1 Million Calories Challenge

TL;DR – January 1st, I start a countdown giving myself 1,000,000 calories for all of 2019.

My cousin decided to do a push-up challenge in 2018 in part to improve his health. He completed over 37,000 push-ups during the year. His dedication to a challenge that he set himself was really inspiring to me and made me wonder what I could do to challenge myself to improve my health or even just how I perceive health.

My First Post with Gutenberg

It looks like I was one of the lucky few that got early access to Gutenberg on WordPress.com. It reminds me a little of the visual editor, and as someone that always uses the code or raw text editor, it’ll take some getting used to. 

Gutenberg on WordPress.com

Why Try It?

Well, I have been a fan of the idea behind builders for a long time and laying out content in a nicer way. I see graphic designers do beautiful things with articles on some blogs, and I am jealous of the results. I am hopeful that Gutenberg might help me create something similar.

My Thoughts

My initial impression is that the whole thing doesn’t feel good to use. I tried out the columns (beta) and struggled to get it to work correctly. I tried to get an image to break outside of the constraints of the content area and couldn’t figure out how to do it. The inline images option feels broken and counter-intuitive, nor does it seem to want to work as I’d expect.

When I click on a block and then select Document before going back to Block, it says “no block selected”.

It doesn’t feel as slick and feature filled as any of the other builder tools I’ve used but the learning curve is still there. Even something as simple as moving blocks around feels clunky. It can be hard to access the up or down arrow on thin elements, sometimes controls will vanish before I can use them. 
Working with Gutenberg is really unintuitive. Icons disappear when you hover over them, boxes overlap, columns don’t work as expected, et cetera.

Spinal (@zanderz)

Latest Posts

I do like the ability to insert my latest posts as a block inside a post as I’ve done just above this text. That felt nice and it is something that didn’t feel easy or friendly before Gutenberg. 

Note: After publishing the post and seeing the difference between the back end writing experience and the front-end result, I’m even more dismayed. The spacing is all off, and the text over the cover image is wrong. In the end, I had to use spacer elements all over the place to make it look half decent and would likely have to add a bunch of custom CSS to finish integrating it. 

Will I Use It?

Of course, you’d expect my answer to be “no”, but I know many of PressTitan’s clients will want to move in the direction of using it and I’ll have to support it. I don’t want to feel left behind in helping users, especially when it comes to a core feature. I’ll be spending a ton of time with Gutenberg over the next while and you can expect a video about it on the PressTitan YouTube channel.

Check Out My Speed Up WordPress Guide for 2018

The WP Minute – A PressTitan WordPress News Podcast

Over the last month, I’ve been researching, writing, recording and editing a daily video series that covers the latest of WordPress news with a few my own thoughts and opinions thrown in.

It is called The WP Minute and it takes about a minute to get through an episode. This means you could get all caught up in a little more than half an hour, and I hope you will!

Most WordPress podcasts require an investment of around an hour per week and cover maybe five stories. The WP Minute covers around two stories per day so you get around fourteen per week. I like to keep the news mostly non-technical, though it does often require some WordPress knowledge.

I am enjoying making these shows and can’t wait to do some longer form content on the channel too, so please like, subscribe and share. It would be really helpful to me.

Here’s today’s episode for you to view and enjoy!

When Are You An Entrepreneur?

So, David Krug and I have been working hard to build up PressTitan and serve our clients well, but I don’t think of myself as an entrepreneur. I just like to do cool things that make my clients happy and pay my bills. I have been a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk for a very long time and really enjoy his passion and energy. I also think Elon Musk is changing the world with all of his companies and can’t believe the sacrifices he’s made to make it all happen.

My path has been so different than theirs. I don’t think of myself as a salesperson. I am not trying to build a billion-dollar business. I am not as confident in my business abilities as those I hold in reverence. I do know that what we have built at PressTitan is amazing for the right clients. We have a stable hosting platform for WordPress that loads sites fast. We know a ton about themes and plugins and can provide guidance and insights.

With the two of us working together, Krug has been focused much more on the client acquisition and care aspect of the business. He also does the primary handling of most income/invoices and expenses. That frees me up to focus on what I enjoy and am really great at such as technology and problem-solving.

I will say, like many entrepreneurs, I’ve had many false starts, failures, and missed opportunities, but after a year working on PressTitan, I think it is fair to say we’ve hit on a successful path forward. Providing that personal touch to growing an online WordPress powered business continues to be inspiring and amazing.

But I still don’t know if outsiders would consider me an entrepreneur. A quick Google search defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.” I didn’t have to take much in the way of financial risk because Krug already had a large client lined up for us to help. I don’t really operate the business alone, so am I half an entrepreneur?

Why does any of this matter? I think it helps focus my mindset. What am I doing here? What are my goals? Krug and I talk all the time about how we’d like to see the company grow and evolve, things we want to focus on, people we may want to hire, and clients we covet. I feel so humbled to be in a position where I’m able to ask these kinds of questions and have the opportunity to self-reflect.

I hope to continue to be able to provide huge value to our clients for a long time. Thank you to everyone that has taken a risk on PressTitan in its early days. I really appreciate your support! I feel so fortunate in so many ways.

Malcolm vs David

So, I have started using the name Malcolm as much as possible. I have wanted to make this change for a long time, and you can read a bit more about that on a blog post from over two years ago entitled Name Change Thoughts.

With the support of my wife and some recent examples from other people I know, I’ve decided to make the leap. I am not doing the government/legal change as of yet, but I am considering it.

I have never really felt all that attached to “David” as a name, but changing it always seemed hard because my name was part of my “employment brand” in startups, but thanks to working at growing PressTitan, I am not required to limit myself to my old name.

I am not going to be changing my last name, as that would be too much of a pain for myself and for my wife, but that’s a compromise I’m willing to make.

As for “why that name”? I really can’t tell you the exact reason why. It has been a name I’ve wanted ever since I was a young teenager. It brings to mind someone strong, intelligent and confident, traits I’d like to embody more.

So while I know it will take years for people to adjust, and many people might shake their heads at a thirty-five-year-old changing their name, I am much happier being Malcolm and I hope you’ll try to be understanding and supportive.

PressTitan

I haven’t talked much about it on my blog yet, but almost a year ago now, I co-founded a company with a friend of mine, David Krug. He has an even longer history with WordPress than I do, though just as diverse in terms of experiences. The company was started to bring better technology and optimization opportunities to WordPress powered websites making a profit with a goal of helping them make more profit.

PressTitan is part managed WordPress hosting and part WordPress service agency with a focus on site performance and proactive care.

Often, the first question I get is “how is PressTitan unique?” Well, unlike many other WordPress care companies, we also provide top-tier hosting services so we aren’t limited/restricted by the poor technology of some of the budget web hosts that exist. And unlike managed WordPress hosting, we provide full proactive site care. We don’t just update your plugins, but we provide consulting on why a certain plugin might not be optimal, we point out opportunities that exist to make your site even better, and we look for improvements that can be made and chase them down, even if that sometimes means dusting off my intermediate programming abilities.

We work exclusively with businesses that understand that good technology, while not cheap, can provide large business benefits. We’ve seen this time and time again as we’ve onboarded customers who then in subsequent months receive more traffic, better search rankings and a higher amount of conversions. For example, we have recently helped a WooCommerce site that was loading in eight to fifteen seconds per page load. We migrated them over to our platform, fixed their WooCommerce install, and then optimized the site so that it now loads in about one and a half seconds per page. Some of our sites load pages in around half a second and feel like pre-loaded applications on your computer or cell phone when you view them. That probably excites me more than it would most people…

The business is doing very well, and Krug and I have slowly worked towards unique roles while keeping a finger on what the other person is doing so that we aren’t caught unaware or unable to fill in for each other. We are the only two full-time staff members right now, but we are looking at growing our team. Every week, he and I discuss new technologies, new WordPress developments, plugins our clients might be interested in, opportunities for performance improvements, and much more. The calls are always invigorating and keep me super excited and passionate about what we are achieving here.

Growing a company is more difficult than I thought, but David Krug has been and continues to be a strong co-founder, making this whole process so much easier and something we can both balance with our family obligations. We realize PressTitan isn’t for everyone, and we’ve turned down some people that have wanted to sign up because the fit wasn’t there, but with slow and careful growth and a reasonable, though premium pricing, we feel we have a winning formula.

Fortnite Fails and Frustrations

So, I took this week off from streaming because I have decided to level-set as I continue to struggle with anxiety and being too hard on myself.

I have been streaming a ton of Fortnite, a game that triggers my anxiety. I was hopeful that if I played enough of it, my anxiety would go away or I’d figure out how to control it and be able to learn something about my anxiety and be able to reduce its effects on my day to day life. I also learned something about myself with regards to my hobbies and career. I enjoy the mastery and not the road to mastery. This means I want to be good at the things I spend my time on and not struggle endlessly.

For Fortnite, I decided that I wanted to get to a five percent win rate in Fortnite for Season 4. That didn’t seem like too much of a stretch as it would only be a one in twenty game win rate, well below what many pros and experts are able to do and only twice what I was able to accomplish in Season 3. I decided to really spend time playing the game, researching strategies, watching professional players, reading patch notes, dropping in a variety of locations, dropping in a single location many times and on and on and on. I will admit to even having worked with someone to train me how to play the game better. I played as many as one hundred and fifty matches per week for a few weeks to the point where the game was a job and not one I was good at.

I got to the point where the game wasn’t fun anymore. I would get so frustrated that my mood would drop. It would sometimes take me two days to feel normal again. I would feel angry, agitated, and my mental self-talk would get dark. I would mentally berate myself for not being able to perform well enough.

With the success of Fortnite, the game has attracted more and more people, and I felt like the top people in most matches were getting better faster than I was. I was achieving many top ten positions but losing over and over. Sometimes because of my anxiety. Sometimes because of my lack of tactical understanding. I tried to remind myself that I hadn’t played many games like this. I wasn’t a shooter fan growing up. I adjusted my mouse settings, my key binds and tried a whole host of other things in hopes that I would be able to find the right combination to get myself able to come out on top. My win rate slipped lower. Instead of winning two out of every hundred games, I was winning less than one out of every hundred. My frustration only grew and my ability to not only enjoy the game but also to mentally be kind to myself was reduced.

In the end, I had to stop and look at what I was doing. I cancelled my training lessons. I stopped playing the game outside of grinding out some challenges and playing with friends and my enjoyment increased slightly. I can no longer stream Fortnite. I can no longer focus on the game as a hobby that I will eventually master and I feel a bit bummed about that. No one wants to feel like their time is wasted, but now I have to concede that it was a waste of time and effort. I put myself under immense pressure to do better at the game and it really ended up causing me more anxiety, more stress, and more emotional instability.

For many, I’m sure you’ll be rolling your eyes endlessly at this post. I get it…Fortnite is “just a game”, but to me, it was a competitive sport and a hobby that I was spending a not-so-insignificant amount of time on. I hope that some athletes can empathize with my experience, and I hope that others will find some empathy because you have felt or know someone that is or was dealing with depression and/or anxiety.

I can’t help but feel down at the prospect that I wasn’t able to achieve my goal and that I wasn’t able to make a noticeable amount of progress towards it. I feel like I really put in the time and effort but it didn’t matter and that makes me a little disappointed. There is something about Fortnite that was super engaging for me, the idea of being able to compete against 99 other people and try to come out on top in a game where we all start out exactly the same and I hope after a reasonable break from playing the game in a competitive way, I can really find the enjoyment in it again, otherwise, I’ll probably have to uninstall it and just move on another attempt at a hobby that I just put in my past because I was never able to get to the level of mastery that I wanted, and thus unable to find enjoyment in the activity…