Documenting the WP Culture: Introducing Jason Tucker
Jason seems to be everywhere in the WP community sometimes.
He’s online, podcasting and putting out videos.
He’s at WordCamps, interviewing attendees, speaking, and helping.
He’s on social media, tweeting about web development (and Yorkshire Terriers) to thousands of followers.
If you’ve ever thought “Hey, I’d really like to build my own website,” you should be following Jason Tucker.
Jason Tucker’s WPwatercooler
WPwatercooler is basically the coolest thing ever for people with WordPress websites.
Maybe you’re a web developer, and you’d like to interact with the community to hone your skills and maybe learn how to market your services.
Or you might be a business owner DIY-ing your website and looking for ways to make it better.
Either way, you shouldn’t miss WPwatercooler.
Check out some of their recent topics, like:
Webisodes (are we still using that word?) usually feature a guest, plus a regular cast of some of the top experts in the WordPress community.
They also regularly include a fair amount of witty banter and nerdy humor.
I totally approve of that.
If you’re already doing something cool with WordPress, you can connect with Jason Tucker and the other hosts through their website.
But what about the killer WP community?
WPwatercooler, WPblab, and Hallway Track are perfect conduits to get introduced to the larger WordPress family.
Can’t attend a WordCamp?
Check out a recap on WPwatercooler, or watch a Hallway Track interview.
Don’t have a WordPress meetup in your area?
Subscribe to WPblab and get a weekly dose of WP every Thursday night.
And if you’re not sure how to get connected with the WP community near you, don’t worry.
I asked Jason how to get started in this interview:
An Interview with the Spectacular Jason Tucker
You’re a pillar in the WordPress community. How did you find WordPress and decide to contribute so much?
I try my best to be a good example to others in this community. I found WordPress during a search for something better back in the 1.0 days of WordPress. I ran a website running Moveable Type and Gallery (or was it Gallery2, I’m not sure) and needed to find a way to get this old site moved over to WordPress. I loved the fact that I didn’t have to code my own CMS and didn’t have to use Moveable Type, so that was awesome.
Fast forward many years: I was looking for local communities to get involved in, and WordPress came up on Meetup.com. I went to Steve Zehngut’s meetup – OC WordPress. Steve was very welcoming and the community which he already had going on was amazing. I showed up for the WordPress knowledge, and continued attending for the community.
I wanted to find a way to give to this local community, and noticed that we had amazing speakers…but no one was documenting any of it. I’ve always had a knack for video and audio (I was a early adopter of creating podcasts) and thought I could give to the community by recording our meetups, posting them on YouTube, and embedding them on our website. I actually spoke about this at WordCamp Phoenix.
I later found myself wanting to start a new podcast, so 3.5 years ago I started WPwatercooler. I asked my friends Steve Zehngut, Chris Lema, Se Reed, Suzette Franck and David Jesch to join me, co-hosting and being regulars on the show. 3 years later, we have 1.4 million views on YouTube, and now we have a few other shows on WPwatercooler’s network.
Having interviewed so many people on your web shows and podcasts, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned in the past year? Does anything stand out in your mind?
One thing I have learned from having over 150+ different people on the show, and after doing 200+ episodes of WPwatercooler & WPblab, is this:
Developers and designers have a hard time marketing themselves.
They know what they are good at, but most of them are solo-preneurs, so they have to wear many hats in addition to marketing. It’s a struggle. They have to be the pre-sales, post-sales, and collections person, so it’s tough to wear the marketing hat, too. One of the reasons why WPwatercooler is so popular is that we allow anyone to be on the show to show off what they know, without it being pitchy or full of crazy sales tactics.
How do you balance a full time job, a family, two WP shows, Hallway Track interviews, and a few websites?
Kitty, it’s tough. My family understands my passion for sharing and doing live events, fortunately, and I’m the full-time IT Manager for a large church.
What I’ve learned is that everything has it’s place. There is a level of expectation involved in each responsibility, and as long as none of the streams cross (the tasks not the livestreams) I should be fine.
I’m like most people. You come up with a good idea, you spend under $20 on a domain name, and you spin up a website and work on it for a bit. I have a bunch of those, and only a few have risen to the top. WPwatercooler and its related shows are the ones at the top right now, and they have been for a few years. I still have a few side projects I’ve built over the years, but nothing that keeps me up at night.
WPblab is the show I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I wanted a longer format, Q&A type show to keep my skills sharp, and to help others who want to learn more about WordPress. Bridget Willard was new to the WordPress community, and she’s something I wasn’t – a social media expert and a skilled marketer. I knew the combo of Bridget and I was going to be great: she’s the n0ob to my WP experience, and she’s the marketer to my developer. We’re 45 episodes in on this show, and so far we’ve helped tons of people.
As for Hallway Track, I found that going to WordCamps can be a social and educational experience…but sitting in a room and learning isn’t all that a WordCamp is about. Having those social connections with people creates meaningful relationships now and down the road.
Sé Reed and I were asked a few years back to do interviews in the halls of WordCamp San Francisco. Sé acted as interviewer, and I was the cameraman. We walked around the camp asking people questions and doing on the stop interviews. Sé loved this so much she wanted to do more of it…secretly, I did to. We started Hallway Track as a way for us to interview people we know, people we want to know, and new folks in the community. It gives them a place to talk and allow others to learn more about them. Our first Hallway Track camp was WordCamp Orange County 2016, where we carved out more than 1/2 of the day talking with folks and learning more about them. You can watch those on our site! We recently did this again at WordCamp Los Angeles, and we’re expecting to do many more in the future.
For anyone who’s brand new to WordPress, how would you recommend that they find and connect with the WP community in their area?
We get this question a lot on WPblab: “Where do I start, and where is the community in my area?”
Unfortunately, it really depends on where you live, and what’s going on around you. We recently talked about this in depth and found that most people don’t know about Meetup.com, haven’t been to a local WordCamp, and haven’t really ventured outside of their own town or city to find like minded people.
What’s good is that you can look usually on Meetup and find a group near you. If there isnt one, you can start one! If you can’t afford to pay for Meetup’s organizer fees, you can even have the WordPress foundation help you.
What’s next on the horizon for you? Are you working on anything exciting that you can tell the entire internet about?
I’ve started recording our local meetups again and have been posted them on my WPMediaPro YouTube account.
I took a year-long break on this, waiting for technology to catch up to my level of expectation. I was tired of spending too much time getting things set up, then tearing down (I talk about that at my talk at WordCamp Phoenix).
I started a Give campaign on WPmedia.Pro and asked the OC community to pitch in and buy a Mevo live streaming camera, with the hopes of recording the meetups in Orange County and posting them online for people to enjoy. That’s been working very well so far, and people seem to be excited about it! We’ve been using this camera for our Hallway Track recordings, too, and we have really been loving it.
If you’d like to get in touch with Jason Tucker, you can click on most of the myriad links throughout this post…
Or you can just go to the WPwatercooler website.
Jason, thanks so much for participating in this interview, and for all you give to the community as a whole. It’s incredible that you donate so much of your time, money, and energy towards enriching the WordPress world, and you deserve a lot more recognition than you get.