[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your hosts, David Waumsley, and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to another episode of the WP Builds podcast. It is an absolute pleasure to have you here. This is episode number 200 and 68 entitled. What is the Heropress network. With Cate and Topher DeRosia. It was published on Thursday, the 3rd of March, 2022. My name's Nathan Wrigley and a couple of bits of housekeeping just before we begin.
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Okay, let's get into the main content. Shall we? I did say at the top that it was an episode with Cate and Topher DeRosia. They have a fabulous website called hero press. And over many years, hero press has been collecting art articles about the silent heroes in WordPress, all the great people that make up our wonderful community. Well, they're expanding a little bit. They've started to create a website all about podcasting.
They've also created a website called find it WP, which really collects all the WordPress content. And they've also got their hero press network. And we're talking today about why they're doing all these endeavors. What are they trying to give back? To the community. What kind of content can you find over there and possibly how you might keep it going by donating to them? They are a lovely couple are highly commend. This episode.
And so without further delay, I hope that you enjoy the podcast with Cate and Topher DeRosia. Hello there. Thank you for joining us on the WP Builds podcast. Once again, you've got an interview episode today and quite unusually. I have two people on the line today. Normally it's just one, but today I'm joined by Kate and tofa de Rosea. Hello.
[00:04:04] Cate DeRosia: Hello.
[00:04:05] Nathan Wrigley: They are both. Yeah. Yeah. You're very welcome. They're both on separate lines.
And when we when we started the call, I just thought that Topher was being really quiet. And it was in fact that I hadn't actually let him into the call. He's here now. The the reason that we've got you on the podcast today is something a little bit special. We do occasionally stray into the area of the WordPress community.
I say occasionally we do it fairly frequently, but often we're in, we end up talking about, agencies and plugins and themes and all of that. And we're squarely staying away from that today because we're going to be talking today about hero press. Now, what I would urge you to do, if you've never heard of hero, press is press pause.
Go to hero, press.com. It's spelled exactly as you would imagine, H E R O P R E S S.com and have a little bit of a click around. And I'm sure that you're going to find something a little bit different, a little bit unique and hopefully something which makes your heart warmer because I feel that's what it's all about.
Before I put my tell everybody what I think it's about. Maybe I can just hand that question over to one of you to what is hero press in your elevator pitch? How do you sum it up?
[00:05:15] Cate DeRosia: Go for that.
[00:05:17] Topher DeRosia: All right. Your press is quite old actually. Relatively speaking, it's about seven years old and for the last seven years, it has been a curated blog where the content is submitted by we're pressers. And it's people telling the stories of how WordPress has enabled them in some way. And there's a huge variety there.
We have single moms who can work from home and be with their kids and older folks doing third and fourth careers and people in repressed economies making much better wages than they would otherwise. And out some people just like the freedom that the life gives them. It's whatever, however, WordPress helps them.
And then we've always wanted to do more. It's always been an inspirational thing and we wanted to do some direct helping. And so last spring Kate said, Hey, what if we built up a bunch of more stuff and then had somebody work on it all the time? Cause I just do the essays there once a week and it's not. So we just put our heads together and we came up with a bunch of new things that we could build that would directly help the community and we released them all for free. And then there's a hope that we can crowdfund enough to have somebody probably Kate work on it more time. Full-time part-time I don't know.
We'll see where it goes. And if it's not her, then it could be a wide variety of other people.
[00:07:01] Nathan Wrigley: So if we rewind the clock, I think you said, did you say eight years of I misremembered that seven? Sorry. So if we rewind the clock about seven years ago, obviously it didn't exist and most people can look back at a moment in time and think actually that was the bit of kindling that got the fire going.
Do you have a story about how it actually came from being just a mere idea to being something that you actually thought about doing, oh, this be nice, but.
[00:07:31] Cate DeRosia: he he does. He does, but I'm going to tell, I'm going to tell this one, because
life of an
[00:07:37] Topher DeRosia: one beat that detail?
[00:07:39] Cate DeRosia: what was
[00:07:40] Topher DeRosia: I think can I throw in one detail?
[00:07:42] Cate DeRosia: Sure.
[00:07:43] Topher DeRosia: I think it was exactly seven years ago this week,
[00:07:47] Nathan Wrigley: Huh. Nice.
That is nice.
[00:07:51] Cate DeRosia: 2014, Tofor had gone that to the last word camp, San Francisco with his team at SWP. And Dave Rosen was. And they had all been sitting around in their house that they had rented and we're brainstorming ideas and what they want to do with their life and all sorts of things.
And a Tuesday just before Thanksgiving here in the U S so at the end of November, till for said, Hey, Dave just sent me this email. He wants me to quit my job at SWP and go full-time on some project, that'll help the community. And he spent the next three months working hand in hand with Dave and a couple of other people to figure out what that might be.
And nobody had hero press in mind when it happened. And in fact, here a process kind of the result of a failed project. But it's ended up being exactly what they had hoped. It would be seven years ago. When he got to the end of it, he didn't have a position any longer and he didn't have a business to run and we were looking for work and it was a really strange set of circumstances to be in.
But we've battled through all of it to make your oppress what it is today.
[00:09:12] Nathan Wrigley: so to sum up the kind of content that you've got you, do you reach out to people or do you have people submitting to you? Can anybody contact you and submit an article about anything? Or do you have strict editorial guidelines? That's probably overemphasizing it, but there is, there are certain categories of things which fall out of the bounds of what you're prepared to publish, but there are certain things which you're more than happy to write.
[00:09:36] Topher DeRosia: Yeah.
There's a link on the website on your bus.com called contribute, and anybody can fill it out and tell me their story. I would say 95% have been me reaching out to people. I'll see somebody interesting on Twitter or slack or whatever, and straight up, strike up a conversation. And suddenly they're fascinating because everybody's fascinating. And and I had just asked him, Hey, can you, would you write an essay? And I think two people ever have convinced me that they're not right for it. I do have some requirements. Of course it has to be about their story and WordPress. Occasionally I get people saying, Hey, I'd like to do an essay about my. And that doesn't work. But for the most part, I will take just about anybody because the longer I do this, the more I learn that everybody's story is fascinating and no one thinks their own story as fast.
[00:10:44] Cate DeRosia: yeah. One reason we have to reach out to people is that most people don't think they have a story that's worth telling. Who really cares how you got started. And yet you have no idea who you're going to inspire, who you're going to who needs to hear that little bit of something that happened to you so that they can feel like they're not alone and they can move forward in their, and what they want to.
[00:11:08] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. So essentially it's about people's journeys through WordPress. The criteria are that you have been using WordPress and to presumably to some extent still are. And you've got a story to sh to share the, one of the, one of the things that I'm most intrigued by is just the international flavor of the whole thing.
A lot of these. A lot of blogs that you go to for obvious reasons, you'll, you are confined to the writers that are sitting at the desks in the place where this is happening, but you've got the whole world as your as your creators. And so you really are getting stories from all over the place.
[00:11:46] Cate DeRosia: Yeah. And that really goes back to the beginnings of hero press. I personally am a little uncomfortable with the name here on press. It gets such a bad rap, but the whole idea behind the hero and hero press is that everybody's a hero. Everybody has some good they can do in the world some way that they can help somebody else.
Anytime you help somebody else. You're a hero. And we really wanted with hero press to focus on the people on the edges who didn't get the visibility that everybody else does. And for whatever reason, there's so many reasons why you just might not be seen. And so I keep thinking of hero process, like an empty stage with a microphone standing on it, and we keep it up and running and other people get to step up and to show off or show themselves to the world.
[00:12:35] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. I've not been in the WordPress community for the longest period of time. I think probably 2015 or something like maybe 2014 was when I strayed into it for the first time. But it quickly came onto my horizon because I got really immersed in it. And so things like hero press just kept coming up over and over again.
And th the thing that I enjoy about it is because it's just a real break from the traditional blog that you read, you're normally a WordPress article. Whilst it might have community aspect to it, that's true. Typically I'm finding articles and they're about how to achieve a certain thing, how to do a certain thing.
What, what does this theme enable you to do? What do these buttons do you really aren't in that domain at all? This is literally narrative stuff about journeys and people demonstrating how the community has helped them through.
[00:13:24] Cate DeRosia: Yeah, and this is one reason that I'm just coming into the project now. I'm actually a writer and editor and the whole point of the hero processes are that they're very real. And they're from actual people, not polished writers and not, like they're the. Anything that every essay is very lightly edited.
If there are some glaring issues that we think people might want to fix for reasons, Tofor, we'll mention that, but we've wanted to keep that realness. The depth of that comes from seeing people as they actually are, instead of, something that is very highly polished and marketed and, there's just so much value in the earthiness of it.
[00:14:09] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, with that in mind, do you, when you get a submission, let's say that I'm somebody and I've never written anything before and perhaps I'm, well, let's go for the word shy, perhaps I'm shy and I'm not really sure if I want to put my head above the parapet, but I've got this feeling that I might do. And I communicate with you.
Do you assist people along, along the way so that it comes in a raw state, you mentioned just now that toe from cast his eye over it. And what have you, and there's an editorial process. Do you assist people bouncing back and forth to get things more polished so that there's a bit of support along the way?
[00:14:44] Topher DeRosia: I to a certain extent I do, but it happens a little earlier than you might think. I work with them to craft the idea of the story. Like people will say, I don't have a story. I don't know what I would say. And I say just tell me how you got started. What do you do? And then they'll get done and I'll say, okay, so what I'm hearing is you did this and you did this and it got you this. And they're like, oh, wow. Yeah. I never really thought about that. And then I say, okay, now who would you present this to? That's another strong element. I always say this at the beginning, every essay is written to someone's period. But they could decide, get to decide who that is. It could be people their own age or from their city or country or culture or anything, even somebody with their own name.
Maybe they're writing to themselves five years ago. So we come up with the story and then we come up with who the audience is and then I just let them go. And very rarely does somebody come back to me stuck and say, I got going, I don't know what I'm doing. 90% of the time, 99% of the time, they'll just shoot me an essay and I read through it and it's amazing.
It's just amazing.
[00:16:05] Nathan Wrigley: when I, When I go to the website, if I click on just if I'm on the, just on the homepage, obviously things more recently rise to the top. So at the moment we're in we're towards the very end of 2021. So articles around them are there, but the, one of the things which hits you right in the face straight off the bat is the essay languages.
And there's a laundry list there. I'm guessing there's about 20 different languages. Honestly, some of them, I don't even know what they would be because they're in a different script and one that I'm completely unfamiliar with, but I
[00:16:36] Topher DeRosia: your mouse over it.
[00:16:37] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah.
[00:16:38] Topher DeRosia: If you hover your mouse over it, it'll
[00:16:40] Nathan Wrigley: Uh, okay. Let's have a look. Okay. Okay. Okay.
So I've got Vietnamese. I didn't know that one. I've got a Nepali. That's amazing. I've got what's this one. I genuinely know. Ooh. I don't even know how to pronounce it. Okay. For somebody, someone from Bhutan. There we go.
And you'll notice that. So there's these 20 different languages. How does that work?
Are you encouraging people to write to you in English and then the translation happens back into their native language? Or is it the other way around? I'm imagining again that I'm somebody from, let's say, oh, I don't know, Finland or something like that. And I wish to communicate with you.
And my best writing is always going to be in my native tongue. It's never going to be in English. That's going to be a Kluge. How do you work around that? So that the best writing shines out.
[00:17:27] Topher DeRosia: Each person does both languages there. They own the writer to themselves does both languages. So it's not actually a translation per se. It's just them expressing themselves in a different language.
[00:17:41] Nathan Wrigley: Do you ever take articles where the non-English language is the only one? Do you have a surface ones where it's just, let's say for example, in Finnish.
[00:17:51] Topher DeRosia: Yeah. I haven't.
[00:17:53] Nathan Wrigley: Yep.
[00:17:55] Topher DeRosia: The only one that's unique in that way. Corey, Ashton did one in video
[00:18:02] Nathan Wrigley: Hmm. I had it transcribed So you can read the text if you want to, but she wanted to tell her story and she didn't want to write it. So she did a four or five minute video and there we are.
So we're seven years into the project. There's obviously still great excitement because you're still doing it. I just wondered if you wanted to speak about where you're hoping for it to go because in the more recent past, over the last few weeks, so again, towards the end of 2021 the project.
It swelled and gotten bigger in all sorts of different ways. And maybe it's not tied under the hero, press banner, we've got different things happening. So just lay out for us what it is that you're doing and the reasons behind all of that.
[00:18:48] Cate DeRosia: Yeah. So tofus always wanted th the idea was always to do more with your oppressed. That's, that's what it originally started as something more, and it settled into just the essays for the last seven years, because that's what fed our family. Our family was at a stage where all we could really give Tofor was about five hours a week to work on the project above and beyond, all the other things he was doing.
And we had to put it on the back burner, but as our kids are now 20 and 22, they've moved beyond, needing us the same way that we used to. We're moving into a different stage of life. We realized that the gay community was also growing into kind of a different stage where there's more separation between.
The top and the bottom, like it's harder for a beginner to come in and find their place and get started because people are now busy running businesses and, which is great success for the community, but really difficult to keep the very necessary core of the community growing and thriving. And so we've looked, we spent about a year, really planning what we could do because with a project like hero press, you can do anything.
We could go into training, we could go into larger community development and we looked at a couple of ways that we could pack things into your process. So everything stayed just under the hero, press a name, but we also want it to be really. Really delicate with the essays. We value what they are to people.
And we value. Like they, they hold a special place. They're all donated. They're like really fragile spread special things to us. And when Liam and Tara turned over hallway chats to us in the spring, we realized that instead of trying to shove everything together, then what we needed to do was build kind of a system around it all.
So instead of just sticking with the hero press, we built the hero press network. W access like a hub and kind of a news source. It lets us do community news. We can promote different things happening around, the whole ecosystem. We can we can just do a variety of different things with that without really disrupting the essays over here, I'll press or getting in the way of the the community conversations that hallway chats.
And from there, we started looking at some things that didn't exist in the community that we thought could be really useful, not just to beginners, but to also people like veteran people who are busy running businesses, so we built out WP podcasts, which just aggregates all of the current podcasts for WordPress that we've got, that we've been able to find.
And you can go in now and search them by episode, which is something that didn't exist before in the community. And as a huge asset to everyone find it. WP is the newest one. And I've been a little slow rolling this out mostly because I got syllabus shock when I realized how much admin work was going to go into it. So I pulled back in and moved that one forward a little more slowly to let us iron out some bugs before we really pushed it hard. But that is really. It's a compilation of everything happening at WordPress. So if you're a freelancer, we just had our first freelancer sign up. He goes in and he puts in all of the tags and categories that fits him.
And if you're looking for somebody who's good at WooCommerce, you can go to find it WP and see who's there listing themselves as we commerce people looking for more podcasts, you can go find them there. It's just a place for people to get visibility, but also to find more diverse options. We've heard a lot about all of the acquisitions and some people are unhappy to see, big companies buying up the products that they love.
Like here's your chance to go find something different and something new that you would struggle to find just going to Google for it.
[00:22:52] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah let's drill down on each one of these, but first of all, I want to I want to just comment on the fact that you left hero press alone and I can imagine the conversations that you went through, that name existed, that brand existed. It would have been really easy to bolt everything on and see how that goes.
You could have done the podcast. The hero, press.com forward slash podcast or whatever it might be. But I really think it was a great move to keep that one insulated because that just feels like something a bit special. Something a bit unique that deserves its place and almost a walled garden around it to just keep it as it is.
So I commend you for doing that. I know that it doesn't really sound like a lot, but I think it was the right thing to do. I was really good.
[00:23:38] Cate DeRosia: Thanks. We appreciate it. We, it was a, an interesting set of conversations, but it also became very obvious that it was the right direction to go.
[00:23:48] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. So we mentioned the we mentioned the URL at the beginning, so hero press.com. So let's move on to the next one, which is probably even easier to remember. Possibly, if you just remember the hero press network is now a thing. So this is the umbrella website. You can go to hero, press, network.com.
There's no hyphens or anything like that. Just hero, press, network.com. This is I'm guessing like your place to announce and get donations and all of this for all of the different side projects that we'll go into, we'll go into the podcast and find it WP, and then possible other avenues in the future.
So that website, I don't know if I ended up clicking on a link, inadvertently going over to support. Yes, I probably did. This is just so the hero. Dot com homepage is like a landing page to show where everything is right.
[00:24:42] Cate DeRosia: yeah, it's one place. So a lot of what we wanted to do for the veteran users in the community is make everything easier to find. So here at Preston network is. Again, it just, and it's just the cheat sheet, basically for the entire network where you don't have to go to hallway chats to see what the newest episode is.
You don't have to go over to, WP podcast to find out the most recent episode over there. You can just go to the network and see what the latest news. We have some ideas of bringing in more more WordPress news. And, it's about finding the things that are happening in the entire WordPress ecosystem, all in one place, and then sending you off to those other places.
So if you want to see what's happening at the Tavern, you go over to the Tavern and you click the link and then move over to the Tavern and read the article.
[00:25:34] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Anybody who's spent any time creating content and it's become a meaningful part of their life. They will have wrestled with. I'm going to use the word problem. It's not a problem. It's just part of living. You've got to, you got to make this work, you've got to make this financially viable and you can't just keep doing this forever, just because you love doing it as some point, the amount of time that you put in has to be rewarded if you like.
And so at the moment you are, and I presume you still will be, you're looking for people to, to become investors and to help you support you through this journey. Do you want to tell us how that works and what the quid pro quo is? In other words, if you invest, is it just on a F the word is escaping me, but basically we're just donating because we're nice people.
Or do you offer some sort of quid pro quo? If you donate to us, we will, I don't know, put a, put an ad on a post or something like that. How does it all.
[00:26:32] Cate DeRosia: So we have a multi-tiered process in mind that we've only been able to get about the first stage out as we're building about as fast as we can at the moment, just the two of us. And by just the two of us, Tofor so we had people ask us to open up donations for the project for quite some time.
And we wanted to in building the other things around hero press, we feel like it makes it more, it gives back more to the community before asking anything from them. Like it's the, any donations or any investment that comes in helps us keep these. Outside of a membership site. We don't want to have to charge people who can't afford it to use these to use these products.
We think it's valuable to the community, but if you're in a position where you can afford $7 a month, then help us keep these free and open for the people who can't, because we've all been there. We've all been in a spot where we needed something to help move us forward and just didn't feel like we could make that sacrifice.
And sometimes it's as little as $20, it doesn't sound like a lot when you're doing well, but when you're doing poorly or just getting started, it's hard to start spending money on something. And so our goal is to have a variety of ways for people to be able to contribute to the project so that we can keep it open and still functioning for the entire community.
[00:28:05] Nathan Wrigley: Where I ended up was hero press.com, sorry, hero, press and network.com forward slash support. That's where you'll end up. If you find the sort of the green banner as it is at the minute, I'm on the homepage of the hero press network website, and you click on find out more about donating. And it's a really interesting funding system that you've got.
And I really like the way that you've spelled out really clearly what the different milestones in investment into it will bring. And also the you're very clear about where you're at right now, which I don't know what it is about British people. Maybe it's us. We don't.
Openly discuss money too often. It's quite refreshing when you see it that you can see, for example, at the minute you've got 40 investors and you are just very slightly south of $500 per month. And you also list out that you've had very slightly south of $3,000 per month, but you also outlined some sort of clear targets that you've got in order to make certain different things achievable.
So if you can manage to get that up to a thousand dollars a month, you will be able to do. Battery of things. And if you go to 2000 and 4,000, and then beyond 4,000, seems to be like the place where you'd most like to get to, because it allows more of those things to happen. That must have been, I don't know I've tried things like donating on the WP Bill's website before, and I've found it to, I'm not very good at promoting things.
That's one thing never dis discuss it or anything, but ha. How's it going with all this? Are you on track for where you wish it to be in the timeframe that you wish it to be?
[00:29:43] Cate DeRosia: Well, Yeah. Yeah. So it's funny as it's exactly where I thought it would be. I've done a lot of work in the community as far as like word camps and, the seeing how people might work with, big orange heart. So just seeing how people give and the community, knowing how I give, and it's pretty much exactly where I expected it to be.
And it's one reason that we wanted to have layers of giving available. So we do have some plans to do some subtle advertising to put, cause companies should be getting back for what they're giving there's. There's no reason like the whole project is about visibility. And so we want to make sure that everybody who's who's investing is also getting visibility out of this and of course we wish it was going faster because that's how people work.
But at the same time, it's pretty much exactly where I thought it would be. And we wanted to be really transparent about it. We looked into making this a charity and here in the U S that's a really complicated it's far more complicated than the project was worth at the time, like down the road, maybe there'll be a good idea, but it's expensive and we're funding this all ourselves at this point, or, had been it's very it's a very people intensive and we didn't want to.
Like the people that we would ask to be involved are people who are already very heavily involved in the community. And we all only have so much time to give. So because we were going the business route with the whole project, we wanted to be very transparent and honest about what we were doing and why we were doing it.
And we wanted to start by giving first. We've invested seven years building the brand building our integrity inside the community. I'm actually doing all of the things. Like everything that we've built has come out of things that we've done in the community to help move other people forward more individually.
And we're just looking to turn it over to the community so they can start doing it themselves.
[00:31:55] Nathan Wrigley: That's a really interesting thing. I have a S a few, probably a word, or similar thing going on in my head. I've got this thing and I put a lot of time and effort into it. And there's the inevitable conversation that you have to have with yourself, at what point do I decide this is far too much time.
I need to gain some finance for the amount of time I'm putting into it. And So I've, like I said, I experimented with the Nanette didn't donate thing and it didn't really work out for me. So I've gone more down the route of asking for sort of sponsorship, which tends to be more, businesses like hosting companies and plugging companies and all those kinds of things.
And I found that to be a little bit more easy because it you can get a bigger ticket value, but then again, you don't have that sort of sense of it's a small donation by lots of people, which I think fosters a community really well.
[00:32:52] Cate DeRosia: Yeah, I think it really depends on the type of project that you're doing. I've been working really closely with Bob. Bob done, as he's been building out his new do the woo we've been working on here, our press and he and I have just really brainstormed a lot. And we have a little mini mastermind going on where where we just talk about the differences, the nuances of, when do you offer sponsorships?
When do you open it up as a community project? What's, what does that look like? How do you provide visibility for both? Like the other thing that we have too is we want to highlight small companies as well as large
companies and. On some sort of equal ish footing. I respect that somebody paying more should get more somebody paying less should get less, but also should get, should be seen.
And so how do you get the funding that you need while also providing the visibility that the community needs and just meeting everybody's goals at the same time it gets, it can keep you up at night.
[00:33:56] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. It's a difficult balance and it doesn't matter which way you go. It's going to be, there'll be battles along that Some people will think that advertising from corporate sponsors is in some way, let's say selling your soul or is in some way, going to make your content more likely to lean in one direction than another shall we say?
But I don't think that necessarily has to be the case. I really like this model and I'm really pleased. I'm looking actually on that support page. And what's really nice is where a few where we're halfway into the month. And I can see that as of this moment, we've had eight people assisting you in this month.
And that just makes me think, oh, that's great. People are actually coming over here, finding the page, signing up and actually parting with their money. And it takes a lot to get people to actually sign up. So Bravo congratulate.
[00:34:50] Cate DeRosia: thanks. Yeah, we've been at, and the other thing that's been really encouraging is the community members who go and sign up or, who invest and then talk about it. They go out and say, look, this is a valuable project because it's hard to see at the moment, unless you're really involved in the community, unless you've really been around open source for a long time.
It's hard to understand how investing in the community. Impacts your business. We see community and businesses such separate things, and the reality is that without the community, there would be no business. And so if you're not giving back to that community, it's like fertilizing the garden.
If you just continue to take from it, eventually your business will die because there's nobody to take from where we're trying to create kind of a balance where businesses get as well, but it gives them an opportunity to continue growing. It gives them the financial opportunity to continue growing the community without having to put the time in that allows a business.
People just don't have, it would reasonably,
[00:35:53] Nathan Wrigley: yeah, Yeah, it's just fascinating. Every so often I pull myself up and think it's amazing. The world we live in, here I am, you're both in the United States, I'm talking to you and it could have been a video call quite as, just as easily it's audio as it happens, but we could literally be staring at each other.
And when I was a child, some 800 years ago or whatever it was th the world, the idea of this sort of online community, it just was inconceivable. If you'd even said no, you'll be communicating with people on different continents with great ease. And not only that, some of them will end up being really deeply personal friends, but you'll never see them.
You might see them once every sort of five years or something, but on the whole, you'll never see them in person. You will just hang out with them via computer screen or. Text chat input. And I would have scoffed at these people. I would have really thought, no, that's completely dystopian and weird.
but now this is just such an important part of my life. I view a great deal of the friends that I have are inside this little WordPress Capone. It's not little as it is gigantic, really, but compared to the entire world. And it's truly breathtaking that these friendships, these meaningful channels of support, assistance of help, of guidance, of things that are fun to read events that are fun to take part in whether they be online or in the real world.
It, like I say, sometimes I just have to pull myself up and go, wow, this is unbelievable.
[00:37:32] Cate DeRosia: Yeah. And that was actually a driving force for tofa and I to step forward with the The additions to hear or press all of the things that we're providing back to the community, our benefits that we've gotten from the project for the last seven years, the relationships we've been able to build the, the tools we've been able to find.
When we stepped forward to do this project, we had people coming that we never heard of who had these really incredible products that were exactly what we needed, that we wouldn't have even known to look for. There just would've been no way to find them. And we wanted to share that with everybody else.
I grew up very rural till four, and I both grew up very rural poor and the internet. Wasn't a thing like we were in college before, the internet began or, was usable by us. And and now to think that I would feel comfortable having my girls travel almost anywhere in the world, because we know somebody in almost every
major city that like, that's unreal.
[00:38:33] Nathan Wrigley: a really good way of framing it. You've basically said I'm putting my, the most valuable thing in my life, in the hands of people I've never actually met, but feel that I know. Totally. Yeah. That's beautifully
[00:38:44] Topher DeRosia: Yeah.
I've often said that. I personally have gotten more out of your oppress than anyone in the world. If you go to hero, press.com and click the map link in the
[00:38:57] Nathan Wrigley: Okay. I'm
[00:38:59] Topher DeRosia: there is a friend.
[00:39:01] Nathan Wrigley: That's a lot of pins. That is a lot of pins. That is a worldwide map. Just replete with pins. That's so
[00:39:10] Topher DeRosia: I was ruminating the other day that I don't think there's a country in the world that doesn't have a couch. I could sleep on.
[00:39:19] Nathan Wrigley: Ah, that's really good. Do you know what I was going to defer this whole conversation that I'm about to launch in a, to the end, because I wanted to get into the minutia of the things that are happening, the podcasts and the find it and so on, but let's just do well there a minute, because really the, in more recent times, the story of hero press and the hero press network is I feel I could be wrong.
Forgive me if I've missed judged it, it feels like it's inextricably tied to lifestyle choices that you're making. You hinted a little while ago about the fact that your kids are grown up. See your priorities are able to change but it feels like you are building a lifestyle around this as well.
And I don't know how much of that you're willing to share, or maybe none of it. Maybe some of it, I don't know, but there's may be some something of great interest there. Yeah.
[00:40:06] Cate DeRosia: So that, that is really interesting. We haven't pushed this hard, but when we were making the decision about what we were going to do with hero process, what direction did we want it to go? Like who did we want to compete with in the community? That's already doing something similar. We realized that our thing really is lifestyle.
We Tober started working from home in 2010. And we were homeschooling at the time. And so our life became very different from everybody around us. And that was good and bad. There were times when I just craved the normalcy of just a regular job with a passion, I cannot explain it, but it also allowed us to start traveling, like to work camps or like my first word campus and attendee was my girl's first word, campus and attendee.
They were 12 and 14 and I was not. It became such a part of who we are and we realized like it was such an interesting way for them to grow up. They were two young women who had no, no fear about just starting a business, even though they've seen them fail or seem like the bad, the negative sides of it.
They felt comfortable going to a conference and just talking to adult people. Like they, they would go, they went to the first word, camp us with us and just wandered off. And we're sitting around talking with our friends, learning about development and design and like it was such a great oppor, option.
So growing up, rural poor, like we did, you grew up, you found it got married, you found a job in the area and or you moved away. And now with something like WordPress, and the stories in hero press, I'll highlight this. You can really take this platform and bend it into whatever direction you want your life to go, and it can move with you and change with you.
As the girls grew, we were able to have more flexibility and they were able to do different things. And now that we're older, we can take our jobs with us and go travel, or, just, you can just, and that's not something you can do with a normal job.
[00:42:21] Nathan Wrigley: I I'll let you into a secret. I spent about four hours this morning, reading a book a novel, because I could, because I can make that four hours up this evening, which I invariably the scales don't tip that heavily in one direction. Sadly, not every day is the four hour book day, but you get the point, you can, as you said, you can take time out to go to an event you can.
Just go down nip and have a coffee in your own environment, or you can get in a car and drive somewhere else. And all of these different things become possible. And this is one of the truly great benefits I feel of being in a community of technologists, especially now that the world is waking up through reasons that we probably wished it hadn't, but the world is waking up to the idea of distributed working and all of those kinds of things.
And I feel that in our community, there was a lot of people that were not really ahead of the game, but you know that they'd already figured that out. And you're great examples of that as.
[00:43:22] Cate DeRosia: Yeah. And so we wanted to take what we had learned in the benefits that we had and share them with everybody else. Like this is really possible. You don't have to be like we're not rich. We live in a little 1300 square foot house with one bathroom, and, but we still have done so many amazing things.
We you can just make these choices to build this life that fits you instead of having to fit your life into what other people think it should be.
[00:43:48] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah. That's really well said. Okay. I'm glad that I didn't misjudge that then. And that I didn't misfire. That's good. I'm glad. Moving on to the particular things that you've decided to embrace, we mentioned them a couple of times in passing already, but so far we've obviously got hero press, which is fabulous essays and stories from all over the world about WordPress related subjects.
The next one that came to my attention, at least for reasons which might become obvious was WP podcasts. Why podcasts out of all the things that you could have strayed into next? What was it that made you think? Actually, we're going to spend a boatload of time aggregating all the WordPress podcasts out there.
[00:44:27] Cate DeRosia: tougher thought it was Neato.
[00:44:30] Topher DeRosia: yeah I kinda thought it was Neato, but there's a prequel to this. There's another website called Topher dot. How in. I was admiring some of my friends that have websites with all of their stuff on it. All of the presentations they've made all of the podcast episodes, all the training and I've made my career basically publishing on other people's sites. I did a lot of work for winning WP and OSTP training and just a wide variety of sites. And it's just scattered all over the place. And it occurred to me one day that almost every single one of those places is a WordPress site. And all my stuff is just sitting there in RSS.
[00:45:15] Nathan Wrigley: No.
[00:45:16] Topher DeRosia: And I thought just with a little bit of scripting and a plugin, I could pull all of that stuff into one site and have one place to find everything about everything I've ever published. So I made Tilford on how, and I was just thinking one day you can do the same thing with podcasts and. If I wanted to find every podcast episode that talked about Gutenberg in the first six months that it was invented, how would I do that? It would be horrible, but if they were all on one site, you could just limit by date and search by keyword, and then you go. And one of the things that appealed a lot is that it's very low effort. I used WP all import and I set up a schedule and it goes and gets to the episodes every day. And I don't do anything. I don't moderate it. I don't look at that site for weeks at a time. And when I come back, there's a whole bunch of new
[00:46:23] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, that's magic. Magically. New it's cool.
[00:46:26] Topher DeRosia: It is. And then expanding that out to the hear of us network, that content is keeping the hero press network site fresh. And the same with find a WP. That's getting new content all the time. And so the hero person network site is another site that's just magically updating with new, fresh content every day. and, that was one of our requirements. Like when we started this I have a full-time job. Kate was doing her own thing. We didn't have time to manually babysit sites. And so one of the requirements is that they be largely self-maintaining. And it just WV podcast ticked all the boxes.
[00:47:12] Nathan Wrigley: I just, I'm obviously slightly biased because I'm really into podcasting, but it just seemed like a really good place to aim. The target there is pretty sure if I don't, for reasons, I don't quite understand. People do enjoy listening to podcasts more and more each year, and it's a growing medium.
So this just seems great. What surprised me is how many there are.
[00:47:36] Cate DeRosia: Well, and that was the same. Yeah, same for us. As one of the things we realized is that, in giving visibility to the community, there was this huge chunk that wasn't getting it. You like, nobody knew they were out there. And it was so simple again, because Tobar did it, but also it was so simple to just build a place where you could just go register it.
You can just so easily get the, a little bit of marketing for what you're doing. Just let people hear you.
[00:48:04] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah.
[00:48:04] Topher DeRosia: I have been surprised to learn that. Just by looking at the podcasts that come out every day, the Spanish language WordPress community is by far the most active.
[00:48:14] Nathan Wrigley: Isn't that astonishing
yeah. And now I saw the latest sort of video one. I can't remember what it's called, the one where it looked basically it looks like it's shot in a TV station.
[00:48:25] Topher DeRosia: yes.
[00:48:26] Nathan Wrigley: That's amazing. They're really an active bunch. If you go onto the website WP podcast, but basically imagine almost like a Google, but for podcasts specifically about WordPress, you can go and filter by different topics and you can go and filter by different podcasts or you there's a search option.
So as tofa said, if you just want to discover what's been going on in Gutenberg in the last six months there, this well in audio form, at least, anyway, this is possible. You can also still taking some submissions. So if you want to get your own podcast on there, there's an add a podcast button and you can you can stick yourself in there being the consummate on professional.
I don't know quite what's going on with my feed, but think mine from time to time just drops away. Doesn't it. And you connect to me on slack and say what's going on? And I invariably say, I've no idea.
[00:49:18] Topher DeRosia: I think it's all better
[00:49:19] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, that's WP podcast. And then the one which feels like it's got the biggest scope, at least anyway is find it WP. So what's this one again? The URL, find it. wp.com. No, no hyphens or anything like that.
[00:49:37] Cate DeRosia: in a way it's exactly like WP podcasts, but it's for anything in WordPress. It's just a way, it's a way to be able to search like plugins, regardless of whether they're free or pre. It's a way to more easily find what you're looking for in a more condensed and controlled environment. And by controlled, it's like we, we vet it to make sure that the primary link is actually going to the product and that it's actually a WordPress product, but aside from some fairly minor, don't be an idiot requirements.
It's open to just anybody to be able to tag their resources as they feel fits them. And people have done a really good job of that. Very few times if I had to go through and curate a whole lot of that, but it's a way for you to list your product. So you could go there and list, any of your projects on on find a WP put in your categories and then somebody looking for a new podcast or looking for, a specific way to to do something can go search it more granularly than just hoping that Google returns the right results.
[00:50:57] Topher DeRosia: And
something, I want to point out that's important is that it's not just submitting your own properties, if you're just a WordPress user and you think this tool I'm using is amazing, you should submit it.
[00:51:15] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:51:16] Topher DeRosia: there's, there is methods in place for the owner of that tool to come lean later and say, Hey, that's my tool.
I want to maintain that.
[00:51:26] Nathan Wrigley: Got it.
[00:51:27] Topher DeRosia: this is intended to be. Populated by every single person in the WordPress community.
[00:51:32] Nathan Wrigley: And it covers all the bases as well. So it's plugins, tick themes, tick hosting, tick, all the usual stuff that you might like to find, but currently you're going to a different repository for each of those plugins and themes, certainly. But then it strays into all sorts of different areas, tools, newsletters copywriting, fundraising tools you can filter down by different languages that things may be in.
So it's really a kind of it's like your one stop shop for anything WordPress, hopefully in the future.
[00:52:06] Cate DeRosia: Yeah, and that's the goal. And we know it's going to grow a little more slowly than WP podcasts to be podcasts was easier because we could just pull everything in with RSS feed with this one. We need people to actually go in and put things in because again, tofa, and I don't have the time to put in everything that's going on in WordPress, but not only that, we shouldn't be the ones doing it.
It's not that we're opposed, but the owner of a product particularly, or you know of the owner is going to have a better understanding of what they want to present it as how they want to market it. And this is really a marketing opportunity, a free, completely free marketing opportunity for everybody in WordPress.
[00:52:46] Nathan Wrigley: the it I'm going to put my finger in the sand and guests that you're using facet WP for the search on the
[00:52:55] Topher DeRosia: Yes, both facet and search WP because they work in, they were candidly.
[00:53:00] Nathan Wrigley: That's interesting. I didn't, I love that plugin. I use it on, in all sorts of different ways. It's absolutely brilliant. But so the intention really is to keep the WP hero.
Sorry the hero press network going, obviously you've got your donations available on the Aero press network site, and now we've got podcasts and we've got the, find it WP. Do you have any sort of blue sky thinking if you've got any thoughts for the next thing that you would hope to roll out or are you resting your laurels where you've got
[00:53:28] Topher DeRosia: a matter of fact,
[00:53:29] Cate DeRosia: no. The other is no rest for the wicked, as they say.
[00:53:32] Topher DeRosia: there are no laurels.
[00:53:38] Cate DeRosia: So
[00:53:40] Topher DeRosia: Kate, do you want to tell them? Okay, I'll tell them, we have four or five sites down coming down the road. One of them is quite soon. A couple of weeks ago we were talking with Michelle for shat and she said, wouldn't it be great if there was a site that people could submit their press releases for anything.
[00:54:00] Nathan Wrigley: you
[00:54:01] Topher DeRosia: like in that conversation,
[00:54:03] Cate DeRosia: And I was all
[00:54:04] Topher DeRosia: started,
[00:54:05] Nathan Wrigley: Shush,
[00:54:05] Topher DeRosia: she started, She started typing and she looked at me and goes, [email protected] is available. I'm like, get it. So press it. wp.com is so close to ready that I think you could go try it out. There might be a couple bucks yet, but the idea is that the idea came to me because when Justin Tadlock took over the Tavern, he did a post about how we're press companies don't do press releases and it was driving him mad because as a news guy, he wants press
[00:54:41] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, he's got to go find that stuff. That's
[00:54:44] Topher DeRosia: And, I thought, wow if I ever do something, I'll do a press release. So here we are doing hero press and we made press releases and we sent them to him and he thought it was great. And michelle came up with this idea and I thought, wow, that's, I'm doing that right. now.
We're making press releases. I've got my head wrapped around it. And, it's actually not that dissimilar from find it WP it's, people submitting things and being able to edit them in the future.
[00:55:13] Cate DeRosia: But we also But we also decided to beef it up a little bit and maybe take care of some of the problem with the sales issues in the in the dashboard that everybody hates. And so we added a sales section to press it, WP where people, you can come and see what the latest, press releases are. Anybody can come see what their latest press releases are, but you can also have a place to post all of the sales.
And next year it'll be ready for black Friday sales as well. And so it's just I keep thinking all of the sites is like bulletin boards, where you can just go and post something and other people can find it and do with it, what they will it hopefully will help. It'll help fill it, fill a need in the community and take out some of the frustration because people need to see what the sales are.
Sales are important. Companies need them but users need them to, they just need to be in the right place.
[00:56:15] Topher DeRosia: Of the things that excites me about it is that every year there's a big black Friday site, somewhere, somebody is running one that lists all the black Friday. But there are sales year round, and there aren't sites for any of those. There's no place you can go and say I would like to buy a search plugin.
Is there a sale on any of them right now? Let's go to one site and see,
[00:56:40] Nathan Wrigley: Interesting. Yeah. That's a novel idea. I like that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I have I have something in my browser, which sort of helps me if I go searching around the internet for random products, bikes or whatever it might And it just pops up and says, oh, there's a sale on right now. And I make use of those kinds of things all the time.
So if I knew there was a WordPress tool that I could visit and it would reliably informed me that actually, if you're looking for something in this ballpark, for this kind of task and it's on offer right now, that's great. I would visit that habitually just to see what's going on.
[00:57:18] Cate DeRosia: Yeah.
[00:57:19] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Nice.
Okay. So you've opened up a little bit about that as well. else?
[00:57:24] Cate DeRosia: So we have a community project idea that would be similar to WP. It they're all similar to WPP, cause it's all about that, bringing all that information into one searchable spot. But we'd like to do something that can help the community, make all of the.
Community projects available and easy to find. So whether it's a meetup, whether it's upcoming word camps whether it's, Facebook groups it would be another location that's searchable. But also like with meetups, there's a lot of things you can't do with meetup.com as far as connecting with your community, say, after the event.
And we'd like to put some membership functionality into place that would allow me to ups to be able to continue to carry conversations on maybe not in slack or along with slack, to just give them some additional additional ways to continue to build
[00:58:25] Nathan Wrigley: So I'm immediately going to go out and try and buy the domain events, wp.com. I think that seems to be the
[00:58:32] Cate DeRosia: That That would be the wrong line.
It will be WP hanging.
[00:58:37] Nathan Wrigley: nice.
[00:58:38] Cate DeRosia: we, weren't sure it's because of there's so many possibilities as to what it could be. Cause it will be events and it will be meetups and it will
[00:58:46] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Events feels like something where there's boots on the ground and there's, actual, I dunno, presentations and things like that, where it could be something much, much more low key,
[00:58:56] Cate DeRosia: but it's a good one that I just never thought of when I was good when I was searching for domains.
[00:59:02] Nathan Wrigley: I've just searched this now. It's gone. It's inevitably. Yeah, it's But that really does sound exciting though.
So there's more going on is the intent. Now again, you may not wish to discuss this is the intention for you to be able to make this everything that you do. So your entire lives are wrapped up in this and hero presses, all that you ever gets to think about.
[00:59:26] Cate DeRosia: Yes. In a way here all we think about. Anyway, and a lot of ways, but it's also a part of our family. Like the girls think about it and we brainstorm about it and it's just become a core part of who we are. But it's also something that we're building so that we don't have to give up our job or jobs and we could be working on something else and still have this running either through.
Through paid help or on its own, depending on where funding is and still benefiting the community while we're also doing other things. So it's a lot about seeing how the community supports it. The reality is that we really like the things that we've built. We don't really need them in our life.
They're useful to us, but they don't really reflect what we do necessarily. And so if the community isn't interested in participating in them, then we'll see what the future is for them. But as long as the community's participating and engaged it's worth our time to continue working on
[01:00:31] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. Yeah, that's great. So I think we've written almost touched an hour and I said to you at the beginning, half an hour, 45 minutes, something like that, it's inevitable. Isn't it? You always get stray off in different directions, but we probably should wrap it up fairly soon. My final question is just a pretty generic one and it's, if people wish to donate, I've already mentioned the URL for that.
And I'll be sure to put it in the show notes too, to help you guys out. But if there's a particular place where you would like to be found or a Twitter handle or an email address or a particular URL, you want me to write down and add into the show notes? Let's go one at a time. Should we start with tofa and then go Kate?
[01:01:11] Topher DeRosia: Yeah. I've. I have to, if you're going to follow everything we're doing here, our bus network.com is the place. If you're only interested in one of the niches that we're doing you from there, you can get to that niche and then follow just that. But then the hero at your press Twitter. It's where a lot of stuff gets announced.
[01:01:34] Nathan Wrigley: Okay, so out here I press on the Twitter. Thank you so much. And Kate, maybe it's the same, maybe it's different.
[01:01:42] Cate DeRosia: I would say if you really want to support what we're doing, head to find it, wp.com and submit things I'm just itching to approve them. Help us get the information in there because some of the stuff we don't even know to look for it, and we really want to include as many people as possible.
[01:02:02] Nathan Wrigley: yeah.
[01:02:03] Topher DeRosia: One
[01:02:04] Nathan Wrigley: go on.
[01:02:05] Topher DeRosia: more thing I'm going to throw out there. This is new. Every podcast that is published on WP podcasts gets a tweet on WP underscore podcasts. And so if you want to stay abreast of what episodes are coming out every day, you don't have to go look at the website. You can just follow that one Twitter handle.
And it's also in the RSS, of course. So if you wanted to follow it on. RSS, But if you just want to follow WP underscore podcasts, you'll find out what's coming out every day and there's not a ton. It's not like you're gonna get Spanish three or four every day.
[01:02:40] Nathan Wrigley: I'm going to now deliberately release 18 episodes over each day for the next week.
[01:02:46] Topher DeRosia: You
[01:02:46] Nathan Wrigley: no,
[01:02:47] Topher DeRosia: monster.
[01:02:49] Nathan Wrigley: yeah.
[01:02:49] Topher DeRosia: guy in, there's a guy in Spain, I think who is posting every single day. He does an episode every day.
[01:02:56] Nathan Wrigley: Wow.
[01:02:57] Topher DeRosia: Yeah.
[01:02:58] Nathan Wrigley: Good grief. That's incredible. Wow. Okay. Now I feel like I'm not measuring I'm to quickly get into quickly, go off and make seven episodes. So the following week now it's been an absolute pleasure to chat to you guys. As we said, go and help here at press out, go to the donation page.
And if you feel like contributing, I'm sure there'll be really grateful for that. I'll wrap it up and say thank you for being on the podcast, Kate tofa Daraja much obliged.
[01:03:25] Cate DeRosia: Thanks. Nathan is just been a delight to talk to
[01:03:27] Nathan Wrigley: No, Thank you.
Well, I hope that you enjoyed that. An absolute pleasure chatting to Cate and Topher today all about HeroPress. I hope that you got something out of that. And also I hope that you would like to get in touch, perhaps see if there's any content that you yourself could put on that website or possibly help them out with some kind of sponsorship.
Speaking of sponsorship. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today. By Cloudways. Cloudways provides the ultimate managed WordPress and WooCommerce hosting solutions. Easy setup allows you to get started in minutes, focus on your business and say goodbye to hassles. Get started with their free three day trial to enjoy unmatched performance, superb uptime and 24 7 active support.
You can find out more. At Cloudways.com. And we do really think cloud ways this week for helping us to put on the WP Builds podcast.
Next week, it'll be a chat between David Waumsley and myself. We're going through our WordPress business boot camp and we're on series two. So join us for that. That'll be on Thursday. So that's the podcast. Every single Thursday comes out at 1:00 PM UK time and also our, this weekend WordPress show, a live show that we do over at WP Builds.com forward slash live.
Join us for that. I'll be joined by some notable WordPress guests, and then we put it out on a Tuesday as well. So. I hope that you have a good week. Stay safe. Bye-bye for now.