Amy Masson (00:01):
Welcome to Women in WP, a bimonthly podcast about women who blog, design, develop, and more in the WordPress community.
Angela Bowman (00:16):
Hi, welcome to Women in WP. I’m Angela Bowman. Today we have Allie Nimmons with WP Buffs co-hosting along with me and Amy. Our guest today is Rachel de Martino. Rachel is the owner of Geek Unicorn, a name I just love. She partners with women led businesses to elevate them to a professional playing field by creating brands and websites that stand out online. We all want to stand out online. Welcome Rachel.
Rachel de Martino (00:44):
Hi, thanks for having me. I make them stand out online, like a unicorn in a field of horses. That’s the tagline.
Angela Bowman (00:56):
Yes, of course. It’s awesome. As you know, if you’ve listened to some of our episodes, we like to start off by asking our guests how they got into WordPress. How did you get started?
Rachel de Martino (01:11):
You know, I don’t quite recall the moment that I was introduced or opened up WordPress for the first time. I started building websites when I was a teenager, so I was 15 or 16 staying up until two, three in the morning, building websites about Star Trek fan fiction and astronomy, you know, the nerdiest stuff you can imagine. I had the backgrounds with the twinkling stars. You remember those when the blink HTML was the coolest thing ever? Then I would do websites for projects. I was a part of a community theater group, so I did some stuff for them. Then it was in 2011 when it started to be part of my job. I had joined a media department at an international not-for-profit and they were using Expression Engine and Joomla, those old horses like that. I must have picked up WordPress somewhere along the way there. And then when I started my business in 2017, we just went with WordPress and ran with it because it’s such a good out of the box solution for small business owners.
Allie Nimmons (02:33):
That’s amazing. I don’t feel like I’ve ever heard anyone not remember how in all the episodes that I’ve listened to and people that I’ve met. Everyone has that crystallizing moment when they discovered WordPress, but that’s so cool that it just arrived and solved all your problems for you and just became a part of your workflow. That’s awesome. Plus, I pricked up because I’m actually doing a Star Trek Next Generation binge-watch right now. So I got really excited.
Rachel de Martino (03:01):
Oh, that’s awesome. I’m happy watching DS Nine right now. I like to pop it on while I’m doing a big build. I’ll just play it in the background. Star Trek is awesome. When it comes to WordPress, I was looking at all the different platforms. We were using ExpressionEngine, Joomla, Drupal, Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, I’ve been in all of them. And so I think at one point I was researching search engine optimization back when I first started about 10 years ago and someone mentioned WordPress is the best for when you’re doing an out of the box solution at the time. I think that’s why I gravitated towards it. We were focused on SEO and things like that. That’s why we picked it. It’s just so robust and can really grow with your business. It just makes sense to use.
Amy Masson (04:08):
I also dabbled in Joomla a little bit back in the early days and I actually really liked it as a solution. But my clients, and I didn’t make that many websites, they couldn’t figure it out. They liked the way it looked, but they would log in and they couldn’t figure out how to do anything. I already had a WordPress blog, and I wondered if you can use this for more than a blog. That was my “aha” moment.
Rachel de Martino (04:34):
With Joomla we had a bunch of umbrella organizations and one of the umbrella organizations had a website on Joomla. The guy who was in charge of it could never figure it out. So I was always being called over to show what can be done on Joomla. Even though it was like an area that he was supposed to cover. To your point that it’s hard, yeah, I can see that.
Amy Masson (05:00):
Can we bring back the blink tag?
Rachel de Martino (05:03):
Yeah. I’m down for it. I like it. I like a little bit of movement, a little bit of a sparkle on a website.
Amy Masson (05:10):
Right. Because whenever somebody comes to me with a website and they’re say, “Oh, it’s so old. It’s so horrible,” I’m waiting for the blink tag, but I’m always disappointed. It’s never there anymore. Nobody uses it.
Rachel de Martino (05:20):
Nobody uses it. I think it was purely for kids and teenagers making websites like, “Oh, that’s so cool!”
Allie Nimmons (05:28):
I remember them all over MySpace. That’s where I first started dabbling with HTML. So many people were creating MySpace themes and everything had to have those little rhinestones on it and be cute and flashy. One day it’ll be in fashion, like how 80’s fashion comes back.
Rachel de Martino (05:46):
Allie Nimmons (05:47):
Maybe one day website fashion will make a circle back.
Rachel de Martino (05:51):
Yeah. Well I think some retro things do come back. There was some shoe company who built a whole retro website. I can’t remember what it was now, but they basically built a 90’s website for their products and it was cheesy and tacky and gorgeous.
Allie Nimmons (06:11):
I think they did that with the Captain Marvel website.
Rachel de Martino (06:14):
Oh, did they?
Angela Bowman (06:16):
They did. Captain Marvel is really cool.
Allie Nimmons (06:19):
I just opened it up and it is exactly what you’re talking about. It’s so fun and cringy and awesome.
Angela Bowman (06:25):
We will definitely put that in the show notes. It’s awesome. And you all know linkscars. Linkscars is just kind of over the top.
Rachel de Martino (06:34):
Oh, right. Yeah. Yes, absolutely. So busy and all over the place. Yes. So bad. It’s good.
Angela Bowman (06:41):
Captain Marvel, I felt like did the best.
Amy Masson (06:44):
Oh my gosh. I had not seen it before this moment.
Angela Bowman (06:47):
Really? Isn’t it awesome?
Amy Masson (06:49):
Oh, wow. I think I’ll cry just a little bit.
Angela Bowman (06:54):
I’m going to redesign my site with Elementor, but I’m going to do it in the 1990s style.
Amy Masson (07:01):
Oh my gosh. It’s like Homer Simpson’s website. If you ever watch The Simpsons.
Amy Masson (07:06):
So tell me how you got into the whole women led business niche.
Rachel de Martino (07:22):
When I first started my business, it was as anybody does, right? Flood gates open, say yes to everything, and then figure out what you love and what you’re able to do really well. Right. I didn’t have any particular niche when I first started. And then as I was going along, I felt like my business had no purpose and I felt like I didn’t have a purpose in my business. And so getting up in the morning was feeling difficult because what’s the point? I wasn’t getting any joy out of what I was doing. Even though I was good at it and it was still something that I enjoy, web design and working with people it wasn’t sparking joy in my life. I had to sit and really think about what is it that I want to do with Geek Unicorn? What is it that we stand for? What are our values? What is it that’s going to get me up in the morning? I’m was already passionate about gender inequalities particularly with pay and things like getting bank loans and all those kinds of things.There’s so many ways that women are treated less than men systemically. I wanted Geek Unicorn to be about helping to close the financial gap between men and women. And I wanted to do that by building really great websites for my clients so that their businesses could be elevated to a professional playing field and their business can succeed and grow, so that they can succeed and grow. That is what drove the decision to serve women led businesses. I was also noticing that women in particular were having trouble finding good web developers and web designers. A lot of times they were working with men and feeling talked down to or they didn’t feel comfortable asking questions. A lot of them were feeling like they were getting mansplained to. And so I also wanted to be that comfortable place for women to go and to ask tech questions and to get answers without having that filter of “whatever lady.” That’s where it came from.
Angela Bowman (10:09):
I’ve had a similar experience except it was also men experiencing that with other male developers. I’ve had a lot of male business owners coming to me because their male developer was being…I’ve heard adjectives like arrogant, unavailable, mean, or nasty.
Rachel de Martino (10:34):
Angela Bowman (10:37):
Impatient or saying they fix things and they didn’t. Unreliable or unresponsive. I’m not saying that all male developers are that way.
Rachel de Martino (10:48):
Angela Bowman (10:51):
You know, men want to be heard too and not talk down to. Just because you’re a man and you have a male developer doesn’t mean that’s going to be a good fit.
Amy Masson (11:06):
Not instant bros.
Angela Bowman (11:06):
No, not instant bros. No, not at all. I think partly it could be that there is kind of an arrogance that can happen amongst the people who call themselves developers. Where they feel like any ask of a client is them being put upon. “Oh, this is too complicated. Or you shouldn’t be asking for this.” I may ask “you think you need this? What return on investment might this bring to you?” I don’t want them to be adding features that are going to cost a lot and be a lot to maintain or create that aren’t going to return value to them. But at the same time, I’ll try hard to accommodate them and be nice about it.
Allie Nimmons (11:57):
And it’s such a secret super power. I love the way that you turned it on its head, because stereotypically, women are stereotypically seen as more sensitive, more emotional, blah, blah, blah. And so if you can say, “I was conditioned as a little girl to be more sensitive and more emotional, I’m going to turn that into compassion. And I’m going to turn that into better communicating skills. And I’m going to provide a service based on those more feminine traits that people were actually looking for in the first place.” I think that’s such a cool way of looking at it and saying we are equal. We are the same as men. We are just as good. But given the way that society molds us, women do kind of have some different super powers than some men do. And so for you to be able to use that, to help people and elevate them, that’s so amazing. I love that.
Rachel de Martino (12:59):
I wrote a blog post about reasons to choose women led businesses and one of them, and I wanted to make a database. I did not want to make it to feel like I was pulling it out of my head and saying, “wow, women are better.”
Amy Masson (13:17):
Anything you can do I can better.
Rachel de Martino (13:17):
One of them was empathy. So there are studies that look at the differences between men and women in terms of empathy. And they don’t know why yet, but statistically women are more empathetic than men. And it could be that we’re just taught at a young age. Again, they don’t really know the reasons. I wrote that was one reason to choose a women led business. If you ever have a problem but you don’t want to talk to customer service or you want to talk to the owner to get your problem fixed. If a woman’s behind the counter, statistically, she’s more likely to empathize with your situation and to help. And I think that goes a long way, especially around technical things like websites. There could be a lot of fear for people when they’re getting a website built. Or if they’ve had a website for a long time and they don’t know how to do something on it and there they need somebody to fix it. There’s a lot of anxiety around it. I think having somebody who’s empathetic working with you really helps.
Amy Masson (14:25):
And do you only take women led businesses now? If a man led business comes to you, you just turn them away?
Rachel de Martino (14:32):
No, we work with men on referral basis and we typically work with men owned businesses if their team is filled with women and/or their product or service directly contributes to the financial advancement of women. So a good example of that is one of our clients has an investment firm, but they work specifically through the gender lens. They’re looking specifically at helping women startups and things like that. Another one is a team of lawyers and two of the men are partners. A third is a woman. And then the rest of their associates are all women. It’s a per case basis, but usually they come in with a referral first. Or I’ve met them or somebody I’ve worked with knows them.
Allie Nimmons (15:26):
Have you ever gotten any push back from anyone who maybe thought you were giving preferential treatment or saw it in that sort of way, even though you definitely are not. But have you ever had anybody be upset?
Rachel de Martino (15:39):
Not to my knowledge. You don’t know who you turn off. If somebody said, “Oh, check out Geek Unicorn” and they log into my website and they go “Oh.” It says women led everywhere. That’s a good point. I did have some concerns in the back of my mind at some point. Am I going to get called out for not serving all people and everybody, even though I do serve all people and everybody,? Even just saying we prefer to work with women. Is that a bad thing? I don’t know.
Amy Masson (16:23):
And how many people are on your team that you work with?
Rachel de Martino (16:27):
Right now there’s about four. So we’ve got two junior developers, an admin assistant, and a SEO person. And they’re all women right now. Although we have had men on the team in the past.
Amy Masson (16:41):
And is that in addition to you?
Rachel de Martino (16:42):
Oh yeah. In addition to me. So five altogether. I’m a person too!
Amy Masson (16:46):
When a new project comes in, how do you break down who’s doing what, and how does that workflow work?
Rachel de Martino (16:56):
I am the creative director and I’m also the account person. I’m doing all the one on ones with the client, and I’m also overseeing the overall big picture design on the project. So I typically do the initial design myself. And then we have some templated elements that will go into the remaining pages at which point one of our web designers will pick that up depending on their availability. They might do it or somebody else might do it or I might do it. Then my SEO person comes in. I can do the SEO, but it just takes so much time. Have someone else do it!
Amy Masson (17:40):
I was creeping around on your website, which as anybody who listens to the podcast will know, I do that. And I noticed that you have some SEO eBooks. Are those things that you’ve written?
Rachel de Martino (17:52):
Yes, I wrote them. So there’s “The Unicorn’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization. That is the latest version. There’s another one called “SEO Cookbook,” which is very, very similar. It’s the original edition. And then “The Unicorns Guide Two” is the updated revised edition. “The Unicorns Guide to SEO” is really great because it goes step by step through SEO for a beginner. I found that when I was learning SEO a long time ago there was lots of information online, lots of articles you can read. There’s lots of guides that you can get, but there was nothing that said do this and then do this and now do this. that was like, do this. So the “Unicorn’s Guide to SEO” is like that, where it breaks everything down. There are 12 or 14 lessons which break down everything.
Amy Masson (18:50):
That’s awesome. Awesome. And do your clients find that really helpful?
Rachel de Martino (18:53):
Yes. Whenever I do an SEO package with somebody, I pass that off to them because search engine optimization is not a one shot thing. You’re not doing just one thing and then that’s it, as you all know. Every month, at least you’re doing something. You’re back link building, you’re creating content, checking on your stats, those kinds of things. The guide helps my clients when I do the onetime work, it helps them then to continue on that work themselves.
Angela Bowman (19:25):
It sounds like you’re a very systematic thinker.
Rachel de Martino (19:32):
Yeah I’ve been told that.
Angela Bowman (19:33):
That’s awesome. Running an agency, having other people work under you. I’m sure you and Amy are like sisters on some level. Tell us, what are your favorite tools? Either things that you use to help with onboarding clients and automating that process and working in collaboration in a team, but also which tools in terms of themes and plugins. What do you gravitate towards to build sites?
Rachel de Martino (20:07):
For project management, I use Google Drive and Asana. Asana is usually where we have our tasks and any conversations around a particular task and our deadlines. Then Google Drive is where all the content goes for any project. I do very poorly with email. I find emails so overwhelming. When you get to the thread and you’re looking for something like where they sent their headshot. Where is that? And it’s got the worst search function. So everything goes in Drive, and then we manage the project in Asana. In terms of plugins for WordPress? I like the typical ones, Jet Pack, Kismet, Wordfence, Smush. I just started using Hummingbird to see if that helps with page speed. It seems to be doing pretty good. I’m probably forgetting something.
Angela Bowman (21:06):
Do you use a theme. Do you use a page builder? What do you use for that?
Rachel de Martino (21:09):
I use a theme called Themeco Pro and it’s got a builder built in. I think the builder itself is called Cornerstone or used to be called Cornerstone. And it’s just stunning. Have you all used it at all? I love it, it’s so good. It’s a drag and drop visual builder and unlike Divi, you don’t want to throw your computer out the window while you’re using it.
Angela Bowman (21:37):
Thank you for saying that.
Amy Masson (21:41):
Yeah, it’s funny. We have guests who have been on that are real big Divi fan. There’s a big Divi divide.
Rachel de Martino (21:47):
There’s a Divi divide.
Amy Masson (21:47):
The Divi divide is real. That’s our next podcast.
New Speaker (21:54):
I’ll be the anti-Divi if you need a guest for that. So Themeco Pro is a really great drag and drop builder and everything’s custom. We’re not popping open a template. We really are building a solution for each individual client. We’re not following any kind of mold or anything like that. Obviously we’re doing best practices and things like that. We’re not using a theme as a template. We’re just using it as the builder in the core files.
Angela Bowman (22:34):
Someone has to ask you about the biggest thing you’re proud of because that is pretty amazing, but we’ll get to that. You said your biggest challenge is the late deliverables.
Rachel de Martino (22:50):
Angela Bowman (22:53):
And with projects colliding, I feel that pain all the time. I feel like I’m constantly living in some state of an avalanche.
Rachel de Martino (23:02):
Yes, absolutely. I try to take on a certain amount of clients every month, but then clients don’t deliver their content on time. I’m prescheduled with people for the next month. Now the people I was supposed work with next month have now collided with the people in this month. I’ve need to honor the people who were set up and scheduled for this month because we made an agreement that that’s when we would start. It’s just a mess. There will be some months where I have double the amount of clients, sometimes triple the amount of clients that I would normally prefer and that’s not a manageable state. Then I weed it out and get into a good zone and then it happens all over again. That’s been my problem. Do you have any solutions for it? Have you ever found out what can you do to not have this happen? Please tell me!
Amy Masson (24:04):
I have in my contracts that we wouldn’t actually start a project until we had the content, but I actually never have ever enforced that. No, I don’t have a solution.
Rachel de Martino (24:13):
Okay. Okay. So this seems common for everyone.
Allie Nimmons (24:15):
I might have a solution.
Rachel de Martino (24:18):
Allie Nimmons (24:18):
When I designed and built sites I would encounter that. I encountered that problem a lot before I started my business when I worked at an agency. And I remember when I started my business, I decided that’s not going to be a problem for me. So I had something in my contract that said if you are X amount of days late in delivering something, I can suspend the project or I can charge you a fee for inconveniencing me and messing up my schedule. I only had to enforce that maybe one time and people would read the contract and come to me and ask if this is real? Yes it is! And so they were aware of it and I almost always got things on time or within a very small window.
Rachel de Martino (25:04):
I might start doing that. I like the charge a fee thing, because once you finally get the stuff there, there’s a pressure to get it done. Right. Because now they’ve done it and now they’re thinking, “well, we paid you and now we’re ready. Get to work!”
Amy Masson (25:20):
I’m such a sucker though. I have all kinds of things like that. I have a disappearance clause, which states that if they decide to drop off the face of the earth for a few years and come back, they get charged a fee, but I never ever charged them the fee. I’m just such a sucker. Any advice on how I can enforce the things that I put in my contract would be great.
Rachel de Martino (25:42):
My tip for enforcing things is I pretend that my business, Geek Unicorn Inc., is my boss. And so whenever I have to execute something, I think my boss is making me do it, even though I am technically the boss making the decision. But it helps to separate yourself and say I’m representing the best interests of my company. I have to do this because my company is another person, at least in my case because it is incorporated so it is a separate person and I have to stand up for it. And do what’s right for that.
Allie Nimmons (26:18):
It’s funny. I would do the opposite because it was just me. I would be honest and tell people, listen, it’s just me. I’m doing everything by myself. So if you don’t respect my time, my time is not respected and the only teeth I have is enforcing that fee or saying your project is suspended until X date and be a hard butt. I don’t want to curse on the podcast, but you know, being kind of mean sometimes.
Amy Masson (26:47):
You can curse on the podcast Allie.
Allie Nimmons (26:47):
Being a hardass. Be a hardass. That to me was how I got through it. I figured that if somebody didn’t respect that, and if they got really, really pissy and angry and rude, that’s not somebody I wanted to work with anyway. But if they respected that and said “I’m sorry, we’ll move forward according to what you set out,” that’s the kind of person that I would make an exception for. Like Amy was saying maybe in that case, I might leave out the fee because you decided to be respectful rather than pissy. That’s always worked for me.
Amy Masson (27:25):
I’m much more likely to try and enforce it if I don’t like the person. I’m such a people pleaser and I don’t want anybody to be mad at me. So I always think, “Oh, great. Let’s get started.”
Angela Bowman (27:44):
I’m the same way. I hate disappointing people. It’s probably my number one issue in my life is to bend over backwards, but I did make sure I put that CYA thing in my contract so that if you’re not on time, your project can’t be rescheduled because I’ve got other things happening. Sometimes I’ve had to use that and I’m glad it’s in the contract if I need it. I get really overwhelmed just saying to a client that their project is getting delayed because I’m going to start a new client’s project on April 1st. I’ve had to do that a couple of times. People have been pretty nice about it. What gets me is people who hold off on their content forever. We’re talking months, right? You’ve built the whole site around specific designs in hopes that the content is going to be finalized. And then one week before you’re going on vacation, they’re like, “we’re ready to go now.”
Rachel de Martino (28:48):
Amy Masson (28:48):
And can we have it done by Friday?
Angela Bowman (28:49):
Rachel de Martino (28:52):
When I go on vacation I let all my clients know three weeks beforehand. Last summer, I went to Europe. I gave a big, long lead up to all my clients. I told them I’m going away, I’m not answering my emails. Lots of advanced warning.
Amy Masson (29:10):
What is this vacation is you’re talking about?
Rachel de Martino (29:14):
What is this vacation you speak of?
Amy Masson (29:14):
Are we allowed to go places ever again? No.
Angela Bowman (29:18):
I’m going to go to the hospital for vacation this year because it’s the only way I can stop doing work.
Rachel de Martino (29:25):
They’ve got good jello.
Allie Nimmons (29:25):
That’s depressing Angela!
Angela Bowman (29:25):
That is depressing but I’ll have a hard stop with a lot of Netflix.
Allie Nimmons (29:40):
You design and build websites, you do SEO. Do you have any recurring revenue services that you offer where you’re able to turn a happy customer into a forever customer?
Rachel de Martino (29:56):
We do have a support package. We have quite a few clients on that and then a lot of our clients add stuff later on. Especially when Covid hit, there were a couple of clients who needed to update their sites. One in particular was ready to launch a course. So that was a bigger project. A couple of our clients redesigned their sites a few years later because it’s been over three years now.. Some of those early clients are now coming back saying they’ve changed their business a little bit. It’s not that the design is bad or anything like that. We’ve changed so much that now we’re looking to redo our site. So sometimes that comes into play. Our workload seems to be 50/50 return clients and new clients. It’s good. It’s nice to know the people you’re working with and to get into a good flow. One of the reasons why I started Geek Unicorn was because I recognized that small business owners don’t need a web developer. They don’t need an SEO person working full time on their stuff, but they do need somebody trusted that they can go to who knows enough about their business and enough about them to pick it up and say “I got a good solution for you. Let’s do this. Let’s do that. And what did you think about this? Did you consider that?” Those are the kinds of things a trusted advisor would know about. It’s what I endeavored Geek Unicorn to be as well as somewhere that people can come back to and feel comfortable saying, “hey, we’ve got this idea. How do you think we should execute it online?”
Amy Masson (31:37):
What has changed for your business since COVID-19, if anything?
Rachel de Martino (31:44):
We changed offices. Now I’m in my home with unpainted walls. Actually, you can probably see here, I’m testing out paints right now to see what color to paint it. We shut down our office. We had an office partially because when we started it…I have a four year old child, my youngest. So at the time he was too young for me to also be working at home. I was also meeting clients and I was occasionally doing workshops. We would have group meetings there as well when our team was Toronto based. Right now our team’s not Toronto based, so it doesn’t matter. When Covid hit, I found I was staying home a lot. I wasn’t going to the office. It wasn’t working. That’s one thing that changed for sure. Also just slowing down a lot more, even just for myself. When COVID hit, there was actually an increase in demand for web designers. I’m sure you probably felt that. People wanted to update their site or they wanted to put up an announcement or they wanted to launch a course or whatever it was. And there was no real time to slow down to process a global pandemic even just for myself as a human being. I think it was a month and a half after COVID hit, I did really ramped down production. And I am only just now ramping back up. Just to have like some breathing space for myself.
Amy Masson (33:20):
And I see that you had a Website Weekend where you helped an organization. You want to tell us about that?
Rachel de Martino (33:29):
Yes. I can’t give away too many details because they actually, I won’t even say why, but they’re a nonprofit that was set up in the 80’s and they never had a website because they never needed one. There’s a very specialized thing that they do. They support journalists in Ontario. When Covid hit, obviously, community newspapers were hit really hard. Journalists were hit really hard because a lot of publications rely on ad revenue. That’s their primary source of revenue. It’s not buying the paper, it’s the advertisers in the paper. And of course, because businesses were shutting down or closing their doors or scaling back, they weren’t putting ad dollars into journalism. And so the charity wanted to have an online donation portal so that people could donate and they could raise money to support all these journalists. They were ready to go. I got my marching orders on the Friday. I built it on the weekend. Monday, it got approved and it launched the Tuesday and within a few weeks they raised over $10,000. It was great.
Amy Masson (34:57):
What did you use for your donation portal?
Rachel de Martino (35:00):
Amy Masson (35:01):
That’s what I was going to say.
Allie Nimmons (35:05):
Rachel de Martino (35:05):
They were so great. I had questions for the setup and things like that. They were awesome. So big shout out to them for sure.
Allie Nimmons (35:15):
I used to work there, so I’m unreasonably excited that you used them and it worked out.
Rachel de Martino (35:17):
Oh, good. I will definitely use them again. It was a great, it was a great plugin with great support.
Amy Masson (35:28):
Are you involved in the WordPress community up there in Canada?
Rachel de Martino (35:33):
No. I would like to be though. I didn’t even really know about it. I actually I met Michelle who, you guys probably know her, on Twitter as well. I am blanking on her last name, but she also works at Give. So maybe Allie…
Allie Nimmons (35:48):
Amy Masson (35:50):
She’s been on the path.
Allie Nimmons (35:51):
Rachel de Martino (35:52):
I think I met her not that long ago, but she introduced me to the concept of the WordPress community and something called WordCamp. But then the pandemic happened, so everything’s shut down and I haven’t been able to go anywhere.
Amy Masson (36:10):
So once the pandemic is over, if that ever happens, are you looking to go to some WordCamps? And if so, which ones?
Rachel de Martino (36:18):
Yeah, for sure I would go to a WordCamp. There are different WordCamps? Is it like the convention circuit? Like there’s Comicon and then there’s like Star Trek convention and different ones?
Amy Masson (36:29):
Yes. They’re city-based ones. My personal one is WordCamp Las Vegas, and I’ve done Boston, Chicago, and some others like that. The there’s WordCamp US. Then there’s WordCamp Europe, WordCamp Asia. All the podcasts were set to go to WordCamp Europe and then, you know… They did it online and then they’ve already announced the next year’s will be all online, which is kind of a bummer. I still have all my Air Portugal credits I need to use. So I might just be going on vacation in Portugal.
Rachel de Martino (37:08):
Might as well. I would for sure check out the Toronto one. I think I saw that on Meetups or something like that. And I would love to go like to a big one somewhere. That sounds like fun too.
Amy Masson (37:25):
I highly recommend WordCamp US. I’ve never missed it. It’s my favorite. Every year it’s where I get to see all my WordPress friends. I’m bummed it’s on online this year, but you know, what are you gonna do?
Rachel de Martino (37:39):
Lots of things are moving to online now.
Amy Masson (37:43):
I just can’t get myself excited about going to an online conference. I haven’t even tried. I should.
Angela Bowman (37:48):
I wasn’t excited. But then they needed me for WordCamp Denver to do intros for the speakers. And then they asked me to lead a panel discussion with Chris Lama and these other well-known people. I said ok. I had to do it and I had to get involved. Because I had a job to do it, actually gave me a purpose. I needed to be on all day to fulfill that purpose. And it was really surprisingly fun and cool. I was partly monitoring YouTube. If you’re introducing speakers or you’re a speaker you’re on Zoom but participants or attendees of the conference are on YouTube where they can watch the feed on the WordCamp website, which is also the YouTube feed. They can make comments. People are really into interacting on the comments. And then they had private rooms. Different companies sponsored different private chat rooms. Yoast had their room. I went and hung out with the Yoast people for about an hour and it was super fun. I got to meet a few people and it was definitely not as draining to me as being somewhat introverted to do it online because you’re not having to be physically present with a bunch of people for a whole day, which can be super intense. And especially at WordCamp US where there’s a lot of people. But online you can be behind the scenes and engage in that way. It does help if you do it someplace local or a place where you already know people who are going because you’ll have a feeling of connection. Rachel, just find out the next WordCamp that Michelle is speaking at since you have a connection with her. At least just make a point to tune into her presentation. Find speakers that you like to hear speak. I was amazed with the quality of the presentations. They were so well done and I learned so much and I’m so glad that I did it. I really ought to find another one to participate in.
Rachel de Martino (40:12):
That’s good. You had mentioned being an introvert, I’m an ambivert. When I’m in a crowd or when I go to a convention, I got so much energy and I get so excited that I think I miss that when it is online. I like the buzz of being in person with people and catching people’s energy.
Angela Bowman (40:37):
You can get the buzz in the chat and in the private rooms because it’s actually a more intimate conversation because it’s not a huge group of people. There might be six or eight people in the Zoom room and that’s kind of fun. Have you done any of those Allie?
Allie Nimmons (40:54):
I spoke at a few since everything started going online. I’m more like Amy, where I haven’t gone to any of the WordCamps. I’ve been attending more webinars that people are hosting and the smaller meetups because it’s an hour and you see some people, you make some new friends, but I haven’t committed to a full weekend of talks online. For me, going to WordCamps was almost like a work vacation. I get to travel to a different city, stay in a hotel, experience a different city. There’s a very special aspect of leaving your house, leaving your comfort zone and experiencing something totally new. Meeting Twitter friends and catching up with old friends. And now it’s watered down with the online events. But there’s benefits right? You can now see all of these talks completely for free. Whereas in the past you have to pay something to be able to go, whether you’re traveling or not, there’s still a fee. I’m in the same boat as Amy. I’m sitting here eight hours a day and I don’t really want to be sitting here Saturday and Sunday also. You know what I mean? I’d rather be sleeping or watching Star Trek or doing something else. And it does suck. I would like to be more active and see my friends and talk to people more and learn. That’s what the camps are there for right? To teach us things. But I just can’t bring myself to get in that same mindset that I would for getting on a plane and going somewhere. Maybe that’s super selfish of me, but I just haven’t been able to do it.
Angela Bowman (42:45):
I miss that so much. It does help if you’re someone who’s an MC or introducing speakers because that means you to get to connect with people and meet new people a little bit more intimately that way. So maybe volunteering. Rachel, volunteer for your online WordCamp Toronto, do a talk. You should submit a talk.
Rachel de Martino (43:06):
Yeah that would be fun!
New Speaker (43:06):
I think you could do a women led business talk. That would be awesome.
Rachel de Martino (43:14):
I would love that. That would be great. I love speaking and I love podcasts, so it’s great to be on here too.
Amy Masson (43:21):
Well, it’s been awesome having you on today. Before we go can you tell everybody where they can find you online?
Rachel de Martino (43:27):
Yes. My website is geekunicorn.com. I’m mostly on Twitter as GeekUnicornWeb, but you can also find me on all the other social channels somewhere in some form, but those are the primary ones.
Tracy Apps (43:41):
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