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WordCamp Asia 2024 was a dynamic three-day celebration of collaboration, diversity, and innovation in the WordPress project. This week, Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy shares her insights and experiences from the event, which featured one of the largest Contributor Days in the region, a variety of speakers, engaging panel discussions, and workshops. Josepha offers her thoughts on the latest topics being discussed within the community and forming the future of WordPress.

Credits

Host: Josepha Haden Chomphosy
Editor: Dustin Hartzler
Logo: Javier Arce
Production: Brett McSherry
Song: Fearless First by Kevin MacLeod

Show Notes

WordCamp Asia 2024

Contributor Day

WordCamp Asia Playlist

Small List of Big Things

WordPress 6.5 is on target for release on March 26, 2024.

Get involved with WordPress events:

Find events near you on events.WordPress.org and WordCamp Central

Learn more about organizing your own local event

Proposal: Non-editable Footer for all Event Website Pages

Have a question you’d like answered? Submit them to WP********@Wo*******.org.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Josepha: 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. 

[00:00:29] (Intro music) 

[00:00:40] Josepha: I have returned from WordCamp Asia and struggled my way through some truly aggressive jet lag, so that means it’s time for a little WordCamp wrap-up. I spoke with a couple hundred people at the event, and I came away with a few topics that seemed to be on everyone’s minds. Those topics are: making business in WordPress, the business of making WordPress, and how to communicate both sides a little better.

[00:01:04] Josepha: So first, let’s start with making business in WordPress. This comes up at every event, and that honestly just makes sense. WordPress is a tool that people use to power their businesses across our global economy, and sometimes the businesses are closely related to WordPress itself. They are creating custom themes or plugins, building WordPress powered commerce sites for clients, or offering any number of agency services. But there are also businesses that are a little less close: restaurants, museums, local governments, schools. But it was clear that they all rely on the software just as much as the other.

So, it was nice to see some sessions that focused specifically on business matters in WordPress. And I heard so many people tell me about a conversation they had had earlier in the day with someone who helped them figure out their pricing or advised them on early errors they made in their business journey and generally helped them feel a little less lost.

I always love seeing this. Hearing how people are accomplishing their goals because of connections they made at one of our events, it’s enough to keep me coming back for years.

[00:02:10] Josepha: The next thing that came up a lot was the business of making WordPress. I don’t know if that came up a lot because of the sorts of conversations that people are willing to bring to me these days or because there was overwhelming interest in knowing how we keep all these trains on their tracks. But either way, it was refreshing to be able to have so many conversations about the invisible work that goes into a project like this. There was a Contributor Day that hosted over 600 people, if I recall correctly, which makes it the largest Contributor Day in the area to date. 35 percent of those people had never attended a Contributor Day before, so there were a lot of people who were discovering the WordPress community for the first time.

And for folks who’ve been here for a long time, it’s so easy for us to forget how much there is to learn at first. Even if you happen to show up with a skill set that fits a contributor team’s needs exactly, you still have to learn where we collaborate, how distributed contribution works, and all these rules and guidelines about open source freedoms and copyleft.

[00:03:10] Josepha: And then also you have to come to terms with the fact that we define and design all of our spaces and programs with belonging in mind. I mean, for every one question that you get answered, there are going to be six new ones that you didn’t know you had yet. So I came away from a lot of these conversations with the reminder that it’s important in so many ways for us to talk about the work that we do, even when it’s boring, even when we think it doesn’t really matter, because a lot of people have questions about how this works, how it runs, and how they can be part of making sure that it’s around for the long-term.

And the final thing that came up all over the place last week was how to communicate these things better. It’s easy to forget that folks who listen to this podcast don’t actually make up like a hundred percent of the people using WordPress; that’s on me. So just cause I’ve said here that, you know, enterprise is our next big space for biz dev or that, our primary growth markets are APAC, or that events are our best tool for brand expression.

[00:04:08] Josepha: Like, just because I said it doesn’t mean that everyone heard it. And we absolutely have to get those messages to more people, more frequently, and with more certainty. You’ll hear often from WordPress pundits that rising tides lift all boats, and the bigger the pie, the more the slices. We believe fully in the spirit of coopetition here, that we are all better together.

But I can’t shake the feeling that we’re mostly just talking to ourselves about it. It’s hard to get outside our own little bubble, but I believe completely that doing so is the best thing for our project in the long term. Not only so that we can continue to grow and provide access to the opportunities we know we offer but also so that we can do more to dignify our profession.

WordPress developers are not taken seriously, and yet you all are some of the smartest and most compassionate people I’ve ever met in my career. And I’d like to see how we can fix that perception together. And so that’s it. Those are the big, big, giant, old topics that came up a lot in conversation last week.

[00:05:14] Josepha: Don’t forget that you can catch up on all the sessions via the live stream, or if you are feeling inspired to contribute, reach out to the community team and see what sorts of meetup events you can host. 

[00:05:24] (Music interlude) 

[00:05:32] Josepha: Which brings us now to our small list of big things. I have two big things and one slightly less big thing, but they’re all fairly big.

So, the first thing on the list is that the latest version of WordPress, WordPress 6.5, is on target for release on March 26th. That’s, I think, a couple weeks from now. So keep an eye out for that. In the event, I mean, we have auto-updates everywhere, and probably you are on a WordPress-specific host and, so you won’t necessarily need to do anything. But if you have any desire or concerns about seeing the software a little bit ahead of time, you can always go and download the beta, give it a quick test or the release candidate, give that a quick test. See if there’s anything that’s not functioning as you expected it to function, and let us know if it’s not. But yeah, there are auto-updates. You don’t have to go out and proactively do anything if you don’t want to, that’s just in case you do want to. That’s coming up March 26th. 

[00:06:27] Josepha: The next thing is that I want to give everybody a general call-in for event contribution. So, WordPress events is where I entered the community. It is one of the most affirming and life-changing types of contribution I’ve ever done because you get to see a bunch of people succeed in their own goals because of something that you were able to tell them. It’s like teaching, but with people who elected to be there. So we have a lot of opportunities, for contribution by volunteering at events, either as volunteering at the event itself or to volunteer to organize it. We have small-scale, easy-to-do meetups, but we also have slightly larger WordCamps that can be done. If you have any hope for doing that or are just kind of interested. I’ll leave a link for you in the show notes. 

[00:07:19] Josepha: And then the final thing on here is that we actually have a pretty substantial proposal out at the moment. It’s for non-editable footers on all event website pages. This might not sound interesting to you, but it actually is kind of interesting. So, it’s been proposed to add a non-editable footer to all of the event website pages moving forward. So that’s everything that would be displayed on a WordCamp or on any of the new formatted event sites that we have. This proposal intends to meet two goals. One, it fills any legal requirements a site or country might have about displaying the privacy policy and other items. And two, it brings visibility to the new events.WordPress.org website, where a community member can find more events in their area. The last day to respond to that proposal is March 20th, which I think is two days from now. I think it’s on Wednesday and this is airing on Monday. So, I’ll have a link to that in the show notes as well in case you have any thoughts about it.

[00:08:15] Josepha: And that, my friends, is your small list of big things. Don’t forget to follow us on your favorite podcast app or subscribe directly on WordPress.org/news. You’ll get a friendly reminder whenever there’s a new episode. And if you like what you heard today, share it with a fellow WordPresser. Or, if you ended up with questions about what you heard, you can share those with me at WP********@Wo*******.org. I’m your host, Josepha Haden Chomphosy. Thanks for tuning in today for the WordPress Briefing, and I’ll see you again in a couple of weeks. 

[00:08:43] (Music outro)