As we cross into this next decade, I can’t help but to look back with excitement on this last year in particular. My career took a rather unexpected—yet incredible—turn.
Most notably, I sold both CoBlocks and ThemeBeans, joined GoDaddy as a Product Manager of WordPress Experience, attended WordCamp Europe for the first time, led the release of the revolutionary Go WordPress theme, and gave a block building workshop at WordCamp US (watch Part 1 and Part 2).
2019 has been a wild ride to say to least. Wild, and incredibly enjoyable. And you know what, I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding year.
It’s ironic that my takeaway from last year’s review was that throughout 2018, I became a much more proficient developer and product manager. Little did I know, I would be challenged in a much greater capacity as a product manager throughout 2019 and beyond at GoDaddy.
Anyhow – onto the review!
Here’s what I’ll be covering:
- Selling ThemeBeans, CoBlocks and Block Gallery
- Joining the GoDaddy team
- Personal milestones
- Goals and projects for 2020
- Change, evolution, growth
Selling ThemeBeans and CoBlocks
When Jeffery Carandang and I started working on CoBlocks together, neither of us had any idea how far the project would take us. And when Alex Denning joined our ranks shortly thereafter, we quickly gained traction as the go-to page builder for the new block editor.
Rather unexpectedly, things took off even faster after I released the first “Introduction to CoBlocks” video – marking my exploration into learning Adobe After Effects (more on that later).
We soon found ourselves surfing atop the largest wave of innovation WordPress has seen in years, revolutionizing the already revolutionary block editor. In many ways, it was a difficult and trying time, but our distributed team – across the Philippines, England, and America – pulled together our best efforts to build and inspire.
Gutenberg lays the foundation for the future of WordPress publishing, and CoBlocks was just the start. I believe we’re only just beginning to witness how the block editor will radically transform publishing.
Anyhow, now that most of my projects have been acquired (except Login Designer), I do admit it’s odd that I’m not “selling” any software. Though at the same time, I suppose it’s also strangely refreshing.
Joining the GoDaddy team
I can’t think of a better way to level up than to surround myself with incredibly smart and passionate folks. That’s exactly where I found myself when I joined GoDaddy, back in April 2019.
It’s hard to believe I’m already approaching my first full year as a product manager on the Managed WordPress CX team; though I suppose time flies when you’re having fun. And with all honesty, it actually is a lot of fun.
I’m learning something new – literally every day. Continuously grasping a clearer understanding of product management, data-driven decision making, experimentation, testing, user experience, and team management.
Not to mention, I still get to work on CoBlocks and Gutenberg.
In short, I turned 31. Traveled to Europe for the first time for WordCamp Europe, and my wife Jesse and I spent a few extra days in Berlin and Dresden. I learned how to produce short commercial-style videos using After Effects. I really enjoyed expressing my creativity in this new fashion. I should have published more on my blog. No excuses there. I ended up writing half as many posts as I did in 2018, and page views were down 30% (104,340 views) as a consequence. Sharing via my blog is something I really enjoy, and I’m proud of the work I’m producing — I just need to focus a bit more this year.
Goals for 2020
My number one goal for 2020 is to simply read more. I love reading, though admittingly I’ve let it creep into the nether regions of my todo list. I’d like to read a book a month.
Second, I want to seriously produce music. I’ve always had a deep relationship with music. The emotions that song carry are a vital part of our human connection, bringing us closing into shared understanding.
So I’d like to try bending my creativity into a new artform, stepping into the realm of sound and music. I’ve started experimenting a bit, but by the end of the year, I want to share some of my work with the world.
Third – and more professionally speaking – I want to get involved with core Gutenberg on a deeper level. 2020 will be an even bigger year for the block editor than the last two.
We’re on the cusp of full site editing, patterns (groups of pre-configured blocks), global styling, block-based themes and a modern fresh coat of paint (G2). All of which are monumental aspects of the editing/publishing experience. All of which are happening now.
In all, there’s absolutely never been a better time to get more involved in shaping the future of WordPress. So if you’re looking for a good place to jump in, here are a few Gutenberg meetings I try to attend myself:
- Bi-weekly block-based themes meeting, 1600 UTC (starting Feb 5)
- Weekly editor chat, 1400 UTC (Wednesdays)
- Weekly Gutenberg design triage, 1700 UTC (Tuesdays)
Change, evolution, growth
2019 was a year of change, evolution, and growth. Things are different, and that’s ok. I find myself checking into daily stand-ups, road-mapping, casting vision, and coordinating with folks across GoDaddy – and the world – to build a better WordPress experience for all.
We’ve assembled an Avengers-class team, executing at a consistently high-level. I honestly couldn’t ask to be in a better position than where I am now. And realistically, 2019 was a year of change, evolution and growth for the WordPress community as whole. It has never been more apparent that we’re all in this together, and that our mission to democratize publishing is more important than ever.
We’re all learning, growing, and challenging each other to craft a better WordPress experience. One that will stand the test of time, and more importantly, the prevalence of proprietary publishing platforms. I am incredibly lucky – and thankful – to have been in the right place, at the right time, with the right resources, and just enough of the right skills, to partake in this next decade of WordPress publishing.