Launching a WordPress Product in Public: Session 7

In this episode, Corey Maass, a freelance web developer, joins Cory Miller to discuss the intricacies of creating an impactful, user-appreciated product that makes a positive impact on customers and stands apart in a saturated industry.

Estimated reading time: 45 minutes

Transcript

Learn from Corey Maass, the go-to on WordPress product design topics, and Cory Miller, a master on the business of WordPress. They discuss finding the balance in the small and big pictures of product development, highlighting the process of trial and error.

Top Takeaways:

  • Courage Under Fire. After what feels like a miserable failure, it’s vital to keep trudging forward. Great product design takes time to build and grow in the space you are putting it into. Keeping your passion alive and remaining consistent in your efforts will eventually lead you to success. 
  • The Impact of Thoughtful Design. Developing a product is, of course, based on meeting some kind of user need, but it’s important to consider if you are going to make that user’s life easier with your product. When the end user is your top priority, your product will shine, and you’ll be proud of your direct impact on someone’s everyday life. 
  • Finding the Spark in Your Product. Focusing on the overall product journey is key for great product development, but zooming in on the minor details is equally important. Brainstorming and finding the spark is not easy, but setting your product apart from the rest is crucial. 
  • Using Your Audience to Improve Development. Put your ideas and questions out there for your audience to speak to. If you are wondering how people will perceive a certain product aspect or want more information on their exact pain points, it’s good to ask directly. Getting information straight from your customers or peers can help you make well-informed decisions in product development.

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Transcript

Session 7 Corey & Cory Launch a WordPress Product Live

Corey Maass: [00:00:00] So now I’m following along. I’ve gotten in the habit of. I opened the
YouTube, which is, well, it’s live, which is really disorienting cuz of course I’m talking, uh, 10
seconds ago or 10 seconds in the future. And then grab the chat and then close it as fast as I
can,
because it seems that people do ask us questions, but mostly on YouTube, not on, uh, the
webinar, the Zoom webinar.
Cory Miller: Um, sorry, I was just trying to get all that going. Um, yeah, speaking of what we’re
talking about today in the marketing channel with post status, there’s some good conversations
about product. Hmm. I was like, you know, there’s enough of this going around that we, um,
should we have more conversations about product and marketing.
And [00:01:00] channels.
Corey Maass: Um, I have to go find, I’ve got, um, I’m in product owner and I’m in a couple of
others, but I’m not in marketing. Oh, okay. You’re already in here. Yeah. Product leaders I’m in.
Cory Miller: Yeah. Um, I really want that product leaders channel to. This type of, you know,
conversation, whatever it has to do with product, you know?
Right.
Corey Maass: So, yeah, and it’s, I mean, it’s a popular topic. Like I, I was on Twitter five
minutes ago and somebody was asking like, who is marketing WordPress plugins? Well these
days? And of course was scrolling the answers to see who to follow or what examples to look at,
or, you know, there’s, I mean, a few known quantities.
Um, and articles and, and references and stuff, but well, you know, [00:02:00] year to year and,
and new products that will cause blips and, and whatnot. Yeah. Um, you know, because it’s
definitely still not a. You know, not a known thing. I mean, marketing anything is not, is never
necessarily reliable. But, uh, marketing a WordPress plugin.
There are people who are very successful with WordPress plugins, but I don’t know that the
marketing is, it’s not a solved problem. You know,
Cory Miller: I think we said this a lot, but I really love product. Um, but it feels like. Almost like
gambling, you know? Um, like this one, I continue to see there’s something here and we say
this, we don’t know what it is and we’re trying to kinda keep stepping into it.
But gosh, I’ve tried a bunch of products between I themes and today, you know, bunch of
different things. And they weren’t like [00:03:00] pure software products of course. Um, but.
Every time I talk about product, I realize how much I have to learn .
Corey Maass: Um, so there’s, um, they’re the people who I, I’m not gonna even try to mention
names, but it’s like, there are, there are people who are famous for breaking the land speed
record, you know, or the like, uh, What was his name?
Hopkins was in the, a movie called The Indian, and it was his, about his motorcycle or you know,
there’s nascar, like there’s the people who win over year, over year. And, and then there’s,
there’s gotta be the people who were fascinating, you know, they, they worked a, a regular job
and they spent every night and weekend working on, you know, Build, trying to build the fastest
[00:04:00] race car or the fastest motorcycle and, and have absolutely died in obscurity, , you
know, like, they just never, they d take a, take a motorcycle out to the flats, crash it, start over
again, you know, and, and have done it.
Or did it, you know, for 30 years or whatever, and, and we’re never gonna hear about any of
those people, you know, or they consistently came in third and we’re never gonna hear about
any of those people. Yeah. And it’s like, I’m a while ago, I had to th there was a time in my life
where I was absolutely convinced that I was going to be a rockstar dj, where I was going to be
the gazillion.
Uh, entrepreneur or, and I still would love to be all those things. Well, I don’t know if I have the
energy anymore, but Me too. Um, you know, um, but it, they were, they were tied into my
identity and they were like constant. You know, a need and would keep me up at night. And now
I’m like, I [00:05:00] have, I think part of middle age is accepting your mediocrity.

Um, and, and just going, you know, okay, if, if I’m, if I’m successful, if I’m having some fun and
I’m successful enough that I’m not, Uh, starving, you know, then, then that’s then and, and then
it’s fun to keep trying, you know, and, and on my deathbed, it, it’s still probably gonna hurt that I
didn’t, you know, uh, headline, uh, you know, some huge music festival or something, but, uh,
but at least I tried, I suppose
Cory Miller: I, I love that. Thank you for sharing that. Um, you know, because I, I totally. , um, in
so many ways. I feel like I had my time. Mm-hmm. , you know, I got my opportunity and I made,
I made the most of it. I’m, I’m proud of it, you know, uh, and that, that was a [00:06:00] very
magical period for me. You know? But when you’re talking, have you seen the Netflix?
It made me think of the Netflix special full swing. It’s about golf. So, I know you golf. I don’t, I put
putt golf, you know, but, um, even though we have a son named Callaway, everybody thinks we
named it after a golf club. And I’m like, no, sorry, , um, him out after a golf club. But, okay, so this
last episode, there’s a guy, and you may name, you may know his name, and I’m like, I, if, if
there were jerseys in golf, I’m not a.
I would go buy his jersey today. He’s like the 70th best. Mm-hmm. golfer in the world. His name
is Joel Drum. I can’t remember. I’ll f I’ll find his name. So the first episode, have you seen this?
Mm-hmm. . Okay. You, I think you’d be interested. I’m like you said. Full swing. Full swing. It’s a
documentary about the [00:07:00] PGA.
I’m morbidly curious about sports because I think it has so many parallels. Anyway, so the first
two were like, the brand names Justin Thomas, uh, Jordan Sp, and now I know those names
well, but I was familiar with their names. Sure. And like they’re at the top pinnacle of the sport.
Then the third episode is, is is Joel, and he’s basically like, I’m okay being seven.
like he’s got immense talent. Um, his caddy, everybody’s like, no, he’s a top 30 golfer. And he’s
just kinda like, you know, he’s, he could be like, he won, he’s won, but like, he could be even
better. But he’s just like, k he feels like almost resigned contend of being like 70th. And I. Maybe
I’m okay being like 500th best or five thousandths best at being an entrepreneur, being a
product person, right?
Um, [00:08:00] I am morbidly attracted to entrepreneurship and product. Like I think you and I
resonate with this. Like every time I hear you talk, man, I would go. Rather from another mother,
like he, you know,
Corey Maass: I could have said those words or have had or have said those words. Yeah,
exactly.
Cory Miller: But I think there’s something resonating here, Corey.
It’s the esteem that I, I’m gonna talk by myself. The esteem I might talk about, like iconic,
everybody says it, Steve, let me invoke his name. Steve Jobs right now, first time around, I
think. Right time, right place, and of course genius, you know, but right time, right place, right.
Critical thing got kicked out of Apple, comes back and doing it again, and we always talk about
him.
Right. You know, maybe, maybe Elon Musk in my mind before he started doing, just, I don’t
know. Um, he, I think he went too far. He overreach. But anyway, but I go, God, [00:09:00] I’d
love to have that kind of genius for product for. and, but selling down in Maine, like you were
saying about middle, middle age and Meoc, just going, Hey, I think I got some talent , you know,
but mainly I just work my ass off.
Mm-hmm.
Corey Maass: I’m one of those, try things and try things.
Cory Miller: I feel like one of those sports players, like if we use that metaphor analogy,
whatever it is, and I. Never gonna be number one. Mm-hmm. never gonna be top 50. But for my
brand of those, I’m really content with who I am. You know? Right. Even though I’m just like,
God, it feels like with product it’s miserable Failure.
Miserable failure. Miserable failure. Miserable failure. When 2008, man, I felt like I’m gonna mix
all these sports things, get up to the plate, ball’s coming, [00:10:00] and I hit it. And I get into the
field
Corey Maass: and you scored a touchdown
Cory Miller: and . Yes. And a hole in one and you know, let me find another sport so I can do it.
But you don’t end up in the gutter.
I think the reality is, yeah, , I need bumpers for my bowling entrepreneur, bowling, and there you
go. Product person. I need some bumpers. I feel like sometimes, and I’m glad I. I couldn’t laugh

about this a couple years ago at all. Hmm. I’d be like, what? I have magic. I’m supposed to be
magic. I’m supposed to come.
Right. You know, and then you’re like, maybe not . It’s the humbling effect of that. Yep. And I
think when you come down to it, you go, I think the reason why I’m so interested in product is
like it’s a gift. It should be like this cool gift that you’re trying to help someone. Make somebody’s
life better and in the process be [00:11:00] able to do it vocationally and get paid for it.
Yeah. And man, I love that about work, you know, and products specifically is like tie to this little
bow, here’s your present and I’m trying to get better about this is I’m trying to offer a gift that you
pay for. Of course. You know, like those win-win things. But I digress.
Corey Maass: Yeah, it’s, I love solving a problem.
I love the, like, this is gonna sound weird, but I love the angles of it. Like the, uh, moving through
a problem, uh, like screens and inner, like, I, I want to feel clever for having built it, like build a
better mouse trap. But I also want, that’s a bad analogy cuz a mouse, mouse uses a mouse
trap. But it’s like, I, I wanna build, you know, the, the better.
Thing that other people then get pleasure out of using to, again, to [00:12:00] solve a problem.
Um, and so then I feel smart. And they feel smart. And, and it’s like, to me it’s, it’s one of the
epitome of the human condition is, is solving problems, is manipulating the space around us.
And, um, and so yeah, product just absolutely.
Resonated with me early on. Which is funny because I think I, and a lot of, a lot of developers
and a lot of product people also are passionate about music in one way or another, which is the
opposite. It’s so abstract. It can mean anything to anybody. It’s totally subjective, uh, as opposed
to like, In the world we live in, like there’s a little bit of subjectivity.
Like there’s, you know, there’s a reason why there’s a million to-do list apps because everybody
solves it slightly differently or wants it to feel slightly different. But it’s still, uh, you know, there’s
still ones that objectively don’t [00:13:00] work. , uh, uh, But anyway. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s fun. It’s
interesting.
It’s, I’m glad that it’s now a hobby rather than, uh, something that I, that I’m relying on. Cuz I
remember building, I think I’ve talked about this before, like, I remember building things because
I was like, I’m not gonna make rent if this doesn’t succeed. And of course it didn’t come close to
succeeding. I don’t even think I was able to finish it cuz it was like, I can’t make a logical
decision.
From a position of desperation, like some people can mm-hmm. , but I just, I can’t, I have to like
sit in it and splash around. Which is also why, because I think maybe it was another Twitter
conversation I was having, but, um, I, I often. Will. Oh, so yeah, somebody, somebody asked
like, do you, do you do any planning or do you jump right in?
I’m like, I a hundred percent jump right in, just like you, you keep saying like, there’s something
here. I often jump right in when I just, my gut [00:14:00] tells me that there’s something here
and, uh, Because I’m finding, and this is, I was noticing this again over the weekend. Um, the
setting screen that I wanna show you is like, I had to start building the setting screen in order for
me to go, oh, no, this setting isn’t right, or, we don’t need this, or This is better organized a
different way.
But I had to like, and I suppose I could put pen to paper and come to the sum of the same
conclusions, but for me, pen to paper is usually writing. You know, some, some aspect of code
to, so that I’m clicking on a button or I’m, I’m starting to fill in a screen or I’m even at this point, I
can just look at a screen and be like, no, this isn’t what we need, or this isn’t intuitive, or, um, no.
With that said, what I’ve designed is quite ugly. Um, I was futzing around. Information
architecture, and I don’t know why I was bothering, it was Sunday. I was having fun. Um, but
anyway, yeah, it’s, uh, there’s, [00:15:00] there’s definitely a difference of, of, for me anyway, like
getting in and actually clicking on things.
Cory Miller: It’s uh, when you say, when you said hobby, it reset me back to me going, is this,
should this really be a hobby for me? You know? Hmm. Um, cuz. I gotta tell you, I’ve, I
presented my business group about a week or two ago, and I was like, yeah, I don’t know. I
don’t know if I keep going. You know, back to middle age mediocrity, whatever it is, it’s like, I,
you know, we’re trying to do some things with post status and it’s been one frustration after the
other hitting walls.

I think that’s starting to loosen up, maybe with my own growth, you know? Okay. But like, just
trying to make progress on stuff where I had a team previously and now we’re trying, you know,
put stuff together. But that’s the bigger business. But down product too is like, you know, I think
there was a hope in me that you launch it and everybody’s like, hell yes.[00:16:00]
You know? Yeah. There’s more to it, you know? I just wanted people to instantly love it.
Corey Maass: Well, and starting from scratch is freaking hard. I mean, you were, you were on
a, a winning team. You were, you know, you were on a, a bus with a group of people. You’d built
the bus. You got the bus moving, and then you were hurling down the highway successfully.
And it’s real easy to forget that, like, oh, right. When we were building the bus, nobody cared.
And when the bus, the wheels first started moving, nobody cared. Now they do. And so yeah, if
you are, you know, leveraging something, if you’re building a trailer onto a bus that’s already
moving, that’s different than getting off the bus, chilling for a couple of years and then starting to
build another bus, you know?
Weird, weird analogy, but ,
Cory Miller: no, no, no. I like the bus thing cuz that’s how it was. I was like, I. I don’t, I get credit,
but I try not to ever take it and [00:17:00] be sure to point it in other ways. Like it was very much
a band back to music. I like, this is like, we’re a band that makes great music together. You
know, somehow it’s working, you know?
Yeah. And I can’t really take credit for a lot of that. I was, don’t get me wrong, I contributed, I
impacted it, but it was a magic of. Yeah, things flying together with it. And I think I’ve been trying
to ree that magic, you know, particularly with product. Um, but the word that comes up for me,
and I’m curious what your thoughts about this are, like de detachment, detachment from my
brilliant ideas, Corey, like, man, I’m very attached to my brilliant ideas, you know, and like here I
go.
How to detach from that pride aspect and then go just kinda lean into like passion and interest,
which is what your pace and how you [00:18:00] approach This has been really healthy for me
because you’re kinda like, I’m having fun doing it today. I’m having it and then tomorrow having
fun doing it and it. It’s, it’s taking some box for you.
And I’m like, I need to be just okay with like, it’s taking a box for me. Now when I am working
with a developer partner, , I’m like, I wanna talk to you about filters. I wanna talk to you about all
these things. Cuz like I had, like all the stuff that we could do with images. I’ve been planning
around with stuff and wanting, been wanting to go like, you know, Instagram revolutionized
photos, for instance.
I think it, it took the iPhone or the smartphone, whatever it is, and made most anybody a pretty
decent photographer, right? Like, you know, Photoshop, you could do the Gazi blur and you can
kind of filter and like make things a little like correct stuff with Instagram. I did that and I’m like, I,
I love that.
I love taking photos. I’ve been taken. [00:19:00] So this is a weird sidebar onto the product by.
But I’ve been, um, you know, there’s those cartoon apps that’ll take a photo and make a cartoon
of it. Yep. I’m a freaking geek about cartoon illustration, all that stuff. So what I’ve been doing,
this is gonna lead back to product, by the way, an actual question on our product future.
And you can say, Hey, can we pause that? Can we hold that later? But, so I’ve been taking, I
love taking pictures of sunsets, you know, and I. So I’ve been taking my sunset pictures and
putting ’em into my cartoon app. . Mm-hmm. nice. Yeah. And making these really things. But the
premise here was, you know, back to our philosophical conversations about images and the
web and on a website, and I go, you know, with ai, there’s a, that mix in there too, but I go, that’s
interesting to me.
Like for, for, for our product perspective is like, there’s cool things going on. I think we could be
creative and innovate downstream a bit in this [00:20:00] market. While I’m kinda like really
impatient, but trying to be patient about getting to the stage of like, I want somebody to pay for
it. I want somebody to give some validation to go, okay, should we put a little bit more time and
effort and money into this?
You know? Right. But anyway, the filtered conversation was where I’ve been going as we’ve
been talking, going man, You would know, but like are there libraries and stuff that we can do
filters or something different to make things just a little nicer in the pro side? Yeah, that I just
freaking love, like I’m such a geek Corey about that.

But I take my picture and then I share it over to whatever the tune app is and I really like, I don’t
know, it’s kind of fun. There’s gotta be . I can’t help, this is my idealism. There’s gotta be
something. On this other side when we start being able to get to the pro side. Okay.
Corey Maass: Looking for the other, the other app, there’s one that, um, I got really into a
[00:21:00] couple years ago.
That’s, um, it’ll, it’ll take any photo and basically make it a painting Yes. In a bunch of different
styles. Yes. Because there was a, a woman at the la in the, uh, woman who posted on
Facebook this like really cute watercolor painting of a farmhouse. And then I noticed at the
bottom that there was a watermark of the app that she’d used.
And I was like, oh crap. She just took a picture of a farmhouse and ran it through this little, you
know, 99 cent app and then had. Like a watercolor that I would’ve put on the wall, you know?
Um,
Cory Miller: see that, that, that’s like the heart of publishing for me is expression, and I’m very
much an amateur photographer that flunk photography twice, by the way, in college. But I go,
Corey Maass: you forgot to do that. No, the, the cover, the lens cover off . Yes, yes.
Cory Miller: I know what depth to field is, but I’m like, The manual. Mm-hmm. cameras I had to
use suck. But all that to say [00:22:00] like this is interesting and that’s a hobby of mine and so I
would say it’s a hobby of mine. It’s taking these photos.
I even had my son do it while I was driving. I was like, could you take a picture of that sentence?
Yeah,
Corey Maass: yeah, I do. It’s one more thing. We have the same of, you need to look at my
Instagram. It’s literally just sky pictures. That’s
Cory Miller: so, okay. This is called Tune. But yeah, let’s see
Corey Maass: here. Oh, it does it live? It Does it live?
Oh, that’s cool. I assumed it was like, it had to be a photo, but it, it actually applies the filter while
you’re moving the photo.
Cory Miller: Yeah. So I was like, that’s wild. And then they’ve got impressionism, they’ve got all
these filters and I go, right, you know, there’s something about Instagram having, yeah, I, I don’t
know, 10, 15 filters.
I always use like the first six. Sure. You know, but it’s like there’s something about that taking
something, making it, just dressing it up a little bit and being able to put it out there. Like I’ve
been playing with the tune stuff on the colors cuz it really pulls [00:23:00] out some of the sunset
photos and stuff and I go, I hope there’s something there on this pro.
I want it. You know what I mean? Like I want something that just
Corey Maass: I conceptually, I think. You’re onto something. I mean, again, go, what’s our
mantra? You know, making creative tasks simpler, easier, fun. And so we’re starting with what
we’re hoping is the widest base. Everybody needs to crop an image and get it into WordPress.
Um, and then. So I, my Instagram, again, I’m fascinated, I’m captivated by mostly cloud shapes
and especially sunlight coming through the clouds. But I didn’t want to, I, I was never. Really
impressed with filters. Like they’re neat for doing different things, but I didn’t, they didn’t do what
I wanted. And so what I [00:24:00] actually do is, um, because I noticed that the, whatever it is,
the polarization from my sunglasses, Make things more distinct.
So I usually take my sunglasses off and then take a picture through the lens, and that’s my real
world filter, so to speak. Right. But it’s like, it’s, it’s my style. Nobody knows I’m doing it, but
that’s stylistically. Right. And so I imagine that, uh, a lot of people like. They, they have their feed
and so they have their favorite one or two filters and they think of it in part as their branding.
Um, and maybe it’s the same with blogs where it’s like, oh, if I’m, I’m blogging week over week,
whatever photo, I’m gonna give it the same treatment. Um, you know, even if that means, it’s not
necessarily some manipulation of the photo, but I put. My own watermark, or I put the title of the
blog post in a certain font with a certain background.
You know, [00:25:00] there’s a treatment so that you know when it’s shared. It’s the same with
the OG images, which is why I’m so fascinated by those. Um, and that’s the other plugin that I
keep messing around with as generating social images. But it’s the idea of being, again, that
same sort of the concept of set it and forget it, but so, Um, so the, another, another word that we
should somehow incorporate into one or another of our sort of overarching rules here is
consistency, which we’ve talked about.

It’s like, but, but taking that, like all of your images should be 16, nine, but taking it much further
so that it’s all of your images should be watermarked the same way, or they should have some.
You know, coherent look and feel so that I land on any page on your blog and, and I know where
I am or if I see an image on, in, you know, I’m scrolling Twitter and I’m like, oh, there’s another
one of Corey’s photos.
Because it’s, it’s [00:26:00] a, it’s a sunset, but it’s got the, the comic book treatment, you know,
so whatever, whatever it is, like, um, I, I think you are, you’re, what I take away from what you’re
describing is, An example of still kind of what we, our long-term goal, like whatever the handling
of images, but allowing people to handle images consistently.
And if it’s, if it’s unrecognizable, if it’s just a task, if it, if we just make uploading images easier
than great, like, and we’re, and everybody has that problem, but if down the road, like, yeah, we
hear from people that they all want watermarks or they all want. Uh, you know, an image filter
and we can figure out how to do that.
It’s, it still, to me, falls in the same, the same ballpark. Yep.
Cory Miller: Now we need a business case, like, you know, take some of this [00:27:00]
abstract, creative thought and go, okay, how can we, back to what you kind of grounding us in
as like consistent, I heard the word consistent, consistent. unique to the brand Yeah. That
they’re trying to portray.
That’s really interesting thought cuz I, I love templates. I mean, obviously mm-hmm. , that’s the
it that’s High Themes came from Template. Template Monster. You know, I was a, I had used
Template Monster 2004 or five for a website, um, that wasn’t in WordPress. I don’t even know
what it was in. Um, and I.
Offering somebody some flavors to have a head start to, to create something creative. Like for,
for, for me, I can’t draw, you know, I doodle, but some kind of headstart to help somebody do the
things. Yep. Consistent you need to your brand, um, you, your [00:28:00] own kinda style that
you could develop. Um, kinda like paint by numbers, so.
Okay. Thanks for letting me die. Tribe on. Wonder and fascination about all this. Um, you
wanted to talk about settings?
Corey Maass: Yeah. So I just shared, uh, something with you. Um, you see my screen? Yeah, I
can. So starting a settings page. Um, so we’ve got, I don’t know if it’s working in this version yet,
so featured images, um, Oh yeah, I, I have a fix for this.
So you see the three, four is not actually three four. Um, so that I’ve, that’ll, that’ll be fixed in the
next version. A little thing that’s been bugging me. Um, but the, you know, we’ve, we’ve got the
actual cropper in a couple of places. Media ad new, no, it’s not in here. [00:29:00] Again, this is
just a non, a little local demo thing.
Um, but I started adding what we’d talked about previously. Uh, uh, the next thing we need, or
one of the next things we need is a settings page where we can define the, essentially the
defaults like we’re talking about. Um, So starting with one of the use cases or the, the place, the
implement, one of the implementations we’ve done, um, being featured images.
The idea being that right you, when you first install a plugin, we’ll walk you through these
essentially where, you know, okay, for featured images, what is, you know, you always want
your photo to be, or the resulting photo to be at least, you know, 500 wide, uh, you know, but not
more than 2000 wide. And then same with.
You know, something like this, right? So that you don’t, [00:30:00] you don’t end up with images
that are too small, but you don’t also don’t end up with images that are too large. Um, and then,
uh, presets,
Cory Miller: oh, you can remove. That’s cool.
Corey Maass: So, yeah, because it’s like, uh, the, the example of the featured image, right? It’s
like we have given you these six square circle, 16, 9 43.
but it’s like, you don’t, you don’t want to give you, you, you know, if, if your featured image
should always be a circle, then, then why do you have to select circle every time? Right. And so
in settings, yeah, you can go in and remove, um, you know, everything but the circle. Um, and
then save it. And then that’s the idea being that, you know, you hit save here and then the next
time you come into here where you’re setting your featured image circle would be the only thing
available.
Um, and obviously if there’s, if there’s only one, then it’ll be pre-selected and so then [00:31:00]
it saves you a step. Um, and then, and then there’s also the option of, um, so this isn’t quite

functioning, but, um, Choose a preset. So it’s, if you, if you know, I’ve now deleted all of the, the
default preset 16 nine, you can re-add it here, or there’s this, you know, I, this just, this is my
preset, but it’s like you can, you can name it the query, uh, Miller preset with an aspect ratio of,
you know, whatever, whatever.
Um, I think this works. Yeah. There’s the Corey Miller preset. Um, awesome. So, so this is, this
is what I started with, um, again, with the idea that what you set is what’s gonna get translated
to here. So the presets are choose your shape, you then have those to choose from. Um, and
then when you cropped an [00:32:00] image, the output would match whatever your Minn Max
is.
Um, I haven’t quite, I’m not sure what. Parallel is yet, is it, is it always you? It should be the
minimum, but should it go up to the max? You know, we’ll figure that out. But, um, is, is this kind
of what you had in mind? Does this resonate with you? Anything missing?
Cory Miller: Um, now that the preset thing is really awesome, like being able to set that here, I
think that’s very forward thinking.
Work. You know, I continue to think through work, through flow, come in here, configure it
yourself, save it, make it easier on the client, and it becomes a pretty easy thing to, for the
problem of getting right sized images per the theme design. So I think that’s cool. Would you
scroll up a little bit? So this puts it, [00:33:00] this men stuff puts it where, Any image that goes
through it and scrub by it will not be bigger.
So that then whatever we’ve listed here.
Corey Maass: Okay. Yeah, the, you know, it’s like if you thinking about pr, you know, protecting
people from themselves. So if they upload a 10 pixel by 10 pixel emoji and they, but they want to
use that as a high res, uh, featured image, then it. Upscale it and look terrible, but that’s better
than them, than a 10 by 10 pixel image getting stuck in there.
And then same with like, what we keep talking about is uploading from your photo where, or
uploading from your phone where a photo is six megs. No, bring it down, you know, and, and,
and 4,000 pixels. It’s like, no, bring it down to the web. Really doesn’t need more than 2000
pixels. [00:34:00]
Cory Miller: So, okay, so the experience is come in here, set it here, put some guardrails.
Um, bumpers. Bumpers. Keep talking about bowling, bowling. Bowling bumpers. Okay. Then
when they go to do it from like, this is the basic settings. Start, you know, start hearing, get a
little bumpers, but then the workflow, if they’re going into the image and all that kind of stuff. Is
there a plan for. Letting them customize that in the featured image and the other, you know,
tools in the post.
That’s a good question because here’s what I’m thinking. Like web designer developer would
go, there’s your guardrails. Cool. You know? Yeah. And then they get into the live, and I think
maybe they, like we were doing the ratios to be simple. Click boom, there you go. But if
someone goes. You know, I don’t know.
I want [00:35:00] the cropped image, like I think we were talking about, there’s a featured image
section, then there’s another section which is in lieu of the block. Yeah. It’s like upload an image
and, and my question would be like, I think we should consider in that, that screen over there,
letting them do the custom dimensions there potentially.
Corey Maass: Mm. Yeah, so I, I think if I understand you, like we’ve got a, we’ve got a bypass,
which lets them upload. Straight from their hard drive. And then I also think, if I’m hearing you
correctly, we need a bypass, essentially, these settings. So it’s like you can still use the cropper,
but you can essentially make bad choices if you want to.
Uh, and I, and I think maybe that, like there’s a, I also envision a toggle in here that enables
that. And so there’d be like, here are the [00:36:00] guardrails, you know, a and maybe this
screen, so at least, at least for my use case, right? I am, I am an ad I, I have the WordPress
admin role. I have the WordPress role of administrator, and then all of my clients have a
contributor role, or I’ve made up another, um, another role called site admin.
And so they still think that they’re admins, but I’ve actually disabled a bunch of things so that
again, they can’t, they can’t go in and update a plugin that they shouldn’t or delete a plugin or
change themes. Have had clients go in and just be like, what does this do? And totally break a
site. . And so I think in, in, in here, there’s a, there’d be a, like an advanced toggle that says, lock
this shit down.

Yeah. Or these are the recommended. Let them make bad choices if they want to. And so like
for my clients, for [00:37:00] featured images, hard, hard, hard rule, it’s 16 nine. Full stop, no
exceptions. And so I would switch that toggle to be like, do not let them make any other choices.
But you know, the o our other implementation, so this screen would essentially be repeated for
media library.
I haven’t reported it over yet, but in media library I might allow more presets. I also might toggle
it the other way and say, you know, let them. Upload something because frankly, like we also
use the media library for, um, you know, hosting an image to send to the press. And so we then
we want a high res image and we’re just basically using our WordPress install as file storage.
And so they would, they would hit a little button that says, just let me upload, you know, leave
me alone and let me upload the, the image or let me crop it, but leave it at 7,000 pixels or, or
whatever. So, yeah. [00:38:00] That’s another necessary.
Cory Miller: I think this is the work, this is the workflow for an organization or the developer
here in this screen.
Yeah. What I’m thinking is I go, okay, because we, the crux of the problem we started with
months ago was it’s a pain in the butt to like crop an image to make it reasonable for the web
and look good. And I, if I’m just Corey Blogger, Corey website thing, I go, okay, I’m writing a
post. I go, okay, I need an image.
I want an image for it in here and want it. Obviously I you won’t believe how many times I’ve like
gotten. A screenshot tool or something to go How many pixels wide is my Yeah. Post column
with, you know, and I, we’ve talked a lot about this, but I go, maybe I [00:39:00] want it really tall
in the, in the place or something like that doesn’t fit a preset mm-hmm.
you know, like, here’s the quick presets we’ve done. Just go here and you can kind of keep it
standard that checks that consistent box, but, Utility of the crop to make it whatever it needs to
be for that page design. Yeah, that’s the workflow I’m thinking about because I think this is
where we need to be for the, I’m handing this project over to you and I’m trying to keep you right
in the bumpers and I think that big time checks the agency box and some point I wanna share
that with our agency owner channel and just get some feedback and.
Understand the problems they actually face, but the other side is to make this ubiquitous and
easy to use. How do we make it really practical and easy for what they’re trying to do? And I’m
just talking that out, going, I wonder, you know, they find the image, [00:40:00] they upload it,
but they want it, you know, you know how it goes.
Sometimes the image doesn’t fit right. A, a ratio.
Corey Maass: So, yeah. Well, and yeah, and I think, you know, we. What we don’t want to do is
limit people’s creativity and so, you know, and what’s WordPress? Uh, The mantra, but I think it,
I think it’s actually backwards. They say decisions, not options or something like that.
But anyway, in, in our case, we actually want at least, at least sensible options. Um, you know,
or, or we don’t, we can’t speak for everybody, at least not yet . Um, and, and so yeah, letting
people. Bypass the, all these things. Um, I think if nothing else, you know, I mean more of the
spirit of WordPress and, and more, you know, the freedom to, to do what you want.
I mean, they can always disable the plugin. I’ve even done that with, there’s a plugin by short
[00:41:00] pixel that. It’s called something like resize after Upload. And so it, I installed that early
on so that client’s uploading it just lets you, uh, ju similar to some of this, right? It lets you set a
sensible limit, so it’s like resize anything over 2,500 pixels, down to 2,500 pixels.
And that’s all it does, but it’s it per it, it has saved us so much disk space. They will make a
mistake and upload something that’s, you know, two megs and 7,000 pixels or whatever. So,
um, but I’ve had to. Like, there were times when we wanted, uh, like we had a blog post that
was a web comic, and so we needed it 7,000 tall.
So I went in disabled, the plugin, and this is the process I had to do right as I went in. Had to go
in, disable the plugin, upload the full, full version, and then go back in and reenable the plugin.
So yeah, if there was a like click here to bypass just this one time, [00:42:00] uh, you know, then
it would’ve saved me.
Six clicks and a, and a bunch of load time. Um, so yeah, to, to make sure that we ac we
accommodate that or offer the option to accommodate that , uh, options to offer options always
gets a little meta, but I do think that that’s crucial as much because like we keep talking about,
we don’t, we just don’t know yet.

We don’t know who’s really gonna use this. We don’t really know. And that’s, that’s why like, I
like the thinking. We did at the beginning of this phone call about using, talking about filters. But
to me, filters is an example or of, of that, which we don’t know yet, but are the kind of features
that we can offer.
Not fi filters specifically, but some sort of photo manipulation, assuming that that’s what people
want. But I also, I think I’ve, I mean, I’m having fun looking at discovering. How robust
JavaScript is [00:43:00] now and, and what it can do, including photo manipulation. But to me,
cropping a circle was a no-brainer for this, you know, for v1.
But adding photo filters is, is down the road at some point because it’s, it could be a lot of noise
within the product and if nobody wants it, then we don’t wanna add that much noise.
Cory Miller: I feel like too, a lot of this just kind of pulling up for the overall product journey we’re
on. Mm-hmm. is trying to find that spark.
Yeah. Like we’re talking through things that we think are good ideas, thought like really
thoughtfully trying to embody the experience and I feel like we’re trying to find a little spark of
something when we, when we talk about feedback and like, Someone goes, yeah, that what you
just said there, but like a lot of the process of product like this is trying to get just lucky and, and
find that little spark of, [00:44:00] hey, here it, here it goes.
You know? So it’s good for me to kind of reset and go, yeah, doesn’t feel good to see fewer than
10, you know? But like we’re trying to get it out there enough and we’re doing this obviously, so
we find a spark somewhere in there and they go, Hey, that’s what I. To, I don’t know, let’s, let me
throw in another sport.
Fishing,
We’re trying to fish and go like, yeah, we think this is good. So I’m trying not to make too many,
um, minute feedback things about the thing. I go. We, we, we decided a couple weeks ago, we
kept talking about like the custom dimensions. So you’ve done the settings page and now this
seems to be the other side.
And just kind of getting it out there and going, like, does this, does this work? Part of it, I think
for me is I’m not actively blogging as much at all, and I haven’t for a long time, but I need to get
back in the [00:45:00] process and start documenting, you know, when I’m Yeah. Trying to
express a. Feeling, emotion, whatever those things are.
Um, and then going through the press of like, what, you know, for me, I’m trying to commit to
this, this going, okay, let me find an image for this. That kind of hits at what I’m trying to get at,
you know? Yep. Um, back to Instagram, that’s what I loved about Instagram and those little
apps, you remember those apps that take like a second a day and it’d kind of be a journal and.
It started with an image and then it became, you know, people tried to blow up the content
underneath. Um, I needed to play around that with, in my head a little bit and practice it of like,
what if I started with an image and wrote and just put, get back doing my click and publish
again, and then note all my pain points with finding [00:46:00] images that are appropriate.
Corey Maass: And I’m going to, um, to me we’re, I like your fishing analogy. We’re fishing with
a, with a all lure. We’re still building. You know, we, we’ve got the hook and we’ve got the eyes,
but we need the little wiggly bit that the fish will actually be attracted to or whatever. Um, but I’m
not, I guess I’m, to me, I’m not yet casting with the intent of actually catching fish like I’m casting
to just kind of make sure that it, it all still holds together when it hits the water.
Um, I think with a, with some basic settings, uh, with a block at that point. Like I wanna start
promoting it a lot more, putting it on, you know, actually put it in some places. Um, I think at that,
that’s when, you know, we actually are version complete and we can start sending it to some
blogs. Um, You know, you, you do a, a Google search for word [00:47:00] plug, you know,
WordPress plugin, photo cropping or photo manipulation, and then go find all those listicles and
add some comments and, and basically just do kind of the, the, the bare minimum, uh, s e o and
spreading of the word.
I think the other thing is, um, I don’t remember who it was, um, Kathy. Or somebody. Yeah,
Kathy, um, typed in crop, uh, in the plug-in directory and. Um, and it was like, I think just crop,
we’re not even on the first page. If you do crop.express, we come right up, but crop space
express doesn’t come up. So we, you know, we need to start tweaking some of, you know,
looking at, cuz at that point, like the, the README that’s in there now is, is almost, is already
almost not.

Accurate in that we’ve added more features. And so revisiting that, revisiting the wording,
starting to play with the [00:48:00] wording, but it’s like at that point we are at least a fully
functional product. And so then, then I feel much better about talking about it. I also look forward
to like, I will make my clients use this whether they like it or not, and I will toggle it so that they
are locked down.
Um, and then I will hear their complaints, you know, good, or, or I guess you don’t have good
complaints, but I will hear their feedback, good or bad. Um, but it’s, um, you know, to me a very
real world use case. So, um, we’re. I guess I’m trying to get us there, right? Like basic settings,
basic implementation. Um, and then I, I, and then frankly, like at that point, at we, we, we.
It’s fun to keep talking every week, but I almost feel like at least what I’ve done in the past is at
that point we, like, we let a couple of months go by and maybe we’re working on, we’re still
working on it [00:49:00] or we’re working on a companion or we’re, you know, something else is
cooking. But, um, The, you know, one of the best things that happened to me was, you know,
my social link pages plug in.
I built it and then, uh, had to stop working on it cuz of a job I was doing. And the year went by
and I stopped doing that job and I came back and was like, oh, it has a thousand active installs.
And it was like letting it grow organically. Mm. You know, letting time happen naturally. Like I
probably could have made that ramp happen a little bit faster, but not a lot, you know, at least at
the level I’m at.
Like we, like we talked about, if you’re starting from zero, you’ve only got so many favors you
can call in. You’ve only got so many eyes on you. You’ve only got, um, you know, I think we’ve,
we’ve both got a little bit of an, I, you’ve got a much bigger audience than I do. We both are
involved with communities, but you know, we are not, [00:50:00] Uh, who’s a successful
blogger?
Tim Ferris or, you know, Paul Jarvis or, um, Joel s Spolsky, or, you know, whoever, like big, big
names that have attention on them. And so we’ve, we’ve, there will be, there will come a day
when we’ve, we’ve basically tapped every lead that we can think of, and then it’s like, okay, so
let’s let a week go by and let some, you know, let the internet do its job and, and spreading the
word.
Cory Miller: That’s good grounding.
Corey Maass: It’s hard. It’s hard,
Cory Miller: like even if I want to, I, I’m always so impatient and want to accelerate and get to
the things, but I, that’s really good grounding.
Corey Maass: It’s like, well, if we, if we had a gajillion dollars, if, if we had investment, I’m not,
obviously, I’m not advocating that, but it’s like, If we were in that kind of situation or we were able
to, you know, sit down in an office day after day and say like, this is our job.
[00:51:00] Very different trajectory. Yeah, but I don’t, but we’re not in that position.
Cory Miller: Yeah, it’s true.
Okay. Well anyway, so go ahead.
Corey Maass: Oh, I was just gonna say like, we’ve got five minutes and I actually need to wrap
up on time today, so, okay. Um, just wanted to check in with you, see, see if there’s anything
else to talk about or what else you wanted to talk about. Put you on the spot here. I
Cory Miller: think that’s it. I want to keep kind of pushing in and trying to find, um, I think my
part in this is sniffing the problem that we go there.
It, you know, there it is. That could potentially illuminate it to bring in money for sales, whatever it
might be. But, um, and going like, I think we got a pretty cool thing here. It seems to me for the
future, it’s like [00:52:00] image creation in that cate, something in this category is the potential
for the pro. And I’m keen to just go, like, personally finding the angles in there that would go right
here.
This could be a little, this could be a V1 into the paid, you know, finding that, that little mix. But
thanks for keeping us on track with this. I, I think where we’re going with this setting is great. It’s
all there. It’s functional or it will be, and, uh, try to get a little bit more stepped in the, into the.
Finding our people
Corey Maass: Yeah. For this. Yeah. And I’m, I’m, you know, I don’t think I need to say it, but I’ll
say it anyway. Don’t get me wrong. Like, I’m also anxious and excited. Unfortunately, this week,
once again, life happens. And so I’ve, on Monday, a tight deadline Okay. With a day job. Um, but
I’m, but I’m, there’s something is going to shift [00:53:00] and I, I almost want to, uh, I wanna

make sure we don’t keep having the same conversation week over week, , uh, both for the
people listening in, but of course for ourselves.
Cuz that that’s also when we’re like, okay, yeah, last week we said we were gonna do this, it’s
still not done. So I guess another week goes by, you know, and then, and then we get frustrated.
So, um, trying to chip away at it and. But I think, cuz I think something will shift once we
honestly look at our, what, at our initial offering crop express the plugin and say, okay, that’s in
the repo as as a complete fishing lure, , or whatever.
Um, you know, and, and, and people are using it. And we are using it cuz it actually like does
solve the problems that we’re talking about.
Cory Miller: Yeah. Yeah. I wrote down here too, when you said block earlier, uh, I’ll follow back

up with Robbie [00:54:00] Umhmm. That’s right. We had the whole thing come back. Yeah. Mm-
hmm. . But it seems like I knew Block had some complexity, uh, you know, that we talked about,

but I know you’re heavily embedded into the Beaver Builder community and used it prolifically.
And we got that contact with Robbie, so I’ll follow back up with him. Kathy was the other one.
And then I still need to ping the Elementor team. Um, cuz that could be a, you know, it feels like
we need that. Somebody going Yeah. But mm-hmm. this or, you know, reactions like, what, what
we need. So, um, let me do that with the Robbie, Kathy, aunt Cadence and then, um, ping, ping
the team over at on Mentor.
Corey Maass: Yeah, and honestly like think about, so I, I think one of the things that you could
be doing. Is, or, or what you are doing, but [00:55:00] do more of, is this kind of, essentially, it’s
not really a custom inter customer interview, but kind of, sort of, yeah, yeah. Um, so like, you
know, put it on your Twitter or look for a way to, to elevate that question in post status or, and I,
I’m not sure what the question is, but I, I kind of want to put that, put that on your plate.
Let me keep focusing on the development of, of the first version of the plugin. Um, but if you can
be having starting, or, I mean, and, and usually, you know, tweet into the void and maybe
nobody comes back, but it’s the, like, you know, how, how do you, how do you find images or
like, that’s not the problem we’re solving yet, so I don’t wanna really ask that question yet.
But, you know, how, what problem, how painful do you, yeah. You know, is it, do you, do you,
you know, either define the problem, you know, do you have, do you wish that there was a
better crop in WordPress? Or what apps [00:56:00] do you use to manipulate a photo before
you upload it to your blog post? Or, um, you know, I think there’s, I think there’s, you asked a
couple of questions to help figure out the right question to ask and then start asking that in more
places.
Um, okay. Cuz that, that’ll. I think it’s, you know, you pinging the specific people is huge. Um,
especially tapping into if, if they are a, a essentially a gateway into, uh, a community or a, a
team that is facing a problem over and over again. But I would, I’d love to hear some, like,
answers in the wild too of like throw it on Twitter and see if, if people.
Have a response, you know? Um, yeah, because like you said, there’s, I, I do feel like we are
looking for a spark. Like I have this other, um, app, you know, a p i service that I built a while
ago that I want to talk to you some other time [00:57:00] about offline. Um, But it’s like I, and, uh,
well, I’ve mentioned a couple times.
I, I built it 99% of the way and then stopped and have not opened it up because I’m like, I’m just
missing that spark. Like the, and, and then just today somebody, it, it pertains to screenshots.
And so somebody today was like, oh, is there a WordPress plugin that takes this kind of
screenshot? And I was like, oh my God, I never even thought of that.
And I don’t, I don’t, still don’t know if it’s the spark, but I’m, you know, I’m pulling at that thread. I
messaged the guy and then we’re. We’re chatting via email, like I might bang together a quick
use case for ’em to like see if that’s part of the spark. You know what I mean? So
Cory Miller: I, I would love to talk about that.
Cause you’ve mentioned it in our other discussions. I’d love to talk about that more because, I
mean, I think there’s one thing that I’m really interested in. It’s like images and they mentioned
Yeah, exactly. No, being able to do that and like, I love the, I think it was a screen. Tool
potentially you were talking about?
Um, yeah. [00:58:00] Or in that realm. And Yeah. And it makes me put, like, higher on my list is
the OMG IMG site as our base for Yeah. Being able to explore this. Here’s your free plug into
crop, you know, like that sticker mill thing. Like here’s your total mm-hmm. ,
Corey Maass: which by, by the way, Sticker Mule, they have, um, specials once in a while.

So I ordered us, um, 10 crop express stickers for a dollar. So we have our first swag, so as it, it
has shipped. So I need your, I need your address. Yep. And, uh, uh, I’ll send you five. And then
we each have five crop express plugin or, um, plugin stickers for, for the fun of it. .
Cory Miller: I, I want an OMG IMG Hoodie
Corey Maass: oh yes. . Yes.
And that, that logo, we’re gonna need to spend a little more time on roughly. So, yeah,
[00:59:00] I want, I want rainbows and unicorns or something. I don’t know yet. Ice cream
cones, but hey brother, I could keep
Cory Miller: talking, but I know you need to jet.
Corey Maass: Yeah, I gotta bounce.
Cory Miller: All right. Uh, I’m pumped. Thanks, man.
Corey Maass: Yeah, we’ll talk soon.

This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

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