Launching a WordPress Product in Public: Session 1

Corey Maass and Cory Miller go live to discuss the creation and launch of a WordPress product they have partnered to build. Crop.Express originated as a solution to a common problem Maass experienced. Miller loved the idea and wondered how to build this into a plugin to solve problems within the WordPress workflow. This is a candid conversation about the evolution of partnering to develop a WordPress product.

Estimated reading time: 40 minutes

Transcript

In this episode, Corey Maass and Cory Miller discuss the origin of the WordPress product they are creating. Together they explore the benefits of partnership, the challenges of being a creator, and what it takes to build viable solutions. This is only the beginning of their process and partnership, but it’s loaded with experience and insight from the journeys they have had within WordPress that brought them to this moment, as well as takeaways they’ve discovered with their new undertaking.

Top Takeaways:

  • The Power of Partnering: Many entrepreneurs aren’t interested in partnership. But they create an opportunity to own and contribute the things you do well alongside someone who has other skill sets, strengths, and experiences. Partnerships offer space to practice open dialogue while showing respect and gaining perspective. They are a great solution for all the things you can’t do, don’t want to do, or shouldn’t do. 
  • Build for a Need: Sometimes we create things believing we have brilliant ideas that will attract an audience. But where problems exist, so do the needs for solutions. You can trust if you have a problem, other people likely have the same problem and need a solution.
  • Look to Make Things Easier: When you have to go out of your workflow to do a task, things feel frustrating and clunky. Finding ways to integrate tools within our natural workflow adds tremendous value to the user experience.
  • Products Require Passion and Capacity: Yes, you may have the ability to create really cool, helpful things. But if you lack a sincere passion for the products you build or truly don’t have the time they require, they tend to fall flat somewhere along the way. You tap out at the end of your skillset or energy, and even though there may be real potential, the passion and time to carry things forward are missing.

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Transcript

Cory and Corey Episode 1
Cory Miller: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome to a cool series. Uh, my friend Corey and I have been talking about it for a couple months, a project, and we said, Hey, why don’t we just broadcast this out, do it in public. And so this series is kind of called Launching a WordPress product in Public. This is session one we’re gonna talk about.
First. I’m gonna let Corey introduce himself in just a second, but we’re gonna talk about the agenda is, um, kind of where we’ve been, just to catch everybody up. And then second part, we’re gonna talk about next steps for what we’re doing. And we’ll of course describe the project, uh, as we go. So, Corey, I think people know you, but let’s, let’s, uh, go ahead and share it.
Tell us more about, uh, who you are, what you’ve done with WordPress.
Corey Maass: Of course. Uh, so I’m Corey Moss, currently [00:01:00] residing in the northeast of the United States. Um, I’ve been a developer and an entrepreneur for 25 years or so, and largely locked into the WordPress space for 10 years or more. It was the day job for a very long time, and I was pushing SaaS apps or BU building and pushing SaaS apps, uh, in evenings and weekends.
And then, I don’t know, years ago at this point, I went to, uh, WordCamp in Atlanta, Georgia, and met a few WordPress entrepreneurs, including the, um, specifically the Ninja Forms guys down there. And suddenly a light bulb went off of like, oh, there’s, you know, there’s a lot more to WordPress products and the WordPress ecosystem than I realized.
And. It can be used to build SaaS apps, which I also do. Um, but [00:02:00] also these plugins that can be grown and built into pot, you know, sometimes, or potentially into, into businesses under themselves. So that really kind of got me started. And so, uh, around that time, I, I learned about the Post Status community.
Uh, I’m, I am wearing the Post Status t-shirt underneath. It’s just too cold. Um, being up here in the northeast. But, um, yeah, so it’s been, you know, fun to be part of the community and fun to grow. Uh, I’ve now grown and sold a couple of businesses or a couple of WordPress plugins. Um, and here we are about to launch.
Cory Miller: Yeah, I, I’m trying to remember back when we actually met Corey, but I knew you were like this developer who loved to like launch stuff and you had the kbo, uh, plugin at that time. Mm-hmm. , and I remember talking through that and how passionate you were, you were about it. Um, so, and then we chatted the last year or so comparing notes and I’m like, man,[00:03:00]
Corey and Cor, sorry, the broadcast system went off on my ears. Excuse me. Just one second. Okay. Whew. That was weird. I’ve got hearing aids and my phone comes through and I was like, emergency broadcast system. Mm-hmm. Um, but anyway, um, so it was fun. We’ve gotten to kind of get to know each other over the last year or so and member huddles and you shared this thing you were doing and I’ve followed up and I was like, I need this, I want this.
Um, and it’s funny too in parallel is how much stuff that we’ve got in common or things were stages of life we’re, we’re going through. And so I think it was a couple months ago you mentioned on the huddle or, and then we started talking about it in Post Status dms, the project that we’re launching in public today called Crop Express.
But um, you wanna share a little bit about that, how you came to it? And I can add a little, my perspective on it. Yeah, of course. This was your idea. Um, and I was like, oh my God, this has [00:04:00] to exist in the WordPress. Um, I need it because I need it. And that’s a typically if I try to keep at the user level and I’m like, if I like something and use something, I’m like, maybe there’s more people out there that would need it too.
But talk about the start of Crop Express.
Corey Maass: Well, before that, I want to fill in a couple of blanks. One, yeah. Uh, you and I met when you were the keynote speaker at, uh, what was it? Word? WordCamp, y’all. The, the WordCamp in Bur Birmingham, Alabama. I have lots of friends in. Birmingham, England spelled the same, but pronounced very different.
So I have a hard time pronouncing Birmingham . Um, but anyway, um, I was living in Nashville at the time and drove down and uh, that’s you And I went to lunch with a couple of other people and I, I, I must have had too much of the free coffee, cuz I remember talking your ear off while we were waiting for like barbecue or something [00:05:00] and then, You turned to me at one point you were being a very good listener, I have to say.
And then at one point you turned to me and are like, aren’t you speaking in like four minutes ? And I looked down and realized that yes, indeed, my session was starting in minutes and I still hadn’t gotten my food. Um, and so you and the folks we were with were nice enough to bring me my food halfway through the session.
Oh, chicken and waffles. I got chicken and waffles, the weird things you remember. Anyway, . Um, but yeah, I, you and I have, uh, kept in touch over the years and then, um, I think mostly caught up over on the huddles. Um, but I, I mean, I tell that cuz it’s sort of a fun story and a little background, but I also, I think it’s.
It’s a great ex, uh, example of the longevity of a lot of the relationships that I’ve had in WordPress, in the WordPress ecosystem, the [00:06:00] WordPress community. Um, you know, once in a while I, I get approached, I know you do too, of people who are like, you know, let’s partner, or, I see you’re doing a thing, let’s do a thing together with no background, no context.
Um, and I, I’m definitely not saying that people shouldn’t reach out, always reach out. You know, you never know what good is gonna come from, from reaching out. Um, I love that people messaged me directly on Twitter and um, and in Post Status and stuff like that, but also, you know, the long-term. Being part of any, uh, any, uh, being part of the WordPress community and culminating these relationships and staying in touch with people over years.
Cuz at this point, I lived in Nashville like eight years ago, so you and I met eight years ago and I don’t think talked really for five years Anyway, so that was one of the things that jumped out at me. So getting onto Crop Express. So yeah, I. I built a, [00:07:00] a conbon plug in a few years ago, sold that, um, have launched and been running a couple of others.
One I’m about to sell. Um, and, and that might actually be something to talk about at another time because I, I built it because I could, um, very typical developer. I built it because I could, but I was never really passionate about it. And so at this point, I’m, I’m talking to some folks about, um, selling it because I’ve just never been able to, man, I’ve never been able to market it, meaning I’ve never been able to make myself market it.
Um, and plugins and these businesses, to me are still side hustles. I’ve never been able to grow them large enough to be the, you know, my primary source of income. And so I have clients and. Right now, I’ve, I’ve got clients who run, uh, a couple of pretty big sort of magazine style, pretty traditional blogs, but they’re, you know, magazine style, full, beautiful, well-written, professionally written articles and [00:08:00] stuff like that.
And they are not technical at all. So they’re, they’re entrepreneurs, they’re writers, they’re content people. Um, but they. It’s not that they don’t understand, they’re very smart people, but they’re not experienced with, or they don’t think in terms of like, oh, all images need to be squares, or all images need to be 16, nine, so that the site looks uniform and consistently good.
Um, and no matter what I did, I, I couldn’t make it easy enough for them to crop their images consistently. I didn’t want to get them into Photoshop, you know, other, and that cost of Fortune. Other free editors cost money, da, da da. So anyway, um, almost on a whim, over a weekend, I bought crop.express, the domain.
Um, Here’s a industry secret. One of, one of my best kept secrets is the.express, um, what is it? Top level domain, [00:09:00] TLD. Um, there’s so many words that have not been bought yet, so I actually own poll.express, crop.express reply.express. Um, screenshot.express is another project I’m building out. Um, so if you, anybody listening, if you’re looking for a good domain, I, I highly recommend it.
I keep wondering what I’m doing wrong or like, are there companies that can’t access this or something, you know? Yeah. But
Cory Miller: anyway, um, I think it’s a hallmark of any, uh, tech entrepreneur in particular is to have like a too big of a. Portfolio that you have. That’s very continuing. Well, that’s too, yes. Um, I, I’ve got way too many, um, my wife is always like, you should put some parking pages on this.
And I go, yeah, but it’s a cool domain. What happens? I think there’s two things. Uh, we definitely should, and we’ll be talking about partnership along this whole way. Um, I’ve had a good amount of experience with partners and like having [00:10:00] partners. Um, it’s an anomaly in, in, I in a lot of the entrepreneurs I’ve talked to is a lot of successful entrepreneurs go, no way.
I’m not gonna partner with anybody. And I go, well, I kind of need to and want to. Um, but then, so I know we’re gonna be. Some thoughts about the partnership and that’s another thing is partnering in public is probably the subtext to this too on. Um, but as we’ve talked, just real quick before we get back to the product, is, um, I’m not a developer.
I should get the shirt. I’m not a developer. Um, but I love products and I’ve had a product business. Um, tried a bunch of products. I told you, I think yesterday I was like, my, my win rate is probably like in the one hundreds, uh, percentile. Um, we talked about baseball and I was like, you know, I’m probably a strikeout king because I feel like I failed quite a bit.
But coming to someone, like it’s an ideal match for me because I can, [00:11:00] you know, business and marketing, but it’s not one you have to own in this partnership. I can own that and you contribute and obviously I can’t even try to write code. Um, but I can contribute with product and, and experience and thoughts like that.
So now to the crop express. . Um, so when you shared this, I was like, yes. Because my experience in just talking about the user profile, I’m so keen to the user profile cuz sometimes I think we come at it artificially and go, I have an idea. Let’s go find a person for it. And I think some of the best ones come out of just, there’s a need, and we talked about this, it’s like, um, you hear the story is build it for your own itch or build it for yourself and all that kind of stuff.
We talked about Pi, PIP and Williamson yesterday, like he’s a, he’s the one I think of it’s like, build it, build something for a need. Mm-hmm. for himself and grew into this great, uh, business called [00:12:00] EDD. Um, what struck me about this is I go, I have a. Like trying to find software that will crop, you know, I used to use, I was an early user of Photoshop, but I don’t have Photoshop on my computer.
And I’m like, well, I go to Mac preview and crop and export it out and then try to upload it to WordPress. So instantly I go, I need this. And then I thought, and we started having these discussions. I think other people do too. You know, the classic example I have just like your clients is my mom built a her own site about 10 years ago or so.
And we had a theme, don’t cringe too much, but a theme that had rotating images in it at the top. Sure. And I tried to load the site . It was like, oh my God. She had 15 images all at like hop resolution. And this is something real quick. Uh, we both were like, this isn’t something easy. It may be in WordPress, but it’s not easy in WordPress.
And [00:13:00] my natural question was, If I have this problem, I bet you a lot of people have this problem. We talked, talked about images, we talked about agencies that turn sites over to clients and end up, why is this so slow? Or why isn’t, you know, why doesn’t this work? Right? And it’s like, well, you loaded it native from your phone, , uh, the pick.
And so that was the thesis for me, for the, for the product is you already had the SaaS solution. I was like, yes. My question was, can I get it into a plugin where it’s inside WordPress in my workflow?
Corey Maass: Yeah. And, and you helped, helped me turn that corner, honestly, cuz I, in a weekend I built. crop.express, which right now the website is the website.
It’s exactly the first version that I built. Um, it’s, it’s not complicated. It’s not well thought out, too well thought out. Like I have a, I’ve been also working in product for years, and so I, I do [00:14:00] okay with going, oh, well, this, this will be intuitive enough that somebody could muddle through it. Um, but I really wanted to just solve the problem initially for my clients and yeah, threw it online.
I love doing this anyway. Start showing it to people, showed it to you, um, and you kept, you, you nudged me a couple of times in Post Status, like, how can we make this easier? And originally I was not thinking WordPress plugin, surprisingly. Um, I was thinking more. This is just a, a great little tool that people will use and it will hopefully, you know, maybe I could throw some ads on it or I, it will refer them to my other products.
Um, and so I was building a little Chrome extension and, and you’re like, okay, that’s a start. But you know what, if we really start to explore this and yeah, the conversations kind of flowed from there.
Cory Miller: And my premise with products, [00:15:00] particularly with WordPress or any tool is this, there’s a workflow we all kind of have and you get in this system and when you have to veer out of that workflow, cropping an image, finding, cropping an image.
Yeah. So clunky within WordPress, and you have to go outside of that experience. You just added unnecessary time and energy for something frustration. When most times when I’m creating content, I go, I want to get this out and edit it and press publish and put it out in the world. And anything that slows me down is a problem.
Um, So, you know, there’s , our featured image on Post Status. I’m not happy with it. We’re still working on, on some of our design on the Post Status website. Uh, my personal side, I don’t typically use images because of this. And so I think that was some of the, my, my perspective is like, there’s enough use case here to say let’s try it.
And I think what you and I go is like, we want to have, we wanna do something that is practical and useful [00:16:00] and then see where it goes. Um, we’re not looking to get like mega rich on this or anything, but like, it’s something we both have an interest in. Let’s see where it, I’m counting on it, man. . Hey, it would be nice to get me wrong.
Corey Maass: We, uh, we bought the Mega Millions ticket last night. You know, it’s over a billion, but, uh, it hasn’t been announced that we won this morning. So, you know, this is, this is the, the next best
Cory Miller: thing. Right. Yet, you haven’t won yet. When we get some of that, carve off a little bit of that lottery money and we’ll throw some, we’ll do some cool, cool products.
Um, yeah. I, I’m really addicted to products. I’ve loved it for the longest time. Um, you said something earlier, you said I could build this and you did build things. Mm-hmm. , but the second part I wrote down was so interesting because it’s, my experience too is I wasn’t passionate about it. And I know when I’ve gotten, um, those, that equation wrong is where I’ve really failed miserably.
Um, the project I think about at Ithe was [00:17:00] called Exchange. It was e-commerce. I was passionate about a user experience that anybody could use, but I wasn’t as passionate about the field. We just saw a big. I saw a big market potential there. WooCommerce was out there. It was the big, still is, the big behemoth.
And I go, man, it’s really tough to like just create a new product in WordPress or, or in WooCommerce. Let’s create an easier path to do that. Um, that didn’t work. We didn’t do it. And I think part of it was, I wasn’t supremely passionate about the, the domain we’re in. When we talk about this, I go, I have a, I have a lot of experience with images and cropping and content that’s bulk of my career before I, themes and Post Status was, and communications work and newspapers, journalism.
And I’m like, you know, it’s a factor. Everybody wants an image on the site. And so what we decided was to start with the featured image [00:18:00] cropping, that making that experience, um, really smooth and easy.
Corey Maass: So that’s the, yeah, I think the other thing to talk about here is as a developer, as a human being, I’ve learned this lesson.
It’s, it’s just cuz you can doesn’t mean you should. Um, and for I think people like you and I, I’m speaking for you, but I, I hope I’m right. We, we get excited about a lot of things. It’s easy to, to dip a toe into a lot of things. Um, but then we end up taking on too much and we get overwhelmed and everything is, you know, what is it?
Do two things and you’re doing two things half-assed instead of one thing, whole ass. Or, you know, and we’re never gonna limit ourselves to one thing, let’s be honest. But having, definitely having too many things. Um, and like I’ve. Epic trips, um, you know, which is, I, [00:19:00] I was lucky enough to do, but I came home and people were like, was this amazing?
And I was like, I don’t know why, but it wasn’t. And I realized that it was like, just because I had the opportunity to take the trip, like I didn’t, I, I wasn’t in the right mindset. All I wanted to do was be home, you know? And so just cuz I could, um, doesn’t mean I should have. And I, I keep trying, I try to think about that when I’m taking classes or, you know, reading books or things like that.
Um, because time is precious, right? And, um, and we can only experience so much. So anyway, all that to say, um, yeah, with other products, I’ve definitely built them, um, just because I could. And as a developer it’s really dangerous because like, I look at that and I’m like, oh, that’d be really interesting to solve those problems.
Um, and then, uh, even as soon as you mentioned a WordPress plugin, uh, I was like, okay, well we need. X, y, z we need, you know, big da da da, and, [00:20:00] and that’s great. Like a year from now, let’s have all those bells and whistles and let’s have all those features and, and, you know, and expand. Um, but of course, I’m, again, I, I, I work, I have client work and w client work and family and obligations and stuff just as you do.
Um, and so you did a really good thing where we were chatting, we scratched our heads, and you were like, well, what if we, you know, what is the MVP here? And, and even that, I couldn’t, I was like, well, da, da, da. And you were like, okay, featured image, one thing. Let’s just start with that. Can we, and I, as soon as you said it, it clicked for me.
I was like, that’s, that’s the place to start. It’s the one simple feature that, but it will solve the problem for a lot of people, and it will exemplify the problem we are trying to solve. . And so, and, and again, for me, it, it is tough at times as a developer, all [00:21:00] things are possible. Mm-hmm. , I mean, not literally, but, um, and that’s, it’s powerful but dangerous and I’m, I’m trying, you’re, you are being, uh, non a not a developer and having a history of using this kind of thing is immensely valuable.
Um, keeping my feet grounded. And I’m trying to do the same with thinking from the perspective of my clients, because again, they were the ones that inspired this, so what’s gonna solve the problem for them? And that’s where we, that’s kind of where we’ve landed and what we’re getting pretty close to being able to launch.
Cory Miller: I, I think, um, the experience you talked about is like, everything is when , another shirt we should do, when everything is possible, everything sucks. Because when you have, when you’re in the experience, I know this and I’ve been. Uh, led teams of developers. I get it. Like, and I have the, I guess I’ll say a gift in this sense of going, I don’t know what all [00:22:00] is possible and it helps focus, but I think that’s where, again, a partner comes in.
I struggle with this in different areas, um, where I’m like, well, everything is possible. Everything sucks. And I, I lose focus in that. Um, and that’s something I really enjoy being able to do is like, you worry about everything is possible and I can help just to ask questions. Um, and when we’re, we talked about the MVP, I think about that iconic, um, like cartoon of this, the stages of an v mvp, how, how you start with an MVP and grow it.
And the one I like best, it feels a lot of theory and cool, like to try to plan this out like this, but it’s like, what’s the skateboard version of the. Bike or whatever, you know, the product becomes and it’s not, uh, a skateboard. And then you add a seat and then you add handle bars to the skateboard and you try to build out.
And I’m like, that’s cool in theory. But [00:23:00] I think what this does is, the way we thought about this was what is a, a toe in the market that does solve that problem that can grow? Um, and, you know, marketing and technical and business questions come out of this. And I just saw one yesterday, uh, I can’t remember his name on Twitter, but I replied to him.
He was trying to think like, where does this thing go? You know, like you start with the skateboard, but well, what if we want to do this with Crop Express and that with crop, you know? And, um, a lot of times, I think some of the best products have been part of grew organically instead of trying to say this is the end product, it was responding to customer needs and opportunities and grow out.
And sometimes maybe it grew into a little bit of a mess out here that we kind of had to make some hard decisions, um, with our ITM security product there for sure. And then backup Buddy over time. Um, we saw that, but it, I think it stays close to the customer [00:24:00] when somebody goes, I will pay money for this.
You go, oh, there’s magic there because we, we might have something here. Um, and I, we decided, and we should talk about this decision too, we decided to release Crop Express as a free plug in first on the.org repo. We’ll be talking about that experience as we go. We’re not there yet, but we’re really close to releasing the v mvp V1 in the repo.
Uh, and then, but what I like Corey, is we’ve done this in a way to give us options or paths to go. We’re not, we didn’t try to build the bicycle and launch that as a premium product. We said, what time resources do we have? And that mvp all that went into this conversation you and I had of like this.
Okay, let’s come down to if we can get this point, and that’s in the stream of people’s workflow. You know, you’re firing and proposed headline, okay, I need my future. You’re gonna go over here, click feature damage. And that’s where [00:25:00] Crop Crop Express is gonna help you. And I don’t, you know, you’ve been great to navigate us technically, where we’re not gonna hit a dead end on something.
Um, but that’s the part of this adventure. You never know where you’re gonna go with it. Right.
Corey Maass: And I’ve, uh, you know, we’ve already touched on a, a bunch of things that I see questions about all the time, like part of the MVP. Uh, I’m, I’m a, I’m a good developer, but I have very limited experience with Gutenberg, um, excuse me, the block editor.
Um, and even, and so we, we are looking at doing a custom block down the road, version 1.2 or whatever. Um, but even to get, uh, just the, to, to work with just the featured image. Like I didn’t have experience with the panels, uh, inside the block editor. And so I looked at it, I hacked at it for a [00:26:00] little while, and then I said, okay, you know what, I’ve got a buddy who can help me out with this.
So, hired him for a couple of hours to get me over the hump. Um, you know, and so. There’s that, there’s again, the partnering, uh, you and I working together, um, which we haven’t really flushed out, but we’re kind of excited to do, um, launching something, putting something in, in the plugin directory is, is its own experience.
Um, and so yeah, I think there’s, there’s a lot of different things here that if nothing else, just getting that, you know, the tip of the iceberg. Um, or I’m mixing metaphors here. But anyway, you know, just getting this thing out the door and, and starting, um, is, is where a lot of, uh, a lot of questions arise and there’s, there’s a lot of hurdles, you know, unto itself.
But, um, you know, I think the, one of the things that I really like about WordPress is that. It does require, or [00:27:00] WordPress plugins, WordPress products, it does require development, no question. Um, I don’t think there’s a big overlap yet enough of an overlap yet with like, no code products, um, services out there that, you know, people are building products against to then somehow get that into WordPress.
Um, but it doesn’t have to be a huge lift. It doesn’t have to be like, some of the best, um, plugins out. There are one single feature or, you know, single file, um, the, the plugin that we have so far that, that gets the featured image. Cropped and, and injected into a post is, is still basically just two files.
You know, it’s not complicated. It’s not this big convoluted thing. Um, I’ve got, uh, from, you know, from a nerd perspective, like there’s a couple of developer patterns that I’m using, but there, there [00:28:00] aren’t frameworks. We’re using a library that, you know, does the cropping for us, cuz there’s no way I’m stepping into that quagmire.
Um, you know, but we’ll grow from there. I mean, and I think that that’s, that’s the big difference. It’s like, yes, we wanna launch something that is useful, um, and complete unto itself, but it can be, it can start as a feature and grow.
Cory Miller: How, how has this experience differed from your past product experiences?
Um, you know, you, you released, let’s say the CommonBond different plugins on your own. I think, um, were, were similar problems and questions. That we’ve talked about just in this, I don’t know, month or so we’ve actually gotten real serious about it. No, it’s probably what, three, four weeks I think. . Yeah. Um, but like did you have similar things like that as a developer when you were doing like the combine?
Or did you just go, okay, this is what I want to build and you knew like the N V P V one V two kind of sorted [00:29:00] it out. How did those experience go in comparison to this one?
Corey Maass: Yeah, the con bond, I really, I wanted the name space. That’s the thing that sticks in my mind. This was, you know, eight years ago now.
Um, so I don’t, I don’t remember everything, but we, same sort of experience. I was working at a startup and we needed a conbon solution. Um, Trello has. Rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t know why. Um, and, and it was then that I was first starting to look at, so another, I’ll give away another one of my secrets here is honestly, I often look for a, um, blue o, well, red Ocean SaaS solution or SaaS app that I can put into WordPress.
Um, and so with something like Trello, I was like, you know, we are, we are working in [00:30:00] WordPress, um, but we have to go over to Trello and, and do stuff. And for whatever reason, I didn’t like Trello anyway. Um, and so that’s part of what made me go, oh yes, if we had a CONBON board built into WordPress, so like posts were your cards or whatever, like, this makes sense anyway.
And so I cranked out a first version, very clunky and. Mostly just because I, I wanted to, I’m trying to think if I had actually put a plugin in the repo before that. I don’t, no. I had, I had, but years before. And so it was, it was really a new experience for me. Um, and I made all sorts of mistakes and I was listening to, like, one of the biggest ones was, um, I kept going back and forth.
Coming from, coming from a tra a, um, a, an a developer perspective outside of WordPress, [00:31:00] I wanted to do custom tables. And I was like, no. The word pressy way is you have to use the post tables. And I swear, the week after I released it, I heard an episode of, um, back when Pippin and Brad Ard had their podcast pippin’s, like one of the greatest regrets of my life was using the post post table for e d D.
And that was like the beginning of when they were trying to release version three, which took them years to, to untangle, basically. I was like, crap. So right away I had to untangle my own thing, which thankfully only had 50 users or something, but I had to, you know, build a migration there and stuff like that.
Um, and then I think there’s Go ahead. Go ahead, go ahead. Well just, you know, and, but there were, I I think maybe part of your question is like, There was, there were, I was solving bigger problems, you know? Um, whereas this, I think is like, I, I like, I mean, part of why [00:32:00] the, the light bulb went off when you were like, no, just featured image to start with.
So it just, it kept it focused, you know? And that’s so much easier. Again, like I, I hacked away for a month or two months, you know, to get a working Now conbon board is a more complicated problem than, than what we’re talking about. But, um, you know, but it, it, it was a much bigger lift to get it out the door, which I don’t, I don’t think is the right thing to do.
You know, you, you need, you need, especially talking about customers and clients and users, you need something. You need to get people using it as fast as possible.
Cory Miller: I, I think they’re, I’m seeing two paths that when you’re launching a product, there’s the technical path and the business path. Um, particularly if you want to monetize from it.
Um, but technical, I saw my teams for years. It was like, I, I always describe development as a, uh, an adventure and territory. You don’t always know like, what’s, what’s gonna [00:33:00] come over the next hill. You could hit a swamp and end up drudging through a swamp or get sidetracked totally off on a minor bug. And so some of the things I started watching over the years is like, it, it’s, it’s a tough gig with the technical cuz you got a roadmap for potential.
You don’t know where all the terrain’s going cause you don’t know where the business case is gonna come from, the use case. Um, and I just think it’s like a blind expedition oftentimes. Like, so what we would do is, and we’re doing this now too, is just kind of check in and see how we’re going. And I valued having someone else external watching to at least kind of keep track.
And then I’ll say this on the business side. Same thing. There’s potential here. I see potential here from a business, business case. I don’t know what it is. I’m not even gonna be foolish enough to try to predict, but there’s something here, I think. And um, because I don’t predict anymore, by the way, Corey, because I’m wrong most of the times when I try to predict, [00:34:00] oh, this is gonna be $20,000 a month, you know, MRR kind of product.
Yeah. I go, there’s maybe a hope for those things, but I never predict or promise because if I get too mired in that, I start to get too f a little bit off of focus. Because some of the questions we’ve talked about is, okay, free plugin, what do we do there? We felt it was, at least for our collaboration here, partnership, we want to do this.
We want this in the world, you know? Um, we think though putting it in the world has the potential for something that could grow into. Something We don’t even, but I, I say this cuz we, we said, I love every time you say something like, Hey, I think we should do this. I’m like, right on. We should be honest. We should be authentic and share the experience.
I think too, oftentimes in business and stuff, it’s like, this is the way I felt when I left eye themes is like the pressure real or unreal. Hey, [00:35:00] Corey did this, oh, what’s his next thing gonna be? And I was like, she, uh, let’s see here. Um, I don’t know. I followed the trail, um, and kept following that trail and trying to keep going on that trail for as long as we could.
Um, th this, I just like the fact that. One of the questions I try to ask myself before I begin any new venture or partnership is, what if it fails? What’s the worst that can happen? You know? And what’s great is we’ve been talking about those things along where we manage it. I know when you hired the, the friend to help with some of that stuff, I was like, well, how much is that?
And, you know, do you need me to share it? And you’re like, Hey, for now, let’s just, I’m gonna keep track of it. But, uh, to see where it goes and, um, I think that’s healthy. That open dialogue and conversation where you respect each other, what each other knows. And know just because you’re a developer doesn’t mean you, you have a ton of insight and feedback [00:36:00] and perspectives to share on both business and marketing.
And, but it, it, it, I don’t know. I see those two pasts. This is the one I’ll tell you ahead of time, Corey is I’ll struggle with, is when we get to the point we’re like, okay, how much should we charge for? , it’s oftentimes feels like this meandering thing of like, okay, and I’ll need the same for you to go.
Sure. Hey, what if we do this? Um, because if everything’s an option, everything sucks. .
Corey Maass: Yeah. I, so a couple of things that you touched on, like, it, this needs to exist in the world. I haven’t found a better solution. So hiring somebody to get us over the hill immediately was worth it. And just like you said, if it, if it fails, if it never makes, uh, A dollar if you and I af after this call are like, yeah, I don’t like you in the end it turns out, let’s just call it, it’s like, no, it was still money well spent.
You know, and I, I understand that I, I am in [00:37:00] the very fortunate position to have a, a little money that I can throw towards a project like this, but it’s, it’s very limited. And I, I think of this type of stuff as a hobby. Um, and there’s been a lot of life choices that have gone into inclu, especially with, with my, my wife talking about like, okay, what is, if, if this is a hobby, what is an appropriate amount of money to spend on it?
Cuz there were times 20 years ago when I first started building SaaS apps that I was like, every spare dollar that I have is gonna go back into this without thinking about it. Um, because everything I ever think of is brilliant and every product I launch is undoubtedly gonna make me millions. Um, Spoiler alert.
None of it has yet, yet. Um, but uh, you know, yeah, we, we, we gotta start somewhere. Um, and, uh, I’m with you. So I, I’m also looking [00:38:00] forward to, like, I’ve been, I met, it was, it was at a, it wasn’t a WordCamp, it was like, um, what are they called? Free camp, or there’s, there’s conferences where it’s like anybody can sign up to talk about anything.
Um, and it’s sort of tech specific. But anyway, I met a young woman, uh, who was a developer and she had lucked onto a client who became a partner, um, who was an older guy who ran, I don’t remember, an advertising agency, but he had access to an, a pool of customers, basically. And so he would tell her what to build.
and then he would sell it to his audience and they just kept cranking out products. And I was like, okay. Despite being an only child, and despite my first instinct being to do everything by myself, you know, there are things that I can’t do. There [00:39:00] are things that I don’t wanna do. and, and things that I shouldn’t do.
So I’m happy to weigh in on, you know, as, as your owning, marketing and your owning business, I, I want to weigh in, I want to have opinions, I want to make suggestions. And, you know, I think you and I have established that we, the expectation is that, you know, we, there’s, there’s going to be quite a bit of overlap in our concentric circles.
Um, but we, we each are gonna own a lane, which I think makes a huge difference. Um, and we’re also able to sort of look over the cubicle wall to the other person and say, Hey, you know, like I, I touched on earlier, just cuz I can, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t, I’m. Not going to want. There’s going to be times where I, I’m going, I’m not going to want to build what I need to build.
Like there’s a feature that every client is clamoring for. You are finally confident. You’re like, they will all pay X number of dollars if you [00:40:00] just add this. And I’m gonna be like, yeah, but we need a dark mode or some ridiculous thing that’s just gonna be more fun to build. Um, and I think there’s definitely going to be points where, you know, I, we’re essentially going to need to be each other’s bosses.
Um, and that’s going to be interesting and going to be difficult at times. But I, but I think good, you know, you, you, you need other people. There are people out there that are, there are exceptions to this of course, but you know, I, I think we’ve pretty well established that both you and I do better if nothing else.
Having a sounding board, having somebody else who’s as invested, um, you know, and helps keeps us, keep us on the line we’re supposed to be on.
Cory Miller: Yeah. On that note too, um, the partnership side of things where I, I’ve been in circumstances where, okay, this is Mon Lane, that’s your lane. [00:41:00] And sometimes, like you were really good to ask me what part of the development do you want to contribute to?
And I said, my strengths through trial and error. By the way, I think my contribution strengths are u UI experience, like how things flow. Um, I obsess over there cuz I want them to be as fast as possible. Mm-hmm. intuitive as possible. Knowing some of my, probably I’m gonna have to freshen up on some things.
And the other is I said, you gotta be careful with me because I will share all of these things that I would love to see, but we’ve like, But we gotta put ’em on a, a feature roadmap, A backlog somewhere. Because I said, and I told you this, I said, be careful cuz I’ll come in and go, what about this, what about that?
And what I had to tell my team too, and I told you is like, please don’t unless I go, can we get this in the next release? Please don’t think that. Let’s do this right now. And that’s the [00:42:00] idea Fairy in me is mm-hmm. . Uh, but, and so an example of that was we have a square coop cropper. And I was like, okay, I’m introducing the new customer story here, which is my own, every, the Posts newsletter has those little circles in them for all the, and I’m like, that is a pain in the butt to do.
Now I flag that because I go, if I’m the, uh, kind of a typical user, I don. Know how, how to crop that, you know, there’s tools out there, right? But like I go, there’s an experience if, if someone has that and I go, Hey, what about a circle cropper? And then I knew you were going to like chase it , and I was like, Hey, hey, hey.
Not for this one unless it’s an easy thing. This was that back and forth I did with Right. All the developers I’ve worked with too is just like, please don’t say, please don’t interpret that as, can we do this right now? Um, sometimes I’ll be like, can we do this right now? Because I’ll, I’ll feel [00:43:00] like we got something here.
Um, but then you’re like, okay. I was like, well,
Corey Maass: it’s just cuz you can doesn’t mean you should. Yeah. But there’s also, you know, you and I, I, I also get the sense, we haven’t talked about this, but I get the sense that we both trust our instincts pretty well, um, when it comes to product. You know, and I’ve, I’ve been, I.
Studying product, looking at product. Um, for years and years and years, I’ve got, you know, books on architecture. And, uh, the, one of my favorite books about, about the Bowhouse School is sitting next to me. I mean, things like this and like, I nerd out about this stuff. And so, um, I’m not saying I’m an expert, I’m not trained in any way, but like, I think I like a lot of people we know, you know, I, I, I love putting, I love loading an app and putting it in front of my mom.
You know, who’s, who’s not trained in any way. She has [00:44:00] a little bit of an artistic background. Um, but she is a power user. I mean, she, at this point, she doesn’t even have a computer. She does everything on her iPad. Bless her heart, honestly, because. Trying to book tickets or, you know, I mean, things that she does on her iPad, I, I didn’t think possible, um, even, which really is just in a browser and, and her fingertip, you know, but gets an unbelievable amount of stuff done.
But I love putting things in front of her and saying, you know, show me how you would muddle through this. Um, and, and anyway, so all of this to say that I, I trust my instinct a lot of the time, um, when, when somebody mentions a feature to me of like, oh, this is worth doing right now. Even if it, yes, it’s not mission critical, you know, we haven’t released yet, so technically any feature other than one feature is, is enough.
But I was like, not only [00:45:00] do, is there not a image cropper for WordPress the way that we want. Out there, but I really don’t think any of ’em do circles. And again, my clients for most of their stories featured images are 16, nine or square. But for whatever reason, there’s that, that now that browser pattern where avatars people are circles.
And so, you know, let me see if I can, I can crank this out and it’s, and it’s fun. Um, and sure enough, like, like you said, it, it wasn’t a big lift, but yeah, I think, I think you and I will, we’re just gonna have to figure that stuff out. Like everything, everything goes on a backlog. Everything gets discussed at least a little bit.
Um, but I also, you know, I don’t, I don’t think that there’s harm in, you know, there’s low hanging fruit, there’s return on investment. There’s lots of different ways to put it. [00:46:00] It’s like, oh, well if we, you know, if we make all the buttons green, you know, is it, does the user benefit? No. You know, so just cuz it takes a minute isn’t worth it.
But, you know, we’re, we’re just gonna have to, and, and I liked what you said too, of like, we, we are gonna have to, I guess this is the other, the other benefit of trying to get this thing out the door is like, get people using it, talk to people using it. Um, you know, being part of a, a community like Post Status, um, there’s the great, um, advanced WordPress Facebook group.
Like there’s, there’s places that. You and I have been involved for a long time, kind of regardless of, of our actual position within those communities. But, you know, trying to add value or trying to Twitter to trying to just, you reply to tweets for months and then you hope that when you, you do something and you need somebody else to reply that, they will.
So it’s like, let’s get this thing out there. Let’s see what people think. [00:47:00] Give it a try. Um, you know, and, and follow, follow our.
Cory Miller: This is where I struggle back and forth with product. But my typical mo, what I feel instinct is you, uh, there’s product people that are just genius and gifted. They’re like, here, you know?
And you’re like, God, okay, cool. Uh, but for mere mortals, um, for me it’s been put something enough out there, check some boxes. Okay, is this something you think we need? Like, does anybody even need it? Because I put those things out there, I’m like, put ’em out there. Not necessarily products, but other things.
I’m like, nobody’s even asking for this. And a lot of the entrepreneurial books and stuff, it’s like, okay, how you scientifically go down it? And I go, it’s art and science. Yeah, it’s a blend. It’s this alchemy and magic of like, but I know the power of like putting something out there and that creates enough a ripple where you get a feedback loop and, um, [00:48:00] That was so helpful along the way when you get feedback like, I, I, we feel this is a good, this is a good V one, solve somebody’s problem, that laser beam, you know, thing of what we’re doing for it.
Um, but what I’m most looking forward to the product is how people react when you hear those. Like, um, backup buddy was in development, uh, and then, I can’t remember, 2009, 2010, and I, we were at, we had a little group thing where, and this, these two twin brothers ran an agency and I just, this wasn’t something somebody told me.
I was just like, Hey. We’re doing this thing and this plugin, and it helps you do, um, basically, uh, backup, restore, and migrate websites. By the way, those were not things that came from me. They came from Dustin Bolton and Christine and I themes, they’re like, no, a backup needs to do these three things. Okay, okay, let’s do it.
Sounds good to me. But I mentioned to them [00:49:00] the migrate, or what was it? The migrate side and just in passing, and they, their eyes lit up and they go, we pay somebody $300 to do, to do that now. Wow. Consider the time and everything. This is back in the day. And I was like, okay, I think we got something.
Because, you know, and then we just try to, okay, I think we’re gonna keep going, keep doing, we obviously launch it, we’re gonna launch it no matter what. But um, that’s where I was like those moments where someone lights up and they’re. Can I pay you now? The shut up pay, shut up. Let me pay you thing. Right? I was like, shut up.
You can take my money. Shut up and take my money. That’s a magical moment. Um, I think times I’ve tried to force it, um, and it’s just, it’s not, or create a category you hear that’s not, and I’m like, cool. Yeah. For those a hundred people out there that have that insane genius to create a category, most of us stumble into it.
Right. You know, um, the garage stories for startup [00:50:00] stories are always make me laugh. Cause I’m like, what was the background? What was the context? I’m like, that’s a sexy headline. We started in a garage and here we are, apple. I’m like, that’s a sexy headline. Don’t, and I like it. Don’t get me wrong, but I’m like, what Were all the actual moments, the places you got phenomenally lucky.
I know there’s a big part of mine luck and every time I’ve tried to time it and like, okay, I’m gonna ride this thing, it just hasn’t worked. And that’s why I really like her direction with this. Um, Because we kind of had a fleeting thought of like, I think as I recall, like this could be a paid product.
Um, you know, I don’t even know if we entertained much of starting with a paid, we’re like, let’s just do the free plugin. And I will say, remember actually, um, give you credit for this too, is I think I said, what about a Gutenberg block? Put it in editor. So upload image crop, boom, I’m there. My workflow’s fast, efficient.
And, [00:51:00] um, you, you looked into that, you chased a little bit of it and I said, Hey, there’s some roadblocks here. And that’s that collaboration of how we go, okay, featured image, what if we started right here? We want to grow potentially into that. You know, I think the idea in this, and we’re, I think we’re both verbal processors, but is the thesis is start here and it’ll grow into.
Block, like the inline process where you’re in the thing and you’re having the same problem, I need to crop it, figure out right. Dimensions and all that. Um, so I don’t know where I was going with that other than to say that was some of the background too of decisions and knowing like you could hit a dead end.
And I’m waiting for that. I think we’re putting ourselves out there with this to see if there’s magic in this. Yeah. Journey.
Corey Maass: Yeah. A couple of things you said, um, stuck out to me. One is [00:52:00] like a lot, everybody builds products differently. Everybody b builds UI differently. WordPress has very soft wall, has a lot of walls, but they’re very soft and there’s a lot of discussion, often negative, often complaints about, um, The, the experience that a plugin provides.
And I think what’s different about WordPress, right, is like often you’ll, you’ll go to Trello and you interact with Trello, and you go to Slack and you interact with Slack in WordPress, you’re essentially interacting with numerous apps, really numerous UIs, side by side. Um, and the tolerance for terrible ui.
I mean, let’s be honest, even WordPress is not great anymore. Um, the tolerance is high for what you can [00:53:00] get done. Uh, and so I think that that’s, that’s an, that’s something that I hadn’t really thought about, but it’s like things you can get away with in WordPress as long as you can solve the problem. And so there’s, there’s a lot to be said for, bless you.
There’s a lot to be said for. Solving the problem, um, and not getting caught up in the genius of a product. You know, cuz like you said, people, people wanna get it done and get out, you know, get on with their lives. Um, the other thing that I’ve had a lot of luck with, so I think we should do this here, is talking about that feedback loop.
Um, with Conbon, I put myself on the homepage and had a, and, and had a nice. Response. Um, with, uh, there’s an online game that I built during the pandemic that, that I’ve told you about, um, called Mexican Train [00:54:00] in the web websites, Mexican train.online. So if anybody out there wants to play Mexican train, which is a Domino’s game, but I built an online version, um, I put myself on the homepage and it’s a game that is played by a lot of seniors and especially during the pandemic when everybody was really locked down.
And then even now a lot of seniors are still trying to stay inside, stay safe, stay more isolated than they were before. Um, and isolated being the word. They use the game to keep interacting with their friends, um, which is just amazing. Um, but they. Not only does every email that come in start with, Hey Corey, because I am on the homepage.
Um, but apparently when, like, there, there are groups of people that play every week and even every day and uh, they curse me when they get bad dominoes. They praise my name when they get good dominoes. Um, the picture is of me [00:55:00] eating cheezits cuz it’s sort of as a joke, like, Cheezits are a guilty pleasure for me.
So a number of them actually like, go and buy Cheezits and eat Cheezits while they’re playing because it’s become a, you know, uh, a thing. Um, inside joke I guess is the, you know, uh, or whatever. Um, but there’s the, that feedback loop is definitely there. Like, they talk to Corey, you know, and then even with.
Subsequent products that I’ve built, me being on the homepage with a blurb about like why I started the Solve the Problem and stuff like that, has made a huge difference. And so I think as, at least early on, that’s something that you and I should definitely replicate is, you know, as we’re se I mean, we’ll we’ll send this to our friends and family.
Okay, that’s easy, that’s obvious. But, um, you know, maybe even building in a mechanism that’s like, you know, Hey, it’s your favorite. Corey and Corey, like, tell us what you think. What do you, you know, um, does this work for [00:56:00] you? Does this not work for you? That kind of thing. I usually don’t think about explicitly collecting feedback until further down the road.
Um, usually wanting to focus on like paid customers and that kind of thing, but, you know, maybe it’s something we start with sooner than later.
Cory Miller: I definitely think so, because, you know, so many times I’ve put products out there and not really made that splash. Like, you know, they’re like, okay, there’s practical, they’re doing this thing, um, that we set out to do, but I think you wanna have push, push it to have an opinion.
Mm-hmm. , you know, like the user to have a reaction to it, enough to say it sucks or it’s awesome. Um, some, some way of that to see where you’re at. I think both if you get it sucks and it’s awesome. You’ve got some validation there, you’ve got something. Um, but putting things out there, that’s [00:57:00] how I, my mo with products.
So 2006 or seven I think I, I launched, I did launch, I guess, uh, this is way back in Word Press was different, but I launched a theme and put my zip file. Uploaded it to.org. People downloaded it and I was like, this is crazy. I got a response from them, which I had a contact form up , you know, my website linked in the theme and stuff, and they’re like, will you build blog for me?
And I was like, whoa. I’m learning. I did this too because I wanted to do it and I’m learning. But that’s the magic that when you put something out there. Yeah. But I think there’s this case for put something out there that kind of pushes a reaction. You know,
Corey Maass: and I think this will be an interesting point of conflict potentially, is uh, there’s going to be a point where.
We’re, we’re going to see different paths and we’re gonna want different features too. And so I think this is, that’ll be an [00:58:00] interesting, you know, let’s try to have that conversation on camera because it’s there. There’s points where I’m dogmatic, like I’ve got my, one of my other plugins is like, like I said, I, I often look at products that are out, out on, out in the wild and I repurposed them inside WordPress.
And so I’ve, I’ve got a plugin that’s kind of like a link tree or a card or an About me where it builds very simple social focused landing pages. Like the link bio pages is kind of the, the phrase most people think of. And uh, and even like when I submitted it, the, the people reviewing the plugin were like, um, you’ve kind of built WordPress inside WordPress.
And so I still get a lot of requests for features that are beyond. The point of the product, because it is within, like WordPress using the right theme or page builder, you can do literally anything. [00:59:00] So this is supposed to be very focused and people come in, come, come in and are like, well make it do this.
And I’m like, that makes no sense. Like, go use WordPress. Um, and so I have found myself being more and more dogmatic about like, my own vision or, you know, certain vision for a product. Um, you know, and right now, like you and I have it easy, like we know it, it it’s a one trick pony or one and a half if we do circles.
Um, you know, so what’s, what’s the next thing that I think that’ll, and, and, you know, in a year down the road, I think that’ll be interesting. Um, again, that, that backlog, you’re probably gonna end up hearing more feedback than I am. Um, you know, uh, Product ownership might ha end up being a thing that we, we actually have to sort out.
So, and it’ll be an interesting ride.
Cory Miller: Well, that’s been a lot of the background, um, that we wanted to share and kind of catch you all up since we were, were launching [01:00:00] this live or in public. Um, but catching you up on some of the background, some of those key conversations. I hope people can use some of this to, uh, inform their own product journey.
Um, where we are today, where are we today, Corey, with the actual product? Sure. Um,
Corey Maass: yeah, and I just to add to what you just said, like as people watch this, there are a few people watching live. Um, my expectation, like most things recorded is, you know, more people are going to watch it on the playback. Um, but we are going to.
Looking at comments, and I think both of us are pretty easy to find. Um, you know, so, so as, as the, as the conversation gets started, you know, I encourage anybody listening, please ask us questions, you know, give including hard questions. You know, what do you want us to talk about? What do you want? What questions do you want our answers to?[01:01:00]
Um, not that we have the answers to all these problems, but you know, this is, we’re doing this out loud, recorded on the internet, you know, so we’re happy to talk about it. Um, and we’re both pretty candid out, outspoken kind of people. So we’re, we’re happy to talk about prayer, pretty much anything. Um, but anyway, where are we at now?
Um, so I, with, again, with the, the help of a freelancer built, uh, a first version, I did the p h P. Um, he helped get the. JavaScript and React part of the, um, panel inside of the block editor integrated. Um, and then I took the, the cropping library that we’re using, stuck that in. Um, and we’ve, we’ve gotten pretty far with that.
The, what, what we had been limited to for the last couple of weeks [01:02:00] is the selecting of an image. So, you know, nobody’s, nobody’s seen this yet. So talking through the flow real quick, you’re opening up a, a new post in WordPress. There’s, you know, the built-in featured image panel on the right. Um, we’re essentially replacing.
It looks very similar to the built-in one intentionally, but when you click on it, instead of it opening the media library where you upload an image or select an image, it uploads a, uh, or excuse me, it opens a modal where it says What shape do you want a crop? Um, it does say, do you want a circle? Um, you select an image from your hard drive, it then opens the crop.
And one of the nice things about this kind of tech is that that image is not uploaded yet. And so it’s all just in the browser until you say, okay, set this, you know, I’ve moved the crop. I want it this part. Set that as the featured image and that’s what gets uploaded. [01:03:00] Um, as of today, I got a poll request again from my freelancer who helped me get started with the media library, cuz this is the one thing.
I’m, I’m undermining you here, but you said, I really want circles. To me, I was like, that’s a differentiator. We need circles. Um, to, from my perspective, I’m saying also we need very basic media library integration. I think you originally suggested this as a nice to have, and I was like, no, you’re right like this.
To launch with, you need to be able to select an image that has already been uploaded or select an image from your hard drive, crop it and set it. Um, and so we’re, we’re pretty much there. The media library is opening and you can select an image. Um, so I need to do a, a couple more hours of development, I think, to get it so that it’ll save that essentially re cropped version of what is in your media library.
Um, [01:04:00] and then from a d a product standpoint, we’re pretty much ready to go, um, on, on your list. Um, I know we have the readme.
Cory Miller: That’s, it was like, Hey, Corey, you have 15 minutes of work to do. .
Corey Maass: That’s not true. I mean, it, it is to get it in the repo because it’s one of those, you know, no, nobody does it if a tree falls in the wo if a plugin gets committed to the repo and there’s nobody there to hear it. Yeah. Um, you know, or, or security by obfuscation kind of thing.
But, you know, there’s, it’s the beginning of the marketing. How do we describe this thing? What do we even really, what do we call it? You know, is it, is it crop express? Is it crop express image cropper? Is it image, crop express, da da da da da. Like, just, we have the domain, but that’s it. So there’s,
Cory Miller: uh, it presents a lot of questions.
[01:05:00] Um, and I know we’ve run outta time, um, but it presents a lot of questions because you go, there’s wordpress.org plugin search that is, Pretty big, right? Um, the, these are some of the things coming outta my mind with the readme because it does turn into that plug-in repo section. Um, I’ve seen a bunch throughout the years how people like, enough there to go.
Here it is. And then my balancing act is, let’s get enough to show this is the value proposition, this is what it can do for you. Uh, and then just like everything iterate over time. Um, but I can’t help but tell and admit to you. I think, oh, it’s gotta be like side bki put a plugin on the repo. Like he knows he’s a marketer, he’s got all these talents, but he, he understands how to put a plugin, um, and showcase it, right?
And so I’m battling that a little bit, but I go, okay, get enough to, so here’s the value prop and that this is an active development and we want that [01:06:00] feedback loop back about what’s next. But I think the read me is showing. Telling enough of what we’re trying to do where someone goes, that is a problem. I have this plugin, will will solve it.
Now getting to that is gonna be, is gonna be fun, but I started on the Readme file from the Generate WP site you gave me. And um, that’s where I’ll honestly spin some wheels a little bit, cuz I’ll try to be perfect. But I think the two outcomes there really are, you know, clearly understanding what this does.
So someone, mm-hmm can go, oh, I’ve got this problem, or my client’s got this problem. And then second is, we need a loop. We need to know these things. Even the things you go, we’re never gonna do. I still want to have ’em up there. I still want to have ’em in our visibility because it just allows us to make better informed decisions as we over time hone in on, you know, A lot of the products we [01:07:00] released at I themes, it was years before we go, oh, that group right there, because you get enough of big sample size and you go, okay, convert Kit had a very similar, uh, fault, Nathan Berry.
He started out with one thought in mine, and then he saw it was this creators, you know, um, economy. And then he just, when he got that bead, he just, you know, doubled down on that. And I, I see, I see that similar here. I think we have pretty good profiles, like anyone that wants to make image cropping easier, um, and faster from a blogger to an agency doing work for clients, um, that’s a big use case for me.
And I’m like, there’s, that’s why I have some faith that there’s something here that we can do in an advanced case, but it’s just discovery to me, you know, so.
Corey Maass: Yeah. Well, and I think that’s part of, I, I think you should take notes on your experience and then tell me about it. The next time we have a call, like [01:08:00] mm-hmm.
you are a, apparently you launched a pro a theme many years ago, , uh, but have it since. And so when I was like, okay, you go, go and do the read me. You were like, uh, I need some guidance. Like I, yes, I can write words, but tell me more about the Read me and what are the consequences of, you know, the, what I put in the read Me.
Um, and I think that that’s, you know, you, here’s a prime example of your experiencing something for the first time. You know, tell us about that experience and, and, and the thinking, some of the thinking that goes into it, like, it is, it is something that gets iterated on often, but there are consequences of, uh, you know, when we submit the plugin, the slug, the u r l is going to be locked.
You can. ask them to change it [01:09:00] once within, I don’t know, the first couple of days or something. But then that’s it. So, you know, cuz and you’ll, and you’ll see that with plugins on the repo that the U R L is W P S E O, but the product is Yost, you know? Right. Or things like that. Um, things that they’ve had to change over time, but you can’t change the slug.
Cory Miller: I know that firsthand too . Right. I sure think security was better WP security and, and it still is. I think. I don’t think we That’s right. Get there’s, yeah. So that’s right. Yeah. There are some foundational things that can’t change over time, which is tough when you’re doing new products as you don’t.
Always know where it’s gonna go or what the right, you know, do we need to say image cropping, you know, kind of thing. Whatever the, the kind of keywords are.
Corey Maass: Yep. So, yep. So, but I, I definitely think that’s, that’ll be a great experience for you to talk about and, and also a lot of the, the thinking that, that it makes you do will subsequently guide at least some of our early work [01:10:00] when we do put up a marketing site.
Cory Miller: Absolutely. Well, okay, so last question. We’ll wrap this up since we, since we got over time. Um, but it’s hard not to stop talking with you. I enjoyed this. Um, so by next Wednesday, um, what do you think is realistic for us to make progress on and we can start talking about that next. Because we’re gonna be doing this, by the way, for the next five, six weeks, I think.
Um, there’s a webinar, um, that was in the newsletter, the link to that. And then of course, if you’re watching on YouTube, you can just come back to Post Status on YouTube. But Corey, what do you think, um, our next steps are, the progress we wanna make in this week interval?
Corey Maass: Yeah. I think the goal should be either we get this across the first finish line or past the first milestone or whatever of it.
Either we submit it to the [01:11:00] plug-in repo or it’s, or it’s ready to go and we can talk about that. But, you know, feature, feature complete as far as version one is concerned, um, and, and that, that read me, basically it’s the whole zip file ready to go and be submitted and then we can either, Maybe we even, we could even submit it while we’re on the, uh, you know, on the call and kind of talk about like that.
And then I think we’ll end up talking about like, you know, whenever I’ve submitted plugins, um, I’ve, I’ve never just had one like stamp done. Like there were questions asked or there were, um, code revisions that I needed to make based on, I know that they use a programmatic, um, I can’t think of what it’s called, but basically code sniffer, um, to, you [01:12:00] know, it basically some little AI that, that will flag variables that aren’t escaped or things like that.
And, um, and then I’ve also usually wound up having a conversation with a human being who’s like, you know, what are your intents? What, what’s your intention of this? Or, you know, why do you think we need this? Or whatever. And so if, you know, I think that’ll be worth talking about too.
Cory Miller: Because the submission to the repo takes some time because it’s gotta go in the review and all that stuff too.
So, um, I think about timing wise as well as like, once it’s there, it’s, we’re gonna have just by nature of the review process, which is good. I, I, I get it. Um, it’s gonna push us out some to actual, to actual launch. That’s something to consider too.
Corey Maass: So, you know, so we can, I think let’s, you know, let’s regroup, um, today’s Wednesday, you know, end of the week, beginning of the week kind of thing.
Um, and we can. basically just hit submit. Um, and [01:13:00] I th the last I heard the review process takes a couple of days and I, that, that fits with my experience. Mm-hmm. , um, you know, so maybe we’ve heard if we submit Friday or Monday, we might have heard by Wednesday. Um, and then we’ll have that to talk about, you know, or we can just submit on Wednesday and then the following week we definitely should have something to talk about.
We might not be live in the repo, but um, you know, we should have heard back. I know we’ll hear back within a week. Yeah.
Cory Miller: Okay. Well, my intention is to carve out some time today. I think I’ve got some buckets of time to finish, to read me at least get a draft that you can review and we can go back and forth, um, to have that, at least you not be waiting on that or me, so that sounds great.
Corey Maass: Yeah, I’m.
Cory Miller: All right, Corey. Thanks, man. It’s always fun talking through this stuff. Yeah, having a partner and a collaborator. And, uh, thanks everybody else for, uh, joining in as you can. Um, we’re gonna be here Wednesdays 11:00 AM Central Standard time, um, [01:14:00] for the next five, six weeks throughout January and February.
As we talk, just share the progress we’re making for this WordPress product called Crop Express. Thanks everybody. Thanks Corey. See ya. See ya.

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