Community Tech

The uneven playing field of Open Source

“In Open Source, there is a long-held belief in meritocracy, or the idea that the best work rises to the top, regardless of who contributes it. The problem is that a meritocracy assumes an equal distribution of time for everyone in a community.”

The privilege of free time in Open Source (Dries Buytaert)

Great piece from Drupal founder Dries Buytaert.

The playing field isn’t even. Saying that “everyone is welcome to participate” and not acknowledging — or adjusting — for additional factors means everyone isn’t welcome to participate. It isn’t enough.

Take monthly meetups, for example. Always meeting at the same time is great for establishing a routine, e.g. the third Thursday of every month. But then you exclude everyone who works on Thursday nights.

Or what about the location? Maybe it’s somewhere that’s hard to reach by public transit, or inaccessible to wheelchairs. You’re excluding people who can’t make it to the venue, or who can’t even enter it.

As for the counterpoint of “well we can’t please everyone”? That’s true! But you can provide more options. Moving the date around. Trying different venues. Giving folks a way to join remotely.

And as it goes for meetups, so it can go for open source projects. Give people options to participate, and then make it easy for them to discover and learn how to participate.

As Dries puts it:

“While it’s impossible to fix decades of gender and racial inequality with any single action, we must do better. Those in a position to help have an obligation to improve the lives of others. We should not only invite underrepresented groups into our Open Source communities, but make sure that they are welcomed, supported and empowered.”


How school boards can help the housing crisis

“When it comes to excess lots, the board shouldn’t sell the land; it should instead negotiate long-term leases with rental-apartment builders or such non-profits as Options for Homes, with the requirement that the projects be designated affordable.”

How school boards can help fight Toronto’s affordable-housing crisis (TVO)

This goes for excess public land in general. Put the property to use for the public good. Plant trees, lease to affordable housing developments.

Community Life

A new golden age of housing

“Co-ops often have units large enough for families, provide a stable place to live, and usually have below-market housing charges. (Some residents of Ontario co-ops pay even lower rents if they qualify for subsidized units.) After all, there’s no landlord trying to turn a profit.”

Ontario may be headed for a new golden age of housing co-ops (TVO)

Ontario went through a boom of co-op housing in the mid-20th century. Then it all fell apart in the 90’s with government cutbacks. I think we’re due for a resurgence, given the ongoing housing crisis.

+ Co-ops have piqued my interest lately. Housing co-ops are top of mind, but so are co-op organizations in general. From the Ontario Co-Operative Association:

“A co-operative is a legally incorporated organization that is owned by its members, who use the co-operative’s services or purchase their products. They can and do provide virtually every product or service, and can be either for-profit or non-profit enterprises.”

What is a Co-operative? (OCA)

A co-op feels like the logical legal entity to form around a community-centric, for-profit (or not-for-profit) organization, be it for housing or business.


Money savers focus on the price tag

“When presented with a choice between a smaller dollar amount now or more money weeks later, savers focus immediately on the two dollar amounts, quickly screening out other factors as irrelevant — as revealed by their eye movements.”

Money-savers Focus Attention (Duke Today)

My $0.02: When you’re dealing with someone who values lower prices above all else, they’re not going to stick around. Their motivation is getting the best deal, and if they can’t get it, they’ll go somewhere else.

It’s a race to the bottom in a fight for fickle customers.

If you’re able to consistently offer the lowest prices, you’ll need a lot of volume to hit the same revenue that someone else gets from fewer sales. You either do this through scale or through efficiency.

If you raise your prices and go for fewer sales — but still hit the same revenue — you can put more focus on quality and customer retention. But how high do you go?

Again, IMO: You go as high as you can so that your ideal customer can still afford your products or services.

At a certain point you’ll cross the line into a different market segment, and the customers in that segment may not be the type of customer you want to reach.

Business Life

Advice for new marketers: Focus on the outcomes to increase your value

To truly increase your value, you need to understand what drives the company’s long term growth and focus maniacally on that. This means elevating your mental frameworks from tactics (i.e. “I must publish three articles a week”) to strategy (i.e. “I must find a way to help our events team sell more tickets”). And it means structuring the content operation to lead to outcomes (i.e. “webinar signups”) and not outputs (i.e. “publishing 10 tweets a day”).”

What I wish I knew five years ago about building a career in “content” (Sean Blanda)

This post from Sean Blanda is a must-read for anyone in the content marketing space, or thinking about entering the content marketing space.

My colleague Chris Carfi has a great model for thinking about this. Every time we sit down to talk through a plan, he starts with one question: What does success look like?

By starting with the objective, we can work backwards — figuring out the metrics that indicate success (goals), how we’ll get there (strategy), and the specific tools we’ll use to implement the strategy (tactics).

It’s kinda like planning a trip in Google Maps. You start with where you want to go (objective), then based on how much time you have (metrics), you choose a mode of transportation (strategy) and the route you want to take (tactics).

Sidenote: I need to do this more often with my personal projects. 🤔


Riding 3000km to WordCamp Europe

“In May 2020 members of the WP&UP team will be leaving the WordCamp Europe 2019 venue; The Estrel, Berlin, Germany and undertaking a gruelling 3,000 km ride across Europe to the 2020 #WCEU venue; Super Bock Arena, Porto, Portugal.”


Shout out to my fellow cyclists + WordPressers for making one hell of a trek. For the unaware, WP&UP is an organization providing mental health support for folks in the WordPress community.


Disney’s emotional comfort zone

“It’s in that emotional comfort zone that Disney has an advantage. While there may be something relaxing about re-watching Futurama as you drift off to sleep, Disney’s shows and movies go a step further by bringing you back to childhood. Even the entries in their library that might otherwise be considered crap can be hits simply because you watched them when you were a kid.”

Why Disney+ Will Win the Streaming Wars (OneZero)

In the VHS and DVD days, Disney made bank by releasing old classics from The Vault. Disney+ will make bank because it blows the vault wide open for all paying subscribers.

Aside: When we have kids, we’re skipping Peppa Pig and going straight for Winnie the Pooh, Duck Tales, Recess, et al.

Life Tech

The Millennial Lifestyle Sponsorship

“You might call it the Millennial Lifestyle Sponsorship, in which consumer tech companies, along with their venture-capital backers, help fund the daily habits of their disproportionately young and urban user base. With each Uber ride, WeWork membership, and hand-delivered dinner, the typical consumer has been getting a sweetheart deal.”

The Millennial Urban Lifestyle (The Atlantic)

From a customer POV? Sweet.

From an employee POV? Not so much.

Forgive me for being dense and never fully understanding the scheme behind VC-backed startups that rake in billions of dollars but don’t turn a profit.

I’m a simple guy. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to tech companies that have a clear model: it costs us X, we charge X+20%, we re-invest the profits, we’re a sustainable business.


Ryan Reynolds adception

An ad for Aviation Gin within an ad for 6 Underground within an ad for Samsung’s QLED television. Hot damn. h/t The Drum. Found this through their newsletter. 🙂


An incredible sky

“This morning I saw an incredible sky. I was driving so couldn’t photograph it, but it was the most amazing pale salmon with golden lemon tones. There was a heavy mist lying on the fields and wrapping the trees like a comfort blanket. The rising sun lit up the drops of dew on the grass like fairy lights. Everything was distilled but diffuse and shining. I wanted to keep it safe.”

Morning sky (bsag)

An example of the sort of stuff you can find on It’s an ad-free, community-centric alternative to Twitter. Less noise. More personal. It feels like a throwback to the early web. From their About page:

“Tweeting is one form of microblogging. But when you use Twitter, your content stays at Twitter. At, you can write short posts that appear in the timeline, as well as on your own blog that you control.”

It’s free to join and connect your own blog, but hosted plans start at $5/mo.