At the end of Webstock last week, co-organiser Natasha Lampard gave some closing remarks. Tash’s remarks lead me to believe she was planning on resigning or this was to be the last Webstock — thankfully this was not the case.

Instead, Tash told a lovely story of a hotel / bed and breakfast in Japan called Houshi.

Houshi Ryokan was founded around 1,300 years ago and it has always been managed by the same family since then. 
It is the oldest still running family business in the world.

Tash contrasted this lovely story of a business handed down generation to generation for 1,300 years to the current state of so many “web 2.0” / technology companies. Tash suggested the term “exit strategy” should be replaced with “exist strategy”. Funny side note: As I write this, Grammarly thinks I’ve confused exit with exist! … 

When is WordPress NOT the answer?

As of late, we’ve had a couple of large web application projects where the deliverables did not include any CMS functionality. That is, they were purely a functionality based web application.

I’ve been reflecting on both of these projects, and how we approached each one for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, did we make the right choice with the underlying framework?

Secondly, further to the first point, could we have done it faster/better/smarter if we did it another way.

Thirdly, what is our business, should we be building non WordPress projects, and if we do non WordPress, do we end up doing 100 different frameworks so-so, rather than doing one really well? … 

When valuing your time, don’t forget experience – nobody has the same

Picasso is sketching at a park. A woman walks by, recognizes him, and begs for her portrait. Somehow, he agrees.

A few minutes later, he hands her the sketch.

She is elated, excited about how wonderfully it captures the very essence of her character, what beautiful work it is, and asks how much she owes him. “5000 francs, madam,” says Picasso.

The woman is incredulous, outraged, and asks how that’s even possible given it only took him 5 minutes. Picasso looks up and, without missing a beat, says:
“No, madam, it took me my whole life.”

Unproductively productive

It’s a challenge I’ve been struggling with for many years, and I’m sure I’m not alone – how to manage projects, tasks and stuff! Well after 3-4 years of trialling different systems, wasting countless hours (irony!?) setting up new apps only to bin them again, I think I’ve got a pretty good system going on now, and I’ll share that.

The main things I’ve either done badly or needed a better way of  doing are;

  • Email management between a team – how do we ensure stuff gets done, and people are accountable, and doesn’t change workflow (much).
  • Managing small projects between a remote team – small website builds, turned around within 1-3 months.
  • Managing ongoing clients – where there is never really a “finished” project – just month to month development.
  • Managing todo’s – When someone rings and I say “Yep, I’ll get that done by the end of the day” – small adhoc todo items.


Exceptional Service

On Saturday I listened to Troy Dean speak at WordCamp Melbourne about 101 ways to elevate yourself above the pack and demand more greater fees/rates.

Some of these points were things like;

  • send your client apps they make like
  • send your client invites to events you spot and they would benefit from
  • send your client news/media you come across that they may like

These tips of which there were many could all really be merged into one: give a rats, and think about your client.