Episode 9 Bud Kraus

Episode 9: Bud Kraus

Bud Kraus is the creator of 2 online WordPress Courses. With over 50 videos he’s helped beginners from around the world learn WordPress at no cost.

Bud is a regular at WordPress MeetUps in New York City and Northern New Jersey. He has presented talks on web site security, Gutenberg plugins and local development. In addition to speaking at WordCamps along the Eastern seaboard, he has served as Speaker Wrangler for the past two WordCamps in New York City.

When he’s not creating videos for beginners or writing for his WordPress Big 3 newsletter that comes out every Sunday morning he’s building and working on web sites for small businesses and organizations.


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Christina: Hello, and thanks for listening to WP_contribute. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Bud Kraus. Bud is the creator of two online WordPress courses. With over 50 videos he’s helped beginners from around the world learn WordPress at no cost. He is a regular at WordPress meetups in New York City and northern New Jersey and has presented talks on website security, Gutenberg plugins, and local development. In addition to speaking at WordCamps along the eastern seaboard, he has served as Speaker Wrangler for the past two WordCamps in New York City. When he’s not creating videos for beginners, or writing for his WordPress Big 3 newsletter that comes out every Sunday morning, he’s building and working on websites for small businesses and organizations. Welcome, Bud!

Bud: Christina, thank you very much for having me here. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Christina: It’s great to have you. Is there anything else you wanted to add to that as way of introduction?

Bud: No, I mean, that pretty much sums up my life over the last couple of years anyway. So that sounded pretty good.

Christina: Awesome. So tell me how long have you been contributing to WordPress?

Bud: Well, I think it goes back to 2016. And we actually made it a little bit before that. But it was at the point where I realized, hey, there’s this thing called the WordPress community, which I call the best thing about WordPress. And so there wasn’t really any sense of, until you feel that sense of community, you won’t really feel or I didn’t really feel the sense to contribute and to be really blunt about it. Sometimes, it’s just things that I do naturally, I don’t think like I really got to contribute today. It’s just part of being a part of an awesome group of people that are, you know, smart, interesting, funny, and I’m just lucky to feel and be a part of it. Really.

Christina: Awesome. That’s great. So you say like, it’s just sort of what you do anyways, you don’t really necessarily think about it. Are there any particular teams that you contribute to?

Bud: I can’t really say that I’m good on that score. But what I am pretty good at is being a regular at all the meetups in our area, I certainly show up to one of the meetups and will do presentations and encourage other people to participate, show up, help you know, we have help desks in New York and in the city and in Brooklyn and elsewhere. And I do go to the Help Desk quite a bit and help people with their WordPress problems. So, in that sense, I contribute, but I just feel that it’s for me and I think a lot of other people, it’s just a natural way of doing things to keep to give and you’ll get back. I sort of look at the Matt Mullenweg approach to things which is, you know, he gave away the software and still does and look what happened to him and many people around him so you know, it’s a good it’s a good thing to give you, you will get something back in return one way or the other. Maybe it’s monetary, maybe it’s psychic, whatever it is, you know, if I can say real quick, I really get a kick out of the fact that my videos have been seen in many countries around the world and I always think like, this is really cool. My voice has been heard around the world. And I know that I have such a great voice I understand that. But if I can help, and I have helped people around the world learn WordPress, you’re empowering the new skills that they would otherwise not have a chance to do and I’m doing it for free. And I just like, you know, is that the only reason why I do it? No, I get people. My website is used as a lead generator, I get people to sign up for my newsletter, I get business and get all. But that’s all part of the deal, you know?

Christina: Yeah.

Bud: So I don’t mind giving away lots of stuff. Again, I look at the Matt Mullenweg model, just give away a lot of stuff and maybe a lot of good stuffs gonna come back to you.

Christina: Yeah, and I like to think…

Bud: I take a lot of inspiration from that.

Christina: That’s, that’s great. And I like to think that when you are having that much impact around the world, like you are with your videos, you are potentially inspiring more people, not just to use WordPress, but then as they start using it and getting to know it in the community anymore, then potentially helping to grow the community of contributors as well,

Bud: yeah, I never really thought of it that way. But yes, you, You. I mean, I probably have had some effect on people saying, or getting connected to WordPress in a way that like, you and I are connected to it around the world. So maybe I have. But my primary, because let’s face it, not everybody’s going to have that sense of WordPress, community like we do

Christina: sure

Bud: And that’s okay, that’s fine. You know,

Christina: yeah.

Bud: My thing is, you know, I’m an educator, I guess by nature. And if I can help you understand something, so that you can solve a problem to do something to better your life to get ahead to make money, whatever the goal is. Well, that’s all to the good. That makes me happy. Yeah. So that’s my reasons why I do it.

Christina: I hear ya.

Bud: Yeah.

Christina: So let’s talk about you mentioned a bunch of different meetups in and around your local area. You’ve got quite a lot that are considered local to you. So, I know we’ve had Mervin has talked to us a little bit about the New York City ones, um, the help desks that you mentioned and the main sort of main one, I guess what other meetups do you have around you that you want.

Bud: One had been really popular and was revived about two or three years ago was the WordPress meetup in Montclair, New Jersey. So Montclair, New Jersey is about 15 miles or so west of New York City. Most of them Montclair it’s sort of economically very diverse. It’s very affluent, and not so affluent and less than not so affluent. And we meet now that meetup or those group, that group actually meets three to four times actually every Monday. They have help desk on one Monday they have a presentation on another Monday they have they have a professionals hangout on another Monday, and then on the fourth Monday, they do Montclair WordCamp meetup I WordCamp Montclair planning so I got about three out of four because I don’t want to be involved in their their WordCamp planning because I do WordCamp New York. So that’s enough. And it’s the nice thing about it is that the guys who, can I mention their names? I don’t see why not.

Christina: Yeah, absolutely.

Bud: Yeah. I don’t want to mess him up. One is a Cameron I forgot his last name. Mike Auteri and Jason I forgot his last name. Those three guys really came about they too something from the ashes of three or four years ago and really built this up into a very self sustaining meetup where they get a pretty good turnout. Now unfortunately, we the location isn’t very good isn’t really the best location. But people come out and we do our meet up kind of stuff. And the I think the best night of all of them is the help desk. We actually get people this is very interesting, I think from that will travel to this meetup over an hour away an hour and a half away. You know, that’s really interesting. You come from Central New Jersey, they come from Connecticut, they come from all over. Whereas the meetup in New York, they generally are like the five boroughs, you know, or maybe close by New York City like me, in New Jersey. But I think those guys have done a really great job and from from building that meetup, they were able last year to launch their first WordCamp Montclair, in which they got about 150 people to attend.

Christina: That’s pretty good.

Bud: And they for some reason chose me to speak. And they did was it was fine. I, you know, I had no hand in it. I just applied like everybody else. They said, you know, they picked me, which is nice.

Christina: Yeah.

Bud: And so yeah, that was the first one but I give those guys a lot of credit because it’s hard to build something like from really Nothing. And now they have a nice little thing going which is really great and also speaks to the fact that this particular part of the United States was really hungering, hungered for this kind of WordPress, experience service, whatever you want to call it.

Christina: That’s really great.

Yeah. Awesome. You mentioned to me before we started recording about women WordPress meetup group.

Bud: Yeah, yes. Don’t let me forget. Winstina Hughes and Lisa Lied. I don’t know if I said her name correctly. L I E D. Particularly Lisa has had a big hand in organizing the WordPress women in WordPress. I’m not exactly sure. But it’s, it’s predominantly and I’ve been to a couple of them. Predominantly designed for women. Although, you know, I guess like I say I show up. I don’t ask if I could show up. I just end up showing up. So far, they haven’t thrown me out. In fact I am. It’s interesting. I am going to be doing a presentation for them in early May called website security for the solopreneur. But it is all going to be online due to the current crisis that we’re in. So I find that a lot of meetups This is we didn’t talk about this before, but a lot of meetups now are turning into of course online. And I am about to reach out to a bunch of them around the country and people that I know and say, Hey, can I present x, y, z? Because when it’s a little bit, of course, the whole the whole meetup experience is local. But when you put anything online, local, the concept of local vanishes. Yes. And so why can’t it be opened up for everybody? So

Christina: yeah, absolutely. I mean, you can still have even when we are doing in person, you could still have somebody video conference in but when you have everybody sitting in a room, staring at he screen even though there’s interaction going on, it’s still not quite the same. But yeah, when when we’re all separated and on our own computers anyways, it just feels a little bit easier to bring in people from non local areas. Yeah.

Bud: I know, I know. I’m gonna ask if I can do it, but I don’t know. I don’t know. You know, I also like to introduce speakers to some of our meetup leaders here, who I think are going to be really good too. For example, in April, we’re going to have his name is Bhanu. And I don’t know his last name, but one of the founders are cofounders of Rank Math. The new hot SEO plugin. He is going to be speaking to our meetup in New York. But of course, he’s it’s all gonna be online, and he’s going to be doing this from India. So our meetup starts at seven o’clock at night and he will be getting up at 430 in the morning.

Christina: Yeah,

Bud: To do, to do the presentation. Because, you know, it’s good for his business, but he also is making a contribution. You know, I find it really interesting. Look at all the people that will speak at WordCamp. And they they don’t get paid their expenses unless they work for a company are not getting paid. Yeah, they’re making contributions. You know, I find it inspiring, you know, I mean, I find, so what I know what I’m doing it, I just say, Hey, everybody else is doing it. It’s good. And we all do this, and we don’t do this for commercial gain. But if commercial gain comes your way, that’s good. You know, money’s, okay.

Christina: Of course,

Bud: you know, but we’re always so careful. And we should be that when we do our presentations, they’re not you know, with all these commercial payloads and commercial messages and stuff like that. Look, if you’re good, people are going to say, hey, I want to hire this person or I want to know more about what this person is or does.

Christina: Yeah,

Bud: that’s it,

Christina: and they get a sense for who you are anyways, right?

Bud: You know, and I find the meetup and WordPress community to be a very natural kind of community. You don’t have to, you know, wear suits and ties and be, you know, something that you’re not, you know,

Christina: I wish more communities in my world were more like the WordPress community. For so many different reasons,

Bud: you know, and I don’t I know what you mean, but since I don’t, and I’m not really tied to thinking if I am to communities, I am to WordPress, you know, I came from a totally different background, because I’m not a kid. So, you know, there was a I had a life before WordPress, and it really wasn’t well suited to me. So I looked back at that and goes, well, thank God. You know, I migrated to the internet when in 1995. I did and thank God WordPress came about because, you know, I mean, I really, my problem is because of my age. I say it was born 20 years too early. What are you going to do so

Christina: I can imagine

Bud: It happens, you know, and many ways I was born 20 years too early. So

Christina: that’s all good, though. Yeah. So you mentioned that you figure you probably started contributing in around 2016. Do you have a particular event or incident that happened that sort of kick started that?

Bud: oh, yeah, yeah. Oh, absolutely. So I think I’m like a lot of people in that I didn’t even know there was a thing called the WordPress community and I was using WordPress and making websites and teaching I did a lot of teaching it. Fashion Institute of Technology Pratt Institute, and stuff like that in the days where I would be in class teaching the good old days but somebody mentioned, or though I actually attended a, my first WordCamp was like in 2009 10 11, something like that. I went to a couple of them in New York. And for some reason, though, this is a long winded answer, but for some reason, in 2016, I applied to speak at a WordCamp New York. And I had really I put, I didn’t have a presentation. I mean, I told him I did, but I didn’t have it done. It was called, oh, this is a great story. I just you never know why I like the story. So it’s called lessons learned as something about teaching. Lessons learned how to teach your best ways to teach your clients WordPress, and it was picked. The purpose of it was to help developers studios, agencies, whatever, talk and teach their clients WordPress, and I had a lot of experience because, you know, being a teacher, I sort of knew all this stuff. And so one of the guys who was who was on the selection committee, just loved the topic. He just thought this was we have to have this as the best thing I ever heard of. I didn’t know that guy, but he and I became very good friends, and he’s no longer involved with the WordPress community all that much. He sort of dropped out deliberately about two years ago, he was a tremendous community builder. He really built community in whatever he did. I mean, it was just, it was just tremendous. And he really took me in. He was one of those, like, early people that just said, Come on to this, and that’s how it all got started for me. So he was one of, you know, community needs magnets like people that aren’t, you’re just attracted to,

Christina: yeah,

Bud: I got to see XYZ, I’m going to be with XYZ, and he or she is so you know, energetic, enthusiastic, whatever it is. And so he was like one of those kinds of people. And they’re a couple cool things. One or one thing I just like, so I was picked and they told me right away this was for this was a July WordCamp and they told me right away, we’re gonna let you speak at 10 o’clock on Saturday morning. First day of WordCamp I go Oh my God, that’s like prime time. Like, how great is that? That’s when you want to speak. And but a week later, I got an email that said, No, we’re going to change your slot. We’re going to put you on at Sunday at like 330 Oh, who am I going to be talking to? How many empty chairs do you have at Sunday at 330. I mean, I knew enough You know, so I was furious. I wasn’t gonna go I was gonna say I’m not doing this. I did I went I went and if I had done that, oh my god, I my life would have been totally different somehow I got I get coaxed off the ledge and you know came to my senses. And you know, I said okay, I would do it. And then they gave me all the reasons why they decided and I understood why they why they made the change in the time slot. But what was really cool about it or started cool was it was the first only and last time WordCamp will ever be held at the United Nations.

Christina: Oh, wow.

Bud: So yes, I spoke at the United Nations I actually did. So of course, I had a photo shot of me standing in the General Assembly giving a big speech. And we didn’t talk at the General Assembly. There was there were some conference rooms that we used. The problem with that WordCamp was what was universally. I mean, it was fun. From the standpoint it was a WordCamp, but talk about social distancing. This was social distancing, before there was social distancing. Oh, really, I hear me out here. So the these huge conference rooms now where all these diplomats would gather and talk, and they had these chairs spaced out from each other for whatever reasons of it. And then behind each chair would be your interpreter would sit behind you. Well, I don’t need an interpreter. In a WordCamp, I mean, who needs an interpreter? So, so we’re all really spaced out. So that’s what made it bad. You don’t want to social distancing at WordCamp.

Christina: Right.

Bud: And so it was really an And not only that the security was insanity. I mean, so you really couldn’t. It just wasn’t a relaxing, fun kind of place. We have we have it now in a place called we’ve had in a place called Convene in midtown, New York, which is perfect. The UN was horrible, but at least I get to say I spoke at the UN.

Christina: That’s pretty cool.

Bud: That was fun, that was, that was kind of fun. But from that point forward, I from that moment on, I was cemented into the WordPress community in New York City. And from there I just gradually branched out to where last year I spoke at three WordCamps on the east coast and got to know a whole lot more people and been to a couple WordCamp US’s and actually got to was picked to speak at WordCamp DC and WordCamp Chicago this year. We know what happened to those. I applied to speak at WordCamp Kent, Ohio, now, I always wanted to speak at WordCamp Kent because that’s almost near where I grew up. So you know, feel like coming home. But this year, it’s all going to be online. So I don’t have to travel. I could just do it right from where I am now. And we’ll see. Because I used to get really angry. It’s funny when I would apply to speak at WordCamps thing I get picked. I used to get Well, why don’t I get picked? But now I have, like, certain topics that there’s just no way they’re not going to pick me. So if they don’t pick me, it’s all right. It’s all good. I won’t. Generally I won’t go to a WordCamp anymore unless I talk. But that’s because I’ve been to so many of them enough, you know?

Christina: Sure. Yeah. Especially if there’s travel involved, right.

Bud: Yeah. And I always sort of, it’s now become like highschool reunions. So even though everybody’s most everybody’s younger than me, I still think that’s it’s like a school reunion. And that you don’t spend any more time anymore. The thing about people who have been around in the community is that what I find a negative and I know I’m rambling out here is that I find myself not meeting as many new people anymore. You just see your friends and you talk shop and you do this, you do that or whatever. And then you’re not reaching out anymore. And I’m, I now find myself having to make an effort to do that, because it’s too comfortable to talk to this one and that one so, you know, I want to know what How are you? You? You know, I used to and I still do go up to people. What do you do with WordPress, like, you know, have you been using this for a long time. You know, and away you go before you know it, you know, you can make a new good friend. So,

Christina: yeah, and that helps put a lot of people at ease that don’t know people yet too.

Bud: I think so you know it. And it’s just so funny. You know, you get the software and you start making websites, you learn about child themes and you have no really idea with this with underneath all of this the community You could be doing this like I did for three or four years until I had a student Tell me Hey Bud, you know about the WordPress meetups in New York City and I was saying what’s that. I went to mine four or five years ago. He’s long gone and I’m a regular.

Christina: Yeah.

Bud: That’s kind of how I got started. Maybe he’s not there anymore because I am a regular. Who knows. I don’t know.

Christina: Do you have a proudest contribution that you’ve made to WordPress or to

Bud: a proudest contribution? Hmm, I think I’m gonna fail this question here.

Christina: There’s no failing.

Bud: Okay.

Christina: Anything that you’re proud of? You must be proud of something,

Bud: It’s like everybody gets a trophy. All right. I like that idea.

Christina: Some are bigger than others. That’s all.

Bud: No, but I have to say a long time ago. It was about five years ago. I I broke the ice I stepped into the world of helping out in accessibility you know that make WordPress group accessibility. So I looked at my profile the other day at wordpress.org and it actually said like teaching accessibility whatever. But I find this maybe a little bizarre, I guess. I don’t know precisely where or not, you know, I I’m visually impaired, I’m actually legally blind. And so you think well wouldn’t you be really interested in accessibility? No. I mean, it just doesn’t really interest me Do I think websites should be accessible but do I know a lot about Of course I do.

Christina: Right?

Bud: But as a thing for me to devote my time and attention to, not really let Rachel Cherry do it. She’s doing a great job.

I mean, thows all the people at wp campus they do a great job, they don’t me. So I if I’m not interested, because it’s not something that for whatever reason, it’s just I guess it’s because it’s something I live.

Christina: Mm hmm.

Bud: So it’s sort of see I’ve always thrown like talking about it I equate this to being like right handed like, I don’t really find it interesting that I’m right handed? Well, I don’t really find it interesting that I’m legally blind. Okay, now I know. Remember before I said, I know topics that I could, you know, so this is a topic that I can apply to when I speak at WordCamps. You know, if I couldn’t ,I want to talk about being legally blind. Oh! We wawnt you to talk about being legally blind. But you know, because because they tell it’s not a coding talk. It’s just about the experience of being legally blind working with WordPress and working with technology. Oh, yeah, we want that. So, um, so I find it to be sort of a dead ringer to get asked to speak. I really don’t want to because I don’t really like it.

Christina: Yeah,

Bud: I like to talk about things about site security and child themes and stuff, like like everybody else talks about. So

Christina: I think that makes sense. And that’s.

Bud: It does?

Christina: I think so, I’m trying to think of a good analogy, and I don’t really have one, I have some sort of weak ones. I mean, I know. To some extent, sometimes people who spend their day working on a particular thing, whether it’s in marketing, or if it’s development, and they want to contribute back, they don’t want to do the same thing that they do all day long. They want to do something different. Right. So I don’t know if that’s kind of, you know, the same and then I’m trying to think like, I don’t know like, I have I really bad knees.

Bud: Okay,

Christina: I don’t want to talk to people about what it’s like to have bad knees all day long.

Bud: Okay,

Christina: right. And the

Bud: right

Christina: things are the ways that that impacts me like, Sure, I might talk about it, but I don’t want to like, figure out how to really make the world better for me. I want someone else to do that for me because I got to deal with it all the time.

Bud: Yeah. It doesn’t really interest you to talk about this. It’s not something you won’t talk about.

Christina: Yeah,

Bud: that’s the way I feel about my situation. Like, it’s not like I won’t talk about it. But

Christina: you’d rather talk about other things.

Bud: Yeah. I mean, now, can I I in WordCamp Boston, I had somebody named Eric, I forgot his last name. And he was a really smart guy. He worked at a design studio in Boston, we had a really nice talk about, he knew more about accessibility and vision impairment basically than I did, which I’ve thought was, So if that’s the case, then I will talk. Yeah, but other than that, it’s like, like I say, it’s like talking about being right handed or left handed.

Christina: Yeah. And just because you might benefit from like, I don’t know if you use any different tools when you’re navigating the web, but just because you need if you’re using them doesn’t mean that you want to know how to code them so that they work.

Bud: Right. And

Christina: You just want them to work!

Bud: although I may know about the coding behind it, I really don’t care all that much I mean, you know

Christina: Yeah.

Bud: Well, I have to say, though, one of the cool things that I I know this is a little bit off, but is that one of the great, I think, developments of the 20 or so years, 25 years, that I’ve been involved in this in one way or the other, because I used to teach web design. I used to teach something called accessible web design, in 2000, at Pratt Institute in New York City, and nobody knew what I was talking about. They thought it was out of my mind. Well, that’s just mainstream web design today based on the principles that I talked about. And I knew they were eventually going to be because there was no other way. So it wasn’t like I was making anything up, even though all the designers looked at me like I was mad, you know. I mean, I had an understanding of the medium that they did not understand. And, like, you know, it’s sort of gratifying that I was right. They were wrong. I guess just the way, you know that all the brilliant minds that have dabbled at the Ethan Marcottes and they’re really smart. You know that, you know that I just the Jeffrey Zeldmans, they really brilliant designers and people that I was swimming in their stream when they were too you know, and that was really cool.

Christina: Yeah.

Bud: Yeah. So I mean, I mean, it’s just because like I said, well, it’s just the nature of the medium that I understood it,

Christina: you know? Yeah.

Bud: And I think partly because of my situation helped me understand it a little faster than other people.

Christina: Right.

Bud: Anyway,

Christina: fair enough.

Bud: I think I went off the beaten path there.

Christina: That’s all good. It’s what we do. I yeah, it’s all good.

Let’s see, what about Do you have any advice for people who are interested in contributing for the first time to WordPress?

Bud: Well, I think if I think really the best, most immediate way that if you want to contribute is go to these meetups, go to the help desks and sit there and help people solve problems because you may not, you know, feel that you’re contributing it. I have to say, I don’t associate myself with a contributor, but you know, I come on now. I mean, I’ve made these courses that took hours to make that’s not contributing. I mean, excuse me, it’s not like Yes, it can. No, it does. But I guess it’s sort of like the blindness thing, I don’t really think of it that way. But from another perspective, Yeah, you do. Anyway, getting back to your question. I think really the best way is you can make some real immediate impact in helping people by going to a help desk and helping them and you know, you could be you don’t have to be coder, okay. I mean, you know, you could be SEO, SEO people, I mean they love you, or SEO, or you could be an expert in or you could have some knowledge on marketing. You know, so many people come to me and say, Can you tell me what’s wrong with my website? You know, why does my website suck? You know, I mean, why? Why doesn’t anybody sign up for my newsletter? Why is you know, odds are they know, sometimes they don’t know. But any, what I’m saying is that if an individual wants to help others, the place to do this is to do it on a real one to one basis, and that is to go to meetups and help them when they have helped us because most cities do seem to have these WordPress meetup help desks and that’s the way to do it. That’s,

Christina: yeah,

Bud: I like doing it too. You know.

I tend to like just talk too much, but I do more talking than help I think. But that’s the way it goes,

Christina: That’s Okay. And I’ll throw out too that, you know, being that we have times as they are with all of this social distancing, and all that so many things are going online and a lot of meetups are as well. So if the being in person is an anxiety factor for somebody, now might be a really good time to try to dip your toe in, because you can join virtually instead.

Bud: Yeah, but I don’t know how. You know, that’s one of the problems with where things stand today. We can’t do help desks Now, obviously, because if you do help desks, you have to be with people. There’s no way to do this. I don’t think anybody’s figured this out yet.

Christina: I think there’s ways maybe some things not so much, but I think there’s still ways to help people.

Bud: Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, there’s everybody you know, there’s also some people look here, I mean, here’s another thing if you want to, you know, let’s say I was 30 years old. Okay, I am 30 years old. So, and I wanted to get better at public speaking. Well, maybe I would, you know, say I want to do a talk from my local meetup, whether it’s online or it’s in person and hone your skills in, you know, I’ve seen 30 year olds be really good at it. Some that need a little bit more work, but really get good at it. And then before you know, you’re gonna be speaking at WordCamp. Wherever.

Christina: Yeah,

Bud: maybe I’ll pick you to speak at WordCamp New York, who knows?

Christina: Yeah.

Bud: So which is a speaking of contributing? Can I say that? I’ve spent a lot of time organizing the speaker side WordCamp New York last year and the year before, and they take a lot of time. These things take up a tremendous amount of they’re big time sucks.

Christina: Yeah. For people who don’t know what, what’s involved in being a speaker wrangler for WordCamp,

Bud: okay. I guess everyone’s a little different. But you know, our WordCamp’s really big. We get about 400 people, which I think is not big enough, quite frankly. But let’s we do get we got 400 or so the last two years. And we had in last few years, we have over 40 speakers. So in both cases, we had a selection team, I was on the selection, and both. Yeah, both for both years of selection team. But before you get to select it. There’s a whole process, of course, the call for speakers, which is the traditional, where people go to the website, and they apply to speak, and they put in some very brief information like, you know, what’s the title of the topic and describe their description, bio, maybe a couple other things, and if they’re allergic to peanuts, things like that. So, and then they submit the topic. And then, of course, you have this team that selects and it’s a local group, you know, in my case, the last two years because I was a speaker Wrangler, I was the only one who actually would so when you do the voting You have to do it in such a way that it’s blind. You don’t want everybody to know the names of the people who submit. I was the only one that knew. And in the case of last year’s WordCamp, I decided I got sort of like, Bud’s Choices. In other words, I picked 10 people right off the bat. I don’t care like what everybody votes, this is the way I’m going to do it. I know because they’re really good. And there’s no way we’re not going to say no to these people. So they get an automatic buy, right, everybody we have so we have 34 other slides that we voted on. And you know that the trick for me now, and that’s why this would be my last year doing it is I don’t want to pick my friends. Okay, I just I can’t I can’t say no to them. But you know, you know, so that there’s a conflict of interest. So that’s why I’ve sort of this is it for me, all right. But there is a process and every WordCamp works a little bit different how they do their process. I’ve talked to other speaker Wranglers WordCamps, just to see how they do it. I am the Bud way of doing it. And the bottom line though, is you want to make this as fair, unbiased, you want to make it. In our case, you want to have different kinds of talks, you don’t want to have, like 15 talks on, like, one year was GDPR or 15, right? Gutenberg 15 talks on, you know, you really want to spread it out and think about your audience. Or you know, depending on the type of work some WordCamps are like just really developer heavy, which we’re getting pretty developer heavy. So my feeling is to make it broad based. And and then you announce and then as the speaker wrangler, you’re the one that’s gonna send out the email and sort of control the whole process are all the all the communication without the speakers, a lot of speakers have spoken WordCamps in the know the deal, some of them are new. Sometimes you’ll have a, you know, a slack meeting to go over things. You’re just there to and then then the day comes when you have the WordCamp, and it’s the most fun. I just love this because I, I’ve made it my point to make sure I go to each. So we have three speakers at one time, right? And I run around to the different rooms, I thank each speaker for coming, you know, and I address them by their name and all that stuff and try to say, I know you came in from San Diego, thanks for coming whenever it is. Yeah. And just to make them feel extra special that somebody from Word from WordCamp, New York, thanked them for doing this. So that’s my thing. And I really, that is like the most fun so I’m running around like a maniac for a few minutes every hour. And I make sure that we have MCs in every room that read out loud the bio, and, you know, introduce the speaker and try to control the room and the microphones and stuff like that. But I’m sort of like managing all this from you know, high above to make sure it works. And so this will be my third year if all goes well in October. And like I said, that’s it I’m done. I have I just way too connected now to look at to people, you know, and I just, I don’t want to bias this. And I just, you know, that’s it, you know, I can’t do it anymore. But if last year was a lot of fun, because, you know, I’ve sort of perfected the whole process of doing this. And so the amount of time I spent that last year was about a third of what I did the year before,

Christina: right

Bud: So and this year it’ll be even faster. So I, you know, I know how to do it. But

Christina: now, have you documented this for the next person?

Bud: No. So that’s why I’m looking for a trainee. And it really cuz Mervin and I talked about, like, we got to find people to replace us this year, for next year, because he doesn’t want to do it, you know, he’ll be done. And I’m done. And the great thing about our team is that we’re very experienced, we, you know, this is for most of us, it’s a second and third WordCamp. So it’s pretty good experience. And that’s not going to go on forever. We’re going to have to find other people to do this. And You can only do it if you’re really into it. If you’re not into it, you know, you this is a real contribution of your time energy. This is you know, these are phone count conversations, emails, blah, blah, blah, all that stuff. So again, this is one of those things I know it is a contribution. I just think it’s fun.

Christina: Yeah.

Bud: And I just think it’s just a blast. So I don’t really think it’s like, you know, when you say the word contribution, sort of has, in a way a negative connotation to me. It’s a burden. And this is not a burden,

Christina: right? .

This is fun.


Bud: this comes from the heart. You know, this comes from your love, you know, this is we in New York, you know, we want to put out the best work and we look at all of our attendees and our speakers and our sponsors as like gold, and we want to give them the best possible WordCamp. We work really hard at it. And sometimes, you know, like last year, I think we gave him you know, well I think they’re all pretty good. But you know, I’m too close to it to know. And of course everybody comes up to you. So this is the best WordCamp I ever was at.

Christina: Every one is the best one, right? They just they just get better.

Bud: Right and no one’s gonna come up to you though, you know, Bud this was terrible. I mean, the speakers were awful this year. You know, they’re not gonna tell me that. So it’s fine. It’s good. It’sit’s interesting in our conversation right now I realize the word contributor has like that. Like a mandatory word to it. I look at it is just turning around for like, joy, you know, and fun and whatever. And it’s not a burden, hardly we are whatever the opposite of burden is. That’s what it is.

Christina: That’s what it is. Well, I would hope so. I I would hope that anybody who feels that it’s a burden, what they’re doing, reconsiders what they’re doing and

Bud: I agree

Christina: Find something that that makes them joyful, right? There’s life’s too short to, to not,

Bud: you know, no one’s compelling. You know, I always believe if you’re going to do something, do it all the way, you know, don’t just do it, because somebody else is telling you to do it, if you’re gonna do it because somebody else told you to do this. And this is really all about being a contributor, you’re probably not going to do it. You have to find your own each person has to find your own little I love this, you know, and speaker Wrangler was I never when I when we were at WordCamp. The first one and it was Nashville. And I said to Winstina Hughes, I’m going to be your speaker Wrangler. I want to do this, I always wanted to do this. And I was, you know, and it was fun, and you know, so everybody has to find that little thing where they say, I want to do that and do it. And that’s making a contribution. Although, like I said, I don’t like it. You know, I don’t want to I don’t, I don’t give myself a big pat on the back. You know, all of us. I think people who are in the WordPress community are feel that they’re fortunate to be a part of this. And there’s no reason to give themselves a pat on the back. Hey, enjoy it. You know, this is a really cool thing you and you know it. You know, so?

Christina: All right. Here’s a question that I already know the answer to, but I’m still gonna ask it.

Bud: Do I know the answer to it? We’ll find out.

Christina: Yes. So because I ask it of everybody, have you been to a contributor day or participated in a contributor hour or any other kind of contributor specific event? Be honest,

Bud: I I’m going to be 100% honest, I don’t want to even say the answer because you know, I just got an F.

Christina: And that’s okay.

Bud: Yeah. Well, it has to be. Never, unless you want to stop this right now,

Christina: if it wasn’t an okay answer, I wouldn’t have asked the question.

Bud: Yeah. I know I know. Never ask a question you don’t know the answer to. You knew the answer. I just never felt for whatever reason. Now, you never know, I’ve never felt the need to go to any contributor day activity or anything like that. For one thing, it’s never been like really convenient. Let’s say if I’m out of town,

Christina: right

Bud: That’s usually a travel day or I left the day before.

Christina: Right

Bud: So it should be so that’s one of the that is one of the problems where I don’t go it’s because I’m not there. I left.

Christina: Yeah.

Bud: If you know, but I know sometimes. You know, they have contributor day let’s say at the end of a day or whatever. We see all kinds of different configurations for it. But there’s never really so like, you know, I’ve never felt. It’s really funny of all the WordPress things I’ve never really felt compelled interested or anything like that, for what it’s worth, maybe this is really instructive because I know that you’re very involved in this. I’ve never felt really motivated.

Christina: Right

Bud: interested now. This is me. Okay. You know that I don’t speak for everybody hardly, I speak for me.

Christina: Yeah.

Bud: But if you’re looking to see if you’re looking to expand and draw people in, like a me who’s already engaged to the WordPress community, then then if I’m from your perspective, you have to figure out how do we get good crowds to get motivated, interested to go on contributor day? And I don’t know the answer to that.

Christina: We might have some converstaions later

Bud: If I did know the answer, I’d probably be going.

Christina: I may pick your brain offline later,

Bud: okay. What’s left of it,

Christina: It’s all good. But that’s, I mean, that’s completely fair. And to your point before too, if If contributing feels like a burden, then you’re not going to contribute in that way. And if and I’m not saying that contributing feels like a burden to you necessarily somebody who maybe that’s, you know, there’s because there are so many other ways to contribute as well.

Bud: Yes. Right,

Christina: that that just may not be the right way for some people, right.

Bud: You know, and maybe if you renamed it something, you know, I don’t know. I mean, maybe that sounds crazy, because it’s always been called contributor day. It’s sort of like, you know, I think I said which is, like, contributor day, I mean, excuse me, I contribute enough. And I’m not complaining, this is no complaint. But what? you know, I mean, my goodness, I mean, I don’t you think I’ve done enough and the answers. I’ve done what I’ve done, and I’m not making I’m not apologizing for it. So maybe the name, the branding and the name needs to be rethought. Just a thought.

Christina: That’s it. Good thought that I will continue to have. I’ll think about that.

Bud: Well, if I notice in, like two or three years ago, they don’t call contributor day anymore. Mark this day down.

Christina: You never know.

Bud: You don’t know,

Christina: stranger things have happened.

Bud: I know. Yeah.

Christina: All right. Um, I want to ask you one more thing before we get into the final sort of wrap up questions.

Bud: Sure.

Christina: Um, just briefly, I heard that you were featured on Hero Press recently. Did you want

Bud: Oh, you did now Who told you that?

Christina: Oh, I don’t know who told me that.

Bud: It was, you know, the beginning of the article starts out saying like, wow, what am I doing here on Hero Press? Because I’m no hero. I heard of Hero Press. I don’t know. It’s like one of these things that sometimes you just don’t know how you heard of it.

Christina: Mm hmm.

Bud: Maybe was in WP tavern. Maybe it says that, sometimes you just don’t know.

Christina: Yeah.

Bud: So I got a hold of Topher, I forgot his last name. And I said, here’s my story. Are you interested? Oh, yeah, yeah, we, write it out. So, but three weeks later, it was published. So that’s how I got into Hero Press. I read, I read a couple of the other posts essays, as he calls them, because they are more like essays. And you know, I though tlike, you know, some of these were really pretty astonishing stories. Mine is just sort of, because we all think our stories astonishing until somebody else tells you it’s not I mean, we all think our story is ordinary, until somebody says, Well, actually, it’s kind of interesting. In fact, I personally think that most people’s stories are really interesting. You know, mine is just sort of ordinary, everybody else’s sort of astonishing and extraordinary but yeah, so Yeah, it was fun to I don’t know, it’s kind of an honor to to think of yourself as a hero. I think it’s a great title too, Hero Press. When I first heard what is it mean Hero Press sounds like a some kind of software maybe has something to do with, you know websites that every page is a hero, you know?

Christina: Oh yeah, right. Like a hero image

Bud: I couldn’t figure out what is the theme? You know?

Christina: Yeah.

Bud: Anyway. So that’s the Hero Press.

Christina: Excellent. We’ll make sure I get the link for that so I can include it in the show notes.

Bud: Okay, fair enough. Yeah.

Christina: Excellent. Okay, well, now is my favorite question.

Bud: Oh,

Christina: talking about our yellow, I think he’s furry, friend

Bud: Yes, yes.

Christina: If you had to pick a favorite Wapuu which would it be?

Bud: I don’t know. Maybe this generic Wapuu, the original Wapuu the I don’t follow Wapuu all that closely. I have one in my office

Christina: Mmhmm

Bud: I know there’s a million of them now you know there’s different kinds I see different illustrations of different Wapuu I saw one the other day it was I don’t know where I saw it, a different Wapuu But no, I’m not really being into what does Wapuu stands for is or does it mean something?

Christina: I don’t it’s not like an acronym.

Bud: WordPress…

Christina: I don’t think so. I know that the original was created by somebody in Japan for one of their WordCamps.

Bud: Right?

Christina: I know the story. The history of it is online. I can’t remember what made them name it Wapuu

Bud: you know, and I think you could buy them not that I would but at the word is a WordPress shop.

Christina: Yep.

Bud: Which I actually use bought a word beautiful I should have worn it tonight. WordPress hat which you cannot get at WordCamps. These are really nice.

Christina: Yeah,

Bud: for like $25 you should get something really nice so I have a WordPress hat that no one’s ever stopped me in the street Hey, is that WordPress? I’ve never had that happen, you know, but so I, as I mentioned earlier before we started I’m very fussy on my WordPress attire and paraphernalia because once you go to enough of these WordCamps and stuff like that, you know in the early days I was like absolute pig you know, I grabbed every sticker every pen every every whatever every if Go Daddy was giving it out. I would get whatever they gave out, right? In those days they used to give out a million things. Today Oh no, it has to be very important, useful. Whatever. Cool. It’s got to be somebody that I really need.

Christina: Yeah,

Bud: of course, I have to have a new t shirt for my wardrobe. And that’s it. I really am very fussy about what I take home from WorkdCamps now.

Christina: Yeah,

Bud: I mean, I’ve just got a stop. Let’s face it.

I’m a WordCamp snob. coffee snob WordCamp snob.

Christina: Fair enough. So we’ll say you’re more Wapuu Classic.

Bud: Yeah,

Christina: stick with the original.

Bud: Yeah.

Christina: No need for all the bells and whistles.

Bud: No jewelry. I don’t need nose rings. I don’t need

Christina: a Wapuu nose ring, somebody is gonna do that now.

Bud: Are you sure it hasn’t been done already?

Christina: I am not sure. And I guess in theory, if you…Yeah, I’m sure what tattoos have been done. I’m sure you guys even you know, washable ones, I’m sure it’s Well,

Bud: yeah, I’m just a regular bread and butter kind of guy. Boring.

Christina: Alright, you’re not boring.

Bud: Alright,

Christina: But fair enough.

Bud: Yeah.

Christina: All right. So how can people find you online if they want to connect?

Bud: Okay,

Christina: Or see what you’ve been up to

Bud: so my website is joyofWP.com that’s J O Y O F W P dot com. not WordPress, in case you’re wondering because you can’t we know.

Christina: Yeah,

Bud: some people don’t know that they sometimes say joy of WordPress and I immediately correct them. And the nice thing about my site, it does have over 60 free videos now where you can learn WordPress and you can sign up for my newsletter. It comes out every Sunday it’s called the WordPress big three where I give you three ideas to make your WordPress website better. It could be all over the place. I tend to be more a little bit more for beginners but I gotta say that people are a little more advanced in their knowledge and understanding of WordPress. I don’t do a lot of code stuff you know in my WordPress newsletters because it’s like I say it’s generally for site owners, nonprofits and stuff like that. Oh, Twitter is @joyofWP. So that’s pretty easy to remember. And that’s about it. Really. Yeah. So you and if you want my email address, bud @ joy of WP.com so I’m strictly joyofWP. If you remember that put my name in front of it. You’re good.

Christina: Sounds good.

Bud: All right.

Christina: Well, speaking of joy, it has been a joy talking to you today about WP and contributing. Thanks so much for coming out and talking to me today.

Bud: Well, it was a pleasure and good luck with your project. I think this is really great.

Christina: Thank you.