Steve’s Blog

Eulogy for My Dad

In many ways, my family and I were very fortunate.

My Dad first had cancer in 2000. He went on to survive multiple fights with several forms of cancer. He had 20 years of absolutely world-class medical treatment from England’s National Health Service.

We had 20 extra years with him, thanks to that treatment, and his own resilience and determination.

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Some Big Life Changes

Last July, I turned 40. For some people that’s not a huge milestone, but for me it was. I felt stale and in need of fresh challenges.

So from last summer to this summer, I worked on making changes. Some things happened: I bought out my main business partner and made a significant move into WordPress. But, by-and-large, it was a year of slow negotiations, many discussions and lots of tire-kicking. I even sat for my first job interview in 15 years, before realizing that was the wrong direction.

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I met Eddie Tabush back in 2010 at CMS Expo, a semi-legendary event with people from across the open source world. It was the start of a partnership that dominated our work during the 2010’s.

We worked together on OSTraining and Joomlashack, which have gone great. We also teamed up for an attempt at a SaaS project called Admincredible. That didn’t end well, but taught me more than all the successful projects. Recently, we started working on WordPress plugins too.

We’ve spent time together all across North America, including in Atlanta, Denver, Cancun, Orlando, Los Angeles, Nashville and Chicago.

Back when I met him, Eddie was on the board of Habitat for Humanity. It doesn’t hurt a new business connection when your partner has just returned from hanging out with Jimmy Carter.

Over the years, Eddie’s housing work has grown and grown. In particular, he’s been working to launch AVI, an organization that aims to transform access to affordable housing in Guatemala. In July, he presented a law to the Guatemalan Congress which will give formal approval to AVI.

Because the housing work has become a full-time job (perhaps two full-time jobs), Eddie is slowly stepping back from our work together. It’s been a great eight years. But Eddie’s housing work has the potential to transform Guatemala. I’ll be cheering him on all the way.

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We’re adopting more extensions at Joomlashack

Over at Joomlashack, we’ve hit on a business model that is working well.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve adopted 6 extensions: JCal ProjInboundShack FormsShack ToolboxShack Open Graph, and Tabs and Sliders.

A few weeks ago, we announced the arrival of 5 more extensions. This week saw the arrival of Shack Locations.

Oh, and we’ve adopted WordPress plugins too with Bylines and UpStream.

Joomla and WordPress are mature markets and some developers are leaving after 10+ years. We think that adopting code is a win for everyone. In the past, developers had limited options if they wanted to stop work on their extensions. If they made an official announcement, they had to deal with unhappy users. To avoid this, sometimes the developers would just disappear. In contrast, a smooth adoption leads to a great outcome for the developers and users.

I suspect we’ll adopt more Joomla extensions in the future, and more WordPress plugins too. 

Update: We did indeed adopt more. See this post on going from 1,000 to 100,000 WordPress installs.

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Interview with Post Status about PublishPress

Post Status published an interview with me that covered a range of WordPress-related topics:

Many thanks to Dan Knauss for bearing with me and shaping these answers into something readable.

Post Status is one of the leading sources for WordPress news. It’s well worth the membership for their newsletter and their members-only Slack channel.

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We acquired Bylines to make PublishPress better

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that we’re spending a lot more time focused on WordPress in 2018.

Our primary plugin focus is PublishPress, a suite of tools enabling WordPress teams to create great content.

To make PublishPress more competitive, we acquired Bylines, from Daniel Bachhuber. By default WordPress only allows one author per post. Bylines allows you to assign multiple authors to a post and publish articles from guest authors. Continue reading “We acquired Bylines to make PublishPress better”

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Diving Into WordPress in 2018

I’ve been deeply involved in Joomla and Drupal for years now.

But our Joomla business is doing really well at the moment, and there’s a great team in place, running the site very effectively.

That’s giving me more time to focus on our WordPress projects this year.

There are some books of course. Genesis Explained is very close to launch, and WordPress Explained is getting a major update. Continue reading “Diving Into WordPress in 2018”

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My Recaps of 2017

I wrote 3 very different year-in-review articles for some of our different businesses.

Joomlashack’s review was standard, showcasing how well things are going. I think it’s important to show that Joomla businesses still can successful.

OSTraining’s review talked about business models. In 2017, we made a major change to focus more on books and partnerships.

PublishPress’s review was a very different type of review. I had written a couple of “We did great!” reviews for 2017, so wanted to show the other side too and write a “We screwed up!” review too.

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