A New Chapter
This is my first week at a brand new job – working at Audrey Capital. If you don’t know what Audrey is, it’s Matt Mullenweg’s angel investment and research company. This means I’ll be working full-time on WordPress, with the awesome team of Nacin, Otto, Scott, Rose, & Matt. This is a huge change for me and I’m a little bit stunned that everything’s happened so very quickly. However, I am immensely excited about the challenges ahead, both in terms of WordPress.org and other projects that I’ll be working on at Audrey. But first…
What About Words for WP?
The hardest part about all of this is giving up working with my clients at Words for WP. I’ve really enjoyed it over the past 18 months – I’ve had the chance to work with fantastic clients across the WordPress community, all of whom I’ve learned a great deal from. When Matt asked me about working at Audrey, it really was a difficult decision – I had pretty much decided that the only person I’d ever work for again was me.
However, some offers are hard to refuse, and instead of spending time improving documentation and content for individual WordPress businesses and developers, I’ve got the opportunity to improve documentation and content for every WordPress user and developer, no matter whose product they’re buying. So whatever I’m losing in the autonomy of being my own boss, I’m making up for tenfold in impact.
This means that Words for WP, in its current form anyway, is on extended hiatus. It was, and is, a great idea, and something quite needed in the WP community (not to mention lucrative ), but my new role is, I think, more important.
I will be keeping up writing and editing for Smashing Magazine in my spare time, so don’t expect to see me disappear from there.
Working at Audrey
As Matt told me (like he told Nacin two years ago), it’ll be quite difficult to tell people what the company I work for does: My mum was certainly confused – “you’re being paid by a company to do that thing that you used to not get paid for?” However, there are two clearly defined things that I’ll be doing – one which will surprise no one, the other might do.
It’s no surprise to anyone that one of my focuses is going to be working on WordPress documentation. This will be in terms of planning and managing documentation projects, writing documentation, and generally doing any content-related stuff as needed. Since the summit, I’ve been juggling my time between clients and working on docs – certainly work on the handbooks is not moving along as quickly as I would have liked, so I’ll now be able to dedicate the time that it needs. There are some other plans that have been floating around that I’ll be able to pursue more fully:
- Better code reference for WordPress – developer docs inspired by queryposts.com and built on a parser developed by Ryan McCue and Jon Cave
- Review of the WordPress Codex
- Developing a documentation tracking system
- Research into other FLOSS docs projects to see what we can learn about their processes and best practices
- Improvements to WordPress inline help
- Completion of the handbooks
- User-focussed handbooks
- Other cool docs things that I think of
I’m going to be doing a lot of research into documentation best practices, setups, tools, and all that good stuff. Everything will be published on a blog so that people in the WP community can make use of it. While I won’t be able to write beautiful docs for you all anymore, I hope to provide you with the tools necessary to do it yourselves.
Last year I got to thinking about the ten year anniversary of WordPress, and thought it would be fun to do a series of posts on it for Smashing. I mentioned it to Matt and he seemed pretty interested in it, and it was one of the things that we talked about at length when we discussed my joining Audrey.
This is going to be the second area that I’ll really be focussing my efforts. I’ll be compiling a history of WordPress which we’ll eventually narrativise and publish in various formats. This is going to involve a lot of research, and all of the material will be published somewhere on WordPress.org for people to make use of in their own research. This will include interview transcripts, recordings, articles, links to relevant blog posts, and anything else I find.
For the time being, I’ll be focussing on very early WordPress/b2 stuff. If you’re an early developer or contributor or supporter, or were just generally involved in the blogging scene around 2002 – 2004 please feel free to get in touch and we can have a chat. I have a list of people that I’m going to contact but I don’t want to miss anyone with something interesting to say!
Also, if anyone is interested in helping me to process old archives and blog posts, do let me know.
For the next few months, making progress with this is going to be my major focus (as well as managing the docs projects that are already in motion). This month I’ll be catching up with developers in Europe, and early April I should make it to the US to do some interviews & research out there.
Much as I’m sad to say goodbye to Words for WP, I’m really excited by the work that I’m going to be doing. I’ve been offered a few jobs over the past 18 months and this is has been the only really tempting one – it gives me a fantastic opportunity to contribute to and strengthen the community, as well as eat BBQ at the annual company meet up.