Podcast E122 – Why I’m switching to support Ticketing System

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kswp-e122This week I share why using a Support Ticketing system is the way to go.

Upcoming Events

  • No WordCamps next weekend.

Segment 1: In the News

My choice:

vSegment 3: Tool of the Week


This weeks episode is sponsored by: A2 Hosting.

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Podcast E121 – Listener Q/A

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kswp-e104This week I answer listener/meetup questions

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: in the news

Segment 2:  listener/meetup questions

Resources Mentioned:

Segment 3: tool of the week

Read Transcript

Adam Silver: This is the KitchenSinkWP podcast. Episode 121. [Opening Sequence]

Hello there. This is Adam Silver, the host of the KitchenSinkWP podcast. Thanks for being here. Let’s get started. All right. Upcoming events. WordCamp Europe is next weekend, if I’m not mistaken. Let me double check that for you. I just actually almost forgot to add this. Yes, June 24th to 26th, WordCamp Europe is going to happen. It’s actually the largest WordCamp to date. I believe they’re at 2,300 or 2,200 attendees, which is crazy. I will know a handful. I’m sure I know some people there. I know my buddy, Dustin, is going to be there, from Automatic. Others may be there. I know Kari-Leigh, who was interviewed in last week’s show. Thanks, people, for helping her out and listening. It was awesome. She’ll be there covering that as well. WordCamp Europe. If you are there and nearby, by all means, you should go. I wish I could go. Very cool.

Anyway, what else is coming up here? That’s it for the events really. Just one WordCamp. I think a lot of work camps didn’t do the same weekend, if I’m not mistaken. 24th. Just Europe. After that, we hit in July. We’ll talk about that next week. Okay, so that’s it for upcoming events.

Segment 1: In the news. A whole bunch of things here in the news. First and foremost, Gravity Forms 2.0 was released this last week, and I’m actually due for renewal. We’ll talk about renewals in a second in here. This is a major release, introduced as a bunch of new features and enhancements. A lot of things under the hood. Core plugin, the API, the Add-on Framework and enhanced security. Carl wrote a blog post about it. But check it out if you’re a Gravity Forms user. You should get your update there. If you’re not, you should go ahead and buy it. I might have an affiliate, I don’t know, on my resources page… I think I do. I use it all the time. I renew every year, without question, in June because I bought it like four years ago.  I get a discount on it. Discounts on renewal are about 50%, so it’s well worth it for me. I buy the developer level. Anyway, we’ll talk about renewals later in the show today.

Okay. What else in the news? WooCommerce 2.6 came out. It’s called Zipping Zebra. That’s the code name. A whole bunch of new things with the WooCommerce as well. Shipping Zones. WooCommerce REST API. Improve account pages and also the AJAX Cart got a big, huge refresh, meaning when you click on quantity you no longer have to do a refresh for pricing. It just kind of does it automatically. Pretty cool. If you’re using WooCommerce or anything, check that as well.

I’m still toying with WooCommerce a little bit for this other little project I’m working on….Anyway.

I’m looking forward to trying that out for this. Shipping Zones, actually, is what I’m looking at for that. Okay. What else? One last thing in the news. WP Tavern wrote a review about WordCamp Northeast Ohio, or NEO, and that was a smashing success, and it was. I had a great time when I was there. I got a nice little shout out from my buddy Jeff Chandler so thank you for that. It was great. Smaller camp. It was in Kent, Ohio. The first day was a little warm, muggy, but the second day was beautiful. It really was. Nice location. Thank you very much to the organizers, the entire team, Rich and Angela. They did a great job and it was good to see some friends. It was nice to be there. There you go. I’m looking forward to maybe hitting up Ohio again in the near future. Probably won’t be this year, though. I wanted to go to Columbus, but I think that weekend is … I’m busy that weekend. Only one trip to Ohio this year. Okay. That is it for upcoming news and in the news and upcoming events. Moving along here to segment 2. Before that, though, a quick shout out to the sponsor. Take a listen here.

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Okay. Thanks for the sponsorship there from ConciergeWP. Awesome. I’m moving on now to segment 2. This week, the meat and potatoes is listener Q&A from email as well as my meetup. As you guys know, I run the local meetup here in the south bay and we do an open forum where it’s Q&A. People ask questions, I write them out on a text document and I answer the best I can and I get help from the community, and it’s awesome. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I wanted to share some of those here because I believe they are relevant and good for the entire community. Okay. First question here is by Mehdi. By the way, real quick: there are about 12 questions. We had about a 90 minute session. It was pretty cool. We had a paninis at the meetup. It was great. Paninis and a hot dog. No. A sandwiches and paninis bar….Anyway. 12 questions. We’re not going to do all 12. I have a handful. I believe I have five here, because that’s what I have time for.

Okay. First one was, “What are the minimum requirements for freelancers to have?” In this case, Mehdi is both front end and back end, so developer and designer. He’s new to the area and he’s trying to get freelance work and build up a portfolio. Easy answer: samples of your work. Now, to dive into that a little bit, and to extrapolate. On the designer, the visual portfolio of work, of your user interface, of your user designs. Ideally, working sites, and live and active right now, are better than a static shot of what you’ve done in the past, in my opinion. I’ve tried to hire people in the past, and I have definitely noticed … If you see a sample site of a mock-up, it’s okay, it’s cool, but if I see a live site, it’s like, “Hey, you did this site? It’s live. It’s active. Much better.”

On the developer side, same thing. You want to have a portfolio, but I’ve seen many job postings these days indicate, “Please send us the link to your GIT repo.” If you’re hiring someone to do code, you want to see what kind of code they did, the standards being used. Definitely, if you’re doing development work and if you want to get work, have a Git repo, a public repository, for that, and go that route. Put code there. Snippets, samples, of what you can share. Legally, of course. I think that would be the great minimum requirements.

Beyond that, the other conversation that came from that was how do we hire and how do we go thru that process. I like to say fire fast if you have to. If you find someone that’s not working out, the communication skills are terrible, move on. Let people go faster than you’ve brought them in because lack of communication from developers or designers is going to affect your work and your business 100%. Simple as that. Okay. I forgot how the quote goes. I’m messing up, so I don’t want to keep messing on that. Anyway, keep that in mind. There you go. Hope that helped, Mehdi.

Rick asks the question about site speed. This has come up in the past. I’m just going to revisit this real quick. How to increase the speed of your website. Load time. Fairly simple answer here. First and foremost, use a good hosting company. Your shared hosting, right off the bat, shared is not going to be the best situation necessarily. So move up to either VPS or managed VPS or just your own private server of course. Use a good hosting company. Optimize images, if you’re an image heavy site, and a lot of sites these days are image heavy because of the visual, right? And the theme. Make it a good, lean theme as well. Beyond that, use a CDN, a content delivery network. I spoke to Dave Henzel about this back in episode 87. You can go to the kitchensinkwp.com/87 and hear about CDN’s and how they work. Those are the things you really want to do to increase site speed. There’s a couple of things you can also do. But right off the bat: good hosting company, optimize images, use a CDN. Okay? That’s No.2.

No.3 here. Third question. Ada asks, “What are the basics to SEO?” Now this is a can of worms, potentially. Super simple question, not really. First and foremost: I’m a believer that SEO is a moving target. Writing consistent content, being consistent with that content, in your niche, in your focus area, is key. The other things that can totally help are the Yoast SEO plugin. It’s a great starting point, and Yoast just updated the blog on this topic a few days ago. I’m recording this on June 17th, 2016, so two days before recording this there is an updated post about SEO and how things work. I’ll put link in the show notes about that.

Another great resource is via my friends over at iThemes, Cory at iThemes. They have a free webinar series taught by Rebecca Gills, and I’ll put a link in the show notes as well about all the SEO basics and what to do about that. I’m not an SEO expert, so that’s all I really got. I know there’s resources out there and I know there’s people who love doing it. It’s not one of my favorite things, but I think that consistency is one of those things that does help a lot. Okay. What else here? We got another couple of questions here and we’re moving right along.

Steve asked, “Why use MailChimp or any other email service provider versus the built-in subscribe or through Jetpack or some other, where people can just get updates from when you do a blog post. Easy answer: you own the list that people subscribe to, and you have more control over the list. I use a plugin for my class website called Subscribe2. Very basic. That way, my students get an email whenever I update the blog and when I put the notes up. It’s simple. I don’t need to add them to my AWeber list or Constant Contact or MailChimp. Now, MailChimp offers a free level for 2,000 subscribers, a couple hundred emails per month. It’s totally free. AWeber does not. I have accounts at both because I’ve tested both, and I really like AWeber and MailChimp’s great too, but the key here is it always comes back to the money’s in the list. The sooner you have an email list that you can have communication with, and you can market to, the better.

The subscribe functionality is okay but it’s built into the site, and if it goes down or if I lose that list, if my database gets corrupted, then I lose that. I like having that list split out and be separate. I hope that answers the question. Also, once you have people on the list, you can have a better communication. You have a drip content campaign. You can follow up with people. What you don’t want to do really is you don’t want to sell service, say thanks. They get a confirmation, or product for that matter, and then in a year, they get, “Hey. Renew.” Right? That’s not a great relationship to have with anybody. Subscribers, buyers, listeners. You ideally want to have a relationship built upon some value and communications style.

One more question here. This one actually comes back to the theme issue. Not the theme, but plugins and licenses. Dave asked, “Do I need to renew my license from ThemeForest every year?” Easy answer. No. You don’t. Why would you? The theme won’t stop working if you don’t renew. But you won’t have the updates and you won’t get the support. If you don’t need support at all, you are self-supportive, if you are a developer, then go right ahead and skip it. At least for now. But you’re not supporting the community and you’re not going to get the updates and eventually a theme will break based on core functionality changing security. That’s what you are paying for. You’re paying for those updates. You’re paying for support.

Case in point: my Gravity Forms is due right now. Do I need to renew? No. Not at all. I don’t. Am I going to? Absolutely because I support them. I want them to keep doing great things with their plugin. I use it all the time. It’s not going to break. It’s not going to stop working on the dozens of sites I have it on. Why take the risk? I want to make sure I have all the updates, all the add-ons, the functionality, the features. I will be renewing this week. It’ll cost me $100, and I will just go ahead and do it. Actually, I’ll probably do it right after this episode is done recording. That’s the answer Dave. You don’t have to renew but you just won’t get updates and you won’t get support. It’s a choice. It’s a budgetary choice. Keep that in mind.

That’s it. Those five things. Real quick, recapping them. Minimum requirements for freelancers. You want a portfolio of work, live work is great. Git repo for dev, increasing site speed, hosting company is ideal, optimize images, use a CDN, basics of SEO, Yoast plugin really helps a lot and he just updated his blog post like two days ago, and iThemes has a great webinar through Rebecca Gills. These will all be in the show notes as well.

MailChimp, I use that all the time. Not MailChimp, I’m sorry. AWeber, and MailChimp, over built-in plugins for subscriptions just because I want it somewhere else where I can use that to market to subscribers, listeners, mailing lists, et cetera. By the way, that’s what they do. MailChimp. AWeber. Accounts and Constant Contact, Get Drip. All those. Those companies are email providers. You can have a lot better metrics and analytics versus if you send off email or through your own system hosting, you might get shut down from being a spammer. Keep that in mind. Of course, licensing renewals. Do you have to? No. But there’s benefits to having it. There you go.

All right. Segment 3. Moving along here. Tip and tool of the week. This week, I was just thinking about this. I was at Starbucks earlier today, actually, and I realized my VPN … I don’t have a VPN. I had a trial for a while. My tip and tool of the week is get a VPN for safe Wi-Fi while traveling the summer. Summer is in full effect now, across the United States at least, and I believe we should all have a VPN. Too many people out there are sniffing for Dana. Data. Not Dana. I don’t know who Dana is. For data. I’m testing two services. I went with Cloak to begin with. I tried out their 30-day trial. It was awesome. I liked it a lot. Very easy. Automatically engages based on where you are. If you’re in your home Wi-Fi, it will never kick in. No need to, necessarily. You trust your home. When you go somewhere else, it will automatically just turn on, which is great. They have different levels. I’m not going to talk about the pricing right now.

But that expired, so I want to try something else. There’s two I was looking in. The other one’s called TunnelBear. It’s manual. You have to go ahead and click it on or off yourself. It looks like there is free 500 megabytes per month. You get an extra gigabyte if you tweet out, “Hey, I’m using TunnelBear.” I am testing TunnelBear right now, but either way, find a VPN that works for you. I’m testing those two. If you want to take my recommendation, great. Cloak was great. TunnelBear, so far, so good. I’ll know more in the next week or two. I’m traveling a little bit. That way when I’m at Starbucks or Coffee Bean or anywhere out and about where I don’t trust the Wi-Fi, I can tunnel VPN my data, so keep things safe. That’s the tip this week. Go out. Be safe when you use Wi-Fi traveling, and check out a VPN service.

Okay. That is it this week. If you have any questions, go ahead and send them in via email at adam@kitchensinkwp.com or use the SpeakPipe functionality on the website. Thanks for listening, see you next week, and talk to you later. Go out and do some awesome things with WordPress.

Oh, and happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. No matter where you are, thanks for being a dad. Thanks for being awesome. Love ya. Bye dad.


This weeks episode is sponsored by ConciergeWP.com | Relax, we’ve got this!

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Podcast E120 – Interview with Kari-Leigh Marucchi

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kswp-e120This week I interview Kari-Leigh Marucchi about her WordPress journey and the WP photo project.

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

  • WordPress  4.6 – -someone out here asked me when..  August..  Beta 1  june 29th!  only a few weeks away.

Segment 2:  Interview with Kari Leigh Marucchi

Kari-Leigh’s tools:

  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Gmail

Follow Kari-Leigh

Twitter: @foundartphotog

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

Adam: This is The Kitchen Sink WP podcast episode 120. [ Opening Sequence ]

Adam: Why hello there everybody. This is Adam Silver, the host of The Kitchen Sink WP podcast. Thanks for being here. Let’s get started. Upcoming events, we have Word Camp Ottawa. That is June 16th and 17th up in Canada. WordCamp actually, this one’s an update here, postponement on Word Camp Winnipeg, sorry to say. I looked it up and I noticed that it was missing some information, a lot of it. Tickets were not available and speakers were still open. Anyway, I reached out and found out through the community that Winnipeg Word Camp has been postponed, new date to be announced shortly. Those are the two things.

Also, this week, if you’re in the Southern California area when you here this, I believe my meetup’s this week, isn’t it? Yeah. It is. Check that out. South Bay WordPress meetup. Check that out. Come on by. Love to have you. Not sure what we’re doing for food this time. Last time we did soup and salad, chili. Time before that we did taco bar. We would pizza. It’s been a long time since we’ve done pizza, but maybe not. We’ll see.

Moving right along, segment one, in the news. Short news week because I’m actually recording this a little early this week. I’m about to leave to travel for Word Camp. By the time you hear this I’m already back, but I’m on my way to Word Camp Northeast Ohio. Anyway, in the news, WordPress 4.6, some news here. Someone asked me last week about it in a seminar I did, and I just wanted to double check. It’s on track. It’s due in August. The first beta is due June 29th, which is only a few weeks away. It’s kind of crazy. We just got 4.5.2, of course. 4.6 is due … Beta 1, June 29th. Release for that is middle of August if I’m not mistaken, the 16th. Let me double check that for you here real quick. August 16th is the target date for WordPress Version 4.6.

I’ll put a link in the show notes. You can follow along how that goes. If you want to help contribute, by all means you should. You can totally do stuff and help out, and translate and look at documentation and find bugs and kill bugs. Check that out. This week were going to have an interview. Before that, I wanted to a shout out to our sponsor starting right now.

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Adam: This week, segment 2, I have an interview with Kari-Leigh just recently. She is an awesome person, a good friend of mine, and I wanted to interview her because she’s just a bundle of joy. She’s amazing at what she does and what she’s trying to do with the community of WordPress. We’ll come back up to that with a tip and tool of the week, and we’ll wrap things up. Here you go.

Today I’m joined by Kari-Leigh Marucchi. She has worn many hats over the years from a web content strategist, to help clients connect designers and developers in the agency world, and is currently happiest behind the camera, not to mention a character in front of it. A lover of WordPress, her family, and well just everything in general, including her dog. Welcome to the show Kari-Leigh.

Kari-Leigh: Hi there. Thanks so much.

Adam: Of course. Did I miss anything from that bio? Anything you want to add to that?

Kari-Leigh: How long do we have?

Adam: Sixteen minutes.

Kari-Leigh: I’m a certified paraprofessional, certified bartender, and certified massage therapist, and now I’m a photographer. Let’s do it.

Adam: Okay. For full transparency, which I’m always keen on, I like to tell people how we know each other. I was thinking back, I’m pretty sure we met the first in Word Camp Orange County either 2013, is that right?

Kari-Leigh: Yeah

Adam: Okay. At the time you were working for who or what?

Kari-Leigh: Velo Media, which became Crowd Favorite.

Adam: That leads me to the first question. We just have a handful of questions for you, and I want my audience to get to know you. For those who don’t know you, which is still very possible, how did you get here? How did you get involved using WordPress. As talking heads would say, “How did I get here?” Go ahead and answer that part.

Kari-Leigh: Well, in 2009 I had got engaged to someone who had discovered WordPress very recently and was working with it after hours. As we decide to build a life together, we decided to build a business together and center it around the WordPress platform. We started Vela Media, and dropped the day jobs and went for it. I was able to bring in my project management experience from a career in the enterprise environment working with payroll and HR and finance departments, and implanting software to connect the departments between HR, benefits, payroll, et cetera.

Adam: Okay.

Kari-Leigh: I was able to bring that project management experience into what he does as well as what that specialty brought for me, which was back office skills. Between his technical knowledge and his history back several decades with the Internet and my background office and project management, we got it launched in a good direction. That’s how I got started with WordPress.

Adam: Right on. That said, I’m aware you’re not a WordPress developer per say.

Kari-Leigh: No.

Adam: You’re not a pure designer, right?

Kari-Leigh: No.

Adam: What are you right now?

Kari-Leigh: Right now I’m a photographer, and I shoot Word Camps very happily. I’m what I like to call a master configurer with WordPress. It was my job to understand and often to document spec and client requirements, and figure out how we were going to budget developer’s time to get the tasks done. In that, I became … Basically, it’s my job to figure out what can WordPress do out of the box? What can plug-ins do to help us save developer hours? A lot of times there would be a situation where a developer may say, “Hey, yeah. I can handle that. It’ll take 19 hours.” If it was possible, there are a lot of things where the response is, “Well, no. Let’s not do that. I can do it in about 3 minutes,” if you really know deeply what the WordPress platform and your theme can do and the plug-ins available. That’s fun.

Adam: You’re a photographer. No. Did you have any interest in switching out of project management into more development or into more bus-dev before you went to the photography? We’ll get to the photography in a second. I want to get to that. That’s very important to me because I used to be one as well. Did you ever consider growing more within the WordPress side of things of development itself?

Kari-Leigh: I’ve always been fascinated with the code that I was working with people to build. I’ve had many people see that I can read it and I can troubleshoot. They’ve suggested I get into it, but I really believe in core competency focus. I am very good at project management. I’m very good at documentation, at spec development, and working with the client to translate their needs into what our developers can do. I really enjoy that, and if that’s my core competency, spending time to train and code and hardware and management et cetera, it took away from what made me valuable.

If I end up going back into project management, which I wouldn’t mind, I love it. I miss the puzzle of it … It would be definitely going into project management again. I love developers. I’ve made a lifestyle over the last year of photographing them, and I’m love talking to them and listening to how they strategize and solve problems. I’m a developer fan girl.

Adam: Okay.

Kari-Leigh: There’s a place for us.

Adam: Absolutely. That then leads to the next question, which is, what are you doing now as photographer in relation to WordPress?

Kari-Leigh: I have shot 15 Word Camps comprehensively, which means I will go to Word Camps and from start til stop I will be carrying my camera and seeking to document what makes each Word Camp special, what makes it unique, and what makes Word Camps something that keeps drawing the speakers and the sponsors and getting these volunteer organizers who blow my mind, bless you all, to do this and come to this again and again. I got the bug a long time ago in 2012. My first one was Word Camp San Francisco. When I needed to take a break from my professional administrative career a year and a half ago due to a family illness, I wanted to go to Word Camp Atlanta, but I wasn’t ready to as a business person. I thought, “Now I can contribute and I’ll bring my camera.” That was the beginning of history for me.

Adam: Right.

Kari-Leigh: That’s the evolution. I went from project management to, because of a family illness, deciding to bring my camera. I’ve fallen in love with being at a camp and providing images that help people promote the camp, the WordPress project, and themselves and what they do with the WordPress platform.

Adam: Are you being funded for this? Are you making a living doing this, selling print? I’m curious. I kind of know the answer, but I want you to answer for those who don’t.

Kari-Leigh: I do not sell the pictures. I’m really glad you asked that, because that’s really important for people to know that none of the images are available for sale. The project, the WP Photo Project as I call it, which is my efforts with Word Camps and providing these photos and collecting photos from other photographers, these are open source. They are creative commons license. We love credit if it’s possible, but they are a gift to the community, to the speakers, the sponsors, the organizers, and the attendees. It’s really not meant to put up for sale. They are a gift back to the community.

Yes, it is important that I do bring in an income, and once I realized I really wanted to do this full-time … Not just travel to the Word Camps and shoot them … I love travel and I love shooting. I love my friends and my new friends. That’s all really fun, but this is much bigger than that. Between the travel and the processing and the publishing of the pictures, I’m also developing a project to create a central repository for this photography. Hopefully futurlly known as WordPress.Photo. All of that time spent requires sponsorship. I spend also a lot of my time talking to potential sponsors and getting them involved in contributing to this community service that I’m doing and I’m drawing other people into to help make happen.

Adam: Okay. The question is, you’re being paid to cover expenses and cost and travel, correct?

Kari-Leigh: Yes.

Adam: Okay. Has it helped in the sense of people reaching out to you outside of that. “Hey, we need a photographer for this other even that does pay.” Has that come to any fruition or is that an interest on your point at all?

Kari-Leigh: It is of interest. I’ve done couple handfuls over the last year, including a very special one. A couple months ago I shot Adam Silver’s son’s Bar Mitzvah.

Adam: Yes you did. Yes.

Kari-Leigh: I’m very honored. They’re available to see somewhere online soon I hope.

Adam: We’ll see about that.

Kari-Leigh: We’ll see about that.

Adam: For the record, they are beautiful shots. We do like them. We just haven’t released them to anyone yet or we haven’t made a book yet because my wife works a non-profit. She was busy head down at this big project she had. I know you were afraid that, “My gosh, how come we haven’t seen these photos yet anywhere?” It’s because of that. My wife’s picky about what she wants out for images of her. The photos are awesome. We had a different photographer for my daughter’s a couple years ago, and like I said, your photos were awesome.

Kari-Leigh: You’re so diplomatic, but then kind. Thank you.

Adam: Yes.

Kari-Leigh: I really enjoyed that. My thing as an artist in photography is I love event photography. I’ve been open to other events besides Word Camps coming my way, but frankly, I’m never in town.

Adam: Makes total sense. Current goal, current project is just the WordPress photo project, correct?

Kari-Leigh: That’s it. I have put all of my eggs into that one basket.

Adam: A couple more questions, because I want to be respectful of your time. If someone came to you right now, and they said they really want to do something in the WordPress space, but they’re not a developer, they’re not a designer. They’re not anything specific or, I hate to say the word, pigeonholed. What would you say to them? What would you tell them for advice? How do they get involved?

Kari-Leigh: I would absolutely say volunteer at a Word Camp.

Adam: Nice.

Kari-Leigh: You get to know many more people that way than just walking in the door. Because you have a reason to speak to someone, to each person. You get pulled into conversations and activities where you end up bonding with people. That’s natural. Absolutely, I’ve met more people being a volunteer than in any other way I stepped into the door as a Word Camp attendee. Once you do that, you become exposed to the various things that are needed, and you end up finding your niche. I can’t recommend it more.

Adam: I couldn’t disagree with you at all on that. I couldn’t agree with you more I guess is the right way to say that. I came into WordPress and the community based out of a volunteer. I think I went first as a guest of a sponsor, like I’ve told people on the show before. Then I volunteered as a photographer for 2 years at Word Camp LA. Then I was hired by our friend Chris Lema to shoot his talk. He needed some stuff for marketing purposes. That’s when I met you, I think that same Word Camp.

Kari-Leigh: That’s when we met.

Adam: Right.

Kari-Leigh: Yep.

Adam: The rest is history. It’s been downhill ever since.

Kari-Leigh: For me, that was, in my past, the bottom of hill that I’m at the top of right now. There were 2 people in particular who inspired me to do this, and that is you. When I saw you doing that, I knew … Because I had shot events before. I thought, “You know, I should really bring my camera. I’d love to that. I can see … I see the spirit here. My eye is framing. I know it’s something that I can capture.” Of course time, when you’ve got a start-up, is at a premium, and I just wasn’t able to, but along the way I also ran into Raquel Landefeld who also was bringing her camera. She didn’t tend to take a lot of pictures, but she showed them to me. I saw she gets it. She senses the spirit of the WordPress community and she captures it. Between the two of you, that really was the seed.

Adam: Yeah. Thanks. Thank you for that. I loved doing it. There was potential to do more of it, but I was looking … I saw the writing on the wall. From my perspective, the financial aspect of it. Not that I just wanted to make tons of money, but I have 3 children. I needed to make a living. So much of it is volunteer-driven of Word Camps and WordPress, Word Camp specifically. That said, I had to make a choice. “Do I keep shooting these, that’s fine, or do I pursue more speaking and teaching and doing that route?” I made that choice. I still take my camera. I don’t take it nearly as much as I used to, which upsets you.

Kari-Leigh: Yes. I want you to contribute.

Adam: It’s better for my back. I have heavy glass. Sorry.

Kari-Leigh: That was a humble brag right there.

Adam: That’s right. Right.

Kari-Leigh: ….to that point, this is not making me rich.

Adam: Right.

Kari-Leigh: I have not been fully funded. I did all of 2015, the 7 2015 on my own dime. In 2016, almost all of them have been sponsored, but on average I’ve been sponsored about 60%. Now, even when I’m funded, when I get this sponsorship on rails and I’m funded 100%, this is a non-profit project. I’m definitely in constant contact with central making sure that my activities and how I administrate this is in line with the open source philosophy and in line with the efforts of Word Camp Central and the foundation and the copyrights of WordPress and Word Camp. This is a passion project that I would love to devote my full time effort to for the coming years, but it is non-profit. This is not going to make anybody wealthy except in spirit.

When I see how people react to my work, as I have just once again in Word Camp Ashville, when they see someone care to take a photograph of them that they can use as a business headshot, when I hear many, many times … I can’t even count, infinite number of times I’ve heard, “I’ve never had a quality shot taken of me. Now I have something I can use.” It just hits me in the feels. I am very willing to … getting a little misty here. I am very willing to dedicate my professional self and personal self to this. I’d just like to say why. Why do I care about the WordPress project so much? I’ll tell you, it’s specifically because anyone who has a brain, Internet, a computer, and electricity, can pick themselves up from the gutter and completely change their lives, and take charge and create a business where they can self-actualize and create income. That is one of the most powerful devices I’ve ever come across in my entire life. That’s why I do it.

Adam: Okay. It goes back to democratizing publishing. Is the overall mission

Kari-Leigh: Absolutely.

Adam: Yeah. Okay. Last two questions here. 3 software tools that you can’t live without? In your case, obviously they very well may be photo-based, but what are the 3 tools that you live and love on a daily basis?

Kari-Leigh: I am in Lightroom more than any other thing by far. It’s with Lightroom that I’m able to … I use Lightroom to adjust the meta of the photo files. I’m going to point that out because part of what makes what I do so time consuming and so special is that every photo file is titled and meta’ed to indicate the speaker, the camp, the details of it, what they’re talking about, perhaps their company. These are the things that make these photos findable in the future. If we’re just taking photos off our cell phones and tweeting them, maybe throwing them on Facebook, they’re great in the moment and then they’re gone. Lightroom is what enables me to create historical documents out of these photo files.

Then of course Photoshop. I’m getting to the point … I used to use it a ton more, but I’m getting to the point I really only use it if I’m going to do photo stitching or if I’m painting. I do on a portrait, I do do some retouching if someone’s got some unusual things going on, but if they’re glowing with Word Camp happiness, there’s really not much photo editing that needs to be done. Then of course Gmail. That’s my lifeline to the outside world.

Adam: Not one of those has ever been mentioned. I guess Gmail might have been mentioned in the past, but most people … I talk to developers and other designers or different non-photographers per say.

Kari-Leigh: Right.

Adam: Lightroom, Photoshop, and Gmail?

Kari-Leigh: Absolutely.

Adam: Last question, and I want to thank you for your time, where can people best follow you, reach out to you, stay in touch with you if they wanted to find you on the ethers?

Kari-Leigh: All announcements come out through Twitter on @foundartphotog F-O-U-N-D-A-R-T-P-H-O-T-O-G.

Adam: I’ll put a link to all that in the show notes as well

Kari-Leigh: Fantastic.

Adam: Thank you so much. I appreciate you being here. I hope to see you soon at the next Word Camp. Where are you going to be next?

Kari-Leigh: There’s a little room where I may be able to OC after all, but right now I am working on finishing fund raising for Vienna. It’s in two weeks, so it’s really tight. This is an essential one to be at, both for the largest Word Camp we’ve ever had, and for the WP Photo Project, what both participating in that can bring to the project and to that camp. I’m also slated to work on contributing day on developing concepts around what are the specs for a possible WordPress.Photo in the future, which may be that central repository for all the photography of the Word Camp culture dating back since it began and from all around the world. That’s real exciting. I need to be there.

Adam: Okay.

Kari-Leigh: In terms of my next cinched one, it looks like New York City.

Adam: Okay. I will not be at New York, I’m sorry to say.

Adam: The next one I will be at when this podcast gets released, I will be at … I think OC will be the next one for me as well, Orange County in Southern California.

Kari-Leigh: I’ll cross my fingers to see you there.

Adam: Okay. Thanks again for coming on the show. Really do appreciate it. We’ll talk to you next time.

Kari-Leigh: Thank you so much, Adam.

Adam: All right. That was an awesome conversation I had with Kari-Leigh. Really do love her. She is one of my favorite people. Seriously is. If you can help out, if you want to sponsor her for what she’s trying to do with the photography project, by all means you should totally reach out and help her. It’s all about community. It’s the foundation. It’s open source, et cetera. We want to just have a historical documents here. Thanks again to Kari-Leigh for being a part of the show.

Moving on. Segment 3 tip until the week, this one’s a little bit older … Not that old, from October 12th of last year. The post was: Settings for iTheme Security Pro. I use this a lot for some of my clients, actually, most of my clients, and my own sites. They had done a blog post on their website over at iThemes. I’m going to link to it in the show notes. It just takes you through the best settings to help you secure you’re site if you’re doing it on your own, if you’re not using a 3rd party service like Concierge WP. I’ll link to it in the show notes. It’s over at ithemes.com. It is from October of last year, but it’s very relevant. The settings are still good. There’s a video, helps you walk through some things. Check that out.

That is it this week. If you have any questions, go ahead and send it via email, adam@kitchensinkwp.com, or use the Speak Pipe functionality of the website. Thanks for listening. See you next week. Go out and do some awesome things with WordPress. Talk to you later. Bye-bye.


This weeks episode is sponsored by ConciergeWP.com

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RELAX, We’ve Got This!

Podcast E119 – When & why to change directions within your WordPress career

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kswp-e119This week I discuss when & why to change directions within your WordPress career

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

• My friend Bridget Willard’s husband mercer passed away. The community came together, created a site to help raise funds to cover expenses willardfund.org

• Shiny Updates Project Officially Proposed for Merge Into WordPress 4.6

Segment 2:  When & why to change directions within your WordPress career

• Suggested reading: Essentialism Book

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

Adam Silver:

This is the KitchenSinkWP podcast, episode 119. [Opening Audio Sequence]

Why hello there everybody this is Adam Silver, the host of the KitchenSinkWP podcast. Thanks for being here. Let’s get started. We have upcoming events, of course starting with that. Four word camps next weekend. We have word camp Marbella, which is in Spain if you didn’t know. I’ve been to Marbella actually, about eighteen years ago this month, next month June. I’ve been there. It’s one of the coolest little cities that I went to when I was traveling through Europe backpacking before I got married. Anyways, it’s June tenth. Looks like it’s a one day event, word camp Marbella. Also, word camp Kansas City, June tenth through the twelfth. Word camp North East Ohio, NEO is what I’ve been calling it. Actually, I will be there June eleventh and twelfth. I fly out next Thursday night. I am there Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’m doing a couple talks there, looking forward to it. Hope to see you there. If you’re there and I don’t know you reach out and say hi. If I do know you, I’m sure ill say hi and see you.

There’s also word camp Bilboa. I think Bilboa is … Where is that? If I’m saying that correctly it’s, I’m not sure where Bilboa is. Let me see here real quick. It looks like it’s also in Spain, by the way. Yes I believe it’s in Spain. There’s two in Spain next weekend. That’s awesome so check that out. If you have access, if you’re nearby check them out and go to a word camp. If the tickets are sold out then check social media as I was saying.

Segment One, moving right along. In the news, unfortunately some sad news. Bridget Willard who is a friend of the WordPress community, she’s a good friend of mine here in the Southern California area, her husband passed away after twenty three years of marriage. What’s amazing here is the community stepped up. Her friends and family, the friends in the WordPress base stepped up. Within less than eight hours a domain was purchased, designed, and set up to allow people to give feedback and words of encouragement who knew her well, knew her better than me even. I’ve only known her for about a little over a year, maybe two years now. The encourage her, to be supportive of her and also to donate to help. It was set up to do that because it’s always a tough time. Our prayers are with Bridget and her family in this time. That’s really it for the moment for that. Anyway, condolences to Bridget and the family.

Also in the news, shiny updates project was officially proposed to be merged into WordPress 4.6. Now if you don’t know what that is, this project modernizes the process of installing and deleting themes and also updating themes and the plugins to hide the boring-ness of doing that process. There’s a video out there. I’ll link to the article actually that was over on Debbie [inaudible 00:03:10]. It was a nice little write up. I will share that with you over in the shout outs so check that out. It’s called shiny updates and it’s going to be proposed to be merged into 4.6. I believe Constantine spoke about this specifically at word camp San Diego. That might be on word camp dot TV. Check that out.

Moving on, segment two, but first I want to thank the sponsor this week. It’s a new one. It is actually Events Espresso. If you’re looking for an events calendar plug-in that not only manages events but can also sell tickets, print tickets, integrate with your party email providers, accept payments with all the leading payment services, Paypal stripe etcetera, definitely check those out. Event Espresso stared in 2009 to solve the developers needs. They had a need within their own business model. It’s gotten a lot bigger ever since, much more functionality since that time. With summer around the corner, or it might here for you already I have two more weeks of school for my kids left, so summer’s right around the corner. The great use case here would be concerts, music festivals, museums, and even the business side of things. You’re already thinking of Q4 even Q1 for next year for 2017.

It sounds crazy, but a lot of companies plan that far out so don’t forget about it. That Event Espresso can also be used to manage business conferences, trade shows, events, webinars, all that kind of things. It can be used to do a lot, to do many many things that way. It’s easy to use out of the box, but also has on the website there are referrals other developers. If you need extra help getting it coded specifically to what you want to do. There is a reference point there as well.

Test drives are available on the website for version three and version four. There is a free version called decaf but it doesn’t have the level of features that the full espresso version has. Keep that in mind. It’s a paid product with paid add-ons is how the model works. Anyway, so if you’re looking for an events calendar solution, this is it. It’s seriously really cool. It’ll take your events calendar to a whole new level. Okay? Check it out. Go to event espresso dot com. Also, they’ve offered a 20% discount code to any listener to Kitchen Sink WP podcast so head to Kitchen Sink WP dot com forward slash events espresso and save 20% at checkout. Thanks again to Event Espresso for their sponsorship.

Now moving right along into segment two, the meat and potatoes. When and why to change directions within your WordPress career. Kind of a esoteric, I don’t know. It’s not like how to do something specifically but it is. This week’s topic came from a conversation I had with a friend recently. Not sure how the conversation started but the fact came down to these two things. The friends is a developer, and a really good developer, also runs his own business and business is good. Maybe too good. Which is a weird thing to say, but it happens I guess. He’s not happy anymore in that role of lead developer and wearing all the hats all the time. Just isn’t happy period. Of course the easy answer would say hire someone. Outsource, bring in more staff, then become just to owner if you will but that has its own challenges. You have to manage people, trust people etcetera. Per his request I’m stepping in to be his coach. Maybe his mid life crisis I’m not quite sure it’s that. We’re good friends but he literally asked me my thoughts in what his next move should be and should he stay in WordPress. Should he leave Word Press?

It got me thinking how can this help others, like you guys listening right now? We took a few hours, we talked about it and with his permission, no names here just a gender so we know it’s a guy … Here are three things to think about when contemplating a change in direction within WordPress. It just depends, you know so take a listen. Interest, first and foremost. Are you still interested in what you’re doing? Simple questions, right, but here’s an odd thought. You might become very good at what you hate. Seriously you might love, originally you liked it but you might be really good at the work that you hate. You may the best person to answer support tickets faster than anyone else. You may have the most experience in creating documentation, but deep down you don’t care for that product or service in question. Even if you’re the owner of it, that’s even worse, right? We’ve all been there. Sure, sometimes we do work that we don’t love because you have bills to pay and families to support. It only lasts for so long because once that interest is gone, then the larger picture is it’s time to make a move, but to where?

Well, that leads to number two. In this case opportunity. What did you have the chance to do or not do based on your current role and situation? Keep in mind this isn’t just applicable for self employment. This could be used the same if you work for the company. For every time you say yes to something you’re saying no to something else. I can’t take credit for that. I’m not sure who said it first, but I do know I’ve read it a lot recently because I’m reading the book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I’ll put a link in the show notes on that if you want to Amazon. No affiliation just I like the book. It’s really good. I’m almost done with it. I’ve actually already ordered a copy for my friend because I think it’ll help him. The Essentialism really helps you focus down on what it is that’s essential to you and the opportunity costs of yes and no.

That leads then to the third thing here. It’s goals. We know that the interest in this current situation is gone. It’s not there anymore or it’s overwhelming. There are other opportunities, but what’s next? The next thing is goals, like I said. Again Essentialism does a good job in helping to focus on that. I’m not trying to be a commercial for the book, but it does have some great points in it. In this case his goals weren’t more money because he’s doing okay financially. He doesn’t really want to hire more people necessarily because he doesn’t really want to manage them. We’re trying to figure that out. It’s the matter of what is going to make him happy not soldiering day in and day out? I asked him what would make you happy? What do you want to do that you’re not doing now? His answers were pretty clear once we kind of took time to figure them out. Spend time with family, take a vacation, have date nights again, and even pursue other ideas which I would call hobbies. Not necessarily business ideas just hobbies. Go back to what he wants to do and get to tinker. Maybe go back to surfing. These are things that he was saying just kind of taking it all in right?

If you work chronically, if you are chronically worn out and you’re exhausted and depleted you really aren’t good to anyone, yourself, your family or your work. It’s time to make that change. Once you’re clear on the goals you can then focus on those. Make appropriate moves and decisions. That’s the key. Decide versus wonder what if in quotes, right? Decision’s the key here. We can make that decision. Trust me I’ve been there. Heck, I’m even there right now sometimes. I wonder about some of the projects I have going on. Should I kill them, cancel them, move on with them, etcetera?

For the record, my friend is taking steps to make some changes. I wish him the best. I really do. For his family, for himself, for his own mental health, for his physical health etcetera. Once again, just to repeat them real quick, you have to know what level of interest you have I what you’re still doing. At this point if you’re listening this much into the show you maybe right along there like I don’t really want to be a developer anymore. I want to be more of a project manager. Maybe that’s where your strengths really lie. Maybe development you’re good at it but you want more interaction with people or business development.

I love that part. I am not the strongest developer. I can do it, developer slash implementer. I’m a pretty good troubleshooter but I like the BD. I like that going out interacting with people. I’m focusing on that right now and social media. That’s been growing for me lately. Anyway, you get the gist there. You got to figure out what it is that you don’t want to do and what you do want to do. Focus there and make those moves slowly but surely but then decide to make those moves. If you need to talk to your spouse. Talk to your partner because it’s a partnership in that case as well.

There you go. Hope that helps you with that. Let me know if you have any questions like that. I don’t mind kind of diving in and helping people focus. It’s hard to do your own sometimes. I have a hard time doing my own, right? It’s easier to have a third person look at it from the outside perspective. Anyway, there you go.

Segment three, moving along here. Tip and Tool of the Week. This week, I’ve mentioned this before but I’ll mention it again, it’s Give WB. It’s a great plug-in. It’s free and it helps people. In this case It helped my friend Bridget Willard, helped raise funds that she needed. It’s that, like I said earlier I don’t want to get emotional here but raising funds that were helpful for somebody for whatever cause may be, everyone needs help. Give WP it’s free with some add-ons that’s how they make the business model. Great guys out of San Diego. It’s Willard fund dot org by the way, if you want to check out the website and donate that’d be great. There you have it. Give WP dot com.

That’s it for this week. If you any questions, go ahead and send them in via email Adam at Kitchen Sink WP dot com or use the speakpipe functionality of the website. Thanks for listening. See you next week. Go out and do some awesome things on WordPress. Bye-bye.


This weeks episode is sponsored by Event Espresso

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Podcast E118 – Happy Birthday WordPress!

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kswp-e118This week I share 13 reasons why I love WordPress!  Happy Birthday WordPress!

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

Segment 2:  In celebration of WordPress turning 13 my list of 13 reasons why I love WordPress

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

Adam:

This is the Kitchen Sink WP Podcast Episode 118. [Opening Sequence]

Why hello there. This is Adam Silver. The host of the Kitchen Sink WP Podcast. Thanks for being here. Let’s get started. All right. Upcoming events. Next weekend is a big weekend. There are four WordCamps. There’s WordCamp Asheville, North Carolina and it’s June 4th and 5th. Apparently it is sold out but again, social media can do wonders for you. There’s WordCamp Antwerp. Nine tickets were left as of recording this. Actually, let me double check that real quick for you here because I did these notes a little earlier. Are there tickets left right now? Let’s see. There were 9 tickets when I did the notes. There are still 9 tickets. Okay. There’s WordCamp Belgrade. There’s 55 tickets left there and WordCamp Hamilton. It’s a 1 day event, $20 and I believe there were tickets available. I have an accent. Anyway, WordCamp Asheville, North Carolina, Antwerp, Belgrade and Hamilton and up in Ontario and there were tickets for those. Check them out. If you’re in the area, go to a WordCamp some time this almost summer. Actually the officially day of summer I think that we start touching … This comes out on Memorial Day in the states here. It’s the official start of summer. There you go. Check it out. Go to a WordCamp. All right.

In the news, not a whole lot in the news. Well, kind of sort of and it relates to today’s topic but one of the articles that I read this last week was an article over on Codeable about the price for an eCommerce WordPress website. Check that out. I’ll put a link in the show notes. It’s really interesting about what it takes to do a website eCommerce wise by yourself versus a team, et cetera. Really well written actually so check that out.

Actually this past weekend as well was WordPress’ birthday which I’m going to talk about right now in the segment 2. We move right along to the segment 2. No sponsor this week. Regarding the birthday so 13. WordPress is now 13 years old. It’s a teenager and that is crazy that it’s been around this long. Matt actually did a little post on his website. I’ll link to that as well. Segment 2 is 13 reasons why I love WordPress. There’s a lot more I’m sure but I went and dug around and what do I love about WordPress and there’s 13 things I came up with. Here we go. I’ll just kind of … No specific true order necessarily. They’re rearrangeable to some extent but here’s 13 reasons why I love it.

Okay. We’ll start with number 1.

It’s free and it’s cost effective. Okay yes. It’s open source technology. It’s completely free. Anyone can use it. Anyone can customize it. Of course and there’s no annual license, right? There are some other costs out there for hosting, for premium plugins, et cetera, we’ll get to that as well but it’s free. That’s awesome. That’s number 1.

Number 2, it’s user friendly. It really is. Adding content and images and going back to democratizing publishing what Matt Mullenweg had said about what the reason behind WordPress is to democratize publishing. It’s done that. It’s user friendly. It’s fairly straightforward as far as interface goes. It’s getting better with every revision. Posts and pages. It’s simple. For example, even dragging images now to a post. It’s just drag and drop. It’s user friendly.

Number 3, it’s become a standard in the industry. It really has. Twenty-five percent if not more now, 26% of all websites are powered by WordPress. Some big companies out there. Sony, New Yorker, Fortune. It’s a big standard in industry, you know, makes the target for some naysayers but it’s a standard so I think it’s a good thing. Okay.

Number 4, it’s challenging and this is odd to think as why I love it but I do love it for this. It’s so many levels of challenging. You could become an implementer, you could be a troubleshooter, you could be a deep coder, you pick what you want to learn and there’s always something to learn in how you want to help the community of people. There’s always something to do and learn and grow within WordPress so it’s challenging.

Number 5, longevity. Now, WordPress is very … Has long potential here of longevity for who knows how long. We hope another 10 years, 20, 30 years? I don’t see it going away anytime soon. It’s scalable for businesses. It’s just going to be around for a bit so the longevity’s there to add more features, to keep up with security changes, et cetera.

Number 6, support is literally a click away. It really is. You start working in WordPress. You need help. You have a question. You’re not alone. Okay? There’s tons of information out in the web. There’s website that have video. There’s online courses. There’s WordCamps and meetups, right? There’s podcasts like this one where I’m here to help answer questions when you have questions. Support is a click away.

Number 7. Plugins. Plugins are awesome. Now, it adds a functionality to the core. Core can only do so much. We can’t appease 85 million websites, right, with everything otherwise you become a big company or big piece of the software bloated like I don’t know. I won’t even say any other companies. I won’t pick on anyone because I want this to be a happy birthday. Okay? Plugins add functionality to the core. If you can’t find what you want, you can make it by yourself because it’s open source or you could hire somebody.

Okay? Along with the plugins you also have themes. Number 8, Themes that you have your website looked the way you want to look. If you can imagine it, it can be built. You can start with something basic and then you can modify from there. If you can’t figure it out, again, you go back to the fact that support is a click away. You can get help online. Okay. We have tons of themes to choose from. I think as of this recording there were something like 25, 2,600 themes out there in free repository that you can go and use any way you want.

Number 9, entirely customizable. It really is. It’s very flexible. You can have it be a basic blog. You can have it be a membership site. You can have WordPress do eCommerce. It’s open source and you can build what you needed to do for what you needed to do it. You can grow with that. You’re not stuck to the one thing that it’s only going to do for you. You can have it do all 3 of those things in 1 area so you really could have it be all inclusive. Now, keep that in mind, the learning curve to do these little things, it ramps up a little bit but it takes some time. Keep in mind it’s highly customizable.

Number 10, it’s SEO ready. Out of the box, WordPress can and does handle basic SEO functions. I suggest using a good plugin like Yoast SEO or SEO by Yoast, either way. Yoast makes a great SEO plugin. I’m not an SEO expert. I’m a firm believer that it’s a moving target at best. Not only that but I often tell my students, “You know you want to write relevant content in your niche consistently. If you’re going to blog weekly, blog weekly. People become accustomed to getting their content when they want it, where they want it, how they want it. They want that consistency.” My show, this podcast, comes out every Monday because people expect it. That being said, SEO is a combination of the key words, the right content but I think it’s also consistency.

Number 11, we’re almost done here. A couple more. Create roles … Yeah. Okay. How do I word this? You can restrict access, right, which seems odd. Why would you want to? Well, you can create roles and restrict the access easily versus other platforms meaning if I want to work with their company or company wants to have access limits, who can log in, who can’t log in, who’s an admin, who is a contributor, supporter, built in you can create roles and restrict that access. It’s really simple to do. Okay. Of course, you can make a membership site and have a pay wall. That’s a whole separate level by using the awesomeness of number 7 which is a plugin. For example, Restrict Content Pro. I mean just as an example but you can create roles and restrict the access to the content and who could update that content.

Okay. Number 12, this a little bit newer one but mobile readiness. There’s no need anymore to have a second website for mobile users. WordPress now automatically recognizes if a person’s on a site through the web browser or mobile device and base … Hopefully in this case on the theme and the theme needs to be mobile ready as well but most of them are these days.

It’ll configure the content to be viewed on either desktop or mobile. They’re mobile ready.

Okay. Finally number 13, my favorite of course, the amazing, amazing community. Yes, the community consists of you, me, us. I said it before I’ll say it again, I love it. I do. I also believe there’s probably just as many people that don’t know anything about the community which amazes me but then again, that’s fine. There’s a big world out there. My goal here is to help share what I can to who wants to hear it when they want to hear it. It’s about timing as well. The community is awesome. For that, happy birthday to WordPress. Thank you Matt Mullenweg and team for coming up with this 13 years ago. It’s impressive. It really is and I’m looking forward to the next 13, 15, 20 years. There you have it. My 13 reasons why I love WordPress. Happy birthday. I’m not going to sing. I will spare you that.

All right. Moving right along is here segment 3, tip of the week. This week I’m going to talk briefly about GravityView. GravityView is a plugin that works with Gravity Forms and I’m a big fan of Gravity Forms.

I use it for the last couple of years. I was working with a client. They wanted an easier way to display content that was captured from a form. I knew about GravityView. I looked into briefly. It makes it really easy to display Gravity Forms content. Check it out. It’s a paid product and I don’t … Right now, we’re trying it out. What’s the cost here? I think it costs, just to share with you, $59 for 1 site, $120 for 3 and $250 for 100. It lets you really customize how you want your data that you’ve captured to look and what you can do with it after that. Check it out. It’s over at GravityView.co. Okay. I have no connection to them. Just wanted to share it with you. Pretty cool if you use Gravity Forms and you need a better way to present your data that you’ve captured, check out GravityView. All right. That is it this week. If you have any questions, go ahead and send it in via email at adam@kitchensinkwp.com or use the speak pipe functionality of the website. Thanks for listening. See you next week. Go out and do some awesome things with WordPress and again, happy birthday. Bye bye.

You still there? Just want to say hi to Nicole and Lorie. Thanks for listening. Okay. Bye bye.

Podcast E117 – Red Flags When Outsourcing

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kswp-e117This week I share the “Red Flags” when finding people to work with/outsourcing.

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

Segment 2:   7 red flags to keep in mind when outsourcing

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

This is the Kitchen Sink WP Podcast episode 117. [Opening Audio Sequenece]

Why hello everybody. This is Adam Silver, the host of the Kitchen Sink WP Podcast. Thanks for being here. Let’s get started.

All right. Upcoming events. This week coming up we have WordCamp Denmark and WordCamp Calgary, two WordCamps not in the United States. They are not here at all. WordCamp Calgary is … Actually, Denmark first, is the 20th and 29th. Calgary is also the 20th, 29th. Let’s see. Any tickets left at these? Let’s take a look here. Calgary has tickets left. 29 as I’m recording, and I’m recording this Sunday afternoon, so by the time you hear this, there should be a few left, I would imagine.

As far as Denmark, any tickets here, I don’t … Let’s see. Can I even see this in the English language? Can I translate this? I cannot. My translation is turned off, so I don’t know if there are tickets. Program? I’m trying to figure out … Why won’t this translate? Don’t know, but take a look at the website, I’ll link to it in the show notes, and if you’re in those areas, or nearby, by all means, go. Denmark would be awesome. I’d love to go to Denmark. I have a passport, I can go if someone wants me to come out. Anyway, all right so that’s checked. Check those out.

Moving right along, segment one: In the News. Two things here. Open Sans font is to be dropped from WordPress 4.6. There was an article on that. I’m not sure what that means to most. It means not a whole lot to me. I think it’s just a matter of having Google fonts and fonts loaded from other resources is easier and faster now than it was in core. Open Sans font will be dropped from 4.6. What else?

Also, there is a new recommended hosts list that’s finally been replaced over on WordPress.org. There’s also some drama with that, but I’m nor here nor there on that. I don’t want to get into it. I’m still a fan of A2 hosting. That’s what I’ve been using and recommending right now. Go ahead and check them out. If you use Kitchen Sink WP, you actually get a discount of 51% for hosting. The other hosting companies, just to be transparent here, Bluehost, DreamHost, Flywheel, and SiteGround are all the list that’s been updated most recently. WP Tavern had an article on the drama. If you want to go find that, great. I’m not going to link to it, actually, but I did link to the actual list. Once again, I like A2 Hosting. Corey, and Ben, and those guys over there are good to me, and they’re good to the people I refer. Check them out. A2 Hosting. They don’t even sponsor this episode and I still want to talk about them. That’s how much I like them.

All right. What else going on this week? Oh, actually, speaking of sponsors, before we move on to segment two. This week’s sponsor is actually FreshBooks. Once again, I’m just going to tell it how it is. It makes sending invoices, tracking time, manning expenses, and getting paid online super, super, super simple. It really is. I’m digging it. I just added another client to it recently and super easy. I have, I think I’ve actually maxed … I’m almost maxed out on the amounts of clients I have for what I pay, so I’m pretty close to having to go to the next level up, which is fine. It’s the cost of the business. It’s an investment in what I do. Makes sense. I can always delete and then archive a client, and then add a new one, and bring it back. That’s fine if you’re doing one or two here, but when you have enough clients, it just makes sense. Move up. Step up, and use FreshBooks the proper way. You can start today for free. You can go to kitchensinkwp.com/freshbooks, get a free account, 45-day trial, and check them out. Again, thanks to FreshBooks for sponsoring this week’s episode.

Moving right along here. Segment two. Here are some red flags on working with developers, designers. If you do work, or you work in the workplace, and you want to hire someone, here’s some red flags. It just depends. In the WordPress space in general.

Here’s the back story. Last week I received a phone call from a guy who had emailed me about a year earlier. I took the call, and he had some WordPress development questions last year. I gave him some information via email, pricing, I never heard back. This time, he calls me instead of the email. He was in a bit of a quandry. He had invested some money in working with someone else and was uncertain what to do with his current situation. I’ll explain it to you in a second here.

After listening to his story, I realized I had to share it with you, the listeners, without any names involved, about the situation and the red flags that, right away, popped up to me. There’s about seven of them. Beware of these things before you take on any work as a developer or designer, or even if you are offering services, or you’re hiring somebody. It goes kind of both ways. Because it can happen either way. If you’re working with clients you want to make sure certain things are beneficial to both parties. Keep that in mind. This is from the perspective of, if you’re going to hire somebody else to help you out in whatever you’re doing. If you’re going to outsource some of the work that you do, whatever that may be.

Here are the couple of red flags. Seven of them, I think I counted up, right off the bat. First and foremost, the initial contact. How did you find the client, or the client find you? Let’s say, in this case, you are looking to build a site, and you need help. You found this person to work with you via Craigslist. Now, right off the bat, that’s good, bad, and ugly right there. I could stop right there for one big red flag and talk for a half an hour. I’m not going to.

The truth of the matter is, Craigslist exists, and it can work, but I do hear more horror stories than happy endings here. I really do. Similar work and quality goes with Fiber. You get what you pay for. I’ve actually gotten some great clients, a long time ago, out of Craigslist. I rarely advertise my own services there, just because most people who want to hire from there don’t have a budget or the type of client I want. You want better clients. You want better general work and levels of income anyways, people who value what you do. Keep that in mind.

Right after Craigslist, as far as the place to have the contact, the price. In this case, the client had hired this guy off of Craigslist, initially, to do a video edit. We’re not even to the web part of his life yet. He did a video edit, charged him $500. That’s not terrible. You figure five, six, seven hours of editing. $50 an hour. Not too bad. The work I used to get, honestly, to do was some screenflow edits and some other light editing I got from Craigslist years ago, and it worked out pretty well. $50 an hour, not so bad. It was okay. That said, just got to be careful, again, on pricing. If it’s too cheap, it’s too cheap for a reason. Are they going to actually get the work done? Et cetera.

That then leads to the next segue here, is the response time. What is acceptable to you, or to them? What’s acceptable to you might not be the same to them. They may have other job or jobs, or people paying more money that takes more of their attention. 48 hours? Two weeks? One month? That’s not good, if it’s one month later and you haven’t heard back. That’s a problem. Especially if they have your money. I mandate, in my contracts, 48 hour response from both parties. I respond to my clients … Even if I say, “I don’t know,” or, “Let me look into that for you, see where we’re at with this project, or this element of the project.” I let them know that I got their email, or the phone call, and I will be in touch with them after that. I want them to know that within 48 hours, they’re going to know they’re going to hear from me. Period.

I also have a dormancy clause, which I think I might have mentioned an episode back with David Sparks. I have that so after 25 days, no contact, your project goes dormant, and then to restart it costs $350 for restart fee. Because things change. They have to initial that area on my contracts. Period.

Another red flag here. Who owns the site, the domain, the access to everything? Who’s the admin on it? Make sure that it is you if you are the owner. Do not let them register the domain, take care of the hosting, et cetera. I’ve had too many times that I’ve heard where they get locked out. The client gets locked out for some reason because, of course, the person who has the admin decides to take it upon themselves and lock out the client. You want to make sure you own everything.

What else? Oh, this is the other one. Another red flag. In person meetings. If you need them, you should have them. Especially the first time. I think one or two first meetings in person are ideal. The problem I had with this person, with the story that I just recently heard last week, was that the developer wanted to meet late at night in an odd place. Ten o’clock at night on a Thursday. 10 pm, Thursday, at a hookah lounge. I thought that was … That, to me, right there, boom. That’s another huge one. That’s just weird to me. That’s not professional. That does not give me confidence that you are focused on my project.

Another one, here, is this. Having a fancy website, or no website, or no references. Having a fancy website with all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean you are a reputable company. Having big names as people that you’ve referenced doesn’t count for much if you can’t prove the work you’ve done. For example, the site in question had a reference of CNN, and Sony, and … Was it Time Warner? In a slider. Just because you’ve watched a Sony produced movie doesn’t make them a client of yours. I’m sorry. It’s just true. Having a fancy website means nothing. It’s easy to make yourself look big by having a nice big website. Keep that in mind. Get references. The takeaway on that one is that you really want to get references.

Requiring too much money up front. If someone asks you for all the money up front, or whatever it is, also not the right thing to do. I ask for two hours retainer to start … when I do hourly work for repair work, I need two hours to start. Because an hour goes by really fast. Two hours seems fair. I get to that point where I know I’m coming up to the two hour mark, I’ll call the client, or email, “Hey, look, by the way, this is taking longer. This is what else I found when I dug in.” That way I have two hours of the money, and then I start doing the work.

Finally, here, no contract. I should have said this before, but honestly, without a contract, you have a problem waiting to happen. If a client or the developer doesn’t want to give one, because it’s like, “Oh, verbal works just fine,” I have a red flag right there. Because I want the contract for, in primary, to make sure we’re both on the same page, so we know the expectations. We know we have a dormancy clause, a restart fee, 40 hour response time. What’s the scope of project? No matter how small it is. Unless it’s really repair work. In that case the client has found me, in my case, based on referral, based on word of mouth, which is … there’s a trust issue. It’s really good. I need a contract for anything more than just a couple hours. Period. Simple as that.

Again, price. Oh, let me go back to the price real quick. $500 for the video, and then the client said to this guy, “I also need to get a website. I want to change the website. I’m on Wix,” and he wanted to have some more functionality, so he wanted to go to WordPress. The developer said, “Oh, I can do that for you for $250.” That’s a problem, right off the bat. That’s a red flag. Not to say that you couldn’t do a website for $250, but again, I just felt like, “That seems so cheap.” It really does. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is, in my opinion, right?

Anyway, so we have price, response time, make sure you own the admin, the right to the hosting, the domain, all that information. In person meetings. They should be during business hours, for the most part, in a professional setting. Not at a hookah lounge. Having a fancy website is no indication that you are a quality and reputable as a company. Requiring too much money up front. Also, kind of a gut feeling there. It’s one thing to give a deposit, retainer, but to pay all up front? Not great. Not having a contract, like the conversation I had with David Sparks, episode 103. It’s kitchensinkwp.com/e103. Contracts are key. They protect you across the board, for both parties. That’s most important. I want to make sure that you know. Have a contract. No matter how basic it is, have something in writing. It will protect you down the line.

I told this client … this guy, not even a client of mine, just this guy who called me. I gave him 15, 20 minutes of time. My advice to him was, first and foremost, call your hosting company and lock him out. Walk away from the $750 you’ve invested, and get somebody new. Simple as that. Unfortunately, he’s going to have $750 and not a whole lot to show for it. It just makes the rest of us developers, independent, and freelancers, look bad. Lesson learned. Luckily, only $750, not $7,500, not $17,000, et cetera. I’ve seen clients, I’ve seen people who have spent a lot more money for really poor quality work and relationships with other developers.

There you have it. There’s my red flags tips. I hope those help you. I really do. Moving right along, segment three. Tip and Tool of the Week. This week’s is interesting. It’s called Unit-Conversion. Unit-Conversion.info. It is a website that helps you convert certain measurements. I found it because, I don’t know, I was looking to convert … Actually I know what it was … convert letters. Uppercase, lowercase. I was trying to do something with a scripting piece of software I have called Keyboard Maestro. Check the site out. I was kind of digging around. It was pretty interesting, because you can also convert text into Morse code, hexadecimal stuff, time, torque, temperature. Just kind of a neat site. Not really WordPress, of course, related, necessarily, but I just wanted to share kind of a neat thing. Called Unit-conversion.info. Check it out. There you go. Morse code to text generator … translator, excuse me. Hex to text, mortgage payments. There’s just a lot of stuff in here, it’s kind of neat. It’s free. Take a look at it, and I’ll put a link in the show notes.

Well, that is it. I’m going to wrap it up. If you have any questions, go ahead and send it via email. Adam@kitchensinkwp.com, or use the SpeakPipe functionality of the website. Thanks for listening. See you next week, and go out and do some awesome things on WordPress. All right, buh bye.


This episode of the KitchenSinkWP Podcast is sponsored by FreshBooks.

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Podcast E116 – Listener Q/A

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kswp-e62This week I answer some listener questions

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

Segment 2:  Listener Questions

  • What is .htaccess?  Resource –> htaccess guide
  • Creating a Child Theme from an already modified Parent Theme.
  • What is the best language to learn?

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

Adam: This is The Kitchen Sink WP podcast episode 116.

[Opening Theme]

Adam: Well, hello there everybody this is Adam Silver the host of The Kitchen Sink WP podcast, thanks for being here, let’s get started.

First and foremost, upcoming events. Next weekend we have WordCamp Minneapolis. It is sold out. I wish I could go, I know people who will be there, actually, but it’s sold out. Like I always say, check out social media to see if you can score a ticket that way. Often times people can’t go last minute, so do that.

What else is coming up? Oh, yeah. Work camp Orange County tickets go on sale the 17th, that is tomorrow after the day that this comes out. May 17th at noon Pacific standard time. I don’t know what that is in GMT, maybe GMT+8. Anyway, they sell out fast so if you’re going to be in the Orange County, Southern California area, they will sell out very quickly so check that out. 12 noon PST, WordCamp Orange County.

Finally, upcoming events. Not WordPress relate, but just more personal I want to share. Michael’s Learning Place is having their annual luncheon. It’s where my wife works, it’s a non-profit. It’s an after school program for children and adults with disabilities, we’re very fond of it and I just want to put it out there. If you’re in the area and you want to support Michael’s Learning Place, it’s where I host my meetup once a month, by all means swing by. mychals.org. Is it mychals.org? mychals … I’ll double-check. You’d think I would know. mychals.org, M-Y-C-H-A-L-S dot org, there’ll be a link in the show notes. You can donate any way you want. You don’t have to come, just donate if you want. It’d be awesomely appreciative of that. Anyway, so that’s coming up as well. Oh, and finally of course. Our meetup is here this Thursday if you’re in Southern California area. The 19th of May is the Southern California South Bay WordPress meetup.

Okay, so what else? Moving along here, segment one. Oh, in the news so .blog is coming. It’s the new top level domain dot B-L-O-G and it was won by the one and only Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, so that’s kind of cool. If you want to get yourname.blog or youridea.blog it’s going to be coming out shortly, I think later this year. Pricing on the registration has not been revealed just yet, but it should be, I would imagine, what I’ve read, in the same price points that most other domains are available as well. Top level domains. Okay. You know, there are over a thousand TLDs, just so you know, so .blog will be another one. All right, so we’re going to move on to segment two, but before we do that I want to thank this week’s sponsor. That is Harvester Solutions and they’ve sponsored me for, and I appreciate them doing it again, it’s Steven Harvey over there at Harvester.

If you need help setting up and optimizing relevant social media channels for your business or a social media dashboard to insure easy monitoring of engagement of the audience that you’re trying to get out to and the word of what your product is and/or you want just an analysis of your company website and to maximize the social media aspect of it, check them out. They’re over at harvestersolutions.com and they are … Well, you know Steven. He’s awesome. He does really good work. I refer people to him. I’ve used them myself so I just want to say thanks to Harvester Solutions for sponsoring this week’s episode. Okay, that’s it for that. Moving along, segment two. This week we’re doing listener Q&A. Actually, two listener Q&As and one student question which was in class last week. I thought it was pretty good and relevant to have on this episode so here we go. Oh, and one of them I couldn’t use the audio, there was a lot of static and I couldn’t understand part of the question. I emailed her back, the accent, so anyway.

First question was this. Nicole asks, “What is the .htaccess file and what does it do and how do I use it?” Not that hard of one so I looked it up just to make sure that actual definition. The .htaccess is a directory level configuration file. It’s supported by multiple web servers, typically Apache, so if you’re running nginx or if you’re running IIS on the Windows side of things it’s a different file name but does the same kind of thing, so keep that in mind. It might not be called .htaccess, I don’t know what it’s called in nginx. Somebody might write in, that’s fine. First and foremost, it just allows configuration to the file. The definition from Wikipedia: A directory-level configuration file supported by several web servers, used for configuration of site-access issues, etc. Okay, common uses. Redirects, 301s, 302s. Very simple to do. You can block access. Actually, you can block or you can give access to certain sites … Certain directories. Excuse me, not sites, but directories.

That’s really important because if you want people to be able to login and not login or bots trying to hack your site, you can actually add an .htaccess file to every directory, if you really wanted to, to limit what people have access to see. You can do custom errors pages for better SEO. These are just a couple common uses that I wanted to look up and share with you for Nicole. I hope that helps you. The custom error pages for SEO, you can have if it’s a 404 Page Not Found or a 500, you can actually modify what’s shown on that screen so that way when that page is indexed it’ll make more sense to the engine that’s searching it to begin with. If that makes sense at all, I think that makes sense. Anyway, so check that out. That is the common uses. There are other uses as well, you can actually write some other code on the .htaccess, but it’s beyond what I’ve ever done with it.

I’ve just used it to allow certain domains — IP addresses and ranges — access to a server because if you keep getting hit by a particular country code I just lock those out. You can do it right from there. Again, common uses. Redirects, 301s, 302s, blocking access or giving access and actually password protecting directories as well. That’s it for Nicole’s question. Orianna, here’s the one that I went back and forth a couple of times. Orianna asks, “How do I create a child theme from an already customized parent theme?” Well, it’s best practice to use a child theme and I’m happy to hear that you’re going to do that. Of course, you adopted … Not adopted. You inherited the site that had already been modified so that’s a problem and I was trying to figure out, is there a way — and I tested it and it doesn’t work — you can’t just go create, even with the plugin to my knowledge, you cannot create a child theme from the plugin and have it just move it over.
It’s not cloning the theme so technically what you need to do is — this is not the best news from my perspective — you need to get a copy of the original theme itself. Ideally, you can find a copy of the clean original theme. Then, through a diff checker … Actually, I use a diff checker all the time when I need to compare code. It’s called diffchecker.com. You’re going to go through and find the files, copy and paste the code. On the left side is the original and on the right side is, let’s say, the live site. One file at a time, or just ideally better situation to be that the previous dev or someone has notes in comments somewhere so you can get a better ballpark. Is it just .css, functions.php, header.php, footer.php? That really is, the moment, the best, cleanest and safest way to do it in my opinion because to the top of my head I don’t know — and I’ve done some research for you — if there is a better way.

If there’s anyone out there that has a comment on this, by all means leave it in the show notes, in the comment section for this post. I would love to share that, or to myself, I’m not all knowing, but that’s how I would do it to make sure that I was actually getting what I needed to get things back over to the child theme. Then, what you do once you know the differences, you of course then add that difference to the new child theme that you created. Then, when the main theme gets updated you don’t lose your changes. Okay, so there you. I will also put a resource about the … Actually, that’s from the previous thing. I messed up my notes. Just so you know, I’ll put a resource on the .htaccess file up in the notes as well. Nicole gets .htaccess, Orianna got child theme information.

The third question here, this is a little bit longer one. Kevin, one of my students, he asked me recently, “What’s the best language to learn and where should I learn it and how much can I make?” Kevin, first and foremost, I’m a believer that you shouldn’t choose a career solely for the money. I think it’s kind of … It’s not the best way to approach what you want to spend your days-in/days-out doing. My opinion, and that can be an entire podcast in it’s own right, but that said, if you have the desire to learn code you can make a good living. By all means, yes, we know this is true. The question is what do you want to do? What area of focus? You know? I looked it up to see, to help you out with this answer — there’ll be links in the show notes — but if let’s say if you’re interested in writing apps for the iPhone, Objective-C. If you want to do client side for website, html. Mark-up language.

For presentations, you know, the .css side of things. JavaScript would be client side, to manipulate the html .css, jquery. C++, high performance in graphics and video games. It just really depends what you want to do with your day. You’re also asking how much can you make and as of 2016 the average developer salary in the US kind of breaks down this way. Another popular language right now is Swift, the Swift language. Looks like you can make about $115,000 a year. Python and Ruby $107k, C++ $104K, Java and C $102k, JavaScript $99k, C $94K, SQL $92, and php $89k. Those are the top nine. Put them off of every port I found for you. I just want to tell you that, again, figure out what it is you want to do, what you want to focus your energy and then go that route. That’s my advice that way. Also, keep in mind. When you’re learning the code there’s a progression, there’s “feelings”. Developers and designers in any profession, you’re going to have a mixed feeling as you go through the progression of learning this new skill.

They’re broken down like the “I know nothing” phase which is obviously, something’s new. Nothing’s easy. That becomes the “It’s starting to make sense phase”. Then, “I’m invincible. I can do everything. I feel like I can accomplish all challenges given to me.” Then, of course, the “I know nothing phase” part 2. Which is, you realize development is way more complex and you begin to doubt your own ability. Then, finally “I know a little bit and that’s okay. I’m still willing to learn” and that’s awesome because then you really open yourself up to learning and getting mastery. It’s that whole 10,000 hours … Is it 10,000 hours? I think it’s 10,000 hours until you’re a master at something. I hope that answers your question. Again, don’t just get hung up on the money. My opinion. Do not just hustle for the money. Hustle because you want to learn and the money will follow. Honestly. Good work gets paid well. As simple as that. Okay, so I hope that answers the question. I think it’s a good question. Code is awesome, I wish I was fluent in code in general. I know enough to be dangerous, but developers are awesome and just go that route if you want to.

Segment three: Tip and Tool of the week. I’ve been talking to someone from my meetup and also a client, two different people. Both have restaurants and they’re looking for help with their menus and ironically enough just last week I got a link somewhere … I saw this somewhere. It’s called MotoPress. It’s a restaurant menu plugin and it looks like it’s free. It’s a free WordPress plugin for restaurants. I’ll put a link in the show notes. It’s for online menus and marketing of your brand of the restaurant side of things. Check that out, it’s over at getmotopress.com and like I said I’ll put a link in the show notes so you can find it directly from there. That’s it, if you’re looking for restaurant plugins to help with menuing, there you go.

That’s it for this week. If you have any questions, go ahead and send it in via email or use the speed,fight functionality of the website. I’ll try to get it in to the next time I do a Q&A, maybe in a months or so. Thanks for listening, see you next week. Have some awesome time this week in learning more WordPress, go out and do some great things and we’ll talk to you next week. All right, bye bye.


This week’s Episode is sponsored by Harvester Solutions

Harvestor

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