Product management tools at WordCamp London 2019

WordCamp London is an event I feel very attached to. It’s my local WordPress conference. It gave me one of my first public speaking opportunities back in 2015. If you have been to a WordCamp London in the past, you might have seen me running around with big boxes, or behind the registration desk. Last year I was one of the organisers, leading the communication team.

This year, I’m delighted to announce that I’m scheduled again as a speaker!

I’ll present a talk called Inside a Product Manager’s toolbox. Basically, tools and resources for product managers, founders at very early stage startups, solopreneurs, freelancers, plugin / theme shop owners, and generally speaking people who are in the business of building and selling digital goods.

It’s going to be a lightning talk, so it won’t last more than 10 minutes. I’m going to share my time slot with Luminus O. Alabi, who’s going to talk about remote work, and Mike Killen, who will explain marketing funnels for WordPress businesses.

When, where, why

WordCamp London will take place on 5-7 April at the wonderful London Metropolitan University.

5 April is Contributor Day, a day where people gather and either contribute to WordPress, or get themselves setup with help from seasoned contributors so that they can start contributing in the future. Whatever your magic is, there’s a strong chance you can apply it to WordPress.

6 and 7 April are conference days. I’m going to speak on the morning of 7 April, at 10:20am.

Tickets are still available, so if you work with WordPress, and you live in or around London—or you’re in the position to afford a trip to the best city in the world—then don’t hesitate and come join us. There are going to be plenty of learning, networking, and contributing opportunities.

Links

My speaker profile
My talk’s abstract
WordCamp London 2019 schedule

My first 24 hours with Apple Watch

My Fitbit Charge 2’s sporty strap was fairly worn out, so instead of spending £8 on a strap for an old model, I decided to upgrade to the Fitbit Charge 3. Then I thought “hang on.”

The new Apple Watch was released not long ago, and as a product it seems to have reach the maturity to make me realise it’s worth the investment.

Apple Watch Series 4 (ph. Wareable).

Apple Watch Series 4, welcome to my life.

40 or 44mm?

First of all, I needed to decide if 40 or 44mm was the right size for me, which is why I didn’t buy it online. I went to my local Apple Store, try them both, and decided to opt for the 44mm, despite my skinny 12-year-old-like wrist.

F’ it, bigger is better. My eyes are usually not exactly happy with things that are challenging to see.

Watchfaces and complications

The watch comes with the Infograph watchface by default, and I thought it was a tad overwhelming. So I switched to Infograph Modular.

Infograph Modular watchface for Apple Watch Series 4

This is all new to me, so I’m still trying to find a good balance and frankly speaking at the beginning I’ve found the complications a bit confusing.

Luca Sartoni suggested to have more than a watchface ready to choose, as I might want to switch to a more minimal setup when I don’t need to be bombarded with options. I thought that was smart, so now I have Simple and Cronograph ready to go. It’s a good start, and I’ll definitely experiment more, especially once I’ve bought some other straps for non sporty outfits.

Things I was / wasn’t expecting

I’ve done a strength & conditioning session earlier today, and my Apple Watch recognised that I was running on a treadmill. I was expecting that, so I’m glad it happened.

I was also expecting the usual “stand up!” / “move!” / “breathe!” kind of notifications, which I’ve killed with fire immediately.

I wasn’t expecting the quick reply experience to be so slick. I received a couple of texts on Telegram while working out, and in between sets I’ve been able to send a couple of “OK” and “Thanks!” to someone. I’ll make sure this won’t create a false sense of urgency in my mind, because I don’t like getting distracted while in-the-zone for something (whether it’s physical activity or work), and I don’t want to think that because I can answer immediately I have to answer immediately. I’ll have to be more precise with the Do Not Disturb feature (phone, Slack, etc.) from now on.

Tips and tricks?

As I’m coming from a completely different wearable device, I’m looking forward to hearing any tip or trick that you think I should absolutely know and that it’s not that obvious. Hit that comment section below with your suggestions!

How I Manage My Email

Evergreen topic when it comes to work, communication, and productivity.

My setup is pretty standard, and perhaps won’t apply to many people, but I thought it could be still a good one to share.

I use an email client

As I manage eight email addresses I really can’t jump from Gmail to Gmail, and importing emails from different account into a single one is just a nightmare.

My client of choice is Airmail, both on macOS and on iOS. I know there are probably better clients out there, but I’ve been using it for years and I have yet to find the time to search and setup a new one.

Inbox Zero is my daily goal

And I normally don’t call it a day if I haven’t reached it. Bear in mind, I’m privileged enough to have to do long replies fairly rarely. So at the end of the day I make sure I have read / replied / deleted / archived all the emails that needed one of those actions. Obviously this doesn’t happen everyday.

I always “Reply all” and “Send & Archive”

I don’t always have my eyes on my email. In fact, I check it during my work day with fairly large time gaps. Every time I put my eyes on my inboxes, I reply immediately to all emails that require a 30 second / 1 sentence answer.

I’m used to “reply all” because it’s the best way to make sure everyone is kept in the loop, and “send and archive” because once the last email in the conversation is mine there’s no reason to keep it in the inbox.

I don’t treat my email like a to-do list.

If something needs to stay in the email as a reminder, the content ends up in a personal Trello board and the email gets archived.

The only reason why an email stays in the inbox is that it requires a reply that can’t be written and sent immediately.

Email notifications

At Human Made we have a bunch of internal websites we use for important discussions (see my 7 Tips to use Slack effectively, second tip). I constantly tweak and optimise what I want to see in my email from those—some sites don’t affect my work, so I don’t get notified. Some do, marginally, so I get notified only for posts. Other sites are important to me, so I get notifications for posts and comments.

Every time I get subscribed to a new GitHub repo I click the unwatch link if it doesn’t affect my work. The link is in the email notification you receive when you get subscribed, so in case you didn’t notice it please consider clicking it straight away otherwise you’ll get flooded with ticket notifications you don’t care about.

Newsletters

I use only one personal email address to aggregate the handful of non-work newsletters I receive—news briefings, which I read in the morning, hobby-related stuff, which I read in the late afternoon.

I don’t filter / label / snooze / use the importance marker.

Too much work. Email for me is simple: it’s all about reading, replying, deleting, archiving.

Curious to see if you have something you could share!

Supporting Content Creators

You know one thing that really makes me feel good? Supporting content creators.

We all consume some form of free content online—articles, podcasts, newsletters, but even songs, short movies, etc. Sometimes they’re teasers to sell you a complete package, a product, or a subscription, but in so many instances they’re more like side projects whose goals don’t include generating profits.

So how do I support them?

Likes, subscribing and sharing are the classic ways—but what if you wanted to give them something more?

Some use PayPal donation buttons, or other services—I support my content creator of choice on Patreon and I really like it.

Patreon seems to be the standard these days actually. If the content creator has set up their account there, you can send them money on a recurring basis—for example every time they release something.

You can also set up a limit per month, in case you don’t want to end up sending them more than makes sense to you.

How do I decide who to send money to?

It can be a musician, a YouTuber, or someone who manages a newsletter, a blog or a podcast that really gave you something. These days there’s no limit to the kind of content that is shared online.

I chose Kevin Moore, keyboardist for Dream Theater, Fates Warning, OSI, and a bunch of other projects, whose music in his Dream Theater days meant a lot to me in my teenage years. He’s still making excellent music, albeit stylistically quite far from what his previous coworkers do.

Ok, but how much should I send them?

Whilst I believe any amount would make the difference for the content creator, my personal rule is: it should be a fair chunk of money I think they deserve (so probably not a stupid $0.20/month or something), that is still somewhat insignificant to me.

How do you determine what insignificant means, in the context of money? Ask yourself, What’s the thing I buy regularly that’s not essential? I like me a cocktail in a bar from time to time. There you go. $12/song for you, Kevin. The average price of a cocktail where I live, and coincidentally the upper tier of support for him (Collaborator, $10 + $2 VAT).

Send better emails with SCRAP

Over the last few months I’ve been talking about writing quite often. One of the main takeaways I normally convey is this: you should (almost) never start from a blank page. Always, always have a clear structure first.

Templates usually help, and I have several of those for all the kinds of write-ups I regularly do. When it’s time to send a business email, whether I know the recipient or not, I usually try structuring the text using the SCRAP model.

What does SCRAP stand for?

A message that’s been put together according to the SCRAP formula has these ingredients, in this exact order:

Situation: where we’re at right now.
Complication: the problem that needs to be dealt with.
Resolution: your proposed way to fix the problem.
Action: the action you want the reader to take (a click, or even a simple answer).
Politeness: the end, on a friendly note.

Here’s a simple example. Alex and Sam are two random people who briefly met at a meetup. In this email, Sam is doing a classic networking follow-up and the SCRAP model fits perfectly:

Hey Alex,

Lovely to meet you yesterday at the Product meetup! Glad we were able to chat before the schedule got underway.  ➡️ SITUATION

I remember you mentioned [CHALLENGE], which is far too common in our industry. ➡️ COMPLICATION

Since that’s exactly what our team does, I’d be really happy to have a chat with you and explore ways to work together. ➡️ RESOLUTION

It would be great to schedule a Skype call earlier next week. Does Monday 10AM work for you? ➡️ ACTION

Looking forward to hearing from you. ➡️ POLITENESS

Cheers!

Sam

Why does it work?

As a template, it works by default—it gives you a framework with five content blocks to fill, so that you can create a first version quickly and painlessly. As a message, it’s short and to the point, and prompts the recipient to perform the intended action.

Mind the Product 2017, London. See you there?

On the 8th of September I’ll have the pleasure to attend the Mind the Product conference at Barbican Hall, London.

Mind the Product is an event dedicated to product management, bringing together product people from all over the world to explore the intersection of design, technology and business. The schedule looks amazing—Jake Knapp, lead author of Sprint, does look like a strong way to start!—and I can’t wait to meet so many people who work in the greater product ecosystem.

If you’re coming and you’d like to hear more about anything I or we at Human Made do (WordPress for enterprise, products with WordPress, etc.) just get in touch beforehand—I’ll be more than happy to chat during the breaks or at the afterparty 🙂

Follow the #MTPcon hashtag on Twitter to know more!

Resizing multiple objects in Keynote

More like a note to self than a real Keynote protip, because for some reason I never seem to remember this little trick when I need it.

If you need to resize multiple objects in keynote, select them, then Arrange → Group.

Menu entry for grouping multiple objects to resize them in Keynote

Once they’ve been grouped, you’ll be able to resize them with your mouse.

Ungroup to get back to single objects.

Blogs and social media at WordCamp Edinburgh 2017

I’m super excited to announce that I’m speaking at WordCamp Edinburgh 2017! I’ll present a talk about long-form content and social media, which I’ve cheekily titled Are Twitter threads killing blogs?

WordCamp Edinburgh will take place on 22-23 July at CodeBase, the UK’s largest startup incubator, located at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. I’ll speak on Saturday, at 3:45pm, and it’s going to be the closing keynote of day 1.

Tickets are still available, so if work with WordPress and you’re in the position to afford a trip to Edinburgh, don’t hesitate and come with us.

Links

My speaker profile
My talk’s abstract
WordCamp Edinburgh 2017 schedule

Out of Office 2017 is today, have you signed up?

We’re doing it again. After last year’s successful edition, we decided to put together another Out of Office event.

Click the image 👇 to know more and sign up

What is Out of Office, exactly?

It’s a conference about all the things related to remote work. This year we’re having speakers from GitHub, Forbes, Zapier and other big guns of the Internet, touching on a fairly wide array of topics—from remote project management to culture, growth and team building.

It is ONLINE, so you will be able to watch it from any device as long as it benefits from an Internet connection. Wherever you are—co-working space, home office, living room, you name it.

It is FREE, so you won’t pay a dime for it. You only need to sign up and wait for today 4pm UK time. There’s still time.

It is INTERACTIVE, so you’ll be able to ask questions, upvote other people’s questions—Reddit style—and get answers from both our speakers and Human Made folks.

Cool! On social media?

We’re on Twitter and will be live tweeting the event with highlights from our speakers and other details. Make sure you follow us, even—and I dare say, especially—if for some reason you can’t watch the event live.

Want to tweet about the event? Awesome! Please use the hashtag #outofoffice17 so all the conversations will be gathered under one stream.

We look forward to see you!

My writing workflow at WordCamp Bristol 2017

Hey everyone, I’m super excited to announce that I’ll speak at WordCamp Bristol!

In my session I’ll basically explain my writing workflow. I think it’s very important to have a clear and well defined writing routine to release content (whether blog posts or internal reports etc.) without reinventing the wheel every time, and my talk will go exactly in this direction.

Sunday 14 May 2017, at the Watershed Media Centre, 10AM—my talk is the first one of the second day.

My speaker profile
My talk’s abstract
WordCamp Bristol 2017 schedule