We Discuss The Future of WordPress In a Changing Market

Navigate the Evolving WordPress Arena with Confidence. Explore Cutting-edge Trends and Strategies for Success in Changing Markets.

With Special Guest Matt Medeiros From The WP Minute Podcast & Gravity Forms

Join us as we explore the exciting possibilities and challenges awaiting WordPress users in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Gain valuable insights into upcoming trends, best practices, and innovative strategies to help you thrive in this changing landscape. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to WordPress, this video offers indispensable knowledge for confidently navigating the future.

#1 – Matt, where would you say the WordPress professional community is generally connected to being optimistic or pessimistic about WordPress and the Gutenberg project at the beginning of the second quarter of 2024?

#2—Where do you see the significant growth and opportunity areas in the WordPress development and product space?

#3—Nathalie Lussier recently announced the sale of AccessAlly to CaseProof (Chocolate Factory) and Syed Balkhi (Willy Wonka). Do you see any more significant WordPress business trends that can be linked to this particular sale?

#4 – What is the long-term effect, in your opinion, if any, to the general WordPress community connected to its natural accessibility and equality aspirations being used and taken over by a small but influential group of extreme political dialogues?

#5 – How will AI change WordPress and web design in the next 18 months?

#6—If you had your time machine (H. G. Wells) and could travel back to the beginning of your career and business journey, what essential piece of advice would you give yourself?

This Week Show’s Sponsors

LifterLMS: LifterLMS

Convesio: Convesio

Omnisend: Omnisend

The Show’s Main Transcript

[00:00:01.140] – Jonathan Denwood

Welcome back to the WP-Tonic Show this week in WordPress and SaaS. It’s episode 912. We got a returning guest, a friend of the show, somebody who always produces exciting stuff about the WordPress space. We got Matt Madeias from us, the podcast WP Minute, and Gravity Forms. In this show, we will discuss all things WordPress, Gutenberg, the recent sale of Access Alley, and I are also about web standards. It’s going to be a sweeping conversation. It should be really great fun. So Matt, well, fun for me. Would you like to do a quick intro to the new listeners and viewers.

[00:01:18.200] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah. Thanks for having me, Jonathan. Fantastic intro, of course, as always. Matt Madera is from the WP Minute and from Gravity Forms, where I host the Breakdown podcast. It’s all about Gravity Forms, behind the scenes at Gravity Forms. So you can find me there as well, gravityForms. Com/breakdown. But happy to talk about all things WordPress today.

[00:01:40.660] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s great. I’ve got my co-host, Kurt. Kurt, would you like to introduce yourself quickly?

[00:01:45.560] – Kurt von Ahnen

Sure thing. Kurt von Ahnen. I own Mañana No Mas, an agency that does primarily membership and learning websites. I also work directly with Lifter LMS and Jonathan over at WP-Tonic.

[00:01:57.280] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s fantastic. Before we go into the meat and potatoes of this great discussion. I’ve got a couple of messages from our major sponsors. We will be back in a few moments, folks. Three, two, one. We’re coming back, folks. I also like to point out we got some great special offers from the major sponsors, plus a list of the best WordPress plugins we utilize at WP Tonic and services. It’s a great list. It will save you bags of time I’m scrolling the internet to find the right plugin for your client project. You can find all these goodies by going over to Wp-tonic. Com/deals. Wp-tonic. Com/deals. What more could you ask for?

[00:02:48.930] – Matt Medeiros

A lot more, but that’s what you’re going to get from that page.

[00:02:52.090] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s all you’re going to get from me, folks. That’s all you’re going to get from me.

[00:02:57.380] – Matt Medeiros

I always wanted to read that hook, as it’s a sponsored ad. Every time you read it, I’m either driving, doing the dishes, or cleaning the house. I love that hook in the sponsored ad.

[00:03:11.760] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s very English, isn’t it? It’s very English, isn’t it? It’s very English, isn’t it? Yeah. English, isn’t it? Been here, I’ve been here. I’ve been in America for more than 18 years, but I’ll always be English. So let me attempt to be professional in this podcast and switch off my email. So this goes straight into it. So where do you think WordPress… It’s only a sweeping question, but I think it’s a good start. Where do you think we are at the beginning of the second quarter in the world of WordPress? Can you be optimistic or pessimistic? Where are we in general with WordPress and Gutenberg?

[00:03:59.630] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah, I’m primarily optimistic these days. It’s an intentional trait as I get older to stop trying to be so pessimistic about everything.

[00:04:14.060] – Jonathan Denwood

God, just be pessimistic.

[00:04:16.590] – Matt Medeiros

I mean, just because when I look at, I wrote about this in the other world that I love so much, which is podcasting. I wrote about this yesterday about in the world of podcasting and audio, and I’m going to draw parallels to WordPress, is a A lot of folks are saying, Oh, YouTube is the next savior of podcasting because now YouTube is getting back into the game of podcasting, which is crazy to say in 2024. There’s loads of people in the industry, largely the folks who are ad networks, big production houses, all turning to YouTube because they’re following the money. And they’re going, Well, damn, this podcasting audio stuff is hard to make money. Let’s just go to because now they’re supporting RSS and audio. So this is the next thing for podcasting, surely. But it isn’t because Google hates RSS. They’ve killed three major products that support RSS, and they’re going to do it again. They killed their own podcasting app, and now people are saying, YouTube is the savior of podcasting. Will they distribute your podcast through their music app? It doesn’t even make sense. But people are just like, Oh, it’s the thing that’s working.


[00:05:29.600] – Matt Medeiros

And I’ve We’ve seen this with WordPress time and time again, where it’s just like, oh, web flow will be better. Closed source will be better. This page builder will be better. And the core of WordPress still lives because it’s very difficult to stomp out the bug that is open source, right? And people who are contributing to it, no matter the issues that we have doing it and creating WordPress, open source and freely distributed software, just like audio, will win because it’s just It’s open by nature, and everyone has access to it. I was listening to the All In podcast, Jason Callecanis and his rich friends. I can’t.


[00:06:08.940] – Jonathan Denwood

I just cannot. I used to listen to that. I have a very diverse I’ll listen to other people’s point of views on that, but I just cannot listen to that anymore.


[00:06:23.000] – Matt Medeiros

I used to listen to Enjoyment when they were first figuring things out and trying to figure out how to be a podcaster. Now I just listen to it from, let me just get their take on a particular thing, and I just jump through chapter to chapter. But they were talking about AI and stuff like that recently. It might not even AI, but Chamath brought up a point where these big organizations, if you’re not the… Oh, they were talking about Facebook releasing LLaMA AI open source, and they were saying, well, look, if you can’t catch up to your competitor in the VC world, then you go open source, which is hilarious to just hear that from billionaires and trillion dollar companies. Okay, so we can’t win, so let’s just open source it. No shit. It should have been open source to begin with. It just goes to show that open source can win because of the distribution. All of that is to say I am optimistic about WordPress. I think we’re getting with better block like rock-based themes, like rock-based, like Ollie, a host of others coming out. We are at that bottom of that roller coaster ride where everyone was like, This is terrible.


[00:07:40.020] – Matt Medeiros

This sucks. It’s going down, man. I don’t want to do this anymore. Now I think we’re going to be right going back up in the next six months to a year, not only in the software, but back into the services business. We’ll talk about Access Alley and stuff like that. But I also think that we’ll see an increase in the services business again, largely as the economic stuff maybe cools off. But I think we’re going to see a resurgence in that space because what will happen is people will say, I love this WordPress thing. It’s much better now. I’m going to go back to it. And now people are going to look for folks to service. I think the whole thing is going to swing to the more positive side at the end of the day.


[00:08:20.180] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I think in general, I’m very supportive of WordPress. It’s how I make my living. I want the best for it. Like you, I’m not prepared because I listened to a couple of your recent conversations, and editorial independence is quite important to me, and I’m just not prepared to get into the mind default area where I’m just a propagandist, and I don’t think you’re prepared to go there either. And this mind control, in the the press space is quite prevalent, and I push against it quite vividly, and I think you do that as well. I think you’re very like me to some extent. You’re more diplomatic, but you’re prepared to to rate a diverse spread of different views without blocking people and all that crap. But that’s there. But I think it’s where WordPress is going. I think some people are struggling, other people are finding opportunities. I think it’s all over the place, but you could say that from the start of this winding road, it’s always been a bit of a Wild West scenario, isn’t it?


[00:09:53.090] – Matt Medeiros

When I started the Matt report years and years ago, one of the questions I had back then Envato was in the news today. Shutter Stock purchased them or acquired them, whatever. I remember back in the day when I started my podcast, one of the questions I would ask all of my guests is, what do you think about the $500 website? Because back then, we saw the dawn of Envato, Theme Forest, all that stuff, people cobbling together sites for very low dollars, selling them very cheaply, and then leaving the scene like a crime scene, never to help that customer again. And as an agency owner-Slipping into the night. Yeah. And as an agency owner, that was the biggest threat. Now, today’s biggest threat is AI. These page builders are getting better. Ai-generated websites, big hosts like wordpress. Com offering their services. And the same discussion is back into play, like what’s going to happen with the services industry and freelancers and such. But I’ll tell you, no matter what, that year 2024, I’m part of a nonprofit that I’m helping my friends start for my godson who passed away.


[00:11:07.820] – Jonathan Denwood

I thought that was mostly all WordPress agencies.


[00:11:11.500] – Matt Medeiros

For what?


[00:11:12.370] – Jonathan Denwood

What? The nonprofits. Yeah, nonprofits.


[00:11:15.280] – Matt Medeiros

So I’m helping them get the site off the ground. I manage it whenever I’m the webmaster or whatever you want to call it. And I’m helping other folks like post blogs and send newsletters. It’s the year 2024. My friends, they’re great. They’re fairly intelligent, and some of them have actually been in the marketing space. They don’t even know how to upload an image to WordPress. And then when they do get the image up, it’s like 300 pixels by 300 pixels, or it’s the inverse. It’s six and a half megabytes and it’s 8,000. People don’t even understand the fundamentals of the web. We don’t have to worry too much about AI because standard operating practices that people need to know to even engage with AI and to do things on the web are still so far behind that there’s plenty of opportunity.


[00:12:13.260] – Jonathan Denwood

It just changes. But In the early days when I got into web design around 1998. The advantage then for about until, let’s say, 2010, 2012, just getting a website up and functioning gave you a business advantage. Now, you can get the website up. Will you get traffic to it? Will it convert? Will it produce anything? Will it encourage the potential customer to ring up? That’s a totally different ball game then. So it It’s just the goal posts have just changed, haven’t they? Over to you, Kurt.


[00:13:06.710] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, hearing about optimism and goal posts and all that stuff, it has been really interesting for me to see that off of what Matt said, I think the optimism for me personally is the quality of customer that’s coming to the agency market seems to be much higher and better funded and more open to a solution that you would propose. Whereas if you’re going for the bottom feeder market for the $1,000, $1,200 website, you’re just dealing in a nightmare quagmire of nonsense. But there’s a whole market out there. Once you do the work and you put in the time and you tread water and get above that nonsense, there’s a whole market out there that seems really great. And I think that’s where some of my optimism is coming from.


[00:13:54.570] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah. If you’re a services agent, you probably know this better than anybody, you adjust You adjust accordingly. This is literally still not that much different a decade ago than it is today. But these tools, the better they get, you get, and it’s been a decade plus of the web, and people should have caught on a while ago. They’re getting smarter, they’re getting more educated, and that’s good. But those who are onboarding, now you shift. You shift to maybe a different service. You have an onboarding product, a training product, a strictly, purely consulting service that you’re not doing the work, you’re just educating them. Yeah, it’s lower fees, but it’s more margin for you. They’re happier, everyone’s happier. And I think that that’s a space that was underserved for a while, but you can come back with it now. Don’t be afraid of Elementor or Bricks or whatever. Invite it in, educate your potential customer. When they realize, holy crap, I can’t do this myself, they’ll come and work with you. So So again, just reiterating, I’m optimistic, at least on the services side of things.


[00:15:06.170] – Kurt von Ahnen

No, I love that. A parallel for me would be when I was the training manager at Ducati, we had a thing we called Panagali Labs, and a Panagali is a really fancy motorcycle. But what we would do is we would take an engine to a dealership on a weekend and have an event where we would literally take that engine apart in the showroom and let everybody attend, all the customers and everything. We take a whole engine apart and you’re passing around the crank and the cam and the lifters and all, lifters, the valves. I’m talking cars and motorcycles now. But we’d pass this stuff around and people would be, oh, oh, oh, oh, and people would say, Kurt, oh, my God, you’re giving away the secret. You’re telling everybody how it’s done. You’re going to lose all your service business. And what actually happened was people said, oh, my God, now that I know what’s really involved with that, I’d rather just pay a pro to do it. And a lot of my business at Mañana Nomás is really educating the client, like you said. But to jump to the next question, talking about services and WordPress development versus more like a product space, where do you personally see the major growth opportunity areas?


[00:16:07.210] – Kurt von Ahnen

Especially, you’re real active on X. I see you interacting with a lot of folks there, too. So what are you getting from that?


[00:16:13.700] – Matt Medeiros

I think right now is a great time for, if you’re thinking services, I think productized service will be back. It gets stale for a little bit, but I think it’ll be back. Package services, having you as the person that your customers can rely on, groups of customers, having access to you for what you might have sold for many X multiples before in the past, I think you can dial it down and go wider with those types of support services for customers. That’s the thing. I think it’s a great time to be WordPress content creator. Again, there’s There’s plenty of opportunity. If you’re thinking like, Gee, should I start a YouTube channel? Yes, you should. Should I start a podcast? Yes, you should. If not just from the business side of content creation, from the lux surface area that it builds for you, attention, awareness, et cetera. Mark Somansky is really good, is doing really well with that, and just getting his name out rather quickly. That’s an opportunity.


[00:17:27.010] – Jonathan Denwood

Oh, Mark, your boss. Copy. He’ll put him out.


[00:17:29.050] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah. And the theme space is back, baby. I think if you’re a designer and you’re looking to invest in starting a new theme business, like Rafaal, like Ollie, I think you can do really well with that. Of course, agency services still. I’m very optimistic with where WordPress is headed these days.


[00:17:54.170] – Kurt von Ahnen

Nice. Hey, Jonathan, over to you.


[00:17:56.510] – Jonathan Denwood

It bleeds into the next question. I think It’s very diverse. The only thing I would say is it’s tricky. It’s tricky where people are going to go with the plugin model and where the theme model was very profitable, and a lot of people pulled into that. But then with the page builders, that has diminished a bit, and the whole thing with Gutenberg and that But I think there’s people we’re doing at WP Tonic, and Melissa Love, I think what she’s doing with her photography crowd is quite interesting. She was big, still isn’t big in divvy, but she’s gone with Cadence, and we’ve gone with Cadence as well. But this whole business of WordPress as a service, that’s a tricky one because you had companies It was like five themes that were really big with Rob rolling, and they were really more big in the world of bootstrap SaaS, and they really didn’t do a lot in the WordPress community, and that didn’t exactly work out for them, and they sold to the chocolate factory. So it’s tricky, but I think this whole WordPress as a service is a bit more tricky. So before we go in to where the spiceiness will start, what do you see craving for it, the people that have joined us, the spiceiness?


[00:19:43.230] – Jonathan Denwood

They’re like children, aren’t they? Do you think this whole WordPress as a surface, I think it will come back, but people found it a little bit more trickier than I thought it was going to be.


[00:19:59.580] – Matt Medeiros

I Yeah, I guess defining what tricky is, the hardest part of the business is to stand out, is to market, is to gather your customers. I think, hopefully, by now, WordPress business owners have moved past cheap prices. Maybe not all of them, but maybe the consultant side, maybe not the plugins and themes of the world. But Elevating their prices to a more premium tier, respecting the work that they do, and charging well for it is something that I hope most freelancers and consultants have learned by now. And As long as they’re doing that, as long as they have the conscience to do that, it’s all about marketing, reaching customers, and that’s the hard part. The business part should not be difficult. In fact, you should build build the business around it so that it isn’t so complicated and that there isn’t so much moving parts. If I ever started, just to give you an example, if I ever started a services business again, it would not be developing custom websites. Just wouldn’t. Just way too many moving pieces. It would be, Here’s the type of site I build. It’s this price. Here’s when it will be done in one week or whatever the number is, or two weeks.


[00:21:27.750] – Matt Medeiros

This is the program we’re on. We’re not doing custom. We’re not doing… Because it’s just way too many moving pieces.


[00:21:33.360] – Jonathan Denwood

I totally understand where you’re coming from, but it never works out that simple, Matt.


[00:21:43.630] – Matt Medeiros

I mean, maybe it’s been 10 years since I’ve been in the services game. I feel like I could do it, but that’s just me.


[00:21:51.960] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s doable, but there’s a lot more… Because that’s the contradiction of WordPress. You got all these plugins, you got these people that they are medalers in the best context I can put it. It’s so much more attractive to mess around with a new plugin or a new layout rather than the grind of actual marketing, which is just painful.


[00:22:22.430] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah, I guess. The customers that I serviced, the hundreds of customers that I’ve serviced when I was running the agency would never touch WordPress. They were not installing plugins, and I would go right after those customers, because so many people just don’t want to touch it. And I think we get stuck in this vacuum of all of these crazy tools Gutenberg, the editor getting better, Elmantor breaks, yada, yada. People go, Oh, my God, everybody’s going to touch this. Everybody’s going to want to touch it and use it and customize their site. And what am I going to… They don’t touch it. The customers don’t touch it, or at least the customers that you should go after are going to be like, No, you do it. I don’t want to touch this. And that’s where I see the opportunity.


[00:23:05.780] – Jonathan Denwood

Right. Let’s go into the spice in this thing. So Natalie, the beloved Natalie, one of the smartest women in WordPress, really a star. She has decided to sell her beloved Exo Sally to Caseproof, the chocolate factory, as I classify it, and to Willy Wanker, as I call it, the affidavit of WordPress. If you’re not British, this was- I thought you said the affidavit of- No, affidavit. As an American, it will mean nothing to you. If you live in Britain, you’ll be laughing now. You know exactly. So Willy Wanker, he’s got his hands on this now. It’s a bit sad that if you want to sell your WordPress business, a lot of the time it’s Willy Wanker and his Chocolate Factory. I see that as a bit of a problem, is that why is it… Why are there still so few choices about where you’re going to sell your WordPress business to? Got any insights about that?


[00:24:20.230] – Matt Medeiros

I think the answer is pretty obvious. I think the answer is the fact that he has the money to do it, and he has- He’s got the Benjamin’s, does he? Yeah, they have the money, they have the team, they can close quickly. And I think all the stuff that folks might say on Twitter, at the end of the day, there are so few opportunities like- But why is that, Matt?


[00:24:49.330] – Jonathan Denwood

Because it’s driving 40 % of the freaking Internet, and you’ve got a reasonably good business. Why do you have to sell to Willy Wanker all the time?


[00:24:58.970] – Matt Medeiros

Because nobody else Nobody else has a plugin business his size. That’s that. If it’s only going to him, why isn’t it going anywhere else? Because no one else is as profitable or has the capital that he has. So, yeah, he’s going to win all of those deals. Turn to a… A web host doesn’t know what to do with plugins. We’ve seen a handful of web hosts purchase plugins. Okay, they’re doing somewhat successful stuff with it. But it’s not like every web host has a stable of plugins because it’s hard. And web hosts should just focus on web hosting because that’s where the real money is in this game. And there’s not a lot of other plugin shops the size of automotive, with the capital and with the other thing that folks really want to… And I’ve never, obviously, I’ve never sold a plugin to Syed. I’m only going by what I know from what he talks about and what others have told me is all these other places, it’s going to be this long, arduous process. And if you’re somebody like Natalie and you’re like, Man, I’ve put in a decade-It’s a bit like getting a sponsorship for a podcast.


[00:26:16.080] – Jonathan Denwood

You get these characters. They want to know. They want to sponsor free shows. They want you to give them all your figures and have about five meetings. You think, Oh, give me a break, mate. If you’re talking about a year’s sponsorship, I might continue.


[00:26:32.870] – Matt Medeiros

If your only choice is going to somebody like Austin Motive who will close a deal with you in 30 days, and you’re a tired entrepreneur, you’ve done it for a decade plus. Why are you on to sell at the first place is I’m tired. I’m done fighting this fight. I’ve literally hit a business plateau. I don’t have the dollars to market and grow this business anymore. I don’t I don’t want to scale horizontally. There’s just way too many more problems. I don’t want to add in services. I don’t want to build another product. I don’t want to do that again. I want to get out. So who do you turn to? Turn to Automotive that could close the deal in 30 days, probably in cash, and you can exit, knowing that it’s going to somebody who is in the WordPress space, knows the WordPress community. I’m not talking about the brand sentiment he might have, but I’m saying knows the WordPress community, or do you turn to I’m in some private equity firm who knows nothing about WordPress and is like, Yeah, we’ll give you 2X multiple on a plugin. Not even, we’ll give you 1.5X multiple on this open source.


[00:27:44.000] – Jonathan Denwood

And solve What is this?


[00:27:45.650] – Matt Medeiros

What is this? What is this? Yeah. So no one else has that capital. He posted on LinkedIn yesterday.


[00:27:54.960] – Jonathan Denwood

Oh, he loves me, Willy Wunker. He loves me.


[00:27:57.940] – Matt Medeiros

He posted on LinkedIn yesterday that he’s looking to acquire 1 million ARR businesses in Canada because their capital gains taxes are going up. And he says he can move fast. I mean, Hey, man, for as much stuff that he gets, he can move in this market fast.


[00:28:21.960] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, but what does it… To me, it’s just the… It’s just the graveyard of WordPress plugin as far as I’m concerned. It’s where you go to die slowly. It’s just buy it, milk it, keep it updated, do as little as possible with it, and just run with the money, basically. Is it, though?


[00:28:43.670] – Matt Medeiros

Because if it was, then he wouldn’t have the capital to keep buying these businesses.


[00:28:50.320] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, he might have an uncle that we don’t know about, right?


[00:28:53.300] – Matt Medeiros

I mean, yeah, sure. A sugar daddy.


[00:28:56.530] – Jonathan Denwood

He might have a sugar daddy, right?


[00:28:58.570] – Matt Medeiros

He could have an uncle, but He opt in Monster is a pretty big presence. Obviously, all of his plugins who I compete with on a day-to-day basis at my day job, they have a great distribution model. But at the end of the So at the end of the day, he’s profitable. He’s at 400 plus employees.


[00:29:18.240] – Jonathan Denwood

Why isn’t your boss, your Gravity boss? Will you ever come on my podcast, Matt? Secondly, why hasn’t he gone out in the market and bought a few plugins?


[00:29:31.380] – Matt Medeiros

He’s invested in stuff before. But it’s just not part of… There’s no system for… Again, Zahad built a accelerator system. He has an accelerator. He has a whole investment arm. He built it to do what he’s doing. Kudos to him. But look, why isn’t anybody else doing it? Yeah, because nobody else either sees the opportunity or knows what What the hell to do with it?


[00:30:00.920] – Jonathan Denwood

I think it’s partly the open source thing, because if you try and talk to VCs or anybody, angel investors, and you say WordPress, open source, Their eyes just glaze over, don’t they? Now, Rob Rowland, a friend of mine, he’s invested. He was one of the investors in WP Engine. He’d done fabulous out of that investment. And he’s invested in a few other. But in general, he doesn’t like it because it’s open source. I think that’s one of the key things, isn’t it?


[00:30:45.020] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah. Yeah, distribution model, open source. A SaaS is you can control it. So when you look at something like the the Shutter Stock and Envato purchase, they double their, based on the article that I read anyway, they doubled their user, total addressable user, right? So they went from 600,000 at Shutter Stock to 1.2 million with the Envato. And it makes total sense. It’s not going to be great, but from a business perspective, they have stock photography and stock videos. People build that stuff out on websites. When you look at it just high level, and they’re like, Yeah, we just doubled our reach.


[00:31:25.620] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I’m not wish it, but there are another if for you, I mean, surprise.


[00:31:30.750] – Matt Medeiros

I mean, 100 %.


[00:31:32.600] – Jonathan Denwood

I don’t like dealing with them because they’ve shafted me a few times. Try and get a refund from them, you’re better off talking to God. Well, actually, you have a better chance of talking to Jesus Christ than getting the refund from those gangsters. Yeah.


[00:31:52.780] – Matt Medeiros

I mean, listen, I’m not saying I agree with it. I’m not saying I agree with Osmotiv being- People complain about my my refund policy, and I thought, well, go over to them and see it, try to get a refund out of them before anything.


[00:32:06.100] – Jonathan Denwood

Good luck to you.


[00:32:08.300] – Matt Medeiros

What more could you ask for?


[00:32:11.060] – Jonathan Denwood

You could always ask. The answer’s always no. It’s got nothing to do with us. This plugin doesn’t do anything like it says it’s to do. We took our, but you need to go and have a discussion with that developer on your own. That’s their attitude. Lovely, isn’t it? But there we go. They built a great business on that attitude, didn’t they? That’s my English sarcasm coming out in spades, isn’t it, Matt? I think it’s time for us to have a mid-break. Matt’s getting a bit twitchy. It’s getting a bit spicy. English sarcasm, you haven’t heard anything yet, folks. It’s going to get worse in the second half.


[00:32:56.810] – Matt Medeiros

It happens when the recording’s off.


[00:32:58.530] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, right. We were going for our break, folks. We will be back in a few moments. We’re coming back, folks. I’ve enjoyed this. It’s a retribution episode. It’s when I pay back some of the people that I really love in the WordPress space. There’s some people in the WordPress space I really, really love, as much as they love me, But before we go into the meat and potatoes, as I say, why don’t you sign up for the WP Tonic newsletter? I write a newsletter every week. I write it myself with links to the best WordPress stories, if there’s any, or the tech stories. I always choose those that interest me, and I write a little commentary. What more could you ask for? My English sarcasm in your inbox Every week. What more could you ask for? To get this rag, all you have to do is go over to wp-tonic. Com/newsletter, Wp-tonic. Com/newsletter. My newsletter, and I’m going to get more and more spicy in my newsletter. I’m up for it. I think it’s time for payback on certain people in the WordPress space. I despise them with such a… They despise me as well, and I don’t care.


[00:34:36.810] – Jonathan Denwood

Over to you, Kurt.


[00:34:38.500] – Kurt von Ahnen

Oh, thanks, Jonathan.


[00:34:39.840] – Matt Medeiros

As he pulls the pin out, hands-toothed grenade.


[00:34:45.780] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, Mark Zamansky commented that he wanted to see the spice, and here comes the spicy question of the episode. I’m going to try and word it as diplomatically as possible, which Jonathan says is a trait of mine. So I’m wondering what the long long term effect would be, and if we think of these things in a scope, I want to try and paint this. When I think of WordPress, I think of WordPress as open source, free. I get a hosting account, I download it, it’s open. If I want to learn how to use it and sell that product to somebody else, I can do that. There was no shortcut to Internet Fame or any of that stuff. The work had to happen. The meritocracy had to promote me up to where now people know who I am a little bit. I just think of how that work happened. And then it seems like, and maybe it’s just because it’s the loudest voice in X that I’m seeing right now, but there’s a group of folks that are extremely, very politically motivated in how they view WordPress and the WordPress community and how to get ahead and all these things.


[00:35:55.660] – Kurt von Ahnen

And I’m just wondering, is there a long term negative or positive effect that comes from all that activity? Or how do we just get to focus on the product and growing like we should, I think?


[00:36:12.340] – Matt Medeiros

Help me define that a little bit more. Are these people criticizing more the community or criticizing more the product?


[00:36:19.810] – Kurt von Ahnen

I think it’s a blend of the two. I mean, without throwing specific names or scenarios out there, but it’s saying, WordPress, by its nature or by its community, is just a group of white dudes, just a group for the speaker announcements. And this one really hit me with the last set of speaker announcements that came out for WordCamp Europe because they were so happy of the diversity. And that’s great. Everyone talks about diversity. But then they were upset that a couple of people, or at least one person, had multiple talks. Well, how did this guy get the multiple talks? And it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m like, he does the work. He’s everywhere. He’s adding value to the community. Every time I turn on my computer, his face is on my screen. So of course, he’s got multiple talks. If you do the work and you put in the time and you network and you add value to so many people, those opportunities come. When I think of like, you mentioned Mark Somansky, and he’s in the chat right now, so that’s a perfect example. It’s like, Where did this cat come from?


[00:37:35.290] – Kurt von Ahnen

He’s doing the work. All of a sudden, everyone seems to know who he is.


[00:37:39.560] – Matt Medeiros

It’s a tough question because there’s interior WordPress issues, and then there’s exterior WordPress issues. The exteriors are the competition, is the software keeping up, is the web trending towards open standards, all of this stuff. So there’s that That’s a discussion. Then that also includes, I would also include the third-party plugin space as the exterior because a lot of these plugins are saying, Well, our feature set, like Bricks, why doesn’t Gutenberg do, and we’ve talked about this at at Nassim on this show, but why doesn’t Gutenberg do all of these things that, let’s say, Bricks does? Because it’s not made for this type of user. You’re actually winning because you’ve got an open market and you’ve built a tool that serves this Why the hell do you want it in core so bad? Stop bashing core. Continue on your march of printing money and make the money until you have to continue to compete against all these other players. So exterior and then the interior stuff. The interior stuff is super delicate, super hard to smooth over. Then there’s so many pieces of that fabric. There’s whatever. How do I become a core contributor to have to actually write code against WordPress?


[00:39:03.400] – Matt Medeiros

Diversification across those teams, diversification across speakers, automatic versus open contributors. Who are these people? Why does automatic have so many people contributing? Media core, marketing team shut down. How the hell could you even market WordPress to begin with with people who are just donating their time? Now that team’s gone, and now the MediaCore.


[00:39:31.150] – Jonathan Denwood

How long do you think that’s going to last?


[00:39:33.930] – Matt Medeiros

Well, I think it’s going to last. I mean, I think that’ll be in play for a little while. But at the end of the day- How many meetings do you think they had automatic before they came up with that idea? A couple. I mean, I think at the end of the day, it depends on how you want to look at this, right? You have to decide, do I want to Be all in with open source. Or, Dude, does that not matter to me? I just need this tool to get a job done. If you want to be all in open source, you have to remember that That’s the path you’re going down. I will fight for open source just like I fight for RSS for podcasting. I don’t want Spotify and YouTube to win because what you’re doing is you’re crushing open distribution that I could distribute freely available anywhere on the web. You have to think of it I think the same way with WordPress is you have to be diplomatic and you have to approach it with, is this thing that I’m battling about good or bad for open source? It’s a very simplistic way of looking at it.


[00:40:46.120] – Matt Medeiros

The stuff about diversity, inclusion, who’s getting what, that’s the overhead that comes with this open system. The flip side is there’s nobody. There There are no talks. This is controlled by a commercial company. We have to deal with these things. It will never be easy because it’s humans dealing with humans in a place that has no… No one’s invested in it, like the marketing team. You can’t have this data. You can’t have this. You can’t have that. Well, what the hell are we doing here as a marketing team? It’s going to be difficult. That doesn’t answer your question, but it’s super hard on the interior stuff of WordPress.


[00:41:28.220] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, I think you I can’t really put that well. It’s a real witches brew of discontent. It’s like Richard II. It’s a real, like I say, witches brew. And some of the criticism around Gutenberg, around Kevin’s tribe. I know a few people that are really in with him, and They really hate Gutenberg with a passion. There’s something about it they just don’t like. I was talking to a really hard core developer, and I mentioned Gutenberg, and his face just dropped. He just hates the whole thing. I just don’t have that emotional problem with it. When it comes to the accessibility and equality herd, as I call them, obviously, accessibility is really important. It’s something with Gutenberg that’s declined, and the code and the great leaders focus around the mechanics of accessibility. It’s been a minor… He keeps saying it’s something in his consciousness. Well, I don’t I think he’s been treated with a lot of importance. And equality, who’s not a reasonable person wouldn’t agree with more equality. It’s like a person that doesn’t like YouTube videos of kittens and puppies. Who doesn’t? But what struck me about this crowd in general is that they They’re pronounced, they’re all about accessibility and equality, but their tools of trade are blocking slurs, blocking banning.


[00:43:41.480] – Jonathan Denwood

These are their tools of trade. It’s a bit of a contradiction that you’re supposed to be about accessibility and equality, but your tools of trade are blocking cancelation slurs. It’s a bit of a contradiction, isn’t it, Matt?


[00:43:57.440] – Matt Medeiros

What tools are blocking this stuff?


[00:44:00.440] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, blocking other people. They’re blocking people they don’t like.


[00:44:04.220] – Matt Medeiros

Oh, I see. They’re manually blocking, not like…


[00:44:06.950] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, blocking you off Twitter. They’ll cancel. And a cancelation culture, which they seem to love so much, don’t they?


[00:44:19.410] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah, it’s a hard question for me to answer because I’m not sure exactly who or how that would affect somebody’s… If it were you, if you were getting blocked by- Oh, they canceled me.


[00:44:35.620] – Jonathan Denwood

I had the misfortune of crossing souls with them about a year and a half ago, and they started gunning for me. And it was a bit difficult because I was recovering from crossgate cancer at the time, where, like most things, when people shit just piles in all at once, doesn’t it? So I was dealing with trying to get a webinar up and running. I was dealing with at my crossgate cancer, and this crowd starts gunning for me. And they really are boors. They are really people of very little who consumer?


[00:45:16.030] – Matt Medeiros

Well, I would say that the advantage that… Number one, the advantage that at open source and WordPress gives you is you can still use the product, you can still run your business, you can still do what you want to do, you can still partake in the open source nature of WordPress. Second is you’ve built your own, whatever you want to call it, community tribe. So if you were coming to me and saying, Matt, I don’t know what these people… What should I do about all these people? I’d say, You just move on, Jonathan. You move on and you continue with your thing. It depends on if you wanted to either reconcile something with them, work something out, or be part of whatever it is they are part of as that third tier that you should engage with. So I would move on from that because your advantage is you’re still running a business, you’re still partaking in WordPress, and you have your own megaphone, if you will. I think there’s, again, a lot of this stuff is human issues. I don’t know about where you guys live, cities, towns, whatever, but there’s a cleanup day coming up in the spring.


[00:46:24.930] – Matt Medeiros

It’s always in the city that I live in. It’s like, Hey, everybody get outside. And of course, clean up around your house and clean the streets, and everybody partakes in picking up trash or whatever, just making the place cleaner. If you look at it from that perspective, there are people in the world that just look out their window and go, This place is a dump. It should be cleaned up, and they do nothing. And then there’s the type of people who engage on that one day, and they all get out, and they hold hands, and everybody cleans up, and, Okay, everybody came together. We helped clean up. Then that’s one set of people. Then there are the people who are out there every day cleaning up, solving the world’s trash problems. There’s just different layers to how people want to engage in the WordPress world. Sadly, we hear a lot from the people who are just looking out the window complaining about things and doing nothing to help themselves or the rest of the community. And then we don’t really hear a lot from the people who are doing the hard nitty-gritty work, like writing the code and writing docs and help docs and answering questions on the community forums, helping people at word camps.


[00:47:30.300] – Matt Medeiros

Those are the unsung heroes that you don’t hear about. It’s a multi-team-It’s tricky, isn’t it?


[00:47:38.680] – Jonathan Denwood

It’s a Witcher’s Brew, isn’t it? It really is, isn’t it? Because these discussions about page builders and that, it’s a page builder, for God’s sake. But they can get really ugly quick, can’t they?


[00:47:54.090] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah, I don’t go… God forbid, you ever go into a Facebook group because it’s just… I mean, man, you just… One person asks a question, it’s just the pile dive of keyboard warriors. And I sit there and that’s the stuff that I just feel bad for humanity. Because these people, I was just like, How do you people live? How do you people build websites for other people? You’re a good service provider is what you’re telling me. Like your attitude towards this person that asked a simple, honest question, and you’re out there building… You’re Are you building websites? People come to you, say, Hey, I need to build a website, and you’re nice to them? I don’t know how you run a sustainable business.


[00:48:37.320] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, I think you touched a bit with a recent discussion you had online with Mark around if you go into certain Facebook groups and you actually try and promote something or say something, they just block you straight away, won’t you? If you’re in the WordPress, it’s supposed to be a more collaborative environment. But that seems not to play true, does it?


[00:49:04.270] – Matt Medeiros

Listen, you guys know this, too. Everyone watching this knows us. Developers are a crazy bunch, right? I’ve always sat in the middle of the C-suite team and the developers because I could understand what the developers were saying. I could understand what the C-suite team wanted. And I was like that level of communication. A sales engineer is technically what I was at Pagely. I could speak developer and cis-admin, but I could also sell a contract to a customer. And man, largely WordPress attention content is developer-focused. Here’s how you do things in JavaScript to make a block. And it’s all still developer-focused. And developers have their ways. So So it’s just amplified when it gets to social. That’s the wrong way to do it. You’re a fool if you do it that way. You’re not tab spacing your style sheet. What’s wrong with you? You’re still making a style sheet. What’s wrong with you? It’s just that’s the nature of the developer crowd. And that’s just anecdotal, but that’s some of the stuff that we’re up against.


[00:50:23.350] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, but do you, just before we go on to the next question, do you think the situation, this witches brew, do you think it’s got worse over the past couple of years?


[00:50:34.060] – Matt Medeiros

No, I think it’s exactly the same as it was 10 years ago. There might be more people, but I think it’s the exact… And that’s why I’ve come down That’s why I’ve come down to looking at things more positively because it’s like, Oh, I’ve seen this before. I’ve seen this four times, actually. And whenever anyone’s saying fire, guess what? Nothing Everything happens. The same thing, I said this the last time I was on the show. People were like, Oh, everything that they’re doing for five for the future and committing back to WordPress is just going up the chain to wordpress. Com. I’m using wordpress. Com. It’s no better than what we have in freely distributed WordPress. It’s the same thing. There’s nothing better up there. So they’re not doing it. And they have the same problems we have, which I said last time. So I think, to me, same problems Different ear, maybe more people, but same exact issues.


[00:51:33.970] – Jonathan Denwood

Well, yeah. Over to you, Kurt.


[00:51:36.730] – Kurt von Ahnen

Well, I guess the next question would be, and you’ve mentioned it, but AI. I mean, has At one point, we’re like, is AI going to steal our jobs?


[00:51:47.730] – Matt Medeiros

As a guest of the show, I’m in the ring sparring with Jonathan. He’s left, right, and then I go, All right, there’s the two minutes. I go back to the corner getting sprayed with water, and that’s Kurt. All right, Kurt, go ahead. Well, talk to the pleasure to be on the show today. No, I enjoy this moment. I get a breather.


[00:52:12.850] – Kurt von Ahnen

It’s just for me, We’re always asking everybody where they feel AI is going to be in the next 18 months. But are they really going to come out with instant website builders and all this nonsense, or is there still a place for people to put hands on a keyboard and build something unique?


[00:52:31.080] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah, 100 %. I use AI regularly, analyzing transcripts, helping me draft ideas, but it’s largely like the 5, maybe 10% of the final outcome was thanks to AI, because really, at the end of the day, all it does is get me from staring at a blank screen to jogging my It’s my brain to get into writing. It doesn’t write the whole thing for me. It doesn’t do all the work for me. Helps me summarize transcripts and stuff like that. On the AI web design front, we just saw automatic. I don’t know if it’s from wordpress. Com or from automatic, where it’s branded, but they have the new AI tool coming. Elementor has Elementor copilot, I believe it’s called. It’s supposed to get better, faster, learn what you want to do, etc. There’s a bunch of other ones. I’ve been so unimpressed by AI tools that for me anyway, I want to just see professionally designed page layouts, patterns, complete themes, and go, That’s the one I want. It gets me 95% of the way there. I’ll take it the rest of the way. If I’m sitting there interacting with a prompt, which I do with my ChatGPT, I only use ChatGPT to create featured images with DALL-E.


[00:53:58.050] – Matt Medeiros

It’s a freaking nightmare. If you don’t like the first one, the whole experience goes downhill. It gets progressively worse as you interact with the prompt to make these images. I don’t see it being any better than what a professional would build, design for me, and let me pick. If they don’t have the thing I’m looking for, I go to another professional designer or theme that has what I’m looking for. Maybe that’s where patterns wins for us all in the future. Maybe that’s also what separates the good designers and a good product from run-of-the-mill AI, where you’ll pay a premium to have a human designer in the future, maybe two or three times what we’re paying now to have a human designer because everybody else is just slapping together AI-generated content. One of the things that drives me nuts, especially with AI-generated images, is that there’s so many people, especially in the podcasting space, again, where I have a foot in, that write blog posts and the That’s a featured image, they all look the same. What somebody says is a user sitting at their computer thinking about this, this, and this, and ChatGPT creates the same image.


[00:55:09.530] – Jonathan Denwood

What gets me going is these YouTube thumbnails that have images that got nothing to do with the video. It got nothing to do with the video at all.


[00:55:22.010] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah. So what I’m getting at is you can spot these images from a mile away. I mean, of course, there’s stuff that’s pretty amazing, but still that relies on the human to make it pretty amazing. And the AI-generated websites, again, I just feel like you’re going to spend more time cleaning up the mess that it makes than you are if you would have just clicked on a pre-design template. That was what you wanted to begin with. So I don’t know. I’m the old curmudgeon on the AI-driven stuff.


[00:55:48.550] – Jonathan Denwood

I use quite a lot of it, and it’s made a big difference to me. I have a suite of tools in my marketing process, and they’ve made a difference to my productivity. But in general, I agree with a lot of your insights. It’s also well overblown in some ways. The amount of money that’s being thrown It’s mind blown, isn’t it? It’s just… Well, on to the next question. If you had your own time machine, Matt, HDs Welles or the TARDIS from Doctor Who.


[00:56:29.230] – Matt Medeiros

We’re getting to the end of the show. Here we go.


[00:56:30.820] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah. I thought it could go longer, but I think it’s been pretty stressful for you. So I think we better not stretch out too much because you’re going to need… Oh, my. So if you had your own time machine and you could go back and give yourself some mentorship or just a quick bit of insight or anything that you feel you’d like to tell yourself that you could share with the audience, that would have… You just wish you’d known a few years ago, not coming on this podcast too regularly. What would you tell yourself?


[00:57:10.310] – Matt Medeiros

Hands down, I wouldn’t have started a WordPress news business. That’s exactly what I think that’s basically the advice I’d give myself. I’d focus on training and education like I was with the YouTube channel. I still do with the YouTube channel. That’s the market, at least from a content creator’s perspective. That’s the market to focus on Again, right now, I think plenty of opportunity still to train, educate, onboard people into WordPress. I certainly would have gone that route, at least with my own content creation, if I could hop back into that time machine.


[00:57:45.610] – Jonathan Denwood

All right. Have you got 5, 10 minutes for some bonus content, or do you want to be off?


[00:57:50.390] – Matt Medeiros

Of course I do.


[00:57:51.430] – Jonathan Denwood

All right. My co-host had to leave. He had to do duty with the Lifter LMS crowd. But we’re going to finish out the podcast part of the show. So Matt, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and what you’re up to?


[00:58:13.930] – Matt Medeiros

So the podcast I do for If you’re in Gravity Forms, gravityForms. Com/breakdown. If you’re a Gravity Forms user and you want to go behind the scenes in the Gravity Forms universe, go to gravityforms. Com/breakdown. And if you want to follow weekly 5 Minutes of WordPress news, go to thewpminute. Com.


[00:58:30.060] – Jonathan Denwood

Yeah, and we’re going to do some bonus content, folks, which you’ll be able to watch the whole interview and the bonus on the WP Tonic YouTube channel. In the bonus content, we’ll probably have a discussion about podcasting because both me and Matt are passionate about it, about YouTube and about marketing WordPress in general. If you want to support the show, please share the podcast on your social platforms. It really does help the show. And we’ll be back next week with another great interview. I’ve rustled up some great people like Matt to come on the show in May. I’m always amazed how I get people to agree to come on this, and it should be a great discussion. We will be back next week, folks. Bye. So I listened to you last… We covered it when you were gracious in having me on your show about podcasting, about sponsorship, and I’ve listened to some other people talk about podcasting. Where do you think podcasting has gone wrong, or it was just the expectation? Because obviously, Spotify put a ton of money into it. I think they’re backing off. You had other… You worked for a podcasting WordPress platform, and then you moved to Gravity Forms.


[01:00:12.350] – Jonathan Denwood

So you got intimate insight Insights about… To me, they say radio is declining. What radio stations, but what happened in my eyes, what’s happened is radio has morphed into podcasting to some extent. So just like traditional television is morphed into Hulu or other platforms. It’s just morphed. But where do you see podcasting in 2024?


[01:00:54.920] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah, so I think… So I also write about podcasting at the podcasting podcastsetup. Com. I just wrote a piece about YouTube not being the savior of podcasting that everyone thinks it is. And the industry is at an interesting Crossroads, right? There’s only a few big media. Why has audio podcasting been hyped for the last 8-10 years in the media landscape? Why aren’t there any major innovations happening? It’s been hyped because there’s been a lot of media players. Platforms like Apple, Spotify, YouTube, Google, Facebook lasted about three months in podcasting. Literally for three months. They announced that they were going to start supporting podcasts, and then they killed it. We keep seeing this hype cycle come when the new major player comes in to go, Oh, we’re going to do something big with podcasting. Amazon showed up for a little bit. They left. You have all of these players coming and going, and when they make a splash, media covers them, etc. There’s still a lot of money there because advertisers realize that podcasts work. For trust and reach and listenership for ads and stuff like that. The problem is it’s all built on the top of a house of cards.


[01:02:27.280] – Matt Medeiros

Podcasting and the YouTube thing is popular because what’s happening is the money is saying, Hey, we need more celebrity podcasts or comedian podcasts or sports talk show podcasts. So what they do is they go into, like you said, they go into the old school media, film, television, radio, and they pull out these B-list celebrities, and then they create a podcast for them. And all of that money that their sponsor deals, ad deals, all of this stuff is all inflated because that’s the way it is in, say, Hollywood. It’s all inflated. The market is getting this injection of podcasts going to YouTube from all these B-list celebrities that people are trying to make money off of. Podnews, which is a news site that covers podcasting, does a phenomenal job. They did an interview with a company that was selling podcast download clicks by installing a free mobile game. The idea was, get this game for free, but before you get this game for free, you listen to this podcast. The podcast would get this increase of listenership. They interviewed them, the company behind. This is a media campaign. This is a thing that exists. This isn’t like a black hat.


[01:03:53.970] – Matt Medeiros

This is what happens. And they just said, people want… These companies that are buying these ad spots, they just want clicks.


[01:04:00.620] – Jonathan Denwood

I heard a whisper. I don’t even know if you get it. I get people DM me, and you’re most welcome to do listeners and viewers. You got any juicy stuff, just DM me. But I get people DM me with little snippets. I heard a particular podcast in the WordPress space that if you work with Automatic, you are told to download it, mate. I heard a little whisper. Yeah. Have you heard that whisper, mate?


[01:04:32.400] – Matt Medeiros

I haven’t heard that whisper, no. But yeah, it’s an industry right now that is, again, seeing a bunch of excitement because of the YouTube thing. It’s largely driven from these ad buys because they can’t figure out how to make it work in open source. So they need something to track. They’re trying to find ways, force ways, not find ways, force ways to get the typical media juggernaut on a freely distributable, just like we talk about, why aren’t people buying these plugin companies? They’re so valuable. They make so much money because people look at it and go, It’s open source. I can’t do anything with that. And they say the same thing about podcasting. They go, Can’t do anything with that. So Spotify tried.


[01:05:21.060] – Jonathan Denwood

They threw billions, didn’t they?


[01:05:24.460] – Matt Medeiros

Tons of money into podcasting. When they signed Joe Rogan, that was the biggest It still is the biggest podcast. And whether you like the podcast or not, it’s the biggest podcast in the world, and it’s a beacon of what’s happening with podcasting. They bought it, they closed it down, and Spotify still couldn’t make money. It’s not until they made all the 3,000, 4,000 cuts that they just did, where they just posted profitability for the first or major profitability for the first time in their history this past quarter. But what did they just do with Joe Rogan? They it back on to open RSS. So now he’s freely distributable everywhere. Why? Because he couldn’t figure out how to make money close source. And what they realized was, you know what? It’s better for our ad deals if they open it up.


[01:06:13.410] – Jonathan Denwood

If you did, it’d be sexy, but I don’t understand why. Isn’t that surprising? If you utilize that model with YouTube, you made it the same model as Spotify tried, it would soon decline quite rapidly, wouldn’t it? Right, 100 %.


[01:06:30.180] – Matt Medeiros

But these big companies, the money is just unimaginable. Spotify is tiny compared to an Apple, YouTube, Google, of course. This is nothing. Both of those companies could buy them probably 50 times over without even noticing it on their spreadsheets. When you see Spotify, Spotify was trying to do a whole campaign about how they… That they are the podcast industry. This goes back a couple of years ago, where it was It’s like, Oh, we do this for podcast. We do it. No, it’s all closed. There’s nothing open about it. You bought Anchor, which was a free RSS podcast host, and then you did what typical companies do is after a couple of years, you just swooped it into Spotify, and that Anchor doesn’t exist anymore. So they tried to do what every other major media platform does is buy it, own it, and if you want access to it, you show up to our platform. It’s a typical closed web mentality, and that’s the issue.


[01:07:28.670] – Jonathan Denwood

Now, another thing, is it just me or is it… It mostly comes with some of the larger plugin shops, but also a lot of the hosting providers. They’re trying to up their game in podcast Austin and YouTube videos. Is it me or is it a lot of their stuff is a total fucking Yungfest? Is it me or is it really just a fucking Yorn fest?


[01:07:58.230] – Matt Medeiros

Well, you have to… Yeah, there’s a lot of variables there, right? The bigger the company, the harder it’s going to be to get really good content, or you just have to have a champion inside the company that is like, Hey, I’m going to do great content.


[01:08:14.400] – Jonathan Denwood

Is it the It’s a contradiction. They want eyeballs, but you got to be a little bit edgy, but they don’t want it for understandable reasons. They don’t want the baggage of edginess.


[01:08:26.350] – Matt Medeiros

You don’t have to be edgy, you just have to be a human. People want to connect with a personality, whether it’s edgy or fun or educational or comedic. And most brands won’t take that challenge. Here’s a perfect example. My old employer. They hired me as the face of the company because nobody else could do it, wanted to do it, had the ability to be out there and connecting with the audio industry. And if you look back in the splash that I was making back then, we were in the pod news newsletter consistently. We were in the discussions on the open standards projects, which is like open source WordPress. We were in the discussion. That was my job. I was getting myself out there. And then when I left, all of that just fell off a cliff because there’s There’s nobody else there doing it. There’s nobody else out there taking the risk of having the conversations. And when you look at WordPress companies that try to do YouTube, it’s fine. You can make YouTube videos, and YouTube is the largest search engine when you’re looking to how to do something with WordPress. It’s fine. You have this baseline of videos.


[01:09:51.010] – Matt Medeiros

One might consider it boring, but if you’re a customer or a potential customer that’s very useful to you, so you consume it and it’s valuable. It’s when those products When the project companies go, This isn’t working. The numbers aren’t going up. Subscribers aren’t subscribing. No one’s commenting. That’s when you have to say, You’re not making engaging content. And people try to force it. The thing I’ve been getting hit a lot with lately from other WordPress companies is, Hey, I’d love to… I won’t name names. We have a problem with our brand, right? I know it, you know it, everybody knows it. Can Can you make a video about our product and talk about it in a certain way so that people can see it differently?


[01:10:36.990] – Jonathan Denwood

And that’s when-And they don’t want you to say that you’re being sponsored, do they?


[01:10:40.830] – Matt Medeiros

Right. And that’s when I say, I’m shutting the laptop because I’m not having this discussion. I’ve had people continuously come to me and say, Can you do it this way? Can you do that? No. If you’re going to do it, if you want me to make a sponsored video, it’s X price, I make the video. Maybe you can tell me what you want me to I’ll focus on. If it’s a feature, yeah, fine. You are going to focus- That’s just courtesy, isn’t it? I’ll focus on these features, especially if it’s a big plugin, you got a bunch of things happening, fine. But I won’t make a video with the intention to persuade somebody. I’m not persuading anyone. That’s on you. I will show somebody how to use it, let them make their own decision, or clearly, if I know- I think one of the few…


[01:11:25.630] – Jonathan Denwood

I think one of the few… I think one of the somebody that found the balance does a pretty good job is Paul WP Tuck, doesn’t he? He takes the sponsors, but he makes it really clear. I think he understands the game he’s playing. I think he does a reasonable job, and it covers things, and he makes it really clear that They’ve sponsored this. But no, it’s a crazy… The other thing is, it’s a bit difficult because I’m a Quasar Service, Quasar Boutique Hosting Provider in my little niche of community and membership websites on WordPress. So it’s hard. Converseo sponsors the podcast, but Tom, I’ve got a long-term Tom’s been a really great guy, and his prices are a bit higher. He goes for the enterprise, because you understand that, because you… With Pagely, you were involved with them for many years, weren’t That higher game. But I can’t really take… I really can’t take hosting providers as sponsors normally, because I’m a bit deep. Hosting company myself, my little niche. But they’re crazy buggers, aren’t they? The money is rolling in, but they don’t really want to sponsor anything long term, really, either. A lot of them do.


[01:13:00.030] – Matt Medeiros

It’s a particular challenge of, again, it’s the particular challenge of this WordPress space. Where is the tavern? Where are the writers for the tavern?


[01:13:10.670] – Jonathan Denwood

That side is what’s happening to it, isn’t it?


[01:13:12.540] – Matt Medeiros

Who do you rely on to get the news. And I wish I could say it’s just me or just you or a collection of us. But the challenge is for the news side, I’m just trying to monetize the news. You have a service. I don’t have anything associated. I don’t have a service. I don’t have a product. I just try to sell sponsorship for the stuff that we do, and I can’t get enough sponsorship, one, to do it full-time, and two, to pay a writer full-time to cover the news. So it’s a particular challenge.


[01:13:41.350] – Jonathan Denwood

This is a shame, but it’s just the reality, isn’t it?


[01:13:43.490] – Matt Medeiros

It’s just the reality of this. I’ve said it a zillion times.


[01:13:47.130] – Jonathan Denwood

I’m a bit sad because I think Jason… I think Jason be okay to say I’m a personal friend now because he’s been on the show a few Conrad folks, the founder of WPN WP Engine. I think Jason is one of the brightest guys that I know, and he’s very generous. He spent a little bit of time, and he doesn’t have to because he’s usually wealthy. He’s done really well with WP engine. And I think they’re a pretty good crowd, aren’t they? Brian and Dino. But they just try and build it in-house, mostly. They haven’t thrown the money out at all, either, have they?

[01:14:35.270] – Matt Medeiros

They just recently shut down Torque magazine, which was their media arm.

[01:14:40.670] – Jonathan Denwood

That didn’t exactly work for some reason.

[01:14:43.290] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah. Well, It’s different. Yeah, it’s different. Again, I was just about to say this. I’ve said it a million times. For the WordPress news, for the stuff that you and I are talking about, primarily, there are the max, max audience is 10,000 English-speaking people across the world. For the stuff that you and I talk about, for the inside baseball of WordPress, community, news, 10,000.

[01:15:08.780] – Jonathan Denwood

That’s nothing.

[01:15:09.960] – Matt Medeiros

And that’s nothing.

[01:15:11.310] – Jonathan Denwood

But it’s highly influenced.

[01:15:13.100] – Matt Medeiros

But it’s highly influenced, highly trusted content. If you look at what works, which you all know, but we talked about before, WP beginner, that type of content, that type of content has hundreds of thousands of eyeballs, right? And you see it with the YouTube creators, some of those that range between 100 to 500,000 subscribers, you see that. But then that eventually caps out because then you have to start talking about freelancers, and then you start talking about accounting software. If you want to start growing the channel, then you become a generalist. So, yeah, it’s It’s just the content game, man. And I’m looking, not that you asked, but I’m looking forward to hitting a reset button soon and finding an avenue of if I’m going to continue to do this, it’s going to make some sustainable money, or I’m just done.

[01:16:03.140] – Jonathan Denwood

I’m not asking, but if Matt had come to… I’m not even saying that you would have taken the job. But if he had come to you with a, I think, this whole hunger game thing where you got these… I thought, Give me a break, Matt. But if it came to you with a serious budget a severe salary and a serious plan of action, would you have been tempted?

[01:16:33.320] – Matt Medeiros

It would have had to be super… It’d have to be a big payday.

[01:16:40.620] – Jonathan Denwood

You got to deal with the madness, haven’t you?

[01:16:43.040] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah, it would have to be, But in general, it’s tricky anyway with something like the tavern because you have to produce interesting stuff.

[01:16:57.750] – Jonathan Denwood

But on the other hand, you don’t want it descending into a shit fest, do you? An ugly… And there have been specific newsletters, and you could say I had a discussion about my woes a little bit, but I think I’ve omitted that I had some part of that. But it’s relatively easy to push it too far. It’s finding the happy medium. And that’s difficult.

[01:17:25.270] – Matt Medeiros

Yeah, especially with WordPress, especially with the legacy of a comment system on the tavern, which started to clean up over the last few years when it was active. But man, years ago, it was just, it was brutal. It was cruel, right? And, unfortunately, it goes away. But it also is a sign to show you ain’t nobody cares about this WordPress news stuff because if somebody cared if there were a big enough audience, you would have seen it running. It wouldn’t have just fizzled out. It’ll be back. A year ago, I was like, Oh, shit. If this guy dumps in the money he has or can put in WP Tavern, that could be a serious news outlet, and the WP Minute would just get dwarfed. Now, I’m just like, Oh, God. It’s just whatever because he doesn’t care, and a lot of other people don’t. But anyway, it’s just- Well, he’s probably got…

[01:18:23.360] – Jonathan Denwood

You can’t blame him. He’s probably got mixed feelings about it.

[01:18:28.540] – Matt Medeiros

Because- I think it’s not even on his priority radar.

[01:18:32.240] – Jonathan Denwood

All right. I think we’re going to end this bonus content. Thank you for coming to the show. It’s always great to discuss with you. I think we always cover some great stuff. I dig a grave; you’re diplomatic and dodge it easily. I keep digging. I’m up to the digging, but it was a great discussion.

[01:18:55.090] – Matt Medeiros

Do you think we lost Kurt with my boxing analogy?

[01:18:57.670] – Jonathan Denwood

No, he had to go off to do his lifter stuff with Chris. Chris is a friend. I’ve got many friends in the WordPress space. I’ve got people that don’t like me, and I wish them well. I take the Mickey out of Willy Wanker, but he’s got the money. He’s busy counting the money, isn’t he? So why does he… I doubt if he cares if I call him Willy Wanker. If you got as many Benjamins as he’s got, why would you care shit? It was shit like me calling Willy Wanker. We will be back next week with another great show. See you soon, folks. Bye.


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