E13: John Housholder: WP Engine Partner Manager & Website Hosting Guru

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John Housholder joins me on episode 13 of Site Unseen to talk about his years of experience working with WP Engine and developing his product, the Smart Plugin Manager.

As a partner manager of WP Engine, a digital experience platform specific to WordPress, John navigates the complicated relationship between developers and clients. This platform manages the backend properties of websites to leave marketers, managers, and other nontechnical people to be able to focus on their content and business strategy, rather than servers or SSL certificates.

Working with marketers and agencies alike, he recognizes their needs and looks for ways for everyone to do business better. How can we avoid wasting time looking for the perfect theme, choosing the right plugins, and managing all the updates? Listen to why WP Engine acquired the Genesis framework and StudioPress theme, and how John Housholder made everyone’s lives easier with the Smart Plugin Manager.

Episode Transcript

David Hitt: 00:15 Hello and welcome to another episode of Sight Unseen. Sight Unseen is the digital marketing podcast, which covers issues related to the digital marketing agency of today. On our podcast, we sort of look at trending topics, which lie at the intersection of three different disciplines, a design, development and marketing. My name is Dave Hitt. I host the show and I am also the principal and founder of Splat, inc., which is a digital marketing agency in Philadelphia. Today, guests, we’re very happy to have John Housholder from WP Engine on the show today. John is an agency partner outreach manager for WP Engine. Or at least that’s what I’m going to call you, John. Is that close enough? That’ll work. As many of you know, WP Engine is a digital experience platform for WordPress. In the old days, we might have called them a premium WordPress hosting environment, and we’ll talk about the distinctions between those shortly. But for now, let’s say hello to John and welcome into the show. Hey, John!

John Housholder: 01:44 Hey Dave! How’s it going?

David Hitt: 01:46 It’s going well. It’s going well. Where are you?

John Housholder: 01:51 I am in Nashville, Tennessee. I am one of the few remote or maybe the only remote partner managers at WP Engine. And it’s a beautiful muggy day here in the South.

David Hitt: 02:09 Okay. Is that what you guys call early fall weather? It goes down from 80 to 70, maybe.

John Housholder: 02:20 Exactly, exactly.

David Hitt: 02:23 So, what do you do at WP Engine? Exactly?

John Housholder: 02:27 Sure. So, A part of our companies is dedicated to agencies, so helping agencies go online and went online. I’m probably one of probably 25 reps or so. And my job, is I’ve got around nine States in the mid Atlantic region, which is how I met you, I cover Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. And my job is, is to meet with our current customers, making sure they’re being successful, find out any pains they’re having with our platform or, um, anything that kind of going on with them and their agency or potential partners that they might have and help them win. And then also, find new customers, for our platform. Usually those customers are our marketing or development or advertising agencies who are, you know, self hosting at the time or are using possibly another hosting or experienced provider, and talk to them a little bit about the benefits of WP Engine and how we can better partner with them.

David Hitt: 03:38 Do you still find in your sort of conversations that you have with agencies or development shops that there’s a lot of people are still, sort of, self-hosting or you know, building out environments on a VPNs and stuff like that rather than using like a premium environment that’s, sort of specially built from the ground up for WordPress?

John Housholder: 04:01 Sure. So, I still see that a good amount. I mean, typically you see that in a shop, right? That’s been around for a long time and that’s, you know, going with the mantra of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ right? I think maybe it’s just a Southern state saying.

David Hitt: 04:18 Sure, no, we say it up here too.

John Housholder: 04:22 It ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You know? So, I do see that a good amount, you know, and usually those conversations start up with us when there’s more like a fire, right? It’s really hard to keep on top of all the security concerns that go with WordPress or frankly any other, you know, platform. Right. And then, keeping up with the server updates. Like that’s a full time job. And usually, you know, now those types of jobs are, are, I mean they’re still around but they’re not as highly valuable as they used to be. Right? So usually they’re usually agencies or even in users are looking to bring more development shops so they can build faster, right. Um, and maintain easier rather than having to do all that and keep that talent in house.

David Hitt: 05:14 Right. So, I just want to do a plug for you guys. Uh, our origins with WP Engine we’re, I think we joined you guys in about 2012. We were self hosting, and had built several environments and we’re maintaining them. And we weren’t, we would try to sell our clients on maintenance contracts, but a lot of them just didn’t see the value. There were smaller business clients and we started experiencing a number of security related issues where we’d get, you know, the 11th hour, “my website down” call and we would have to go in and clean up sites from, you know, sorted arrays of different types of security breaches that they had been subject to. And we decided to go with you folks. You know, it worked for us specific, um, I think you called them premium hosting environments at the time.

We’re gonna talk about the sort of change in language and, and paradigm that’s taken place over the last few years when you guys but um, I have to say, here’s my plug: we have not had a single client experienced a serious security issues since we have been on WP Engine, which really is pretty extraordinary. I mean, I simultaneously began mandating maintenance for our clients when we switched to you guys. And the irony is in a way that kind of sees needing the maintenance that we were doing because the, I mean, we’ll talk about, you know your Plugin Manager, that you folks have the, that will take care of updates for people. But even without all of the additional functionality that you built into the platform, it’s a remarkably secure environment for WordPress sites. So you can comment on that. By way of full disclosure, I’m just a client. I’m not getting paid by these guys. I just really enjoyed being the guy that decides to continue to use WP Engine, and see the pain and turmoil that it saves my developers.

John Housholder: 07:36 Awesome. I mean, I love hearing stories like that. I think I might’ve even shared with you that, that’s kind of my story too, right? Like I have been with WP and Jim for a year and a half and I ran a WordPress Dev company before and I got started with WP Engine in 2012. And I got a large, high profile client and they came to me and they said, you know, we don’t care what platform this is on, we don’t care. I mean, we care kind of what it looks like, but it needs to process orders. It needs to be fast. And this site can’t go down. What do we use? And I was not a server admin. My developers weren’t server admins. We were using a Rackspace server at the time. Um, and I was just like, this is not the solution. I’ve Googled, I’ve heard of the term managed because I had worked at a Dell computers and not Google “managed WordPress.” And that’s how I found WP Engine. I mean, I was a 1500 customers, so I’ve been around for a long time and a lot of those stories about how people got started, right. And the now basically, you know, we do so much you don’t have to worry about it, which is awesome.

David Hitt: 08:51 That’s right. So, we’re kind of getting ahead of us, explain to our audience, what WP Engine is, and how you describe it, and, what it offers sort of to to agencies or developers?

John Housholder: 09:10 Sure. So, I mean, I love, you know, to, to talk to about talk about WP Engine as a platform. Um, some of our customers still see us as a host and I kind of wanted to, to kind of draw some lines in the sand just to help, you know, the way I kinda think about it now, right? Uh, for me, you know, I think about in the Rackspace experience it was like, you know, how much RAM do you need? How much storage do you need? You know, what kind of database do you need? Right? You are kind of like putting pieces together and if something, you know, went down or something didn’t work or whatever, I was like, ‘well, the servers up and running, it’s plugged in, the green lights on, good luck.’ Right? But a platform to me is like, this is where, you know, in WP Engine’s case, WordPress lives, right?

So, you know, WordPress is installed, you know, we talked a little bit about WordPress is secured on our platform, you know. And then we have lots of rules that we’ve configured our servers for, for WordPress to help optimize the speed and the loading, right? And then you can plug in other things really, really easily. Um, such as, you know, maybe a new road tool if you want to have your site perform better or want to find some ways it can perform better or you want to monitor it better. Or maybe you’re having some problems with D dos attacks. We have, you know, a CloudFlare integration, right? That we can, we can put it on, put it on your server, right. To, to ensure that you’re not getting hit from who knows where. Right? And those are easy conversations. It’s not like, ‘Hey, we need to call it CloudFlare,’ go through their sales process, install it on our server, configure everything. It’s just like, ‘Hey, let’s just call John at WP Engine,’ right in, in the and WP Engine platform. We’ll take care of that for us.

David Hitt: 11:06 Right? So you’ve sort of evolved to using a specific term to describe WP Engine. And, and I pulled that term from, you know, conversations with you and, and literature, which is you, you’re calling it a digital experience platform. Um, and in your literature you describe a digital experience platform is a “an integrated set of technologies based on a common platform that provides audiences with consistent, secure and personalized digital experiences by streamlining the various touch points that occur across the customer journey.” I think it will alert alluded to what that translates to, in part already, but it sounds like you’re trying to sort of curate the experience of using WordPress from two different angles. From both the experience of your developers and your agency partners, but you’re also trying to bear in mind the customer experience journeys that they are themselves crafting and integrate those that end users are likely to want from their developers. Is that correct?

John Housholder: 12:15 I mean, I think so, right? Like, so imagine, and so for you and I, our skillsets are a little bit, probably more advanced than a lot of other folks, right? Like a marketer doesn’t say like, okay, well I want to build this site and I want it to do X, Y, and Z and you know, whatever. Their job is to help make connections, right? Making connections through maybe a form connection, right? Or making connections through a campaign they’re running, they don’t care about platform. They care about results and activations, right? So I think that’s where, you know, kind of the differentiator goes there, right? Like, how can we make, how can we use WordPress as an engine, right? To power these experiences that the non technical people can create. But also on the flip side of that, how can we empower developers to do all the things that they need to do to, to make those experiences even better, right? We don’t want it to be like, all right, so there’s only one way to create a landing page. And if you want to look at the code to make it any better. Yeah. You can’t do that cause we got you right. Like that’s not that, that in create the best developer experience. So you know, to do that, right. We, we’ve done a lot of, you know, improvements, you know, one of which is, you know, our Dev kit, right. How can, how can developers stay more organized and you know, when they’re working on a team and then keep their codebases organized within WP Engine. And so that’s where we launched our Dev kit. Right. And you know, it’s still, it happened this year. It’s, you know, we’re still building on it. We have a team actively building on it, you know, monthly or daily, right. And listening to our community feedback to figure out, you know, how are they using it, how can they streamline things more. What integrations can we build into dev kit that’ll help our developer community save time.

David Hitt: 14:32 Right. No, it’s interesting, a couple of insights that I had from reading your literature, which kind of spoke to me. The first is sort of what you just alluded to, which is you talk about an aim of the platform as sort of freeing developer from this sort of tedium of a backend tasks and allowing them to focus on end to end user goals. I mean, that’s not an exact quote, but the idea is, you know, you’re facilitating an easier development workflow so that you can so that the developers can keep things more sort of client focused and focused on immediate needs rather than getting bogged down by technical hassles to sort of completely simplifying overgeneralize but, but is it fair to say that sort of an aim?

John Housholder: 15:20 I mean, you know, for, for me, you know, I just would put it in like a story, right? Like if I own an agency, what do I want my developers all working on? And if, and if I’m an end client, what do I want the guys on pain or the, you know, the folks on pain working on, right? I want to work on things that are going to get more people onto my site and help them have better experiences. I do not want them work worried on, you know, working on setting up SSL certificates and making sure those are new. Right? Like doing security scans every day. Updating plugins. Like those are more maintenance tasks. I want them building new things that helps my current customers or future customers have better experiences with my brand online. Right. That’s where I want to spend my money.

David Hitt: 16:08 Exactly. I wanted to ask you in your capacity and in terms of what you do at WP Engine, there’s, there’s sort of a, there’s sort of a subtext to the conversation that we’re having about, um, juxtaposing, you know, an end-user’s goals, which tend to be very technical with the sort of technical knowledge necessary to even make informed decision about what kind of digital experience platform to choose what sort of hosting environment to choose. And it, it brings up sort of a a longstanding thorn in my side which is that there are agency people out there, um, that are making decisions regarding what sort of product to host. Um, there, there are studios sites on are their agency sites on who in fact lack the tactical knowledge necessary to really make an informed decision. And it’s really, um, it’s, it’s annoying because I find that people, people don’t want, they want an easy is what I’m getting to.

David Hitt: 17:11 You know, when I talk to marketing managers, I frequently find that, um, they want me to tell, they want me to reassure them about the sort of wisdom of the, of the choices and, the choices and, suggestions we’re making for them. Um, but they don’t want to do any of the heavy lifting necessary to understand why those choices are sound. And I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but I think I’m going with blessing. Think I’m going is how do you talk to a nontechnical decision maker and explain the value of WP Engine. And I’m sure you have to do this probably because you must not just to developers, you must talk to some people that you know, couldn’t write a line of, couldn’t write a title tag for God’s sake. You know what I mean? How do you, how do you do that? How do you explain value to nontechnical users?

John Housholder: 18:01 So you might, you probably be a little surprised when I say this, like [inaudible] hardly ever talked to developers. Um, and probably only 10% of the people I’ve talked to are CTOs. I am typically talking to a business owner or a marketing manager or the person in charge you know, some kind of digital media, you know, type role, right, right. Those are the people that I talked to most of the time. The developers have given them like these are things I have to have. Right. And maybe a nice to have list and basically like we check the boxes pretty easily, right? It’s like, yeah, of course you can do all those things right? And then it’s more like a marketer. The best way to talk to non technical people about technology is just reassurance. Right? Um, so and so else uses this. Oh, great. If they use it, then it must, it must be good. Right. Um, my, my

David Hitt: 19:08 A little, it’s a little disappointing though that like it all comes down to that isn’t it? I mean like it, it speaks to the problems like, um, new entrance into a marketplace have and how hard it is to truly differentiate sometimes based on a bigger tool set a, a more sophisticated tools is that, here’s the deal though.

John Housholder: 19:28 Like at the end of the day, you know, it’s, it’s 110,000 customers rely on WP engine to power their digital experiences or there were price precise every day. Correct. We build on top of Google and Amazon, you know, which are the top, you know, cloud providers in the world. No one else does that. We have five security engineers who are looking at where bests and looking at, you know, our platforms to ensure that there are no security vulnerabilities and if there is one who are patching it usually before it even makes it into the Twitter verse. Right, right. You know, and, and we have our customers like you who are like, I mean, I don’t know everything that they do. I just know I don’t have to worry about it exactly. When you have a brand story like that selling becomes, or partnering or whatever you want to say, the technical conversations just get a lot easier.

John Housholder: 20:37 And we’re literally the only one who can say all of those things. We, you know, we just like everyone else has competitors, right? But no one has the infrastructure and the, um, you know, the tech stack that we do, right, right. The, that allows us to, to be bullish right into, into, grow into, build, into, you know, hopefully delight our customers on a daily basis. I’m not saying that our competitors aren’t, aren’t good at what they do, but they don’t have the, the, the size and the scale and the people to accomplish what we can and make some of the bulk claims that we do. So,

David Hitt: 21:19 Yes. Uh, understood. And, um, I mean I can only sort of nod my head in agreement to everything that you just said because it’s way outside my area of expertise, but I can nod more like thoroughly and with more um, exuberance when you talk about it just works when you just get sort of, it relieves headaches because it just works, which will serve as a segue into something that, like I asked, I wanted to talk about that didn’t make it on onto any of these, um, questions that you and I sort of passed around before we started talking. But your customer service experience is exemplary. Um, I we’ve, I often feel like from the standpoint of use of tech, even the element community some customer service experiences that you’ve had, there’s sort of an institutional aversion to helping the customer if the questions seem sort of beneath what a technical user ask.

David Hitt: 22:24 And I have never experienced that. I have never experienced anything other than like profound enthusiasm from your customer service staff. Uh, and, um, first I have to admit the online only aspect of it was, um, a hurdle I had to overcome. But, you know, w I feel like that’s, that’s a generational thing and I long overcame it and I overcame it because I began to develop trust in the platform. I don’t end up waiting typically a long, long time to get an answer. Um, I don’t, you know, lose the connection. Um, and I talked to somebody who is extremely interested in, um, in ensuring that my questions are answered. And I would say that you, you do a great job of just having, um, you know, I think you used to call it the garage, this huge archive of white papers and your customer service people will frequently drop a URL to us. Here, you can learn more. Everything you need to know is included in this article. And it, it really is, um, you know, 99% of the time, a profoundly satisfying customer experience, um, for us. So, you know, I guess more just pure praise. I, I wish I could like expand upon that. That’s, you know, that’s

John Housholder: 23:46 The same experience I have. You know, I tell people it’s not, the sales is not the partner mail man. It’s not whatever, it’s our sale. It’s our support that’s going to make your experience the best. Right. And there, there’s a, there’s a couple like really key differentiators in that, but I just want to jump into real quick. Um, so first of all, you know, we do have different levels of support, which basically, you know, depends on how long the rep and what, you know, tests they’ve taken and all the certifications or whatever it took to get to different levels. But no one you ever talked to has been, you know, with the company for less than three months. Right. They, they’d been mentoring, they’ve been sitting with other folks. They’d been like taking you know, chats, you know, under supervision and all that kind of stuff.

So it’s not like you never get someone, this is their first day on the job. Right. Which is awesome. Then the second thing, I think that’s like really, really big and a lot of, you know, I work remote right? I mean, I’m one of the very few people in the company and I’m a remote person. I’m like, I don’t understand why everyone has to be in an office. But you know, in support I think it’s different because there’s anything that you do, there can be so many different ways to, to fix it or whatever that might be to accomplish that goal. And because our support is in Austin and in San Antonio, in Limerick, Ireland, there’s always people there beside them. Some of our competitors are like, well we have a remote sales, you know, remote support folks who are all around the world. Well that exchange of knowledge never occurs.

David Hitt: 25:22 Right, that makes sense.

John Housholder: 25:23 Right. And that’s, I think is, it’s a really, really, really important like market differentiator for us is that like, you know, they’re building community, they’re learning together and that’s how we’re able to, you know, serve our customers better is because it’s, you know, from many, one, right? Like lots of, you’re getting lots of brains when you’re, when you’re typing in, not just one person sitting in there, you know, on their remote island in Hawaii. Right, right. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m just saying like they don’t have three other people, a senior or a junior or whatever, like on their same road. Like they can be like, ‘Hey, I’m stuck. How can I help out?’

David Hitt: 26:01 You know, as a customer, you understand that that’s happening too. I mean, I can, I can speak from personal experience where we’ve, where we’ve asked some questions and the person on the other end of the line will be just like, ‘um, you know what let me check into that for you.’ And you can tell that they’re, you know, they’re, they’re basically crowdsourcing, which is great. They’re, they’re talking to colleagues, they’re looking stuff up. They’re really, I mean they really, like I said, they just have this enthusiasm to, get to the bottom of issues. And, um, you know, I feel like I feel like you’re willing to answer questions that other customer service platform, other customer service departments sort of almost kind of make you feel ashamed asking the first place.

John Housholder: 26:45 Cause here’s the deal with WP Engine, we’re not only in charge of the server itself, but we also are working with you on the WordPress instance, right? And that’s the difference. Lots of our competitors, you know, they’re doing one or the other, maybe kind of possibly, well, we’re doing both. Right? Right. And so I think, you know, that’s where that extra knowledge base and you know, and we have really strong leadership on the customer service side. Right? And that’s, that’s their big thing, right? We’re a customer inspired. We listened to our customers. We want to help them, you know, succeed online.

David Hitt: 27:25 So John, I wanted to talk about some, a couple of items that we we plan on discussing but really hadn’t had much time yet to talk about. Tell me about the Smart Plugin Manager that WP Engine has recently integrated into the platform.

John Housholder: 27:40 Sure. So, you know, this is a product that’s this really, really close to my heart. Like I said, I’ve been with the company for about a year and a half. When I first went to, to interview in Austin, one of the sales managers was, was out that day or in another meeting or something. And they I ended up interviewing with like the business development technology partnerships VP. And she said, ‘John, you know, what could we add to our platform to make your life as an agency owner easier?’ And I said, I thought for a second. I was like, ‘you know what, if you had some kind of visual regression testing in Smart Plugin some kind of plugin management,’ I was like, ‘that would make my life infinitely better.’ Because what had happened with my agency, my most high valued client, we went and updated their WordPress sites every month. They’d been with us for about a year and a half. They did, I don’t know, it was something like $3 million a year or whatever online. And one day my developer went in, updated the plugins, about an hour and a half later I get a phone call from that client CEO who I never talked to and he said, ‘John, my BUY NOW button’s gone.’ Right? And that’s, that’s a phone call you never want to get.

David Hitt: 28:54 Um, that’s not good.

John Housholder: 28:55 That’s not good at all. Right? So, you know, long story short, we figured out, you know, before the Smart Plugin Manager, we built our own type thing. It took us a long time, but you know, we got that, we got that customer taken care of. And so, you know, I think, you know, this product is very, very close to my heart, right? Because what it does is it goes in, you can kind of set the intervals, right, and it’ll update your plugins. It takes a screenshot of your homepage and then 15 other random pages and compares before and after. And if something fails, then you’ll get a, you know, a fail warning, right? So, anyway, they’ll say like, this plugin didn’t work or whatever that might be. Um, you know, and I, I gotta be honest, like, you know, it’s, it’s been out for about a month and a half or so. It is an AI.

David Hitt: 29:46 It’s very new.

John Housholder: 29:47 Yeah it’s very new, it’s a machine learning. So it’s always learning something different. There’s, you know, it’s giving some fake, false positives sometimes. Right. You know, but I, I do feel really strongly that on 90% of your sites, it’s going to work and it’s going to save you a ton of time. Right? If you think about the sites you’d built right now, you’re like, yeah, it’s probably not going to work on this one. Right? And you can already identify which ones it’s not going to work on. Right, right. I never would like to say that that this thing is going to work on 100% of the time. It’s, but like I said, it’s a machine learning product, so it’s going to get better and better. Right? So I would never say that in a month and a half, we figured everything out that our 110,000 customers can throw at us. Right. We’re smart. We’re not that smart. Right. The Smart Plugin Manager’s smart, but not that smart. So, you know, and I think, you know, that’s a, that’s a good thing for, for me to just kind of set that expectation. You know, I always tell people, hey, put it on staging. You know try it out for a week or two or three. And then when you feel confident, I don’t see anything wrong with putting on live site. Right. But I want you to have that confidence, right. Moving forward.

David Hitt: 31:03 I mean, the reality is it’s probably fine for 95% of all clients sites, you know, and probably pro fully all brochure WordPress sites. I mean, I’m sure that it’s probably tested thoroughly enough so that, you know, all the sort of the, you know, there’s obviously a family of plugins that everyone seems to use on most sites and I’m assuming that it’s well tested on those, so anything but, you know, probably esoteric circumstances, it’s probably, locked and loaded.

John Housholder: 31:29 Yeah. I mean, you’re talking about like some light, like Slider Revelation has some crazy like movement type things, and just doesn’t understand those. Maybe some crazy gifs, like those type of things. Right. Sliders are fine, but you know some crazy movements on sliders don’t always get picked up right at this point. Right? So.

David Hitt: 31:51 Right. Okay. Um, last thing, this is not a new happening at WP Engine, but a couple of years back you guys bought StudioPress and the Genesis framework and all of the Genesis themes. Is that correct?

John Housholder: 32:51 That’s correct. I think it was probably about a year and a half year ago or so, probably a year ago.

David Hitt: 32:57 Right. Yeah. So, you know, I had a question which is not really so much capabilities related, but it’s always been curious to me how agencies handle the use of an extensible framework like Genesis, in terms of pitching ideas to clients, you know, because like in the past, we’ve sometimes we’re aware, I’m going, I’m trying to say is, we’re aware, obviously that themes are extensible and, um, you know, we try to anticipate what we can do with an existing theme environment, and how we can stretch it out to meet client expectations. And we’ll sort of do static layouts based on what we think we can do with a given theme or framework. And I’m just wondering like, what you’ve, how do people, how do agencies use frameworks and themes in, in their day to day lives from your experience?

John Housholder: 33:14 Uh, I think you’d all be like a personal guesstimate, right? Like, honestly I don’t jump into that a lot. Like, I’m not asking like, ‘why did you choose this thing over the other,’ you know, naughty when I used to ask that, they would basically say, ‘well, it’s what we’ve used for the last three years.’ Everything’s built on Elementor whatever, Divi or whatever, whatever large framework type thing they’re using. Right, and those I just talked about are ones that, you know, their markers can go in and add pictures to or an add text to. Like that’s literally the market differentiator. Like they went and got one and they were easily able, they were able to change things really easily and that’s when they went with, you know, I think the reason why, you know, the reason why, Genesis or StudioPress is part of WP Engine is to tell that, you know, platform story, right?

You can’t be a platform if you don’t have ways to build with things you already own. Right. And, and things you maintain. If we were like, ‘Oh, go get whatever you want,’ well that’s great, but you can’t always, we can’t control an elementary is going to do in the next five years. Or if it’s even going to be around, right with Genesis. I mean, our team has done an amazing job, right? They’ve integrated AMP and all the themes they, we just launched or expanded upon our partnership with HubSpot. Now for you and me, this doesn’t really matter, right? Because we know how to go in and we know how to install a plugin. We know how to find a plugin, right? We can, we can change the colors in the CSS, right? But what about if, you know, if you’re marketing and you’re like, I’ve got this big project due tomorrow, I can now just go get a StudioPress theme. That’s Gutenberg ready. It’s already got AMP in it. It’s already got HubSpot in it. It’s already styled beforehand. It’s already got dummy content. Right. And I can go to market tomorrow by changing some pictures up and you know, deleting some pages or adding some pages or cloning pages or whatever. They might be.

That right there is a huge deal. Right. Um, because for developers, you know, I might hear something like, well, you’re taking my job away. No, I did you, did you really want to install that plugin? Do you want to go change the CSS and have them change the color 15 times? Like, no, you didn’t. Right? Like, if that’s your job security, you know, you’re in trouble. Right? So, you know, once again, as a developer, what are you working on, right? That’s bringing the most value to your agency in, you know, to the, to decline into the end user, right? Like, I think that’s the story you gotta think about. So that’s kind of a little extra plug there on StudioPress and Genesis and kind of how they kind of fit into our, you know, our platform strategy.

David Hitt: 36:52 Well, you know along the lines of that the accusation that a developer might make regarding your, you’re putting them out of a job. Uh, what we found and what I think is still true is that if you’re in the business of finding solutions for your customers, regardless of who your customers are, you always invent new validity for what you do. So in other words, you need to solve, you need to solve problems first and worry about who’s going to actually execute or whose job is going to be affected secondarily. But the upshot of focused, of client solution focus is that nobody ever ends up losing their job over that, because ultimately you’re keeping a client, you’re, oftentimes what happens is when you solve one problem, it just frees them up to ask you to solve their next one. And as you and I know, this is a relationship based business, and most of the money we make as a studio comes from existing clients, not brand new ones.

So I think that pretty much wraps up our show for today. John. Um, we had we had a nice chat about, um, sort of issues large and small related to the uniqueness of the WP Engine Digital Experience Platform. Is there anything else you wanted to to say to our audience before we sign off?

John Housholder: 37:34 I don’t think so. I mean, I hope to, to run into some of your folks next time we’ve been in Philly and maybe we can talk WordPress or StudioPress.

David Hitt: 37:50 Just don’t ask me to take you out for a cheesesteak.

John Housholder: 37:51 Perfect.

David Hitt: 37:53 Okay. Again, our guest today with John Housholder from WP Engine. You can find a WP Engine WPEngine.com and again, they are a premium digital experience platform for WordPress developers and users of WordPress. Thanks so much, John.

John Housholder: 38:12 Thank you.

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