This week’s WordPress news for the week commencing 9th August 2021
Another week, and we’re bringing you the latest WordPress news from the last seven days, including…
- Yoast has been bought and there’s quite a bit of interest in who bought them
- What’s coming up in WordPress 5.9 (now that WordPress 5.8 is safely in the wild)
- Is WordPress becoming too hard to develop for these days?
- Is Gutenberg Killing WordPress Themes?
- Has Apple gone too far with their efforts with iOS and photos stored on your iPhone?
There’s a whole lot more than this, as there is each and every week, and you can find all that by scrolling down and clicking on the links!
This Week in WordPress #174 – “We’ve all got the same arm… and mic”
With Nathan Wrigley, Paul Lacey and Brian Gardner.
Recorded on Monday 16th August 2021.
If you ever want to join us live you can do that every Monday at 2pm UK time on the WP Builds LIVE page.
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Transcript (if available)
These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Time for this week in WordPress episode number 174 entitled. We've all got the same, arm and mic. It was great recorded on Monday the 16th of August, 2020. My name is Nathan Wrigley, and I'll be joined as always by my co-host Paul Lacey. This week. We also have Brian Gardner as well. I've been on holiday for a couple of weeks, so there's a bit of catching up to be done.
And we do just that first thing we talk about is WordPress 5.9 and some of the updates, hopefully going to be coming very soon to WordPress. We also get into a conversation off the back of a podcast episode. I recorded with Corey Miller for WP Tavern, all about mergers and acquisitions. And that then naturally leads into a conversation about the fact that Yoast has been acquired.
David Von grease from the page builder framework has made a video this week asking the question is Gutenberg killing WordPress themes. We talk about the tool set queery loop block and how it compares to the default. One, which comes with WordPress automatic have invested 30 million and dollars into Titan, an email company to help you get your emails set up [email protected] and yeah.
This week is in the news about their endeavors to protect children via iOS, iCloud, and the photographs you may have on your phone. It's all coming up next on this weekend, WordPress, this week in WordPress was brought to you by a B split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time, then you AB split test plugin for WordPress.
We'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes. Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is that it works with element or beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. Go check it out and get a free demo at AB split.
test.com. Hello? Hello. Hello. Welcome back. We've had a bit of a hiatus. We've had a bit of a break. Two weeks off. I sat on a beach and did very little, it was remarkably good, but time and tide wait for, oh, time and time. I'd see the beach reference there. Very good. The you have to get back to work, sadly.
So here we are episode number 174 of the WP builds this week in WordPress show joined as always by my co-host Paul Lacey. It was obviously also had an enforced two week breakout. How's your break. Ben Paul, it's
Paul Lacey: [00:02:36] been, it's been great to not have to. Oh, sorry. Uh, I missed you so much, Nathan. No, I'm glad you had a good break and everything.
And and yeah, and obviously I was too lazy to do the show by myself or I'm lazy or incapable. What if one of those two things, but yeah, we were going to, we might be a bit rusty. I don't know. Let's see.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:02:58] There's not really, there's not really so much. There's only so much publishing you can do of this proverbial.
I'm not going to say the words. We're joined today. We're supposed to be joined by two people, but only one of them has actually made it through. And you never know. Last time we had Jonathan Wald and Brian Gardner on and Brian came in a few minutes later. Maybe this time around, it'll be the other way around because we've got Brian Gardner who probably doesn't need much of an introduction, but Paul's going to introduce him in a moment, but I'm Jonathan.
Supposed to be joining us, but if he doesn't, we'll Pesach we'll plow on regardless. Yeah. So a handover to you, Paul, to introduce our honorable guest Brian.
Paul Lacey: [00:03:38] We're really pleased again, to have Brian Gardner on the show who has a shortened his profile considerably down to WordPress expert and creator of frost.
And by first we're not talking about the Weber phenomenon. We're talking about frost WP, which is a kind of a new WordPress theme or built around WordPress blocks. Brian, obviously it's also, I didn't put it in his profile, but is also the original founder of studio press, which created the Genesis theme.
And also last time recommended some films to me I've nearly finished Brian Aspen extreme and really enjoy that. Me and my wife had been watching it together. We got very tired towards the end because it was quite late. So we're not sure what's going to happen in the final. What's it called? The powder eight competition you find out.
So anyone who's watched aspirin extreme knows what I'm talking about. So no spoiler speeds. We don't know what's happening in the powder eight, but I was super pleased to see uh, a shock appearance from Martin Kemp, from spun de ballet being one of the buddies in the film. Martin Kemp is obviously a British guy, but he plays a buddy German guy called friends, which
Nathan Wrigley: [00:04:48] yeah, no spoilers though.
There's no bad. He called from
Paul Lacey: [00:04:54] TV show. No, it's an eight. No, it's an early nineties film something, something, so it's all around skiing. And so do it. Me and Brian were talking about films, about skateboarding and BMX in and all that sort of stuff. And and he recommended a couple of films to me and one of them was Aspen extreme and hello.
It feels uh, it's got a bit of a dirty dancing feel to it, which I know is underselling it. And it's probably, you're probably disappointed with that, Brian, but there's some definite plot similarities in there as well. Yeah.
Brian Gardner: [00:05:24] I am a sucker for eighties and nineties nostalgia on several levels.
Movies are one of them cheesy coming of age movies, like Aspen extreme and freshen and north shore and rat. I grew up a lot of my time in California. So like the BMX, the surfing, the skateboard stuff, was totally in my wheelhouse. So how
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:46] did, how did you like stranger things? I know that's a modern thing, but it goes back to that BMX sort of tape cassette thing.
Brian Gardner: [00:05:54] No, no. What it is I'm trying to figure out how to Dodge the question. Cause I actually have not watched
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:02] that. Okay. That's fine. It's fine. I really enjoyed it. But it is, it's like, it's almost feels like a Spielberg movie, like close encounters or something like E T you've got the
Brian Gardner: [00:06:13] guy, so
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:15] it's not it's so Saifai yeah, don't bother.
I'm just curious, actually, Brian, now that we obviously did get your you know, your little biography, which was very short and had been curtailed to WordPress expert and frost, is there, is that a conscious thing of you. Are you now no longer saying founder of studio press? Or is that just something you admitted accidentally?
Brian Gardner: [00:06:38] No. No, there's no omission more than anything. It's just an act of brevity. In fact as Paul, as Paul was saying that I'm like, there's no reason. It's not like I'm embarrassed. I'm super proud of it. Yeah. And especially now that I'm we'll say quote, an air quotes here back in WordPress product building for context purposes, it probably makes sense.
And what it does is it allows me to re-introduce to other things that I love. Uh, cause then the Twitter bio would have equal lines. Cause I'm also OCD when it comes to that. And that is the inclusion of being a runner and being a Taylor swift fan. Uh, both and I just literally, and I went out early, so I could be back for the show cause it's eight o'clock here in Chicago.
I w I just got back from a seven mile run swift, so
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:27] no, you've done seven miles and it's eight in the, oh, yep. There's just no way I'm going to compete with that. Honestly, if I'd done seven miles, I would be dead on a sofa for the remainder of the day. It's very interesting. So are you like a serious, do you compete, are you really, or is it just for personal
Brian Gardner: [00:07:45] fitness, personal, whatever.
I compete against myself. I, back in the day I ran. Run for times and stuff like that. In fact, there was a shirt, a running shirt that goes around now that I see every once in a while it says the older I get, the faster I was, which is so true. And I'm like, I just, I don't have the energy to, you know, I run from my own time small goals, but yeah,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:12] I want to see a third of a marathon now, a quarter ish, well done.
Before eight o'clock in the morning, that's ridiculous. And very impressive. I'm just going to put the screen on just let you know what we're doing today. This is our website. WP builds.com where we introduce a new podcast each and every week comes out on a Thursday. We obviously do this a weekly WordPress new show this week in WordPress.
It's called and it comes out on a Monday while we do the live on a Monday. And then we re publish it on a Tuesday morning. You want to stay up to date with that? You can click onto this little form here on the website and subscribe, and we will keep you informed about all the things that we're doing each week.
Just on some housekeeping news. If you are watching this live and you wish to remain anonymous, that's fine. If you're on Facebook. Yeah. Profile and photo will not come across unless you click on the button. It's a, there's a little button at top. It's not a button it's in the text of the post. You've got to go to chat.restream.io forward slash F.
And then click a button and it will enable us to see your picture a bit like Cameron did Cameron. Oh, he's on YouTube. So that's slightly different. But anyway, if you want to make some comments, please feel free to do that. The other thing to say is if you've got any comments, just drop them in and we'll try to put them on the screen.
If they're suitable and on message, then we'll do that. But that's, it really we'll crack on with the news. And we've got a fair few bits and pieces. Now I feel some of this might be a little bit older than we would normally do. Normally we cover the previous seven days, but I've been on holiday for the previous 14.
So a couple of these pieces might be rehashes that you've seen elsewhere, but nevertheless, there's some value in it well, we'll mention all of those and it's actually not me. That's kicking us off today. It's going to be Paul. He's going to be talking about WordPress 5.0.
Paul Lacey: [00:10:04] Yeah, so we've got 5.8 already.
So we're now thinking ahead already to 5.9 and a Mateus Ventura has done a post on make.wordpress.org, which is called preliminary road to 5.9. And he's highlighting some of the different things that we should expect to see in 5.9. It seems to me like most of the things they're talking about here will definitely make it into 5.9 because they all seem reasonable in terms of scale.
I imagine. But there's also, there's a partner post on the Doby Tavern by Justin Tadlock, that's called early WordPress 5.9. Look the road towards deeper responsive block design. But just in this article focuses mainly on the responsive side of things, but Mateus, his main post is about more or less everything that they're doing.
But some of the highlights in that are obviously the. The responsive design aspects that they're going to try and focus on for blocks. So whether you're creating a design for desktop, and then you want it to look good on tablets or mobiles and stuff like that, which is always a challenge. Especially if with the block editor, you don't have a pure visual representation of what you're seeing.
So they're going to try and address that, which is great news for anybody who's using the block editor at any level, wherever you're using it for full sites or a page builder replacement, or you're using it like me, just for simple things like blog, blog posts and stuff like that. To give a little bit of context on the problem around responsive design that a lot of people would get, especially if they're not designers, is what happens when one block hits another block, especially.
So if you've got a light colored block hitting a light color block, how much padding should be between those two blocks vertically. Whereas if you've got a light block hitting a dark block, should the partying be different or the margins be different accordingly. So hopefully what they're going to do is find a way that makes that less of a problem for people and improves how websites tend to look online, because what you will see sometimes in blog posts, especially the block editor now is a paragraph, and then there's a big gap on mobile.
And then there's another paragraph you're wondering why did they put that big gap there? And they, the user didn't, they just didn't really understand how to make that look good on the mobile. A few of the other good things that they seem to be interested in sorting out is uh, more of a sort of design system for colors, typography, spacing, and layout.
At the moment we've got third-party vendors. Me and Nathan were talking before the show about vendors like cadence blocks and stackable, for instance, who basically had to invent their own way of managing things like type biography and colors consistently across all their different blogs.
But it looks like the core team is going to try and address this. And the screenshot that I see on the make wordpress.org looks like a very sensible approach where there is they've broken down. For instance, presets like the ability to choose large, medium, or small. Built into the theme for instance, but then you can get more granular and you can choose the font size and the line height and those kinds of things, but how they've designed, how these initial designs look makes a lot of sense to me, which is a pain point for sure, for users who are using multiple blog block sets.
I was in the backend or I saw a screenshot of the backend of a major WordPress brand. They have a day and this brand had five block sets on there. So five yeah, five full block sets. So there was probably something like 150 blocks third-party blocks installed on this. And obviously all of them would have had their own way of coping with the topography and the colors because there wasn't a core way at the beginning when those early developers started.
So this will hopefully create some good stuff for the future on that on that side, And also now I don't know what this means, and I want to check this one over to Brian in a minute, but apparently another thing they're doing is an interface for theme Jason. I don't fully understand what theme dot Jason is.
I see you talking about it, Brian, from time to time and excited about certain things that you can do with it. Um, maybe we should start there and then come back to the the responsive stuff from the topography stuff. So yeah, Brian, do you know is this stuff about theme dot Jason, good news for us all.
And is it good news for you?
Brian Gardner: [00:14:49] Yes. And yes. They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but I'm hopefully trying to disprove that here with what WordPress is doing. I attempted to Dodge that, situation ultimately when we sold the WPN and I wasn't sure I had the energy and thought I would want to go do something else, but I was sorely mistaken.
That being said when I decided to come back and build WordPress products, I made the commitment to myself that not only would I do the WordPress way, I would also do it the WordPress way, which means I would not try to reinvent any wheel and I would push myself to learn things that I didn't know anything about.
And the theme dot Jason Is sort of like a current example of something that shipped in WordPress 5.8. And I have ad nauseum been immersing myself in it, trying to push it in terms of understanding what it is, how it works, and all of that to answer the question in terms of the interface with theme dot Jason I love what I see.
I love this whole post think Mathias has quite a bit of sort of a design background coming into this project. And so from my perspective I always appreciate that because things look good and feel good. What I see in that screenshot in particular makes me really happy. I know that, several and we had to deal with this at studio press, right?
We, even over the years, just people would install plugins and plugins would do different things. And this was even before blocks oh, this doesn't look good with your theme. And because it's, plugins have their own styles and unlike some of the contact form plugins there's no way to disable those styles.
One of the things I love most about contact forms like WP forms and ninja forms is that there's like that little option that, that turns off styles, you know, removes the opinionation, which allows the theme to do it, which is I think sometimes better experience. So that being said w what I love most about the theme dot Jaison stuff is that it.
It removes the need to have styles, both in the theme style sheet and in the editor style sheet what this does it it brings parody in one place. If you define something and theme that Jason, not only does it, I'll put on the front end, it also outputs in the editor. And there's only one place.
There are a lot of times, half of my block editor styles, style sheet was a carbon copy of what was in the style sheet. And every once in a while, I'd forget to copy things over and paste, right? Cause you got to, the goal here is to serve up, a similar experience on the backend and the front end.
And while it's easy to do in two different places is easier to do when you have it in one.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:33] Yeah, yeah. That it looks really clever. I've got a, just going to put that photo up on the screen. Now, if you're listening to this, we've got the the blog post [email protected], the Mattel and links in the show notes, by the way.
And it's got what looks to me like this kind of is how I always wanted it to be. I don't know if it is supposed to be laid out like this or is this just a screenshot? Is everything going to be arranged horizontally in this way? In other words you know, are we just looking at different adaptations of the same settings?
Brian Gardner: [00:18:10] Dom one thing. And each column shows the
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:15] different, I was really hoping that it was just going to be. But next to each other, instead of like in the customizer where you constantly scroll and get lost, it just strikes me that in the Gothenburg era where we can use the whole screen, that might have been quite a nice thing to have.
So it makes things easier, basically from a theme development point of view, you just have to, you use less time. You do things once and it's in one place and everybody's happy. That's nice. The the question that Paul raised, is going to be something that the block pack people, the likes of stackable and cadence there they've made up.
A way of doing this. And I presume it would be in their best interest at some point to hop on board the way that it's going to be done in full site editing. So that it's easy for them to maintain and decouple from what they've already created. But I suppose they had to go around doing it that way, because otherwise they wouldn't have wouldn't have hit the market with something that allowed them to do things like global styles and so on.
Paul Lacey: [00:19:09] yeah, that's what we were talking about. That it seems that if if the block, the blocks will have this kind of more fully featured, design tools for typography and colors and stuff like that, that some of the original block packs like stackable and cadence might have to walk back some of their things.
Otherwise there'll be a lot of inconsistency, but at the same time, they probably had to make a decision. If we wait until it's all done, we won't be new to the market. We won't get that big boost to RPR and everything. So we'll launch now we'll invent our own design system and if we can walk back.
To a certain extent, then we will, later I imagine is what they're thinking. Yeah. I
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:53] checked buy an Intel for a podcast a little while ago. He's the founder of stackable. And he said exactly that they just made the decision that they were going to go their own way. And then when things became more consistent and clarified, then they would just essentially unpick everything that they'd done and try to make it work in the sort of the WordPress way.
Yeah, that's interesting. So the article goes into more, it goes into endeavors to make patterns, more useful patterns, directories and so on. And then editing formalizing, editing workflows for the, for block themes, but metastasis is bullet points and it's a little bit harder to read straight off the bat, but if you go to the WordPress Tavern article, just in Todd Lux, one again, LinkedIn, the show notes, then you'll you'll get the more prosaic version.
Paul Lacey: [00:20:40] So yeah. Can I ask Brian about frost WP on, in reserve? Relation to this. So for instance, let's say Genesis you would release a Genesis child theme. It would have uh, a CSS file where all the style was defined in there. In my own experience, for instance, I've done some templates for BeaverBuilder that are releasing soon.
And the only way I can guarantee for instance, type biography across the board is to put some CSS in with the templates, because I don't know which theme is going to be trying to override that. And also in my comments, in the CSS, I'm saying you can probably remove this issue if your theme covers that.
So what I'm wondering with the theme dot Jason, how much. If any CSS would you need to create to deploy one of your sort of I don't know, I don't know if I call them child themes, but inside your status sites in foster, repeat, you have a bunch of different status sites. Assuming block editor in Gutenberg goes the way that we think it's going.
Would that mean you would have no CSS in your starter sites or would you still need some for certain aspects?
Brian Gardner: [00:21:52] The short answer is I think the ultimate goal is to try to minimize, I don't think there's ever an instance in which Gutenberg or the black editor or WordPress will result in zero CSS. I think there's just too many things outside of what I think were pressured serve up at a core level transitions.
I think we're kind always a thing that I've seen. Animation effects, things like that, where there's really no good way to do that just in a gooey. And so on some level, there will always be a need for a style sheet. Currently the frost style sheet with theme J Jason here's, some transparency is still 700 1700 lines long.
There's still so much. And mainly because right now I've made the decision as a shippable product, not to rely on gluten.
I've made the decision not to. To do anything production ready that requires Gutenberg just because Gutenberg's evolving and there's breaking changes. And I don't feel, I don't feel good about serving that up and requiring that cause that breaks production sites for folks and that's really bad. Um, so that being said, I'm intimately acquainted between the differences in theme dot Jason, that WordPress core currently allows what Gutenberg currently allows.
They unpack it a little bit more. And so basically the way it started was when I started playing with the theme about Jason, I would, I started with a blank file and just looking at the tutorials, I think Carolyn has got a really good one out there. There's the full site editing.com site has been super helpful in all of that.
Is, I would just introduce the theme that Jason, and then go back into the two style sheets and figure out, okay, what does this cannibalize basically, what does this remove the need to have? And so like little by little, I think my theme dot Jason files a couple hundred lines long. And so like it's pulled stuff out of the style sheets and it's just going to be a moving target.
That being said the for clarity sake Frost's theme is only one theme. It's a child theme of Genesis right now. And anything that we see in the starter sites doesn't require additional CSS. That's all baked into the main theme and sort of the patterns and the presentation of everything inherits either the, the black editor controls by way of the main frost style sheet.
And so frost is only one theme and the starter sites are just basically imported content and patterns to get people going.
Paul Lacey: [00:24:23] Got it. That's cool. It seems that you're going a route that is very low risk in terms of, for instance, we were talking about a video from David from Patriot or framework in a while, and he obviously has a theme that has been around before the block editor.
And now he's got to try and work around it. And then you've also got, cadence and stackable and those sort of people creating their own blocks. It seems to me that what you said earlier about that you're going the WordPress way completely. It means that you're deliberate, deliberate.
Avoiding conflicts with the project all along the way, Richard, which is pretty unique. I'm not just saying that just to stroke your ego or just to, pat you on the back there. But I think there's a lot of blog posts out there. So by John James does a Twitter thing like Chris, we men, I think that's how you say it.
And some follow-up posts by John James Jacoby about how difficult it is to get into WordPress and then Mateus from what from make from wordpress.org. We're saying no, we're trying to make it easier for people to get in. And you can see that if you're fighting, if you're fighting to do it the old way, then you probably are fighting against the tide, but there isn't many people going against it with the tide.
It seems that you are doing that. And that seems relatively unique to me. I'm not too aware of. Because most people are going for let's create loads of blocks, try and let's try and create what people could do before. So it would be interesting to see, and hopefully you'll come on again as, 5.9 and whatever it comes after 5.9 comes out how much you're able to keep transitioning out of that style sheet and, making it, making it as streamlined as possible.
I don't know if I've understood that. But that's what I'm observing from frost. It's some people might say, oh, it doesn't do as much as this, but I seem to see it be deliberately going at this from a completely different angle than anyone else seems to be going with.
Brian Gardner: [00:26:29] Do you remember the Tim thumb fiasco from, I don't know how long you guys that was a long time ago.
And I remember to this day we had originally Nathan Rice and I, he was a co-creator of Genesis to this day. I remember where I was and I always tell the story may have even said this here before. We had put Tim thumb into Genesis as the image resizing script, we basically wanted to magazine sites were, and we had, we had implemented that had not shipped it yet.
And I was at a chase bank in Schaumburg, Illinois when he had literally just finished WordPress featured image capability. Resizing became a thing in core. And I said to him, I said, Hey, I think we really need to just pull Tim thumb out and replace it with the WordPress and leverage that. And shortly thereafter, that's when the whole Tim thumb, exploitation security fiasco went down and taught us a lesson.
At that point, we really doubled down on always serving up you know, expected WordPress behavior, even from our settings pages, inheriting, UI that's within the dashboard and stuff like that. And thankfully, it's gotten better. Just inside of core. And so I've always defaulted to just going that route.
I don't have any need, or I don't have a vanity issue where I need to create my own version of the WordPress dashboard. I don't need to put my logo inside of it and do things that other people have done. And it's just easy. It just, we always thought Genesis was so good because nobody knew where like WordPress started in Genesis ended.
Like it was just like a seamless thing where oh, am I in WordPress? This makes sense. This is what I expected this screen to look like and stuff like that. Um, so yes, you are correct frost. Is that right? And regarding blocks and block, first of all, I don't know how to build blocks. So there's that, but second of all, half of the blocks that people put into these mega catalogs end up getting cannibalized by WordPress anyways, right?
You know, I think early on, there were some folks that were there and said, Hey, here's some awesome blocks. And then like month or two later, they're in WordPress core, which then reduces the value of the block libraries. So if I were to, and I've said this before, if I were to. Any kind of block, anything with frost, it would be more on like the vertical sense.
Like we, we would build blocks that were specific to an industry that really solved their problem. Not just to say we've had a black library of a hundred different blocks that you could use anywhere else.
Paul Lacey: [00:28:53] Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:28:54] Pizza Ingersoll in the comments saying basically that the ongoing challenge of having a flavor of third-party solution versus when WordPress catches up and deciding how best to proceed.
It's interesting actually, because you've come to the market. I don't know if it was from everything that you said it may be that you, you didn't deliberately wait it out. It was just the inspiration came to you at the time when it did, but in a way, if you'd have jumped in right at the beginning you, you yourself would be having to unpack all this legacy, but you've come in at the point where there's maturity.
There's a whole bunch of stuff in there already. And. You're good to go. It's nice. I I had the, I had the website op just a second ago. If you want to check out frost, then go to frost, wp.com. And you'll see a very nice website showing off.
Paul Lacey: [00:29:41] Brian specifically said, oh, don't make this episode a sales pitch, but we we're interested because it was just very interesting that the news items we've got, they're very good and burglary this week.
And they're very good and burglary at the moment. And I'm happy to push that on the screen. If I'm little doggy needs some attention, then feel free to drop out for a few minutes,
Brian Gardner: [00:30:01] going to put that in the notes. Give me like two seconds. I'm
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:05] good. Yep. That's fine. Okay, so thank you, Peter, for your comment and hello, Maya.
I'm expecting that smile long car, but I haven't got Facebook open, but if you wish Maya to have your name, then click on that URL. There we go and you'd be well not click on it. chat.restream.io forward slash Facebook. If you want your details to come across. Okay, there we go. Let's move on quickly then.
We're we're moving on now. Let's leave that behind. We're going to go on to acquisitions. Now this is pure coincidence, but I did a podcast episode recently with a gentleman that we've all heard of before Corey Miller formally from I themes now the owner of post status, which is a fabulous place to find all sorts of WordPress communities and news.
And we talked over at WP Tavern on the podcast I do over there about the acquisitions landscape and the mergers landscape. It was a really interesting conversation. Really the only reason I'm mentioning this is because it fills, fits in beautifully with the next item, but I was quite interested to hear Corey's take on this because he has.
Brian also will have a unique take on this, but Corey obviously has been through this selling themes. Brian, obviously selling studio press to WP engine. And we talked through the good and the bad. We split the conversation into good and bad. And there were so many things that came out of that conversation that I didn't expect just as an example, things like healthcare for the people working in the companies.
And anyway, I would highly encourage you to listen to that. It is a really nice, it's a conversation much more than previous episodes we've done. So go and check that out. But the reason it's relevant is because I am sure that you have not managed to avoid this piece of news this week. This, I really didn't see this coming of all the companies in the WordPress space that I felt like it's not gonna be Balta it's too big.
It's going to be doing the buying Yost was probably right near the top of my list. And yet we have the piece of news that Yoast joins new fold, digital Maricka of undirect and her husband Yoast. Basically for an undisclosed amount of money. I say it's undisclosed. It's not disclosed in this article.
Maybe it's public elsewhere, but they've they've sold and they're 140 employees are going to go over and work under the umbrella of new fold. Digital. The interesting thing here is it's the usual trope that comes out, nothing's basically going to change. The reason that we've sold it is because it will allow us to it allows us to have access to them money that we wouldn't already have.
It was quite interesting if you actually read this piece and I can't remember exactly where it is now, they did mention the fact that they had anxiety, both of them about the future. And they found that the fact that they have a bootstrap the whole time, they've never taken money before it led them to be a little bit more, perhaps conservative is the right word with the way that they approach the business.
And so they mentioned, I can't remember the exact wording, but basically that they were more cautious than they thought they could have been in the past, which is intriguing insight. I didn't really think about. And so this hopefully will give them access to ready money and we'll see how this goes.
But bit of a shock, I think the main. Angle of shock came, not from the fact that Yost had sold, but because of where it had been sold to the parent company, a new fold digital has a whole bunch of companies beneath it. And I saw all sorts of commentary, which was, concerned. Let's just put it that way about who they had sold to.
So really I'm just going to open the floor up to Paul and Brian, what they think about this deal? Is it inevitable that this will make things better for them? Would it make things better for the end users who knows? I'd love to know how much money was changing hands for this as well?
Paul Lacey: [00:34:11] Okay. I've got some thoughts.
First of all, I'm not surprised that they were sold and I'm also not surprised. I'm not surprised that EIG or new fold bought them, because that's a company with the amount of money you need to buy Yoast. So there's not many companies that could do that. I'd be less surprised if automatic had bought Yoast because they seem to be, but it's at the corporate level for, they've, they've been they've, they probably have their stands next to each other or the shows and all that kind of thing.
But, and, automatic probably had the money, but maybe didn't feel the need and they've obviously bought something else. So it was one or the other. But, um, Yeah, I think a good first of all, well done to the founders of Yoast for building something so successful. And we can only guess how much this was sold for him.
People on Twitter are guessing like anything from six to 30 minutes. Dollars and we'll probably never find out, but it's going to be a huge amount of money and there'll be able to put that into the products. I think just
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:26] simple, sorry, just before the goal, Paul and I were talking about this and we were saying, no matter where you stand.
And so for example, Cameron in the comments is saying uh, you know, congratulations to Yoast and Maurica, but the EIG is is that right? Is it EIG? Isn't it? Yeah. He said it leaves a bitter taste in his mouth, at least. Anyway, Paul and I were just saying, honestly, if you were like them, you might imagine putting yourself in their shoes and more or less any company comes to you and says here's a ton of money.
It's. You it's not, it's not going to be as straightforward as a decision to just say, well, I don't know that I aligned perfectly with the history of that company, they've, they've done.
Paul Lacey: [00:36:11] You don't have to. You know, all the products we use of course. Dubious things going on all around the world from wherever it's, the phones that we use to the laptops that we use or whatever.
But, I think probably in that I would want in my contract that I didn't have to publicly support some of their other products and say that they were good. And as long as I didn't have to do that, I would take them. Yeah, to be honest, if they said you have to support the other products, you still take the money.
But if I didn't need but yeah, I think, uh, he owns a couple of big hosting companies. Blue host is one of them. I think HostGator is one of them and they get a lot of bad press. I've never actually I've used HostGator years ago actually never had a problem with it. Nothing ever went wrong, but I've never used it in the modern times.
Blue host used to be one of the core kids at one point. And but I've never been burned by the EIG companies, but I believe everyone who says that they genuinely have. And so I can only believe those people, most of the people who are saying that we would have been burned by something EIG is, has had a, probably the people who are smart enough to also say, oh, it was already looking at alternatives to Yoast anyway, because I'd found more edge products, whether it's SEO press or SEO framework.
And I was moving over to those most of the time, I've seen someone complained about the ERG thing. They said that as well or a lot of them did. So I think this is just part of what WordPress space looks like now that, it's all getting bought out. The community has the community does feel a little bit left out to a certain extent that, it's, everything's been bought out, but I can only see this going from this.
Just plugin going into the stresses there really, I think it's, there'll be a SAS version of it or something. I don't know what they'll do, they don't buy something that big. And then just UN all they're going to do is pre-install it on blue house, blue host hosting accounts? I think they must have some big plans for it.
The last thing I said, I brought something up on Twitter. Blue hosts is owned by E I G or new folder whenever they are listed on the wordpress.org recommended hosts page of which there's only three SiteGround blue host and a DreamHost, I think. And I just brought up the, I fell. It was the time now to remove that page from wordpress.org.
Now that one of the, one of those three hosts owns a plugin that it will put into it's pre-installed hosting accounts. And I think that blue host can't sit on that page. And not get people coming up with theories that there's something dodgy going on there. If you can have a situation where that page actually is massively helping the plugin as well, because it's pre-installed so I think it's time to revisit that one.
There's there's my brain dump on that. That didn't really leave any questions as such, but Brian, I don't know if you've got anything you want to add as well, obviously.
Brian Gardner: [00:39:30] Yeah, there I come at it from a different angle, because, um, on some level, some of the negativity that comes around, things like this I've had to deal with.
And in fact, twice this week I've been dogged again for, quote selling out to, and, and, screwing over my community and whatever these, allegations are you know, just, and so it's fresh in my, like I literally just yesterday I had to defend myself in a blood post, mostly filled with misinformation.
So what, what it does is it makes me think of a couple of things. One outside of myself, I think of who's saying it right? Yeah. People who are, and Hi, hi, uh, high level assessing this people who are lazy in their business because, oh, this thing that just worked might not, and now I may have to come up with a solution, which means I have to do research or learn something new or whatever.
So they oh, that's not fair that Sox I'm, this, they shouldn't, th th then you get that peanut gallery approach. The second part of it is that there's a whole lot of envy going on when people start smacking around you know, it's oh, you know, like this righteous, I would never sell, or how dare they sell, type of thing.
I'm like, Paul, I think you said it like, yeah, sure. If the right offer came at the right time, of course, you'd sell a lot of why we do what we do. But here's the one thing I'll say about Yoast and I'll say it about myself. Cause somebody made some comment about I, I wish I had the article open, but I'm like, look, I'm like you, I didn't just jump off and jump around and do things like, if anything, in the WordPress team space, I was the longest tenured ever.
Like at some point 12 years of the same thing, it's time to do something different, and, and if you do it responsibly, we did at studio press, we picked the best partner, somebody who made commitment, somebody who fulfilled those promises, somebody who took care of the community, the product, like all these things.
And you still get people who, on Facebook just the other day, oh, Brian gardener sold out. I'm like, of course I did. Like at the time it was either, and this introduces mental health issues. Like at the time I was ready to go. And if I felt forced because community people didn't want me to quote, sell out and live on an island, which is of course not never was the case.
I think that's the pipe dream. Oh, he said he got an island and he doesn't care about us anymore. So not true. I was caring about myself and my family when I made the. But like at the end of the day, like Yoast has been around forever. Like of course at some point it's you know, football players, at some point they got to hang it up and I'm not saying he's hanging it up or I'm hanging it up.
But at some point it's time to just say, okay, I'm done bearing that weight, that responsibility, that conservativeness that he's experienced we did at studio press. And that's why we sold. I sat across the table from Brian Clark and said, Hey, Gutenberg's coming. And we have Rainmaker and Copyblogger and all these other things.
If we can't give studio press and the Genesis brand the energy and the team and the power that I think it's going to take to really do continue and do something special in the WordPress space, then I think it's time to sell and find somebody who can help us do that. That's exactly what we did.
We, we found WP engine, we've got product managers, there's teams over there, like around Genesis, like 10 times as many people who were ever working on it are working on it now. So I take. I get really over really defensive when I see people in Twitter talk or Facebook or wherever talk about, oh, how WP engine's done this and now they've dropped the ball and all these things.
And the first thing I do is jump in and say, baloney Hmm. You and I'm not even intimately involved anymore used to be, but I sat on calls with 10 people who were talking about what to do with Genesis before it was Nathan. And I like that's five times as many people. I come at it from that perspective.
So I'm a little bit fired up right now because like I said, yesterday, I had to defend myself. I'm like, come on people. I'm like, yeah. as well, yeah. Coming back and abandoning the Genesis community. And I'm like, first of all, do you realize for us as a Genesis theme? No. Okay. There goes half your argument, like, so people just.
It's easy to have opinions.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:43:52] It is. It is. Isn't it. And I think what's curious to me, one of the things that I noticed, not just on places like Facebook, but elsewhere, is it the first thing that tends to happen is that all these threads open up on social media about what's the alternative that you're now going to start using it as opposed to, oh, this is curious.
You see how this works out. I'm just like, what are you gonna use this? So there was lots of posts about what's, what's gonna be your new favorite SEO plugin. I just thought I'd share the the actual text because I do think that was quite nice. It says Maria and I have felt since this COVID pandemic hit, that we need needed partner, a partner or some more financial backing said Yoast to Volk being totally bootstrapped was getting to us.
We worried about the exchange rate of the dollar. For instance, we got risks. And all around us, other companies got financial injection. So a bit of a bit of perspective there, they were feeling really without the money they were going to be left behind because of the way it created a sort of risk averse culture between the two of them.
And of course, it's, it's there it's baby. They've been doing this since day one. And and you know, you w you got 140 people on your payroll. You want to do the right thing for them and giving them the stability is is a good thing.
Paul Lacey: [00:45:05] I agree with Brian on this. I shut down in December, a company of four employees and it wasn't a sellable company.
So I had to make a decision. That those four people would need to find other ways to put food on their table as such. And if you are, if you, first of all, a number of things, what Brian said, if you are the co-founders of Yoast and you've made some friends super successful, and at some point you literally just signed.
I just want, wanna, I just want to stop now. I want to do I want to do something different or at least in a year after I've done my sort of tenure w what I need to do, what are you supposed to do? Just shut it down and say, okay, 140 employees times perhaps, 2.5 children or whatever. Let's just say, that's, they, they put food on the table potentially for around five to 600 people.
You can't just say, oh, I'm not going to sell out because some people will give me a hard time on, on social media or something like that. The thing is, Nathan, me and Nathan had a call earlier, just Hey, how's it going? How was your holiday? And one of the things Nathan had to do was give me a bit of a pep talk on, ignore things people say on social media.
So I didn't really ask him about his holiday. I just went, whoa is me. Some things on social media are annoying. Me and Nathan just pointed out that the voices here were very, loud on social media about any subjects are. Not the majority. You know, in Brian's case, he has to defend himself when some, a couple of individuals will have a go yeah.
The majority of people either don't care or wish you all the best. And I think that's the same thing for Yoast. You know, yeah. There's, it's an interesting talking point. That EIG was the one who bought them, but we're the only people who really care about that. Enthusiastic who are completely nerding, every single aspect about it.
So I'm glad that the co founders can, like they said, in that post, the things starting to bother them, that they grew huge. They almost potentially even asking themselves, is this too big for us now where this would end up going? Is it time for someone else to take the reins? And that's what they've decided to do.
Good luck to them. They've and their secure days, careers for all of those people who work for them, for the foreseeable, for as long as they possibly could. And they've made that decision. So I just think, all the best to them really. And the, the social media fallout will always happen. Those kind
Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:39] of things really well.
And yet there's the vast, vast, vast majority of people will say nothing. And they probably will agree with you. It's only that, like Cameron has just said in the comment, the the loudest voices often, aren't the smartest either. I think Brian's got something else he wants to add. So back to you, Brian.
Brian Gardner: [00:47:56] Yeah. Following up on Paul, what you just said. Nobody knows. Everyone wants to know how much money it was, but nobody knows what the, the rest of the deal looked like. I know when, and not many people know this, I don't broadcast this, but I sometimes feel like I need to when WP engine we were talking to them and others for that matter.
But WP engine, there were two non-negotiables. I was, we were not going to. A contract to sell studio press, unless these two things were met one they had to continue the product. Like in other words, they couldn't just buy it and shut it down. Which would have made no sense because they really were buying the brand and the product and the community, the developer community that went with it.
And, and number two is they got to take my people, right? Like I wasn't going to sell and they were going to fire everybody. This is not an asset purchase. This was it was part of, we had other offers where people want to, where they want it to do that. And I was a non-negotiable. I said, I will not sell to you on.
It would have been difficult at have been a significantly higher amount of money. I still wouldn't have done it, but at the end of the day, I told him I'm like, look there's and it was a smaller team, we didn't have 140, so it, you know, there's the scales smaller, but, we had like 10 or 12 people where I was like, look, there's first of all, 10 or 12 people who I directly know, make money from what we do and put food on the table.
You have to take them over or at least have to put them in, try to figure out a way to do it. And I believe everyone came. Yeah. That chose to so that, so there was that, but even the community, part of it, hundreds of people in the Genesis community have businesses and put food on their table by what we do.
So there was a lot of people, and people just say, oh, we sold out he's on an island, dah. They don't realize it. The deal structure, which had some non-negotiable things. And I'm going to only assume that Yoast and I've had something similar as Hey, we're not going to do this where you're just going to whack off 140 people you know, because that's not fair and that's just not who we are.
So I think people need to consider that stuff
Nathan Wrigley: [00:49:56] too. Yeah, no, that's really interesting that you mentioned that. I think that's a really cool thing to have brought up that the article does make clear that it says doesn't, the wording is whilst Jeff's does not plan to change the 140 person team it's bringing in fresh talent.
In fact, and apparently they've got 19 job openings. I don't know if they're off the back of this new investment that they felt that they can get 20 more people on board or not. But yeah, that is really interesting then the non-negotiables did you feel when you were, when you had those two non-negotiables, did that kind of give you butterflies?
Did you think? All right, I'm going to stick with this Commonwealth may, in other words, Was it easy for you to go to these companies like WP engine and say those things? Or did you feel like, oh no, this might really muddy the water or spoil the deal?
Brian Gardner: [00:50:44] It was, and again, I've also said this and I will say this even to, to Jason Cohen and Heather at the, at the start of it, WP engine was not at the top of the list of people who I thought I would want to sell to.
I just had some misconceptions around them and very quickly in the negotiation process and just the conversations, I was like, man, I was dead wrong, dead, wrong about their company, their culture, all that stuff. And, and, and the fact that there wasn't any pit in my stomach when I was having these conversations with them.
And I think that's like, why? I think they assumed that that was going to be the case. They came in and said, this is not what we're interested in. We're interested in the community, the brand, the people, all of it, and me on some level. And so it was just like, it was more of just like a reinforcement, just, Hey, making sure guys that this is the.
Rather than, oh, it's this way or no way an approach. And they they're like, of course, that's exactly what we had planned. We're going to continue the product. We want to bring your people over. Why would we disrupt something like that? And I believe the flywheel acquisition was very much the same.
They brought the team over and tack, they left the brand alone, so in most cases I can't speak for AIG because I just don't know all of what goes on over there. But at least in our case, it was really. And when we had that conversation as like to our team, I was like, yeah, this is the right partner.
Somebody who looks at it this way is clearly people who we want to do business with.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:52:05] So this conversation really is the conversation of our time in WordPress, this whole mergers acquisitions thing. It really does seem to be apart from Gutenberg and all the things surrounding that it really does feel like mergers and acquisitions are a really important bit of the ecosystem at the moment with that.
I am going to replug my my podcast episode with Corey Miller because we strayed and we've used more time on this than I think we were anticipating and just makes me feel this is actually quite an important topic. Corey really did open up about this and he gave me lots of points to think about.
So go and check that out. Episode six, WP tavern.com forward slash podcast, but should we move on?
Paul Lacey: [00:52:44] Yeah. Should we just do a quick shout-out to David .
Nathan Wrigley: [00:52:48] Yes. Oh, sorry. Before we do that, can I just put up one more comment? Was it gone? And it was to do with your thing that Paul he was talking about the page on wordpress.org.
Is it wordpress.org? Yes. With the recommended house. Peter saying he thinks maybe in the spirits of WordPress, it's now time to page taken down as well. So
Paul Lacey: [00:53:11] yeah, we'll see
Nathan Wrigley: [00:53:14] too
Paul Lacey: [00:53:14] much has been going on for 10 years. That debate. Yeah. Yeah. Okay.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:53:22] I can't play you a video. So I was just showing you a script.
Yeah. That's the best screenshot I could get of David. Every time I moved along to get a better screenshot, it ended up with some sort of half eyes closed kind of thing. So David apologies if that's not the best, but it's over. There we go. This is David's video. Tell us about it.
Paul Lacey: [00:53:39] Yeah, if you just look up David on YouTube, you'll find this video and he's started doing a bunch of videos now, actually, and this video is one that seemed to get quite a lot of reaction to it in various parts of the, mainly the Facebook kind of community.
And also in Twitter the videos called his Gutenberg killing WordPress themes, question, mark challenges for a theme developer in a Gutenberg world. And it's just, David's very honest and open take on the challenges of having a theme that was built in the age of When page builders were emerging as, so you could say that Genesis was one, one one generation and then the generation after that was, Pagebuilder framework and generate press and Astra, perhaps those bunch of different themes.
So he's come, he's coming to this from that generation where he's looked specifically at page builders, and he's talking about the frustrations. We've got some Berg, but he's not, ranting about it at all. He's just making everybody aware of what those challenges are. And also the decisions that he has to make for his company in and around.
In and around what parts of Gutenberg will or won't support. One of the things that he said is trickier, maybe themed dot Jason will solve this for him in the future. I don't really know the extent of how far it goes is that when he was working with any of the page builders, wherever it's at a mentor or BeaverBuilder or any of those different tools, he would find that the design system was purely contained inside that inside that page builder and the theme knew what it needed to do, and the page builder knew what it needed to do.
And there was, yes, there was some crossover things that needed to happen, but it was quite simple for themes to see where, what the role of a theme was and what the role of the design tool was and what he's saying. He finds it quite difficult to find that line of where his customizer type settings should override Gutenberg things or vice versa.
And so it's just really a really good, interesting video on that kind of challenge and a few of things as well. And that's a, that's an opinion straight from someone who is working within this. So he's got like the opposite problem too. Brian, in a way in that, Brian, you're, you're going with core from the beginning of core, David is having to not exactly fight it, but he's probably got a lot more things to do every time there's a release than he used to.
And is that killing WordPress themes? It probably will. It probably will kill a lot of them. Let's say you're a theme shop that hasn't been doing too great recently, and you're already overworked and not necessarily making too much money and it doesn't look like anyone wants to buy you. Then, and then you've got a whole bunch of other things to worry about and your support ticket.
Cause they're going up. Some people are going to drop out. Absolutely. And some of those come back in, we have a new offer, they will just drop out and do something completely different. So that's it really, the video just highlights that kind of challenge. It's not a rant it's just observing from within what it's like sort of patriotic build a framework.
I don't think that would be going anywhere because it always stayed simple. So yeah, David's got more work to do to make it fully compatible with goods and Berg and the Gutenberg future, but he kept things simple from the beginning. And I think that those kinds of themes we'll probably be fine because they will have a huge audience still with page builders.
And there'll be able to not have to harder time with the the Gutenberg approach as well. Any other thoughts on that? Obviously welcome. That was just my take on the video and Brian, you've probably not watched it to be honest. Cause we only told you about the links
Nathan Wrigley: [00:57:39] about 53 minutes the last 10 minutes.
No, I think we'll press on. So the, the next one, by the way, can I just say this podcast episode is sponsored by sure. FCM V seven. No, it's that all three of us have got
Paul Lacey: [00:57:56] the exact, so what's the chances of that fashion victim. Yes.
yeah. Anyway, it is a fantastic combination though.
It is, and it was a really trendy one and it costs more than the road arm as well. And I put it on as wow, that looks so good. We haven't got this metal bit showing. But I just, it just wasn't as maneuverable as this thing. It's fantastic. Yeah. Yeah. For
Nathan Wrigley: [00:58:27] those of you that haven't come across this mode, the best bit is not only as a nice shore might, but it's got a bit of software for your Mac or PC, which does all of the audio.
So yeah. And you can plug it in with USB, which is nice. You can see on the, on Brian's one, which makes it dead easy to use for podcasting. Okay. Next one is over on the set website. This will probably just cover this briefly because we've covered something like this before. This is just a nice little article where the toolset guys go over the similarities and differences between their offering and the new query loop block.
So the query loop block. Come across it. It's brilliant. It's just nice to have this in WordPress call where you can say, I would like to show a bunch of posts please. And I would like only these types of posts and I would like to show a featured image and a bit of metadata. That would be lovely.
And I'd like to show it in a basic grid, that kind of stuff you can do, but obviously toolset, I'm wanting to go a little bit further and right from the very beginning of Gutenberg they've it seems like they just dropped all their initiatives of their own to do layouts and they thought let's go with the block editor.
We'll just use whatever comes, but Brian really, we'll go with what's. What's. And we'll adapt that. And so that's what they've done. And so this is a nice little article basically saying here's how you can produce a nice, simple loop with the core offering. And then right at the very end, I always appreciate this when a post is exploratory and then at the end, they tag on their little and here's what you can do with our stuff as well.
I think that's a really good way of doing it. Then they go to show that the sort of the way that you could finesse it and other little bit more. So for example, you could pick all sorts of different fields and style it in a much more point click drag kind of way. You can see if you're looking at the screen, you can see, for example, over on the, the, the Gutenberg side of things, I don't think you get the color customization and the things like the border shadow and box radius and all that kind of stuff, but you do on the tool set side of things.
So just a nice little article, and I, we constantly keep coming back and big and op tool set because. For me they're doing a really great integrating all the words, core stuff. We had a few little problems. Didn't we, Paul, we tried to build something a few, a couple of months ago and we ran into some little problems, but no doubt, the team
Paul Lacey: [01:00:45] are awesome.
Actually it was just you know, Cutting edge tools, the cutting edge blocks with cadence and the cutting edge aspect of toolset, just colliding and not quite being fully compatible. But I think that they've probably solved that problem. I reported it to both of them anyway, but it was just a burgers you get where these kinds of things, something, nathan, we're talking about before the show about this is when you see you sometimes wonder, are the core team not taking any notice of things that I've already been done really well outside and using those ideas, I've come to the conclusion now that, and this isn't a conspiracy [email protected]ngforwordpress.com, but it's not just building for stuff for, for their product, wordpress.com.
It's also building a product for anyone who wants to use it. In a new way, aligned with the way that wordpress.com using it like frost WPS approach, or if you're an independent website owner and you want to have I've seen this analogy before choices, not options. So they people will be able to have themes that are specific to certain verticals, for instance, and all the blocks that they might need are in there.
And then if they needed something. Then they go to the third party to get that whether it's a slider or animations or some custom code or something. So I'm now thinking that they are deliberately not looking at something like toolset and saying, wow, look how toolset handles the design capabilities you can have in the loop.
I think they're saying that's great. It already exists. If you want that use toolset, you'll be in the 20% of people that creates the 80% of the websites, the agencies, the freelancers, and all those kinds of things. But it's probably too complicated for what a lot of the people who are going to be using something like this in wordpress.com or in other kind of pre-packaged, you don't need to think about this too much solutions it's putting my mind at rest that I've come to that conclusion that I'm wondering sometimes why are they just not looking at other things?
I think that they probably are. And they're saying let's not do that. Let's do it this way and keep things simple. But the query block is all block-based. As far as I can tell, I've never tried it. Whereas the tool set one is far more relevant to someone like me that once in a block, the hat. But once they actually put their own custom code and classes into the HTML output there, and they can do that with toolset, but you can't really do that.
I don't think with the query block, the, that comes with core. So I think that's what's happening. I think that they're seeing things that are being done better than they are for edge cases, but they're deciding to keep core into blocks and everything will be built from blocks. And if you want to override it, you will use a third party of which there is plenty of choice to be had.
Nathan Wrigley: [01:03:49] I've just shown this comment from a Facebook user. I don't know who you are. Apologies. Seems like I have to check out tool so I can, yeah, that kind of comments seems to become a lot more and more. We've got it in the toolbox. Maybe bought it a few years ago. Haven't used it, but maybe it's time to bring it back out yet.
Honestly, give it a try because they've really embraced the whole Gutenberg
Paul Lacey: [01:04:09] thing on talk. Remember that post on talk. I forget the talk.com is it talk to IO and they interviewed a bunch of agencies and freelancers specifically on who had moved over to using blocks over page builders and traditional themes.
Almost everybody was either at this point using tool set or generate press blocks to, to achieve what they were doing. That was the majority tool that, people were using at that moment. Um, you could see that if you were adopting it as an agency, you were needing to pull in those fled parties at this point, but give it another year.
Brian Gardner: [01:04:47] Paul, I think something you said is a, is an important delineator here in how WordPress chooses to approach these things. You said edge case just a few minutes ago. I, I think there's probably a person or a committee that does look at these things and say, okay, we've either we've fallen short or we've got it to a point.
Do we need to extend it? In other words, are we extending it because it's edge case where we extending it because it's going to be globally used a certain way. I think groups are my favorite thing that ever happened to WordPress block, the block group. I think that was in response to what several block libraries out there had, like their own container block, I think is what they call them.
And so I think in that case, they're like, Hey that's an idea we need to have. Cause that's a globally used and can be really helpful. The tool thing, Hey, we're going to bring it to this point. If we take it any further, it becomes just edge case and then becomes too much. But I think back to like word themes and the menu system, like that's a perfect example of WordPress saying, Hey, someone way ahead of the game and we want it exactly the way they've built it.
So we'll fork it and bring it in or work with them that, that's an example of WordPress, the project saying, looking at the community, seeing what they're doing. So I do think on some level, it there's a degree of, yeah, that's something we need to put into core and that's something we shouldn't, because it's to educate and I'll say this about frost really quickly, and then we can move on.
I would not have started for us six months, 12 months a year and a half ago because WordPress core does wasn't at a point because of my dedication to using quote the WordPress way, it wasn't ready sort of the way it was now. And um, w with, I feel and this is like, why. Like frost is good for its market, a good product, because there's so much, I feel that we could do now with WordPress core blocks.
Like I don't have a need to reinvent or build or go further. There's markets everywhere. There's markets for toolset who say, we want to extend this and bring it into this market and make it do this. And then there's me. It was like, Hey, there's 40% of the internet. There's a small segment of that who just needs a basic site and some configurations on a homepage and that's enough.
They just want it. Well-designed good. Typography, stuff like that. And that's where we're choosing to stay with, with frost and why it's easy to at this 0.6 months, a year ago, maybe not so much, but with the group block and some of this theme that Jason stuff, which introduces content with, and capping things at certain things now, I'm like, okay, now I feel like WordPress has equipped me as a product builder to do what I want to do.
Nathan Wrigley: [01:07:21] Nice were kind running out of time, ish a bit. So I'm going to move on automatic, they get into email. Not directly they've they've invested $30 million in Titan poll. This is on you, isn't it?
Paul Lacey: [01:07:39] Yeah. Yeah. So I was just looking at the screen yeah, sort bought Titan. Wow. I mean, how much does Titan cost to buy buy my entire street for that. And, and, but, um, yeah, this is obvious, really. Investment for automatic. I don't understand why you would need to invest for a million in a company and not buy it for the thing that they're doing with it.
And that's just my ignorance to this how this whole thing works at this level of thing. But basically what it's clear that they're doing already is implementing this into wordpress.com so that when you buy a website per month from wordpress.com, you can have an upsell to have an email account for, I think it's $3 50, and then you will be able to leverage the Titan service.
A very good price too, as an alternative to Google mail or uh, office 365 and those sorts of products now, weeks I was in someone's who exist site the other day, just helping. Yeah. And there's some things they do really good, good in there. And it's the, it's the ability to purchase your domain and to purchase your website and also to buy your email and the, my wife's friend whose website I was helping her with had purchased through email through that.
I think it was via Google but the whole process of. Getting the domain, the website and the email was so seamless, it was so easy. And I was blown away how easy it was. I think this is what wordpress.com is doing. They brought in a partner and we invested heavily into them and you will now be able to buy wordpress.com website.
And we've no complexity at all. Have an email inbox is to a professional level. And as I understand it about Titan as well, it has got a few cool features in that. I've never used it, but I heard a few people say it has almost like a ability to do almost like support ticketing. So you can reorder and reprioritize emails within your inbox to say, oh, this is what I need to get back to.
And this one's done or this one needs to be signed off to someone else or something like that. Um, for end users of WordPress, Brilliant for people wanting to stand up against the, the Wix and the pure corporate non open source options out there again, brilliant. And for automatic to have a, an option that sits against any of the big hosting conglomerates that are now buying up, have their own pop based email services or partnerships again, it's it's another option that people have got to go the wordpress.com route.
And what they're essentially doing is cutting off the reasons why you wouldn't go with something like wordpress.com. If that was in your list of possibilities.
Nathan Wrigley: [01:10:43] I love this sentence on the, yeah. This article is basic, by the way, in the WP Tavern P uh, blog posts. I love this sentence here. It says we need an alternative to Google and Microsoft.
This is my modern work, which has started to monopolize email. I was just thinking, imagine that sentence said, we need an alternative to WordPress because it's beginning to monopolize, the internet said co-founder of Wix just such an interesting take, but apparently go back a number of years.
Matt Mullenweg was all into slack and he, I think he believed that email was on the decline and would eventually disappear. So this is a bit of a volt fast there, but yeah, I'm totally blown away by how you don't build an email company. That's really good for $30 million. If you're automatic.
Paul Lacey: [01:11:30] get all the people though as well then. Yeah. Yeah,
Nathan Wrigley: [01:11:32] yeah, of course. And presumably this is a profitable company that they've invested in because they see a bright future for it. But honestly, it's just never even occurred to me that you could do your email through wordpress.com. I always just go to Google, just that's my default.
I just press the Google button and get everything set up that way. But yeah, if you've got a wordpress.com domain click a button $3 50 is pretty good. You said it didn't you said it came with calendars as well.
Paul Lacey: [01:11:58] Go to calendar. All right. Contact built-in. So those are the things, the average DIY business owner needs.
If they're setting up a website and wordpress.com email domain website it's a, it's a good, it's a good offering. I think they'll do well.
Nathan Wrigley: [01:12:13] Yeah. You got any thoughts on this, Brian?
Brian Gardner: [01:12:15] No, nothing of significant value that you guys have already said,
Nathan Wrigley: [01:12:20] Okay. All right. In which case, we're going to stray away from WordPress for one final piece, and I've got to be careful with my language here.
Apparently the acronym CP is what I'm going to use here. And CP is referring to images that are of a nefarious name. Involving small human beings. I think we all know what I'm talking about, but this is, this I've been on holiday for two weeks. So I, I have no idea if this story has done the rounds, but yeah, I expect it has, but if you're the owner of an iPhone and you use iCloud apple of apple have done something really curious, I think they've done it as best as they could, but I'm just interested on everybody's takes on this.
Okay. You're out and about, and you're taking pictures or you're receiving pictures on iMessage or what have you basically, if a photograph lands on your computer, your iOS device, and it gets sent up to iCloud, which is where it can go. If you've ticked that box, they go, ah, I keep saying Google apple are going to download a database of CP images and hash your picture.
Compare them and they reckon it's a one in a trillion fail rate. Basically they recommend that all the nines except the last one is, they're going to get it correct. And if you have any of these photos on your phone, which are being uploaded to iCloud, they will get in touch with Lauren.
And you will be in a bit of trouble. And if you're a child who is the recipient of one of these images and you are in the apple ecosystem and you're on the family plan, your going to be told, if you really want to open this image, that's fine, but we will tell your parents. And you know, I'm going to click this, but my parents are going to, I don't know if they, I doubt they'll get the image, but they'll probably get the notification to say, your child has looked at this image.
Okay. So they've done this in a really Bulletproof cryptographic way. In other words, they don't see the picture. They just compare it to a hash, which is coming from a verified police law enforcement database, and then making that comparison. And if there's a positive, they will alert the authorities because the thing which came out of the eff, which I thought was curious, It's a slippery slope.
They say, because now you've built into iOS, the technology to do this. And so it wouldn't be too much of a stretch or would it, I don't know too much of a stretch for a government to say, actually, do you know what if apple dare apple, if you want to operate in our country, if you've got any pictures of this event, which happened, which our government don't think should have happened.
Can you just tell us about those people as well? And although apple I'm sure would never do it. The fact is they've built the plant form to enable it. Nobody could argue that CP needs to be stamped out, but I'm just curious from a technological point of view, what you guys think it's just interesting apple in some way, able to inspect your photos.
Not really, but yeah. Yeah, I know. I know the last
Brian Gardner: [01:15:38] one. First of all, like if it's an opt-in thing, there is at least there's that I'll give up that.
Nathan Wrigley: [01:15:48] Oh, it's no, it's if you, if you're using iCloud then you've opted in. So you have to, if you think that you use it, you're
Brian Gardner: [01:15:55] not going to not use iCloud because of this, because I cloud you want to use it for it's.
So it's really it's opt in, but not really. It's probably most of them, you haven't given it a whole lot of thought that it's more just because you can build something, some sort of a technology thing doesn't mean you should. Is apple really trying to police this or there it is. I don't know.
I think to your point, like all of a sudden it goes from, CP to like, hate crimes and like, where do you draw a line? You know, Hey, if you see a gun in a picture with a kid holding it, like all of a sudden knocked down his door, That to me seems a little too, not advice of, cause I don't want to be sensitive to the fact that it might save lives and people and things like that, but it's just, I don't know.
It just built software, like help people communicate and do work.
Nathan Wrigley: [01:16:43] Yeah. It's really cute. And I think the, I don't know what the law is in the United States. I don't even know what the law is in the United Kingdom, but I imagine there's some, if that image is on your hardware, in other words, if it's on the apple iCloud, presumably they that that's somehow liable for it.
If there's a picture that shouldn't be on their hardware that is on their hardware, they want to get rid of that at the first available opportunity. And I just, I don't know if it's coming from that point of view as much as to help the wider community. It's just curious, the FF saw this as a, there's now a backdoor and whether or not we want to think about it, possibly governments might compel apple in the future to you've got the technology.
Let's see pictures of, I don't know, things I want to see who's got a picture of this document or that document or whatever. Yeah. Anyway.
Brian Gardner: [01:17:37] Yeah. As I think about it real quick, there might be some element of scare tactics here too. Hey, we've got this now. It just might prevent people from doing it more or switching over to a Google or Samsung or some other service.
Like if I now know that this is a thing. I just may not choose to send this thing. So maybe there's an element of that, which is it'll prevent it from people doing it just cause they think they might get caught now.
Nathan Wrigley: [01:18:00] Yeah. Yeah. I was actually listening to a podcast of experts in this area.
Not that long ago, a couple of days ago. And they were saying the one in a trillion is just pure guesswork. Like the idea that they can know how accurate their technology is and how imagine you are that person who gets in trouble with the law because of the false positive. It's just like career-ending mistake.
Paul Lacey: [01:18:26] uh, yeah, so we I was listening to podcasts the other day and it was talking about. Technology that gets developed and basically there's this problem in a way, or it's not a problem. It's just a reality that we, uh, innovating technology really quick. So if you take COVID for instance you know, does that argument about should scientists type people in labs experiment with viruses and make them much worse so that we can then experiment how we would fix that problem if it ever happened in nature or someone else was experimenting it for a bad reason.
So it seems that there's always a situation that like we're always going to create software or innovations or technology or whatever. In dangerous as well. Like we literally always create in tech that can kill us all, or, we'll make bad things happen to ourselves and we can't stop that happening.
Like we're always going to keep doing that. There's also a situation that there will always be some bad actors who will want to exploit that software or technology, whether that's governments or terrorists or just not nice people or whatever. And then there's basically us normal people as such who just use, who have no choice, but the technology is part of our life.
And we've got no way of getting around that. Now I don't have so much as a personal opinion on how you would, how you solve that, how you solve that conundrum as such apart from I kind of agreed with some of the people on the podcast that were saying, I think we have to keep creating this technology and then we just have to keep aspiring to use it in the most responsible way, because some, as soon as we.
As a kind of, um, and what we call ourselves, humans are able to do something. Yeah. Those people over there maybe be able to do at first, but give it a year and then everyone will be able to do it. So in the virus situation, the COVID situation, it's a case of right now only people in labs can probably, change the super terrible version of this flu virus.
That was about H one Enron one, I think it's called something like that. And make it terrible. Within like 10 years, that'll be doable in the classroom by, people just, on a computer, they can press a few buttons and. And somehow they're able to create the DNA of a terrible virus that does something.
So it's going to happen no matter what. And it makes sense that we create this technology because it's happening. And then we try and use it responsibly. And then we try and use more tech too, to protect people who are in the firing line of, of this. You mean?
Nathan Wrigley: [01:21:24] Yeah. Cherry ending podcasts.
Paul Lacey: [01:21:28] Um, one thing I think it was Elon Musk said it was talking about the climate crisis actually. Like how do we get people to care about it because it's too slow. It's too slow, w we're just looking at it and going, yeah, I'm going to tweet about that. That's terrible or something like that, and, and when most of us aren't doing something, then you've got governments who come in every two years or four years in democratic situations.
And as soon as they get into government, they're now thinking about the next election and, and they don't really do what they're told, what they said that they were do Elon Musk's approach to this is we need to make things that are so attractive and cool that you want it. And as a result, it saves the environment, whether that's a Tesla car or some other cool thing, give me that invent, invent a baseball cap that eats.
Or something, I dunno, I need to get an quirky paint and that's a good idea.
Nathan Wrigley: [01:22:27] Go to carbon eating.
Paul Lacey: [01:22:30] We just can't stop the technology onslaught. It's outpacing us. The clever people are outpacing us. Um, yeah, um, I hope that this will save a lot of, children basically, because, and obviously there's freedom and privacy aspects and stuff like that, but I'm in the party that I would give that away, but I'm in a safe country.
I live in the UK, so yeah, it's easy for me to say. Yeah.
Nathan Wrigley: [01:22:56] Okay. Picks of the week I've got one. It's going to be dead quick and then we'll end it. If nobody else has got a pick of the week, this is called Sue me. Don't use it. It's free for 10 things and it's $19 99. If you want to upgrade and you can have unlimited things.
It's one of these lifetime deal thing actually is not it's their pricing. That's just what they asked for. It's basically like an RSS reader blog post. So you can stick a URL in, or an RSS feed or Twitter handle or a tumbler handle or a YouTube URL. And it will start to create a feed. And it's dead simple.
It basically looks like that. So it's just the bare bones with a little excerpt, perhaps an image. And I just thought it was really cool. The fact that you can amalgamate, it's like an RSS reader on steroids with extra things. And it's called sumi.news and I've subscribed. And I really like it. It just presents all so I can put everything into one big feed and I never look at it like it was like you do, but that's all I've got Paul, you've got to pick of
Paul Lacey: [01:24:02] I didn't, I forgot to do it. So I'm going to go with the film Aspen extreme that was recommended to me from Brian Gardner. Yeah. That's where it is on. And also another cool thing that I got from Amazon this week was a spirit level for the top of my camera that I'm using here for the streaming, because it's always slightly.
And then are you kidding? It sits on top of the camera. I don't know what that thing's called the shoe at the back. Yeah, the shoe it slots into there. And then when I'm setting it up and turning it, I can just check and it's perfectly okay. I don't know what
Nathan Wrigley: [01:24:41] you're on about. Yeah. It's always straight my
Paul Lacey: [01:24:43] camera.
I didn't notice that sort of thing that you don't know that existence Lynita uh, there was
Nathan Wrigley: [01:24:50] no problems with my camera. Always input. Yeah. Okay. Fair enough. Thank you, Brian. Anything?
Brian Gardner: [01:24:57] Yes. And I'm wearing one right now, lifestyle stuff. I was going to go nerdy, but I'm like, you know what? No. I see people talking about oh, where do I buy the best quality shirt and things like that.
And Jeff Sheldon gentlemen runs a company called ugmonk.com U G M O N K. He's been around for more than a decade. He's completely self-funded bootstrapped and everything. And for simple, clothing items and just other. Productivity things are like around desks and workstations and stuff like that.
Actually have a leather mouse pad by him too. He's one of those kinds of people you're like support the small guy. You know, you don't need to go buy a t-shirt from uh, I've been wearing these shirts. I wear five of them. I think I just rotate through the same grays that's $35 or $40 shirts, but it's what you get, what you pay for it.
I haven't had to apply any for three years now. Yeah. And I just a great guys that designer. So like we have that affinity going on. So just a quick plug for Jeff and what he's. What was it again? U G M O N K O gunk.com. The site is he's it's beautiful. Everything he touches is beautiful.
Ah, yeah, he's got loads
Nathan Wrigley: [01:26:11] of, oh yeah. Ooh, I like it. So it shoes, pens shirts, like little booklets that you can write in note personal I'll I'll just quickly put it on the screen. Yeah, that looks nice. I'm like you basically whatever's on the top of my drawer when I get to it. That's what's going on my body that day.
You know, the top t-shirt is the one that's going, so I just basically have 40 shirts. They hit the wash, go to the top, back home again. And they're always, these they're always the same, but yeah. Got it. Nice. It looks good. I'll add it to the show notes. That's good. Cool. Okay. I've got nothing else.
I don't think anybody else has. So we'll probably knock it on the head. Thank you so much episode number 1 74. If you enjoyed it, share it. If you didn't enjoy it, share it and just share it anyway. And yeah, we'll be back next week. We're we're going to go and we're going to go and track it found in the virtual wilderness, Jonathan Walden, make sure he's all right.
But thanks to Paul cohost as always. And Brian Gardner for joining us this week. Really appreciate it. And we'll see you next week. We've got to do the work now. Got to do the wave.