[00:00:00] Speaker A: Welcome to WP Coffee Talk with your podcast barista, Michelle Freshette. Special thanks to our sponsors WS form and Beaver Builder. If you're interested in joining WP Coffee Talk as a guest or a sponsor, please visit our [email protected]
. And now on with the show.
Welcome to WP Coffee Talk. I'm your podcast barista, Michelle Frichette, serving up the stories and WordPress around the globe. And today my guest is Roger Roswaide, and he's in the Netherlands, and I am not. So it's much later in the day for you than it is for me. And it's cold here. I don't know if it's getting cold there or not, but it's definitely cold here. Even though it was in the 90s this week, it is now down into the 60s today, which I know is fahrenheit. I can't convert to celsius in my head. I'm sorry. But Robatcher, welcome. You are the co founder of Wildcloud, so welcome to the show. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
[00:00:59] Speaker B: Thanks. Your introduction came out so smooth. It was almost like I was actually drinking a cappuccino, as you were saying it.
[00:01:05] Speaker A: There you go. It's perfect, right?
[00:01:07] Speaker B: So smooth. I am indeed in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam, actually, in the city center as we speak. It is not the same.
It's actually quite warm still. I'm not even wearing much else except for a hoodie. So the fall is treating us rather nicely, which is a good change for the Netherlands.
[00:01:28] Speaker A: Yeah, I like that too.
It's been kind of up and down, and we do get a lot of snow in western New York through the winter. So I'm hanging on to every day that is not snow until, unfortunately, probably mid November. The snow starts to fall here. Not as bad as my daughter gets in Buffalo, where they get seven or 8ft overnight of snow. But even two or three is a lot to deal with. So, yes, I will hang on to autumn and fall as long as I possibly can.
[00:01:58] Speaker B: I don't know. I've won co founder, and so we're four in total, but I've won. His name is Sibran and he's the most handsome of us all. So if you meet us at a word camp and there's this one strapping guy, that's him.
Anyways, he actually flees the Netherlands as soon as winter actually arrives. So this year he's going to Thailand. Last year he was in Guatemala and Mexico. The year prior he was in South Africa, and the year before he was in Portugal. And he's been doing that for at least the past five years, I want to say. And sure, I do need some sunlight in the winter, otherwise I'll just evaporate. But I also do enjoy the coziness of winter, and it's so snowing outside and you're warm inside and I don't know, like you've got some candles on. It does have the charm of it, right? So I don't want to be away for the entire winter I still want to have that feeling but like a.
[00:02:58] Speaker A: Mini vacation in the heart of it is not a bad thing. Right like oh it's going to be -20 degrees next week I'm thinking Florida sounds really good.
[00:03:09] Speaker B: Did you actually travel afterward camp Asia.
[00:03:11] Speaker A: Last year just back to the United States?
[00:03:14] Speaker B: Oh yeah we sticked around for actually so this is the thing. I was actually on a holiday with my girlfriend in Vietnam and then I found out about Asia. Well, not on that moment, but like two months prior to WordCamp Asia I found out about it. I got a ticket from Vikas from Instawp and then I still needed to ask my girlfriend if it was okay if we actually went from Vietnam to Thailand, which we'd been before. So it didn't take much to convince her to go to Bangkok and then stay there in a nice hotel for a few days. And so we went to work in Beijing, obviously. And then there I met Kevin ohashi and Noel talk from of course Altus Cloud but also the Human made Agency. And they were talking about an island, Colanta. And I was saying that I wanted to go to something that gave me that Bali feeling. And then Noel said the most remarkable thing. He said Colanta is like Bali, but it doesn't have a narrative. And I was like, wow, does that even mean I don't know.
[00:04:20] Speaker A: But it's intriguing.
[00:04:21] Speaker B: It's so intriguing. Yeah, it sounded so deep. And Kevin knows it actually very well. He stayed there for months and months during the Pandemic and he's going there as well. This and so we went there and we stayed there for a couple of weeks. And it actually doesn't have a like Bali. You immediately have these ideas around what type of people go there and what you could do there. And Colanta just is it's just this very chill island. So long story short, I want to go there again.
[00:04:50] Speaker A: This don't I don't blame you at all. It sounds like a lovely place to be from the United States. Things that are in Asia take so long to get to the flight to Word Camp Asia and the flights back from WordCamp Asia, we left on Wednesday, we got home on Friday. And that literally was we spent 20 hours in the Taipei airport because of the way that my flights got rerouted and it was a nightmare. But I would not trade the experience of having been at WordCamp Asia for anything. It was amazing.
[00:05:26] Speaker B: Had you been to Bangkok before?
[00:05:29] Speaker A: I had never been outside of the United States except to the Caribbean and Hawaii and Canada.
This year I was in Greece for Word Camp Europe. I was in Bangkok for word camp Asia. And at 54 years old I finally was outside of the United States. It was beautiful.
[00:05:48] Speaker B: All right, so if you had to choose and this is a very unfair question to ask.
[00:05:52] Speaker A: Incredibly unfair.
[00:05:54] Speaker B: But I mean, come on, let's just spice things up on a Saturday.
[00:05:57] Speaker A: Okay.
[00:05:58] Speaker B: Athens or Bangkok.
[00:06:00] Speaker A: Oh, gosh.
[00:06:02] Speaker B: And I'm not saying WordCamp Europe or Asia. Obviously I would never ask that of you.
[00:06:07] Speaker A: Right.
[00:06:07] Speaker B: Just saying Athens or Bangkok, I will.
[00:06:10] Speaker A: Say was as far as accessibility goes for somebody with disabilities, bangkok was much more accessible than Athens was. And I would have expected the opposite just because of histories and things like that. But Bangkok had made such effort to make sure that areas were accessible. It wasn't always right at the front door. Sometimes I had to go around to the back and things like that, but I was able to access almost everything.
[00:06:42] Speaker B: I think you told me a very funny story about a boat.
[00:06:44] Speaker A: I did.
The boat was inaccessible. So I will say of the WordPress companies that host parties around WordCamps, they almost always ever since I wrote the article last year about WordCamp, us being so inaccessible have gone to great lengths to make sure at least as far as they've been able to, to make sure that parties and things were accessible. Not only for me, but other people who use wheelchairs and will devices.
And so one of the party I'm not going to name names, but this person had made sure they'd called in advance to make sure that I was able to access the boat. And then when they got to the actual boat, they called me in a panic and said they told me it was accessible, but it's not, because when they got there, they said, there are stairs. And then the boat operator said, well, can't she do just a couple of stairs?
He said no, she can't.
Her scooter doesn't go upstairs.
Perhaps that boat captain had a different idea of what accessibility was. But all of the spaces that I needed to access were incredibly accessible and the organizers were very concerned and made sure and then the very last day, I had been a presenter or a table lead for WordCamp Asia's Contributor Day, and I was a speaker. And they made sure that the rooms I was in head ramps so that I could get up onto the stage easily. And then at the very last day, during the hey, this is where next year everybody who had anything, we went all the table leads up on the stage and everything. And then all of a sudden, this is in the main room where there was no ramp. Four of the organizers looked at me like panic stricken that there was one space I wouldn't be able to access, which was the final stage on the final day. And I was like, dudes, this was so awesome. I don't even care if I'm not on the stage. Right? No, no hate from me at know, but that panic stricken look on their face and they apologized. I'm like, seriously, like, that was no big deal. The rest of it was so amazing. So, yeah, I would say in Bangkok the history is so different than my white European type history from my family and things like that. So it was just really kind of cool to see something completely different.
Fair enough. And we are here to talk about you, though.
[00:09:12] Speaker B: Sure, fine. All right.
[00:09:15] Speaker A: We haven't even got to my questions yet. All right, so let me turn the tables on you a little bit. So tell us a little bit. I know we talked about the weather, we talked about travel, but tell us a little bit about what you do, like the 62nd version of what you do at Wildcloud. We're going to talk a little more in depth in a few minutes, but let's start off with that a little bit.
[00:09:36] Speaker B: Cool. So we build a platform that allows any WordPress builder, say an agency or freelancer, to automatically sell a site that he's built in the past, so built previously, turn it into a product, really, that you can then sell via a WooCommerce, store, a form, anything really that you want. Spin it up on our hosted platform, which is completely serverless, you don't have to worry about that. But then uniqueness of the platform itself is that we introduce the scalable cloud architecture of SaaS, which is called multi tenancy, which is what makes shopify and wix and squarespace so scalable, and we leverage it for the actual builder. So what it means is it actually spins up sites that have a shared code base, meaning you can centrally manage and improve your sites over time. So in practice, you build your own shopify, your own ClickFunnels, your own Kajabi, but with WordPress instead.
[00:10:30] Speaker A: That's pretty cool. I like that a lot. As a matter of fact, we had a question come up at WordCamp Rochester last week. Somebody from Toronto was asking about how easy it would be to move a Multi Tenancy site or networking from one host to another. And so everybody was gathered around with their own ideas of what would be easy for that. And I don't think any of it sounded easy, quite honestly. So I may reach out to that attendee and send them your way so you can talk about that.
[00:11:01] Speaker B: Well, I haven't actually heard of another multitenant platform as of yet, but rather the reason why our sites can actually go anywhere the moment you create a backup, you can move them anywhere is because by its definition, it is just an individual WordPress installation. So it's just a normal site with the difference that as soon as it's provisioned on our platform, you can control the code base of all the sites from a single source. And it may sound very technical and it really isn't. It just means that there's this master WordPress installation which you could say is your staging environment for all your sites at the same time. And as soon as you update something there, it automatically updates the plugin folder, the theme files or the language files for all the sites within that version. So you can have multiple versions and have this very safe versioning system, but in essence, you can build and improve all your sites as if it's only one.
[00:11:57] Speaker A: I love that. That's pretty cool. We're going to get more in depth than that in a few minutes because I want to learn a little bit more about that. And I have questions. But first, tell us about your mug and what you're drinking.
[00:12:09] Speaker B: Right, so I have a mug that says WPCs Roger, and then it says Content Composer virtuoso. So we actually started under the name WPCs, and this summer we changed it after Yoast joined us as an investor. And he made it very clear that he's a very laid back, easy guy. But when he does have a requirement, we better listen. And then his requirement was for us to change the name. And I was so relieved because I had wanted to do that since forever.
[00:12:41] Speaker A: Oh, good.
[00:12:42] Speaker B: Because WPCs is just a very confusing name for most people. It's either WordPress customer service, WordPress code standards. It also means Welsh Pony society or something.
And they were ahead of us in the Google rankings for the longest time. So I was very annoyed by the Welsh ponies.
[00:13:00] Speaker A: Yes, I can understand.
[00:13:01] Speaker B: Right.
Who doesn't like ponies? But, I mean, I don't want them to be on top of top of Monobe Pony.
[00:13:07] Speaker A: Exactly.
[00:13:09] Speaker B: Right. Yeah.
We got these mugs after we got a nonexecutive board member, and she's a lovely lady from Czech originally. She migrated to the Netherlands, I want to say 20 years ago. She speaks fluent Dutch and she's our mentor, and I've grown to be very close with her. And she gave us these mugs as we got into this office in a city center. And for some reason, she finds me the Content Composer Virtuoso. So that's my unofficial title, I would say.
[00:13:43] Speaker A: And it is a one of a kind mug because nobody else has the mug with Roger on it.
[00:13:48] Speaker B: Absolutely.
[00:13:49] Speaker A: What are you drinking?
Well, with the new name, yes.
[00:13:53] Speaker B: I'm actually drinking a cold brew coffee.
[00:13:55] Speaker A: Oh, very good. Well, yeah, I also have a one of a kind mug today. So this is from Gowp, and their mascot is Preston, which is the little alien. And for me, they turned him into Wonder Woman because I'm not in my other office today. But Wonder Woman is something that I like a lot. And so I have a lot of I actually have one right here. I have a lot of Wonder Woman little know, funko pops and memorabilia and things like a I can't reach it, but I have the invisible plane over there. You'll have to take my word for it that you can't see it.
[00:14:32] Speaker B: Right, that's a bit ironic.
I've got the invisible plate right here.
[00:14:41] Speaker A: Maybe I can reach it just because you believe me. It's real. Hold on.
It's an ornament. But see, it is actually real, this clear plastic. Anyway. So, yes, I like Wonder Woman a lot. And so they turned their logo into Wonder Woman for me. And I have it on a T shirt and I have it on a mug, so I appreciate that. And I'm drinking hot coffee with cream and sugar.
[00:15:03] Speaker B: Nice.
Yeah. The weather permitted me to have a cold brew, and if I can, it's loaded with more caffeine because the drip takes longer, so it will exfiltrate more caffeine.
[00:15:15] Speaker A: Got you.
[00:15:15] Speaker B: And I thought, this is going to be a high energy meeting, or rather podcast, so I might as well just.
[00:15:21] Speaker A: Fuel up, be awake till midnight. But that's okay.
How did you get started in WordPress?
[00:15:29] Speaker B: So, to be completely honest, I am a content maker, creative by trade. I studied fashion in Italy and then for some reason found myself into the virtual reality.
So at some point, a creative said to me, hey, Roger, would be nice if you could actually do something, because he was a photographer and I was in VR, and he couldn't really get the idea of it. So he taught me how to do photography, and from there I also learned to make videos. And I'd always been a content writer. So I started this little one man show, creating Content for People. And then very soon, Sebren, the handsome one, joined me as the technical marketer. So he would be doing the advertisements that I'd created, and he would put those on social media and whatnot. And then at some point, we had an idea to create an app because both of us had traveled and lived abroad, and most of our friends wanted to come over to Amsterdam and stay with us. But if you've ever been to Amsterdam, our houses are notoriously small. It's a very old city. It's just like London. Really? So we were basically being a little sick and tired of having people stay on our sofas in our living rooms all the time. And so our niche of customers was actually usually restaurants and hotels. And we knew that a lot of hotels have empty rooms at the end of the night, and then the front desk goes home, so you really can't book another hotel room. So we wanted to book, or rather we wanted to build an app that would allow people to book a hotel room that actually had already been left for the night, at a discount, obviously. So we got one of my oldest friends to join us as a technical founder, and we'd be building this app. But I did want to keep us together. So as a result, I started selling more websites because I was more of the front client facing person, doing the sales, as it were. And so I noticed that if I could get veinond, that's a dutch name almost nobody can pronounce.
If I could get him to build the website and I would create the content and then see wherein would do the advertisement campaigns, that would be a pretty sweet offer. And so that's how we turned into an agency basically as we were building the app. And so we actually got to the point where we were having quite like the little successful niche carved out and we were also on the verge of launching our app, which was going to be on the 23 March 2020 because that's my birthday. And then on March 17, the entire world locked down and we lost all of our customers in the course of a single week.
And then by then we, I don't know, like delivered 50 sites or something. So we had a very clear problem that we were encountering over and over again, which is every project you have to start from scratch and you have this boilerplate but still you're building a solution for your customers instead of selling a solution that is already pre built as you are if you do an app, for example. So we wanted to get back to that point and that's how we came up with the idea of this platform that we built.
I want to specify that when we did have the agency, we were building WordPress websites but I didn't consider myself to be a WordPress company, let alone be in the WordPress community. And then as soon as we launched the platform we were like, okay, clearly we are in the community, clearly we need to make friends. And I'm so glad we did.
[00:18:59] Speaker A: Absolutely fantastic. And I can't believe we were at all of these WordCamps together and hadn't met until you were here for WordCamp us and asked if somebody had a ride, anybody could offer you a ride to wherever.
[00:19:11] Speaker B: It was so nice by the way.
[00:19:15] Speaker A: I know it was great to get to know you in the car.
[00:19:17] Speaker B: Yeah.
Also, I just arrived. I think I'd been in National Harbor for an hour by then. So you were literally the very first person I spoke to.
[00:19:27] Speaker A: Oh well, it was happenstance. Then we got to meet and know each other a little bit better. That was awesome.
When you look at WordPress websites, or any website, I should say, and you kind of evaluate whether it's your own and you look back and you're, like, cringing at things that you missed or looking at things that other people take for granted? What do you think is something that we, as web designers, web builders, developers take for granted or don't focus enough attention on our websites that would make them better for the end users?
[00:20:03] Speaker B: I would say almost my favorite so many things.
I have a company that requires me to speak to hundreds of agency owners yearly.
So obviously I do still build websites for ourselves, but I also speak to a lot of people building sites for end users. And I'm also in the business of productizing those sites, right? So we give people a way to productize a site. So at the end of the day, our specialization, or rather our customer, becomes successful the moment he can actually build a site that anybody can then build out and make their own. So it is something that I well, I'm very much focused on this particular subject. And so on that note, I think people often overlook the WP admin.
It's something that we also did. So I'm not going to make myself out to be any better than anybody else, but we often were asked to build a WordPress site, which I know is very uncommon. People often say on Twitter or LinkedIn like, nobody cares how you build the site as long as it works for the customer. That was not our experience. People would actually come to us and say, I want a WordPress site because that's what I know, or that's because I can own it, or I have bought this hosting package at some point and I want you to build on that.
And so basically we were put on the wrong foot a little bit because then we would build the site and then hand it over to the customer and then in the shortest amount of time, they would just wreck it. They would just wreck the site. Like they would delete plugins, or worse, install new plugins or not pay a premium license because they didn't see the point, or just start building out their own pages because hey, it's supposed to be very simple to use. And then we would have to do damage control and then also sell a maintenance fee because clearly they're not able to do it themselves. And then we would get into this discussion, really, of why everything they come up with requires an intervention by us. So in hindsight, it would have been so much better if you actually make the effort to stylize the WP admin. There's a bunch of plugins that you can use to just hide stuff or make stuff easier. You can even build your own landing page inside of the WP admin and it could serve as a tutorial for new customers onboarding. And I think it makes all the difference.
[00:22:34] Speaker A: Absolutely. My least favorite thing, and I'm a pretty good user with WordPress, I've been inside a few sites in my days, is when I find a plugin that I think is going to do what I need it to do. I install it and then I can't figure out where the settings for it are because it's not in the sidebar. So you've got to go search. Did they put it in tools? Did they put it in settings? Where is this thing that I can actually use it? And if it's that difficult to find, then perhaps not enough attention has been put into the development of the plugin. At all, which to me says perhaps it's not the right plugin to be using. And that's just one tiny little part of the WordPress experience. Right? And so if somebody who's not an experienced user is digging that hard to find it, they're sure to mess up a few other things. For sure.
[00:23:21] Speaker B: I agree completely.
I would say that is my biggest thing for the end user because I could also have said global theme settings. I love it when one of my colleagues does it for any new site and then the moment I create a new page and I want to select the colors, I don't have to look for the colors. That's just such a simple small thing. And I could have easily said that, sure. But I think that is already so much more in depth and it assumes so much knowledge from an end user perspective. And I think in most cases I get the argument why people say customers don't care about how you build the site because they just want it to work. And I think the end of that sentence should be because they're not going to use it, they're not going to use the site.
And if you presuppose that you need certain settings to make their lives easier, I think you should start with how can we make their onboarding as easy as it can be.
[00:24:26] Speaker A: Absolutely. And sometimes it's people who don't like I've built websites for farmers before who don't even use a computer. Right. So they don't want an ad in, they don't want anything, but they're going to tell you every step of the way what's right and what's wrong based on how it looks. So there are so many different kinds of customers we have. Then you build for somebody like a real estate agency who needs to be able to get in there and add properties and things like that. And now you've got two completely different use cases for the admin.
[00:24:54] Speaker B: For sure, yeah, absolutely.
That's the reason, or one of the reasons why on our platform, every site that you spin up, you cannot install or delete plugins because they're live websites.
I actually just the other day found out that Pantheon does the same thing.
I just met the guys from Pantheon and I've been looking up to them since forever and they apparently do the same thing because you're not supposed to mess around in a live site. So in our case, you do that from the shared version from which you control all the code and so not me and not an end user is able to change the code base, delete or install plugins. And so it gives you that extra level of reliability that the moment you open up the site, you know exactly what's going to be in there. Like a plugin may be turned off, sure, but it's not going to mess up anything that I don't know how to fix. Right.
I think that's something that is sometimes easily overlooked by, again, myself included, when you get this tunnel vision, right? Like you've been building so many sites, or you've been talking about WordPress all day for years and years on. End and you build a site and you completely assume that the customer is going to have not a learning curve. They're just going to get it from day one. And sometimes you kind of have to protect them from themselves.
[00:26:17] Speaker A: Yeah, absolutely. I have a cat that's trying to get up on the desk. Sorry about that.
[00:26:21] Speaker B: Oh nice.
[00:26:23] Speaker A: All of a sudden you feel that little wet nose on the back of your arm. Anyway, I love cats. I have two of them.
What is something you wish you had known when you started with WordPress that you might have learned since then would have made life a lot simpler.
[00:26:39] Speaker B: The community. And I know it sounds cliche and also it almost feels like you're supposed to say this on this podcast, but I could not be more honest about that. I could not be more I remember Yoast from Yoast. Some people call him Juiced, but it's Yoast.
I remember him telling me that he got acquired by Newfold and he started working there and then, I don't know, maybe a year in, he told me that he had finally convinced them that they are a WordPress company. And I thought that was just such a remarkable statement that first and foremost they weren't aware of that yet. And also clearly their strategy was not formulated in that way but also just a comment itself. Like did we know that we were a workers company and when did we find out?
Because the thing is, the moment you find out, you start looking for your peers and then a world opens up. And I think that coming from an agency background, we just considered ourselves a marketing agency that also just so happened to produce websites as part of the marketing mix.
And I think it would have helped us a lot if we started to associate ourselves with being a WordPress company much sooner. It would have just Skyrocketed everything really from a technical perspective to where you get your customers, to all the gossip, whatever. And also it's just a lot more fun.
[00:28:16] Speaker A: I agree. It's amazing to me how many people when you're in the community, you're part of the community and you're part of making the community what it is, whether you're contributing to core or you're hosting a meetup, those kinds of things you might not realize. And I didn't realize for the first few years I was freelancing that there was a community.
Because you don't think about that for other products, right?
There aren't like Microsoft meetups happening in every city. There aren't Microsoft events happening in cities and people aren't calling each other up to find out how are you using Microsoft today?
And so you don't think about that. With software until you then suddenly realize it's like Dorothy opens that door after the house lands, and they open the door and everything's in technicolor, right? It's like, wow, where did this all come from?
[00:29:09] Speaker B: I think that's a great analogy.
So my father is a doctor, and I didn't realize that. I was always very jealous of the sense of community that doctors have. So if he went to a conference, which would be all over the globe, they would always make friends, and then he would stay for a day to explore the city that they were in with some doctor he met from, say, Brazil, whatever. And it just sounded like such a cool adventure.
And now I'm doing the same thing. Like this WordCamp to us. I was with one of the owners of Foo Events, Colin, and also Mark Brandley, who works at Invisible in Athens. I spent two days with Vikas from Mean. I've got a huge crush on, like, a bromance with this guy right now. This guy is so insanely smart and so funny.
So you make friends and then suddenly you're in this community, and I'm not even talking about all the other people I met. I'm just giving the short list here.
I don't know, it's just so much fun.
[00:30:16] Speaker A: It is. I agree. Well, speaking of word camps, because you've been to a few as well, what is an event or a talk you heard or some experience that you've had at a Word camp that really was a pivotal experience for you, maybe opened your eyes to something, met one of your heroes, whatever it was. Tell us about an experience you had that was just one of those mountaintop experiences.
[00:30:43] Speaker B: If I may. I was a speaker at WordCamp Europe myself, and it was a very cool experience. And that doesn't even remotely touch the surface of what I want to say here.
So basically, I have this idea. I have this idea that it actually makes us better business people if we are vulnerable and share the learnings. And I want to say mistakes, but if you want to put it in a positive spin, you would say learnings. So I told the story of how our agency almost went bankrupt during the pandemic, which I touched on briefly, and then we turned it around and turned into this platform. And then now we're finding out how you can navigate this new territory because we've introduced something totally new.
But it works because you have this community of people that are always willing to help you and give feedback. And so I was telling that story, basically saying it was almost like a tentative learning that I've had, insight that I've had over the past years. And then coming out of that talk, I realized that I had magnified that message because all these people came up and were like, yeah, exactly. If you want to do something totally new, this is the place to do it because everybody's so supportive.
And I thought that was very cool because I don't normally go to talks and then wait around at the end to talk to the speaker and then find 30 people in some form of group discussion. But that's what happened to me, and I thought it was so remarkable. It was just so much I don't know.
[00:32:33] Speaker A: That's very cool. Very cool. My mountaintop experience, I've had a lot of them over the years where it's like, oh, no, this one. Oh, this was really good. Oh, this was really good. And it used to be when very few people actually knew who Matt Mellenweg was. And he came and randomly sat at our table at lunch at a Word camp, but when he was still less visible and he could wander around a Word camp without people robbing him.
But I would say in WordCamp Europe, my daughter, who's an adult, she's in her 30s, she came with me to WordCamp Europe, and she's heard me say, over the years, I've developed a reputation for myself. People know me in other countries.
Often people will say to me, oh, I follow you on Twitter and things like that. And so she was like, yeah, mom. Yeah, mom. Whoever believes that their mother has any kind of recognition outside of the PTA maybe, right? So she came with me, and I gave a talk in Europe in the cafe type setting that they put in there. I was scheduled to talk about how WordPress has changed my life. And so she came to hear me. And as we were making our way to the venue, people stopping to take selfies, telling me how much they follow me, these kinds of things, and then showing up to listen to me talk, asking questions, engaging with me. More photos afterwards, as we're walking away, she says, I didn't really believe you when you said that people knew who you were, but now I just want to call you WP Madonna, the Purple Ambition tour.
That is good.
She gets it. She finally understands that I haven't been lying about the fact that people know.
[00:34:13] Speaker B: And I actually want to give another example, which was in Athens, last WordCamp Europe. After the event was done, the day after, I want to say, on Sunday, we went for a stroll with my co founders, Vikas.
And throughout the city, you would find all these people who'd been to the conference as well, and maybe you hadn't met all of know. Maybe you don't even know all their rather maybe you don't know all their names, but you do know all their faces. And now that the event is done, everybody just knows each other. So it almost felt like we invaded the city because on every corner, you would just find these people, hey, nice. You could hardly make your way through town because you were just seeing all these people that you now suddenly know, even if you've never met them before, and because you feel like you're on the same boat, somehow, you're in the know, like this little secret society that you're a part of. I don't know. Made me feel like I was a wizard inwards or so yeah, and there's.
[00:35:18] Speaker A: Like this secret link that you're like, I know who you are.
[00:35:21] Speaker B: Exactly.
[00:35:22] Speaker A: We were at the museum at the at the Acropolis. There the museum that's at the base. And I was just kind of looking around, and my daughter was off to the side somewhere, and a family came up to me, and they said, I didn't see you at the event, but can I have a selfie with you? And I was like, sure. And then a little while later, somebody else did the same thing. People that had been at the thing and people who didn't know WordPress at all were, like, looking at me like, who is she? Is she somebody we should know? Like, they're looking at their phones, trying to find out who I was because people wanted to take a selfie with me. And that was funny. That was really funny.
[00:35:55] Speaker B: It's cool, though. It's also very cool.
[00:35:57] Speaker A: I mean, I'm not going to lie. It's like, this is my 15 minutes. I'm taking it. Right?
[00:36:01] Speaker B: Enjoy it.
[00:36:02] Speaker A: Yes, exactly. So those were fun experiences, though, especially because my daughter got to see them.
Tell us a little bit more about Wildcloud. So you and I had, like, the five minute in the Uber ride conversation where you were trying to get me to understand it, and I was like, but we're headed to someplace really cool, and I can't really think right now. So tell us more about Wildcloud, what it is, and why somebody might want to use it.
[00:36:27] Speaker B: Right? So I mentioned I speak to hundreds of agency owners and freelancers on a yearly basis, and they book a call with us because they've all fantasized or are fantasizing about having your own product. And it could be because you want to have a product that is something of a lead magnet, something that will tie a network to you. It could be because you're trying to build recurring revenue. It could be because you wanted to serve as your marketing tool or because you want to have more focus in your agency, right? Like, say, for example, you want to serve a specific niche, say, WooCommerce builders, for example. You want to do webshops. Then it's nice to have this product that you can build all your services around, because then you avoid context switching. Like, you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you do a new project. You can have focus. It's easier to scale. So you have all these arguments why you would want to productize your agency. And we had the same thing. We wanted to productize our agency as well. And we tried all these different things, right? We tried an actual app for hotels. We tried productizing reporting, which really didn't help because you also have to teach people how to interpret reports. So it's not a scalable model. You could turn it into a product, but then they still rely on your service to explain the actual reports. We wanted to do maintenance, which is very unscalable because you're not sure how much maintenance you're going to have in a certain month. So it's almost like an insurance. And I don't know about your insurance, but it's always a bummer when you find out that you have extra fees afterwards, which is at least how it sort of works in the Netherlands. So there were all these unscalable business models that we had and then at some point we just came up with the idea so why don't we just build a site just like Wix, or just like Shopify. You get on Wix, you select a template, it's just a ready made site. But not only is it ready made, it's also managed right? Because you don't have to manage the plugins, you don't have to manage the code, you don't have to manage the hosting. You can just drag and drop your site and then you're ready. But obviously the big downside of Wix is first and foremost the site is often just not very good. It's very bloated, it won't be very fast, but also you don't own it. Which to me specifically is something that I find that would be a big deal breaker for me. So we did want to continue working with WordPress, but we wanted to build a tool for ourselves where we could basically launch a store, a site that would sell sites, and then our customers would buy those sites for a monthly recurring fee. And as part of that fee it would be hosted, it would be managed, we would update it, you would get a site that is almost completely done. It would be 80% to 90% done. And then you could just finish it yourself. And then if you wanted us to finish it, if you wanted us to upload your branding and whatnot, we would also do that, but you don't have to. And so we started doing that. And then pretty soon after friends of ours working at other agencies started asking for what the hell our secret was. Because now we were able to offer people sites for say eighty dollars to one hundred and fifty dollars per month, so you don't have that large upfront fee. And also we could sell it in our sleep, so we would just wake up in the morning, we would have five more customers. And so that was the moment when we realized we wanted to turn it into a platform. And to turn a tool into a platform requires more than just one technical co founder. Although we did do something remarkable, which was introduce multi tenancy to WordPress, which as far as we can tell, had never been done before.
So that's when we started looking for a fourth co founder who had to be technical. And we found that in the form of my oldest friend, actually.
And as it turned out, he actually wanted to leave his cushy comfortable, good, well paying job for a while already. And he's a cloud engineer, fortunately. So we got him on board, which is also when we realized we needed an investment in order to actually afford him his salary. So we started looking for investments and we got a couple of really interesting investors. For example, a fund by Porsche, the car maker.
So I can now comfortably say that I don't own a Porsche, but I do own a company with them.
[00:40:57] Speaker A: There you.
[00:41:02] Speaker B: Yeah.
The best way to explain the platform is basically by the products that our customers build, which is they build a platform that they position as an alternative to wix or an alternative to shopify. Or you could build your own eventbrite or your own ClickFunnels. Often it's specific to a certain niche or audience. So you make sites for real estate agents or for vacation rentals in Mexico or for e commerce shops in Vietnam. I could just go on and on. But that's typically what our customers do. And then they sell their additional services on the back know, selling that site.
[00:41:44] Speaker A: So if somebody said to you, how is this different than multisite?
What would the primary difference be between multisite and multitenancy?
[00:41:53] Speaker B: So on a multisite, your subsites are in the same WordPress installation and they're on the same file system sharing the same database on the same server. So there are a number of very critical vulnerabilities related to that. So for example, at some point, if one of your sites gets breached, the database of all the sites is exposed. If in Europe, especially if you're launching individual sites for unrelated customers and then put those on the same database, that's a breach of GDPR.
At some point, your file system or your database will get too complicated and it will break. We often get customers that are on a multi site and migrate over to us simply because they're afraid to update the multi site. And then if you do and you do experience downtime, you have to restore this giant backup.
[00:42:48] Speaker A: Right?
[00:42:48] Speaker B: And that's not even getting to the real unscalable part of it, which is the fact that everything is on the same server. So at some point, there's a way to solve this problem to satisfaction by simply just throwing bodies at it, which will cost a lot of money, but it will also inherently change the identity of your company. Because at some point, you find yourself employing a lot of engineers that are occupied with your hosting infrastructure, and then you turn into a hosting company that is focused on building something with something that is definitely not supposed to be used for that. So for the longest time building a website as a service, which is often what our customers dub themselves as. The only option would be to do that with a multi site. And I'm not bashing multisite, right? If you have a university or you need to link the sites that you spin up, then multisite is a great option. I wouldn't use it to host a lot of different hundreds of sites, because again, you need a way to safely update those. You need a version system, you need to introduce modern DevOps in some way, which we've done.
But yeah, that's the big difference.
[00:44:06] Speaker A: I love that. And that helps me understand it a lot better too, because when you were saying multitenancy earlier, not today, but earlier, I was thinking multi site. And then when I did a little more research, I realized that it's very different. But if I had that question, others who are not as versed might also have the same question. So thank you for explaining that. So succinctly.
[00:44:25] Speaker B: Yeah, of course.
So the reason why it's possible to link the code bases of many different individual sites is because it is built on a containerized hosting platform, and it turns into a little bit of a technical topic at that point. But to make it very simple and hopefully short, if you're on a multi site, most likely you're on a single server or on a virtual machine, which is basically a computer, or rather it's a computer that thinks it's an entire computer, but it really isn't. It's just a part of it. And that's just one entity. Our platform hosts sites in what's called containers. So you use a software called Docker, and in our case, Kubernetes, to spin up new containers depending on the traffic, but also scale them down. And that makes the platform itself very scalable and very reliable, because if one container dies, you immediately spin up a new one and it becomes self healing, essentially. But it also makes it possible to create containers that the sites share. And if you make sure that the containers have the same code in them, you can control the code from a single source, yet have individual sites that have a different database and a different content folder. So, not to overcomplicate the rest even more, essentially, you create this very scalable platform where you put sites in that you can always take out and just use them anywhere. You could leverage the entire ecosystem of purpose plugins, which you can't do with multi site.
[00:46:00] Speaker A: And if one site gets compromised, you haven't compromised them all.
[00:46:05] Speaker B: Not at all. No.
And not just that. We actually do a lot in terms of security. So, for example, SSH is just impossible. We don't allow FTP on the platform itself. You can't access the database. The databases can only be reached via the tenants themselves.
Like I said, the platform is you can spin up containers. We use Kubernetes, which is definitely the most scalable and reliable infrastructure for orchestrating containers. We run backups. We have versioning system which is basically a way to safely develop new features for all your sites in a separate environment. So basically what we're doing is we're introducing modern DevOps to WordPress for people that have never concerned themselves with DevOps. So to make it very simple and so I'm listing a bunch of technical stuff, but if you get on the platform, you'd actually notice that it's serverless so you don't have to worry about any of that stuff.
[00:47:03] Speaker A: Nice. Very good. Well, let me move into our rapid fire questions. I always say I will ask them rapidly, you take the time you need to answer them.
And here we go. So what are two or three must have plugins that you would recommend to somebody building their own website?
[00:47:20] Speaker B: I would say a Caching plugin. I would say a plugin such as Uipress, for example, which would be used to customize the WP admin. And then I would probably oh, for the love of God, use a CRM. Just do something with a CRM and not store that stuff in a WordPress installation. So any CRM plugin really gotcha did.
[00:47:49] Speaker A: You, when you started in WordPress or at any point in your WordPress journey, have a mentor, whether it was official or unofficial and who was it?
[00:47:57] Speaker B: Okay, so I need to add one plugin to the mix and then I can also create a segue to the mentor.
[00:48:06] Speaker A: Okay.
[00:48:07] Speaker B: Everybody should be using the Yoast plugin, obviously.
[00:48:10] Speaker A: I wondered why you hadn't mentioned that one.
[00:48:12] Speaker B: Because the mentor is Yoast, so it doesn't have to be named in both lists. But as we're on the subject, no, for sure.
I love having Yoast on speed dial first and foremost because he's definitely like, he's someone who's very accessible. Even way before he was an investor in our company, he was very accessible. And I love that he wants to keep adding contributions to the ecosystem.
And so in that sense, I definitely look up to his achievements. But also how he's been able to be such a fun, nice guy to everybody who wants to talk to him. And he's got a very clear opinion, which makes him very valuable because he doesn't beat him out of the bush, which is definitely a Dutch trade, but he's promoting the Dutch culture for sure in the way that he exposes himself to other people personality.
[00:49:12] Speaker A: I knew what you meant, sorry.
One of my bragging points for this whole year is that he did the SEO for me on Wpspeakers.com. He loved what I was doing there and he says, hey, can I help with that? And I'm like, dude, here's your login. You have admin access to everything. I trust you implicitly.
[00:49:32] Speaker B: So that's what I love about him. Right. He's still so involved with the thing that made him successful in the first place and obviously that is very much related. Like you kind of have to in order to become successful in the first place.
But also, if you look at his Twitter rants on AI SEO things right now, I love it. Just please be more involved, or rather stay as involved as you are today. It's great.
[00:49:58] Speaker A: Absolutely.
I love that I can reach out to him through Slack and things like that within 24 hours because our time zones are different. He's replied with some ideas, which is awesome. And now I get to work with him at Post Status as well because he and Marika are also investors at Posttatus.
[00:50:12] Speaker B: Very cool.
[00:50:14] Speaker A: So you can't mention his name in the next question because you can't have the same person for both. But who is somebody that you admire in the WordPress community and why?
[00:50:23] Speaker B: Because Singal the owner of Interwp, I don't have to think about that at all because I think he is a juggernaut and I don't think people underestimate him at all. The moment you speak to him, you find that he's very smart, but also he's just super funny. So honestly, I count him as one of my best friends in the ecosystem, if not the best, and I think everybody should use his platform.
[00:50:54] Speaker A: He was unable to actually get a visa for WordCamp us and so he pivoted that to his advantage by asking a bunch of us in the WordPress community that also use his product if we would cover his booth for a two hour period. I think it was 2 hours.
First of all, I know that he's saying no to him, right? And then you sit at his table and you talk about what he does and you talk about what you do. And his picture is right in the back with a QR code and we're all tweeting about the fact that it was brilliant. Maybe he actually had a visa and decided that he was going to do something different. It was so brilliant.
[00:51:30] Speaker B: I know for a fact that he didn't because we were looking forward to spending more time in New York.
[00:51:36] Speaker A: He was so disappointed that he couldn't come. I know, but it was like it was a good pivot.
[00:51:42] Speaker B: Actually, I remembered a very fun thing from WordCamp Euro, but I'll get there in a second. I actually did that. I manned his booth on Friday from, I want to say three to five. And prior to that, you had the guys from Seahawk and I met them and now we're working with them. So it not only helped us promote ourselves, but it almost started this small community simply by not showing up.
And also Colin from Foo events. We were hanging out before, but also hanging out there. So yeah, it was.
[00:52:17] Speaker A: To if you had to not be at your own booth, he was not there in the best way possible by building the community around it to be there for him. It was brilliant.
[00:52:27] Speaker B: Yeah. By the way, most surprising fun moment during WordCamp Europe was the party of SiteGround, which is at the top floor of a building overlooking the Acropolis. And I was with Noel and one of my co founders were in the elevator just talking to each other very much in the conversation. And then the moment the doors opened, you entered into the dance floor immediately and so there were like 200 people and the moment the doors opened, everybody started cheering. They were like and so you walk into a dance floor and everybody's like and so they did this for everybody. It was the best welcome I've ever had to a party in my life.
I don't know who started it, but it was brilliant.
[00:53:18] Speaker A: Brilliant. That's awesome. I love that.
What's something that you haven't learned yet in WordPress that you'd still like to learn?
[00:53:31] Speaker B: I'm actually not a PHP developer, so I wouldn't know the first thing about that. Well that's not true. I definitely do know a couple of things about it and using you probably.
[00:53:40] Speaker A: Know more than I do.
[00:53:42] Speaker B: No, probably not.
[00:53:45] Speaker A: I'm not a developer at all.
[00:53:47] Speaker B: I think at some point I will try my hand at PHP.
[00:53:51] Speaker A: Very cool. Yeah, very cool. What's one of the biggest mistakes that you've made in WordPress and what did you learn from it?
[00:54:02] Speaker B: Biggest mistakes in WordPress. I mean I've made plenty of mistakes as a business owner, product company, so in WordPress I wouldn't know specifically, but as a business owner we definitely wanted to grow too fast. And I think I actually posted this on LinkedIn the other day. I think in total we wasted, or rather we spent $50,000 because we started doing things that we weren't prepared for. So for example, when we turned our 1st $800 monthly recurring revenue, which was two years ago longer, we hired two sales development reps and started approaching what we called our ideal customer profile. But if you've got $800 in MRR, you've no idea what your ICP is. So they started just randomly calling people, not getting anywhere and I think we spent 25K on that alone.
If I want to say the biggest mistake, I would say we should have stuck to founder sales for longer and not just talked with our customers, but asked them the questions like what are you trying to solve? What is your job to be done? How can we actually contribute? Because we built a platform that worked for us, but we were also at a certain technical, sophistication so when we made the platform accessible for us, we forgot that it may not translate so well to the rest of the audience we were trying to serve. So I think we spent the last year trying to simplify the way people use the platform up to the point that you don't need any coding experience, you don't need any DevOps experience to use our platform. But again, it took us a long time to realize that we were not serving the developers, but we were basically serving the agency owners who don't know how to code, but do want to scale up the business.
So honing down on the ideal customer and really understanding their problems, but also where they come from, their current methods and workflows that I think has been the biggest mistake that we fixed along the way.
[00:56:21] Speaker A: I'm glad you fixed it because it sounds like you've learned a lot since then. For sure.
[00:56:25] Speaker B: Thanks. Yeah, I hope so.
[00:56:27] Speaker A: What's your proudest WordPress moment?
[00:56:32] Speaker B: The proudest WordPress moment, I think, is when I found out this week that we had been nominated for the Innovation Award at Wushesh.
[00:56:44] Speaker A: Yes.
[00:56:45] Speaker B: And that's obviously very cool, but it's because our customers submitted our name, and that is so cool. That just fills me with pride. Like, that our customers. And then I actually posted on LinkedIn I don't know who submitted our name, but I'm super honored. And then people piled on by saying, oh, that was me. Or I got an email. Hey, it was me. And I was like, so nice, man.
[00:57:07] Speaker A: That's wonderful.
[00:57:08] Speaker B: That's so nice. Yeah, I love that.
[00:57:11] Speaker A: How did you find out that you had been submitted or that you were on the list? Through me.
[00:57:15] Speaker B: Through you? Yeah, you posted it on Twitter, and I was like, oh, that's fun. Let me just go ahead and vote for Michelle. I saw our name and I was like, what?
[00:57:23] Speaker A: Found out? I saw James Kemp post about being Developer of the Year, and he works with me, so I was like, oh, I'll go vote for him. And I saw my own name, and I burst into tears like, oh, my gosh, that's funny.
[00:57:36] Speaker B: Yeah, they didn't tell us.
[00:57:38] Speaker A: It was just a.
[00:57:41] Speaker B: Know, I'm not even involved with Wusesh, so just the fact that they noticed us and that other people mentioned us is such an honor, really.
[00:57:51] Speaker A: I also voted for you, so that was nice.
[00:57:53] Speaker B: Thank you.
[00:57:54] Speaker A: You're welcome.
If you weren't working in Webtech at all, what's another career that you might like to attempt?
[00:58:02] Speaker B: I would create YouTube videos with my brother about anything in, so yeah, for sure. So I love to cook. That's my passion. I cook every day. For me, it's therapy. My brother loves to go to the gym.
He has a certain illness, and working out a lot helps him be the I've actually thought this out entirely. Right. So I would call it when in, because you have this saying, when in Rome. Right? So do as the Romans. And I would say I would call it when in. And then I would go to certain cultures and tribes and whatnot and just spend a day or maybe a week with them and then do exactly as they do. But focused on how do you guys stay healthy, how do you guys eat, how do you guys break bread, how does your social culture because that's what. I love about the company that we have today and this is something I dreamed of for so long, is I get to speak to people from all over the world. They book calls, they tell me about their challenges, about the things that they want to solve, and then along the way, I find out that they live in Georgia or they live in Australia or they live in Zimbabwe, where we have customers, and in Vietnam.
And I think to myself, you're giving me a piece of your culture, and we're having this connection which just boggles my mind, that you can find people all over the globe, and we have so much in common, and we all want to be good with each other. Like, we all want to be genuine and nice, and we all want to be friends.
That's our nature.
I love that. So if I didn't do this, I would definitely do that. Yeah. Be with the people more.
[00:59:52] Speaker A: I would watch that show if you had that on YouTube. So maybe that's your retirement plan someday.
[00:59:57] Speaker B: Yeah. Who knows?
[00:59:59] Speaker A: What's something on your bucket list?
[01:00:03] Speaker B: Owning a vineyard?
Yeah. Well, I don't want to say owning a vineyard because I'm not definitely not preoccupied with owning stuff, but I'd like to make my own wine. I love wine. I love the intricacies, I love the differences of it, but not just make my own wine. I would actually want to receive people there and then share the wine with people. It may even be something that combines the worker space. I actually never heard about Cabo Press until this week, and I saw all these people on Twitter posting about how much fun it is. I would love to host, like, a wine WordPress, get together on a vineyard and then, I don't know, do something there, because I just feel that the act of eating and drinking and not necessarily alcohol, by the way, but just like, eating and drinking together brings people together. And I think the WordPress community lends itself so well for that.
[01:00:58] Speaker A: Yeah, I agree. I would also attend that event. So keep me posted if you do it.
[01:01:04] Speaker B: I'll let you know.
[01:01:05] Speaker A: There's a wine press. I don't know, it sounds really wine press.
[01:01:09] Speaker B: Not bad.
[01:01:10] Speaker A: And then you could have it in Napa. You could have it in the Finger Lakes. You could have it in Italy. You could have it anywhere. We could have Melback down in Australia. I think there's some no pun intended, but there's some legs on this one.
See what I did?
[01:01:27] Speaker B: Yeah.
Actually, I might steal that name from you.
[01:01:32] Speaker A: You should have it. It's all yours.
Show us or tell us about a hidden talent that you have that most people in the WordPress community would not know about.
[01:01:47] Speaker B: I don't think I have a specific talent that people don't otherwise would know about. But I do have a very strange thumb. Like, my thumb is very to the double jointed.
[01:01:59] Speaker A: Almost there.
[01:02:00] Speaker B: Yeah, that's my secret trick. I'm very flexible.
[01:02:05] Speaker A: Pull that out of parties, do you?
[01:02:07] Speaker B: I can easily get into a bridge. Yeah. I'm like hypermobile. Maybe that's my talent there.
[01:02:12] Speaker A: That's more than me, that's for sure.
How can we find you and your company on the socials and online?
[01:02:22] Speaker B: So my social handle on everything is my first and last name, so roger Rosveda. But then I think the best way to find me is by looking for Wildcloud. We currently have the extension Wildcloud, so that might change. But if you look for Wildcloud, then you're probably going to get in touch with me or one of my handsome or smart or both colleagues very soon.
[01:02:47] Speaker A: If you are listening to this and not on the website, we will have all of those links in the show notes. Just go to wpcoffeetalk.com. Find Rogers episode, and everything, including the transcript of this episode, will be there for you to find. Roger, is there anything else that I didn't ask you about that you'd want to share or anything else that you want to talk about today?
[01:03:06] Speaker B: Not at all. I had a wonderful time.
[01:03:08] Speaker A: It was a lot of fun. Thank you for being here. I really appreciate you taking the time to join me today.
[01:03:13] Speaker B: Thanks. Thanks a lot.
[01:03:14] Speaker A: And everybody else will see you on the next episode of WP Coffee Talk, where I don't know who we'll be talking to and I don't know where they'll be. It'll be a fun conversation to be had. We'll see everybody else on the next episode. Bye.