Interview with Product Lead Robert Jacobi at Cloudways Managed WordPress Hosting— Post Status Draft 131

Director of WordPress at Cloudways, Robert Jacobi, talks about WordPress and their WordPress hosting products in this interview with Post Status Publisher Cory Miller.

Estimated reading time: 31 minutes


Robert Jacobi shares his work as the Director of WordPress at Cloudways, or to put it simply-strategy, partnerships, and product marketing. After working for years as an agency owner, Robert joined the WordPress community. His experience enables him to foster the relationship between business and open-source projects and vice-versa. Robert shares how the products and services offered by Cloudways enable businesses of all sizes to accomplish their vision of “moving dreams forward”.

Top Takeaways:

  • Cloudways Offers One-Click Easy: Staging in one click. Migration in one click. Scalability without the complexity. 
  • Open-Source Ecosystems Thrive: Communities are driving satisfaction. There are so many opportunities to take in feedback and make improvements. They are driving new niches for flexibility, freedom, and scalability. 
  • Find the Right Fit: Are you getting the value of what you are paying for? Are you getting less than you need? Are you taking advantage of all of the functionality you are paying for? Little things make a big difference for your site performance and user experience.
  • WordPress is Comforting: WordPress has risk, but the history, knowledge repository, documentation, and training resources offer a level of security from the enterprise on down.

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Cory Miller: [00:00:00] Welcome back to Post Status draft. Um, we’re doing a new series called The Product People, basically where we’re talking to the people actually driving the product at all these great companies. And one of our first to do this is Robert, my friend Robert Jacobi. Who leads WordPress endeavors over there, and I’ll let him actually share in just a second what he actually does in his actual title or Robert.

But I’ve known Robert for a couple years now and hearing some of his backstory, I’m excited for this because. I mean, he’s had a wealth of experience, not just in WordPress, but before that other communities and agency work. And so, um, today, the purpose of this, the intention of these interviews is really to say there’s all these cool products out there in the WordPress space.

But let’s talk to the people driving the vision, um, the roadmaps, the work that gets done for the people buying those products. So I wanna give, like, I, I personally, Robert, like [00:01:00] the human angle. I don’t like to just buy from a button. I wanna buy from a human, ultimately know there’s people out there. I give the example a lot of like Tom bin bags.

And now Tom has actually exited that business. But I was like, you get to hear the story. You get to hear him, his background and talk about how you designed this particular backpack. But, uh, anyway, Robert, thanks for coming on to the draft podcast, talking about, uh, the product and what you’re doing at Cloud Ways.

But would you give us a set, uh, little background about yourself, how you got into it, what you, well, let’s say, let’s start with what you actually do at Cloud Ways, what you’re responsible for, and then I’ll ask how you got there.

Robert Jacobi: Okay. So we’ll, we’ll, we’ll, Teased it out backwards. Fantastic. Yeah. Thanks so much for, for having me here.

Corey, I, you know, I, I love post status, love you and your family. Uh, really thrilled to be here. Uh, so I, my title, which titles don’t mean Anything, but, uh, as director of WordPress at Cloud Ways, uh, it’s a fancy way of saying [00:02:00] strategy partnerships, product marketing, c. So all the above. All the above. And probably things I’m missing, and those

Cory Miller: that know you well, know that it’s very fitting.

All the things were in one hat and director of WordPress. I love it. .

Robert Jacobi: But, uh, yeah, it’s, I, I guess I could say it’s been like a 20 year journey to get here. I’ve been at, uh, cloud Ways for about a year and a half actually just. But started, uh, in open source decades ago. Boy, that makes it sound so long. . Years ago.

Just, just years ago. And, uh, uh, built an agency around initially Java, but then actually jula, uh, the content management system and focused on that aspect of implementing backend work with Jum. Open source, connecting up to all that fun open source [00:03:00] stuff, which actually led me to being a leader of the project, uh, for a little bit in the late 20 teen.

Cory Miller: That’s the part that I, I really appreciate. One of the many things about your story is like you were in, in this very big community called Joomla. And I, I’ve told you my story, it was in 2006 when we were retailing our organization’s website. I was working at, at the time, and one of the developers, uh, mentioned Joomla and Joomla, still around.

Jim was still. And I think still with the open web conversation serves a vital interest, but you really were like in that inner circle of community helping lead and drive that project for a long time. And I know I bounce things off you over time because now we have this WordPress thing, and I know Drupla was even set up differently too from a governance standpoint and getting your feedback and the pros and cons and strengths and weaknesses of those.

With all that say, I, I still am a cheerleader for Jula cuz I think it works in a lot of, [00:04:00] for a lot of people in a lot of settings. But I think there’s lessons that you have from that experience that, that I know. I’ve appreciated hearing your thoughts on WordPress specifically.

Robert Jacobi: Oh my gosh. Well, we don’t have 17 hours to go over that, but

Cory Miller: Yeah, exactly that.

We’ll say that one for another one. Yeah. But three

Robert Jacobi: very differently run organizations. Each successful in the way they wanna be successful. So that’s what actually makes it interesting that the way you run an organization can define, helps you define what success is and then you can actually focus on it more.

Yeah. And

Cory Miller: the other part of the background for you too is running your own agency. So like you, when you’re building product there, I love highlighting this because you’re, you were, The user for a lot of companies, including cloudy product stuff that I think is really, uh, helps you build a more intuitive product too.

But I know from years running your own agency, like you come in from the gr, you know, from the people doing the work out there, that always [00:05:00] don’t get showcased as well. And WordPress and Post has specifically, but I think that’s another angle is like you’ve been there, you’ve earned your straps as an

Robert Jacobi: agency owner.

Thank you. And I just, whenever I think that far back, I think of when we had our servers in a closet, you know, hosting customers, you know, way back then. Yeah. Oh wow.

Cory Miller: Now you’re, now you’re dating yourself .

Robert Jacobi: No, I don’t miss that .

Cory Miller: So, uh, then fast forward, okay, so there was this time where I know you stepped into the WordPress community.

This was before cloud. Can you share a little bit about that and why you chose to step into the WordPress

Robert Jacobi: community? Sure. After I kind of, uh, rolled out of the agency, I started looking for just something new to do, for lack of a better term or phrase, and, uh, uh, joined the executive team at Perfect Dashboard, which is, uh, which was a company that built a automatic [00:06:00] update.

Tool for WordPress, uh, that was acquired by WP Engine at the beginning of 2019. And then I just focused on, uh, in a lot of ways helping the open source community understand what businesses needed, but even more importantly, for businesses to let them know how open source communi. Work and, and it’s not just about, you can throw, you know, millions of dollars at something and everyone’s gonna love you there.

There’s a lot of, you know, get to know the people, get engaged, uh, be a part of everything from a word camp, you know, to a jula day, to, you know, whatever the open source project is. But you know, you, you need to have skin in the game to be taken seriously by a lot of people who have spent hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of hours within those open source.

Well, I’m

Cory Miller: thankful you, you took the step into the WordPress community and then so fast forward, you got the [00:07:00] gig at Cloud Ways. You all have had a lot of, um, new things coming out from a product standpoint and then also new news coming out from a company standpoint and that you were acquired by Digital Ocean or, um, let’s see, August, September, I

Robert Jacobi: wanna say, uh, the beginning of September was, uh, yep.

When we closed there. It’s been, uh, 2022. Uh, so it’s technically our 10 year anniversary. And, uh, I unfortunately we’ve had like no time to celebrate it. It’s been busy as can be. You know, the, the, the opening up of the world post, you know, post covid, uh, you know, depending how you look at it. So, lots of travel, lots of events, a lot of, you know, Meeting folks.

Uh, uh, partnership with CloudFlare. We announced, uh, safe updates. Uh, so, and then of course the digital ocean acquisition. So we’ve been, it’s this, this one year’s we feel like we’ve done, uh, 10 years of work in one year for our 10th anniversary.

Cory Miller: That’s how it goes. That was similar. Similar to mine with iThemes.

We had just celebrated our [00:08:00] 10th anniversary and we were required. Um, okay. So let’s talk about WordPress as it relates to cloud ways. So this is what you lead that particular product. Tell us about the product at Cloud Way specific to

Robert Jacobi: WordPress. So, uh, we actually have a number of WordPress products, I guess to put it that way.

The goal of Cloud Ways is to just, it’s a managed cloud, you know, hosting solution and, you know, we can all blah, blah, blah about manage hosting. Um, and I will, don’t worry. But, uh, you know, one of the things we, we focused on was just making it, you know, One click easy. So we, we really want to, uh, enable folks, you know, who have one 10, you know, hundred sites to just be able to get on there.

Uh, either start from scratch with, you know, sort of a, a more, you know, cloud ways, uh, adapted version. WordPress. It’s totally WordPress. We just make sure that, you know, caching and things are turned on the way you might want it. [00:09:00] Um, or, you know, or just sort of. Naked WordPress. So nothing’s tweaked at all.

Uh, WooCommerce of course. And then, you know, we, we have some bundles around, uh, other packages and products. Just make it, again, one click easy. Uh, lots of folks can do one click easy. WordPress, what, you know, we focused on the whole time is how do you get that WordPress Cloud site cloud enabled? And, uh, you know, yes, you can go to a shared hosting site and say, I want a WordPress install.

But there’s a lot more work behind the scenes. You know, we want our users to feel like, yes, it’s just the same thing, but behind the scenes you’re on a very scalable, uh, high performance, secure infrastructure. So when

Cory Miller: someone’s looking at their building, building a website or launching a project, and they go, Hey, I want the scale of cloud.

With the easiness, not having to kind of go through and tinker with settings and things like that from a, and you know me, I’m not very technical, but [00:10:00] from the cloud is awesome in this dream, in that you can scale and do all these kinds of things, but there’s work in between that needs to happen to help get it.

WordPress ready. Is that where kind of cloud waste kind of comes in?

Robert Jacobi: Without a doubt. I mean, if you go to any of ’em, so obviously we’re now owned by digital lotion, but you know, digital lotion, aws, gcp, so that’s Google Cloud, uhlin, node, vulture, you know, all these platforms are much more tech focused. So you can do a lot of really cool stuff on any of these platforms.

Like really dive data, dive, uh, Deep in, uh, you get root, you can do, you know, all kinds of crazy tech voodoo and you have fantastic platforms and applications out there on that. But boy, if you just want to get WordPress going, that is a pain in the rear. Uh mm-hmm. , you know, we used to work with AWS and Azure back in the agency days, and [00:11:00] Oh man, just to get stuff going.

You know, you need that certification or, or you’re going to misconfigure something or even worse, you’re gonna misbuild the Jesus outta yourself and what you thought was gonna be a, you know, a $50, you know, bill for the month. All of a sudden it’s like 500 or a thousand dollars because you left something on that you weren’t supposed to, and you didn’t know that it was gonna be metered and build out in such and such a way, or some database process went crazier, haywire.

So, We try to get rid of that risk at Cloud ways and just mitigate that so you can be like, oh, I am on Digital Ocean and I don’t need to worry about any of this stuff. I’m paying a monthly fee. I’m not gonna get surprised with anything. Uh, really just kind of making it what, you know, a lot of shared hosting used to be back in the day, but without all the performance bottlenecks.

Mm-hmm. now.

Cory Miller: Okay. You mentioned cloud. Is 10 years old and so I like been around for a long time. And I know this predates you [00:12:00] at the company, but like when did the WordPress specific offering start to come into the cloud? Ways history and product climate.

Robert Jacobi: We started out as actually a Magento shop. That was our first big offering, uh, that was sort of cloud enabled.

As we, uh, look at it, I think with the n memory serves, About three years, two to three years, we, uh, had on, you know, put together our WordPress packages to be able to deploy across, uh, cloud providers.

Cory Miller: Okay. So when you think about the product, um, that we, we talked about this big problem, you know, and I love your phrase there, cloud enabled.

Um, so who do you find in your customer community that you know just goes, okay, this. This is exactly what we need for what we’re doing. Are there some common kind of avatars and customer journeys you see most often?

Robert Jacobi: Uh, first and foremost, our best customers are agencies, uh, because it’s really easy to manage, [00:13:00] uh, you know, the costs of having a ton of clients on your infrastructure.

I mean, the flexibility is yes, I can have a digital ocean droplet. A hundred sites, if they’re all, you know, small, simple brochure sites and you know, that’s costing you $10 a month, plus or minus, I can’t remember the exact, maybe it’s 10 99 . Mm-hmm. , you know, a. To host as many, you know, as many sites as that droplet can handle, or you can scale that heck out of it and have, you know, a super e-commerce site that’s, you know, got 300 plus concurrent users and chugging away, uh, on its own droplets.

You, you can mix and match, you know, across the platform. Uh, not even just with one cloud provider, but across multiple providers. Cause some folks do have that. AWS expert in a house or as a contractor, and they do wanna tweak some things, uh, to the best of their ability. Again, it’s managed so we don’t let them blow up everything.

But, [00:14:00] uh, we, we have, uh, use cases where, you know, there’s front end stuff that’s, you know, quickly being handled by, uh, digital ocean. And then there’s like some crazy backend batch processing that’s happening on a, you know, super high performant, you know, aws, uh, EC two. So like diversity

Cory Miller: of the projects within an agency, like you said, brochure wear all the way to something that skills bigger in one place where you can kind of manage all those.

Um, that’s pretty

Robert Jacobi: compelling. Uh, I wish I would’ve had that 20 years ago. , right, right. Building up a staging and deployment server and a production server and yeah. All that fun. And managing

Cory Miller: all that cloud complexity too. Uh, for sure. So what are some of the, um, examples, like you mentioned eCommerce, um, and I know WooCommerce is something that a lot of your customers do and use the platform for.

Um, can you give us some more like, niche down examples too, of, it doesn’t have to be by name [00:15:00] of course, but like what you’re seeing in the community at cloud ways, you know, you’ve got is WooCommerce, something that comes up quite a bit is obviously WordPress too, but what are some of. Uh, niche down, you know, journeys that you see

Robert Jacobi: in the community too.

Well, it’s e-commerce across the board. So, uh, just jump back slightly on the sort of the audiences we have at, at Cloud Wastes. Yeah. Uh, we focus on SMBs. I mean, that, that, that is, you know, the crux of our mission, the crux of our joy. Uh, our, our model’s always been moving dreams forward, but it’s also, you know, how do we accelerate?

Opportunity for our customers. And it, it, it’s almost easiest to see in the SMB space cause you can do a few little things and, uh, performance increases, uh, trust increases. Uh, our customers, customers are happy. And that, that kind of is a, a flywheel of, of, I wanna say a flywheel of joy. Patent pending, um, , [00:16:00] uh, but that, but a lot of it’s on the e-commerce side.

So, Pretty much every site on the web these days has some kind of e-commerce component, however you wanna monetize it, whether that’s through ad traffic or actually running a store. Uh, we focus a lot on WooCommerce because it’s a, uh, a great platform. It’s an open source e-commerce platform. Um, it’s hard to name many of those.

And, uh, it, it, it, there’s a lot of flexibility with what you can do with it. And so, People wanna spin up a shop. Uh, no, we’re not Shopify, you’re not gonna be able to just start dragging, dropping. But when you’re looking at, you know, do I wanna be locked into, uh, a system where, you know, I don’t have all the control that I need?

For my site that I, you know, I might be locked in on data. I might not be able to, uh, move or migrate or all that kind of stuff. We, you know, we certainly believe that W Commerce is the way to go. Uh, we [00:17:00] just, uh, had a, you know, w Commerce speed challenge. Uh, you know, we like to engage with the W Commerce community, with other users of Glu commerce.

Uh, you know, it. I’ve always loved open source. It’s, it’s the, the communities, uh, drive satisfaction, which makes it exciting to, uh, evolve with customers. And because it’s open source, you can do a lot of stuff to, you know, quickly, uh, take in that feedback. So

Cory Miller: drilling down to the products, the offerings that you have too, what are some.

You know, we, we could just say it as what are the kind of features, the core parts of the products that you’re really most proud of, and that you see people really like maxing out to the, uh, to the, to the furthest they can with, with the actual products.

Robert Jacobi: I love having staging that’s always there and one click ready

I think that’s, that’s great. It should be everywhere. Um, you know, [00:18:00] we get you going with that right away. Uh, you know, one click to be able to migrate across cloud platforms, I think is, is amazing. I don’t know where else you can just sit there and go, oh, you know, uh, I don’t need Google anymore. You know, I just, I just wanna put this over on digital.

Yeah, you can do that and you can go back and forth all day long. Um, that it’s a, it’s a unique, uh, for me cool factor to be able to take advantage of, uh, you know, how different platforms run and the, you know, the value some, you know, are obviously gonna cost more and maybe there’s value, maybe there’s, you know, you have the value, you don’t need that, uh, type of, uh, expense performance, so you can easily ratchet down as well.

Um, so, you know, that’s cool. Uh, you know, a lot. Good things around, uh, optimizing and securing WordPress from, you know, how we implement CloudFlare, how, how, you know, how our safe updates work. Um, which is sort of that very similar to what I did back in [00:19:00] the perfect dashboard days. Um, automatic WordPress and plugin updates.

Um, you know, getting those basics in line is critical. So I really like that those work and, you know, You don’t wanna worry about that as a customer, you know, you wanna worry about the cool stuff or, you know, what’s my next product gonna be? You know, or you know, how am I gonna launch a, you know, a Black Friday Cyber Monday campaign?

You don’t wanna be worried about, you know, is my site gonna get jammed up? Is it gonna get a hacked, is it, you know, gonna just flub around. Yeah, went

Cory Miller: back to the one click across the platforms that, that’s a, seems like a compelling feature specifically for agencies who go, okay, I’m not getting what I want here.

And being able to click do a one click migration. That’s outstanding. It, it’s, it’s,

Robert Jacobi: it’s really cool. It’s, it’s like, you know, that value proposition got me hook, line, and sinker when, uh, I first started working at cloud. Yeah, I

Cory Miller: remember, uh, we had, [00:20:00] uh, an aws, you know, part of our SaaS solution at Ithe, and that built, you know, initially the processing really awesome until you do it on scale and then you’re like, just that, being able to move the, uh, and migrate to different, you know, cloud solutions I think would be great from a price standpoint, if anything, but I’m sure there’s other compelling reasons to do.

Like if you’re not the right solution, isn’t there? But do you see other, do you see com, you know, other paths why people would go, okay, I’m gonna use this one clip to go over here. Do you see that quite a

Robert Jacobi: bit too? Uh, a lot of times just the needs have changed. So it’s, you know, either I need to ramp up, uh, what I have at Digital Ocean or, you know, or ramp down from, uh, something that I thought was, that started off strong, but you know, It’s going, but we really just don’t need that.

So we don’t need, uh, whatever GCP may be offering and then, you know, ramp it down to, you know, maybe a high end [00:21:00] digital ocean server, but you’re still save droplet, I should say. Um, but you’re still saving 50%, uh, for what you were paying before. And, you know, we’ve, we keep a, a big guy on. The value propositions, especially in our fund, ever-changing, uh, economy.

And, uh, we’re seeing a lot of people take the time to evaluate what they, you know, have provision for themselves, whether that’s at Cloud ways or another provider and, and, and, you know, spend a week or two doing the math and being like, you know what, we can get the same kind of performance, you know, at cloud ways.

Somewhere else, but you know, people are actually finally looking at, you know, those infrastructure costs I think a little bit more seriously.

Cory Miller: Yeah. And when you said the needs part, I thought it seems like a graduation. Okay, this served me for this season of time, for whatever I’m doing now. I’m graduating to a different, different offering.

And then even though Cloud Wises is owned by Digital Ocean, I know you have all those. [00:22:00] Yeah. And um, I’ve heard the plan is to continue to, to have those options so that. Being able to pick where you’re at with that kind of ease is a lot, a lot in the hosting. Now I go way back here, but like in the, the problem with hosting was typically you can’t move.

It’s hard to move, it’s easy to get in, hard to get out. And so now with that, that those options out there you can graduate on when you have

Robert Jacobi: needs change. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we support digital Ocean Lin, node Vulture, gcp, and aws, and, uh, you know, yes, you’re on top of clouds doing that, but of course, we’re all, we’re launching open source applications, so yes, you could even move off of clouds very easily.

I mean, that’s, that, that kind of, I think the, that idea of hosted lock in is it’s never gonna leave because you can make a lot of money if you get the right, you know, Bit of traction initially. I mean, obviously you can look at, you know, the wickes of the world, but I, I think people are only satisfied for [00:23:00] so long with that until they realize that there are, there are a lot of stumbling blocks, uh, to doing what you want and having, you know, flexibility, freedom, scalability are, are, are much more important than, Just being able to do a little bit of drag and drop, and frankly, I’m gonna keep rolling on this.

Open source keeps improving. And, you know, I don’t want those guys to disappear because, you know, it’s great to keep, you know, open source projects on their toes. Like, you know, they’re, they’re finding niches in the market which are, are critical, important, and relevant, and, and users are going to them. So I think that’s a great challenge for open source projects to, you know, evaluate what’s going on there and being like, okay.

That’s something we should add in. We should add in blocks, for example, and we can have a block editor and we can have, oh my gosh, they just changed. Name. What’s FSC being called now? Just site editor. It’s not site editor. Site editor.

Cory Miller: Okay, so we, we’ve been talking about some of the product [00:24:00] solutions in particular, like the one click staging. Um, anything else before I ask about, you know, how you’re seeing users in your community make the most of it, what the ones are going? Okay. They’re, they’re, they’re taking the most advantage of what we designed this for.

For anything else before we get to that?

Robert Jacobi: Uh, I think folks should, I, I touched on just a mo a moment ago. Uh, take a look at your infrastructure, see what you’re paying for, see if that’s providing the value. Uh, you know, and cloud ways may not be the right fit and that’s okay. Um, because if there is a right fit somewhere else, you should always go with the right fit.

But, uh, take the time and I think this year especially is a good time to you. Just kind of go through that, you know, are, are you really getting the value out of you know, what you’re paying for and maybe you’re paying too little and getting too little and not even realizing it because you haven’t done the homework of maybe running a couple of speed tests and realizing that, wow, my site actually.

Takes five plus seconds to load. It’s just really fast. Cause it’s always cashed on my own [00:25:00] browser cause I’m checking it every morning. So , you know, little things like that can make a huge difference in, you know, in seo, in sales, uh, and, and just friendliness, uh, for web visitors. People don’t, people just are impatient on the internet.

I like that. So

Cory Miller: the two themes I’m hearing is value, being able to assess, hey, is this the right solution? Are we getting the right value? Are we spending too much? Whatever that is. And the other side of it, which is need, okay, are we getting what we need from that platform? We’d rather, Hey, we’ve been looking at this different option.

And those are two that kind of funnel into what you built. You all build it cloud waste. Yep. Awesome. Okay. All right. So. Now let’s how to use the most, how to get the most out of the product that you all have built at Cloud Wastes. So what are the ways you see in the community or the ways you even think from the product perspective?

You’re like, I just wish people would do this, this, and that, or whatever that is. Um, you, I built products for a long time, or at [00:26:00] least led product teams that both work and you’re always. We built that. So you would do this, but they miss it or, gosh, we, we spend our, you know, for us it was like we spend every day thinking about the product and the, or the problem and the solution, and then people get it and you’re like, they’re using like 5% of it.

What sticks out in your mind from that standpoint? People that are really using it for all it’s worth or the, or also the ones that go, oh, I wish they’d just do these two things, or whatever that is. Uh, in terms of making, making the most of what you’ve, you and your team have built?

Robert Jacobi: So for the, for the technically and kind companies, I really wish they would use our API more.

Uh, we have an agency partner that. Very geeky on the inside. So it was great. They, they, they jumped on the cloud ways and they said, oh, you guys have this api? We’re like, yeah. And they’re, well, can we do X, Y, and Z with it? [00:27:00] We’re like, yes. So they are literally, uh, they’ve created their whole, you know, to mention a competitor.

They’ve created their own like Pantheon esque. Instance of cloud ways. So the, all their deployments, uh, whether it’s for existing projects or new projects from staging, from dev to staging, uh, production, it’s all done with, you know, scripts, you know, on their, on their side of the universe, and they can, you know, Do very complicated, uh, integrations of, uh, new code and whatnot, you know, across their stack.

And it’s all on cloud ways, on, you know, a bunch of droplets. And it’s brilliant. It’s, it’s actually my favorite use case for clouds and I really wish more people would take a look at the API and realize how powerful it is to really be able to spin up what you want when you.

Dig that.

Cory Miller: So not being technical minded, [00:28:00] but how do you talk to those agencies? If I put on that hat and you talk to me for a second, you’re like, Hey, here’s some ways, but that seems like, for instance, on an API perspective, is customize it for your unique need. This is that last percentage where you’re like, I’m, we’re never gonna be able to do these things, but we can put the API out here that allows those kind of custom.

Anything specifically

Robert Jacobi: St Yeah. Yeah, I mean, every company is, uh, I guess engineering, you know, uh, what’s the word? Oh boy, uh, engineering resource constrain these days. So while there’s a ton of cool stuff we like to do, some of it’s gonna be edge cases, so we just wanna be able to say, Hey, you know, let us help you walk through this, you know, we’ll guide you through any questions you have.

And then run with it, you know, this is, it’s full tested, uh, in, you know, in production api. It’s the API we use. So it’s not like , you know, if we sign, find something wrong with it, we’re the first ones to know. Yeah.

Cory Miller: Yeah. Awesome. Okay. API big one. Make use of [00:29:00] that. Anything else stand out to you? Um,

Robert Jacobi: You know, on sort of the almost new user aspect, uh, I, I, I would like people to understand the variety of applications they can actually deploy. So, yes, you know, I’m always gonna have my cloud way’s WordPress head on, but if you’re working in Laville, And, you know, or other custom PHP stuff, you can still deploy those applications with one click, or at least the framework with one click and be ready to go on, you know, on one or more, uh, servers.

So, uh, you know, being able to just take advantage of that pretty quickly or ask questions about that we’re. Always interested in people’s opinions and questions and suggestions. I mean, we literally had, uh, a suggestion come over, uh, the wire this morning, which was like, duh, why haven’t we done that? Okay.

Cause you know, you sometimes you just get myopic on, you know, you’re sitting in your, uh, you know, cubicle and, uh, what’s a [00:30:00] cubicle? I, I think we don’t use those . Um, but you know, you know too much about your product and you just make assumptions and that’s, that’s always tricky to. People internally to be like, oh yeah, of course.

Duh. So as I talk to ask questions more, reach out to us, uh, you know, good, bad or ugly, uh, you know, that’s, that’s always one of those things. Feedback’s never useless. It’s, it can just be sometimes interesting . And that’s

Cory Miller: an advantage of having Robert and Slack as well. So you can hit, you can hit up Robert and Slack too, and give.

Feedback or ask some questions too, or he can point you in the right direction. But what I heard from you, um, too, is that it’s, even though you are passionate about WordPress at Cloud Ways, cloud Ways is passionate about WordPress, it’s not just. WordPress and I talk a lot to a lot of, uh, agency owners, particularly in our community.

And it’s interesting because I, I too have just won the WordPress hat for years and I, [00:31:00] and it’s refreshing to hear what all these agencies are doing, but it’s not just what, there’s a lot of tools out there that they might go, I talked to one last week and they’re doing API develop. With like dairy farmers and things like that.

But there’s, so what I hear you saying too is like, it’s, even though we’re having a WordPress conversation related to cloud wastes, it’s not just cloud wastes. You can do other other

Robert Jacobi: things with it. Oh, for sure. And I, I, I’ll put my agency hat back on and, you know, we were a jula shop easily. 50% of the work we did was not ju.

You know, direct, it was maybe tied into it, but there were custom applications, uh, maybe some kind of server architecture that we were building out. Um, you know, crazy database thing. Um, JUUL was a part of it, but then we needed to have other environments to support whatever other, uh, platforms we were, uh, integrating with.


Cory Miller: All right. Anything else on the making the most part, things [00:32:00] you wish people knew about or did? Uh, before we start talking about, I want to get your takes on the future where WordPress is too, and technology and vision values and things like that. But anything else on the making the most part that you wanna mention?

Robert Jacobi: APIs, reaching out, uh, you know, play with all the tools. We have a lot of, you know, sometimes people just do that one click and, uh, You know, skip over some of the, you know, interesting features that are already available to them. You know, we have different types of caching that are already available. Um, yes, it gets a little more geeky and you have to know what you’re doing.

So, yes. Um, but I mean, you can go all the way up to, you know, sort of, uh, enterprise esque, uh, CloudFlare, and uh, you know, that’s pretty cool. I

Cory Miller: should have asked this earlier, but a lot of the, it seems like a lot of the, uh, customers you have, or at least the contact points with cloud ways or they’re using the platform, might be more developer, technical minded people too.

So can you speak? So that really speaks to them in the sense of get in there and play around. [00:33:00] They might not, okay, I’m thinking solution and I just need this fixed. But there’s also other things that they can get in, explore. Anything, particularly if we put on that developer and agency type role and like, what else would you say to

Robert Jacobi: them?

Uh, well, a lot of that developer-centric nature comes from being a completely self-service. You know, provider for a long time. Uh, you know, we’re expanding how we reach out, how we communicate, how we, uh, expose offerings. But, you know, make sure you use, you know, a lot of the basics. Make sure you’re using , the staging environments.

They’re already there. They’re not gonna anything extra. Uh, take advantage of. You know, evaluating, you know, potentially different servers or how you, uh, load up on, you know, droplets or something like that. Uh, you may find that, uh, one application is really, you know, kind of, [00:34:00] uh, what’s the, uh, impacting, that’s the word I wanna look.

sometimes hard find these, these seven letter words, um, impacting, you know, other applications. You know, never thought about it before, but you can actually tell now the difference. And so yeah, move that over to another, uh, you know, add an extra droplet into the, uh, mix and, and also play around with, uh, how you might split up that architecture.

Again, I’m, I get, I get geeky on this, but you know, no geek geeky. We, we, uh, uh, we have a customer. Yeah, put their entire database on a really high performant droplet, because that was getting hammered all the time by the type of applications that they were running, but their front end wasn’t really that busy, so they could, you know.

Put multiple versions and variations of that front end on a much more, uh, cost efficient, you know, value based, uh, package. So you can do [00:35:00] cool things like that without having to, uh, go crazy and worry about, you know, third party, you know, database as a service, things. I mean, it’s already there. Um, so you can kind of take advantage.

Right. Get

Cory Miller: in and look around the API and, uh, you play with the tools. Okay. Thanks for that, Robert. Now let’s talk about, I want the, the part that I can talk better about is where is WordPress now in the open web, in the web in general? Um, where’s the position, what are you seeing in WordPress? What are you excited about with WordPress as we kind of move forward and continue to like help democratize publish?

Robert Jacobi: Uh, well, WordPress is the defacto content management system platform right now. I, I, I don’t think there’s any way just by the sheer volume, the ubiquity, the types of traffic. Uh, there are probably a hundred million people on a WordPress site right now. They don’t even realize it, [00:36:00] so it, it, it, there, there’s a ubiquity to it.

Uh, that’s not gonna disappear overnight. Uh, My assumption is it’ll continue growing. It’s, it’s, there are a lot of things that have been done right with WordPress. There’s a lot of, you know, quarreling, cobbling, squabbling, um, sometimes about how things get deployed and rolled out. But, uh, on the whole of, for a community driven project, it’s pretty amazing.

How far it’s come, how far it’s going to go, and, uh, the breadth of, of adoption. It’s, it’s, is it the easiest thing the universe to use? No, but it’s not the hardest, uh, is, is, is it the most flexible thing? It’s up there. I mean, there may be things, you know, if you really wanna just hand code everything from scratch, I guess that’s the most flexible.

But this allows a level of [00:37:00] consistency, uh, comfort. I know it’s not a word we typically use with open source projects, but I can go from one word press site to another for completely different applications, and there’s a comfort in knowing where all the pieces are and that there’s documentation and training and all these things that help continue to grow an ecosystem.

That at some point everyone knows at least enough about WordPress to be dangerous and people can build careers and companies out of it, uh, quite easily.

Cory Miller: Absolutely. Is there anything about in the project too that you like that’s getting you excited? Uh, whether it’s, um, a particular market that’s able to really crush or, you know, cont not crush, crush in a good way, um, really expand into, and I think of enterprise here, so I’m baiting you on that.

But um, also specific features. Do you know we got good word, the code editor. Or the block editor always. We’ve got side editor coming out now, changed from full side editing, but anything, anything that [00:38:00] you, you’re excited about specifically related to the project that

Robert Jacobi: it’s doing? I think there’s, uh, small stuff being done and you kind of, you know, um, lob the pitch at me, uh, to, to get enterprise just sort of, uh, happy.

I mean, there’s a. Performance work being done all the time on WordPress there, you know, there’s, uh, you know, WordPress learnings now, I mean, these are the things the enterprise cares about. They wanna be performant, they wanna be secure, and they wanna know that there’s a knowledge repository that they can go back to, uh, either for reference or for training their workers or being able to evaluate their workers against, or contractors, uh, vendors or whatnot that kind of.

That’s risk mitigation. And the enterprise cares about mitigating this kind of risk. And that’s why open source had such a hard time in the beginning, and new projects have such a hard time getting traction. There’s a lot of risk, you know, who’s running the project. Uh, [00:39:00] you know, are they awake? What happens if something is horribly broken?

What if there’s a, a core vulnerability that destroys everything? You know, these corporations don’t, the enterprises not wanna worry about those things. They do, but you know, let’s not make it even scarier than it already is for them. And I think what you know, the project has done very well is try to cover some of these aspects and, uh, provide that faith and security.

Yeah, I,

Cory Miller: I, I have no enterprise experience, um, but I love that WordPress is, seems to be really doing well on an enterprise. And I hear from a lot of marketing types in those companies that love WordPress, cuz it’s. Faster, cheaper, and oh, we can actually make side changes on the side. Like they can actually use Gutenberg block editor to roll out things.

And that’s exciting for me. I, I came in from more the, here’s your $80 theme, but to [00:40:00] see WordPress release, start to take. Take a lot of ground up there and help a lot of people, particularly at the enterprise is exciting. Talking with a lot of our agency owners. Same. Same thing is like, that was music to my ears.

That’s what you want to hear WordPress is doing, um, is continue to grow in the new markets and help with that expansion of the.

Robert Jacobi: Of the open web and even things like headless. I mean, so again, you have all that consistency and reliability for from cord WordPress, but now I can just spit out my whole site via APIs.

I mean, you could always kind of do that, but now it just gets better and more robust and, uh, again, uh, mitigates risk by being able to have the worker’s stuff on one end and then sort of the display part on the other end. All right. Well,

Cory Miller: thank you for that. Anything else you’re excited about, uh, the work you’re doing at Cloud Ways, the work in WordPress?

Anything else that we left out that you want to share? Oh,

Robert Jacobi: there’s so many things I’d love to share. , uh, it’s, it’s, it’s [00:41:00] a busy good time for WordPress. I know there’s a lot of concern about, in the tech Mark about what’s going on with this or what’s going on with that. One of the amazing things about, you know, successful open source project, Is that the opportunities exist.

I mean, if you’re, if you’re a Linux geek, you, you, there are so many millions of opportunities If you’re a WordPress developer, implementer, you know, uh, editor, content creator, you know, those opportunities are all over the place. And, and it’s, it’s, you know, nice from. You know, working in this space now that, okay, the, you know, this is not just a one trick pony, this isn’t the, you know, some kind of project, which may, may be fantastic or may just drop dead tomorrow.

Uh, WordPress is, uh, It’s solid and we should really take an immense amount of pleasure in the fact that it’s solid. Yes, we’re not getting things always done as quickly [00:42:00] or, you know, can’t make everyone happy. But that’s, that’s not the worst problem to have in the universe. Uh, it’s the project. And the platform is flexible enough to accommodate well third party solutions that can integrate with WordPress.

You know, why not? And that kind of stability helps everyone from the enterprise on. Yeah, that’s

Cory Miller: a good way to end it. Well, thank you my friend Robert, and also the cloud ways for continuing to support business award press at post status. And I love what you’re doing over there. Keep it up and keep sharing, uh, what you and your team are doing.

Will you be you and the team? Um, where will you be next? I know Word Camp are coming around, but, uh, where will you be?

Robert Jacobi: Yeah, a deploy, depending when this gets pushed out, there’s a digital Deploy, digital Ocean Deploy conference, uh, virtual conference that that’ll probably pass by the time this, uh, airs, uh, recurring revenue summit.

Uh, all the Black Friday, cyber Monday madness that we, uh, are [00:43:00] already kicking off. Um, I, I think that’ll, I think that’ll finish out the year. I think the, uh, we’ll, we’ll all take a needed, uh, break at, you know, for at least a week or two at the end of December,

Cory Miller: break and kick into 2023. Well, thanks, Robert.

Again, we appreciate you sharing the story and what you’re doing, uh, with the product, WordPress product specifically over at Cloud Waste. We’ll talk to you next time.

Robert Jacobi: Thanks so much, Corey.

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

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