wpbible

WordPress Bible Release

Last night, I got home to find my copies of the WordPress Bible at my door. This was tremendously exciting as I have been waiting for 8 months for this day. It was exciting and the buzz on Twitter has been tremendous. Pre-sale numbers were huge. The sharing and re-sharing of information about this book has been deafening.

Below is a video of the unboxing. And of course, you can order the book today from Amazon and I hope you do. If not for the book, to support my efforts. Thanks to everyone who has stood by me during this process!

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The Greater Good: Entrepreneurship, Open Source, and a Better World

Last night, I was catching up with a friend who is as far from me in lifestyle outlook as you could possibly be. She is a extremely left wing type working for an environmental advocacy organization in DC. I, on the other hand, am an entrepreneur with one foot planted firmly on the right and one foot firmly planted on the left.

The conversation came to an issue that I’ve only marginally thought in great detail about. I had made the comment about how I am potentially looking to leave the DC area because, as I put it, it’s not my scene. I feel like a square peg trying to be fit into a round hole. While I certainly have political views and will sometimes voice them, my life does not revolve around politics, policy and advocacy as it does in Washington. In fact, when pressed to explain my feelings around why I dislike DC, I described myself as a regular guy wanting to live a regular life in a regular town.

Defining that more explicitly, I appreciate town like Baltimore, where I was raised and lived most of my life, because it’s filled with people who go about their normal everyday lives. No one is trying to “save the world” as seems to be the case in DC. Certainly, there are people and companies (hopefully many) who take a balanced position in life to be good stewards of the earth, energy and the planet. Certainly, many are socially conscious in how they live their lives. But it isn’t an all consuming agenda such that you find in DC.

I love Austin too. Why? Well, it is the self described live music capital of the country. On any given night, from my experience, it is not difficult to find bars that have a good live music set that is original and that doesn’t carry a cover charge. Outside of a handful of live music venues (DC9, 9:30 Club, Velvet Lounge, Madames Organ to a degree, Rock and Roll Hotel, etc) it’s hard to find a burgeoning music scene in DC.

Even with sports, which consumes a fair bit of my life, it’s hard to find supporters of the home team. No one, it seems, is from DC. They all came here with an agenda. You have to go out to Maryland or Virginia to find real hometown fans.

This is not my scene. This is not what I like. I am an entrepreneur because, first and foremost, I want to make money. When I made a break from my former corporate job, it was after becoming aware of how much my employer was billing our customer for my services and realizing that if that was how much I was worth, I could damn well do that on my own.

But that’s the crux. As entrepreneurs, our general purpose is not to do social good (though there are exceptions). Not that there is anything wrong with that. There isn’t. But entrepreneurs get our kicks from building something. From doing something. And of course, from making money. Who starts a company with the intention to not increase profit margins? You show me that entrepreneur, and I’ll show you an entrepreneur who will fail within a year.

There, of course, is a balance. Like Geoff, Beth and Kami are doing at Zoetica, there’s a balance between making money and doing good. The more I had this conversation with my friend, the more shallow I realized I sounded.

But as I thought some more, the more I realized that doing good is not something you do. It’s something you are. Based on the integrity and character of the entrepreneur, the decisions that are made, whether geared for profit or for building a product or spinning it up into an acquisition by Google, become decisions made out of the character and integrity of being “good”.

Frankly, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that even what I do as an entrepreneur creating services and products around WordPress, (and yes, even sometimes writing patches for WordPress core itself) is done to make the world a better place. Even writing a book on WordPress and travelling to San Francisco, Dallas, New York, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago and Raleigh speaking to WordPress users, developers and designers is done to extend the platform, thus extending the reach and improving on the largest self-hosted blogging platform on the planet.

Think about why this is important. It’s not just about WordPress. It’s about enabling voices. Giving those who never had a chance to speak before the opportunity to be heard. We’ve heard as recently as this week about the man who used an iPhone app to figure out how to treat his own wounds while buried under the rubble in Haiti.

The Chinese government is so threatened by web technologies, and blogging in particular, that they have banned WordPress.com in China.That is not likely to be lifted anytime soon, especially as the government lockdown and censorship of the Chinese people is thrust back into the limelight with the latest Google-China fallout.

Even the internationalization efforts in WordPress is putting WordPress into the hands of more people in more countries and making it possible for voices to be heard, not only in the United States, but in the Sudan and Kurdistan as well.

As an entrepreneur with integrity and character, even the mundane decisions that go into building a company can be seen as social good. This is not intended to diminish the efforts of those who explicitly set out to do social good, but with the right mindset, the things that make us successful can also make the world around us better.

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How to Help in Haiti

After the very tragic and sad news that emerged out of Haiti about a devastating 7.0 earthquake that leveled the capital city of Port au Prince, the web quickly kicked into gear in a way not seen since last years Iran election disgrace and unrest. It was heart warming to see people put aside some of the more trivial discussions of the average day (it did not disappear, though) and focus on donation drives.

Clay Johnson of Sunlight Foundation makes a poignant point though around the effort to leverage wireless and mobile to donate. A variety of these opportunities have been compiled at Mobile Giving Insider. Through text messaging, it has become possible to donate on average $10 to efforts that are then applied to your mobile phone bill. Clay makes the point that some of that $10 goes to the carriers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T and that it makes more sense to use the web for donation efforts.

In my opinion, both forms of donation are good as it gets money to those who need it for relief efforts. But more money gets there when you don’t use the convenience of text message.

Here on this site, we’ll be adding a link to the top of the site over the next few hours to provide direct access to organizations providing relief efforts or raising money. This will run as long as it is needed to. Who knows, maybe it will also become permanent real estate for supporting charity organizations. All our recommended organizations are coming via Global Giving. You can thank the fine people over there for compiling and aggregating points of purpose in helping those who need it.

While you wait for those opportunities, consider donating to the International Medical Corps who are looking to raise $300,000 for medical relief efforts in Haiti.


Update: Keith points out in comments that CTIA, the wireless carrier association, has clarified that SMS donations to the Red Cross are being passed through by the carriers. In other words, all donations made by text message (text HAITI to 90999) are entirely passed on to the Red Cross Haiti Relief efforts.

Update 2: The yellow bar at the top provides a variety of charity organizations to donate to. It is a different one every time the page loads and, at this time, are all the charities on the Global Giving Haiti Relief website linked above. Commenters have provided additional charities that are worthy as well, and the Red Cross can be donated to as noted in the Update above.

Update 3: The CTIA blog states that all SMS donations to the Red Cross (Text HAITI to 90999) or Yele Haiti (Text YELE to 501501) are 100% passthru.

- Aaron