031: Contributing & Community with Francesca Marano

In this episode of Women in WP, we talk to Francesca Marano about getting involved in the community, becoming a contributor, and about life in Italy during the coronavirus pandemic.

About Francesca Marano:

Francesca is the WordPress Community & Partnership Manager at SiteGround, the independent web hosting company.
She is the current release co-lead for WordPress, where she serves as the project coordinator.
She is part of the global WordPress Community Team, where she volunteers as a WordCamp mentor and a Community Deputy.

She founded C+B, a blog with an editorial staff of more than eighty authors offering advice for Italian female creative entrepreneurs.

Francesca is a passionate speaker and you can find her around the world talking about WordPress, community, open-source, women in tech, and small businesses. Just not right now, right now you can find her mostly on Twitter.

Find Francesca Marano: SiteGround | Twitter | LinkedIn

Francesca Marano
Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
031: Contributing & Community with Francesca Marano

Show Notes

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Amy Masson (00:01):

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

Tracy Apps (00:10):

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Angela Bowman (01:05):

Welcome to the show. I’m Angela Bowman.

Amy Masson (01:08):

I’m Tracy Apps.

Amy Masson (01:09):

And I may need Amy Masson.

New Speaker (01:11):

Our guest today is Francesco Marano who is WordPress community manager with SiteGround and a WordPress core community contributor. Hello everyone. If you’ve listened to this show before, you know, we like to start off each episode by asking our guests about their journey into WordPress. How did you get started?

New Speaker (01:34):

So, um, in WordPress as a software, uh, I started using it, um, in 2008 I built myself a, a mommy blog. My son was two years old and I thought the whole world needed to see his pictures. Of course, every, you know, like normal. And then I moved to WordPress.org, becausehe didn’t want to model for me anymore. So much. And I found a tweaking the website was also a lot of fun to keep myself busy and I started tweaking my website.

Francesca Marano (02:10):

I started tweaking my blog and to my big surprise, people ask me to do the same for them. And then we’re also ready to pay me for that. So that’s how my career as a WordPress professional started. Um, there was a lot of trial and error, I must say. And, um, but it was also a little fun because I work with a lot of women that were also transitioning from a back to a professional life after everything having kids. So it was a very, very specific niche and I really enjoyed working with them. So that’s how I started.

Amy Masson (02:50):

And when you, so I also had a mommy blog, um, that I, cause I’ve, everybody of course wanted to see pictures of, of my babies.

Francesca Marano (02:58):

Of course, of course.

Amy Masson (02:59):

So when you first started transitioning into getting, paying work from people, what kind of jobs were they? What kind of websites were they?

Francesca Marano (03:11):

Everything. I took everything, you know, first of all my life at the time I was working as an administrative manager. So, you know, being a freelancer was very far from my day to day life. And, and because also I didn’t really have many skills. I felt a bit only are they getting paid for this. But actually because I, I did actually have some preexisting skills because I took CSS and HTML classes like 10 years before. So actually the products were not too bad. But at the beginning I was really, really not just focused on making a WordPress website.

Francesca Marano (03:53):

So, you know, if you came to me and be like, Hey, can you also do my logo? I wouldn’t be like, sure because I did two years of graphic design, or can you, can you manage my social media? Well, you know, so I took a little bit of everything and it took me a while to transition out of this phase of, for doing everything and also doing everything for cheap to be honest. Um, so took me a couple of years to, to raise my profile a little bit more. It was a bit easier at the time. We’re talking about 10 years ago because there weren’t many as many words. So after I quit my mommy blog, I started blogging about my job and I started blogging about WordPress. And at the time there weren’t many, uh, blogs about WordPress and Eataly at least. And basically none of them were run by okay. A woman. So it was, it was a bit easier for me then at the time too, to change and improve because I was very visible in that specific niche that I picked and also my skills got better. So I was able, you know, in time and to, to ask for more money to say no to more words I said yes to. But at the beginning I already took everything.

Tracy Apps (05:23):

I feel like I had a very similar journey where I just was like, Oh yeah, I’ll do that too and I’ll do that and I’ll do that and whatever. Um, and you are organizing, cause we’ve talked a little bit about this word press release, um, and heading that up. Uh, why don’t you tell us a little bit about this?

Francesca Marano (05:45):

So that was also, I think oldest things kind of happened in my life without me really looking to make those changes, which is probably great because it takes away a lot of the pressure from, you know, I have to decide on something, I have to do something. So basically in the same way that I started becoming a WordPress website maker, I became a WordPress contributor by giving a talk about a websites for freelancers at a freelancing event, 2015, something like that. And in the audience, there was someone that, um, was already contributing to WordPress. So it was like, okay, so you seem to know stuff about WordPress, why don’t you contribute to it? I’m like, because I’m not a developer. I was like, again, with the story of the developers, it’s not that only developers can contribute to our press. At the time there were already like 14 teams and I was like, why don’t you start with translations, which you know, doesn’t require, um, a difficult set up.

Francesca Marano (06:55):

It doesn’t really, it requires you to want to make the product better for everyone who’s using it to, so that was my mindset. Anyway, so I started, um, I started translating this into Italian now at the time that Eataly didn’t really have a community. And so the very few people that contributed to WordPress and you know, wrote on the blogs and stuff like that, we all kind of knew each other. And so on the same summer we decided that now that we had one person contributing to polyglots, one person contributed to core, one person could do like five people. We were community and we needed to become bigger, started organizing things and we organize the contributor day and that’s how we got a lot of new people on board. And then the year after that we organize work in Turino, which was the first, which is my hometown. And it was the first word company to Lee for like three, four years.

Francesca Marano (07:58):

I can’t remember. And then I switched. So I went from polyglots to community and I started being a community organizer, organizing the meetup in my hometown, organizing the work camp. And then I wanted to do more. So I volunteered for the community team as um, as an active member, which we call deputies, which is a very American thing that I basically never heard also before. Um, so, but I got the, I got the, just after they explained to me once I was supposed to do, so I started, um, you know, vetting application, being present during the meetings. And I started working very closely with Andrew and um, and about a year ago I would say chorus started reaching out to older, older the other teams and Hey, we want to increase the diversity of core because we don’t want just developers and all we male developers being involved in this also because, um, [inaudible] is kind of a big process and we need those sorts of skills. So is, is there anyone there in any of your team wanting to contribute, you know, in any capacity to the minor release? And I was like, sure, why not? You know, I mean, I kind of expect it to start with a minor release and did, I don’t know how I became the cold lead of a major release. Isn’t that what every woman could say at some point?

Francesca Marano (09:40):

So for months it was like, okay, you know, and every once in a while I was popping into core and I was like, I’m still fine doing a minor release if you need me. And they were like, yeah, we’re putting together the next one, the next one, and then it didn’t align and then just have to just be me and saying it was a major instead of a minor and you get a lot of support and you have an amazing team. And then I was like, I mean, I trust this woman. She taught me a lot, uh, regarding the community team and the community, the workers community, that is all to say, not just the community team. So I’m going to say yes and that’s how I did it. And then somehow I also found myself doing another one after that.

Francesca Marano (10:30):

But now I’m done. Well, this is a recurring theme we’ve always seen with people like women. We were like, Oh, well there’s a need here. So we just, yeah, but to be fair, I think so it’s um, it’s a lot less stressful that I think people imagining it to be because it is a big team. So up until 5.0 5.1, I can’t remember, basically there was one release lead a deputy again, apparently we’re very fond of this work and uh, you know, there was uh, like some colleague, the teams were like two, three and for 5.3, I think we’re, I want to say 15 probably were a bit less and everyone was very focused on something specific. So it was not one person having to keep an eye on everything, but everyone keeping an eye on their thing, cross communicating, of course I’m collaborating. And then my role as the coordinator was basically to get the information from everyone and you know, see if there were any roadblocks. If there were some things that weren’t going as planned, if there was something that needed a bit more help, more ice and then some admin stuff like posting the agenda for the weekly chat and hosting the way to chat and stuff like that.

Francesca Marano (12:07):

But honestly it does a lot of support. So this is why also I did also the second one, 5.4 because I knew that not only there was all the support, I could also learn more to be my, to be myself, a support for someone else in the upcoming future. Tracy knows it’s because I pinged her about it. So um, it has been um, advertised by Josepha that 5.6 which is the last release of 2020 will be um, a female only, no, I don’t want to say female, female led to release. Um, so we are working now I won’t be coordinating into releases but I will keep working with core, uh, to, to make this possible. And so we’re starting now working on 5.5 but we are already moving forward with 5.6 because we weren’t told the women that will be involved in data too, right along 5.5 and see how things are going and see if it fits them. If they want to do it. And I hope they want, we had an amazing response to this. Like, we’ve got 90 people being doesn’t say yes, I’m interested. And it was like, now we, we have the opposite problem. We have too many people, so we have to think how to organize this. But it’s never enough. I mean the more the merrier. I think. So that’s how I went from mummy blogger to release Coleen basically,

Tracy Apps (13:44):

Well there’s always this, you know, Oh you’re a core contributor if you have, you contribute code. But like you said, when you’re trying to co like organize that many people, I can’t even imagine doing that. Like that to me is way beyond my skillset and, but so like that is very valuable. And so I just, I wish we had could change. We change. I think it is changing. It’s starting to change this mindset of no, it’s every single piece is just as important as every other piece. So everything should be celebrated and rewarded as much.

Francesca Marano (14:23):

So actually everyone is kind of already on board with that. It’s just me being very, um, uncomfortable with compliments and being very uncomfortable with the roles that I’m not 100% sure. Um, really good at. So, you know, there is this, um, interesting boiler alert. You are, you know, there is this very interesting article that you’re probably all familiar with from the um, uh, Harvard business review that says that men applies to job if they have like 20% of the requirement and the women way to have at least like 95%. So yeah, it’s true. I’ve seen it on Twitter like okay, to balance it out, men apply for something below what you would apply for something above what you would, yeah. And the other thing is that it’s very common for women to underplay our wins. And um, so actually everyone in the core team treats me as a core contributor. I’m the one that has a hard time believing that I’m a core contributor to the CMS that is most widely used in the word does. I think I’m also trying to downplay it a little bit so I don’t feel the pressure too much and the rest of us abilities, I’m like, I’m not really doing anything, you know, I’m just asking people for a status report because then when I go to the counter and I see like when we launched 5.4, we were like, um,

Francesca Marano (16:07):

something like less than 300,000 installs away from 50 million installs of WordPress. So I have to, you know, not think about that too much. I’m like, I’m just there to help a little bit. It’s, yeah.

Amy Masson (16:28):

Well you said, you know, Oh, it’s just me. Everybody else is, is, you know, fine with it. But I just don’t think that’s true. I have been to every single word camp us that there have, we have had, and I have not once attended a contributor day. And I think a lot of that has to do with feeling like, you know, Oh, I’m not a, you know, a coder or programmer to that level. And I don’t, you know, I, I would be, you know, a fake, I’d be a fraud. And so I just haven’t gone. So it’s not just you.

Francesca Marano (16:59):

Yeah. So it’s funny because actually we’re press the the, let’s say the contributor experience is made up of something like 18 teams right now. And I think just half of them require you to know how to develop all the others don’t really need it. There is a, you know, does the community team or basically, uh, you have to be willing to grow your local community. That’s basically the people who contribute to community, to dat and then the rays for example, marketing. So you know, if you have any interest in copywriting promoting anything like marketing in the very big and wide sense, you can contribute to debt. There is training, which is a team that I think doesn’t get enough visibility. At least I don’t see it in my radar so much. And it’s a shame because the training team, for example, what they do, they put together a study plan, lessons plans for people that want to teach WordPress. So it’s so valuable. Like, you know, next time you can teach that in your community, in your kid’s school, whatever. And, and the test team is, needs a lot of help in testing stuff. And then there’s the documentation, which is also doesn’t require you to be a developer. So there are so many of them.

Tracy Apps (18:29):

Any documentation. It helped. I feel like it helps if you’re not a developer because I’ve read the documentation where it’s written for, you know, from that lens where I’m like, I don’t know where to do this. I don’t understand any of this. Yeah, that’s cool. Yeah,

Francesca Marano (18:43):

design is also an amazing team because it’s very, very much about, um, different skills. So design is made of UX people, UI people, uh, graphic designers, developers, front end developers, you know, really, really brings a lot of skills together. So I think, so, um, work in pure AARP is going to be a virtual event this year. And um, up until a month ago I was a part of the team, um, and I was actually in charge of, uh, the team that was organizing contributor day. Then when we decided to move to virtual, because also of the situation in Italy, I opted out for from the organizing team because I kind of hard right now to keep up with everything. So TIMI I can not pronounce his last name because he’s from Finland. So it’s basically impossible for anyone who’s not finished to say his last name, but look for Cbus.

Francesca Marano (19:52):

T me, he’s in the community team is taking over and he’s organizing a contributor day. I’m a virtual contributor day and I think it’s going to be so interesting because probably it’s going to be a good occasion to onboard the people that might feel a bit out of place at a contributed day. A work in POS because you know they’re all big names or the big sharp developers and you’re like, Oh, you know, I’m just a girl from you to Lisa. But actually, and that’s also another thing, this is also self-inflicted because no one ever made me feel out of place in any of the contributor days I ever attended. Or, you know, every war, any word camp or any team where I just paint and say, Hey, you need some help with the saying. Um, so this is really self-inflicted. We should probably

Francesca Marano (20:48):

still doing it. So Amy, please sign up for the virtual contributed Europe and I promise you that was the contributing bug heats you then actually you have a problem because you will want to contribute a lot more than you are able to.

Angela Bowman (21:07):

That is 100% it. I went to the contributor day in Philadelphia and it was my first word, camp U S and I have a hard time with the big conferences. Like I feel like I’m trying to make a connection and often, you know, like with that I didn’t, I knew some people and I was there with some people, but I tend to after that full day just want to go cry. It’s interesting. And so that morning of contributor day I was just crying and I’m like, I don’t want to go, but I was just going to make myself go cause I just felt like, okay, I don’t want to just leave this conference in tears.

Angela Bowman (21:41):

And um, it’s just a weird thing and maybe it’s more that I’m a little more introverted than I’m ever willing to acknowledge. So I went to contributor day and I was so nervous and I went on to Julie Kuhls training team. The one you’re saying doesn’t get enough attention and I’ll tell you what, it is much easier to go to contributor day the day then to the big conference because you’re sit at a table with maybe eight or 10 or 12 people there now, all your new best friends. Some of them might even be somewhat famous. And then they’re like one guy who just went through a rough time, he was practically in tears and he’s someone who’s super famous and I’m like, Oh my gosh, he’s having a crisis right now. And it’s just so humanizing and so community building in. You’re right, the challenge isn’t so much that you’re going to feel like you don’t belong. The challenges, it’s like you know like a contagion, like you just get this bug and you’re like, I can’t shake it now. It’s like being roped into the mafia or something like you’re putting on a Slack channel. You are so sucked in. It’s like they’re looking for warm bodies.

Francesca Marano (22:49):

It’s a Ponzi scheme. I always say it as like bring a friend and then give them some work.

Angela Bowman (22:59):

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Amy Masson (24:27):

Well, we were, all three of us were planning to be at WordCamp Europe this year and I was very excited. And so, um, of course we’re all very sad about not being able to go to Europe. And so I would like to, it’s not WordPress related, but find out more about what life in Italy is like right now. I know we used to hear a lot about Italy right when things were starting to get crazy here. And then now the news isn’t reporting on Italy at all. And so I just feel like we’re not really hearing about anything about how things are around the world. We’re only hearing about what it, what it’s like here. And I really want to know what Italy’s like right now.

Francesca Marano (25:05):

Yeah. I think that’s very common in every country. By the way, when this all started, uh, at the end of 2019 in China, you know, it was like, Oh, it’s far away. But also the scale is so massive, but we’re so far from that. So you know, it kind of, it’s, it’s not really your problem in a way. And then when he’d go to Italy, because Italy was the first country outside of China, that was very hard. And then of course, you know, it wasn’t news because no one else at the same time was, he has hard. Unfortunately from then a lot of things have changed and now the U S are actually the most affected country in the world.

Amy Masson (25:54):

We’re number one,

Tracy Apps (25:56):

yay, yay.

New Speaker (25:57):

In Spain, which was kind of pain is very, very, very worrisome because at the beginning they were like two weeks behind us. But now not only they caught up with us, but they’re also went over our numbers. So the situation you need to be unfortunately is the same. So, um, we are still in lockdown.

Francesca Marano (26:28):

We started, well personally I would myself in self isolation at the beginning of March, uh, because things were starting to look really scary and I didn’t need the government to tell me, be careful. Uh, and then basically a couple of 10 days after that, actually the government had to, you know, intervene and tell everyone to stay home. So right now we’re really locked in. Uh, we’re allowed to leave the house to, um, to buy groceries for necessity. So if I have to go to a medical appointment or if have to go to the pharmacy or you know, a bulb explodes, then I am allowed to go. We, we are not allowed to go into parks, which is I think the hardest part because, um, especially for teenagers, I have a 14 year old’s old son and he’s, you know, really, really not enjoying this continuous lockdown in the house.

Francesca Marano (27:37):

I am, honestly, I don’t mind it. I’ve been working from home for 10 years, so I’m used to my universe being as big as this bedroom basically, except for when I’m going to conferences. That’s basically my life is either being by myself in my home or going to conferences with other hundreds of people. So in terms of how my everyday life has been affected, there’s not, but at the same time, the reason nagging feeling behind you that says, Oh, do I need to go out for milk? Really? Because I personally, I am scared. And I think a lot of people are scared because the growth is exponential and there’s a lot of people without seem terms. So you know, you, it kind of feels a little bit like, okay, I’m going to get the milk, maybe I’m coming back with something else as well. Numbers are very uneven.

Francesca Marano (28:37):

We cannot, and this is I think a problem that a lot of countries to have of the teammates, the actually something that has been discussed heavily in the last few days. We don’t actually know how many people have been affected because we do the, how do you call the exam? The exam to day two. Oh, the swab. The swab. The sawdust swab. Swab. Yeah. Yeah. So we call it [inaudible] for some reason, which is tampon. I don’t know why. Yeah, it’s just, it’s a cotton, it’s a cotton spot. But actually they do a blood exam but they still call it tampon. I don’t know why. But anyways, so, so it turns out there’s a big problem with nursing homes. This is what you call a, the places were, yeah, so there’s a big problem because high mortality rate, but because they didn’t do the test to everyone, you know, some deaths has been, have been marked as non Corona virus related but they are so it’s not clear. It’s not very clear what the real numbers are.

Angela Bowman (29:52):

How accessible are tests to you, like if you started coughing?

Francesca Marano (29:56):

Not at all.

Angela Bowman (29:57):

So because this Americans were really pissed off right now at our government blaming them that we don’t have tests, but it’s good to hear from other people their experience.

Francesca Marano (30:08):

So we also test only people that have symptoms and only people that have like a lot of them. So for example, if I had the fever right now and I would call the number that we’re supposed to call there would be like keep checking has going on and if you also develop the cough and if, how is it going tomorrow and stuff like that. So, um, actually get tested basically when it’s 99% sure that you have coronavirus.

Angela Bowman (30:46):

Yeah. Like here, you have to be hospitalized, admitted to the hospital before you’ll get a test. And my friend just got over Covid and they wouldn’t test her cause she wasn’t hospitalized.

Francesca Marano (30:59):

no, we can get tested. Um, also if we’re not hospitalized, but, but it’s still not really readily available. There are some regions, Italy is divided in regions, so we don’t have like a federal government like you do, but, um, regions do have some autonomy, uh, on certain matters. So for example, Veneto which is the region of Italy where advances, uh, they are now, uh, trying to, to test more heavily and widely so they can catch more people because that’s exactly the problem that a lot of people don’t have any symptoms. So, you know, we keep our lives and, um, despite the fact, for example, that I’m been self isolating for over six weeks now, I still go to the supermarket once a week. So if I’m asymptomatic, I could be spreading that without even knowing it. The difference, I think the main difference with the U S is that our national, um, health system is public. So once you, you do think that you have this, you will go to the hospital and seek for treatment because you’re not afraid that this will cost you too much.

Angela Bowman (32:23):

What’s amazing is I’m on a plan that is, I’m an HMO in Colorado called Kaiser Permanente and they sent an email to all of us saying that they will cover all coronavirus testing as well as treatment for free and it will not hit our deductible or copays. Which is pretty phenomenal.

Amy Masson (32:42):

Yeah, that is not the case for me.

Tracy Apps (32:44):

Me either.

Amy Masson (32:46):

I mean it’s, and that’s one of the things I complain about with our healthcare system is you know, this is going to be perpetuated for, for people that have really shitty insurance like I do because if I got it, I wouldn’t go to the doctor. I wouldn’t go get tested because how much is that going to cost me? How much is treatment going to cost me? Can I just ride it out at home while I am also in turn spreading it to people around me? It’s a public health problem and you know, I can afford to go to the doctor, but my insurance isn’t going to pay any of it, so I just don’t, and how many people are like that in the U S or don’t have insurance at all?

Tracy Apps (33:19):

Uh, we’re seeing, I’m seeing even just in Milwaukee County have very clear correlation between race, uh, income. Um, and you know, all of that. And surprisingly, you know, Oh, if you don’t have really good health insurance and now the cases are just ballooning and those areas and it’s really scary.

Francesca Marano (33:44):

It is. This is one thing that, um, obviously it’s very foreign to me, the concept of not having public, uh, health system, uh, as a European, as an, as an Italian because, uh, we take the soap for granted and I have to say this is the second time in a very short period of time in my life that I’m very thankful for that because my mum was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago and she got exceptional treatment and she didn’t pay a dime. Um, you know, they even gave her, um, so all, all the treatment was free and all the medicines and they even gave her a disk parking for free for when she went do the chemo. And you know, now with this you need to Lee, I know that God forbid someone needs to go to the hospital and get intubated and everything.

Francesca Marano (34:43):

It’s not going to cost us anything. And, and, uh, the medical staff are really doing exceptional work. We know the best situation because at the same time we do have the public health system, but not all hospitals are equipped. Not everyone received everything that they needed. So for example, my region, we’re supposed now old to wear masks, but we cannot find masks in shops. So luckily for me, SiteGround sent me from Bulgaria, 10 masks, 10 reusable masks. So, you know, I gave them to my dad and my mom, my son, my ex husband, my boyfriend, I just sent them out to everyone. But you know, we, we, so, so I don’t know, it’s a, it obviously is a very complicated issue and it’s something that even countries that have public health and had the some form of preparation for this are not really prepared for the scale of this.

Francesca Marano (35:56):

So this is, this is very worrisome everywhere and each of these kind of a big country where 60 million people, so it’s a small world. A lot of people I see the same in the UK. My boyfriend lives in the UK and they also, first of all, they underestimated the situation in the beginning. Like I think the, like, I think we all did. Let’s face it because you know, it’s, it’s easy to say, Oh Boris Johnson said that we all should get a six. So we develop herd immunity, but it’s okay. Two weeks before the mayor of Milano was posting stuff like a Milana doesn’t stop and that’s when the shit hit the fan because everyone was going out and I was like, man, I know it doesn’t stop. We’re going to go and have our petty table. We’re going to go work. And then, Oh my God, [inaudible] which is the region of me now everyone is sick.

Francesca Marano (36:47):

And I was like, Oh duh. You know? So it’s kind of, I think everyone is becoming an expert in hand sites. Oh yeah, I told you so. But absolutely would. It’s absolutely the same thing. You need to leave. I completely underestimated this. This is something that it was, you know, a time in my life where I really have to come face to face with my ignorance and when it was just in China and my prejudice and whatever, because when it was in China was only in China, then it started spreading to Asia and we’re campaign show was supposed to happen and they cancel work in beige and I was like why? There are only five cases and I mean needs alien. What’s going to happen to me? And two weeks later I’m like with a mask and gloves whenever I need to go and take the pulse and I’m like, Oh, I’m going to die. And this is also something incredible to weakness. Like how our perception of this thing is actually, he telling us just when it’s really close to us and I don’t know,

Francesca Marano (38:01):

it is a weird, weird time.

Amy Masson (38:03):

I have really, it’s, I found it interesting watching everybody kind of come to the realization of, of how bad it is. Like ours was, um, in middle of March we had spring break planned and um, I went from, Oh, I’m still going to Florida to two days later, like panic shopping and buying food for my freezer. Um, and I had other friends that were like, I’m still going to Florida. What’s wrong with you? And then, you know, a couple of days later they were doing the same thing.

Francesca Marano (38:31):

Yes. That, that was exactly the same woodwork in pager you like people were like, Oh, even if it’s counseled, I’m going to go tuition the way because I paid for my ticket. And I was like, no, no, no. I’m gonna do that. And it’s the same with [inaudible]. I was in the, I was in the UK, a dead end of February. So did they, I flew, I stayed there for a week. The day I flew out, everything was kind of normal deal authority was telling us to use masculinely flew were infected. So I went to the hospital, I went to the airport and I saw a lot of people with masks and I tweeted out something like, Oh, I so want to ask them if they’re infected because they can, you know, it was clear that we need to put this on the flares if we’re infected and everything. One week later I’m on the plane from London studying, I’m wearing a mask, I’m cleaning the seat around me and that’s when I really hit me. How serious to was. I got to my air, I go to the airport and the red cross was there taking temperature for everyone and there was an isolation tend to. So if you had the Caesars for any reason in the word, you were put in quarantine directly. And I’m like, Oh shit, this is real.

Angela Bowman (39:52):

Unfortunately, pandemics are a little hobby of mine. And so I saw it coming in January and then I tweeted, all right, Facebook post in February, like third week of February. Hey, everyone needs to be prepared to spend several weeks isolated at home. And my friends are like, what are you talking about? This isn’t worse than the flu. And I’m like, no, it’s coming and you need to shop and you need to be at home now/

Amy Masson (40:15):

Be lucky at this point. I think it’s going to be a year.

Tracy Apps (40:19):

we’ve already been extended to after like end of may for us.

Angela Bowman (40:24):

That’s what adjusted for me is I realized this is an 18 month process that there was no [inaudible] hiding [inaudible].

Francesca Marano (40:33):

So in terms of what is going to happen, we’re kind of leaving day by day. So they keep pushing the deadline for de reopening and it’s, and that is actually the thing that I really makes me anxious, very anxious, is not knowing when this is going to end. Like you should tell me now you have to do this for two years. I’m like, all right, I can take it. It’s two years, there’s a deadline. I’m going to organize my life through this. But what really is causing me major anxiety? No, a little bit less because I think we’re transitioning in a new normal. So we’re now more accepting of what is happening. But the first two weeks when, when I really realized what was happening, I was like, you know, I have to change my whole life and my, my, so my boyfriend lives in the UK, so I haven’t seen in six weeks and I don’t know when I’m gonna see him. My dad doesn’t live in my, my CT, so I also, I haven’t him, I don’t know, because when I left for London at the end of February, I’ve already haven’t seen him for a couple of weeks. As soon as now, over two months. And I don’t know where I’m gonna see him and his schools. It was just a disaster. Uh, so they, you know, they closed the school for three days, then they extended it for a week, then they extended it for two weeks. Now there is no date and kids are home. Uh, they closed parks, which is very hard. I don’t know if I was cut off before or I know

Tracy Apps (42:10):

Like they also closed the parks here too or just recently too. Yeah.

Angela Bowman (42:15):

Yeah. And we, and we, yeah, we heard that that part in your, your poor kid. Like I just, especially if you’re in a space where you don’t have your own backyard or you know what I mean, like a garden space or something where they can just go out and let off some steam. That must be so hard. That is very hard. That is very hard. And um, and it’s also where, and I don’t know if it’s the same in the U S but do you need to be, we’re very much about interpreting things. So the, the government issued this decree that we cannot live unless, you know, we have to go to the supermarket or stuff like that. We cannot leave the house and go further than 200 meters, which I have no idea.

Francesca Marano (43:05):

Probably. No, I don’t know. Anyway, we’ll figure it out. And so, but it’s basically a blog of a small CG. Now I live in New York, right. So I’m like, okay, does this mean that I can go downstairs with my kid once a day and go back and forth in the block just so we can, you know, move his leg and I can move my leg or, or not. So these things are very unclear. So this is where people interpret to either they go out and they’re like, I mean, I’m not going to stay put for such a long time and are people like us, which has been staying indoor for six weeks now and go out to one. Like I am now at this stage where I’m became a muster meal planner and meal prepper and I have a super good system for shopping. So I think I will be able to, well, to go two weeks without doing now, but do I want to go two weeks without going out? Like, you know, so yeah, I don’t know.

Tracy Apps (44:16):

I, you know, and I had a very similar, that whole open-endedness of it is where I really kind of just, it hit me the hardest. Um, and you know, I have, you know, I have a yard, I have a space in, you know, to, to move around. But I have no people to interact with. Um, literally no one, just me and my cat. And so that was, you know, that, that’s been hard. I mean, that’s hard. Mental health is hard when you work remotely anyway. Um, but the work you recommend, you have some sort of interaction and now you’re like, well, Nope, no more interaction. Um, but, and one of the things that, you know, we’ve been at least in Milwaukee is like, well, what about all the small businesses? I love to hear, like how, how are the small businesses in such, um, in Italy, like surviving, um, or doing for these things? This time

Francesca Marano (45:12):

it’s very different and it depends what’s your business. So anyone that had an opportunity to translate their business somehow online is doing it. Um, I am very proud to say this and I’m not,

Francesca Marano (45:28):

I’m not giving you a sales speech, but I really think Saigon did something really great here. Uh, since the very beginning. We gave a, a very, very massive discount to Eataly to clients that were coming from me to them from Spain, like a dollar for three months of hosting because we thought that people will need to go online and they will need to go online quickly and they don’t have the cashflow right now to commit to a 300 euros a year, a hosting plan or you know, all this kind of stuff. So that’s for example, one and we started doing webinars and we started writing articles and we’re not the only house two who did this. Obviously a lot of hosts. And I really like seeing this, how it’s going in the industry right now. Anyone that has a way to help is doing it to by uh, giving, you know, producing content, opening office hours, giving discounts and stuff like that. So I think everyone that has had any chance to transform their business and people quite quickly, they did it. Others cannot. So all businesses are closed except for the prime minister necessities. Essential, essential to show.

Angela Bowman (46:56):

Do you have restaurants? Can they can restaurants do take out or delivery or no, they can do only delivery.

Francesca Marano (47:02):

They can not do take out a bars. We’re okay. What we call Bart, you call a cafe. So cafe where we’re the first to be closed. Um, clothing shops. If I go, I live in this neighborhood, which has, um, which is kind of a, an old school, um, not low class, but we’re working class, um, the very much working class easily. But like, you know, people that were working in the field, factories in the 50s, so it’s full of sharps and as false people, it’s very, it’s very, very lively. And there is this a stretch of the road again? Probably 200, 300 meters, I don’t know. That’s full of small shops. And there’s um, uh, there’s uh, two butchers, there’s a, I don’t know, like a three bakeries and a makeup shop.

Francesca Marano (48:04):

And then there’s a two ladies that sells a, it’s hard to, so difficult. Haberdashery I think you say this like house staff stuff. Yeah, like supplies and things like that and stuff like that. So, you know, so basically they all shut down except for the butcher, the bakers and the supermarkets everyone else has had down. So we have a system you need to today where um, certain, um, industries can get, uh, if you are a production production factory of some form, even if you’re like my ex husband is um, is a pasta maker. He works in the small shop or they make fresh pasta every day and the, they sell the pasta but they also have a small restaurant so they closed for a while and the, and the, the state is paying 80% of your salary, uh, does a special fund for that, which is like an unemployment but not really because you keep being employed by your employer, but you get your salary through the state and you get 80% of that.

Francesca Marano (49:23):

Um, now they are reopening this week and they will only do a delivery. You could take out is also not very common in Italy. We do, we either see to the restaurant or we did delivery. Takeout does not. So common delivery has been working very well. A lot of older UberEATS. Just seeded the ruled as companies are, um, you know, they lower the rates for the livery. Uh, they made sure to give tool the quarriers, so gloves and masks, stuff like that. Um, so it really depends, but there are a lot of people who are losing, losing their jobs and, uh, you know, they’re their livelihood because their, their company doesn’t have the cashflow to pay them and they are not in one of those industries where they can get the salary paid by the state for this period. So those businesses are struggling and they’re closing.

Francesca Marano (50:22):

I read last week they, they showed them the numbers of, uh, China, uh, national, I don’t know those words in English, how you called national production income and stuff like that under the, like, they’re like down to 9% of economy. And I think the same is happening here. So it’s, it’s, it’s going to have a very long tail. I mean, even if in ma in may they say that in may, at the beginning of may, they will lose an Apple. A little bit of the, of the restrictions, but obviously it’s not gonna go away. Let’s go party in the streets on May 3rd for example. It’s almost certain that they will, any tele kids go to school until mid June and then they go back in mid September. We have a three months holiday and um, so it’s basically for sure that they’re not going to back go back to school this year.

Francesca Marano (51:33):

And also September probably when they’re going to start to, they’re not going to start 100% in class, but they will probably do a mix of online and in person. And you know, maybe having a ninth grade to go on Mondays, 10th grade gone on Tuesday and stuff like that. So yeah, I think they, I think they closed schools completely here for the rest of the year. And, but for Wisconsin, I don’t know if this is everywhere else, um, liquor stores are an essential service, so they’re still open. Oh, I didn’t, it is essential. I am drinking tea because I also have to record a session for work in Santa Clarita after, but normally a dis timer would be drinking a gin and tonic. Okay. That sounds delicious. I’m going, as soon as we’re done with this, I’m going to go have a cocktail. Wow. It’s been so interesting to talk to you about everything from, you know, WordPress contributing to life and Italy under Corona virus.

Amy Masson (52:36):

Um, before we go, can you tell everybody where they can find you online?

Francesca Marano (52:41):

Mostly on Twitter. Uh, so I’ll be honest, I’m not going, I’m not very present on social media right now because it causing me major anxiety and uh, I don’t really need that, but okay. You will find me on Twitter as the Francesca [inaudible] trenches come on and all and uh, and you can sign me on the side ground blog, uh, in English because my blog is only tagged, so I don’t think it’s very interesting. Also, I’m a terrible blogger. I never griped so if you want to chat with me would definitely be Twitter or on Slack. I’m the sun Cina, which is S R a N C, I N a, T. truncheon and

Angela Bowman (53:26):

we will put all of that in the show notes.

Francesca Marano (53:27):

Yes. Thank you very much.

Tracy Apps (53:36):

Thanks for listening. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, or join our Facebook group, not already subscribed. Well, you can find us on Spotify, Stitcher, Google play, and iTunes. Did you know that you could help support the women in WP podcast? If you head on over to our Patrion page, you’ll find additional content and some cool perks. If you want to set up a monthly donation of a dollar or more. And finally you can find all show notes, links, and transcriptions@ourwebsiteatwomeninwp.com and tell them next time .

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