In this episode, Allie and Michelle celebrate 50 episode of this podcast! They look back on some listener feedback, share their favorite episodes, and discuss some really awesome news for underrepresented WordCamp US speakers!

Episode Transcript

Allie (00:02):

Welcome to the Underrepresented in Tech podcast, hosted by Michelle Frechette and Allie Nimmons. Underrepresented in Tech is a free database, but with the goal of helping people find new opportunities in WordPress and tech overall.

Michelle (00:19):

Hi, Allie.

Allie (00:21):

Hi, Michelle. Do you believe it’s the 50th time we’ve done that?

Michelle (00:25):

I know. It’s crazy, right? So this is our 50th episode. We’ve accomplished everything there is to accomplish. There’s no such thing as underrepresenation anymore. Everybody has an equal place at the table, our mission is accomplished.

Allie (00:40):

We solved racism. We solved sexism. We’ve solved… We’ve done it.

Michelle (00:43):

Yeah. That’s it. That’s it. Oh, no, I forgot, this isn’t April Fool’s Day. I wish, though, that that were the case. I wish that the two of us could wave our magic wands and have our voices go out over the podcast. And that people’s lives would be changed in such a way that they would better appreciate underrepresented folks, and do all the things that we always talk about, but…

Allie (01:08):

Yes, alas.

Michelle (01:09):

Since that’s not the case, we are not done now that we have 50 episodes. Next week, we will have a 51st episode, so we will continue on.

Allie (01:17):

Exactly. But in this episode, we definitely wanted to look back on the last 50 episodes and talk about what an… I’m so just tickled that we’ve gotten to 50 episodes.

Michelle (01:34):

Me too.

Allie (01:37):

I’m so proud of us. We’ve really stuck with it, and it feels really good to reach this milestone. And it feels like we have such a system now, and it’s so comfortable that we’re going to get to 100 and 500, we can just keep going, right? There’s so much-

Michelle (01:55):

That’s right.

Allie (01:55):

… to talk about.

Michelle (01:57):


Allie (01:58):

But I thought we could start with, I asked a couple people on Twitter what they’ve learned and what their favorite episode is. And I wanted to hear how other people felt about the podcast. So to start with that, our friend John Locke of Lockedown SEO, he actually… Which is really amazing, if you go to his Twitter, which is Lockedown underscore, Locke spelled L-O-C-K-E.

Michelle (02:28):


Allie (02:28):

He actually has on his profile from over a year ago, he’s had this pinned for over a year, our second episode. He pinned it to his Twitter, and he’s left it there. And I don’t even remember what the topic of that one was. It’s just called episode two. That was before I was really naming them properly. But, I mean, in his tweet, he says, don’t come with preconceptions, but listen to what two members of the tech community have to say. I’m like-

Michelle (02:59):


Allie (03:01):

… it’s so cool that it resonated with him so much that he’s kept it pinned on his page for that long.

Michelle (03:06):

I love it.

Allie (03:08):

He says in his tweet, a lot of people want to believe in meritocracy, but few in a position of privilege want to examine their inherent advantages. There’s no substitute to listening to an underrepresented person and their experiences. And that sums up so much of what we want to do on this show, is, we’re just asking people to listen. We’re not asking people to do anything else than just take 23 minutes, while you’re working out, taking a walk, washing your dishes, whatever, and just listen to us, and maybe learn something.

Michelle (03:40):

Absolutely. Yep. And then if you do learn something, maybe apply it.

Allie (03:46):

Yeah. That’s the next big thing, right? Is-

Michelle (03:49):


Allie (03:49):

… apply it to your life after that.

Michelle (03:51):

So what did he say, when you asked him?

Allie (03:56):

What I just read is one of the… He made two tweets-

Michelle (04:00):

Oh, gotcha.

Allie (04:00):

… in response to my question. So what I had just read was one of the things he said. And then after that, he said, the tech space in general, but also the WordPress community, specifically, can do a better job of having representation of everyone. It currently skews very White with hiring hero adulation, et cetera. When people see themselves represented, they know that those goals are attainable.

Michelle (04:21):


Allie (04:22):

I love that. If everyone who listens would come away feeling that, I would definitely consider it a success.

Michelle (04:30):

I feel like he’s a really good ally. I can speak for my underrepresentation and how he has been an ally for me.

Allie (04:38):

For sure.

Michelle (04:38):

Of course. But definitely, good guy.

Allie (04:42):

So we also heard from, Topher DeRosia.

Michelle (04:44):

Of HeroPress fame.

Allie (04:47):

Of HeroPress. And he shared the episode, it’s episode 46, which is titled Allies Versus White Saviors. That was a fairly recent episode where we talked about the difference between providing allyship to underrepresented people, and unnecessarily inserting yourself into situations, and so on. And what did he say about that one? He actually didn’t get back to me yet, but he did say that was the one that was his favorite. That was the one that really resonated with him. And I believe he said, teaches some things that I didn’t know and affirming some things that I did know. Which I think is a really good-

Michelle (05:31):


Allie (05:31):

… balance as well.

Michelle (05:32):

Yeah, absolutely.

Allie (05:33):

And I guess that was a really good episode, because our friend, Jonathan Bossenger also said that that was one of his favorites. He said, it definitely spoke to me on a personal level.

Allie (05:45):

We’re super grateful for those kinds of feedback, and we appreciate… It’s an interesting thing with podcasts, I’ll read in a minute numbers about how many listeners we have, but with podcasting, I mean, with a lot of online content, you put something out there, and you don’t really know if people are really listening, or if they’re getting anything from it, unless they reply and share how they feel. So every week we kind of take this risk of like, all right, we’re going to post this and maybe no one will listen. Maybe a ton of people will listen. We don’t know. So it’s always really nice to hear back from people about what that episode meant to them, and what they took away from it, so on.

Michelle (06:31):

Absolutely. And we know that sometimes we’re controversial. And what really creates controversy in this area, is that we are causing you to feel a certain way, right? There’s no controversy-

Allie (06:44):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michelle (06:44):

… if you don’t feel something. And sometimes that feeling is being uncomfortable, because of the things that we challenge in your own way of thinking. And we’re okay with that.

Allie (06:58):

Yeah. I like being controversial. Do you have a favorite episode? Or do you have a favorite moment? Or is there something in particular that you’ve taken away from the last 50 episodes that you feel is really something you would frame and put on the wall if you could?

Michelle (07:15):

I will say that one of my favorite episodes was the one where I talked about the person who had posted about not saying he in documentation. So the person who had posted in the [inaudible 00:07:32] group on Facebook, that if people were so offended by the use of the word he, that they should pluck out their own eyes. And I don’t know if you recall this guy went on-

Allie (07:42):

I do.

Michelle (07:42):

… a huge tirade.

Allie (07:44):

This weird, violent rant that just was so ridiculous and unwarranted.

Michelle (07:50):

And I guess, I don’t know, maybe because it just riled me up so much to read it, and I got involved in the conversation that our conversation around that incident on that episode. I don’t know, it revived something in me. Not that I’m not always thinking about underrepresenation and making sure that we bring other people into the conversations and things like that, but that one just was like, boom, right there in my face, right?

Allie (08:18):


Michelle (08:19):

So that one. And then the whole one on mansplaining, because this happens all the time in what we do.

Allie (08:24):

For sure. Those are two really-

Michelle (08:27):

So the mansplaining thing.

Allie (08:27):

… good ones. Definitely stayed with me as well. What’s funny is I have some numbers up in front of me, and that episode you were talking about with the Facebook group comment and the plucking out the eyes, that was episode 42. And that is our second most popular episode of all time with-

Michelle (08:44):


Allie (08:44):

… 97 listens. Isn’t that crazy?

Michelle (08:48):

Crazy isn’t it?

Allie (08:48):


Michelle (08:49):


Allie (08:50):

That one’s… And I think also the way I titled it might have been a little, not necessarily clickbait, because it’s called Examining Hateful Comments in a WordPress Facebook group. And I think that’s a little spicy. People are probably like, oh, what?

Michelle (09:02):


Allie (09:02):

What happened?

Michelle (09:04):

What was it?

Allie (09:04):

What’d I miss? What’s the T?

Michelle (09:05):

Yeah, exactly.

Allie (09:08):

I’m proud of myself titling that one to grab people’s attention maybe more than others. I was looking this morning at our episodes and the list and reflecting on each one of them. And I really did, I reflected on each and every one. I reflected on every guest that we’ve had. We’ve had amazing guests. We’ve had Josepha-

Michelle (09:26):

Yeah, we have.

Allie (09:27):

… Haden… Oh my gosh, Josepha Haden-

Michelle (09:30):


Allie (09:31):

… Chomphosy. We’ve had Andrea Middleton. We’ve had all kinds of amazing people, and I really could not pick one. And I think what I love the most is that we have a library of content now. We have such a rich collection of content that addresses all of these issues, to where there have been times where I’ve been having a conversation with someone and I can say, “We actually talk about this in our podcast,” and I can send them a link to that episode. And I think that once you have a body of work like that, it kind of takes on a life of its own as a resource.

Allie (10:16):

And I feel like diversity and inclusion and those kinds of conversations are always sort of the secondary thing, or if you go to a conference, all the other things about all the other things, and then like, “Oh, there’s a cute little diversity talk.” And it’s just sort of like a little extra thing, like an afterthought I think is the word I’m thinking of. And so for this to be what we’re talking about, so consistently, so regularly, I mean we average three episodes a month. We take breaks every once in a while.

Allie (10:53):

But for it to be such a consistent conversation in our community, I think that as a whole is what I’m most proud of, is that we’ve been able to… And we’ve been supported by the community in such a way that we can continue to release an episode every single week. We have people that are ready and willing and eager to be guests on our show. And I think that to me is the most gratifying part of having 50 episodes in the can.

Michelle (11:22):

I would add to that the companies that sponsor us are not just little fly by night companies either. They’re companies that really want to see change in the community, which makes me happy too. And that we can’t speak publicly about what companies contact us for us to do work with them, diversity trainings and website review and those kinds of things, but that companies have hired us to do better and to review their online recruiting so that they can do better in recruiting as well.

Michelle (11:56):

And so those conversations we have with those companies, that pumps me up more than anything. It’s like, yes, we’re having conversations and people are valuing the conversations, but to see people take it the next step and actually do better in our community, that’s what really gets me jazzed.

Allie (12:11):

We’ll talk a little bit later about the WordCamp US sponsorship program that was just launched, and I was looking at that. And while I can’t take any credit for that happening, there are people who have been working behind the scenes for ages to make that happen. I was just as surprised as everyone else this morning to come on Twitter and see that, and be like, “That’s so amazing.”

Michelle (12:32):

Yeah, same.

Allie (12:33):

I will be, maybe controversial I don’t know, and take a little bit of a distant credit, the two of us for being so loud about these issues and being so consistently open about these issues, and saying controversial things and pushing people and having these conversations and bringing other companies into it. And I do kind of feel like if it wasn’t for us and this brand and this tool and this podcast ,and all of the allies who have been educated by us and felt empowered by the things that we do, I like to think that we had a little bit of, at least, a drop in the bucket as far as making something like this happen, right?

Michelle (13:18):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Allie (13:19):

When I first really joined this community in 2019, I don’t think that something like this would have come about. And I’m going to be a little bit, maybe, big headed and say, I feel like I’ve had a place with this brand and with you of creating an environment where people will support an idea like this WordCamp US speaker sponsorship thing, you know?

Michelle (13:46):

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Allie (13:48):

I don’t think I’m too out of line to say that.

Michelle (13:51):

No, absolutely not.

Allie (13:52):

But I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done since starting this brand, and that we can continue to do on a regular basis through this podcast. And that’s kind of what reaching episode 50 has made me think about, is just how proud I am of us. We’re pretty awesome.

Michelle (14:11):

We are, actually. We do some pretty good work.

Allie (14:13):

I did kind of want to look as well at just a couple of numbers that I thought were interesting. Let’s see, from all time listeners, filtered by this podcast, since we’ve launched the podcast, our first episode was June 24th, at least the first one that we launched with Castos, as a podcast, rather than the vlog that we had started, we have had 1,660 listeners.

Michelle (14:44):


Allie (14:44):

Or listens, I should say. I don’t think-

Michelle (14:46):


Allie (14:46):

… it considers individual people, but 1,660 times somebody has clicked on our podcast and said, “I want to listen to this.” Isn’t that wild?

Michelle (14:56):

That’s amazing. I’m really happy to hear that.

Allie (14:59):

Right? That is…

Michelle (15:00):


Allie (15:01):

That’s the coolest thing ever to me.

Michelle (15:03):

That is.

Allie (15:03):

That makes me feel so good. I love that. That makes me so happy. I remember-

Michelle (15:11):

Me too.

Allie (15:11):

… this morning going to pull up that number and being like, “Oh, my God, what if we only had one listen per episode, and that was like you or me?” But that’s a pretty big… Let me do some wait… Divided by 50.

Michelle (15:28):

Allie’s doing math.

Allie (15:29):

Live math. So that’s an average of 33.2 listens per episode.

Michelle (15:35):

That’s pretty awesome.

Allie (15:36):

That’s amazing. There’s thousands of podcasts that do way bigger numbers than that, but if-

Michelle (15:45):

For sure.

Allie (15:45):

… 33 people came in this room that I’m sitting in right now and we’re like, “I want to hear what you have to say.” I would be so overwhelmed and terrified.

Michelle (15:53):


Allie (15:54):

So yeah, that’s-

Michelle (15:54):

That’s pretty awesome.

Allie (15:55):

That is definitely something for us to be proud of.

Michelle (15:58):

And I am, absolutely.

Allie (16:00):

I am too. And our top episode, that was also something I was really curious about, what’s our most popular episode? And our most popular episode was episode 19, which was college versus open source. And we were debating or I think we were kind of of the same mind, so we weren’t really debating, but we were discussing something that had been brought up elsewhere in the community. This kind of idea that you don’t need college, all you have to do is contribute to open source and that should be enough. And that was a really hot topic in the community that day or that week, and so we decided to talk about it. And we have 227 listens on that-

Michelle (16:38):


Allie (16:39):

… episode.

Michelle (16:39):

So the takeaway from this is we need more clickbaity titles for all of our episodes.

Allie (16:47):

We need clickbaity titles. And what’s interesting to me with that is, so that one has 227 listens, the next most popular, the hateful comments in the Facebook group has 97. So that’s a pretty big gap between first and second place, because the next most popular has 80. The next most popular has like 64. So that episode, I don’t know who retweeted that or who shared that or what, but it got-

Michelle (17:11):

A lot of listens.

Allie (17:12):

… a lot of listens. So if you listened-

Michelle (17:13):

What’s number three? I want to know-

Allie (17:14):

Number three-

Michelle (17:14):

… what number three is.

Allie (17:15):

Yeah. Yeah. College, Making Space in the WordPress World. I don’t really remember what that one was exactly about. That’s kind of a vague title.

Michelle (17:29):

Yeah. It is.

Allie (17:29):

What the heck? What was I thinking that day?

Michelle (17:31):

I don’t know.

Allie (17:33):

Making Space in the WordPress World?

Michelle (17:38):


Allie (17:39):

Oh, I didn’t put it in the title, because I don’t know what I was on that day, but that is our episode with Josepha.

Michelle (17:47):

I wondered if it was, but it wasn’t distinct enough for me to remember for sure.

Allie (17:52):

I didn’t name it very well. In that episode, we talked about a lot of different things, I think. We had a very-

Michelle (17:58):

We did.

Allie (17:58):

… broad conversation. Sometimes with these episodes, I have a hard time naming them, because I’m like, we touched on so many things. But, yeah, that was our episode with Josepha. That was episode 35, that was posted in December of last year.

Michelle (18:12):


Allie (18:13):

Yeah, that was a really great conversation. So if you’re listening and you remember these episodes or you missed any of these, please go back and listen and let us know what you think. Or if you think like, “Oh, no, this was the best episode.” Let us know which episode was your favorite. I’m really curious which topics people are most interested in, because sometimes we talk about time relevant things, like topical things. And sometimes we just talk about a general topic. And it seems like surprise, surprise, the topical bits are more popular. So maybe we should try a little more to focus on current events, WordPress current events.

Michelle (18:57):

That’s a good point. Sometimes WordPress current events are just boring and nothing exciting happening.

Allie (19:02):

That’s true. How many times have we gotten on this same Zoom. And we’re like, nothing’s really-

Michelle (19:07):

“What are we going to talk about today?” “I don’t know.”

Allie (19:09):

“Nothing’s really going on.”

Michelle (19:13):

No, absolutely. Oh, it’s pretty cool though.

Allie (19:16):

Yeah. It’s a really interesting look at what people are reacting to. Pretty cool.

Michelle (19:23):

And we’ve definitely perfected our craft as we go. So the conversation part always flows. But I have to give mad props to you, because you are the one who’s putting every episode together. So you’re adding the bumpers, you’re adding the mid-roll, things like that, and the dulcet tones of Allie’s voice that introduce every episode.

Allie (19:43):

Ah, thanks.

Michelle (19:45):

And introduce our sponsors. And talk about mad props, it’s easy to sponsor something that’s not controversial. So it’s very easy to sponsor something that doesn’t have a lot of like, “Ooh, what if they swear?” Or, “Ooh, what if they say something that most people don’t agree with?” Or whatever, but the companies that have come forward to sponsor this podcast throw caution to the win, because they believe in the things that we talk about. They may or may not believe in every single thing we say, let’s put that out there. Just because they sponsor us doesn’t mean that they endorse every word that comes out of our mouth. But, overall, they are supportive of more representation of underrepresented people in WordPress and in technology. And for that, hats off to every single one of them.

Allie (20:34):

I’m trying to right now to find… I want to do a quick shout out of the companies that have sponsored the podcast. We’ve definitely got donations and help from lots of different companies over the past year. But I mean, YIKES, Inc was our very first podcast sponsor, Bet Hannon, GoWP, Lockedown SEO, Saturday Drive, StellarWP, Human Made, and MasterWP. I really hope I’m not forget, but those are the ones that have on our-

Michelle (21:08):


Allie (21:08):


Michelle (21:08):

LearnDash is our most recent.

Allie (21:11):

LearnDash. I think I put them under the StellarWP thing. But you’re completely correct, LearnDash individually as well. And we-

Michelle (21:20):

Did you say Human Made? Yeah.

Allie (21:21):

Mm-hmm (affirmative). We have so many people who have really put their money where their mouth is and supported us. Oh, Post Status as well. Post Status has recently sponsored us to help with transcripts. Which speaking of transcripts, I’ve said this every week for the past, like three months, it is my goal next week, the week of April 24th or 25th, for us to launch our brand new website, redesign that I’ve been working on for-

Michelle (21:55):


Allie (21:55):

… a super long time.

Michelle (21:57):

It looks fantastic.

Allie (21:58):

I’m so excited. I’m really hoping to launch it next week, and it will have all the transcripts for the podcast. And we definitely-

Michelle (22:05):


Allie (22:06):

… Katie Richards and Jonathan Bossenger to thank for helping us, they helped us take care of the backlog. So they went through and they transcribed… I mean, they used an automated thing, but they really helped to make sure that those transcripts were beautiful, and legible and formatted well. And so you’ll see their work on the podcast as well. And then Post Status has agreed to sponsor us for our transcripts in the future, moving forward. So once this-

Michelle (22:35):

And let’s not forget Yoast.

Allie (22:36):


Michelle (22:37):

Yoast sponsored you.

Allie (22:40):

Yes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, to Taco and the team at Yoast for agreeing to sponsor me, because I’ve been working on this website redesign for a long time, and I could really only do like a couple hours a month on it really. And since that sponsorship, I’ve been able to like absolutely accelerate that. And even after we launch it, there’s things we’re going to be adding to it and so on. And that is definitely hugely thanks to Yoast being able to support me, so that I can actually dedicate the time to doing that and not burn myself out-

Michelle (23:15):


Allie (23:15):

… which is very, very important. So thank you.

Michelle (23:17):


Allie (23:20):

And thank you to the people who are listening. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude, because-

Michelle (23:26):


Allie (23:26):

… how many times in your life do you have what you think is a good idea, and you start trying to do it. And you’re just like, “Oh, okay, well, this was cool, but I’m going to give up or I’m going to put it aside for now,” or whatever. And at no point in this process have I felt like we can’t keep going.

Michelle (23:45):


Allie (23:45):

You know what I mean?

Michelle (23:45):

Right. Yeah. And we have over a 100 people in the database, let’s not even forget about that, right?

Allie (23:51):


Michelle (23:51):

So connected to our podcast is our website, which is a huge database of underrepresented folks who are interested in working with you. Whether that’s at a job, whether that’s as a speaker, a podcast guest, a guest blogger, there’s a million different ways that you might want to incorporate other people into your team. And it’s free for underrepresented folks to join the database. And it’s free for you to search the database for people to join whatever project it is that you’re working on. And we have over a 100, I don’t know how many exactly, I don’t know if you’re in the site.

Allie (24:26):

We have 129 people in the database right now.

Michelle (24:29):

129 people in the database, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Allie (24:32):

Not at all.

Michelle (24:32):

That’s pretty exciting. And they’re pretty amazing people too. I mean, if you look down that list of people, it’s like, wow, that’s some-

Allie (24:38):

Very accomplished folks.

Michelle (24:40):

… incredibly accomplished and qualified people in that database. So if you are looking for somebody, please visit the database. The best impact that we can have, there’s two ways that Underrepresented in Tech, the podcast and the website could make us the happiest with our impact. One is that we change behaviors in technology. Two is that more people who are underrepresented folks get opportunities in technology. And our podcast and our website are there to accomplish both of those things, and make it easy for you.

Allie (25:11):

Yeah. Exactly. I think we’ve done a pretty good job and I’m really excited for, in this kind of second half of the year, all of the other things that we have planned to do to support those goals. Because the goals are really about, like you said, supporting the people in that database, making sure that they find success, and that they find opportunities. I mean, that’s why… If you haven’t heard, if you’ve been under a rock today, it was announced that, how do you phrase it exactly? Basically, WordCamp US has set up a form that companies can use to say, “I would like to sponsor the travel and the lodging of an underrepresented speaker at WordCamp US, so that they can attend.” So companies can add themselves to this list, and then speakers can reach out.

Allie (26:04):

Which another controversial opinion, and I’m sure there’s a good reason for this, I’d want to know what it is, why is it not the other way around? Why is it that the speaker has to do the outreach to the company rather than speakers adding themselves to the form, and then the company saying, “Hey, you person, I want to sponsor you.” And then, I don’t know, there’s probably a good reason. But when I opened it up to look at it, I was kind of like, oh, that wasn’t really what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be more like a Underrepresented in Tech thing, like how we’ve done it, where the impetus, the action is on the company to connect rather than the person. I’m sure there’s a good reason. I’m not trying to diminish what’s going on at all, because it’s an amazing opportunity.

Michelle (26:54):

Well, first the speakers haven’t even been announced yet. So this is giving companies an opportunity to not cherry pick speakers. So let’s say there’s five underrepresented folks who qualify for this, and one of them is really well known and the others aren’t necessarily as well known. Now you can’t be like, oh, everybody wants to sponsor Allie, but nobody wants to sponsor Michelle-

Allie (27:15):


Michelle (27:15):

… that kind of thing. And the other thing it does is it gives that blind opportunity there. Other thing it does is it doesn’t put any more unnecessary burden on the underrepresented person to have to… I mean, yes, they definitely, there’s a connection point, that’s what it is, that’s a connection point, but it’s not having to put yourself out there to be picked. And I think that there’s a lot of anxiety in putting yourself out there to be picked. Now our database is different, because it’s opportunities and different people. This is very specific, like, what if everybody picks me?

Allie (27:53):


Michelle (27:53):

So I think it removes some of those barriers.

Allie (27:56):

It totally does.

Michelle (27:57):

That’s just my guess. I wasn’t part of the process. I don’t know, but that’s my guess.

Allie (28:00):

Yeah, for sure. That makes sense. I think that there’s two things that come to mind, because I’m thinking about this for the first time today. I haven’t really put a lot of thought into this. I was just like, “Oh, this is so cool.” I’m going to phrase this as maybe for future iterations of this happening, because hopefully this is not the only WordCamp US that this will happen, hopefully, it’ll happen next year. I wonder if it would be a stronger idea to just automatically match the people. So like Yoast has said, “I want to sponsor one person.” This person has been accepted to speak. They get matched. So there’s no picking involved at all. What’s facilitated by this site, this system by WordCamp US is matching the person with the company, for the sponsorship. That might be an idea.

Allie (29:02):

The other thing that comes to mind is, I didn’t apply to speak at WordCamp US, because I’m on the organizing team, as are you, but if I were to apply to speak as an underrepresented person, or if I were to think about this, and I would see this sponsorship availability, I would think, well, okay, if I apply to speak-

Michelle (29:35):

Nobody is listening can watch your eyes like processing. It’s like dead air. It’s not dead air, she’s really thinking,

Allie (29:41):

Yeah, I’ll edit, I’ll probably edit that long ass pause out of here, because I just went to the moon. I couldn’t figure out what it was I was trying to say. If I’m thinking about applying to speak, I’m basically kind of like making a gamble to say, “Well, like I’ll apply, and then if I get accepted, I then have to find a company to sponsor me.” Their very well might be a case where we have 12 speakers accepted to speak who are underrepresented and five companies. So then I’m basically kind of putting myself in this position where it’s like, okay, well I might get accepted, but then I still might not get that sponsorship.

Allie (30:24):

And I also feel like that might create a logistical problem for the WordCamp US programming team of like, “Okay, well, we accepted this person, because they applied on the hope that they would get a sponsorship, and then they didn’t. So now they can’t speak, and so we have to pay somebody else.” The point of all this rambling right now is I’m really interested to see how the logistics of this is going to work out. And I’m really hoping-

Michelle (30:53):

One thing-

Allie (30:53):

… that it will work out and that any kinks will get massaged out and perfected in future iterations. I’m going to shut up now.

Michelle (31:02):

Okay. One thing that I notice is that there’s no place on the form that you fill out that you’re interested in doing that, there’s no place on that form to say, this is what my budget is. So a small company, like I might think of just as my own personal podcast or my side gig or something, ooh, I wonder if I could afford this? But if it’s somebody coming from Boston to San Diego, that’s going to be a different flight than somebody coming from Texas to San Diego. It’s going to be different costs. And I don’t know what the cost of the hotel is and all that kind of stuff.

Allie (31:36):

You’re totally right.

Michelle (31:37):

So as a small business, I’m not going to sign up, because I can’t commit myself to a huge expense, but I could maybe say I’d love to give $500 to help somebody speak there. So-

Allie (31:49):

That’s a really-

Michelle (31:49):

… I don’t know.

Allie (31:50):

I didn’t even think about the variation. And what that also makes me think of is like, okay, and I’m just throwing out companies. I’m not trying to throw any shade, say Yoast is like, “Okay, I’m going to sponsor person A” and they decide, “I’m going to fly them on this great airline. I’m going to get them a great seat. I’m going to check their bags. I’m going to put them up at the Four Seasons, make it really great.” And then another company, maybe, it’s all it can afford is going to be like, “All right, you’re going to be on Spirit Airlines, in the cargo space. You’re going to have one night at a Holiday Inn,” because maybe that’s all they can afford. Right?

Michelle (32:28):


Allie (32:29):

What’s going to be-

Michelle (32:31):

And I’ll throw at a trip to Taco Bell.

Allie (32:32):

Yeah. Is there a standardized level of kind of expectation? So for example, I know that for WordCamp US, typically, there’s a hotel block that we get with rooms, and so people can buy out of that. Is this part of that block where it’s like, “Okay, you agree as the company to buy out of this…” Equity, right?

Michelle (32:56):


Allie (32:56):

Everyone gets the same experience and you don’t end up with a company that’s cutting corners or something. I feel like there’s a lot of questions that we don’t have answers to.

Michelle (33:09):

But in their defense, they’re trying to do something really good.

Allie (33:12):


Michelle (33:13):

And there’s a lot of things they will learn through the first process. There’s a lot of things everybody learns for the first time through something.

Allie (33:18):

And I’m not-

Michelle (33:19):

The first time you ever put on a WordCamp, you’re like, “Oh, how hard could it be?” Then you’re like, “Oh, my God, that was so much work,” kind of thing.

Allie (33:26):

But what so great is that-

Michelle (33:27):

You learn.

Allie (33:28):

… it’s happening despite… I’m sure these conversations have happened. I’m sure these questions, at least some of them, have been raised already. And what makes me happy is that this is happening despite maybe some of that uncertainty. Well, how is this going to go? How can we maintain control over this and make sure people have a good experience? And that’s why I say like, I really hope that it works out this year, and people are happy with whatever the system is going to look like. But also that we have the opportunity for it to be improved next year, as opposed to people being like, “Oh, well maybe some people had a bad experience or it was confusing last year, so we’re not going to do this again.”

Allie (34:05):

The best case scenario is that it continues to be a refined process over time. Somebody I saw in the replies of the original tweet was like, is there a general fund I can get… Say I only have 200 bucks, can I just give into this general fund, and it gets distributed? And I mean, personally, I kind of think that’s almost a better idea, because then you could say, “Okay, we have 12 underrepresented people who got accepted to speak. We now have a pool of $10,000. We’re going to divide that money equally, and offer that chunk to that person. If that’s enough for them to cover their costs or help with their costs, they can choose to accept it. Or they can pass and say, ‘That’s not enough for me,’ and give it to the next person.”

Allie (34:58):

But I think, I mean, that’s logistically very difficult because you have to have some kind of unified funding area and somebody in charge of a huge chunk of money. And I can understand why that would also be very complicated.

Michelle (35:11):

Yeah. It’s not our job to solve the issue right now.

Allie (35:14):

No, but I just think it’s such an interesting… It’s so-

Michelle (35:18):

For sure.

Allie (35:18):

… fun to see stuff like this happening for the very first time. There are going to be people who come into the community years from now, and this will be an established thing, and they won’t know a time when this wasn’t a thing. And so [crosstalk 00:35:32] I’m really tickled to see the changes in the community for the better. Things like this that come about because people, and I will say her name, Winstina Hughes, is one of the main people who spearheaded this and fought for this. And she deserves so much credit.

Michelle (35:49):

She does.

Allie (35:49):

It’s so just cool and fun to watch stuff like this happening. It makes me really happy.

Michelle (35:55):

Me too.

Allie (35:56):

And the fact that it came on the day of our 50th episode, I’m just like, ugh, all the feels.

Michelle (36:01):

Please, [inaudible 00:36:02]. That’s so cool.

Allie (36:03):

All the feels. Alrighty.

Michelle (36:05):

Well, whoever you are listening, dear listener-

Allie (36:07):

Dear listener.

Michelle (36:08):

… we hope that you’ll stay with us for future episodes and here’s to the next 50 and beyond. A few years back, I took a trip out to the Adirondack and I’m afraid of heights, but my then husband and I went to the base of Whiteface Mountain. And there’s a gondola that will take you up, like a ski kind of gondola, but the enclosed one, take you up the mountain. And even though I’m afraid of heights, I looked at it and I thought, well, it doesn’t look that tall. It doesn’t look that high. I think I can suck it up for the, whatever, five minutes it takes to get up there.

Michelle (36:40):

So we get on the gondola and we’re heading up. And the point that I thought was the top of the mountain was just where it leveled off. And then there was like seven times more of that much space that I had to go up to the very top of the mountain. And that’s how I feel about our 50th episode. It feels like a huge accomplishment, but we know there’s more work to do. We haven’t hit the top of the mountain yet. So-

Allie (37:02):


Michelle (37:03):

… stick with us while we aim for the top of the mountain, and we keep doing the work we do.

Allie (37:11):

Yeah. That’s a really good story. I like that a lot. We’ll one day look back on this, be like, oh, 50 episodes was nothing. Look at us hitting a-

Michelle (37:15):


Allie (37:16):

… 1,000 or something.

Michelle (37:18):


Allie (37:20):

For sure.

Michelle (37:20):

Very good.

Allie (37:21):

Well, thank you, Michelle so much for being my partner through all of this. And literally-

Michelle (37:27):

Thank you Allie, for the same.

Allie (37:28):

… there’s no one I would rather do this with than you.

Michelle (37:30):

Likewise. Likewise. Absolutely. Glad we’re in it together.

Allie (37:34):

For sure. All right. We’ll see you in the next episode everybody.

Michelle (37:36):


Allie (37:38):


Allie (37:42):

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Allie (38:09):

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Allie (38:27):

Design TLC. Design TLC provides websites for schools, camps, enrichment programs, and non-profits, custom made with tender loving care.

Allie (38:40):

If you’re interested in sponsoring an episode, using our database, or just want to say, hi, go to See you next week.