As a co-founder and co-editor of chickenmonkeydog, I have a story to share with you. I want to share this story because it demonstrates a certain business savvy, a dedication to community and a professionalism that stands out from the ordinary.
On chickenmonkeydog.com, we publish anonymously. We think it’s part of our appeal. Our readers don’t know which of the writers shared which quirky observation. However, WordPress adds author information to the RSS feeds by default. Then Google Reader comes along (and perhaps others will in its wake) and picks that up, highlighting which author wrote a specific piece.
Historically, I’ve just hacked the WordPress core to override that functionality. Admittedly, that’s not an ideal approach, but it was for my own site and it was a single, simple hack.
Over time, my impromptu approach meant that I always had to remember to hack the core every time we update WordPress on the site. On at least a few occasions, I forgot to do so in a timely fashion, allowing our readers to circumvent our attempt at quirky anonymity.
This past spring, I emailed a web developer that I knew, asking if he’d be up for coding a plugin or an addition to the functions.php for me. I believe that my initial email made it clear that I was more than willing to pay for the help — I was not seeking a freebie or favor.
In looking at my sent items, I see that I sent the first email at 5:08 am. At 7:18 pm, I received an email from the developer with a link to a plugin on the WordPress.org repository:
My initial reaction was ‘How did I miss this plugin earlier?’ Then, after some gentle prodding from the web developer, I saw that the plugin has just been posted that same day and it was written by the developer. Whoah! I later learned that the plugin was actually written in between the time that the developer finished breakfast and saw his children onto the morning school bus. Double whoah!
In thinking about the story, I think we can draw a number of interesting conclusions:
- Good web developers are doers. They see a problem, they quickly assess a reasonable solution and they write the code.
- A quick favor is a solid business move. Since this plugin was created, I’ve involved this web developer on a number of small projects, and I continue to look for ways to involve him in others.
- The WordPress community is a giving one. As I mentioned above, I was prepared to pay for code. Although chickenmonkeydog.com does not generate income, I thought it fair to pay for web development to improve the quality of experience for our readers. That this web developer not only wrote the code for free, but did so in a single day, shows just how generous and giving those within the WordPress community can be.
By now, you’re probably asking yourself “Who is this famed web developer?” He is Owen Winkler, @ringmaster on Twitter and a regular contributor to the Philly ‘burbs WordPress Meetup. In fact, you can watch Owen develop and launch a custom WordPress site in 30 minutes at the July 2013 meetup.