The Prize

I am so blessed. I wake up every day and do what I love, with folks I genuinely love & care for. These folks are all incredibly talented far beyond comprehension and are constantly coming up with awesome new ideas, as the business skyrockets upwards. We encourage any and all ideas and create a backlog in which we store all of our thoughts. With so much excitement, energy and innovation, I’m sure you can all imagine how full this product backlog is. If you can’t imagine it, just imagine a very full backlog of awesome ideas.

Having so many ideas running around, it’s often difficult to maintain a focus on the bigger product strategy. While working towards the bigger strategic items, other scenarios often get in the way, defocussing from the greater goal; The Prize.

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Writing and the lack of writing

Folks, I’d like to open this post with a question: do you ever find yourself typing too much? Too many words for what you’re trying to say/think/communicate? I do. A lot.

Over the years, through all the blogging, coding, IM-ing and e-mailing, I find I can now type significantly faster than I can write. While this does worry me somewhat (writing is an art-form that should be preserved as our generation shifts closer towards using technology for everyday communication), there is also a thought to take away from this.

How do we know what we’re really thinking if we don’t stop and think about it? Continue reading

Matty, Y U NO BLOG THIS WEEK?

Greetings, Wally watchers… long time no chat.

You may have been popping in here this week and thinking, “why isn’t he blogging every day, after he said he’d aim to do a post a day for the whole year?”. I’ll explain why I’ve been quiet on here for the past few days. 🙂

Over the past few weeks, i’ve been working with Michael Krapf and Mark Forrester over at WooThemes on our new theme (released today), “Unsigned“. This theme, geared primarily at bands and solo musicians, is a theme that’s near and dear to me, as music is a great passion of mine, as is the independent music industry in South Africa. More on “Unsigned” in another blog post though. Back to Project 365 and the “post a day” concept.

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Daily blogging, what to write and who to blog for

So, now almost a month in and Project 365 is still going strong. At this point, I thought it a good idea to touch base and get some feedback from you all on this month’s posts so far.

It’s often said that one should blog first and foremost for oneself. If you like a topic or post, you should write about it of you want to. While this is true, the next question I ask myself is, why share thoughts and ideas if I’m blogging for myself and, by association, not for readers?

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The world according to Generation-O

In today’s world, we have so much at our disposal. Technology that previously occupied room upon room of space to do a few calculations now makes up a small part of even a common calculator. Let me ask you this… is having all this technology always great?

Occasionally on Twitter, I read tweets along the lines of “20 years ago today, I was climbing trees” or “#whenIwasYourAge I rode my bike to school every morning”. Is technology part of what has caused this generation shift?

Many people refer to “Generation-Y”… the youth. The “young people” who are to “make a difference in the world”. I’d say that we’re entering a new age of “Generation-O”- the “plugged in” youth of today who seek to optimise every facet of their lives through technology.

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Re-thinking the concept of the “impossible”

In today’s society, it seems to be a common occurrence to use the word “impossible”. For example, after climbing a mountain, one might say something like; “wow, that was impossible”. No it wasn’t… you just did it. Nowadays we seem to have a tendency to over-exaggerate (pardon the tautology there) and, in many cases, start to believe what we’re saying. Surely, this affects how we approach tasks and situations. Why should it?

Over the past few years (I’d say, since about 2008), I’ve decided to approach tasks day to day from a different angle. How can we say that a task is “impossible” if we haven’t even yet attempted it?

This is quite a common occurrence in web development… developers looking at a task, attempting to analyze it, getting “stuck” at one point and then moving on, deeming it “impossible”. Why does it have to, all of a sudden, be “impossible”, if you haven’t even attempted it yet? Why settle for the “shortcut” when you could just sit down and develop it how you envision it in the first place?

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Growth through Discussion

It is said by many that attending conferences and meet-ups is an important part of developing oneself in a particular industry, and of developing one’s skills set. Surrounding oneself with knowledgable and experienced individuals can go a long way towards developing skills and a knowledge base.

At many such conferences, I’ve heard successful businessmen and entrepreneurs impart valuable tips such as “the value of your fax machine is determined by how many others have fax machines” and “surround yourself with others who know more than you in certain areas of your business”. Both of these are valuable tid-bits of knowledge that I have taken to heart.

When listening to a speaker at a conference, I feel it is important to take in every word and process it (rather than just sitting and listening while tweeting a quote from their talk). I feel it is also important to ask questions and spark discussion from these talking points.

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Surf’s up- Woo goes surfing

Yesterday morning, some of the WooThemes crew went for a surf at Surfer’s Corner in Cape Town. For most of us, this was to be our first time on a surfboard (and was my first time a wetsuit, full stop). This certainly made for a memorable morning outing.

On Fridays, WooThemes works remotely. With Magnus down in Cape Town for a few days, we took the opportunity to go out and enjoy the beautiful Cape Town summer. And what beautiful weather it was.

We met up at Surfer’s Corner in Cape Town (a popular surfing spot in the Southern Suburbs) and rented some gear from one of the local surf shops. The beach was packed, there was plenty of activity in the water (and the shark spotter flag was black, which means there’s poor visibility, but we won’t focus on that :P).

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Project 365 – The Road So Far

As I mentioned in my new year’s post a few days ago, one of my new years resolutions is to blog more. I, therefore, decided to have Project 365 a try and to write a blog post every day for the year.

So far, the journey (pfff… it’s been only 5 days) has been interesting. The main challenge, really, is to figure out what to post about. I’m definitely of the belief that a blog post should provide some form of value for the reader (not just a video of a cat jumping into a shoe box, for example). That makes it all the more difficult. Luckily, I find I learn a lot and find & pick up web development tips on a regular basis (such as more rigorous use of the Transients API– thanks Warren), which fills up one section of posts I’d like to write. I also tend to think of concepts and theories, which I could flesh out a bit more and post up here in my “thoughts” category. These may become a bit too general though and would need to be filtered into the proper categories.

On the whole, blogging is something I really enjoy (especially using the “distraction free writing” feature in WordPress, which this blog post is currently being written in). I’m really glad I chose to blog for Project 365, as I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far.

Got any ideas for blog posts you’d like me to write up? Pop them in a comment below. 🙂

Good morning, 2012!

As I type this, it’s 6:16am on January 1st, 2012. For the last 30 minutes, I’ve been up with a cup of coffee and bowl of cereal, welcoming in the new year (this after having gone to sleep at around 12:30am as well). Despite the early hour, I’m ready to get 2012 started and get moving!

2011 was a year of much excitement and many developments for me. Travels, WordPress plugin releases and exciting developments at WooThemes, coupled with the inclusion of our new family member, Maddie (now almost 5 months old), made for a truly amazing year.

With 2011 now firmly in the past, I’d imagine the usual chain of thought is happening with you all as well… “what new years resolutions should I make?”, “should I make any new years resolutions at all?”, “can I actually keep any of them?”. These are three questions that have been on my mind on and off for the last day or so (clearly, new years resolutions don’t weigh down on me :P). I figured, lets cement a few down in a blog post as a starting point, and see if it’s possible to get them done sooner rather than later in the new year.

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