Market age causes disruption

Markets are not disrupted by brilliant ideas but by consumers that missed the market education!

There’s always going to be new people. That is why it’s never too late. The new people miss the background, values and attitude which helped their older peers fit the market.

Countless frustrated new consumers will try anything but the old models. We need something to measure market age. Old markets are filled with new people who want out.

The new models need to be culturally fit to the new market. If they are, their consumers will disrupt it.

Just take a look at the endless flow of Excel competition, new ways to write, new ways to publish, no code, appified everything. It’s not that the new ways are objectively better that justify market disruption. Market disruption is a cultural phenomenon.

When there is a generational shift brands need to adapt. And they do. But products are not as flexible as brands. Some products which do not posess any intrinsic quality just fake it. Sodas that were cool in the the 20’s of last century are cool in the 20’s of this century.

Most products have their own idiosyncrasies which have to be synergic to the generational culture shift. When that synergy is lost, then the consumers are trapped in a market that is not fit for them anymore.

Products which manage to appeal to the cultural divide between incumbents and their new consumers will empower their users to “disrupt” the market, but moving in droves to the culture fit.

Examples:

  • anything that is holding people captive in enterprise but still uses the culture of 90s computing is to be disrupted.
  • anything where consumers are captive in a culture of waste is to be disrupted (lookin at you fashion)
  • anything where consumers are captive in a culture of scarcity is to be disrupted (it only started with cars)
  • anything where consumers are stuck in “low level do it yourself” mode is to be disrupted by subscription
  • no code is a disruption caused by increased consumer tech literacy, where people did not see software as magic and started to expect an empowering UX

The list can go on and on, but fundamentally be on the lookout for markets where there is a gap in the incumbent’s cultural baggage (not the brand! the product!) and the people who are actually in that market using the product.

Generations embracing cultural departures and adventures literally create new markets.

A mission for WordPress

Let’s build a mission for a 20 year old project, whose declared vision is to “democratise publishing”.

Before we can dive in, let’s take a closer look at what are we’re really trying to achieve: when will we call it a day and say we’re done? Ideally, that is when publishing is democratic.

On the WordPress about page we see that the mission of WordPress is basically describing what WordPress aspires to be. Included in that description is the idea of democratising publishing, which sounds more like a value in that context (a.k.a. something we believe in).

I believe that the real grandiose, high aiming, long term impressive outcome, a.k.a. vission, of this long running project, WordPress, is in fact democratising publishing.

Democratising publishing is not a mere value, not is it our mission, it is our vision.

Democratising publishing. But how?

Well, let’s run with the idea that WordPress has the vision to democratise publishing. That makes “publishing” the market of WordPress and by democratising it WordPress is constantly creating more market, bringing publishing to more and more people.

As a strategy, we are are going for a strategy of becoming the OS of the Web. Becoming the OS of the Web, it’s just a means to an end, it is not a visionary explanation how WordPress will democratise publishing. Therefore it’s a mere strategy. It is not a Mission to complete our Vision. So, to me it seems that WordPress is lacking a mission that explains the how.

Based on the mission, we should derrive strategies that will enable it to actually occur in reality. Having a mission allows the strategies to be varied and to have predictabilities compared to when they exist in a void, unthetered to a superior aspect.

Making a mission for WordPress is a complex business. I appreciate that having a mission, in a large, “late stage” open source project” could be very restrictive. It would bring a lot more rigidity in decisions and also potentially make some decisions hard to explain. Therefore let’s continue based solely on our Vision: democratise publishing. How do we make that happen?

The one strategy we have (OS of the Web) results in objectives and we have plenty of those:

The problem is, however, that we need some checks on strategy to make sure we pick the right objectives. Lacking that previous item before a strategy, a mission, the objectives are all great as long as they advance the strategy. But what if they hurt the Vision? Objectives in turn generate goals, and we also have plenty of those, not to mention the projects.

The strategy we’re currently focused on, becoming the operating system of the web, is a viable strategy. What is missing is a description of:

  • how exactly it is going to allow WordPress to democratise Publishing and,
  • what risks does this monopoly strategy pose for the (missing) Mission and ultimately the Vision we have?

Knowing the risks of this particular strategy is different to general threats (competition, technology, changing market landscape). These risks are owned by WordPress itself, and in turn they influence our quarterly achievements and the roadmaps (yearly, three years and 5+) we make: we should make these to minimize those risks.

Again, the bare minimmum we have is a Vission to work with. Even in the absence of a Mission, there is another area which would help us keep our strategy in check: alternative strategies. What other plans help? What are the areas that our current strategy does not cover? What would be alternative strategies that compensate some of the risks of our primary one?

Let’s do a quick exercise of where our other strategies could come from, in absence of a Mission.

The state we start with, which we want to change, I like to call it captive publishing. Your creative output, sometimes your life’s work, sometimes your actual life, is in a walled garden. It is not yours, it is not portable, it depends on the rules, weaknesses and sometimes whims of the walled garden.

We can describe effective publishing as more than the act. Publishing is a far reaching activity: it has a creation phase, but to achieve some goals it also requires at least two more arms of direction: distribution and monetisation. All three arms are already occupied by at least Facebook. This platform is so big that it could eventually be placed in any of these things.

At the intersection of some publishing arms smaller players reside, e.g. Substack looking to solve monetisation and distribution in a simpler way, or Medium looking to solve the creation and monetisation in a simpler way. Sure, these are not thorrough analises of these companies, but the point is not to study competition, as much as to see how captive publishing is a phenomenon created by the competitive market itself, and that this is where WordPress wants to solve things for humans, as a non profit project.

Currently, we’re advanced at solving the creation arm of publishing. It is not complete, it’s still ongoing work, but because we’re looking at a strategy of monopoly, hard onboarding, difficulty in effectively setting up a publishing tool based on WordPress is the big 80/20 that we can pick. So Gutenberg to the rescue. It will eventually solve a lot of problems:

  • make it easier to start, look at the advancement of patterns and block themes,
  • make it easier to customize your publishing space,
  • the new tech stack allows us to try and implement collaborative editing,
  • part of Gutenberg’s plans, I think, is to revamp how editorial workflows exist in WordPress.

So this is an arm where we’re actually winning. Having the impressive scores in pagespeed and bringing a beautiful UX model that is, for now, way ahead, in my opinion, of other products in terms of combining flexibility with ease of use, makes WordPress a very compelling choice. But what do we do next?

Not much. To monetise your publishing endeavor with WordPress you have to tap into an ecosystem that effectively creates another kind of captive publishing. There is a immensely steep learning curve to choose, setup and use the solutions. Then once you’re in, just like our old classic mega themes, you’re trapped in a system that effectively takes over your business. Hardly democratised. What else?

Still little to nothing. Distribution with WordPress is at the mercy of other internet Giants (publicize your publishing to other networks or wait for Google’s opaque alogrythm to send some divine traffic your way). Organic distribution in this decade is anywhere between dead and depending on extreme quality and reputation. Hardly democratic.

Even if you do manage to attract an audience, there is no way in WordPress to actually capture it, cultivate it and grow it. Except if you, like in the case of monetisation, tap into an ecosystem that in turn does the same: slowly but surely takes over and turns your freedom into captivity.

Caveat. We have an ecosystem. Won’t our ventures in these areas that are served by it estrange the ecosystem which is so valuable to WordPress?

Not if we do it according to our Vision, to democratise publishing. We don’t have to take over and solve all the problems in core. We need to make sure APIs exist, sysyems are in place, best practices are nudged into the ecosystem, sensible defaults exist, and basic options function for a publisher of this day and age are built in.

We seem to have forgotten, in my albeit narrow perspective, our own rules: if 80% of people start defaulting to some functionality fom plugins or theme options immediately after setting up a stock WordPress site, then that functionality should have a core representation of some kind. But I can’t build a mailing list in 2021 with stock WordPress, nor can I get a tip. I have to install a jugernaut of a plugin to get basic SEO improvements. I need to install a caching plugin to safeguard my publishing space from friends and family crashing it. That is a very barebones experience.

So what is there to be done?

Continuing with our lack of a Mission, we can rely on our vision to devise new strategies, that could work along our primary, well meaning, monopolistic approach. We need to devise new ways to improve WordPress at allowing people to set themselves free and to not even need to start in a place where they deal with captive publishing.

Here are some basic ideas for alternative strategies:

Just like our monopoly strategy, these strategies are also going to require their own objectives, goals, projects. Some will work, some won’t. Some are viable ideas, some lack the technology yet. A point of this exericise is to show that having multiple approaches to see our vision a reality is a better way than betting on one horse. These strategies can compensate for eachother’s risks. They create space for our vision to manifest.

The examples above are just a tiny set. For instance, we should have a strategy for the fact that the mobile space is deeply undemocratic. They’re all walled gardens. But our publishing models, based on an open web, are fragile now with two thirds of people experiencing the open and the closed web via a mobile device. Mobile publishing is waiting to burst and it may just mop the floor with the standard desktop ideas we have. All that is missing is better input tech. Voice was not what it was expected. Yet. Folding phones may be the trigger or Samsung’s desktop from a phone system may stick and everyone else start doing it. Who knows?

Nevertheless, while mobile publishing is important, it is rather a new-ish problem, with some unsolved foundations. On the other hand, distribution and monetisation issues with stock WordPress are old problems which are solved successfuly by players that effectively create a world diametrally opposed to our vision.

This is core’s job: to keep an eye on and to constantly shepherd strategies that advance our vision. While Gutenberg will itself tap into these, when time comes, today the bulk of “stock WordPress” and it’s potential to democratise publishing are all those core features which existed before Gutenberg, which are the foundation Gutenberg depends on and which will enable Gutenberg later to express its original vision. But the seeds and the fertile ground has to be in core by then.


Thanks for reding and giving this some thought. Here is the whole picture for perspective.

Când toată lumea e transformată, nimeni nu e transformat

    Extras din "Credeau că sunt liberi"
    de Milton Mayer

Aștepți șocul, momentul șocului, momentul acela în care crezi că ceilalți ți se vor alătura pentru că vor fi șocați, și, în sfârșit, vor decide sa opună rezistență cumva. […] Incertitudinea însă își va juca rolul, aceasta, în loc să scadă pe măsură ce trece timpul, va crește. Afară, pe străzi, în comunitatea ta, “toată lumea” e bine. Nu auzi de vreun protest, și cu siguranță nu vezi vreunul. […] Ți se spune că “Nu e așa de rău” sau “Ți se pare” sau “Bagi panica în oameni”.

Și chiar bagi panica în oameni. Spui că ce se întâmplă acum va duce la asta și la asta, dar nu poți demonstra. Desigur ăsta e începutul, dar cum poți să știi sigur că ăsta e începutul dacă nu știi care e sfârșitul, și cum poți să știi, sau măcar să presupui, care e sfârșitul?

Iar momentul șocului, acela când speri că mii sau sute de mii ți se vor alătura și vor protesta, marele șoc nu vine niciodată. Aceasta e dificultatea. Dacă ultimul și cel mai rău lucru pe care regimul l-ar fi făcut ar fi venit imediat după primul și cel mai neînsemnat, mii, poate milioane, ar fi fost șocați […] Desigur, însă, nu așa se întâmplă lucrurile. În realitate, de când începe și până la final ai parte de sutele de pași mici, unii imperceptibili, fiecare în schimb pregătindu-te să nu mai fii șocat de următorul.

Într-o zi, prea târziu, principiile, dacă vreodată le-ai avut, vin toate grămadă peste tine. […] și vezi cu ochiul liber că totul, totul s-a schimbat, s-a schimbat complet chiar sub privirea ta.

Acum trăiești într-o lume plină de ură si bazată pe frică, iar cei ce urăsc și se tem nici nu știu că urăsc și se tem, când toată lumea e transformată, nimeni nu e transformat.

How to #cancel Amazon: stop buying from Amazon. How to cancel human beings: create monster stories, trash legacies, erase their names from books, rewrite history, reinterpret everything they said, launch media storms to filter anything contradicting narrative. Hmmmm.


How people cancel people: stop replying to their texts. How media cancels people: constantly roll non-news about person, make up lies by omission or outraging interpretations in opinion editorials, obsessively associate person to undesirable anything, be relentless.


How citizens cancel politicians: vote them out. How politicians cancel politicians: sex scandals, fake pious poses, dig trash from forgotten history on friendly media, sickeningly oppose good things to make them look bad, sex scandals.

People should be out in the streets with torches for this particular vision of Jeffrey:

„Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos with the vision of enabling a future where millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth.“

It is real estate 101. Those living and working in space will benefit Jeff Bezos’ descending plutocracy. They will be the only ones who will afford Earth.

We are sick for not going out of our way to topple this vision.

It is one of the most deranged visions that were ever spelled and instead of being a dirty secret it is sold to us fools as a grand project.

Who the hell out there thinks that the children of their children will be happy on some rock where death is a snap away? Why are y’all letting this dude fuck up your legacy? 

Instead of slums, arid lands, factory cities and the like, these assholes, born into riches, dancing through life drunk on their inexplicable luck, ripping off hundreds of years of poor schmucks dying for the infrastructure they now can exploit, they want all of us ejected into the mother fucking space! We crowded their shit.

Can you see the recruitment ads of the future? Can you see the impossible rent prices of the future? Can you see the debt collection via labor on asteroid Dimwit 21?

Friends, these are there real dangers, the ones close to humanity’s heart: insane lunatics leading us with their sick visions. They’re far more urgent and dangerous for your kids than the most immediate of dangers, like climate, pandemic, „overpopulation“, immigration, because all these things are being handled by people who work to fulfil the insane „visions“ of incompetent average emotionally sick people born into opportunity. 

Future happiness

Do you think big pharma is the savior and that mandates are legitimate? Good for you. Do you think it’s all a scam and profit is the ultimate answer, ending in control of the individual for taking away free choice? Good for you.

It’s all a show.

Are you a Trump fan? May I remind you that operation warp speed was his creation, while Pfizer was already producing vaccine without an emergency approval?

Are you a Biden fan? May I remind you how the world is effectively dying while mr. current president wanted a 3rd dose without even waiting for “science” to give its greenlight?

It’s all a show.

I think since Clinton it all went downhill. And, starting with the US, the whole world collapsed into the same Show Of Shows. I sometimes imagine the laughs Bush Jr. had with family while playing the dumb president part: “They bought it, I’ll be damned!”. I other times imagine the chats between the Clintons: “It took our convenience marriage exposed for globalisation to kick in. What a laugh!”.

Truth be told, who can know anymore? It’s billions of us. Billions. The immediate effect is that we’re having tens, maybe hundreds of millions of people guarding secrets and masquerading the truth. At this size the world is unknowable. Cases like McAfee maybe getting away with murder, but maybe being suicided for talking forbidden subjects, or the infamous pedo Epstein who maybe had the elite wrapped in a web of status lust, but maybe being suicided for getting caught: these are the cracks through which one looks. But what we see through the cracks is a thin and severely incomplete picture. Who don’t know a damn thing. And we never will. Because we can’t.

You know why? Because we’re common people. Common people comply because their world is a fabrication well adjusted to the commoner’s grasp on the world. Makes me laugh how people travel as tourists or for sight seeing, and think that now they “know the world”. They’ve “seen it”. Good for y’all.

We’re billions and billions. We’re a forest where a falling tree is never heard. Not a whisper. Not even a few birds flying away. No birds get in the middle of this forest. It’s a forest of the connections and secrets and agendas of billions of people. Who can tell anymore?

The solution to this is the same as it always was: give up on the world, focus on your surroundings. Do you dislike your country’s politics? Make a local change. “Oh, but they’ll bury us!” I hear you say. Yes, only when you’ll matter. To survive, don’t touch their money. That’s where it all ends. Don’t try to tax the rich, don’t try to fight off corporations, don’t try to create competing globalist ideologies. Just stick to community building, local politics, local production, large networks of friends. The solution is, if you will, medieval, but without the force and bloodshed.

Ce-am învățat de la recorder? Cum să faci din rahat bici sau din țânțar armăsar.

Recorder a făcut un nou “material” inflamator despre BOR. Materialul a facut rating mare pe net, și ce să vezi, Biserica e nașpa. Wow. Nu mă așteptam. Mint, ba mă așteptam. Iată cu ce am rămas eu dupa “material”:

1) BOR are nevoie de un PR mai bun. Mă ofer. Aștept licitația din ziarul Lumina.

2) Când ești prins cu mâța-n sac cea mai proastă strategie este să o dai la-ntors, că mâța nu e mâță, că sacul e o pungă sau că mâța era liberă sa plece oricând dar așa vrea ea să stea în sac.

3) Dacă o investigație jurnalistică se axează pe termeni repetitivi cum ar fi “marele alb” – pute a comandă politică de asasinare a unui personaj. Total coincidență “marele alb” vânat, acum recomandă vaccinarea “din tot sufletul”.

4) Nu se numește jurnalism investigativ dacă se bazează ca DNA-ul pe spusele unora sau altora.

5) Trebuie să îți vezi lungul nasului de jurnalist, de la demascarea unor trepăduși mărunți, veriga slabă a mafiei din BOR, la concluzia ca Daniel e dracu’ în persoană, este un salt pe care recorder nu l-a făcut, dar îl cere de la audiență să îl facă.

6) Există o audiență anti-X care urmărește sa audă constant ca X e rău si că, normal, au dreptate să fie anti-X. Tactic vorbind, între expunerile aparent nesfârșite ale mafiei din BOR și expunerile aparent nesfârșite ale “cabalei mondiale” diferența este doar de conținut, dar contextul si finalitatea sunt identice: anume, mărirea coeziunii unui grup pe bază de manifestări permanente a credințelor comune. Cam cum face și biserica.

7) Corupția este la vedere în România. De ce tot insistăm să o “expunem”? Ce vrem? Să ne salveze americanii? Nu suntem oare în pericol de a amorți la prezența corupției? Eu cred că da. Oamenii nu vor face altceva decât să se desensibilizeze la mesaj. Apogeul expunerii corupței a fost atins la “Colectiv” si rezultatele sunt mediocre, în cel mai bun caz.

Să luăm frumos, copăcel, ce construiește recorder de fapt:

( x ) religia țării este o glumă proastă,
( x ) suntem praf,
( x ) mafia e peste tot,
( x ) totul trebuie privatizat.

Pe scurt, un lung, calculat și nefast proces de desțelenire a unei națiuni care n-a avut niciodată ocazia să se înrădăcineze prea bine. Și totul trebuie privatizat, să nu uităm.

Toți cei care vă lamentați ca BOR “e stat în stat”, “că nu platește taxe”, știți ca toate cultele sunt “stat în stat” și nu plătesc taxe, nu? Știți că toate cultele primesc bani de la stat, de exemplu de la Ministerul Culturii Și Cultelor?

Ce bine ne-ar fi ca recorder să facă jurnalism investigativ, nu reportaje la comandă cu Mixici amărâtul care a plecat “într-un orășel din Germania”, Petre Roman erou sau toți analfabeții cu care și-au facut popii pomană prezentați drept operativii unei mafii atotputernice bazate pe moaște. Până atunci recorder pare un instrument moale de lovit tare, aflat la mâna celor care au nevoie de așa instrument.

Sper că cei care se dau cu câștigătorii să beneficieze de câștigul câștigătorilor. Improbabil, dar speranța e cunoscută ca sursa deziluziei.

Only yes

And, in the end, it simply isn’t worth
   Your while to try and clean your life away.
You can’t. For, everything you do or say
   Is there, forever. It leaves evidence.
In fact it’s really only common sense;
   There’s no such thing as nothing, not at all.
It may be really very, very small
   But it’s still there. In fact I think I’d guess
That “no” does not exist. There’s only “yes”.

Yes (2005)

Angajati Profesionisti Incompetenti

Asta e alternativa mea de om simplu la Intelectualul Idiot al lui Nassim Taleb.

Există o diferență pe care puțini o percep între profesionism și competență. Deși competența și profesionismul nu au aproape nimic în comun în definițiile lor, cumva am observat că oamenii le folosesc interschimbabil.

Lumea e plină de profesioniști. Astăzi profesioniști sunt toți, și fostele bresle și noile bresle sunt pline ochi de profesioniști. De când învățământul a dat cu firma de pământ și a lăsat standardele la piciorul ratei, slava Domnului ca altfel faceam armata, de atunci și însemnătatea cuvântului profesionist s-a îmbuibat cu tot felul de sensuri adiacente.

Ca paranteză, cuvintele, să știți, au viața lor și sunt la fel de nesătule și obeze ca și oamenii expuși la abundență. De asemenea, cuvintele se invidiază unele pe altele și încearcă în permanență să sape groapa altuia.

Astfel profesionistul a încercuit aproape toate aspectele unei vieți în societate în ziua de azi. Dar, toate astea s-au petrecut în detrimentul competentului. Competentul este acela care oricum nici înainte nu beneficia de producția de hârtie din sistemul de învățământ, cel puțin nu în prim-plan.

Odată ce competentul a început să piardă și bruma de teren pe care o mai avea, profesionistul a inceput să faca agricultură pe acel teren. Și din rezultate a crescut mai multi profesioniști. Câți profesioniști? Evident, cat încape, pentru că in societatea viitorului totul este gestionat de roboți și toată lumea, cel puțin toată lumea liberală și progresistă, are senzația greșită ca “toată lumea” are o aspirație să devină un mic profesionist undeva în colțul sufletului.

Însă și această specie, ca și toate celelalte lucruri din univers, are permanent o activitate gaunoasa de analiza si stratificare din care rezulta o piramidă. Iar în această piramidă competența ar trebui să se afle la bază. Ce se află acum la bază? Diplome.

Diplomele, în special soiul acela de diplome fără carne pe ele, au creat profesionistul incompetent. Spre deosebire de intelectualul idiot profesionistul incompetent nu se găsește în mediul academic. Profesionistul incompetent se găsește la locul de muncă, atât în mediul privat cat și în cel de stat.

Profesionistul incompetent este plaga economiilor moderne care nu au înțeles că nu pot să pună furtunul cu bani în învățământ și să obțină rezultate, la fel cum ar funcționa într-un business promițător.

Profesionistul incompetent este plaga bugetarilor acelora dintre ei care chiar știu ce fac dar nu au loc să respire sau să acționeze în niciun fel.

Profesionistul incompetent este plaga corporațiilor dar și a firmelor de apartament care angajează după un screening metodic al catastiful lui de așteptări pe care firma îl are de la angajat.

Competența din fericire, dar și din păcate, nu funcționează după principiul așteptări recompensă. Competența funcționează aproape exclusiv după principiul satisfacției personale.

Îți trebuie puțin timp de analizat angajați pentru a afla în final că cel mai important atribut pe care cineva îl poate detine ca forță de muncă este setea de satisfacție personală. Dorința interioară de a face bine, numai “ca sa fie bine”. Aceasta este baza, terenul fertil pentru competență. De aici putem face orice profesionist, dintr-un om competent vom face un profesionist competent. Dintr-un incompetent vom face un profesionist, evident, incompetent.

Competența începe întotdeauna ca o atitudine și abia apoi se transformă intr-o unealtă. Profesionalismul începe întotdeauna ca unealtă și abia apoi se transformă într-o atitudine.

Și, dacă incercati, veți vedea, in jocul de cuvinte anterior, că cele două atribute se leagă foarte bine dacă sunt puse în ordinea corectă și se leagă foarte prost invers.

Când treci de la competența la profesionalism o vei face construind o unealtă cu ajutorul altei unelte. Vei avea doua unelte. Când treci de la profesionalism la competență construiești o atitudine folosindu-te de o altă atitudine. Vei avea o mare atidudine.

Atitudinea nu a inlocuit niciodată sudoarea din păcate.

Munca este nouășnouă la sută transpirație și unu la sută inspirație pentru ca execuția este cheia.

Grunt writing

I sometimes feel that with “status” comes the permission to weave phrases and the patience reading them requires. If people think you’re having enough authority, they’ll have more patience for you to explain.

For everyone else, we require a sort of grunt writing style. Arguments like “people don’t have time”, “conclusion first”, short sentences, shorter sentences!, be concise and so on, are all super common.

What would we want more? Clarity or simplicity?

I agree that shortform and on topic clarity is a huge helper, but I feel there are countless more times where not treating things like fleeting feed items gives one’s brain the chance to be bright.