Rob Cairns sits down with Stephanie Hudson.
- Why AI?
- Does AI matter?
- Changes coming in WordPress.
- Why outsourcing can help your business
Hey everybody, Rob here again. And today I’m here with my good dear friend, Stephanie Hudson. How are you today?
Well, hey there, Rob, how’s it going?
Oh, it’s going good. And how are you doing today?
I’m doing just fine. I’m super excited to be here cause you know I love the chat about all these geeky things with you.
Yeah, it’s it’s always a good conversation, whether it’s on the podcast. Or on Facebook Messenger in a text they all go the same way, don’t they? So you’re doing some work with a well known workhorse company called Bertha dot AI right now. What’s going on up at Bertha?
I am Bertha is an AI generator. It generates copy and images and it works right. Inside WordPress as a plugin and then just as of the beginning of February. It’s also available now as a Chrome extension, which is also quite exciting. That opens it. Up to a lot of things, right? Because then you can use it in any of your online tools. Any of your Google Docs or anything like that. Any of the Microsoft online tools PowerPoint. Docs anything.
That’s real. That’s actually really cool. And I thought we’d dive into AI in general. There’s been a lot of people saying. I don’t like AI AI’s a problem, but what I’ll say is if you’re a Photoshop user, you’ve been using AI for years, there’s brushes built in the Photoshop that do things automatically for functions. That’s AI.
When you think about it, there’s all kinds of photo products, Photoshop and non Photoshop that will remove. Backgrounds out of images? That’s AI. We’ve got transcription tools that podcasters use like descript and auto dot AI famously and believe it or not, even Microsoft Office 365 does transcriptions now. So that’s AI based. We were talking a little bit before the podcast. About how I said I was doing some research on voice over AI products, that’s AI based.
So where is sure that is?
Where is this whole AI mess going?
Well, without sounding overly dramatic, it’s going to change everything. Yep, everything. Everything, everything, everything in your life. If you’re in the marketing space, building websites, doing social media, any of that, it’s. It’s easy to see. What’s coming that things are going to start changing dramatically in our industry and in our work life. But more than that, it’s going to reach into really almost every aspect of our lives, honestly, and within a very short time period. What’s the there’s the law, somebody’s law. That says that technology and like processing power. Double s every two years like what could be done on a chip and things like that. And since AI has started to hit mainstream, they’ve said that that law has now been broken because it’s doubling its processing power every six months. So we are going to see an absolute explosion of. Artificial intelligence technologies arise. I mean, if you play with ChatGPT or the like, you can see how wild it is and it can be fun or exciting or cool. But but this is tip of the iceberg. Stuff like this isn’t even anything yet. What we’re going to be.
Able to accomplish with these tools and technologies is what’s really going and when they start to stack on top of each other, you know like combining different types of tools and different types of resources, then then we’re going to start, it’s going to just be absolutely exponential.
Yeah, I agree. With you, it’s funny. I have played with ChatGPT. I’ve played with Bertha as well. I’ll, I’ll say that very much. So I did recently an experiment with ChatGPT where I said OK ChatGPT tell me how to secure a WordPress website just for fun. What I’ll tell you is it was really good from an intro perspective, but it wasn’t good for from an advanced perspective. I’ll tell you that. For sure. I posted the article on my blog. Just to and the first line was. This is an experiment written by ChatGPT on my business blog. And the subject was werper security from ChatGPT. And would you believe? As it always happened, somebody accused me of being clickbaity with that headline and said no, I said exactly what the article was, and I said from ChatGPT because I wanted people to understand I didn’t write this. And that’s not really quick, baby. But that was one experiment. And then I did another one the other night, which I’m about to post on my personal blog. And it was who is Ken Dryden? Who is the legendary hockey player, politician, writer that played for the Montreal? Canadiens and lawyer. And ChatGPT actually got most of the facts of his career to different careers, right? Pretty well. So that’s kind of compelling a little bit.
Yeah. So there, there are a couple of things I wanna throw in there with this is that one obviously the the models, the underlying language models are only trained up until about September of 2022. So far for what we what we’re. UM. Talking about today and so newer things that have happened are not, you know, like a. A vulnerability that has appeared on the WordPress scene last month isn’t going to be in its knowledge base, so it’s not going to be able to react to that. But other than that, I think that. The prompts are. Where it’s at and by prompts obviously. Well, for those who aren’t familiar, you know, it’s that’s the information that you’re putting into the AI. That’s what you’re asking them to do or prompting them to do, if you will. So whenever you’re putting this information in there are, I mean there are so many. Websites and services and even marketplaces selling prompts. Now that you can learn how to prompt effectively, there are actual jobs called prompt engineer. So when we think about all this stuff, it’s to go back to your Photoshop illustration. You didn’t just open up Photoshop the first time and create a masterpiece, right? You had to take time to learn how to use those tools, and that’s not a small feat. So the same goes with these tools. Learning how to put in a prompt that gets the results that you want. Really is a is a skill that you need to learn and master. And the cool thing about the chat style. AI interfaces like ChatGPT, or in birtha there’s a chat now and a lot of them are starting to incorporate this. Is that it? It can keep in mind what you’ve been talking about or what you already asked it to do, so without having to restate or start from scratch, you can ask it to iterate on what it’s already done. So you could say, you know when it has security things you could say now act as if you are. A security advisor for a major tech firm, how would you advise them to lock down their, you know, very vulnerable website or, you know, prevent it from getting maliciously attacked? Or, you know, you can ask it different questions in different ways. And interestingly, you can also ask these. These tools to perform as if they are different. People, different roles, they have different skill sets. You can ask it in those ways, and it’s almost like it adopts those personas. So for example, if you wanted it to give you basic stuff, that’s one thing. But if you wanted, you’re you’re advanced in WordPress security and tech, so you you can handle it if they start dropping some lingo on you and some. Highly technical. Components or strategies and things like that. So if you ask it to. Speak to you as if they are this high level security expert. It would be interesting to see. The difference, and maybe we should go and put that into chat, CBT and in on your conversation and then have chat, CBT, leave a comment on your post.
There’s a running joke. You and I both know Mark Westgard really well and and he’s a good friend of mine and yours.
We sure do.
I’ll say it very. And he was on this week in WordPress with Nathan Rigley with Me 2 weeks ago and Mark didn’t write his bio. So Nathan, as a joke, put in the bio. This bio was written by AI.
I love it.
And the ongoing joke is.
Every time I ask Mark a question for about the last two weeks is, you know this is being answered by ChatGPT and not.
Our quest cards, so it’s time.
We’re going to have a new there’s gonna be a new acronym, you know, like. Let me Google that for you. Like that website LMT, GFY. It’s like we’re gonna have, like, let me ask shaggy PT for you.
So I wanna throw something out there since it’s.
In fact, I need to go register. That domain, that’s a.
Good one. Real quickly after this, before this show airs. So, so real quickly before we kind of move on a little bit and get into some specifics, I think AI. And maybe I’m wrong and it does more, but it’s really an advanced search engine when you think about it. And somebody said to me, it’s not a search engine. I said, of course it is. And that search facilities built into it. So the question becomes, is AI gonna knock on Google’s domination of the search business?
Yes and no. What what Google needs to be a little bit more concerned about right now, though, hilariously to me, is they gotta watch out for Bing for the first time ever. Which is. Absolutely nuts for any of us like I used to always joke around with people being like, let me go Bing. That for you instead of Google it, because literally nobody says that, but. I think it’s different. I don’t. I don’t think it’s going to eliminate search. But it’s going to change everything, as I said, so it’s certainly going to impact. SEO, for example. So if you’re optimizing your website to be found in a search. But people aren’t searching as much because they can just go ask a question. So if somebody you you wrote a blog post on security, someone could search for that and land on your site and then see your call to action and become your customer or get on your mailing list or whatever. Now if they are going to search for things or not search for things but go and justice, ask an AI bot for the answer. That’s a completely different thing, so that changes the world of SEO in that what are we now optimizing our websites for? And so I think what will come soon is optimize. Using our websites for AI and how that will look, I’m not really sure, but obviously if we’re going to have AI feed answers directly to people you know it’s it’s a little bit like those little answer panels in Google right now. You know those answer panels come up and. Website Owners don’t like that because then they don’t click through, they just get their answer right there, so they’re not visiting the sites. So the site’s not getting.
I don’t like to.
Traffic, right? So.
I don’t like them either.
So it’s it’s a problem for for traffic when you when you’re talking about SEO and you know, so there’s that there’s there’s those kind of impacts that are. Going to be. Astronomical in in our industry of web and marketing, for sure. But when it comes to asking a question or searching, you know, I think the one example I’ve given we were talking about this in in our weekly focus group in the face Facebook Group for Focus WP. We like to chat about all these geeky things and the example I gave, and I just did it right on the screen is like looking for a Margarita. Recipe so if you. Want a recipe you can go to chat CPT and say what’s a recipe for a Margarita? Or I have these ingredients. How could I make a Margarita with them? You can do those things no problem. And you will get one answer you could say. Give me 5 different recipes. But you have no, there’s no. You know we are so. Drawn to social proof and. And public opinions and groupthink at this point that if you just get that answer, like, sure, that might make a great Margarita. They all might be, but. But what if you went on to Google and searched Margarita recipes? You’re going to get literally hundreds of thousands of results and you can scroll through the first page just alone and say like, oh, some of these. This one’s from my favorite tequila. Brand or oh, it looks like that one adds a splash of orange juice. Let me see what. Going to. Say or you know, like you could kind of scan through things. You can go and read and say like, oh, I think this one would be more to my liking. You can get multiple. People’s opinions, which is not what you’re going to get. From, you know, asking Chatchie PT. So in that way it’s different than search. But so it’s not an exact replacement, but it is going to impact how much people are using search versus just asking a question.
And and the other problem with ChatGPT is you almost have to use it at off hours. Right now there’s no point in trying to get at it between the business. And just to make my point, as you were talking, I decided. Maybe we should bring ChatGPT up. What do I get? A message saying ChatGPT is that.
Well, you can always go see Bertha. Your girl Bertha will still talk to you. She’s never too busy for you, rob.
So we’re gonna go.
Yeah, I know. I know I do. I do have an in with the Bertha crew. I think too. So that’s.
As a matter of fact, you just might. You just might, yeah.
How so? Let’s go there. Which was where I was going to segue into. So we have ChatGPT out there that does a really good job and they’re not charging for it. Now and why?
They are actually. They’ve started charging well. There is a free version, but you can now pay for it. Which will get rid of those weights.
Will you get rid of? It so why should somebody? Go get Bertha and not use.
Yeah, sure. Well, Bertha isn’t the only tool out there either. There’s uh, just an absolute flood of apps coming. So why would you use any of these? Well, so for an app like Birtha and I don’t, I don’t mean this as a sales pitch. I mean this is like let me help you understand how these things work. So when it’s really it’s largely. About two things to my way of thinking. One is the prompt. And the second thing is the interface. So if you use birtha, if you’re using it to write your website berthas right there inside it so you can generate the copy and dump it straight into your post into any Gutenberg block into anything page build or anything. So it’s there’s a convenience. Level to the interface and to where it’s located right inside your website. That’s one thing. Secondly, if you go to ChatGPT, you have to come up with all of the things you’re asking for. Whereas if you go to an app like Bertha which is geared toward website development and website writing, it will have pre trained prompts like. Write me an outline for. A blog. Post and then you just have. To fill in. The fields write me a paragraph about this. Write an about page for me and it will just ask you for the critical information that it needs and then boom, it’ll just put it all there so you don’t have to become a prompt engine. Here, in order to get what you want out of it because. We’ve taken that. On ourselves and we’ve trained those models and how to format that text that it gives back to you.
Now going into that. So I’m I’m going to play devil’s advocate here and I know what your answer it I know what the answer is.
We’re now adding another thing inside the WordPress dashboard and we’re going to slow our site down. And my my argument for years has been if you’re hosting, is that bad, go get some better hosting.
Don’t worry about adding stuff to your site, so we’ve gone through this discussion with product site Groundhog, Fluent CRM, both in the CRM space. We’ve gone through this discussion where people have added help desk. Software into their dashboard, like the Awesome Help desk I think is 1. We’ve gone through this discussion with woo commerce. When people have added who’s software e-commerce to the WordPress dashboard. And I would argue Bertha is the same. So anybody who’s crying about. All my sites too, so go get some proper hosting please.
Or just use the comic centre. Then you have to use the plugin. It it works off. Your same account. And you can use it right if you’re using Chrome to build your website, it’s just floating right over top of. It rather than inside.
Yeah, I I would agree. But I would also agree that if your site is so bad, maybe you need to look at what’s going, what you’ve put it on top of. It’s like trying to put it. It’s trying to put fast features on top of a of A. A little ship box. Yeah, I can say that’s my podcast. Versus versus putting them on top of a Ferrari with a Ferrari engine. If you get what I’m saying, right? So if the base isn’t there, it doesn’t matter what you put under Hood. Anything can help you.
So that’s a little bit about a I did you have anything else you want to add in the aspace stuff?
Well, if I may have a little shameless plug, I started an AI newsletter.
If anybody wants to jump on board with that, it’s called the sizzle. It’s the sizzle dot AI. And I just send out seven things whenever seven things fill up my little notepad, I put them in the the newsletter and I send them out, and it’s geared for folks who are AI curious, I guess, and tech curious, not super geeks. It’s not overly technical or complex. It’s not a. Lot of the deep. Code stuff. It’s just about how this is starting to come into mainstream. So that’s that’s my audience. There’s a lot of news letters out there currently, a lot of them are very, very geeky or just random. Lists of tools. But this is sort of I I use my dad as my ICP so I’m writing it with my dad in mind because he loves all this stuff too. But he’s very overwhelmed by the technology and he’s not in tech, so he doesn’t really get it, but. He knows it’s cool, and so I I write to sort of explain things that are starting to come to mainstream.
Ah, that’s really cool. So the other thing I wanted to at least jump into before we get into a little potpourri is cycle and or a mixed bag of stuff. So let’s talk about outsourcing in a WordPress space a little bit and that’s something dear dear to my heart and yours. For those who don’t. You know, I do. Security plan work for a number of agencies. So I have my own clients and then I’ve I’ve got some. When should you outsource them? Why should you outsource?
That’s a. That’s a big question that doesn’t have a real simple answer. I I actually give a talk on this that we we work our little workshop, I can do where we build a grid and basically you want to consider what are the things that you are doing. And what are the things that you should be doing? So obviously you want to do things that bring you joy. But what if you love to design, but you’re not really that good at it, or or code or whatever you can fill in the blank with any of those things if it’s not something that you’re really particularly good at, that might be something that’s. Just to be delegated if it’s something that you don’t like to do and aren’t good at, that’s a no brainer right there. This outsourcing, which is why most people outsource accounting. Because very few people like to do that, and most of us aren’t good at it.
So that’s a no brainer, right there. There is a little bit more nuance to it. When you get down into the nitty gritty is because. You know it’s your business. If there’s something that maybe you’re not real efficient at or the best at, but you want to do it, it’s your business that you can, you know, you can still make your choices as you want. There’s obviously issues of profitability to consider. There’s so many factors that go into it. But the real. Quick and easy. First step is what do I hate? What slows me down? What do I procrastinate? You know, like that sort of type of question and and that I’m also not very good at. Those are those are should be on the cutting block immediately to get off of your To Do List.
Yeah, that’s that’s a really good idea, actually. And I mean, yeah, I think people outsource all this legal stuff because none of us have the knowledge to navigate the legal system.
Yeah, for sure.
And then and.
Then where we sit out with agencies is they’ll outsource a number of things, project management sometimes. They will outsource. Very often like. Security updates like I do they. Even outsourced development or SEO under like White label type programs, that’s very common as well.
For sure. So I have a company called Focus WP. I know you know about it, but I don’t know if your listeners do and we are basically an outsourced. Service provider. So we have an agency team, we’ve got developers, copywriters, designers, video editors, SEO Vas, we’ve got the whole gamut and. Agency owners, we we only serve agency owners, not business owners or website, you know, not the individual website owners we we cater toward solopreneurs and agencies that are looking to scale and they can come in and outsource to us which has a few benefits. One is that it’s you’re not just looking for some stranger on fiber and. Crossing your fingers that. He or she doesn’t ghost on you. You know it’s more established and we have a team and we’ve trained them and all that stuff, but also that we have multiple service offerings. Also so and we have quality control built in and things like that. And so the the two main scenarios that we see which sort of expands a little bit on your previous question is we see folks that either maybe they can handle like they’re doing all the things. But once, once they hit a certain threshold, they they just only have so much time in the day, so they might just need more hands on deck, even if it’s things that they are good at or want to do or should be doing, they just need more hands on deck so they can outsource. Those things. And secondly, what we’ll see a lot of is folks who would like to add on additional services. That aren’t in their wheelhouse, so somebody who is building websites but isn’t an SEO guru and wants to outsource that and add that on as a service offering that they can provide white label to their clients. So that’s another sort of those are the two sort of scenarios that we see most commonly.
No, I’m in your outsourcing business. What is your? Retention on customers is it like 50% or is it higher or is it lower? Do you know? Ballpark, man.
I wish I knew these numbers. You should you could have. Give me a heads up prop. You’re gonna ask me these kind of numbers we have. We have good retention. I don’t know the exact number. I would say at least 50%.
I I know I wasn’t finding it.
You don’t. You don’t have any.
Though we don’t, we’re not subscription based or anything like that. It’s just pay as you go. So for folks to come in and buy a block of hours and then they can use them up over the course of the year, so you know. But very few people just never come back once they once we get on and they’re like, oh, this is pretty easy. I could just send any question and I just have a team of devs that can go figure this out. Like that’s, you know, it’s just becomes such a convenience that we don’t. Usually lose too many people.
So let’s jump into a little bit of what I call WordPress, Port Peoria Irish more smorgasburg worth of stuff. You’re a diffy, Gow I.
Know I am.
But we do have this lingering thing called blocks, Gutenberg and full site editing kicking around. How have you avoided it? Have you switched? Have you played with it? Where do you sit in that for?
As much as I am involved in the WordPress space, I have an agency I have focus. MVP like it’s. Like Web WordPress Web development is the center of both of those businesses. And yet. I am now to the point where I don’t do a lot of the building anymore, so it doesn’t impact me that much. I will say I keep tabs on it like. I am very, very interested to see where things go. I think it’s all heading in a positive direction though it’s been. A fairly slow climb, but I I made a decision when I started using divvy like forever ago. I don’t know. Like how many years old divvy is. It’s been like, eight or nine years or 10 years now, I. I was already using elegant themes other products and they released this, the Divvy theme, which was revolutionary really. This was like there weren’t a million builders everywhere at the time. This was a big deal and then as new ones started to pop up, it’s so easy to get the the the shiny object syndrome, you know, and think like I got, I want to go play with that. I want to check that out. Wanna buy a new toy? Everything’s on appsumo for a lifetime. You know, like you can get so. Sucked into all of that and I just made a decision right then and there. Like I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to stick with divvy. Does Divvy perfect is divi perfect? Does it have flaws? Does every other builder also have flaws? So you know like it works for me and I know it and I have all of the additional. Tools and things that you clamp onto it and things that you use with. It and all of that stuff. You know, and I don’t. I didn’t want to have to buy all of that for multiple things. And I just wanted to be able to know one really well. And it’s especially useful to me because I’m not in there every day. So if I do have a site that I need to jump in or I want to jump in and just do a little tweaking or, you know, build my own, like when I started this newsletter, like I just built my own site. Cause it was fun and it’s it’s a little fun side project for me right? You know, so there’s there’s those reasons that I get in there and I still can do things I am absolutely not anti Goot and I think full site editing is important. But as far as like becoming an expert on it or diving into some of the. The tools related to that, I really I really just haven’t yet. What do you? What’s your thoughts on it?
I don’t went to Gutenberg about a year and a half ago. I did it to hard way not the easy way I took. I took a large agency site mine that at the time had over 200 blog posts. And I converted on a life site because of the 200 blog posts and the fact I was putting out a couple podcasts every week. So I to try and keep a dev site and a live site In Sync. I wasn’t doing that so I just went at it step by step. I think if you’re gonna go into the Gutenberg for FSU route. Is to standardize on. A set of plugins and an ecosystem very quickly, so don’t jump all over the place. Say you’re going to go with generate box, go with generate box and generate price. If you’re gonna do what I did and go with cadence, go with cadence seam and cadence Marks and decide real quickly. What I’ll also say is Gutenberg is just another page builder, except that the one that WordPress endorses. So it’s really a a page build. The reason I did it was site speed. It did make a difference to site speed numbers and that was something. I mean, I’m talking 10 points, sometimes 14, so stuff like that. It does take some working to get used to. But once you get into it. It’s like any other. Page builder. You’ll learn how to use the tool you know best and you learn how to use it well, and that’s the important thing.
Well, I that’s kind of what I was trying to say, only not as eloquently as you. Did, yeah.
And there’s too many of us in this dev space. And you’re right, they go to appsumo. Ohh, what’s the shiny new tool today? This one?
And listen, don’t get. Me wrong. I’m an appsumo fan. Like I love appsumo. But you have to understand what you’re doing there, though. You have to understand what Appsumo is and how it works. And that sometimes, like I have multiple apps that I still use daily, weekly if not daily in my business that I got a lifetime deal on and it’s been a huge cost savings. But there’s tons that have just withered away as well, you know so.
I have one right now a backup security plug-in I was testing from a year and a half ago and I’m not going to call it the name. And they sent all kinds of emails out recently saying we’re restructuring. We’re doing this, we’re doing that. And I’m like, OK, that’s 40 bucks gone. No problem.
Well, sometimes what you have to do like there is a thing that I like to think of as the power of the sumo links. So sometimes. You need to just invest in an Ltd on appsumo because it’s cheap and then let the because those. People on appsumo are brutal. Like I I. Don’t think I have the self-confidence to handle that. If I released a product to put it in appsumo because those people are, they are like they’re so demanding and they want everything and they want it for cheap or free and and they. So what they do is they just like. Crush these developers that come in. But what happens a lot of times is they help make it better. So what they’re getting is a real world testing scenario and tons and tons of feedback. So a lot of times like the the appsumo effect is that they’ve got a new product that might be kind of buggy or a little weak and then it ends up becoming a lot better. So if you can buy something and then give it a few months to mature or a year even, and then go back and look at it. And if they haven’t folded or gone. Under then you know a lot of times it actually has. That and to be become a very useful thing.
I would agree. With you I mean one of my favorite. Actually my #1 app, Sumo Bai is a product called tidy count and tidy Count is is an app sumo original but it’s a scheduling product and it allows you to set up meetings and times and it’s the calendar killer because when I bought it I paid 2999.
US lifetime instead of calendar 10 bucks a month. So it’s kind of the calendar killer and you know, people forget it, Sir, and you know that’s just the way it is.
Titanfall is actually an app sumo app like they made that they have a few that they’ve made. Yeah, they have a few that they’ve made, and that’s that’s one of them. So it’s just always, it doesn’t ever like. Go away from the site.
So true. And the other thing worth mentioning is with tools is what people need to do, and it’s something I look at. I’m sure you look at in your agency, how many tools do I own and how many do I really need to add and do I need to switch tools because we all have friends out there. Or the next talk comes out. I’m going to change project management tools and it’s like that just kills your productivity like nothing.
Yeah, I find that I I fall into those patterns in in a couple of scenarios. One is if I’m really procrastinating what I’m doing, if I’m really procrastinating something I’m like. You know, you know what? You know why I’m not doing this. It’s cause I need to have a new tool to that. I have to learn completely how to use it and set up every little thing and customize the whole thing. And then I’m sure I’ll write that proposal or whatever it is that I’m procrastinating, you know, and it. Never works so. That’s one scenario, and the other scenario that I find myself out there scrolling and looking. Is if my systems aren’t really serving me. So if your systems aren’t serving you, then it’s easy to try and look for a. Magic bullet that’s going to fix everything. And that’s just very rarely the case I I sort of had this realization. Unfortunately, after the fact like I, I had a realization that like well. I really don’t I. Haven’t bought anything on Appsumo in a long time, like I don’t really feel that. Same temptation, and I think it’s because I’ve gotten my business is a little bit more organized than in shape and I’m just using the tools I have, you know, so and that’s that’s my little philosophical view of appsumo.
I wouldn’t disagree with you. And then the other subject that’s really hot in our space right now. Is this whole Twitter versus Mastodon thing Elon came in, he took over Twitter, a lot of the devs have disappeared off Twitter. Let them go. Because The Dirty little secret, The Dirty little secret, is all the end users are not on Mastodon. That’s mastodon’s kind of a site for geeks, really. So they’re still, if they’re on Twitter, they’re still playing on Twitter. So the way I look at it is the more deficit disappear, the more ferop.
Right. What do you think? Uh, I don’t know.
I just sort of feel like that was just a whole lot of hubbub. I feel like. I’m on Twitter and I use it. I think it’s great for certain connections and certain niches and things like that, but. I just it’s just. Such a different vibe there than on other platforms. I just feel like. Everybody just wants to be mad on Twitter. And so I think, like, oh, Elon Musk bought it. Well, let’s all be angry about that. And we’re out of here. Blah, blah blah. OK, alright, sure. You know like whatever you want to do. But then, like, there are so many people posting. On Twitter about how they’re not on Twitter anymore. It just cracked me up, you know?
I know it’s funny.
And so I don’t know. I I just. It’s not like I. Abandoned ship. I’m not overly active on there I. I do think it’s fun to watch all of that stuff happening and seeing if it is going to melt down, but I don’t. I and honestly like Mastodon like I just don’t have. It In me, I think I’m just. I’m full up on. Social platforms like I don’t. I don’t have anymore in. Me right now my.
Bandwidth is already done, so I.
Yeah, I’m just.
I’m full up. Yeah, I can’t.
And then the last kind of subject I wanted to touch on and you run an agency and I run an agency. Is the dreaded word that starts with S called security, and I mean this ones we’re touching on because we all know what happened with LastPass. You’d had to be under a rock for the last three months not to notice that one. And I know people have posed the Question Time and time again. Should you use a password manager? My answer is yes. If you’re concerned about your passwords and the manager and a password manager, and this is a tip I got from my friend Kathy Zann, it’s throw on a word at the end of it that you don’t put on the password manager. That you add to every password.
Right, little little kicker on your password.
So that would, yeah.
So you put in there. I don’t do that. I’m not a particularly paranoid. But I do care about security, obviously. So with your background in security, I have a question for you, Rob. This is your show, but I want to ask you a. What are the chances that because we’ve seen, I’ve seen this happen in other scenarios, so LastPass screwed? Up they they really did like they had an issue and then they weren’t fully transparent, straightforward about it. And then it didn’t end there and it kept going. And so there was. That was a that was a mess. It was a big mess and they lost a huge like, I can’t even imagine how much of a portion of their user base jumped ship. Or is still in process of jumping ship as I kind of am but what are the chances that they will end up being better than some of the alternatives because of what they just went through?
There is a chance, but I think they’re done. Personally, I moved away from them over a year and a half ago. I saw the writing on.
Yeah, you use bitwarden, right?
The wall? Yeah, I’m a bit worried and fan. No, I moved a year and a half ago, though, because I saw too many management changes and too many management changes in the security company, a recipe for disaster. So I think in LastPass this case it doesn’t matter if they’re better, they’re dead in the court of public opinion. It might end up being bankrupt by the time that’s all done. So that’s the first. The other thing is it’s a lack of transparency. We’re going through it here in Canada right now. There’s a a bookstore chain called Chapters Indigo. Like, they’re the the National Book store. I mean their website has been down for a week and have not been able to create payments or anything that was ordered from the website before. The hack has not been processed, it’s just a mess and they have no idea on time frames and not only that, up until yesterday or day before they weren’t taking debit or visa card. Payments in their stores. So it was casual. And they haven’t been transparent. Hmm it this happens a lot where companies think, oh, we’ll just. I don’t know if they outright lie or they just deceive the same thing and then they just don’t go there. And we have this problem in the WordPress space with plugins. I’ve heard of cases where plugin developers have argued with security companies about the security companies threatening the release to date on the vulnerability of their plugins. That happens. Yep, and it becomes if you’re not going to be transparent, what do you do about it? And this is going to sound self-serving, but it’s really not. If you decide to DYI your website, do it yourself, go ahead, but don’t DIY your security because you can’t anymore. Somebody trying to DIY security doesn’t have their nose to the ground and doesn’t understand what the landscape is and what’s going. And the landscape is getting real rough. I actually dubbed this year as the year of the vulnerability. I think we’re going to see what? To be honest.
What do you think has changed to cause that?
One the way governments force companies to disclose. That’s part of it too. The users are fed up with companies who don’t disclose. So that’s the problem with LastPass. They kind of and they disclose 2 days before Christmas, by the way. Not good. Three, the consumer wants to be validated, not ignored or dismissed. And when you don’t disclose, you ignore and dismiss it.
Right. Yeah. Well said.
And I kind of have a saying now and you know this is going to seem odd from somebody who spends time in the security space. It’s not if you’ll be hacked, it’s when. And how are you going to recover out of that hack? I really think so. The point I’m making is if small companies don’t see the big companies struggling, how does a small entrepreneur manage his website who has no clue when an IT company the size of LastPass or Google Five or T-Mobile can’t manage there? It’s an interesting problem.
It is. I do think there’s different risks if you are, you know, a local boutique versus a huge corporation. As far as targeting and.
Impacts of a hack and things like that, but so when you say no one should manage where security themselves, you mean like our customers like as WordPress agencies and things like that you mean our customers shouldn’t do it themselves which is obvious or you mean we shouldn’t even do. It for our customers.
No, our customers shouldn’t do it ourselves and all the people who DIY their work per site shouldn’t do it themselves. Because they don’t have the skill set to do it, it’s getting hard.
So give me.
Yeah, we we have a we’ve just, we’re upgrading all of our security stuff with focused MVP. So for maintenance customers particularly we. We’ve been hardening a bit. As they say in the biz. Adding on some more. Features more firewall things and things like that that they can opt into and. And so forth and we I sent out a secure a newsletter called Watch out Wednesday. Did you know this?
No, I don’t know.
This is like, yeah, we sort of scrape together from a bunch of the, you know, like word fence has a thing, and I themes has a thing. You know, there’s a bunch that have these sort of vulnerability, newsletters, and so we we do them as a Facebook post and a an e-mail newsletter every week on on Wednesdays. Obviously that. Shows like what do you got to look out? For and a few of these on. Your site, make sure they’re being updated.
I mean, I know at the time in this record today the items list had 80 vulnerabilities.
That they came up.
With eighty, that’s and the average. The average business owner wouldn’t even be looking at that, and that’s not for sure. It’s not their job and it’s just.
Right. But it’s it’s great news really. It’s great news because we’re capable of doing that, right. This is a valuable service that we can add. And when you’re adding value. Do you get compensated for it? So it’s, you know, you could talk to your customers about their security. You know what does it cost? If what would it cost you, especially folks that have e-commerce or things like that going on and running ads on their sites? You know, what’s the cost? What would you lose if your site went down for one day? Three days a week, you know. And it makes it a lot easier to price that.
I have a. I had a former client.
Who’s now a current client?
Who decided who got ticked off at me one day and had a developer move the site from under my nose and cancelled this contract? OK, ohboy. No, not oh boy. He was. And this happened right before the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend last weekend. And this particular client makes somewhere between 10:00 and 12:00. $1000 a day off a WooCommerce store. So we’re talking good money. Well, what happened? His sight got hacked. The Friday of the long weekend. And he dealt with his current developer, who was a pain. In you nowhere. And then he called me and said, what are you gonna do? And I said, well, first of all, you’re not my kind. And second of all, so long we can so call me tusta.
So he was down Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.
There was only two known.
You didn’t even offer him a a, like, quadruple emergency rate or anything.
No, I was mad. No. No they don’t. None at all.
And and I knew there was only two known existing backups to a site, the one that I handed to the new developer because I like to do a clean handoff and the one that I had, but he’s not my client. Anyway, the longer the the long and short of it was the the new developer lost the backup I handed over, so there. Was only one known backup. And I and one of the things I said to him is why did you want to snow and developer throw you on cheap posting? And he said, I’m trying to save money and I said you making $12,000 a day, you should be on. Hosting that, you’re paying like 100 bucks a month for 150 bucks a month for. That’s a drop in your bucket. Like you got to start to look at what the site is worth to you and how much is it generated.
You know whose fault this all is, Danica Patrick.
Oh, don’t go there.
It is those old.
GoDaddy commercials where they were putting up like geeky technical stuff for just. Normal everyday people and they put a *** ***** on there who was a race car driver and it’s 399 to host your website. So that’s just locked in as in people’s minds whether it’s subconscious or conscious. It’s that’s how much website hosting.
Costs and by and by the way, and go to our website to watch the rest of the. X-rated video that we can’t really on TV remember. Now, now I got I got.
I forgot about that one.
It through a throw out. Since we’re joking about GoDaddy because GoDaddy today. And I don’t know where you sit, but I know in some of their high end stuff, so like they’re managed to commerce hosting and things like that, they are not the GoDaddy of yesteryear by any means. They they have actually done a really good job to reinvent themselves and that whole team has made an effort.
No, they’re not.
Whereas some hosts. As you know, don’t do a good job and I’m not going to mention them. But you know, and then you’ve got guys like me who run servers in a managed data center. And I’ll tell you how fussy my data center is. If you go and enter your WP admin, which is your password for your WordPress dashboard wrong seven times. It’s going to lock you up. And it’s not going to lock you out of the out of the site. It’s going to lock you out out to the server and ban your IP address. And that just stops things like brute force attacks, multiple login attacks, things like that, and I think. I know it’s an inconvenience for the site. Owner but joy. If a site owner can’t remember their password, they’ve got bigger problems than that at the end. Of the person. So I mean, I just think the security problems getting worse and not better and that’s just it’s good for you and I, but it’s not always good for the end user.
Right. And it’s it’s sometimes can be hard to convey to people because it’s a little bit like. Sounds like insurance like where you have to pay for something that you might. Need you know, cause you’re paying for all the security in case you might get attacked. You know it’s hard for people to understand the. Many different ways that a WordPress site can become vulnerable.
Yeah, so true. Since we’re just kind of talking general word press stuff, is there anything you want that?
My goodness. Ah. General WordPress stuff. I don’t know nothing.
Besides, besides join Stephanie’s focused WP group and come out to the 5:00 o’clock.
Focus on your biz. It’s called focus on your biz and Facebook. Rob hangs out there with us some Thursdays. I do. It’s a good bunch, isn’t.
It, yeah, if I’m around, I try to do you do a weekly zoom call.
Yeah, I’m interested in, you know, growing space. It’s called focus on your biz because I. Was struggling. It’s it’s been around for a few years now but I was struggling for a while where it’s like there’s a Facebook group for every single plugin or you know bit of CSS that you want to, you know, like all the technical. Things all have a a WordPress group or SEO has a word you know like so many different ones or for. Copper this app, but what about like? Just the business of running a a WordPress business. You know, like there wasn’t any like place for that really to go and say like how do you guys handle your bookkeeping or your billing or your proposals or your mental health whenever you’re overwhelmed because you’re an entrepreneur or, you know, like all of those things that didn’t really fit into those other? I’m in a lot of divvy groups. I was from the very beginning. They all were super useful when I was learning divvy and things like that. There was it started to get to where there. Was like NDR was in all the groups. It was like, not divvy related. And it started to get those so many not divvy related things that they started a new group called NDR. You know, like not. Because it was basically the same thing like it’s it’s not an easy thing to be an entrepreneur. It’s not an easy thing. To be alone and you know. If you work from home or you go sit someplace else and work whatever it’s like. It’s it’s just a really useful thing to have community around you that isn’t your customers or your family. You know, to have people that, like, get it and we’ll see so much. Like every Thursday, we usually start out by asking if anybody. Has a win that they want to share, or if there’s, you know, something that they’re really struggling with that we can help and we keep it. We keep it private. We don’t record it or anything like that and and uh, it’s fascinating to me, Rob, that like you’ve seen it happen too. People will talk about a problem. And multiple people be like, oh, I’ve been there. I know what that’s like. Yeah, that’s really frustrating or, oh, I I feel for you. And once that happens, like there won’t even have been a solution yet, and that person will already start to. Feel better? Like it’s. I don’t know if it’s a misery loves company or. It’s like you start to realize like, OK. It’s not just me, like I’m not failing. You know, there’s so much. So, so much imposter syndrome. Among particularly new developers. But even. You know, people that have been in business for a long time and I think it’s a lot to do with isolation, isolation, slash, social media, where everybody only puts, you know. That you’re comparing somebody else’s highlight reel to your worst case scenario. You know that sort of concept. And so it just can be really discouraging. I know you care a lot about mental health and I don’t want to get too deep into it, but I think just even on a very light surface level. Of of that topic, it’s like it’s just good to have. Community, and I think I think WordPress does in general does a pretty good job of that. I mean, I don’t know how many other software platforms have absolute global communities that you know. It’s really fascinating and a cool thing. Like I was in Europe last year. I went to work camp Europe and got to meet tons of cool people and. Lots of fun parties and things like that, you know it. Really is A and you see people of every. I mean, I know there’s issues with diversity inclusion, but like you see so many different kinds of people and different. Personality types and all that kind of stuff. People with different hobbies and all that. And it’s really it’s just such a a cool group to be. A part of.
No, I would agree. I think what makes working in WordPress special is our community. I mean, we both run groups you run. You know your group on Facebook? I Co run a large group on LinkedIn. As many people know, and.
I’m in that group.
And it’s, you know, it’s it’s so the the community makes it what it is. I always say to people when they say what do you think of the community? And I say it’s one of the reasons I still work in WordPress to this day is because of the community and and I don’t think anybody’s not reachable. I mean, I think of this. And I’ve had automations on, I mean I’ve had Matthias venture who’s the lead developer and the lead for Gutenberg on I’ve got Ann McCarthy coming on with me next week to talk about WordPress 6.2. She’s one of the release right now.
Hudson, for God’s sake. You know, like, come on.
I wanted you. I wanted. So, so I’ll give. I’ll give you. I’ll give everybody the dirtiest little secret of of podcasting and that is if I’ve got a guest on with me and we’ll pick on Stephanie because she’s here today for an hour.
What is it? I can take it.
I can ask any question I want which gives me my own private little Q&A master class. Any day. Of the week.
Even better than that, Rob, you get to ask the question not like, oh, I’m pathetic and don’t know anything. You’re like, my audience would like to know this.
Yes, yes, yes.
It is. It’s awesome.
And it builds community and that’s the other reason. Like it’s so funny and I look. But you know, I was talking to Berger Poly Hack Gutenberg times on Twitter the other day, and she’s like, you’re just so great with the community and and that’s, I mean, it’s not just me. It’s a multitude of people like yourself.
You are a genuinely caring human being. Though thank you. Like the guys don’t pay attention to that story where he left that guy’s sight down for three days, robs a. Nice guy. He is. You are a genuinely kind human being, and I I appreciate that about you. And I think that, you know, you’re one of those ones that makes. Or press a nice space to be in.
I so appreciate that. And on that note, if somebody wants to get a hold of your staff for talk outsourcing or anything like that, what’s your favorite channel does this?
My favorite channel, I gosh I hate e-mail so much. We do have a chat on our our website focus w-p dot Co. You can hit us up there. I’m on Facebook all the time. Like if you join in the group and message me on Facebook. That’s a great place. I am also on Twitter as Steph horrific, which I assume you can put in the show notes for the spelling of it so. I’m in. I’m in all the places except Mastodon.
Yeah, me too.
I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on. Yeah, I’m on all. The things I just. But that’s the end. No more, you know, like that expression.
No new friends, like no new social networks.
Stephanie, thanks. Amazing and have a wonderful day.
Thanks, rob. Great to talk to you.