Monday By Noon https://mondaybynoon.com A resource for Web designers and developers to read about and discuss their craft. Mon, 26 Dec 2016 15:08:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.1 https://i2.wp.com/mondaybynoon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/mbnavatar.png?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 Monday By Noon https://mondaybynoon.com 32 32 WooCommerce SKU Search Direct Link to Product Variation https://mondaybynoon.com/woocommerce-sku-search-direct-link-product-variation/ https://mondaybynoon.com/woocommerce-sku-search-direct-link-product-variation/#respond Thu, 15 Dec 2016 12:49:43 +0000 https://mondaybynoon.com/?p=6528 I was recently working with someone who made extensive use of SKU searches on their website. The issue they were running into when using SearchWP was that while the WooCommerce Product Variations were being found when searching for the variation SKU, the resulting permalink pointed to the parent product. Wouldn’t it be nice if the site […]

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I was recently working with someone who made extensive use of SKU searches on their website. The issue they were running into when using SearchWP was that while the WooCommerce Product Variations were being found when searching for the variation SKU, the resulting permalink pointed to the parent product.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the site assumed that since a Product Variation SKU was searched, that result was returned instead of the parent post (which required the visitor to manually populate the Product Variations on their end)? I think so!

Here’s a quick snippet that’ll filter your search result permalinks. If you search for a WooCommerce Product Variation SKU, it will filter the returned permalink in The Loop to point to that specific variation:

View this code snippet on GitHub.

As mentioned in the comments, this can probably be modified to better work with WooCommerce’s feature of automatically redirecting to a single search result, so if you’ve got guidance on that I’d love to hear about it!

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Creative Programming Videos from Daniel Shiffman https://mondaybynoon.com/creative-programming-videos-daniel-shiffman/ https://mondaybynoon.com/creative-programming-videos-daniel-shiffman/#respond Wed, 14 Dec 2016 13:35:45 +0000 https://mondaybynoon.com/?p=6526 I really like watching videos about programming. I especially like watching videos about programming I don’t do every day. I think it helps my brain subliminally realize the world is bigger than the WordPress theme I’m working on right now. My latest fascination is Daniel Shiffman‘s YouTube channel, [Undefined]. I don’t even recall how I stumbled on the channel, […]

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Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/shiffman

really like watching videos about programming. I especially like watching videos about programming I don’t do every day. I think it helps my brain subliminally realize the world is bigger than the WordPress theme I’m working on right now.

My latest fascination is Daniel Shiffman‘s YouTube channel, [Undefined]. I don’t even recall how I stumbled on the channel, as I didn’t recognize Daniel’s name specifically, but that really doesn’t matter. Daniel puts out weekly videos based on creative programming tasks. They’re sometimes straight code challenges, sometimes something like code katas, sometimes just neat stuff to build that on the surface look wicked complicated. That’s probably what drew me in at first, and after watching a few videos I’m pretty hooked.

Right now I’m watching Daniel walk through building a maze generator in Processing. He does a lot with Processing because he’s a project lead for the Processing Foundation, which is awesome! Processing is a project that has fascinated me for years, but I’ve never actually built anything with it, just read docs and watched videos.

Here’s the first video from the maze generator series, I dare you to not watch all of them!

Once I finish the maze generator series, my next stop is this:

I very much like Daniel’s style and look forward to further sifting through the backlog of videos he’s posted.

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Pricing Service-based Projects: Part 2 – Hourly Pricing AKA the Unsung Hero https://mondaybynoon.com/pricing-service-based-projects-part-2-hourly-pricing-aka-unsung-hero/ https://mondaybynoon.com/pricing-service-based-projects-part-2-hourly-pricing-aka-unsung-hero/#respond Mon, 23 May 2016 15:41:34 +0000 https://mondaybynoon.com/?p=6409 This is the second part in the Pricing Service-based Project series. Check out Pricing Service-based Projects: Part 1 – My Way or the Highway. I spent my first five years of “professional” Web development as part of a team who billed by the hour. Hours were currency, and it was a constant balance between billable […]

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This is the second part in the Pricing Service-based Project series. Check out Pricing Service-based Projects: Part 1 – My Way or the Highway.

I spent my first five years of “professional” Web development as part of a team who billed by the hour. Hours were currency, and it was a constant balance between billable and not. I hated it.

I’ve already hit what will be a recurring theme in this pricing series, and I don’t think I’ll be able to reiterate it enough: pricing is personal. There are so many factors to consider beyond a black-and-white model breakdown. (spoiler: doesn’t exist)

I hated tracking hours. I hated estimating hours. I hated working “for free” when (notice I don’t dare mutter an “if” here) I went over my hours. My young angsty, narcissistic mind would constantly bemoan the need to track hours for so many reasons. Many of my teammates felt the same, but hourly billing was the only way it could work; we were working on so many things across so many departments, looking back on it I see it would have been a nightmare to manage any other way.

Hourly was a way that each department could communicate in a way that everyone could come to grips with. A basis for comparison, if you will. I was blind to it in my naiveté and like many young people thought I had a better way. When I started Iron to Iron with Kevin an early decision for us was to not primarily bill by the hour, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to it being the best decision at certain points on certain projects with certain clients, so we mixed it up. More on that later in this series.

Hourly billing: more than a stepping stone

I’d wager that the (vast) majority of you readers at least started out with hourly billing if you aren’t still doing it. It makes sense when you’re learning the ropes: do the work and bill for the work you did. Learn to estimate on a granular level, and get better at it over time. Humans are absolutely terrible at estimating work, so having hours as a reference point is super helpful.

For some reason it feels like our community loves to snub hourly billing as though it’s something you’re supposed to graduate from. What’s up with that? If you bill by the hour and like how it works, let this post be an encouragement to you: keep doing what’s working. If it’s not working, check out the other breakdowns in this series to see if something more aligns with your style.

There is plenty to like about hourly pricing, and it’s got problems too. Thanks to hourly billing there are a ton of companies out there doing fantastic work, staying on task, respecting budgets, and keeping clients appraised all the way. Check out episode 25 of the Businessology Show for a detailed look at a great shop doing just that.

There are a ton of great takeaways in that episode, and if you’re not listening to The Businessology Show I definitely recommend it!

Pros and cons of hourly pricing

I’m a firm believer that each pricing model in this series has equal but different pros and cons. These pros and cons help to determine which model best cooperates with your working style and the clients you’re going after. Billing by the hour is really attractive on many levels, but it can also problematic depending on how you (or your company) change over time.

Pros of hourly pricing

There’s a lot to love about hourly billing, which is probably why so many gravitate to it. There are plenty of well-aged, flourishing industries that only bill by the hour, so there’s something to observe and learn from.

  • You always have a pulse on project progress in regards to budget. Building a website is a huge undertaking. There’s lots of ideas floating around aimed at solving a pain point, and everything needs to come together to satisfy a client requirement. Having a metric like hours to compare to that end goal is super handy.
  • Clients can weigh whether something is worth the investment. I can see how this might be considered a con as much as it is a pro, but if we’re here to serve our clients well we can agree that allowing them to make the decision about a return on investment even for a particular feature you’re pitching.
  • Easy to be compensated for out of scope work. If you’ve properly scoped the work you’re going to do, it’s easy enough to walk through a change order with the client and add a line item to the next invoice for that additional work.
  • Consistent/forecast-able payment schedule. More often than not hourly billing results in invoices being sent out weekly/bi-weekly/monthly which translates into a more fine-grained overview of your finances as time goes on.
  • Easier to schedule work more accurately. When you’re billing by the hour you have a constant block to work with, everything is based on time. You have 8 blocks per person per day to get a job done, and it’s subjectively easier to project that out a bit further than other pricing models.
  • Can improve your estimation skill. When working by the hour more often than not you naturally have to break things down quite a bit so as to get a more accurate breakdown of time. This learned skill is priceless, you can always improve.
  • Metrics, analytics, projections. Over time you build an immensely valuable database of (in)accuracies that you can quantify periodically and improve the business in a big way.

Cons of hourly pricing

After spending years at an agency having to track and bill by the hour, I have a list of negatives that come from a purely time-based pricing model.

  • The faster you work, the less you get paid. As you get better at your job, you’re going to do it more quickly. If you’re billing by the hour you therefore get paid less to do your job better. There’s no way around this, but it also opens the door in the budget to work in something more awesome.
  • You can only charge for hours worked. If you’re working fast, you’re in the zone, you’re using that plugin you fell in love with to add this feature that matched the client requirement exactly. They’re getting more and paying less for it.
  • You have to log hours. This is just annoying. Necessary, but annoying. No matter how many tools come out to help keep track of hours, I would consistently neglect to track a day and then it’d fall off the rails. This is just habit-building, however, and can be overcome.
  • Clients can overstep and ask why something took so long. You’re showing clients behind the scenes. From time to time a client might ask why something takes a certain amount of time. This is demeaning and a sign that the client relationship is rocky (unless you’re taking advantage).
  • Clients may not expect to be billed for calls/emails/meetings. There are many companies that don’t bill for everything they should (in my opinion) but if you go against this grain and bill for all of the time you spend on a project, it might be an awkward talking point early in the project. Can be avoided with explanation up front, but not all clients react in the same way.
  • Your estimates will be scrutinized to a higher degree. When you miss an estimate (and you will miss an estimate) and need to sync up with the client to determine how to minimize the damage, you can find yourself beholden to your estimate.

Hourly billing gets the job done

Even though I don’t bill by the hour much, I do from time to time and it’s been a life saver. There have been projects, parts of projects, or clients that simply made any other pricing model inapplicable. When things were too open-ended or subject to change, it made more sense to hunker down and just do the work instead of trying to scope out every single detail so understanding was universal.

I think hourly billing is a great way to work for many reasons, for many projects, and for many clients. If you find scoping work to be a challenge, or you find yourself constantly underestimating the project at hand, hourly pricing might be a better move for you.

My list of benefits and drawbacks to hourly based pricing is far from comprehensive, so if you have thoughts on the matter I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me a note or ping me on Twitter (@jchristopher) and let’s chat! Tag it with #mbn6409

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Pricing Service-based Projects: Part 1 – My Way or the Highway https://mondaybynoon.com/pricing-service-based-projects-part-1-way-highway/ https://mondaybynoon.com/pricing-service-based-projects-part-1-way-highway/#respond Wed, 18 May 2016 11:50:33 +0000 https://mondaybynoon.com/?p=6406 One of the most common recurring topics in our industry is that of pricing. A lot focuses on product or SaaS pricing but I have the most experience with pricing for client service. I want to note down what I’ve learned over 10 years of building websites for clients. I also want to jot down […]

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One of the most common recurring topics in our industry is that of pricing. A lot focuses on product or SaaS pricing but I have the most experience with pricing for client service. I want to note down what I’ve learned over 10 years of building websites for clients. I also want to jot down some notes/reactions to other commentary on the subject as of late.

Pricing models

As far as I’m concerned there are four models to employ when working with service-based pricing:

  1. Hourly: A structure in which you log each our worked and periodically issue an invoice for total hours worked at an agreed upon rate.
  2. Project-based: The service provider determines a flat cost for the project as a whole based on an internal formula, usually comprised of labor costs and time.
  3. Retainer: A block (or recurring blocks) of agreed upon time is reserved at an agreed upon rate per timeframe. Retainer fees can be paid on a fixed rate or variable hourly rate depending on the agreement.
  4. Value-based: A flat cost based on the value (as defined by the client) of the work being done.

I want to start off by saying that there are pros and cons to each of these models. Many times when pricing comes up it’s based not only on a superiority complex, but an aggressive contempt toward any other pricing model. With that comes bias when talking about “other” pricing models, so please don’t be easily swayed into thinking what you’re doing is wrong.

Pricing is personal. Just because someone says their pricing model is subjectively better does not mean mean it’s better for you. There are plenty of very successful companies employing each pricing model and doing very well at it, but it’s also possible to employ the wrong pricing structure. Not “wrong” in the empirical sense, but in the you sense. I feel that the pros and cons of pricing models heavily align with style of work.

Beyond your work techniques and processes, a pricing model heavily (but secondarily) depends on each client. Keep in mind that you are able to choose your clients. Your philosophy on pricing should match that of your client. Having to convince your client to go along with your pricing model is a blocker from the start.

When implementing (or changing) a pricing model it’s important to take into consideration your environment/circumstances so as to have your model align properly. To change your pricing model for the sole reason of making more money will likely result in frustration, inefficiency, and potentially failure.

Are you an expense or an investment?

A recurring topic I hear when choosing a pricing model is aiming to position as an investment as opposed to an expense. Rationale being that it’s harder to work with clients that view you as an expense.

I get the reasoning, but I’ve spoken with a lot of clients over the past decade and not once have I had to convince someone that their website was an investment over being an expense.

This is something you can pick up on quickly within the first few minutes of correspondence with a potential client. If a client thinks that getting their website (re)built is primarily an expense, just tell them it’s not a good fit right then and there. No amount of convincing will change that mindset, and there are plenty of other clients out there who do value their website already, it’s a non-starter.

I don’t think investments and expenses are mutually exclusive either. Take for instance a retail company who has to buy a building. Like their website, a building can be completely essential to their business, but do they see the building as an investment in their business, or an expense? I see a building as both an investment and an expense; having a great looking building will likely help your bottom line in the grand scheme of things, but it’s going to be expensive both to buy and to maintain.

If a potential client speaks about websites as frivolous spending from the start, you know it won’t be a good fit with a service provider that aims to build something designed to be a tool for their client. If you’re that service provider, no pricing model change is going to make that a successful project.

Does your pricing model serve your client?

When discussing pricing, the service aspect usually helps an entity come to a decision on which pricing model to follow. Companies (and freelancers) want to do right by their clients, and very often there is a nagging feeling about a pricing model that simply doesn’t feel right.

I question whether this is rooted in a specific pricing model, or more-so in a discomfort with talking about money. In our world something is worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it, and as we get better at our jobs and are able to produce higher quality work, it’s sometimes daunting to propose your most expensive project yet.

That insecurity manifests itself in a number of ways, and choosing a pricing model as a scapegoat comes pretty easily. At the end of the day I don’t feel that your pricing model dictates whether or not you’re doing your client a disservice.

You don’t force your clients to work with you, a proposal is agreed upon. The client agrees to the pricing structure, so unless you’re doing something shady behind the scenes you have nothing to be ashamed of.

If it’s not insecurity/shame that’s unearthing these feelings of disservice when thinking about your pricing model, perhaps it’s solely a monetary issue. Maybe as the project goes on you’re recognizing that you’re customizing something pre-built instead of doing it from scratch because something else took longer than planned.

Welcome to service-based business.

It’s times like those that let you better prepare for the next job, and as you get better at your job your estimates will get more accurate and you’ll be able to better recognize these cash-eating traps before they snag you.

Pricing is foundational, let’s talk about it

I want to walk through each pricing model in this series of articles. I want to lay out the pros and cons of each because each pricing model has pros and cons. I want to outline how each pricing model benefits both you and your client.

I don’t think I’ve got it all figured out, I just know I live with my pricing decisions every day and see that there’s always room for improvement. No one pricing model is going to work best for every combination of client and service provider out there, so let’s walk through pricing so you can figure out what will work best for you.

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Embedded Gists in a Flexbox Layout: Too Soon? https://mondaybynoon.com/embedded-gists-flexbox-layout-soon/ https://mondaybynoon.com/embedded-gists-flexbox-layout-soon/#respond Sun, 01 May 2016 16:54:00 +0000 https://mondaybynoon.com/?p=6367 I’ve been tidying up a bit around here and (for the most part) restructured the entire style layer of Monday By Noon to be both mobile-first and Flexbox based. I’m officially smitten with Flexbox and use it quite a bit now. I got caught up on an issue as I was updating existing content, specifically the code […]

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I’ve been tidying up a bit around here and (for the most part) restructured the entire style layer of Monday By Noon to be both mobile-first and Flexbox based. I’m officially smitten with Flexbox and use it quite a bit now. I got caught up on an issue as I was updating existing content, specifically the code snippets I’ve got scattered across the past 10 years running this site. I’m planning to update all of those snippets to embedded Gists because I’ve found that to be the most convenient and stable way to do it.

Right out of the gate I noticed something strange though; embedded gists were completely destroying the Flexbox layout. The gist was overtaking any concept of width as structured by the flexbox for its parent container.

I thought for sure it was a simple case of my misusing Flexbox at some fundamental level. There are multiple times when programming where I thought I understood a concept and implementation but everything was just “working by accident”. I took my usual approach of tinkering until something happened, and using that knowledge to dig deeper. After what amounted to being way too long I narrowed it down to a bit of CSS that came along with the Gist itself:

View this code snippet on GitHub.

With this rule in place, and the gist being embedded inside an element that’s within a Flexbox layout, the Gist will render as wide as the longest line of the source code. Expected behavior is that a horizontal scroll bar is put in place.

This issue isn’t directly related to Gists, it turns out my pre-formatted content that hadn’t been converted to Gist was doing the same thing.

I tried and failed to somehow override the rule, but ended up having to revert to good ol’ floats when it was time, so I leave this Pen here for posterity and also as a boiled down test case to determine when this is no longer an issue.

See the Pen Gists in Flexbox, too soon? by Jonathan Christopher (@jchristopher) on CodePen.

As you can see, the Flexbox layout embedded Gist expands to full width, which is not expected. The float-powered layout renders things correctly.

If the issue has been fixed, here’s a screenshot for reference.

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Jetbrains: The unicorn Silicon Valley doesn’t like to talk about https://mondaybynoon.com/jetbrains-the-unicorn-silicon-valley-doesnt-like-to-talk-about/ https://mondaybynoon.com/jetbrains-the-unicorn-silicon-valley-doesnt-like-to-talk-about/#respond Tue, 23 Feb 2016 13:38:14 +0000 https://mondaybynoon.com/?p=6319 It is simple. Jetbrains has the better product. For each IDE that Jetbrains offers, there exists a free alternative, whether its Eclipse, Visual Studio or Sublime Text. Some of these, like Eclipse & Visual Studio even have huge resources behind them. The reason you pay for a Jebrains’ IDE is simply cause it is better. […]

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Link: http://movingfulcrum.com/jetbrains-the-unicorn-silicon-valley-doesnt-like-to-talk-about/

It is simple. Jetbrains has the better product. For each IDE that Jetbrains offers, there exists a free alternative, whether its Eclipse, Visual Studio or Sublime Text. Some of these, like Eclipse & Visual Studio even have huge resources behind them. The reason you pay for a Jebrains’ IDE is simply cause it is better.

Talking about developer tools is a bit like asking for a fight, but I think in this case we can extract and discuss the business case here.

This piece illustrates so well how I view Jetbrains as a customer for going on 4 years. Developers are surrounded by endless links leading to documentation for this week’s killer tool. It’s only to be followed by even more next week. At some point something gains enough momentum to have gravitational pull… for a few months, maybe a year.

Jetbrains is different. They’re taking it slow, iterating based on customer response. They’ve built a solid following and customer base by taking one step at a time. I think many tech companies have lost sight of that in favor of spewing on and on about fluff until you’re blue in the face because content marketing. Jetbrains is doing it different, and based on the developers I talk to they’re doing a heck of a job at it.

There are a ton of great observations in this article, even if you’re not a fan of the actual Jetbrains’ products. I really like finding stark contrast that works, and this one was sitting right under my nose.

/via @DannyvanKooten

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Hustling for the Sake of Getting Things Done https://mondaybynoon.com/hustling-for-the-sake-of-getting-things-done/ https://mondaybynoon.com/hustling-for-the-sake-of-getting-things-done/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 17:31:34 +0000 https://mondaybynoon.com/?p=6280 I’m hesitant to write any of this down because it unintentionally comes off as pretentious; as though I’ve got it all figured out. I want to start out by saying that is far from the case. This fact can be verified by those around me, the people in my life. My wife has been a […]

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I’m hesitant to write any of this down because it unintentionally comes off as pretentious; as though I’ve got it all figured out. I want to start out by saying that is far from the case. This fact can be verified by those around me, the people in my life. My wife has been a big part in shining a light on my blindness in many of these areas, and I think it’s a valuable thing to talk about consistently with her. I repeatedly fall into my own bad habits and need help in exposing those areas and I have her to thank for that primarily.

I think it’s common for us (this may be where some American bias comes in, influencing a great deal of this entire writing) to dwell on success. We think about what that looks like, we daydream about what that feels like, we talk to each other and humblebrag about what we’re doing, how fast we did it, how down-to-the-wire it was to get everything done. We take pride in it all.

It used to be that keeping up with the Joneses simply(?) meant acting on our covetous thoughts and buying things that those around us have, passively undermining their purchase with ours. We continue to deal with that today but on top of that we’ve added “the busyness factor” where we not only need to have “more & bigger” than what the Joneses have, we need to be busier than them.

I cannot count how many conversations (my own included) start with “Things are great we’re just so busy!” which most often turns into a conversation with Penelope in its own way. I don’t know why that is but I often feel compelled to agree with busyness and contribute details about my own. Kids, work, family gatherings, events, parties, vacations, and the list goes on. Our hyper-connected world perpetuates this problem in a big way as well. We’re always shouting to the world about our busyness and in turn (unintentionally?) showing everyone that sees our posts that they should be this busy too or else you’re missing out on life.

Fear of Missing Out

Busyness is one thing, having things to do with your family and those around you can be very good and very healthy for everyone involved. There’s a danger in taking that time for granted, however. Life is literally what you’re doing right now. It’s where you are, it’s who you’re with, it’s the task at hand. That could be work, it could be a concert for your kid, it could be fighting with your spouse. You are not missing out on life, you are living it.

Culture (not necessarily limited to American culture) teaches us that unless we’re doing things that make us crazy busy all the time, that we’re missing out on so much of what life has to offer. There is a (very, very) small grain of truth to that, but like many things in American culture we take it to the extreme. Any moment of “down” time is wasted.

Applying this to work culture: hustling

Being “appropriately” busy when considering work has been labeled hustling and we’re told that hustling is the only way to get things done. I dislike this sentiment. To me every time someone talks about hustling they’re essentially referencing hard work. Maybe calling it hard work isn’t enticing because that means you have to do work. Maybe calling it hustling means that you’re somehow getting around that hard work? Maybe hustling isn’t working hard after all, it’s just brute forcing your endless to-do list. I don’t really know what to make of it but if we take a look at the definition of ‘hustling’ it does a good job of encompassing what I don’t like about it:

To force (someone) to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction

When we hear people talking about hustling this obviously isn’t what they mean, but this is how it plays out. Why do we gravitate toward this behavior? Why is being told to hustle an acceptable form of business advice? So many times I’ve heard that if you’re not making progress in your business that you can try hustling more, that the more hustle you hustle the more results you get. I disagree with that mentality, I think that beyond hustling there are many other ways to approach business. I think it comes down to how we perceive success.

I want to make it clear that I’m not saying all “hustling” is bad. I just think there is a fine line between working hard and working all the time. Many times when people speak about hustling it’s in the context of working all the time. It’s the ‘all the time’ bit I think is thrown around a bit too often as the one true recipe for success.

What is success?

Defining success is the age old dead horse we continue to beat, but we love talking about how to get there. I think we can concede that a definition of success is perceptive, it’s personal. We say that “success is what you want it to be” right? We quickly run to the philosophical conclusion that success is different for everyone, but for some reason we also agree that the most straightforward path to your unique perception of success is to hustle. It’s unlikely and improbable that although we all have different (but in some ways similar) views on success that we can all take the same exact path to get there: work as hard as you can as much as you can; hustle.

Working hard is awesome, we should all be working hard, absolutely. You can’t argue with that, but you can work (really) hard without hustling. Working smart ties in with that as well; when you’re working hard and working smart you can astound yourself with productivity. For me the danger in this concept of ‘hustling’ is the quantity of work that’s assumed, that you’re only hustling if you’re doing it in every waking moment. That the rest of life will fall into place around your hustling, that you can achieve success after hustling and everything you’re doing will be worth it in the end.

Writing those words fills me with anxiety in a way, because I’ve learned that you never hit a stopping point. I’m not saying that you never need to stop hustling, I’m saying that by our nature we will never allow ourselves to. Many of those that subscribe to the hustle mentality have accepted (and even embrace) that, but I think it’s easy to fall into a trap of deceit in thinking there’s an end goal.

Having goals is super important, but until you realize that the accomplishment of goals only leads to more goals, you can’t see the big picture. When we’re kids we want to grow up, when we get to high school we want to drive, when we get a car we want a nicer car and we want to get out of high school and go to college. When we get to college we want to get out of college and start our career so we can buy an even nicer car and a house. We get a car and a house but we want a bigger house because we have kids now, and we need a higher paying job to get that. Our kids might go to college some day so we need to start saving for that and so we need more money. We need to retire so we need money to do that. We want to build things and grow them and as we hit milestones there are just new milestones.

At every point in our life we can think ahead and say that “once I achieve this goal I’ll be all set, I’ll be successful” but to me that’s a lie. By the time we get there we’ve been surrounded and overcome by the next goals we want to accomplish, and our earlier goals having been completed are just that, they’re now the past. There’s a new prize to work for, to hustle for. It’s fighting a losing battle. The things we once put so much stock in prove only to be a passing phase in our life.

If your definition of success is purely financial that’s one thing, but many of us choose an alternate definition of a balanced family life, time with those around us, traveling, a lifestyle not filled with stress and worry. If you’re perpetually hustling you miss out on all of that, don’t you? If you’re so focused on doing everything in your power to work closer to every goal you have, you end up sacrificing many of the things you call success.

Success is not an end goal

We look at success in a light of finality and in doing so we miss out on a life full of successes. We think of it as something to achieve and be done with instead of reflecting on it as we go along. I once read a quote by Jason Fried that really struck me:

Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is home because she figured out a faster way.

Hustling equates to workaholism to me, something I’ve struggled with for a long time and seen firsthand the repercussions in relationships around me. Calling workaholism ‘hustling’ is giving it a new title so as to leave behind the negative connotation. We love to take pride in our work, and that can be a good thing, but it can also work to interfere with what we consider success. If we have a goal of success meaning living life, we’re doing anything but that if all we do is hustle all day.

I love that quote because it speaks to so much of what we’re really after. To me it says that working hard is important, of course, but working hard should have the benefit of being able to work less so we can experience our successes. We immediately jump to the conclusion that we can work hard, which in turn creates more time to do more things and work even harder, just as long as we continue to fill the day with hustling. It’s a never ending cycle if we look at it that way, one that tries to sell us on the idea that you only have to do it for a little while to get over some sort of figurative hump that ends in a life of luxury.

Even the ‘successful’ hustlers are still hustling though, every day.

It ties back to our goal orientation: when goals are completed there are more goals to take their place. Hard work works that way. I don’t imagine myself waking up one day to look around and think “I’ve done everything I want to do. I’m done.” There will always be something on my plate, I have no idea what that will look like decades down the line, but I know I’ll want to be doing something.

Working to live, not living to work

I try my best to be thankful for what I’ve been given every day. It’s not always easy and I constantly find myself wanting more, but I try to remain oriented on the day at hand. There is so much to appreciate, so much to pass along to others, and we often push that aside in our efforts to get things done for our own sake. This concept of hustling to keep ahead of the curve, ahead of the competition, is shoved down our throats and backed up with tales of likes, shares, downloads, and revenue.

Working hard is important, but acting responsibly within the other roles we’ve been presented with is arguably more important. I don’t mean to boil it down to something overly simplistic. I recognize that there can be great purpose, great accomplishment, and great byproducts from work effort around the world. I personally don’t want to see that as a main goal, though. In my life I have a wife, two kids, family, friends, church, and more. All of that correlates to many roles and responsibilities I have a duty to respect and afford time to.

There is a myth of a proper work-life balance, but many people smarter than me have illustrated how that’s not possible, that we can just do our best to keep things in check when we see a need. It’s impossible for us to spend equal amounts of time with all of our responsibilities every day, everything is constantly in flux. There are seasons to it all though, we can react to what we’re presented with and live among our circumstances, not to overcome them.

Your life today was created for you, mine was created for me, we need to be attentive to that, we need to be present. We get put in each other’s lives for reasons and we need to be active in that. As we grow, our relationships become more involved, more serious, more reliant, and we need to be working on them as much as we are the latest efforts in our place of work.

It’s often said that you get out of something what you put into it. If you don’t put anything into everything outside of work, there’s nothing left for you outside of that work. It doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to see that our work will turn to dust, if it hasn’t already. This is especially apparent in a world of the Internet. Putting our heart solely into our work is setting us up for disappointment, but spreading that out into the life we’ve been given will bear the fruit intended for us.

I have been through multiple seasons (and even tried to justify extra work hours) where I would tell myself that working in the evenings wasn’t really working because I was doing my hobby, what I loved. There is truth in that, but it’s also an excuse to work more. There will always be more work to do, it’s never ending. It’s an act of discipline to keep that in mind and remember that everything else in life needs that level of attention, care, and effort if you want it to flourish.

For me in my situation, time outside of work is exponentially better spent reconnecting with my wife, playing with my kids, being a dad (including the array of situations that presents), and devoting energy to important areas outside of Iron to Iron and side projects. Sure I could spend evenings and late nights losing sleep, writing code, forming relationships with clients, and keeping up with the latest industry information, but that firehose is never ceasing. Yes it might “earn some extra money” but at what cost? The people my wife and kids are today will evolve over time, I can’t miss out on today. I need to actively pursue that as much as I do success in work itself.

I’m not saying there is absolutely no way to balance work and side projects off-hours, not at all. I think there are many of us that can schedule work times that facilitate attention in many areas day-to-day, it’s something that can surely fit into the goal of keeping areas of importance in check through seasons of life. There’s no hard-and-fast rule allowing (or disallowing) work (even play work) outside of work.

People often ask us why we don’t hire, why we don’t expand. For some reason the idea of a lifestyle business is frowned upon, with the natural inclination to be expansion of the company to be as big as possible, to do as much as you can as fast as circumstances will allow. We don’t subscribe to that, a lifestyle business is exactly what we’re after. Do as little work as possible so we can enjoy our wives, kids, and surroundings in ways most people aren’t able to because they’re too busy hustling all day long. That does not mean we’re slacking off, in fact I’d go so far as to say I’m working harder now than I ever have. The difference is working fast so as to leave time in the day for other important things. Again, this is always a work in progress, but it’s something we keep at the forefront of our minds whenever possible.

An encouraging (self) reminder

I write this as encouragement, not only for others but for myself. In becoming a husband and a dad I see (and am shown) more every day how much work I have to do in truly believing all of this. God is gracious and has provided me with much to be thankful for, well beyond what I deserve. To say that’s not enough and devote my life to getting more and better things is a disrespect to Him and to those he’s given me life with. He has given me so many precious things and I feel it’s my duty to try and steward over that to the best of my ability, for His glory. I will fail at times, I know I will. I also know there is a lesson in it all, helping me to be a better son, husband, father, and friend.

Modern culture tells us to focus on ourselves, to make life everything it can be for ourselves. But when you spend every waking effort working as much as possible to make things better for yourself, you’ll likely end up alone.

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How to do a Product Critique https://mondaybynoon.com/how-to-do-a-product-critique-the-year-of-the-looking-glass-medium/ https://mondaybynoon.com/how-to-do-a-product-critique-the-year-of-the-looking-glass-medium/#respond Thu, 16 Jul 2015 15:08:37 +0000 https://mondaybynoon.com/?p=6271 This article uses the word ‘app’ a lot but I think it can be generalized into many things, even WordPress plugins. I think the article does a great job of explaining the marketing process for a digital product. There is so much that goes into the process of figuring out your user base and trying […]

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Link: https://medium.com/the-year-of-the-looking-glass/how-to-do-a-product-critique-98b657050638

This article uses the word ‘app’ a lot but I think it can be generalized into many things, even WordPress plugins.

I think the article does a great job of explaining the marketing process for a digital product. There is so much that goes into the process of figuring out your user base and trying to best get your product in front of their eyes. It’s something I’ve struggled with since day one of launching SearchWP.

Like most things, however, I like to see learning the ins and outs of marketing as a challenge for me, something that broadens my skill set in such a way that can trickle down to the way we run Iron to Iron and beyond.

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One Question That Will Reveal What Kind Of Coder You Are https://mondaybynoon.com/one-question-that-will-reveal-what-kind-of-coder-you-are/ https://mondaybynoon.com/one-question-that-will-reveal-what-kind-of-coder-you-are/#respond Thu, 16 Jul 2015 13:05:51 +0000 https://mondaybynoon.com/?p=6266 Is software development more like building a bridge or is it more like painting a painting? I hadn’t heard this question personally before, but honestly I think it’s a mix of the two. Programming is definitely an (abstract) art form in my opinion. There’s so much to the expression of how code could work, and […]

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Link: http://dancali.io/one-question-that-will-reveal-what-kind-of-coder-you-are/

Is software development more like building a bridge or is it more like painting a painting?

I hadn’t heard this question personally before, but honestly I think it’s a mix of the two. Programming is definitely an (abstract) art form in my opinion. There’s so much to the expression of how code could work, and being able to make that a reality very closely aligns with a painter painting.

I also see the other side though, the bridge building engineer that needs to make sure there are many factors working together to solve the problem effectively. It’s almost as if a painter is building a bridge or something.

I also really like the illustrative story here, but I also think it touches on the fact that not every design decision can be made better by a programmer’s input. I think it takes a user-oriented developer to come up with a suggestion like Andy from the story, and they aren’t as common as we’re all told to believe as of late.

I think that developers can come up with ideas like that if given the opportunity, but I also think there is a fair share of developers that don’t want to, they understand that designers were put in their place to do the designing, and developers build that out. Questioning decisions is applicable to a point, of course, but I don’t think we can apply it to every design change that comes down the pipe. I don’t think the article says that in the least, but I think it’s important to see that other side as well.

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The Gentle Art of Patch Review https://mondaybynoon.com/the-gentle-art-of-patch-review-the-geekess/ https://mondaybynoon.com/the-gentle-art-of-patch-review-the-geekess/#respond Wed, 15 Jul 2015 12:58:32 +0000 https://mondaybynoon.com/?p=6262 Open source is wicked hard. It’s difficult on a number of levels, most of them social if we’re honest. It’s really difficult to express emotion as text. Whether that be in an email, a Slack channel, a Trac ticket or Github issue. There are times when someone may mean well and it comes across all […]

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Link: http://sarah.thesharps.us/2014/09/01/the-gentle-art-of-patch-review/

Open source is wicked hard. It’s difficult on a number of levels, most of them social if we’re honest. It’s really difficult to express emotion as text. Whether that be in an email, a Slack channel, a Trac ticket or Github issue. There are times when someone may mean well and it comes across all wrong, there are other times when someone has had a bad day and it blatantly comes across in a reply. It’s a mixed bag of a lot of things but it can have a profound effect on the receiving end.

An open source project should want to foster contributions. We should spend some time thinking about how to do that in the most effective way possible, right? I think it’s a challenge that requires iteration, not a blanket solution. This piece has some great, detailed points on a process behind responses to patch suggestions from both the submitter and maintainer perspective. It’s great to get some terminology behind the various parts/aspects of iterating change in an open source project.

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