WPCoffeeTalk: Taco Verdonschot

April 15, 2024 00:51:32
WPCoffeeTalk: Taco Verdonschot
WPCoffeeTalk
WPCoffeeTalk: Taco Verdonschot

Apr 15 2024 | 00:51:32

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Show Notes

When you say Taco, you say Tuesd.. wait no. You say WordPress community. Because ever since Taco learned about the WordPress community in 2013, he’s been involved. You can find him helping out as a local meetup organizer, WordCamp volunteer and organizer, and deputy in the global community team. So it shouldn’t surprise you when you see him at a WordCamp, meetup, or other WordPress or tech event. Connecting with people is more than what he does...it's who he is.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Welcome to WP Coffee talk with your podcast Barista Michelle Frechette, where we interview people in the WordPress community from all over the world. Every guest is asked the same questions and every guest has wonderful and varied answers about their history and their hopes. Special thanks to our espresso level sponsors, Bluehost, WS form and Beaver Builder. And now on with the show. Welcome to WP Coffee talk. I'm your podcast Barista Michelle Frechette, serving up the WordPress stories from around the world. And today my guest is tacko Verdon Scott, who's the head of relations at yoast. I practiced, yeah. You know, I asked you how to do it. Thank you. Because I. Yeah, it's, it doesn't come. Dutch, doesn't come naturally to Americans. And so, and so I was going to try to like, look it up online, like, how do you pronounce this? But then you were already in the chat and I was like, oh, I'm just going to ask you. I don't have to pretend. I know how to say your name. Thank you for joining me today. It's good to have you. [00:01:08] Speaker B: Thank you for having me. [00:01:10] Speaker A: Of course, we've known each other a really long time and so it's nice to actually have you on the show. And it's like, I don't know why I didn't think to invite you sooner than this, because I see you, you know, at all of the events that it didn't, didn't occur to me, but I'm excited to tell your WordPress story to the community. So. So let's get started. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. [00:01:29] Speaker B: Yeah. So my name is Tacko. Forget about my last name. It's way too hard. Only Michelle can do this correctly as a non dutch speaker. I'm working as head of relations at yoast. I've been here for ten years, so quite a while. And that ties in very neatly with my WordPress story. Father of two, happily married, I live a five minute walk away from the office, which is brilliant. And I can recommend to everyone to do that. Yeah, I think that's important. [00:02:06] Speaker A: Yeah, exactly. You have a beautiful family from what I've seen, the pictures that you've shared over the years. So someday maybe I will meet them too at a WordPress event. You never know. [00:02:17] Speaker B: Might happen. [00:02:18] Speaker A: It might happen. So show us your mug and tell us what you're drinking. [00:02:21] Speaker B: Yes. So I am one of the non coffee drinkers in the community, but I did bring my glot press mug, which is special to me because it's the first goodie that I sort of earned in the WordPress community back in the day, back in 20 22, 20 13, 20 14 when I just started out working as a polyglot, but also managing translations on the yo side of things. I had some suggestions for the Globra software, which was at the time maintained by a few people, but one of them was Marco, Marco Heine. And he had those mugs and he gave it to the people who contributed to Globpress. So I've kept it since and I only use it for special occasions. And thank you. Yeah, today that is to hold my hot chocolate because it's almost Christmas. So it is with, of course, whipped cream. [00:03:23] Speaker A: Because you have to have the whipped cream. [00:03:25] Speaker B: Yes. That's the way you do it. [00:03:27] Speaker A: Either whipped cream or marshmallows, or sometimes both, depending on who you are, right? [00:03:31] Speaker B: Absolutely. Yes. [00:03:32] Speaker A: So I have a gift that was given to me this year. Look, I got it right. I never pulled them up. Right. And the in the window. But I did today. It's a yeti cup from content journey as a gift from Lindsey Miller. And I don't usually drink coffee because this is actually 05:00 my time, but I made a small cup of coffee with a lot of cream and sugar because it's warm and I didn't have any hot chocolate. So there you go. So that's what I'm having today. But tell us, you alluded to it, but tell us how you got started with WordPress. [00:04:04] Speaker B: Yeah, so that started in 2013. I was studying computer science at the time, and one of my classmates that I had to work a project with, he said, you know, we can do this easier than building something from scratch. So let's use WordPress for our assignment. And I had never ever heard of WordPress before. So basically within a few weeks, he showed the basics of working with WordPress and how to do post types and hooks and filters and everything. I wasn't the fastest study, let's put it that way. So thanks, Haya, for acing the project. And the fun thing is that he was the person a few months later to retweet a tweet from Yoast, the company that said, hey, we're looking for developers. And that got me to apply at yoast. And, well, that's where my WordPress story really started, because, well, that was a deep dive into, into WordPress. [00:05:20] Speaker A: I think that when people think of yoast, they think of a few people, they think of yoast and Marika, but they also think of you because your face is at a lot of events and people think of your presentations and they think of meeting you. Nice. That your friendly face is one of the first things that people think of outside of the software and what it does. [00:05:39] Speaker B: It's also really strange. I mean, who am I really? [00:05:45] Speaker A: So, yeah, who are any of us, though? [00:05:48] Speaker B: True, true. [00:05:49] Speaker A: You know, I mean, we are who we are, but it's kind of nice. And it's. My WordPress journey started back in 2011 and. But I joined Givewp in January of 2018 and at Wordcamp us in, I think it was December. Yeah, it was December of 2017. I was there. I ran into Josh, a friend of ours, right. And I said, I have news. And he said, I know your news, and you knew my news before I knew that you knew my news, which was that I was going to work at Givewp and you and I hadn't actually met yet. So you're part of my WordPress journey as well, which is pretty cool. [00:06:31] Speaker B: That's awesome. [00:06:32] Speaker A: Is that fun? So when you look at websites across the board, whether you've built them or not, other people's, what do you think that we as designers, developers and web builders don't focus enough attention on that would actually make our websites better for the end user? [00:06:48] Speaker B: Yeah. So I knew this question was coming, so I had a bit of time to think about it. And I think the problem is that we sometimes focus too much, but on a single thing. So I come across people who say I've built the fastest website, or I've written the best content, or I've built the most accessible website. But the thing is, and especially from an SEO perspective, you need to have most of everything. So instead of specializing on a single thing, you need that holistic view of your website. So it doesn't have to be the fastest, but it has to be fast enough. It doesn't need the best content, but the content needs to be good enough, but it needs to come in second on all of those instead of winning on a single aspect. So I think that is something that we all can do better. [00:07:54] Speaker A: I agree, and I think it's interesting, and we're going to talk about yoast in a few minutes. But that's something that the yoast plugin actually looks at a lot of those things and helps you understand how to do better with your content, do better with all of those things, because you want to show up in Google rankings and things like that. And so you help us focus on more than just one thing. Which I think is pretty helpful. And no, I'm not paid by yoast to say that. What's something that you wish you knew earlier in your WordPress journey that would have made things a whole lot easier earlier on. [00:08:31] Speaker B: Yeah, so that's, it's hard because I sort of started WordPress because I had a job in WordPress, so I don't have a story of being self employed and all of that. But the thing that I'm starting to realize more and more now is that there is value in being a generalist because I am a specialist at absolutely nothing. There's always someone in the room that knows much more on a specific topic than I do. And that's been frustrating for a very long time because I don't like to come in second or third or fifth, but the value of knowing a little bit about all those fields and being able to get the right people at the table is shown to be a valuable skill. And I think it would have helped me if I realized this. Well, let's say ten years ago. So, yeah, definitely. I think the value of being a generalist is something that I wished I knew earlier. [00:09:53] Speaker A: You know, I read somewhere something along the lines that said if you're in a room with people you can't learn anything from, you're in the wrong room. So I think there's some value in not being the best at all of the things. Absolutely. I think that makes a lot of sense, for sure. So you are somebody that has been to probably more wordcamps. Well, maybe not more wordcamps than me, but at least as many wordcamps as I have and in many different areas as well. So when you look back over the different Wordcamps and WordPress events that you've attended, is there maybe an experience, a pivotal or inspiring moment for you that you can tell us about? [00:10:32] Speaker B: Yeah, so there are three talks that I. Well, pivotal moment starts really, really early on for me because, as I said, 2013, joining yoast, completely new to the community, had no idea there was a thing called Wordcamp Europe being organized for the first time. I was sent there, and one evening I ended up with a lot of people from the Wordcamp in a bar, walked into a group, said, hi, what do you do in WordPress? Turned out to be all core committers, and they welcomed me as if I belonged there. So that was definitely a pivotal moment. So, yeah, I've talked about that moment before and that evening before because that made me fall in love with the WordPress community as a whole. But there's also a few talks that throughout the years that really stand out. The first one is actually at that very first, Wordcamp Europe in 2013 and was given by Jost Volk, my then boss, who I known a couple of weeks as in person, but, you know, just a person. And then he showed up on stage and talked about the victory of the Commons and how we should all aim to grow the pie that's WordPress instead of competing for what's already there. And that was really a talk where I felt the entire. I felt proud working for that man and I felt that the room was ready to hear that conversation. And, yeah, so that was definitely a talk that stood out. Then two years later at World Camp London, Petya Raikowska gave a talk that was named the fight for independent media and it told the story of her, of her country and how important WordPress's role was in getting independent media. And that to me showed even more the value of open source and how life changing it really, really can be. So that's definitely one that if you haven't seen it, go watch it on WordPress TV. I think the version that she did in Barcelona, at Wordcamp in Barcelona is on WordPress TV. But if you search for Petya and fight for independent media, you'll definitely find it. The last one is actually fairly recent. Andrew Nason and Helen Hussendi spoke at Wordcamp us this year about all the president's websites, how they launched Whitehouse dot gov with the change of president in insanely short amount of time, but showcasing the power of WordPress, doing so. So that's also one that stood out for me. [00:13:54] Speaker A: Very impressive work. I mean, can you imagine? In the morning we have one government, in the afternoon we have another. Not only are we switching over the entire website, but even every room in that house has to be emptied and then react. It's crazy. Yeah. And that all of the machination that needs to go together for that to happen is pretty impressive. [00:14:15] Speaker B: Yep. Yeah, so that's. And I think that they explained really well why WordPress was a. Why they were able to do this with WordPress. So, yeah, really good talk. [00:14:29] Speaker A: Absolutely. Well, let's talk a little bit more about what happens at yoast and what your job is at yoast. So I want to bring up a couple things that have happened in the last, well, the last year I think for sure the one that meant the most to me. And you know what I'm going to say. I know you know what I'm going to say is the inclusive language part that was added. But for anybody who lives under a rock and doesn't know what the yoast software is, could you give us a little bit of an overview first, and then we can dive into some of those things that are pretty cool. Yes, but you know what I mean. [00:14:57] Speaker B: Yeah. So WordPress democratizes publishing. It makes it possible for everyone to publish a webpage, and that is extremely useful if that page is then found. If it's not, if it doesn't attract visitors, it's just using energy on the web. So what yoast does is help you with technical optimizations to your WordPress sites that are necessary to have a shot at ranking in the search results, but also help you write better content, build a better site structure, and build your website in such a way that it makes sense for search engines, for Google to understand what your website's about and why it adds value to the web. So that's in a nutshell, what yoast SEO does. [00:15:57] Speaker A: So one of the questions that you'll hear later is what are two or three must have plugins you'd recommend to somebody building their own website? It won't shock you, but it also probably won't disappoint you to know that Yoast is the most mentioned plugin when we get to that. And it's not the only, you're not the only SEO plugin out there, but you make it really easy for people to understand how to use it. The red, green and yellow stoplight, I don't know who conceptualized that, but when I first started using yoast, I was like, this is brilliant because it really helps me understand, like how much am I going from the red to the green to understand I'm getting better, I'm doing the things. And you give us a list of things that need to be improved. And have you thought about this? And it doesn't mean you have to do every one of them. You can choose to do what you want on your site, but it gives you those that path to do better. And I love the inclusive part, but can I tell you, one of my favorite parts is that you give us a way to create what's going to show up in social media as well. Like what do you want on Facebook, what do you want to show up on Twitter X? And what image do you want to show up and how to do that. So there's so much involved in the free version of Yoast to even be able to help people. So tell us a little bit more about some of the things, the innovations you did. I'm blanking right now, but there was even something very recently that you all did and released out. So tell us a little bit about that stuff. [00:17:26] Speaker B: Yeah, so I'd like to touch on the inclusive language for a little bit. That was earlier this year. [00:17:33] Speaker A: That's my favorite. [00:17:34] Speaker B: Yeah, it's one of my favorites as well because it uses the same traffic light system but in a slightly different way. And it's a little bit different from the other checks that we do because the analysis in yoast SEO help you optimize for SEO or help you write better content because there's two variations of that. But inclusive language helps you not to alienate people who come to your website. It checks your website for potentially harmful language and that is something that you want to prevent because if you finally manage to rank high in Google and to get those people that see your search result to click and come to your website, the last thing you want to do is to scare them away by accidentally using phrasing. That is non inclusive, that alienating. Yeah. So definitely that is one of the features where I think we've shown that we can innovate, but the one that we launched more recently, and I don't think that will surprise anyone because there's been a lot of talk about AI, but is integrating AI into Yoast SEO. And right now we started sort of simple because it looks simple when you use it, but if you've seen the work that goes into this, I believe it. Oh my God. Bizarre. But right now what you can do, if you have Yoast SEO premium, you can, with a single click of a button, say generate a title for me. And it will not generate a single title, it will generate five suggestions. And if you say, okay, one of these I like you just click it, use it, then you can adapt it even further because it should be a helpful in writing a title. I'm not going to say that it's click set, forget it's a tool that will help you do things better, that will help you find a new creative angle based on the text that you've already written. And it can do the same for meta description, which is the short text that you see in the search results. Google decides to show what you actually suggested. But that's a whole other story. But one of the hardest things to do is to summarize a post or a page that you've written in just a few short sentences. And that's actually where AI text generation is really good at, is summarizing text. So it's a great help in helping you write that creative meta description that will appeal to people and will show up in search results because it's actually a good summary of what your post or page is about. [00:20:48] Speaker A: Right. [00:20:48] Speaker B: So, yeah, and that's just a start because there is so much more coming in the AI field that I can't talk about just yet. [00:20:57] Speaker A: We'll have to have you back next year to talk about more, for sure. [00:21:00] Speaker B: Definitely. Yes. Yeah. [00:21:02] Speaker A: But one of the things that I know people worry about with AI is that, you know, we've seen people say, I wrote an article, I've seen it on Reddit, right, where somebody will lament the fact that they actually wrote something, that they wrote it so well that when the teacher put it through an AI, you know, detector, whatever we're calling that now, it said that it's most likely been generated by AI. And the person's like, I honestly wrote it myself. Like, I can prove, I can show you I wrote it myself kind of thing. And we don't want Google and the search engines to reward AI. We really want it to reward what we actually write. I know. Let me finish. Let me finish. [00:21:40] Speaker B: Yeah, yeah. [00:21:41] Speaker A: If you're listening, he's giving me that look like, are you sure? That's where I see AI coming in as the assist, right? Like, AI summarizing what you've written, AI giving you some good title options based on what you've written, or even suggesting word changes and tone and things like that, I see is perfectly fine. But to just kind of default, to let it write everything for you, that's not what you're suggesting at this point in time anyway. [00:22:04] Speaker B: No, no, that's correct. I do think that some AI written content is as good as some people's writing skills. It's not the best writers that it will match. But the thing that so far I haven't seen from AI is bringing a new perspective, is bringing a unique view. So that will always have to come from, or at least for now, because might not age well, but for now it will need a creative idea from a human being and then say, okay, write me a paragraph on this idea and that might be valuable if it's done well. [00:22:55] Speaker A: Right. [00:22:55] Speaker B: But I agree, it's not. You go into chat GPT and say, write me a blog post on topic xYz and just publish that because there's no value in doing that at this point. [00:23:10] Speaker A: And what I'm saying is basically that yoast is not right now suggesting that you fire your content creators and replace them with AI. In any way. [00:23:19] Speaker B: Not at all. Not at all. Nope. Exactly. [00:23:23] Speaker A: So, yeah, I think it's just super interesting. I think if you. I mean, you could tell me later if this is something that's coming. You don't have to say that it is for sure right now. But if somehow I could get an image and put an image and just have it describe my image right out of yoast, that would be fantastic, too, because I don't know why, but image description isn't necessarily a quick thing either. As a fully sighted person, to know what's relevant to somebody who's looking at your website, to what level of description, those kinds of things. I've gotten better with it over time because I do it out of habit now. But, boy, at the beginning, it's like man with puppy. Okay, is that important? What's important about it? Is the puppy angry? What other things should I be adding to that? I'm going to guess that there's things coming down the pike still that will have to do with some of those other things, too. [00:24:17] Speaker B: And I'll just smile and wave at this point. But I'm not gonna say I'm not. [00:24:24] Speaker A: Looking for a scoop. It's okay. But the way the joke right now with AI, image generation is that it doesn't understand hands, right? So, like, it just messes up hands all the time. And I still think that at some level, the writing is not getting it all right. Just like image generation isn't getting it all right. And so that's why I say that we still need human beings running and looking and determining what parts of those things, feeding it to determine what comes out of it. All of that. It's not a replacement. [00:24:59] Speaker B: No, definitely. Let AI be your help. Let it be your assistant. Let it be your note taker. But by all means, do not let it do your job. [00:25:14] Speaker A: Exactly. Because you can be replaced very easily if you let it do your job. Yeah. Now, I want to add, I want to talk to you a little bit about the philanthropy that happens at yoast, because you are known. I mean, yes, you, taco, but you, yoast is really known as being a huge philanthropic part of the WordPress community with the. I'm never going to. I'm like, it's 05:00. You're late there, but you'll have these words better than I will. But you've got the yoast care fund, which rewards people for and recognize, I should say rewards recognizes people who are doing good work in the community. And then you also have the travel diversity fund. Diversity fund. Thank you. Can you talk a little bit about those, how they came about and what you do with them? [00:26:00] Speaker B: Yes. So the diversity fund was first. So let me talk about that first. This was actually an idea by Marieke van DER Racht, our former CEO and former owner of Yoast, because we were seeing a disconnect in the number of people from underrepresented groups in our community and the people from those communities on the stages at our events. And so we found the OR, she came up with it, and we implemented the diversity fund to help speakers from typically underrepresented groups in tech to overcome financial obstacles that would prevent them from speaking at our events. And so that can be travel. I mean, you refer to it as a travel fund. That hurts a little bit because I. [00:26:59] Speaker A: Couldn'T remember the term. [00:27:02] Speaker B: So I would very much love it not to be just a travel fund. And actually, as recent as ten minutes before starting our recording, I saw an application from someone who said, hey, my kids need special care. I want to go to speak at this event, but the care that I need to buy is too expensive for me and it would prevent me from going to this event. And so we're funding childcare. [00:27:33] Speaker A: I love it. [00:27:33] Speaker B: In order for her to be able to speak at that event. And that's wonderful. It's what I love most, because then it is sort of sustainable diversity. We're helping someone in their own community speak and show that they too are part of a community. They can be the role models for the next generation. I have two daughters. They're seven and three years old. And I would love for them to grow up in a world where they not only believe they can do whatever they want, become whatever they want, but to also have the role models that show that this is possible for them. And I think with the diversity fund, we're taking a step towards creating those role models for others in our community. [00:28:29] Speaker A: I think before I let you go on to the care fund, reaching into that diversity bit a little bit more, you're also, at least historically, have been very judicious in how you choose sponsorships as well. So, yes, you sponsor things that move your project forward. I mean, nobody's ever going to fault you for that. But you also don't just have a party, you have a pride party. You also don't just pick a podcast. You supported underrepresented tech in the past, people. So can you tell us that the reasoning and how you make, how you make those decisions, but the impetus behind it? [00:29:09] Speaker B: Yeah. So it's very easy to say things and to encourage others to make certain decisions. But I think that we're really able to show, well to put our money where our mouth is, to use the english non native speaker. And I think that through sponsorships in the right areas, we can make a difference. While you mentioned underrepresented in tech, that is one of the game changers for people in getting to speak, because they're now in a database where others can find them to be on a podcast, on an event stage, wherever the podcast is absolutely valuable to talk about the surfacing, how to surface the underrepresented communities in our broader community. And I think that by finding the right places to spend money, because we can only spend money once, unfortunately. But we can have the biggest impact by doing these little things. And a very nice example that I would like to tell is we had our holiday party last Friday, so very recently, and the gift that all of the yoast employees got was credit to an organization called Kiva. And I'm not sure if you've heard of it before, but it's a microcredit organization. So everyone got an account or a voucher to sponsor some people, to give them microcredit, to start their business, to grow their business. And the fun thing about Kiva is that it's a non interest loan, which means that you get. Well, almost because there's a currency conversion thing, but you get the money back that you invest, but not a dime more. So it's not about making money for yourself, but as soon as the lenders repay you, you can reinvest, and that way you can spend your dollar twice, three times, four times, endlessly. And this has been given to all of the employees at Yoast, which means that a lot of people can now support those projects. And it's. Yeah, I think it's. We could have given, you know, a wireless t shirt. [00:32:04] Speaker A: Yeah, exactly. [00:32:06] Speaker B: But this is something bigger impact. Yes, and that's what I said. If you spend your money wisely, then it can do more than just be a one time spent. [00:32:18] Speaker A: I love that you actually tweeted about kiva. I want to say it was either last year or much earlier this year, and I went and invested some money in other people through that. [00:32:28] Speaker B: Nice. [00:32:28] Speaker A: And then when I couldn't figure out, then I was just like, okay, you all to figure out where to set, where to invest it and just keep it kind of thing. [00:32:35] Speaker B: Nice. [00:32:35] Speaker A: That was pretty cool. So thank you for sharing those opportunities. Talk about the care fund a little bit, too. So, because we mentioned it, let people know what it is. [00:32:42] Speaker B: Yes. Yeah. So it's, it's slightly different because it is not tied to a single event, but it's more, well, I've called it a lifetime, lifetime achievement award at some point. [00:32:57] Speaker A: It is like that. [00:32:58] Speaker B: Yeah, but the name care comes from community appreciation rewards because what we do is we invite people to nominate someone else. So you've done this. I know you nominate someone else because they've made a difference in the WordPress community and that can be super local because they've done something for a local meetup. It can be because they were organizing one of the flagship events. But people that have made a difference in the WordPress community without that being their full time job. I mean, well, you could nominate me, but I wouldn't be accepted because I'm paid to work on WordPress full time or at least work in a company that. Yada yada, right? [00:33:49] Speaker A: Yeah. [00:33:49] Speaker B: So it's really, we're looking at people who are doing this outside of their regular work, who are self employed and spending billable hours on giving back to the community. They have an interview with the person that nominated them and we publish the interview and they get a little grant. So a little financial reward as well for all the work that they've done for WordPress. [00:34:16] Speaker A: And I was somebody that received this very early on and I printed that off like a certificate and I framed it and it hangs over my desk. That's so awesome. At my other office. So it's a reminder to me to keep doing the work that you all recognize, which is pretty cool. [00:34:33] Speaker B: Yeah. And I cannot talk about both the diversity fund and the care fund without mentioning sama, who's on our community team at Yoast because she is the heart and soul behind the two and she will advocate for people to get them accepted. And yeah, she definitely deserves that honorable mention. [00:34:56] Speaker A: She's also one of my favorite yosties. There are a lot though. Favorite is the level over there. It isn't a person. Well, let's move on to my rapid fire questions. As I always say, I will ask them rapidly. You take the time you need to answer them, but we'll do that. First one, which I actually mentioned earlier, which is what are two or three must have plugins that you would recommend to somebody building their own website. [00:35:19] Speaker B: Yeah, one, of course is easy. That's Yoast SEO Premium. And I'm specifically mentioning premium because the free would be the obvious choice. But there are so many added benefits to the premium version, not just the AI features that we recently launched. Because if you have the free version, it means that you don't have any tokens or third party integrations or whatsoever. Just the premium version gives you access to the whole AI title and meta description generation, but also in terms of writing better content. The premium version has a smarter analysis behind it. It has word form recognition, so singular plurals, et cetera, which means that you can write a more natural text. So that's why premium and not just the free version. The second plugin that I discovered was it now two years ago, I think, and that's been growing really fast and is developed by a single person who is absolutely lovely and you probably feel where I'm going, but is ws form? [00:36:35] Speaker A: Yes, I love that one. [00:36:38] Speaker B: If you ever need a form on your website, whether you're an absolute beginner in building forms or you need something super complicated with third party integrations, what have you, Mark Westgard's got you covered. So for sure. And then for a third one, I think most bigger projects will need something like ACF for all the customizations and everything. And then there's something security and there's some, there's more than three. Yes, but those three are probably at the base of everything that gets built on the web. [00:37:25] Speaker A: I agree with all of those. I used ACF for the first time this year. I had never learned it, and I will say I'm still learning it because I had people helping me with it, specifically Mark Westgard on my WP speaker site. But just to watch how quickly it can generate a custom post type was like mind blowing. So yeah, I'm behind you on all of those. [00:37:48] Speaker B: I've seen it, seen Jono Alderson, a former colleague, play with it on a website where it really creates a whole layer of connections between elements, et cetera. It's insane what you can do with ACF. [00:38:05] Speaker A: It is, and I've only touched, barely scratched the surface of it. But it's super powerful. Yeah, super powerful. At any point in your WordPress journey have you had a mentor, whether it was an official mentor or unofficial? And can you tell us who it was or is? [00:38:20] Speaker B: Yes. So, official. [00:38:23] Speaker A: No, that's not uncommon. [00:38:27] Speaker B: Yeah, no, it's. I think there's now a few mentorship programs in the WordPress space that didn't exist when I just started and I'm not sure I would have qualified, but. Yeah, so no formal, but in the early days I had Joseph Volk mentioned him before, was my employer, but also my guide into the WordPress ecosystem and the WordPress community. But there's someone, and I've mentioned her name before as well. I started joining the polyglots team after Remcus sort of showed me that it existed, that there was this translations thing, remges de frise, Dutch Wordpresser. And then Petya took me under her wing and sort of learned. Yeah, taught me how to do translations. Well. And all the intricacies. Jesus, what a word. That exist in language and in different languages and show the world beyond my knowledge of just a few languages. So I would definitely consider her a mentor in my early days in translations. [00:39:47] Speaker A: I love that. Well, the next question, you can't mention them, so you have to think of somebody new. Okay. I know I gave you the heads up on this. Who is somebody that you admire in the WordPress community and why? [00:40:01] Speaker B: Yeah. So this might be the harder question because there's a lot of people. [00:40:06] Speaker A: How can I narrow it down to one? [00:40:08] Speaker B: Yes. Yeah. So I really can't. But I know that that's not a fair answer to your question. So being forced to give a single name, I would say Josepha. And that is mostly because a while ago, a few months ago, she took time out of her day to answer a question that I asked her. And that is, what do you do in WordPress? What's your role? And we spend about two, two and a half hours chatting about what she did and how she influences the WordPress project as a whole and what her day to day looks like. And the best way to describe it is playing 3d chess on God knows how many boards simultaneously while juggling relationships. And it's absolutely mind blowing what she is doing to further the project. And I still have no idea how she does it, but I fully admire her skills in managing all of this and taking care of our WordPress project the way she does. [00:41:38] Speaker A: I think she is the actual busiest woman in WordPress, if I'm being honest. [00:41:44] Speaker B: From what I've seen. Yes, yes, absolutely. [00:41:48] Speaker A: What's something that you want to learn in WordPress but that you haven't tackled yet? [00:41:53] Speaker B: Build a good website. [00:41:57] Speaker A: Yeah, that really caught me off guard. [00:42:01] Speaker B: So being at yoast for this long and commenting on a lot of websites, I mean, I've done live website reviews for others and I've been working on websites pretty much every day since that day. But building a website from scratch on my own is something that I struggle with. [00:42:29] Speaker A: That's fair. You do so much, you shouldn't be expected to be able to do everything, so. But that did tickle me a little. I'm not going to lie. What is one of the biggest mistakes that you've made in WordPress and what did you learn from it? [00:42:43] Speaker B: Well, that's very much related because the biggest mistake that I made was tell my wife that I built her website. Okay. Yeah. So that was earlier this year and I think I've rebuilt it three times before showing her a first draft. Okay. Using several page builders, using plain Gutenberg, using a lot of the systems that I'm very familiar with in name, but never really spent the time on learning well. So, yeah, that was definitely, let me do this for you in an afternoon kind of thing. That didn't work out, but it taught me so much about, I bet both how hard it is to build a good website, but also how many systems and how many different ways we have in WordPress that you can build a website. [00:43:46] Speaker A: Yeah, it's not as cut and dry as people think it is. There are so many decisions to make every step of the way. [00:43:53] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:43:53] Speaker A: Well, let's look at the other side of that, though. What is your proudest WordPress moment? [00:44:00] Speaker B: Yeah. So there's two different answers to that question and I'll give them both. So looking at my personal highlights in the WordPress community is, I think when the Dutch GTE group, so the global translation editors, the people that translate WordPress to Dutch, said, you are good enough at this to join our little group. And that gave me a shared responsibility with the rest of them for the dutch translation of WordPress and all its plugins and themes. And despite the fact that I'm not as active as I'd want to, it is something that still makes me proud that, well, I showed that I was good enough to do this, or at least that they thought so the other answer to this question is much more related to the company. And that is every time that someone shares what yoast SEO has meant for them and whether that's the plugin, whether that's the Yoast SEO Academy, whether it's the diversity or the care fund, but something that we put our heart and soul into, that they perceived as life changing for their life, their business, their personal development. And that is a moment that I can relive over and over and that it's one of the best things, because usually those conversations happen at Wordcamps. And coming home to the company from a Wordcamp, that feeling is what I always try to relate to the rest of the team is this is what we're doing it for. We've made a difference to someone. [00:46:08] Speaker A: I love that that's a really good answer. Okay. Moving a little bit away from the WordPress thing. If you weren't working in web, what's another career that you might like to attempt? [00:46:22] Speaker B: So before starting my studies, computer science, I also signed up for a study, and now I have to find proper english translation is sort of car mechanic. [00:46:38] Speaker A: Okay. Yep. [00:46:40] Speaker B: So that's completely different. And that's mostly because I have a love for motorcycles. [00:46:47] Speaker A: Okay. [00:46:48] Speaker B: And that area, developing motorcycles, you know, optimizing that, that really attracted me. It didn't happen for reasons. I don't think I would pursue that direction anymore, though. But if I had the choice, if I had to do something outside of tech, I would definitely find a company or an institute or an organization that would allow me to help make the world a better place in whatever way, shape, or form. But something to contribute to society, to the world, to the environment. Yeah. Something for good. [00:47:36] Speaker A: That tracks. That absolutely tracks. What's something on your bucket list? [00:47:43] Speaker B: I would love to travel much more either on a motorcycle or one of those huge ass camper vans off the grid, four x four big ass units through. Well, Africa is very much on my bucket list, but other parts of the world as well. I think that in the Americas, there's brilliant places to travel to. So I hope that one day I'll be able to do that and show that. Probably get my wife to join me. [00:48:25] Speaker A: I was gonna say bring your daughters and show them the world, huh? [00:48:28] Speaker B: I would love to. Yes. [00:48:31] Speaker A: What? Show us or tell us about a secret. I'm sorry, let me start again. Show us or tell us about one of your hidden talents that the rest of the WordPress community might not know about. [00:48:43] Speaker B: Yeah. So my talents are so well hidden that I don't know about them because I absolutely do not have any talent for trials writing. But I love doing that a lot. So that is probably the thing that should be on this list here. That works, riding my trials, but talent, I wish. [00:49:12] Speaker A: Maybe some practice makes perfect. That's all. You just got to do it more. That's all. [00:49:16] Speaker B: That's true. Yes, absolutely. [00:49:20] Speaker A: Tell us how we find you online. How could people find you on socials, website, things like that, if they want to follow up with you? [00:49:27] Speaker B: Yeah. So on most of the platforms, you can find me as either Acoverto or something with taco Virto. I've shortened my last name so that people don't die trying to pronounce it. So, yeah, taco Werdo, pretty much everywhere, but most active on Twitter and yoast.com. [00:49:48] Speaker A: If they're interested in following up with Yoast for sure? [00:49:50] Speaker B: Absolutely, yes. [00:49:52] Speaker A: Fantastic. Is there anything else that you want to talk about that I failed to ask you about today? [00:50:01] Speaker B: No. I think that we touched, touched on a lot. I'm happy that we got to talk a little bit about the AI features because. [00:50:09] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:50:10] Speaker B: I mean, you can see my face. The people listening probably can't, but maybe they can hear it in my voice that I'm so enthusiastic about what's coming in that area. So stay tuned. Make sure that you're at Wordcamp Asia because that might be the right timing to learn something new. [00:50:30] Speaker A: Nice. [00:50:30] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:50:31] Speaker A: So if you are just listening, you can always head over to our YouTube channel and you can see the look on his face as we talked through this for sure. If you want to follow up with Taco, you can go to wpcoffee talk.com, comma, find Taco's episode. All of those links will be in the show notes along with a transcript of today's episode. Taco, thank you so much for spending some time. I know it's very late at night. There's, I appreciate that you take the time to spend with me and thereby also talk to all the people who listen to us. So thank you so much for being here. [00:51:01] Speaker B: Thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure. [00:51:04] Speaker A: My pleasure, too. And we'll see everybody else on the next episode of WP Coffee Talk. We hope you enjoyed this episode of WP Coffee Talk. Please share it with others who you know would enjoy hearing from the people who make the WordPress community the wonderful place to that it is. If you are interested in joining us as a guest or a sponsor, please visit our [email protected].

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