A List Apart returns to its roots.

We have no beef with networks like Twitter or Facebook, or with companies like Apple and Google that currently dominate our communal digital space. We just think diversity is about expanding and speaking up—not consolidating and homogenizing.

Source: New A List Apart wants you! · An A List Apart Article

I’ve been a casual reader of A List Apart for the last decade, give or take. I’m excited to see that they’re bucking advertising in favour of returning to their roots as a community-driven publication for web professionals.

They’re covering their costs through Patreon, which I tend to think of as a nifty hybrid of subscription service / pay-what-you-can donations / premium membership.

Living below your means puts you in a powerful position.

Living below your means and running a profitable business with a strong future puts you in a powerful, powerful position.

Source: When life changing money, isn’t… – Wil Reynolds – Medium

Good reading and perspective on value systems and how to make judgment calls about what’s really important in life, particularly in regards to finances. It also reminds me of the “profit first” TEDx talk:

TL;DR = From whatever you get, subtract your profit, and the difference goes towards covering your overhead. If you can’t cover your overhead, you either need to reduce it, or you need to reduce your profit. It’s your call to make.

I started applying this philosophy to my student loan payments this year. Rather than making small payments each month I committed to making large payments so that I could pay it all off in a shorter amount of time.

Operating without debt, operating without massive overhead, putting profit first… all of that puts you in a powerful position. And I’m not quite in that position yet, but I’d like to get there.

The best part about selling a product…

A super-thoughtful Sunday Dispatch newsletter from Paul Jarvis (as always) including this bit which really stood out to me:

“Possibly the best part about selling a product is hearing from folks who’ve bought it and then gained something from it.”

One of my favourite responsibilities at GoDaddy is working on the customer stories that appear in our company blog, the GoDaddy Garage.

It’s incredibly motivating to learn how these small businesses and entrepreneurs around the world use GoDaddy products, whether it’s domains or hosting or email marketing or GoCentral.

And that’s just the tech. We also get to learn how they’re overcoming other challenges, their wins and their losses, their observations and their perspectives.

So if you have the privilege of serving customers, reach out and listen to the stories they have to tell. And if they’re up for it, see if they’re willing to let you share their story with others.

“They just want to get stuff done.”

There is a large contingent of people who just want to get stuff done, they don’t want to fuss with the tech. They don’t care about open source or owning their data. They don’t want to install a theme and setup their widgets, or search thousands of results to find the best SEO plugin. They don’t want to setup “managed hosting”, an SSL certificate, or a payment gateway. They just want to sell their products and make money as fast and easily as possible.

Source: Perspective on WordPress – Scott Bolinger

WordPress isn’t easy. It’s just relatively easy compared to other content management systems. It’s in this grey area between a simple DIY SaaS product and a web application framework.

The WordPress community pulls in two directions. On one side, we’re pulling towards enterprise usage by making WordPress more sophisticated. Think REST API and WP-CLI.

On the other side, we’re pulling towards small businesses and hobbyists and bloggers by making WordPress even easier to use. Look at the Customizer, Gutenberg, and the growing popularity of plugins like Beaver Builder and the ecosystems that grow around them.

The open source upside of WordPress is still a strong selling point. The fact that you can migrate a WordPress site from one hosting provider to another, the fact that you don’t have vendor lock-in the same way you do with SaaS products. That’s all great.

But as Scott covers in his post, those are moot points to a good number of people. Maybe even the majority of people. Because they just want to get their site up and running. And they’d rather deal with a solution from a single vendor who they can call up if something goes wrong.

Getting help with WordPress is harder. There’s more to troubleshoot, and depending on where the problem is, the solution may be out of scope of whoever’s providing the support.

This is why I fall back to the “it depends” response when someone asks if it’s better to use WordPress or a website builder. It depends on your comfort level; it depends on your budget; it depends on what you’re trying to build; it depends on how you want that to evolve.

These days I’m generally in favour of site builders for small businesses. WordPress gets recommended for publications (blogs, media sites) and sites that need more sophistication (basically acting like a lightweight web app).