But nothing delights the mind so much as fond and loyal friendship. What a blessing it is to have hearts that are ready and willing to receive all your secrets in safety, with whom you are less afraid to share knowledge of something than keep it to yourself, whose conversation soothes your distress, whose advice helps you make up your mind, whose cheerfulness dissolves your sorrow, whose very appearance cheers you up!
Over the weekend I was in Nashville with over a thousand other WordPress enthusiasts. I met a ton of people, learned a lot, and was able to share the annual State of the Word address with the audience, which is a big summary of what WordPress has been up to and where it’s going. This year we covered user testing, Gutenberg, 5.0, the future phases of Gutenberg, all the latest and greatest blocks, new minimum PHP requirements, the adoption of 5.0, and some event and community updates. You can also see just the slides. The Q&A is here in a separate video.
Yesterday I was able to have a great conversation with Adam from WP Crafter, a popular Youtube channel with over five million views. Adam said it was his first interview but you can’t tell, we had an excellent conversation that covered Gutenberg, the 5.0 release, why WordPress has done well so far, and what’s coming in the future. If you’d like more context than text or tweets can give for what’s happening in WordPress today, check it out.
Of course Friday and Saturday are WordCamp US, which returns to Nashville this year. Everything will be live-streamed for free, including my State of the Word presentation on Saturday, you just need to pick up a free streaming ticket.
I’ve had the opportunity to talk about Gutenberg at two great venues recently. The first was at WordCamp Portland which graciously allowed me to join for a Q&A at the end of the event. The questions were great and covered a lot of the latest and greatest about Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0:
Last week I also joined Episode 101 of the WP Builds podcast, where as Nathan put it: “We talk about Gutenberg, why Matt thinks that we need it, and why we need it now. We go on to chat about how it’s divided the WordPress community, especially from the perspective of users with accessibility needs.”
They may be out of seats already, but I’ll be on the other coast to do a small meetup in Portland, Maine this week. As we lead up to release and WordCamp US I’m really enjoying the opportunity to hear from WordPress users of all levels all over the country.
Dan Walmsley has an interesting walkthrough on getting set up for WordPress and Calypso development on the new Linux mode on a Chromebook.
This morning I’m enjoying Seth Godin’s classic on Customer Service. Hat tip: Andrew Spittle.
There’s fascinating and terrifying feature article about Facebook, Duterte, and the drug war in the Philippines, written by Davey Alba. My first trip there was actually to Davao, and having been to the country several times and met so many bloggers there it’s hard to imagine what’s described. There are definitely echoes of the Wired feature on Facebook and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Both are good reminders that as technologists the tools we create can be used and leveraged in ways we wouldn’t imagine in our worst nightmares.
Brett Martin has an excellent longread in GQ, Houston Is the New Capital Of Southern Cool. I moved to San Francisco when I was 20, I hadn’t ever even been old enough to drink in Houston, but when I returned in my late twenties and really made it my home I was blown away at how much the city had changed in the time I had been away. Or maybe I just grew up enough to appreciate it. Regardless, Brett captures the verve and paradoxes of the city well.
This week I spoke with TechCrunch about one facet of distributed work that differs from physical offices — the idea of “office politics.” I can’t claim that distributed work will solve everyone’s personal differences, but I do think it relieves some of the pressures that might come from forced cohabitation and environments that are prone to interruption. They also have some great points from Jason Fried and and Wade Foster.
Yes, it is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall soon flow in inexhaustible streams the most abundant and most marvelous liquor that has ever flowed to relieve the thirst of man! [….] A spring of pure truth shall flow from it! Like a new star, it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine among men.— Johannes Gutenberg
“We want to make the best tools in the world, and we want to do it for decades to come. I’ve been doing WordPress for 15 years, I want to do it the rest of my life.”
The last time I chatted with Kara was in 2013 in the back of a pedicab in Austin. This time I got to sit in the red chair at Vox headquarters in San Francisco, and per usual Kara was thoughtful, thorough and to the point: we talked about WordPress and the future of the open web, the moral imperative of user privacy, and how it all relates to what’s going on at Facebook.
(As it turns out, Facebook also is turning off the ability for WordPress sites — and all websites — to post directly to users’ profile pages. The decision to shut down the API is ostensibly to fight propaganda and misinformation on the platform, but I think it’s a big step back for their embrace of the open web. I hope they change their minds.)
Kara and I also talked about distributed work, Automattic’s acquisition of Atavist and Longreads, and why every tech company should have an editorial team. Thanks again to Kara and the Recode team for having me.
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks in Education through Recreation, 1932
I’m a huge fan of Mailchimp, but dang does the service get abused by folks aggressively opting you into mailing lists. I have a very early, very generic Gmail address that people put as a filler address into every possible service and it gets tens of thousands of list and spam mails. A good trick to find and unsubscribe from all the Mailchimp lists you’re on is to search for
mcsv.net and then select all, report as spam, and unsubscribe. Gmail doesn’t deal well when the unsubscribe list is taller than your screen, so you may need to hit
command + - a few times to make it all fit. Also according to this post, “you can also get in touch with our compliance team directly at email@example.com with the email address you would like to remove from all lists and they will be happy to further assist you there as well.” I will try that as well.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, and an interview about on the WP.com blog, Automattic has acquired the Atavist platform, magazine, and team. Looking forward to working alongside the team: we’re keeping the magazine going and it’ll complement Longreads, and integrating the best of the platform’s CMS and publisher features into WordPress.com and Jetpack and after that’s done providing an upgrade path so all of its publishers can move to being WordPress-powered.
I really love this thread and the replies sharing stories about Val Vesa’s experience talking about WordPress in an Uber / Lyft ride:
- The Atlantic on today’s masculinity being stifling and imagining a better boyhood.
- When Deportation is a Death Sentence is one of the most devastating articles I’ve read in a long time.
- A review of the Cy Twombly show, he has an amazing museum in Houston and I enjoy learning more about him.
- The Great Anthropologists: Margaret Mead, so fascinating.
- Dating columnist reveals how ‘Sex and the City’ ruined her life, has a happy ending.
- Barbearians at the Gate “A journey through a quixotic New Hampshire town teeming with libertarians, fake news, guns, and—possibly—furry invaders.” Amazing.
- Lena Dunham Explores Alone Time After a Break-Up
- My Adventures with the Trip Doctors, aka “Michael Pollan takes psychedelics.” See also: Interview with Longreads.
- Kanye West and Why the Myth of “Genius” Must Die.
- Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds, also well-covered in a great book I just finished, Black Box Thinking.
- Admiral Shovel and the Toilet Roll — wow.
- The Work Required to Have an Opinion, wisdom from Charlie Munger.
I find myself frequently returning to this Atlantic photo essay on the Chinese bike share companies flooding the streets with bikes. It’s strangely beautiful.
Elif Batuman, who was recently a Pulitzer finalist for her novel The Idiot, has a stunning story in the New Yorker on Japan’s Rent-a-Family Industry, “People who are short on relatives can hire a husband, a mother, a grandson. The resulting relationships can be more real than you’d expect.”
You think from the title it’s going to be one of those gee-whiz stories or vaguely condescending toward Japanese, but what follows is actually an incredibly poignant and powerful view of society through a lens I had never imagined before. It’s a #longread but I hope you take the time to sit with it this weekend. You may need a swordsman.
You probably haven’t thought much about beer cans, Abstract Aluminum Space, the Midwest Premium, and how it all ties into Goldman Sachs, so you should read how the Goldman Sachs aluminum conspiracy lawsuit is over.