Hallway Chats Episode 147 - Patrick Rauland

Episode 147 – Patrick Rauland

Hallway Chats Episode 147 - Patrick Rauland


Introducing Patrick Rauland

Patrick is obsessed with eCommerce. He’s created eCommerce websites for clients, worked at WooCommerce in support, development, and product management, and he creates courses on LinkedIn Learning for WooCommerce. He’s written several books on eCommerce, and also runs WooSesh, an online conference all about WooCommerce.

Show Notes

Twitter | @BFTrick

Website | Speaking In Bytes

Game Website | LaidBackGames.com

Nexcess | Optimize WooCommerce, Store Builder

Preferred Pronouns | He/Him

Episode Transcript

Tara: This is Hallway Chats, where we meet people who use WordPress.

Liam: We ask questions and our guests share their stories, ideas, and perspectives.

Tara: And now the conversation begins. This is Episode 147.

Tara: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Tara Claeys.

Liam: And I’m Liam Dempsey. Today, we’re joined by Patrick Rauland. Patrick is obsessed with eCommerce. He’s created eCommerce websites for clients, worked at WooCommerce in support, development, and product management, and he creates courses on LinkedIn Learning for WooCommerce. He’s written several books on eCommerce, and also runs WooSesh, an online conference all about WooCommerce. Patrick, welcome. Thank you for joining us today.

Patrick: Thanks for having me.

Tara: Thanks for being here. We’re really glad to have the opportunity to get to know you better and have a little chat. Can you tell us more about yourself?

Patrick: Yeah. I did forget to write down one thing. I now work at Nexcess as a product marketing manager, and we specialize in eCommerce hosting. So I’m still doing even more eCommerce. Then I also was the lead organizer for WordCamp Denver the last couple of years. Let’s see. And I think just in personal life I also love everything board game.

Tara: Woo, I’m excited to talk about that because there’s been a lot of board gaming, like probably a lot of people have over the years. Pandemic lockdown, cozy up at home kind of stuff. My daughter came home from college and she’s obsessed with this game that has trains in it and you have to connect the trains across the country.

Patrick: Ticket to Ride.

Tara: Ticket to Ride is the name. I’m terrible at it. I don’t like it. You cannot multitask in that game, which is something that really bothers me. But there’s apparently versions like in Scandinavia versions and all these different versions, which would make it much harder if you’re not familiar with what’s where. The game I’m newly familiar with.

Patrick: In that board game world, that’s a gateway game, we’d call it. So it’s a game to get people into the hobby. So, if that’s too much, many other…all the games on…I know, this is a podcast and most people can’t see behind me, but most of the games behind me are more complex than that.

Tara: Okay. I’m not sure it’s the complexity. It’s the singular thing you can do on a turn. Like why can’t you get tickets and build a train? I didn’t understand that. But you got me going. I like Scrabble.

Patrick: I’m terrible at word games. I can guarantee everyone in the world can beat me at any word game. My brain doesn’t work that way. So I give you kudos.

Tara: Fun, fun. Are a lot of new games out?

Patrick: Yeah. People are still launching games on Kickstarter, and games are still coming out. My friend’s game behind me, which I’m pointing to is called the Alpha. That just came out this summer. Games are like a long production cycle. So this is so nerdy. This is not related to WordPress at all. But games have like a two-year development cycle for most. So by the time you license a game to a publisher as a game designer, then they’ll usually take one to three years, probably around two years on average to figure out how big the box should be, how much it should cost, come up with the artwork and then release it.

Tara: Cool. Have you ever made a game? Do you have any game?

Patrick: Yes. Yeah. I have a game. It’s super tiny behind me. It’s called Fry Thief, and it’s a game about stealing French fries because they’re delicious. And then I just licensed my first—that I self-published. I just licensed my first game called Kintsugi, which is about fixing objects with gold rather than throwing them away and buying a new one, it’s a Japanese tradition called Kintsugi, a couple of weeks ago. So in about two years, you’ll see it on Kickstarter.

Tara: Cool.

Liam: I’m going to add that to my Christmas list for 2022 or 2023.

Patrick: There we go. There we go. It’s a fun hobby. Although I’m glad, the margins in the board game world are tiny. It’s much easier to like sell a WordPress website to someone than to sell someone a board game and keep 50 cents.

Liam: Let me just ask you briefly if I can about your creative process for board games. Are you loving the creative concept of what would be a great way to have a game and have a challenge? Are you a writer and you love to tell a story? You said you send it off to designers to do all the design work. So where is your focus? What get your goad on this?

Patrick: First of all, the main reason I like board games is I like being around the table and just experiencing things with people. If I were to be like, “Hey, Liam, let’s sit down for two hours and stare into each other’s eyes,” you’re probably going to feel a little bit awkward about that. Whereas if I say, “Hey, let’s play a game,” we can play Ticket to Ride. That’s about an hour-long game. “Let’s play Ticket to Ride for an hour.” That feels so much more comfortable. People, in general, are comfortable with it. So that’s why I love board games.

And then the question in the board game world is do you start with a theme or mechanic? Theme is like, wouldn’t it be cool to make a game about trains? Mechanic for Ticket to Ride, for those of you who know, it would be like…this is a set collection game where if you get four green cards, then you can build a line on the green part of the board. That’s the mechanics of Ticket to Ride. Oh, man. I guess it’s some sort of blend between the two is I like to have a clear, concise idea of the mechanics and I really care about the theme.

Some people design board games just mechanics. It’s like, this is a game where we’re making widgets. And then they figure out all the cool ways to I get two widgets, you get one widget, she gets three widgets. And they sell them to a publisher, and the publisher will come up with a theme for them, which is not my style at all. But some people do do that.

Tara: Interesting. I think we could probably talk about board games a lot. And on my mind, I had a dream that I was told that I watched too much TV with my husband, and we should do some more interactive things than just watch shows. So we have started playing some games, which is fun. How about cards? Do you play cards, too?

Patrick: I do like cards. I think one of my favorite memories ever of all time is this fishing trip I took when I was 14 or something. It was me my dad, my cousin and my grandpa. And we played hours and hours and hours and hours of Euchre. There we go. I love that. I love the trick-taking games in general, but that sort of card play is very fun, very enjoyable. But you do need to be with a group of people who like it. If three people like Euchre and the fourth person’s like, “What’s a trick-taking game?” it’s not going to be a good experience. But I do love card games.

Tara: Cool. All right, let’s talk a little bit about WordPress. So WordPress and WooCommerce because WooCommerce is your thing. And certainly all the buzz, right? WooCommerce is a pretty popular thing now. It’s really part of WordPress, actually. So talk a little bit about how you got into it.

Patrick: One of the best things that I ever did was I helped kickstart a meetup group way back. I live in Denver now. I lived in Green Bay, Wisconsin then, and there was this like WordPress Meetup group just sitting there. People were registered, but no one was running the meetings, so I started running the meetings. And it was from one of those meetings that someone I was asking about eCommerce for a client’s project, what would end up being my first WooCommerce site. And I was like, “How do we sell things online?” It was great. It came from this Meetup group that was just sitting there on untapped potential.

Several people in my meetup all said that WooCommerce is great. I tried this one, it didn’t work. I tried this one, it didn’t work. And I came back to WooCommerce and it’s great. So it’s really cool that it came from my local Meetup group. I built it for a client site.

I think this is helpful is the very first site I built it with was like a catalog site. Like you couldn’t buy anything online right then but they wanted to add eCommerce later. And so there’s just a cool extension called catalog visibility options that lets you turn your online store into just a catalog. It turns off the “add to cart” button in the cart feature. It was the best way to get started with WooCommerce because you dealt with all the front end stuff without like, “Oh, God, what are the taxes on this side?” That’s really scary. I feel like I was gently escorted into WooCommerce.

Liam: That sounds a nice way into it. Because there is “we’ll just settle on online.” And especially in COVID. “You have to sell online.” To some extent the selling is easy. It’s the taxes, the shipping, the tracking order, the shipment rate for physical products. It gets pretty complicated or at least convoluted in a hurry, doesn’t it?

Patrick: Yeah, it can. Whenever I go to WordCamps, I have an intro to WooCommerce chat that I give. My the three things that I bring up in the intro to WooCommerce is like it really is a WordPress site with shipping payments and taxes added on. So if you can understand those three things, you’re good to go. But those three things are our big things. Like you can’t just look it up in an hour and know everything about shipping and know everything about tax, and everything about payment gateways. And I think it’s all very manageable.

When a client comes to you for a new WordPress site, and they’re like, “Hey, I want to have this thing where it’s like Facebook and it does this, and does this and it does this,” you’re like, “Whoa, let’s start a little bit smaller.” And I think if people knew how to do that with WooCommerce, then people would be less scared of eCommerce. Like, “Right, we’re going to start by selling one product with USPS and we’re going to use Stripe.” We can always grow from there with more products and bundles and cool free express shipping on $200 or more. There’s things you can do later, but let’s just start with the simple stuff.” Because otherwise you do get overwhelmed.

Liam: Yeah, yeah, I hear that. And I’m going to take this opportunity to give a shout out to the folks at Nexcess, not because you’re on the show, but because you’re on the show. I had the opportunity, somebody came to me and said, “Hey, I have a WooCommerce site. I’m on a well-known host, the site’s really slow. Can you help me?” And I said, “Look, I am not an expert at WooCommerce. You don’t want me digging in to try to speed optimize. But I can tell you out of the box, good hosting matters. Maybe we should move it.”

So your colleagues walked them onto the server from their existing host, they managed the whole process, and WooCommerce on Nexcess, frighteningly fast. I have never been on a fast WooCommerce site until I did it for this client. And my client thinks I’m just amazing. And I was candid about it to my client. I’m like, “They’re going to do all the work. I’m just going to make sure that you don’t have to talk to them directly.” And what a great service! What a really exciting thing! Thank you to you and your colleagues for putting that together. Because that was amazing. I was really blown away by that.

Patrick: Wow. Thank you. That’s great. I was not prepared to hear that. So it’s very exciting to hear there’s…I think I want to bring up two things quick is number one, there is a 15 day performance challenge. If you just want to see what your website looks like a Nexcess, you can just google it. 15 day performance challenge.

The other thing is, I don’t think people realize this, but it’s totally different to optimize a static site versus a dynamic site. So Nexcess is all about dynamic sites, which is why we specialize in eCommerce and membership sites. Because that’s hard and that’s why we like to focus on the hard thing. But it is very different than if you’re used to optimizing, speed…If you’ve only ever built WordPress sites and someone says, “Hey, can you speed up my WooCommerce site?” I’m like, “Cool, I’ll cache every page.” And it’s like, well, you might not want to do that because caching an eCommerce can have problems. So it’s a whole different ballgame.

Tara: I thought you were going to give a shout out also, because Nexcess and Liquidweb sponsor our podcast, or they host our podcast.

Liam: They do that too. I just didn’t want to shout out too much and too often about the great support we get from them. But that WooCommerce experience isn’t because they’re sponsors. This is a little bit self-serving, too, because now this saves me having to write a blog post about how great service was because I’ll just link to this show. But it was fantastic. Everything from the technology, the stack, the new customer portal continues to get even better. And just the speed of the server, my client can’t believe it. I don’t have to do anything more to my site. It’s good. I’m done.

Patrick: Right. I think about this a lot. I want everyone to do the thing that they’re best at. So if you are best at building sites, then you shouldn’t be spending a significant amount of your time on hosting. And if you’re good at hosting sites, don’t spend time building them. That’s why I like to find people who are very good at what they do just in all areas of life, even outside of WordPress. I think that’s the goal is you’re good at building websites, you do that. We’ll figure out how to keep it online and speedy.

Tara: Yeah, yeah. A lot of companies are acquiring other companies that are good at things so that they can be good at them too, right?

Patrick: Yeah.

Tara: That’s the other trend we’re seeing happening for sure. Patrick, I’m going to ask you a question we ask all of our guests, which is how they define success. So whether it’s your personal life, professional life, a combination of the two or more, how do you define success?

Patrick: Good question. Fun side fact, I run a Board Game Design podcast, and I ask a question called: What does success look like to you? So what’s great is I actually am used to asking this question, and I’m not used to answering it.

I have a weird definition for success in that I don’t like goals, because goals are the thing that you fail at every day until you hit the goal. In the last specially five years, let’s say, I’ve been focusing on building habits. And those habits that will eventually lead to some sort of success. So rather than saying, “I want to have a world-famous blog,” I will say, “I want to write a post once a week.” So I set these habitual things that are easier to do. And then success eventually comes.

I guess it feels like mathematically eventually it’s going to happen as opposed to “I need to get a book deal. I will just write enough blog posts.” The first time I ever wrote a book about WooCommerce, I just wrote a blog post about WooCommerce, and then a publisher came to me. That’s incredibly fortunate. But also I’ve written over 100 blog posts about WooCommerce. So when they did a little bit of research to find someone to write for them, they came across my site.

So I think I’m a big fan of like creating systems and habits that are super easy to follow rather than like, “I want to have 50,000 visits a year,” or “I want to make $10,000 a year on my board game website.” One of my resolutions for this year is I want to get better about my personal finances. I’ve always been fine, I’ve just like never like… but now I just have a monthly check in. It’s in my to-do list. I check it off monthly. It only takes me like an hour just to grab all my numbers and put a little spreadsheet.

I feel so much better just knowing, “Okay, good. Oh, could we pay down that debt? Good. Oh, we added some to our retirement account. Great. We’re all on track here.” And before it was just willy nilly chaos whenever I had money. Anyways, that’s how I define success is by creating little systems that are very easy to run, rather than setting big lofty goals that are depressing until you hit them.

Tara: Have you read the book “Atomic Habits”? Sounds like some of what you’re saying is kind of…

Patrick: This is embarrassing, but I don’t think I’ve finished it. I actually love it. I have like a million bookmarks. And for whatever reason I left the book alone, and I think I’ve gone back to podcast. I think it’s about halfway done. I love it. James Clear. Right?

Liam: Yeah. I think you got the gist of it, though, from what your approach in terms of building these incremental habits to reach goals is… That’s kind of the method behind that. And making it easy to have those habits. Like, if you want to drink more water, you know, fill up two water bottles and keep them on your desk so that when you run out you have a backup. Like I just showed you. So yeah, little things like that. Setting up systems to help you be successful with your habits. Thank you for sharing your view of success. It’s fun to answer after asking it, hopefully. Liam and I asked each other that about once a year, and it is fun to think about it in our own perspective.

Patrick: Yeah.

Liam: Yeah, absolutely. And Patrick, I like that shifting perspective. You’re not saying that the goal or whatever it is, isn’t kind of out there in some ethereal kind of way. But it’s not the primary focus. The primary focus is to better yourself in some substantive way. I like that a lot.

How far does that go in your life in the sense of, you’re doing it professionally, you’re doing a little bit around your personal finances? Does that come into play? You know, I want to eat better, I want to be a nicer person. Not to say that you’re not nice. Whatever your kind of personal growth and development goals, how does that play out for you?

Patrick: I try to put it into everything I do. Hold on. At the top of my head here, let’s talk about productivity books. So Atomic Habits. The one thing, essentialism, smarter, faster, better. There’s a million books about this that I just… I do try to apply to everything in my life.

I think a good example is…this is so nerdy. So there is a little contest in my company to get the most steps every month. We have a little Fitbit challenge. I love walks. I walk my dog twice a day. And then my partner walks the dog twice a day. So I walk my dog twice a day, which is a lot already. And this person was beating me and I wanted more outside time, and I wanted time to listen to my podcasts.

So at the start of this pandemic, I’m like, “You know what? I’m going to set up a system that is so unbeatable that I will destroy this person at steps every month.” So I added a four-mile walk at the end of my workday. And guess who destroyed the step challenge every month? They had to change the rules, you can only win once a year. So it’s weird.

And the pandemic helps because now I have more free time, but I added a four-mile walk, which is an hour and 20 minutes to the end of my work. So that is the end of my workday when I’m done with that, this is my office, then I go into the living room. And it’s a nice transition from the end of the workday. But I also set aside the time, right? So I apply the success and goals and systems to every part of my life, including step challenges.

Tara: Yeah, I can tell there’s something that you might define yourself by as competitiveness. Combine your board games and that story…hmm. Are you competitive in board games?

Patrick: I don’t know how to answer that.  Hmmm. Here’s the best way to say this. I like optimization. So in games, it’s like, Hmm, I can trade in one square and get two circles. That’s great. Or I can even trade one square and get three triangles. That’s great. That’s a better move if triangles are more valuable or the same value. I like optimization, I like getting better, but I never want to do it at the expense of someone else.

There’s a problem in gaming in general. I also play tabletop games with a little miniatures and video games where it’s like owning people. There’s never a point where I want someone to have a feel [unintelligible 00:20:20]. I never want someone have a bad experience playing a game with me. So there is an extent that that goes to, which is why when I play a new game with someone for the first time, it’s almost always like a quick…they’re called filler games, like a 20 minute game that’s like, “We’re going to do this. We’re going to do this.” “Oh, cool. Look a one.” And there’s like more luck in those games. So I never want them to have a bad experience. But yes, if I can get super nerdy and competitive with someone who knows the game, oh, we’re going to have that competitive match.

Tara: Sounds like empathetic competition. That’s a new phrase that I just coined?

Patrick: Coin it. There you go. You’ll be famous.

Liam: Yeah, I like it. You heard it here first, folks. Patrick, what about eCommerce that keeps you excited for so long. And you talked a little bit about optimization and you shared earlier or I shared about you that, you know, you’ve done client work, you’ve done product work actually on an eCommerce platform, you’ve done some training, you’ve written some books about it, and now you’re working with a host that’s really trying to gear their services, among other things, to folks running eCommerce sites and business. What about it that makes you say, “Yeah, sign me up for another year?”?

Patrick: Great question. If it was possible, I would like everyone in America to have a side hustle or in the world. Why America? The whole world could have a side hustle. I think there’s something powerful about owning your own thing and owning your own business and being responsible for something. I worked for myself for roughly the last two, maybe three years. And that’s been great. It’s been a great experience. I get to move very fast when I work by myself and get to execute very quickly, and get to see things through to exactly my vision.

Now at Nexcess, we’re a company of about a thousand people, and there’s levels and layers and bureaucracy that you have to go through. And it slows things down, but it’s also this more like comprehensive, fully-featured, fully thought through product. I think it’s just good for people to have both experiences. If my boss was ever like, “Patrick, you need to work the next 10 weekends in a row,” I’d be like, “No, I’m out of here.” Because I have my own side business. I can run my LinkedIn Learning and books and courses and stuff. I could absolutely pivot and do that full time if I wanted.

I think there’s something powerful about that. It’s giving yourself an option to work for yourself in case you have a horrible boss. There’s that expression people join companies and quit because of bosses. I’m sorry, I messed that up. You can Google it. But it’s something along those lines. I’ve been acquired before. I’ve had randomly new bosses have been added above me. And if you don’t get along with them, there’s usually very little you can do. So think it’s just about like independence and having a backup plan. I wish more people had backup plans and have their own little enterprises.

And just the last thing is I’m also a personal finance nerd. I don’t know why, but like we give small business owners so many deductions compared to regular workers. Also if you have a small business, and I get noise-cancelling headphones for podcast interview, now it’s a write-off. So you can save some money by running a small business.

Tara: You have an entrepreneurial background? How did you get started in in tech? Tell a little bit about that.

Patrick: I went to school at University of Wisconsin Green Bay, and then I got into a custom web development shop basically halfway through my senior year. So it was great. This was 2008, 2009. Sorry, I don’t remember the exact year. But it was like not a good time. I had a job lined up and we were building really cool custom stuff for people which I liked. Not even using WordPress, just custom PHP stuff.

Later on, I joined other web companies and agencies and did stuff. But there was this super tiny, little entrepreneurial community in Green Bay, and I got really involved. I gave presentations about the things that I knew, which is custom PHP and WordPress. Then I gave presentations about Drupal and Ruby on Rails and this and this and this. I attended…there was a startup weekend event in Green Bay.

So I love that entrepreneurial spirit. It’s hard to say you were into the startup world when you’re in Green Bay. But as much of a startup world as there was, I was into it. I love it. It’s very cool to see people’s dreams come true. You know what I mean? It’s very cool to see people build things from scratch. I’m a big fan of that world.

Sorry, just quick shout out because I live in Denver. I love it. There’s this amazing thing called Startup Week Denver. If you’re ever anywhere near Denver in September, you got to come. It’s just phenomenal free sessions about startups night. I still go to it every year. It’s amazing. And I love it. I don’t know if I want to work for startup, but I love that culture.

Tara: Yeah, cool. Thanks for sharing that. I do want to come to Denver. So maybe I’ll make it correspond with that.

Patrick: Yeah.

Liam: Patrick, I want to ask you about advice. Our other question is really focused on what advice you might have picked up, read, encountered in a board game then you’ve worked successfully into your life? So something that you brought in and made a habit of, and you’ve reaped the rewards. What would you share with others from that?

Patrick: Great. I have a thing rattling around my head. I won’t be able to remember the attribution who originally said it, but someone said we…oh, boy. Let’s see if I can get this out here. “We believe we can get more done in a year but less done in 10 years.” So I think we say, “In a year, I want to start my business.” And maybe that’s too much in a year.

A silly example of board games, that usually takes two years to come from like a solid mechanical idea to launching a Kickstarter campaign. I ran one of those, and it did. It took me think like a year and a half from start to finish, maybe even two years. So I think we don’t realize how long certain things take. But then we also give them up at like six months, or a year or a year and a half. And if we just continued for 10 years, you’d be amazed where you are.

I feel like I’ve been in WordPress for probably around 10 years. And it’s cool to think that you know what? I was a student web developer back at UW Green Bay and I was taking courses on HTML, CSS, and JavaScript on LinkedIn Learning, which was formerly lynda.com at the time. And it’s weird to think that seven years later, I would be teaching those courses. So I think we undervalue underestimate how much we can get done in 10 years and overestimate how much we can done in one year.

So there’s something about sticking to certain things that you think are going to make money or be good for your career, or whatever. But that’s also really hard because everything you do takes time and effort. I love this Board Game podcast I run, and I know I could turn it into something in 10 years, but I think it’s also time to end it and do something new. So there’s a really hard balance between continuing things for couple of years and then deciding when to let them go.

Tara: Yeah, yeah, that’s a good point. Definitely. You’re also hitting on something else I really related to the whole habit goal topic, which is setting achievable goals. I mean, you can even take what you say about a year and 10 years and into a day. Like if I have 20 things I need to do this week, I’m going to put them all on my to-do list for today, and then I’m going to feel crappy at the end of the day because I didn’t do all 20 things, instead of spreading it out into four things a day over the week, right? Or saying, “This week, I have to build this website.” And saying, “Monday, I’m going to make the homepage and Tuesday I’m going to make the header and footer” or whatever those things are.

Just the way that you approach your goals really makes a difference in how you feel about yourself and about those goals. I think that is related to the idea of overestimating, and underestimating what you can get done. Thanks for sharing that. That’s great advice.

Patrick: I just want to add a little thing there is I do this to myself all the time. I would think after reading five bazillion books that I could just do it naturally. But I’ll always do like, “Sell board game on Facebook marketplace.” All board games I don’t need anymore. And really it’s take pictures of board games. That’s step one. Number two, figure out how much I can reasonably get for this board game. Great. Number three post it on a Facebook group.

And if I write it, literally it’s a nine day difference between I’ve seen it right the three steps and it’s so easy to just “Oh, take your photos of it. Got it. Okay, that was easy. All right. Oh, look up. Sure. What are the people selling it for? Oh, that’s easy. And post on Facebook. I already have the photos on my phone. This is so easy. And right now my post-it note says, “Sell Batman on a board game group.” And I haven’t done it because it’s three steps that I wrote down as one step. So it’s amazing how powerful that is.

Tara: It is. I could talk about that stuff all day. I love the book “The 12 Week Year” is another kind of life-changing approach to goal setting. But I geek out on that kind of stuff all the time.

Liam: You totally do.

Tara: I do.

Liam: I love you for that.

Tara: It’s amazing that I get as little done as I do given how much attention I pay to how to get things done.

Liam: You’re busy learning about how to get them done. Time to actually do it.

Tara: It’s true. It’s fun learning than doing.

Liam: I’m being silly, Tara. You get more done than most people I know.

Tara: Well. So Liam, do you have anything else to ask Patrick before we wrap up? We’re almost out of time.

Liam: Yeah, I do. Patrick, we’re a year into COVID, eCommerce, and websites is generally pretty…It’s changed very quickly in the last year. What are your thoughts, predictions? What do you like to see? What are you expecting to happen mostly around eCommerce now that everybody is buying online, we’re shipping, we’re getting sent to our houses, buying online is easier, all that kind of stuff. What are your expectations for the near future?

Patrick: It’s a big question. If you read the headlines, you’ll see lots of headlines about basically COVID accelerated existing trends. So every year eCommerce was getting bigger and bigger by like one or 2% every year of total retail sales. And it did. It jumped ahead by about 10 years in eCommerce. I forget the exact numbers. But it jumped basically to 10 years of growth in like a couple of months. I do think for the most part that’s here to stay. eCommerce is going to continue to grow.

So if you’re already doing eCommerce, especially if you’re doing something that was like weights at home, or if you’re selling Peloton, right, there are certain industries that are just crushing it right now, like personal fitness, and probably home repair and probably board games. There are certain industries that are doing really well.

I’m actually a big fan of try to also have some sort of brick and mortar tie in. I think lots of people like to still buy in a store. Maybe want to order it online, but I still want to return it to the store if it doesn’t work. Like there’s a great board game store down the road from me called Wizards Chest, and they have board game demos. I like painting miniatures. They have people that give you painting tips, and they have all these things that I can’t get from an online store. And so I just don’t want people to think…just because COVID happened, do not assume that 100% of sales are going to be online. There are still a huge, huge, huge number of people who really like at least picking up an item at curbside pickup or returning it in person. And I don’t think we should forget about that. But I am very excited to see eCommerce growth.

Would you like to know a very interesting near term problem? In the US, unemployment rate is 7%. Those 7% of people generally hospitality services sectors are doing terribly bad. The other 93% of people are doing pretty well. We are ordering so much more stuff from China right now that we do not have enough boats and shipping containers to put it all in. So we may actually see consumer good prices increase in the near term future. So little plastic toys and stuff because they just have to pay more for containers, which is a crazy problem that we’ve never had before. So that’s a weird short term problem that we’ll have to deal with.

Tara: Yeah, interesting. Thanks for sharing all that.

Patrick: Welcome.

Tara: I’m not sure if that’s like…

Liam: You answered it very well for the amount of time we had left in the show.

Tara: You did.

Liam: So thank you very much. That was fantastic. That was fantastic.

Tara: I’m not sure that’s ending on a positive note or not. But thank you for sharing. Where can people find you online?

Liam: There’s good news, bad news, and it’s life. It’s good. It’s a good way. I like it. I vote to approve that ending.

Tara: Okay. We’ll stick with it. Patrick, where can people find you online?

Patrick: You can hit me up on Twitter. I am @BFTrick. And here’s my podcast signup. B is in Board game, F is in fun, and trick T is in trick-taking games. So BFTrick on Twitter. And then also Speaking in Bytes is my website. I have over 100 articles about WooCommerce. Feel free to rummage around. You’ll probably find some neat things you can customize in WooCommerce. I have courses on LinkedIn Learning. WooSesh is this online conference that I do every year. So you can sign up now and when it comes around to the September, October timeline, we’ll get out emails about that. Oh, and if you are interested in board games, go to laidback.games. That is my board game company where I sell Fry Thief. I think that’s all the places.

Tara: Thanks, Patrick.

Patrick: Thank you.

Tara: I’m going to look up Fry Thief. I think I’ve seen that maybe from you or someone else on Twitter.

Patrick: I’ll give you a little Easter egg. My top pledge on Kickstarter was you can add your likeness to the game. Several people in the WordPress world are in the game.

Tara: Oh, fun. Okay, I will have to look that up. Thank you. Thanks so much. Thanks for joining us.

Patrick: Thank you for having me.

Tara: Hope to see you in real life.

Liam: Patrick, what a pleasure!

Patrick: Sounds good.

Tara: Bye-bye.

Tara: If you like what we’re doing here – meeting new people in our WordPress community – we invite you to tell others about it. We’re on iTunes and at hallwaychats.com.

Liam: Better yet, ask your WordPress friends and colleagues to join us on the show. Encourage them to complete the “Be on the show” form on our site, to tell us about themselves.

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