Finding What Drives You

While in the gym this morning, doing lunges with a barbell on my back, I experienced the best feeling I’ve experienced during a workout; the feeling of zoning out. This lead me to question; “am I zoning out, or simply zoning in on the task?” After completing the last set of lunges, my trainer was extremely impressed and said “great job, Matt! That was a great set of lunges! I’m very impressed!”. Now normally, my trainer enjoys taking the “drill sergeant” approach, preferring to motivate with “come on, you owe me another 5”. Outside of the workout sets, he’s really smiley and happy, so this drill sergeant approach feels somewhat out of character. For some, it works. For me, I’ve not always felt it to be the best motivator. Today, I discovered why and (most importantly) what is a motivator for me. Continue reading

The journey versus the outcome

We’ve recently had some landscaping done, at home. While the end result is absolutely beautiful, there is one aspect of the project which didn’t sit too well with me. While working from home, I’m aware of all of the goings on with the landscaping, can view the progress day to day and can also hear the project lead bossing her team around. I use the term “bossing” as my personal interpretation of how the project was handled. This got me thinking about project management and what the project manager cares more about; the journey or the outcome. Continue reading

On lazy engineers and automating business

During my career as a senior developer, and as the head of a team of engineers and product managers, I’ve had to make only a few new hires. Fewer than one may think, in fact. Since 2007, I’ve been in charge of hiring perhaps 6-8 new staff members, which is unheard of, given I’ve only ever worked with fast-growing young tech companies. This small hiring pool got me thinking about the core need for why one needs to hire new engineers and subsequently the cultural reason why my team at WooThemes grows differently to other non-engineering teams within the same ecosystem. Here’s why I reckon this is the case. Continue reading

What big business can learn from startups

In today’s fast-paced startup culture, there is an often unspoken ambition held by many startup companies to “join the big leagues” and become large corporations.

As businesses grown and evolve, certain magical qualities are often lost. Today, I’d like to touch on a few qualities which big businesses could learn from young startups.

I’m not a business owner, or a CEO. I’m not a venture capitalist or a startup evangelist or any other title like that. I’m an observer. Here’s what I see. Continue reading

Knowing Your Limits And Gaming Yourself

Since starting this blog several years ago, I’ve tried several techniques to keep up a regular blogging routine. From blogging daily for a week or two, to attempting to blog every day for an entire year, I’ve tried them all.

While this blog isn’t a business for me, it’s a great way to share knowledge, thoughts and interesting discoveries. At the same time, I simply cannot dedicate all day every day to blogging, researching and constructing articles. Ultimately, it’s also not how I most enjoy writing.

So here’s what I’ve done. Continue reading

The 30 Day List

I really enjoy listening to podcasts. Over time, I’ve racked up a few ranging from game design and theory, all the way through to fitness and personal finance. I’ve recently really enjoyed listening to Listen Money Matters (thanks for the tip, Patrick!), a podcast about personal finance.

During an episode I listened to a few weeks ago, the concept of a 30 day list was mentioned, as a way to curb impulse buying. The premise is, if you want to make a purchase, place the items on a list and ignore it for 30 days. Once 30 days are up, revisit the list and see if you’re still interested in making the purchase. If you are, go ahead and plan for it. If not, you know it was just an impulse purchase. I did this a few months ago without even realising it, when I had a sudden urge to purchase the (then new) Nintendo WiiU while attempting to summit Lion’s Head on the hottest day of the year, in 2013. Clearly, this was an impulse purchase, as I’m not a huge gamer anymore (yet I love Nintendo games!). Continue reading

Reflections on 2014

2014 was a tough year. The toughest year for me, yet. I’ve been debating for a few days whether or not to write a reflections post. I’ve just returned from my first gym session of 2015, and feel pretty positive, so I reckon what better time than the present to write this.

This year past brought several life challenges I’ve never had to endure, until now. These challenges are deeply personal and not entirely appropriate for this blog, so I won’t go into specifics. One interesting characteristic of a challenge is how it forces you to re-examine and re-evaluate other areas of your life. Large portions of 2014 were spent reflecting inwards, inspecting myself and my lifestyle and making small, yet highly impactful, changes to how I approach the world. One of these changes was to hack myself and get my fitness lifestyle under control. While this happened from late 2013, 2014 was the year where I kicked this into high gear… and it feels great! Continue reading

JFDI

Just Effing Do It!

What a wonderful statement, that is. When you find yourself hesitating on a task… hey man, JFDI. If you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place… hey, JFDI to the rescue. While this is great, I’m pretty certain there hasn’t yet been a singular definition given for this mantra.

I’ve had a few individual discussions recently, with several WooThemes colleagues, on the meaning of JFDI and, ultimately, trying to find out what the phrase means to them. While JFDI can carry many different meanings for different individuals or companies, I thought I’d share mine, and how I feel it applies to what I do.

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On goal setting and comfort zones

I’m a “lists” person. Give me a to-do list any day and I’ll make quick work of getting it from A to Z. Having a to-do list helps me feel like I’m in-check and on top of whatever I’m working on. More so than my love of lists, though, is my love of checking items off of a list. I love it. I can regularly be found planning out my to-do list for the day, as my first task when I start work in the morning, and I’m sure to check off each item from my list as I go, as well as updating any task reporting tools with the task I’ve just completed (at the moment, we use iDoneThis over at Woo- it’s pretty awesome).

As can be inferred by my love of lists, I like routines. Routines, however small and un-impactful, mean that in some small way, I know what’s coming next (and thus, can do any necessary preparation- either physical or mental). Some may refer to this as a comfort zone.

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Achieve any goal (and track your progress) with Lift

"Lift" LogoLets face it, we all have those tasks in life that we with we did more often- “I should really blog more”, is one of mine (hence this blog post). Sometimes, we have surges of motivation in which we begin our good habit-forming tasks, only to forget about them a few moments later.

The big question is, why shouldn’t we be keeping good habits and achieving our desired goals? I can’t think of any reason other than human nature, really.

Enter “Lift”, a web and iOS app that encourages good habit forming, helps to track progress and adds encouragement via the sending and receiving of “props” from friends connected through Facebook and Twitter.

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