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Issue #137
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This week in WordPress

DigitalOcean Acquires Cloudways

As Pakastani startup lawyer Mubariz Siddiqui tweeted this week, "What a remarkable story!"

Bloomberg reported that DigitalOcean is acquiring Cloudways for $350 million in an all-cash deal. According to journalist Brody Ford, the transaction is expected to close in September, and a "significant portion" of the $350 million will be paid over 30 months following the completion of the acquisition.

Launched in 2014, Cloudways currently serves more than 72,000 customers on over 570,000 websites, and has a global team of 280+ employees.

On the Cloudways blog, co-founder and CEO Aaqib Gadit says the web host will remain a standalone business unit and continue to operate as usual under his leadership. He reassured existing customers that they would see no changes to their services: "I have no doubt that both culturally and technologically, DigitalOcean will be a great home for our customers and our employees."

The acquisition was celebrated not just by the local tech community but by Pakistanis more widely, with actor and television host Fakhr-e-Alam tweeting, "This is what can do. So happy and proud. Imagine if we get out of the way of innovative young people & facilitate them what all can we do and the wealth that we can create."

"Historic milestone for the ecosystem in #EmergingPakistan 🇵🇰" tweeted Shehryar Hydri, a Partner at Deosai Ventures, adding, "People knew about this sleeping giant but didn't realize their pace - 50% p.a. growth to cross $50 mn in revenue. Hats off to the team."

Jawwad Farid, founder of Alchemy Technologies, noted, "Pakistan tech sector's largest exit to date. USD 350 million. Congratulations team, mentors, founders and shareholders."

Is this a WordPress Acquisition? asks Dan Knauss at Post Status. It certainly is, he says, adding, "… the number-filled announcement to investors (and infographic) from DigitalOcean makes it clear they know they are buying into the WordPress ecosystem by acquiring Cloudways.

WebP Not on Hold, Still Expected to Drop in WordPress 6.1

After Sarah Gooding at WPTavern reported this week that WebP by default is on hold for WordPress 6.1 after new objections from WordPress lead developers, GoDaddy-sponsored core contributor Mike Schroder clarified in the comments that, "This is an active discussion, and the feature is not on hold," adding, "Exactly what it'll look like / what will ship in 6.1 is still being discussed, and the ticket is a great way to keep up to date!"

Post Status Editor Dan Knauss noted, "This is a good call, I think, but I can't recall a story like at it at The Tavern where core contributors' corporate sponsors/employers got named so much." Also: "In this case it's Google, which has an interest in propagating use of the WebP image format it created. It would be fair to also note Automattic as the employer of the core contributors putting a hold on WebP by default."

MasterWP Editor Rob Howard tweeted, "Great call by the #WordPress performance team to slow down this feature. It's almost as if somebody at Google is saying 'we need more WebP market share at all costs!' 😅"

(Editor: For the record, The Repository always includes job titles and sponsorship details when naming folks in our newsletter—even if we have to do some time-consuming digging. We believe this information not only provides important context about the players involved in WordPress but is critical for understanding corporate influences in the ecosystem.)

Leo Postovoit: Pizza is Not a Reason to Return to the Office

"Hi friends, do you agree that office pizza on Tuesdays and unlimited terrible coffee isn't worth the commute? 🍕🚗☕️🧑‍💻Then my @XWP blog post is for you," tweeted Leo Postovoit, Head of Product Strategy and Partnerships at XWP, linking to Pizza Isn't a Perk: A Response to the Anti-remote Argument.

Postovoit's thorough defense of remote work comes after best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell recently slammed remote working, likening it to "just sitting in your pajamas in your bedroom."

XWP Social Media Manager Carole Olinger tweeted, "Well said! Great article on #remotework by @XWP's @postphotos! 👏 Keep roaring, Leo! 🦁💪 Proud to be your colleague in a company making #remotelife a true blessing!"

Meanwhile, for Post Status, Editor Dan Knauss "sticks up for Malcolm – a little" in his piece Remote work lashback — it's not all wrong: " In WordPress, the importance of in-person meetups to offset the alienating effects of online-only has always been stressed and maybe now more than ever. I'm sympathetic to people who want to get together in ways that seem more endangered and rarer by the year."

Business Spotlight: LearnDash

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LearnDash is taking cutting-edge e-learning methodology and infusing it into WordPress. We're trusted to power the learning programs for major universities, small to mid-size companies, startups, entrepreneurs, and bloggers worldwide.


#WPCommunityFeels: Derek Ashauer

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This week, what’s inspiring Derek Ashauer, a web designer, developer, and founder of Ash Web Studio.
A podcast worth listening to: I don’t do educational podcasts, I use them as a way to disconnect. I find Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend to be a way to laugh out loud and make fellow dog walkers look at me like I’m crazy.

A concept worth understanding: If you are making sites for clients, you are giving them a solution not a product. It needs to solve their problems. A site should help their business grow online and the tools that make that happen don’t necessarily matter to your client like it does to you.

A Twitter account worth following: No idea—I’m still new to Twitter myself.

An article worth reading: I wrote Designing For Clients Made Easy 17 years ago and it all still holds true, and are ideas I follow to this day. I wrote the article at a time when I worked for a company churning out an incredible number of sites per year. I had at any given time as lead designer 50-60 projects ongoing at once. Doing those design consults with clients was something I had done so many times it became repetitive and felt like I had it down to a science, and felt like I could help some others by writing it. My favorite part is the ‘Be A Pro’ section as it helps me each and every day. If a client simply trusts you, they won’t nickel and dime you with silly requests that eat up time that could be better spent elsewhere growing and building your own business.

A habit worth forming: Break things down into their smallest pieces as you can. When I feel overwhelmed, I find picking out a few small things and just focusing on those one at a time helps me feel less overwhelmed and can quickly get back into the swing of things.

First WordCamp Tips and Tricks

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Whether you're headed to WordCamp US in San Diego or simply want to know what WordCamps are all about, join us for this panel discussion as we break down some of our past experiences, what we've learned from them, and what you need to know as you head to one of these wonderful WordPress events. From packing and travel plans to networking and parties, hopefully you'll leave this meetup with some insight on how to prepare for your next WordCamp to make the very most of it!

Join Adam Warner, Maja Loncar, Sandy Edwards, Courtney Robertson, Gina Marie Innocent, and Marcus Burnette from the GoDaddy Pro Field Marketing team as we break down some of the best tips and tricks we've learned from attending years of WordCamps all over the globe!

Plus, if you'll be in San Diego on September 9, we invite you to join us for a party at the San Diego Air and Space Museum! (RSVP for the party here: GoDaddy Pro And Friends Take On San Diego.

This free virtual event is presented by GoDaddy Pro and will take place on Wednesday, August 31, 2022 at 3pm EDT.

Read more and register here 👉 First WordCamp Tips and Tricks.
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In other WordPress news...

  • Automattic Design Director Channing Ritter reminded folks this week that submissions for style various for the Twenty Twenty-Three default theme close on August 31. Check out the kickoff post for submission details, or browse some of the work that's already been submitted.
  • WordPress 6.0.2 RC1 is now available for testing. This minor release features 12 core bug fixes and five block editor bug fixes.
  • This week, James Giroux, Director of Brand & Product Marketing at StellarWP, shared his take on being a people leader in a guest essay for MasterWP. "James Giroux writes so much good stuff on his own blog, I can't keep up," writes Dan Knauss at Post Status, adding, "I am accumulating a list of things he's tackled that are unusual to see written about in any depth in the WordPress community, especially by a man."
  • In celebration of World Photography Day, WordPress' Photo Directory team has issued a challenge designed to get people contributing, reports Sarah Gooding at WPTavern. Folks are encouraged to submit a photo that captures something unique about your local area in a way that helps represent the geographic diversity of the WordPress community. Since its launch, the WordPress Photo Directory has grown to 3,633 free, CC0-licensed photos.
  • WP Engine's Sam Munoz (Community Manager for Developer Relations) and Brian Gardner (Principal Developer Advocate) recently launched Build Mode. The series focuses on modern WordPress, the future of Full Site Editing, and how the changing landscape impacts business owners.
  • is bringing back a feature that made it possible for customers to test extensions in a sandbox environment before purchasing them, reports Sarah Gooding at WPTavern. Select extensions can be loaded up on a private test site for 30 days before the site self-destructs.
  • Sucuri Security Analyst Ben Martin says a recent surge in JavaScript injections targeting WordPress sites has resulted in fake DDoS prevent prompts, leading victims to download remote access trojan (RATs) malware. He says RATs are one of the worst types of infections that can affect a computer as it gives attackers full control over the device. He offers steps website owners can take to mitigate risk.
  • Torque Editor Emily Schiola has shared her tips to help folks get ready for WCUS 2022. Her list includes simple things like bringing a water bottle and chargers and making sure to attend Contributor Day and the official after party.
  • "Twitter gets a bad rap because of the negative ways in which it's used but in my opinion that's because people just aren't using it right," says MasterWP Editorial Director Nyasha Green. She shared her list of the best accounts to follow on Twitter if you want to keep up with WordPress.
  • Automattic-sponsored support contributor Justin Tadlock has put a call out for testing the new fluid typography feature that was introduced in Gutenberg 13.8. The dev-only feature allows theme authors to define font sizes that adapt to the viewport. New improvements are expected to drop in Gutenberg 13.9.
  • This week, MasterWP Editor Brian Coords interviewed Newsletter Glue's Lesley Sim, who he describes as "one of the most interesting people thinking about some of my favorite topics." Their wide-ranging chat touches on managing open source software, 'Tragedy of the Commons' and the 'Free Rider Problem,' open source governance, and how WordPress could thrive in the face of fresh competition.
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