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Matt Mullenweg, Podcast

E143 – WordPress vs Wix & the Fight Against Fake News (Matt Mullenweg, Automattic)

In today’s episode, Joe talks to Matt Mullenweg, one of the founding developers of WordPress and the Founder and CEO of Automattic – a distribution company committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion with the goal to democratize publishing and commerce.

Matt talks about the systematic approach of Automattic, WordPress, and the rest of the Automattic web brands, as well as scaling and hiring skilled engineers, and the upside and downside of content distribution on different social platforms. 

What to Listen For:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 02:51 Welcome to the pod, Matt!
  • 03:09 How does Automattic work?  
  • 04:08 Get to know QuickForget – a tool designed to assist in sending sensitive information through email
  • 07:17 WordPress VIP on upscaling and continuous business growth
  • 09:32 Is there a cross collaboration between WordPress and Automattic?
  • 11:48 Finding good engineers is still challenging
  • 15:14 Four immutable aspects we can look for in new hires
  • 17:30 What separates Automattic from WordPress
  • 18:47 WordPress and Automattic remain a platform that enables
  • 20:55 Should platforms take responsibility for all content published on their site?
  • 26:04 Preventing negativity and the spread of misinformation and fake news
  • 33:13 Trustworthy and reliable institutions are necessary in our society
  • 34:50 The conflict between Wix and WordPress

Episode Resources:

Podcast Transcript:

Joe Howard: [00:00:00] Howdy folks, Joe Howard here this week, I got to sit down and chat with Matt Mullenweg. Now, if you don’t know who Matt is just listened to the first few minutes of today’s episode, you’ll get to know pretty quickly, but we got to have a really cool conversation. I. Prepped a lot for this episode, not a lot, but you know, five, six hours.

I was listening to other podcast episodes he’s been on. If you want hear more about him on other podcasts. And Matt report has a great episode that went out a couple months ago and Michelle did a great episode on WP coffee talk, both of which I listened to and really enjoyed. I thought maybe I wasn’t going to get a ton of time to ask him everything I wanted to, you know, I didn’t get to ask him everything or talk with every about every single topic I wanted to, but I got most of what I wanted to really talk about at the core.

We talked about automatic scaling that company, how they do hiring and recruiting there for engineers and for other positions, how they made it from 200 employees to 1400 really interesting stuff, especially from my perspective as a business owner. We talked about democratizing publishing and the era of fake news.

Matt has a really nuanced perspective on fighting fake news, the role of moderators, the role of companies, and section two 30, really some cool stuff there. And so, yeah. And the final thing we kind of talked about at the end, not kind of the final thing we chatted about was the Wix versus WordPress saga that is happening right now.

So if you’re. A core member of the community, you know, about all that stuff that’s happening. And you’ll get to hear mats opinion about that, my everything going on there and very eye-opening to hear some of the reasons why he wrote his letter on his blog or his blog posts there to clarify a few things, but also for some personal reasons as well.

So I’ll let him tell it because I can’t do it better than him. All right. Without further ado, please. Welcome. The one and only Matt Mullenweg enjoy today’s episode.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:02:03] the WP MRR WordPress podcast is brought to you by WP buffs. WP buffs manages WordPress websites, 24 seven. And powers digital growth for agencies, freelancers and WordPress professionals. Join our white label program Graham. And by next week you could be offering a 24 seven white label website support to your clients and passively growing your monthly recurring revenue or become a WP buffs affiliate to earn 10% monthly payouts every month for the lifetime of every client.

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Joe Howard: [00:02:46] We are live on the pod this week, uh, with the one and only Matt Mullenweg. Matt, I’m gonna do like a quick intro for you because most people listening probably know who you are at this point.

You are the co-founder of WordPress and CEO of automatic, but I kind of wanted to start around automatic because I think most people think about automatic and. They really focus on the WordPress side of things. I’d love for you to just kind of like break down the different pieces of automatic 1400 employees, automatic, you know, I don’t think they all work on WordPress core.

So I’d love you to do like a quick breakdown, like of all the like kind of sub companies or sub areas within automatic. That’d be cool.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:03:25] Sure. So off the top, we try to follow a five for the teacher. So that means about 5% of those 1400 people just work on WordPress core. Cause that’s about 70, a lot of that’s on Gutenberg.

Some of it’s on community organizing Josepha leads that for us and is obviously a prominent figure in the wordpress.org community. We also try to take 5% of the company. To work on what we call other bets, which we kind of shamelessly stole from Google products, going from zero to one new things or things that might be a little more nascent sensei could be a good example of that.

It’s a LMS plugin for WordPress that, that we work on the rest of the business is largely divided in kind of consumer. Where there’s like either like, do it yourselfers or developers or agencies who buy something with a credit card, like Jetpack or wordpress.com business plan or something like that. The anti-spam backup there’s enterprise, which we call VIP.

So that’s people spending usually North of 50 or a hundred grand a year for like a really, really elite proof WordPress that will like never have a problem. It’s like e-commerce through WooCommerce. And, um, we do some advertising as well. Most of that goes through our tumbler business, which is, was a competitive blogging platform.

Probably one of WordPress’s best ever competitors that we were able to buy in 2019. And we’re actually in the process of switching it over to be powered by word best. So yeah, we really want everything in the world will be powered by WordPress, wherever it

Joe Howard: [00:04:55] makes sense. Yeah. Cool. I heard a little bit about you talking about that kind of integration and transition into Tumblr on Matt, other math podcast, Matt Madeiros his podcast.

Um, and that was definitely an interesting part of that conversation. How about quick forget? I don’t know if that’s something that’s like still in your brain. Is that something that people say work on it automatic or is it kind of just its own thing that lives? Yeah, it’s

Matt Mullenweg: [00:05:17] cool that, you know, that one, that’s still one for like sharing a secret one time, right?

Yeah, exactly. That is just kind of a side project that we do. We give our engineers and we basically can create anything under our umbrella. And, um, sometimes there’s something that needs to exist in the world. Like an open source, trustworthy way to share a one-time secret that we’re pretty sure it gets deleted afterwards.

And that’s what grit for it is that, that, wow, that’s a deep cut. I actually. A while and kind of forgot that that was from

Joe Howard: [00:05:45] us. It’s fun to bring up those things from the past, we use it pretty frequently actually for folks passing things like login credentials to us safely, you know, people don’t want to do the, just the text format and an email link.

Well then Google probably has your email. So you want to keep it safe and secure. So that’s one method we actually use pretty frequent. I think someone on our team found it one day and was like, Oh, this is cool too. And then in the subheader, it’s like automatic. Family product or something like, Oh, cool.

Didn’t even know this existed, but I guess we do now

Matt Mullenweg: [00:06:11] across all of it. The number one thing that we try to do is just build trust and, you know, automatics about 15 years old now. And we just try to put more and more on the trust bank, whether that’s user that sees Automatic’s name on something, they know that it’s going to be.

You know, user centric, privacy centric, easy to get a refund. It’ll work well, it’ll be fast, it’ll be secure. And then as you know, other entrepreneurs also think maybe of selling their businesses or joining something larger, we can say, Hey, this is a place where, you know, it’s a, it’s a good place to work.

You have great colleagues really, and we’ll be able to accelerate and be a good home for the thing you built for a long period of time.

Joe Howard: [00:06:49] Yeah, very cool. You mentioned building that trust and that’s actually something I do want to dive into a little bit later in this episode there. So that’s a good little segue for something I like to talk about in a little bit, but the first thing I actually want to do was kind of talk more about.

Automatic the size of the company, how you’ve gotten to this point in 1400 employees is a lot, it’s a few more than we have, but WP buffs, you know, so man, that’s really thinking into the potential future for me, but I kind of wanted to know, because I listened to Matt. Madeiros his podcast with your new mentioned, you know, it actually may have been your podcast episode with Jack Dorsey.

On distributed podcast. I can’t remember. I listened to both because I was trying to do some prep for this podcast, but in one of them, you did talk about how WordPress VIP is about 200 people now. And one thing that you said that kind of stuck with me was you said, you know, if I’m misquoting a little bit, I’m just kind of reviewing about what you said, which was that the form of the scaling was very effective in terms of how.

It was a similar structure when automatic was at that point as when, at what VIP is right now. And I kind of actually wanted to dive a little bit more into that as a business owner, myself, as someone who’s, who wants to know kind of about scaling. Who’s had some scaling challenges in the past year, myself, you know, we’ve definitely been working on some things I’d love to know from you and dig a little bit more into that.

Like the similarities between where VIP is right now at about 200 people. And when automatic was 200 people and like, how did that 200. Turn into, you know, about seven times that many people, that’s an interesting direction I’d like to talk about.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:08:24] Yeah. So our VIP business has a CEO, Nick earner. I’m not the CEO of that.

Uh, it has an executive team, you know, I had chief revenue officer, chief marketing officer, you know, just kind of its own suite of executives. Has an informal board, which right now is opposed of, you know, me and automatic CFO and things like that. But over time, we’ll start to get more outside directors in there as well.

And they really, they own their roadmap and everything they do. So it’s, it’s, you know, I’ll review things with Nick, but by and large, 99% actually, VIP, especially, it’s not like I’m even asking them to build anything. Like I might ask like Jetpack or wordpress.com too. They’re really owning their own roadmap, their own go to market their own sales, their own acquisition.

Like we just acquired parsley and integrated that team. So that’s, that’s kind of the idea that it’s like its own company in a lot of ways.

Joe Howard: [00:09:16] So it sounds like it really fully has its own structure kind of under the automatic umbrella, but executive team, obviously its own CEO. It has, uh, a board which you’re on that kind of goes across, you know, that you’re maybe working on it with a few of the different.

Teams under automatic actually kind of leads to my next question, which was like how much cross collaboration are there between those teams within automatic? Like is the CEO of VIP, like, are all the CEO is getting together in a yearly meeting themselves. Talk about what they’re doing, what they’re seeing successful or do you kind of try to keep them independent?

I’m sure there are pros and cons to both, but I’d love to know how you kind of handle the. Multiple kind of business units within one business unit is WT buses started to get into this acquisition area and we did one earlier this year. And again, I want to know, cause I’m like, wow, I really do have to, you know, plan for the future if we want to keep doing this.

So how does that work at automatic? Yeah.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:10:07] Yeah. So we have some shared services that we think of like a service organization. We actually call it bridge because it bridges all the teams and, uh, that thinking about like legal HR. Finance, obviously, fundraising is something we run centrally. So infrastructure, you know, all the data centers, all the technical scaling, some security work, you know, so there are some things that are central services that just like, it wouldn’t make sense for VIP to have its own data centers and wordpress.com to have its own data’s.

Cause like we can, we can share some things there. And we do have a common platform which has WordPress. And so everything that we build forward, press like VIP started to do a lot more WooCommerce. A lot more WooCommerce actually. So they’re working with the WooCommerce team a lot. And like, as a, if they find a scaling bottleneck, they can work with the WooCommerce core developers to get that fixed up.

Jet pack is really central to really everything we do. And that platform that provides like real-time backup elastic, search security scan, like that is key for really everything Jetpack and WordPress are kind of our common base layer. So yeah, lots of collaboration that goes across them. We try to make that collaboration because it makes sense.

Not because you’re forced to do it so we can make those internal services really, really, really good people want to use them. And then also occasionally we’ll, we’ll say, Hey, this internal service is not living up to what you need. So let’s try and experiment where we do something else. Maybe that’s the biggest bottleneck in our company right now is, uh, hiring engineers.

So in 2021, I need to hire more than 200 engineers. I’d love as many as 300. So that’s just a lot of people.

Joe Howard: [00:11:48] Is that something you feel like has been a challenge during COVID specifically when like everyone’s going remote so everybody can hire, so it makes it more competitive for you or is it just like a general challenge?

Like finding good engineers is difficult. Is some

Matt Mullenweg: [00:12:00] of that finding good engineers is difficult? Oh, well I think it’s that a lot of good engineers don’t know about automatic. So we need to like, you know, get our story out there a bit more. And it was just has a biggest celebration of our business and particularly on the e-commerce side in the COVID post COVID world.

So. But there’s just a lot more needs, a lot more opportunity. Yeah.

Joe Howard: [00:12:20] Continue to lead into my next question. Very well. So keep it going. I kind of wanted to talk about, because I’ve heard you say that you do want to make some big hires this year. Are those hires that you’re an automatic is planning to make via.

Direct hiring, you know, do you have recruiters that are helping you to get, you know, find and recruit new engineers and you plan to do more direct hiring? Or is this more hiring through acquisitions, through echo hires or just. Potentially making a purchase that would bring a team of solid engineers, maybe not one at a time, but like 40 or 50 or a hundred at a time.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:12:55] Amber is for hiring that’s our hiring goal. So if anything comes in via acquisitions is a bonus to that. And it wouldn’t lower that hiring goal because that’s just what we need for like our existing stuff. I would say a mistake that we made was not building internal recruiting earlier. So we are just now starting to have internal sourcers recruiters and be a little more systematic in our approach there, you know, I see other companies where that’s one of the first 10 or 20 hires.

And particularly if you need to scale quickly, I think that could be a, a good investment or finding a great firm to work with. And so, and the. And that kind of experimental we’re, we’re a very experimental company. We’re also working with several externs or recruiters that are going to try to help us meet these goals, which has some bonuses and challenges.

Like they often come with their own networks when it doesn’t go well, sometimes they might send a, you know, uh, not well targeted email or we’ve had it before where we say like, Hey, please, don’t send emails to our partners. We, we don’t try to fish in the same pod. Was that the workman’s comp. You know, there’s plenty of room for us all to grow.

So that sort of thing, sometimes there’s mistakes that happen, which actually goes back to the earlier trust. Like we build trust for a long time. I a hundred percent there and guarantee that we’re going to mess things up sometimes too. And that’s just human inevitability. And what we try to do is.

Correct. Those mistakes quickly acknowledged them and hopefully have built enough trust in the past that it really is seen as a mistake and not like, ah, this company’s evil or did this on purpose.

Joe Howard: [00:14:25] Yeah. It’s somehow kind of nice for me as a smaller business owner to hear bigger businesses have challenges with hiring and recruiting as well, because almost every.

WordPress professional. I talk to every other business owners, plugin companies, theme companies, or WordPress web website management companies, hosting companies. Every time we have a conversation around the challenges we’re having, most of the time, it comes back to like hiring and finding good people and finding people who are great fits for these positions, you know, getting the right people on the bus and then getting those people in the right seats of the bus really complex.

And it’s almost like because I have background in more marketing stuff and it’s like optimizing a sales funnel or a marketing funnel. That I can do. Yes. It may take some time and some ingenuity, but I could do that. But optimizing like for people, Whoa, that’s like a way more complex problem. Um, so I would like to know a little bit more about, it sounds like you.

Are doing a lot of experimenting to find the best and most effective way to grow the team effectively. Whether you go in the direction more of, you know, using more outside recruiters or whether you pull that more internally, it sounds like testing is a big way that you’re going to test and then see the results of those different areas.

And then try and push forward on that hiring. Does that in general kind of the direction you’re going in?

Matt Mullenweg: [00:15:40] Yeah, I mean, I think part of that is hiring people who are open to doing experiments. Yeah, because change is scary. Yeah. I do like to think of kind of the four immutable aspects that we can look for for new hires, which are things that are difficult to learn or teach.

And the first is just work ethic. I think some people just enjoy working more than others. So we want more of that integrity is of course, like a baseline. It just, everyone needs to be able to trust each other curiosity or desire to learn. Learning by the way sucks. Sometimes it’s like, it’s really tough.

And like, you’re like, I know this thing. Why do I have to learn this new thing? Or you have to go through that, like Deb, where you’re like, terrible, like maybe the first day that you’re learning a new sport or to ski or to surf or something, the beginning can be like really challenging. And you’re just like falling and hurting yourself.

There’s the intellectual equivalency sounds like

Joe Howard: [00:16:29] entrepreneurship too.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:16:30] Yeah. I don’t think I look for it’s just taste and taste is, um, I think can be expressed. Yeah. It’s not being like a good designer or dressing cool or anything like that. It’s really like, you know, whatever you’re into. Do you have something you’re really into.

And like, try to hone that. And maybe that’s quilting, maybe that’s, you know, I don’t need like a really fancy resume. Maybe you created like a beautiful ASCII one, you know, just with texts, plain text, you know, do all the links on your site where there’s some basic things, you know, but to me it kind of shows that conscientiousness, that you’re thinking about the experience of whoever’s interacting with this thing that you created.


Joe Howard: [00:17:10] we put an operations professional position up that we were hiring for. We got like 2000 applications and the ones that stood out were really the ones that we ended up moving forward with people who like shot a loom video or people who like created a page on their website to talk about the WordPress knowledge.

Like the unique pieces were important. They’re so cool. I want to switch gears a little bit into the mission of automatic, which of course is to democratize publishing.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:17:36] We differ from WordPress as mentioned by two words. So WordPress is to democratize publishing and automatics to democratize publishing and commerce.


Joe Howard: [00:17:45] commerce. I see, uh, postal commerce, uh, slight adjustments, but I’m sure you have. Yeah, exactly. Hey, you’re testing. You have to be flexible around the things you’re doing. So I get it. Okay. I actually didn’t know that. So thanks for teaching me something on the pod. It’s this interesting time. I feel like I’m talking to you, Matt, because I just finished the, um, uh, queue into the storm, which is a Q and a documentary on HBO.

I don’t know if you’ve seen it or checked it out. No. I, you know, obviously there’s a lot in there and I do not want to talk about you and John on this podcast. But what I do want to talk about a little bit is eight Chan, which is the platform on which a lot of, uh, very pro free speech to the point of really letting anything be said on that platform, which led to some pretty bad stuff happening.

So I guess my general question. For you is really in this ecosystem that we’re like currently in 2021, you know, the challenges we’re having with fake news and the challenges we’re having around just verifying what is a fact versus what is not a fact? Are you still as bullish on those missions at WordPress and automatic as you always have been?


Matt Mullenweg: [00:18:54] I am. You know, freedom isn’t free. Democracy is messy. There is. Downsides to these things as well. But I think overall, we want to live in a society that follows these things. You know, we want to work at companies that believe in these principles, you know, moderation is tough and I believe again, not to dive into it, but like my understanding was the person pretending to be cute.

Might’ve been or taken over by the person who who’s running HR. So I don’t know if that’s a great example of like a free speech platform or if it was really just like. Someone tried to use a fig leaf of free speech and then actually promoting their own sort of, you know, need for influence or powers something.

If you actually look at the platform platforms, they don’t want to have that sort of stuff, you know, like they don’t want hate, they don’t want calls to violence that like, this is pretty clear. We’ve had a good track record, you know, for sure things that we run and host keeping a healthy environment. Um, I definitely gained a lot of empathy for larger social networks when we bought tumbler, because it was both a lot harder and a lot messier.

So I think the larger that you are, and then the more people are doing more social media stuff, the harder it can be. So I actually don’t like dunking on Twitter or Facebook because I think that what they’re doing is really, really, really hard. I think they can and should do better, but yeah. It’s unimaginably hard to moderate across that amount of things.

But for us, what we’re doing is creating the platform that enables, and I think that the software needs to exist in the world. The responsibility, I think, falls a bit to the folks hosting or distributing that software to follow the laws and principles of the place where they choose to do business and try to make the world a better place.

A lot of things in that answer, but it’s a tricky topic.

Joe Howard: [00:20:44] I agree very much that it’s a tricky topic, as much as I feel like sometimes I want to dunk on Facebook and Twitter. I totally agree with you that it is just, how do you moderate at scale? How do you do that without using algorithms and bots to hire literally a million people to moderate?

Like, I don’t think that’s a very scalable solution, you know, so I understand the infrastructure issues.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:21:04] They have literally millions of people moderating Facebook. So they hired 10,000. Maybe that’s not enough, you know? And then. That creates other issues. Like, you know, what is the experience of the people doing the moderation I think is

Joe Howard: [00:21:17] right.

I do agree. One thing I did want to key in on what you mentioned was you feel like the platforms do have some responsibility for the kind of content that does appear on their platforms. Um, which kind of like goes into this whole article. Two 30, which is, you know, a law that I actually have it written down here.

So I can say it for people who may not know what it is. Section two 30 C one provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an interactive computer service. That’s in quotes, interactive computer service, who publish information provided by. Third party users. So what do you think about two 30?

I mean, I guess the real question is, do you feel like Plath should be responsible for the kind of content that is published on their platforms, even though they just are the platforms or do you think they should be immune from that responsibility?

Matt Mullenweg: [00:22:04] Well, I think the conversation centers largely around like Facebook and things like that, but everyone listening to this two 30 is really important.

So if you have comments on your blog, Two 30 is what keeps you from going to jail. If someone posts a bad comment and it publishes to give you another example where two 30, if it work on the wordpress.org forums or plugin reviews, or, you know, our Wiki pages that anyone can edit, like all of those within become things that wordpress.org could have real liability for if something were published.

So you have to move to essentially where everything is pre moderated, probably with humans. And I mean, that gets tricky. We have thousands of posts a day on the wordpress.org support forums. I guess we would then try to get volunteers to people like it. It just gets to be a really kind of mild situation.

Now there are other laws that essentially do you post moderation. So after something is published, if it’s reported as being bad, you have like a, a window to, uh, to fix it. Um, most famous as it is being the DMTA. So let’s say that. I don’t know. I’d say I post a comment on your website and I include the copy-written lyrics to a Taylor Swift song.

And now I saw

Joe Howard: [00:23:21] your post that you just posted that before we came on this podcast.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:23:24] Now they’re coming after you and saying, Hey, Joey, you violated our copyright. You’re republishing. This thing. The fines could be a hundred thousand dollars. I mean, they could take you to court. They could, there could be all these sorts of things that happen right now with the DMC.

You have kind of a protection where they notify you. You can say, Hey, you have like, uh, an undefined amount of time, but let’s call it like a week or two to either say, actually that’s fair use or it’s fine. Or take it down. That’s a huge protection for you as a website operator. So I worry is that sometimes these battles of the giants like Google and Facebook and Microsoft are fighting each other, the collateral damage is all of us in the independent web.

So like some of these privacy things that were, I think, targeted at like Google and Facebook essentially now mean that every other website in the world has to have one of these terrible cookie banners. And third party advertising networks have been decimated and it actually sent into centralizing power with Google and Facebook.

They now have more of the ad market than they did before some of these regulations happen. So there can be unintended side effects of, I think even well-meaning regulation. I think what everyone agrees with is a lot of these laws were written in like the nineties, the eighties, the seventies, and they don’t.

You know, sometimes they still kind of work, but it’s not perfect. And something more modern, I think could be really nice. Yeah. You know, especially if it was hashed out, you know, through, in America, through our legal system, you know, we have this, how a bill becomes a law. She ever see that, uh, that cartoon is that called.

That’s right. Yeah. Like that is by definition, it’s on purpose to be an adversarial process and, you know, people will, should fight and then they kind of work out a compromise and hopefully that’s what’s best. That is something that I, um, I hope we can have some more of in the future, but just a broad scale, like repealing section two 30 would be disastrous for independent website publishers and lots of like volunteer open source projects.

The big companies could afford to hire another 10,000 moderators. I don’t know what we do for something like a wordpress.org or GitHub what’s like code. Like if someone posts like it have is protected by this too, someone posts something that violates it. GitHub is not liable. For the code that someone puts in their own repository.


Joe Howard: [00:25:49] yeah, I appreciate that nuanced answer. Honestly. One of the reasons I was excited to talk to you is because I’ve listened to you on podcasts and all sorts of stuff before, and you are very nuanced in your answers. And I knew I was going to learn a lot this podcast. So I think there’s, there’s a lot there.

I would like to like the challenge around. Fake news is a very difficult one. And it’s maybe there’s a Venn diagram where it’s kind of part of the intersection of two 30 and the other things we talked about, but one of the things I’m going to quote you here. Uh, one of the things I have heard you say before is disinformation can make its way around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.

Or get ready. I’ve never heard that quote exactly like that before, but I think what you were really talking the study, you know, there’ve been multiple studies around how, you know, fake news travels and gets shared at a rate that is what six, seven, eight times, whatever. I don’t want to put an exact number out there, but it’s multiple times.

Faster and more shared than factual stories. And as someone in your position who runs automatic, a lot of the content on the web, I’d love to know your thoughts on how like in 50 years, or maybe let’s say 10 years in 10 years, let’s say we’d like figured out how to, I don’t know, not have fake news, be such a driver of bad things happening in the real world.

What’s that? Solution or maybe like the beginning. So that solution,

Matt Mullenweg: [00:27:14] is this a tricky one and to full credit for that quote? I think it’s like a Winston Churchill quote. I mean,

Joe Howard: [00:27:21] to quote someone else. Yes.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:27:23] It’s good to think of a spectrum. And I believe this concept comes from Ben Thompson, that the closer you are to the wire, like network provider, the more that you should try to not be too much and like deciding what is right or wrong and more just following the laws of the lands.

Uh, which do tend themselves towards being a bit more open with rules, for calls to violence and other things like you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. That’s not free speech, but you know, saying something that just straight up wrong is okay right now, as you get more on the spectrum where you’re actually distributing things.

So it’s not, does it, is it allowed to exist, but more like, is it getting put in everyone’s news feed and in front of everyone? I think as you move along that spectrum, you get a lot more into the responsibility for the type of content that you’re distributing and how to maybe have high. There are lower trust given to certain sources, or I think there’s been a lot of us around COVID information.

You know, a lot of COVID misinformation out there and a lot of the networks have put like labels on things are, might even prevent certain things being shared. I mean, I don’t love that

Joe Howard: [00:28:37] you don’t love the part of it that’s stopping the information or you don’t like the information. I

Matt Mullenweg: [00:28:43] don’t love the part that stopping the information, but I think what they’re trying to protect against which by the way has happened a lot in the past year is some false information goes out.

Especially if it’s localized, a mob can literally form and people can die, you know, before it’s corrected. Yeah. There’s example and examples in BMR there’s examples in India, where there were allegations that, you know, someone was assaulted, people of a different group got really angry about this. They started attacking, I remember it was Hindus Muslims.

There was there’s some version of this story and, you know, I think that the networks are not responsible, they didn’t create the fakeness, but they, I think they do have a responsibility to try to insert something in there that increases the friction a bit, or sort of catches things. Yeah. If they’re, they’re escalating out of control.

Let me give you an example, which is not that controversial, which most networks have social networks, for example, on tumbler. If you start to post things that make it look like you’re going to harm yourself. There’s certain things that people search for or my post, or do there’s a bot actually that just kind of algorithm detects that says, Hey, here’s a number you can call if you’re feeling terrible.

And it’s essentially like a suicide prevention, it’s actually some of the first code I worked on my first job. When I moved to San Francisco, it was actually a question, a Q and a sites, uh, run by CNET called help.com. And it was a Q and a set kinda like Yahoo answers or core or something like that. I poured it into WordPress who answers, but it turned out that a number of people with type health.com when they were going through a challenging, personal situation or mental health issue or something like that.

And so part of what. We did was create something that could sort of point them to resources that said, Hey, you know, in this moment, here’s another thing to do. If you look at it, that’s kind of what people are trying to do when they say like, if you’re posting LinkedIn, something here is the official COVID information or here’s what the science says.

Or the doctors are saying about vaccines where I don’t love it as also, you know, sometimes the authorities or they’re wrong, you know, or, or they learn things over time. I think though that we conflate the fact that everyone is wrong sometimes with the idea that everything is probably wrong all the time.

And you must like find your own sources. So like, yes, the CDC has made mistakes in early part of COVID, but are those mistakes still there a year later? No they’ve corrected them. And so I think you do kind of want to look at the, not just does a source make a mistake or not, but how do they correct it over time?

And that being a proxy for trustworthiness over time and all the examples of this, like thinking there were weapons of mass destruction and Iraq, and the attire was the New York times was saying that CDC who like. Every single authority will make mistakes. It’s kind of similar to the trust I talked about earlier, where I said is going to mess things up at some point, maybe that’s like accidentally putting it at a bad ad for jet pack or something like that.

But how do we correct it? And that behavior over time is where trust comes from. Not imagining that anyone’s perfect. Cause no one is. Yeah. Thinking there because I saw you make so many faces while we were talking about that, man.

Joe Howard: [00:32:00] I was just thinking that what you said about just the fact that people make, make mistakes doesn’t mean they make mistakes all the time, or you said something like that.

And I think about that with like the news all the time, and people make mistakes, like using that as an example, like just because the CDC. A very trustworthy organization over time that has built up trust over time has made some missteps and COVID, and the issue around that is although most people or a significant amount of people would say, yeah, they made some mistakes.

You know, people will make mistakes, big organizations make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. Some people will take those mistakes and use it to political advantage in my opinion, and will use a certain thing. Someone said to spread it out and then it spread seven times as fast as the truth does. And that I think is still a big challenge.

So yeah, I think around that moderation is we, it needs. To take steps forward, but how it does take steps forward is a challenge because the people moderating also have a political leaning. So, and it felt like you were kind of in the middle of that a little bit, like you don’t like what could potentially be censorship, but you also do think that moderation is necessary at a point.

And it’s like, where’s. The middle of there. I don’t know.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:33:13] It’s also really important to have institutions that we can trust and rely on, like it’s necessary for a functioning society and particularly a democratic society. If you look at regimes or leaders that try to say question everything, they’re usually saying question everything.

It’s set me. And this sort of idea, which meant that I couldn’t in Russia voluntarily and was like, these types of leaders are part of their playbook is to say, don’t trust the media. Don’t trust doctors. Don’t trust, like, you know, these more democratic institutions, because they’re either trying to just create a general fear, which then they can capitalize on.

Or they’re essentially trying to create this like strong man populism. Yeah, it is one of the dangerous forces in society today. If you look around the world or where that is happening, um, those are societies, which over time you and I probably don’t want to live in. Now.

Joe Howard: [00:34:12] Yeah, I think I would agree. It, it, it felt from my point of view, like I was living in there from 2016 until 2020, but that’s a whole nother conversation.

The one thing I did want to dig into a little bit, again, I’m going to switch gears a little bit, cause we don’t have unlimited time here on the pod, but I wanted to talk a little bit about. The Wix versus WordPress. I don’t know if I’ll say versus here, but the Wix slash WordPress may have put WordPress first WordPress slash Wix saga.

Yeah. That seems to be kind of unfolding over the last 10 days or two weeks or so. I’m just going to kind of review things solely and Matt, you can. Step in with corrections or anything like that. But from what I’ve seen, Wix sent folks, WordPress influencers, I guess you could call them. I didn’t receive one of them.

I’m actually a little bit disappointed. Wix, what has happened there? They send some more press influencers, some headphones, and then started this whole, these were like Bose wireless headphones with a link to a new marketing campaign that became more public kind of bashing WordPress. Maybe I’ll remove the word kind of from there, bashing WordPress and, you know, giving people a reason why they should jump over to Wix and WordPress folks in WordPress based.

We’re not very happy about this, including yourself. I’d imagine you have a blog post that you wrote it like an open letter to Wix on Matt, M a T T that you know, I read in full. Um, and then the CEO of Wix wrote an open letter back to you, you know, kind of throwing swings back. I just kinda wanted to get your.

Feelings over it. And it feels like, I don’t know, like as in your position, everybody is somewhat susceptible to some kind of stress in their life. I’m sure this hasn’t been like a super fun two weeks for you, but maybe you’re just laughing it off. Maybe you’re just like, whatever, but I’d love to know what you’re thinking right now.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:35:53] Just a few things I’d like to clarify there. I was not writing a letter to works or their CEO. I have no interest in writing a letter to him or talking to him. I was kind of trying to say just what had happened, which was really bizarre. And a fight that we did not start nor want to participate in. You know, so part of what they were doing is they were actually impersonating WordPress.

Which is kind of weird so that the headphones that came out were, like I said, here’s something I sent for you, like from WordPress. And then the video that you would see was kind of like this like guy who actually had a WordPress logo on his quarter, a jacket, and he’s saying, Hey, I’m WordPress. Let me tell you.

And so some people are going, his confusion was real. So people really thought that maybe the WordPress, I guess the WordPress community had done this as like a thank you.

Joe Howard: [00:36:42] Oh, I didn’t, I didn’t catch that.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:36:45] Yeah, because the video said, Hey, I just want to say Wix is about to attack me. And so we got to like watch out.

And so it was kind of that impersonation, I think was, um, was kind of strange because. Uh, yeah, that was weird. And then once the commercials came out, it was part of their plan though. So these commercials came out. I just found it a little tasteless where, you know, in the midst of a pandemic, when a lot of people are struggling with mental health, the post I wrote was a few days before the anniversary of my father’s passing and this, this kind of WordPress character was kind of like, kind of like a drunk absent father character.

And they had a son in like a therapy session who was like saying. Essentially in this abusive relationship with this absent father character. And, and it was that sort of personification and the kind of tastefulness of that I found was a little, a little odd, even for an attack ad. We get attack ads all the time.

I know there’s been one from Duda and others in the past that we don’t respond to or worry about, but that’s why I wrote the blog posts both to also clarify that this wasn’t from us, for people who are legitimately confused. Andrew saying like, Hey, this is a low blow. Then I took a few shots at Wix too, because I think it’s, you know, we do have a history with that.

Where are they a few years ago, stole GPL code, embedded it illegally in our proprietary application, then denied it and then lied about it and then rewrote it essentially when they, it was clear that they were caught. And then more recently I’ve made the point that Wix doesn’t allow you to export contents.

Squarespace Weebly, Webflow, Facebook, Google, everyone in the world allows you to export content. Of course, WordPress.

Joe Howard: [00:38:34] I liked how the other CEO’s note to you said like, yes you can. But like when your blog posts, like the featured image on social is literally like their policy and like you’re not allowed

Matt Mullenweg: [00:38:43] to do this.

I feel like we’re taking big pot shots because it was a screenshot of their own documentation. It wasn’t like for us, they’re also trying to, like, they’re saying one of the things they made fun of was out of memory errors. I guess when you’re upgrading at a memory errors, honestly, I don’t know. That would be even top 10 on my list for things that we need to work off because every host, I think, is corrected for that, unless you’re with like a really terrible, like really bad web host, they get out of memory errors are much, much more rare because the GoDaddy is a blue host.

So WP engine’s the site grounds, like all of the automatic stuff. Like we now have higher requirements, you know, that, that hasn’t been as common of an error in the past. So. And they will also conflating wordpress.com on WordPress at Oregon. Some people are like, Hey Matt, you had an issue with that. Why did you write this up behalf of the community versus like riding it for automatic competition, but literally on their landing pages and the footer, they said to clarify, this is about wordpress.org.

And so that’s why I was kind of wearing my wordpress.org hat and trying to defend on behalf of the wider community. Now  has always been an aggressive company. They have every right to their customers, proprietary software, et cetera. Like it just, you know, leave us alone. Right? Like we’re, we’re not focused on the competition.

We’re focused on our own users. I have our top 10 list of problems. Like, gosh, like we need the block patterns to work better. I want themes to be more customizable. Like, like I do want upgrades to be easier, but I want them to be totally automatic. So you never think about them. Like we have the list of things we’re working on with the four phases of Gutenberg with every release of WordPress.

And we’re not taking the pot shots, but to be honest, you know, there’s another quote that I forget. I don’t attribute it to me. It’s like, Don’t wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty. The pig likes it. I feel bad for taking the bait. Um, I actually wrote the post a few days. I want to use that for a few days.

And I had shared the draft with some friends and someone was like, you know, this is not that bad. You just, just post this out. But obviously they were planning for that. So that’s why they had their letter ready to go and stuff. But in the WordPress community, I would say if this has, has bugged, you. The number one thing we can do is just help a friend, teach someone WordPress, teach them, you know, the advantages, if any of them are having problems like around those videos, show them the easy ways to get by like getting a good web host.

And if you have anyone you love that uses Wix, maybe, maybe help them upgrade.

Joe Howard: [00:41:21] I have a friend who uses a good friend of mine who has their website on Wix. And honestly, until this. Whole thing happened. I was like, Wix fine. I actually didn’t know as much about the stealing of the GPL information. And I think the challenge there is using it for proprietary software.

That’s clearly aware of the bounds of GPL licensing stops, but I actually sent her that article and I sent her your blog post as well. And I was like, Hey, just so you know, like there’s some shit happening. And so you should probably know about it. If you have somebody, you know, she’s not a. Website person.

She runs just her business on it. So she may not care too much, but it’s important for her to know the kind of company she’s working with. So I did send that to her, Matt. So I got it.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:41:59] If you can help migrate the site, they don’t provide an export. So it’s a little tricky, but, but you can, you can even upgrade the design or something like that, I think is kind of a nice way for us to kind of.

Just do our own community thing. And it’s true, by the way, you might also experience how hard it is to get a refund from Rex. That’s another dig. I took it though, which by the way is not like me making stuff up. It’s just on the internet. You can compare even like, you know, automatic complaints, every business has complaints, but the ones about wakes are like 10 times more, which obviously means they’re doing something very different when you try to cancel your account.

Joe Howard: [00:42:33] Matt, thank you for jumping on the podcast. I really appreciated you jumping on. I really did enjoy talking with you. I learned a lot personally, and I think listeners will have to the second to last thing I like to ask our guests to do is just tell folks where they can find you online. Read blog, contents, find you on social media.

I know you say you’re kind of, you’re active in some Slack groups. Where can folks reach out to you or find you.

Matt Mullenweg: [00:42:55] Okay. The plug section. So a plug, two things, business-wise do it, you know, back.com will commerce.com for a lot of the audience here. I think that those are two great products to be building on jet back to.

Sort of make your site faster and more secure and we’ll commerce. If you want to sell stuff, a lot of people still don’t know that on wordpress.com business plan, you can actually run plugins and themes and have full control over code and SFTP access. So keep that in mind, as you’re deciding between managed word process, I am at Emmett ITT.

It’s my blog. That’s where you can see this Wix thing on Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter. I’m Fotomat P H O T O. M a T T and I think I’m just Matt on wordpress.org. So you can hit me up on the Slack there, or, or, you know, look for my tickets or plugins or anything like that. I love connecting with community and I really appreciated connecting here.

So, you know, let’s do this again and that’s, I’ll make this the last time we get together having to come back on every year or so. And, and, uh, please reach out next time. You want me back on the pot? You

Joe Howard: [00:43:56] got it. You got it. And last thing I like to ask guests to do is to ask our listeners for a little Apple podcast review.

So if you wouldn’t mind asking folks listening for little review,

Matt Mullenweg: [00:44:05] I’d appreciate it. I guess if you enjoyed this podcast or if he didn’t leave her more reviews the better.

Joe Howard: [00:44:14] Yeah, totally. If you liked it, you can go leave the five-star review. If you didn’t like it, then you can email us and you don’t have to leave a review at all.

Exactly. Cool. Send me a Twitter. Yeah. Right, right. Awesome. If you are a new listener to us here on the show, we’ve got a hundred plus a hundred Matt. You’ll probably be on episode 140 something of the podcast, but we’ve got a whole bunch of older episodes. You can go back and listen to WP mrr.com forward slash podcast.

Go to use the search feature there. Do you have trouble on pricing or growing your business? How to make more MRR, how to help democratize publishing can find this episode, lots of old topics to dig into. If you want to bus a review on Apple podcasts, WP MRR forward slash review. That new, we used to, it used to be four slash iTunes, but we updated it because I tend to say Apple podcast.

So that should be live by the time this podcast goes live. If you have questions for me on the show, email, yo Y O at WP, M R r.com. Uh, I like to do Q and a episodes every once in a while as well. So shoot questions to me. Uh, or you can find me on Twitter, Joseph H. Howard at Joseph’s H Howard fan. You can hit me up.

There as well. That is it for this week. We will be in your earbuds again next Tuesday morning, Matt. Thanks again for being on. It’s been

Matt Mullenweg: [00:45:33] real. I really appreciate this and keep up the good work. This is awesome. What you’re doing for the community and key man

Joe Howard: [00:45:39] late everybody.


E156 – Digital Nomading When You’re an Essential Employee (with Christie Chirinos)

In today’s episode, we are going to hear Christie once again, back when she was still based in Hawaii. Joe and Christie discuss the perks and some of the downsides of working on a different time zone from the rest of your team, body clock adjustments to be able to function, and the importance of robust communication and the maximization of tools.

What to Listen For:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 03:32 What’s up with Joe?
  • 07:02 What’s up this week, Christie?
  • 13:01 Working away from home
  • 15:41 Working in a timezone unlike any other across the globe
  • 21:12 What’s a sleep nerd?
  • 24:13 Working with your body when moving to a new place
  • 27:41 Communicate, communicate, communicate!
  • 34:09 Synchronous versus Asynchronous team work
  • 38:09 Creating a work pattern based on your body clock
  • 47:31 Talking to clients, taking online calls, meetings in pajamas

Episode Resources:

Podcast Transcript:

Joe Howard: [00:00:00] Hey folks, Joe Howard here, I’ll write this week. A few updates before the show WP MRR community update much yet. From last week’s episode, you’re doing an AA. In the WP MRR community. So if you have any follow up questions around building a newsletter, following news in the WordPress space or WordPress community, feel free to go in there and shoot him a comment on that thread.

He’ll be happy to get you a reply he’s really active in there. So you should get you on pretty quickly to cool summit news, WP MRR, virtual summit. Coming up in September, September 21st, 22nd and 23rd. Let me pull up some of the new sponsors that we have that we’re able to announce this week. Some have already announced this legacy sponsors go daddy pro blog vault.

Green geeks WP engine. And we got two new legacy sponsors to announce this week. One is cloud waves and one is wordpress.com. So welcome to our two new legacy sponsors this week. Also two new growth sponsors. Once I already announced kin sta Molly, Ella mentor, and paid memberships pro new growth sponsors to welcome this week, our SiteGround and jet pack.

So welcome to. Also to new, uh, growth sponsors for the WP MRR summit, coming up for community and summit, just go to community dot WP, mrr.com. And if you’re not already a member there just create a quick membership for you. Just takes about one minute, get logged in, and you’ll automatically be registered for this year’s summit, which we will be live streaming right in the, uh, community.

Cool. All right. This week’s episode of the WP MRR podcast, we are doing a rerun this week of an episode that Kristi and I recorded in 2019, October, 2019, before COVID hit. Before we had this pandemic on our hands, it is episode 64 digital nomadic when you’re an essential employee, who knows if we’ll be.

Back to the office. Some people are, but I think a lot of folks in the WordPress space, you know, for years have been working remotely, I’ve been working in a distributed manner and will continue to do so. So if you are an employee of a company or a member of a remote team, this is a great episode to, with some tips, tricks, strategies, tactics, all that stuff, just how to be a better employee while also being able to.

Do some traveling work from wherever you want to. I think it’s also a good episode for employers or people who are running teams, people who are leaders of companies to know what may bring some of your team members joy, and to help them be a better employee while better managing. So, this is also a nice opportunity to welcome Christie back to the podcast.

So that further ado, I guess, welcome Christie. Trinos back to the podcast, our hosts, Christy, who used to host the podcast and now gets to be back on the show. All right. Enjoy today.

Christie Chirinos: [00:03:10] Aloha WordPress people. Welcome back to the WP MRR WordPress podcast. I’m Christie.

Joe Howard: [00:03:19] And I’m Joe.

Christie Chirinos: [00:03:21] And you’re listening to the WordPress business podcast.

What’s going on in your life this week, Joe.

Joe Howard: [00:03:27] Yeah. And that was an excellent intro. You even caught me off guard there a little, but I didn’t even know you were going with your low heart. So that was very special.

Christie Chirinos: [00:03:34] Yeah. I don’t think that came from it just like slipped out. I was like,

Joe Howard: [00:03:39] All right. Perfect. Cool. Not too much newest me. I’ve been this week has been a lot of like marketing and sales stuff. I’ve been really focusing on what that looks like a WP buffs and revamping that a little bit and finding some good little, like, I don’t know if I’d call them like hacks, but they’re like improvements in how we do things.

Like, you know, up until like two weeks ago on our blog, we were trying to collect email addresses a little bit more and I’ve kind of stopped doing that. And I’ve said, well, let’s just see if people need help directly and want to book a call. So now we have a little like book, a call thing, a little scroll box in the corner of that comes up, not too intrusive.

And it’s. What can ton of calls just like out of nowhere. And it’s great. So yeah, I think we increased our calls by like 30% in September over the last month. So yeah, so that’s an interesting, uh, interesting move forward. And so I’m happy about that.

Christie Chirinos: [00:04:34] Whoa, hold on. Let’s pause on that for a second. That’s super interesting.

So you swapped out the email collection for a call. And people are booking calls. That’s wild, because I would imagine that somebody who books a call is, you know, much closer to the purchase part of the sales funnel than somebody who gives you your email, you, we, we think of email collection. Is this a commitment that’s still low commitment so that we can nurture that lead over several weeks or months.

Whereas somebody who’s like, I need 30 minutes of your time now. And I’m going to sink in 30 minutes of your, of my time. And we’re going to talk about my problems. It’s probably pretty ready to buy.

Joe Howard: [00:05:13] Yeah. It’s uh, so my thought process before was kind of, people need to trust us before they hand over the keys to their website.

So let’s put them in our email list. Let’s nurture them with some content and some free stuff. And then eventually we’ll hop on a call with them. And I was like, well, it’s probably worth an experiment to see like, Hey, let’s just try and book a call straight from all the organic traffic we drive. And.

Experimentation is working so far. So I’m looking at our dashboard right now and the book of call little scroll box thing. It just has a link to our call booking. It’s converting at 3%, which is pretty good. Uh, it’s a 2,763 impressions and 72 conversions. Um, that doesn’t mean 72 people booked a call. It means 72 people.

Clicked in the little scroll box to go book a call. And I’m sure some of those people dropped off along the way. Not everyone booked a call, but, uh, every day I see like four or five, six calls get scheduled for the next day. Like today I had a really chill day. Like I had nothing in my calendar yesterday and I was like, oh, it’ll be an easy day to day.

And then like four calls got booked today. So I have like a bunch of sales calls today, which is good. So yeah, I think it’s working pretty well so far. So I’m pretty pumped about it.

Christie Chirinos: [00:06:21] Yo stay tuned for men who commerce at liquid web to look call today. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery or so sure.

Joe Howard: [00:06:33] I stole it from someone else. So please take and everyone listening, take it from me or at least experiment with it. Yeah. You never know to work. So, uh, what’s new in your world. Miss Aloha.

Christie Chirinos: [00:06:46] This is week two, working from Hawaii. It’s been pretty fun. I got here about a week and a half ago. I, you know, I traveled on Sunday because I wanted the jet lag advantage, which we’ll talk about more later as, uh, during this episode. So once I got here, it was like straight to bed and then start work. So my first five days were like work and then whenever I could get in on the evenings, and then on the weekends, I was like full throttle, Hawaii, Brian, and I liked it, all stuff.

I had a blast, like, what is the farmer’s market? I made all these friends. I like went out to Waikiki. They invited me to karaoke. We did this, we did that. The following day. I like drove to the top of the island. Rode kayaks with my new friends and had a barbecue on the beach. It was just like peak, Hawaii.

And then on Monday I woke up with a crazy cold.

Joe Howard: [00:07:33] That’s what I was. Do you have too much fun? Sorry. It was a one day.

Christie Chirinos: [00:07:37] My body was like, excuse me. Ma’am this is way more than we usually do.

Joe Howard: [00:07:43] Usually get a little yoga session. They have work and some relaxation. No, this was full throttle travel.

Christie Chirinos: [00:07:52] And I was just like funny. And on Monday it was just like a tickle in the throat. And I was like, no, you know, I was in denial. Maybe it’s just a fan. I’m just dried out, you know? And I still made plans to do things. And then on Tuesday morning, I woke up. Like, it is not just the fare, so it’s kind of a bummer, but honestly, I had so much fun on the weekend that when it happened, I was like, okay, you know, makes sense.

And it’s honestly been a blast, you know, I think that, and we’ll talk about this more as well. You take your remote work and you just plant it somewhere else. You kind of have to remind yourself that you’re just putting your regular life in a different place. And that’s what this has felt like to me. I mean, it is beautiful.

Even just sitting here where I’m staying. With like the windows are open and the beautiful sunrise, every single day is such a luxury drinking my Kona coffee, you know, eating starfruit that’s locally grown and it’s just been a blast. It’s my first time in Hawaii and totally lives up to the hype.

Joe Howard: [00:08:59] Amazing. Uh, I have been to Hawaii once. Uh, I was on the big island. Uh, it was the, it was senior year. It was a bunch, it was a few friends. We all went to Hawaii. One of my friends had it, his, uh, her parents had the timeshare there. So it was like, let’s just buy some flights to Hawaii and go. And it was awesome. It was during the time when we were really supposed to be writing our senior theses.

So it was very much like, uh, like, fuck it. We’re going to Hawaii. And we’ll write it when we get back. And I definitely have a lot of writing and stuff to do when we got back, but it was sort of blessed. And, uh, so yeah, I’m excited to hear more about your. Travels there and like work life balance while traveling there during this episodes can be awesome.

Christie Chirinos: [00:09:40] Yeah. Yeah. I’m excited. That’s hilarious though. Yeah, I’m on Oahu. So I heard the big island is really something stunning and that’s where you can really see all the volcanoes and things like that. Um, but you know, I have to come back.

Joe Howard: [00:09:54] Yes, there’s always always time. Cool. Maybe you want to introduce this week’s episode since it’s kind of like, you know, we’ll both be able to jam on this topic, but you’re living it right now. So maybe you can do a little intro for us.

Christie Chirinos: [00:10:06] Are we doing transparency around?

Joe Howard: [00:10:09] Yes, we are transparency around new reviews. Let’s take a step back, Christine. SmartWAN in this dynamic duo of making sure that we stay on task. Um, new iTunes reviews. Now I just have to, you know, casually take up some time or like openness, 23 iTunes reviews.

I looks like that’s the same since last time. We checked, which was a week or so ago, two weeks ago. When last time I recorded 23 reviews, if you’re a listener and you’re a long-time listener, especially, and you’ve learned like one thing from this podcast, give us a little iTunes review and tell us what you learned in the comments with your favorite emoji.

There as well downloads. I just, I don’t have downloads open right now, but I did check this morning and we are, I think we just passed like 17,000 total downloads. According to this, uh, I’ve been actually doing a little research around download numbers. I don’t think this includes our iTunes downloads, which is interesting because iTunes is for most people the biggest, like it’s the biggest number of listeners for a lot of people.

It’s like 80 to 90% of their listeners. So. Uh, I don’t know, you know, we always say like, whatever the analytics, it’s just, we like to say it so people can like, you know, know what’s going on with us since we can be transparent. But, uh, yeah, I have some more research to do. So maybe I’ll do some more research there before next episode to say like 70,000 downloads.

So like 70,000  iTunes downloads. I don’t know, but, uh, yeah, 250 to 300 downloads an episode or so from maybe non apple. I dunno. Who knows? Yeah. That’s where we are for all that stuff.

Christie Chirinos: [00:11:41] Cool. We’re doing great. One last bit of announcement that I’m going to get in there before we get into today’s topic is if you’re coming to work, camp us.

We are going to be at WordCamp U S and on Saturday morning, we are going to get together with our friends, from the get options podcast and have some coffee at the Starbucks across the street from the venue in the lobby of the conference hotel, which is the grand. Hi. And join us. If you’ve been a listener of the podcast, we’d love to meet you.

It would be really cool. Cool. To finally know that we’re not just screaming into the void and that you are listening and absorbing. Ah, so yeah, come hang out, come get some free coffee, you know, come get some Starbucks brew to power you through Saturday of WordCamp us, which is going to be the long one with the party and everything.

Join us. Woo. Okay. Let’s talk about today’s topic. So today’s topic is going to be all about working away from home. I feel like this was a trend that’s gotten really big in the last couple of years, right? Like everybody’s like work remotely travel while you work digital nomad. That got big in like the last five years or something.

Yeah. I know a lot of people when I just go around talking about my job, they’re like, oh, I want to do that. And then like, travel. Well, I work from my laptop and I’m currently doing it right now. I went through a period as a founder where I did it pretty consistently for several months. And it was fun. I enjoy it.

It’s definitely a huge privilege, but it’s also an art form,

especially if it’s important to be productive. Right. I think that, especially as a founder, that’s not to say that it’s less important to be productive. I think. Maybe even possibly more important to stay productive, but you have more flexibility in how you call your own productivity. Whereas as an employee, you got to make sure that you’re plugging into all the other puzzle pieces and as an employee of a 700 person company that is primarily in the Eastern time zone and in a central time zone, it was particularly important for me to make sure that my flexibility.

Was not an inconvenience for other people. And something that really mattered to me was to make sure that I made a good example of how productive and reliable colleague can be while working from not their usual time zone. Um, so that that privilege, you know, can continue to exist, uh, be extended to others.

So on and so forth. So, yeah, we’re talking about today. Yeah.

Joe Howard: [00:14:32] Amazing. I’m excited. Really excited for this episode, I think. Yeah. Like you mentioned, remote work is obviously blown up over the last 10, especially the last five years. So you can go to a lot of places and hear a lot of episodes about remote work and how to work remotely.

And we’ll talk about a little bit about that today, but I, in this, uh, we talked a little bit offline before this, about how we do want to kind of, there are, there’s so much content out there about how to like, if you’re a founder or if you’re. Well, you know, your own entrepreneur or freelancer, how to do remote work.

And we’ll talk a little bit about that, but we also definitely want to focus on you Christie, since you’re actively doing this right now, you’re in Hawaii in a way different time zone than pretty much everybody on your team. I assume there’s no one else in Hawaii. So I assume you were kind of off on your own, literally on an island.

And so how do you, how do you work remotely? Not just as your own entrepreneur or freelancer, but as part of a larger team as an employee of a company, how do you continue to be effective? Like you said, and make sure your community. Remain solid. All your projects stay in line when you’re, how many hours back than you usually are, or are you like six hours earlier?

And that’s a challenge for sure. And I think that’ll be a nice unique perspective for this episode.

Christie Chirinos: [00:15:43] Yeah. So this is something that’s interesting. Out of curiosity, I looked it up and I am in the Hawaiian elution time zone. Which yes, that alludes to the Aleutian peninsula. And I might be butchering that word.

And if anybody from Alaska is listening, sorry, it alludes to the Aleutian, peninsula and Alaska. So not only am I not in a time zone with anybody else from LiquidWeb, I’m also not on a time zone. It’s everybody else in the world, a lot of Pacific ocean to your east and a lot of Pacific ocean to your west.

And you’re just smack dab there. I thought about that a lot while I’m here. I’m like, I’m literally in a deserted island in the Pacific. I mean, there’s other people here. I have dessert what dessert. And I’ll go over a little bit how I ended up here. Right. Pack up my bags and decide to go to Hawaii. The story there is that my best friend from childhood, from when I was growing up in Florida, like 11 or 10, her mom, this was like her life goal.

We grew up our entire lives, hearing her talk about how after the girls left for college, she was moving to Hawaii. She had like all the low stuff over her house. Really cool. Guess what she freaking did it, the last girl left for college and she was like, sell my house, dress my job, move my stuff, Hawaii.

So she moved to Hawaii and ever since then, I mean, it’s been like, it’s been a wild now, you know, offering me to come by and stay. And, uh, it just hasn’t happened yet. And, uh, The opportunity came up, that she was actually going to be gone for a couple of weeks. She was back to the mainland, as they say. And she was like, you know, if you want to just come by, I know you have a remote job, you can use my car.

You can say my house and just be in Hawaii for a week. I was like, oh my gosh, how could I possibly say no to this? Right. Don’t look at my calendar. It all worked out. And, uh, that’s how I ended up coming to Hawaii. So kind of like a cool stay, right? Like I’ve gotten a house to myself and just like, sort of spread out and be comfortable.

And that’s, I think something that’s really important. For productivity on the road as an employee, but just in general, even for founders, people who think about doing remote work, I know that there are some employees I’ve heard of folks over at a codeable who are like, vanning it while working. And I think some people can do that.

I personally found that I could not, if I wanted to be productive, uh, while working from somewhere that isn’t home, I had to have a sort of like remote home base with a workstation. That was the big thing I needed a work station. Right. And it’s actually really interesting, um, on Airbnb, not that I had to do is for Hawaii.

You can actually put on a filter for workstation. Ooh. Yes. Yep. You can. And I mean, what that is shores is that you’ll get like a desk and a chair, but it ensures that that’s going to chair, but that’s going to chair makes a big difference. Having a place where you can set up shop for whatever length period of time you’re going to be there.

Working is a huge part to my productivity. And having that here in Hawaii really mattered. I set up shop. On what is a clear sort of eating area, a dining room table. And I just spread out all my technology and chargers and microphones and everything on here, which I hauled all in my backpack across a blue Yeti, just taking up space in the backpack.

I swear when I took the blue Yeti through security, they were looking at me like, what the fuck?

Joe Howard: [00:19:36] I always forget to take my microphones out too. And if they see it, when they’re looking through my bag, they’re like, Hmm, who are you? Who are you some done it, let’s not do this right now.

Christie Chirinos: [00:19:47] You know? And it’s probably not the weirdest thing they saw that day, but it’s probably up there.

Right. And, uh, yeah, so I ended up here and I’ve done this before. As a founder, I worked from many places. Beginning of 2018. I worked from Japan, which is a 13 hour difference. I’ve worked from Serbia. I didn’t to work from Israel, but similar time zone worked from the UK for a little bit. And, uh, this was all for WordCamp travel too.

It just kind of interesting, but it was different because I got to call the shots. As the co-founder and CEO. And with this, like I said, it was a little bit more important for me to make sure that this privilege quite honestly, is what I want to call. It was maintained by me continuing to be a great teammate while I was doing this.

And that was different and it took some interesting notes. So first things first I’m like asleep. This is just a thing like I’m asleep nerd, I’m obsessed with sleep. It’s literally in my calendar. I’m just going to let that sink in for a moment in my calendar. It’s a recurring daily event from midnight to eight.

Joe Howard: [00:21:12] That’s so good. Actually never heard that. So timeboxing serious time boxers.

Christie Chirinos: [00:21:17] But the thing is I’ve been doing that before I ever time box. I think I picked it up from a trainer. There was a woman. Back in like my Ariel days that started talking about how she puts sleep in her calendar, because sleep is so important for physical recovery that having it in there just sorta reminds her that she doesn’t have these like unlimited swaths of time.

And even then time management wasn’t as important for me, but it was one of these. We were like, well, Jill’s doing it. So I’m going to do it. And I just sort of kept it. I remember this one time I told Josh about it and he was like, that’s really dorky. He’s not wrong, but so I’m asleep freak. And then the other thing about the reason that it’s in my calendar is because I’ve sort of geeked out on figuring out.

My optimal sleep. Uh, they say that we all have a natural sleep pattern that we would find if we weren’t woken up by alarms or demands or things like that, where we just kind of like fall asleep at the same time and wake up at the same time. And when my work transitioned to mostly remote project based work, I just got really into figuring out what that was.

I was like pretty obsessed. The promises of that, this idea of like, don’t wake up with an alarm. Right. And I found that my natural sleep pattern is kind of like, uh, I go to sleep sometime between midnight and one. And I wake up somewhere between eight and nine, at least on the east coast. And once I figured that out and started getting used to that.

I trained myself perhaps, unfortunately, to just sleep for eight hours. So now I’m at this point where I get about seven and a half hours of sleep. And that is the sleep I will get. If I go to bed at 10, I will naturally wake up at like 6 55 sharp. That’s exactly what happened last night. I just got into this place where I learned a lot about my sleep needs.

And got comfortable with my sleep pattern. So that sounds really good until you pluck yourself out of your regular time zone.

Joe Howard: [00:23:43] Yeah, that’s what I was going to ask next is like, it sounds good when you have consistency in your time zone and then at the same time, uh, times and all the time. So what happened when you traveled to Hawaii?

Christie Chirinos: [00:23:54] In terms of when I traveled to Hawaii, I knew that the one thing that was going to happen was that I was going to be jet lagged and I got it. And that don’t matter what I was going to zonk out for seven and a half to eight hours. Right. So that’s when I thought about taking advantage of the jet lag.

That’s why I flew on Sunday. I knew that if I flew on Sunday, then I would get to Hawaii, go to sleep, sleep for exactly eight hours and then wake up early and sort of maintain my schedule. And since I, again, sort of figured out this way in which my natural sleep pattern puts me to bed around midnight and wakes me up around eight nine.

I knew that once I adjusted to the time zone, right, the different light patterns here that would creep up throughout the two weeks. So what I’m getting at here is that knowing myself was super important here. And knowing what to expect out of my own body’s need for. Uh, was probably about 50% of my success.

Right. Because everything else I’m going to talk about, it’s about like timing and communication and things like that, but even just understanding what was going to happen and knowing how to work with it so that I wouldn’t be cranky or unproductive things like that. Uh, was in my opinion, half the battle.

So I think he got about your sleep, you know, um, we tend to underestimate how important sleep is to our top functioning. And when you’re doing something challenging, like managing these communication and work stuff and all the other aspects, having that part of you top-notch I think really matters. Uh, so yeah, so I knew what to expect and I planned around that and it went exactly like that.

So I went to bed at like six 30 when I got here. And it’s just wild. It’s wild. How, when you put work into getting to know that part of your day, It’s incredible to watch your body do exactly what you think it’s going to do. Right? Like went to bed at six 30, woke up at four 30 or three 30 or whatever. Um, and yeah, I just, you know, logged on and started working at four or 5:00 AM.

And, um, this is the next part where communication becomes super important. So. As in all of remote work, honestly, communication and over communication is key. So what did that mean for me was making sure that everybody knew what was going on. When I logged on that Monday morning, perfectly jet lag, just like I planned it.

I wrote in slack and I was like, Hey everybody, I remind that until this date. I am going to be working out of Hawaii. Here is what to expect out of my hours. The jet lag is helping me right now, but as it goes on, uh, it won’t that’s time difference, six hours, you know, just, this is what’s going on.

Joe Howard: [00:26:53] That’s that piece is really important too. Like we even go back to before you even traveled and you’re like setting expectations already about what your time zone is going to be like when you’re going to be online, when you’re not going to be online. Going to Hawaii and slacking in Hawaii.

Christie Chirinos: [00:27:10] Oh, we should totally mention that. Yes. Before I ever got on the plane many weeks before I even got on the plane, I asked my boss the ubiquitous Chris lemma and I, if it was okay.

And he said, yeah, totally. Um, he’s on the west coast. So it’s only a three hour difference from him. Yeah. In addition to that, I asked them if my key teammates that I work every single day, whether this would be okay with them, I don’t want to inconvenience them and just let them know. And of course, all of them are really sweet and encouraging people who were like, you can’t possibly pass this up.

It’s a Y so that was really cool. But yes. Over communication is key. So communicating before communicating the day off with expectations, and then just using the tools that are available to you, right? Like for example, I updated my slack status to say what’s going on? So. They didn’t get the message or whatever they can like cover and see.

Joe Howard: [00:28:06] The most important piece of that though. Is, do you remember what emoji you chose for my status?

Christie Chirinos: [00:28:12] The hibiscus.

Joe Howard: [00:28:13] Obviously, obviously. Okay. Okay. You got it. You got that one. Good. Good. I was worried. Hi, is that what it’s called?

Christie Chirinos: [00:28:26] I don’t know if that’s like the official name of it. You know what I mean? Like the pink flower.

Joe Howard: [00:28:30] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Christie Chirinos: [00:28:33] You’ll have to put that emoji on the title of this episode. Yeah. But so use that use of slash status. Is it her biscuits or high biscuits?

Joe Howard: [00:28:45] Hi, H I B I S. Hi, viscous school. I’m a spelling bee champ.

Christie Chirinos: [00:28:53] Bam. Yeah. So other tools at your disposal, I sat some out of office hours for what would regularly be hours that I would be in the office. Again, it’s tiered given what I was expecting of my jet lag and my sleep patterns. Cause I’m asleep nerd and setting the setting of like time zone is also a slack thing, right?

Ah, yes. We’re going to get into how slack.

In Google calendar is what I’m talking about, where the office hours, you can set out of office, office hours to automatically decline meeting invitations. So I set those up the early, early morning so that nobody would schedule like a 4:00 AM call with me outside of the ones that I already have pre committed.

Um, and, uh, that sort of helped in, in, in the message. I was like, I am declining this message because I’m currently in a time zone that would make this time difficult.

Joe Howard: [00:29:49] Customize that message. Well, I didn’t know. So cool.

Christie Chirinos: [00:29:52] And it helped because there was a sort of emergency meeting that had to get scheduled. While I was here sometime later, last week and they got the message and they were like, oh shoot, this is the only thing that somebody can do this. And then I was like, oh, okay. Like send me the invitation again and I’ll get up early. So that happened. And then, yeah, before we started recording, we caught up.

It’s something that we, that I found really interesting, which was the way that slack helped me out. So when I open up my computer, a lot of your work apps will say, Hey, we noticed you’re in a different time zone. Right? Cause your computer will pick up you’re in a different time zone. And. Do you want to switch into this?

And I’m like, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then with slack, I had to change the time zone that I was saying in the settings. Uh, and then that adjusted my do not disturb hours to be the right thing. And then in addition to that, that this really cool thing where it. Reminded people at the bottom of the times that I was in.

So, you know, if somebody was writing me a slack message at four in the morning, which is a reasonable time, uh  like 10:00 AM. Um, it would just sort of the, give them a little notification on the bottom. That’s at like, Hey, you know, it’s, it’s 6:15 AM for Christina.

Joe Howard: [00:31:05] Yeah, I, uh, I messaged you about like recording today. Do you wanna record a day? And I saw this, I can’t see it right now in slack, but when I messaged you, it said like, Hey, this person’s outside of business hours. Or it said like, it is two 30 in the morning right now or something for this person that was like, oh right. She’s in Hawaii. Uh, so.

Christie Chirinos: [00:31:23] Yup. Exactly. So that was helpful because if you didn’t see my message and my team group or the status or whatnot, uh, you would get the little time notification.

So over communication and using all the tools available at your disposal to be a good teammate and let people know what to expect was huge. And. Did that. And then other than that, it was honestly mostly good. I definitely had to pull some early mornings, so we have a standing 10:00 AM call that I just, you know, got up at 4:00 AM to take on Tuesday.

Both Tuesdays. It just so happened that the second Tuesday I was also dying sick, like red in the face. So I called out, but from illness, not time zone and.

Joe Howard: [00:32:10] Kind of maybe I’m jet lagged, I’m so sick.

Christie Chirinos: [00:32:15] Um, and then again, that sort of emergency meeting as well, got up early for that. So it does take some work on your part, right?

You’re the one who is jetting off some places. Ocean island paradise. So you better put in the work to retain that prevalent.

Joe Howard: [00:32:34] Yeah, I think that’s actually a really important point that like, I feel like a lot of people want to travel these exotic places or whatever, and just have fun the whole time they’re in their trip, which you can.

Do right. You can have fun on, but just remember that, uh, you’re lucky enough to be on this trip and not the end of the world. You have to put in a little extra or, or not even just extra work, just like inconvenient work or be a little bit inconvenienced by time zone. Other people are in that is the price that you’re paying to take that trip.

And I’ve it’s, I think it’s important. Everybody to remember that when they tried to work in trouble. Yeah. Well,

Christie Chirinos: [00:33:07] I think that’s very important, especially when you work in a team, right? Like the dynamics are very different depending on the company and the size of your team and the expectations of your team.

My work tends to be a little bit more asynchronous and most right. But at the same time, it’s not completely asynchronous and keeping in mind that mindset, that this is a privilege and that I need to put in the work to maintain this privilege. And also extended to others is an important mindset to say like, Hey, you know, go to bed early and get up at 5:00 AM.

It’s not a big deal. Right. Um, but yeah.

Joe Howard: [00:33:45] One thing I want to mention that you just said that I would love to even talk just a little bit more about what’s the synchronous versus asynchronous, uh, modes of work. So your position is somewhat async. I always mix these up, but I believe asynchronous, which means you don’t necessarily have to be like working one-on-one or be on the same time zone as someone to get work done.

Like you can get. Three hours of work done here and pass off to someone else, and then they can get a few hours of work done. And that’s obviously going to affect like this kind of trip where you’re changing time zones, six hours. If you have to be online with someone else, you may have to like work through the middle of the night or work odd hours.

But with your kind of position, this kind of trip, I think is a little bit easier based on just because you’re doing work while everyone else is doing work. It’s not insanely different than you doing work, you know, six hours ahead of everyone. Cause you can do all that work and then shoot it into slack.

And when people wake up, they have all that work in slack and they can continue work. But also another reason why it’s so important to be such a good communicator as, or just a remote person in general, because if you pass someone off and they have like 10 questions, like that’s not helpful for anybody to have to wait a whole nother day to get it done.

Uh, and so, yeah, I think that’s a good point, but it definitely an interesting thing. Hadn’t exactly thought of us. Um, that was probably pretty helpful for you being able to work on this trip.

Christie Chirinos: [00:34:57] That’s exactly right. My position is asynchronous, which is, you know, project based as opposed to synchronous. I don’t know.

And with that said, though, right? It’s not a completely asynchronous position. The reason that we tend to say that something like a founder or whatnot or freelancer. Easier time with this. And even I did during this trip is because their work is even more asynchronous. My work still requires customer interaction and team collaboration.

And I have to make sure that I’m there and available for the people that need me at a time times they need me. So some overlap was pretty important and then timely responses to customers was really important. So if a customer got looped in. If it’s early in the morning, they’re a priority. Making sure that I checked my emails with priority and mindset, as opposed to just first in, first out, just what I usually do.

We’re probably pretty important skills. Um, but yes, where my position is compellingly time-based position. This would have been a completely different ballgame and there’s also the consideration of other people, right? So again, I’m asleep now. And I knew what was going to happen. I think that that helps a lot in being adjusted to this type of situation.

Uh, so as my jet lag faded away and my wake-up times became closer and closer and closer to my regular 8:00 AM. I would work later into the day, right when I first woke up and I was super jet lag, I worked until I started work at 4:00 AM and I stopped working at like one. And that lasted until like Thursday or Friday as I got more used to the light cycle here.

And so on Friday, you know, if I’m working at 5:00 PM, like I normally might, I better be really mindful that if I send a slack message, that’s 11:00 PM on a Friday for one of my teammates. And making sure that I’m not sending that message. If the person isn’t on do not disturb or scheduling the email, if that’s a better choice so that I’m not disrupting their life in the same way that you would think about that at home, right?

Like if you were, for whatever reason, don’t do this, just stop doing this. If you do this, stop doing this. If you were working at Friday at 11:00 PM. You wouldn’t just send slack messages without thinking about it. You’d be like it’s Friday at 11:00 PM. My other team mates aren’t working. And so that gets a little bit trickier.

Cause you’re doing it at Friday at 4:00 PM, right?

Joe Howard: [00:37:23] Yeah. That’s actually, it’s funny you say that because we’re very, well-trained on that at WP boss. Cause we do 24. We have literally a 24 7 team. So every single message we send, if we’re tagging someone, we have to think about what time zone they’re in. So we have different kind of collections of tagging.

Some people. Team one versus team two, you know, with people in different time zones. And so, yeah, that’s right. That is really important. I agree. I have a question about synchronous versus asynchronous work. Just like your experience in the last week or so working from Hawaii, did it change the order in which you are.

You are doing your work. Is it different than the order you would have done your work? Had you been at home? I guess, meaning like where you’re working on kind of stuff that was easier to work on by yourself first in the day and waiting to later in the day to work on more collaborative stuff, or were you just kind of working on stuff as you would normally?

Christie Chirinos: [00:38:15] So, yes, but that’s flipped. I was working on all the collaborative stuff when I first started. And then a day got later, I was working on all the independent stuff and the quiet stuff. Yeah. Time zones, even for 24 17 time zones are hard. Fuel will never stop being hard, but yes, correct. But the thing is, that’s how I usually work anyway.

Uh, I like to sort of get all my human interaction in, in the morning starting like nine, 10, and then around like one or two, I kind of. Dig into the deeper work. Um, so that worked out just fine. The, so there weren’t, there wasn’t much of a difference in my work pattern other than I was extra mindful of customer emails.

Yeah. Because my teammates. Just looking through my inbox, looking at everything that’s unread and seeing if there are any like support tickets that I need to look over. Because part of what I do is monitor the support tickets to make sure that nothing needs me. And just so that I know what’s going on.

So most of the time they don’t require any action for me, but if they do, I want to make sure that that’s looked at first, you know, a customer isn’t really going to. Be like, oh, it’s okay. She’s in Hawaii. You know? And so, so that was a priority. But other than that, there wasn’t much of a shift in my work habits.

Right. Um, other than, yeah, like in a, in a regular day, I can kind of do a first in first out with my customer emails because I’m working hours that they expect. Whereas in this instance, I wasn’t, so I want to make sure that they get their stuff during the time that they expect. So that’s sort of the time zone stuff and the hard stuff, but there was also like really awesome stuff.

For example, this fascinated me, I started tweeting about it, which was especially when I was really, really jet lagged. This went away as the time went on. Tweeting while jet lagged. Those are two separate ideas. I was reading about this effect period. When I was very jet lagged, I was working like four to one, five to one.

So when I was done at one or two, I had the whole day for activities and that was really cool. You know, because don’t, you kind of feel like sometimes you get into this pattern, especially when you’re in your brain or time zone of like you sleep. You know, you do your work and then in the evening. So you’ve got time to like work out, eat dinner, futz around for a little bit and then go to bed. Right?

Joe Howard: [00:40:52] My master putz, sir, that’s my skill.

Christie Chirinos: [00:40:55] Me too. And when you finish work at 1:00 PM, you’re not the putz until you go to bed, you know, you’re going to eat lunch and then be like, all right, what are we doing next? And that was super fun. And I definitely had this thought of, wow, what would it be like to.

Just work from this time zone and do that same body acclimation training to just make a go to bed at 7:00 PM. Wake up eight hours later. You’re normal. And have that be every day, because the other thing about Hawaii especially is that it’s not like there’s so much stuff going on at night, right when you’re here, you’re here because it’s so beautiful in the sunrise and the sunsets are beautiful.

So once the sun went down, I was like, man, you know, That was really cool. I was really into that. And of course, as I got more used to the light cycle, again, sleep nerd. I know what I will naturally do with my sleep eventually, and I don’t work to change it. But if I did, that could be a really interesting advantage in terms of life quality.

Honestly, if you’re somebody who, the thing that makes you happy the most in the entire world ever period, Is hiking and beautiful beaches. What a life it would be to teach yourself to go to bed at seven, wake up early work in east coast job, and then have your day, every single day in the middle of the day to do all those beautiful Hawaii things and go to bed and do it again.

Joe Howard: [00:42:34] I think that is super cool. I you’re like giving me this like light bulb moment right now, almost because I think like the ability to like, people think about that, like go to bed at seven, wake up at like four or whatever, or go to bed at seven, wake up at three and work like, that’s crazy. Like how could you do that?

Like, though, that that time thing is crazy. Obviously there are things that will stop people from doing that. Like having a family or like, you know, they’re obviously. There are blockers to this, but for someone who’s at the life stage like you, this is for sure, like a totally real thing you could go and do.

And in terms of like getting to bed at seven and waking up early, it seems like this. Like, how could you ever do that? Like, that’s crazy. But like, it’s really just like a mental blocker. Like people have this thing, it’s like, that’s so hard. It’s like, no, it’s not, you just do it. You like, you figured out, you go to bed early, you wake up, you know, at, uh, you know, earlier.

Afternoon becomes your evening. And it’s just a different lifestyle, but that’s a totally possible thing. And so many people, I feel like are looking for people in Hawaii. Like this is like a, it’s a really nice time zone to have someone there. I’m sure it’s actually been very beneficial for you and liquid web in some ways to like, have someone stationed there to be getting work done when nobody else’s. So yeah, that’s really cool idea. I like that a lot.

Christie Chirinos: [00:43:52] Especially the nighttime movement, things like that. Just getting. Small things moved around. Yeah. I mean, and that’s why I added that qualifier. Right? It’s all about priorities. Obviously, if you have a family, you’re not going to bed at 7:00 PM every night and waking up at 4:00 AM every night and honestly, the benefit very well.

Everybody goes to bed at seven, you know, and there’s also like you have, I really value that span of time in the mid-afternoon. Right. Like that would have to be like the thing you are willing to do something that your body maybe naturally may not do because you want that. Because again, everybody has different sleep patterns and our bodies like biologically work to make you sleepy when the light is gone.

That’s why you’re not supposed to look at your phone and the blue light screen before you go to bed, because it tells you. To stay awake. Right. And so. I may not be usual, but for the person who wants that really badly, it’s possible here. And that is something that I found really interesting. I’m not that person.

I really like my urban lifestyle. Quote, unquote, hiking is fun. Every once in a while, I love the hikes that I did over the weekend. I loved the beaches here. They’re incredible, but I don’t know that I would commit to a life of going to bed at 7:00 PM every day, just for that. Right. And so it really just depends.

Whereas my friend’s mom. She was clearly the kind of person that was willing to do anything to get Hawaii every single day. And then other things, I don’t know, um, some non time zone non-work things that I noticed while I’ve been here. There’s definitely something to be said for just the difference of being out of your time zone as a human, like there’s like a good six hour span in which I’m usually talking to my friends that I’m just alone with my thoughts.

Right? Cause like once 5:00 PM hits, which is usually the time. I text friends, make plans, whatever, you know, everybody’s asleep on the east coast cause it’s 11:00 PM. So I’m just kinda like sitting there looking at my internal world, you know, and that’s been really good and interesting, honestly.

Reflecting and thinking, and it’s almost like a meditative thing. Um, that has been really good for me and VIN, very restorative. And then there’s definitely the factor of the Aloha. I don’t know if this would be true for anybody looking to take their work on the road, but certainly in Hawaii, um, people are very, very friendly.

They’re very mindful of their neighbors and their communities. And so I definitely had an instance in which I walked out to like, get something from the car or something. And one of the neighbors was like, oh, so you do leave the house. I’ve been watching that car be parked there all day. What are you even doing?

You’re in Hawaii. Why aren’t you leaving? And I was like, ah, well, so like, I’m keeping up with my job as I’m here. So yeah, that’s been me.

Joe Howard: [00:47:04] Right on, let’s finish up with one last thing I did want to talk about, which was a video call stuff. When I am at home, like right now, I have like really nice video camera and like this nice background and like, you know, it’s like, uh, I don’t know, more respectable for me than when I’m traveling.

Sometimes I’m traveling. You know, with my laptop, but I’m in like a dark area or something’s not going exactly. Right. It’s not as controlled as I have it here. Do you still do, uh, I guess video calls to the team is going to be different. That’s internal, I guess doesn’t matter as much, but like, do you do any external calls with anybody and is that ever affected by your travel?

Christie Chirinos: [00:47:39] So I’m very blessed that I didn’t have to do any external calls. Um, during the time that I was here. Um, because. That would have possibly been an issue. Because again, since I’ve been getting into this pattern of getting to work as early as possible, I’m in my pajamas, maximum pajama, maximum pajama, Joe even pointed out before the call that I have my hair like this crazy hop, not, I mean, and you know, like sometimes it’s true at home too.

Then, you know, you’ll make sure that you look presentable if you have a call with a potential customer or things like that. Um, but I didn’t have to worry about that in these last a week and a half. So that was nice. Um, but then the other thing is just like the equipment aspect, right? I mean, obviously I love having my monitor and it makes my work easier to just have it bigger, but at the same time, Like, I don’t really mind working on my laptop.

I actually really enjoy it. And I think that’s just the fact there of like, I’m an overall small person, right? Like proportions, I don’t know, like listeners that have ever met me. Like, you know, you, you have never met me. You don’t know that I’m like five feet tall, right? Like. Small girl, big voice. So having my MacBook pro with the screen is actually like, you know, it’s a, it’s a considerable percentage of my total body size.

So I don’t really mind it. I don’t have to crouch or anything to work on a Mac book pro. For me, it’s very comfortable, but obviously having my monitor there is nice. Um, and not having that on the road makes a big difference. Um, honestly, if anything, I miss my webcam more again, I’ve talked about this on the show before.

Just sort of how I feel that, uh, video call presentation tends to be like the modern day. WordPress worker suit, right? You don’t dress up for work, but you need to make sure that your video looks good and presentable. And certainly my webcam at home does a better job with the video than the laptop webcam.

But other than that, you know, um, it’s, uh, it’s been.

Joe Howard: [00:49:48] Cool. All right. Let’s uh, wrap up the episode for today. That was awesome. It’s really cool to talk about this. Not just in like theory, but like actually in practice and you’re doing this right now and doing this podcast recording from Hawaii and working from there, it’s interesting to learn like how you’ve done things and yeah, hopefully this will help other people, not just pure entrepreneurs or founders, but people who are the many, many.

Probably more than the founders, you know, in numbers, the employees, a lot of companies who also want to work remotely and want to have a fun remote life. Uh, this is important for everybody to know how to do this. So cool reviews. Where can people go to leave us review.

Christie Chirinos: [00:50:30] Believe as a review about how much you love this podcast by going to WP mrr.com sash.

Joe Howard: [00:50:41] Yeah. Leave your favorite emoji. Leave your five star review helps us get found on the iTunes store. It helps us stay motivated to do more podcast recordings from Hawaii. Aloha. If you’re a new listener, people should binge some episodes. Shouldn’t they should they shouldn’t. They go back in time and listen to some past episodes. Christie.

Christie Chirinos: [00:50:59] Do what I did with that switched on pop podcast. Oh my gosh. Have you heard that podcast? It’s so good. I. It’s like a pop culture and media podcast. They do like reviews and musical breakdowns of popular music. But the point is you can do with WP MRR. What I did with that podcast, which is I clicked on the sorting feature that said newest first, and I switched it to oldest first. And then I hit the first episode and I press play.

Joe Howard: [00:51:30] All right. Yeah. That was a great idea. Go back, listen to that first episode where we were for sure. Getting warmed up on the, on the microphones. Yeah. Oh man. That makes me want to go back and listen to our, some of our first episodes and see what we were, what our thought processes were back then.

It’d be cool. It’s like almost going back in a time machine. Cool questions. If people have questions for the show. The last Q and a episode we did. Kristy was super cool. That was fun.

Christie Chirinos: [00:51:56] I want to do another Q and a. That was a blast. So definitely send your questions over to yo@wpmrr.com. That’s Y o@wpmrr.com.

Let us know what you think. Let us know what you’re wondering about, and we’d love to answer some cushions on the show.

Joe Howard: [00:52:11] Hell yeah. WP mrr.com. If you’re an agency or freelancer and you’re having your rollercoaster revenue months, some up some down. Feast and feast or famine. Why not focus a little bit more monthly recurring revenue, the Christie over liquor web.

They do obviously they’re hosting subscription, WP busters, 24 7 care plans. Subscription brings some care plans into your life. You can learn how to do what we did at WP buffs. Cause we opened sourced everything we do and distilled it into a nice video course for you. So go check it out. We’re doing 75% off right now, so you can get it@wpmrr.com.

Aloha Christy. We will catch you. Next Tuesday.

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