All too often we are faced with roadblocks, hurdles and limitations within everything we do. Whether it’s in our personal, work or digital lives, there are often items which stand in the way of us achieving our goals. Success, however, comes flooding through when we remove or refactor these limiting beliefs.
Today, I’d like to share the story of how I removed a limitation, and submitted my first patch to WordPress core in the process.
When working with open source software, the project is largely driven by passion and volunteers within the community surrounding the project. With WordPress powering an ever-increasing percentage of today’s websites, the project has fostered a large community of dedicated and passionate users and developers.
While contributing to WordPress can take many forms (even using WordPress to build websites for clients can be seen as a contribution), many folks simply don’t know where to start when it comes to contributing to the community and project in a way which may involve code or a deeper dive into the community such as event organisation.
As WordPress Cape Town, we elected to host an event where we held workshops about how to contribute to various areas of the WordPress project. I was fortunate enough to run the WordPress plugin development introduction. Below are the slides from my workshop.
WooCommerce has, at the time of writing, passed over 6 million downloads (and several million active installations) on WordPress.org. What many aren’t aware of is, WooCommerce reached the 5 million download mark with only 3 engineers officially working full time on the project (while working on several other projects as well).
Throughout this process, we took away many learnings which we can apply to all future projects. I was fortunate enough to present these findings and learnings to the group at ScaleConf 2015, a popular tech conference here in Cape Town, South Africa.
The previous time I spoke on this stage at Kirstenbosch was at WordCamp Cape Town 2012, my fist large-scale public speaking endeavour. It felt great to be back on this stage!
Since appointing Patrick as our dedicated WooCommerce Product Manager towards the end of 2014, I’ve been able to view some really insightful feedback from customers, without customers even realising they’re providing this feedback. One of the tasks I assigned to Patrick was to conduct regular in-person user testing of WooCommerce, in order to pinpoint common pitfalls and benefits customers experience with our product.
The process involved here is Patrick contacting a customer and, in many cases, sitting alongside the customer, recording their screen (with their consent) and quietly observing how they get their online store up and running using WooCommerce.
I love WordSesh. This conference is a really great new twist on what it is to hold a conference in the 21st century. WordSesh hosts a talk every hour, on the hour, for 24 hours straight. All sessions are hosted over a Google Hangout, with an area for asking questions and interacting with viewers.
This year was my second presentation at a WordSesh. I decided to speak this year about a brief history of where we’ve come from in product at WooThemes, as well as where we’re headed and why. I received some great questions from the audience around EU VAT regulations, the future of WooCommerce and what we’re looking to explore.
I hope you all enjoy this session and get some great value and insights here. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below or follow me on Twitter.
Here are my slides for this presentation, if you’re not able to view or access the video above.
Earlier this morning, WooCommerce was submitted to Product Hunt, a popular website for showcasing new products. Product Hunt has, since launch, gained traction and become a standard in the tech industry for exposing engaged early adopters to new product and service offerings.
Within minutes, WooCommerce received several upvotes (how Product Hunters show their approval of a product) and several comments. At the time of writing, WooCommerce has had 49 upvotes and is growing steadily.
For the past few months, I’ve been following the “Advanced WordPress” group on Facebook. I joined the group thinking I would be exposed to advanced questions around WordPress development work.
What is it that they say about assumptions, again? 🙂
Through observation, it is apparent that the group is more focussed around advanced uses of WordPress for client websites, rather than development topics. I figured I’d keep following the group in any event and see what comes up.
WordPress is about freedom. This is one of the many reasons for the platform’s success, as well as creating an interesting new paradigm. Developers have a very low barrier to entry, which means that anyone with an idea and time to spare can develop a product on top of WordPress, upload the files to a marketplace and start selling (and making money). With this low barrier to entry, and an influx of developers looking to sell their products, it becomes an exercise of it’s own to try and stand out from the crowd (be the signal amongst the noise).
Fortunately, there are a few golden rules and tips which, when employed, help the product stand out from the rest.
A few weeks back, I gave a presentation at WordSesh 2013 where in I discussed the characteristics of a sustainable WordPress product. The key factors I touched on are the product’s ability to perform it’s prescribed tasks, and only it’s prescribed tasks, to the best of it’s ability, harmonising with other WordPress products and increasing in value with every other product which is activated on the WordPress installation.
This year’s WordCamp in Cape Town was an absolute blast. Hosted at the Cape Town Stadium, we spent the day sharing knowledge, journeys and experiences with close to 400 delegates. I was fortunate to present alongside some really amazing speakers, and to discuss a topic I am extremely passionate about; adding sustainable value (and what sustainable value really means).
If you’re keen to find out more, below are my slides from the day.
I look forward to presenting on this topic a lot more, showing how sustainable value applies to the WordPress product development community and presenting at future WordCamps and WordPress meet-ups. Thanks for having me, WordCamp Cape Town 2013!