The smart watch market is really heating up, with the Apple watch launching and new Android Wear watches being announced all the time. So I really want a smart watch, but not for all reasons people usually want one. I don’t really care about notification as between emails, calls, and Slack pings I probably only get 10 notifications a day. While I’m trying to get more exercise I’m not really a fitness buff and wouldn’t use all the fitnessy features.
What I’m more interested in is its function as a swag platform. I want a WordPress watch and while I’ve made one in the past you are usually limited by making watches that are cheap in nature, there isn’t really a source for high quality, one off, branded watches. So when I heard about smart watches my excitement came from the fact that I could have a super high quality WordPress watch.
I’m going to dink around with the Android watch face API and cobble together something but if I had money what I would do is commission a really good Android dev/design shop to make the most amazing watch face ever, something fun and interactive (with lots of wapuu). I’m talking about something so cool that it tops every best watch face posts. I want it to be so amazing that people who have no clue what WordPress is still install and use it as the first rule in swag making is making stuff people want to use/wear/display.
I have a feeling that something like this could be also be great marketing technique. It could get a new group of people talking about WordPress, it would make people curious what this whole WordPress thing it about and want to learn more. Now I don’t know how much it would cost to develop something like this but wouldn’t it be amazing to put our money into something fun and cool like this. I think the world needs a WordPress watch face more than Google needs more money from Adwords sales.
I’m writing this blog post to flesh out the idea in this tweet a bit more.
One of the biggest milestones in WordPress is getting to 51% of the net. Right now we are doing amazing at 23.8 but we need to more. The Core team is always making the software better and the community is churning out all sorts of amazing plugins and themes but if we want to get to 51% we need to do more. We need to do more than just focus on the software.
So I had two thoughts with the above idea. One I would really like a make a WordPress PSA in the procedural cop drama format about crimes committed against WordPress. Basically take all the things we wish people wouldn’t do (lowercase p, fauxgos, non-GPL code, not adhering to best practices) and turn it into a really funny video. One that let’s people know what they are doing that we wish they wouldn’t but also a fun introduction to the WordPress community. I honestly believe that in an age of great software having a product/community with heart and personality has become super important.
The second thought is a bit more wide reaching. I want to create a web series that takes place in a police station and all the crimes are WordPress based. Basically you know when you see a TV show and it’s pretty obvious that Microsoft is the sponsor because every scene has a close up of a Surface or a Lumia, I want to do that but times 1000. I want the product placement to be so obvious that it’s hilarious. Every computer would be a MacBook covered in WordPress stickers, all the good guys (cops, witnesses, wise cracking civilians employees) are wearing WordPress related clothing. Each episode will have a minimum WordPress count where “WordPress” has to be said at least x times during the episode.
For example, you could have a corporate espionage case where someone is assaulted and their laptop is stolen. It would be filled with twists and turns where you end up visiting PressBeans a coffee shop frequented by WordPress developers and visiting a WordPress Dev shop called WP4LIFE. In the end the victim will face his attacker and hand him a thumb drive with all the code he stole. He’ll explain to him that everything is licensed under the GPL and all if he wanted it all he had to do was ask. Everyone will laugh and the bad guy will be taken off to Closed Source, the high security prison for people who commit WordPress based crimes.
I want the series to be utterly ridiculous but have moments you would find in a real cop drama every once in a while so when something ridiculous happens you are caught off guard. I want to create something that gets people talking about WordPress, not tech blogs or software developers but regular people. I think that’s the key to taking over the web, WordPress needs to be a brand in addition to a piece of software.
Recently I’ve discovered how much fun selling things can be. At work I’m doing a lot of work converting free users to paid ones and getting paid ones to pay us more and I really enjoy it. There is something so satisfying about being about to put a dollar figure on the work I do. I’m a business guy at heart so that is how I tend to judge success. I know there are other intangible benefits of doing certain thing but there is nothing more exciting than seeing that sales number increase.
In my personal life I try to sell little things here and there. While it doesn’t add up to much money (on most projects I’m lucky to break even) I just love not only making something that people would want to buy but letting them know that it exists in such a way that when they find out about it they buy it.
As I’m constantly iterating on my swag process I’m trying something new today. I won’t say much about it here as I’ve written up a blog post that explains it all.
A few weeks ago I worked the WordPress.com booth at the NMX Expo. It was a crazy week. I had worked the show before but it use to be a small 5k person show in the Rio but this year it was part of the NAB and was in a massive exhibit hall with over 100k attendees. It felt more like SxSW than NMX. I had fun but I don’t think I could do an event like this very often, it takes a lot out of you.
These events are especially exhausting for me since I have a problem with getting bored. I make sure I’m there to set up (which required coming a day early this year) and tear down. I’m the first one there every morning and the last one to leave at night. While there are schedules I just stay the whole time regardless of what time I’m scheduled. There is something so satisfying about giving something physical like this your all. It’s much different from the normal online work.
I think my obsession stems from the fact this is one of the very few areas where marketing (that I love) is used at work. Not only do we have a really neat booth that is filled with all sorts of swag but I get to hang out with really cool people. I had more conversations last week than I probably did the last three months.
This year however, I realized that my priorities have changed from last year. Around this time last year if you asked my what my dream job would be I would have said working on events/swag. There was a time when I was obsessed with that and I spent all my free time coming up with ideas and pitching them to Rebecca and following every event we did so I could come up with ways to make them better. But now while I still think events are important and fun my new obsession is Akismet and finding ways to grow it. Growing Akismet occupies most of my waking hours and haunts my dreams (in a good way).
So while I might do an event next year if I’m asked by Rebecca again (I really do love being asked and find it hard to say no) I’m probably done for the year and will resume my passion of making Akismet the most profitable product at Automattic.
I’m sure it’s no secret that I’ve been really into marketing lately. It’s the perfect combination of my two loves business and design. So I have been looking around for something to market when I remembered that I know of an amazing product that people really need to know more about, myself. With a little help from the terrific Jan, I know have a new personal brand.
I’m going to print up stickers with it that I will use for business cards, t-shirts to wear at events, etc. I’m going to get a lot of use out of this.
So if a year from now I’m better off personally, professionally, and financially you will know that my marketing strategies work :) .