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Ep 11: Brad Williams. Hiring for cultural fit and growing a 40-person all remote web agency

Ep 11: Brad Williams. Hiring for cultural fit and growing a 40-person all remote web agency

Host: Matt Medeiros | Published: October 21, 2019

Brad Williams is founder and CEO of one of the more respected WordPress agencies, WebDev Studios. They work with clients like Microsoft, Viacom, Campbell Soup Company, Starbucks and the NBA. In this interview Matt and Brad talk about their ten-year journey growing a 40-person company, how they retain the in-person feel as a fully remote, distributed company, trends Brad has seen in the evolving WordPress space, the reception of Gutenberg amongst his clients and more. Enjoy!

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Show Notes

0:00:21   Welcome and context
0:01:13   How long have you been the CEO of WebDev Studios?
0:02:17   How do you set the tone culturally for new hires?
0:06:09   What else is in your technology/culture stack?
0:09:19   You do annual in-person retreats?
0:11:39   What is your method for hiring for cultural fit?
0:14:51   What has changed in terms of how you interface with customers?
0:17:11   Do you see people consistently defecting from one particular closed-source CMS to WordPress?
0:19:45   Do you see any gaps in core WP functionality in terms of missing features for the Enterprise?
0:22:15   How has the reception of Gutenberg been with your clients?
0:27:41   On the rise of Gatsby static site generator
0:29:53   What are your thoughts on decoupling Gutenberg and bringing it to other CMS’s?
0:34:13   Favorite shows on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu right now?

Show Transcript

Matt: 00:22 Hey everybody. Welcome back to the PressNomics podcast. I’ll be your host today, Matt Medeiros from the Pagely side of discussion and joined with me, a good friend of mine in the industry, well known in the WordPress world and the agency space. Brad Williams. Brad, welcome to the show.

Brad: 00:39 Thank you for having me. Very excited to be here.

Matt: 00:41 You are the CEO and co founder WebDev studios, a trusted partner at Pagely. of course. We were just chatting about a recent client that you sent over to Pagely and I’m bringing you on the show today to talk about what it’s like to run a WordPress agency these days. Look at the other technology trends that are out there, um, and generally get your feedback around, uh, WordPress and where this whole piece of software is moving. So thanks.

Brad: 01:11 I’m excited. Let’s dive in.

Matt: 01:14 How long have you been the CEO of WebDev?

Brad: 01:18 WebDevStudios was officially founded in 2008. So we’re in our 11th year of business. We had been doing some side gigs and little stuff prior to that and weren’t really an official company. So 2008 is the year we are founded. I’m so pretty excited. Last year we hit our 10 year anniversary, pretty big milestone, um, for us and for really any company that’s been around for 10 years. So, um, it’s been a fun ride

Matt: 01:41 Pagely just recently celebrated our 10 years in business. I haven’t been here for 10 years, but two and a half. And it’s been great. And one of the best things about Pagely and it’s gonna sound like maybe like what every other startup in the world says, but it’s the culture. It’s the people, it’s the people that work with us. It’s the, it’s the, uh, the management team. It’s the founders, Josh and Sally. And I’m not just saying that because I’m getting paid to do this podcast today. Uh, but it is great. Um, and I’m curious from your point of view, you know, culture isn’t just a set it and forget it kind of thing, especially 11 years in. So, I dunno, do you have like a litmus test of every year, every six months, every couple of years. You kind of like evaluate the new culture of the new hires in the growth of the business and set a tone for that for, you know, a year to go?

Brad: 02:33 Yeah, I mean, um, good question. And I would be curious if anyone ever says, it’s not the team that it’s not the culture, uh, but it’s important and I think, um, you know, Pagely like, like WebDevStudios, um, were distributed, right? So, um, we don’t have a centralized office, so I think it makes it even extra difficult, right. To have to have any culture, cause we’re all working out of our houses, we’re all working remotely. We, you know, at best to see each other on video during the day. But we’re certainly not there in person. We’re not having, you know, taco Tuesday lunch in the, in the, uh, the dining hall there or anything like that. So it’s, it’s, it’s extra challenging to have, to even have a culture when you’re remote. Um, and it’s something that, um, we’re very aware of that how important it is to have a, a good culture, uh, you know, to have a good relationship within the team members and employees and, uh, it’s something, um, you have to continually work on, you know, like you mentioned, kind of taking the pulse of where we’re at.

Brad: 03:29 Cause I think if you’re not focused on it in some sense, you’ll, you, you can lose it very, very easily. So, um, we do a lot of different things around that. You know, I always like to say that, you know, the, the classic cliche of work hard, play hard, right? Like we’d like to have a lot of fun. Yes. We’re doing building really amazing websites for some really awesome companies. Um, and we work very hard and, and uh, at that. But we also like to have a lot of fun doing it, right? Like I think there’s way too many companies out there that, um, take themselves a little bit too seriously. Uh, maybe a little bit too strict, maybe a little, you know, very formal. Um, and we kind of go the other direction. My background prior to, uh, WebDevStudios, I was in the Marine Corps as United States Marine.

Brad: 04:09 So I’ve seen the polar opposite of, you know, sure. Of, I see the very, the strict of the strictest. Right? Um, and that’s fine. And for what it was, but that’s not the kind of company that I wanted to grow or my partner, Lisa. Um, so we’ve really tried to find a fun way to, or, you know, a lot of different ways that we can bring a lot of fun excitement into a company. It’s still work. Like I’m not, I’m not acting like everyone’s excited every single day they walk in the door. Like, yeah, I can’t wait to sit down and work all day long. But, um, you know, we do have a lot of fun at what we do. We like to have, you know, obvious things like, uh, you know, uh, we play fantasy football, right? We had different leagues with, for different, uh, sporting events and, um, that we do internally.

Brad: 04:51 We have different events. We do ugly sweater contest around Christmas. We have a whole holiday theme we do all throughout the month of December. So every, every Friday we’re doing something special on a company wide phone call, whether it’s ugly sweatshirt or secret Santa, um, or we do like happy hour, we call it, you know, our end of end of the week, uh, meetings that we do where everyone, you know, brings her favorite beverage of choice. And we hang out for a little bit and just talk about the holidays and what everyone’s plans are. Um, we do, we use a service called hate taco, which, um, we use Slack, which most companies do nowadays, uh, remote and even brick and mortar. Everyone likes Slack. Um, we use a service called Hey taco that allows, um, our team to gift each other tacos, um, within Slack. And a taco is essentially a kudos.

Brad: 05:37 It’s an attaboy and say, yeah, great job. Thanks for helping me out. Maybe the answer to the question, maybe they pointed you in the right direction or helped you debug an issue or whatever it might be, right. Covered, uh, covered a phone call cause you were sick. Um, give them a taco and those tacos can be cashed in for, um, rewards like Amazon gift cards or a day off or a Fitbit, you know, so, um, little things like that really go a long way. Um, so we’re always kind of analyzing it, working with the team and seeing what we can do to, to, you know, to have fun.

Matt: 06:06 Yeah. And you actually kind of just segwayed into what my next question was going to be was a technology culture stack, right? Where we have all of the software that, that we use and we interact with all of our remote, uh, uh, colleagues with, and it sort of compiles itself into like this, this stack that we’re all creating sculpture in. So it’s like, okay, we can have full fledged conversations in email and Slack and then we have zoom for face to face. And then maybe your, uh, committing [inaudible] get hub and you’re leaving comments there and there’s issues that you’re going back and forth on. And I mean, there’s a plethora of, of pieces of software. And of course now this Hey taco thing. Is there anything else that you, that you use at the agency where there’s a consistent flow of communication on? Um, I mean maybe you mean code committal stuff or just you know, in general communicate lines of communication.

Brad: 06:58 Both companies [inaudible] are certainly remote companies and like I mentioned, even brick and mortar companies, Slack is almost a requirement. Like I’ve, I have friends that run other aides unfortunately. Yeah. I mean for, for good or bad, right? Like I have friends that run agencies that have, you know, a traditional office. Everybody goes there, you know, everyday to work and they have Slack, you know, because it’s just, it’s, it makes, it can make things more efficient. Obviously there can be a lot of noise and you have to make sure you’re being very careful in how you work with Slack and notifications and things like that. But it can absolutely make a company more efficient, whether they’re remote or not. So Slack and zoom I think are some of the obvious ones that by and large, most companies out there using in some capacity. Um, you know, certainly get hub Bitbucket, you know, we’re using all sorts of, it’s kind of the traditional services you would expect for a web development company, um, in around deployments and stuff.

Brad: 07:49 We even use group me, um, if you remember group me, that’s still around. Yeah, that’s actually, we call it our off hours chat. So, uh, no work, no work related discussions are allowed to happen in group meets. So that’s kind of outside of office hours. People use it to communicate, show off what they’re doing, share pictures of their family or their friends or the barbecue that they’re having or their pets, you know. So, um, you know, I think by and large there’s, we’re all using a lot of the same stuff. And it’s just about really how you use them. Like Slack as a perfect example of, there’s so many like bots and services and integrations with Slack, you know, out of the box. It’s very powerful. But once you start using these integrations, it can become, you know, a workhorse for you. But you have to be careful again, because it’s all about the noise, you know, versus benefit. Right. So, yeah. Um, we have like birthday bots, so anytime someone has a birthday, like it alerts old company, Hey, it’s Brad’s birthday today. And, uh, everybody gets tacos and you know, we have a good time. So, you know, stuff like that. But I think by and large we’re using most of the tools that everyone else is using.

Matt: 08:49 Yeah. Having run an agency, I’m certainly not the size of, of yours or the staff that page leave, but you know, I do appreciate the in-office interaction as much as I think a lot of the, uh, the folks in our Twitter sphere, you know, want to get away from, uh, a of having a, of an office space, not just for like business reasons, but they just, eh, we don’t really, we don’t need this. We have this technology. But th there’s, there’s a good sense of culture that comes out of being in person. But you also bring the in-person to your, you do annual retreats, right?

Brad: 09:21 That’s right. We do. Um, so once a year, um, we fly the whole company to a location. Um, we generally rent a big mansion cause we’re, you know, there’s about 40 of us now, so we have to have a pretty big, pretty big space. Um, we like the idea of, we’ve tried a lot of different things, right? And we first did this, we were maybe there’s about 15 of us. Um, and it was, we decided to give it a shot. It’s a, it’s a cost, right? It’s an expense. And when you first do it, you wonder like what is the value in it? Is there a value in it? If I’m going to spend 15, 20 grand, um, you know, back when we were smaller to do this for a week, cause it’s not just the cost to get everybody out, but there’s also that costs of not doing client work for a week, you know, that yet the factor and all the overhead and things like that.

Brad: 10:04 So, um, you know, we were like, let’s try it and see. And it was clear, it was evident, you know, the second we got back, how valuable it was, not just the time that we spent there, but when we got back is where I really saw the value because you could just see the, the, the personal relationships and the relationships with all the team members and how, how much closer everybody was like, people got to, you know, really know each other on a more personal level, not just like, Hey, can you help me with this, this line of code or this plugin. I can’t figure it out. It’s like, you know, they’re learning about their family and about things they like and things they’re into and their, their hobbies. And I’m just spending a lot of personal time with each other. Like it was just so evident and there was all these inside jokes that came out of it that, um, some of them are still around today.

Brad: 10:47 You know, and this was probably six, seven years ago when we had the first one. Um, so we, we clearly knew that there was a big value in doing that. Um, and we’ve done it ever, ever since. So it’s, you know, once a year we do it like this. Last time we did, we’re down and just outside of Atlanta had a really awesome house. Um, a lot of, a lot of privacy, our own space. So, you know, we, we do some, some work, but it’s all internal, you know, we’re not doing client work where we’re looking at our processes and our tools and, um, how we can improve, you know, the, the, you know, the project process from top to bottom. Um, and we’re also having a lot of fun while we do it too. We do like, you know, we have our survivor games and um, you know, we do a, I give out the web Devy awards every year that are, you know, the most exclusive award and all of WebDev. So a lot of stuff like that. It’s just, again, that kinda really impacts the culture and sets the tone for the rest of the year and it’s, it’s just a lot of fun.

Matt: 11:41 Is there a, a method or a tip for hiring people for this culture? Um, is that a thing that you’re actively, you know, reviewing when you’re looking for new candidates? Because I know you are growing, you’re always looking to hire new people. And I would say that, you know, especially in the WordPress space, uh, you know, people, it’s like, it’s almost like everybody kind of knows each other in the WordPress space. So it’s, it can be, I don’t know what the word is, but you could almost trick yourself into being like, well, you know, she’s part of the WordPress base. You can be a perfect fit for this, for this role. Right. But just because you kind of just assume like, Oh, you know, you’re all hanging out in the same space, you must know this. You might get, you’re probably just going to fit in really easy, but then oftentimes that might not be the case. Um, so do you have like a way you’re hiring for

Brad: 12:27 culture? Um, it’s definitely part of the process. Absolutely. Right? So when we’re in the hiring process, we’re talking to some applicants candidates. Uh, we’re not only gauging their technical abilities, we’re also gauging how well we think they’ll fit in with the company. And I think that’s important for any company, right? Every company’s different and the way every company is set up and the way they run and the way they work and, and the way, even the way all the different departments and in the hierarchy of roles, you know, um, and how they interact is different. Every company’s unique. So, um, I think it’s important that we find, you know, team members that we feel will fit in well with our culture. We feel are, um, Cudo kind of a little more laid back or goofy. Like we kinda are, you know, now having said that, like you never truly know.

Brad: 13:13 It’s, it’s, you know, I had a client recently say w when we were in the initial process of, um, you know, mapping out working together said something that I really respect that they, they, they sent it to me cause it’s something I say to other people as well, which is basically we won’t know how well this relationship is going to go until we work together. Right. And there’s a lot of truth in that because you don’t know, you could interview someone 10 times, two hours each time with all different people and until you actually work with them, you are not going to know whether they’re a good fit. You know, you can, you can check all the boxes and they can have perfect score across the board. Um, but a month then you might realize they’re not a good fit. Maybe they’re, uh, abrasive or maybe you know, their true colors come out.

Brad: 13:55 Cause when you’re interviewing someone, you’re seeing the best side of them. Right. Um, and honestly, I tell candidates I’m interviewing, I’m like, you should be interviewing me as much as I’m interviewing you. You know, like this is a two way street. I think oftentimes, um, many people when they’re applying for a job or think it’s, it’s very much a one way street. And I understand if you need a job and you’re out of work, like you just need to get back to work, um, to support yourself and your family. Like I get that. But you also wanna make sure it’s a good fit. So it’s someone you can, somewhere you can be comfortable working and you want to be there for the long haul and be there for a while. So while we do, certainly, um, that is certainly part of our hiring process. At the end of the day, um, you’re not always going to know until you start working with someone and see their true colors.

Matt: 14:39 Let’s transition to the front of the house. Uh, the front facing side of the business. You started mentioning that, uh, you know, clients were saying that, you know, they’re not gonna really know until this starting to work out what, you know, what is the process for, or what have you seen change over the last 11 years for onboarding customers in this day and age? Um, you know, are people more privy to a WordPress to they understand what open source is that they, they kind of know what kind of tooling they need around this and what expectations they have? Or is every customer a new adventure? Every customer is definitely a new adventure.

Brad: 15:17 Um, and I think it will always be that way, right? But there’s definitely the times of change, right? So when we first started back in 2008, we were, we, we kind of branded ourselves as an open source shop, right? We like to work on WordPress and Drupal. And we did some Magento and like Zen cart, if you even remember that. And really if it was open source, we would, we would, you know, take it on. Um, we quickly realized that, um, that’s tough because you’re not really an expert at anything. You’re just kind of okay at a bunch of things. Um, and we started gravitating more towards WordPress cause we actually really enjoyed working on it. And you know, this is 2008, 2009 and if you remember, I know you, you remember Matt, um, you know, WordPress was fully a blogging platform back then. You know, this was pre custom post types.

Brad: 16:04 Um, you know, obviously no rest API or um, just a lot of the things you would expect in a more full blown, you know, content management system didn’t exist. So the way we were building sites was, was extremely hacky. Like, all right, if you want this template to show up, it has to make sure you check this category. You know, if it’s in this category, it will load the right template. Uh, but everything’s a post, you know, and every or a page. Um, so it was, it was hacky at best and now obviously WordPress has come a long way. So back then we were selling people on WordPress a lot. They didn’t know what it was. Um, and by and large, some of them didn’t even care. They just want a website. But the people that did care, it had no idea what WordPress was. So we had to sell WordPress. Now we’re not selling WordPress anymore. People are finding us because they know they want WordPress sellers seeking out the experts around, around that platform. Um, and many times we’re, we’re, we’re at the top of that list. So, um, you know, they’re finding us, it’s less about selling them on WordPress. It’s more about selling them on us and our team and our processes and things like that

Matt: 17:03 in a selfish effort to learn and understand and to also give the opportunity for folks listening to this to learn and understand. Is there a, a predominant closed source CMS that you see people saying, you know, what, we’re done with X, Y, Z CMS, we’re gonna move to WordPress. What is that CMS that you’re seeing out here?

Brad: 17:23 Um, man, I’ll tell you, it’s, it’s all over. Um, in terms of coming, in terms of leaving to go to WordPress, I mean, we’re, we’re definitely are working with, you know, I would say more medium to larger size companies. Um, even within the enterprise space as well. So a lot of what we’re seeing are platforms that those companies would generally gravitate towards. Like a Drupal on the open source side or like a site core, um, or even, um, uh, AEM Adobe’s, uh, expression, uh, what is it? Doby, AEM and brand manager. Yeah. Something like that. Um, you know, one of these enterprise tools that are looking to get into WordPress and what we’re actually seeing in a lot of those, it’s not necessarily breaking away from the current platform they’re on, but it’s bringing WordPress in as a secondary, um, you know, a secondary CMS to do what it does best, which in my opinion is like rapidly deploy, you know, really, uh, beautiful like content sites.

Brad: 18:17 You know, marketing teams love WordPress cause you could just, if you have it, if you’ve set up a great framework and platform with WordPress, you can deploy marketing sites in a matter of days, even at the enterprise level, which new sites at the enterprise level usually take months to roll out, even if there are basic marketing site. Um, whereas they might have the more complex systems focus on things that WordPress isn’t ideal for. So, you know, that’s, that’s an area we’re seeing a lot more recently, um, is around where it’s a complimentary CMS to what they’re already using. They’re not replacing something. Um, but we’ve, you know, I get it, there’s definitely waves where we’ll be like, wow, there’s been a lot of like Drupal to WordPress migrations coming to the door and there’s really, it doesn’t seem like there’s any rhyme or reason to it. It’s just what happens to come in the door when it does, you know?

Matt: 19:02 Yeah. Um, particularly, I mean, I know marketing companies, or excuse me, marketing departments within big companies love WordPress for the speed for the agility and, uh, they don’t have to get out a big paid, uh, a big checkbook to, to purchase WordPress or even hosting in that, in that regard. But I still feel like when I’m having these conversations with medium business or enterprise business, there’s still this inherent fear that things can move too fast. Um, people don’t, sometimes I talk to people that like, well, I mean, all I have to do is hit publish in this page is published. Like there’s, there’s nobody who has to sign off on publishing this content out into the world. Um, do you see any gaps in, uh, in the WordPress core software that don’t match up to enterprise? And, and I know like publishing workflows is, is one of them, um, where, you know, Hey, somebody has the keys to just publish anything they want on a homepage. Um, usually there has to be two or three sign-offs before something like that can happen. Um, any gaps or anything you’ve identified over the years that you think a WordPress could do better to sync up in the [inaudible]?

Brad: 20:11 Yeah, I mean that, that’s definitely a, one of the more obvious ones is that editorial workflow that we come up against quite a bit. And you know, that the beautiful thing about WordPress, um, and by and large, a lot of open source platforms like WordPress has just how easy it is to customize it. Right? So, um, I don’t always agree that features like that. Should be in WordPress core. You know, I don’t think, I, I think the very basic hit publish and it’s live is fine for WordPress core cause there’s so many ways you can extend that and customize that to be a very complex, complicated, you know, 10 point, you know, checklist path through review, approval process based on your workflow. There’s, there’s, there’s ways to do that and the companies that need that level of complexity should have the budgets to justify hiring somebody like us to, to put that together for them.

Brad: 20:56 Right. Um, if you knew that level of complexity and you don’t have a big budget then that maybe you don’t need that level of complexity. Right. Keep it simple. Um, another area I think we come across a lot that is challenging is, is just around media. You know, um, assets, images, videos, you know, you can the WordPress media library as it works, right? But imagine, you know, terabytes of information in there. Um, which some of these enterprise companies easily have. I mean, they all have that, right? They have like terabytes of data that they need to have available to their content publishers. Um, and so generally that’s being, uh, pulled, you know, it’s usually another service is being integrated into WordPress to offset that because WordPress, yes, it can handle it. Um, but I wouldn’t say it’s the easiest system to use when you have that much data.

Brad: 21:47 You’re trying to find an image, you know, in the media manager and there’s 500,000 images, you know, and you’re using a basic kind of WordPress search to find it. It’s just not a good experience, you know, so usually are, you know, you’re integrating some third party system that’s, you know, a little bit more capable of handling that amount of data. So yeah, those are two areas we see quite a bit. And you know, again, by and large, WordPress is, can be customized to handle anything. So there’s definitely ways around it. It’s just something you’ve gotta be aware of.

Matt: 22:15 Have you started to deeply integrate Gutenberg into your solutions? Um, you know, a couple of years ago when we were at WordCamp, wherever it was a couple of years ago, it was, or maybe even three or four years ago, whenever the phrase of like learn JavaScript deeply came out in JavaScript, uh, would be sort of at the forefront of WordPress development for the future. And I would argue that we’re really star, I mean, some of the more early adopters, of course we’re touching that a couple of years ago, but now I think it’s really come to the forefront as Gutenberg continues to mature. Uh, how has the reception been of, you know, enterprise or big business customers using Gutenberg? And have you had to dive in there to sort of iron out any wrinkles?

Brad: 22:56 Customers? Yeah. Um, I mean, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t say deeply is the word I would use. Um, you know, Gutenberg officially came out about a year ago, just shy of a year ago. Um, in WordPress core it was, what, December, early December of last year. Yep. Um, so, you know, just, just shy of a year. Um, so it’s, and there’s been a few really, uh, you know, major releases of WordPress since then, which have obviously built on Gutenberg and really tightened up some of the loose ends. I think when, in my opinion, when it was really released, I was still considered a beta, um, you know, beta software now, now I think it’s definitely a more production ready. Um, certainly. So the way we looked at Gutenberg, I think there was a couple of different approaches to it. The way we looked at it and the way we look at honestly any, any new feature coming out within WordPress, any new technology that’s just on the web, you know, um, we look at it as a tool, right?

Brad: 23:49 It’s a tool that’s available that may or may not be a good fit for our clients. So we sit down with our clients and they come in the door and we sit down and talk about their project and we really want to truly understand their goals, right? We want to stand the goals of the project, whatever that might be, whatever their project is, regardless of bigger, smaller building, what are the goals of the project? And then we work back to their, to put together the best solution we can to hit those goals. So maybe that includes a very tight Gutenberg integration and maybe it doesn’t, you know. So when Gutenberg came out, we, you know, we talked with all of our clients even when it was leading up to the release, you know, cause it was a major, probably the biggest, um, feature, well, I know it was the biggest feature ever rolled out with WordPress in terms of, you know, time spent developing and just overall complexities and all that.

Brad: 24:34 We sat down with all of our clients said, look, let’s talk about Gutenberg. Let me show, we’ll show you what it is. Let’s talk about how this may or may not fit into, um, what you’re looking to accomplish or your existing websites. Anything new coming up on the horizon and see if it’s a good fit. You know, so some of our clients, yes, they’re using it. Uh, we’re working on doing some really cool integrations with Gutenberg’s from really custom blocks and modules that fit like their requirements and workflow and goals. And other clients have no interest in it because they don’t need it. You know, a basic marketing site does not necessarily need Gutenberg integration. You know, now a site that needs some really beautiful long form articles. Absolutely. It’s a great tool. So we take that approach with everything. I think react as another one.

Brad: 25:16 Like everyone’s like, Oh, react and headless, like all these um, leads come in the door and saying, I need a headless headless WordPress website. And I’m like, okay, what are you building? They’re like, Oh, it’s a marketing site. Probably be like five pages. All right. Yeah, you don’t need headless. Trust me. You just need, you just need cash. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And I’m like, you know, I feel like it’s a lot of buzzwords floating around and a lot of, you know, and some people go all in and they just say, yep, we’re building everything this way and that’s it. And that’s fine for them, but we want to do what we feel is best for our clients. Um, and so that’s, that’s our general philosophy with everything we build here.

Matt: 25:50 The, of course getting Gutenberg, uh, uh, in core WordPress, uh, caused the big splash. And, you know, you had a lot of freelancers and consultants, you know, say, well, I’m done with developing on WordPress and we’re going to move to something else. Agencies started to implement. Um, you know, other CMSs that are out there, flat file, CMS, things like that. Um, heck, that’s even why Pagely is, you know, coming out with North stack because, you know, we want to be able to serve other things than just WordPress, uh, in an efficient manner. But I see the, the funny thing is, and I know it’s still early days and this is just the, uh, evolution of technology. Uh, but I was just chatting with Rob walling, um, uh, a couple of minutes ago and he and I were talking about this, you know, I see everybody moving to, you know, flavor of the month static CMS or like, you know, you said like react or like building out these other like solutions pulling their hair out because number one, it’s like a whole new development workflow.

Matt: 26:50 Number two, that’s like all these dependencies that they have to get to get this thing to run. And then it’s like, Oh God, I got to get a contact form for this stuff. It’s like my building this contact form by myself and by hand again, I haven’t done this in years and it’s like, Oh boy, you kind of making the case for WordPress here in this, you know, in this case, while you might not like the politics around it, while you might think it’s bloated and PHB is outdated or whatever, you can rapidly build a solution pretty darn fast and scale it pretty darn fast. So, I’m not much of a question here, but more of a statement of like, man, even though we don’t really know where WordPress sits in terms of like, is this a site builder, is this a publishing application? Is this a software framework? Um, when you have to go dive in to build something, it’s, it’s still pretty darn.

Brad: 27:37 Yeah. I mean it is, and you know, the first thing that comes to mind that they’re really hot, um, you know, framework right now is Gatsby, right? I’m sure you’re familiar with like you mentioned, North stacks supports that. Um, and it’s something we been digging into. In fact, our director of engineering, Greg, where it could be, um, as contributing to Gatsby, um, very, uh, very big fan of it. And it’s, again, it’s something we’ve been analyzing, looking at. We’ve even brought it to some of our clients that we think might be interested in it. Kind of explain like this is what it is. These are some of the benefits of, of a static site generator. Um, like this. Uh, it just again, talk about their goals and see if it’s a good fit is definitely, um, kind of one of those, those, those buzzword technologies right now.

Brad: 28:20 You know, um, it’s, uh, it’s just, it’s funny to me that we started out building static sites, right? Like I [inaudible] and now we’re like full circle, you know, we’re coming back to building static sites. Uh, even though it’s generating it from something like WordPress, I think there’s something to that. I think there’s something pretty cool about that. Cause at the end of the day, it will never be, a website will never be faster than a static site. Right? Like how could it be? Um, so I just don’t know. It’s, it’s all about whether it’s the right tool for the job, in my opinion. And I think that’s how you have to look at everything in technology. Cause it moves so fast. Like, if you just jump onto the buzzword that you hear this week and then a month from now it’s gone. And your clients stuck on this thing that’s maybe no longer supported or not the, you know, the new, not, not the big thing everyone thought it was going to be.

Brad: 29:05 And I’m not calling out Gatsby by any means, cause I do think it’s pretty cool. I just think you have to really keep that in mind. Not only the right tool for the job, but where’s it gonna be in a year or two or five. And you look at something like WordPress that is, we’d never seen anything like WordPress on the internet today in terms of overall dominance from an actual, you know, CMS and actual platform. We’ve seen it with technologies like flash where it’s just on everything. Uh, but we never seen it from something like WordPress. So we’re a new territory here. You know, where’s WordPress gonna be in five or 10 years? I probably bigger than it is now, but I don’t know what that looks like. You know? And I don’t think anybody necessarily does. So it’s uncharted territory. And that is, that is a beautiful thing about technology in my opinion, is we don’t always know what’s, what’s, what’s five or 10 years out. But that’s what excites me. And then what excites a lot of people in our interview.

Matt: 29:53 What are your thoughts on, on decoupling the editing experience with Gutenberg and bringing Gutenberg to other platforms? Do you see that? Uh, I mean, we already know is happening with drew bull. Uh, I mean heck, maybe again, like you could have a static as another static CMS. Um, Jack McDade, uh, I know him a little bit, talked to him before. I mean, I, is there a world that you see that Gutenberg is WordPress in five years? Like it’s, it’s, it’s the thing that people can just pour it over to any application, any piece of software in the, on the internet, anywhere. I mean, is, is that sound crazy talk or is that, is that something that you think Gutenberg could, could kind of see its future and,

Brad: 30:41 um, that’s a good question. Right? And that’s, I immediately think back to interviews I’ve heard of Matt Mullenweg. In fact, even in the interview I did years ago with Matt Mullenweg where he described WordPress as like a web operating system or like WordPress O S um, and I, you know, whether that’s what it ends up being, I don’t know, like it’s, it’s a good question. I like the idea of building it in a way that it, it can be utilized by other platforms because I feel like that’s taking the right mindful approach of how it should be built. So it’s not built in a way that is so singular focused on just WordPress, it as code and you know, all of the, just everything that comes with WordPress, it’s built more of an open way that anything could kind of tap into it. I think that’s the right approach to building it. Um, but I don’t know. I feel like that’s one of those kinds of, uh, you know, to be, to be determined down the line. I think it’s a cool approach. I don’t know if it’s necessarily going to take over word press, but I definitely, like I said, I can’t predict where we’re going to be in 10 years.

Matt: 31:41 I’ve never been here before, so, sure, sure. I’m interested to see how this whole thing plays out with the, uh, with more Gutenberg in the admin section, uh, of WordPress, just to see how that is all playing out because that’s going to be very [inaudible]. That’s going to be very interesting. I’m wondering if there’ll be a world where, you know, we can install WordPress in, not have the plugin installation layer, not have the media gallery layer of all of this stuff. Like can we install a flavor of WordPress that’s literally stripped down to user authentication and posts because you only ever want to use it for, while you probably need the media gallery for that. But you know, what I’m getting at here is like you can remove all of these other extra components perhaps so that you never even have to touch plugins or themes ever again. So I’m kinda interested in that.

Brad: 32:31 Yeah, I mean it’s, it’s something I’ve talked about in the past around uh, Drupal or they have these installation profiles and I’ve always been, I’ve always been a proponent of that. Like, I love the idea of saying I want to install WordPress and it’s going to be an eCommerce focused website. So bring all the components that I would need for that to happen into that install. So right when I log into WordPress, it’s ready to go, at least from a base e-commerce standpoint or I actually want a blog. So set it up like a blog or yeah, maybe I really only care about users, you know, I don’t even care about content. I just want to use the user authentication and roles and capabilities component. Um, you know, I think there’s a lot to that. And I know there were some initiatives in the past with like back press and stuff, but um, yeah, I love the idea.

Brad: 33:15 I love the idea of kind of I’ll a cart if you will or, or installation profiles is what I think Drupal calls them. Um, because at the end of the day, it makes it the on ramp to using WordPress even easier than it already is to get to that end goal. Cause right now, you know when people come to me and say, yeah, I want to sell some things online, should I do a WordPress site? I usually tell them no like no because, and I’m not saying it’s not that hard to do, but I’m saying if you’re just testing a concept, go sign up for Shopify and see if it works. Prove your concept first before you spend hours upon hours trying to figure out how to configure WooCommerce to your liking. Once you’ve proven the concept on Shopify or something, then yes, spend the effort, get it in woo commerce or some other platform on it within WordPress.

Brad: 34:01 Own your content owner data and your users. But I don’t think it’s worth the effort initially because it takes a lot of time to get it going the way you want it to go, at least for like something like e-commerce. All right, Brian, I mean I know we said we’re not going to have one of our normal conversations. Oh boy. But we’ll start wrapping it up with what’s your favorite show on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon prime right now? Individually or just across the board and say, Julie individually, give me, give me your best one on every play. Like we know all the platforms I watch and I’ve already signed up for Disney plus. I’m excited and I’m sure you have a man that’s, that’s tough. Um, they all have some great content. You know, I actually just got done. I, I’ll even talk about one you didn’t mention.

Brad: 34:46 I just got done watching billions on Showtime. Really great show. Anything with Paul Giamatti in it. I’m in. That guy’s amazing. Um, I’m watching scandal on Netflix. That’s pretty good. I saw that new bill Gates documentaries came out. I want to watch that. I actually liked that. I haven’t heard about the Netflix for me, for their shows have, there’s so much competition now. I feel like the, the value, a lot of the value I’m getting on Netflix is around like documentaries and things lately it seems. Um, but yeah, Hulu, what have I watched on Hulu? Uh, Handmaid’s tale is good. I was watching something else. I started watching, I think it’s DUS spy or just spy on, um, uh, on Netflix. That’s been really, that’s been really good in a couple of episodes in, I have to check that out. I know on Amazon, another one, Jack Ryan was good the first season.

Brad: 35:34 The second season comes out I think in a month or two. So I’m excited about that. And you’re gonna get an Apple TV or think so. I mean, I’ve got to draw a line somewhere like I’m a, I’m going to be paying more than I was paying for cable if I keep subscribing to everything out there. And you know, it’s, it’s, I love it because they’re all pumping out such great content. Like even like the new CBS streaming service and NBC, they announced, you know, their own like, yes, it’s, it, it’s, it’s tough because if you subscribe to all of them, you’d be paying more than cable. But on the flip side, they’re all pumping out some amazing content to compete with each other and you know, so we’re like in the, the best time to ever watch shows ever. You know, I mean, the amount of Oak, high best lines to ever be nonproductive, high quality shows.

Brad: 36:14 Oh, and the big thing I’m looking forward to Netflix is that breaking bad movie that’s coming out in a few weeks. Huge. Oh yeah. Yup, yup. Lots of, lots of content. Well, Brad, this has been an amazing conversation. I learned a lot about your agency. I learned a lot, learned a lot about building an agency and sort of building out culture there in lots of good thoughts around WordPress. Where can folks find you to say thanks? Well, you can find me@webdevstudios.com I’m on Twitter Williams B a and you can check out this podcast that I do a couple of times a year with guy named Matt over on random show.net. Thanks for listening to the Pressonomics podcast. Everybody. Don’t forget to leave us a five star review in iTunes really helps us get found. We’ll see you in the next episode of yet.

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