I’m starting a new project tomorrow. In 2016 I’m trying to push myself a bit more. One thing that I really want to become better at is copywriting.
What I’m going to do it take a block of text that I’ve seen somewhere (probably Automattic based to start) and rewrite it. That’s it. I think if I do that for the next year there is no way I wouldn’t become better at it.
There has to be a secret formula to getting people to respond to my words and I’m going to find it. You can find my experiment over on daily.nickhamze.com. I’ve never attempted something like this before and I’m excited to see how long I can make it last.
I’m an idiot. I didn’t realize that I couldn’t sell WooCommerce themes/extensions but I really should have. The extensions aren’t that big of a deal as I only have my time invested (they are open sourced here) but my WooCommerce theme is another matter. I paid a designer $500 to create the design. While I could still make the theme and release it for free I had really hoped to sell enough copies to break even (my goal in every business venture 🙂 ). I’m trying to be better with my money and I can’t take a $500 loss right now.
My plan for the theme was to bring Shopify level ease of use to WooCommerce. I’ve used a bunch of themes and I think they all suffer from the same problems. They are too hard to set up and require too many stock photos to look good. This theme was my attempt to solve that. All you need to do is add a product or two, activate the theme, and you are done. It was suppose to be the pinnacle of simplicity.
I had four pages designed. The homepage (which also serves as the category view), the blog page, the single post view, and the single product view. I’m looking for a best offer as close to $500 as I can get. Any funds I recover from this project will be put into my Othermill fund. If you are interested leave a comment here and I’ll show you the rest of the pages.
I have two goals for 2016, to sell things and to show people I’m a marketing genius. So my audience, I ask you what would you buy from me. It can honestly be anything, don’t limit it to just apparel. I want to create a brand/unique products and use my marketing genius to make you buy lots of them. I’m open to anything, I’ll buy whatever equipment is necessary. In my life the only thing that will make me happy is growing a business. Since I don’t have that opportunity right now I’ll just create a business and then grow it.
This past week I became obsessed with buying a Surface Pro 4, I’m mean obsessed. I looked at all the reviews, spent hours on reddit and finally went to Best Buy to pull the trigger. I heard all the things about bad build quality and such but I didn’t care, I wanted one.
When I got to Best Buy they had two demo units set up. The first one wouldn’t turn on. I messed with it for a bit and finally it did turn on. Once it booted up I noticed it had a busted screen. I knew that was a possibility so I moved on to the next one. This one also had a busted screen. So in the store they had no working Surface Pro 4s. There was no way I was going to buy one now. Even in my obsessed state buying something where every single demo model was busted seemed insane.
I’ve been to Best Buy several times since then and they still haven’t replaced the demo units with working ones. That amazes me. Doesn’t that store have managers. Not only is it a bad reflection of Microsoft but it makes Best Buy look like a bunch of idiots. If I ran a store I would make sure that everyone’s first impression was a good one. Making sure that all the demo products work seems like the least they could do, to me that just makes sense.
For me it’s the same thing for web companies. If your potential user’s first impression is bad I don’t think they are ever coming back. This is especially true for your marketing sites/emails/swag because that is most people’s first impression of your product. Just keep that in mind.
Ecommerce fascinates me. For me the best way to master something is immersion. Look back at this blog you’ll see how obsessed I can get 🙂 . When it came to WooCommerce just setting up a store wasn’t enough, I wanted to make extensions and themes and get into the mindset of a WooCommerce user.
I was recently messing around with a WordPress store concept and the theme I used had a really neat feature to add sizing charts. I like the concept but the implementation wasn’t that great. It gave people too many options and wasn’t all that intuitive. I knew I could do it better. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous. I use to write code on a daily basis but that was years ago. But I decided to just dive in head first and see what happened. A big thanks goes out to Hugh. I put out the call for help on twitter and the code he gave me was perfect.
So this concept isn’t unique, the code isn’t revolutionary. There are a few extensions that do similar things. However, where I think my extension shines is in it’s approach. Basically there is a metabox added to all products. There you can upload a sizing chart image or select one from your image library. If there is an image set on your product than a link is added on the frontend. When users click on that link a sizing chart is opened up in a lightbox. That’s it. You just set the image and it’s done.
At my company, PoolParty, I want to focus on microextensions. Extensions the only do one thing and do it in the simplest way possible. I’m basically building the extensions that I would want. I’m going to be putting them for sale for $5 each (I’m a businessman after all) and we’ll see what happens. Maybe no one will buy them but I don’t really care. I’m building extensions for me and if other people want them that’s great. My second extension came out of building the site to sell my first extension and I imagine all my other ones will have similar origin stories.
Above is a short video of it in action. I know I shouldn’t have included copyrighted music but if Drake wants to sue me that’s great as I’ve been looking for an opportunity to dust off my law degree anyway.
Edit: I guess I’m not allowed to do this so I’m giving the company to my brother.
So I don’t know if you know this about me but I have trouble obsessing about things. After the launch of the Slack store and the revelation that MailChimp sold over 100k worth of playing cards it’s been a bad day for me. I was super happy to see the swag store move to WordPress but I wasn’t really happy with how it looks.
My vacation started today so I decided to mock up what I would like the store to look like. You can find it over at here (removed the live demo and adding a few screenshots below). Keep in mind it’s pretty rough I just took a $59 theme and a couple hours of tweaking. What I’m basically looking for is something bold and in your face and that is what I tried to do here. Think of what could happen if a real designer worked on it instead of me.
I spent a stupid amount of money on these wapuu pins and I would like to get a little bit of it back to finance a Surface Pro 4. I’m trying to sell 30 mecha wapuu pins for $99. I’m selling them at my cost ($3.30 per pin) plus free shipping. Any takers?
I’ll admit I’m fiercely competitive when it comes to swag. When I see something cool all I can think about is making something even cooler. The VIP team here at work made this really neat shirt that says RUN VIP in the style of a classic RUN DMC shirt. Everyone loves it, especially Matt. So I’ve been thinking ever since how I could make a shirt so cool that Matt would want to wear it too.
At WordCamp US I had the pleasure of meeting someone (Rose Kuo) who introduced herself as wapuu’s biggest fan. We started talking about swag and she gave me the secret formula to creating Matt approved swag. It’s pun/parody + rap lyrics = the perfect shirt. While at the WCUS after party it came to me, hotline bling. Not only is it a fun and catchy song but the lyrics are simple enough that doing parody lyrics would be quite simple.
You used to comment on my
You used to, you used to
You used to comment on my WordPress
Late night when you need my code
Comment on my WordPress
Late night when you need my code
And I know when that slack bot ping
That can only mean one thing
I know when that slack bot ping
That can only mean one thing
I hired some guys on fiverr to rap the parody version but they were both so terrible (even by fiverr standards) that left it out.
I’ve been really excited about ecommerce lately. During Christmas break I wanted to push myself and try something new so I’m starting a little shop that’s going to release WooCommerce themes (among other things). Since swag is super important to me my first task was to get a logo/mascot designed.
Below is what we came up with. Not sure what his name is yet but he’s so cute, I love him.
Since I’m back full tilt into making things I decided I wanted to bring some new products to my Regionally Famous store. We are big fan of the Big Bang Theory so I decided to make some swag featuring them. I think they turned out really great and they should be up in the store on a variety of mediums next week after WCUS is over.
I’ve been looking for some new projects for 2016 and I came to the conclusion that between my personal swag projects and the few things I do at work it’s not enough to keep me busy. So I had this crazy idea to start my own side swag consulting business. Without coming off too arrogant I think I’m the greatest living swag master. Problem is I’m the only person who thinks that. What I want to do is show people that I have skills to back up my outrageous claims.
The easiest way to prove that my skills are legit is to get people to pay for the use of those skills. People aren’t going to hire someone to consult who isn’t talented. I made sure this was alright with the legal team at Automattic and they said it would be ok as long as it doesn’t take up too much of my time. It think it will be fun and I look forward to the opportunity to see if I’m just a one hit wonder or if I’m as fantastic as I think I am.
If you are in the market for some swag help head on over to swag incorporated after the holidays and I’ll have some information up on the services I’ll offer and the prices I’m charging.
You know I love wapuu and it kills me when bad things happen to him. The worst crime against wapuu in 2015 was this iPhone case. It’s awful, boring, and terrible. The final straw for me was when I saw Matt using it. The co-founder of WordPress deserves a better wapuu case. So I’ve been experimenting all year. See my previous attempts here, here, here, here and here.
Here I am with another concept. This one I think is the best yet. I’ve decided that patterns make the best iPhone cases. They are simple but yet a bit complex and no matter how you hold your phone you can still see how cool it is. I asked my wapuu illustrator to help me come up with a really neat wapuu based pattern. I decided to go with the OG wapuu design as he doesn’t get as much love from me. So what do you think? I’m getting a sample made today (with the matte finish that I love) so keep an eye out for a IG pic of the design in physical form.
Earlier this year I tried to sell some WordPress based merchandise. While it wasn’t technically a success, it enabled me to try some things I had wanted to for a while (which I enjoyed). The only problem is I was left with a bunch of unsold inventory that I really need to get rid of. So that’s what I’m trying to do today.
What I have left is 10 high quality hats (made by the fine folks at Ebbets) and 30 accessories pouches (hand made in Portland by Spooltown). I’m also throwing in 15 of my Code Deploy Bail patches. These 40 items cost me over $500 (hats are $25 each and pouches are $10 each). I’m willing to sell you the entire lot for $300 (that’s 40% below my cost), I’ll even cover the shipping. These items make perfect gifts for the WordPress people in your life. They are also collector’s items and will never be made again.
If you do buy it the $300 is going into my wapuu design fund. I’m hoping to turn out some amazing wapuu gear in 2016.
I really think we need a dedicated events site. I think it super important that we control the message a bit more. Pointing someone to Jetpack.com or WordPress.com without any event specific context seems like a massive missed opportunity. Every event should have an event specific url like events.wordpress.com/namm16 that every single web ad and marketing material points to. The site should also be on WordPress.com not Automattic.com (as I’ve pointed out in a previous blog post I think that before Automattic should be an invisible brand).
This way we can control the message. If you know the majority users are bloggers than the event site would talk about the blogging specific features of WP.com or Jetpack. If you are at a travel bloggers conference you can feature some important travel bloggers who are on WordPress.com. You could tailor the message to your audience, otherwise you are missing a great opportunity. You also would get some really great tracking this way. Sometimes you spend a bunch of money but don’t really know if you are accomplishing your goals. With this site you have another metric to look at and everyone loves more data.
Also wouldn’t it be amazing for an attendee to after an event to search for “WordPress events” and pull up a site that actually has information about our presence at the event they attended. I believe there is a longtail to these events that we are missing out on. Attendees might also want to seek us out and it would be great if they could head on over to events.wordpress.com and see all the events we are attending.
I don’t read that many blogs but today something popped up in my twitter stream that I really enjoyed. It was a story by Tucker Schreiber on how he landed a job on Shopify’s growth team. It found it fascinating. Basically Tucker had a side project selling flavored coffee and through that side project he developed a new skill set. Basically he used unconventional ideas to grow his business very quickly. Not only did the higher ups at the company find out about that skill set but they recognized that his new skill set would be beneficial to the company and they put him in a role that allowed him to maximize that new skill set.
It didn’t matter that the kid was only 20 years old, it didn’t matter that he didn’t study marketing in school, it didn’t even matter than his current role was doing customer support. None of that mattered to them, they offered him a position on the growth team because they knew from his side projects that he would be great at it. The post was written a year after the switch and and looks like Tucker is doing great.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a story like this before. I don’t think most companies work like this. Maybe this is an isolated incident but if Shopify makes things like this a habit I’m not surprised they are killing it in the ecommerce space.