007: The Nigerian WordPress Community with Mary Job


About Mary: I am a Product Manager at How Do You Tech, we curate useful answers to specific questions in tech. I tech #WordPress daily, building and managing sites and apps for clients. I teach digital skills at Uwani Hub. I love cats, photography, rabbits & travelling.

Find Mary: Website | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Instagram

Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
007: The Nigerian WordPress Community with Mary Job
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Show Notes

People, places, and things mentioned in today’s show:

  • Lagos, Nigeria, WordCamp – Takes place in May!
  • Blogger – Mary’s original blog platform
  • Morten Rand-Hendriksen – is a web designer and developer with a passion for open-source software like WordPress and makes a lot of how-to videos on LinkedIn
  • Make WordPress – If you want to get involved in WordPress, this is the place to be. You do not have to be technical to get involved. Mary’s profile on WordPress.org: https://profiles.wordpress.org/mariaojob/
  • Banana Republic, Egypt, US, Ireland, and others – Countries represented in WordCamp Lagos.
  • Uwani Hub – Information and Communication Technologies for equipping girls and women with digital skills.
  • How Do You Tech – Q&A for tech in Nigeria.
  • African Women in Tech –  event series, a product of IBOM LLC, was born out of a desire to connect, educate and empower women who are determined to advance their tech careers.
  • CorelDRAW – Illustration, layout, photo editing, and more.

Transcript

Angela Bowman:

Welcome to Women in WP, a bimonthly podcast about women who blog, design, develop and more in the WordPress community. Welcome to episode seven of Women in WP. I’m Angela Bowman.

Tracy Apps:

I’m Tracy Apps.

Amy Masson:

And I’m Amy Masson.

Angela Bowman:

Our guest today is Mary Job. She’s joining us from Nigeria. She runs a technical how-to blog. She teaches ICT skills to beginners and she works with a nonprofit that equips girls and women with digital skills needed for sustainable economic growth in their personal and professional lives. Welcome, Mary.

Mary Job:

Hi everyone. Thank you. Thank you for having me this show. I’m excited.

Angela Bowman:

We’re so happy to have you.

Mary Job:

Yes, I am too.

Angela Bowman:

I loved reading about your story online and we do start off every episode by asking women about how they got into WordPress, what their journey was. So if you could tell us how you stumbled upon WordPress that would be great.

Mary Job:

Okay, great. WordPress… My first encounter was in 2012. I was freelance blogging and doing ghost writing and then I was basically looking for a medium to express myself. I find it very difficult to express myself. I’m getting better. I’m very better now but before, if I wanted to say something, I could say it in 10 pages instead of just one page. So I found WordPress then and my first thought was, “What is this? What am I doing here? I just want to write.” So I left it and then went to use [inaudible 00:01:48] and then in 2015, I was interning in Ghana. That’s when I went to Ghana. I was in my master’s intern there for four months and the organization I was working with was a nonprofit too. They had this website and my own [inaudible 00:02:11].

Mary Job:

So he was telling me one day that, “Do you know our website is built on WordPress?” and I’m like, “No way. No. It’s not possible. That application is too complicated,” and he said, “No, it’s built on WordPress,” and I’m like, “Okay.” By then I had started using Blogger, the Google Blogger, for my blog and I don’t think I ever got any likes or comments or anything like that. Maybe just a friend that went, “Let me just click like just to inspire her to write more.” So he gave me some videos made by Morten Rand-Hendriksen. Funny enough, we have a lot in common. We actually both studied philosophy for our bachelors as I later got to discover and after watching those videos, I practically flew to my computer and exported my blog from Blogger and then put it on WordPress.

Mary Job:

Within three months, I think I had 200 followers and it’s not just the followers. It was the connection, the friendship, the people who I knew they would always come online and make a comment. It was like we’re friends. We’re doing WhatsApp but now WhatsApp on WordPress.com [inaudible 00:03:26] from those. It was so cool and there was this grandma in the U.S. There’s a friend in Zimbabwe. They are also friends up till now and that changed how I saw a lot of things. “Wow. So I can connect with people on here,” and then in December of 2015… I moved the blog around August, September. December of 2015, this woman sent me a message and said, “I like how your blog looks. Can you redesign our website?” I didn’t know anything about WordPress.org at all and I’m like, “Oh, so wordpress.org? Okay. Yes. No problem. I’ll take it on.”

Mary Job:

And then I started reading and researching. “Wow. So you could do this. You could do this. You could do this,” and then by 2016, I took a full-time job because I had finished my coursework for my master’s program. I took a full-time job and it was hell. I got robbed. It was a bad experience. So I was totally down. I lost my computer, my smartphone and then middle of 2016, I got another job to build a website. I’m like, “Oh.” To tell you the truth, I spent all the money on the site and then I spent my own money because I didn’t know what I was doing. I was just trying to learn.

Mary Job:

I didn’t know which wording was the right [inaudible 00:04:47] or which is the right plugin, whatever. But it made me determined to learn more, learn how to really make it work. So sometime in 2016, I said, “Okay, fine. There has to be a community somewhere. Something that I could be a member of and maybe give back,” because I like teaching actually. I believe when you teach people, you actually get better. So maybe if I find people, I can teach the tiny that I know or learn from them and that’s how I discovered make.wordpress.org and that was the turning point because, “Oh wow.”

Mary Job:

And then when I saw Make, I’m like, “Okay, I don’t know HTML.” 2016, I didn’t know any HTML or CSS or even JavaScript at all and I’m like, “Okay, this is nice. I don’t fit in Core. I don’t fit in Plugins. I don’t fit in Training. Oh, Community. I fit in here.” I just went [inaudible 00:05:41] and that’s how I joined the WordPress community, the Lagos community and then became a WordPress deputy, volunteer my time. We had our first WordCamp in Lagos last year and etc. But basically that’s my journey into WordPress.

Angela Bowman:

Wow. That is-

Tracy Apps:

That’s awesome.

Angela Bowman:

… so amazing.

Mary Job:

Thank you.

Angela Bowman:

Were you involved in organizing that WordCamp?

Mary Job:

Yes. I was the lead organizer last year. I’m the lead organizer this year. We’re having it in two months in May and I’m stepping back a little this year because I want to learn more PHP but over the past two years, I’ve been able to delegate and get other people motivated to take charge. So now I don’t worry about the meetups in Lagos. They run it. I still am in charge of the WordCamp.

Amy Masson:

And what kind of turnout do you typically have at that WordCamp?

Mary Job:

So the first one, we had 325 but my brother said he counted 400 and something because he sat… I told him to count for me and he said when they were serving the food, he sat and he counted everyone one by one and he said the counted 420 something so it was packed but on record, we have 325, there about.

Amy Masson:

And how far are people traveling to come to that one?

Mary Job:

We had 20 people come from Benin Republic. Benin Republic is the next country next to ours. We have had one person come from Egypt, [inaudible 00:07:24] and we had two people flying from the U.S., although they’re Nigerians, and then we have one other person from Ireland, also a Nigerian working with automatic [inaudible 00:07:35] and then people came from all that states to attend. I remember there was a bus full of students that left around five and I’m like, “Are you sure you’re going back to your states at this time? It’s so late.” They said, “Don’t worry. We brought a bus.” It was really packed. People came from all over. More people wanted to come from Benin Republic because we had a speaker from there but he said, “I can’t babysit everyone. Let me just take the number of people I could actually look after while we’re here,” so turnout was great.

Amy Masson:

That’s amazing.

Angela Bowman:

So cool.

Tracy Apps:

How much of the development or client work and such do you do now? You do a lot of teaching with the community and blogging. So do you do work for clients still?

Mary Job:

Yeah. When people started asking me to build their sites for them, I became a freelancer basically. So after my [inaudible 00:08:35] and I said, “You know what? I’m not working for anybody anymore. I’m going to work from my home,” and when I first started, it was in this same apartment. It was in my room. It wasn’t painted. It wasn’t beautiful at all. My mom would ask me, “I don’t understand this concept. You wake up in the morning. You make your bed and then you sit in front of the computer and say you’re working from home,” and I’m like, “Yes. I’m not looking for a job. I’m fine.” She was kind of worried but eventually they understood because my dad would always go, “Should I call my friend and tell him you’re looking for a job?” “I’m not looking for a job. I have a job.”

Mary Job:

So I started freelancing, building sites, doing trainings when I could and then in 2017, I decided, “Let me take it a step further,” and then I registered the company. So now I run it as a company and I want to do… I’m now doing less building sites because I have other people who I have a contract with. We split the fees. I take admin charges. They build. So now I want to offer more support, “So you need somebody to manage your site for you? I’m here,” while I also learn how to become more technical with this. I would prefer to work with a company remotely like work from my home while I do the blog, the How Do You Tech that I started.

Angela Bowman:

Yeah. So talk about the How Do You Tech blog. I looked at it and it seemed… How many writers do you have on that? And it looks like it’s focused for people in Nigeria and Kenya and what purpose do you feel like that serves in? Are you effectively able to limit it to people in Nigeria and Kenya? And what’s the range of questions that you get on that blog?

Mary Job:

Yeah. So the idea behind the company… As you already know, the company name is How Do You Tech. The idea behind it was this now. As long as I can remember, I started being on the internet since 2002, but I was roaming on the internet between 2002 and 2015. That’s what I tell people. People ask me… They think I know almost everything that comes with technology like, “Mary, how do you do this? How do I do this? How do I do this?” I’m like, “Okay. Everybody keeps asking me, ‘How do I do this?’ Why not just document it somewhere so you can stop asking me. So when you ask me, I can just send you the link like, ‘Go read up, you’ll find your answer.'” so that’s one of the ideas behind the company because I figured saying I wanted to build website or blogs or applications is not a long term goal for me.

Mary Job:

So the long term product is being able to teach you how to retrieve useful answers because it’s one thing to know how to Google. It’s another thing to know how to actually get the answers that you want, which is why the tagline is Answers That Work. So the keyword there is answers that work that has been verified by an [inaudible 00:11:43] because sometimes you Google and it shows you a link and you open it and it doesn’t work and Google shows it first and you’re like, “This thing is not useful anymore. It doesn’t work,” so that’s why we started How Do You Tech. So the writers have not been able to put so much information on it, but at first… I’m still learning, by the way. I don’t call myself a CEO. I’m not. I’m just a product manager.

Mary Job:

I can’t even be a CEO right now but maybe in the future. So one of the things that I did last year was I applied for this Startup School by Y Combinator and we got in and I learnt a lot from there, actually making the product better. Because at first, the idea was to target everyone like, “Everybody’s doing tech. Why not target everyone and give answers to what everyone needs?” But I figured, in a way, that’s too broad of a audience for a product. Why not bring it home here to Nigeria? There are so many people that are not in Lagos that are in other areas because if you know Lagos very well, there are so many hubs in Lagos. Everybody has a hub in Lagos but who is going to get out to the people living in the towns, the villages? Who’s going to build hubs for them which is why we started Uwani Hub.

Mary Job:

That space was supposed to be my office space and I’m like, “The office space that I wouldn’t use because the property belongs to my parents. I won’t use this space. I work from my bedroom or my sitting room. Why not make it into a hub for girls and women and then teach them also since I like teaching?” So that’s how Uwani Hub came to be. So that’s basically it and then I was in Nairobi last year and I really, really loved the place, especially Mombasa. I can’t wait to go there again. I attended their WordCamp. I actually went for a woman’s event, African Women in Tech, in Nairobi and I saw that Mombasa was having its first WordCamp. Naturally, of course, I have to be there. I’m already in your country. Why would I miss it? So I planned to be there and I stayed three and a half weeks so it was three and a half weeks of fun.

Female:

Wow. Nice.

Mary Job:

Yeah. But I loved every bit of it and then I made [inaudible 00:14:01] and I told myself, “Okay, fine.” The people that are there, some of them have asked me, “I want to work with you,” and then I was just, “Why not just have a sites for answers in Kenya?” So [inaudible 00:14:15] expand across Africa. Maybe if I can do Ghana, I don’t think I would buy their domain and extension though. It’s super expensive. Maybe South Africa. Maybe. But African countries, basically the ones that are around us…0

Mary Job:

So let’s just start with Nigeria first. How many people can we reach? How many people can we have an impact on? How many people can we do outreaches for? That’s just the idea because for me, one of the things that actually made me who I am today is learning how to get information and in 2014, ’15, I saw people making money online from things that I was playing with that I knew. So I imagined, “If I had started turning my passion into profit a long time ago, maybe I would be a CEO now,” because I’d have gone to school to be a [inaudible 00:15:05]. But that’s just the idea. That’s the whole idea and that’s how How Do You Tech came to be and how I came to be here.

Tracy Apps:

So you teach a lot and you teach women and girls technical skills. So I’ve seen a lot of statistics on the ripple effect of that type of program. Do you have any stories that you can tell us from that? Success stories through that?

Mary Job:

Okay. So one of the things I always tell people when I meet them is that everybody is into tech. It’s not just programmers. You don’t have to be… Because people think that when you say you’re a woman in tech or you’re in tech, they go, “Oh, you’re a programmer.” I think some people still believe that I’m a programmer up to now. Well, I am a small programmer, but basically what I set out to do was try to let everybody know that even if you just send emails or you just use your phone, you just load the charge card onto your phone, you’re doing tech already. Using that phone is you doing tech already and why not just take it a step further and actually use it to empower yourself. So the people who come to my hub, I had a old retired professor one time around, very old man in the sixties, used to come for the class.

Mary Job:

So I also didn’t try to limit it to just women and girls. Yes, it’s a safe space for women and girls but also open to anyone. We had a young boy that could draw this. He could sit down and draw anything and he was just 18 and with perhaps no plans of going to college. Well, unfortunately we lost that one because his mom, I don’t know, she couldn’t see the whole… But I have one other student who’s gone on to university. She’s studying accounting and then I have another one who wants to be a doctor and I tell her, “If you are learning HTML and CSS [inaudible 00:17:08], because she’s in advanced class now, she still comes every day, you’re learning it not because you want to be a programmer. You’re learning it because I don’t know machines that treat people’s brain or look into people’s brain. It’s going to be your job. So if you will be able to better explain to whoever is programming machine like, ‘This is what you should do. This is what you shouldn’t do.'”

Mary Job:

So that’s the angle that I try to convey to people and I hope we would do more trainings this year and be able to reach… Because also, I’m trying to connect with teachers in these schools in these places so that we can come to the school instead of asking them to come here because it’s quite difficult for them to bring their children here or bring themselves here. You need to reach out to them and then show them the benefit. Show them what the [inaudible 00:17:59]. But so far we’ve had, I think, 6 students between last year and now.

Angela Bowman:

How many?

Mary Job:

Six of them.

Angela Bowman:

Oh, nice.

Mary Job:

Not much but we’re starting… Some of them are also in boarding schools. One time I had three students show up because I went to the church to tell people to bring their kids but they are in boarding school so they can only show up where they are not at school, when they’re on holidays which is the summer. So we have another program planned for the summer and hopefully we get more of them to show up and then we can impact ICT skills into them.

Amy Masson:

I’d be really interested to know if, in these schools in Nigeria, they’re doing any kind of tech at all and what the level is? I just don’t have very much exposure to other countries and what their technology education looks like.

Mary Job:

Yeah. So they do computer science. Computer science has always been a subject, even when I was in school. It has always been a subject but the question is the computer science they’re doing, it’s not up to par. It’s just letting… My daughter will tell you if you ask, “What are the parts of your computer?” She just mentions a CPU and I’m like, “Who uses a CPU these days?” But then of course I know it’s part of a computer, but seriously, who uses CPU these days? So I would say they do computer science but not at the level you would expect them to be able to do. Like I said, being able to get information is the key right now and not just any information. Useful information. If you can’t get useful information, then you can’t pass it on. A lot of people don’t know how to get useful information.

Mary Job:

Majorly, we have a lot of consumers and then people are starting to change the narrative. You can’t just be consuming, consuming and then not producing any software or anything. It’s a little bit tricky because of the environment. The infrastructure is not supportive. Just saying you want to have a server here. What electricity are you going to use to power the server? It doesn’t make any sense. You’re going to spend so much money trying to do that. But hopefully it’s changing. It’s just very, very slow but it’s beginning to change because a lot of people now are teaching themselves so, “I don’t have to wait for them to teach me in school this, “which is why you have lot of summer programs where they do ICT and digital skills for the kids. But the ones they’re doing in school? Mm-mm (negative). My niece came home the other day. She had an assignment to draw a lorry with CorelDRAW and the first question I asked her was, “Have they taught you how to use CorelDRAW?” because you can’t tell a kid to go draw or something in… Even I don’t use CorelDRAW.

Angela Bowman:

Yeah.

Mary Job:

And she’s like, “No. They didn’t teach us. They just told us,” so I had to download this software and look for videos because I’m like, “Seriously, who just learns CorelDRAW?” It’s not where it should be but I believe it to get there, little by bit.

Angela Bowman:

Yeah. I think I told you I spent some time in Ghana but it was 10 years ago and when I was there, oh man, the internet was very slow. Very slow.

Mary Job:

Tell me about it.

Angela Bowman:

Yeah. So what are your challenges in terms of tech with infrastructure? Of course, right now your electricity is off and when you’re trying to teach people and do outreach, are people primarily using their mobile devices for getting on the internet? Are they using personal computers? When I was in Ghana, we went to the internet cafe. [crosstalk 00:21:48]. So there would be computers there and people didn’t really have personal computers because they didn’t have internet in their homes. So where are things standing today in Nigeria and West Africa that way?

Mary Job:

Yeah. When I first came across the internet, it was in a cyber cafe in 2002 and then cyber cafes were everywhere but I can tell you that now, what you have is hubs. Cyber cafes, nobody goes to the cafe anymore. You can at least try to buy yourself a HP Mini. Almost everybody can afford… Not everybody can afford but a lot of people have personal computers and then those who can’t, they use their smartphones. So they have some brands of smartphones, Tecno, Gionee, that are not so expensive like your iPhone and Nokia and Samsung phones but they do the work basically. But internet connectivity is something else. Right now, I have subscription on three lines. Average Nigerian has four mobile lines. When I meet people, they’re like, “What are you doing with so many lines?” I’m like, “It’s normal.” I have about five lines here. I’m pretty sure and I always subscribe to at least three because they’re not reliable and consistent enough. So when one is not working, I just switched to the other one.

Angela Bowman:

Wow. So you have five internet providers?

Mary Job:

I have five mobile lines and they’re all internet providers too. They’re the only internet providers you have. So instead of using the phone for calls, I use it for data.

Angela Bowman:

Wow.

Mary Job:

This is my phone. It has two sims. Two-

Angela Bowman:

So you can swap out?

Mary Job:

Almost all our phones… No, you don’t need to swap. You can just change. It’s like a click of button. Almost everybody’s phone is a two sim except on iPhone. Check people that have iPhones. They have another Nokia, small phone, in pocket somewhere.

Angela Bowman:

Yes.

Mary Job:

And in Ghana, I told you the electricity is so much better. I was there in October last year. There was a Woman in Tech summit. They do it every two years organized by the Web Foundation. It was really interesting. It was a week long. The power in Ghana is so much better. I wish it was so much better here. It’s so much better. It’s so much better in Ghana. They have power now. The internet works. Works well in all the places that I went to but here, it’s still something else but basically everybody has access to internet.

Angela Bowman:

So a lot of people have internet access into their homes?

Mary Job:

Well, a lot of people in the towns, in the cities.

Angela Bowman:

In the towns but the villages is going to be… Where do people in the villages go to get their internet or are they just doing it through their phones?

Mary Job:

Are they using the internet? That’s the question.

Angela Bowman:

Yeah.

Mary Job:

Yeah. The people in the villages and the towns like here, my town… I’m in [inaudible 00:24:44] right now. It’s in Ogun State. I would say they go to the market, go to… What are they going to do with their smartphones? They have smartphones but maybe the younger ones would use it. The older ones, like my mom, the first time she got introduced to Facebook and then she went to buy herself a tablet. So now I tell her, “The bigger your device, the more data it’s going to take.”

Tracy Apps:

That’s true.

Mary Job:

Yeah. The more data it is going to take… The internet access is there but it’s about priorities too. “Is it my priority to buy data? What am I going to…” A lot of people use WhatsApp so maybe they would have WhatsApp data plans so [inaudible 00:25:33].

Tracy Apps:

That makes sense.

Angela Bowman:

Yeah. All of my friends in West Africa are using WhatsApp.

Mary Job:

Almost everybody has WhatsApp. Even my daughter has WhatsApp. She sends me smileys every time. She’s sitting right next to me and she’s sending me smileys. She really doesn’t know what the smiles mean. She keeps sending them.

Amy Masson:

How old’s your daughter?

Mary Job:

She’s going to be nine in June. She was at a kids camp last year and she’s going be there this year. We had a kids camp last year and when we got back, she was telling me, “You don’t teach me the things that you do.” I’m very bad at teaching children. I’m not patient. “Everybody was just looking at me. They couldn’t use their computers. I couldn’t use mine.” I said, “Okay, don’t worry. I’ll teach you how to use it so that this year, you can actually use your computer.”

Amy Masson:

I wanted to go back to something you said earlier that I found really interesting is that a lot of people don’t realize that you don’t have to be a programmer to also be in tech. You can be in tech and have other jobs and I think that I see this all the time. This, “Are you a real developer?” debate with people saying you have to pass some kind of test to be considered a developer.

Tracy Apps:

You have to know a certain language, right?

Amy Masson:

Right. And it’s always people trying to one up each other or don’t even get me started on this, “Are you an implementer?” thing. It just frustrates me much because we’re all doing different tasks and meeting the needs of our clients so I wondered if you had a take on how you feel about that debate.

Mary Job:

Whenever somebody tries to make me feel like I’m not a developer, there’s this article Josh Pollock wrote about being a WordPress developer. I just copy the link and send it to them. It says there are four things. If you work with WordPress, you’re a developer. I don’t care if you customize. It takes a patient person to be able to customize a thing to look exactly like what’s there in the demo. So I don’t feel bad when people do it. People do it, of course. They do it a lot, like, “So you’re not a developer.” “Yes. I’m not a developer but at least I get the job done. That’s the most important part.” So it doesn’t make me feel any less of a person but it will be nice to know some PHP. Definitely not JavaScript. Not for now, at least. That language is something else. I don’t know where it came from.

Tracy Apps:

I have been trying to learn it for a long, long time. It’s not easy.

Mary Job:

The first time I tried, it drove me crazy after 24 hours. I was telling Zac Gordon some days ago on Twitter via Twitter DM… I ask him if it’s possible for somebody who doesn’t like mathematics to be good at JavaScript and he laughed and said, “Yeah, he believes that yes, you should definitely,” because I don’t like mathematics. So JavaScript feels to me like mathematics and I’m like, “What am I doing here?”

Tracy Apps:

I have just a technical question because I do a lot of design and I focus a lot on accessibility and usability and that kind of stuff. How much is a data plan for your phones there?

Mary Job:

Okay. If you have ₦1000 is about $2.80, so $2 and something cents, and that will get you 1GB of data, 1000 MB. So the plans that I do on my mobile phone, I do 10GB, which is ₦5,000 and that’s 15 USD.

Angela Bowman:

15 US?

Mary Job:

Yeah.

Angela Bowman:

But the average monthly income isn’t that high.

Mary Job:

Yeah, definitely. So it’s a little bit funny because the government minimum wage is ₦18,000, which is [inaudible 00:30:04] $50. It’s [inaudible 00:30:06] $50, which is very, very [inaudible 00:30:08]. But basically, if a person graduates and tries to get a job, if you get a job of 80,000, then you are really lucky, I would say, because most people usually get a job between 50,000 and 80,000, which is about $200. Which is between 150… Not up to $300. $150 and $200.

Angela Bowman:

A month, right?

Mary Job:

Yeah, a month. We don’t do per hour here, except your worker [inaudible 00:30:40], right?

Tracy Apps:

Right.

Mary Job:

But we hardly do per hour or per week. Almost everybody gets paid per month here and then for people who are very, very good, they could get paid 400,000, which is very rare. You have to be at the top, top, top to get paid ₦400,000 to ₦600,000 and that’s about a thousand dollars. A thousand dollars basically. So when you compare it to people who work remotely, it’s ridiculously low. It’s ridiculous.

Angela Bowman:

But the amount that you’re paying for data is probably exponentially more than what we would pay for data. if you’re paying even-

Tracy Apps:

Like percentage wise.

Angela Bowman:

Percentage wise, you’re paying maybe 0.05%, three quarters of a percent. But if that were my income, that would be costing me several hundred dollars a month for internet. Do you know what I mean? So percentage wise, do you feel like your internet is a lot of your income?

Amy Masson:

Wow.

Mary Job:

Yes. It is. Not just the internet. Don’t forget they have the electricity too.

Angela Bowman:

Right. That’s another big cost.

Mary Job:

Yeah. So it’s not just the internet you’re paying for and do you remember I said earlier that the average person has more than one line? If you depend on just one internet data, you can’t be working from home and be using just one data. It’s not possible. You’re setting yourself up for failure because you might have a Facebook Live and the internet will refuse to connect. Even when you have three backups, sometimes the three of them will decide not to connect at the same time. So basically, in a month, you’re spending about $200 on data.

Angela Bowman:

Yeah. It’s a huge infrastructure issue.

Mary Job:

Yeah. You haven’t even started on the electricity. When I sit down and calculate how much we spend on gas… We call it petrol here. How much you spend on petrol for a whole year, when I calculate it with my mom, because my parents have a hotel… So I’m actually quite lucky in the sense that I don’t pay for the petrol because my parents have a hotel and I get the lights from them. But when we sit and calculate how much they spend on just generator every year, it runs into $9,000 to $10,000, which is ridiculous. Very, very ridiculous. That’s all the profit going into buying petrol. Doesn’t make any sense because you still have to pay the employees. You have to do maintenance. You have to feed yourself, pay yourself. How are you going to manage it? It’s crazy.

Angela Bowman:

Yeah. Those are real challenges and hurdles to overcome and certainly, different parts of Africa coming up in that tech sector, these are the challenges that we have to face to get that infrastructure in place that other places like India that are very much involved with the tech sector aren’t having to face those same kind of challenges.

Mary Job:

Yeah. That’s why some people move to neighboring countries like Cotonou. They have lights in Cotonou. That’s Benin Republic. They have power. [inaudible 00:34:07] power there. I don’t know why we can’t get that right here. Ghana, they have power. A lot of people have moved to Ghana over the past couple of years. Togo, they have power. If I could speak French, I would just run away to Togo. [inaudible 00:34:21].

Angela Bowman:

She’d run away to Togo.

Mary Job:

Yeah.

Angela Bowman:

Bonjour.

Mary Job:

[French 00:34:24].

Tracy Apps:

This is something that is really useful for me when I’m doing development and these are things I talk about but you actually experience. When I program a website and I put a really, really big video that auto plays right on the front page, that could cost a lot of money in some countries.

Mary Job:

Yeah. I’m not going to click play. My WhatsApp to set to not download any media when I’m on mobile or wifi because data just runs out fast and also, I noticed this thing. In Nairobi, I bought 20GB at the airport. 20GB was $20 in Nairobi. It was $20 for 20GB. I remember very well and I stayed three and a half weeks. I didn’t use up to 5GB. I think they got it right because the Airbnb I stayed, when I told them, “Oh, I bought the data,” they said, “No. Why did you buy? I have this wifi in the house,” and it worked because I was Netflixing in the house.

Angela Bowman:

Wow.

Mary Job:

It worked. There’s wifi almost anywhere you go so I think they got that figured out. We don’t have that figured out here. If you have 20GB of data, let me give you a practical example. If I watch Netflix for one hour, the seasonal things. If I watch Netflix for one hour, that’s 1GB. I’ve monitored it a lot of times. That 1GB. So if I watch 10 seasons, I will use up to the 10GB. It will be more than 10GB if I watch 10 seasons. So-

Tracy Apps:

You can’t binge watch anything.

Mary Job:

No, you can’t. I do it when I’m awfully bored and I need inspiration and then when I notice, “Oh, 10GB is finished. Oh no. You need to get back to work,” and I just get back to work.

Angela Bowman:

I know we have to wrap up soon, but I read your wordpress.org profile and I don’t know if you’ve read it in a while, but at the bottom you have this, “Moral of my story is,” and you have, “WordPress truly is anything you want it to be and no matter what you want to learn to use, there’s no shortcut. You have to take patience to understand it and Google is your best friend,” and I really, really loved that and the thing about having to really take time to learn things or else you set yourself up for failure.

Mary Job:

Yeah. For instance, if I did that in 2012 when I discovered WordPress, I’ll probably have gone further but because I’m like, “Oh no. What is this? I don’t have time to learn this. I want to just write,” I missed three years of the beauty that WordPress has because I wasn’t patient and I wasn’t interested in learning. And then in Ghana, my uncle used to do something to me because the culture that we have here is not one that is driven to share. It has changed but growing up, “No, don’t tell that person. If you tell that person, then you’re telling the person your source of income. Then the person will just go do it.” That attitude… But it’s changing. Now it has changed.

Mary Job:

So whenever I ask him about something, he says, “Why not just Google it?” and I’m like, “But you know the answer. Why not just tell me? Why make me go Google when you can just tell me?” and he’s like, “No. I’m not going to tell you. You have to go Google it.” So I was always angry but I got used to it and I saw the moral in that. I saw the point he was trying to make. So now when somebody asks me… In fact, nobody asks me any question without Googling because the first thing I’m going to ask, “Have you Googled it?” “If you don’t Google it, don’t ask me. If you’re stuck, then you can ask me. I would answer. But if you haven’t made any attempts, then you’re not ready to learn.” So now I enjoy doing it to people. For me, when I wrote that WordPress origin story, that’s what I picked from my journey so far and I feel some other person from anywhere could benefit from that.

Amy Masson:

No, that’s [crosstalk 00:39:01].

Angela Bowman:

That’s so fabulous.

Amy Masson:

I love… And that’s one of the things I try to teach my kids and when I used to be a teacher, I really wanted to be a proponent of finding out how to find out. How do you get the answer without asking me? Because I’m not always going to be here by your side to give you the answer and so that’s just, I think, the most important lesson that anybody, kids and adults, can learn is, “How do you find out?”

Mary Job:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes. And when you are stuck, you can then ask and then when you are asking, you’re telling the person, “This is what I found out. Could you tell me more?” and then the person will be happy to share with you and tell you more.

Amy Masson:

That’s awesome. Well, I think we are running down through the end of our time here with you today, Mary, but I am so grateful you could join us today. Would you tell our listeners where they can find you online?

Mary Job:

Oh yes. So you can find me on my website. I recently got the name maryjob.com. Before I used to be askmaryjob.com but now it’s maryjob.com. So people can find me on maryjob.com and if it’s my WordPress blog, it’s MaryJob.wordpress.com or on Twitter which is where I spend most of my time. Just this, MaryJob on Twitter.

Angela Bowman:

And I hope everyone can use you as an example to get involved with make.wordpress.org as well because I love that that’s one way that you found your way into the community.

Mary Job:

That’s what I tell anybody I meet today and they’re like, “Oh, could you tell me how to…?” Just look for an open source project that aligns with your goals and why I love Make is, regardless of your field and what you do, there is some way you can fit in. You can’t tell me you go to make.word and don’t… There is always somewhere you fit in, regardless of what… Even if you’re an engineer, there’s somewhere there for you to fit in.

Angela Bowman:

And that is an awesome point to end on.

Mary Job:

Yeah, it’s awesome.

Angela Bowman:

Thank you so much.

Tracy Apps:

Thank you.

Amy Masson:

Thank you.

Mary Job:

Thank you to all. Thank you too. I had a wonderful time.

Female:

Thanks for listening. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter or join our Facebook group. Not already subscribed? Well, you can find us on Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play and iTunes. Did you know that you could help support the Women in WP podcast? If you head on over to our Patreon page, you’ll find additional content and some cool perks if you want to set up a monthly donation of a dollar or more and finally, you can find all show notes, links and transcriptions at our website at womeninwp.com. Until next time…

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