WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 3: Pick A Problem

Personal Digital Home’s Inherent Value To Me

One of the factors that makes Automattic a fantastic company is the freedom and encouragement they give team members to identify and launch new projects.

A project I plan to work on at Automattic is the WP Personal Digital Home (PDH).

A friend suggested today that my work on the WordPress PDH be done so it will have inherent long term passion and value for me regardless of whether I eventually become an Automattician. That friend is a wise person. I’m keeping their advice firmly in mind as I write these posts and work on the PDH initiative.

In “The Year Without Pants,” Scott Berkun said the general work flow at Automattic had seven steps:The Year Without Pants, pick a problem

  1. Pick a problem [aka opportunity].
  2. Write a launch announcement and a support page…The point is that if you can’t think of a compellingly simple explanation for customers, then you don’t really understand why the project is worth doing.
  3. Consider what data will tell you it works.
  4. Get to work.
  5. Launch.
  6. Learn.
  7. Repeat.

Pick A Problem

For me picking a problem, or identifying a project to work on, involves looking at market pain points relevant to my interests and capabilities, then choosing potential solutions likely to have an opportunity to effectively address the pain point.

The WordPress PDH represents the intersection of the following market pain point, my strong interests and capabilities, and Automattic opportunities.

  • market pain point, captionRelevant market pain point
    • No widely-used product, service or process for managing a person’s digital life with a high level of effectiveness, control, security, and privacy (or for the narrower use case of controlling all the content a person puts online).
  • Bob’s relevant interest and capabilities
    • Technology, especially emerging technologies
      • Identify “digital life” technologies relevant to PDH and integrate them into PDH
    • Project and proposal development
      • Develop PDH overview and proposal
    • Relationship building
      • Connect with core team for building PDH
      • Identify and build relationships with key digital life partners and sponsors for PDH
      • Identify and build relationships with key PDH user-evangelists
    • Events wrangling
      • Events for co-developing PDH with key users
      • Events for launching PDH
      • Events for increasing PDH traction and value
    • Community building
      • Connect and expand PDH user-evangelist community
  • opportunities.jpgAutomattic relevant opportunities
    • Increase WordPress market share from 26% to 50% without quality erosion and other monoculture challenges.
      • WordPress’ current share of 26% indicates popularity and ease of use.
      • Automattic’s goal to increase share to 50% suggests PDH project has potential value to the company.
    • Transition WordPress focus from desktop web to mobile web.
      • Mobile devices, especially smartphones, are becoming an increasingly important way people interact with their digital lives. [I’m currently sitting by a railing on the upper level of the food court in a large shopping mall near Appleton, Wisconsin, USA. I can see more than one hundred people at tables or walking around on the main floor below me. A visual estimate is that 80% of those people have a smartphone in their hands or in front of them on the table. I’d guess that another 10% have smartphones in their pocket.]
      • Automattic’s goal to improve WordPress interaction with the mobile web suggests PDH project has value to the company.
    • Decrease WordPress.com attrition rate by 50%.
      • The WordPress PDH project will only succeed if we figure out how to provide high value to users. Providing high value for millions of users will decrease WordPress.com attrition rate.
      • Automattic’s goal to decrease WordPress.com attrition rate suggests PDH project has value to the company.

The above background for the WordPress PDH project explains why it’s a worthwhile project for me. So, in terms of the Automattic work flow, I’ve “picked a problem.”

Project Objective Statement

Having picked a problem/project to work on, it is helpful to have a short project objective statement that effectively communicates both to you and others what the project objective is. That statement is often refined as you work on and better understand the project, or significantly changed when the project or project team pivots based on learnings or new factors affecting the project.

world changing with quoteI’ve developed a big-picture, world-changing, primary objective statement for the WordPress PDH. Because that objective might end up too ambitious to attract a core team of people who want to work on it or too difficult to accomplish, I’ve also created two less ambitious objective statements. As the project core team coalesces, early discussions will help decide how ambitious the project objective will be.

WordPress PDH primary objective statement:

Improved security, control, privacy, and effectiveness of your digital life.

WordPress PDH alternative objective statements:

Improved control of content you put online.
Improved control of your online presence.

Coming up next for the WordPress PDH:  Baby Steps, then writing the launch announcement and project support page.


Other posts related to IndieWeb and Personal Digital Home

WordPress: Default Personal Digital Home (PDH)
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 2: In The Year 2036
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 3: Pick A Problem” — today’s post
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 4: Baby Steps
IndieWeb Summit 2017 & WordPress PDH
Coder Cooperative June 20th Meetup: IndieWeb And Personal Digital Home
IndieWeb and PDH: Talking Points For Coder Cooperative June 20 Meetup
Day-After Report: June 20 Coder Cooperative, IndieWeb & PDH


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