The Sustaining Heart of the WordPress Community

This last week has been quite a week for me.  Treehouse, The online learning company where I have been teaching WordPress for the last 3+ years told me that they had decided to stop teaching WordPress and that I had been fired.  That was Monday.

On Friday the same week, WordCamp US started.  Between Monday and Thursday I knew I had to come up with some new idea of how to support myself and then get to WordCamp US to connect with the community about the idea and see if it would work.

My idea is simple, keep teaching WordPress.  I have been teaching WordPress long before Treehouse and apparently I will be teaching WordPress long after Treehouse too 😉

What I really want to share in this post though is the love and support and sustaining energy I felt from attending WordCamp US, sharing my idea with people, and getting their feedback.

Everyone who I told about leaving Treehouse was shocked.  Yet they were super supportive of me continuing to teach WordPress on my own.  This brought such joy to my heart and upliftment to my efforts.

As I set out to focus full time on WordPress education on my own I feel as if I am sailing on the thoughts, accomplishments and support of the amazing people in the WordPress Community.  For this I am very grateful.

I realize though that had an ordinary Joe Shmoe showed up at WordCamp US out of a job and looking to get support for a new venture they might walk away deflated and not like they have a lot of support.

The only reason my experience went the way it did, I believe, is because of how much I have participated in the community and tried to play a helpful role for people learning WordPress.

For the past several years I have been attending between 8-12 WordCamps per year and speaking about a range of the subjects.  Through this I formed personal relationships and tried to support other people in the community.

It’s cliché, but true.  Give in a good way to the WordPress community and it will support you.

My next venture in teaching WordPress is going to be my attempt to try to give back to the Community even more.  I believe I have identified a needed niche in the world of WordPress Education and I am going to hustle for the next few months to meet it at a level few others would be capable of doing (in part because of my teaching experience and in part because I have no job to take up my time).

While I know that this project will give a lot back to the community, I am also going to be asking for support from the community in a pretty big way.  The great thing though, is that I have faith.  I have faith in life, faith in following your passion, and faith in the Sustaining Heart of the WordPress Community.

Thank you to all of you who make it so.

Post Scriptum: I would specifically like to thank Rich Robinkoff for his talk at WordCamp US about keeping the spirit of #wpmom alive.  His talk inspired me to write this post and share what I would have normally kept to myself.

PPS: This post has been edited.

27 thoughts on “The Sustaining Heart of the WordPress Community

  1. Pingback: The Sustaining Heart of the WordPress Community | The WordPress C(h)ronicle

  2. dpenni

    Really sorry to hear that you have been told that Treehouse is no longer going to continue to support WordPress. I’ve only been a Treehouse customer for a few months as I was recently made redundant from my job of 17 years. Treehouse has enabled me to validate my existing skills and to learn new ones, one of which has been WordPress. I haven’t fully completed the WordPress Theme Development course yet, but your work was much appreciated and has made it ‘so far’ very easy for me to start getting into WordPress after using a bespoke CMS for years. I am not a PHP developer and so I think there is a need for courses in WordPress for Front-End Designers/Developers and content managers that don’t have back-end programming skills. Plus Treehouse courses are so much more fun to use, than having to search online for courses. There are many design agencies requesting WordPress for jobs here in the United Kingdom so I am very surprised that Treehouse has decided to pull the plug. It was certainly one of the reasons that I decided to subscribe. I wish you all the best and every success in the future.

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  3. BonJMartn (@bonjmartn)

    Hey Zac,
    Being laid off is always a shock. It happened to me twice during the worst part of the recession. You’re handling it perfectly by transforming it into something new and even better. Your fantastic teaching on Treehouse has brought me a huge leap closer to my goal of developing WordPress themes, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do in the future. You have a wonderful spirit.

    best wishes,
    Bonnie

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  4. Pingback: Treehouse Drops Support for WordPress Education | Material Design Shell

  5. Shawn

    I was shocked to hear about this, Zac. But I have tremendous respect for you and what you’ve been doing to help so many folks learn WordPress. Can’t wait to see what’s next for you, and how this next chapter unfolds. If I can do anything to help, please feel free to reach out. All the best!

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  6. James Bullis

    Places like Treehouse need passionate teachers like you to teach your subject matter expertise. I have no doubt that you will be able to take your expertise elsewhere. The WordPress story is not over and we have not learned everything we can do with WordPress. The recent announcements prove that we are about to go on a journey – one that I think will really give the WP community more credibility as a true framework. If I can help you in any way possible, let me know.

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  7. simon

    I always felt that tree house was a little pricey and that there were better eLearning options out there. I am sorry they pulled the rug out from under you, but on to bigger and better things.

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  8. Kevin Borling

    Zac, you have inspired not only myself, but my company to keep learning about WordPress. WordPress is now our primary focus when building new websites. You were my favorite teacher at Treehouse and a positive role model to me when I was learning WordPress development. I will continue to follow you and support you throughout your journey. I hope to have an impact on others, as you have had on me in the future. Thank you!

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  9. twittem

    I’m shocked that Treehouse made this move, and even more shocked by the fact that they lost great teacher. Your courses became standard onboarding for our company’s new hires and I would take every new course myself. I was shocked as a student to see my walker used in your courses, and you showed me a lot about my own WordPress journey.

    I’m excited to see what you come up with, and that you continue teaching the community. I know you have no shortage of offers but if you need anything, feel free to reach out.

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  10. Tracy Rotton

    I, too, was shocked by Treehouse’s move. But it was great hanging out with you in Philly, and I look forward to seeing you around the WordPress D.C. community more.

    For what it’s worth, I think you have some great opportunities ahead of you, and I know you’re going to go far with your new ventures. You’re a great teacher and have a lot to offer the WordPress community. Good luck!

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  11. Michael Mizner

    Hey Zac, good seeing you at Wordcamp. Thank you for your courses and help, it’s been a tremendous asset to me personally. I’m surprised and angered by the decisions at Treehouse. Keep up the good work, wherever you do it!

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  12. tomatillodesign

    Zac, I heard you speak @ WordCamp Raleigh (2013) and I’ve learned a lot from you and your videos through the years. I think there is still a bright future in teaching people how to use and develop with WordPress. Hang in there.

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  13. Alex

    Reblogged this on Alex Gustafson and commented:

    I like Treehouse. Most of the education that got me ready for Automattic, the first job I’ve felt truly suited me, came from lessons there. But I think this was a bad move on their part. Zac is handling this well and I’ll be looking for his resources because he’s a skilled teacher. I encourage you to do the same!

    Liked by 1 person

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  20. David May

    Howdy Zac,
    Just wanted to post and show my support for you. I got started with using WordPress through your courses on Treehouse. Of all the WP courses I took across the web, yours were the most helpful and enjoyable. All others pretty much put me to sleep. I always looked forward to a new course every couple months. I have always loved Treehouse and am questioning this move greatly.
    Whether WP is easy to learn, or whatever the reason may be, your courses are still the best put together, quickest tutorials I’ve seen for someone to get their WP knowledge to where it has to be to create a site. I think the value of that was well worth the investment for someone as I learned how to create a custom theme in about a week and got my first WP portfolio online.
    With how easy you made learning, I was able to be confident enough to step out of my front-end ways and in the past 2 years have been learning PHP, experimenting with other open source CMS platforms, and much more. I’ve fallen in love so much more with my job and am so hungry to learn many different types of programming and it all goes back to first learning WordPress from you.
    For that, I thank you. Best of luck and I look forward to seeing what’s next from you!
    David May
    P.S. Maybe I’ll have to attend WordCamp Philly this year.

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  21. Pingback: Wellness in the WordPress Communty - Idle Rumblings

  22. John Locke

    Hi Zac:

    I’m just finding out about this. I’m shocked that Treehouse would let you go (and not use you in another capacity), and perhaps even more shocked that they are discontinuing teaching WordPress.

    I think now was the wrong time to abandon ship on the platform, as it’s changing into what you could argue is it’s next incarnation. I just want you to know, it was great to meet you last year at San Francisco (I met many of the other teachers the year before in San Francisco). THey are losing a great talent.

    You told me before that you were invested in the WordPress community before the opportunity at Treehouse came along. Everyone in the WP 1% should recognize that you’ve fought to spread the WordPress community to other circles in the larger web development community, and we should appreciate your efforts.

    Hopefully we’ll bump into one another again soon.

    – John Locke

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  23. Patrick

    Hey Zac,

    I started learning WordPress with your courses last year, and now I work full time in web development. I love the work I do, and you were a big part of making that happen. Thank you.

    I’d like invite you to join us at WPDC – https://wpdevelopersclub.com/ . We are a hungry group of folks that love WordPress and code in general. It would be great to have you around!

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  24. Morgan

    //ik this is old n stuff but like

    I enjoy watching your stuff on treehouse–//er wats left ;;;; I have come to love WordPress ;w;
    /I’ve learned a TON from it ;w;

    //and this is a compliment because you’re really cool and ((I’m not saying you..ARE him but))
    You make me think of the jon from steam powered giraffe ((which is really cool ;;w;;; )) //I’m sorry if my comment is immature or childish n things ;-;”

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  25. New WP Learner

    I just found out about this news today and I am definitely saddened by it. I wonder if maybe you could lend your expertise to Lynda.com? I know they have WP guy over there, but perhaps there are some things that are not yet covered.

    At this point, it seems you are well on your way to teaching your WP JS Master Course, so you may not need Lynda at all! Either way, all the best to you Zac. I enjoyed (and am still enjoying) your Treehouse lessons as I progress on my WP journey.

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