Achieving harmony through micro-uncluttering

Everyone has their own definition of clutter. To many, clutter constitutes large amounts of “stuff” piling up in a space which should not usually contain so much of said “stuff”. While focussing on day to day tasks, I’ve noticed that there are several areas of my day to day which have high potential for clutter. When these areas are cluttered, I feel like my focus shifts and isn’t as sharp as it could be. Today, I’d like to help reform our views on what creates mental clutter, and how to overcome this and achieve laser-like focus. Continue reading Achieving harmony through micro-uncluttering

Predicting The Success Of Your Product

One area of business building and product development is predicting the success of the product, before launch. This is one area everyone tries to get as accurate as possible, in search of the one unifying metric to unite all and predict accurate success trends. Methodologies such as the lean startup approach aim to ensure as accurate a product success rating as possible, by approaching the project from a customer-centric point of view (if you build what they want, they will come). Now that we’ve discussed how to get customer feedback, lets discuss how we make use of this feedback in our approach to product planning. Continue reading Predicting The Success Of Your Product

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 Finding What Drives You

Gathering Customer Feedback

One of the most complex (and sometimes cumbersome) tasks within scaling a lean startup is to get feedback from your customers. During the early stages when customers are few and far between, this process is easier. Down the line, as you scale, the process can become tricky to manage.

Today, I’d like to run through a few different methods for gathering meaningful customer feedback. Continue reading Gathering Customer Feedback

Words which change meaning and how they work

Looking back, I have fond memories of the “early days of the internet” (well, as we see them now, anyways) where I’d get home from school, hop onto the computer and chat using IRC (Internet Relay Chat), mostly with others I’d seen at school not an hour or two earlier that day. While at the time this seemed somewhat run of the mill, I got to thinking about how this kind of interaction influenced how I communicate online and via text in general.

Over the years, I’ve met several people who influenced the words I choose when communicating. Whether verbally or over text, words have a specific meaning and, to me, there is little room for interpretation when selecting ones words. As I communicated more and more over text, I realised how much we actually convey without realising, purely through our choice of words. Today I’d like to pinpoint several words, how I interpret them in communication and how removing them or adjusting them can improve and provide clarity to one’s communication. Continue reading Words which change meaning and how they work

Finding Your First Customers

Building a new product or business is a really exciting process. There is no feeling quite like the feeling of seeing an idea through to it’s final product. What many founders forget to consider is the day after launch day. The business needs to sustain itself, at the very least to cover the upfront setup and production costs.

We’re all well aware that customers pay for products or services, which generates income for the business and assists with growing and sustaining the business. Therefore, if no customers purchase products or services from the business, there is no growth and the business will rapidly crumble. Today, we’ll discuss how to find your first customers, creating a solid foundation for business growth. Continue reading Finding Your First Customers

Introduction to WordPress Plugin Development

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. Continue reading Introduction to WordPress Plugin Development

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 The journey versus the outcome

Communications Theory in Product Design

As you all know, I love listening to podcasts and being creative. Listening to the myriad of podcasts that I do, I find concepts from one podcast often apply to the field discussed in one of the others. While listening to a podcast on trading card game design, the topic of communications theory and game design came up. I followed up by reading the related article by the podcast host, which sparked off an interesting thought process for me, around how communications theory helps to plug holes within product design. Here’s how I feel this applies. Continue reading Communications Theory in Product Design

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 On lazy engineers and automating business