SitePoint Podcast #155: Conferences and CodePoet at South By Southwest

Episode 155 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week Kevin Dees (@kevindees) has two more interviews for us from South By South West. He interviews firstly Christopher Schmitt (@teleject) and Ari Styles (@ari4nne) of e4h.tv on conferences, and then Evan Soloman (@evansolomon) who works for Automatic as a Growth Engineer on WordPress.com and specifically CodePoet too.

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Episode Summary

Kevin, Christopher and Ari cover conferencing including the different ways of running conferences, the benefits of those different ways and how to get the most from conferences. Kevin then talks with Evan about his work as a Growth Engineer at Automatic, and specifically the new development work taking place on CodePoet and how that will work for people who build websites for people with WordPress.

Browse the full list of links referenced in the show at http://delicious.com/sitepointpodcast/155.

Interview Transcript

Kevin: Hi and welcome to the SitePoint Podcast. I’m Kevin Dees and today I have two interviews for you recorded remotely from South by Southwest. In the first of these interviews I speak with Ari Styles and Christopher Schmitt from Environments for Humans about web conferences and how you can get involved.

So I’m here with Christopher Schmitt and Ari Styles, hello guys.

Ari: Hey!

Christopher: Hey, Kevin, how’s it going?

Kevin: So this is my first like remote interview, so pardon the audio quality if it’s not the best.

Ari: He’s taken it on the road.

Kevin: Yes. But I’m making up for that with some awesome guests to talk with me about conferences.

Christopher: Where, where are they?

Ari: (Laughs)

Kevin: They just left, dang it, end of interview.

Ari: Sorry, you’re going to have to talk to us I guess.

Kevin: Well, since I’m stuck with you guys, you both do online conferences, the Environments for Humans, and you also do a conference called the In Control, and that’s in Orlando; it’s been in Orlando for how long now?

Christopher: This is our third year, but we have been doing In Control for four years, the first year was in Cincinnati, and then for the last three years been in Orlando. Well, actually we go with — we work with AIGA, which is a graphic design professional network in America, and so we work with the AIGA Orlando chapter to have a web design kind of program not only for the community in Orlando but nationwide, actually they’re international, in fact, a lot of international attendees come in for the content. And In Control, it’s a two-day conference, it’s one track, we have keynotes on both days, but what makes In Control a little bit different is that Ari and I we really want to make sure that attendees get takeaways, they’re actionable, and that we actually kind of do something mean to our speakers who aren’t doing keynotes, and that makes you have sessions that are about an hour and forty minutes long.

Kevin: Right. Which is very unique to the conference world.

Christopher: Yeah, there’s workshops for sure, they’ve got three six hours or maybe longer, you add more days to them, and sessions are sometimes an hour, but they’re not really an hour, they’re usually like forty minutes and then some Q&A, and then if you have some technical difficulties with the speaker setting it up and getting everything ready. Or sometimes now some sessions are like thirty minutes long, which is okay and works for TED, but TED conferences they usually like work hard, speakers beforehand, so they get a nice compact presentation.

Kevin: So you’re giving the speakers at your conference a little bit — you give them a target topic but you give them more free reign over what they’re going to talk about.

Christopher: Yeah, like we don’t tell them what to do, we just said okay, and, in fact, it’s a huge undertaking; as a speaker I speak at conferences too, and I’ve been doing it for a long time, and I just know how much of an undertaking it is, how much time it takes, and we wouldn’t have them speaking if we didn’t trust that they didn’t know what to do.

Ari: Right, right.

Christopher: And not every speaker can do an hour and forty minute talk, so it’s like it’s very — we take our time with due diligence to find speakers that we think people will want to listen to but also can handle that load. And the reason why we want to do — find the speakers speakers is because we want to make sure speakers don’t feel rushed getting through a slide deck, you know, some speakers take a lot of time with slide decks, put a lot of content in them, and speakers sometimes feel rushed like oh, man, I got five minutes left, ten minutes left to go; twenty slides, let’s go, man, so they have to narrow it down. So we make sure they don’t feel rushed, and I think that’s –

Ari: And that a question gets answered.

Christopher: Yeah, yeah. And also like with the longer time we hope that the audience feels that, well, we have an hour to go, I should be okay asking a question here. And so we really want In Control to facilitate more speaker and attendee time together through –

Kevin: So that collaboration, right, that interaction you want to bring that out in the conferences.

Christopher: Exactly.

Kevin: I think that’s really great. The irony of this interview is kind of that we’re at South by Southwest.

Ari: Yes.

Kevin: So, you know we’re in the — I guess the Hampton Inn, right, so you can hear a little bit of background noise coming in here; I think that’s really fun. But I wanted to ask you, Ari, a little bit — you’ve been involved in South by Southwest before, right, and that’s kind of what pulled you into this conference thing. With that experience in mind, when we’re talking about this conference thing, not to make like specifically about Environments for Humans or the In Control conference, which are awesome, and I think that’s really great, but I also want to bring out like the importance for people to think about coming to a conference, right, because you know I have a few friends that they’re just now starting to come into the conference scene, like they’re thinking about it, they’re finally attending and seeing results. What would you say having the background from South by and now doing your own conference with Chris, like what are some of the things that people need to think about when they’re doing the conference themselves?

Ari: I would say that, well, to begin with South by sends its employees to different conferences, so that’s kind of what made me start thinking about it, and then Christopher speaks at a lot of conferences, so we came away with a lot of opinions about conferences and that sort of thing. I think it’s so important for people building the Web right now to think about what they want to get out of a conference because there’s, you know, you can come at it from a continuing education approach, you can come at it from an inspiration approach, you know there’s lots of different ways to look at it. We are really focused on practical takeaways from everything that we’re doing, you know, I have this fantasy that people will come to our conference and come away with a bullet list of things they can do, to get, to make their job easier and be able to go home earlier and have a life, you know, everybody kind of has their reason for what they do and that’s mine. And so because of that we really emphasize the practical takeaways, but in some cases people need that inspiration, you know, they need to go to kind of a more inspiration based conference to get the motivation to just keep on keeping on. And so –

Kevin: You hear a lot of that here at South by and others, like In Control I heard a lot of that as well, where people were like this just gave me that spark I needed to keep going, you know.

Ari: Right, because for so many people it’s an uphill battle, and I completely understand that coming from the non ideal world.

Kevin: And it’s constantly changing so fast, right, I mean you’ve experienced that, you’ve written, Chris, you wrote the CSS Cookbook, right?

Christopher: Hmm-mm, Cookbook, and then also HTML5 Cookbook, and I’ve been into the Web since ’93, so it’s changed a little bit.

Kevin: Just a little bit, a smidgeon.

Christopher: Just a little bit. So it’s constantly changing, and with things changing so fast you have to — it’s like somewhere you can be an apprentice, if you want to use that example if you don’t mind, you learn a craft, learn a trade, you can’t just do the same thing for forty years, you know, fifty years, whatever, so you have to constantly be learning how to do things better and faster too. I mean it’s amazing things like GitHub and Git, like actually GitHub.

Kevin: What are those services just to clarify?

Christopher: Well, Git is a service that allows for version control, and GitHub is built on Git but allows a social dynamic to source code, so they say it’s kind of a clearinghouse for people’s code, so when they want they want to open source code they put it out there on GitHub, people can do a search against it and they can find like probably a code solution to almost any problem that they’ve come across. And it’s constantly updated with open source volunteers and programmers who just update stuff for projects, bug fixes, and I think jQuery’s now all on GitHub, Paul Irish, all his stuff that he does is on GitHub.

Kevin: HTML5 Boilerplate, iI think CakePHP, so there’s a lot of really good projects out there, and that goes with the dynamic that the Web is rapidly changing.

Christopher: Exactly.

Kevin: And conferences help you to keep up with those things and build interaction, not just with the code itself but with the people behind it, and I think that’s something really valuable. Could you guys maybe talk about some of the people that you’ve brought into your conferences and some of the ways that those people interact with the people that come to the conferences that pay for the tickets and, you know, how that helps that community and helps people learn, could you talk a little bit about that.

Ari: Well, we see a different dynamic because we’re doing two different, very different types of conferences, you know, it’s almost like we’re developing two different products really.

Kevin: Talk a little bit about the online side.

Ari: Well, the online conferences we focus on one topic for an entire day, so it’s seven or eight hours of material on one topic, be it a coding language like CSS or a framework like jQuery or a content management system, that sort of thing.

Kevin: And this is your summit, these are your summits?

Ari: Yes, these are the online summits that we do. So we use Adobe Connect for that, people tune in, they can watch the speakers speak, see the slides, there’s a chat room built in, plus we usually have something like a Twitter backchannel, and people who attend will also have the chance to review recordings later, and they also get copies of the slides. So it’s really — it’s a huge boon, continuing Ed type of a thing.

Kevin: Do they interact with the speakers while in the chats and everything?

Ari: Yes, they can ask questions direct to the speaker.

Kevin: So just like a real conference, right.

Ari: Right, exactly. In fact, we actually see people ask more questions in the online format, and I’m not sure if it’s that little anonymity factor that makes people feel comfortable. We warn speakers expect a lot of questions because that’s what usually happens, people feel comfortable doing that.

Christopher: And we’re totally okay with that, we really want that to happen.

Ari: Yes, yes.

Christopher: That’s like one of the benefits I think that we try to install into the online conferences is that you want those questions to be asked, because if you’re asking the question chances are someone else wants that questioned answered.

Ari: Needs that.

Christopher: And doesn’t even know that they want it answered.

Ari: Right. And that’s also one of the great things about it being a live event too, it’s hard to pull together a live event, but we feel like it’s so worth it, I mean people can go back and watch the recordings, and we do have a handful of people that buy the ticket and just watch the recordings later because they’re too busy that day or something goes on.

Kevin: Which is a powerful point, right, which is even if you don’t have time in the day, maybe you can’t travel, right, so the online gives you the chance if you can’t travel, you don’t have that budget, you can at least step into the conference world in a digital aspect. And if you can’t even do that then you have the recordings, right, and then you also have your In Control which is the physical conference, and I had the privilege of attending that this year, I thought it was really great, I think the way that you lined everything up you kind of tied the first day really well together, you talked about HTML and CSS and JavaScript, then you wrapped it up at the end of it, here’s your workflow, here’s how you’re going to use all the tools.

Ari: It’s more strategic as it goes on.

Kevin: The application level is very high, I thought it was really great, and then the second day you got into sort of the meta things, you know, the inspirational factor; I thought it was really well put together.

Christopher: Yeah, we try to create that as much as possible because speaking at other conferences where there’s multi-tracks –

Kevin: Like South by.

Christopher: Which is a totally different beast from like ten years ago, but even smaller conferences where like you don’t want the HTML5 or HTML session to be on the last day, last talk, right, that’s a foundation for the Web, you want that at the very beginning so they can build on that, and that’s how we approach In Control is that once we give you something it’s for the foundation of the next thing we add onto it, and so we go HTML, CSS, jQuery and then the Web Workflow the first day just to give you those tools for building it the first day, and then the second day we’re like okay let’s look at some more kind of soft science but strategic tools that you might use. So this year we did a lot of content strategy, mobile design.

Ari: Hmm-mm, because of that progression we get people that are kind of like what I like to think of as advanced beginners where they’re wanting to learn more about the craft, they’re already doing this but they want to have a beginning to end feeling about their craft. We also have a lot of people that are managers that are trying to understand all the things that they’re having to take care of, and then the online summits because we’re focusing on one topic at a time we tend to see a lot more intermediate to advanced attendees. And we’re occasionally blown away by just how much the attendees know, and the speakers are sometimes too with some of the questions that they get.

Kevin: It’s a communal thing, right, that’s what the conference — I think that’s at the root of it; if there’s anything you take away it’s that at the heart of a conference it’s about community, right, there’s no other real reason to meet together like that, you can learn beyond a shadow of a doubt something like what people are talking about in books, online, but the real reason you come to a conference is to network, to meet people and build those connections, because those connections are going to be your portfolio for the future, and they’re going to be able to plug you into new ideas, also inspire you.

Christopher: It’s about people.

Ari: Right.

Kevin: Exactly.

Ari: Pull you out of the cave (laughs).

Kevin: I like one of the things you said as well which was you have managers come, right, these conferences in general, generalizing here, aren’t just for the Web nerds, they’re for anybody in the space who wants to know a little bit more, who wants to be a little bit more connected, and I think what you guys are doing is great, I think you guys have so much more to share that you probably could. So, to wrap things up just a little bit, I know we’ve already talked a little bit about In Control, if you guys could maybe talk about yourselves, where people can find you and contact you about learning a little more about these things.

Ari: Oh, sure, sure, sure. Well, my name is Ari Styles, once again, and our site e4h.tv, and I’m on Twitter, I always like draw it out for people because it’s @ari4e, because my name was taken so I had to improvise there.

Kevin: The number 4, right?

Ari: Right, the number 4, right, the number 4, so that’s me.

Christopher: I’m Christopher Schmitt, and I’m on — christopherSchmitt.com is my blog, which I neglect to my own peril, but I’m also on Twitter, I ‘twit’ a lot at @teleject; I’m, again, e4h.tv, and also incontrolconference.com is where you find our conferences, face-to-face conferences. Also our big conferences for online are csssummit.com and also accessibilitysummit.com.

Kevin: That’s the one I really — I haven’t spent enough time with Accessibility, and I really need to check that one out sometime soon.

Ari: Yeah, that one is really popular, we’ve had some in the past that are UXsummit, CSSsummit, accessibility, jQuery, and we also have a JavaScript one that’s more about optimizing your code as well. So all of those have been really successful in the past, they’re going to repeat this year, and then we also always try a few new ones.

Christopher: Yeah, try to fold in a couple extra ones every year.

Ari: See what sticks.

Kevin: That’s awesome. Well, guys, thank you so much, and if you didn’t take anything away take this away, go to conferences, network, meet people and be inspired.

Ari: That’s right, be open to new experiences.

Christopher: Definitely.

Kevin: Awesome, thanks guys.

Christopher: Thanks, Kevin.

Ari: Thank you.

Kevin: In this next interview I speak with Evan Solomon from WordPress about the new CodePoet and what WordPress has planned.

So I’m here with Evan Solomon from WordPress, welcome Mr. Evan.

Evan: Thank you.

Kevin: Or is it Mr. Solomon, which one?

Evan: Ah, I don’t really like Mr. at all. I guess Mr. Evan sounds a little more not like Mr.

Kevin: (Laughs), so you have been at WordPress for a year, right?

Evan: I’ve been at Automatic for a year as of tomorrow, and I’ve been building stuff at WordPress for a few years before that, but just joined Automatic about a year ago.

Kevin: That’s awesome. You have an interesting story about how you came to WordPress because it started, in a way, here in South by Southwest, right?

Evan: It did, actually I got my offer letter to join the company from Matt, Matt sent it to me from the WordPress party at South by Southwest 2011, and then here I am at South by Southwest 2012, so it’s a nice kind of circular anniversary I guess.

Kevin: Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, welcome to the SitePoint Podcast, and just to give some people context about what you do, what has been your experience and what have you done at WordPress so far up to this point, and then we’ll get into what you’re working on now, which I’m really excited to talk about.

Evan: Sure. So I’ve been a WordPress user for four or five year, kind of grew into doing more and more of it. My title at Automatic is Growth Engineer, and so I work partially on wordpress.com a lot around kind of experimentation analytics, so doing things like AB testing and just kind of instrumenting user behavior across the site and working with a few teams to do that.

Kevin: Is this in the plugins and on the website?

Evan: So this is primarily on wordpress.com for users just within .com, so we build features as plugins, and we’ve released a lot, and I want to do more of what we’ve built at open source plugins, but the stuff we’re doing on .com is just kind of within the user environment of wordpress.com.

Kevin: That’s very cool. So when you first started you came in as a PHP developer or what were you doing in that?

Evan: My title is Growth Engineer, like I said, which is sort of a weird title, I do a mix; the way I explain it is a little bit of kind of programming, just traditional writing, plugins and things, a little bit of data analysis, so when we run experiments or tests or get data back helping us kind of parse it and makes sense of it, and then a little bit of marketing, so talking to customers and kind of building out visions for products and things like that.

Kevin: That’s very cool. With all this stuff that you’ve been doing with WordPress you’re now moving into this thing that has to do with poetry, or code as poetry, as you say. So what is this product, what’s it called and what are you excited about, like why are you excited about this product?

Evan: So WordPress has a tagline, just code as poetry, and we sort of built a brand around that called CodePoet, and there’s been a couple iterations of the site there, it’s codepoet.com, and essentially it’s been a directory of WordPress developers, so if you want to find someone to build a plugin, build a theme, we help you do it, but it was primarily focused on a relatively small number of people doing really big projects. And what we’re doing now is trying to sort of for version 3 expand that, we want to make it a resource for everyone building on WordPress, there’s thousands or ten of thousands of people doing that, and we think we can help them in a few ways where Automatic has a big advantage.

Kevin: Would this be something people had to pay for, is this like a premium thing; I don’t know how much you can really get into right now, but it’s a question people might be interested in that sort of thing.

Evan: Sure, so we haven’t launched yet, it won’t be like a paid membership or anything, it’ll be open, it’ll be I guess in a sense limited; we want it to be focused on people who are building WordPress sites for other people, so consultants, freelancers, things like that.

Kevin: How do you verify that kind of information?

Evan: You know at this point we’re just not really worrying too much about it, it’s sort of like we’re focusing on all our communication about it to those people, and if other people slip in, I mean there’s nothing secret, we tend to open source everything we do, so there’s very few secrets, but that’s kind of who we’re focused on building stuff for.

Kevin: Okay, so it’s a community driven thing.

Evan: Community driven thing, there’s no membership fee or anything like that, we want to give away — we have a lot of stuff we want to give away for free. At some point we very well may have premium features or sell plugins or things like that, but there’s not going to be like an upfront fee to join or anything like that.

Kevin: Is there anything out there, I’m not aware of anything currently as far as — I know there’s things like the Stack Overflow, jobs boards and that kind of thing; how is that different from things that already exist in the space?

Evan: Yeah. So there’s a ton of stuff in the space, there’s a Stack Exchange site, a Reddit site, WPTavern, tons of just WordPress specific educational sites, it’s a really fragmented market. And the way we want to be different is we’re going to focus really just on the ways that Automatic being a large scale, probably the biggest WordPress company in the world, that we can kind of actually have an advantage with that scale. So we’re not going to be a client service company, we’re not going to build websites for people, we want to take kind of the expertise and experience and the ways that our scale can be leveraged and use that to give back and add value to people building sites with WordPress. Not just because it’s a good thing to do, which it is hopefully, but we, you know, WordPress growing and more people building on it is good for us, it’s good for them, it’s a very kind of mutually beneficial kind of thing.

Kevin: Okay. And so what marketplaces, you said freelancers and developers, that kind of thing, is this for .org stuff too or is this specifically for like .com marketplace?

Evan: It’s specifically for .org.

Kevin: Okay, .org.

Evan: I guess in theory you could use .com for this sort of thing, but by and large the people building sites for other people are using .org, they’re freelancers and consultants and agencies and things like that, and 99.something percent of those are .org. So we won’t limit anyone from .com, but we’re mostly focused on people using WordPress open source to do this.

Kevin: What was the inspiration like? What made you guys say hey we need to create this new product, this thing for people to come in and sign up? You said that you did see there was kind of a fragmentation all over the place, there was nothing really specific, and then also I guess this is a different .com, right, so now why not just jobs.wordpress.com or something to that effect?

Evan: So I mean we have automatic.com/jobs for hiring, so we’re perfectly happy to hire people into wordpress.com, and we sort of had a job directory, or consultant directory; the need that we saw, there’s the fragmentation, which is a problem, we hear tons of questions: how do I get started developing themes, how do I find a resource for this? And it’s hard to point people to a hundred different places, and we know from surveys and data and talking to people that there are tens of thousands of jobs created by WordPress from developers to hosting to content creators, all kinds of stuff. And we only had a way really to work with a very, very small portion of those, and it’s in our best interest for WordPress to grow and for those people to get better and recruit more people, and we think that there are some places we can provide value, expertise from technical things we can make. And so that was really the confluence is that there’s a huge opportunity with a number of people, a place we thought we could provide value, and a market we just weren’t really in, we didn’t have a good way to communicate with yet. They’re the people who we should have a relationship with as kind of a huge WordPress company in the space, but we had just sort of gone all around the edges and they were being served, or are being served, in a sort of fragmented way that we think we can at least help. We don’t want to replace Stack Exchange, we don’t want to replace Reddit, we just want to augment it and make it easier.

Kevin: So you chose the new domain, right, I’m correct in thinking this is a whole — you chose that because you want this to be its own beast in a way.

Evan: So, codepoet.com actually until a couple days ago had a directory, that’s now on directory.codepoet.com, but it’s separate from wordpress.com, it’s separate from automatic.com, because it has its own brand, we don’t want to confuse it with thinking that we’re trying to make people use wordpress.com or trying to hire them at Automatic, we’re not trying to change the businesses as they exist, we’re trying to build a resource for those people. So the branding is very much around that idea of clarifying who it’s for and what we’re trying to do.

Kevin: That’s awesome. So you have Code Poetry, and you have people coming in, but you mentioned something else in the midst of everything which was you said learning. What do you mean by learning, are there going to be tutorial linkups on this site as well; I mean what’s going on in that space?

Evan: So one of the first products that we’re thinking about building and that we’re prototyping right now are — we’re calling them eBooks, but essentially short form one-two-three page content. It’s easier to think about it in terms of where we think the market is sort of broken is that if someone asks you let’s say how do I start building themes, a very fundamental theme thing you should learn about if you’re a WordPress developer, you point them to the codex, which has great resources, you can point them to the code obviously, which is great, you can point them to the various Q&A sites, the educational sites, but all of a sudden I’ve talked about five places, and I don’t know that any one of those is the right place to start. And WordPress is growing so quickly that there’s such a wide disparity in experience, so people who have been doing it for years, like you and like me, and there are people who have been doing it for four months and they just don’t know a whole lot yet, and they don’t have the experience. And so what we want to do is make a clear path to success for the most important things in WordPress, build a theme, build a plugin, understand child themes, set up hosting, deal with clients, how do you negotiate contracts, what should be thinking about in terms of maintenance.

Kevin: So there’s more than just the code layer and the design layer, there’s also the business layer as well.

Evan: We want to help people who are running businesses on WordPress, and that is everything from code to design to business to — there’s lots of things that go into that, it’s not just how do you write better code, that’s part of it, but it’s really how can we use the scale of Automatic to help you grow your business, help you grow WordPress which helps us.

Kevin: Right. The ultimate question after learning all about Code Poetry, or CodePoet in your case, or code as poetry, the ultimate goal in this is for people to get connected, to learn things, and then to actually implement. What would be the way that someone would come into this network and use it to help themselves, would they put links to their websites on there, like what’s the interaction like from the programmer to the potential client, or whoever they may be interacting with in that space?

Evan: So at some point there may be some sort of a directory or public phasing thing, but really that’s a longer term possible idea for us. The way it can be implemented we hope is that we want to make it like an obvious choice for a place to help you learn about running a business on WordPress. An analogy that I’ve used is I use TurboTax to do my taxes, I’m not a tax professional, it’s not something where I’m an expert, but it is a go-to resource for me; when I need help with that I go to TurboTax, it turns out to be once a year because that’s how taxes work. We think CodePoet can act in some ways like that, you’re running a WordPress business, we’re not trying to create a site where you’re necessarily going to be on it everyday, it’s not going to be Reddit or Stack Exchange, although we might implement some of the things we can learn from there, but we want to make it an obvious place to start, and an obvious place that if you’re not using it to grow your WordPress business you’re doing it wrong essentially. And that’s our goal is to make a resource that focuses on the places we can be helpful, let other people handle the places we can’t, and just add as much value as possible to the stuff that we think we have some expertise in.

Kevin: Right. For those that are looking at this or hearing about it and they may have something similar to you, what is — is there a way for them to plug into this so they don’t lose their market share, their business to WordPress in the space, or do you feel like this is different enough to where people don’t really have to worry about it so much? But even if they don’t need to worry about it like how could they use this so it doesn’t break their business model?

Evan: Yeah, sure, no. I think the places where there’s good resources available we would rather use that, point people to that, have you contribute to CodePoet, whatever might work. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, like I said, we’re not — we want to focus on the relatively small number of areas, depending on how you define the world of WordPress, where we can have the most leverage possible. We have a pretty small team, you know, we’re not going to try and reinvent every WordPress site out there; if you have a great, let’s say just for example tutorial for setting up a local development environment, we’ll link to that, or you can contribute to CodePoet, or whatever might work.

Kevin: And that’s relevant in the documentation of WordPress as well, there are many articles that you’ll go to and at the bottom of the page there will be a list of related links; I know securing WordPress has a lot of links on that, and other more specific things, but the security side I think has a really good list of links.

Evan: Yeah. No, I mean it’s core to obviously WordPress’ philosophy of kind of open source and freely sharing information, and from out point of view it’s just not — and not to insult content farms too much, but that’s not where we think we can spend our time most productively is just figuring out what content is popular and writing it ourselves, it’s not a good use of our team. We want to use the expertise we have that’s unique, we want to provide the technical solutions we can that are unique, and we want to point you in the right direction. We’re not going to become a WordPress university that’s going to teach you everything you ever want to do, we want to get you started on a good path, give you like the high-level important points, maybe something to take away, and then if there’s more point you to the resources that are right for specific things.

Kevin: Exactly. Basically generate good questions for people, help them create better questions instead of — like I know when I first got into WordPress I had trouble installing it, and so I had all these questions but they weren’t really the right questions, they weren’t — like I didn’t think about okay I’m trying to install WordPress on Windows with IIS, and so I was like, ah, WordPress is broken, no, I’m using IIS and not Apache which the tutorial I was looking at was going through, so –

Evan: And I think the reason for that is that the information is so fragmented that everywhere you go assumes you’ve read something else, how to tell what often.

Kevin: Or you’re using a specific set of hardware.

Evan: Exactly. And so what we want is — there’s a real gap we think in the starting point, whether it’s starting with WordPress or starting with a specific part of WordPress, there’s not a good place to start, economical source you might say, and that’s what we think we can help and aggregate all this expertise, all this existing content, technical solutions we can build to help stuff, all that can flow into giving you a good place to start and to always come back to when you need new information, new resources to run your business on WordPress.

Kevin: Yeah. CodePoet sounds awesome, like it sounds like it’s totally open like you can totally come in, right.

Evan: I hope so. I think it’s good market, I know WordPress is growing fast.

Kevin: Right. So it’s not a commercial solution, you don’t have to pay for CodePoet, right, so anybody can come in and learn and get involved.

Evan: Yep.

Kevin: I think that is awesome. I think the fact that you’re trying to bridge the new people to the veterans and everything, I think that’s awesome, and I think that’s really, really great. So like the stuff you’re doing totally two thumbs up from me.

Evan: Thank you.

Kevin: I’m sure people listening to this will be super happy to hear that WordPress is kind of building this out; hopefully folks will link to this. What should they do to share this with the community and get what you’re doing out there? I know the launch date isn’t quite here yet, maybe you can talk a little bit about that too so people can kind of work off of this, because this is up and coming, this hasn’t happened yet.

Evan: That’s right, yeah, so we’re planning on launching in the next month or two let’s say, right now if you go to codepoet.com you can drop your email address in, and what we’re really focused on is getting feedback from customers, so we’re building a little bit of these sort of ideas that we have, and we want to get that out to people as soon as possible, get feedback, launch something, iterate on it. So to get involved I guess, or to kind of know what’s going on, signup, if you’re a web developer, consultant, freelancer building WordPress sites, tell other friends or do those things, we’re not focused on end user stuff right now, I don’t think we will be. It’s really focused on people building sites for other people, and we want feedback, we want people who are going to be able to look at stuff we’re working on and say this is useful or this would be more useful, and that’s really our goal right now.

Kevin: That’s awesome. So I can’t wait to see this, and thanks so much for coming on, Evan.

Evan: Thanks for having me.

Kevin: Yeah.

Evan: Cheers.

Kevin: And thanks for listening to the SitePoint Podcast. If you have any questions or thoughts about today’s show please get in touch. You can find SitePoint on Twitter @sitepointdotcom, that’s sitepointd-o-t-c-o-m. You can find me on Twitter at @kevindees, and if you’d like to leave comments about today’s show check out the podcast at sitepoint.com/podcast; you can subscribe to the show there as well. This episode of the SitePoint Podcast was produced by Karn Broad, and I’m Kevin Dees, bye for now.

Theme music by Mike Mella.

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