Episode 3: Ken Gagne episode cover

Episode 3: Ken Gagne

Ken is a podcaster teacher, freelance writer, digital nomad, and technical account manager at Automattic.

Transcript

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Christina: Hello, and thanks for joining us. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Ken Gagne. Ken is a podcaster teacher, freelance writer, digital nomad, and technical account manager at Automattic. Welcome, Ken.

Ken: Hi, Christina, good to talk to you.

Christina: Yeah, it’s good to have you here!

So, is there anything else that you wanted to expand on, on any of those things that I just mentioned?

Ken: Oh, gosh,

Christina: Tell people a little bit about yourself.

Ken: You could just add adjectives all day: vegetarian, cyclist, blogger, you know, where does it end, but I’m not

Christina: You’re doing lots of stuff.

Ken: I like to, I’m blessed with many interests, and I have the luxury and freedom to pursue most of them.

Christina: And of course, one that wasn’t in there was contributor, which you are.

Ken: That’s right. I’ve been using WordPress for gosh, since 2005, no, 2006 December 2006. I used to be a sysop on CompuServe. So these were text based forums that were back in the day of AOL. And after that, I was a sysop on GEnie and then Delphi, and then this very small one called Syndicom Online, which ran for about five years. And when that was shut down, I thought, I’m tired of building in other people’s sandboxes. And then having it shut down. I wanted to do my own thing. And so I looked around at what other people were doing for their websites. And I looked at three websites that I really liked. I emailed each of their webmasters and I said, what content management system do you use? Two of them wrote back and said, WordPress, one wrote back and said Movable Type. I’m like, Well, my host, Dreamhost, doesn’t support Movable Type. So I guess I’m going to try WordPress. And thank goodness, because if I gone with MT, this would be a very different story.

Christina: Yes.

So you’ve been using WordPress since 2006. How long have you been contributing to the WordPress project?

Ken: That’s a good question. Could you describe or define for me what it means to contribute?

Christina: That is also a good question. So I guess in terms of the way that I look at It contributing to the WordPress project is doing anything that helps move it forward. So I know that there’s like official teams on the make.wordpress.org site. But I know that there’s other things that people do outside of that as well. So some of those official things are like contributing to the core or reviewing the themes and plugins that come in for the repository. But then there’s all of the other efforts that help people become aware or people to learn how to use WordPress or use it better and then there’s like organizing WordCamps and meetups and then there’s people who just do other things, whether it’s creating their own plugins or I mean pretty much anything under the sun as long as it’s helping move WordPress forward in some way or another which is a pretty broad description.

Ken: Sure. I have loved WordPress for over a decade. I’ve always wanted to contribute. And I always felt like doing it professionally, was not within my scope. Because I’m not a designer, I’m not a developer. My background is content editorial journalism. And I didn’t really see where that came into play specifically in the WordPress context. So the best I could do was finding other people who are having the same problems I was in which I had resolved and helping them so if you were to look at my wordpress.org account, it says joined January 15 2007. I don’t know how far my history of messages goes, but I was trying to jump into the forums, even back then to at first of course, asked my own questions, but after a year or two, to try to answer other people’s questions, and then I would also go to the Boston WordPress meetup every month, and they would have a happiness bar. I would sit at the happiness bar and try to help people. Sometimes the questions that they asked really showcased my own limitations. Somebody asked me, “Do you still recommend themes? Or are we going more in the direction of frameworks?” And I’m like, what’s a framework? Like, what’s Genesis? I’ve never heard of that.

Christina: Yeah.

Ken: But you know, if somebody came along with a simpler question like, so what’s the difference between a post and a page? Or what plugin do you recommend to do this? I’m like, I got you covered. I can answer those questions.

Christina: Right. So you’ve been doing doing this for quite a while. Lots of contributing, it sounds like,

Ken: Yeah, the contributions to the forum were at my own discretion. And I would certainly say that the deeper I got into WordPress, maybe I did it less, because there was just less opportunity or less time to do so. You know, like I started with a single WordPress blog where I reviewed movies. And the last time I checked, I now have 13 WordPress blogs. You know, eventually you lose time to support other people because you’re so busy supporting yourself.

Christina: Right plus Tumblr. You’ve got a Tumblr which is also owned by Automattic, which is not necessarily WordPress, but is yes,

Ken: that is true

Christina: It gets confusing.

Ken: Yeah, I started working at Automattic two years ago. It is a dream job. My last four jobs were a downward trend in personal satisfaction. And then I just hit the jackpot at Automattic. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I’m so happy there. And this August two things happened. One is I found out that I was not going to be adopting a dog, which I thought I was. And second was Automattic bought Tumblr. I’ve never used Tumblr and now that it’s a first party product, I figured I should get to know how to use my company’s product. And secondly, I had already bought a domain name for my dog. The dog I thought I was going to adopt. I purchased kens.dog. I’m like what am I gonna do with this domain now that I don’t have a dog. And I’m like, Well, I’m also going to be setting up a Tumblr. Why don’t I marry the two and set up a photo blog on Tumblr where I post pictures of me with other people’s dogs.

Christina: I love it. And I love the pictures that you’ve been posting there. But I love dogs. So not a surprise.

Ken: Thank you.

Christina: Those are the kinds of things we need out in the world.

Ken: This is the content that we crave.

Christina: Yes, it is.

So you have a lot of experience, but it’s good to hear. You know, that’s one of the things that I’ve heard people advise. I can’t even remember who I even heard this from. But one of the things that I’ve frequently heard people say is if you want to get involved, even if you don’t know much, there’s always somebody on the support forums, who has a question that you might be able to help so it sounds like you figured that out really early on.

Ken: I have. Message boards are not new to me. As I mentioned, I was on CompuServe, GEnie, Delphi and Syndicom. Those were almost strictly message boards, well message boards, chat rooms and file libraries. And what we have now on wordpress.org is a message board so you have it broken down into categories or specific plugins, and then you have threads. It’s the exact same format and infrastructure that we’ve been using for literally decades ever since H&R Block decided to time share their computers to start CompuServe. So I mean, I’ve been running forums and responding to people’s questions for decades. So the process was familiar to me, it was just a matter of, okay, the questions aren’t about video games or movies or the Apple II computer anymore. Now it’s about WordPress. But the process is the same where you go in and you make the person feel welcome. you empathize with their situation. You ask for more details, and then you point them in the right direction.

Christina: So sounds like a really good formula.

Ken: Works for me.

Christina: Yeah. Awesome. So let’s talk contributor day. Have you been to a contributor day?

Ken: Why yes, Christina, I have, how could you possibly know that?

Christina: I’m not sure.

Ken: So I went to my first WordCamp US in 2018. I was a volunteer. I worked at the registration desk, and then at the merch booth. This is something that Automattic, it doesn’t require, but does encourage its employees to do. Right. So I flew down in Nashville to do that. And then this year, I went to St. Louis to do that. You and I met last year. And this year, you and I started DMing. And you said, Ken, you should do contributor day. And I said, pretty much the same thing that I’ve been saying years earlier, before I joined Automattic. I was like, Well, I’m not a designer. I’m not a developer. What can I possibly do? You said, well, you can do any of these other categories and I looked and I’m like oh, support forums. Yeah, I’ve been doing that for decades. I know how to do that. Sign me up.

Christina: Yeah. That’s awesome. So how did you feel going into your first contributor day? Because I know for me, there was a lot of mystery and uncertainty. And I’ve heard that from other people. Did you feel something like that too, or

Ken: Maybe a little. There are certainly a lot of different teams I could sign up for some of them had names that by themselves were not very transparent, like meta. Somebody coming in who’s never contributed might not know what that means. I was told that if I didn’t like the group I was in, I could just move to another table. But I also felt like I wanted to try everything. And if I moved to a dozen different tables in the course of a few hours, I wouldn’t get to try anything really.

Christina: Right. It just means you have to go to a lot more contributor days.

Ken: This is true. You got me there. I also had to leave a few hours early to catch my flight back home to Boston. So that limited my participation to a degree. But yeah, I just went over, I grabbed my table. I wasn’t sure if there was going to be some sort of like official kickoff where we all went around, we introduced ourselves, there was some sort of a playbook where they said, here’s how you do today’s job. And there really wasn’t. So fortunately, since I had done support forms before I knew how to dive in without much, ironically support. But yeah, I can imagine that somebody who didn’t know what support entailed and was doing it for the first time, might have needed a little bit more hand holding.

Christina: Okay, that’s good to know, because of course I am helping plan next year’s contributor day.

Ken: That’s great.

Christina: We always want to improve on how awesome they have been. So

Ken: And it’s entirely possible that some other teams did exactly what I described. It’s hard to say.

Christina: Yeah, but there might be a way to make it more general even and, and then we can talk to other teams too and see how they if they are doing that kind of thing, how they’re doing it so we can help encourage other teams as well. I have some other ideas too. So it’s gonna be awesome. If I do say so myself.

So now that I’ve said that you have to go to a lot more contributor days because you have to try out on other teams. I should actually ask you, do you think you will attend some more contributor days?

Ken: Well help me understand what the opportunities are. Is contributor day unique to WordCamp US?

Christina: No. So contributor day is frequently done as part of a WordCamp, either at the beginning or at the so either the first day or the last day. I think WordCamp EU traditionally has done it as their first day and then there are some rare occasions where people do them as standalone. So in Calgary, we actually held our first contributor day as a standalone event in June, I think, this past year, because we had already had our WordCamp in the process of being organized and couldn’t add on and couldn’t do anything else to incorporate it, but we wanted to have something. So we ran it as a standalone day. So it could you could come across it at some other WordCamps. You could on on occasion, you could find a standalone like we did, but but there are there’s they’re not quite as known as WordCamps, but I think they’re starting to pick up a bit of steam.

Ken: Where would I find those opportunities online is I subscribe to the RSS feed for the WordCamp. I think it’s wordcamp.org. Are are events that are solely contributor days listed there?

Christina: No, they wouldn’t be. I know we ran ours as part of our Meetup group. So I guess you would basically have to keep an eye out on the WordCamps that are coming through and check to see if they were including a contributor day as part.

Ken: Okay. I unfortunately have not had a lot of luck attending WordCamps in the last 10 years mostly do just to scheduling. WordCamp Boston, for example, almost always follow the same week as an Apple II conference I go to in Kansas City called Kansas Fest.

Christina: Right.

Ken: I’ve been to WordCamp Portland, Maine and spoke there. And that was a wonderful event. But now one of the challenges that as of last month I am now a digital nomad. I have abandoned my permanent address in the Boston area. I’ve put all my things into storage. And I now move to a different city almost every month.

Christina: Yeah

Ken: So I’ve seen the WordCamps being announced. There’s one coming up in the spring at Lancaster, Pennsylvania and other one in Washington, DC. And unfortunately, I won’t be in those areas when those events are happening. You know, I wish I could allow the WordCamps to dictate my travel schedule. But I have another agenda I’m following. So it requires that I be in the right city in the right month in order to go and if that were to happen, and I’m definitely going to keep an eye out for those opportunities, I would love to do another contributor day and try one of those other teams. One of the challenges I had with doing support on contributor day at WordCamp US 2019 was, it’s so similar to some of the things I do for my day job.

Christina: Right.

Ken: So I am not a Support Engineer. I’m a Technical Account Manager, which is another way of saying a Project Manager. But I do spend a lot of time in Zendesk respond to client tickets. And in fact, while I was doing support at contributor day, I was keeping an eye on my phone and an urgent ticket came in from one of our clients. And so I switched my web browser from the wordpress.org. forums, answering quote unquote tickets in there, to opening up Zendesk and answering tickets in there. I was like, Oh, contributor day just means doing my day job for free.

Christina: Right And some people enjoy that, depending on what they’re doing.

Ken: Well, yeah, I mean, it definitely capitalize on my experiences, but it also didn’t necessarily expand my experiences either.

Christina: Yeah. Didn’t maybe fill you with joy.

Ken: It was fun. I was glad to be able to help a few people out. But I would also like to expand the ways in which I can help people.

Christina: That sounds good. Are there any particular teams that you are that are sort of on the top of your list? for checking out?

Ken: Oh, gosh, that’s a good question. I haven’t thought of that.

Christina: Or is there some, a task, not a task, is there, even if it’s not necessarily a team that you’re thinking of is there something in particular that you would like to, to dip your toe in, so to speak?

Ken: I might try documentation. That’s one of the teams. Right?

Christina: Yeah.

Ken: So that is also a little related to my day job. And also my undergraduate degree is in technical writing.

Christina: Okay.

Ken: So I basically went to college and graduated thinking, Well, I’m now going to have a career writing documentation. What an exciting life I’m going to have. It didn’t work out that way. But it is something I have some experience with, and I would be happy to try to dust off that skill set. So yeah,

Christina: sounds good. Awesome.

With your range of experience, do you have a proudest contribution moment at all? Just something that over all of these years, maybe a particular problem that you were really excited to help somebody solve.

Ken: Let’s see a specific problem.

I can’t think of a specific situation off the top of my head, but I will say I really enjoyed speaking at WordCamp Portland, Maine.

Christina: Oh, was that this year? A different year?

Ken: That was in 2017.

Christina: Okay,

Ken: And the talk I gave was about the Blubrry PowerPress plugin.

Christina: Oh, awesome.

Ken: Yeah. So I’ve used it to launch all my podcasts. I’ve used it for six podcasts. And I already have these talks that I give. So some background. I am on the adjunct faculty or I was before I started nomading of Emerson College in Boston. I teach a required graduate course in the Publishing Department that is an overview of all forms of online publishing. So WordPress, ebooks, podcasts, crowdfunding. My students’ final project is to build a WordPress website. So basically, every week or two we’re doing a different topic in electronic publishing. I have broken out those units into standalone workshops, which I now offer at libraries and schools around the Boston area. And hopefully, as I nomad across the country.

Christina: That’s great.

Ken: It’s a lot of fun. I like it a lot. So for example, you can take my 90 minute workshop on How to Interview Somebody for a Podcast. And then if you want, you can take another 90 minute workshop on How to Edit Audio in Audacity, or another

Christina: Guess what I’m going to be doing this weekend.

Ken: I’ve been told I should offer these on Udemy or some sort of online service, but I also have a 90 minute one on How to Run a Good Kickstarter. So I have all these workshops and the talk that I gave it WordCamp was sort of an amalgam of those things. I don’t have a workshop that is that niche like here’s how to set up a specific plugin on WordPress. I do have a workshop on here’s how to set up WordPress. But it was nice to go more in depth because a lot of my workshops are very introductory and here was an audience who already knew what WordPress was, didn’t need to be explained any of that. We weren’t going into specifically how to edit audio. But I was like, no, here is the exact configurations that will optimize your podcast for WordPress. So that was a lot of fun to offer. And I do enjoy introducing people at schools and libraries to WordPress as well. That’s, I just love teaching really, doesn’t matter the topic or the context.

Christina: Well, I will be looking for that on wordpress.tv. And paying close attention as I continue to set this new podcast up.

Ken: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Feel free to reach out to me anytime.

Christina: Thanks. Awesome. Um, advice for new contributors? Is there anything that you would say for people who are interested in getting started?

Ken: Advice for new contributors? Well, I would tell them to just dive right in. You have more knowledge than you realize. And even if you think you don’t, you’ll have more of it after you finish contributor day. And you never know. I mean, no matter what your skillset is, it can be expanded. One of my co-workers is a Support Engineer. So she is in Zendesk every day answering very technical questions. She’s been doing this for years. And at WordCamp US 2019, she joined, I think it was the core team, and she submitted her first contribution to core. And so so I mean, that is, you know, a new ribbon in her collection of things that she’s accomplished. And that is really cool. And it’s not something that would have happened, if not for contributor day. So that was Shannon Smith, and she deserves accolades for going outside what might have been her comfort zone. I’m not sure I don’t want to speak for her but it certainly would have been outside mine.

Christina: That’s awesome. And she’s a fellow Canadian.

Ken: That’s true. Yay!

Christina: Yay! Yay, Canada, we rock! We don’t usually say things like that. That’s very uncharacteristic.

Ken: You’re usually too humble

Christina: I should apologize.

Ken: Sorry,

Christina: Sorry. Speaking of sorry, though, um, I haven’t yet asked you. Why do you contribute?

Ken: Why I contribute? Well, I mean, I guess it goes back to why I love teaching is because it empowers people with the tools they need to tell their stories. And that’s what I love about WordPress. It’s it’s a it’s democratizing publishing. You know, I, are you familiar with the podcast, The Moth?

Christina: No.

Ken: So I don’t mean to plug one of your potential contributors for your listeners; time. But

Christina: It’s all good

Ken: The Moth is a podcast and live event. It’s hosted by NPR so you can hear it on the radio as well. And people are encouraged to tell true stories from their own lives within five minutes that fit a given theme. So themes might be things like, caught in the act, or love hurts, or happiness or family. I love The Math. I went to my first one about seven years ago, and I’ve gone almost every month ever since. So I’ve been about 80 Moths. I just I just love hearing 10 strangers in a row, get up and tell the truest rawest stories from their lives. And I love that The Moth gives them the platform to do that, to examine themselves. And then enrapture people for five minutes where that’s all they’re thinking about, and that’s all they’re hearing. And they’re just so vulnerable and so true. WordPress gives people that same opportunity. It is a platform for them to tell their stories, and whether that is you know, sharing their own private journal as they battled cancer. Or whether it’s reviewing movies and video games or just sharing pictures of their dogs. Now I love all the things that you can do with WordPress. I’ve been using it for over a decade, I have 13 sites. I’ve used it as a blog. I’ve used it to as a basically a static website for a company. I’ve done an event calendar for a local nonprofit. I’ve done photo galleries for a local community theater. I’ve done another event calendar for a monthly dance that I run. I have an e commerce store. I have six different podcasts. Every single need I have ever had for online publishing, WordPress has filled and I love giving other people that same power, that same ability to do whatever they want online.

Christina: That’s awesome. That’s really great. And thank you for sharing about The Moth. I have no problem with sharing other people’s podcastss if they’re if they’re interesting like that, because it’s all part of giving back to the community.

Ken: Right. I’ve told a few more stories. None of them have showed up on the podcast or on the radio show yet. Even though some of them have been fan favorites. You can get you can find one on YouTube if you search for Ken Gagne Moth.

Christina: Okay, interesting. I may have to do that, too. Um, is there anything else about contributing we haven’t really touched on yet that you wanted to talk about?

Ken: Well we talked about contributor days and how they are often parts of WordCamp. What are some ways that you would recommend other than the support forums that people can contribute year round?

Christina: Well, that’s a great question. If you wanted to contribute on one of the official teams, then the best way that I know how is to check out the make.wordpress.org site, and each of the teams is listed there, and they all have meetings either weekly or bi weekly. So you can, you can, and they all post their meeting minutes too. So you can read more about the teams and you can read their meeting minutes and see what they’ve been getting up to. And then there’s a Slack channel that you can join to actually start chatting with people. And that’s where the meetings take place is on Slack as well. And, and so that’s a good way for consistency throughout the year if you wanted to sort of be dedicated to something. I know for me, one of the things I do is help run our local meetup and our local WordCamp and that’s always a great way to give back and, and help people get on board. And, and then I like to poke people when they say they’re going places and go, Hey, are you going to contributor day? You should come!

Ken: Well, as far as I go, it has 100% success rate.

Christina: Yeah, yeah. So far. It’s It’s pretty good. I may have asked a lot of people leading up to WordCamp US 2019.

Ken: And then when they all said, No, you had to scrape the bottom of the barrel and come to me.

Christina: Oh, no, you were actually it was really great chatting with you about it to leading up to leading up to convincing you to come because you had a lot of great, great questions that made me think you know, because last year was my first contributor day. And so I remembered how I felt. But of course, I’m only one person. And it’s been a year now. So even my memories have faded to some extent. So it’s still good to know what kinds of things people are curious about, right?

Ken: Yeah, one of the things I do when I teach is when class gets out, I stay in the classroom for 15 minutes, taking notes about everything that went right and wrong that night. So when I teach the same class a full year later, I have this love note from my past self that answers all those questions for me.

Christina: Oh, that’s great. That’s, uh, yeah, it’s always good to do sort of a post mortem or debrief or whatever you want to call it, right? And then you’ve got that information. And especially if you have a team like we did, then to get other people’s perspectives, because you can’t be in all places at once. And I personally also, you know, we had a couple hundred people that contributor day for WordCamp US 2019. So getting feedback from the people who attended is always great, you know, we can’t please everybody, of course, all the time. But if we don’t know, if there was an issue, and we don’t know about it, we can’t account for it for next time. And also, if something went really well, it’s good to know so that we don’t accidentally not do that again.

Ken: Well, kudos to you for stepping up after only having done this once before. That’s a huge jump. So thank you for taking the lead on that.

Christina: Oh, my pleasure. You know, I I’m one of those people that just sorta I don’t know I just kind of when when there’s If somebody asked me to do I can’t say no, is that’s what it comes down to. I can’t say no. And if there’s no, that’s how I got involved in organizing our WordCamp was, or being the lead organizer, my second year after only barely doing anything to help the first year, because there was nobody stepping up to do it. And I didn’t want WordCamp Calgary to die. So I said, I guess I’ll do it if nobody else does. And of course, then nobody else says, okay,

Ken: of course. Yes, I’m not sometimes there are situations where I tell myself, if nobody else does it, then it won’t happen. And you may, I may not have confidence in my own ability to do a thing. But I figure even if I do a crappy job, it will be better than it not getting done at all.

Christina: Yeah. And then of course, one of the things that I love about our community is you’re not doing any of this alone, right? You have I mean, we had a team specifically for contributor day, but then we have the whole organizing team that was there to support us. And then of course, anybody that, that you would talk to, there’s always support within the WordPress community no matter what you’re doing.

Ken: I mean, that’s one of the reasons I recommend people use WordPress as their CMS. It powers 34% of the internet compared to well, 34% of the web, I should clarify, compared to its next competitor, which is what one and a half percent. So when you use WordPress, you’re immediately joining this community that is not only vast and numerous and global, but also very passionate and very supportive. I’ve never met a community that is excited about their software. For example, when I was interviewing for a job at Computer World Magazine as an a full time editor, this was 13 years ago. I went into the interview and the editor who was the hiring manager asked me “So for our feature stories, the CMS we use is TeamSite. Have you ever used TeamSite?” And I said, No, I haven’t. And they said, “Okay, well for our blogs, we use Drupal. Do you have any Drupal experience?” And I said, No, I don’t. And this interview was not going well. And she said, “Well, do you have any CMS experience?” And this was two weeks after I started using WordPress. And I said, Well, yes, I do use WordPress. And her face just lit up. And she said, I use WordPress for my personal blog. Do you have any favorite plugins you can recommend? Like she was just so like, she did not have that level of enthusiasm for TeamSite or Drupal. She was asking me those questions because she had to. But as soon as we started talking about WordPress, like we both just lit up. If you if you go ask somebody, “what’s your favorite spreadsheet program?” They’re gonna say, Well, I use Microsoft Excel. I’m like, okay, you use it. But do you enjoy it? And they’re like, “Well, no, use it because I have to because it gets the job done. It’s a tool.” But you ask people about WordPress, and they’re enthusiastic and they light up the room to talk about it and they want to help other people engage in that same level of enthusiasm.

Christina: Yeah. Yeah. Well, there’s, it’s amazing how wonderful the people are in the community. Like, I don’t know if it just attracts them or I dunno, but. I love the WordPress community.

Ken: Me too. And I did get the job at Computer World.

Christina: Oh, excellent. Yes,

Ken: that was 13 years ago. I’ve since moved on, but I am still a freelance writer for them. And I actually have an article coming out next month.

Christina: Oh, awesome.

Ken: It was fun that one of the things I did when I worked there was I reviewed WordPress 3.0. And then after I left there, I was a freelance writer for them and I reviewed WordPress 4.0. And then last year, WordPress 5.0 came out and I couldn’t review it for them because I was an employee of Automattic. So Automattic says you can’t make money on WordPress outside your day job. And Computer World says you can’t write about your employer’s product and I was like, ah, I had a great thing going there. I was going to review WordPress every five years. Oh, well.

Christina: Now you’ll just have to coach the next people.

Ken: Well, you know, I think by the time WordPress seven or 8.0 comes out, maybe I’ll be in a different job. I’m not looking forward to that because I love my current job, but no job is forever.

Christina: That is true.

Ken: So, WordPress 8.0. I got my eye on you.

Christina: Excellent. And of course, we’re always evolving, right?

Ken: Yes. Onward and upward.

Christina: Yes. Awesome. All right. This is one of my I shouldn’t say it’s my favourite question, but it is. Cuz I love Wapuu. So if you had to pick a favorite Wapuu, which one would it be?

Ken: Oh, gosh, you know, I you’ve warned me this question was coming and I really didn’t do my research. I have seen so few Wapuus in person. I mean, the plush Wapuus are the ones I’m most familiar with?

Christina: Okay,

Ken: and I gave one to my nephew for Christmas last year because there was some leftover merch at the merch booth at WordCamp US. But, uh, you know, scrolling through the Wapuu website before this call, I did find a couple that stuck out to me

Christina: Sure.

Ken: Let’s see one would be Grafuu, he’s holding a can of spray paint can

Christina: Okay, yeah,

Ken: Like he’s doing graffiti.

Christina: Yeah.

Ken: And for some reason when I saw that it just reminded me of Miles Morales from Into the Spiderverse.

Christina: Okay,

Ken: Did you see that movie?

Christina: No, but my family did.

Ken: Fantastic film. One of Marvel’s best and I like that Miles is he doesn’t always play by the rules. He’s a bit of a rebel and the movie starts off with him doing some graffiti, and I was reminded of that, and but another the Jet Set Radio is another medium that includes graffiti. It’s an old video game for the Sega Dreamcast. I love video games. It’s one of my first WordPress websites was video game reviews. I have a YouTube channel as well. And so I really liked the Wapuu Permalink for two reasons. One, it’s based on link from the Legend of Zelda. And two his name is an actual word, permalink.

Christina: Yeah.

Ken: I don’t know how that’s necessarily a play on the word Wapuu like most others are, but

Christina: Well they don’t have to be. Yeah.

Ken: Well, I’m glad that they have that flexibility.

Christina: Yes, they have a wide variety of names, I think our our two that we have in Calgary are, well the first one is called White Hat Wapuu. That’s it. And then the second one is actually called Wahoo Wapuu.

Ken: I love it. I’ll have to look those up.

Christina: Yeah. I don’t think they’re on the site right now, but we’ll have to get them up there.

Ken: Good. I’m looking forward to it.

Christina: Yeah. Awesome. Okay, sorry were you gonna say something?

Ken: nope that’s it.

Christina: Nope. Okay, I just didn’t want to cut you off

Ken: Thank you.

Christina: Awesome well let’s have you tell everybody how they can get in touch with you, where they can find you online. I know you have a few places that you that you sort of live online so feel free to share as many of them all of them

Ken: Thank you. I will try not to be too comprehensive because that would bore your listeners But first of all, all the places you’ll find me online my opinions are my own including this podcast. I do not represent Automattic in any official capacity except when you’re one of our clients. So I would say the best way to reach me is on Twitter, where my handle is kgagne, k g a g n e. If you prefer prefer to pronounce my surname “gah-nyay” that is also acceptable but spelled the same way. So there’s still my Twitter handle. My YouTube channel is gamebits. And that’s where I do let’s plays and unboxing videos. I am launching a new WordPress website. It’s not up yet, but it’s going to be at roadbits.net. And that is going to be where I talk about being a digital nomad and moving to a different city every month.

Christina: That’s cool.

Ken: I also as I mentioned just launched my first Tumblr kens.dog, and I would say that those are probably the Oh, two more actually three more I’m sorry, I’ll make this quick. I have two podcasts one is polygamer.net where I interview diverse and marginalized voices in the gaming industry. My other podcast is called transporterlock.com. And that is co hosted with my friend Sabriel and we review Star Trek Discovery, which is a fantastic show on CBS All Access.

Christina: Okay,

Ken: and finally, if you like the Apple II computer which predates the Macintosh and was made from 1977 to 1993 well, I have the magazine for you. It’s called juiced.gs, j u i c e d dot g s. That is the name of the magazine and the website. because.gs is the TLD of the Sandwich Islands. And I am the editor and publisher of that quarterly magazine. We’ve been around for 24 years. And I would love to share with you some news, reviews, interviews and how to use about how to use this eight bit computer and it’s five and a quarter inch floppy drives to do things you’ve never imagined like going on Twitter.

Christina: So would you say you’re creating an Apple II community contributor kind of thing there?

Ken: I would definitely say I benefit from there being a very strong Apple II community. I’ve been going to the same annual Apple II convention Kansas Fest for 22 years. And every single year pretty much for the last decade, the attendance at that event has grown. You would think that as the machine the Apple II gets older, the people who were using it back in the day would I’m sorry to say be dying off. And you would have fewer attendees. But no, this thing is actually getting more popular as people have, they get to an age where they have the disposable income to engage in nostalga. And also where younger people are discovering it for the first time and think it’s hip and trendy, in much the same way that record players are now.

Christina: That’s true. Yeah. And of course, there’s lots of movies that help support that, too, like that Ready, Player One.

Ken: That’s right. Ready Player One. There were three at least three different Steve Jobs documentaries. Well not documentaries, but bio pics. Yeah, Apple has been pretty hot for the last 10 years or so.

Christina: That’s pretty cool. But we can make that into a whole other podcast and I’m sure a few people already have

Ken: That, in fact, was my very first podcast ever I co-hosted the Open Apple podcast.

Christina: Cool.

Ken: Yeah. on WordPress, of course.

Christina: Of course. Awesome. Well, thanks for sharing all of those links with us. And I will make sure to get those into the show notes.

Ken: Thank you.

Christina: Anybody can just click on them. And thank you for coming and talking with us about contributing. And your experiences.

Ken: My pleasure. It’s always a joy to talk to you, Christina.

Christina: You too Ken. Thanks a lot.

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