Introducing Danny Rubio
Danny is a digital content producer based in Utah who loves WordPress and makes some mean tacos.
Preferred Pronouns | He/Him
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 126.
Liam: Welcome to Hallway Chats. I’m Liam Dempsey.
Tara: And I’m Tara Claeys. Today we’re joined by Danny Rubio. Danny is a digital content producer based in Utah who loves WordPress and makes some mean tacos. Welcome, Danny. Thanks for joining us.
Danny: Thanks, guys for having me. I’m really excited to be here.
Liam: Hey, Danny, nice to meet you. Thanks for joining us out here in the hallway. Tell us a little bit more about yourself if you would, please. And don’t skip on the details around the tacos.
Tara: Oh, absolutely not. So like you guys said, I’m a digital content producer. A lot of people don’t know what that means. I’ve heard the term from some other creators called full-stack creators. Basically, people who know how to do video and websites and audio, some marketing, photography and that sort of thing. I’ve been working as a video producer for now for about seven years. I for two years after college lived in Memphis as a video digital content producer at a news station. And then I started going to WordPress meetups there, getting involved in that community, which was a really awesome tech community down in Memphis. I don’t know what it was, it just was really lively in all departments. Then I started helping out with a couple of freelance sites, doing some video for them and then ended up helping them out with WordPress sites.
Then moved back to Utah where I’m originally from, and have been working at a university in their department – a department that deals with online in hybrid course creation for the university as a whole. And I’m their video producer. I help consult with faculty members and create videos that are a little more than just like screen recording and PowerPoint stuff for them. Then I’ve been doing freelance work here in Utah. I’ve been trying to get a WordPress meetup in my area up again, but with everything that’s going on right now as of time of this recording with coronavirus, I think I’m going to try to do a remote meetup. I don’t know if that’s going to work., but we’ll find out to see if we get enough people. I think I can make it happen but we’ll see how that goes.
Overall, I’m a fan of making content. I mean, that’s where it comes down too for me. I love WordPress because it’s so versatile. For a little bit, I was a little worried about where it was going. And then as they announced Gutenberg, the new block editor, I got really excited for the platform and where it was going. So I doubled down on WordPress and decided okay, I’m going to put most of my eggs there at least for when it comes to creating websites and whatnot.
I have two little girls, and I do make mini fantastic tacos. This is a tip for anyone. If you have an insert pot, and you throw in some frozen chicken, some salsa, some cilantro and a little bit of lime, cook that for like 15 minutes. And then all you have to do is put in a hand mixer into the instant pot, you got shredded delicious chicken. That’s super easy. Obviously, I had a little bit more when it comes to wanting to make it fancy, but those are some pretty bummed tacos on a quick dime – especially with everybody at home. I’m just saying.
Tara: Flour or corn tortillas?
Danny: I used to be a really big corn tortillas fan and I still love cooking tortilla, but I like them pretty fresh. I got spoiled when I was living in Boston for a short time from a family who would make homemade tortillas. I’m kind of a flour fan now. But that’s probably just because they stay better when you heat them at home for whatever reason. I just feel like…
Tara: Yeah, corn tortillas can be a little…
Danny: They’re tricky.
Tara: …fall apart a bit. Like fish tacos aren’t the same unless they are on corn. Like you have to have some corn.
Danny: My mom’s from Acapulco, Mexico. And so I grew up eating a whole bunch of different types of fish tacos. I remember I had friends coming over and like never even having fish in their entire life. My wife actually, when she moved down from where she was going to school, right before we got married, she had more fish in that two-month timespan living down there and visiting my family than she had the rest of her life. But I love all sorts of tacos. I’ll have tacos any time of the day.
Liam: Yeah, I had no idea that fish tacos were a thing even until, you know, certainly within the last several years. I’ve had my fair share since I’ve learned of them. But growing up, no idea of a fish taco. Didn’t even know it was a thing. So that’s pretty amazing that you grew up on them.
Danny: If you have never had a fish taco, you’re really missing out. Having steak carne asada, or chicken or carnitas or any other tacos like that, they’re good. I mean, tacos, in general, they’re just satisfying. But fish tacos particularly, you get a whole nother realm of flavor from the specific fish that you’re doing. Because my mom’s from Acapulco, when I was growing up, I grew up in Utah, and we’ve gone to Mexico and I tried some of the fish tacos in Mexico. But my mom particularly sometimes she would go out, she would do maybe salmon sort of tacos, tilapia, stuff that you can buy in the store pretty easily.
A really easy way to do is just find tilapia that’s breaded in the store, and then what you do is just make some homemade quark. Sometimes you can do homemade salsa just like pace salsa also that is milder hot and then you do some sort of coleslaw on top with some cilantro. And you just throw that into your tortilla and it’s going to be…it’s not as amazing, but it’s still good enough that you’re going to be like, okay. You know what I mean?
Tara: We’re recording this at lunch hour so my stomach is going to start growling.
Liam: This is proving to be one of my favorite episodes so far.
Danny: This is now going to become, “Rubio talks about tacos hour.”
Tara: Yeah, that’s okay. I like tacos. I like guacamole. So good. It’s all good. You talked about being involved in the WordPress community and working on a meet up there. How did you discover WordPress and what’s been your path to the WordPress community?
Danny: That’s a great question. Honestly, I think that like anybody who started or found WordPress, it was like, “I need to have a blog” because blogging is the thing you should have. Or like, “Oh, I need a resume site.” I remember I think it was in maybe junior high or high school when I first heard about WordPress and dipped my toe in A site. It didn’t last long. I mean, obviously, in high school you don’t try one thing and then two weeks later you’re like, “Okay, I want to be the next, I don’t know, Gordon Ramsay.”
I think when I really doubled down in WordPress was when I was tapped…When you’re in college, you always have like that one class that says, “You got to make a resume site.” And I knew enough about everything that I was like, “Okay, well I’m going to just buy my domain now” and decided that this is where I’m going to have my place to be. Because everyone now every time they would show an example it was always a website that was either email@example.com or student@.wordPress.com. I felt like no one had ever bought a domain and actually decided to make that an actual thing other than just doing an assignment. So I took some time. Elementor was kind of new at the time so I end up using Elementor to design my first website there. Made my resume site with what I’ve been doing and kind of like kept it there.
Then as I started working with more clients on a freelance basis towards the end of my college career into my professional career, I guess, just had more people who requested some video work and then ended up needing website help in some matter. And most of them had needed WordPress. There was a couple that I decided to go with Squarespace. Most of it was because they were a little bit older and they weren’t going to pay for maintenance or they weren’t very quick and adept in some of that stuff. I was like, “You know what, do something that you won’t have to worry about that stuff.”
That’s when I kind of got involved with the WordPress meetup in Memphis, because I’d heard about WordCamps and meetups and I was like, “You know what, let me see what is there.” It was at the time when WordPress actually added the meetup thing in the dashboard. You what I’m talking about? Like the widget on the dashboard. That was like a big thing for a lot of people because like, “Oh, hey, there’s a meetup close to me. I guess I could go. Why not?”
Liam: Yeah, great.
Danny: So I went to one in Memphis. Memphis was really interesting because they had a lot of…a lot of cities I think they have overall like tech Meetup group, or at least that’s…maybe I’m speculating here. But they had a unified…it was called the Memphis Tech Group or something like that. They had a website, people would go in and had one Slack channel with all the different channels for languages, which was really awesome. And the WordPress meetup was pretty good.
When people started realizing that they could see that there were meetups, we would get a lot of newcomers to the meetup and that were really beginners. We had one guy who was running it on a regular basis before I started coming and he was pretty advanced. He knew a lot about the coding stuff. But we were getting a lot of these basic questions. So I hopped in to kind of help. Once you have pretty good knowledge about the coding stuff, you start forgetting some of the simplicity of like what you can explain. So I kind of filled in that gap for a little bit. And so we were alternating a little bit. And then I moved to Utah.
And when I was trying to find the WordCamp here, there was like three or four of them, at least word meetups but all of them weren’t very updated. There hadn’t been a lot of stuff. I know the people who had been going to the meetings prior were pretty tight-knit because I could tell that they communicated online and offline a little bit. But overall, I was like, “I want that community. I just want to be able to help contribute at least some of the knowledge that I’ve learned or that I’m learning and share it with people and learn some coding stuff from other people.” And so I just decided to do one last month and one person showed up. And it was awesome.
Liam: I love that. I love that.
Tara: Great. I like the small meetings.
Danny: Yeah. Because he worked on a WordPress site for BYU University, which is I think the largest private university here in Utah. I’m at the largest public university in Utah. We’re neighbors, UVU and BYU. And he was working in a department that they ran their own setup, and they hadn’t used Gutenberg before. I was like, “Oh, dude. It’s great, super easy.” And just some cool stuff. He was creating his own blog, and he’s going to share his experience about creating his own blog for this next one. So I’m going to see if I get it remotely.
I mean, overall, really, WordPress has always been kind of like a fun hobby for me to practice and stretch my coding skills, and just mess around with new stuff. But really my bread and butter has always been creating content. And really again, I tell a lot of my clients at least they’re like, “Hey, WordPress, making a website isn’t hard. What is hard is getting you the content or creating the content to fill that website to make it really be what you want it to be is the hardest part.” And some people really like, “Okay, I get it,” and make it happen and others are like, “Okay, when can you get me that one paragraph that we need to finish up the homepage?” Liam knows what I’m talking about.
Liam: Yeah, I’m laughing here. I’m laughing here. Danny, I want to change gears on you a little bit. Tara and I’ve really enjoyed learning about how you got to where you’re at today. And you’ve shared a fair amount about yourself and it’s been enjoyable to hear about your education and the development of your career and you were kind enough to share that you’ve got a couple of little girls running around the house and that you’re married. And I wonder where this all lands you then when it comes to your definition of success. How would you define success? You might have a personal definition, you might have a professional different definition, you might have one for each, or might come together in one. Can you share your definition of success with us?
Danny: I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I’m a first-generation Latino who works in this country but my parents are Mexican. And both of them often told me, “We’re here so that you could have a better life than we did when we grew up.” When I was younger it was like, “Just graduate high school” And then it was like, “Just graduate college.” And when I was in college, I was like, “Well, I want to make videos. I would love to be in movies, but I don’t know if I’m going to move to LA.” I was trying to be realistic, which is not very common for me. I’m a really hopeful person or optimistic I guess. I remember saying, “You know what, all I want to do is be able to have a job that provides mostly for my family, and I can make videos or make content.”
So I went out of college, I got a job as a journalist at a news station in Memphis. I didn’t get a journalism degree. There was a lot of learning on my part in that aspect. I took one media writing class, and there was one week of doing news writing. But they needed someone who could create content, and I was the guy. Now I’m at a university and I’m making content. Sometimes people are like, “Danny, don’t you wish you were doing something more.” Like, “I’m making videos. I’ve hit my success. I’ve made that success or what I classify as success.”
And I’ve been thinking about it a lot because I’m like, “Well, I don’t know, I feel like I need to figure out what my new success means because if I don’t, I will begin to resent my job or not be passionate about what I’m doing.” And I think that I’ve internally perhaps kind of realized that ultimately if you’re doing what you love, and it may not be like the most ideal job that you would love to have, that success should come by helping at least one person see a different perspective. So, for both of you guys, being able to work with clients who are doing marketing and design, helping them realize they don’t need all the flashy pops and things in their logo or they don’t need the most pixel perfect layout designer, whatever it might be. Be for me, it’s like, “Hey, if you can use an audio source when you’re recording a webcam for your class,” that’s a win for me and that’s success.
Ultimately, I think I’ve recently decided that I would like to be someone like you guys, being able to help run a small agency or my own consultancy for people around me because I really like, as you guys can probably tell, I also like people. And as much I like to be able to help build all those little pieces of the puzzle for the end product of website, which might be a lot of different things – photos and video and websites stuff and helping troubleshoot whatever they need or whatever. Or on the other side, just like strictly providing them a slew of different video content for the social or for the website. Whatever it might be, for me, it’s really being able to like connect with that.
Because I’ve thought about, like, I mean, I love video editing. The reason why I like video creation is because video editing is my favorite part.
Liam: That’s the worst part of it.
Danny: No, just the best part. If you guys ever need a – I’m serious right here – if you guys ever need a video, just shoot me an email. I’ll do something quick for your Instagram or whatever. Video editing is the best part for me because for whatever reason, it’s like the last little rewrite. It’s the last little edit. It’s like the last little update that you need to do before you’re like, “Okay, we’re good. We’re ready to publish.” I’m a semi-decent cinematographer. I like shooting video, I like to be able to do stuff, but every single time I shoot something, I’m always like, “I don’t know if that was very good.” And then I get to edit it and I’m like, “Okay, it was pretty good.”
Liam: I want to go back to your success answer a little bit. I’m going to cut you off here if that’s all right. And I just wanted to respond to a few points that I thought were particularly poignant. I was really moved by your first-generation immigrant statement how your parents did what they needed to do to build a better life for you. And I don’t know if you have siblings, but I imagine they did it for those as well. And then your measure of success as you grew up was high school, college job kind of, these very practical approaches, but paying back the faith and the trust and the hard work that your parents inevitably put in to give you and the sacrifices that they made. I can’t imagine it was easy.
And now you’re at this point your definition of success from a professional standpoint is evolving. And could you be in Hollywood? Maybe. I don’t know. But I really liked the idea that you’re creating educational content. I mean, you’re still doing the production work. You’re still doing the filmography or the videography and the editing and you like the editing. And the idea that what you’re creating in combination with the educators is driving the world forward, it’s driving somebody else’s dream, it’s driving the next person behind you in the educational ladder, if you will, forward so that she can get an A or get the grades that she needs to keep moving ahead in her life.
And then the way that you tied that back around to helping others and pushing yourself to a new level, whatever that level may be, as you grow and your needs change, and your family needs changes, that’s a well thought out and very comprehensive definition. So I wanted to thank you for that.
Danny: Thanks, Liam.
Tara: Yeah, thank you. I’d like to ask you a little bit about diversity in WordPress and where you live and how you’re finding your way there in terms of people that are also of Hispanic heritage. Or just that we talk about diversity a little bit here, and wandering in Utah, which I don’t often think of as being the most diverse place, and I could be totally wrong about that. So, can you talk a little bit about that?
Danny: Yeah, absolutely. I guess like I said, I’m a pretty optimistic person. And so although I knew there was racism in the world, I think that sometimes I would not misjudge but I would forget that diversity is still a big challenge in 2019, even 2020, next year, right? We’re trying to get a little bit better. For me, Utah, some parts are diverse, some others are not very diverse. We’re getting a little bit better. I’m a religious person. When my wife and I were first married, we both speak Spanish. My wife is American but she learned Spanish. We went to a Spanish church for a little bit like in our congregation. And a lot of the youth there didn’t even think that they were going to go to college. I was always kind of shocked about that. I don’t know if it’s because they thought that they couldn’t do it or whatever. And so, I would always try to encourage them to like, “Hey, guys, you can do things. There are things out there that can be done by you.”
As I started to go into journalism and thinking about the content-wise, we had a panel that was talking about diversity and how ultimately for individuals who are diverse, women, people of color, people who have disabilities, whatever portion of the diversity spectrum would call it is that just like I had to make, I felt like I had a responsibility to do something so that I could make my parents proud, right? Because they came here for a reason. It’s the same thing for diversity. They’re like, people should feel more empowered now more than ever because the ability to contribute to something, whether that be WordPress because we’re an open-source project, or wordpress.org or in like this job sphere, that it is much easier to get in and be able to make something about it.
And for me, that’s why I think mainly when you’re talking about success, I think ultimately why I try to remember that like I don’t need to be in Hollywood to find success. Like I don’t need to have a super big video production company or agency to find success. Because really I’m finding in helping diversify a thought as not only a younger person, but as a Latino, and realizing that, hey, like, if you create online content, those Latino employees that are trying to get a degree can get their degree because they’re working full time because maybe they made some mistakes…not mistakes, but maybe traces in life situations cause them not be able to go full time or be able to take all the classes they can. But if there’s online offerings, they can do that. And that goes for anyone who might be in that situation.
So I think that for me, diversity, if you can help one person learn one thing to help make them to be able to do something that they weren’t able to do before is huge. And that is where we can help bring more diversity, and giving those people who maybe we don’t naturally think about they can do this a shot. Because they can learn. It’s not that hard. And we’ll all be better for it.
Tara: Thank you for sharing that. I think that we are recording this right in the early-ish days of this coronavirus where we learn about the impact one person can have in many negative ways. But maybe thinking about the impact like you said that you can have just spreading it to one person and having the concept of working in WordPress and working in tech, spreading throughout that community is something to think about. So thanks for sharing that.
I would like to ask you about advice. A lot of things that you shared really can touch upon that but we like to ask our guests if you’ve received any advice that sticks in your mind that you’ve implemented in your life that you’d share with us and with our audience.
Danny: Oh, great question. There was…this was a…I don’t what’s the word. It wasn’t directly advice, but it was an implicit advice. Anyways. One of my professors he was really big on, you know, just finish. And so I’ve kind of adapted that and I always say, “Done is better than perfect.” So if there’s one thing, that’s done is better than perfect. The other advice that I’ve received that has really helped me is that there’s always going to be hiccups, and sooner you know how to take a step back and figure out either a solution or an alternative the better things will go.
Then finally I would say – and this is why I really enjoy WordPress is that the technology now and with what is being done and what people are trying to do – you can do it. Ultimately everyone can learn to, you know, WordPress is to democratize publishing. I think that now more than ever it’s not only democratizing publishing. But it’s also democratizing some web design or the ability to make easy to create some sort of service or product or store now more than ever. I would say, done is better than perfect, there’s going to be hiccups, and you can figure it out, and then ultimately, you can do it.
Liam: Yeah, I like those. My wife’s family, one of her grandmothers who’s passed away long before I met my wife had a phrase along those lines. I know I’ve repeated on this show, but I just love it. So I’m going to say it again. If it’s worth getting done, it’s worth getting done badly. Just finish it. Just finish it.
Tara: Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
Liam: I love that. Danny, tell us a little bit about what your thoughts are on organizing a virtual meetup. We hear a lot about that. Not certainly in the WordPress community, with so many WordCamps and meetups being shut down. We’ve got just about a minute or so left. But tell us a little bit about what you’re trying to do, where people might look for you online. So that as you get things going and opening up, we can help build a community or grow your audience, grow your community with you.
Danny: Thanks, man. My website is rubio.tv. Pretty simple. Most of my handles on the interwebs is rubio.tv or rubio_tv because someone took.tv and I was bummed. I know that there’s been a couple of places that are trying to help or make it easier to do work. I mean, Zoom is there, I mean, creating a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of other tools that are out there that are making easy to do virtual meetups. I think technically, it would be all audio. Discord has a feature people can just get on and meet, like with just audio and be able to talk to each other or just doing just a live Facebook – getting in that group and doing a Facebook Live and sharing your screen and people commenting section.
Ultimately, I think that when it comes to trying to create an online meetup, figure out what you can do, and what maybe people are willing to hop on and do and try doing that. Because at the end of the day, we have to be physically distancing from each other. But that does not mean, like we’re doing today, we don’t have to be socially isolating each other. So I appreciate you guys being able to have me on today and be able to share at least some of my journey and experience. Because we all need a little bit more connection.
Tara: For sure. Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate being able to continue doing this in our own physically isolated environments. Thanks so much. It’s great meeting you, Danny.
Danny: Thanks for having me. And I look forward to hearing the rest of your episodes. Thanks.
Liam: And we’ll see you online soon.
Danny: Oh, absolutely.
Liam: And drop in on your online meetup when you get that organized. We’ll see you soon, Danny. Thanks so much for stopping by.
Tara: Thank you.
Liam: Thanks for listening to the show. We sure hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
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.