The Powers of Money and Community

I’ve been looking at the draft of this since April, 2015. I’m going to take Jorbin’s advice and just press publish so that it’s no longer a draft. Most of this observation is informed by my perceptions of structure inside the university when providing a central service. It’s still interesting.

We provide an excellent base service for groups inside the university. We build features to extend this base service. Most built features are available to everyone.

We invite everyone to join our community. Open labs every Friday, a Slack group for use throughout the week.

Groups paying us to extend the base service tend not to join the community discussion—or not frequently.

Groups without dedicated funding have participated regularly.

Both groups, for the most part, have their concerns and requests addressed. Groups with funding can demand timelines. Groups involved in the community are frequently vocal and pleasant.

Balancing the concerns of each leads to useful features for all.

The difficult group is the one without funding that does not join the community. Our base setup is easy, but prioritizing feature requests is near impossible when juggled alongside the previous two groups. This group quickly becomes an outlier for our workflow.

How do you convince that group to join the community?



We’re hiring a WordPress developer at WSU and you should apply

You may have heard by now, through tweet after tweet after tweet—we’re hiring for a WordPress developer position at Washington State University.

If you have any inclination to apply, you should. We’d love to talk to you about what we’re doing and how you’ll help. I’d love to work alongside you and continue to build great things.

Here’s a brief list of random reasons why this is an excellent opportunity:

  • We do big WordPress and we’re not slowing down. We have a single multi-network installation serving over 2 million page views a month across almost 1000 sites. We have plans for that number to grow significantly in 2016.
  • We work in the open. There are 160 repositories in the WSU GitHub organization. All of our internal work—themes, plugins, the multi-network configuration—is open for sharing with others.
  • We power the university. As the central communications unit, we build sites and power WordPress for everyone. Things like,,,,,, and many, many more will be there for you to enhance and fix. And you’ll be given keys. (I broke all of it for 2 minutes just yesterday!)
  • You’ll be encouraged to explore and reach out. We have a campus thriving with people who are experts at what they do. The conversations you have with them will be inspiring and will lead you to ways to make our web presence more inspiring.
  • If you’re interested in contributing to WordPress core, we’re interested in you contributing to WordPress core. You’ll be encouraged to dive into issues rather than work around them so that fixes to WordPress (and other projects) can be applied upstream.
  • As a state employee, benefits are pretty fantastic. You’ll earn just over 4 weeks of vacation a year. 10 paid holidays, an extra personal holiday, a sick day per month, personal development time, great health benefits, matching 401k, the list goes on… 🙂
  • I will brew you beer. Michelle will make you sauerkraut. Steve will one day make you cheese. Jake will let you sit in with his grad students to learn crazy things about hydrogen. There’s a great community at WSU.

Time to apply! If you have any questions at all about the process or the position, please reach out: