Day-After Report: June 20 Coder Cooperative, IndieWeb & PDH

Event Summary

appleton makerspace coder cooperativeThis is an event day-after report for yesterday’s Appleton Makerspace Coder Cooperative meetup to discuss IndieWeb and the Personal Digital Home (PDH) initiative.

See yesterday’s post for the meeting’s talking points.

It was a small group, but we had an encouraging discussion. Everyone at the meeting felt there’s a need for something like IndieWeb or PDH. Below is a list of questions and comments from the June 20, 2016 event.

  • IndieWebCampInfosec needs to be the foundation of PDH and IndieWeb-for-consumers, build other stuff on top of it.
    • Infosec foundation means we need to get infosec people involved in PDH early on.
    • OWASP involvement (Open Web Application Security Project)?
  • PDH is intended for 80% of internet users, so it must be simple to use, have plug-n-play operation.
  • Remote access and mobile device interaction need to be high priority design criteria.
  • WordPress Personal Digital Home, taglineFor PDH sites, can other webdev tools than just WordPress be used?
    • Yes, per principle of plurality, aka diversity or experimentation. But a PDH-Secure certified stack is envisioned, probably incorporating philosophy aspects of Debian Linux project and Google flagship Nexus Android phones.
  • Use proprietary webdev framework (like svnO) because site more difficult to attack than open source platform like WordPress?
  • How will increasing use of virtual reality affect the PDH concept and implementation?
  • Gravatar — good example of a publish once, syndicate everywhere.
  • MSPW (make stuff people want) — “yeah, I can make a website, but what would I want to do with it?”
    • Figure out highly-engaging “starter uses” for the consumer who takes the time to create their own PDH website.
    • If they have a compelling reason to start using PDH, young people will find plenty of unexpected ways to use it.
    • One potential starter use example is the Minecraft-Raspberry Pi neighborhood friends’ network.
    • PDH is envisioned as an umbrella site for personal residual revenue streams and ventures.
  • OYD server (OwnYourData) could be the next phase for consumer network hardware after home wireless routers.
    • Update OYD software like Chromebook, helping democratize consumer servers.
    • Incorporate traffic shaping or limiting so individual OYD servers are highly resistant to slashdotting if original content on that server goes viral.
    • Personal “Google Drive,” “Dropbox,” or file server.
  • Many BSD Unix community members have IndieWeb ethos — build own stuff, run own services.
  • Target early adopters and trend starters
    • Young people
    • Create beta tester student network
    • 3 levels of target demographics for beta testing and early users
      • 13-14 year olds
      • High school juniors
      • College juniors

Next Steps

  1. Schedule another event to discuss PDH and IndieWeb; maybe another Coder Cooperative session, maybe a different setting.
  2. Revise talking points and create 10-slide presentation. PDH pitch still in early stages of development — very rough, too much information, needs to be much smoother, more concise and impactful.
  3. Develop 100-word summary and one-page proposal for PDH initiative.
  4. Identify PDH concept basic principles.
  5. Identify several recommended options for registering a domain name, hosting a WordPress PDH website, and backing up all website data. Write up details regarding registration, hosting, and backup,including set-up costs and annual fees.

Keep an eye on this blog for announcement and details about the next meetup to discuss the PDH initiative and IndieWeb. Tentative timeframe for that meetup is August 2016. If you have questions about the discussion points or Next Steps, please contact me at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com.

Hope to see you at the next PDH event! 🙂


Posts-As-Meeting-Resource Experiment

The two posts from yesterday and today, along with the six posts written earlier about the PDH and IndieWeb are pretty much a complete information package regarding last night’s event at the Appleton Makerspace. I was satisfied with the experiment of using the “Events Wrangling” blog that way as an event resource.

I need to dig into event themes for sites to see what others have developed into more formal event tools or platforms. When I’m the events wrangler for a future event, it’s likely I’ll try a slightly different WordPress website approach than what I used this time.


Blogging: Fundamentals, Day 6 — An Irresistible About Page

blogging university[Good feeling about Blogging U and Blogging: Fundamentals class today. Not trying to figure out where classroom is, where my email for today’s assignment is, or whether I’m going to get my assignment done! Nothing but blue skies…]

Blogging 101, Day 6 assignment is:

  1. Create an About page on your blog.
  2. Write the content for your About page — use your Day One post for inspiration if you’d like — and click Publish.
  3. Go to My Sites > Customize, then select the Widgets tab. Add a Text Widget with a one- or two-sentence version of your story, and click Save and Publish.

Steps 1 and 2 of the assignment were pretty easy since I already had an About page with lots of content. Step 2 was good from the standpoint of causing me to take a fresh look at what my About page said. I made a few minor changes and decided I need to refocus the content to make it more relevant to my “ideal reader,” the subject of my June 19 post. Step 3 appears easy, and I will do that as soon as I publish this post.

While working on Step 2, however, I made the mistake of reading the two linked resources for writing About page content; “About Page 101: Making Them Care” and “About Page 201: The Meat Grinder.” Big Mistake. With capital letters, as you can see.

The reason it was a mistake is that my About page doesn’t feel even close to “making them care.” It will require several hours of writing down thoughts and sentences, trying a few on, seeing if any fit well enough to replace what’s already on the About page. Getting the words on that page to the point of Making Them Care will require the gracious but merciless assistance of a few wise and worldly wordsmith friends.

So, add About-improvement item to my To-Do list, which gets longer with every new Blogging U assignment. Blogging U is a probably-fantastic resource for a WordPress blogger. But, like everything worthwhile, there’s a price to pay. In this case, Price = Time. (Right now it’s almost 11 PM, and I usually go to bed by 10 PM.)

My virtual assignments for the Blogging: Fundamentals class seem to have three outcomes — I was really only looking for the first one…

  1. Straightforward Learning. Learn something, apply what I learned, complete that part of assignment easily.
  2. Complex Learning. Learn required skill, but also learn about many things related to required skill. Apply required skill and complete assignment. But — spend more time reading about related skills and capabilities, and make mental or written list of additional work needed on website or in future blog posts.
  3. Challenging Learning. The challenging stuff is like today’s assignment to create an irresistible About page, or the previous lesson that asked me to figure out what the ideal reader for my blog will actually spend their precious time reading.

I’m glad I clicked the Sign Up button for this Blogging U class. I just wish I would have clicked it ten years ago.

[I know — Blogging U and that button weren’t there ten years ago. Which makes me wonder: What do I wish Automattic offered now that they’ll probably have ten years from now???]


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
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” — today’s post


IndieWeb and PDH: Talking Points For Coder Cooperative June 20 Meetup

WordPress Blog Post As Tech Meetup Tool

Today’s post is an events wrangler’s experiment in using a WordPress blog post as a primary tool and information resource for a two hour tech meetup.appleton makerspace coder cooperative

Rather than having a separate presentation like Prezi, SlideShare, KeyNote or PowerPoint, this post has the talking points and many of the relevant links for the Appleton Makerspace Coder Cooperative meetup to discuss IndieWeb and the Personal Digital Home (PDH) on June 20, 2016 from 7 to 9 PM, at the Appleton Makerspace, 121R B North Douglas St, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA.

Using this blog post as the my “presentation” for the June 20 Coder Cooperative meetup is essentially “seven at one blow,” because the post:

  1. Outlines the event talking points, aka agenda.
  2. Is a repository of links relevant to the event.
  3. Helps with pre-event marketing and promotion.
  4. Can be easily shared with people who want to remotely participate in the meetup.
  5. Can be easily updated with relevant content after the event.
  6. May provide “meeting topic” SEO, which a standalone presentation might not.
  7. Means no special software or software expertise needed for a blog author to create this event resource.

Talking Points For June 20 Meetup

  • Overview of IndieWeb
  • Overview of PDH
  • Differences And Similarities Between IndieWeb and PDH
  • Non-coder Questions About PDH
  • Coder Issues Re IndieWeb And PDH
  • Questions From Bob W For June 20 Meetup Participants
  • Miscellaneous IndieWeb And PDH Links
  • Events Wrangling Posts About IndieWeb And PDH



  • Tagline:  “the starting point for your digital lifeWordPress Personal Digital Home, tagline
  • Short description:  My PDH concept is essentially One Site To Rule Them All. A PDH website is intended to give you more control and make you more effective at interacting with all things digital. The first step for each person who wants a PDH will be to create their own website. This may sound overly ambitious, but people of all ages create websites with every day. And the Mozilla Webmaker initiative was designed to help millions of people at all levels move from using the web to making the web.
  • Main link:
  • Only a concept as of June 20, 2016, but I’m looking for one or several cofounders to transform PDH into an active initiative.

Concept Similarities And Differences — IndieWeb And PDH

  1. More control over personal data.
  2. Personal website.
  3. Make digital life easier.
  4. WordPress applicability.
  5. Emerging trends.

“Non-coder” Questions About IndieWeb And PDH From June 20, 2016 Meetup Participants

  • *** fill in bullet points with questions raised at the June 20 meetup ***

Coder Issues Re IndieWeb And PDH

  1. Interesting challenge, especially selfdogfooding and building your own tools.
  2. Tantek Çelik’s site
  3. Aaron Parecki’s IRC approach
  4. InfoSec
  5. OYD server (OwnYourData) — integral to (my version of) both concepts.
  6. Coder issues of interest to participants in June 20 meetup:
    1. *** fill in bullet points with questions raised at the June 20 meetup ***

Questions From Bob W For June 20 Meetup Participants

  1. Are you interested enough in IndieWeb or PDH to discuss more at a future meetup?
  2. Are you interested enough in IndieWeb to consider getting involved at some level with the initiative?
  3. Do you feel IndieWeb or PDH are important enough that someone definitely should be working on one or both initiatives?
  4. What do you think the PDH MVP (minimum viable product) might look like for the general population?
  5. Does anyone at this meetup want to do a road trip to the IndieWeb Summit 2017 (~June 2017, or XOXO 2016 (September 8 – 11, 2016,

Miscellaneous IndieWeb And PDH Links


Events Wrangling Posts About IndieWeb And PDH

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
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 4: Baby Steps
IndieWeb Summit 2017 & WordPress PDH
Coder Cooperative June 20th Meetup: IndieWeb And Personal Digital Home

This post will be updated after tonight’s Coder Cooperative meetup, and a post later this week on “Events Wrangling” will cover highlights of the event. Assuming there are participants and highlights at tonight’s meetup. Short notice about the event and my attack of food poisoning means many fewer people have heard about the event than I originally envisioned…

If you have questions or want to discuss IndieWeb or the PDH concept, please contact me at bwaldron (at) gmail [dott] com.

—   End of “Coder Cooperative” section of this post   —


Blogging U: Day 4 & 5 (3)

[I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I am working to get on-schedule in my Blogging U virtual class. Cross your fingers — I hope today’s post brings me up to date with the virtual schedule… And by the way, no, I’m not worried that my “Day 4 & 5 (3)” post heading will confuse anyone other than June 20 meetup participants. Even they are unlikely to read this far in today’s post, so they are likewise in little danger of suffering from PHCS (Post Heading Confusion Syndrome).]

blogging universityIn an effort to “catch up” in my Blogging University class, today’s post is also addressing the topics of Blogging 101, Day Three: Using Reader AND Day Five: Love Your Theme. I somehow lost or didn’t get my email regarding Day Three’s assignment, so I poked around in the class “syllabus” and found that the Reader was what the missing email would have covered. It looks like the Day Three primary assignment was:

  1. Read about Reader and get an initial understanding of what, why and how.
  2. Add several tags to my Reader and browse those tags.
  3. Follow five new blogs that I come across while browsing tags in Reader.

For the three items above for Day Three’s assignment, check, check, and mate! 🙂

I’m not listing in this post the five blogs I’m following because the Blogging 101 syllabus said “following a blog is a guilt-free activity.” If I list the blog titles here, I’d feel more guilt if I unfollow them.

Day Five’s assignment email arrived in my inbox as I was almost done with this post!

Arghhh.  😦 Thought I was done writing the post. Well, a bit of additional work, THEN I’ll be all caught up. Day Five’s assignment consists of:

  1. Visit the Theme Showcase.
  2. Scroll through the options, and click Preview on at least three themes, then click Try & Customize to see the theme in action with your posts.
  3. Save and activate a new theme, or close the Customizer to keep your original.

So I (probably too quickly) went to the Theme Showcase, looked at theme options, previewed three themes “in action” with my posts, then closed the Customizer to keep my current theme. I fiddled with different themes when I established “Events Wrangling” and have specific reasons for choosing my current theme.

I’m not against all changes, and sometimes change is even good just for the sake of change. But I need to have more time to evaluate a theme change, and I’ll only change it when I can clearly understand at least one significant benefit to making the change. Can’t tell I’m an engineer, can you…  🙂


Coder Cooperative June 20th Meetup: IndieWeb And Personal Digital Home

Two Approaches For Managing Your Digital Life

IndieWeb and the Personal Digital Home (PDH) are two concepts for managing your increasingly important digital life.

appleton makerspace coder cooperativeThe Coder Cooperative meetup on June 20, 2016, from 7 to 9 PM at the Appleton Makerspace, 121R B North Douglas St, Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, will have a discussion about webdev and coder issues related to these two approaches to managing your digital life.

Over the past twenty years, the average American’s life has become more “digital” — more affected by computing devices of one type or another. It’s a pretty good bet that cyberspace and digital services will become even more important parts of our everyday lives in the coming years.

Imagine what your digital life will look like in twenty years, in the year 2036. Or, better yet, imagine what the digital life of a baby born in 2016 will be like twenty years from today…

Who Controls Your Digital Content?

facebook apple google govtDo you want the government, Facebook, Apple, Google, or some tech company not yet formed deciding the best way to manage your digital life, or determining the rules for how you (and they) access and use your data and files because they store or control your data? Right now they can sell your digital stuff, they can delete it, and they can seriously impact your daily lives by what they do with your pictures, words, files, records, songs, digital books, etc.

facebook momentsA real life example from just last week of how this situation impacts people was the June 11, 2016 headline, “Facebook threatens to delete synced photos if users don’t download its new photo app.” People put lots of their photos on Facebook. Now Facebook has changed the rules for keeping those photos available to you and others. If you don’t follow their changed rules, Facebook can just delete your photos, even if that’s the only copy you have of them.

Most people want to have more control over their digital lives and their data. Some people are working to design and build better systems, ones that help you be more in control.


IndieWebCampAn IndieWeb website is designed to immediately make you the master of your own digital content. The initiative’s tagline is “a people-focused alternative to the ‘corporate web.’” The IndieWeb initiative:

  • Is an active project founded in 2010
  • Has annual summit events
  • Has small regular meetups in various places around the world
  • Has existing websites which follow the POSSE content publishing model.

POSSE stands for Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere. That means you put a comment or post or picture on your website, then APIs (application programming interfaces) at services like Facebook, Twitter or other web companies enable a copy of your digital content to show up other places. When those other companies decide to delete or change your digital content, that doesn’t affect your original version of it.

Personal Digital Home

WordPress Personal Digital Home, taglineA PDH website is intended to give you more control and make you more effective at interacting with all things digital. This initiative’s tagline is “the starting point for your digital life.” The PDH initiative:

  • Is only a concept as of June 2016.
  • Will be discussed publicly for the first time at the June 20 Coder Cooperative meetup.

The next step for turning PDH into a reality is to talk with “customers” to find out what would help them take control of their digital lives and identify what the minimum viable product (MVP) should look like.

Coder Cooperative Meetup Details

At the June 20 Coder Cooperative meetup, we will:

  • Give an overview of IndieWeb and PDH and answer questions about the initiatives.
  • Look at the technologies that are needed for and being used by IndieWeb.
  • Identify what capabilities and components meetup participants (coders and other tech people) would want in their PDH.
  • Discuss what meetup participants think the PDH MVP might look like for the general population.
  • Encourage meetup participants to get involved with IndieWeb, PDH or a similar initiative.

diverse groupWe are inviting many developers, designers, website builders, and general internet citizens to this Coder Cooperative meeting, trying to get meetup participants with a wide spectrum of experiences and viewpoints. The meeting is open to the public, so please come on June 20 and bring a friend!

We will also reach out to potential sponsors for food and beverages at the meetup. Having more control of your digital life is an important topic which should draw a large crowd on its own merit. But we’d love to offer an extra incentive to the tech people who enjoy something to eat and drink while they have world-changing conversations.

So now you know the three goals of this Coder Cooperative session.

  1. Help people learn about and understand IndieWeb and PDH.
  2. Start fun, interesting, and world-changing conversations.
  3. Inspire follow-up work on IndieWeb, PDH, or a related initiative.

The Appleton Makerspace About / Contact webpage has a location map and address. See the Google Streetview image and the overhead building layout drawing for details on finding the makerspace door.

We look forward to you walking in that door and joining the conversation on Monday, June 20, 2016!appleton makerspace


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
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 4: Baby Steps
IndieWeb Summit 2017 & WordPress PDH
Coder Cooperative June 20th Meetup: IndieWeb And Personal Digital Home” — today’s post
IndieWeb and PDH: Talking Points For Coder Cooperative June 20 Meetup
Day-After Report: June 20 Coder Cooperative, IndieWeb & PDH


IndieWeb Summit 2017 & WordPress PDH

Go To IndieWeb Summit 2017

IndieWeb Summit 2017: Everyone who is seriously interested in the WordPress Personal Digital Home (PDH) should go to go to IndieWeb Summit 2017.

indieweb summit 2017Based on IndieWeb Summit 2016, it’s likely that IndieWeb Summit 2017 will happen in Portland, Oregon, USA, in June 2017. You can keep an eye on the IndieWebCamp events wiki page or use your preferred method for tracking when events of interest to you get scheduled. (Maybe you have a bot or AI digital assistant do that for you…)

On its website, IndieWeb Summit 2016 described itself as:

The sixth annual gathering for independent web creators of all kinds, from graphic artists, to designers, UX engineers, coders, hackers, to share ideas, actively work on creating for their own personal websites, and build upon each others creations.”

WordPress Personal Digital Home, taglineThe reason people interested in the WordPress PDH should go to IndieWeb Summit 2017 is that IndieWeb appears to have a philosophy and goals closely aligned with the PDH concept.

As of June 14, 2016, IndieWeb appears to physically and virtually brings together more PDH-concept supporters than any other initiative or organization I know about. Of course, until today, I wasn’t consciously aware of the IndieWeb’s potential to seriously impact the PDH concept, so I’ll continue looking for other initiatives and organizations which may be highly relevant to PDH. It’s likely many people scattered around the world want much more control over their digital lives, so it wouldn’t be surprising to find other groups of like-minded people coalescing around PDH-friendly principles. Connecting everyone interested in PDH concepts to create a critical mass will help bring PDH v.1.0 closer to reality.

Maximize Event Impact of IndieWeb Summit 2017

From my viewpoint as an events wrangler and a proponent for the personal digital home concept, two questions highly worth considering and developing answers to are:

  1. How can IndieWeb Summit 2017 have the most impact for achieving IndieWeb’s goals?
  2. How can IndieWeb Summit 2017 have the most impact for the PDH concept?

IndieWebCampBefore I can attempt to answer either of those questions, I need to find out more about IndieWeb, goals for the initiative and its 2017 summit, past IndieWeb summits, and what’s already planned or in the works for IndieWeb Summit 2017. Gathering that information, and the opinions associated with the information, will take a good bit of reading and a fair number of conversations on IRC or Slack, as well as other communication channels which may be preferred by the core team members for the 2017 summit.

Addressing those two questions about the impact of the 2017 summit will have the most value for PDH and for me if:

  • PDH people participate in IndieWeb Summit 2017. If my continued research and understanding of IndieWeb confirms significant overlap between IndieWeb and PDH and identifies value IndieWeb and PDH can gain from summit participation by me and / or others interested in PDH, I will propose ways to increase the summit’s impact and will work to have PDH people at the summit.
  • PDH is viewed as worthwhile by someone active in IndieWeb. If a PDH supporter connects with and builds a mutual-interest based relationship with at least one person active in the IndieWeb community, that will open the door to conversations about how the two concepts relate to each other and whether the 2017 summit might appropriately address PDH issues.
  • Ways are identified to increase impact of 2017 summit. If IndieWeb organizers of the 2017 summit have an interest in discussing potential ways to increase the impact of the summit, there are likely a couple ways to do that. I’ll be more than happy to work with people to develop and propose summit preparations, activities, or follow-ups that seem likely to increase the event’s impact.

Relevant Events Before IndieWeb 2017

Here are a few events relevant to IndieWeb and the WordPress PDH which are or may be in my future:

  • Appleton Makerspace Coder Cooperative session — June or July 2016
    • appleton makerspace coder cooperativeDuring a June or July Coder Cooperative session in Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, I will share a short overview of the IndieWeb initiative and the PDH concept.
  • Civic Hacker Meetup — July 2016?
    • We don’t yet have a date for the next DHMN Civic Hacks meetup, but an all-day hackathon has been proposed for this summer. There may be a civic hacker or two interested in IndieWeb or PDH. I will start working on pinning down a date in July, if possible.
  • barcamp green bay 2016BarCamp GreenBay — November 5, 2016
    • The NWTC CCC has been reserved for BarCamp Green Bay 2016. I plan to do a session there about some aspect of IndieWeb and the WordPress Personal Digital Home concept.
  • BarCamp Milwaukee 2016 — Date TBD
    • No date has been set for BarCampMilwaukee, but a Google Group has been created and a webdev is working on the website (IndieWeb or PDH opportunity?). Like BCGB, my goal is to do a session related to IndieWeb and PDH at BCMke.
  • *** Possible Event *** Homebrew Website Club meetup (HWC) — 2016 or early 2017
  • *** Possible Event *** XOXO Fest 2016 — September 8 – 11, 2016
    • XOXOI’ve wanted to go to XOXO in Portland, Oregon, USA, for years — participating in the 2016 event would be a blast for this events wrangler. If that gets put on my calendar, I’ll work to schedule a meetup in Portland just before, during, or after XOXO. My son said he’s up for a road trip to Portland, and maybe we could turn it into a group road trip multi-event along the lines of TarCamp I-94 and the X PRIZE Cup 2007 Road Trip event I proposed in 2006 and referred to in an Events Wrangling post earlier this year.

Background And Info About IndieWeb

The IndieWeb “movement” (as much as two people getting together and naming something is a “movement”) was started by Aaron Parecki and Tantek Çelik after they both attended the 2010-07-18 Federated Social Web Summit in Portland, Oregon and decided what they wanted was a different focus, a focus on creators instead of talkers, selfdogfooding, and owning your data.” [slight paraphrasing — BW]

[I especially like the part about owning your data, since OYD is the name of an open source project for which I’m developing a proposal.]

The IndieWeb is a people-focused alternative to the ‘corporate web’.

  • Your content is yours — When you post something on the web, it should belong to you, not a corporation. Too many companies have gone out of business and lost all of their users’ data. By joining the IndieWeb, your content stays yours and in your control.
  • You are better connected — Your articles and status messages can go to all services, not just one, allowing you to engage with everyone. Even replies and likes on other services can come back to your site so they’re all in one place.
  • You are in control — You can post anything you want, in any format you want, with no one monitoring you. In addition, you share simple readable links such as These links are permanent and will always work.

If you want to know more about IndieWeb, see the links below at the end of this post, or Google for specific IndieWeb aspects of interest to you.

Grokking IndieWeb & More Research For PDH

I just today became aware of the potential synergy between IndieWeb and the WordPress PDH.

decentralized webBefore I can determine IndieWeb’s impact on and importance to PDH, I need to further research and grok IndieWeb, the Decentralized Web, and other PDH-like concepts, initiatives and organizations. IndieWeb may be much more hardcore than what I’m envisioning as a starting point for WordPress PDH. It might make more sense to build the WordPress PDH with hooks and a designed-in upgrade path to an IndieWeb-style site. On the other hand, people are currently operating and building IndieWeb sites, which is more than I can say as of June 14, 2016, for WordPress PDH sites! 🙂 At least as far as I know.

BTW, there are a number of people actively working on WordPress aspects of IndieWeb, but that’s a topic for a future post…


Miscellaneous Notes Re IndieWeb:

BarCamp ⇒ IndieWeb connection: I’ve been a BarCamp (technology unconference) enthusiast since the first one was held in 2005. Tantek Çelik was a cofounder of the first BarCamp. He was also a cofounder of the IndieWeb. (Matt Mullenweg was also one of the inaugural BarCamp cofounders, or at least he’s listed as a BarPlanner Rabble-rouser for the event.) 
Why IndieWeb may be important to you:Why Indie Web” 
If you want to get started with your own IndieWeb site:Getting Started” 
January 2016 post about getting involved with IndieWeb:Taking part in the IndieWeb
April 2014 post about why IndieWeb is important:Why the Indie Web movement is so important
August 2013 Wired overview article about IndieWeb:Meet the Hackers Who Want to Jailbreak the Internet
February 2016 post about going to the next level on an IndieWeb site:Going Silo-Private to Prefer the IndieWeb, Leave Silo Publics, and Pioneer Privacy on the Independent Web


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
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 4: Baby Steps
IndieWeb Summit 2017 & WordPress PDH” — today’s post
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


WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 4: Baby Steps

Baby Steps: “What About Bob”

“Baby Steps” is the theme for today’s post. To start things off right, and because it’s Friday, we will first look to the wisdom of Bob Wiley and Dr. Leo Marvin, in a short clip from “What About Bob?”

Taking Dr. Marvin’s advice, for developing the WordPress Personal Digital Home (PDH), we will “set small, reasonable goals for ourselves, one day at a time, one tiny step at a time.” I picked the problem to work on in yesterday’s post, now I’ll be taking one tiny step at a time while working on that problem.

Baby Steps: Jessica Livingston

The first baby step Jessica Livingston recommends, although she doesn’t use those exact words, is to “make something people want” (MSPW). Nothing else matters if you don’t, that’s why MSPW is the baby step Jessica and Y Combinator stress over and over to startup founders.

“…Nothing else you do will matter if you are not making something people want. You can be the best spokesperson, the best fundraiser, the best programmer, but if you aren’t building a product that satisfies a real need, you’ll never succeed…

And to know what they want, you have to understand them…Talk to your users as much as you can, even if that means doing things that don’t scale early on. I don’t know of a single case of a startup that felt they spent too much time talking to users…”

In the clip below from earlier this month, Jessica talks about MSPW and other ways to not fail at startups (video is 17 minutes long).

Many of our earliest baby steps will be taken with our customers to ensure that as we develop the PDH, we’re making something people want.

Baby Steps: Cathedral & Bazaar

In his book about working at Automattic, “The Year Without Pants,” Scott Berkun references the canonical essay about software development, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar.” Scott indicates that if we develop the WordPress PDH like a cathedral, we’ll “invest time in making a big masterful plan,” whereas if we develop it like a bazaar, we’ll “start immediately and figure it out as [we] go.” The Automattic preference leans strongly toward the bazaar approach. While the basic concept for the WordPress PDH is being developed and the core team is coalescing or being recruited, I’m doing cathedral stuff because my minimal coding skills don’t allow me to start building the PDH. Before getting too much into cathedral details, though, I can do some bazaar baby steps to help define what people want in terms of a personal digital home.

[Those bazaar baby steps I’ll be doing are definitely different from the PMB bizarre baby steps in the video below…]

Baby Steps: WordPress PDH Events

One of the early bazaar baby steps will be an event to work with users figuring out what the top things are that they want in a digital home. My plan is to work with several different user demographics that are most likely to be early adopters of PDHs. This event will be focused on what tools, services and apps they use in their digital life and will involve discussions about what a starting point for that digital life might look like.

In the early days of defining the PDH basic concept, there will be frequent events and interactions with users to confirm that as the concept develops, we’re still making something people want. As Jessica said, “talk to your users as much as you can.”

My next tiny step will be writing the launch announcement for the WordPress Personal Digital Home.


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
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 4: Baby Steps” — today’s post
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


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 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 attrition rate.
      • Automattic’s goal to decrease 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


WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 2: In The Year 2036

[In a June 6, 2016, post on this blog, I introduced my proposal for developing the WordPress Personal Digital Home (PDH), “the starting point for your digital life.” This is the second post in this WordPress PDH series.]

Past — Present — Future

To understand Personal Digital Homes (PDHs), stop for a minute to think about the past, the present, and then the future.

19961996: What was your digital life like twenty years ago. Most people weren’t on the Internet. Many people didn’t even know what the Internet was. For most people in the world, a telephone meant something connected to the wall with a cord. Personal computers were plentiful in America and many other countries, but billions around the world didn’t have access to personal computers (PCs), and billions didn’t directly interact with the digital world.

20162016: What is your digital life is like today? That depends greatly on where you live and what your economic status is. But just about everyone in the USA has access to a cell phone and to the internet. The internet has become so commonplace that in 2016 the people who decide how words should be spelled announced that internet should start with a lower case i instead of an upper case I. The vast majority of Americans have access to a PC, even if it’s only a friend’s or one at the local library. In 2016, many smartphones have more computing power than PCs of 1996, and for an increasing number of the world’s population, a smartphone is their primary computing device and their on-ramp to the internet.

There are still isolated pockets of society that are minimally impacted by the digital world, but in America even homeless people either have a cell phone or they know another nearby homeless person who has a cell phone. Amish, Irish Travelers, and other people who have chosen a non-mainstream lifestyle are still affected by the digital world. Some aspects of the mainstream world are only accessible through the internet. If you’re under 40 or 50 years old, when was the last time you used a phone book to look up someone’s phone number, or the phone number or address of a business?

20362036: What will your digital life probably be like twenty years from now? Take into account what it was like twenty years ago and how much the digital world (not just the internet) now affects you.

If you’re in mainstream America or if you live somewhere else but your income is above the global per capita median (your income is higher than half the people in the world), trying to imagine your 2036 digital life is fun, terrifying, exhilarating, pointless, difficult or mind-boggling, depending on your personality, point of view, and other factors.

The only thing we know for sure about the future is that we can’t accurately and knowingly predict it. Humans went to the moon in 1969, but we haven’t been back since 1972. Just think what was probably predicted in 1970 about space travel. Although human travel to the moon or beyond isn’t part of our lives in 2016, you can bet that in 2036 the digital world will be affecting much more of your life than it currently does. At least 95% of the people on earth twenty years from from now will be much more impacted by the digital world than they are today.

A Baby Born In 2016

babyImagine a baby born in 2016 in the USA. Think of how immersed in the digital world that baby will be. If it was your baby, or your grandchild, what would your plan be for managing their digital world? Where would you put all their digital photos, records, data, their online presence, and the digital tools and services they use or that affect them? How would they find those things when they wanted them?

Maybe your personal attitude is that you’re going to protect that new child from the internet and from an invasive world. I know one parent who decided not to put any of their kids’ pictures online. He felt that level of public exposure was unsafe for them. He keeps all the family’s photos on hard drives and USB flash drives.

Contrast that with how some parents you probably know put hundreds or thousands of family pictures online, including their children or grandchildren. They most likely upload those pictures to Facebook or another free online service that allows you to store photos (and other parts of your digital life) on their “cloud computers” which are under their control and under their rules.

There is a reason those companies let you put all those photos and the rest of your digital life on the cloud computers the companies are paying for. The reason is they make money off your information and your digital presence on their computers. They, not you, decide what is done with your pictures and your data. If the company with your digital life goes out of business, or wants to change the rules about the access to your data, your digital life and your real-world life can be seriously affected.

facebook apple googleYou have decided (knowingly or unknowingly) to give Facebook or other tech companies control over your photos and your digital life because they give you free online services. But do you really want the entire digital life of your child or grandchild stored on and controlled by Facebook, Apple, Google or any other company? Is that the decision you want to make for your child or grandchild, giving their digital life to a company who controls what happens to that data?

Who Controls The Starting Point For Your Digital Life?

The above discussion about who controls your photos might sound a bit paranoid or unrealistic. But you really don’t have control of what you put online if you don’t “own” the starting point.

The Father of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, spoke earlier this week about trading your personal data for “free” online services.

Tim Berners Lee“…At the session on Tuesday, computer scientists talked about how new payment technologies could increase individual control over money. For example, if people adapted the so-called ledger system by which digital currencies are used, a musician might potentially be able to sell records without intermediaries like Apple’s iTunes. News sites might be able to have a system of micropayments for reading a single article, instead of counting on web ads for money.

“Ad revenue is the only model for too many people on the web now,” Mr. Berners-Lee said. “People assume today’s consumer has to make a deal with a marketing machine to get stuff for ‘free,’ even if they’re horrified by what happens with their data. Imagine a world where paying for things was easy on both sides…”

Chris Hardie, who has dealt with the online world for nearly 20 years, also addressed this issue of who owns online data and content. In a September 2015 post he said:

“…I worry about others who take for granted that the digital things they create will always be there, accessible, under their control, searchable/viewable in a way that makes sense to them.

…I want to fully understand the security and privacy issues involved in where they are stored and how people get to them. I want to know I can back them up, export them, move them from one place to another, or even delete them when I want.

I don’t want commercial entities dictating how, when and what I can publish, or exploiting what I do publish for their own gain without my explicit permission. If I’m to contribute meaningfully to online dialog, I don’t want it to be deleted as soon as someone gets tired of hosting that particular conversation (or worse, decides they want to delete dissenting thoughts)…

When I use a WordPress site as my digital home, this kind of ownership is built in. I can post content – words, images, audio, video, and much more – and store it in a single place that is self-contained and unquestionably mine…

By comparison Facebook (for example) is a relatively fragile digital home, and yet so many people use it as the primary or only place where they create content and express themselves. But a corporation with a profit motive ultimately controls its features and functionality. Content is not easily searchable or sortable, and disappears into the past quickly. Some people won’t see or may not be able to see content posted there. Content and conversations can be deleted on a whim…”

You NEED A Personal Digital Home

WordPress Personal Digital Home, taglineIt doesn’t seem right to have your digital life kept or primarily accessed from someplace where “content and conversations can be deleted on a whim.”

You NEED a personal digital home, and so do people you care about, whether they’re children, grandchildren, other family members or friends.

WordPress is the software that powers over 25% of the world’s websites. It’s open source, which means no company owns it. That means nobody owns your data and content but you…

Maybe a WordPress Personal Digital Home is right for you!


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” — today’s post
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 3: Pick A Problem
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


WordPress: Default Personal Digital Home (PDH)

Yin-Yang: WordPress Digital Home

Woohoo! I found out yesterday that one of the initiatives I want to work on at Automattic is already being promoted by an Automattic employee. 🙂 That’s fantastic, because that means there will be someone in the company who’s already interested in the initiative, someone I can work with to refine the idea and help move it forward. But wait a minute…

Arrrggh! Someone suggested MY idea already. 😦 He mentioned it first. He already has a vision for what it should be, and might not agree with or like my vision of HIS idea. He is already working for Automattic and I’m not there yet. Hmmmm…

yin-yangSuch is the yin-yang of innovation. There are often near-simultaneous discoveries or inventions because people stand on the shoulders of those who went before them, and many factors in the world around us lead multiple people to go down similar paths and work on addressing the same unmet needs.

So what initiative or idea am I talking about? What new Automattic product do I think will have a huge impact and be amazingly beneficial to people globally? What concept involving WordPress has yin-yang, dark-light, cold-warm aspects that need to be carefully considered and skillfully balanced? This initiative is the:

WordPress Personal Digital Home (PDH).

There are three basic questions that need to be answered before getting into details of the WordPress PDH. Those questions are:

  • What Is A Personal Digital Home?
  • Why Have A Personal Digital Home?
  • Why Is WordPress The Best Default For A Personal Digital Home?

What Is A Personal Digital Home?

The Automattician who is already thinking and talking about a digital home is Chris Hardie. Google searches indicate he first spoke about his digital home concept at the WordCamp in Dayton, Ohio, USA, in March 2016. He also published “digital home” posts in September 2015 and January 2016, and he says it’s “a topic I’ve thought about for a long time.” He recommends using WordPress as the digital home for “your online creations.”WordCamp Dayton

So Chris appears to be approaching the digital home primarily from an online content control aspect, informed, no doubt, by his 17 years of running a web development agency and seeing what happens long term with websites and web content.

My approach and vision for the PDH is quite a bit broader than just online content control, although that’s one place to start. And Chris may have much bigger things in mind. I look forward to talking with him soon about PDH to find out more about his long term vision! 🙂

My definition of the PDH is: “the starting point for your digital life.”

WordPress Personal Digital Home, tagline

In some ways, that’s somewhat Mark Zuckerberg’s unspoken tagline or goal for Facebook, but profit is much more of a driver for FB than for Automattic. And my tagline is only half of Facebook’s game plan. The complete unwritten objective for FB seems to be “the starting point and ending point for your digital life [as well as the stuff in-between].”

In a future post I’ll dive into what the starting point for your digital life might look like. But the big picture is that the WordPress PDH, for many people, will be the starting point for their digital lives for many years, if not most of their lives.

Why Have A Personal Digital Home?

A draft version of “Reasons To Have a PDH” includes:

  • Learn website development and online technologies.
  • One Site To Rule Them All: have a pointer to other online presences and tools.
  • Own and manage your data, which includes the “control your online content” aspect that Chris Hardie is focusing on.
  • Help launch and manage your personal residual revenue ventures.
  • Develop and manage your work-knowledge portfolio and job resume.
  • Provide a central point for managing your relationships and networks.
  • Develop long term SEO (search engine optimization) for topics of importance to you.

attentionThe underlying primary reason to have a PDH is to help you own and manage your data (highly interrelated with another of my projects called OwnYourData, OYD). It will also help you manage your digital profile and your attention which, as Kevin Kelly points out, is becoming “the only true scarcity.”

“…the advertising industry…right now is the fundamental engine for most of the internet wealth and all the businesses from Google to Facebook. Their billions are coming basically from advertising. I think it’s going to be very ripe for destruction because, in a curious way when we have this abundance of materials, commodity, everything, just super abundance, that the only scarcity we have is human attention, which is limited.

We’re all limited to 24 hours a day. Even more curiously, we have to spend it every day. We can’t bank it up. If that’s the only true scarcity, and the true value in this new economy. It’s kind of curious that we give away so much of our attention for nothing. I see an opportunity where people will start charging to watch an ad, charging to read someone’s email, charging to see this thing…”

Of course, much of this is years down the road, but that’s ok, because it will take years of developing and experimenting to refine the PDH concept and to build the various pieces of it.

Reasons to have a PDH will be more fully explored in future posts.

Why Is WordPress The Best Default For A Personal Digital Home?

There are many reasons WordPress will be the best default for PDHs, but the three below are the primary ones.

  1. WordPress has done the best job of figuring out what it takes to get people online, as shown by the statistic that it powers over 25% of the world’s websites.
  2. WordPress is open source.
  3. b corpAutomattic’s raison d’être is giving people an online voice, and their primary driving force is not just making a profit. I don’t think they’re legally a B corporation, but from an intent and operational standpoint, they feel like a B corp. If a corporation is going to be a vital part of PDHs, it needs to be a B corp, and I think Matt Mullenweg will make Automattic a B corp if they do an IPO.

WordPress will not provide an ideal PDH for everyone. That’s ok — there are many reasons to avoid monocultures. Default doesn’t mean “the only choice.” A default is just the starting point. Alternative PDHs can and will be developed. Just like people can and do use software other than WordPress to power their websites. But for many people, in spite of all the alternatives, WordPress is their on-ramp to having their own website and to controlling their online presence and voice.

Let’s develop an awesome WordPress PDH that will be a default starting point for people’s digital lives!


Other posts related to IndieWeb and Personal Digital Home

WordPress: Default Personal Digital Home (PDH)” — today’s post
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 2: In The Year 2036
WordPress Personal Digital Home, Part 3: Pick A Problem
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