I’ve been a fan of OK Go’s videos for a long time. The creativity and craft they put into their videos is astonishing. I love watching the Rube Goldbergesque machines they dream up and build to integrate into their videos. The machines don’t need to serve a purpose necessarily, just look really, really cool on camera.
Today is the last regular season game of the 2016 season for my beloved Longhorns. It could be the last game of the year, and it is probably the last game for coach Charlie Strong. It’s halftime and the game’s not going well so writing some thoughts!
It’s Black Friday and we’re running a sale over at my plugin marketplace Shop Plugins.
While I was watching the plethora of Black Friday sale emails coming in, two offers caught my eye because I’ve heard nothing but great things about these two courses so I went ahead and pulled the trigger and bought them.
I’ve been vlogging more, lately, but with the move to the new house getting that vlog footage edited and published has been a challenge.
So this time around I decided to do a talking head style video!
Every year I like to take a look back at the year to see how things went and reflect on the successes and shortcomings. Overall 2015 was a great year and I am very thankful.
When I was writing my end of year post for 2014 I realized I have two major regrets. They are both listed in the “What didn’t go well this year” section – 1. I didn’t open a new business and 2. I didn’t ship new plugins. This month a few things happened that cured me of my hesitation and feeling of not being ready.
Yesterday I realized that everything I want to accomplish in 2015 with regards to revenue, impact, reach, legacy, and personal satisfaction is a byproduct of one thing:
Friday was my last day working for WooThemes. It has been an enriching and fun 15 months working with the WooCommerce support team. In my tenure I was able to support customers across the globe, represent a world-wide brand, and forge friendships with a talented group of people who are passionate about WordPress. Read More
One of my 2014 goals is to read 2 books per month. This month I read 2 and a half.
The first book I read was Remote by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried. I reviewed it earlier in the month. My tl;dr is that if you work in an office – read it. If you already work remote – you probably already know most of how and why of remote working. Read More
I’m a big fan of the 37 Signals guys. I’ve followed David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried for several years. I’ve read their SVN blog and their previous book Rework. In Rework they gave a voice to the legion of workers, on and off the internet, who wanted to follow a different work script. Their writing flows from their day to day running of their business. Read More
At the start of each year my wife and I set goals for the upcoming year. As part of this discussion we choose a single word as our focus for the year. Past words have been Compassion, Stronger, and Hustle. Each word ties to our annual goals and where we see ourself going as a family. Read More
Yesterday marked the end of December, the end of 2013, and the end of a blogging competition I ran for WooThemes employees called Blogging for Benjamin. The competition goal was to “enliven the spirit of blogging in our company with a friendly competition and monetary motivation.” WordPress is the best publishing platform around and we all should take advantage of that to share our thoughts and expertise with the community. Read More
My wife was editing my Annual Review yesterday and asked me if I wanted to keep the statement about our income in 2013. I didn’t share an exact number, but did say that our income tripled from what it was in 2012. I told her I don’t mind sharing that since it was vague and just keep it in. I couldn’t think of any reasons not to share. Read More
We’re almost halfway through the Blogging for Benjamin competition and the ninjas are doing a great job!
The current standings have a three-way tie for first place between Patrick, Mike and Coen. There are five ninjas after that. If you want to catch up on the great content the guys have been producing here are links to the top 6 blogs and a few of their posts. Read More
Even though I talk about being a Solopreneur on this blog very often I haven’t been solo for about 13 months. I’ve been employed a support ninja for WooThemes. I consider myself unemployable, but WooThemes is just about the only company I’d consider working for. I enjoy the products they produce and everyone on the team is super talented. There are 33 in the company and the entire team is remote We’ve got 3 (sometimes 4) continents and numerous time zones covered. I love working remotely and having a flexible schedule.
Setting goals together
As a step to increase communication and camaraderie the support sub teams started having weekly meetings. Our CHO Mike Krapf would set an agenda of relevant topics and we would meet over Skype or Google Hangout. Mike recently challenged us on setting goals and some of the ninjas set goals to blog more often.
Later we started rotating the meeting leadership responsibilities and I volunteered to lead. I shared the concept of a ‘home base’ and ‘outposts’ that Chris Brogan had shared years ago. I encouraged the ninjas to build their home blogs as a way to share ideas with the WordPress community, build their reputation, be ambassadors for Woo, and flex the writing muscle. Since our support is via a help desk it’s important for us to have big league writing skills.
Leaders are more than just readers
After I led the ninja meeting I started thinking about why I’m so excited about writing. I’ve often said that “Leaders are readers” meaning that if you want to be an effective leader then you need to be constantly learning new things and exposing yourself to new ideas and knowledge.
Reading is a good thing, but left alone it yields a full mind that benefits only one person. The ideas and knowledge gained by reading need to be digested, debated and shared. There needs to be an outflow and expression of everything we learn. That’s where writing comes in! Leaders aren’t just readers; leaders are communicators. And the best form of communication we have is writing.
A friendly blogging competition
After this epiphany I had an idea for a way to encourage my fellow ninjas so I created a blogging competition called “Blogging for Benjamin”. The competition is simple:
- Everyone can blog daily on their home blog a maximum of once per day (31 blog posts)
- Posts can be scheduled for the future, but not back-dated
- The post can be about any topic
- The post needs to be a minimum of 300 words
At the end of the month I’ll tally up the ninjas blog posts and the top three will win a monetary prize. I wanted to make it interesting so first place is $100 (a Benjamin).
Why are you doing this?
I’m trying to improve my blogging and communication skills and recently tried to embark on a month of daily blogging. I have a high level of respect for daily bloggers and aspire to get there one day. My initial daily blogging effort didn’t last long as it was like trying to get up from the couch to run a marathon. Plus, there were some life events that happened that took away all of my extra time. I didn’t have the writing conditioning to be able to overcome this and needed to take a different approach.
You might ask: If blogging daily didn’t work for you why would I be encouraging others to do it? My goal isn’t to turn all of the ninjas into daily bloggers. My goal is to enliven the spirit of blogging in our company with a friendly competition and monetary motivation. I hope that on the other side of this month that the guys who blogged a few times per month will start blogging even more and the guys who blogged once per year (or never blogged) will start blogging a few times per month. If that happens then we will all be winners!