October 2, 2014

One night a week

Perry Chen writing about Dollar A Day.

It took us — a small core team working one night a week (Monday night!) — about a year to get here. David and Cassie are now staff, overseeing the nonprofit selection process, community support, and more. As Board members, Zack Sears, Tieg Zaharia, Ben Stone and I are contributing about 5–10 hours a week, sometimes more (like this launch week!), doing design, development, product, copy, and whatever else is needed.

A good example on how you can launch something without a ton of cash.

It’s not about the payment, it’s about the shopping

Jason Snell replying to Tim O’Reilly’s essay on payment providers, and O’Reilly’s notion that Uber’s model is truly disruptive while Apple Pay is basically the same old wallet opening action:

To summon an Uber, O’Reilly needs to take his phone out of his pocket, launch the Uber app, and tap a few times. If those steps sound familiar, it’s because they’re not that different from how one would buy some groceries at Whole Foods using Apple Pay. The phone comes out at the start of the process, rather than the end, but it still comes out.

I agree with Jason. While the Uber experience feels new and like something from the future, it really is no different than beeping something at the teller by the exit. O’Reilly’s mixing up the payment experience with the shopping experience.

One dollar every day

I really hope that this isn’t a scam. Legit not for profit, fortunately.

Dollar A Day is a simple new way to discover and support amazing nonprofits. We feature one great organization every day, everyone automatically donates $1.

311 signed up users in six hours is pretty good. Check it out.

October 1, 2014

Tech Troopers launched in beta

Odd Alice, my agency, is part of a startup called Tech Troopers, which just launched in beta. Take a look and let me know what you think. I’m sure there’ll be more about this here in the future, but that’ll have to wait until we’re out of champagne.

Windows 10, the non-April Fools version

Microsoft have announced Windows 10 and released a developer preview, if you’re interested. Yes, the Start menu is back, and yes it involves the not called Metro live tiles. Windows 10 is for all Windows formats, from mobile to tablet, to desktop to whatever. Much like Windows 8.

I have no opinion on Windows 10 yet, I’ve yet to download and try it. I will, later.

Read more →

On the purpose of the recent redesign

This very site runs on WordPress, as it has from day 1, and the eleventh major version of the TDH theme, known as TDH11 because I have no imagination whatsoever when it comes to these things. Most of these iterations have been long-lived, but not all.

The reason for this particular redesign isn’t that I felt the previous version lacking. Actually, I found it quite pleasant, both to work with as a publisher, and for reading. Then again, if both those things were true there wouldn’t be a revamp in the first place. This brings us to the real reason for this redesign, which is my need to publish shorter and snappier posts. A lot of that commentary have ended up on Twitter, but it’s a format that’s lacking due to its brevity. Sharing short things, sure, and for some watercooler chatter, fine, but not for actual commentary, analysis, or in-depth thoughts.

Hence this design, which works both with longer pieces and essays, as well as quote and comment shorts.


Should you leave venture capital backed Ello?

Ello, the hyped ad free social network, are getting a lot of press. Aral Balkan thinks we should all leave Ello behind though, because it’s backed by venture capital.

Sorry, Paul, but by taking venture capital you have made a crucial mistake that is incompatible with the goals you set out in your manifesto and I will not support yet another venture-capital funded network only to be disappointed at the time of the inevitable exit.

He might have a point there, if you want to be all idealistic about these things. The notion that Ello was independently built is shattered, do with that what you will. I’m still on there, for the time being.

WordPress sustainability

Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress, thinks we, who make money off the open source publishing platform, should contribute more. 5% of our time, actually.

It’s a big commitment, but I can’t think of a better long-term investment in the health of WordPress overall. I think it will look incredibly modest in hindsight. This ratio is probably the bare minimum for a sustainable ecosystem, avoiding the tragedy of the commons. I think the 5% rule is one that all open source projects and companies should follow, at least if they want to be vibrant a decade from now.

The relevance of WordPress is in our hands, and although I’m not so sure about the numbers (5% might nit be the sweet-spot), I do believe that we need to amp up the contributions from the commercial side of things. We’ll definitely be talking about this at Odd Alice, where we already have contributions and core patches to be proud of, but we can no doubt do more.