Episode 8: The journey so far

Sustain WP podcast cover
Sustain WP
Episode 8: The journey so far

Welcome to Sustain WP, a limited podcast series about digital sustainability and WordPress. I’m your host Nahuai Badiola and this is the last episode of the podcast series. In it I will summarize, very briefly, what we’ve been talking about during the podcast and also share some wishes from part of our guests to make WordPress more sustainable. 

In the first two episodes I shared my journey on how I got into WordPress and digital sustainability and how the Green Web Foundation Fellowship has been the perfect opportunity to to expand on those topics.

Then we have had 3 episodes where we explored each pillar of sustainability, the environmental, economic and social, in the digital context. The 3 pillars are really intertwined, so much so that we could start calling them strands.

I have the feeling that we covered most of the important areas on digital sustainability. But may be we didn’t mention much about the impact of hardware creation on the 3 pillars of digital sustainability. So I wanted to acknowledge that and I’ll leave a couple of links on the show notes to complement it.

Then we moved more specifically to WordPress and talked about how we could apply these 3 lenses to make WordPress more sustainable. We did it covering the CMS, the community and the events.

Related with this we also had an episode where we talked about the WordPress Sustainability Team creation, what we are doing and what we would like to do. And of course, highlighted how everybody is welcome to join the discussion.

That’s a quick recap of what we have talk about until this point.

So, if you’ve been waiting to have all the episodes to have the immersive experience of binge listening them you can do it now. 

Wishes to make WordPress mor sustainable

During the interviews I also ask the guests about one wish that they could ask and it would come true (like having a magic wand) in terms of WordPress sustainability. 

We start with Birgit Olzem who would like to see WordPress been a sustainability leader so it’s a reference to other projects.

Talking about WordPress been a leader, Tom Greenwood would like to see Automattic being a leader on sustainability so it’s a reference to other companies.

In the same direction, Tim Frick would like to see organizations that use WordPress to undertand how to run them in a sustainable way.

Regarding a more technical aspects, Adam Silverstein would like to see a restructuring of the database to be more efficient.

In the context of events, Julia Golomb would like to see online events that are able to capture the essence of the physical ones.

Continuing with the social part Hari Shanker says that he would use the magical wand to make WordPress a DEIB first project and get more contributors that are properly onboarded and supported. keep users in mind.

With the magic wand still on his hand, and regarding the economic part he would like to see all people get funded so no contributor has to suffer. 

In the same direction Hannah Smith would like to see funding arriving to a divers group of people.

Courtney Robertson would also like to fund a lot of people and adds that she would like to see a successfully implementation of metrics that help to improve the health of the project. 

I left Juan Hernando’s wish to finish because it captures part of the aim of this podcast series. He would like to see more contributors in the sustainability team and having people from other teams collaborating with it.

I’d love to see all the wishes become true, but I’ll be happy if we can achieve some of them.


I’d like to thank to the 13 guests of the podcast series for been so generous with their time and share their points of view. Needless to say that I would have liked to interview more people but it was already a challenge to do it as it has been, as I mentioned before.

May be in a second season? Who knows.

Join the WordPress Sustainability Slack channel

If you are interested on contributing on any of the topics we mentioned during the podcast series, or you want to bring a new one, you can start by joining the Sustainability Slack channel.



Audio transcript

00:00:17 Nahuai Badiola 

Welcome to Sustain WP, a limited podcast series about digital sustainability and WordPress. I’m your host NahuaiBadiola and this is the last episode of the podcast series. In it I will summarize, very briefly, what we’ve been talkingabout during the podcast and also share some wishes from part of our guests to make WordPress more sustainable.  

In the first two episodes I shared my journey on how I got into WordPress and digital sustainability and how the Green Web Foundation Fellowship has been the perfect opportunity to to expand on those topics. 


00:00:53 Nahuai Badiola 

Then we have had 3 episodes where we explored each pillar of sustainability, the environmental, economic and social, in the digital context. The 3 pillars are really intertwined, so much so that we could start calling them strands. I have the feeling that we covered most of the important areas on digital sustainability. 

00:01:14 Nahuai Badiola 

But may be we didn’t mention much about the impact of hardware creation on the 3 pillars of digital sustainability.  

00:01:23 Nahuai Badiola 

So I wanted to acknowledge that and I’ll leave a couple of links on the show notes to complement it.  

Then we moved more specifically to WordPress and talked about how we could apply these 3 lenses to makeWordPress more sustainable. We did it covering the CMS, the community and the events. 

00:01:43 Nahuai Badiola 

Related with this we also had an episode where we talked about the WordPress Sustainability Team creation, what weare doing and what we would like to do.  

00:01:53 Nahuai Badiola 

And of course, highlighted how everybody is welcome to join the discussion.  

That’s a quick recap of what we have talk about until this point. 

So, if you’ve been waiting to have all the episodes to have the immersive experience of binge listening them you can do it now. 

00:02:19 Nahuai Badiola 

Before we move to the last intervention of the guest, I would like to share a bit of the behind the scenes of the podcast. I’ve been podcasting for almost five years and I really like the format. Indeed, that was one of the reasons to createthis limited podcast series. 

00:02:37 Nahuai Badiola 

The only thing is that my experience has been mainly talking with a group’s colleague in Spanish, my mother tongue. 

00:02:45 Nahuai Badiola 

Recorded on one take and almost without editing. 

00:02:51 Nahuai Badiola 

This podcast has been a totally different beast. I had to embrace my thick accent and the philosophy of better thanthan perfect. 

00:03:03 Nahuai Badiola 

In every episode, I try to have a main threat to connect the guest answers and put them in context. I don’t think I couldcall it a storytelling, but I hope that it makes sense. Also in your mind. 

00:03:18 Nahuai Badiola 

Not only mine. 

00:03:20 Nahuai Badiola 

Also, I would like to apologize for butchering some of the names I mentioned, but I’m quite used to be the one with thename butter even in my own language. 

00:03:32 Nahuai Badiola 

You can’t imagine how creative people get to say now why it looks like they age in the middle of the name. 

00:03:39 Nahuai Badiola 

Gives a lot of space to imagination. Let’s say that now Naguajari is not the craziest variation. 

00:03:49 Nahuai Badiola 

Anyway, let’s return to the main thread of the episode. During the interviews I also ask the guests about one wish thatthey could ask and it would come true (like having a magic wand) in terms of WordPress sustainability. 

We start with Birgit Olzem who would like to see WordPress been a sustainability leader so it’s a reference to otherprojects. 

00:04:12 Birgit Olzem 

My ultimate desires and vision is that WordPress emerges also as a prominent and influential leader in the realm ofdigital sustainability. 

00:04:23 Birgit Olzem 

But also paving the ways for other platforms so that they can follow, but also not only focusing on the codeoptimization but also on the technical aspect, but also the efforts of organizing the inclusive community events. 

00:04:43 Birgit Olzem 

Onboarding contributors and funding contributors and be also a leader for this and. 

00:04:51 Birgit Olzem 

So that also we can showcase our true potential for sustainability. And I think by doing So what Chris can serve as a shining example and inspire other platforms to recognize the immersive impact on sustainability and. 

00:05:10 Birgit Olzem 

To shape a better digital future. 

00:05:13 Nahuai Badiola 

Yeah, I love the idea of leading by example. I think it’s great. It’s one of the aims also of the sustainability team from the beginning. 

00:05:23 Nahuai Badiola 

Talking about WordPress been a leader, Tom Greenwood would like to see Automattic being a leader on sustainabilityso it’s a reference to other companies. 

00:05:33 Tom Greenwood 

OK, I’m going to be. I’m going to be a bit naughty and I’m going to say that my wish would be that automatic wouldtake the lead and they would. 

00:05:45 Tom Greenwood 

And that they would publish like the best sustainability. 

00:05:50 Tom Greenwood 

Policy of any tech company in the world, not just in the WordPress community, and that they would. 

00:05:58 Tom Greenwood 

They would look at it from like. 

00:06:00 Tom Greenwood 

Right from their like business operations through to the code through to the hosting and they would publish that as open source and push it through into the into the community as a whole. That’s my. 

00:06:13 Nahuai Badiola 

In the same direction, Tim Frick would like to see organizations that use WordPress to undertand how to run them in a sustainable way. 

00:06:23 Tim Frick 

There isn’t one magic wand thing that I could say, but like, you know, making sure that teams are trained, that there’sadequate funding, that there’s, you know, responsible and resilient. 

00:06:33 Tim Frick 

Organizational governance, like those kinds of things, are the are the things that we’ve seen over the past 25 years ofbeing in. 

00:06:40 Tim Frick 

This trip up people getting in the way of of, of being able to like, you know, make WordPress a successful part of theirbusiness ecosystem. And so just, you know, helping organizations to really, truly understand how to sustainablygovern WordPress based systems, I think is a really, really. 

00:07:00 Tim Frick 

Really wonderful thing. And of course, you know, as an advocate of B Corps, I’m I’m always a fan of saying anybodywho is running WordPress sites or even automatic itself could become a certified certified. 

00:07:12 Tim Frick 

And really make a huge difference, not only in the WordPress community but also in. 

00:07:17 Tim Frick 

The B Corp community. 

00:07:18 Nahuai Badiola 

Regarding a more technical aspects, Adam Silverstein would like to see a restructuring of the database to be more efficient. 

00:07:26 Adam Silverstein 

Probably like restructuring the database would have a massive effect. 

00:07:33 Adam Silverstein 

I know. You know, I don’t know how common it is in in small size, but like at the enterprise level, we often would takeall kinds of crazy data structures and then cram them into wordpress’s database structure. You know, where you can create custom tables in WordPress. But it’s way more typical for people to kind of use the tables that we have and. 

00:07:53 Adam Silverstein 

You know, there’s things about the tables that that make them less efficient, like which things are have an index onthem. Like I know the meta table is very. 

00:08:02 Adam Silverstein 

Efficient and that when WordPress sites start to have a lot of meta they become really slow. So I guess if if I had onething I could change would be like to magically rewrite the database schema so that it was all more efficient. I thinkthat’s impossible. It’s impossible to make. 

00:08:19 Nahuai Badiola 

That change I’m I’m maintaining the compatibility. 

00:08:24 Adam Silverstein 

Backwards compatibility, I think. 

00:08:25 Adam Silverstein 

You know, like just to look at one other project, which is I work with Drupal as well, surprisingly. And they made a hugebreak when they went to, I think Drupal nine or eight, maybe it was 8 and basically you had to rewrite your site like togo to the next version and I, you know I while that seems horrible for developers and a lot of people are stuck onversion. 

00:08:46 Adam Silverstein 

Seven at the same time. I’m. I’m really envious of them from a technological standpoint because they were able to justadopt all of these new things like like composer would be really nice if we had like if we used composer, you know. 

00:09:01 Adam Silverstein 

Just being able to modernize our stack, I guess we’re very we’re very committed to backwards compatibility and thatcommitment makes changes much harder. So my wish is that changes would happen faster. 

00:09:16 Nahuai Badiola 

Without breaking things. Yeah, that would be. That would be nice to. 

00:09:19 Adam Silverstein 

Which is. 

00:09:20 Nahuai Badiola 

See you. 

00:09:21 Adam Silverstein 

Yeah, it’s a great question and and definitely made me think so. Thanks for the question. 

00:09:27 Nahuai Badiola 

In the context of events, Julia Golomb would like to see online events that are able to capture the essence of thephysical ones. 

00:09:36 Julia Golomb 

I think that there is. 

00:09:38 Julia Golomb 

A huge and untapped potential for. 

00:09:43 Julia Golomb 

Creating successful online community events for WordPress. 

00:09:48 Julia Golomb 

And when events are are online, when we gather online, it reduces the. 

00:09:56 Julia Golomb 

Of course it reduces the amount of air travel that we do. It reduces the amount of. 

00:10:02 Julia Golomb 

Waste that’s created in setting up booths and whatnot. 

00:10:07 Julia Golomb 

And I have this sense that this is untapped potential that we haven’t really nailed the online event format and there issuch a gift in gathering in person. I want to continue to have WordPress events that bring people together in person. I think those are so, so, so important and so valuable and so beneficial. 

00:10:20 Nahuai Badiola 

Sure. Yeah. 

00:10:27 Julia Golomb 

And if I could wave a magic wand, we would have that say we would find a way to transport that chemistry that we getin person together and. 

00:10:40 Julia Golomb 

And create really cool, really engaging, stimulating, creative online gatherings. 

00:10:47 Nahuai Badiola 

OK. That. Yeah. Yeah, that that’s a really nice nice thought because also not only reduce the the environmentalimpact, but also lowers the, the, the, the economic level to to access to it. So we could, yes, bring more people to tothe. 

00:11:05 Julia Golomb 

Yes, absolutely. 

00:11:09 Nahuai Badiola 

Continuing with the social part Hari Shanker says that he would use the magical wand to make WordPress a DEIB firstproject and get more contributors that are properly onboarded and supported. keep users in mind. 

00:11:24 Hari Shanker 

If I had a magic plan that would fix all the problems with social stability, I would start with DIB. That is diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. 

00:11:33 Hari Shanker 

We absolutely need to be. 

00:11:35 Hari Shanker 

Better at this in. 

00:11:36 Hari Shanker 

So that’s currently ADIB working group, which is actually working on improving the DIB of WordPress. So I would I would love to see that happen. I would love to have us. 

00:11:48 Hari Shanker 

Have or have the entire project have Dib first, like how we as I suggested to safety first. So to build a culture of DIB it’snot an easy journey takes. I mean of course we are good. I mean what does the Community community itself has? 

00:12:05 Hari Shanker 

Made commendable progress in diversity. We have a diverse speaker program. We’re doing our best, but I think weneed to do a lot more to make sure that our contributors feel equitable, that our their work is equitable, that they feelincluded, that they feel are belonging in the project. So it’s it’s a cross team effort and I would really, really like that tohappen in the project. 

00:12:26 Hari Shanker 

The other big problem with or or big area that needs to be improved is to increase improve the contributor pipeline thatwe have for this. This was discussed extensively at the Community summit. We need more contributors coming in and we need folks. So many folks who come in, they make. 

00:12:45 Hari Shanker 

Operation and they may go. We want them to stay. So what can we do to do that? So I’m part of an initiative by thecontributors group on. We did an experimental mentorship program. It’s a huge success. We noticed that the folks whofirst of all the majority of the folks who participated, graduated 90% of them did. 

00:13:02 Hari Shanker 

And we are seeing them like all of them are making active contributions to work at this point. So there is value in mentorship. So similarly like to bring out initiatives to improve first of all to get more contributors and to secondly to getthem to give them support to give them the support that they need, which allows them to continue contributing. 

00:13:23 Hari Shanker 

And the. 

00:13:24 Hari Shanker 

We really need to support our contributors and to help them grow, so how can we provide our contributors withsupport? I mean, especially given the fact that many of them are volunteers, of course. 

00:13:34 Hari Shanker 

Not everybody wants to be sponsored. Sponsoring is not the only way to do it, like there’s a bunch of things that wecan do. I know of several stories where folks, they’ve actually grown by contributing to workers like folks have actuallylanded jobs or, like, really found professional success through it. So there’s a bunch of things that can be done tosupport our contributors. 

00:13:56 Hari Shanker 

And to help them grow as individuals to help them learn skills. 

00:14:00 Hari Shanker 

And last but not the least, I think this is this is a key part of sustainability, social sustainability as well. WordPress is themost popular content management system in the world and it is estimated that we have. I mean we make more than40%. 

00:14:15 Hari Shanker 

Of our market share is 40%, right. So we have we have millions of users. 

00:14:20 Hari Shanker 

Of that it’s it’s pretty. 

00:14:23 Hari Shanker 

So how can we help our users sustain as well? I mean, it’s a tall order we we obviously cannot go down. We cannotwe I mean we are already finding a hard time even supporting our contributors. So we may not be able to do the samelevel of support that we do for our contributors as much as we do our use, but I’m sure. 

00:14:41 Hari Shanker 

We can do a lot of things. Maybe we can start by making our software better. 

00:14:46 Hari Shanker 

Making sure that WordPress is usable enough, it’s making sure that it’s accessible, making sure that it helps usersmeet their needs directly. So by improving the products, that’s that’s one area that I’m thinking of, but I’m sure thereare others as well. We should also keep our users in mind when we think of social system because our users are whatkeeps our open source project active. So. 

00:15:06 Hari Shanker 

Those are some ideas that I have on improving the social sustainability forward press. 

00:15:11 Nahuai Badiola 

With the magic wand still on his hand, and regarding the economic part he would like to see all people get funded so no contributor has to suffer. 

00:15:21 Hari Shanker 

I want all contributors who are seeking. 

00:15:24 Hari Shanker 

Help to get sponsorship. 

00:15:26 Hari Shanker 

So if you’re a contributor that is looking for help. 

00:15:29 Hari Shanker 

My magic wand would get them responsive, so if you if you are in a need for help. 

00:15:34 Hari Shanker 

You are able to find help directly. Could be 3. Anyway, it could be by connecting you with somebody. It could be byconnecting you with an organization who’s willing to sponsor you. It could be by it could be a fund which sponsors converter. So to have that out there and to make sure that it happens fast so that no contributor has to suffer. Thatwould be my wish. 

00:15:52 Hari Shanker 

And to maybe like add a related wish to that we have a strong pipeline of new of contributors coming in who get all the help and mentorship and support that they get. So economic and social sustainability directly in one pillar. That’s my magic wand. 

00:16:07 Nahuai Badiola 

In the same direction Hannah Smith would like to see funding arriving to a divers group of people. 

00:16:15 Hannah Smith 

I think the main thing I would ask for within WordPress sustainability is that we have funding that can be allocated to a more diverse group of people that can contribute to the. 

00:16:29 Hannah Smith 

Project not just contributes not just contributions to the sustainability team, but contributions to all of teams. We needpeople from developing countries. We need people who are working as a freelancer. We need people who are fromvery different kinds of backgrounds. 

00:16:50 Hannah Smith 

Maybe we even need people who don’t use WordPress to contribute, you know, imagine the different kinds of thinkingyou would get from people who are actually not WordPress users would be quite interesting. So that would be mymain wish is to see funding which enables different. 

00:17:10 Hannah Smith 

People who aren’t the usual suspects to contribute to the project. 

00:17:15 Nahuai Badiola 

Courtney Robertson would also like to fund a lot of people and adds that she would like to see a successfullyimplementation of metrics that help to improve the health of the project. 

00:17:28 Courtney Robertson 

I mean the really grand. Should I hit the lottery kind of wish would be to fund a lot of contributors, but on the more realistic side of things at this. 

00:17:39 Courtney Robertson 


00:17:40 Courtney Robertson 

I’ve been checking out some of the the tools that are out and available for the dashboards area. Knowing that we havevarious stakeholders that need different bits of information, I think one of the wish lists that I have is to successfully getthrough trying out at least one of the tools that are already out there. One that I’m. 

00:18:00 Courtney Robertson 

Especially keen to look at from the Chaos group is grow more labs and it’s open source software. It is under the hoodfor those that are familiar with. 

00:18:10 Courtney Robertson 

What an Osco is open source program office. There’s a group called the Tarja that just helps corporations track theiropen source contributions, right? They’re using Grimoire to get their dashboards, so the source of it all is grimore and grimore can do all kinds of interesting things. But to make this really key for the WordPress. 

00:18:31 Courtney Robertson 

Gremory doesn’t yet support tracking track. That’s enough hope and and also does not yet support WordPress in terms of it would get an RSS feed, but it wouldn’t necessarily see that someone edited or revised a a thing, right? Butit can ingest slack, GitHub, all kinds of things. 

00:18:52 Courtney Robertson 

There’s a really long list, so I think in a practical what can I do in the near future? I want to test the software out withone of the teams and if it goes well, take it to meta and say hey folks, here’s a tool that will simplify some of this. Let’sstart with simple. 

00:19:07 Courtney Robertson 

Start simple, get something going and then we can build on more as we go. I think I would really like to see that run itscourse, maybe within the next three to four months, do an experimental trial and and let it grow after that. Once we getthrough a trial phase with something like that, see if that would be best for the whole project. 

00:19:28 Courtney Robertson 

I think just continually coming back to this like we need stats dashboards isn’t moving us forward. So let’s run a trial with one of the tools that’s out there and then expand. 

00:19:40 Nahuai Badiola 

I left Juan Hernando’s wish to finish because it captures part of the aim of this podcast series. He would like to seemore contributors in the sustainability team and having people from other teams collaborating with it. 

00:19:56 Juan Hernando 

I would love to have. 

00:19:59 Juan Hernando 

Way more contributors in the sustainability team. 

00:20:05 Nahuai Badiola 

That’s so nice to hear. 

00:20:07 Juan Hernando 

I’m. I’m not saying that just because of you and the rest of the. 

00:20:13 Juan Hernando 

People involved there, but I think it would be very nice, the same as we have. I mean it doesn’t. 

00:20:21 Juan Hernando 

Need to be like full time contributors or not meaning 40 hours which would be amazing. But I mean if I contribute 2 hours. 

00:20:33 Juan Hernando 

Or 8 hours for example. 

00:20:37 Juan Hernando 

I maybe I wouldn’t need to have the 8 hours in the sustainability team. Maybe I’m just uh. 

00:20:44 Juan Hernando 

Polyglots contributor, but I want to spend one or two hours a week in the sustainability team to know what you are doing. How can I help so having people from other teams because they know their their reality and and they know howto improve the project from the inside. 

00:21:04 Juan Hernando 


00:21:05 Juan Hernando 

So I would really love to see more people from other teams or even onboarding new people from to other teams and then tell them, hey, take a look here, spend one hour a week, go to the meetings. 

00:21:19 Juan Hernando 

Read the documents or whatever, and then the team will grow. But also you will raise the awareness in the rest of theof the WordPress teams. So I think that would be very, very cool. 

00:21:34 Nahuai Badiola 

That would be an amazing wish to become true. So yeah, yeah, in indeed. If you are listening and and you are somehow intrigued by what we are doing in the sustainability team and you are part of one team or you want to become a part of our team, you are more than welcome. And yeah, that that. 

00:21:54 Nahuai Badiola 

Which would be nice to become true so. 

00:21:57 Juan Hernando 

I’m I’m I’m doing my part. I mean, you know, I’m in the community team. Yeah. But I’m also taking a look of at what youdo. And I try to go or maybe I’m not there on the meetings, but I try to read after that or read the. 

00:22:13 Juan Hernando 

The recaps or read the agendas so I’m aware of what you are doing, which is very important and it’s really entertaining too. So I recommend that to to everyone and also that way they will make my dream come true so. 

00:22:31 Nahuai Badiola 

OK, you heard Juan. 

00:22:33 Nahuai Badiola 

If you want to make him happy and me too, and probably the rest of the team. 

00:22:39 Nahuai Badiola 

You can, yeah. Follow his advice. I’d love to see all the wishes become true, but I’ll be happy if we can achieve someof them. I’d like to thank to the 13 guests of the podcast series for been so generous with their time and share theirpoints of view. Needless to say that I would have liked to interview more people but it was already a challenge to do itas it has been, as I mentioned before. 

May be in a second season? Who knows. 

00:23:17 Nahuai Badiola 

Thanks for listening. I hope you found the journey we share interesting. I would be happy if you learned somethingnew or brother in your vision of sustainability or started to be interested. 

00:23:31 Nahuai Badiola 

On the topic or share the podcast with a colleague, or even better, join the WordPress sustainability team. 

00:23:39 Nahuai Badiola 

Remember that you can find all the resources mentioned during the episodes in the show notes. Also, you can find thelist with all the resources mentioned during the podcast series in sustainwp.com/resources. You will also find more information about the podcast guest in the website. 

00:23:59 Nahuai Badiola 

I would love to hear your opinions on this topic. For that you can leave a comment on the website or share it in thesocial media platform you are more comfortable on. 

00:24:10 Nahuai Badiola 

By the way, thanks a lot for reading the podcast with five stars on Spotify and Apple Podcast. I didn’t ask for it and I was pleasantly surprised when I just saw it. Amazing. Thanks everybody for sharing this journey with me. I hope I meet you in a slack or in WordPress events. 

00:24:31 Nahuai Badiola 

Why not? Bye bye. 

Nahuai Badiola Avatar


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