Episode 55: 2019 Year In Review With Jeff Brown

Show Notes


As I sit here on Christmas day morning, I might take the time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. If you’re of the Jewish faith, Happy Hanukkah, happy holidays, happy everything. And most of all, happy new year. I wish you and your family all the best. Now please join me for this special episode, right doctor, my good friend, Jeff Brown, who’s a workplace education trainer. And we look at some things that happened in 2019. And some trends coming for 2020. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the episode. Everybody here with my friend Jeff Brown today. Hey, Jeff, how you doing today?



We’re doing great. Rob. Hi, everybody out there. The Internet lead?



Yes, the great old pros of the internet. And we all know tongue in cheek, the internet is all bad and a mess. And you know how that is right?



We know it’s all true.



It’s all true. So I thought, Jeff is a workplace education trainer, one of the best trainers I know. And I thought we’d do a little bit of a trip down kind of couple of things have happened in social media this year. A couple of things have happened in tech this year. And a couple of things have happened in WordPress this year, this year. And then we kind of go from there and sort of give you guys a little bit of a wish to know what’s gone on where we think it’s going, why we think it’s going. And to some degree, how all circles come back to Rome and all things become the same again, right? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. So that’s that we kick it off by talking about WordPress, a little bit. Last November, we hit Gutenberg for the first time. In 2018 2019. November, we hit a year of Gutenberg. And, frankly, not much has changed. I shouldn’t say not much has changed, not much has changed from the community standpoint. The blocks are getting better. They’re making some inroads, but I don’t think the community has accepted it as much as they would like. Your thoughts, Jeff?



Well, it didn’t go as smooth as they planned it. For my participants. As far as their perspective, the people that manage the small business, they found it confusing. They found it really different than what they had been used to working. We know change comes but for some change, it’s hard because at the end of the day, WordPress for a lot of people I train is not the main thing they do. They have a business and they need a website, they use WordPress. And they are literally trying to keep up and keep things flowing as best as they can. And so this change has been a real eye opener and in some cases, a bit of a struggle for some of them to get used to.



Yeah, I would agree. I mean, I’ve You and I both spent a lot of time in the WordPress site, either teaching or doing. And I haven’t been able to get my head wrapped around Gutenberg to this day. So the approach I’ve gone is I use a page builder. I’m in a VEDA fan as you are so I use the Aveda theme such page builder but frankly Elementor, Beaver Builder, oxygen, Devi. Any of those page builders are really good these days. And if you’re using a page builder, I think the advantage to using Gutenberg is what’s happening is a lot of people are having a developer develop with the page builder. And when they do their blog posts. They use Gutenberg to do the blog posts. I don’t even do that I actually use VEDA to do my blog posts and be done with it.



Absolutely. I like working in that framework as much as I can. I tried to teach my participants to pick a builder and then just go with it. Because it combines the best of everything. It’s got the framework for Gutenberg built right in. And essentially, all the benefits of Gutenberg are right there for them and an easier way for them to navigate. Yeah,



no question. And I was talking to Bob Dunn popped up last week. Shout out to Bob. And the conversation we were having is what do you think about Gutenberg? And he said he’s been using Gutenberg for all his blog posts. So Bob’s got his head wrapped around it. Bridgette Paul, fall burchett on Twitter britches from running along to the Gutenberg discussions via automatic Gutenberg time, so shout out to Bridget. She’s got her head wrapped around it more than most people. I would say Matt Mullenweg. WordPress founder is frankly listening to the community. A lot of people don’t think he is. I don’t agree. I think they’ve made changes because of the communities. Yes, yes.



Believe what they were trying to do, because effectively it’s all about the code. It’s all about your content being understood by Google, for instance. And the browser’s and, and really just making it the best that it can be. But in some ways, it’s been a hard transition for people are still struggling to get their head wrapped around the, the, everybody loves the good, but they’ve got to make the good work. And so that’s where Gutenberg has had its challenge from the get go is that just people can’t seem to know if you know, coding and stuff like that, you get the whole concept. And you can, I mean, I love that we can inject extra code into Gutenberg, and I really liked that possibility. For most people, that’s not a reality. They’re putting a block in as long as they could get something in that block. That’s my first they’re gonna go. And then they’re struggling to go, what’s next? And



how does it look? Yeah, and I know, I would agree with you. And I think it’s more important, as a business owner to get your messaging down copywriting. And things like that, than to frankly worry about fancy design, I think I still see a lot of stuff out there where I kind of look at it and say, Okay, did somebody really put in a slider that took up the hole above the scroll, and they wonder why they’re not getting any messaging on your website? So I think there’s a lot of that going on to and I think, more important than the vehicle that creates it. Yeah, cuz



if your content is beautiful, but nobody sees it, it doesn’t rank well. Or it’s not showing up in the searches of others, then, what’s the use of it, I would rather have a moderately okay looking design, and then showing up really well, so that you’ve got a great listing on Google from what you’ve created. And then people can at least click it. And because remember, when you first page, Google, you know, everyone wants to be first page, Google. But that’s not the end all be all. Because we’ve got 10 organic listings there, they’re all auditioning for the click, who gets clicked first, and at the end of the day, your perfect Li designed webpage or blog post. If it’s not going to perform well, in that index search index, then there’s a problem there.



I would agree. And I would also go so far as to say, as a business owner, if you want quick ROI, I’d be coming up with PPC or pay per click, or a social media advertising budget faster than waiting for SEO to do its magic, because sometimes SEO changes can actually take six months to a year. Whereas if you’re doing pay per click, you can get results within weeks. So I really think that’s a big factor as well. You know,



it’s it all comes down to this opportunity knocks on the door, you open the door you up, you grab opportunity by the throat and drag it in kicking and screaming, but get the job done.



Yep. So let’s go on to social media for a minute. This year, we’ve seen Google fined by the EU, European Economic Committee, we see Mark Zuckerberg in front of Congress, which is actually quite amusing because congressional leaders in the US don’t understand what social media is, except for Donald Trump. But that’s another story. We we’ve seen people complaining about privacy, yet they continue to opt in all the time and don’t return to service. But somehow it’s Facebook’s fault. And then we see this whole issues that have come out worse, where social media sites like Twitter will no longer take political ads. general thoughts on what’s going on? Well,



why don’t if there’s been so much trouble with, like Facebook, for instance, with the political ads and what’s going on? Twitter just said, let’s just get stay out of it. And let’s do we do really well. I mean, if you don’t have to go into that arena, why would you? Why would you potentially want to end up sitting where Mark was sitting in Congress, because you like political ads. So maybe it’s not, everybody’s happy with. But at the end of the day, Twitter really has to cover their butt basically, and eliminate a lot of risks that could happen and right now, this is the time where things are ramping up. And Twitter by not allowing political ads could literally skirt a lot of mess, by not being in it, whereas other networks could be literally up in front of Congress again.



But the issue becomes even more than that in many states, including Agenda, we’ve got cannabis being legal, but you can’t advertise online for it. You’ve got a whole scale of an adult industry where many parts of it are legal. And I’m not just talking the sex for sale game, I’m talking everything from adult stores to you name it, you kind of advertise online for it. So a lot of purists would argue and say, but this is censorship. And is that really right either? What do you think? Well,



at the end of the day, Twitter is a business, it’s their property, and they can pretty much do what they want. There’s just been so many people stepping in it this year, so much controversy, so much focus away from the real momentum that the social networks should be focusing on. And now they’ve got these side curves, pulling at them slowing their momentum in their business, they, they have to literally press ahead and try to make



like the magic.



So Jeff, I thought we’d jump into the whole realm of internet website, and personal security these days. And what kind of tricked me into that is if you’ve been following the story out of Ontario, or Canada, lifelabs, which is a basically a company that does medical tests, they do radiology tests, and they do bloodwork, they were compromised this past week, 250 million people in Canada. Last I read yesterday, there’s a class action lawsuit started. There’s all kinds of privacy concerns. We know from working in the WordPress space, we’ve dealt with plugins and code, and that’s been compromised. Microsoft has to Tuesday on Patch Tuesday has a zero day vulnerability. And it goes on and on. And on. What do you think



it’s almost to the place where the average person doesn’t have the skill set to be able to operate in this environment. And I’m sorry to say this, but in our






to almost make things simple for them, we’ve made it more complicated, because now there’s more things needed to stay safe. Let me give you an example. So we got a site, any kind of site, we got a username, we got a password. And now we knew that passwords can be compromised. And at the end of the day, people keep on using the same password over and over and over again, it’s not strong enough. And so so we get a, we finally get into a place where we use a good password. And now we’re introduced to two step verification, which means and you’ll love this, the verification comes by text, or heaven forbid, we have to use a third party authenticator to generate those codes, which means that I need to understand more about my phone and how to use it, where I just want to use it to call someone and maybe get my emails. And now I’m faced with all these challenges, and I’m a business person, or I’m a person that just uses it for personal basis. And I want to pull my hair out because it’s gotten a lot more complicated. And my friend got hacked. And now I’m afraid.



Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree. Let’s let’s go back to the SIM card problem. There’s a term out there that’s become really big at the end of this last year called sim jacking. And it basically means you call the cell phone company up, you impersonate the customer service rep doesn’t want to piss you off, pardon my language. And what happens she sends you a SIM card, asked to head to the founder Twitter, what happened was sim jacking. He was a victim to that scheme. So his account was hacked because he was sim jacked. And what it teaches people is you shouldn’t be used relying on your SIM card in your cell phone for two step authentication. Frankly, at the end of the day, you should be using a third party tool like Google authy, which works really well. I actually use what’s called the Nuba key which is a security key in conjunction with Google, I think I have multiple ones in case you lose one or one gets broken or something. But you have to do that. And let’s go back to the whole password thing real quickly. I still think the password solution to reason people on a Mac will have a service called One password, which is very popular if you’re a Mac, or if you’re a cross platform browser, I’m a big fan of LastPass. Yes, been out forever. And LastPass can be used on a cell phone, it is free to use on your cell phone and your PC. They also have a family, which you can pay a little more for, which I do, actually. And one of the cool things is, if something happened to me, all my wife has to do is email last email a special code the last pass, and if they don’t get a response from me, in a week, they unlock that account to my wife, and everything in it. So it’s like in case somebody’s deceased or, or emergency or something like that. And we’re not really talking about this. This is food for thought for any business owner, but you should think about your digital assets if something ever happens to you in your businesses. Absolutely. It that’s another discussion for another day, actually. Yes. But it’s that’s a big one. But, and things like that. And it’s always so having spent as long as I have in text support, computer security and everything else I’ve done, I think it’s always the problem between making it lockdown and usability for the user. And it’s where do we find that middle ground? And I don’t think we found that yet to be honest.



No, it? It all has to do with the basic idea of how we use passwords. And how many passwords do we have? And how do we keep track of them? And whenever I do any trading, I tell people, there’s four different ways that people literally do it. The worst one is one password, one email, one username for everything. Yep. If that gets breached, these guys that we know as hackers literally have a program, slam it in it goes through the whole internet, boom, done. You’re cooked?



Don’t no question. And I’m gonna stop here for a sec. And a shout out to our friend Scott Mills, Susan Constable, the Trump police force he reminded me of a couple of weeks ago, the website I know in use, and that’s called if you’ve been pawned. If you take your email address and put it into that site. It has a database, and it is legitimate. So if you’re worried about throwing your email into another site, and it will tell you all the sites that you’re on that that email has been compromised, yes. Have I been pawned? Have I been bought, so you need to check that one out. So keep going.



So the next one is pen paper. And I tell people don’t use coil books, don’t use books that just don’t have sections, because you ended up putting a password in one place. And then you keep on writing stuff. And then you put, you need to change the password, you put another spot and you come back to the old one, you’re you’re not quite sure where the password is you spend more time resetting your password, you have to think about this. This is time you can’t build a business. So if you’ve got your passwords on paper, it doesn’t have sections. And it’s organized. You’re going to waste a ton of time. And I tell people, when you get rid of password, put a line through it don’t completely destroy it. Because what if the network asks you? What was the previous password, you have to be able to see that? Yeah, so if you’ve got a paper book, you’ve got potential water damage, you have to treat it like a Visa card, you keep that thing close, you don’t share that you don’t leave it unattended. It’s the keys to the kingdom, so to speak, and you have to guard it. The next part is if you got a password keeper on a phone, we’re not talking LastPass, right like that, just, you know, some people will put it in their notes. So what happens if the phone doesn’t start, you better hope that that stuff is backed up. If it’s not backed up, it’s not secure and encrypted. On the other end. If someone breaches the other source of the other end of it, you’re in trouble. And so stuff happens to phone, the greatest majority of things literally are, you know where it drops. And so your bag of rice and you’re just praying, this thing’s gonna come around. But if you cannot go online and get this stuff because your phone is down and out, you’re in trouble. And the best place I tell people and this took me a while to get to that place is to use an online password keeper that is secure that has two step verification that has the right encryption on there and they’re prepared that prevents even an employee from getting into it. That’s what I like. That’s why I like LastPass there’s other programs out there. But this one, it took me Literally months of trying to get used to the idea, I’ve got to be putting all my passwords online. And it for me, it had to offer the ability to any device, even my friend’s computer, we’ve got lastpass.com login, it also has to have the ability to print my passwords, so I could put them in a vault. And so I love that about LastPass. Yeah. And that’s where, because literally, I’m signing in with one password, and I’m clicking buttons to go to other places. And then from there, I’m using two step verification on those. But that’s literally, and I don’t even know my Facebook password. It’s in the vault, I’m clicking a button. And so I could be tortured, I couldn’t tell you my Facebook password.



So what’s really cool too, with LastPass, I don’t use it in a corporate environment, but they have a corporate package. I can actually if you work for me, I can give you a corporate access. And you can click on something to log in. And it won’t even let you see, say the counting back password. It’s set up that way. And it just clicks in. So it’s really great to share with employees from the security perspective. So when the employee leaves, you don’t have to reset all your past. Absolutely. And how many places have had employees call up? I



forgot my password. Yeah, if you’re going to dashboard, an administrator that can administrate them, it ends up in that case them just clicking buttons and going there.



Yeah, I really think if you’re concerned about this whole thing about passwords, and Sim jackin, which we’ve talked about, I think he has to go back and read an old book called The Art of deception. It’s written by the legendary hacker Kevin Mitnick, the geistigen. And he’s the one who hacked the FBI website and then became the number one security consultant. But this book is all talks about social reengineering. So basically, what he says is 90% of all initial password attacks are somebody working their way and not the electronics, which I tend to agree with. So the other thing is, while we talk about passwords, as we move forward into 2020, business owners, please start taking regular backups, personal owners, please start getting your photos to backup off your smartphone automatically. You can go use Google Photos, which free set it up to backup. If you’ve got one drive or Google Drive, you can set photos to backup automatically there. If you’ve got amazon prime, you get Amazon photos for free. Please set one of these apps to backup photos automatically off your phone. So that if you drop your phone, you break it, you’re not up a creek without a paddle. On the website, I deal a lot with website hacks. Please make sure that you update your website on a weekly basis and you have a backup. And by the way, if you’re taking a backup, make sure you can do a restore before you really need it. Because a backup is only as good as a resource. And I agree with it. It’s you know, shameless plug I’m in the space. And I think it’s time people say I can do this all myself. But business owners frankly, you guys don’t have time to do this. hire somebody to do it. I don’t care if it’s me or somebody else, but protect your business because it’s getting really tough out there. Every day I wake up, and I read about five breaches. And I stopped me Hector the graph.



Yeah. It’s funny that you say that, because this afternoon after we get off this, I’ll be restoring a website that got hacked, and still trying to determine how it happened. But nevertheless, regardless of how it happened, we’re going to be restoring it with a backup plugin. And fortunately, the website owner had a backup. The host really wasn’t that helpful. There are other companies that would love to help them for an extremely large amount of money. And



me too, by the way,



I know



when I train, workshop participants, I do WordPress, one in two programs with workplace education, one of the things I teach them to do is to use a plugin to backup their site. And if they go, you know, this is kind of expensive. I’ll just indicate to them how expensive it is to have a security company, pull the virus out of your site.



I’ll give it I’ll give you the expense. So I typically if care plan packages to start around the $100 Canadian a year which you know when you’re breaking up per month is almost nothing. And on the low end, and if you had to restore site, I could restore a site within probably 15 or 20 minutes. If you don’t have a backup, fixing that site can cost you in the 1000s of dollars. I know the last one I referred out was an e commerce site. And his cost was $8,000. Because he wanted for our service. Yeah.



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