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acquisitions and exits Business Entrepreneurship Interviews

A $5 Million Dollar Fund for Acquiring WordPress Businesses

Over the weekend at WordCamp DFW, I got to catch up with Mike Demo of WebVentures, previously of Bold Grid. He shared with me that Web Ventures had a $5 million dollar fund for acquiring / investing in WordPress businesses.

It got me excited for a couple of reasons:

  • It’s another example of how hot the WP ecosystem is for investment
  • It’s shows the ecosystem maturing, with more options
  • It gives WordPress entrepreneurs another option

Mike and I hopped on a Zoom call to talk about all Web Ventures is doing AND offer some lessons and takeaways for entrepreneurs considering a potential acquisition.

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is ….
how do I prepare my business to be acquired?

WANNA KNOW MY TAKEAWAYS?
Signup for Preparing TO SELL YOUR BUSINESS BABY HERE

OK, here is the video, podcast version and transcript below:

Lightly Edited Full Transcript

Cory Miller 0:00
Everybody this is Cory Miller, CoryMiller.com. So I was talking to my friend Mike demo at work camp Dallas this weekend. And he was telling me about what he’s doing now. And now, Mike, I know you were with bow grid at some point. And it’s kind of a family of things that you’ve been involved in here. But you were telling me about web ventures. And it’s really compelling because I’ve been in WordPress for, I don’t know, 13 years now. Now, I’m a WordPress blogger and WordPress volunteer, by the way, or word camp volunteers. What web ventures is doing what you’re doing specifically is really compelling because it shows that the community I think, is maturing. And there’s it’s just exciting to see a fun that like in a setup like web ventures doing work in the space investing in businesses. And so I thought I’d bring you on and share a little bit about what you’re doing. So my demo web ventures, Mark, thanks for being on the interview today.

Mike Demo 0:56
Oh, my pleasure. It was a great catch up with you down in Texas. I’m back up here in Minnesota and the weather’s not as nice.

Cory Miller 1:04
For sure. So okay, Mike, would you tell me a little bit about you and and what and what you’re doing at web ventures?

Mike Demo 1:11
Yeah, sure. Yeah, like Cory said, my name is Mike demo, and I am the lead hand shaker, a very fancy title for web ventures. And basically, I’m the community guy, and I get the joy to be able to go around the work camps and other types of events, and meet people where they are and connect with this amazing community we have in WordPress and other similar ecosystems, and just to see if we can maybe provide value and help some of these WordPress based businesses.

Cory Miller 1:45
Yeah, I love your approach to By the way, Mike, we’re talking about how you have conversations and I did notice actually, when I emailed you to set up this interview that you had lead handshake and I thought, that’s really awesome. I wanted to kind of fulfill that like, that’s my my My gig is a guy. But I love your approach to so could you tell me what? Okay, so web ventures was was kind of the iteration spin out of founder, one of the founders at in motion hosting.

Mike Demo 2:18
Yeah, so in motion hosting was primarily founded by two gentlemen, Todd Robinson and Cindy elsina. So Neil has a passion to growing businesses. And that’s what he really enjoys doing, and motions grown a whole bunch. So what he wanted to do is he wanted to help small businesses, specifically, WordPress based businesses kind of grow to the next level. And so we started a separate entity called web ventures, where about $5 million we have in this first initial round that we publicized and we’re trying to help WordPress based businesses and any businesses that are kind of in the web space. So it doesn’t necessarily need to be a WordPress plugin. But if it works in that ecosystem, we’re interested in talking and helping those companies get from one level to the next. Because a lot of people can get to like a good spot. Like let’s say, you’re a plugin owner as an example. And you make a decent little side income, you might have, you know, 20,000 active installs or whatever it is, but you’re at that weird spot where you can’t leave your day job, because you know, you got expenses and insurance and stuff like that. But you don’t know you don’t want to get rid of this plugin because it’s being used by all these people. So, so Neil wanted to help people get past that growing that growing pain stage, because that’s where we find that a lot of these WordPress based businesses kind of fail when they get some initial success, but they don’t know how to like turn it into a real business. I use the term accidental business owner when People start stuff because of passion, but they don’t really think about it being a business. They’re just doing it because they enjoy it.

Cory Miller 4:06
A lot of that and WordPress specifically, a lot of my dear friends did sent them because they were interested in it passionate about it, like you said, and then one day wake up and go, holy crap, I own a business that has a lot of substance, you know, revenue, perhaps even team members. I think there’s a lot in the space to that, that you talked about the hump of, I’m doing this on the side, I’m making some money, but I haven’t hit gotten over the hump of being able to quit my day job, for whatever reason, maybe there’s family setups, that, you know, entrepreneurship has this level of uncertainty sometimes, oftentimes, and, and or financial. It hasn’t gotten to the level to sustain it in I love that. I mean, the headline here is $5 million. That snail is put in that amount of money to invest in WordPress based businesses is pretty dang incredible. We’ve seen a lot of movement in WordPress, particularly with automatic just went through another round of funding with a ton of money back by sales forces fund and then they’ve had a couple of rounds of course have raised a lot of money and a big valuation. The hosting companies particularly have made some very big acquisitions. I’m part of that story with I themes to liquid web WP Engine is really making some huge moves and GoDaddy of courses as made some great moves in the past two and then my friends at EG I think are a little bit kind of calm right now. Not doing too much that I’ve heard of at least. But I love the fact that your your fund what you guys do very unique and I thought of my friend said bulky he’s got an accelerator WP beginning and I was like man, this is great to have these kind of opportunities. Okay, so we talked about the kind of the types of businesses kind of set up to I know Like there’s other components within the family, like, for instance, is bowl grid a part of web ventures? How does that all work?

Mike Demo 6:08
Um, we’re going through a legal restructuring right now. So it’s going to be a little bit in shift. But right now bold grids. One of the brands in motion hosting is one of the brands, what hosting hubs and other the brands. We haven’t announced, but we’ll be making a work camp us on another new brand that will be coming into the family. And then we have letters of intent out for some other things, which hopefully we’ll be announcing closer to the new year. So yeah, it’s all kind of the same ecosystem. And that’s what we’re trying to do is we have around two to 3 million WordPress users across all of our brands and families of companies. And we want to make the best toolbox for those users. So everything we do is focused on our users and can be a good fit for them. So whenever we talk to a potential investment or possibly acquisition, we look to see what verticals these might go for what avatar is. And we try to tell the story from our users perspective, because that’s what we care most I mean, in motion was founded, even though that is a separate grant from some of these others, on, you know, thrilling customers, and we have that same passion now. And because we want to be able to offer our users Be it if they’re using an emotion customer, a bolt, good customer, or web hosting hub customer or any of these other brands will be announcing in the future coming months that we if we make a recommendation it fits in. So we can help a plugin kind of grow by introducing them to a lot of new users. But we need to make sure that story makes sense. And we’re not just, you know, spamming our user base because that’s something we really passionate about.

Cory Miller 7:57
Yeah, I know. We can’t talk about that one. That’s coming online for you all afterward camp or at work camp us, but I want to say it’s going to be it’s going to be big. It’s a it’s a big deal. And I’m excited for you guys to announce that. Okay, so if somebody is interested, they they’re talking to you and you’re the handshake guy. How does that process work? So

Mike Demo 8:18
yeah, so um, I like to say I’m the friendly face. So basically, we just have a high level conversation and say, Hey, if this is something generally, maybe you might be interested in looking at, you know, maybe now in the future, we do an initial call with Tim and he’s our senior manager. He’s a financial analyst background, and we kind of just do a half hour discussion kind of learning what the goals are for the company, like you know, what are your what’s your plan, where you want to go? What are your goals, some some entrepreneurs just want to go on and fund their next adventure and they want to sell their current company. Others just need help to grow. Everyone has a different story and I will I always like to tell people don’t look at some of the sales and acquisitions, they might be at chapter 20. In their story, you might only be at chapter two in your story. So try not, you know, compare yourself. And we always try to look at everyone individually. And then we’ll kind of talk about how it might fit in with our ecosystem. And if we feel there might be a fit, then we get on like a mutual nondisclosure agreement, and then we start exploring that in a little more detail. But at any time, I always tell all these business owners do what’s best for the business. I mean, if it’s not the right time, that’s fine. Be open and honest with us. I mean, on our side, we can only process so many deals at a time. So we’re going to be honest with you. And I find that really works with you know, we just want to be honest and have these businesses grow to the next level. Honestly, if it’s just us giving them some decent advice, but they don’t want to give up equity or anything. And maybe they might want to sell in a couple years. That’s fine. Maybe they thought they wanted to sell but then being changed, and now they want to stay with the business, that’s fine too. We are just happy to talk with anyone give our give our advice and help in any way we can. And that’s what I tell people is even if there’s not a deal, like, I’m not commissioned, I’m literally just community, I am happy just being out there and meeting you. And we’re happy to keep talking as long as it makes sense. And we’ll stay friends regardless. But if I can do anything to anyone for introductions or give advice, or at any way, I’m happy to do it, regardless if there is a business deal on the side end of that, because that’s secondary to what we’re trying to do. Our goal is just to try to be known as the helpful people that kind of help the community and if there’s business great if not, that’s cool to whatever is best for the business is what we care about.

Cory Miller 10:49
One of the biggest questions I get asked particularly after my the acquisition, and I think this is how, you know, takeaways and things like that, and I always kind of say You know, if I look back rewind the tape that I would have had more intentional conversations like these. Because one when I started the business I didn’t have an exit plan people asked me for years I was like, I don’t I hate I found my, the best job I’ve ever had working with the most incredible people ever in serving amazing, awesome customers. Why would I want to exit that however, things change, markets change, customers change, WordPress has changed and did change in my you know, 13 years or whatever. So, you know, I tell be ready. So I’m curious, have the conversations, particularly with people like web ventures and you because build for profit, one should be a profitable company. Second, it should be purposeful, like it should do things in your life and for people. But the third now I’ve added which is potential purchase, and a health in a sellable company, is a great company for the entrepreneur. If you’ve done that Things to kind of orient where people would want to buy your company. That means probably likely, you’ve got a great company, it’s going well for you. And that just gives you more options. So I’m curious if you have suggestions or tips for how someone can get ready to prepare themselves in their business for a conversation like one with web ventures.

Mike Demo 12:21
Yeah, so with us, we’re happy to talk to anyone at any stage. But let’s say just you’re starting new or you just started thinking like, you know, I’m not even wanting to have a conversation, but what are the some of the things we can do to kind of prep the books, some of the things we see quite a bit is not having any sort of formal business plan. They’re just kind of doing stuff and the seat of their pants. And I know business plans a scary word and you search on Google Business Line templates, because he’s 85 page diatribe books, but it can just be as simple as like a one sheet like if you google one sheet business plan. It just goes back to having goals and basic stuff on paper. I’m a big fan. That Any goals that you set for yourself should be smart goals going back to high school Specific, Measurable, Attainable, and, and have a time set on it, so that there’s no binary like, did it like did I succeed or not succeed? And they shouldn’t be? Oh, well, I don’t know. Or maybe it should be yes or no. And if it’s still, that’s fine, you learn stuff from it. But the goal should be very specific and have metrics behind it. So have some sort of a business plan. Know your costs, what we see quite a bit is people running personal expenses through the business that makes it a little challenging when you’re looking at valuation. Also, we find if you have a plugin business, but you also have a consulting business, it gets a little confusing if you run everything to the same business entity, because your business might look very profitable on one side, but then when we get into it, it might be due to the consulting, which is nothing wrong with consulting. But if maybe you’re wanting to sell just the plugin side, it changes the story a little bit. So those are just some basic things you can do to get ready now, but honestly just boils down to be deliberate in your decisions and spend a couple days every year and plan. My biggest recommendation is there’s a book called Gino by Gino Wakeman. That called the entrepreneurial operating system called traction. I recommend everyone follow that if traction is a little too boring for you. They have a second book called Get a grip, which is more entertaining. But honestly, I’m a huge fan of the EOS system. I’ve seen companies go from, you know, $4 million companies to $40 million companies in less than five years falling in his system. And that alone can be the one of the best things you can do to help make your business a little more than liberating new decisions.

Cory Miller 14:50
That’s great book that’s kind of the work doesn’t do traction but my partner GF does lead your team strategic planning really kind of focused progression. You know, having meetings and directions, a great book to get the conversation started, I wanted to come back to you, there’s two kind of things that I heard you saying that also in my experience, one is the business plan type thing, having something there on paper. For us, it was a deck having a deck and you know, you know, we build products and, and you know, there’s, there’s this thing called brochure is kind of an outdated term, baby. But still, if you think of a deck, it’s like, this is what I tell people as you have to detach emotionally from this baby, the startup that you built, detach in this process, because you can take things really personal when you’re talking about money and acquisition and everything but having a deck is sharing the best and brightest about what the what’s going on in the business and having a good handle on that. And the second thing you take, which is such brilliant advice is I know it wasn’t for us. We had one business, you know, we didn’t have like a lot of the people you’re talking about particularly in WordPress is consulting and then they started Building a product. And it’s all under one p&l, which is tough when you’re talking about acquisition because a lot of, you know, the things we’re talking about are more product specific. So separating those p&l, it’s a tough thing I’ve got actually going to go talk to you about that separating the p&l, whether it’s a separate LLC or whatever, but having separate things so that you can have an accurate read. But you mentioned something that’s a nuance that we all kind of do, which is running a lot of personal expenses to the business. I know it’s sometimes a tax tax help for us, however, it muddies the water when we’re talking about acquisition. Thankfully, we didn’t do do that with I things and had some entrepreneurs that were gave us advice years ago is to still do those, you know, be really selective what we do because it kills your EBIT da which is often a metric for how people value company’s earnings before taxes, interest in depreciation or something like that, April, and essentially your net profit. So a clean clean p&l and being able to Looking at that’s that’s superb advice, Mike, appreciate you sharing that.

Mike Demo 17:06
Yeah. And the The other thing I would say is, as far as valuations go, the biggest The best thing you can do to help your valuation is to help your profit margin, that’s probably one of the first things people will look at is, you know, what the margin is on your, on your profit. And, you know, we have our things that we look at, if it’s like, a really great profit margin average or not so great. And then that’s kind of where we start the discussion. Obviously, there’s other things that have that go into valuation like brand awareness and user base and things like that as well. But try to you know, clean up that profit margin as much as you can, because it’s just going to make a stronger business for you. So,

Cory Miller 17:47
yes, you’re absolutely right. It’s a win win. So I think a lot of people get kind of feel weird when they talk about selling their business, because there’s relationships, you know, particularly a team that affects right and there was the same with me. But a sellable business is a great business to also own as the entrepreneur. So that that’s really good advice that might we miss anything, anything you want to share? And then I’ll ask you also how they can connect with you and start some of those conversations.

Mike Demo 18:15
Sure. I think that the lot of people don’t step back and like, look at the success that they’ve done. I was talking to someone just at the word camp last weekend, and it was a woman and I was like, Hey, what do you do? Oh, I just kind of do websites on the side. Oh, so we have an agency? No, I wouldn’t call it an agency. We just have four people on my team. That’s an agency. And I hear a lot of the plugin owner like, Oh, well, you know, we’re not doing that. Well. We’re only converting at 9% which I’m like, 9%, free to premium that’s above industry average. Yeah, and I’m this that’s above average in our space, like, good job, and, you know, so if we can, if we can feel the top of the funnel, you know, theoretically, it’s just math at that point. So I find a lot Lot of times people don’t take the winds. And they always are looking for reasons that beat themselves down. So it’s not easy to get here. And you know, we’re just trying to help businesses kind of get to that next level. If it’s a fit to work with us fine. If it’s not, that’s cool. We just want to see this infrastructure get strong, because that just helps everyone. So yeah,

Cory Miller 19:22
that’s really good stuff. Okay, Mike, thank you for that. Where can people start the conversation with you and web ventures?

Mike Demo 19:29
Sure. So if you go to our website, www dot web ventures.io. There’s a little form you can fill out there in Alaska, get a free consultation call. If you want to email me directly. It’s just Mike demo. MIKEDMO at web ventures.io. If you want to be super casual, just tweet me at MP Mike.

Cory Miller 19:51
Excellent. I’ll put those in the show notes to thank you so much, Mike. I’m excited about what you’re doing. I’m looking forward to your announcement in the next week or two. Big one, and all you’re doing in the WordPress community.

Unknown Speaker 20:04
Awesome. Thanks so much, Cory.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Categories
Entrepreneurship Interviews

Entrepreneurs, Start with Fun: My Interview with Kim Doyal

In August, while speaking/attending the Recurring Revenue Retreat in Orlando, I had the chance to meet someone I’ve known about for a long time but never met — Kim Doyal.

Instantly over lunch I realized we were kindred spirits and I wanted to get to know her more. So I asked her to do an interview with me for my YouTube channel. I had intended to talk more about her awesome Content Creators Planner (which I am a customer!) and get tips about running a lively engaging Facebook group like she leads, but we ended up talking about some of her life mantras that really resonated with me.

Here are some of the things that I gleaned from Kim and our talk: 

Start with Fun

This was a key lesson from our talk. Several of her successful projects — like her Content Creators Planner — came out of fun. The story of how she got to her planner was really key. She s

But they also had intention. Strategy and purpose. And as she was having fun, she saw the opportunity to help people, something she hadn’t planned for initially.

Just Show Up

The word “consistently” shows up on her site and in her own words and life, a theme in my life this year and her hashtag mantra is #showup. That you have to show up and do the work, but it doesn’t mean killing yourself either.

Which follows with …

Keep Moving Forward

In fact, she says even when life happens as it will … just keep moving forward. Don’t dwell in mistakes or failure, but pick back up where you left off.

Be You, and In Fact More of You

Before our interview, I was reading on her site and loved seeing this quote from her: “You are your secret sauce.”

Through the entire time, you could feel her authenticity and living this value. It was an emphasis I needed to be reminded of. Start with who you are and the “fun.”

***

I hope you’ll listen in to our whole talk. You’ll be inspired. I didn’t want it to end. In fact, we talked for another 15-20 minutes afterward and she gave me some incredible encouragement and affirmation for my own “fun.” Stay tuned and thanks Kim!

And if you like these interviews, would you do me a favor and Subscribe to My YouTube Channel?

***

Full Transcript Below (Lightly edited)

Cory: 00:01 Hey Everybody. Okay. I’ve got my new friend Kim Doyal on my YouTube channel and to do an interview with me. I have known of Kim for a very long time yet. We just met last month at a great conference called the recurring revenue retreat in Orlando and we got to sit down for a short lunch and I was like, this, this is my, this person is my kindred spirit and I cannot believe we’ve known of each other for I think probably 10 plus years and haven’t had a conversation. And also your talk at recurring revenue retreat really resonated with me. The center point theme as I recall is really about relationships and I love that value that you have. So there’s a couple of things I wanna I wanted to rare on the interview. Her today is to talk about. She has got a very lively Facebook group that I became a part of after I met her last month. I have purchased her awesome product called content content creators planner. And there’s just a couple of other things that I wanted to you. You’re such an intriguing person, Kim. And I wanted to ask, because I love this, what, you know your spirit that you do life in business and it really resonates with me and how I want to do business as well. So anyway, thank you for taking the time today, Kim, to be on. Let me just ping me with questions.

Kim: 01:28 Thanks for having me Corey. And it’s funny, I thought the same thing. I’m like, how is it, I’ve totally known Cory Miller for like all these years, but I’m actually grateful that it was, that we got to meet in person was really awesome for our first meeting. And thanks for the awesome intro like egos set for the day.

Cory: 01:44 No, you have so many things that I know I can personally learn about and I wanted to not just pick your brain and ask those questions, but sharing with other people too. And there’s this beyond relationship, which is a key value for you. Building great relationships. I mean, you built some ton, a ton of good ones. You also, the center of your universe is content. And I’m an old newspaper journalists going way back and so you’re on the cutting edge and a lot of things and so I want to just dive in this round asking you about it. Let’s do it. Okay. So okay. So on your site, you said the best decision you make career wise, career in business I think was the context starting a podcast. Can you tell me a little bit about your can you elaborate a little bit more on that?

Kim: 02:33 I will share the story. So you know what is funny Cory, is that I did that, Oh gosh, two 2013 is when I did full launch, the WordPress chick podcast and I’ve always been like a total audio file. I think that’s the correct word. Like when I was working, I was a district manager in retail. I mean I had a crate of cassette tapes in my car. Like I listened to the Nightingale Conant and you know, all that. I just was always putting something to my head. And so I love listening to podcasts. I think smart passive income was probably the one of the first ones that I listened to and it’s an hour long show. And I just thought I just hit this point where I was like, I need to have more fun because my journey here, like I, the content piece that I’m doing now feels like I’ve come home to what I was supposed to do.

Kim: 03:16 And it took me 11 years to get here. You know, as in WordPress, loved it, met great people, but I just, it was always sort of one of these things doesn’t belong here because I’m not a developer. So the podcast, it was literally to have more fun. I had zero expectations. I had zero, you know, intention. Other than have fun, talk to good people, I was like, I’ve got stuff I want to talk about. You know, I actually wanted to be a motivational speaker at one time, so that tells you all right. And but it was just, there’s something about doing things in your business with zero expectation, obviously. And I have intentions, right? I want things to go well. I want things to be enjoyable, but man, every single time I’ve done something, because it was simply what my heart was calling me to do.

Kim: 04:02 It worked and made money. Every time I thought I’m going to launch this because I have to make money. It crapped, it was just like it would fall flat on its face. And so it was one of those things and 2013 there was, there wasn’t a lot of WordPress podcasts and so it was very easy to reach out. And it’s like, what other platform do you get where someone says, Hey, I’ve got this audience in platform, let me share your message. It’s a complete gift, right? There’s no expectation of it. And I actually just did a a podcast episode and a post that said, so you want to be a podcast guest, because we’ve kind of swung the other way where there’s all these pitching companies, right? And it’s like, Hey, this person would be great and stuff. And it’s, I don’t, in my experience, it’s not been hard to find guests.

Kim: 04:46 And when I ask someone to come on the show, I have zero expectations. When I get pitched, I expect you to promote it. Right. And so I think that’s also like getting closer to 50 and I’m like, either do it or don’t, but you’re not going to have a show if you don’t. I don’t. I don’t know. So, but really it’s, and it sounds so esoteric, Cory, and it’s so hard for people to wrap their head around the fact that I’m supposed to go do what I love and it’s going to work. It doesn’t mean you don’t work. It doesn’t mean you don’t show up and put the energy and the effort and the intention and, but when what you’re doing is because it’s fun. Well it’s, it’s going to work and I’m not going to get esoteric on energy, but I really believe all that stuff.

Kim: 05:25 And it’s been a Testament in my life. So I mean the relationships that that came from that, I mean, I had coaching clients, I had web clients, I had podcasts, clients, I sponsorships. It was just, I mean, one of my first coaching clients, and it was like a six K coaching thing, literally came to me because she listen to podcast and found me on Twitter. I was like, well, that was kind of fun, right? Because I don’t know if you have found it, but when someone’s willing to listen to you for like an hour there, you’re right. Try. Right. It’s, it’s intimate. If someone’s gonna listen to me talk for just an hour, it’s like, well, Love me. I hate me. You know, they’re not in different, so they’re sticking around.

Cory: 05:58 Oh, that’s such a good point. Okay. You’ve made like 15,000 amazing points there. Okay. First that I wrote down was like, you use this word fun, which you actually right. You know, some people I think will say, and I have probably said it too, which is follow the passion and that’s kinda getting poo-pooed a little bit. But I love your angle, which is, it was fun. Like I just, I wanted to do it. Our good friend Matt Madeiros, you know, he’s been doing his podcast for a long time. And we, we got to have dinner at right after our three retreat. I will flip to Boston and get to see him and his family. And you know, kids are so cute. Sorry.

Kim: 06:46 Oh gosh, yes. Yeah. He’s awesome too. But his kids are darling. They are darling.

Cory: Yes. now three of them, he’s got three boys. So, but, but you know, he did it because it was fun. Like he, it’s just part of him, you know, and doing that. And I get that. I’ve, you and I, and that’s a good word for me to think is, cause when I started my next phase, I go, what interests me? You know, what’s interesting to me, and I tried to find some buckets, you know, mental health is one entrepreneurship on to start a business again. Those buckets. But I think that’s so, such a good word. I totally, I’ll, I’ll tell you when I ask that question, I totally thought I’d get something totally different. Oh, really? Yeah, yeah, because I will tell you, blogging was my career.

Success was my, was my key. And you know, I’ve kind of gone back to that. It’s been 13 years now, I guess since I started that blog, which is now the funk and all that. But it was a catalyst for everything that came over the last 10 years for me. But I would say it was fun, but I was learning. But okay, so that’s one part. The next one that you said is you came home, it was like coming home, like you found your niche and you go after 11 years. And I think that that resonates to so many people we spend and we try things and things don’t move the needle. I mean, today I’ve got 33 subscribers to my YouTube channel. I’ve been very, very impressed. I’m beyond impressed.

Kim: I have over like 1500, but YouTube was like, eh, you don’t do enough. So we’re taking the AdSense away from you. So that tells you that, no, goodness you do. But you know, I think it’s interesting just staying where, you know, coming home and finding your groove and being able to stay with it too. So you stayed with the a very, very long time. But I think it comes back to you just like you and Matt have this common thing I’m hurting, which is we enjoy it. Like I would do it if, you know, two people show up kind of thing completely. Well, and you know, with all of that Cory, like I dunno, I’ve always had this bent and I think that people that are entrepreneurs Feel that like there’s something else I’m supposed to do with my life. And you know, initially it was because, you know, I lost my husband in 2003 I’m like, I need to be here for these kids. But I’d always wanted to, like I owned a scrapbook store in 1998 I opened that, I tried all the network marketing, I did insurance and real estate. Like I kept trying. Right. And what I’ve seen in this space, and I don’t know if you feel this way, but it’s like people are waiting for this light bulb moment of inspiration to tell them this is your divine path. And I always get clear through doing the work. And so, you know, like when I originally started blogging, it was like my first post on the WordPress chick was so robotic and, but it was through podcasting cause I wasn’t attached to it.

Kim: 09:37 I didn’t have expectations. I write the way I talk. And through that I fell in love with writing and now I love spending four or five hours writing a post [inaudible] editing it, like thinking about the grammar. I mean I use Grammarly, but it’s one of those that you find your voice, you find the clarity through trying and it’s like you’re not going to get better by not doing, do you know what I mean? And so I don’t know. And I would say very easily the first, it probably wasn’t until like 2016 so about eight years I really had this like, why aren’t I hitting it? Why or I, you know, the six figure a month earner, why aren’t I doing this? And I joined high ticket mastermind then and poured money into ads and all of those things. And I will tell you the only reason some of them didn’t hit, I had some success for sure, but they didn’t hit because I wasn’t coming from this place of what’s, what do I enjoy doing?

Kim: 10:29 And it sounds so ambiguous, but I would rather fine, like, I don’t know, do customer support for Zapier on the side while I’m trying to find my voice versus this pushing. And you see people are like, okay, well this webinar course is going to be the end all be all. This is what I’ve been looking for. And it’s like, no, it’s not. And so I hit this space of kind of, I had to pull away from all this finding a high ticket offer and doing this and doing this because other people are having all this success because it wasn’t the game for me. It was the creation sort of. And I just stepped back and I’m like, I’m gonna go back to mastery. And I really, I’ve fell in love with writing and I wouldn’t call myself a writer, but I enjoy it. I enjoy the process of it and I think I’ve gotten better.

Kim: 11:14 I, I have fun with copy now. It’s not my favorite thing, but it’s all of those things and it’s like if I could say anything to anybody, it’s just con just show up. It’s that consistency and you’re gonna pivot. I mean, trust me Corey, like I’ve done so we had an outsourcing company. I did websites than we did done for you podcasting than I thought it was gonna launch a software program and it was like, and I just, well that didn’t work. Nope, that didn’t work. Yup. Right. And that’s it. That’s all you do. You find out another way that doesn’t work. I don’t know where I’m going with all that. No, no. This is the thing. Thank you. I wanted to hear all of this cause it’s very, very enriching for me because I think I had forgot over 10 years of themes that

Cory: 11:54 The struggle that it was before now, I think it was a struggle in itself. I had ups and downs and everything, but before, and I found my I found my journals from like 11, 12 years, 12 years ago, and I started looking through them and I go, man, I didn’t have anything figured out. I was all over the map. I was trying to find my way. And I really did have all kinds of things. And then it ended up, it kind of the, the path narrowed and it was like, okay, this is my thing. And I think you found that with content creators planner as you explore. Explain one part of that, I guess I should say as far as something that you really love to do and then also helps make money. Just kind of essential turns out of need it to live. But I’m, I’m with you on the, the doing the work. The problem with doing the work and like this whole, you know, adventure called entrepreneurship is when my dad asked me, we have lunch, you know, dinner I’ve got a client in Southern Oklahoma and that’s where I’m from. And so when I’m coming back, I have dinner with my dad and I really love those times and he goes, how are things going? And I’m like, I made progress.

Cory: 13:09 I made what she steps ahead of where I was last time, but it looks, you know, to him, and probably in these super encouraging, loving and affirming, but two most, I think most they would go, Cory doesn’t know to do it. Like I believe it’s going to do well. Like he did it here and I think I’ve competency, but man, he’s wandering in the wilderness kind of thing.

Kim: Well, especially that generation, right.

Cory: So, yeah, totally, totally. Yeah, he, he, I’m an entrepreneur. He worked for other people for most of his life. And so yeah, he also doesn’t, I think he still thinks I’m an it guy. You know, I, I do computerstuff. I’ve done that before. So, you know, I’m with you. But, and I think that’s why we’re a rare breed as entrepreneurs is because we get seeming to the outside world is, it looks like we’re lost.

Cory: 14:02 And I’ll, I’ll be honest with you, sometimes I feel like I’m totally lost most of the time. Totally lost. But to find that path, you know, and it just doesn’t play well. When, when dad asks you how, how are things going? I can’t say, Oh I’m, you know, yeah. And one day I will, I know, I dunno how long it’s going to be, but if we’re getting there, so anyway, I’m sorry. Doing the work. I fully agree. Putting things out there into the world. Your hashtag is show up and a couple of years ago I put a talk out at word camps in different places called just click publish. Cause that’s what I did over and over in my life is back to that blog that eventually snowballed into what was I themes in my career and the life for the last 10 years, 11 years. I’m was just clicking publish. So I love this. We’re going to segue into the show up and just show up. Just show up. And there’s this word that you use specifically in your site. You say the key to building a successful online business is to hash. I show up consistently and with strategy and purpose, that word consistently.

Kim: 15:15 It’s so true. And I’m going to, here’s the thing though, Corey like it my podcast. So when I pivoted from WordPress chick to Kim Doyle, that was, I dunno, beginning first quarter, probably a 2018. And I knew I was going to keep the podcast going. I wasn’t going to change the fee, I was just going to change the name of the show. And and there’s been times where it’s been up and down, right? But life happens. And so I, I swear, I just believe with every ounce of my being, people are doing the best that they can really. And so it doesn’t do me any good to be like, damn it, I didn’t publish last week or you know, I have a backlog of interviews or I have this and that and so, but it’s not knowing, okay, I’m going to show up when I can with the right intention and just keep moving forward.

Kim: 15:58 Because there are times like I may look like I’m showing up, but in the meantime, you know, like I’m off for three days because I, I’ve got life stuff to deal with. And so, you know, the consistency part, it’s knowing that no matter what happens today that you do or don’t do, you’re going to hit it again tomorrow. Right. And so like even with the Facebook group, great. That was another thing that I started, cause I thought I was launching a SAS product so I wasn’t worried about it. I didn’t have any expectations, but I fell back in love with content and even backing into that, when I said I started doing these kind of almost daily emails, it was, I had practiced, I had watched Ben settle the way he emailed. Right. And he can turn some people off. I get that. But I literally just read his emails for probably a year before I came to customer.

Kim: 16:44 And then I just was like, I just want to practice this. I don’t care if anybody unsubscribes, anybody clicks. This is solely for myself to say, Kim, you’re going to show up and do this everyday for 20 minutes, whatever. And so from that then I needed to find ways to tell stories to shift those emails. So that’s when I was like, well man, everything is content. The dog’s taken an app can turn into content, you know, like spilling my coffee can turn into a piece of content. And it was through the practice that I found that, which then became sort of another mantra of mine and I, it’s so much easier to show up when you’re not putting expectations on yourself to turn this into $1 million business or have a 60,000 person email list or have some phenomenal launch when your intention is to just show up and be there 100% when you can. It’s a lot easier to move through life. Got it. I love

Cory: 17:36 That. Okay. This is the just the most encouraging. Thank you for that. I love that you said just keep moving forward. That we all have life. And that’s the thing I think I particularly, you know, I think there’s millions of people out there to do the same, which is beat yourself up when you feel beat yourself up when you want to be consistent but don’t show up and laugh happens. And so that’s key. Thank you for that. I love that. And that Dory from finding an email, I think her mantra is keep swimming, but I love yours to show up consistently and when you can and just keep moving forward and, but the practice is key too. I wrote that word down, the practices where you have found some things by one. Okay. So if we’re doing steps, I would say first as you started with being fun, what’s fun?

Kim: 18:24 [Inaudible] Second maybe. It sounds like no expectations. Like you just wanted to do it right. And I would say just to clarify, like have an intention. You don’t expect it because the other piece of this, and I’m going to be a little move on you, but it’s like maybe what happens is bigger than you could have imagined. Yeah, it’s better. Right? So it’s sort of like setting that intention to serve and connect and enjoy yourself. And yes, you have to make money. Like with the planner, obviously we want to make money with this, right. But it was one of those ideas that took a hold of me. So I think setting the intention to fully show up for who you are and how you want to move through the world. Like for a while I did another hashtag. I don’t know why I think I have to make up hashtags, but it was F the hustle cause I was like, I like to nap. I just do. I like peace and quiet. I’m like, I’m just, I dunno, I did the 60 70 hours on my feet working, commuting, all that nonsense. I’m like, I’m going, I want to do it. Doesn’t mean I don’t work hard, you know? So it’s cool. I sort of do these pendulum swings, like go away and then I’m like, everything’s great. I’m like, okay, let’s find out where we need to preach it. Preach it. Okay. So tell, talk to me about intention. So, okay, we’re, we’re, we don’t,

Cory: 19:38 We’re not basing our value in life on the expectations we have, but we are setting in attention. What does that look like? Or what does it look like with

Kim: 19:48 Content creators, planner or the Facebook group or the podcast or anything like that for you? You know, I really, I sort of believe in this, you know, in this space we do a lot of back into it reverse engineer, right? And so for me it was, what do I want my life to look like? And a lot, a lot of my adult career before starting this was all retail management. And I was so adamant that freedom was a driving force for me. Like I am never showing up to a building with a pair of keys again for anybody else. And, and so freedom was this driving thing, right? And, but yet as you start doing it and anybody who’s been an entrepreneur realizes for a while you create a job for yourself and you’re like, huh, I don’t have any of the perks of the actual job ahead.

Kim: 20:31 And I’m making less money and all this stuff. So I kind of backed into it and I was like, what do I want my life to look like? And it’s, you know, it’s interesting when you talk about mental health you know, so I found an amazing therapist and I lost my husband in 2003. I don’t know if I said let’s to my friends call me. What about Bob? Right. You know, bill Murray who followed his shrink on vacation because she sort of, yeah, yeah. She retired and like moved up to Redding and I go, I go see her like for three hours at a time. But you know, I made a really conscious decision. I would say it was in 2011 that I wanted to move through my life differently. I’m pretty type a and I’m outgoing, but I just didn’t want to be as reactive.

Kim: 21:10 And I found myself identifying as a widow and I was like, this is just a part of your story, Kim. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, whatever, but it’s like it’s a part of your story. It doesn’t define you. And so I really, it is such the core of my life, Cory, like who do I want to be today? Like did you meditate or you know what? I’m just going to hang out with the dogs for four hours because it just brings me joy. What friends fill me up? And so intention, it’s like you got to get in touch with it and it’s like you have to do this work. And it’s like, where is my life working? Where is it not like we were talking about expectations and judgment. It’s like I used to just beat myself up and why am I here again and what am I doing?

Kim: 21:50 And then I had this sort of epiphany one day that I was, I caught myself having that conversation. I was like, frigging knock it off. But I used a much more vulgar word. And so I remember I, and I was all proud of myself cause I caught myself from doing this like dramatic, you know, to myself. And I remember telling my therapist, she’s all like, okay, well that’s good, but what if you said, Oh it’s okay sweetie, you’re tired. You know, it’s, and I was like, Aw, that feels really not right. And so it’s just, and I can do that now I’m like, Kim, it’s okay, you’re super tired or you’re going through this or you just want to go binge Netflix. It’s okay because then it’s so much easier to get back on the saddle tomorrow. Do you know what I mean?

Cory: 22:33 Yeah. It’s kind of letting yourself off the hook in a sense of, you know, not dwelling. Okay, I’m a failure because I forgot I didn’t publish that blog post. Right. Failure because I didn’t, you know, be like the max, I’m productive. I could today, which I would say most of the things you’re talking about there, there’s a, the sense of, as entrepreneurs we don’t think the recharge is really hard for us. Yeah. We have a problem with saying like, we understand our iPhone gets to read and we need to plug it in or there’s battery conservation and we don’t realize that applies to us too. Like there are 1% we’re not good to anybody, but I like set the intention and you know, you’re fine that you’re, you’re finding, it seems like if I could capture it, it’s you’re staying in the middle of what is contentment and happiness and fulfillment for you and letting that drive everything. So,

Kim: 23:31 Yeah. Have you ever done that? The five love languages. Totally right. Okay. So they have one for singles and stuff too. And, and it was funny because I had a disagree with a family member last week or whatever. And so I was like, I’ve got to go do this again. And we’re so polar opposites. Right. And [inaudible] the other thing is like, life happens. You’re gonna have disagreements with people you love and care about. You move on. It’s like not making everything a thing that’s kind of another goal of mine. But when you realize, Oh wow, quality time is really important to me. And, and so you look at that and then it’s like, well that has to happen in business too, right? So I love creating, I liked, I like just getting lost in that. Like I don’t want to be on 24 seven. It exhausted me even though I may not seem like that it will deplete me.

Kim: 24:14 And so you just, and again, I think part of it is getting older. You learn like when I get super pumped about something or I’ve got a project and the momentum kicks in, I can go hard and then I will crash and then I will check out for a few days. And it’s, it’s like just part, it’s a process. That was the other thing that has been so helpful for me is that simply my process. So when people stay in that space of, Oh, I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that. It’s almost giving themselves permission to not try again tomorrow. It’s a bit of an excuse instead of I didn’t do it. You know, it’s that self responsibility. Like if you could teach your kids anything, it’s teach them not anything. But look, if you made a mistake, that’s how you learn. Own it. Except responsibility. There’s consequences now. Now tomorrow’s a new day. You’re not a horrible person. And so it’s like all these little fundamentals of, of being a good human being really applied to business. Oh gosh. Yes.

Cory: 25:10 Okay. So much there too. But I want to go back to the five love languages. Yeah, I had, I used that in business. People always go, well how do you do physical tests? And I go, well I it and I think you had an SOP about and for physical touch people and high five, Pat on the back, you know, yeah. Can be killer, but you just limited something. So I’ve used that in Lindsey and I talk about all the time, the cause, she is physical touch and I am words of affirmation and it’s something every week of my marriage with her. I have thought about it. She’s physical touch. I’d know. I got to be deliberate and go hold her hand. Okay. That’s the sidebar. But you just turned something I never thought of to think about the five love languages. So if your love language is quality town on minds, words of affirmation is the business giving that to you. I never thought about like that, you know, because I talked to entrepreneurs who are absolutely miserable.

Kim: 26:08 Yeah.

Cory: 26:09 And it’s because maybe the business is not loving them and the way they need to be loved a well one is gifts are always nice. We always like gifts. Who might not be our primary thing, but is it giving us money is one thing. But you know, if all you hear as a works reformation person, all you hear is complaints, complaints, complaints.

Kim: 26:28 It’s not your love language. Right? And all of a sudden it’s like, what did I do to myself with this business? Yeah.

Cory: 26:35 I never thought about that. Like that use of quality time. So like is it giving you quality time to do the things you really cherish that give from fulfillment, like getting lost in content record, talking to good people in relationships? Is that, that’s such a,

Kim: 26:50 That’s a light bulb moment. Thank you for that. You’re welcome. Well, and also if you want to look at it in a sense of is it allowing me to be who I want to be. You know, I hit this stride as I calmed down a little bit from like I could have been at, I was kind of a jerk as a manager. Not horrible, but like if you did your job, you loved me. If you didn’t, you didn’t want to work for me. I was, you know, cracking the whip kind of thing. And it’s just, I don’t know. There is something about choosing kindness. You can be right or you can be kind. And again, that doesn’t mean there’s no consequences, but you know, it’s also being kind to yourself. And who I want to be means I like to show up for people in my life, right?

Kim: 27:28 That, you know, like I went down and spent a few days with the best, one of my mom’s best friends and my mom passed away this summer. It’s been super hard. So keeping those connections are vitally important to me. She’s a family friend. She does a volunteer thing. I need to be that person that can show up because quality time’s important to me too, right? So I helped her with this charity thing, and so my business has to allow me to be that person, right? So my business has to allow me then to, to be and, and all that changes, right? So like I’m officially an empty nest or I’m staying with my dad for a while with this loss. And then I’m like, huh, what does this look like? So I, I don’t know, you know, like, I was so excited this week, Corey, because my dad’s on a trip and I’m like, I have nowhere to go. I just get to work and it’s quiet. Like there’s no, you can’t see a house for miles from where I’m at. So it’s those little things. Does my business support who I want to be in this lifetime?

Cory: 28:21 Oh, that’s good. I can totally see it. As you’re talking about, did the business themes allowing to be more of me and how I want to be loved or appreciated or whatever in the world? And it absolutely did. I conformed it to what I wanted it to be. And there was a time though, I thought, I don’t want to be a part of this. This is a broken relationship and I remedied that. That’s how you learn. Right? Totally, totally. And yeah, when you talk about failure and learning, particularly with kids, and I’ve got two young kids is the growth mindset, how do you instill this? Failure is a learning failure is feedback. Failure is how we get better in the world. You use things and it’s tough. I try to teach the kids baseball and, and they’ll say, you know, not hit the ball and be like totally defeated.

Cory: 29:12 I’m like, Oh man, if I can just take this chip and I don’t have it, by the way, I’m still trying to learn it even better. Chip and go, you know, Hey, keep, just keep moving forward. I think as you said earlier, just keeping going forward. This is how we can learn and grow and that is such a, by the way, that growth mindset thing, there’s this thing called the big life journal and I love these people. I’m thinking I want to email them and say, you need to have an adult person, even if I have to print it out the adult version because it’s so good with this growth mindset. You’re in all these things that we’re talking about. Okay, well I thought our conversation when we go, but I’m like, Oh, I’m having a black suit. So okay, you talked at our three and then you’re backing into some things that’s really made me want to ask this. Okay. So I love this. You get these principles. That is how do you align business with who you are authentically and who you want to be. And it kind of brings up this whole self care and support. So you know, how do you as an entrepreneur, as a person in the world, take care of yourself. And you mentioned therapists that you told me you drove three hours for. Yeah, she’s awesome.

Kim: 30:27 And then we sit for three hours. So it’s a long day. That’s great though. Yeah. you know, it’s, it,

Kim: 30:34 It’s really tuning in and learning like as an example, the last few years, I mean, even pre losing my mom high school was a really difficult time for my son. We, it was, it was really hard. And what, which was tough because my daughter was like [inaudible] she came out of the womb like I’ve got it life is she just right? And so then you, and on one hand I’m like, I’m, I’m grateful she was first. Cause I would’ve been like, what? How did I fail this kid? Right? We’re on the other side of it. It’s a lot easier to have this conversation. But the self, what self care looked like during that time was just getting through each day. Honestly, you know, I’m a huge, like I probably am high up there with physical touch. Like Lindsey, I love massages. You know, I, I’ve meditate, I’ve probably done it most consistently in the last year than I ever have.

Kim: 31:23 I am like, when I say I listen to stuff in my head, it’s not always business. I’ve got spiritual stuff that I listened to or oftentimes when I work, I have noise. Leon, it’s just rain and wind. And I have found that I recharge with, you know, with nature. I mean it’s sort of weird like to come up and live with my dad again, but at the same time they’ve got an acre and it looks like, like taco. I’m like, this is so soul filling. And so self care is really being conscious of, you know, spending time with people that fill me up. That’s it. And also I think as adults we hopefully if you can learn this at such a win is when you need help. You ask for it, that plain and simple, you know, you know how good it feels to show up for other people and to be there.

Kim: 32:07 And so allow the people that love you to do that as well. You know it and so it’s going to look different based on what you’re going through. Right. So I mean it’s going to be a hard first year without my mom. Sorry. I mean I’m in their house, but at the same time, like it fills me up to be able to help my dad. It’s weird. So it’s like, what does that look like? I’m going to Idaho by myself. I’m taking the dogs. I rented an Airbnb for two weeks. I’m like, I just need, and I scheduled a massage for each week, but I need that. I know myself well enough that if I can get a little space to ground myself and I have such strong spiritual beliefs and I’m like, I feel like I’m being called to sort of, I’m getting so weird on your court, but like being called to a new spiritual level in my life.

Kim: 32:57 And so because of this loss being so significant and so it’s like, what does that look like? I don’t know. I’m like, I’m going to go to work, I’m going to take the dogs for a walk, all that stuff. But I know myself well enough to say I’m better to the people I love when I have that quiet time for me. So, and it could look differently, right? There’s other times it’s like, I totally want to see my girlfriends or I need a girl’s weekend away or I want to go, you know, to Disneyland, which is not a vacation. It’s right, right. Like restful. Like everyone’s like, why Idaho? Cause I was going to move there and October, that was my plan before all this happened. And I’m like, I just wanted somewhere that was felt like fall. Northern California doesn’t always, and had some nature.

Kim: 33:40 I wanted to move there. So let’s go look at the area and just a retreat. That was it. Yeah. So it’s trusting that that you can listen to yourself and I really believe, do you read Ryan holiday? Have you read his stuff? Oh, I loved him. He obstacles away. It was one of my, is one of my most favorite books and yes, absolutely. And he has a book called stillness coming out. And I just think we live in this world of, you know, constant, constant, constant that that need for stillness is so important. And I’ve just tapped into that. And for everybody it’s going to look different. You know, and don’t get me wrong, I am so like the binge watch TV girl, I have no judgements about watching six hours of a great show. If that’s what I need today cause I need to shut my brain off. I don’t care.

Cory: 34:26 I think you’re absolutely right. It’s knowing yourself on what you need. And sometimes for me, I co you know, we kind of joked and I’m kept in oblivious sometimes

Kim: 34:37 Man

Cory: 34:39 Is having somebody around you that can say no, you really do need this. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s all good. And then the obstacle is the way run holidays work. So key, that was the article I’ve been thinking about. He sent an email, I think it was over the weekend and it was 25 things, something like that. 25 things to be still and that, that is absolutely key. I had something else but now I forgot it. But gosh, I love it Kim.

Kim: 35:06 Well said. Well and really quick on the stillness piece. I think because we live in such a, I mean we have so much information and, and with technology and stuff, you know, it’s not like the industrial age where it was a 40, 50 year growth. It’s like technology happens this fast and, and so it’s allowing yourself permission to see what that looks like for you. And I think part of that piece, and I swear I think this was a dr Oz quote, but it’s, we have to learn to be comfortable with discomfort, right? And so it’s kind of like when life happens and things are hard, it’s like, can you allow yourself just to be sad, not with what, what am I supposed to do with this? You know, how am I supposed to feel? Or when you’re angry, like, can you just allow yourself to be angry without placing blame or judgment or whatever. And I think as a culture, I’m not, you know, a statistician, but I think we’ve lost a little bit of that because we have so much coming at us. So it’s whatever stillness looks like for you. It’s finding those little moments that will help.

Cory: 36:07 Well you made, you made the mentioned that like when you were going to some hard times with your son in high school and all that, that like self care was getting through the day, get into tomorrow and you know that. I think that’s that that perspective to have, which is like, I remember we had our kids and they were both in diapers at the same time. One was sleeping too, the that one wasn’t, and then I read these articles and it’d be like, Hey, get seven hours of sleep enough. I want to say screw you. Like there’s not a 40 hour day. Oh my God. Every article I read was like, get seven hours of sleep. It’s absolutely fine. I’m like, okay, cool. What do I do now? Like do I just go, Hey Lindsey, I’m I T I took an Ambien five Ambien and like I’m good. You’re going to like, you can’t do that stuff, you know, and [inaudible] and so I love that. It’s like when you said it’s like you need to the day, but that other times here are some of the keys when we talk about taking care of ourselves because it is situational to where you can’t like, Hey, seven hours of sleep and exercise and every day isn’t going to happen in this season of life at some point the morning routine too. I’m just going to go ahead and shout. Yeah, this pressure

Kim: 37:19 Have, you have to get up at this time of day and have accomplished 500 things by seven o’clock. I’m not saying that’s not life changing and can’t make an impact in whatever it is, but again, you get to choose what that looks like for you instead of what it’s supposed to look like.

Cory: 37:33 Yes. That pressure that you’re talking about with from external pressure coming in to say, Hey, or I’ll have to do all these things now my, I don’t, I don’t know if my problem is, is the external, cause I’m good at saying like, screw you, you’re gonna write about sleep. Awesome. Glad you get seven and a half hours of sleep every night. You know, like still my sleep’s disrupted and my kids are six and four. But I think, Shoot, I forgot where I was going.

Kim: 37:56 I’m so glad I’m not the only one that does that. I have done that so many times in a podcast. I’m all, where am I going with this?

Cory: 38:04 This is where I was fine. Good. Thank you. Thank you. Okay. A good cause it happens way too often for me. And there it went again. No, no, no. Okay. I got it. Self-Taught, self-taught. I gotta say self-taught before I forget it. So the external pressure of those types of things, I read all those articles and I’m like, ah, screw you. You know. And I still do feel that pressure, but I think the worst critic in my life ever Is myself. Is the things that I say to myself and I’ve been trying to change this. This year has been this Renaissance for me. It’s kind of like a reset for me is change this internal thing, which it goes, you know, back to kind of this theme of like, I didn’t publish a post. Okay, well you suck. And it’s crazy cause I’ve shared this publicly too, is that I know if I were to talk to my friends the way I talk to myself, I would not have any friends

Kim: 38:59 Oh politely. But it’s crazy. You know, I know what this encourager her and supporter of others yet my savior, he can, there was a I’m sorry, like you got me excited here, but Martha Beck gave a really good example, that exact scenario, but it was more of like a visual. I’m such a visual person and it was, you know, you see it, you know your friend’s going through something and they’re laying in bed and you’d go to comfort them and you touch them on the shoulder and they turn over and it’s you, it’s not your friend. And it’s like, so you just, when you can, and all of this, like, why do you think Renee Brown blew up? Because we all are so tired of putting on a very bright face when you need to break down or cry or talk or whatever it is. And so like we’re craving.

Kim: 39:45 And she always says, you know, we’re hardwired for connection and so, but you have to learn who are your go to people like who can you go to for that and stuff. And it’s, it’s baby stepping your way through it. I believe that in business, like I baby stepped my way into just showing up. And there’s plenty of places that I could like, I constantly like, God, I should, you know, everything is content. I haven’t done an Instagram store, I haven’t done this or I haven’t done that. At the same time, I’m like, my mom just passed away and I’ve been three months. I’m like, I don’t care if he likes it or not. I’m going to post the weather today and the dog’s next week. And that’s all you’re getting, you know? So I think it’s I don’t know that that self talk, it’s, it’s simply a conscious practice.

Kim: 40:25 And you know, we were talking about there’s a lot of strategies and expectations in this space. There’s, there’s never an end point. In essence, there’s always more you can do. There’s always something else you can create. There’s always something else you can promote. And so it’s really kind of, it comes back to backing into what do you want your life to look like? And I just, I don’t want the pressure. At the same time, I want to kill her income so I can live the life I want to live, which to me is the freedom and the travel and experiences and stuff, which is why you start looking at, okay, what will take me there? And you are going to get clear like the planner completely. Like I swear to you, no idea of that. That whole how that even came about was crazy. But yet it’s like, Oh my God, Cory, we have an ad running for that. It’s totally profitable. We started taking a draw on it. We have both been so busy. The content creators planner, I haven’t published a post and I’ve got one I’m going to publish, but too long. But it’s like we’re doing the best we can. Yeah. And it’s fine. And we have big plans for it and it’s going to happen. And I’m going to my daughter and I use the thing I’m gonna just trust. I’m gonna just try [inaudible] you know?

Cory: 41:31 Yeah. Keep moving forward. Doing the best can. Okay. So On the planner. So a fun and serendipitous, but how did that all come about?

Kim: 41:34  And it totally came about because I was having fun. So like when I said that I had a scrapbook store, right. I actually had some font stickers published that I designed. Like I was an art major for awhile too. Like I’m sort of the Jack of all trades. But like as a kid I would spend hours in my room drawing. I did all that stuff in high school and, and it was like I almost went to art school, but I was, I didn’t have the confidence, I didn’t want to compete in something I loved. That was what I told myself. And so I want to say it was just last spring. Have you heard of the bullet journal? Yup. Okay. So my aunts tell me about this bullet journal and I was like, Oh, this sounds cool because I’ve tried so many systems and stuff.

Kim: 42:21 And it’s like, yeah, but I’m a, I’m a pen and paper person. And so I get this bullet journal and I was like, okay, this is way too structured for me. I can’t index my year that that’s not how my brain works. But in the meantime, I fell in love with the paper. I like the dot grid and I started using colored pens again and I felt like this kid. And so like one day I would draw out a funnel, the next day it’d be like, what do I want my life to look like? And the next day I’d be like, what am I? Money goals. Like I just did whatever the heck I wanted to do and I was simply having fun with it. But as I stepped into this bullet journal world, it’s like a massive subculture. Like there are people that have huge NeuLion YouTube subscribers because they do their monthly spreads, right?

Kim: 43:01 And I was just thinking, Holy moly, there’s something here. And in content creators, what I would do, like I had had, I have tons of pen and paper and all that stuff. So there were different times that I have fun analytics, but I will draw it out. It just works for my brain. So I would draw out stuff and then I would take a picture. That’s my everything. That’s content, you know, as I would take a picture and people are like, Oh my God, I love that. And I was like, this is fascinating. So I just did a test because I saw her started falling all these hand lettering people and I really was having fun for myself just playing and drawing. And so I took three pictures of a journal spread and I shared them on Instagram stories and one I used the hashtag journaling and the first one I did and then it was like, I don’t know, 50 60 views.

Kim: 43:45 The hashtag journaling got like 543 views and the next minute I’m all, there’s something here. Like this is really fun. And it was just kind of one of those things that just, and that was in early spring of 2018 and it just was percolating. And then summer this guy reached out to me and he, he was an artist or designer, but he had a web agency. We kinda started talking, I’m like, Hey, would you want to do this with me? And he’s like, yeah, well three weeks in, God bless him, he’s talented, he’s a great person, but it like nothing was coming to fruition. So I’m like, you know what, I’m gonna go ahead and just take this back, you know? And he’s like everything, right? I’m like, yeah, I just think timing, cause I had learned that even with the SAS, right? Like the guy that I was doing that with had some really tough life circumstances.

Kim: 44:29 I’ve gotten nothing but love for him. We’re still friends. But I just was like, I’m not going through this taking a year and a half to hope something comes to fruition. So I was like, what am I going to do? Cause I don’t know what Adobe and design. And I was like duh. I reached out to my now business partner, Jody Hirsch, who is a graphic designer, 25 years successful. She was on a cruise in Europe, in a mall. So do you know and design? She’s like, yeah, what do you mean? I’m like, well do you want to do this with me or can I hire you? She’s like, yes. I’m like, what is it? And that was August of last year. And so then I started hand drawing the pages. We would do six hours zoom calls. Kim decides it’s a great idea to launch a Kickstarter at the beginning of December. Not like we just went so fast.

Kim: 45:11 And I had all these ideas about what it was supposed to look like. But again, I was not attached to what it had to be. Right. I mean, cause I’d seen other planners and journals and stuff raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. And so I would say it was probably the week before Christmas where we were like, okay, I don’t think we’re gonna hit our funding goal cause we were going to outsource it overseas. And we thought we had that order like 10,000 like, you know, we just didn’t. No. So we said, all right, well we still believe in this. We’re still committed to it. Let’s pivot. We throw up woo commerce. We let everybody know they could pre-buy through the site. New year’s Eve, we did like $1,500 in sales for something that didn’t exist. Then we end up finding a printer in Atlanta near Jody, and it was like, Oh my God.

Kim: 45:57 And it was, it’s better than we could have had we been stuck on it, had to go overseas and be this type of a format and stuff and we just let it take its course. We just kept going, I didn’t work. All right, let’s try this. And people were excited about it. Every time I do a live stream or I would talk about it, people get excited about it because I get excited about it and it’s just, it’s blown me away, Cory, because it’s like, what’s this going to look like when we put real effort into it? And I’m not saying we don’t care, but it’s, we’ve had tough years. And so, you know, it’s, it’s just, you know, that, and I don’t know who this is, I don’t know why I’m quoting everybody today, but nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.

Kim: 46:34 And I think that’s it. I think, again, in this busy world, we’re looking for that sort of tangible, let me get off the computer for a minute, have a moment with my thoughts, you know, and there’s data that says we remember better when we write and stuff. And it was simply, you know, cause with content, there are so many ways to approach it. And I truly believe strategy is important and should support your business goals. But if you’re not sure what that looks like, just friggin hit publish to your point, like click publish, right? It’s like you’re going to get clear through doing it. So by giving people permission, do you have any of my emails? I publish this blog post in, there is zero SEO value in that, but it’s my voice and I’m connecting with people, right? So it’s giving yourself permission to to, I dunno, figure it out.

Kim: 47:16 That’s why we wanted to have this and so you can have a strategy, but at the same time if you feel like getting something off your chest, do it like really quick story. I’m a game of Thrones fan and for whatever reason, as that was ending, people would proclaim, I’m proud to say I’ve never watched an episode of game of Thrones. It was all over social media. I’m like, so I did this email them all, nobody cares what you don’t do. Right. It was this like, it was just this like self-righteous. I don’t waste time with them. You know the public’s obsession with jot and it was like, what’s your point right before something like, it was just the strangest thing to me and I’m not kidding you Corey, I published it as opposed to how many got fans shared that everywhere they’re were like, thank you because you felt this like, well I’m sorry. I like it. And it’s like, it’s just human psychology, right? The people who don’t or they left out because they’re sick of seeing it. I don’t know, like I’m sick of seeing politics, so I just hide people. I don’t want to see it. But it’s one of those things that it’s okay to publish something that you feel like saying and I don’t ever do it from a hateful political whatever. I just kinda felt like ranting and it worked. So I don’t, that was a total non-sequitur for the planner. But

Cory: 48:27 No, it’s fine. It’s, it’s totally, I mean it’s cafe, you talked about Brene Brown, but I mean on your side and in your, everything you’re sharing here is back to authenticity. Who is, who you are, who you want to be in the world and being true to that as best as possible. And so I’m hearing some things. Okay. Fun purchase with fun. There is intention, which I want to kind of get back to that though. Fun being you. And then I keep thinking about it, you know, in Oklahoma here we do a lot of fishing and hunting. I think about fishing, you know, I grew up fishing with my dad and brothers and you know, you could alert in the, you know, you wait, but you keep tensions on jet. Yeah, yeah. I did not have it by the way. But you know, putting in enough, so I’m seeing that like you’ve started in and that parallels my story by the way.

Cory: 49:16 So you started in with fun, like I like doing this and you know, somewhere in back there, back to your strategy and purpose, there’s, you know, you’re looking for opportunities, opportunity recognition, but so fun. And then your letting things that you say the word percolate which I love cause I tell people it’s baking. Like this cake I’m baking is going to take a long time or something. I do use cooking references, but it’s a slow to a boil, it’ll boil. It’s just slow to get there. And so, OK, fun. Let’s say there’s another one, but you’re coming along these things and you’re noticing also what hits, you talked about Instagram, there’s something here and that’s definitely my emo to putting stuff out in the world. And seeing what, what reverbs back, what resonates, what ripples back to you, which is so interesting and funneling that which you’ve done.

Kim: 50:08 And that’s, you know, like when coming back to content, people think I’ve got to do all this. S it’s, it’s gotta be super technical and have this hardwired strategy. But with the planner, the first spread that Jodie did in, in design, when I shared at the Facebook group, we got so much validation. I like, all right, I don’t know if this is going to look like, but man, we’re on the right path. Like [inaudible]. And so it’s, it’s doing that and the whole thing is you’re not going to be ready. You just, you have to do it. It’s, you know, it’s, to use the analogy of parenting, I don’t know anybody that’s like, I am absolutely ready to have a child and bring it and be responsible for them for the next 18 years and be a parent. Nobody’s ever ready to do it anyways. Yeah. Unless it’s the first one. And they’re just, yeah. But, but that’s just it. And so it’s, I don’t know. I think we overthink so much. Yeah,

Cory: 51:02 Read my mind here. You read my email cause I wanted, I wanted to confess to you that overthink too much. Blogging back long time ago I was blogging up to three times a day. Oh my gosh. I was, I was nuts and I could crank stuff out. And then over time it shifted where I went from doing some of that work to managing and leading that work. And man, I’ll tell you what I think I think of over-thought is so much and complicated it where I’m coming back and I’m thinking, Oh man, I got a rough stop. Get off some of the Russ, I want to get back into blogging cause I know it’s critical to success and I’m overthinking it. I think I’m getting too much in the weeds of going, it has to be, there’s probably a perfectionist mindset, which I’ve railed against for years, particularly on my teams.

Kim: 51:50 Well you know, would be my guess Corey, is that because it’s, it’s hard when you’ve done X and it’s worked and you, you almost not have too much knowledge. But you have so much experience and skill and knowledge that it’s giving yourself permission to let it look like whatever you feel like letting it look like when it hits you, you know? And, and again, that doesn’t mean you don’t go back. Like, it was funny because I switched podcast hosts and so I’m going back and I’m changing all these players and stuff and I was like, Oh my gosh, like when I imported some of the content, like no, the SEO or I’m like, girl, you’ve got work to do. And I’m like, that’s okay. That’s all right. It’s okay. Like it’s just giving yourself permission to fix and edit and tweak and course-correct. I mean, it’s that same analogy of a pilot, right?

Kim: 52:36 They take off and they’re course correctly the whole time they’re flying. And so, I don’t know, it’s, it’s so strange to me. It’s like you look at why is that we let children evolve and grow and make mistakes and, and then it’s like, well, as soon as you’re an adult, you’re not allowed. You’re, you’re just supposed to have it figured out. It’s crazy. Nobody does. And, right. And it’s like, and that resonates with people the more I share. So like I did a whole podcast episode. That was when a failed Kickstarter leads to a successful product, right. And remember successful did not mean we made a $100,000 off some launch. We were like, woo, people are pre-buying, we’re going to keep going with this. And now it’s like, you know, $50 a day on an ad that’s working is completely profitable. It’s like, what’s that gonna look like when we actually implement? And you know, but it’s like, it’s okay,

Cory: 53:27 It’s common. Yeah, but you’ve gone farther than most people because you followed this serendipitous route one farther. We now you have the ability to go, I can crank this up even more, but I’m there, which is, so most of us want that, you know, get into that serendipitous path that is like, it works people, it’s validated. People like it. Now if we just turn this, pick it up and a work and you know, I think there’s a lesson here that, you know, I talked to a lot of would be or want to be entrepreneurs and it’s the same mindset sometimes I find myself, which is putting profit before passion, interest, you know, real care about what you’re doing. And every time I have done that put profit before purpose of lost either a lot of money, a lot of time it’s failed miserably. Getting back to the key thing.

Cory: 54:21 So you remember Mike Michalowicz? Who was that? Author, he told me some speaker. His books are incredible too. So I was talking to him and I said, Hey. And I told him, you know, it’s still my company and he had sold his, of course, it’s part of his story. And I said, what would you share with me? He’s like, you’ve been here, you’re ahead of me in this and rebooting and starting again. And he said, find your purpose. And it’s back to what you’re saying here, which is a theme of your core, your authenticity of who you are and want to be in the world. And he goes on a bracelet, he goes on his end, entrepreneurial poverty, poverty. Wow. I was like, damn, how do I buy mine? Can I buy mine today? Can I just get my, what’s my thing? Can I just buy a bracelet? And it’ll just say, Oh, got it. Got it. You know? But there’s,

Kim: 55:12 That’s a whole podcast or posts like, can I buy my bracelet?

Cory: 55:15 Yeah. But I think your message needs to be shared more, which is starting with what, what’s fun? Learning a skill, you know, learning something that you like. You’re doing, you doing journaling and finding your way through that and having a business strategy purpose in there that’s parallel. It’s still, it’s present. Maybe it’s not, you know, the first thing, but it’s, it’s that business opportunity recognition. I looking in going, there might be something here that is such a good thing.

Kim: 55:47 Well thank you. And I think we knew you were saying like the bracelet thing. It’s, it’s funny because I think our why will shift initially my drive and why was to be there for my kids and freedom. Right. And, and then it hit me at some point cause I’m the only entrepreneur in my family. Everyone’s like my dad’s a retired police officer and it’s been very traditional, you know, and it hit me so full on when I was at an event one time that I’m like, I think part of my greater purpose is to shift the trajectory for like the kids in my family. Like my daughter works for me. She, you know, she’s going to be finishing college. She’s like, I want to go to London for my senior year and, and I don’t know that I want to jump into a job.

Kim: 56:30 I think I want to freelance and travel. And it’s like because of an example that I’ve set, right? And so it’s showing another way and whether it’s the kids in my family or somebody that I’ve touched, it’s that there is another way. Right. And I think like my kid’s generation, you know, they’re 22 and 18 are definitely seeing that, you know, but for our generation it’s still not the norm or whatever. And so it’s like I felt sort of a bigger purpose and I don’t know. As I’ve gotten older, kindness is such a core of how I want to move through the world in cry. I’m not saying I don’t piss people off or make mistakes or disappoint or let people down. Lord knows that. But, but if I can come back to what is the kind thing to do here or how can I do something that just makes, like I talk, it was so funny, we went to Scotland, I don’t like 2013.

Kim: 57:18 I took my kids and because I worked retail so long, every clerk I’d be like, thanks, have a great day. And they would kind of look at me like, and I’m like, how you doing? It’s like, it was not the norm to get chit chatty with customers, you know? But the point is, it’s like where can you leave that element? And so with my business, if I can give people permission to, it’s okay. Like write about what you write, you’re going to get better. It’s okay. Like just be nice. Like have fun. It’s okay. I don’t know.

Cory: 57:47 Well golly, we can go on and on, but I know you have things to do. And I want to do a part two and part three and part four some sun between us. Cause I love our conversation today. Energy and fulfillment and I’ve learned so much data that’s been good for my story. But okay. Can you tell us where we can find you and then would you share also, I know it’s kinda oil.com

Kim: 58:14 That’s DOYAL.

Cory: 58:15 DOYAL, put it in the show notes, but also talk to us about content. A content creator, creators, planner.

Kim: 58:22 Yeah. It’s just contentcreatorsplanner.com it is a 90 day planner. There is a physical planner. I should have had one handy, but it’s too far. And or a digital and you know, we’re working on some like content type templates to support sort of content creation. So we’ll see where that goes. But yeah, and it’s, we, we specifically did it undated and I’m sure we could’ve done a big, Oh, get your 2020 and it’s like now hop in wherever you’re at. We’ve got some training on it. And ask me questions. I think I’m going to start, I have to justify my new iPad purchase that I made with a pencil so I can start teaching with a PDF online. But yeah, any questions? It’s like, it’s, it’s great for us to get feedback. Like somebody said, we need page numbers, which we didn’t think we did because it’s kind of redundant, but people want page numbers. Okay. So we put page numbers then, you know. And so it’s, we love the feedback and we just want to make it a super helpful tool to get people publishing and to get them publishing content that supports their business. We call it purpose-driven content. I love it now.

Cory: 59:22 Okay. You can go to KimDoyle.com and you can find one link over to the creator, the planner, and also Kim’s Facebook group, which we didn’t get to talk about. But as you are such a great online community leaders specifically in that I know and many other areas, but I love your engagement and how you lead people and so go and they can request to join straight from your site and that group.

Kim: Great. This has been so much fun, Cory. I feel like I could talk to you like all day, you know?

Cory: Ditto. Thank you so much, Kim.

Categories
Interviews Leadership WordPress

Leadership Lessons from Supporting WordPress Global Events

My friend Andrea Middleton has an incredibly complex job leading a diverse organization of volunteer event organizers located around the globe in her role as Dot Organizer for the WordPress community.

A job she does with grace, thoughtfulness and caring since 2011.

The events are called WordCamps and there is typically 1-2 going on every weekend throughout the year around the world.

In fact there have been over 1,000 WordCamps, in 75 cities, 65 countries and 6 continents since they started in 2006.

I got to interview her this week and in this recording, we talk about a number of topics like:

  • Leading volunteers
  • Managing conflict
  • Keys of effective conference organizers (“hosts”)
  • and more

Originally my thought in interviewing her would be centered more on the practical tips on running in-person events … however it turned out to be a much more AMAZING discussion on leadership.

The WordPress community, one I’ve been a part of since 2006 is better for having Andrea’s leadership in it.

***

You can learn more about WordCamps here.

You can learn more about Andrea on Twitter, at WordPress.org and Make.WordPress community section.

***

Full Transcript (Lightly Edited)

Cory: 00:01 Hey, I’ve got my good friend, long time friend, Andrea Middleton to come on. She is so experienced in some of these areas we’re going to talk about in a second. I said, I just want to just ask some questions of you. And I’m gonna let her talk more about her specific role, what she does, but we’ve known each other for, we’re trying to go back, like scale back. She started her position in 2011 so I know at least in that time period we’ve known each other and worked together in various capacities with her role in my past as a participant in the industry and the conferences she puts on. But she has an incredibly complex job and I told her this last week, I said, you’re in like in the middle of gunfire, sometimes, and I think you’re in a hole and you pick your head up a little bit and that’s kind of a way a visit.

Cory: 00:55 But it’s not really that the way you lead a, the role you do with community leadership, with all of these, they’re called ward camps happening across the globe. There’s one or two happening every weekend to know, cause I used to have the calendar updates on my phone. Now’s as word camps plus a in WordCamp, a little conferences for WordPress geeks. WordPress is software that powers a third of the internet or so. And this awesome lady is the person that wrangles all these volunteers from, I mean 65 plus countries, 75 cities, six continents. I mean, WordCamps are all over the globe. So I thought who better to talk about community leadership than my friend Andrea? So thanks Andrea for taking some time to talk to me.

Andrea: 01:42 Well, thank you so much for the invitation and uI’m very uncomfortable with,uhow important you made my job. So, but it’s a, it’s a real honor and a pleasure to have work with this much complexity and uand constant new interesting dilemmas and uand, and kind of ideas,ubecause I really thrive on, on learning and variety and,uI will say the WordPress ecosystem and community has been kind enough to give me pretty much uninterrupted opportunities to grow over the past eight years or so. So that’s great.

Cory: 02:28 So you can characterize it so well, but I was thinking as you’re saying that, there’s never a dull day for you in what you do in the work.

Andrea: 02:39 I mean, we have a, a huge, and I should be clear, like I used to be just me back in the day, but these days as a, the WordPress open source projects, community programs continue to grow. I’m lucky enough to work with a huge number of people who contribute to our programs, both our monthly meetup program as well as our WordCamp program. And the word camps are the annual conferences organized by the community leaders that, that organize our meetups. And we have some people who are paid full time to work on the programs and we have a huge, a huge group of really dedicated volunteers who give us as much time as they have available, more time sometimes than I can believe. And so these days I I’m certainly not alone and I think our, our programs are stronger and more more impactful than ever.

Cory: 03:45 Absolutely. What do you remember those days when it was kind of you scrambling and and try to take over? I mean, there was so many things going on at that time and then over time you have helped with your team. You’re so gracious to give credit to your team organize and, and make them for the benefit of the organizers, the conferences and the participants. And I’ve seen it happen. I’ve been to at least, I think 45 of these conferences over 11 years, 12 year period of time. And they have gotten better. And and it’s, it’s such an interesting conversation around all of this because like we’ve kind of said volunteers from different cultures we’re talking about before we started the recording and how culture affects, you know, what kind of drink you serve, for instance. So I’m gonna Oh, before I dive right in with the questions. So what is your official title?

Andrea: 04:40 My title at the company that pays me, which is Automattic, which is a company behind wordpress.com and with WooCommerce and a bunch of other great products and they, they pay me full time to specifically work on the open source project. That is WordPress and wordpress.org. My title at that company is dot organizer because I organize at WordPress.org. We are whimsical in the technology sphere, but yeah, that’s my title.

Cory: 05:14 Okay. So I wanna I want to pull some to that for a second. You, you are a loaned executive more or less from a for profit company to, to run all this. And by the way, I wanted to say that was something of inspiration for our own nonprofit. So we had, we had, we paid our executive director is loaned executive to work in our nonprofit similar to how Automattic does that so graciously. Okay. So thank you for that. And I did see that you were the dot organizer and wonder where that came from, but now you’ve explained it and that makes sense. Within geekdom and autumn automatic. Matt came up with that title himself. I was quite pleased with it. So hold onto it for awhile. That’s awesome. Okay. So within

Andrea: 05:58 All this, as things get impact, but first and foremost, how’d you get started in this role? You know, this role came to me quite out of the blue. I was recruited by a a friend and a colleague that I had known for well, gosh, since we were both in our twenties and canvassing for Greenpeace together in Portland back in the 90s. And she at the time at the time she went by the name Jane Wells. She changed her name to Jen Milo. And that’s the name she uses now. And at the time, back in 2011, she was, I think, gosh, project managing Corps overseeing the, the design of WordPress core and then also creating the community programs that we have today, creating the seeds of them. And she needed somebody to do one of those three full time jobs. And she reached out to me.

Andrea: 07:01 And my background previous to this kind of phase of my life and working in technology included a number of different professional areas. I have been high school and junior high school teacher. I had been a salesperson for a beverage distributor ship. I had been a marketing and HR professional in the construction industry. So I kind of, I had a, a wide range of course, my activism back way back in the day. So I had a wide range of experience. And she recruited me and trained me quite intensely for about the first year. I was a WordPress user and I loved WordPress, but I, I didn’t know a lot of the stuff that made our makes our, our community so interesting and idiosyncratic. And so I have a lot of, like, I still think back to like all of the stuff that I learned over that first year in 2011 and have a lot of empathy for the people who are just coming into WordPress and like learning where people are sensitive and where people just kind of assume everyone knows the same stuff and all that stuff.

Andrea: 08:17 So, so that was, so I, I was hired to basically implement the program that she had created. And I did that on my own for about a year. And the program was a way to kind of give some more infrastructural and kind of ideological support for people who are organizing these conferences, word camps that are WordPress based conferences that are organized, staffed and managed exclusively by volunteers all over the world. And yeah, so it, it’s a lot of working with volunteers. It’s a, a lot of international considerations and it’s a lot of you know, if you’ve ever been involved in organizing a conference there are some mission critical things that you really have to pay attention to and get done at a certain time. And so supporting people in that and a volunteer role has been really fun.

Cory: 09:25 I know I keep saying this, but it’s such a unique, you know, it essentially, there’s people listening just to hurt that what you were saying. It’s volunteer, ran lead tickets are around 40, $30 in, in typically participants get lunch, an incredible lunch coffee or whenever caffeine beverage, you said other choice and access to a wealth of talent and, and experience as speakers and then the genius bar or happiness bar. Yeah. Some

Andrea: 10:00 Kind of technical support volunteers, volunteers there too. Yeah. And I mean, what’s, what’s really kind of mind blowing to me about WordCamps and to a lot of other people is that all of our speakers are volunteers. And of course all the staff has volunteers and all the organizer are volunteers. And it’s this really really inspiring, I think it kind of model for what people who come together with a common goal can accomplish. And it’s interesting you were asking me a little bit about earlier when we were chatting about my work with the community because when I took this job, what I really thought it was, is at, and the way it was kind of explained to me was like, Andrea, you’re here to keep the organizers organized, right? Like to like, and to make their jobs easier and to shield them from risk.

Andrea: 11:06 And to make sure that the attendees that they’re serving are well-served to help them prioritize what, you know, where money should be sent spent on all this stuff. And that’s what I really took on as my, my mission was like keep everyone organized. And my understanding of my role has evolved a lot. And then my understanding of what the, of what our volunteers role has has evolved a lot. And it’s been, I was thinking about it this morning. It’s, it’s kind of happened in parallel. And a really interesting way because a couple years into the job I realized I’m not actually here to organize people because we have, because it’s volunteers, people kind of move in and out of the program with a lot of regularity. And so if you’re strategic, you have to plan for attrition, right? You have to, it’s, it’s otherwise you’re left in the lurch and with WordCamps and, and any enterprise volunteer organized and run enterprise that has a financial component like you, it really is dangerous if you just, you know, throw $20,000 at something and just cross your fingers.

Andrea: 12:30 Right? So so that resilience and engagement has been a real something that we really have been working on for a long time. And I had this epiphany about like two or three years in. I ha I’m hardheaded. So if you told me to do a job, I will just keep doing that job until I figure it out. About, you know, I’m not actually here organizing organizers, I’m training organizers. I’m, because we have developers and designers and SIS admins and all sorts of people. Like you don’t have to have a lot of experienced to organize our events. You have to have a passion as, as GSFI likes to say, we don’t call the qualified, we qualified the called. And so we bring people in who have the passion and want to achieve the mission and the goal of bringing WordPress enthusiasts together to make connections and inspire them to do more with WordPress.

Andrea: 13:31 And then we train them how to do that. And so last slide. Oh, I get it. Now. I’m a trainer and the program shifted a little bit for me and like the, the mission I was setting with our kind of meta volunteers, people who are like helping do the admin work and supporting all of our volunteers that way. That shifted. And then Corey, then, and this totally ties into your work, I realized again, like again, about two years ago, I were not training event organizers. We’re training leaders because the, the work of creating a community and our events are not just a single unit. Like the events are an ends to a meet at, sorry, a means to an end. Where we use the, the, the kind of team building exercise of creating a meetup or a word camp as a way to bring the community together. So the mission of our organizers isn’t to create the best event possible. And I knew this from way back, but it hadn’t clicked for me until later that the mission of those organizers is to use the event to create a space and to create a shared mission, their local community. And so what these people come. So our volunteers come to us with, frequently with very little leadership experience or with leadership philosophies that vary widely and they come into our space and what we’re training them to do is lead in a very specific way that’s strongly influenced by open source. Yeah.

Cory: 15:16 Well, okay, so this is so interesting and I’m going to get off a little bit, but yes, the, the, the fact is it just hit in my head that I would suggest any young person that’s interested in leadership go volunteer for an event like this because you do have leadership is so interesting. You know, we can’t, as managers, CEOs, directors, whatever our title is, we can’t force anybody to do anything. We have to lead them. And what’s so interesting, the parallel to my background, the closest thing I had to something like this would be church work. I didn’t, I was about six years in church ministry work servers on staff and you worked with primarily volunteers. While I always knew there’s buckets of time and energy that people had. Absolutely. They had to be passionate too. They had to care about the work and I couldn’t go in and be a jerk. I couldn’t go in and tell them to do something. I had to inspire and move and try to share, you know, walk with them to do things. And I think, you know, just any young person looking to do leadership at some points you go and volunteer for something like this because it is a melting pot. Like it is the perfect laboratory to learn a proper I I would say proper leadership skills.

Andrea: 16:31 I would also say proper leadership skills because the thing about working with volunteers is positional authority is practically nonexistent. Like P and N, anyone on your team can walk at any time and, and may do so inadvertently, right? So they may end up walking because of a family tragedy or a life transition or something else like that. Or they may just not have interest anymore. Right. And so, I feel like anyone can rely on positional authority to try to accomplish goals from a leadership position. But as you, and, and probably a lot of the people that you work with know positional authority is the weakest tool in your toolbox. And so learning how to motivate and how to inspire volunteers to work on a project that isn’t for them. It’s for other people.

Cory: 17:35 You’re not getting paid to do their own time and probably even money, gas and stuff.

Andrea: 17:39 Oh, yeah. Yeah. There’s, there’s a, there’s that component too. And yeah, so I, that is the best leadership training that I can think of because it teaches you the most important parts. If you have that part, once you get the positional authority, it’ll, you won’t even need it. Like an important, and there’s so many different levels in there, right? Like you can lead a little group. And, and that’s the other thing that I think is particularly exciting about the leadership training that we’re, that we’re providing through community programs is an open source. Open source has this kind of philosophy of leadership that doesn’t rely on a title that it, that strongly benefits the great idea and also the level of commitment you have to the group. And training people to focus more on what benefits the group than what benefits themselves is another really important component to fantastic leadership.

Cory: 18:49 Yeah. What a, what an amazing, I did not even know where we’re going to kind of get here, but this is the magic. This is the special stuff and why I wanted to talk to you. You’re absolutely right. I think too often we get promoted into a position where it’s like, okay, here’s the title. And then, you know, the way I’ve seen it, and I’ll admit to, to be in here too, is when you get the title, you feel like it’s a bat, right. That you can, you know, bully people. Honestly, I mean the, it is that, but when you’re coming up from something like this, this is why I said my, my experiences in the church work before I started the company of other themes. So invaluable because I had to learn that everybody is a volunteer.

Andrea: 19:33 Yeah, yes, yes. Anyone can leave your organization that anytime and, and again inadvertently. Right. So like that, that resilience training of like sometimes the most pivotal person on your team for this launch might get sick or something like that. But yeah. Yeah. That the, that I, some of the stupidest mistakes I made in my first year or two in this world, we’re, we’re relying on some kind of a positional authority, which is such a culture. No, no, in the culture of open source. So, yeah.

Cory: 20:07 Yeah. Well, and I think that’s the transition within business and in leadership in general is, you know, it’s not command and control. It’s, we’re all volunteers and we better work together. And by the way, you’ve got me segwayed on this. I love it. But I want to ask you some other questions. The other thing that, that is, well, I forgot my thought, but anyway, that’s so we could spend the rest of the time talking about this and now we’re going to have to come back.

Andrea: 20:35 I have one more thing before we move on. Yeah. So then, cause Cory, I have had another in the last year, like probably I could do a talk on like the three jobs so far. My next my most recent kind of, I won’t say epiphany, but like when it really settles, like when you know about something and then all of a sudden it’s settles into your brain. That thing is, the other thing we’re training our leaders to do, our community leaders to do is to train new leaders. And that is like, I’ve, I’ve really struggled with learning that. And, and how, how to see my success and my as, as a reflection of the work that the people that I’m, that I’m working at with can accomplish. Right. and then also, I mean, that’s just such a, I haven’t quite figured out a way to, to package that for our community of like not only do you need to work on, on growing yourself as a leader, but at the very beginning of that process, you should also be training the next generation of leaders throughout your tenure.

Andrea: 22:03 Yep. And in our role here. And and that is tough because frequently we still have the problem with our volunteers that they don’t realize that their position as a leadership position, we have so many people in open source and, and in but even in the community programs specifically who don’t realize that their position is a leadership position. And so and, and, and the problem with that for one thing is your vision is too short, right. Your focus just on the task and not on the mission. But then also the problem is, is your touch is too heavy. If you don’t realize how powerful your words are if you just think that no one’s listening to you and I, if anyone’s going to listen to you, you gotta like make a fuss. Or that even if someone does listen to you, they won’t do anything about it.

Andrea: 23:06 That the quality of your dialogue with the world and with your community really is different, right? But if you’re aware of your power, if you accept the idea that like, Hey, I’m going to say something and it’s going to make people think so I’m going to really think about how I say it. Like that’s, that’s a [inaudible]. That’s one of those kinds of second year of, of leaders kind of lessons that I’m really trying to figure out how to get into the first year. And that’s, that’s gotta be so tough.

Cory: 23:46 But again, another great takeaway for leadership in the business world or any other facet of life or we’re leading other human beings is that we need to be training that next generation that if we’re not, I’m multiplying our own leadership and a good and healthy way. We’re doing a disservice to the people that follow behind us. And I think that’s a core. And so, you know, particularly with WordCamps, I know I think it’s like two years, you could be the lead organizer for two. You rotate off. When I first heard that, I’ll be honest with you, I was like, but all the institutional knowledge that person goes away. But there is such a bit when the benefit that you’re saying is you’re also training new leaders as they are pulling in and step up. And I’ve seen that throughout the United States in particular as for the word camps, I’ve been to where one year was this person, three years later I come back and it’s a whole new regime and the, the feel of the camp is so different because that new leader or leaders have infused their own kind of DNA. And values.

Andrea: 24:44 And there are some misconceptions in there. Like some people think like you can be the one lead organizer cause we do, I mean we do have one position authority position because a, the central organization needs one point of contact, right? So there’s a lead organizer and you can do that role for two years in a row without, until you switch out. But that leader organizer can still stay on the team and and then can come back again in next in and subsequent years. But then also we have a mentorship program that once you’ve done your two consecutive years as lead organizer, you can grow into a different kind of leadership position within the central organization where you are mentoring other new organizers coming in. And, and helping grow them through basically coaching and mentorship as you know, and that, and, and then your influence and your, and your leadership can really spread around your region or even around the world depending on when you have time to talk to people. So, so yeah, we, we were really worried about that, like losing the institutional knowledge. And also just, you know, you grow leaders and you’re like, bye, see you later. Now that keeping them in to kind of help multiply that, that that guidance and that support has been,

Cory: 26:06 Okay. We kind of backed into some of the answers to this question, but I want to ask it specifically is, so I think about all this and I go, it’s hurting cats. Like, you know, if you gave me, you had said one foot foothold group and when you talk about volunteers with, by the way everybody has an opinion, but in WordPress specifically, people would have a just take that up a couple of notches. And I’m, I’ll say that for myself too, but it presents this interesting leadership dilemma. So what are, what are some keys you’ve seen is from your job specifically to others in the organization? In the different camps and things about leading, leading people. And then we have this nuance too. It’s not just America. Yeah. Even the North Northern hemispheres. It’s the entire world now. It reaches across crazy just looking at all the last continents. Yeah. So, so what are some thoughts, what comes to mind when you think about hurting cats? A K leading volunteers and participants all over the world?

Andrea: 27:08 Well, we’ve, we did touch on the fact that in my opinion it’s the same as any. Well, I, the way I do it is the way I would do any leadership, let’s put it that way. Because in my ethical framework that it is simply the most ethical way to lead people. But you know, it is, so primarily the first thing I want to do is, is give people an idea of what they could accomplish as part of the whatever organization that they’re joining. Right. and try to be as clear as possible about what we’re going to ask and then what they’re going to get in response. And, and there is a huge misconception, not necessarily in the nonprofit sector, I think, but where like technology and nonprofits intersect, sometimes that volunteer work is unpaid on acknowledged. But the, you know, there are ways that volunteers get something back from their experience.

Andrea: 28:15 I recently wrote an article for our team blog about this on make.wordpress.org/community about the forgets of community organizing. And and, and laying those out as the context of like, here’s what we’re going to ask for you and here’s what you have the potential of, of benefiting from personally. Is is a great way to get started. And those gets, I sometimes forget one of them. One is impact, right? So like you’re doing this work and it has a benefit, the benefit that affects people that you care about. Right? the second is training is growth. You get the chance to gain skills in an environment that will not affect necessarily your M your, your [inaudible] your day to day job, right? So you can like, if you’ve always wanted to be a project manager and there’s no way to do that in your, in your job come on over to us cause we’ve got projects in the role and you can start, start, you know, learning those, those Ana in a sphere.

Andrea: 29:28 That doesn’t mean that your boss is going to get mad at you or something like that. Right? So that’s happening over here. And, and, and it’s progressive, right? So you can join you know, you can get small bites and then bigger bites and then bigger bites as it goes. Then certainly support. So being able to, you know, not, not being out in the desert by yourself, but having a network of people with experience that can help you identify ways to get past challenging situations or share other solutions. You know, your part, it’s that connection component. Right? and then finally in our program at least there is a safety aspect. Like we like no volunteer in our organization has to spend their own money on the on buying the badges. Or if they do, they’re reimbursed and they don’t.

Andrea: 30:29 We, we shield our volunteers from like tax liability and insurance liability and stuff like that through our kind of infrastructure. So like laying those things out of like, here’s, here’s how this transaction is going to go of you benefiting us with your opinions and your work and us benefiting you with this growth and impact. And then, you know, certainly creating a lot of psychological safety for people never hurts. But most of all showing people how they can both benefit others and themselves at the same time generally makes the program pretty sticky for people. Right. there are very few people who are successful in our programs that are not interested in the benefit for other people. We’re not, we’re not great. For people who are mostly motivated by personal benefit, we’re highly altruistic. So but yeah, that, that’s my in a nutshell.

Cory: 31:38 Yeah. You kind of get to understand that when you give without the get you do actually get a lot. Yeah. Yeah. But you can’t have the get as your first primary and [inaudible]. Some of my dearest friends are WordCamp organizers all years. I’ve met some [inaudible] friends at word camps. I have never been an organizer. I’ve told you this years and years every probably every year that we’ve known each other. I’ve never wanted to be an organizer. I want to go support organizers, [inaudible] help, whatever that is. But I, Oh, it’s such a, a tough role to be an organizer because you’re given so much of your own self. But the best ones I’ve seen feel like they’re hosts, that they, they, you know, are behind the scenes and love. I see their smiles when they just see things happening and no good things are gonna happen in the space that we call WordCamps.

Cory: 32:36 So I think that’s so special. Okay. So you know, one nuance too is that we’re talking about a community with WordPress community, which is pretty much virtual. You don’t see each other every day face to face perhaps. But this venue is something that I think I even read in your bio before this was that it is providing what you just said this earlier, a space to meet face to face, which is really, really special. It’s a lot of people that are spread out that probably don’t even know who each other are coming to the space to meet face to face and the value of that. Yeah. What, so what have you seen with that? What, what is that special value of being able to,

Andrea: 33:19 Well, not, not to toot my program’s horn and in an annoying way, but I really feel strongly that the amount of focus that we have in WordPress on in-person gatherings sets our project apart in a, in an amazingly integral way from other open source projects out there in the world. The emphasis and the amount of kind of infrastructural support we’ve given community events is unheard of throughout the open source world. We provide so much more support in WordPress than, than any other group does. And I think it really shows, like we, we are a group of passionate people who care a lot about sharing our opinions and like all of us like being right. So like throughout open source, right. You don’t come to open source. If you are cool with just complying with somebody else’s ideas you come to it because you have a thing that you want to get done and then you maybe stay for more things.

Andrea: 34:36 But, and, and so open source communities tend to be fairly high conflict but, and, and WordPress’s is no different there. But the level of grace and dignity that we have in our conflicts compared to other communities is unusually, I think, unusually high. And I lay that completely at the feet of our in person events program because you get people together in the same space and, and the quality of their interaction changes and that carries over into the online sphere. And are events welcome people are our funnels into WordPress con contribution. And so, and so the behavioral expectations that we set at our in person events, that’s how humans work, right? You come into a group, you check it out, you’re like, okay, how do people here, how do people interact? What’s okay, what’s not okay? And the, and human brains change based on what the expectations of the group are. And so when we set that expectation for highly inclusive events for, I mean swearing is very unusual in our space. For for respectful communication, for focus on collaboration and transparency. When we set those expectations in our in person events that follows people onto the internet and provides an ameliorating effect for that kind of troll behavior that we so frequently see when people disagree online.

Cory: 36:21 Oh yeah, that’s, I can see that. Totally. you know, I’ve seen comments that people are made because you’re anonymous or so you think on the lab and that you would never make in person. And I totally see that effect in you know, I know cam specifically have been have benefited the software WordPress as a whole because of the in person events. Okay. So you brought up, you brought up something that I wanted to ask you because I think again it’s this word WordPress is the community is not immune to conflict and perhaps there is a lot more conflict. And then I shared this online that it’s just like most families were dysfunctional in, in, in ways, and we have our fights and conflicts. But you know, I’d love to hear some thoughts that you have about dealing with conflict as humans just in the world together. We’re going to have conflict. But I’d love to share that cause I think that’s such a mint. It’s part of leadership too, is I’d love to hear some thoughts that you have on, you know, dealing and managing conflict.

Andrea: 37:29 Oh yeah. So this has been a really rich space for me, this role. I I don’t like fighting with people. And I don’t like my family history isn’t high conflict. And so like there was a big learning curve for me with like interacting with people online with grace and dignity. And, but something recently kind of shifted the way I’m thinking about this. I heard a talk by [inaudible], someone who works on the 10,000 year clock project. And this is a project creating a clock that will last for 10,000 years. And, and, and it really shifted some of the, gave me some interesting stuff to chew on as far as like, what’s the scale timescale that a lot of are working in when we’re doing this work. You know? And he mentioned something about how to antiquarians or historians, everything is on fire all the time because everything degrades, right? Like metal rusts thing like entropy is happening all the time. And so the way he described it was everything is always on fire. And so you can’t keep things from being on fire. You can just optimize for the rate of the burn. Right. and and I, I frequently think about the, the discourse in, in our professional community as, as sometimes we have like fires come up. So that really got my attention when he was like, everything is on fire. I was like, no, I thought I put some stuff out.

Andrea: 39:38 But, but, you know, and, and, and a lot of people that I really value in this organization, like we talk about how we run into the fire, you know, like the, our, our mediators and our, and our a lot of our leaders in WordPress seek to deescalate and, and find it, identify what the problem is that’s causing conflict and go into it rather than run away from it. But that idea that just like, what if we don’t, what if we don’t expect there never to be conflict? What if we just optimize the rate of burn? Hmm. Yes. Fascinating space for me to explore right now. I’m just really thinking because I mean, I’ve been doing this work for almost nine years. Yeah. There’s, there’s never been a time that someone wasn’t upset about something. And not because everyone’s a jerk, everyone is not a jerk.

Andrea: 40:40 Like is, is we, we have big fights and, and it’s not because we want to hurt each other. It’s because people deeply, deeply believe that they’re right or that they’re protecting someone that needs protection or that they’re, that, that the thing that they want to have happen will benefit a large number of people in a way that’s important to them. So like the motivations are almost never malicious, right? A lot of it comes down to like, are, did it get personal? Did we identify the person as the problem instead of the behavior or the, or the issue? Right. And that will escalate a conflict into a place that can make it difficult to come to that optimal rate of burn. Right. or there are a few other kind of escalating factors that can get up there. But like, and so I’ve, I’ve been doing some reading about conflict resolution and mediation lately, and I think the, that kind of, that rate of burn that opensource wants to land in is like, we disagree on the issue, but we agree in each other’s value in, in the organization.

Andrea: 42:02 Right. And when I say the organization, that’s pretty loose when it comes to open source, right? Because just people could just weird, we are, there are no walls in this community. Anyone can come in and drop their opinion on you with, with no context or history or a shared value establishment or anything. Right? So you’re, you’re literally working in the open, Oh yeah. Out in the open. Right. but that’s still an organization, even if it’s not very organized. And so like if we, if we can just identify like, Hey, we all have value in this organism, the WordPress organism and, and we’re always going to disagree but not about everything. Then that can kind of bring that level of, of burn down to a place that we can still work together. Right. and then the other thing that can of kind of kick us up into an unacceptable rate of burn is like misunderstanding or a place where, again, it gets personal, like we identify like you as a person or a bad person and something like that. Right. Or, or somebody thinking that, right. That misunderstanding either of facts or what the other person is trying to accomplish or what the other person thinks of you can lead to some pretty painful conversations and emotions in our [inaudible]

Cory: 43:39 I’ve seen by and large too is when he really pushed down to it. No matter if I agreed with the point or the perspective or not, is by and large, what I’ve seen in this particular community is it comes down to people that just care. Like you said, they happen to care about something. We were just kind of discussing how we got reconnected again was you know, I paint, I paint you on the something just, just to say you’re doing an awesome work and everything in it. It was this issue in, in, you know when you push down to it, it’s people that just care like, yeah, I think you hit it on the head, which is care about something going on. But it’s a unique perspective too because pretty known that empathy, you know, how insane this person is mad. As long as we don’t take it personal, we’ll be inflammatory about things and talk about issues and not character and things like that that if can look through each other’s eyes and sees perspectives that we probably all somewhere in there. What similar things.

Andrea: 44:37 Yeah, and that’s my process. Like before I respond to a criticism on the internet, I find my love for that person. I hold onto it when I’m even, no matter what they’re saying about my program or a decision I’ve made or a decision somebody else has made that I agree with or whatever, like I can’t let myself respond until I find our common ground. Even if it’s just on my part of saying, okay, this person is very angry or very disappointed because of a thing that I empathize with like this because we have a misunderstanding and they think that something bad is happening. I also don’t want that bad thing to happen, but I find my love for them and then I work out of my love for them.

Cory: 45:29 That’s so good. Finding that common ground, finding that care, humanity, whatever that is before you respond. That’s a good word for like any relationship, which is, I know some of the people that might be throwing barbs. I go, Ooh, you’re a special person, Andrea. Find that.

Andrea: 45:52 But it’s true. Like I, I, I really like, I used to think like back in the early days I was like, well this person wants to hurt people and I continue to meet people and none of them have ever wanted to hurt someone. Yeah. Never. I have never met anyone in this organization who I won’t say I will, I will take that back. I deal with a, a fair number of code of conduct reports. And so very occasionally I will meet someone who isn’t intending to hurt someone. And in those cases we do have to settle limit because to create our inclusive, safe space, we have to make it very clear. Like you can’t hurt people here. So that’s it.

Cory: 46:38 This is back to your, you know, the fostering psychological safety and physical safety, by the way, within these events that you have to have boundaries. And I think that is something that I have seen the code of conduct in particular for, for these that has been more and more visible and vocal, which is good thing of saying no, this will be a safe space for people so that people can come and you know, be inspired and get help and support and things like that for what they’re working on. Absolutely. OK, so practically speaking, the last couple of minutes we have,

Cory: 47:15 I’m curious, you’ve seen and helped run some of the biggest and then events that I’ve ever been a part of and then across all these wide space of helping organizers run events and all types of locations, cultures and setups. I’m curious some practical takeaways you might have for running a good

Andrea: 47:38 Oh yes. Absolutely. yeah,

Cory: 47:41 And I told you, I heard from one of the organizers, the best practice was make sure you have coffee and good wifi. That is so awesome. But our community that, those two things are super …

Andrea: 47:53 I tend to quibble about the wifi. I think that you can have a great event with no wifi, as long as you tell everyone that there’s not going to be wifi. People can’t be surprised by that. But yeah, I mean, so our organizers are tasked with the job to to create an event that will connect WordPress enthusiasts, inspire people to do more with WordPress and then contribute to the open source project. And there are myriad ways to accomplish that goal. But in general, what I like to see in an organizer or an organizing team is starting with empathy. Hmm. And starting with empathy for a person that you are not. So taking a look at like as many use cases as you can imagine for your attendees and planning for that experience and really kind of taking yourself back to your beginner’s mind or your stranger’s mind and thinking through.

Andrea: 49:03 Like, if I am going to an event where I know nobody and I don’t know much about this tool, what will make me put me into the frame of mind, where I can take advantage of connecting with people and where I can get inspired. Because what we know about brain chemistry is people don’t get inspired or aren’t willing to make connections unless they feel safe and welcome. And so that like, providing people the experience where they can feel safe and welcome is that’s just like, it’s table stakes, but it’s really hard to do. So like I encourage people to think about lots of different kind of backgrounds think about what they would like if they’re going into a different space. I would, I really encourage organizers and leaders in our community to go to events that are not in our ecosystem to get us both, to have that kind of empathetic experience of like, I’m a stranger help. What do I need to do here? And have that experience, but also does steal ideas cause we’re open source and yeah, like we look around and we’re like, Oh, I’m working that. But and then also know your own power. Like realize that like you are as an in of of an event, you are the host. And you are creating a space that you are inviting other people into. So act like a host responsibility for people’s experience plan out how you want them to feel and interact. I mean, part of the coffee thing or caffeinated beverage that is appropriate in your, in your culture is like there’s a huge amount of cognitive load when you are sitting in, in a place surrounded by strangers and getting new information. And so having something that people can add or some kind of frequently warm beverage that has a little bit of wake up power.

Andrea: 51:14 But also like not just coffee for people who can’t drink caffeine. Right? So like something that might be warming for a cold conference room or a cold conference venue. Something that you can use to, you know, to, to so you know what to do with your hands. If you feel awkward and you don’t know where to be. A place where you can go. Like the coffee thing is, is a functional and multiple levels. You run into people at the coffee station and you have a common experience cause you’re both trying to doctor your beverage. So now you have a thing that can start a conversation and make that connection. Like there’s there are lots of benefits to that, a warm beverage station, certainly. And then you can just extrapolate that out to the entire conference experience. Realizing the importance of food and, and that eating together creates a family and creates a community. And what it does to someone if they come to the table, if you will. And there isn’t anything they can eat. You know, like how, how, how welcome do you feel now, friend? Not very so like identify, making sure that the food situation is is inviting and welcoming and inclusive. Realizing the importance of having food, you know, like all of those things are, are really valuable to achieve that goal. I’m, I’m, I rambled. Did I answer?

Cory: 52:49 Oh, that’s awesome. I love the heart of it. I, I’ve long thought, and this is why I think we’re kindred spirits, is you’re driven by values and we’ve had these discussions over and over over the years, but I know at the heart is that you have these strong values and centered on people and it comes through when you talk about empathy and the host is creating this space, like you said, inviting people into it and connection and stuff. And I think that’s one of the reasons why camps have been very successful and girls much that they have. Okay. One, one last thing and we’ll let you get on with your day and I appreciate your time. Proudest moment part of the, the job that you do.

Andrea: 53:34 I’m terrible at this question because I am relentless about always pushing myself to the next thing. And one of my biggest weaknesses in my career is that I don’t stop to celebrate. My, my wins. But I gotta say one of my proudest moments recently was creating and delivering a workshop that I I gave to the people in my company who focus on the open source project that I’m really excited about bringing out to the broader community about conflict resolution online and in text and, and just realizing that all of these painful, sometimes painful learning experiences that I’ve had helping our community members find ways that they are more alike than they are different has resulted in some content and some training material that I’m, I’m really excited to kind of bring out into the world. I mean, my, my proudest moment, it’s kind of like asking someone about their favorite book or a wine person about their favorite wine. I have so many, but yes, certainly the, I, I take pride every single day and the way that

Andrea: 54:55 The leadership training and the empowerment that the WordPress project and the WordPress community a team engages in every day makes me really, really excited and proud. Especially when I think about how that will then spread out through the world. That’s what makes me excited to get to work in the morning and choose. Okay. Well, thanks so much. Where can people find you online? I am on Twitter sometimes I’m at A N D, D, M, I, D, D,L , E, T, O. N. and certainly in wordpress.org Slack, and also on our team blog, make.wordpress.org/community. And happy to let anyone know how they can become more involved in our programs.

Cory: 55:53 Awesome. Thanks so much, Andrea. I appreciate your time.