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As we greet a new year, WordPress’ Executive Director writes a letter to the project and community that speaks to the hopes of the year ahead.

Have a question you’d like answered? You can submit them to wp********@wo*******.org, either written or as a voice recording.


Editor: Dustin HartzlerLogo: Beatriz FialhoProduction: Chloé BringmannSong: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod


Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:10

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the WordPress Briefing. The podcast where you can catch quick explanations of the ideas behind the WordPress open source project, some insight into the community that supports it, and get a small list of big things coming up in the next two weeks. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Here we go!

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  00:40

Yesterday marked three years since the WordPress project welcomed me as their executive director. As I start my fourth year, I’ve spent a bit of time considering what the next five years will bring us. WordPress will turn 19 this year, which means that we will soon be a whopping 20 years old; for some of the people who have been with the project since the beginning, that can represent two-thirds of their whole life. And even if you were not that young when you got here, two decades as an open source project is really a cause for celebration. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:10

I am not in that group that has been here forever. I showed up for the first time in 2009, as a community organizer, self-sponsored, and I learned so much about myself as a person and as a leader while I was doing that. So when I arrived as a sponsored contributor in 2015, I already knew exactly what made this work so fulfilling for me was these three things: 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:34

First, the ability to lend a hand in those moments where I wish someone had lent a hand. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:40

Second is the delight of seeing people’s first successes and the joy of watching them grow over time. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:48

And the third was a chance to be part of something great, which turned out to be something greater; greater than me or you or a CMS. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  01:58

This list is still at the heart of what I feel I get out of the WordPress project. But it has also grown substantially in my seven years as a sponsored contributor. I now also love how we as a community of contributors get to foster a better way to lead and a better way to collaborate. And through those things help people find a way to have a better life. Not just through WordPress, the CMS, but through WordPress, the people, and WordPress, the project. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  02:25

And so when I think of what I want for WordPress in its 19th year, so that we can head with confidence and dignity into our 20th year, it is this: 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  02:35

I want you to remember that you are not alone here. People come together in the world often because of a shared location. But WordPress fosters this beautiful experience of bringing us together because of what we care about. Whether you care about PHP standards, diversity in technology, helping people with their first big wins, making WordPress more secure. I mean, if what you care about is being able to write the most arcane and complex apps on top of WordPress that the world has ever seen. Then there are others out there who want to do that with you, too. We have so many things to connect about. And fortunately, we support a great piece of software for getting our thoughts out in the world. Take some time to see who else shares your thoughts and potentially learn a bit about the view from the other side. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  03:26

And speaking of the other side, I also want us to approach our discussions as the US versus the Problem TM. WordPress may be 20 years old, and we may stand on the shoulders of giants, but right now, the people who are here you, you are explorers and creators and guides toward the best possible future for WordPress. The tension that we witness between teams is always about the best possible answers for the people who use our software. It is about securing the freedoms of the open web for everyone who comes after us whether they know they need those freedoms or not. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:04

And finally, I want us to expand our reasons for doing this at all. If you are a member of the community of contributors, We frequently talk about how we give back because WordPress gave to us. Or if you are part of a Five for the Future group. You have heard that companies who have experienced success because of WordPress should commit 5% of their resources back to the project to ensure WordPress’ long-term success. But the reason that I keep doing this, and hopefully a new reason for you to keep doing this is that we can take part in securing opportunities for future users of WordPress. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  04:42

Yes, I want WordPress to be the best CMS. Yes, I want this community to be vibrant and engaged. Yes, I want WordPress to be a shining beacon of how to work remotely. And I want all of that because I know it is our careful and tireless stewardship of this project that lets us continue to lend a hand in those moments where people wish for someone to lend a hand. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:11

Those are my hopes for WordPress in 2022 to move us forward into WordPress of the future. I hope you all will come with me and we can continue our journey together. 

Josepha Haden Chomphosy  05:23

Thanks again for listening. I’m Josepha Haden and this is the WP Briefing. See you again in a couple of weeks.