Matt Mullenweg blogs on something I’ve been thinking about for a while too. My thoughts aren’t distilled yet, but this does resonate with me plenty. I think I have been writing either for the first or second person lately, not for both at the same time.
[…] write for only two people. First, write for yourself, both your present self whose thinking will be clarified by distilling an idea through writing and editing, and your future self who will be able to look back on these words and be reminded of the context in which they were written.
Second, write for a single person who you have in mind as the perfect person to read what you write, almost like a letter, even if they never will, or a person who you’re sure will read it because of a connection you have to them (hi Mom!).
If you are involved with any kind of software development, this video is a must see. Matt Mullenweg of Automattic fame speaks about the state of WordPress – community, releases, user interfaces, problems and solutions, etc. One of the coolest things about Matt is his attitude towards the end users. He seems to appreciate that they are just regular people, with their own needs and problems, and that they all don’t have to be geeks to use a piece of software. Even in this video, he repeatedly points out that it’s not the user’s fault that something is difficult to use, but the developer’s. More so, the developer is the one who can actually fix the problem. That’s the kind of attitude that I am trying to teach myself in the last few years. I’ve made progress, but, sadly, I am still way too far.
Last year Matt Mullenweg wrote this post and I somehow missed it.
There is a dark time in WordPress development history, a lost year. Version 2.0 was released on December 31st, 2005, and version 2.1 came out on January 22nd, 2007. Now just from the dates, you might imagine that perhaps we had some sort of rift in the open source community, that all the volunteers left or that perhaps WordPress just slowed down. In fact it was just the opposite, 2006 was a breakthrough year for WP in many ways: WP was downloaded 1.5 million times that year, and we were starting to get some high-profile blogs switching over. The growing prominence had attracted scores of new developers to the project and we were committing new functionality and fixes faster than we ever had before.
What killed us was “one more thing.” We could have easily done three major releases that year if we had drawn a line in the sand, said “finished,” and shipped the darn thing. The problem is that the longer it’s been since your last release the more pressure and anticipation there is, so you’re more likely to try to slip in just one more thing or a fix that will make a feature really shine. For some projects, this literally goes on forever.