Goodbye Jetpack


Last year I wanted to play around more with SSL certs and dedicated hosting. It was fun, but as I’ve become busier and invested more time into building stuff I don’t have the time to worry about the dozens of plugins I need to install to make my site go (Jetpack is one, natch) or keeping my server updated. I do enough of that in my day-to-day work that my personal site shouldn’t be another chore.

Money is another factor. I did some math and it wasn’t making sense to pay so much every year for my site. I was on a $600/year Media Temple plan + $175 DigiCert SSL + VaultPress + random other costs associated with running my own setup. With I’m now paying $299/year for everything. Hosting, a custom design upgrade, a custom domain upgrade, no site ads, a premium theme, excellent support, the works.

This doesn’t mean that I won’t be neck deep in server admin stuff. I do a lot of that for Professional Themes—I quietly have become a larger part of the company, which I’ll write about more later. It just means that instead of wasting time, I’ll actually be dogfooding again. Although I no longer work for Automattic, it’s imperative that I stay up to date with how users are using WordPress. The themes that Professional Themes launches go to .com first, and getting better insight into how people are using will only help us. I spend so much time on localhost that I forget 50% of the WordPress world is experiencing another kind of WordPress (.com) that I must stay up-to-date on.

So it’s goodbye Jetpack for now. I’ll surely have to deal with it via localhost as I’m doing dev work, but the days of me needing to manage it on my own site are gone, as well as the days of spending hours searching for and installing new plugins on my site when that time would be better spent on building things. feels interesting now. This is the first post I’ve ever written directly on and directly inside of the new post screen. It feels familiar but strange, but I feel like I should get used to it. My hunch is that /wp-admin/’s days are very numbered on


Tuấn Anh and I sat down with the folks at WooRockets to talk about the WordPress community in Hanoi and Vietnam. Enjoy.

2014-09-26 20.38.23

Twenty Fifteen

2014 came and went, and some important events happened along the way…

Most of that sounds like work, but the year didn’t feel like work. When I left Automattic in February I took some time off to hit the reset button and think about what it is that I want from life. Leaving a comfortable job was probably the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in the last several years and it hurt a lot, but I’m in a much better place now than where I was a year ago. I’m calmer, more relaxed, less sick, and happier.

I’ve met someone also. I spend all of my free time with her and my life has become six hours of work per day, eight hours of sleep per day, and ten hours of finding life per day. That means drinks with friends, cooking at home and exploring Hanoi with my girlfriend, watching movies and listening to music, and doing things that makes life feel enjoyable.

There wasn’t much travel this year and that’s okay. I needed to stay still for a while and to think. I needed to get back to the basics and rediscover my smile. Because I wasn’t on planes the entire year I also wasn’t sick, which was a big bonus. I have no idea what will happen next year in terms of professional changes. I have a hunch or two and some exciting news coming soon, but everything’s in flux right now and that works for me.

Next year I will move into a new apartment (bigger and cheaper) and look into building more of a daily life here in Hanoi. This feels more like home than it ever has to me and I want to be nowhere else but here. There will be more travel, to be sure, but I’m not looking to escape or run away from Hanoi. I love it here. I’ve found peace here.

Life is so very short and I’m doing everything I possibly can to live it. Sometimes the decisions I make seem random or weird, but they all come from my fear that time is running out. It’s priceless, time, and next year I imagine that I’ll be even more vigilant about protecting it and honoring it.


(Previously: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011)


I’ll write and maintain (to a point of absurdity) a plugin that has less than 6,000 downloads because my sense of ownership over the project is strong. I feel attached to Subtitles because it has my name on it and I’m responsible for it. I take strong pride in taking leadership over work and especially avoid projects or codebases that have no clear direction or accountability. There’s no sadder sight than the plugin or theme that dissolves into dust due to a lack of ownership.

When you give someone ownership over their work wonderful things can happen. Midday showers will create beautiful ideas and coders won’t mind sleepless nights dreaming up solutions that they are proud of. Pride and owning one’s work are what keep me going. Having space to make mistakes without judgment or overly-controlling rules also keeps me going. Being told not to do something or being hampered down by talking about coding rather than coding are what stops me in my tracks.

In my heart I am a developer. If not more than 80% of my time is being spent on the writing of code, the closing of tickets, the squashing of bugs, and the creation of things that make others go “Wow” then I feel myself losing happiness. I just want to make stuff and help others make stuff.

I think a lot of us are like this; let us always remember how beautiful coding feels when we find ourselves with an impulse to erect guidelines, standards, procedures, or rules. Let us remember how good we felt when we had our first pull request or Trac patch accepted when newcomers come along. Let us be careful with our words and gracious with others who want to help and give us their time at no cost.

Let us not push those away who would take agency and ownership over our work. It means that we’ve done something right.