Issue #109

This week in WordPress

Matt Mullenweg says Tumblr now his "top priority" at Automattic

Off the back of news that Jeff D'Onofrio quietly stepped down as Tumblr's CEO in January, Matt Mullenweg tweets, "I suppose this is a good opportunity to let people know that I'll be running @Tumblr personally for a while, and it will be my top priority within @automattic. There is a ton of opportunity for improvements the community has asked for and deserves, and I'm excited to work on it."

The Automattic CEO's announcement was in response to The Atlantic's Kaitlyn Tiffany, whose article How the Snowflakes Won questions why D'Onofrio's left Tumblr with no public acknowledgment of his departure.

It's not clear what impact Mullenweg's focus on Tumblr will have on the WordPress project given he's been release lead for three straight years now. (We asked him on Twitter and he didn't respond before the newsletter was sent).

Long-time core contributor John James Jacoby, also a software developer at Awesome Motive, tweets, "Still thinking of migrating it all to WordPress? Anything I can do to be helpful?"

Marketer Alex Medick tweets, "I've been seeing you post a lot more and engaging on there lately, which is great!" Meanwhile, SEO Bandwagon owner Kyle Alm says, "Just restore the backup from 2010 and start from there."

Cory Miller steps aside as CEO of Post Status

"6 weeks ago I crashed and burned ... hard. Here's my story," tweets Post Status owner Cory Miller, who shares My Crash and Burn()out. He reveals he's on indefinite leave and his wife Lindsey Miller, who runs content marketing agency Content Journey, has taken over as interim CEO.

Shawn Hesketh tweets, "Thank you, @corymiller303, for sharing about your personal experience with burnout with such transparency and vulnerability. When it comes to mental health, nobody ‘walks the talk' like you. And you're definitely not alone. I felt every word. So thank you."

Miller joined Post Status as a partner in January 2020 and became sole owner when founder Brian Krogsgard left the business in May 2021. For 10 years, he founded and ran iThemes before selling the business to Liquid Web in January 2018. Miller is also known for this mental health advocacy and is a trustee of Big Orange Heart.

Professor and journalist Kenna Griffin tweets, "I'm so proud to work for and with people who take mental health seriously, not just in words. Proud of your leadership, @corymiller303 and believe wholeheartedly in @LindseyMillerWP. Post Status is in great hands."

Sugar Five Design Director April Wier adds, "Hustle culture helped pull me out of generational poverty, but almost killed me in the end. Burnout is real and dangerous. Thank you ⁦@corymiller303⁩ for sharing your story. Hopefully it will help others who are spinning out."

Web host Convesio raises $5 million in latest funding round

Speaking of burnout, Convesio Marketing Manager Lawrence Ladomery tells The Repository, "Tom is still getting up in the middle of the night to jump on support. But as we grow and put some proper ops frameworks in place he'll be spending less time in the trenches."

He's referring to the web host's CEO Tom Fanelli and the news Convesio has raised $5 million in funding to further develop its scalable Docker-powered hosting platform.

Founded in 2018, Convesio’s first funding round raised $1 million from 800+ investors off the back of a Wefunder campaign. This latest cash injection will allow the company to grow its team of 19 people, with new ops and dev/support roles expected to be advertised soon. Ladomery adds, "As you can imagine we're super excited about the opportunity to hire more staff and accelerate our efforts across every business function."

In other business-related news, the latest episode in Freemius' Gamechangers series features Extendify's co-founders Chris Lukbert and Artur Grabowski: How to Find a Buyer for Your Business: Chris and Artur of Extendify Explain(ify).

Business Spotlight: Cloudways

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More WordPress 6.0 analysis and looking ahead to WordPress' 20th birthday

WordPress 5.9 is barely out the door and "the lead developers seem to have hardly taken a moment to catch their breath," writes Justin Tadlock at WPTavern in his recap, Looking Ahead to WordPress 6.0: The Early Roadmap.

Also at WPTavern, Sarah Gooding shares her analysis of WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy's proposal for three major WordPress releases in 2022. She highlights reports of contributor burnout and notes: "With the current shortage of contributors skilled in project management and operations, a well-spaced trio of releases in 2022 seems like a more realistic and healthy approach for retaining contributors." It's a sentiment Eric Karkovack touches on in Why It's Getting Harder to Trust the Software We Use at speckyboy.

Meanwhile, WordPress project teams have been sharing their goals for 2022, including Haden Chomphosy: Big Picture Goals 2022. She says, "2022 is all about committing to the co-creator relationship with WordPress users" and outlines goals that include driving adoptions of the WordPress editor, supporting open source alternatives for all site-building necessities, open source stewardship, and gearing up for WordPress' 20th birthday in 2023.

Twenty years of WordPress! Can you believe it? For a walk down memory lane, writer Janette Burhans has put together a visual history of the WordPress Project – closing in on two decades at WPMU DEV.

Could new Block Protocol help make Gutenberg blocks universal?

The Gutenberg project has connected with a like-minded collaborator whose latest project aims to make blocks universal. This week, Joel Spolsky, who founded Trello, Stack Overflow and Glitch, launched Block Protocol, an open standard for building and using data-driven blocks: Making the web better. With blocks!

Spolsky says Block Protocol is "open, free, non-proprietary, we want it to be everywhere on the web" and "We're hoping to foster an open source community that creates a huge open source library of amazing blocks."

His announcement drew an enthusiastic response from WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg who tweets: "This is 100% what Gutenberg is trying to do, and it's designed to not be @WordPress-specific, with the idea that Gutenberg blocks become cross-CMS. We have open source Android and iOS versions. You should talk to @matias_ventura," referring to Matías Ventura, the Gutenberg project's lead architect, adding, "Maybe we can combine efforts?"

Sarah Gooding has more at WPTavern: Block Protocol Project Aims to Create Universal Block System, May Collaborate with Gutenberg. In her analysis, she delves into the detail of Block Protocol and cites two examples, Drupal Gutenberg and Laraberg, where the block editor is used outside of WordPress.

Meanwhile, in other block-related news, Gutenberg 12.5 introduces global styles variations, preserves adjacent button styling, and adds alpha transparency to color pickers, reports Justin Tadlock at WPTavern. He says it's a "beefy update with several developer and user-centric features."

#WPCommunityFeels: Andrea Zoellner

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This week, what's inspiring Andrea Zoellner, VP of Marketing at Kinsta.
A podcast worth listening to: I'm a big fan of Second Life, a podcast interviewing women who pursued entrepreneurship later in life or went through a big career change. It's inspiring to hear real stories of people taking on new challenges and how it's possible to have one, two, or more vastly different careers in a lifetime.

A concept worth understanding: AI bias and how to build inclusivity into machine learning. There can be a tendency to put too much trust in data and fail to catch and correct things like AI bias. At a small scale, we risk inaccurate results. At a large scale, we could be causing harm and building systems that perpetuate bias. (More: What is AI bias really, and how can you combat it?)

A Twitter account worth following: Whether you use your website to gain followers, get clients, or sell your product, landing page conversion tips are (almost) always relevant. Ever since Olly (@helloitsolly) roasted my landing page (don't worry, this is a service of his I paid for), I've been following his Twitter account for tons of quick, actionable tips to improve conversions at Kinsta, and for my many side projects.

An article worth reading: If you think the GDPR case against Google Analytics is unenforceable, you might be right. Or, we could be on the cusp of yet another change in the way we track, gather data, and monitor user behaviour on the web. Either way, it's worth following the story of Austrian data regulators vs Google: Europe’s Move Against Google Analytics Is Just the Beginning.

A habit worth forming: I'm going to go old school on this one and say journaling. For the past two years, time has felt like a blob, an unquantifiable mass; somehow both too fast and interminable. I hadn't journaled since middle school but revisiting the habit made it clear why so many great people in history journaled. It freezes time. Whether you reread old entries or immediately archive them, the action of stopping, taking stock, and revisiting the days' events is so helpful. You can process and resolve emotions, document and learn from your challenges, and describe and delight in the wins.

Successful Business Models for Web Pros

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Kristina started out as a website developer, creating sites for companies such as Coca-Cola and Food Network, and a variety of Hollywood celebrities. Kristina has since shifted to business coaching and has trained thousands of web professionals to create content across the web.

This free virtual meetup is presented by GoDaddy Pro and will take place on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 at 3pm EST.

Read more: Successful Business Models for Web Pros.

In other WordPress news...

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