We Discuss With Christie Chirinos The Good The Bad & The Ugly of Being a Prominent Women In The WordPress Community
About Christie Chirinos
Christie started her first business, a house plant business, from her family’s kitchen in Lima, Peru in the 2nd grade. she discovered that she could scale her businesses through eCommerce when she was 14 when she launched my first website to generate leads and accept payments for piano lessons. Then, things escalated quickly. Christie is also the host of the Open Source Economist Podcast.
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Main Interview Transcript
Jonathan Denwood: Welcome back folks to the WP tonic interview show. This is episode 613. We’ve got a really great guest. we’ve got Christie Chirinos I’ve just butchered Christie’s surname-
Christie Chirinos: Would you like for me to say it? It’s Chirinos.
Jonathan Denwood: Have mercy on my soul will you?
Christie Chirinos: It’s okay it’s Christie Chirinos.
Jonathan Denwood: Chirinos the listeners and viewers are have got used to my butchering of guests’ surnames. you take it in good heart. I appreciate you doing that. We got an interesting show. We’re going to be covering some serious stuff, but hopefully in not a depressive and honest way, we can, be discussing what’s it like to be a really bright and young, and very open and pleasant woman in the WordPress tech scene. We’re also going to be talking about race and its power in tech. Tech can’t separate itself from normal society. Society’s woes affect tech, but because tech is an amplifier, it can make things better or worse. So we’re going to be discussing that. So we’re going to be discussing some serious subjects.
before I let Christine introduce herself, I just want to tell you about one of our major sponsors and that’s Castos. I moved to Castos about three months ago. I was with another previous, podcast hosting provider for about four or five years. Castos came on, the prices were really attractive, but also Matt Medeiros had joined them as their, manager or director of sales and customer, experience. I thought if matt have moved there, I should have a look at it. they moved over 700 episodes, flawlessly. The actual interface is a joy to use. It really is powerful, but simple to use. The support is amazing and it’s like I say, it’s built on WordPress. they are deeply involved in the WordPress community and it’s just been a joy to use. So if you’re looking to do podcasting for yourself or helping clients do that, have a look at what Castos has to offer. you won’t be disappointed I highly recommend them. So Christine do you want to quickly introduce yourself? Because you know, you’ve got a lot of irons in the fire, you know, you do your podcast and you’ve got your day job. And so would you like to quickly introduce yourself?
Christie Chirinos: Sure. We’ll do a broad overview of all the irons in the fire. my name is Christie Chirinos. I, work right now, leading the partnerships program at credible.io, which is, the largest marketplace of bedded, WordPress, freelance developers. And, I did, launch a podcast a few months ago called the open-source economists, which is a seasonal show. that is about nine episodes a season, which just covers topics on what is going on in the open-source world as a whole and how it ties into existing research and academic subjects that are, or often aren’t related to the open-source ecosystems. And so the goal is to bridge together, these two worlds to connect dots and solve problems. It’s an explanation-based show, right? So a lot of it is me talking about what is, and bringing in experts and guests that know more than I do to help me understand other concepts.
And, it’s been a joy to do, you know, and, there is season one is rolling out right now as we record this. So it’s been a blast. A bit of my past work involved WordPress. before this, I worked as a product manager for managed commerce at LiquidWeb. And before that, I worked as, one of the co-owners of caldera labs, which made caldera forms. And, yeah, I’ve had all sorts of other WordPress experience with that. Before that, I worked in the nonprofit sector, doing, non-profit technology, things management, and worked, you know, building sites for people and just overall existing on the internet. It’s been fun. yeah, some non-WordPress stuff I, live in Austin, Texas. I, love music and make music and, have a cat.
Jonathan Denwood: Oh, well, you’re perfect. It, especially if you can get the cat on the show. I don’t know if you watched any of our round tables, but I’m Sally one of our regular lady panelists her cats often introduce themselves. And my actual numbers of people watching and listening increase enormously, if there are cats in the show, it’s quiet, damaging to one’s ego when you [Inaudible05:57] that you could triple the numbers of your podcast. If it was just about cats. So there we go and puts you in your place does it? now, I just want to put this to you. It’s kind of an observation rather than a question, here’s the question as well, hopefully, but I’m notorious for the use, but, the cult of WordPress I would call it. what I mean by that is that, before the pandemic, and I think I’ve been extremely supportive of the WordPress community. Now I don’t publish podcasts I make my living from WordPress, but through my podcast and through presentations at word camps, I’ve tried to, to, be a member of the community and a positive one. I’ve done my best, I feel. and I’ve given a lot of opportunities to developers, designers, and all sorts of people to publicize their plugging, their service, through my podcasts.
but I know is especially there’s, there’s what I call the cult of WordPress, where I’ve observed, only a small, and I’m not even sure that this is bad or good. This is why I would be interested in your perspective on it. I’ve noticed that there is a small clique of people that seem to over-emphasize themselves with WordPress. Like, their whole life was dominated by WordPress. They had no outside, life apart from going to word camps, talking about WordPress, or everything that seemed to be about WordPress. Do you think there’s some truth to my observation? I found it a bit crazy- a bit slightly stomach-turning. There’s something in my psyche that told me they, they just taking it too far, or what’s your own observation and view on that.
Christie Chirinos: I think that it’s a natural human instinct to do that. And I don’t think that it’s exclusive to WordPress. You see it all over the place, right? There’s this really strong need in people to belong, to belong to something, to work towards something that matters, or to feel like they’re working towards something that matters, to be leaders or be experts, and have the esteem and have the satisfaction of expertise and recognition. Right. We want recognition from our families, from our friends. And so to me, that has always seemed like a natural thing to develop in communities. I think that what you haven’t said is whether it’s good or bad.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah [Interposed talking09:19] Instinctively, somebody’s saying to me and when I’ve ever had business relationships, personal relationships that have gone wrong, this, my instincts were there from day one. I just repressed them cause I, for greed or for it suited me, or it was convenient or I was weak at the time, but it was all there from the beginning it’s just, I didn’t want to see it. Yeah.
Christie Chirinos: Yeah. That’s something that I’ve also learned to find. Right. And I think that all of us eventually learned to find, to listen to our intuition, and to realize that if you have a bad feeling about something from the beginning, it’s probably for a reason there’s so much information that we don’t process consciously. And that eventually we have to realize it’s coming from a place it’s coming from an experience that maybe we’ve had in the past and it’s worth listening to. Right.
Jonathan Denwood: Well they do say that two-thirds of communication is non-verbal,
Christie Chirinos: Right? Yeah. Yeah. So that makes sense to me. And with the question of that, that’s a funny term, the cult of WordPress, I don’t have an opinion other than it looks to me like a natural instinct and whether it’s good or bad or somewhere along the spectrum of good and bad. I think the better question to ask is, is it harmful and on how many layers, right? For example, you mentioned something about, it’s, everything’s WordPress or not doing other things.
Jonathan Denwood: But look at the kettle. What’s the term?
Christie Chirinos: The kettle calling the pot black.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah I do about WordPress, I do videos about WordPress I also make my living I run, a platform that hosts WordPress webs websites. Plus an agency that does development work, literally 14 hours of my day is around WordPress. So you can say that I’m embedded in the cult of WordPress, but there was something about the people I’m remarking about where they seem to, I’m struggling for the right words. I just want you to see if you think I’m on the right track. There’s something about them that they’ve pushed it even a bit further than what I’m doing.
Christie Chirinos: And again, to me, that looks like a natural instinct. There’s this sense of wanting to belong and that’s not-
Jonathan Denwood: I’ll give you an example. If you want to get a- I’ve got a great, panelist on my round table show Spencer forum. And he, he doesn’t mind he trained as a lawyer and he doesn’t mind getting into arguments he quite likes it really. and through his social media, he got into his insane back and forth with the oxygen, page-building community. and you think he had insulted a religious cult by the amount of [Inaudible13:06] He got from this oxygen crowd literally [inaudible 13:09]they are. And you find a lot of pages, like not only oxygen, I’m not just picking on oxygen. the Divvy crowd also I have found them rabid in their enthusiasm and support of, Divvy, and this oxygen crowd, they are really rabid about protecting their blessed oxygen. It’s a freaking page, builder folks what do you think of my comment there?
You see it in non-WordPress. I think fandom culture is a really interesting parallel, right? People get really into certain musicians or whatever, right. Certain pieces of media books series, and they learn everything about it. And it’s all they want to talk about and they have a decorated all over their house and I’ve never had that instinct. And I wonder what it’s like, and I can’t tell you where it comes from other than I see it. And I have no opinion about it. I think the only thing that I start to think about is when does it become harmful? Something that I noticed at the beginning of the pandemic, was the effect on the mental health and the social media posts and the blog posts of people who really very much had one interest, whether it was in WordPress or outside, that the pandemic sort of flat out shut down.
And that- it’s such an incredible challenge because, on one hand, you love it. But on the other hand, if it is taken away by an external force, what do you do? How do you help yourself? How do we help you? And that’s not really something I ever figured out because when the pandemic set in, of course, all of us were stressed out in our own ways. for me, I love to travel. I love to be out and about, you know, my job has been remote from way before the pandemic and my daily routine was to wake up and get to work first thing in the morning, work until work is over, and then be out of the house, be at a friends house.
Jonathan Denwood: I put on a ton of weight it’s not funny out almost I was clinically obese. Oh, it was just, it’s, it’s quite strange. I didn’t see it you know, I looked in the mirror and I couldn’t see that. I just go into a mess. and, I’ve been on a fitness, strict diet, and I’ve lost about 30 pounds in about four months. but I’ve got enough of 30 pounds to go. but it’s really quite amazing how one can dilute oneself. yeah, it’s really hard. I think, just to finish off before we go for a break, Christine, it’s, I think there’s nothing wrong with being really enthusiastic supportive, open, but then there’s where there’s a line where you become a zealot where you become [Inaudible 16:37] and judgmental and become- attack other people with different views. And you’re not interested in their views. There’s only one path, one plugin, one ring, and everybody else must be damned, and they’re going to hell. Do you understand what I mean?
Christie Chirinos: Yeah. And that’s the lion too harmful, right? That’s exactly what I’m talking about, the way that communities that exist that way form and exist. I don’t know what to tell you about that other than we see it over and over. Right. But when we talk about it, is that good? Is that bad? for me I asked the question, when does it become harmful? When do we start hurting ourselves and other people, right? When are you just really excited about a favorite singer? And when are you so excited about this favorite singer or this favorite plugin or whatever that you’re in distress like actual physical stress that hurts you and hurts the people around you because of this thing, that’s when it becomes harmful. Right. going back to the pandemic, for me, these things shut down the outside world shut down, but I had for a lack of a better word, diversified my risk.
And so there were things that I couldn’t do, but there were things that I could do when I was alone at home. Right. Or just communicating with the people I love via zoom. And so it wasn’t as completely devastating as it might be If one’s energy is focused on one single place in one single place alone. And that’s the question we should be asking, when does it become harmful? Right. Because you use the word cult, we have that word for a reason, because we have identified that at that point, it becomes harmful. What are the dynamics of that? Like you get removed from your family. you get removed from the independence of your finances. And so there are little factors in there in which we start seeing when people are getting hurt.
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. We’re going to go for our break. I’m gonna ask Christine a question about gaslighting we’ll be back in a few moments, folks.
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Jonathan Denwood: But I’m going to start off with an editorial piece and basically it’s about the great leader [inaudible20:52]. I watched his last interview last night and I think he’s gaslighter Supreme of the WordPress community. it was he’s. this interview that I watched, it was so illogical, so all over the place, his arguments when you really analyze them are awful in my opinion. and he’s over the past few years, I see him as an anti-democratic force in the WordPress community. I know when Gutenberg was first promoted by himself, a group of very, powerful and respected people, went to him and asked that WordPress should be reorganized and be more democratic. And they were just dismissed and pushed away. And I truly see him as an anti-democratic force in the WordPress community. And I see him as a gaslighter supreme-o what’s your comments about what I’ve just said?
Christie Chirinos: Woa I don’t know that I- how come, I feel like a politician I’m like no comment.
Jonathan Denwood: You’re very wise. I’ve just committed suicide, in the cult of WordPress [Inaudible22:35] It’s nothing personal [Inaudible 22:43] I’m sure he’s a very sweet person but, I think we have seen this in the BNA class, suddenly we base source and brains, and they, they wanna fly off in their rockets and live in outer space and our great leader has the similar amount of money. And I just wonder in the end, do they live in a bubble of their own creation?
Christie Chirinos: Of course. And that’s something that all of us can observe because all of us live in some sort of bubble of our own creation and something that I’ve seen in my life has been the way that those bubbles appear and disappear. you know, something that is in my background, is that I’m an American immigrant. my family moved to south Florida, when I was nine years old and I grew up in and around the community, of Latin American immigrants that live in that area, people who, don’t speak English and, you know, work these different service jobs sometimes work under the tables, sometimes work, without, documentation or undocumented. and one of the things that astounded me, was that when I went to college, that entire world that I know exists was completely out of sight. I know that it’s there because I was in it. But the moment you enter another bubble, the other bubbles just-
Jonathan Denwood: Well, just to It’s bad enough that I’m a joint citizen. I lived up in England Britain for forty years of my life. I’m now 58 years of age I’m old for me.[Inaudible 24:43]. but I’ve lived here for 14 years and, the one thing I thought it was bad in the UK, but the one thing that the established media in America really does not want to talk about or show is poverty and how a very large percentage of the population in this country live in grinding poverty and the consequences for children, women, old people of that, that they do not want to talk about it, show it or anything, do they?
Christie Chirinos: No. And that’s a problem because you can’t solve it,
Jonathan Denwood: And I think Technology, the big tech, I’m sorry to interrupt, but I also think the big technology players like Google and Facebook, they really want to show you that either do they?
Christie Chirinos: There’s a saying that I’ve heard, really like, which is anyone who thinks that there is any kind of grand conspiracy has never tried to organize a group dinner
Jonathan Denwood: if you’ve ever tried to get a panel, WordPress experts, the come, it’s like herding cats Christine literally. I’ve just accepted there is only so much I’ve got over these people they basically do whatever they want to do-
Christie Chirinos: And that’s something that I love because I think it points to the idea that everybody wants to do good. And I do believe that, but there’s like different of incompetence that gets in the way of that. Right. And
Jonathan Denwood: I’m not sure if it’s incompetence or indifference or maybe a bit of both actually.
Christie Chirinos: Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, when we talk about the issue of looking at poverty in the face, some of that is discomfort, especially in the United States. I think that a lot of Americans tend to see poverty, not as a state, but as a moral failing and-
Jonathan Denwood: It’s not totally incorrect, is it, but it’s just totally overemphasized when you have a society that offers no ability, no helping the hand to change your life, that in every aspect, even though education burdens you with enormous debt, which you cannot ever escape until you are actually dead, and thinks that is somehow that you get all the major universities. Yes, they offer scholarships. But when you actually look at their endowments and how much money, some of these make, especially Ivy League schools in this country, their scholarships are pathetic. It goes from the top to bottom, this nauseating indifference to human suffering. And America’s got great strengths compared to England. And England’s got great strengths compared to America, but the inability to offer any opportunities for people to really change their lives and to progress and grow is rather depressing. Isn’t it?
Christie Chirinos: Yeah. And it comes from a cultural attitude that all of us can work to challenge. That’s something that’s really difficult is saying, well, why have things been that way? And sometimes that comes from a belief and it’s not a misguided one because it’s what our society has taught us. And we’ve seen plenty of examples of it. That poverty is a problem that can be solved with enough hard work. That’s not 100% false, but it’s also not 100% true and Truth exists in the middle of providing the right support and honoring the right mentors.
Jonathan Denwood: I think Malcolm X, you know, if you really study the life of Malcolm X, which is inspiring to say the least, and really read his writings, some of his real message, he never under emphasize the psychic damage that poverty does to a lot, the people they basically give up, and they turn to drugs, other things, and the grinding not only the physical consequences of being born into grinding poverty but the spiritual and psychic damage that it does. Malcolm X’s observations of this and the, how you must resist it and build yourself up as a human being are very insightful just to finish off. Would you agree with that?
Christie Chirinos: Absolutely. And specifically, the community that you’re talking about is the black American community. And this is a community that has been ravaged by several hundred-year histories of slavery and theft. Just now we are starting to talk about creating a system of financial reparations for black Americans who had land and wealth stolen from them through riots burning and violence. assets that if quantified in today’s dollars would equal billions of dollars with a B if not more, because we don’t have a complete and total perfect structure to figure out how much value that is. And not only does that cause day-to-day stress, but it also causes generational stress. And it goes back into thinking to look at solutions, you have to look at the problem in the eyes. And that is really uncomfortable for a lot of people it gets a lot of people feeling powerless and feeling powerless means that you rather look away and say, it’s not happening than look at it in the face and say, I’m going to take you on you’re a monster that’s going down. And it starts with getting together with the people, you know, and saying, what are we going to do about this?
Jonathan Denwood: We got to wrap up the podcast. So you are K in continuing this as what I call bonus content 15 minutes, which you’d be able to see the whole show, the podcast, and the bonus content. We’ll be continuing our discussion about race and technology, with Christine. but before we wrap it up, I wanted to talk about one of our sponsors, PeachPay. If you’re looking to get, really easy to use, shopping cart functionality for your own website or for client’s websites, that’s really mobile, friendly, and flexible, and you can set up, really, really quickly. And it’s also free the plugin goes to peach pay and it’s Peachpay. app. it will be in the show notes of this great interview. It’s a great product it’s free. And after trying it for your own website or for client’s websites, you’re going to be impressed. so Christine what’s the best way for people to find out more about you, your thoughts, your views, and what you’re up to.
Christie Chirinos: Sure. You can go to my website, I’m at ChristieChirinos.com, and see some of my projects, the podcast, and I’m on Twitter. It’s at X, T I E Chirinos. And you can follow me. I can tell you that most of what I post is goofiness. It is
Jonathan Denwood: I like this interview thank you for being up for it, but to say we’ve covered some serious topics so far would be a slight but I think we did in a reasonably light-hearted way haven’t we?
Christie Chirinos: I think so. And I think that comes from, I do approach life in that way. And you know, we’ve talked about serious topics and communities that are experiencing a lot of pain. And I think that the first thing is to not make anyone else’s pain, but your pain about yourself. And so, a lot of my stuff that you’ll see out there is just goofy, right? It’s just things that I like, things that I see, things that I don’t like talking about in goofy ways.
Jonathan Denwood: I just want to say I think people like you, are one of the reasons why I keep in the WordPress community is just only because of my living, because, you’re a very impressive young woman, and thank you for everything you’ve done in the WordPress community, Christine. you’ll always be welcome on the podcast, by the way, if you want to come back. You might not want to, but you’re always welcome.
Now we’re going to wrap up the podcast. If you really want to support the show, there are two things you can do. You can go over and give us a review on the Apple podcast player, which really does help the show, and join us on the WP tonic Facebook group. It’s the WP mastermind, WordPress more mastermind group. If you’re using WordPress every day you are making your living from WordPress in any way, this is the group to join and the link will be in the show notes, do a search on Facebook for the WP tonic WordPress mastermind group and join us.
It’s a great community. We will be back next week with another great guest, another great interview. Join us on the bonus content which you’ll be able to watch on the WP-Tonic YouTube channel. We’ll see you next week, folks. Bye.
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