067: Hazel Quimpo on Marketing to Different Points of View

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About Hazel Quimpo:

Hazel is the Head of Marketing for StellarWP, Liquid Web’s umbrella for all things WordPress. She’s worn many hats in her days, from catering to events to marketing to writing and beyond. Working with marketing in the world of WordPress has allowed her to embrace her passion to empower entrepreneurs. She lives in Long Beach, CA with her husband and two kids in a multi-generational household with her mom.

Find Hazel Quimpo: StellarWP | TwitterLinkedIn


Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
067: Hazel Quimpo on Marketing to Different Points of View
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Show Notes

Amy:

Welcome to Women in WP, a bimonthly podcast about women who blog, design, develop and more in the WordPress community.

Angela:

Hi, welcome to Women in WP. Today’s episode is sponsored by Ninja Forms, a professional form building plugin for WordPress. I’m Angela Bowman.

Tracy:

And I’m Tracy Apps.

Angela:

Our guest today is Hazel Quimpo, joining us from Long Beach, California. Hazel’s the head of marketing for StellarWP, Liquid Web’s umbrella for all things WordPress. Welcome, Hazel.

Hazel:

Thanks for having me.

Angela:

We like to start off each episode asking our guests how they got into WordPress. How did you get started?

Hazel:

Yeah, it’s funny. I don’t ever consider myself getting started in WordPress, which I think makes me a little… Maybe it doesn’t make me unique, I always feel like it does how I came into it. Because I used WordPress as a tool, I saw word camps around. I think my first time I used WordPress was in 2010, I was going to set up a directory site for, I was working for Yelp at the time, and I was itching around for something different to do more something hyper local, so I was going to make a Happy Hour directory for Long Beach. And it was the first time I got into WordPress and I started messing around with it, but I didn’t really get involved in the community to be honest. But I used a lot of plugins and did all the stuff, and used all the things. To me, WordPress was like a utility.

Hazel:

And it wasn’t until I started freelancing at The Events Calendar talent in 2000… I don’t know, five or six years ago, I don’t know how long ago. At some point I started freelancing for The Events Calendar, doing marketing there. And got more involved, because I was a customer and I was doing marketing, and I was like, oh, I’ll go work over here. And they got more involved in the WordPress community, but I think that’s some of the different aspect I bring to when I’ve come into the community, is because I frankly felt like the WordPress community was a little gatekeeper-y for a long time. And I experienced a lot of that, and I feel like I’m actively trying to not have people who have the same feeling that I think that I had, where it was just too big of a wall to overcome, to even join. It wasn’t even something I felt like was welcoming to me, so it wasn’t even something I considered. And I think there’s a big opportunity there.

Tracy:

I totally see, I also was like, I started on WordPress a gajillion years ago, and I didn’t even really think about like, oh, there’s a community? It was kind of one of those things. And I had that same kind of feeling of, because then I went to Word Camp Milwaukee, and I talked and I spoke there, and it was all these people that knew each other. And then I was down, I spoke in Chicago, and I was like, oh, all these people. I’m like, oh, the WordPress community is so big. But then I was like, there’s this core group that they all kind of know each other. And I was like, oh.

Tracy:

And then one year I decided, because why not? I was like, all right, what is it going to take to get into that group? And I was like, let’s see how long, so I was doing this social experiment. It turns out really, I just spoke at a high profile word camp in Maui, and that was it. I was like, oh.

Hazel:

That’s amazing.

Tracy:

But it was very intimidating. I was like, oh, that was it?

Hazel:

I think being in the community, it is so welcoming, and so many different stripes, and frankly very liberal for the most part, and lots of people with open ideas. But it feels like a large gate to get into that. And it’s not actually, it just feels like it.

Tracy:

Absolutely, because it’s huge. Exactly. Oh my goodness, yeah. Because when I was thinking, oh my gosh, so many people use WordPress, there’s so many people. I had that same feeling, I was like, this looks huge.

Hazel:

I have one specific, if you don’t mind me diving in slightly on this. Because I’ve been, fighting’s a strong word, at work for this. But I work with, as we were talking in the pre-show, lots of Matts, right? Lots of Matts who, I love them all, they’re great Matts. They’re all dudes who are white, in their mid thirties to mid forties. And you know what? The Matts are going to listen to this and they’re going to complain to me after, and I love all the Matts. You know, we got Matt Danner, Matt Cromwell, Matt [Batchell 00:04:06], there’s so many Matts that I work with on a daily basis.

Hazel:

My point is that we redid the Stellar website recently. We spun up Stellar in May, pretty quickly as Liquid Web was acquiring new brands. And we kind of threw something together that was like generically space-themed. As that gave us more time to think about it, and we actually just relaunched yesterday. And in relaunching the site, I very intentionally am not going for an aesthetic that has attracted the same style of Matt, for all of the world. And I still want to attract Matt, Matt is a good person to work with, however so is Tracy, and [Siance 00:04:44] who works on my team, who’s non-binary, and all these other people who, I feel like just get excluded by design alone. So, we changed our design to be not the same design that every WordPress company has, or different ones have. And we’re very, you’ll come here to the new stellarwp.com and see a point of view that’s different, I guess.

Angela:

I love it. I’m looking at the site now, and I have to redo my site, and I almost wanted to just do black and white. Like, what do you need? Let me just list it out. [crosstalk 00:05:17] I don’t need to do a big banner image and the three little boxes. As a web developer, I am so over websites.

Hazel:

I kind of think customers are too, right? Do we really have to over… I don’t know, this is our whole bread and butter, but it’s like you just want to do a thing. People know how to do the thing on the internet these days, you just make it easy for them to do the thing.

Angela:

Exactly, exactly. Well yeah, that gatekeeper-y thing, I think there’s a reason why people feel imposter syndrome. And there is a bit of that clique-ishness, but it is interesting at the same time there is that welcoming and that accepting. And so, it’s an interesting dynamic that I certainly don’t know how to even begin to articulate.

Hazel:

I think it’s part of the open source nature of it, right? Typically if you have a community that has a leader, they are in charge of welcoming people, that’s their whole deal. And some people naturally take that hat on in WordPress, but it’s just because it’s open source like anything else, it’s nobody’s job to do that. So when I see people that are super welcoming, like two of you, or like Michelle Prechette, who I work with currently, super welcoming, I might not have reached… Because I would feel like, oh, she probably knows everybody or whatever else.

Hazel:

Even though she’s super welcoming, I just think, I don’t know, it’s an odd barrier to entry because there’s not that leader being like, I think of this because I did work community for Yelp for a long time. And my job was to be friends with people. But if it wasn’t my job… I swear to God, it was. My job was to throw cool parties and have you be my friend, and like Yelp by turn. And that’s a for-profit company, there’s a very clear reason why they would do that. WordPress doesn’t have that, it’s a more of an organic community, which has its own benefits. But then it lacks from the actually actively welcoming new people in.

Tracy:

Yeah. That’s a really good point. Because a lot of our guests have been like, “Hey, I felt that this was overwhelming. I didn’t see anyone that looked like me, so I just led this thing and welcomed people.” Or, “I just organized this thing,” and mostly all women, who just are like, “I see this as we need some more welcoming,” and then they just do the thing.

Hazel:

Yep, exactly. Like you guys doing this thing, which is great.

Tracy:

Well, and then anytime I get like, “Oh, I just do this, or I just do that. I don’t do development, I do this,” whatever. And I’m like, the whole community, WordPress would just crumble. Because having that community is a big piece of it, and the reason why WordPress is able to keep going, and change as much as it has and be as influential.

Angela:

So tell us, I’m so curious about StellarWP. I’ve definitely come across the name, but I didn’t really understand what it is. And I introduced you as this whole umbrella for all these WordPress things, but now that I’m looking at the side, I’m like, I recognize these WordPress things. Tell us your relationship to these things, and what they are and why you’re related to them.

Hazel:

Yeah, let me back up. And forgive me, I’m going to sound like I’m doing a little bit of corporate speak, but I’m going to try to interpret it to not fully corporate speak, which is some of the stuff… I’m going to back up all the way to Liquid Web was acquired by the group that runs them currently, back in 2015 or something like that. Something like six, seven years ago.

Angela:

And Liquid Web is a web hosting company for those-

Hazel:

Liquid Web is a really popular web hosting company, and these days focuses largely on enterprise, because what happened shortly after this investment group came in, they then acquired Nexus, which is focusing on managed WordPress hosting and doing a lot of great stuff there. There’s a lot of people in the WordPress community that actively work over at Nexus. And then another year, Liquid Web decided to foray into the world of WordPress plugins, so they looked into iThemes, and the iThemes team was ready to grow. What happens with a lot of these plugins is acquisition ends up becoming almost kind of like a VC investment, is the way I view it in a way. You get acquired, but basically you grow, frankly, as far as you can.

Hazel:

And not to underplay anybody, but you can grow as far as you can without an influx of cash, to give you more money to be able to grow further. And really as we acquire companies, that’s what happens, is like we want them to be able to grow to that next level. And we are really looking at brands that are market leaders. So you’ve got people like iThemes, you’ve got people like The Events Calendar, top security plugin, top events plugin, GiveWP, top nonprofit plugin. And then the up and comers like Iconic, who’s really cornering the market on e-commerce plugins. So, we’re really going after high quality products, and ones who kind of were just growing, but couldn’t grow further without the influx of further marketing support, further ad dollars, all of this kind of stuff.

Hazel:

And frankly, the best thing about, and this is all happened really quickly. This all happened, sorry, I skipped the whole timeline. This all happened starting in January when The Events Calendar got acquired. So, when I said that right now we’re recording this in September, so Liquid Web acquired iThemes in 2018, something like that. Didn’t do a whole lot with WordPress plugins for a while, and then they were kind of like, “Oh, let’s see what we’re going to do.” As the pandemic hit last year, and WordPress plugins just had such a boom because everybody was going on online and doing business. Went through this early 2021, just basically lots of plugins started joining the team. So we had The Events Calendar who I originally came with, and then we’ve got GiveWP, Cadence, who’s a block editor and theme, Give… [inaudible 00:11:19] memorization. And now, we just told you guys before this one, we just announced our most recent one, LearnDash.

Angela:

LearnDash, that is amazing. So because of the pandemic, I actually built a site for a client using Restrict Content Pro and LearnDash. Well, actually those were a couple different, there were numerous projects that involved Restrict Content and LearnDash, but that was really driven by the pandemic. And LearnDash is my favorite, and that’s super exciting.

Hazel:

Yeah, I love LearnDash. I’m setting up my friend’s, my friend is a therapist and she’s starting doing coaching courses and things like that. And I just set her up on LearnDash, and she was super excited about it too.

Angela:

It’s awesome. And then Restrict Content Pro, I have used every membership plugin out there, and I was really surprised to see myself go to Restrict Content Pro, because iThemes had acquired them first, and put some more energy into it and I think a little bit more development. But there’s something that’s so clean about Restrict Content Pro compared to the other membership plugins. And there’s kind of this beauty there, and developer friendliness about it.

Hazel:

I think developer friendliness is the key, for sure.

Angela:

Yeah, yeah. Much more developer friendly. And I want to see that go further.

Hazel:

With that product, yeah, you’re talking to the right person. With that product in particular, or with all products in general?

Angela:

With Restrict Content Pro.

Hazel:

Okay. No, it’s funny, we’re actually actively just doing a huge sprint on Restrict Content Pro right now. Because a lot of people have similar, developers love this product. And any WordPress plugin, I’ll give you a peek behind the curtain, you always have like a, do you want to try to grow and compete against SaaS type things, and people who are new to WordPress and really want easy? Or do you want to make a modular world easier for developers?

Hazel:

And there’s not a right consistent answer, it’s different for each product. And for me right now, I think on Restrict Content Pro, it’s making it better for the Angelas of the world, who really need the granularity for all your clients, and get the things. And not trying to sell it to my friend the therapist, who’s just trying to set up a membership site. She would be lost, it’s not for her. It might be. But I think you’re right, and I think some of that modularity, so I’ll take back to the RCP team, that you’re looking for more developer tools in there.

Angela:

Yeah. And there were enough things that [Pippin 00:13:42] had written to help get me going with some customizations, and I did massive customizations on it. I have a lot of feedback.

Hazel:

Oh, maybe we should talk offline. Actually, we’ll connect you, we are actively working. Let me connect you with Matt Danner over there, we should talk.

Angela:

Oh, Matt, one of the Matts. I need another Matt in my life right now.

Hazel:

We need more Matts in our life.

Angela:

I don’t have nearly enough.

Hazel:

I can connect you to Jeff, if you would prefer a Jeff.

Angela:

I have plenty of those as well. But yeah, no, Jeffs and Matts rule the world there.

Hazel:

Unfortunately, unfortunately. Despite how nice the Jeffs and Matts are, I need more Hazels, Angelas and Tracys.

Angela:

Thank you. Well, we need more of you. So tell us a little bit about more of you, and what your passions are around all of this, and how you fit in?

Hazel:

So, I’ve done marketing and events and just entrepreneurial things most of my career. I think most of my career probably took off, I used to do weddings and events, I’ve always been super into Long Beach, my city, I’m very into Long Beach. There’s some folks that happen to be in the WordPress community, that I know now via the WordPress community, that I’ve known for years because I’ve lived in Long Beach and just been very involved in the community. I think [Say 00:14:56], say who runs The Water Cooler, I think is her podcast, she lives here in Long Beach and I knew her from years before.

Hazel:

But I guess what’s driven me to get through all these things, is I hate having jobs. So this is weird coming here, I don’t like having real jobs, so me being here in a full-time role is a rarity. My boss listening to this, he’ll hear this and I’m going to hear about it after. But coming to Liquid Web, before the pandemic I hadn’t worked full-time at one place for years. And before that, the place I did work was here in Long Beach doing like downtown Long Beach business improvement district stuff. Getting them on WordPress too, actually.

Hazel:

And then I started doing, I threw music festivals for kids here in Long Beach. I had a whole group called LB Littles, again all through WordPress, of course, and running community. And pandemic hit, I’m going to stop doing those events, and frankly was over hustling for clients. And pandemic, talking about mental health hitting you hard, hit me very hard. And I was like, it was easier for me to go work full-time at a company. And frankly, I liked it. The opening happened at The Events Calendar right at pandemic time, and we were able to go in and do some really cool stuff, frankly right away. For The Events Calendar at the time, we didn’t have a virtual events product. And we were giving out lots of free tools for like, everybody was all hands on deck and like, “Hey, what’s all the things we can do to make people’s life easier right now?”

Hazel:

And we went to town on all of it. And there was an interesting thing I learned about marketing there, was that we gave everybody all this stuff for free. We were really trying. I emailed them all the time, telling everybody, we have so many people, and telling them all the things. And daily, I’d still get things like, “Why aren’t you guys doing anything for virtual events?” So it turns out people like to buy things that have a name on them, and it was a weird decision for us, because we didn’t want to be very… I realize I’m not answering your question of how did I get here, but I’m telling you a different story, so here we go.

Angela:

Just go.

Hazel:

So it’s like, do you want to sell a product at the time when everybody’s like suffering through things? Turns out people were very happy we started selling, and basically we packaged up all these free extensions, still offered them for free, but we’re like, “Hey, we also sell virtual events. Do you want to buy it?” And people bought it like crazy. And for a long time, the product has improved a lot since then, we’ve added more. So the free extensions that were in the core one still exist, you can still go add. But it’s funny, putting a name to things really makes them skyrocket. Which it did lead me to my whole career journey of where I ended up at Stellar, is like, we have to have a shorthand name for what we’re calling this. It can’t be like Liquid Web acquired this, but it’s not really Liquid Web. And I’m like, let’s just come up with a name for what this is.

Hazel:

And Stellar is what we came up for the name for this group, really of people, less about the products. Because at The Events Calendar, there was like 50 people working there. Give had like 30, iThemes has another 30. So all these folks had, I don’t know, a couple of coworkers in their department, type thing. And one thing that’s kind of cool, that I’ve never really experienced in my entire career, is I can go ask all my peers who are a lot of them top of their industry, of questions about, “How’s that working for you. What do you guys do over there?” It’s this cool peak behind the curtains of all this WordPress world.

Angela:

Oh, I love that. I would love to just have a webinar series, or just a…

Hazel:

Yeah, there’s a lot of knowledge across this group. It’s really interesting.

Tracy:

You all need a UX designer?

Hazel:

Yeah, we sure do. We just, we threw up our site yesterday, we’re going to get it redone. Don’t worry about it.

Angela:

Yeah. And do you find that between these people at these companies, that they all know each other?

Hazel:

Yeah, so they’re starting to. Actually, hilarious, the community is so connected that the LearnDash acquisition, one of our team members, Allie, works part-time in support at LearnDash, also works part-time in support at The Events Calendar. So now she works full-time in support of Stellar.

Tracy:

That’s hilarious.

Hazel:

But today we just did, we did our first ever lunch and learn, where we had a lot of the folks get together across, because the people are realizing this more and more that like, “Oh wait, there’s other people here that go through the exact same stuff I do.” So, we did one today about, Give this week went through it on Twitter with all kinds of nonsense, I don’t know if you guys saw it, anti-LGBT stuff. And Michelle was sharing about how to manage Twitter, and best practices for social media, for your personal self and for your brand as well. And it was really cool to hear this across 20 of our different people, across brands.

Tracy:

I love it. It’s like the business version of the Brady Bunch.

Hazel:

It kind of is. Actually, we should call it that. It is like the business version of the Brady Bunch. I love it.

Tracy:

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Angela:

Do they get to retain their autonomy once they’re acquired? Do they still keep their own teams, or do you try to-

Hazel:

That’s a great question. That’s actually Liquid Web’s biggest differentiator in acquiring folks, and they’re really big on having brands keep their autonomy. In my current position, I’ll even say almost to a fault. I would be like, “Joe, can they just do this thing the way I want to do it? Joe’s my boss, CTO at Liquid Web. And the big promise is, hey, this is their company. They were running it successfully, they know what they’re doing, they know their customers. They’re the experts. I’m here to help them elevate to the next level, and I think through digital marketing. But I also think the learning throughout, but the autonomy is 100%, it’s our number one thing. And it’s actually almost like a hurdle I’m trying to overcome in the other ways. They do want to be very autonomous, but I want people to understand they have this tool to talk to each other. And people are learning, and like I said, it’s all new. This started, like I said, I just came in January, but this only started in May.

Angela:

Love it.

Tracy:

That’s great, I love it. So, what was your background before? You said you did music events, you did more event management?

Hazel:

Yeah, I used to do event marketing. I went to college to be a teacher, and did some student teaching. And I was like, I don’t really want to do that very much. That seems terrible. I thought my whole life I wanted to be a teacher. And then I went to, I was working at a catering company during college, and decided to just work there full-time after I decided not to be a teacher. And one thing led to another, and I was like, I actually really like events. I did events even in high school, I was always the events person.

Hazel:

So I started exploring a career in events. I used to do events at the Long Beach Museum of Art. I did all the weddings and stuff there, I did the events at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. I’ve done weddings and events anywhere in Long Beach and LA area that you can name. And then I went to go work for Yelp, in the very early days of Yelp. I was the very first community manager in LA, or I’m sorry, in Orange County, was the counterpart for the LA one. And we were one of the very first Yelp communities, growing it from ground up. So at the time, people didn’t know what Yelp was, this was like 2007. I’m a very old person. And at the time, people would come up and they’re like, “Oh, is this like the Yellow Pages?” And we would basically grew Yelp Elite. I know.

Hazel:

Yelp Elite is the opposite of the funnel. You have a funnel of getting people in through the top, all the things, but Yelp Elite is growing through the bullseye center out. So Yelp Elite, we invented this program basically at the time, which was like, hey… And Elite was supposed to be a joke. It’s become real, there’s a danger in naming things as a joke, people don’t realize it’s a joke after a while. Elite was supposed to be a joke, because isn’t that ridiculous that you would be elite for this silly website? Turns out people took it seriously, but it worked really well. And I think that’s a marketing tactic I always still like, which is growing from the inside. Which is the core people becoming, I hate the word evangelist, but becoming evangelists for your brand. And that’s how Yelp grew.

Hazel:

And it taught me a lot about marketing throughout my career, where I went next, which was into mostly freelance consulting for different startups. So, I’ve worked for just so many different startups, and weird chatbots and kid business directories, and neighborhood, whatever. I’ve worked for every little consumer and B2B startup there is. And then I started, I was doing that all freelance, and then I started LB Littles when I had a kid. And that kind of, it blew up into a bigger thing. I grew this pretty big community of families with young kids in Long Beach area, that weren’t… I don’t know how to say this in a not anti-feminist way, being on the Women in WP podcast. But it wasn’t like a Facebook mom group, which I don’t… Oh, my gosh. But the Facebook mom groups have a connotation, and this whole thing, and I didn’t want that.

Hazel:

Same as when people go and they’re like, “Oh, I didn’t see a thing for me, so I started it.” And this was LB Littles. And our core of LB Littles was a few key events, and our biggest one was Littlepalooza, which we did three years on Labor Day, which was 3,000 families out there. We had a Weezer cover band one time, a Selena cover band, another one, and just tons of kid activities, a huge festival, it was super fun. And I’m actually retiring, I’m not going to be doing it anymore, because I lose interest in projects after three years. I told you I don’t like having jobs. So, actually my co-worker at The Events Calendar, Jeff, another Jeff, who lives here in Long Beach, is going to take it over with his wife. So, it’s going to be passed on.

Tracy:

That’s awesome. I love it, Littlepalooza?

Hazel:

Littlepalooza. Coachella for kids, we were calling it, and it was great. And it was supposed to be something that, I hate going to kid’s events. And even though I have two young kids, I wanted to go to an event that I would like to go to. So I made an event that I would like to go to, and it was great.

Tracy:

I love it. That’s awesome. So I’m actually, I’m teaching some online digital marketing bootcamp courses, through different universities. And so yeah, people that are wanting to get into digital marketing. So, what kind of tips would you get, to start doing this freelance or to join a company? What kind of tips do you have for that?

Hazel:

I have two tips. My number one is to just keep learning as much as possible. Just listen to podcasts in the background all the time, you’ll be amazed the little stuff you pick up. I have a notion board, every time I’m listening to a podcast in the background I’ll type, that’s a really smart thing. And then I say it later, someone’s like, “How did you know that smart thing?” I say, “I’m just really smart.” But that’s the quickest shortcut, I’m all about shortcuts. And so, that to me is the one. To me, you can go to college, you can major in whatever, I don’t know. I doesn’t matter to me, to be honest, I really don’t think it does. What I think matters is proving that you can learn things. However, how do you prove that to an employer? And I think the way you do that currently in the world, is through personal branding.

Hazel:

Seriously, when I go hire someone right now, I search Twitter and LinkedIn to see if they’re active on it, and if they have some posts. Not that that’s the only way, but I’m just saying it’s a shortcut to get into a career. If you’re getting into any career, especially digital marketing, if you just start tweeting about it, even if you’re a junior employee. In fact, I’ve seen someone on Twitter recently who I keep coming across his profile, he only has like 800 followers and I wish I could shout him out now, but I’ll have to look him up. But in his profile he has like, “Oh, junior digital marketer, learning and looking for a role.” He’s super active, posting all the time. And obviously I’ve remembered him, I’m thinking like, oh, if I ever need a junior digital marketer, there’s this guy who’s really active. And I think that is a huge break-in to digital marketing, if you want to work in tech. Like hanging out on Twitter, which sounds the silliest thing, but it actually works very effectively. I hang out on Twitter, and I get job offers once a week probably.

Angela:

I hang out on Twitter and complain about the massive housing crisis.

Hazel:

You know what? There is a massive housing crisis. California just passed a law for that.

Angela:

I know, and so I’ve been harassing our local city people with California’s law. Like, “Hey Colorado, it’s coming to you soon.” But it’s so funny, I’m very passionate about WordPress, but then when I get on Twitter, I have to go all in on the housing crisis.

Hazel:

I think that’s great. But even regardless though, I think people post their personal lives on Twitter. I think if you want to get a job through that way, doing both is still effective, in my opinion. So I don’t know if that was the answer you were looking for, but to me that’s the ultimate shortcut to getting a job in digital marketing.

Tracy:

That’s perfect, honestly. Because I’ve had people say, “Oh, well you need to separate your personal from your business, and social media.” And I’m like, no, it’s too much work. And plus, if you’re going to hire me for freelance, or my company, or hire me as an employee, you’re going to get me. And me complaining about, ranting about something on the internet, it’s because I’m very passionate about it. And most of the time it’s, “Hey, this big company, you have enough money to fix this problem with your user experience, but you haven’t, so here is some things for you.”

Hazel:

But that shows that you are actively involved in the… But even that, do you know what I mean? I do think that one caveat is though, the three of us are established enough in our careers to where who gives a shit? Say whatever. But for someone just coming in, I don’t think it’s that worrisome either though, to be honest. I think there’s value to being yourself, I don’t think it’s a high risk is what I’m saying. I don’t know, I retweeted most of Lil Nas X last week. So I don’t know, what do I know?

Tracy:

Yeah.

Angela:

Yeah, I love that. Well, I’m so excited about this StellarWP. I think it’s really fascinating to me how all these acquisitions work. Like iThemes, you think they’re acquiring this, so they’re the big dog, but then you come in, “We’re even bigger, and we’re going to…”

Hazel:

Yeah. Well to be honest, you guys kind of saw, being close to it you see the struggles we had in action coming up. You see it in real time, of how we were going to do this. So, I think Liquid Web was, they acquired iThemes, and then the next opportunity came around and they didn’t know what the next five were going to be. So at the time they were kind of like, “Oh, I guess Restrict Content Pro makes sense to be part of iThemes’s family.” And then you realize it grows, and then you’re like wait a minute, you got to rethink it. And I come from startup world a lot though, so for me, the ambiguity is like, meh. And people on the internet have a short attention span, so [crosstalk 00:30:32].

Angela:

That’s true, no one know what’s happened anyway.

Hazel:

Until you revamp the site, you know?

Angela:

Yeah, yeah.

Tracy:

Is there a future roadmap? You don’t have to tell us the details, but is there a bigger plan, or is it…

Hazel:

I think there’s going to be a lot of interesting stuff as the world can get back together again, at some point, I don’t know when that will ever happen. Because I think there’s going to be really interesting activation of the WordPress community in a slightly different way. And I don’t want to be in a negative way, but I’m just trying to say it from my own perspective of the way I started this podcast, of some of the issues I had perceived in the WordPress community, I really want to try to actively overcome. So, I think as far as that, I think there’s going to be a lot of community growth with Stellar, and really shining a light on WordPress in general.

Hazel:

For instance, there’s things like, I feel like the nature of open source and the benefits of it, are lost on a lot of the next generation, to be honest. I don’t think, you come in, you’re just used to SaaS, that’s how the internet works, you’re not expecting anything else. And I feel like we’ve failed on educating folks on why that might be important, and why you might want it. And I say we, as a whole community I think we’ve got really inside baseball on it, in how we used to talk. And I really want to open that up to everybody, and be like WordPress is accessible to everybody.

Hazel:

That’s always been its selling point. And it’s odd because of the proliferation of really easy to use SaaS products, WordPress has become, almost feels harder even though it’s supposed to be easier. And I feel like I really want to help change that conversation, of well, the reason… And the education of, why would you set up your shop on WordPress and WooCommerce as opposed to Shopify? And not from just the business comparison angle, there’s a whole broader reason here. And if you really are serious about your business and you really want to be granular about things, well, there’s a clear choice of where you want to be.

Angela:

Yeah. And I kind of do the opposite conversation, because I’m always wanting to, in a way, talk people out of WordPress. Because it’s a lot of responsibility, just the hosting itself, but then the maintenance and the paying for the plugins, and making sure things don’t break and blah, blah, blah. So, I feel like I like to encourage people to use one of the SaaS products to start, and build your business. And then prove a business use case for why you need to use WordPress, and why you have this other unique need to do that. Because you can always switch over at some future point, but if you’re just getting started and you’re not quite sure how all your stuff is going to…

Hazel:

That said though, I have a dream where you should be able to set up a WordPress in one second, it shouldn’t be hard.

Angela:

It’s not, that part’s not hard. The devil’s in the details.

Hazel:

It is for somebody who’s never had it.

Angela:

And who’s ultimately responsible for making it go?

Hazel:

That’s true.

Angela:

And there’s a huge knowledge base that has to happen to make sure that, yeah, you can click a button and set it up, but how are you going to keep it from getting broken. You don’t have twenty four seven tech support to call to do that though. Though I’ve heard people say good things about WordPress.com’s business VIP hosting is pretty helpful for that kind of thing.

Hazel:

That’s what they’re trying to do, that’s a whole thing.

Angela:

You’d need a partnership like that, I think to-

Hazel:

Yeah, I think there’s more world for that, and we have one of our products that’s coming to market pretty soon, that it was The Events Calendar product, talking about who acquired what, whatever. We’re going to relaunch SandboxWP, which is, there’s a couple of these out there, but it’s a one-click. Which we mostly market to developers, but I actually think there’s a whole world where… I don’t know, my very first time, obviously it was years ago and tools have changed, but I think of my therapist friend who doesn’t know WordPress, but she’s using WordPress now Because I set her up a site there. And she’s like, wouldn’t it be easy for her to just be like, if she’s deciding between Kajabi or LearnDash or whatever, “You want to see what WordPress looks like? Here’s what it looks like.”

Hazel:

There’s no world where you can just see what WordPress looks like, and that’s what I want. Like my [crosstalk 00:34:39] Sandbox, I just need a button on my… So, I’m making this public now for the world. All I’m going to do on podcasts is get in trouble, I’m not going to be allowed to be on any podcast anymore.

Tracy:

No. Or you’ll just come back to us, it’ll be fine.

Hazel:

Okay, fair enough.

Tracy:

Yeah. But no, I agree with that. Because especially now teaching, I’m teaching WordPress to people that are looking at digital marketing. And first off I’m like, “First off, if someone tells you that WordPress is easy, tell them they’re full of crap.” Because it is easier than hand-coding everything, because learning the code, and I know we have come a long way with, but I still have no filter. So. I’ll be teaching and it’ll be like, “Okay, so now for some odd reason, now you click on this, and now the whole interface changes. So don’t worry, it’s a terrible design. That needs to be fixed, but they’re working on it.”

Hazel:

Well, where I get at there, is actually leaning into that a lot. And I think a lot of companies are having a hard time with this right now, is do you want to make it super easy? Or what do you do, how do you find the medium? And to me, this is my re-spouting from a podcast I listen to, that I get to sound really smart. I’ll talk about the Ikea effect. But WordPress is all about the Ikea effect, it’s like, you have a table, and you have a table you built. Well, I value the table I built way, way, way more. And I think that’s the story, it’s like WordPress is harder, and that’s fine. It’s going to be worth it. And that’s the story I want to tell, and I feel like some people are trying to tell the story that like, “No, WordPress is just as easy.” It’s not, and it’s fine. You can walk them through it and make it, but there’s a reason it’s that way, and that’s what I’m leaning into.

Angela:

Yeah. Highlighting, articulating the reason is super important, like why are we going to go through this pain? And I have a super passion for that, if you ever want to talk. I run the Bolder WordPress meetup, and the Elementor Meetup. And so, it’s like I’ve been doing this forever and have to work with these end users all the time. I even went to the Denver WordPress Happy Hour one time, just to be helpful. And it’s just, people can come to the Denver Public Library and just get help with their WordPress sites. It gave me a level of empathy and compassion for the beginner user to WordPress, that I knew these issues existed.

Hazel:

It’s easy to get blind to it.

Angela:

But it was like, holy crap, you just want to change the font of the heading on this thing. Or you just want to have a list of… Whatever, it was the simplest things you could possibly imagine, that were so insanely difficult. And you would have to be a, it was just like, wow, this is why WordPress is hard. And I think all of us should be forced to go help beginner users for just one hour.

Tracy:

Or you know what? Just watch them do it, and you can’t say anything. You’re behind glass that you can’t, and be like, ah, just watch that and say like, “Oh, wow. Yep.”

Hazel:

The hard part of open source and software development though is, I’ve worked for a million apps, and you live off daily active users. And every single movement a user takes, you can make your software better. You’re operating in the dark on WordPress. You really have to talk to customers yourself, because you’re not going to gather data on it.

Angela:

I think it’s great if it’s developer, or some more professional person sets the site up for you, and then you’re instructed on how to maintain it. That’s awesome, you have the tools WordPress provides.

Hazel:

My method has always been, I throw up some stuff and it’s broken, and then I call the Angelas of the world to help me.

Angela:

That’s fine too. Everyone gets to benefit from this situation. Well, it’s been so fabulous talking with you today. Can you tell people the best way they can find you online?

Hazel:

Yeah, I’m an easy person to find. I’m Hazel Quimpo, with a Q on Twitter. And just about everywhere, if you just Google Hazel Q, I am an oddly easy person to find.

Angela:

That’s awesome. And we have to give a shout out again to our fabulous sponsor, Ninja Forms, for sponsoring these episodes. Which we hope we will get to have a really big party with all the women in WordPress, from some of the sponsorship soon. And we couldn’t do it without you.

Hazel:

That sounds lovely.

Angela:

Great, okay.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening. Interested in being on the show? Sign up on our website, womeninwp.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and join our Facebook group to have conversations with other women in WordPress.

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