I’m a little bit confused at the moment. I’m stuck at a crossroads between the easy way and the hard way.
In life, I’ve always taken the easy way. If it’s time to eat, I’ll eat out. If something’s not working, I’ll buy a new one. But when it comes to stuff I’m more passionate about, things change.
I start to do things the hard way. My entire perspective changes and I begin to consider everything. My natural decision-making process goes from 5 seconds to 5 minutes. My palms start to sweat, my head aches. What the f@*k am I doing?
When we do something we love, something we have a deep and profound care and respect for, we want to do it right. And the right way, is often the hard way.
If you’ve be listening to me blabber on for the last 3 weeks (actually 22 days – yes, I’m counting) during Blogging for Hippo, then you’ve either grown to love me or hate me. Either way, it’s cool.
But this weekend, from Saturday 0:00 UTC to Sunday 0:00 UTC, there’s something very special taking place – WordSesh – a “full day of live WordPress presentations from all over the world streamed live to you wherever you may be”.
And I’m speaking at it. Woo!
It’s awesome. It’s fresh. It’s WordSesh. (I’m came up with that myself!)
When I first started developing WordPress stuff years ago, I had no idea what ‘hooks’, ‘actions’ or ‘filters’ were. I saw them written about, used, discussed and explained countless times but I was afraid to try understand them. They scared me.
But I grew up. Like all good developers do, I eventually got over my fears and dedicated some time to really get my head around them. So I read a lot of guides, like this one, this one, and especially this one – it all started to make sense!
Creating a plugin for WordPress is a fun experience. You get to build something that eventually gets used by countless people, makes their lives easier, perhaps makes you a profit and in general just makes the world a better place.
But don’t be the jerk that overstays their welcome. When your plugin creates ‘data’ on a user’s site, like a post type, page or setting, you have a responsibility to remove that data when a user decides to delete your plugin. If you neglect to clean up after yourself, you’re imposing a lifetime of DB clutter on your (ex-)user and making the world a worse place.
I was sitting here, in the dashboard of my blog, staring at the screen trying to think of something to write about today. Nothing was coming to mind and I was getting a bit bored, so I decided to pass the time by checking my Recipe Hero WP.org page and seeing the downloads / support threads for today.
Today it finally reached 2,000 downloads. That doesn’t sound like much and in all honestly, it isn’t, but it felt good. Small victories feel good. They hold everything together and keep us going. You don’t get those huge, significant wins without the many, small victories that come beforehand.
I’m not a product manager. At least, I’m not paid to be a product manager. But I do manage products. All developers do. It comes with the job (as a developer).
So in my not-so-official role as the product manager of every single product I’ve ever built, I’ve started to realise a few things about what I believe makes a product great.
If you’ve ever created a product, you’ve likely needed to support it. Even if you didn’t create a product, and you just happened to put together a few products and a design for a single client, you likely needed to support it.
Support is a way of life. It’s an inevitable by-product (or by-service?) of almost everything you’ll ever make. So much so that I’ve even gone to the effort of writing about both the giving and receiving of it.
So today I want to talk a little bit about the often forgotten but always needed Support Policy. Having one matters. It really does.
A few months ago I wrote an article that got shared quite a bit – 3 months in WordPress customer service – mainly because it resonated with readers.
It talked about how to serve your customers better, giving them the support they not only need, but deserve.
Today though I would talk about WordPress support from the customer’s point of view, and how to actually receive good support, rather than give it. I’m going to pretty blunt and honest as I was in the other article. You’re not my customer here, just my reader, so I want to tell you the harsh truth.
I made my first theme for WordPress about 3 years ago. It sucked. Not just because of the actual style / functionality of it, but more specifically, the admin experience was an awful, unthought-out, careless disaster.
I designed a settings panel to try and make the user’s life easier. Instead, it destroyed it. Well, their life probably wasn’t destroyed, but their user experience definitely was.
Since that time, I’ve probably built about 25-30 plugins and learnt a few things about designing a (WordPress) product for the user.
About 6 months ago I started working on a simple idea – a beautiful, modern recipe plugin for WordPress. A month or so after that I launched a very rough beta release, starting at 0.5. It took me a few months, but today I’m extremely happy to launch Recipe Hero 1.0.
It took me longer than it should have, but I got stuck in a mentality where everything had to be right before I pulled the trigger. That’s not the right mentality – at least in my opinion. So, today I’ve released the almost-ready one point oh.