My grandfather was a builder

My grandfather was a builder. His garage was his workshop. Workbenches on all sides with meticulously organized storage for all his tools. I remember his Folgers containers, neatly labeled, a different one for each size of screw or nail.

We bought our first house in the fall. I’m slowly embracing the change. I grew up in apartments. Home ownership was a pipe dream for as long as I can remember. Despite our family being in the home building business, it never felt like it was in my future.

Yet here we are.

As I’m fixing this house up, I’m learning, taking advice from my neighbours and from what I find on the web. While my fellow techies lament the loss of the blogosphere, it seems alive and well for all things DIY, whether it’s cooking or woodworking.

I’m writing this from my couch in the living room, staring out our bay window at the sprawling lawn that’s as much of a fixer-upper as the rest of our house. I spent the entirety of Sunday afternoon dethatching it all with a rake before bombing it with fertilizer. I learned how to do that from YouTube.

The video I (mostly) followed for our spring lawn revival

Our yard is sad and sparse. There’s so much potential for it. I want to set up some gardens, but I want them to be modular, because I like the aesthetic. So I’m digging for easy raised flower box plans. I’m finding affordable options fashioned out of cedar fence pickets. But if I’m going to do that, I’ll need space for it. But I don’t have a garage — just a car port. So I’ll probably need to enclose it, as so many of our neighbours have done over the years.

That has me thinking about my grandfather again. How he always had a project on the go. There was always something to be made. And how that slowly faded over the years, as time and illness took those projects away from him, and then finally took him away from us.

So when my mind spirals, when I think about what I could do, to fix things up, to make some birdhouses or feeders, or a raised flower bed, I’m thinking about him. That this is the sort of thing he would do. And that, even though I was the nerdy kid who preferred to spend my time on the computer, a part of my grandfather’s spirit, his inclination towards making things, lives on.


What I’m reading this week

The people’s web (Anil Dash) feels like a nice segue from helpful bloggers:

Every day, millions of people rely on independent websites that are mostly created by regular people, weren’t designed as mobile apps, connect deeply to culture, and aren’t run by the giant tech companies. These are a vision of not just what the web once was, but what it can be again.

And as more companies announce the shift to digital-first remote work, this earlier piece from Sari Azout’s Check Your Pulse newsletter is right + relevant:

In other words, we need to shift the way we measure our work from one focused on measuring inputs (how many hours we work) to one that measures output (impact of our work, goals we achieve).

Input is a means to an end. Output and impact is what matters. I’d also argue that qualitative matters more than quantitative in many parts of our modern work.

Time spent on spinning up a new process or going deep into research can have a net benefit on what comes later. So, as I say too often in meetings, “let’s zoom out”. Find the leverage.

Speaking of work, I’m doing a lot of thinking and gravel-shoveling for the next phase of our GoDaddy Pro community. This post on LinkedIn pulse nailed my philosophy:

Your community needs care, time and influence, not just a platform to drive it to success. If a community cannot be platform agnostic, you’re failing as a community team.

Riffing on community, did you catch the Facebook Shops announcement? Native commerce on Facebook and Instagram is a huge deal. Cue this article from January:

Social commerce, that is, promotion and sales via social media sites, is looking at exponential growth in the coming years as digital native consumers grow up.

Social commerce set to be the most important digital channel by 2029

We’ve been down this road before. Facebook giveth and Facebook taketh away. So while I’m excited for the opportunity this gives to local businesses, I’m also worried about the lock-in.

It’s the same reason I advocate for WordPress: independent ownership. You’re not bound to a single platform, and there’s an open ecosystem that lets you create a solution fit for your business. Facebook is the antithesis of that because it’s a closed platform.

Speaking of which, can’t forget the pizza arbitrage post that’s made the rounds on Twitter:

Third-party delivery platforms, as they’ve been built, just seem like the wrong model, but instead of testing, failing, and evolving, they’ve been subsidized into market dominance. Maybe the right model is a wholly-owned supply chain like Domino’s. Maybe it’s some ghost kitchen / delivery platform hybrid. Maybe it’s just small networks of restaurants with out-of-the-box software. Whatever it is, we’ve been delayed in finding out thanks to this bizarrely bankrolled competition that sometimes feels like financial engineering worthy of my own pizza trading efforts.

Doordash and Pizza Arbitrage (The Margins)

The more I learn about how these intermediary delivery marketplaces operate, the more I despise them. There’s a nugget of a reasonable business buried within — listing local restaurants, connecting them with drivers — but their MO leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. I’d rather see local restaurants become mini-Domino’s with a stellar digital experience.

Have a great weekend,

Andy

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