Transcript: Mel Choyce and WordPress

by Tim Wright

This is the transcript for The Dirt episode, “Mel Choyce and WordPress

Steve: I accidently used a toothpick from a trash container at Russo’s
to get cheese one day.

Tim: Hello and welcome to The Dirt. The only show that practices road
rage like it is our job. I’m your host, Tim Wright. I am here
with Steve Hickey.

Steve: Good morning.

Tim: Mark Grambau.

Mark: I’m feeling very calm behind the wheel. Thank you.

Tim: And our special guest from Automattic, Mel Choyce.

Mel: Hi. I think I might have caused road rage this morning.

Steve: That’s okay.

Tim: I had a little bit of road rage this morning.

Steve: This is Massachusetts. It is our birthright.

Tim: We have Mel on the show this week because she is a former apprentice
and she is working at Automattic now. Automattic makes
WordPress. Correct?

Mel: Specifically, WordPress.com.

Steve: Not WordPress.org?

Mel: Yeah. WordPress.org is separate.

Tim: Okay. Let’s get into the shit.

Mark: What is the structure?

Tim: Okay. There is WordPress the product that I downloaded and installed
into my website?

Mel: Yes.

Tim: What are we calling that?

Mel: That is WordPress.org.

Tim: That is open source?

Mel: Yes.

Tim. And then there is WordPress.com.

Mel: Yes. WordPress.com is a hosted version or WordPress Core. We run the
WordPress multi-site network. We have hundreds, thousands, maybe
millions of blogs that we all host. So, it is free hosting. You
can sign up and receive a blog. It has a limited number of
themes that you can choose from including premium themes.

Steve: So you don’t control WordPress, but guide it? Would that be
[fair]?

Mel: I would say that our founder is the guider of the WordPress open
source project.

Steve: Then you utilize the open source project to maintain a place
for people to host WordPress blogs?

Mel: Exactly.

Steve: Is Automattic the parent of all of it?

Mel: WordPress.org is technically run by the WordPress Foundation.
They are two separate things.

Tim: Completely separate?

Mel: Yes. Completely separate. It just so happens WordPress Core was co-
founded by the founder of Automatic, Matt Mullenweg.

Steve: And he is the reason it is spelled weird?

Mel: Yes.

Steve: Okay. And was that an accident?

Tim: Oh, Matt, I get it.

Mel: Exactly. Auto-Matt-ic. It’s something we do. We have a bunch of tools
that have Matt in them.

Steve: Add to [dictionary]. That is kind of an awesome, egotistical
thing. I would do that if Steve fit into the tool thing.

Mark: I’m just going to tune out for the rest of the show and just
come up with a place we could fit Steve into a word. Bye guys.

Steve: [No] guess there.

Tim: So, Automattic does WordPress.com?

Mel: Yes. WordPress.com

Tim: What else do they do?

Mel: And we have a lot of different WordPress almost add-ins and plugins,
a suite jet pack which is our super charged great plugin for
WordPress Core installations. It comes with a number of features
developed for WordPress.com and when we launch them we can put
them into jet packs so everybody has access to them.

Tim: What does it speed up?

Mel: It’s a bunch of different small modules for audio and video, making
better galleries. We have our own CDN called Photon so you can
set up your site to work with Photon.

Steve: Was that named after photon torpedoes because they’re super
fast and awesome?

Mel: I don’t know actually. Maybe.

Mark: Or just maybe the photon, which is also fast.

Steve: I prefer torpedoes.

Mark: A little bit of physics?

Steve: I like mine better.

Tim: I’m going to cut this entire segment.

Mark: No you are not. It is like saying you have a product named
Lightroom and you ask Adobe is Lightroom named after lightspeed?
Something they did in Star Trek. Like, no, it’s just light.

Tim: What if it is?

Mark: Okay, yeah.

Steve: You are the worst co-host.

Mel: As far as I know, there is no special naming stories for any of
these.

Steve: Aside, from anything that has the name Matt in it.

Mel: Yes, aside for anything with the word “Matt” in it.

Steve: Because he keeps tight control over his ego. I can get down
with that, cool.

Tim: Before you came to Automattic you were here and we work in a very
open space and Automattic is a distributed?

Mel: Yes, fully distributed.

Tim: Fully like, worldwide?

Mel: Yes. I think we have something like 230 people in 190, places,
cities.

Steve: And there is no physical office of any sort unlike 37signals is
mostly remote with its Core team in an office.

Mel: Correct. We have technically a headquarters in San Francisco, CA but
it’s more like a co-working space than anything. We use it for
events. If you’re in the Bay Area you can go and co-work from
there, but I don’t think our founder, Matt, is there very often
and our HR is all over the place.

Steve: You have an HR?

Mel: Everyone is going to have an HR to a certain extent.

Tim: We have an HR department.

Steve: No we don’t.

Tim: Yeah. We do.

Steve: Let’s not talk about our HR department.

Tim: Obviously working on a distributed team like that is different than
working in a giant office with a bunch of idiots. Here the
idiots are distributed. What are some of the challenges of
working with a distributed team? Here I can just point at Steve
and ask him a question.

Steve: And I can pretend I didn’t hear him.

Tim: Very limited knowledge base. But on a distributed team, do you guys
use Skype to communicate? Or do you do weekly meetings? Or how
does that work?

Mel: All of the above. Actually we have found that we need to over
communicate to make sure everybody is on the same page. So, our
team chats take place in an IRC. Each of our teams have a room.
We have our own private IRC server. We have Skype usually for
one on one. We do Google Hangout every week. At least my team
does a Google Hangout every week for the 8 people on our team.
We also have our own system of internal blogs that we call P2s
or O2s. P2 is like the super early version and we’ve been
working on a really awesome new version called O2. That’s where
we do a lot of our asynchronous communication.

Steve: Okay. A couple of weeks ago the office flooded and we were all
stuck working from home for the entire week.

Tim: [I know] the worst.

Steve: Oh, my god. I don’t know who you do this. I need people
around.

Mel: I actually work from a co-working space. It’s a bunch of us.

Steve: Oh, work bar.

Mel: Yes. I work from Workbar Cambridge.

Mark: Excellent.

Mel: Yeah.

Steve: I worked there once. It’s really nice.

Mel: It’s a super beautiful space, but I find that if I work from home too
often, I go crazy, so I need to get out of the house.

Steve: Yeah, I was willing to do anything to get out of the house. I
was spending way too much at lunch everyday just so I would have
an excuse to walk out halfway through the day.

Mark: I couldn’t even do that. I was doing a juice fast during that
week. I couldn’t go to coffee shops, I couldn’t go out to lunch,
it was just like carrot juice.

Steve: You did that to yourself.

Mark: Self induced.

Mel: Although to be fair, of all the weeks you could have done that, that
was probably the best week to do it.

Tim: Yeah, because nobody asked me to go to Russo’s.

Steve: Nobody to make fun of you. Nobody to bask in your shame.

Mark: It was so bad. [inaudible 07:30]

Steve: Nobody to ask you how orange your pee is.

Mark: It wasn’t orange at all.

Steve: Now we know.

Mark: [inaudible 07:36]

Steve: I’m surprised it took me that long to ask that question. It
just occurred to me.

Tim: How often does your team actually physically meet? Does the whole
team ever meet up?

Mel: We do one full company meetup every year called the Grand Meetup.

Tim: Makes sense. Continue.

Mel: Last year we did it in San Francisco and Santa Cruz. It was pretty
fantastic. We had a beach on the shore.

Tim: Santa Cruz, is that the Lost Boys? Wasn’t the Lost Boys set there?

Steve: No.

Mark: [inaudible 08:07] also a place.

Tim: I know but it’s like the vampire capital of the world.

Mel: I didn’t see any vampires that I know of.

Mark: Didn’t see Kiefer.

Steve: Okay.

Mark: This is thrilling. This is interesting. So you have everyone together
for how long? For like a good week together for a conference
type thing?

Mel: Yeah, a solid week.

Mark: That’s awesome.

Mel: As of last year we do a lot of different mini projects. We’ll switch
it up and make new teams and try to see what we can get done. A
lot of internal projects.

Mark: We talked about the challenges or difficulties of working
distributively, how about the pros? What do you feel the company
gets out of them and you personally for your own work?

Mel: I think in terms of the entire company, it’s great because we don’t
have to worry about where people live. We can hire the best and
the brightest anywhere in the world. I personally like the
freedom it affords me. We’re given an incredible amount of
trust to schedule our own days, so if there’s a day where I need
to do something. I need to go to the doctor, I need to run some
errands, I can do that in the middle of the day. I can be like,
okay, I’ll work in the morning, run my errands around lunch
time, get back and then work in the evening if I need to.

Mark: I imagine the concept of time zones go out the window because you’re
basically working on maybe average work hours for East Coast.
But if you work again in the evening, it’s like well, you’re on
West Coast time now. Everyone is working at all hours.

Steve: Is your team more closely aligned in time zones just for the
sake of ease or are they spread all over too?

Mel: They are all over. In particular my team is mostly North America. We
only have one person in Canada and the rest of us are US.

Tim: How big is the team?

Mel: Eight people. We have one person in Thailand and one person in
Taiwan. So they’re 11, 12 hours ahead of us.

Steve: Yes. We had an Australian office that Mark and I used to work
for and it was always a huge pain in the ass trying to get them
in on anything.

Mark: That’s different because it was a more traditional company
where you are in the office, in work hours versus something
where you’re working on your own time where you can be more
flexible too [inaudible 10:24].

Steve: That’s true but even that flexibility goes out the window when
you are that far around the globe as possible.

Mel: Yeah.

Steve: You are literally exact opposites on any reasonable schedule.

Mark: The team that you are on is it the design team or are the teams
more module or project focused?

Mel: They’re definitely more project focused.

Tim: So what is your team?

Mel: My team is called Team Triton.

Tim: Okay, that’s not helpful.

Mel: Yeah.

Mark: That’s pretty badass. Team Triton.

Mel: We specifically work on the part of WordPress.com called New Dash. If
you go to WordPress.com you will see the blog reader first and
then there’s settings and a list of your blogs all in one place.
That’s what we call New Dash.

Tim: Do you finish that project or that’s where you are?

Mel: That’s where I am. So it’s just perpetual [fabric] improvements.

Steve: What if you wanted to move to a different part of WordPress?

Mel: I just ask. Team switches are pretty normal, pretty expected,
especially if you’re on a team for two years and you start to
feel like I’m getting tired of this I want to move on.

Steve: Do teams ever migrate with each other? Like you all decide you
like working together and move to a different piece of
functionality or . . . ?

Mel: Teams will take on new projects. Our team used to be, our name
used to project focused name, but as we are now doing more
projects, more products, we’re trying to make our names more
obscure like Triton. We just had a team that used to be called
Social is now called Team Mercury.

Steve: Do all the names have some mythic form?

Mark: [Everyone] but team Trashcan.

Mel: Not really. I think it’s just what people think sounds cool.

Tim: Who’s got the coolest team and different . . .

Mel: I think Triton has the coolest name.

Tim: Are they the best team?

Mel: I would say that I’m not going to answer those questions.

Mark: [inaudible 12:26] be biased of all the people at Automattic, who is
your favorite and who is your least?

Mel: I know who Tim wants me to say is my least favorite.

Steve: Tim asking the tough questions.

Mark: So, with Automattic working on a number of products beyond
WordPress alone, some having to do with WordPress like Jet Pack
or [inaudible 12:42]. I understand there are projects that are
outside of the WordPress domain as well, right? Do you end up
having teams that go outside of WordPress Core? Can you end up
working on one of these other projects that are maybe related or
not related at all, really a separate product?

Mel: Yes. We acquired two teams actually in the past. I don’t know if it’s
a year or more than a year.

Mark: [inaudible 13:05] right? Or do I have that totally wrong?

Mel: We acquired recently a team called Cloud Up. They do a file sharing
service that is amazing and blazingly fast. And we also acquired
a team-I don’t know if this was earlier this year, earlier last
year, or right before then–called Simple Note. We acquired them
along with their team and Symperium. So they are [AutoMattions],
now. I know that we had people who are formally on WordPress
specific projects who are now integrated with, at the very
least, Symperium.

Steve: Have they been making a lot of improvements to Simple Note? I
used it a lot. I was having syncing issues like six or eight
months ago so I sort of stopped.
.
Mel: Yeah. We released a new version sometime this past year. It’s great.

Steve: I will have to look into it, again.

Mel: I hadn’t even heard of it before I started working at Automatic and
now I use it all the time.

Tim: I feel like places like Automattic, Mozilla, and those non-profit
techs have almost broke the economy in a good way. Like just
acquiring companies, but it is an open source software really so
where does the money come from to buy a company.

Mel: We offer a lot of premium upgrades on WordPress.com.

Tim: [inaudible 14:26]

Mel: Yeah, so if you use up a lot of space you can buy a space upgrade. We
have a video hosting service that you can pay to upgrade to.
Custom design. You have minimal design changes that you can
make. Some themes allow you to customize more than others by
default, but if you want to use your own custom CSS, if you want
to use our type kit font service, you have to pay for a yearly
upgrade.

Tim: Okay. That makes sense.

Mark: If you’ve got WordPress.org, the open source and [solution]. It’s for
someone knows what they’re doing, they are willing to take on
managing the server, managing plugin installations and
consistency across upgrades. While WordPress.com you’re getting
the convenience, the security of knowing, I’m [all this once] so
this is an obvious avenue for upgrades.

Tim: Is that the split? Like if someone came to you and asked what should
I do, should I download WordPress or should I use WordPress.com,
how would you guide them?

Mel: So if they are very new to web, or even just technology in general,
I’ll generally send them to WordPress.com because it is so easy.
If I think they feel comfortable installing it themselves, then
I’ll usually say go for this because you have more freedom. You
have a lot more control with dot org. Some people don’t need
control though. They just need like a blog. If you are doing a
project for class and you just need a one off blog, something
WordPress.com is great because you don’t need to worry about
hosting.

Tim: Right on. Is the UX process at Automattic different than here or what
you’re used to? [inaudible 15:58]

Mel: Yeah. The interesting thing about Automattic is that I think we have
16 different official designers and we’re all on different
teams. My team is the only one as far as I know with two
designers. Although I think our mobile team actually has another
designer on at least part time. We all have our own different
kind of processes. Mine was definitely shaped by what I learned
here at Fresh Tilled Soil.

Tim: Well, it is the best one.

Mel: Exactly. I actually did some user testing in person earlier this
week. We do a lot of online user testing just because it is
convenient.

Tim: Any specific resource?

Mel: We use usertesting.com usually.

Steve: We had a user test run earlier this week involving a drunk
user.

Mel: Oh, that’s fun.

Steve: Oh, god. It was fucking hilarious.

Mel: I don’t think I have ever done any user [inaudible 16:45]
interesting.

Steve: Revealing the details related to it, but it was amazing.

Tim: I wasn’t that drunk.

Steve: It wasn’t Tim. Maybe it was Tim.

Mark: Wink, wink. You can’t see the winks on the microphone. You have to
say “wink” out loud. It’s podcasting expertise right there.

Tim: When you have that big company meeting is it all fun? Or do you
try and sync up your processes you’re sharing?

Mel: We try to do at least half work and half fun. There were days where
we did more work, especially towards the beginning of the meetup
and then towards the end we did a little bit more fun. We will
do different sessions. We do our own town hall with our founder,
now CEO and our ex-CEO now, I don’t even know, product manager.
I don’t even know.

Tim: Product manager.

Mel: We just had our CEO changed roles. So now he’s working on improving
internal products and thinking up new products. And our former,
I don’t even know what Matt was is now a CEO. So they kind of
switched positions earlier this month actually.

Tim: You mentioned a mobile designer, which I thought was interesting
because WordPress just went responsive, right?

Mel: Yes. WordPress Core just went responsive.

Tim: Okay, is WordPress.com?

Mel: Well NewDash is responsive and WordPress Core is responsive. So I
guess both sides are now. They’re synced up/

Tim: Did you have a hand in any of that?

Mel: I actually did. I was involved in the new redesign the WordPress
Admin. We went from gray and gritty to now flatter, not totally
flat and darker, but we also have now a number of color schemes
that you can use. We did a lot of redesigning for about nine
months.

Steve: Is there any specific thing in there that you can point to in
there and say “yes”, “that was me.” “That was mine.”

Mel: All of the color schemes I personally designed thanks to Steve
Hickey’s help as my mentor when I was an apprentice here.

Steve: Thank you. I’m so proud. That is awesome.

Mel: Yes. I came into the ASCE program really terrible at color, and then
I left. I wouldn’t say as a champion but definitely a lot better
than where I was when I started.

Steve: I was actually doing that exercise that I had you do the other
day as I went to see the John Singer Sargent Water Colors at the
MFA. I thought a lot of them were really cool so I went online
and [ganked] as many as I could from as many places I could and
started running through that exercise. It was fun.

Tim: What are some of the challenges in designing responsive application?
We have done a few of here and they have gotten progressively
easier, but they are super complicated. I was wondering because
WordPress is the uber application. I have been using it for
years.

Mel: Yeah. There were a lot of challenges that we faced. The project
itself was just a style change. We didn’t change any mark up. At
least we didn’t change any mark up until we merged it into Core,
so we were pretty much limited to CSS and a little bit of
JavaScript. We had to work with the existing structure. There
were times when we had to get creative with how we styled to
work the structure that we had.

Tim: I used to have to do that with Myspace. [inaudible 20:14]. I used to
have the best Myspace page. Really, it was awesome.

Steve: I hope you have an exact screen shot of it somewhere.

Tim: I don’t. One was an exact replica of yahoo.com in every way. I could
flip the logo around. Another was three links all gray and then
three links as profile. I was . . .

Mark: Myspace king.

Mel: You were the bomb dot com.

Tim: Yes, it was impressive. Let me say.

Mark: It was truly your space.

Tim: I got some ladies from it.

Mark: I’m sure you did. “Are you Tim Wright of the yahoo.com, but not but
reversed fame on My . . . ?” Wow.

Mel: Can I be in your top eight places?

Tim: Flashbacks.

Steve: People used to get dram over the top eight placement.

Tim: It was nuts.

Mark: It was the first graduation of speed dial into the modern era
of the Internet social era. It’s like, oh man. You’re number
three on my speed dial to you’re my eight places.

Steve: There were people in my high school who broke up over removals
from top eights and things like that. It was nuts.

Mel: That’s a little excessive.

Steve: I know.

Mel: The new Myspace is actually really well designed.

Mark: Yeah.

Tim: That search feature on the home page is incredible.

Mel: It’s any page at all.

Tim: Oh, it’s all of them.

Steve: You just start typing.

Mel: Yeah, you just start typing.

Tim: We did a form of that on our site. It’s not exposed like that one.
But for anyone who doesn’t know, go to MySpace.com and just
start typing and it will fire search. It’s awesome.

Steve: And if you are confused by those instructions don’t over think
it. Just literally start typing. There is no intermediary step
that you’re missing that Tim forgot to tell you about.

Tim: That’s really an example of a product that that went through, a
product and a brand that went through different owners and
different implementations and different goals, and
interpretations and meanings so many times and has actually come
out better for it. They don’t have the monopoly on the Internet
that they had in 2005 obviously. They really fell from grace
very dramatically.

Steve: Back in the heady days of the Internet.

Mark: Yeah, but it’s amazing that they survived and came out the other end
like good.

Steve: Isn’t Justin Timberlake pretty much propping them up right now?

Mel: I think so.

Steve: Is that how that works?

Mel: I don’t think they have a lot of [inaudible 22:30] either.

Mark: [inaudible 22:30] being successful by just being . . . successful is
a whole other thing

Steve: They’ve done some cool stuff lately.

Mark: Yeah.

Steve: That’s what we get.

Mel: It’s also a good showing of even if you have a really great website,
your product could still fail.

Steve: Oh, yeah.

Mark: Yeah.

Mel: They did such a great successful redesign and it didn’t really matter
yet. I don’t know. Maybe that will change.

Tim: We’re all about music now.

Mark: The world really hasn’t cracked the code on what it means now
to make a site or product hit critical mass. It has changed, and
I think a lot of people are still using the paradigms from 5 or
6, 10 years, ago about like, well if I just got the right thing
with launch, it’s just grow. And there is just so many more
things at play, so many more platforms and it’s such a big
thing. But getting back to WordPress for one second. Before we
finish up I want to ask you, Mel, I know when you first came
here and while you were here I know you were contributing to
WordPress.org, the open source project? Correct?

Mel: I was, yes. I am.

Mark: So that was a great natural lead in to when you went to go work
for Automattic. I’m curious how that played out?

Steve: How does somebody start contributing to WordPress if they want
to?

Mel: Okay.

Mark: You see, that is the sentence that . . . yep.

Mel: So in my case I attended a Word camp, it’s the WordPress conference
and I was hooked on the community so I started to get involved.
There’s a lot of resources online. We have a handbook with how
to contribute. There are weekly chats for different teams so we
have the Core dev team, we have an accessibility team, we have a
docs team, we have a community team, we have like a translations
team. There’s a lot of different ways to get involved. Pretty
much if you work on the Web, if you’re a writer, if you’re a
designer, there’s tons of opportunity. I’d say out of all the
open source projects I have attempted to get involved with,
WordPress was super welcoming and a lot more clear, I think,
than other places.

Tim: Say I wrote some accessibility and enhancement into WordPress, how
long would it take to get into Core and what would be the
process for doing that?

Mel: So you would make a patch of WordPress Core. You would need to have a
little bit of basic dev knowledge to be able to do that,
everything is in SVN. I think you can also do [git] too, but you
would just make a patch. We have a track system that you could
make a ticket on. Upload the patch there. Usually there’s a bit
of discussion and if it was judged to be oh yeah, awesome, it
would get merged in and it would be launched in the next release
cycle.

Tim: So, you really don’t want people doing anything.

Mark: Not you anyway.

Mel: No, not Tim. Tim is not allowed.

Steve: As soon as you said SVN, Tim tuned out unfortunately.

Tim: We used SVN at the U. We had a massive WordPress install at BU. We
used SVN for that. I’m familiar. Dick.

Man: Wow. Well, I’ve used it too. Thanks, Tim.

Mark: I know what they stand for. Do I? Yes, aversion.

Tim: What’s the V and the N stand for? I’ll give you a hint about the V.
It’s exactly what you think it would be.

Mark: I’m going to [tweet] out of your phone [inaudible 26:01]

Mel: It’s also something you can discuss. We have a bunch of internal
blogs too for different teams. Something that started actually
with the last cycle 3.8 is the idea of introducing features as
plugins first. So, if you want to build a new feature, you can
build it as a plugin, test the plugin, and then submit it to
Core and then it just gets talked about and talked about and the
code is reviewed. If it’s something that we think is going to
really improve WordPress, then it will get added in.

Tim: Is there a lot of that stuff that usually comes in.

Mel: Last cycle was the first time we did this. This was in [MP 6], which
was the plugin I was working on the new admin design was merged
into Core along with some small widgets updates. We totally
revamped the theme browser page. The nest version 3.9 which is
being worked on right now, there’s probably going to be a new
way to add widgets to your site through the WordPress
customizer. That was something that started as a plugin and is
getting ready to merge into Core.

Tim: Cool, yeah. Awesome.

Mark: It’s really neat to get the kind of insight having just used
WordPress.org, [versus] people do it for dotcom just to really
get an insight to how these things happen, how they get made.

Tim: It’s easy to forget that there is a fairly significant team behind
all of this stuff.

Mel: We have tons of people.

Tim: It’s not just sitting out there.

Mark: It doesn’t just come from the ether.

Tim: Yeah, it’s not just some neck beards in their free time hacking away.
There’s a team.

Mark: Of neck beards. Is that what you were trying to say?

Tim: No.

Mark: It’s just the massive [inaudible 27:42]

Tim: You’re making it offensive.

Mark: God you’re racist.

Mel: This is probably a good time to say that WordPress actually has a
huge community of women contributing.

Mark: That’s excellent.

Steve: Nice. I remember when you were here as an apprentice that you
were telling me that was one of the things that really appealed
to you about them?

Mel: It was nice that there were very immediate invisible female role
models on the contributing team. So it wasn’t just like hey, I’m
going to go contribute with a bunch of dudes.

Steve: Yeah, we kind of suck.

Tim: Oh, Steve. Oh, well, we don’t want to keep you for super long time. I
think there’s some folks in the office here that would like to
[inaudible 28:22] hello.

So we want to thank you for coming on the show. This was great.
Anytime you want to come back and talk about Automattic or life,
or driving in Boston, you’re welcome.

Mel: Cool. Thank you for having me.

Tim: How can people get a hold of you if they want to send you pictures?

Mel: Eww, really?

Steve: That’s what she came on for?

Mark: We end the show on a conversation about how great it is, the
inclusiveness of the WordPress community about how the great
gender balance, and you go and ask how . . . you’re a despicable
slime ball, Tim Wright.

Mel: [inaudible 28:54]

Tim: I didn’t say anything. You guys took that picture comment way in a
weird direction.

Mark: I might send her a picture of hats.

Mel: I like hats.

Steve: There was a moment where that topic teetered, where we could
have breezed right by it and then Mark just lunged right in.

Mel: We just dove right in.

Mark: How can people send you accolades and thanks and smiles?

Mel: So, I am Mel Choyce on . . .

Steve: Unicorns and . . .

Mel: . . . pretty much anything, everything. At some point I decided that
I would just have my name as my various online handles. It’s
made things easier.

Steve: You’re lucky. The other Steve Hickey is a dick.

Mel: Yeah, there’s no other Mel Choyce.

Steve: Excellent.

Mark: There is a Mark Grambau in small town government in the
Midwest.

Tim: Nice contribution.

Mark: Maybe Maryland.

Tim: We have an upcoming event at Fresh Tilled Soil called Experience Dev.
It’s a conference for managers who manage design and development
teams and how to get them working better together. It is on
February 27th here at the Watertown office. Tickets are on sale.
They’re are super cheap. There is no reason you shouldn’t come.
Like, really, it’s really cheap and [inaudible 29:55]

Mark: You’ll get to meet Tim. I know who you are.

Steve: Don’t list the reasons people shouldn’t come.

Tim: You can get more information at FreshTilledSoil.com/experience-dev. As
usual you can get us on Twitter at The Dirt Show and please
review us on iTunes, please. That’s all we have for today. Thank
you for listening and we will try and do better next time.

About Fresh Tilled Soil

Fresh Tilled Soil is a Boston-based user interface and experience design firm focused on human centered digital design