with it, don’t they? And some guests are more quiet than others, but we have quite a few people who love chatting. And it’s great. It’s great.

[00:24:54] Speaker B: And I will say that although, you know, most often it’s four people on the screen for that show, and although there are people with opinions and they are people who are coming from all parts of the world and all parts of WordPress, I have never seen anything on that show become contentious. I’ve never seen, I mean, people have opinions and they’ll voice their opinions right with one another in a conversation. But I’ve never seen, maybe I missed that episode, but I’ve never actually seen anybody like, you know, good thing they’re not in the same room because it would have come to blows like, nothing like that ever.

[00:25:26] Speaker C: Yeah. I have no, I have no real understanding of how.

Let me begin that again. I have no real understanding as to how that has transpired because it is fully live and somebody could come on and just use the opportunity to just blow their own trumpet unnecessarily and talk about their own products and really just drone on and on and on about them and the things that they do and slag other people off. But I don’t know why. They just haven’t. And I would be mindful of that. And if that were the case, I’d probably ask them, you know, what are you doing?

Let’s, I don’t know, reevaluate this or something. But we haven’t. And I’m very, very, very.

Can I say the word proud? Is that too much? Okay, pleased. Let’s go with pleased and proud. A bit of proud as well. I’m proud that that’s the case because I, like, I would love to look back when I am old and gr, that sentence doesn’t work because I already am old and Grey. Older and greyer. There we go. And be able to be able to know that I didn’t cause a flame war or didn’t cause a problem. I know that for some people online, that’s their thing, right? That’s how they, that’s how they do it and that works for them and it doesn’t work for me. So I’m not going to do it.

[00:26:45] Speaker B: I think. I think it’s because you’ve built a reputation of it being a safe space and a kind space for people to come and talk about the issues as opposed to fighting with one another. Right. Well, you’re not the Joe Rogan of WordPress podcasts, which is a good thing.

[00:27:02] Speaker C: Oh, damn it.

Well, that’s very kind of you. If you’ve gained that intuition without me telling you it, then I’m pleased that that’s the case because I would like, I say I would like to do that. I sometimes speak to sponsors because like anything, I have sponsors for the WP builds, not the tavern, I might add, but for the WP builds I do. And that’s one of the things that I mention in the sponsor talk where we’re talking about what I think is WP builds all about. And I say that a bit. I labor that point. Like, you know, I’m not going to trounce your opposition because you’ve decided to become a sponsor. Quite the opposite. You know, if your sponsor, if your opposition has done something worthy of attention. Well, they’re going to get it because they deserve it. And that seems to be something that works. So. Yeah, I feel like I’m droning on about myself too much here. Sorry, Michelle.

[00:27:57] Speaker B: I mean, it’s an interview.

[00:27:59] Speaker C: Oh, yeah. Okay. All right.

[00:28:00] Speaker B: So it’s all good.

[00:28:01] Speaker C: It’s so weird sitting on the other side, though, because normally it is me talking to other people about them and there is some part of me which finds talking about me a little bit weird.

[00:28:11] Speaker B: Maybe that’s like you just want to start asking me questions now, right?

[00:28:14] Speaker C: I did. I’ve got a whole list of them right here.

[00:28:17] Speaker B: Save them for another day, buddy. This is my.

Let’s move into the rapid fire questions. I tell people they’re not really rapid. I don’t know why I call them that. It’s just that it just seemed like the right thing to say anyway.

Take as much time as you need to answer them. Okay.

[00:28:34] Speaker C: Okay. I’ll try and do them quickly just for fun if nothing else.

[00:28:38] Speaker B: And I’m going to throw an extra one in there for you. I’m going to start with the extra one so I don’t forget about it. So here’s the extra one you didn’t know was coming. But who is somebody that you would want to have on, let’s say, this weekend, WordPress. Because it is the live show that has never come on the show before.

[00:28:53] Speaker C: My wife.

Seriously? Yeah. That would be hysterical because she knows nothing about WordPress at all.

And it would just be really funny watching that happen, but in a more serious way. Ooh, ooh, ooh. The this week in WordPress show, I’d love to get Matt and Joseph are on. That’d be nice.

[00:29:13] Speaker B: That would be amazing.

[00:29:15] Speaker C: Yeah, that’d be good. On the same episode at the same time.

[00:29:18] Speaker B: Don’t you work for Matt? I mean, couldn’t you just ask him?

[00:29:21] Speaker C: I could. I don’t know. I feel maybe that. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ll put a pin in that and give it some thought.

[00:29:30] Speaker B: That would be fun. I definitely need to be the co host, not guest on that episode so I can be.

[00:29:36] Speaker C: Yeah, yeah. Okay. All right, well, yeah, we’ll see if we can make that happen.

[00:29:40] Speaker B: Let’s see what we can. We’ll see how influential we can be. Okay. Now down to the questions you do know are coming. What are two or three must have plugins that you would recommend to somebody building their own website?

[00:29:50] Speaker C: Okay. In the spirit of not putting my foot in it with sponsors and things like that. Let’s, let’s go at it like this.

I think a, for me at least since the advent of blocks I’ve enjoyed playing with block suites. So you know who I’m talking about. There’s a whole range of them. So obviously, you know, in your case you work for cadence.

There’s things like generate blocks and stackable. I find those to be quite entertaining and obviously there’s a lot of core blocks that I play with but I do like the extra stuff that they can bring so they go in pretty quick on every install and then I’m caught.

The next one could be two and I could go either way. But I think most websites, to be useful, need some form solution. So I’d put a form in and I think it’s fair to say that you and I both know that we communicate a lot with Mark Westgard and he has a plugin called WS form, go google it. And that’s really very, very credible form solution. And so that goes in a lot, but also some kind of custom field. Now I know that you can do that natively in WordPress, but I think some kind of custom field thing so that you can make the site a little bit more interesting than just posts and pages and things like that. So something like ACF for example would be a bit of a win for me. Yeah, pods is another cracking suite and, and it’s free in fact, like all the way free.

Although there is a. You can, you can, I can’t remember what it’s called. Pods, something where you can upgrade and get a little bit extra. But the friends. That’s it. Friends of pods. Yeah. Thank you. But the, you know, 99.9% of it is just utterly free, whereas ACF is free a bit and then there’s a pro version as well.

[00:31:30] Speaker B: Very good.

Have you had a mentor at any point of your WordPress journey, whether it was an official mentor or somebody that either took you under their wing or somebody that you kind of aspired to to learn from, whether it was official or not? And if so, who was it?

[00:31:48] Speaker C: Yeah. Can I answer twice for that? Sure. So the first one would be David Walmsley, who until very recently was the person that did the WP Builds podcast with me. I started watching YouTube tutorials that he was doing about Beaver Builder and I just had this notion that, oh, I want to be like David but not YouTube more kind of like creating content. So I reached out to him and we hit it off immediately and we’ve done hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of episodes together and we’ve never once fallen out. So I think that is a great person. And another one who I have hold an enormous regard is Dan maybe, who is the founder. And I know you deal with him probably a lot as well, of big orange heart. You know, you’re the chairman of the board over there, or is that right? Have I got the name right there?

[00:32:42] Speaker B: Close enough.

[00:32:43] Speaker C: Close enough. I’m sorry if I mess that up.

[00:32:46] Speaker B: It’s president of the board here.

[00:32:48] Speaker C: Of course it would be. Yeah. President of the board of Big Orange. And I just think that was just such a great thing to put into the community. And so I have a lot, a lot, a lot of time for Dan. And we speak a lot. We speak on a weekly basis and I’m very glad that we do.

[00:33:09] Speaker B: He is also one of my favourite people. So.

[00:33:11] Speaker C: Yeah. Oh, that’s nice.


[00:33:16] Speaker B: The next question you can’t answer with any of the names you’ve already given me, though.

[00:33:19] Speaker C: Okay. Oh, dear.

[00:33:20] Speaker B: So I can’t use David or Dan for this one, but who is someone you admire in the WordPress community and why?

[00:33:30] Speaker C: Oh, I know.

[00:33:32] Speaker B: Take your big answers away now.

[00:33:33] Speaker C: You can. Yeah. No, no, no. I just. Yeah. So the trouble that I’m having here is I don’t want to. I’m struggling to promote people over other people, if you know what I mean, because I don’t like doing the favorite thing, but. Okay, I’ll give it a shot.

[00:33:48] Speaker B: We just didn’t say favorite. I said who is someone you admire?

[00:33:51] Speaker C: Okay, thank you. You’ve got me out of that. That’s brilliant.

I like Bob donne and I’m going to use two. And we’ve mentioned him. Mark Westgard. I think Mark Westgard, for his form solution, is doing a one man army job of building, promoting, supporting an amazing product all by himself and still managing to be a thoroughly decent person. So there’s that. But Bob, just for the content that he’s created over the years and the journey that he’s got in 2024, network of podcasts that he’s got, is looking pretty remarkable. So. And also, they’re both just thoroughly decent people. And I, it turns out, can sit and talk to Bob about nothing for hours. It’s great.

[00:34:37] Speaker B: He’s pretty awesome. And I think he’s going to Asia, too. So we’ll be having, as is Mark. So we’ll have our little mini reunion when we’re over there, which I’m looking.

[00:34:45] Speaker C: Forward to going to be. Clever.

[00:34:48] Speaker B: I’ll let you drive my scooter.

[00:34:51] Speaker C: Yay. That’s why I’m going.

[00:34:53] Speaker B: Michelle, leave it turned down to turtle for you.

If anybody doesn’t know, Nathan kindly offered to park my scooter for me at a really nice restaurant. We were at Wordcamp us in San Diego, and it has a tendency, if you don’t know when you push on the paddle, it goes very quickly. If it’s turned all the way up, literally. The speed dial has turtle on one end and rabbit on the other. So when I say turtle and rabbit, it’s actually what’s printed on there. And so when somebody else is going to drive it, I quickly turn it down so that they don’t, you know, lunge forward and, like, knock over waders and things like that. Well, I turned it all the way down.

Nathan is like, am I doing something wrong? Is he’s literally moving at a snail’s pace. So that’s.

[00:35:38] Speaker C: It would have made a kind of fun YouTube video that, wouldn’t it? Because you could. I literally would have taken a minute to get past the table that we were on. It was. I mean, it was like a 10th of a quarter of a mile an hour or something, and it was funny.

[00:35:56] Speaker B: And then when you introduced me on the product builders website or podcast that Katy Keith has with.

[00:36:05] Speaker C: Yes, I know the one. Oh.

[00:36:08] Speaker B: Oh, yeah, sorry, you refer to that. But they brought me on screen. I was laughing so hard, I had tears coming down my face.

[00:36:14] Speaker C: I think I decided to do it in, like, this thick Yorkshire accent. Hello. I have a good friend whose name is Michelle Frisches or something like that.

[00:36:23] Speaker B: It was wonderful.

[00:36:25] Speaker C: What’s the point in not having fun in life? Seize the opportunities to make an absolute fool of yourself.

[00:36:32] Speaker B: Absolutely.

[00:36:33] Speaker C: As often as possible, because why not?

[00:36:35] Speaker B: It makes people happy and it makes you laugh, too.

[00:36:36] Speaker C: So it’s all good.

[00:36:41] Speaker B: Switching gears here again, what’s something that you want to learn in WordPress but that you haven’t tackled yet?

[00:36:47] Speaker C: Oh, okay. I’d love to build a block. I think that would be quite a nice aspiration, to be able to code something up. So it’s a long time since I got stuck into the code, and so that would be a nice thing to do. Nothing complicated, just something simple to explore that, but also to play much, much, much more with themes and the new site editor and get up to speed with how all of that works, because I see that as being the future in WordPress. And so there’s no excuse for me not knowing how to do it, but I need to make the time to.

[00:37:19] Speaker B: Do that more, the WP builds black. Whatever that was.

[00:37:23] Speaker C: Yeah, that’d be nice. I don’t know what it’d be. Just like a black hole. Just an empty, empty space or something. Or just a picture of my head cut out like Bob carries around it when we go places.

[00:37:36] Speaker B: That was fun.

That was the other time you wrote on my scooter and you weren’t even there.

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

[00:37:49] Speaker C: Oh, good grief. These are hard. You know what? They’re not hard, but they are hard.

Oh, Michelle, I don’t know. I haven’t. I don’t really know the answer to that one. Can I put a pin in it and can we circle back and come back to that one?

[00:38:07] Speaker B: We’re not going to come back to it.

[00:38:08] Speaker C: We’re just going to skip it. If you don’t have an answer, let’s skip the one. I don’t know. I haven’t got anything to hand. I’m sorry.

[00:38:12] Speaker B: Oh, so you all heard it here, Nathan, really makes no mistake.

[00:38:20] Speaker C: Did it come across like that? Oh, that’s the last thing. Oh, dear.

I’ve just put my foot right into my mouth there, haven’t I?

[00:38:29] Speaker B: Show that I can make fun of it.

[00:38:30] Speaker C: Yeah, that’s right. It’s great.

[00:38:32] Speaker B: Okay, so what’s your proudest WordPress moment?

[00:38:36] Speaker C: Oh, I think. I think maybe. Okay, so it’s to do with the stuff that I have created, I think, getting to where I am now. So no particular milestone, but let’s say it was 100 episodes or 200 episodes or 300 episodes. And at some point during the course of this year, we’ll get to 400 episodes of the podcast. They gave me some level of pride. I made a big deal out of the first hundred episodes, and I did this giant giveaway. I think we gave away about $25,000 of plugins and themes and all that sort of stuff. But honestly, that giveaway kept me going, like, made me busy for about two weeks, just. Just getting the prizes out and figuring out who won what and all of that kind of stuff. So I’ve never done it again.

That’s right. Yeah. But secretly when I get to a double zero, like 400, 300, I have a nice beverage, put it that way.

[00:39:34] Speaker B: A steak and a nail, perhaps.

[00:39:36] Speaker C: That’s right. Yeah. I do something special.

So they’re my proud moments, getting to those milestones and being thankful for the fact that that can happen.

[00:39:46] Speaker B: Nice. I like that.

If you weren’t working in web tech any your current roles, what’s another career that you might like to attempt?

[00:39:57] Speaker C: Oh, lion Tamer, definitely.

Oh, no, I’m not actually a line tamer. I’d like to. I’d like to write a children’s book.

I’d like to be an author.

I’d probably write a silly book involving silly characters who do silly things, because that’s probably all I could do.

I would love to do something artistic. I mean, I’ve got this. I’ve just, as you know, I’ve bought this new camera. I’d love to pursue something like that. I’ve got no credentials to do it, but I would love to pursue something along those lines. So something like that. Yeah.

[00:40:35] Speaker B: I think I have no photographic credentials either. I have just a body of work that I’ve created and that’s all.

[00:40:41] Speaker C: Isn’t it fun? Yeah, if I could turn that into a career. But imagine, though, if I could be an author and photographer and simultaneously lion tamer, if I could do all those three things rolled up into one unique Nathan Wrigley kind of role, that would be. I’d be happy to. I’d go to the grave happy. And probably quite early, because the lion had probably, you know, see to that.

[00:41:06] Speaker B: I don’t title my episodes like you do for WP builds, but I’ve had so many ideas, as we’ve been talking, if I were to do that, show us or tell us about a hidden talent that you have that the WordPress community might not be aware of.

[00:41:21] Speaker C: I can do a weird thing with my tongue.

Is that the thing?

[00:41:24] Speaker B: Can I please show us?

[00:41:26] Speaker C: Okay, so. So maybe everybody can do it, but I can do this. Look, I cannot do that. Yeah, so I can make it like, look like a clover. And as a school kid, I would occasionally do it, and everybody in the playground would go, oh, that’s weird. Put that away.

[00:41:45] Speaker B: That’s horrible.

[00:41:46] Speaker C: And then there was this tv show called that’s life when I was a kid. If you’re as old as I am, you might remember it. And at the end of every show, they would bring somebody on and they would ask them that question that you just asked me, do your weird thing. And a lady came on and did that, and I said, that’s not weird. Everybody can do it too. Turns out that it’s like a one in a million.

Oh, my goodness. I know. So I can do a weird thing with my tongue. I bet you weren’t expecting that.

[00:42:15] Speaker B: I was not expecting that. And you are the first person to ever show me a weird thing with their tongue on my.

There you go. You get the award for one of the weirdest.

All I said was hidden talent. I did not say weirdest, but you. You showed through for both of those things.

[00:42:31] Speaker C: Oh, thank you. That’s good. Yeah. Like I said earlier, if you’re not prepared to make fun of yourself and be an idiot, then absolutely life is.

[00:42:40] Speaker B: Too short not to.

[00:42:41] Speaker C: That’s right.

[00:42:42] Speaker B: How can people find you online, whether it’s on social or your website?

[00:42:46] Speaker C: Please, just Google or whatever search engine you use WP builds is probably the easiest way to do it. That will find you. And then you can use contact forms or Twitter x, whatever it’s called. But I’m enjoying mastodon, and I have a mastodon instance. It’s wpbuilds social and I am Nathan there. So it’s wpbuilds social forward slash at Nathan. It’s a bit clunky the way they do things, but, yeah, that’s probably where I will be hanging out.

[00:43:17] Speaker B: Fantastic. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share with us today?

[00:43:23] Speaker C: Um, well, I mean, I could tell you about my lumbago or my back pain or the, you know, verucas that I’ve had and things like that, but no, I don’t think anybody needs to know about that. I, um. I have. I have nothing to add. I think you’ve. You’ve managed to expunge from me as many humiliating things as I’m prepared to give out in the space of an hour.

[00:43:47] Speaker B: Well, if you are listening to this episode and you don’t want to go to the Googles for all the things, just go to our website, Comma, look for Nathan’s episode, and I will have those links for you in the show notes along with the transcript of today’s episode. So thank you so much, Nathan, for being with me today and letting me be the one who asks you questions for a change.

[00:44:08] Speaker C: Oh, I appreciate it. Thank you very much. You do it significantly better than I do. I appreciate it.

[00:44:13] Speaker B: I think I just do it differently, that’s all.

Anyway, thanks for being here. We’ll see everybody else on the next episode of WP Coffee Talk.

[00:44:21] Speaker C: Thank you. Bye bye.

[00:44:24] Speaker A: 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.

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