Blog

Want to Make More Money? Refactor All the Things

in Development

I recently went refactoring on one of the core pieces of our workflow at OTM. We’ve had a mu-plugin that handles everything from cleaning up the admin section to creating CPTs to setting up the initial settings on a site and installing plugins. It is (was) a handy piece of software that automated a lot of tedious tasks.

But it wasn’t good enough.

My coworkers didn’t like having to manually update references to delete files or slog through 200 lines of code to replace a CPT slug and create a new one on the fly. I didn’t like having to manually delete the install files that got forgotten when we took a site live. No one liked creating test data manually in WP. So, a week ago I took the weekend to start ground-up and see what I could come up with.

~15 hours of work later and I estimate that the revised version will save us 1 hour on every build we complete. Minimum. That means at least 80 hours of saved work a year and a codebase that’s cleaner and significantly easier to maintain and will be easier to explain to a new developer during on-boarding. The relatively small amount of time it took to ground-up rebuild one of our tools will return almost 5X just over the next year alone.

So, if you want to make more money and be more efficient, take a piece of your workflow and refactor it. Dissect it, find the weaknesses, burn it down and rebuild it. Ruthlessly eliminate the chaff and clean, streamline, reduce, DRY.

P.S.: I also open-sourced the tool on Github so feel free to fork it, take it, PR it. https://github.com/oldtownmedia/evans

Accept the Blame, Pass the Gratitude

in Leadership

It’s hard to take the blame. Whether taking the blame has serious consequences or not, we tend to have our prides wrapped up in always being right which makes admitting to wrongdoing way more difficult.

It’s even harder to take the blame for something that you didn’t do. Maybe a co-worker never got you an email that you needed and a client is angry because something didn’t get done. Maybe your employee messed something up and a client saw it.

So why should you take the blame? Because it builds goodwill. Because it shows character. Because you’re a “team player”. Because your boss probably really knows who’s to blame anyway. Because it makes a great leader. Most of the time, there are no repercussions for these little acts and it will show a character that most people don’t have.

This also means passing the gratitude. Let someone else take the credit for that little win or a happy client. Let your employee get the credit and don’t try and claim it was your “leadership”. Let someone else take the credit and enjoy the win – most projects in a company are successful because a lot of people pitched in anyway.

If you take the blame and pass the gratitude you will have much better relationships with your coworkers and it will display rare character.

New Site Design

in Development

You might have noticed that I didn’t post a blog lat weekend – that’s because I was working hard on a new site design for this site. The old design was ~2 years old and was getting quite stagnant. I decided on a whole new look for the site – instead of a fixed header I went with a fixed side header and content all along the right. This makes the site a lot easier to read and use and better responsively. It’s built mobile-first and with the least css possible to make it super light. Hosted on a reseller account on HostGator and just uses a simple caching plugin – no CDN or anything and it’s still very, very fast.

I hope you enjoy the new site!

Performance Presentation

in Presentations

I don’t have a blog for this week yet, but here is the link to the slides for my performance presentation!

Good Things Come in Time

in Personal

There is a lot of pressure on those in the tech industry to be the greatest at a very young age. Mark Zuckerberg was a millionaire by the time that he was 21, so I need to be a triple-millionaire by the time I’m 20. Instagram sold for $1B in 2012, I gotta sell my company for $2B.

This internal pressure to be the best the youngest is enormous and can be overwhelming. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be better, but destroying yourself through comparisons will just lead you to pain and regret.

What most people forget is that Zuckerberg, Gates, Musk, and the rest are flukes of nature. Most millionaires got their fortunes through decades of careful savings. Eisenhower spent 30 years working desks and jobs he never wanted before he got a real command position. Rovio spent 8 years and 51 tries before they finally got to Angry Birds.

Good things come in time. Embrace the journey and the lessons you learn along the way.