182 podcast episodes 🎙️

In today’s episode, we get to listen again to Joe, Justin, and Brent’s conversation about building websites and applications. The beaver Builder team is big on developing products that will largely benefit their community, talent acquisition from the same circle, and what’s keeping them forward and continuously building products around new ideas.   

Beaver Builder is the WordPress page builder you can trust with your business. It’s a drag-and-drop page builder that lets you easily create drag-and-drop page layouts, all from a front-end view of your site and without touching a line of code. It’s fast and flexible and offers lots of design options to all levels of WordPress users.

What to Listen For:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:17 Welcome to the pod, Justin and Brent!
  • 04:31 How Beaver Builder came to be
  • 09:35 Coming across a funnel problem
  • 14:39 Recruiting talents from the community
  • 16:16 Building a community within a community
  • 18:25 A page builder, a traditional WordPress theme, and Beaver Themer
  • 21:40 Staying true to your north star and what you’re trying to achieve
  • 27:11 The Assistant Pro
  • 38:16 Building apps around “how can you help people?”
  • 41:32 Find Beaver Builder online

Episode Resources:

Podcast Transcript:

Joe Howard: Yo WordPress people. Welcome back to the WP MRR WordPress podcast. I’m Joe and I’m fine. And I’m chewy. And you’re listening to the WordPress business podcast. We’ve got Han and chewy on the podcast this week. Not only one of the great star wars characters, but to dynamic duo, what’s going on this week, guys

Justin Busa: hanging out at Disneyland and maybe star wars.

Joe Howard: Yeah, there you go. I guess, in this universe, that is where the star wars characters would hang out. Uh, if Joe Casabona is listening, he would say, oh yeah, you definitely gotta go check that out. He’s a big star wars Disney kind of guy. So anyway. Yeah. Cool. So we’ve got Han and Chewie, uh, this week on the pod also.

No. As Justin Bussa and Brent Jett, am I say your last name is right? I get that. Okay. Yeah. Nice. Nailed it. Uh, all right. Well, we’ve had a Robbie on the podcast before part of the beaver builder team. Uh, and now we get to a be joined by a couple other of the guys on the BeaverBuilder team, and we’re big fans of beaver builder over at WP bus.

What an incredibly friendly team we just got on this call kind of before this, just offline. Before I started recording, I was like, oh, I don’t know if we’ve met before. And like immediately like super friendly people. Like totally not surprised, but, uh, yeah. Why don’t you guys, maybe tag team give a little intro to who you guys are and what you guys are doing over at.

Justin Busa: Sure I can take it away. Um, I’m Justin and I’m one of the co-founders and developers at BeaverBuilder, I guess there’s probably not a whole lot more to it than that. Just running a lot of day-to-day stuff and then not jumping into code when I can.

Brent Jett: And I’m the design lead. So that pretty much means anything visual, anything that has to do with the brand or the website, uh, but also jumping into code and, uh, planning and designing new

Joe Howard: products.

Nice. So, so are you guys kind of like the tag team of like, Brent’s going to design it and then, uh, Justin, you’re going to build it. Is that kind of how it works or is it a little bit more kind of intricate than that?

Justin Busa: Uh, well, Brent designs it, and then we both build it. Um, he’s just as good at writing code as he is design.

So it depends a lot of

Joe Howard: time there. Oh, cool brands. Not a lot of people out there. Like you got the dual, a dual skillset. I feel like a lot of people are good designers. A lot of people are good dads, but to find someone who’s both is a good, fine. So nice Brent, pretty cool hat. I mean, let’s even dive into that a little bit more.

How did you like, uh, end up being proficient enough at both to be able to really contribute in each way? Because I find to, at least for me, like to really be able to get to a point where I’m able to contribute a lot to a project, I have to like practice a certain skill or get pretty good in one area.

Like I spend more time in that, so I spend less time in other areas, but it sounds like you found time with, uh, with beaver builder to kind of be good at both. How’d that come to come to be? Uh, yeah, I

Brent Jett: mean, I’ve always kind of sat in the middle. I I’d say I’m a translator. I speak developers, big designer. I can use.

Kind of pair the two up, but, uh, yeah, my, uh, my background is designed. My background is art and photography came out of school doing that, but picked up some web jobs along the way, picked up some computer science along the way, you know, once you kinda, once you kind of started seeing those things kind of meeting up it’s, it’s not too hard to sit in the middle and, uh, I’ve I, you know, as a designer, I don’t think I’d ever be happy.

Doing something that wasn’t really interactive. I really like interaction design. So it makes sense. It makes sense. You know, when you, when you design something you want to, you want to see it work. So kind of puts you in the place of, uh, sort of trying to

Joe Howard: implement it. Yeah, for sure. I always found growing up that I, I always felt like I never really excelled in anything specifically.

Like, I was never like the best in anything. I was always like pretty good at a bunch of stuff. And I always felt like growing up, that was a disadvantage. I was like, man, I’m like not good at any one thing. Like this kind of sucks because I see a lot of other people like, oh, they’re so good at like that or this.

And now I’ve, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized it’s really nice to be kind of in the middle and pretty good at a lot of different stuff, because it allows me to be able to connect all these different things. Um, As the founder of a company who is not specifically good at any good one single thing, it allows me to actually have the advantage of kind of understanding each piece of the business and hopefully being able to help in a bunch of different areas as opposed to just being knowledgeable in one.

Um, cool. Um, and we also. Beaver builder is, you know, what, four years old now, something like that. Maybe

Justin Busa: the older five.

Joe Howard: Yeah. Cool. I mean, I’d love to hear the story a little bit more. Cause I think we dive into a little bit when Robbie was on, but I love to hear the story about just how beaver builder came to be.

I mean, anybody in the WordPress space has heard of beaver builder it’s at this point, it’s kind of like when you say page builder, like the. Thought that comes to people’s head is BeaverBuilder, it’s kind of like, okay, they’re almost synonymous, but in only five years to, uh, like made it to the place of, uh, you know, uh, visibility or, you know, of, uh, I guess brand awareness, I don’t know, whatever you want to call it.

You’re very well known in the WordPress space after us, after a pretty short time to have like, kind of really dominated the dominate in the WordPress space. After that short time, it was pretty impressive. Uh, we’ll hear more kind of about the start of, of beaver builder and how it, how it came to.

Justin Busa: Sure.

It’s been a, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to tell that story. So it should be kind of

Joe Howard: fun. Excellent.

Justin Busa: Yeah. Yeah, because you say like five years, you know, short amount of time, it feels like forever. And then, and especially when you, um, factor in that we actually started the business that built BeaverBuilder in 2010.

it’s, It feels like it’s been a long time, but yeah, that’s um, we, we started Fastline media, which is the, the company that runs beaver builder in 2010. And we were just, you know, client services agency doing WordPress and, design and custom plugin development and things like that.

And, uh, we had a few, I mean, you know, Batesville, there’s, there’s visual composer was around back then. One of the ones that always kind of like, that I saw that I could always kind of think of is like, you know, one of the first ones that like kind of sparked my interest in this was. Alex King’s company crowd favorite at the time, uh, had built a tool called Carrington build, which is like probably, I think it predates most stuff.

It was, I mean, but a lot of people probably don’t know about it, but it was, you know, it was like the backend kind of builder. that even then, when you say backend builder, these days, people are like, what’s the back end though? There? Well, it’s that kind of. Blocky looking thing that’s in WPI and I’m sure, you know, Joe I’m, so crap favorite had one of those and always thought visual design cool.

And were our tool and WordPress to be kind of cool. And you know, there wasn’t a whole lot out there at the time. And we had some clients that wanted visual building stuff. So, you know, we just kind of hacked together like metabolic solutions and things like that. And eventually. Decided to kind of try our hand at creating something.

There was another platform that we’re on called smug mud, or we weren’t on it, but we used to build photography websites. And they came out with their version two, which was a, kind of a nice, uh, drag and drop tool. I mean, pretty basic since they just focused on like photography sites, they weren’t like trying to build a gamut of websites.

Um, but I think we saw like some opportunities there, everyone we’re like, oh, Hey, what they’re doing over here is cool. So we started kind of taking some of that toward press and really just, you know, building a tool for ourselves. And then it just kind of snowballed from there. Once we productized it.

Move forward with BeaverBuilder wasn’t even called BeaverBuilder at first, it was called Fastline page builder. And then we got, yeah, we got some advice early on to make an actual brand. And maybe that whole thing, which is, you know, probably probably helped us quite a bit at this point. Yeah. Yeah. But that’s a pretty, pretty simple origin story there.

I mean just, yeah.

Joe Howard: Yeah is it’s, uh, uh, it’s simple. It’s simple to get complex. Cause I feel like I still have, I have the piece I wanted to dive into even more was like, did you feel like there was, uh, uh, moments where you like really like as a, as a team kind of decided like we’re going to go in this direction?

I think there are a lot of people listening who would do more services, maybe like a productized service, like WP buffs, or maybe they do custom dev or they’re a developer and to move into. Doing product full-time or building a SAS or whatever, you know, something a little more, slightly more scalable business model than just doing client services is very interesting to people.

Um, so I’d love to know if there was like, did you like have one meeting where you sat down, you were like, okay, like we’re going to go for it. Um, that transition is, can be difficult, but is there a time where you felt like, uh, you made a decision, it was kind of more of a slow.

Justin Busa: Uh, yeah, it was a slow roll. I mean, to be honest, that, you know, just, even in the beginning, it was more of just like a weekend project to like, Hey, look what we can do.

Um, let’s, you know, try and figure something out here, but then eventually it did come down to like, if we’re going to continue doing product or products and services together, and we decided just to focus on products, you know, once we got to a certain. Because that’s obviously kind of a scary transition to start offloading our clients and solely just get your revenue from a product, but slow roll.

And then eventually we decided let’s, let’s make it.

Joe Howard: Yeah, that’s always an interesting, uh, leap into kind of like a, more like a monthly recurring revenue sort of business model, more SAS based business model. It’s like, you kind of have to get used to this fact that like, people like pay for something and then they kind of keep paying you until they churn.

It’s like, okay. So like now my metrics are all different. Like how do I optimize this? It’s not just like going in, it’s not the same as kind of one time one-off business. You really focusing on different metrics. So. I always a interesting transition. Um, Brent, I’d love to hear kind of now we’ve kind of talked about that transition where you doing design for kind of clients.

And when you know, Fastline media before beaver builder, when you were working with kind of doing directly custom dev for people, and you had to transition into doing design for kind of the page builder and SAS, what did that transition look like? If that was the case? Yeah,

Brent Jett: I, uh, so, so I wasn’t around from the beginning.

Um, I was actually working for a digital marketing agency in Austin and, uh, as a designer and, you know, I always kind of treated page builders like. Th this kind of weird inevitability where it was like, I know they all suck. Cause they all sucked at that time. This was like, let’s see. When I started using beaver builder, it was like 2015, which was right around the time of day started offloading their clients and, and whatever.

And, uh, You know, and so it was, it was kind of like I would do this every five, six months or so I do kind of like circle the block of page builders and see like, all right, anybody not suck now because you know, we had this, we were ramping up our clients. Uh, when I left there, we had, you know, 50, 60 clients or so, you know, and two designers that were like handling.

Implemented, like all the way from design, through writing custom themes, you know, setting up the site, moving the content. And like we were handling a lot of work, 6, 5,

Joe Howard: 2 designers slash devs. That’s uh, sounds like you had your, your plate full. Oh, it was awful, but yeah,

Brent Jett: we were doing it and, um, we, uh, you know, and so we had gone to that place where it’s like, okay, well, you know, we’ve got a team.

Technical in terms of like, can do SEO can do, can run ads and paid search can, you know, like knows what to do, but isn’t going to be a developer. Right? So we have this funnel problem where we’ve got two guys who touched the code. And anytime a client thing comes across, like we’re, you know, and we’re not building, you know, our sites aren’t consistent.

So one site, you know, there’s a lever over here and another site, there’s a knob over there and, you know, it’s just, there’s too much, you know, there’s too much complexity. Uh, and so for me, the BeaverBuilder really was. You know, how do we get this thing so that not for us, it was never so that our clients couldn’t touch the site.

It was always so that our team equally could deal with the sites. Right? So the, you know, whoever picks up the phone and talks to the client and the client just says, Hey, I, you know, I need you to update this thing. They could just go do it. Uh, and so that’s where that’s when I, uh, started using BeaverBuilder and like maybe late 2014 or 2002, And, uh, I did kind of have to, I got a few people on the team on board.

A couple of other people, uh, had to be brought kicking and screaming a little bit because, you know, obviously we were battling the whole, uh, you know, perception that page builders were slow perception. That page builders were toys perception that they were like Crayola as perception. You know what I mean?

Like all the, all the nasty that had been created by frankly, the first generation of age builders. And so, um, you know, but we made that transition and, um, I ended up, uh, joining the slack community. And I don’t know. I think I went from asking questions to answering questions pretty quickly. Um, it was just hanging out there on a daily basis.

Cause it, it, it ended up being a little more interesting than the work I was doing. And, um, and so I don’t know, at some point I started hitting Justin up with ideas. I was pestering him. I had, you know, stuff that I wanted, you know, typical, obnoxious, you know, overachieving, hopefully, but you know, kind of, I was that customer.

I was the, I was the wouldn’t leave you alone customer. And then, um, I don’t know, just. Justin might have a different take on that. But

you know, at some point I think it was early 2016. I think it was January of 16. We, they were like, femur was still kind of like a glimmer in the eye sort of idea. And, uh, Justin was like, Hey, you want to, you want to come and do some UX for this? You know, of course I’m like, yeah, totally. I’ll do some design.

I figured it’d be like a three-week, you know, contract job, little, you know, little side paycheck here and do some design work and then, you know, and, um, the work just never stopped. So yeah. Uh, I think it’s been, I don’t know, a couple, it’s been about two years. Um, since I came on, full-time almost.

Joe Howard: So cool. And this is not a very cool story that a, you bring someone in, who’s kind of a user of a, of beaver builder. We actually find Brent the same thing. Cause we have beaver builder working on WP buffs.com and we find that’s really easy for our market. Head of marketing, Caitlin to work the site a little easier than looking at the HTML and CSS.

It’s much easier if she wants to just create a quick landing page, like just use BeaverBuilder. It allows us to move much more quickly. So I get where you, where you were coming from. But, uh, but yeah, but what I wanted to talk about was that. Just like, this is not a one-off thing. If I’m, if I’m remembering correctly, I believe that, uh, some of the marketing support, a beaver builder and Anthony was all, he was also a user before coming on and helping out and actually working on beaver builder.

So, uh, is this like a method of recruitment, Justin that you’ve kind of found or is it just kind of happened to work out that way?

Justin Busa: A little bit of both. I mean, it has. I happened to work out that way. Like, I don’t think we, like intentionally said, you know, we’re going to go to the community, but we also have, you know, kind of like realized over time that, you know, the community is in a bad place to start looking if we need, I mean, it’s, it definitely helps.

Um, when, you know, onboarding someone, if they’re like already up to speed on BeaverBuilder and then especially from like a designer development perspective too, you know, they’ve already like, you know, built custom modules or something like.

Joe Howard: Yeah, that’s a good point. Um, yeah, and just the community in general is a really, there are people there, you know, there they’re a thousand different ways to market what you do, and to try and get more visibility and to try and get more whatever traffic and new customers, that beaver builder community is just incredibly strong in the WordPress space.

Uh, so strongly we’re able to recruit talent from it’s to help actually build new products, but also to. Potentially help increase sales to get the word out there on new, uh, on, on, on new additions, new features, new products, which we’ll talk about a little bit later on here, but, uh, but yeah, I mean I’m in this Facebook group, there’s always something going on in there.

So yeah, I’d love to hear it because we’ve talked about building community or like building an audience through community here on the podcast before, but. You’re building has an especially strong one. I’d love to hear kind of a little bit more about like, was it, did it just kind of come to fruition that people started joining this Facebook group and start happening?

Was it just like you had created a good product that really had good fits? So people were really into it. You were like, we were really intentional about like community building and really like strategic about the certain ways you were building out community. Maybe you just, maybe you just got lucky, like maybe it just happens.

I don’t know. I love to hear like what, what that build of community really looked like as beaver builder kind of started to take the limelight in the WordPress space.

Justin Busa: Yeah, sure. Um, I mean, partially it just kind of just happened, but I mean, I think that that was because of our involvement. Like we were heavily involved.

Um, we’ve always been like heavily involved in like, you know, providing like top-notch support, like, you know, Uh, a lot of times people come to us with like questions for things and whatnot. They’re not like, like directly related to BeaverBuilder. We’re not, we don’t just like shoot them away right away and backside.

I can’t help you. So I think that’s part of it too, is that we’ve always been like really welcoming and people and building relationships and things like that, you know, with our customers. Um, I think Scott, along with. But I mean, in terms of how it happened, at least the Facebook group anyways, um, was just one of our customers, you know, asked us, Hey, can I start this Facebook group?

And then that just kind of snowballed over time. We did start to like add, well, we became more involved after a little while. And we started saying, you know, like add links here and there, like join our community and whatnot, um, to really like promote that Facebook community. Um, but I think a lot of it did spearhead just from how like involved.

We tried to be with, with our customers, you know, not just putting out a product and saying, okay, figure it out, you know, contact us if you need something specific, really trying to like be there for our customers and whatnot. And I think that that kind of seed. Grow into what it is today.

Joe Howard: Yeah. Very cool. I think that, uh, it’s so interesting hearing about how people are building, like their online communities and that it feels like everyone I talked to does it slightly differently?

Like there’s so many paths to go from a to B. Yeah, but it’s, to me, the piece I pick out of that is kind of the, like you had a user asked to start the Facebook group. Like we started a Facebook group for our users and it’s gone fine, but to have someone who’s like, I want to create this Facebook group and like, let me do all this work.

And like, you guys, I want you to be involved. But to me, that signifies very much like there’s, if one person has to do it, they’re probably, you know, a lot of other people out there who would join, who would want to be involved. Um, so yeah, it’s very cool. Question about BeaverBuilder. So there’s beaver builder, uh, which is the page builder.

And then there’s beaver theme, There’s a theme that’s also comes with BeaverBuilder. Can you like talk about, I’ve heard I had my, some of my team had a few questions about that. Maybe you could just like clarify what exactly or how those exactly work together.

Justin Busa: Yeah, I’m sure our naming, uh, kind of makes it a little complicated, but there’s, there’s the, uh, the page builder.

Um, and then we have a traditional WordPress theme, a companion thing theme that works really well with BeaverBuilder, although you don’t need the theme. Um, and then theme or beaver steamer, uh, is a, another standalone plus. That brings a lot of, uh, uh, building capabilities to BeaverBuilder, uh, beyond just the page layout.

Um, so headers and footers, which are, you know, kind of basic elements, but then also like, you know, full site-wide templates. Like, you know, you can build a template for just your posts or your products or your pages or whatever. Um, and then it’ll apply to all of them and, you know, it’ll pick up, uh, the, uh, editor content and things like that.

And it’s got some other advanced, uh, features too that are kind of nice, like data bindings. We call them field connections. So if you have like some custom fields, uh, you can hook up, you know, you’re heading to, um, a custom field or the post title or whatever. And then every post that has. Femur template we’ll, um, we’ll pull in, you know, that for that specific post.

Um, so I mean, w kind of a born out of two, it was like, you know, obviously full site building one, and you to be able to build like every piece of your site with the builder. Um, but things too, like, you know, there’s a lot of agencies that have the workflow will they’ll use a custom field plugin, um, and just expose like, Things that the client can edit.

So the client never actually has to go into the visual design tool. You know, they can edit some content. They can, you know, just some custom fields. Maybe you have a hero image, um, the tucked up to a custom field. So your client can just go into the back end with, which is, you know, Uh, for all intents and purposes is getting simpler, I guess, maybe I don’t know, but, uh, it’s still not as much control as giving them the full page builder so they can go in and, you know, change the hero image and maybe the headline and the sub-headline or something.

And it’s yeah. It’s as basic as that. And then there’s like some really fine grain rules too. Like where you can say, I want this to only show for these type of users on this type of post type or whatever. Um, so you can get pretty complex with what those kinds of rules sets to.

Joe Howard: Yeah, very cool. Brent, I want to get back to you in a second, cause I want to talk about more design-related stuff.

And I want to talk about your guys’s new product that you have out. That’s kind of stem from BeaverBuilder. But before we go there, I want to ask one more question. It’s around beaver builder, and it’s actually kind of around competition for you guys in the WordPress community. Um, I talk with Robbie a little bit very briefly about this word camp, Europe, which you were at to Justin.

 We must have been crossing ships in the night, but, uh, yeah. You know, and you never have enough time to see everyone you’re, you’re meant to see. But, um, but I talked with Robbie there for, uh, for a few minutes there about, this topic that I find very interesting, because I don’t think there are a lot of people in the WordPress space who have the kind of competition that you guys do in terms of.

Being a pretty well-funded company. Um, I think there are a lot of agencies out there doing work here and there, but to be kind of up against, uh, another page builder that has a lot of financial resources at their disposal, as opposed to kind of being a bootstrapped company like you guys it’s a monster to kind of probably have to fight again.

But I just love to hear a little bit about kind of what that’s been like, um, for maybe people out there who haven’t had the experience of. Like trying to go up against a big really well-funded company.

Justin Busa: Yeah. It’s interesting. You’re right, because you don’t see that as often in the WordPress space.

Although I think in terms of like technology and like software companies in general, it’s actually fairly common. So we’ve what it’s been like. Um, you know, we’ve done some, uh, some coaching with some people that are a lot smarter than us, you know, and ask them these questions and kind of try to figure.

You know how to handle that. And I think a lot of it comes down to just staying true to your north star and then what you’re trying to achieve, don’t let yourself get distracted. Although you can’t just turn a blind eye, but you kind of have to pick your path, you know, make sure that you’re, you’re, you’re, you’re going in the right direction.

Um, can’t, you know, cause if you get distracted then you’re just gonna, you’re not gonna have any idea where you’re going. And so we’ve been fortunate enough that beaver builders and. As successful as well, too, that we’ve been able to kind of take our time on things and not just like rush, like, you know, like you said, you’re going to talk about, um, you want to talk to Brandon A.

Little bit here about assistant Mike. Uh, we’ve been able to kind of flush it. You know, the long-term vision for that and where we’re going there. Um, and then same with BeaverBuilder too. Um, I think it’s been equally interesting because there’s also Gutenberg, right? So, uh, in the page builder space, not only the customers are really rabid, right.

You know, like I don’t ever see people like, you know, uh, arguing about contact form plugins the way they do. Hey, maybe contact form plugins. That might be a bad example, but you know what I mean? There’s like different classes of plugins where everyone’s just like, oh, this is what I liked. This is what I like.

And that’s like the end of the conversation. But then you ask people what their favorite page builder is. And there’s, you know, like a couple hundred comments in the thread or something like that. So, um, People are very rabid about their tools probably would be the same. If you started like a discussion between Adam as a code editor and something else, maybe it’s just like the tool you’re in every day, because you’re in a page builder every day when you’re building a website, it’s, you know, so much, but, uh, you know, the competition aside, then you throw like the platform itself, encroaching on the space and that adds a whole different dynamic there.

But I, yeah, I think w so both of those kind of, um, things that you have to think about as a business owner, we were trying not to let it distract us, um, and trying to still think about where we can, uh, bring value to our core customer. Um, like we understand who our customer is. We understand that, you know, We’re going we’re, we’re focused on, uh, creative professionals.

You know, even though we have a lot of overlap with like DIY users, for example, and that some of our competition does really well in that space. We’re not just rushing to jump and try and, um, you know, gobble up some customers in that space because then that’s going to take away from, you know, our, our core customer.

And that we’re really good at focusing on is, is creative professionals. So, um, yeah, just staying the course really are, you know, trying to focus in.

Joe Howard: Yeah, I really liked that answer a lot. Uh, yeah. Brian, you were gonna say something, go ahead.

Brent Jett: Well, I think too, you know, we have such a wide variety of customers.

You’re like when you have a community like that, you’re going to have people that are features nature, chasers, you know, that want us to, to, to chase after every new features that comes. And, you know, we’ve, we’ve all seen products that do that, that, you know, every time somebody comes out with something, they’ve got to come out with that too.

But at the same time, you’re going to have people who are really happy that you don’t do. Um, which puts you in an interesting situation because every time you come out with something new, you’ve got one guy that says, oh my gosh, this new feature is amazing. The other guy says, oh my gosh, it looks like this is getting bloated now.

And you know, and so, you know, in some ways you can’t win there, but you know, you’ve got certain people that kind of see the value in, you know, If you want to call it lean, if you want to call it performance, if you want to call it, you know, uh, there, there’s kind of a value in the negative space of the product.

It not having every little bell and whistle. And so I think, you know, for us really just trying to stick to our guns and say, what is it we’re trying to accomplish here and not get sort of swept to and fro by whatever the loudest person wants that day. You know, I

Joe Howard: think that’s pretty good. Yeah, I totally agree with everything both you all said.

I think that a lot of people could take a lot of value from that. We have a lot of competitors in the kind of maintenance space and, and S WordPress support space. And of course, we kind of want to look around and see what other people are doing and just kind of like have a good lay of the land, but I’m very much of the mindset that we have control over our own destiny.

It’s not going to be someone else who starts dominate, and then we just. All off Matt, because someone else started it’s we have our destiny under control. And if we can serve the customers that we’re aiming for well and continue to serve them well in the future, we’ll be fine. I think it’s probably similar with BeaverBuilder.

I think you’re, you’re totally right. Like Justin, when you said about like, what’s your north star, uh, like who are the people you’re trying to deliver value? Let’s deliver value for them. You have this great community, uh, which you can take advantage of and which is an advantage y’all have created. And so, yeah, I think, uh, I think there’s a lot, a lot there.

I’m gonna, I’m gonna have to go back to this episode after publishes so I can go back and listen to what, what both y’all just said. So I can, I can rely on myself. Cool. Let’s hop into assistant stuff. So. You went from agency that builds kind of custom dev stuff. You’re moved into product and you move into beaver builder.

Now you’re doing a page builder and you do have a, the steam that comes with the beat with beaver builder, the page builder to really give you a robust, a way to build kind of a custom website without really having. Custom coding. Uh, and now you guys are kind of moving into a second product. I don’t know if it’s a second, it’s another product.

Um, but assistance. I’d love to hear maybe a little bit Brent from you first because, uh, the first time I learned about assistant, I don’t know if it was on your blog or what, but I remember seeing the logo for, for it and being. I know that’s, BeaverBuilder, it’s not like super obvious at first glance, but like someone in the WordPress space knows it.

Cause there’s, there’s some fun stuff in the little logo, but I’d love to hear a little bit about, about the design first and how that kind of got started.

Brent Jett: Uh, the design of the brand or the product itself

Joe Howard: yeah, let’s just like go for all of it. I, I asked a very vague question, so thank you for clarifying to

Brent Jett: be totally fair.

Assistant has some very vague areas. Um, you know,

Joe Howard: even for us, they’ll tell most products started out

Brent Jett: well, and I think it’s, I think it’s fair to say that, you know, back when, uh, Justin, when the guys were putting, BeaverBuilder get together. It was kind of obvious what they were trying to do. Those kind of, you know, not in a bad way, but I mean, like, you know, it was, it was clear, right.

And even to a certain extent, a femur was kind of clear, right. We want to bring BeaverBuilder out of the single-page and into the broader, uh, the broader website. We got to a place where, you know, the next product is not clear. Right. And we had, we had lots of ideas, lots of things we want to do. And I think if you, if you were able to kind of see our, I don’t know, collective brains among us, there is a north star down way down the road.

There is something that we’re trying to get to you. And so it’s not totally clear how these two products sort of, you know, are gonna, are gonna pair with each other. But if you

Joe Howard: could see down the road, But yeah, assistant came from a kind of

Brent Jett: a, a space where obviously, you know, we are seeing some fragmentation, uh, with how people are building pages, right?

You, you might be building in BeaverBuilder or you might be building in Gutenberg and you might have a site where both of those coexist, right. You might be blogging and Gutenberg and building, building landing pages and beaver builder. And, um, you know, or you might

Joe Howard: have a site.

Brent Jett: Maybe, you know, maybe you haven’t discovered being builder.

And so, you know, to put all of our eggs in that one

Joe Howard: basket

Brent Jett: is kind of, you know, that hint, that kind of, um,

Joe Howard: uh, restrain some of the things that we want to do. And we, we, we want to

Brent Jett: work on, obviously we care deeply about the front end. We think the front end is kind of the fun place to be on your website.

We don’t really, you know, the, the WordPress admin is great, but you know, the front end space is kind of visual, the creative, the, you know, it’s your canvas. So we want to kind of bring more over it. What we said in the outset was, okay, we’re not trying to, we don’t want to just bring the admin over. Right.

We’re not trying to say like, let’s make an admin on the front end. That really wasn’t the goal. But. If we wanted to explore a new experience, we’re going to have to bring some of the admin over because that’s the stuff that you’re dealing with. So assistant kind of was born out of this idea of like, well, how can we create a space, a UI space for us to try a lot of different ideas, to be able to prototype some things quickly, to be able to create, you know, every time we think, well, you know, I could do this and it’s kind of a companion to beaver builder.

Like I want to be able to get that off the ground really fast. But also just kind of, you know, day to day stuff. How can I navigate around the site? Even if, uh, you know, even if let’s say I’m working on a theme and my nav menu doesn’t have everything in it yet, how do I get around? Right. I have to jump back to the admin and go find stuff.

And there’s some stuff that’s in WordPress. That’s actually kind of hard to find if you don’t have your theme set up. Exactly. Right. You know, trying to think.

Joe Howard: I’m working on a team and I need to

Brent Jett: go test that the attachment page looks good. Okay. And I just, for the life of me, can’t find a way to get there, you know, things like that.

Um, so there’s some, some corners in the WordPress space that, that are sometimes hard to. So navigating, you know, pulling up references, you know, sometimes you need to embed a link or you need to, uh, you know, grab a URL to something. And you’re just like, I just, I just want to pull it up. I don’t need to like, you know, go through four or five clicks and the admin to try and go find this thing.

I just want to pull it up. So yeah, we, we, we burned through a whole bunch of different ideas and kind of where we, uh, sort of settled is

Joe Howard: can we create a front-end product? That allows us to

Brent Jett: do practically anything. And we sort of settled on the app metaphor and it’s very, you know, very much parallel to, uh, apps on your phone, right?

The idea of each, each app is topical. It deals with

Joe Howard: something deals with some idea, some broad concept.

Brent Jett: Um, and so an app might, you know, it might expose your media library for example, or it might expose. Uh, you know, some things you were working on recently, right? And so really the, the kind of fundamental ideas, is there a way for a plugin product to be useful to you out of the box, whether you’re starting a vanilla WordPress site and you haven’t done any content at all yet, or whether you’re coming into a site, you know, we work with a lot of people that have to go into sites and they’re auditing.

Because, you know, the site has some kind of, you know, dumpster fire going on and they have to go in and tell, you know, figure it out for their client. Like what, what does it look like? What’s the deal? Is there, you know, is there a tool that they can install one thing and it immediately is useful in figuring out what’s going on on that site.

Uh, and so assistance is hopefully going to answer, uh, those things. It’s still kind of. Uh, but that’s sort of the foundation layer forces and is meant to be a companion, whether you’re just using vanilla WordPress or whether you’re using beaver builder

Joe Howard: or whatever.

Yeah. I think the, uh, parallel you drew to kind of like an app is really interesting because that’s the first thing I thought of when I, when I’m on the. The site, which is just assistant for wp.com. Uh, it just has the, uh, it has this kind of, it almost looks like a little phone that comes up, like on the front of your WordPress site.

That’s kind of like this little nice little app. Um, you know, you can see all sorts of different diagnostic information about the site and not just diagnostic, like helpful information. You can, uh, you know, do a few different things just from the front end. I think that’s. I have been as I’m sure I’m not the only one.

The thought that WordPress, the backend of the dashboard of WordPress is very difficult, difficult to navigate. It’s difficult to find what you need, especially with different themes. Everything’s in a different place. It’s a, for someone who’s an experienced WordPress person like myself, I can find my way.

I can figure out stuff pretty quickly and fast now that I know the tricks to it. But if you’re a beginning, No, this shit’s hard. It’s not easy to find this stuff. You could take hours to find this one. Simple. How do I change this little social, but button? You know, if you have something from the front end that you didn’t even have to go into dashboard, but you could do make simple changes from the front-end that don’t require back end access.

That’s a, that’s an interesting proposition. Um, yeah, when it says here on the site is assistant is a free plugin from the team that brought you beaver builder to help you accomplish common tasks quickly in WordPress without leaving the front end. Yeah, I think that’s a really nice way to think about it.

Um, I’m gonna have to install this on, uh, on, on, uh, WP busser or WP MRR to check it out and see how it works. I haven’t yet, but on my to do list now it’s a free plugin question mark for now, I guess, free plugin. Is there any thought maybe, I guess Justin or Brent, either you guys, but is there any thoughts about what this might look like as a premium offering?

Um, you know, at the end of the day, you want to try and probably build something that people will pay for. Of course, I understand the wants to offer it free, to get users, to get feedback, to make it better, to improve, and then potentially offerings kind of a next level version. Is that in your mind now as a potential next step in the future, or are you kind of just like waiting it out now and seeing what happens.

Justin Busa: Sure. Um, yeah, no, I mean, there’s not necessarily that we’re just like, okay, well, here’s a, here’s a free version. Here’s a paid version. It’s not that black and white. And I think that’s where we’re at right now.

And that’s like, you know, the question you asked is, you know, is, is there a paid version? And I think the answer to that is assistant is gonna allow us, like right now, you see what you see now in, in what’s going to help, help you with WordPress. Like Brent just explained long-term we want it to be a space for us to build more tools for creative professionals that aren’t just involved with page building, because that’s, you know, the space we’ve been in.

And those are a lot of the problems we’ve seen, but to be honest, not all, not all the tools that solve those problems belong like in a page builder or maybe even in WordPress themselves. Um, so that’s where, you know, if you can kind of squint and look, long-term, we’re going to have, um, you know, some remote services and things like that that will tie into assistant.

You know, I could sit here and kind of brought some ideas, but. Then I, then I’ll just kind of ramble on and not make a lot of sense, but, uh, you know, there’s, there, there are problems we can solve, um, outside of WordPress and we can bring that we can bring back into WordPress. Um, and we’re going to try and do that through assistant, um, because like Brent said, you know, right now we’re building an.

An app layer or a foundation that allows us to build new apps. So, um, you know, in the free product and what you’re seeing right now in the, in the birth of this is just stuff that relates to WordPress as WordPress is, you know, it’s just kind of WordPress core, but you know, the really exciting stuff. And, you know, I’ve had to be patient I’m really impatient.

I’m like, I want to just get it all done now. And we got all the ideas and we’ve had a million conversations, but, um, we have to start with this foundation layer and then, um, down the line, um, once we that’s kind of, um, Uh, you know, more solid and we’ve figured out, then we can start to really do some of these cool ideas that are side at solving problems for, um, you know, creatives and things like that that are beyond the page.

And I think that’ll possess position as well, you know, going through to the future too, because it puts us adjacent, not, you know, not only to our competition, but to WordPress and Gutenberg itself too. So, you know, when you’re doing. Solving one specific problem, which is building the page right now. We want to start to look at, uh, how we can solve, uh, problems beyond, beyond the page.

Not that we’re going to stop solving page building problems. It’s just that we’re trying to kind of expand what we’re doing.

Joe Howard: Yeah. I love how humble you are too. Oh, we entered this contest, this plugin contest. We built this plugin and I’m looking at blog posts as you guys won the contest. So I just have to make sure listeners know there, the plugin took first place in the contest, so we built it for a contest and, took the gold medal.

I’d love to. Start wrapping up here, but like, I want to talk about like, what gives you guys so much confidence to continue to build pretty like new products that may stem from old products, but to move into new areas that are somewhat unknown. Uh, I’ve talked to some people who kind of, they say, like to rebuild an app.

Um, I think I talked with Kevin over at ninja forums about this and they, they did like an app, uh, rebuild and he said a lot of what they traded in. They traded in known issues for unknown. Which to me was a very interesting concept because I never really thought about it that way, but it’s like, yeah, if you rebuild your whole app, you may be able to get rid of some of the old problems, but now you have new unknown problems when, before you may have had problems, but they were known problems, which is a, it’s an interesting, kind of a thought process there, but it’s a similar situation when you’re kind of moving into something new.

Um, so I’d love to know like what. What makes you guys say, like, let’s push the go button. Um, this is a new thing we’re kind of in unknown territory at some point, but, uh, we’re confident this will be successful. What kind of like leads you to be able to actually take those steps? I’ll take a stab at

Brent Jett: that.

I don’t know. I think there are certainly, you know, there are certainly new things. We’re going to run into issues. We haven’t seen before. Part of this, I think from a technical perspective, a assistant has built in react Redux. It’s a, it’s very much a JavaScript

Joe Howard: client-side application.

Brent Jett: That’s not a space.

We really like, um, which kind of, I don’t know. I think we were maybe flowing in the opposite direction. Some people in the WordPress community,

Joe Howard: the choice of going with, um, you know, some of these technologies

Brent Jett: for Gutenberg and kind of the future, maybe where some of the WordPress core stuff is going. Once you use it, like it’s a technology that you’re like, oh my gosh, I want to use this everywhere.

Joe Howard: Like I want to work this way. And

Brent Jett: it is solving like it’s going to introduce new problems or we’re, we’re learning, you know, we’ve learned a lot since we started using, using react and, and some other stuff in our, in our.

But it also, it eliminates a ton of things too. And so I think, you know, some of this is like we enjoy building products, we enjoy kind of creating and exploring and whatnot. And we have some platform tools that weren’t available when BeaverBuilder was created and kind of inspired you to be like, okay, well this has got easier.


Joe Howard: let’s what, what else can we do

Brent Jett: the other part? I think, um, you know, it’s a different product. It’s coming at it from a different angle. But for us, you know, we’re just kind of, we’re orbiting around these issues that people go through when they’re creating webs. And I think that’s something that collectively our team is really passionate about.

We’ve all spent time building websites. We’ve all spent time, spent time, you know, dealing with design and dealing with, uh, how does the data meet the design, right. And ultimately that results in a, in a website, or you could even, you know, you could say that results in an app, or you could, you know, there’s all these different things that are really very similar expressions of the same problem.

So yeah, it, it, it’s, it’s tricky to kind of package these things up in a product and say, okay, that’s. But when you kind of, you know, step back and look at it, it’s, it’s all sort of orbiting around this idea of just, you know, how can we help people create for the web. So I think when you look at it that way, it just simplifies it down.

It’s not, it’s not really that kind of a. Profound and the

Joe Howard: thought to me, it’s like, that’s well, that’s what we do. You know, that’s what we want to do. Yeah, man, I, uh, I dig it. It’s, uh, it’s hard to be able to jump into new areas, but, uh, I mean, I feel like I’ve heard from both of you, like, it’s really about your passion for creating experience for your users.

That is kind of your style and the way you think things should be done. Kind of guiding light it’s important aspect to maybe an arguably one of the most important pieces to remember of how you’re building a company and how you’re building a business, how you’re building something that people want is like, you gotta stick to your guns on that.

Um, so cool guys. It has been super awesome. Jumping on with you too. I feel like I’ve met many other people in the BeaverBuilder team already, and this is my first time meeting you guys, and you guys are already, uh, as awesome as everybody says you are. So, uh, I appreciate you guys hopping on.

Uh, I would love to, uh, wrap up and maybe tell people where they can find you online, social media websites, all that stuff.

Justin Busa: Sorry. So you where you can find us online at BeaverBuilder on Twitter. Is it at WP? BeaverBuilder nothing it’s at BeaverBuilder Twitter. Sorry. I’m not in the code. I don’t do social media at BeaverBuilder on Twitter.

Um, and then we have our Facebook group, either builders, I believe the S and we also have a slack community, um, which is either builders as

Brent Jett: well as the website. I’m fine.

Joe Howard: Yeah. Yep. WP beaver, builder.com. Uh, there’s a little sidebar here. If you go down like any blog posts that has the join our community area, it’s got the Facebook link, slack link, Twitter link, community forums, link, all that stuff.

You can also find on the beaver builder website. Uh, cool. Last thing I always say. Usually I have one guest. So today I have two. So you guys can choose who wants to do this, but I always have a guest ask our listeners for a little five star iTunes review.

So if one of you wouldn’t mind stop at stepping in and asking our listeners.

Justin Busa: Joe is a super nice guy. So I would say definitely deserves a five-star teams would be

Joe Howard: yes. Nailed it. So nice. So nice appreciate that, Justin. Uh, and when y’all are leaving. Your review on iTunes, make sure you comment about what episode you were listening to.

Justin and Brian were so cool people builder so awesome. This assistant thing, sick like that should definitely be in the comment so we can forward it to them, make them smile. Uh, cool. If you ever have any questions for the show, feel free to ping us. Uh, yo@wpmrr.com. If you’re a new listener, feel free.

Back through some old episodes and do some bingeing. We’d have a tons of hours of podcasts. And so not everything is good. I always say this, like not everything is going to be relevant to you right now. And certain points of your journey through WordPress, we’ll have certain things that are more appropriate, but if you go back through the whole log, you’ll probably find four or five episodes.

You’re like, man, like I need to go listen to this episode, buy from Brad tuner, delicious brains to talk. Cause he talks all about pricing. Like I need to, you know, there’s all sorts of different specific things. Ooh, go find in a few episodes. You’ll like it and give them a listen. Yeah. WP mrr.com. Uh, if you’re an agency or a freelancer and you are interested in, in focusing on monthly recurring revenue, a little bit like the BeaverBuilder guys are doing, and you are interested in selling some care plans or doing some ongoing maintenance for clients, as opposed to just one-time projects and building websites, feel free to check out the video course, WP mrr.com.

Maybe when this podcast comes out, we’ll still be doing. Our big 75% off discount. I don’t know. Hopefully now that I said it, I kind of, I guess I got to extend that now, so we’ll probably, we’ll be still doing it here, but if you, if we’re not just email me@yowpmrr.com, I’ll hook you up. Cool. That is it. For this week.

We will be back next Tuesday, Justin Brent, thank you guys for hopping on. It’s been real

Justin Busa: fun. .

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