085: Angela Goes to WordCamp Europe 2022

During this episode, Angela interviews 11 women from 5 different countries (Switzerland, Spain, US, Netherlands, and Germany) who attended WordCamp Europe 2022 in Porto, Portugal. These mini interviews give you a nice insight into some of the women who make up our fabulous community.

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Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
085: Angela Goes to WordCamp Europe 2022
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Transcript

Tracy:

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

Angela:

Hi. This is Angela at Word Camp Europe. I’m doing interviews here outside the Super Bock Arena, which is this fabulous, amazing space. There are so many incredible women here, including Michelle Bulloch, with Music Text. She is a volunteer for this year’s Word Camp Europe, and I am excited to learn more about her. So here we go. Hi, Michelle.

Michelle Bulloch:

Yeah. Hi, Angela.

Angela:

So we just met.

Michelle Bulloch:

We’ve just met about 10 minutes ago.

Angela:

Yes, and I was asking you about what you’re doing here with Word Camp Europe.

Michelle Bulloch:

Well, I’m volunteering here. I’m on the crew team. Yesterday I did registrations for the people who came for the contribute today. This afternoon I’ll be one of the facilitators for the WordPress cafe. For the beginners’ group, the beginners’ level, which is about my level, I’m not much further. But I’ll be doing that this afternoon. And the idea is to encourage people to talk and ask questions and sort of get everybody to join in and join in the fun.

Angela:

So you are from Switzerland.

Michelle Bulloch:

I’m from Switzerland, yes.

Angela:

How did you get involved with the community and doing this?

Michelle Bulloch:

Ah, it’s a long story actually, but I’ll try to make it short. I initially studied music, got a degree in teaching music and by the time I’d finished there were no jobs going. I kind of drifted into journalism through music. I started writing music critics, opera critics, and I drifted into journalism. Did that for a certain number of years. The newspaper I worked for then vanished from the scene.

Angela:

Yes.

Michelle Bulloch:

Then I went freelance as a journalist. At that stage I was asked to write program notes for classical concerts, which I started doing good number of years ago, which I’m still doing to date.

Angela:

Oh cool!

Michelle Bulloch:

That’s my-

Angela:

That’s your stick. Okay.

Michelle Bulloch:

Exactly. Then at one point I moved from Geneva where I grew up to the German speaking part of Switzerland. There’s no way I can write in German, I can speak the language, but I can’t write it. So then I did a few years of teaching because I thought that’s kind of communicating, it’s a sort of follow up from journalism-

Angela:

What were you teaching?

Michelle Bulloch:

English and French. Language.

Angela:

Okay. Language. Wonderful.

Michelle Bulloch:

Yeah.

Angela:

Yes.

Michelle Bulloch:

I was teaching teenagers and after 13 years I’d had enough of that and I wanted a new challenge. I kind of had heard about WordPress-

Angela:

Wow.

Michelle Bulloch:

And thought that’s maybe something that’s just down my line, it’s a sort of continuation of journalism as well. I initially signed up for a very short WordPress course. That was in 2013.

Angela:

Was it online or in person?

Michelle Bulloch:

No, it was in person. It was in person.

Angela:

Okay.

Michelle Bulloch:

It was in German once more.

Angela:

Wow. Wow.

Michelle Bulloch:

Then I did a full course, 96 hours, that approached all different aspects of web design, web publishing, marketing a bit, all sorts of things. I did that and it was actually through the teacher who gave that course that I got into the WordPress community because he said, “Come along, there’s going to be a word camp in Zurich. Why don’t you come along and see what it’s like?” So I went to Zurich in 2014, I went to Zurich in 2015. Then I went to Geneva in 2016 where I met up with a lot of people I already knew. Then I volunteered for the WordPress in Lausanne in … No, that was in 2019, I believe in Lausanne. Then I was going to be an organizer for the WordPress Geneva 2020 … No, sorry. Lausanne was 2017. Then it was again in Zurich in ’19. Of course 2020 didn’t happen, and we’ve just had it this year in April, on the 9th of April we had Word Camp in Geneva.

I was one of the co organizers of that.

Angela:

Did that go well post pandemic or was it-

Michelle Bulloch:

Yeah, there weren’t quite as many people as we had hoped for.

Angela:

Okay.

Michelle Bulloch:

Yeah.

Angela:

That makes sense.

Michelle Bulloch:

Yeah, it was a little bit disappointing. Not from the organization point of view, but the attendance. We would’ve expected to have a few more people.

Angela:

How many did you have?

Michelle Bulloch:

We had about 100.

Angela:

Oh, that’s not a lot. That’s almost like a very large meetup.

Michelle Bulloch:

Yeah, exactly.

Angela:

Yeah.

Michelle Bulloch:

Yes. But Geneva, if we gather 2025 for meetup, that’s only quite a good meetup.

Angela:

Oh, good, good.

Michelle Bulloch:

[inaudible 00:04:43]. I’ve got a scoop for you because just yesterday it was agreed that we’re, again, able to do a Word Camp Switzerland next year because-

Angela:

Oh, great.

Michelle Bulloch:

Because WordPress central said, “No, no.” We could only do town Word Camps.

Angela:

Oh.

Michelle Bulloch:

And the problem in Switzerland, we’ve got a French speaking community, a German speaking community, even an Italian speaking community, but they’re the other side of the Alps so they don’t come much otherwise. But the German speaking tend to not go to the French speaking and vice versa.

Angela:

Yes. Yes.

Michelle Bulloch:

We’re going to have one next year bang on the language frontier and hopefully gather people from both ends of the country.

Angela:

Oh, that should be a big success.

Michelle Bulloch:

So that’s going to be … And I’m going to get involved in that as well.

Angela:

Well, the WordPress community is a better place because you’re in it. So thank you so much for speaking with me.

Michelle Bulloch:

Thank you. Thank you, Angela.

Angela:

I’ll let you know when this episode releases.

Michelle Bulloch:

Thank you very much, indeed.

Angela:

It’s so great to meet you.

Michelle Bulloch:

Great to meet you, Angela. Thank you.

Angela:

I’m here with Alexandra Spalato who’s been on a previous episode of Women NWP. But we wanted to chat with her here at Word Camp Europe, because she’s doing a very special thing. Alexandra is from Mayorca. I will put in the show notes her other episode, which is fabulous that you should listen to because it’s very inspiring how she learned to code and do tech at 42 years old?

Alexandra Spalato:

Yes.

Angela:

That’s right. I remembered that. Yes, it’s a truly inspiring story. Alexandra, tell us, what are you doing here at Word Camp?

Alexandra Spalato:

So first I’m enjoying my time meeting people after all this time. But I’m running new workshop about Gatsby WordPress themes, which is a product that I’ve created that allow you to build Gatsby website, front end website, which is a framework of react, which makes the website super fast, super secure, powered by WordPress.

You can do it even if you don’t talk. That’s what I would show at my workshop because we have one free team and people can get it by subscribing. So I would show how to use that and then how to make some customization and also some code to go a little further.

Angela:

So if people, of course they won’t hear this episode until … Well maybe I could publish it sooner. But they will hear this episode later. So if they wanted to learn more about Gatsby and your themes is there documentation and tutorial?

Alexandra Spalato:

Yes. As they go to the website, GatsbyWPthemes.com, and there is in the menu you have a documentation that is very complete and they subscribe. So we receive an email and they can have the free team and begin to play with that.

Angela:

Okay.

Alexandra Spalato:

So that’s a way to go. I’m preparing new teams with ACF, flexible content and later WooCommerce-

Angela:

Do you think this is a good way for people to get into just kind of that react space without having to do code? Does it expose them to any new tech that would be a helpful learning tool?

Alexandra Spalato:

They will not learn React with my team, but will be able to have a Gatsby website without knowing React.

Angela:

Oh, okay. There you go. Fair enough. Fair enough.

Alexandra Spalato:

Yes. Yes. Then perhaps I will do some more workshops and webinars when I would show some recipes to people to do things. In the future with flexible content themes that I am doing, people will be able to really customize and do whatever they want only with CSS that we do with tailwind. But yes, in the future [inaudible 00:08:29] to allow people to really customize everything just with CSS and it will be possible with what we are building now.

Angela:

So if people want a super fast, super secure website and they have some bit of technical … They need to be okay to be a little technical, right?

Alexandra Spalato:

Not technical. Not to be afraid of using the console, the editor, [inaudible 00:08:55]. But if they follow the steps in the documentation they can do it. They don’t need to have-

Angela:

They don’t have to be a programmer, but they do need to be not intimidated by getting into the console and following some of these steps.

Alexandra Spalato:

Exactly. Then they can have full blown blog [inaudible 00:09:17] and later any type of things that we are building.

Angela:

It’s so fabulous to see you. I’ve been wanting to do this almost like a follow up with every woman we’ve interviewed to find out how’s it going now? I can’t wait to hear about your next steps on your journey.

Alexandra Spalato:

Yes.

Angela:

So thanks for joining me.

Alexandra Spalato:

So nice to meet you in real too.

Angela:

Yes, thank you. I am so excited to meet Megan Rose in person. She’s been on the Women NWP podcast, though with different color hair. Megan is from Cleveland, Ohio. I will put in the show notes her longer version episode, but tell us what you’re doing in Word Camp Europe.

Megan Rose:

Yeah, so this is actually my first time in Europe. So I’m like-

Angela:

Wow!

Megan Rose:

Very excited about that.

Angela:

Wow.

Megan Rose:

It was a really, really long trip. It was like 20 hours of travel. But I am here with Codeable. So I started working with Codeable in December and we’re here because we have a lot of experts attending and we’re all wearing the orange shirts. So anyone that’s here will see us.

Angela:

That’s so cool. What do you do with Codeable specifically?

Megan Rose:

I work with the community team. So I’m with Mike Demo and Chris Churchill. Basically I’m their support, their main contact with the rest of the staff. So if they’re having any problems or if they want to schedule a coaching call to improve their skills, things like that, they reach out to me and I just make sure they get what they need.

Angela:

So when we last spoke with you were doing freelance, were you doing freelance work?

Megan Rose:

Agency.

Angela:

Agency work.

Megan Rose:

Yeah.

Angela:

How is this different for you?

Megan Rose:

It’s a lot more face time with people, which is what I enjoy.

Angela:

Yes.

Megan Rose:

Especially about the WordPress community. It’s just a different space in tech. It’s more casual and much more about the relationships. So I like that side a lot. But I still have my hands in technical things because I’m helping people with their projects.

Angela:

Yes.

Megan Rose:

So it’s nice because I get just to meet a ton of people and we have experts across the globe. So I meet people from all over the place.

Angela:

So for people who don’t know Codeable can you tell us what Codeable does specifically and why they might want to know what Codeable is?

Megan Rose:

Yes. So Codeable is a freelancer marketplace. It’s actually the only one that is primarily WordPress. So it’s great for anyone that would be at a conference like this. It’s a marketplace where we bring the clients in or we have partnerships that refer clients and then we have experts on the other side that are bidding on the projects. What makes us different is that we have minimum hourly pricing.

Angela:

Yes.

Megan Rose:

So it’s $70 US an hour.

Angela:

Okay.

Megan Rose:

You can’t bid under, so you can’t undercut each other.

Angela:

Okay. Okay.

Megan Rose:

And try to win a project by undercutting.

Angela:

Right, by like doing $15 US or something.

Megan Rose:

Right, right. Yep.

Angela:

That’s amazing. So I recommend so many people to Codeable. Because I have people come to me and I don’t have the bandwidth and I don’t necessarily know people with the specific expertise and I, left and right say, “Go to Codeable.”

Megan Rose:

Yeah. That’s awesome.

Angela:

Oh, I’m so happy to see you and I hope you have a great conference.

Megan Rose:

Yeah, thanks you too.

Angela:

And a great trip to Europe.

Megan Rose:

Yeah, it’s been awesome.

Angela:

Thanks.

Megan Rose:

Thanks.

Angela:

So I am excited to meet Janine Paris from Asheville, North Carolina, one of the most beautiful places in the United States.

Janine Paris:

True.

Angela:

True, true story. Janine, what brought you to Word Camp?

Janine Paris:

I mean, originally I came Word Camp because, like the first Word Camp I ever went to was at my community college campus back in Asheville.

Angela:

Wow.

Janine Paris:

I was still getting my digital media degree and doing that. It was such a great experience that I just kept coming back, and now here we are.

Angela:

So what year was that?

Janine Paris:

That was 2014, I think.

Angela:

Oh cool. So you work at Codeable, but what other things have you done with WordPress in your career?

Janine Paris:

I’m actually a Codeable expert. So I’ve done a lot of different things as a freelancer.

Angela:

Okay.

Janine Paris:

Builds, fixing problems, teaching people how to use stuff, all kind of things.

Angela:

So are you a coder?

Janine Paris:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Angela:

What’s your skillset? Front end? Back …

Janine Paris:

Mostly front end. I don’t know. WordPress makes it so you don’t have to mess around with database stuff.

Angela:

That’s true. That’s true. So it’s mostly kind of, do you do custom queries?

Janine Paris:

I can, and custom plugins.

Angela:

Custom plugins and stuff-

Janine Paris:

[inaudible 00:14:03] and all that stuff.

Angela:

So do you ever do Codeable support where you’re actually bidding on any projects or anything?

Janine Paris:

Oh yeah. Yeah, that’s my primary association with Codeable.

Angela:

Wow. So what kind of projects do you find yourself working on most frequently?

Janine Paris:

I do really enjoy when someone comes in with a mystery. Like, “This thing isn’t showing what it’s supposed to show and I don’t understand why.” It’s just like a box with a question mark on it. Then you got to kind of figure out what’s going on in there.

Angela:

I love doing that kind of stuff too. It’s almost like I want to go on the Facebook forums and just get into people’s sites and just, “Can I just go in there and fix it for you?”

Janine Paris:

Yeah, right?

Angela:

Yeah, totally. So when did you start coding? Was that something you started to learn in community college?

Janine Paris:

Actually, I started learning the code back … I remember when my friend Craig told me that you could do an external CSS style sheet.

Angela:

Wow.

Janine Paris:

Yeah.

Angela:

And you’re like, “Oh, game on.”

Janine Paris:

I was like, “That sounds complicated.”

Angela:

Yeah. So you just started with theme customization and kind of went from there doing stuff?

Janine Paris:

Yeah. In school they had us do, we were supposed to build something with a CMS. I picked WordPress. I mean, I was using a basic theme and then trying to customize it from there. Obviously as a student, you don’t know what a realistic project is supposed to be like.

Angela:

Yeah.

Janine Paris:

So kind of shot for the moon and fell amongst the rocks.

Angela:

Wow.

Janine Paris:

But it was still fun.

Angela:

Still fun. Yes. You do have to hit a certain rocks to develop your skill level. So with Codeable let’s say someone … So for people who are having an issue with their site. Basically they can go to Codeable and say, “I need help.” What is the typical turnaround time?

Janine Paris:

Most of the time experts will start commenting immediately when someone comes in and post a project. If you don’t have kind of an immediate response to what you’re posting, there might be a little bit of a time delay depending on when and where you’re posting from. You can also get in touch with the staff and they can help you maybe clarify something or put in more information.

Angela:

That’s amazing-

Janine Paris:

About the problem you’re having.

Angela:

Yeah. So if I go on vacation for five weeks, like I am, I can send my clients to you?

Janine Paris:

For sure.

Angela:

I love that. Well, it’s been so wonderful talking to you.

Janine Paris:

Likewise.

Angela:

I’m so glad to meet you here at Word Camp Europe. Is this your first time?

Janine Paris:

At EU? Yes.

Angela:

At EU.

Janine Paris:

Yeah.

Angela:

But not your first time to Europe?

Janine Paris:

Actually, it is my first time to Europe.

Angela:

Wow.

Janine Paris:

Yeah.

Angela:

Wow. This is amazing.

Janine Paris:

I know!

Angela:

So are you loving it?

Janine Paris:

1,000%.

Angela:

So everyone should come to Word Camp Europe. Just make it your life goal, right?

Janine Paris:

Yes. Yes.

Angela:

That’s cool.

Janine Paris:

Co-sign.

Angela:

I hope you have a wonderful trip.

Janine Paris:

Thanks.

Angela:

We are back with Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld from the Netherlands. Wendie is happiness engineer with Automatic.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Yes, at the moment I am. I’m not the only happiness engineer.

Angela:

No, in the Netherlands-

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Dutch Happiness engineer.

Angela:

I love that because everyone else in the Netherlands works for Yoast.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Not everyone, but yeah a lot of people in the WordPress community that are from the Netherlands work for Yoast. Yes, that is true.

Angela:

We met on a pirate ship.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Yes. We met on a pirate ship.

Angela:

Yes.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

In [inaudible 00:17:58]-

Angela:

Yes, I love that. We will always have this story together.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Yes. Yes, the pirate ship. It was really nice.

Angela:

So how long have you worked with Automatic?

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

I am almost two years with Automatic. Yeah. So August it will be two years.

Angela:

What specifically do you do?

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

I do live chat support mainly for wordpress.com. So users at wordpress.com can contact us via live chat and I answer their questions. They can also email us and we answer the emails as well. But I mainly do live chat. So I answer questions. Those can be any kinds of questions about their plans, about the hosting, about the site, about how to build a site, SEO, things they are working on. It can be any kind of question.

Angela:

So do you have tiered support? Where there’s some more technical questions? Or is it, with wordpress.com, it’s mostly kind of user interface related? I mean, and you said the hosting and stuff.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Yeah, we do. As a happiness engineer, if you can answer it, you can answer it.

Angela:

Yeah. Yeah.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

So sometimes some issues are difficult and need a developer or specialist. But it’s not like if you have questions about that you’re going to go to that team. If you have questions about the domain, you’re going to go to that team. Or if you have questions … No.

Angela:

No.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

As a happiness engineer, all questions come in.

Angela:

You just answer whatever-

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Basic knowledge about everything and then you answer. Most of them you are able to answer them.

Angela:

What were you doing before you were a happiness engineer?

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

I was a self-employed WordPress website builder for over 10 years before I was a happiness engineer.

Angela:

Are you happier as a happiness engineer?

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

I am actually, yes I am. The thing is that with what I get to do now, I get to work with people and be interactive with people without actually having to see them. Which might sound weird, but it really serves me well. I really like it.

Angela:

Yes.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

I mean, I love doing events like this. But on my day to day work and day to day living, I really like peace and quiet and being by myself.

Angela:

You probably have a set schedule where … At least I freelance and I find my schedule is a wreck.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Yeah. Yeah.

Angela:

Pretty much.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Yeah, so that is one of the big advantages. I didn’t think I would consider it an advantage or experience it as an advantage, but I went from working all the time everywhere.

Angela:

Yes.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Because you know as a freelancer, it never ends. Now I have a fixed schedule. So I can work whenever I want, but I do need to let them know in advance when I will be available. Then they will schedule me in according to my availability. For me, I work part-time so I work four days that ends up working from Sunday to Wednesday. Then on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, I have weekend.

Angela:

I love this.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Yeah, I know!

Angela:

I think this could be my career.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Yeah.

Angela:

Oh, that’s so great.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

They have room.

Angela:

How many Word Camp Europes have you attended?

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

I have attended all the ones except for the one in Sophia.

Angela:

Okay.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

And the one last year online. So eight. So this is my eighth-

Angela:

Wow-

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Word camp Europe.

Angela:

That’s really awesome. Yay. And you’re volunteering.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

I’m an organizer!

Angela:

You’re an organizer. So as, you’ve probably been busy for months now.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Yes.

Angela:

Yeah. That’s a lot. We all appreciate the effort.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Thank you.

Angela:

You’re also volunteering and doing some things while you’re here.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Yes. Currently I’m doing the livestream interviews between the talks. So the live streams get the videos from the talks, of course.

Angela:

Okay.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

But between the talks, there is half an hour of, well, time to change rooms if you want to see a different talk. But for the live livestream, that is nothing. So we do tiny little interviews with different kind of people.

Angela:

It’s like just people who are attending?

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

So the PR team created a list of what kind of people they wanted to talk to. So we have attendees, I’ve already done those this morning. Speakers, we have some of the bigger communities so I spoke to some people from the Spanish community this morning.

Angela:

Oh cool.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

And I’m going to speak to some of the people from the German community tomorrow and some speakers and volunteers so all kinds of people.

Angela:

Awesome. I love that. I’m so happy I met you. When I met you it just brought me a smile. So I’m glad [inaudible 00:22:38]-

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Actually my Twitter handle, [foreign language 00:22:42].

Angela:

Yes.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

It means extremely happy in Dutch.

Angela:

That’s why you exude this pleasantness and you’re nice to be around.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Thank you.

Angela:

Well, have a great Word Camp and I’ll see you around.

Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld:

Thank you, you too. Yeah.

Angela:

I am now joined by Stephanie Hudson. We met at the Atrium agency summit. You did the introduction to my talk.

Stephanie Hudson:

I sure did, and a lovely talk it was. Telling us all about all these amazing women in WordPress.

Angela:

That was an incredible opportunity and I’d love to do it again in various forms.

Stephanie Hudson:

I may be able to put in a word for you.

Angela:

There we go. So you are from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Stephanie Hudson:

I live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Angela:

You live in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Stephanie Hudson:

Yes.

Angela:

That’s where you came to Word Camp Europe.

Stephanie Hudson:

I did, yes.

Angela:

You work with Focused WP and Bertha AI.

Stephanie Hudson:

Yeah.

Angela:

So tell me what brings you to Word Camp Europe?

Stephanie Hudson:

Mostly the after parties.

Angela:

Okay, yeah because the Europeans know how to party.

Stephanie Hudson:

Well, WordPress geeks also can do a little bit of partying.

Angela:

That’s awesome.

Stephanie Hudson:

So yeah, I came to … Pandemic’s over, I got to go to a first in person conference in November, in Florida for the recurring revenue retreat, which is a fabulous conference.

Angela:

Wow.

Stephanie Hudson:

Then I’ve been itching … There was a couple other board camps in the states that were canceled or rescheduled or this and that. I was like, “I’m going to Europe.” I haven’t been to Europe in forever either since we haven’t been able to travel for so long.

Angela:

Yes.

Stephanie Hudson:

So everything just aligned. It was perfect opportunity to get here.

Angela:

So do you have a booth or anything here?

Stephanie Hudson:

I don’t, no. I don’t have a booth. I just do Gorilla Swag placement.

Angela:

Yes.

Stephanie Hudson:

I just bring it and I’m-

Angela:

Just sprinkle it around.

Stephanie Hudson:

I’m sprinkling 3D glasses around because that’s our little gimmick with Focus WP.

Angela:

I love that.

Stephanie Hudson:

Focus. Our website is, for some inexplicable reason, all in 3D.

Angela:

Wow.

Stephanie Hudson:

So the pictures and things … So I have 3D glasses I’m giving to people. I’ll give you some, don’t worry.

Angela:

Oh, I love this.

Stephanie Hudson:

If you are listening at home and you would like your own pair, there’s a form on the site. You can fill it out and I will mail you a pair of 3D glasses and sticker and a-

Angela:

That’s incredible-

Stephanie Hudson:

Just for the fun of it. We have too many … In a digital world you need something to hold in your hands sometimes.

Angela:

So is this your first Word Camp Europe?

Stephanie Hudson:

This is my first Word Camp Europe, yes.

Angela:

Yes.

Stephanie Hudson:

I haven’t been to many local ones, but I’ve been to Word Camp US three times.

Angela:

Will you be in San Diego?

Stephanie Hudson:

I sure will.

Angela:

So what do you do for your two companies?

Stephanie Hudson:

So Focus WP I am the co-founder. My partner is Canadian and I’m in the states, of course. We do basically staff augmentation for agencies. So when you are either in a pinch where you need more hands on deck, or if there’s certain services you’d like to offer that are just a little bit outside your comfort zone, we provide an instant team. We’ve got developers, designers, copy writers-

Angela:

No way-

Stephanie Hudson:

VAs, SEO folks. Oh my gosh, I forgot somebody. Anyway, we’ve got it all-

Angela:

So many.

Stephanie Hudson:

We’ve got the whole thing. So you can just come and rent an instant team and it comes with some project management built ins, some QA, no HR, no ghosting devs, no none of that stuff. So you can come and just get a … And we keep all of our pricing, white label friendly so that you can mark it up and make money.

Angela:

Cool. So this is for someone like me.

Stephanie Hudson:

That’s the whole point.

Angela:

That’s amazing.

Stephanie Hudson:

So my partner and I both have agencies and we’ve both been in the industry in the space in WordPress for decades. Well, not WordPress for decades, but in web for decades.

Angela:

Yes.

Stephanie Hudson:

WordPress both for about 10, 15 years each. So we felt all of the pain points.

Angela:

Yes.

Stephanie Hudson:

We know what agency owners are struggling with and what it takes.

Angela:

Yeah.

Stephanie Hudson:

So we started to try and solve those points. So that’s Focus WP, it’s Focuswp.co if anybody’s interested. If you are interested in giving it a shot, anybody can send me a DM, I’ll give you a code, try it out, get you a discount. But I’ve just recently, if I may, can I jump to the next one?

Angela:

Yeah, Bertha. Tell us about Bertha.

Stephanie Hudson:

So I’ve just recently been brought on as the CMO of Bertha AI. So I’m super stoked about this because it’s an amazing tool. I mean we’re living in the future.

Angela:

Yes.

Stephanie Hudson:

Basically. Right? AI is doing everything now. So this is to … Again, it’s augmentation, right? So it’s not a human, it’s not replacing copywriters, but boy, it gets you a good chunk of the way there.

Angela:

Yes. Yes.

Stephanie Hudson:

We’ve got the best engine and all of the AI copywriters out there. So you can go and you can write long form content or you can go and just have it write your meta descriptions and your titles and your alt tags for you, if you want or anything on your site or your about page or an FAQ list even, and it’ll go generate all that.

Then you just go and tweak it. So it’s basically eliminating the staring at the white page, not knowing what to do [inaudible 00:27:19] dilemma. Yeah, the little slogan is, “It’s the Laura Ipsum killer too.” So when you’re starting a website, you could just put it right in.

Angela:

That’s so amazing. I was listening to a podcast that was more with a woman who had experience, I think the death of a parent. But had wanted to write about it but was having a hard time getting it started. It’s part of a memoir or something like that and started with an AI tool and it gave her the voice and the language that she needed to then, and it helped her go deep.

Stephanie Hudson:

Yeah.

Angela:

In a way that she wouldn’t have been able to do-

Stephanie Hudson:

It’s hard to start on that blank line.

Angela:

Yes.

Stephanie Hudson:

The other cool thing is that Bertha works right in WordPress. So technically Bertha is a woman in WordPress.

Angela:

Oh, there we go. We’re helping you write your copy.

Stephanie Hudson:

I know. I love it. It’s perfect.

Angela:

That’s so great. Well, it’s been fabulous to talk to you. I hope you have an amazing Word Camp.

Stephanie Hudson:

I can’t wait to go check out the sponsor booths and everything. I haven’t even been in there yet.

Angela:

I did a quick loop. People are gamifying their booths a lot this year.

Stephanie Hudson:

I got to fill that swag bag. I’d go get me some pins and some pens, some everything.

Angela:

You got to get your strip and waffles.

Stephanie Hudson:

A strip and waffle.

Angela:

Yes.

Stephanie Hudson:

From my friends at Yoast.

Angela:

Yoast! A whole tin can full of them.

Stephanie Hudson:

Awesome.

Angela:

Okay. Talk to you later.

Stephanie Hudson:

Thank you.

Tracy:

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Angela:

I am here on day two of Word Camp Europe with Angela Jin who’s had a programs and contributor experience at Automatic. Hi Angela, how are you?

Angela Jin:

Hello, I’m doing really well. How are you?

Angela:

Great. So what are you doing at Word Camp Europe in this role?

Angela Jin:

I am soaking it in because there are so many people here and we are having an incredible time. It has been absolutely amazing to see all these people together again after some very long years. So I’m just connecting with other people and learning what they’ve been up to and all the cool things that they’re doing with WordPress.

Angela:

Have you had to do anything official in your role here other than just soak it in?

Angela Jin:

Yes. Yes, a lot of official work. A big part of my job is working with community organizers and moving things forward for different make teams.

Angela:

Okay.

Angela Jin:

So it’s been really great to connect with people in person and talk about things just on the spot and learn more about what people are thinking about and where we might be able to go. It’s very inspiring.

Angela:

Wow. So was contributor day a big deal?

Angela Jin:

It was huge deal.

Angela:

Yes. I heard that it was very packed.

Angela Jin:

Yes. The team expected 500 people to attend and there were over 800.

Angela:

Wow.

Angela Jin:

Which of course caused some challenges for the organizers. Like, “We need more tables and more chairs and more food!” But at the same time, what an amazing problem to have.

Angela:

Yes.

Angela Jin:

It is so reassuring and refreshing and exciting to know that there are so many people who care deeply about the future of WordPress.

Angela:

So contributing, tell people, what is it to contribute?

Angela Jin:

So WordPress is an open source project. So that means anybody can help build the future of WordPress, whether that could include code, but it could also include design, building community, writing documentation, creating educational materials for WordPress. There are a lot of ways to further the mission of democratizing publishing.

Angela:

That’s awesome. We’ve interviewed so many women who contribute. So many Word Camp organizers and volunteers and meet up organizers.

Angela Jin:

There’s a lot of them.

Angela:

How long have you been working in WordPress?

Angela Jin:

Gosh, well, I’ve been using WordPress since 2010 and I’ve been in the community since 2018.

Angela:

Wow. So just the past four years.

Angela Jin:

Yeah.

Angela:

Two and a half of which have been during the pandemic.

Angela Jin:

Yes.

Angela:

Wow.

Angela Jin:

So it’s been really interesting to see how we’ve shifted from, in person to online. Well, I should say in person and online to fully online and now back to in person. Yeah, it’s a really interesting time.

Angela:

It’s huge.

Angela Jin:

Yeah.

Angela:

A lot of people wearing masks here, that’s been very encouraging. Helped me to feel more comfortable being indoors.

Angela Jin:

Me as well.

Angela:

With as many people wearing masks. Because we’re not over this yet.

Angela Jin:

No, we are not.

Angela:

But, well, it’s so great to chat with you. If people wanted to try to find you online, how would they connect with you?

Angela Jin:

I am Angela S. Jin everywhere, on Twitter, on the making WordPress slack. Yeah, I would love to chat with anybody interested in WordPress, interested in contribution, interested in the WordPress community.

Angela:

Cool.

Angela Jin:

That is what I love to do.

Angela:

We will have that in our show notes. Thank you.

Angela Jin:

Thank you.

Angela:

Here I am talking right now with Carolina Nymark from Stockholm, Sweden. She is a core contributor with Yoast. So Carolina, how has your Word Camp Europe experience been?

Carolina Nymark:

It has been amazing. It has been so long since we have met. Old friends, new friends. Previously we have interacted on maybe Twitter or Slack or even GitHub. But not met in person. So it has been amazing.

Angela:

Oh, it’s probably just been so heartwarming.

Carolina Nymark:

Yeah.

Angela:

Yeah.

Carolina Nymark:

It’s definitely healing. Yeah, overwhelming, you collapse at night when you’re done. But yeah, it’s definitely healing.

Angela:

How long have you worked for Yoast?

Carolina Nymark:

Yeah, I’m a contractor so I think sponsored for six months and then … So a year and a half contract.

Angela:

Wow. How did you get involved with Yoast? How did you find Yoast? Did you apply for an opening job?

Carolina Nymark:

Francesca Marrano?

Angela:

Yes, we interviewed Francesca. She’s amazing.

Carolina Nymark:

Awesome.

Angela:

Yeah.

Carolina Nymark:

She helped me get in contact with them. So I worked for the Teams team on [inaudible 00:34:21].

Angela:

Okay.

Carolina Nymark:

Where we created code reviews of Teams.

Angela:

Oh cool.

Carolina Nymark:

So I was asked if I could join the 2021, the teams.

Angela:

Okay.

Carolina Nymark:

Yeah. Sorry, the default team for 2021.

Angela:

Oh right. The theme, yes.

Carolina Nymark:

So I helped work on that. So Yoast sponsored me because I just lost my job because of [inaudible 00:34:42]-

Angela:

Oh yes. Oh that’s super cool.

Carolina Nymark:

Yeah. So I’m feeling incredibly lucky.

Angela:

So as a core contributor, are you a coder? Are you a support person? What kind of work do you do on core?

Carolina Nymark:

I am a coder.

Angela:

So do PHP and the whole thing-

Carolina Nymark:

PHP, Java square.

Angela:

Wow. So what part of core are you mostly working on? You mentioned the 2021 theme, anything else besides the theme?

Carolina Nymark:

Right now it’s mostly Gutenberg.

Angela:

Wow. Actually coding Gutenberg?

Carolina Nymark:

Yeah. It’s a lot to learn.

Angela:

Yeah?

Carolina Nymark:

Yeah.

Angela:

So what are you most excited about that’s happened with Gutenberg lately?

Carolina Nymark:

Well, obviously it’s the editing of [inaudible 00:35:25]. It’s been so much fun to say this being developed-

Angela:

And probably improvements are being made.

Carolina Nymark:

Yeah. Such a big change for WordPress.

Angela:

Wow. So you’re really a part of that. We love to interview women who are part of core to be like, “Look at the women behind this project.” And you are one of these people. So what do you feel like is the next big thing that’s going to happen with the full site editing? Or maybe improvements that you see coming down the pipe?

Carolina Nymark:

Yeah. I hope that we can, how do I say this in English? I’m sorry, I’m from Sweden.

Angela:

Yes. Yes.

Carolina Nymark:

I hope that we can make the block settings more similar. Because it’s very difficult now because you add one block and it doesn’t have a font family, it might have color options, link color options. But then the next block, it doesn’t have the same settings. So for a user this is very confusing.

Angela:

Oh.

Carolina Nymark:

Yeah, so we need to make it easier and more simpler-

Angela:

For the users.

Carolina Nymark:

That’s what I believe.

Angela:

Yeah. So do you love to code?

Carolina Nymark:

I do.

Angela:

How did you learn?

Carolina Nymark:

Of course I had a website like 11, 12 years ago. I was picking a tool, I tried different CMSs and it ended up being WordPress and that’s how I learned PHP.

Angela:

Wow. Just, you dove in.

Carolina Nymark:

Yes.

Angela:

You didn’t have formal education, you just learned.

Carolina Nymark:

No.

Angela:

So like web tutorials and that kind of thing?

Carolina Nymark:

Yeah.

Angela:

That’s amazing. And now you’re a core contributor.

Carolina Nymark:

Yes.

Angela:

That’s phenomenal.

Carolina Nymark:

So it might have taken me 11 years because I had a job until Corona. So everything was done evenings and weekends.

Angela:

Yes. But yeah, I learned Pitch Pay from hacking WordPress and breaking enough things, then figuring out, “Okay, this is what I need to do to make it work and stuff.”

Carolina Nymark:

Yes.

Angela:

Yeah. It’s a familiar story amongst all of our people we’ve interviewed. That’s so fabulous. Well, it’s been so nice to chat with you. I hope you have a lovely Word Camp.

Carolina Nymark:

Thank you.

Angela:

And a safe trip home.

Carolina Nymark:

Yes, thank you.

Angela:

So now I’m here with Carmen Maymo from Spain. She works with Inside, which is a VIP agency.

Carmen Maymo:

Agency.

Angela:

She works as a developer. So of course you’re here with Inside. Inside is based in Germany?

Carmen Maymo:

Yes.

Angela:

Yeah. And what brings you to Word Camp?

Carmen Maymo:

Well, this is my first Word Camp.

Angela:

Wow.

Carmen Maymo:

The main goal was just to lead the people. In the agency we do remote, and this is nice things of the pandemics and such. So I just needed to be around people.

Angela:

Yes.

Carmen Maymo:

And this was the best possibility ever. Yeah, just to feel the famous community.

Angela:

Yes.

Carmen Maymo:

Because they all talk about this bond-

Angela:

This community.

Carmen Maymo:

WordPress community that is supposed … Yes, I feel welcomed. I mean, this is the first time, but somehow after three days it’s like I’ve been here, I don’t know. Yeah. It doesn’t feel so new.

Angela:

So the hype about the community is true? It’s a positive thing.

Carmen Maymo:

I mean, it’s not like a unicorn.

Angela:

Okay.

Carmen Maymo:

Because I found real people.

Angela:

Yeah.

Carmen Maymo:

Which is cool. Because, from my perspective, when you read all those good things, it’s like, “Yeah, yeah. Whatever. It’s not possible.” Then you jump in, just normal people that like to stay together and talk about normal things and they just … Yeah, I feel quite nice. There is this energy of people saying there’s two things and okay. I will contribute, I will do something.

Angela:

Oh, that’s cool.

Carmen Maymo:

That’s nice. There is a nice vibe in here. If that is something that exists, then that is good. Yes.

Angela:

It’s for real. How long have you been using WordPress?

Carmen Maymo:

Using? 10 years. But working for real in development, two years.

Angela:

Okay. Wow. So what kind of development do you do?

Carmen Maymo:

Mainly I develop gateway plugins.

Angela:

Okay.

Carmen Maymo:

So integrations with newcomers.

Angela:

Okay.

Carmen Maymo:

My heart is with, the plugin I work the most is with Molly.

Angela:

Okay. Tell us about Molly.

Carmen Maymo:

Molly is a Dutch company.

Angela:

Okay.

Carmen Maymo:

And is a payment gateway way.

Angela:

Okay.

Carmen Maymo:

That is integrated with all … The experience of payment is as fluid as any other gateway. It’s cool because if you, for myself working with a product, a whole product that I can there is a new feature you can create how we do. There is the part of the architecture. Then not only bug fixing, I can talk with the client. We are pretty close, it’s nice. It’s a nice relation.

Angela:

So for people who are using Molly, is your plugin publicly available?

Carmen Maymo:

Yes.

Angela:

Okay. Is it on the repository?

Carmen Maymo:

Yeah, it’s in repository.

Angela:

Oh, that’s awesome. That’s super cool.

Carmen Maymo:

Yeah. Yeah.

Angela:

Yeah. There’s so many opportunities in the WooCommerce space for these API integrations.

Carmen Maymo:

Then my colleagues, I mean, in my team, I work with Molly, but we have different gateways. It’s interesting how you can approach the same problem in different ways and they all work. That’s also a nice conversation. I’ll say, “Okay, this is Molly, and this is Paper.” They all solve the same problem, but their approach is different. From the code point of view, I’m super excited always to see, “Oh, I could do like this. Right, it’s true.”

Angela:

So you can learn from each other.

Carmen Maymo:

We do. I find that before working with Team site, I was working alone and the interaction with other peers makes the things more creative. I find that the conversation gets always … Having a conversation is always better.

Angela:

I’m very envious. I think it’s wonderful. Well, it’s been so delightful to talk to you. I hope you have a lovely rest of your Word Camp.

Carmen Maymo:

Yes, I’m glad.

Angela:

Safe travels.

Carmen Maymo:

Thank you.

Angela:

I am now with Maja-

Maja Benke:

Benke.

Angela:

Thank you. She lives in Barcelona now, but she is German freelance web developer.

Maja Benke:

Yep.

Angela:

First we want to … Can you move your hair so people can really see this t-shirt? This is from the Alley Collective.

Maja Benke:

Yes.

Angela:

So yeah, just get that message loudly here about accessibility.

Maja Benke:

And align your links.

Angela:

Yes. I have been doing that, or bolding them in my text for sure. But anyway, what brings you to Word Camp Europe?

Maja Benke:

Oh, good question. So, I mean, I’m in love with the WordPress community. So this is why mainly I’m here. But obviously also to learn new stuff, to get inspired. Especially after the pandemic where I think many people kind of lost motivation a little bit to contribute because there was so much stuff going on. To reconnect actually with the community and giving hugs to everyone that I missed for so long. Getting inspired to work on problems that you maybe figured out by just talking. Getting inspired, meeting people, learning new stuff on the conference. But mainly to reconnect with everyone. That’s the main reason I’m here and we’re so looking forward-

Angela:

That’s amazing.

Maja Benke:

Yeah.

Angela:

So as a freelancer, what does that mean to connect with people? Because when you’re not part of a team per se, you’re finding colleagues or other people who do development work?

Maja Benke:

Yeah. I kind of see the WordPress community as my colleagues. I mean, I also have the accessibility bubble, especially in Germany where I connect and they’re like my colleagues, because many of them are also freelancers.

Angela:

Yes.

Maja Benke:

But I really see the WordPress community as my colleagues. So I mean sometimes you have those work issues that you, I mean sometimes you can Google and you get overflow and stuff. But sometimes you have those soft skills issues maybe that you don’t know to how to solve. So you just connect with people you know who work in the same field. So then they’re kind of like my colleagues, even, you don’t work in the same company because they’re also freelancers here. It’s really nice to catch up and talk about those. So they’re my colleagues, yeah.

Angela:

So how do you stay connected when you’re not at Word Camp?

Maja Benke:

Good question. So usually it’s the Slack channel. So there’s the Germany Slack channel, but also the WordPress making Slack channel where we connect. I mean, I’m organizing the WordPress meetup in Berlin. So I’m more connected to the community in Berlin as well, especially with the other meetup groups. We have a whole Slack for meetup. So this is kind of where we stay connected. Especially also the online meetups, but also sometimes just online Zoom calls with, like I have a mastermind group, for example, with some WordPress people.

Angela:

Nice.

Maja Benke:

That we meet every second week. They’re also all freelancers. So we just talk about those stuff. This really helps to survive the pandemic. Actually I created a WordPress online coworking. So sometimes I needed a bit more connection with other people. So I did a Zoom call with other people inviting for a coworking session. Yeah, we cowork together. So this kind of stuff. So this is how I try to connect during pandemic with Zoom and Slack and meetups. But it’s a different thing if you can finally meet in person again.

Angela:

Yeah, So have you been able to find some of these people here in Porto?

Maja Benke:

Yeah. I mean the mastermind group is more in German.

Angela:

Yeah.

Maja Benke:

Community a little bit. But the online coworking actually it’s more like the real community people. No, not the real, but people who are involved for a long time. Some live in Africa, for example [inaudible 00:46:08].

Angela:

Yeah. It’s a little harder to get to Word Camp Europe from Africa.

Maja Benke:

Yeah. Yeah.

Angela:

Have you ever thought about going to one of the African Word Camps?

Maja Benke:

Yeah. I still think about it. I mean, at the moment, you’re not really started planning.

Angela:

Not yet.

Maja Benke:

I really would like to go to Word Camp Asia when it happens again. I was so mad they were canceled. I mean, it was a good decision, but it was so sad it was canceled. So I really hope it will happen and I will be there hopefully. Yeah, also maybe US. Africa’s so far, not really because it’s like, I don’t know. I guess it’s a bit more planning for myself?

Angela:

It is.

Maja Benke:

But I would definitely be interested in meeting the community in Africa. It’s a cool thing if you have community somewhere, it’s more encouraging to go there and connecting. So some people maybe … To meet the locals would be cool. So yeah, why not?

Angela:

Yeah, yeah. I feel the same way. I’ve been to West Africa to Ghana.

Maja Benke:

Oh, cool.

Angela:

We’ve interviewed a couple women from Nigeria and it makes me really want to go visit Nigeria and meet … They have a massive WordPress community there. I think it would be a lot of fun.

Maja Benke:

That’s great. Yeah.

Angela:

So you said you’ve been mostly kind of doing the hallway track.

Maja Benke:

Yeah.

Angela:

And not going to so many sessions. For people who haven’t been to Word Camp, that’s just walking around talking and hugging.

Maja Benke:

Basically. Like walking around, looking for people you know or you can connect to, talking to sponsors. I mean, it’s hard because you just have two days and plus one day, the contributor day. And at the beginning you have the feeling, “Oh yeah, I have plenty of time.” Then you’re like, “Well, actually it’s just three days.” And there are like 2,700 tickets sold, I think 2,300 people are here, or I don’t know.

Angela:

Yeah.

Maja Benke:

You don’t have enough time to talk to everyone and to connect-

Angela:

To all 2,700 people.

Maja Benke:

Yeah. Also, then you have workshops and talks. So yeah, I went in some talks, they were pretty cool. I was in a workshop, they were pretty nice as well. But also at the same time, I think, “Okay. They got recorded the talk so maybe you can see it later.” This is kind of the first, like as you said, the first Word Camp where just mainly the whole track and to connect to people and have people like, “Hey, no long time see!”

Angela:

I know. I’m sure it’s been … I feel that way too.

Maja Benke:

Yes.

Angela:

I’d much rather be connecting with people than sitting in a session.

Maja Benke:

Yes.

Angela:

Yeah. For sure.

Maja Benke:

Yes. I mean, it’s nice to support the speakers. I kind of feel bad that you don’t attend talks, even you want to see them and not to support speakers because they’re also community. But on the other hand-

Angela:

I think there’s lots of people going.

Maja Benke:

Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. I see a lot going. I think also if you have been on many Word Camps so far, you are kind of used to the talk and the usual topics. So yeah, also I used to contribute a lot WordPress and now in pandemic time, that was a bit hard. I think many people struggle a little bit just to survive mentally, to go through the day and not having that much motivation to work, just staying at home. So I lost a little bit of motivation to contribute or like the inspiration, not the motivation, but not the inspiration actually. So now that I’m here and start to talk to people, you kind of come up as new, maybe problems you could fix or like, “Oh, this is interesting developing, and maybe we should have a look at this.” Then you find problems. So you get more inspired by going back into contribution and getting more ideas, what you could do.

So this kind of talking to each other, I think is super important. Slack is great and also GitHub is great, but-

Angela:

It’s not the same.

Maja Benke:

Yeah. It’s not the same.

Angela:

It’s not the same.

Maja Benke:

Yeah.

Angela:

Well it’s been lovely to meet you in person.

Maja Benke:

Oh, thank you. Yeah, you too.

Angela:

Thank you for being willing to be interviewed and I hope you have a rest of your wonderful trip.

Maja Benke:

Oh, thank you. Yeah, you too. It was a pleasure to be here and thank you for this project.

Angela:

Thank you.

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