Once upon a time, a little boy decided he wanted to solve problems. That boy quickly learned that he functioned better in a multi-disciplinary environment and, as he grew, started several companies and sold most of them. Then one day, as he neared manhood (he was a late bloomer), he joined a few other folk and started b5media. It got big. Raised lots of money. He worked hard. So hard that he burnt out.
For the last couple of years, he’s toyed with starting a real new startup. But it wasn’t until today that he was ready to show it to the world.
Announcing: 23press, a startup focused on “making blogging easier for regular humans”!
What Is 23press?
Quite simply, being a blogger is too hard. Even the simple things like finding the right SEO plugin, making a theme “really work”, moving a blog between hosts and backing up your blog… these things are just too hard! 23press will make all the stupid stuff that’s way too hard about blogging a whole lot easier.
Who We Are
The founding team is made up of myself and two other fantastic gents, as well as support from a LOT of friends and family. Terry Smith, who I hired at b5 and then became solid friends with, is our awesome Head Humanizer (ie: he builds the shit that makes your blogging life easier). Terry is easily one of the top WordPress guys in the world, and is super smart to boot, so working together on our own startup was a no brainer.
Second is Jason Hall. Jason’s a bit new to the social media world, but has started startups before, does serious marketing work and is one of the smartest and hardest working guys I’ve ever met. Jason not only makes sure the trains run on time, but in his role as Head Head, ensures marketing, planning and product are all well and truly handled.
And me? Well, I’m the Head Human. It’s my job to grow this puppy and hopefully learn from my lessons last time around!
What We Are Doing
Well, Move That Blog has been out for a few months now. When we released it, we knew we were solving a problem, but the response has been great! We will be releasing a few more tidbits on the rest of the MTB family later this week, including a dedicated version for web hosts (so customers can be moved, or move themselves, in seconds with no hassle).
Beyond that, look for our set of product announcements in the next few days!
Wrapping this all up a little bit, here is a bit more info!
- Funding: Unlike my last startup, b5media (which raised, well, a lot of money), this project is currently funded by our own little group. We’ve been asked to allow outside investors in, though, as the vision is fun, so we’ll likely be doing that in January ish. Not that we’ll need it, but money to grow faster is rarely a bad thing.
- Founding Team: With both me and Terry having deep roots in the social and blogging spaces, we’re both looking forward to tackling a fresh problem that we can brainstorm with our friends about all over again. And Jason? Well, he’s just happy he gets to come to Canada once in awhile ;-)
- Launch Date: September 1, 2011. Hence announcements coming “soon”!
- Products: Well, you have Move That Blog already. After that will be stuff that all bloggers should have readily accessible and without any real work: security, speed, backups, etc. Boring, but important. And after that? Well, that’s when the magic happens. Just wait!
- Branding: We’re a startup. So we did our logo at 99designs. Cause we’d rather work than be super pretty. Besides, when we need pretty we have Jason!
- Management: Luckily, we have many people interested in helping with this project. Some will be helping grow the effort on a volunteer basis.
- Partners: Oh, yeah, we have some. We’ll announce those in the next couple of weeks too. Might be a bit surprising.
- Affiliate programs: Yep, coming, any day now.
- The name: Oh, yeah. We make stuff easier for “regular humans”. Humans have 23 chromosomes. Also, I have a minor thing for numbers in names!
In the next few days, we’ll be sharing our initial product roadmap for the Move That Blog suite, deeper details on our backup product, and top line info on our line of optimization and security tools. We are aiming to have our backup product in market in the next 4 weeks (let us know if you want to beta test!), and our optimization tools in market 4 weeks later (love startup timelines!).
We’ll also be at BlogWorld LA, making several rather significant announcements, planning and attending WordCamps and ensuring that the next time Jason hops in a cab, he doesn’t wake up in an entirely different city 7 hours later.
Oh, fine, email me: email@example.com. Or skype: jeremy_wright.
Rest. Rehab. Practice. The three steps a professional sports player goes through before returning to their chosen sport. For some injuries, like ruining your knee, it can take awhile to get back to playable shape! Two years ago, I blew out my startup knee at b5media. Nobody’s fault, just one of those things. And I’ve recently finished my recovery steps.
I spent serious time on Workcation, consulting via netmobs on some really cool projects. Most of this was rest, though. Spent alot of time in the South of the US. Did alot of speaking. But mostly I rested, made new friends, found hobbies and generally rebalanced what was a very out of balance life. I wasn’t ever really sure I’d be able to get back to real startup life, ie: running my own company.
As I left b5, I let folk know that with the right opportunity, at the right time, I’d go back to full-time work. I was lucky enough to have Joe Thornley reach out and offer me “something” at Thornley Fallis / 76design. It took til January for me to be ready and confident I could have a positive impact. Also, I really wanted to learn some new skills, so time on the communications side of things was fantastically interesting. That Dave and I became good friends over this period was just a huge bonus.
Almost a year ago, I joined BNOTIONS as CEO. They were a small, growing firm, that I was able to help along through what are normally very rough patches in a startup’s life (due to cash flow, hiring issues, visibility in the industry, etc). Most service startups in the 5-15 person phase can relate to what BNOTIONS was basically able to ignore. This was an incredible experience. The team, projects and process of (again) taking a startup from a few people to juggernaut stage was awesome. Not to mention that the leadership team of AK, Mark, Logan, etc were inspiring to see in action and the pure cultural drive at BNOTIONS will be more than enough to keep the company growing so I wasn’t worried about leaving.
And, yes, “practice” is tongue in cheek. This was one of the best experiences of my life!
But eventually it was time to dig in and do something where I put everything into a company again. My company. Building something I loved and believed in. Not that I couldn’t have stayed at any of the places listed above, or any of a myriad of other opportunities at awesome companies. But fundamentally, I realize now, I’m at my best when I’m giving 150%, and the best way to motivate myself to do that isn’t with money or profile or power, it’s with it being something I’ve helped create.
My New Portfolio
That said, it was a flat out honour to work, train, grow, learn, screw up and help each of these companies. The honour is entirely mine.
However, it’s time for me to step up and swing for myself without a safety net. My philosophy this time around is a bit different than last time. Yes, I’ll be pouring everything into a new company (announcement on that coming Monday/Tuesday once we’ve signed our first two big clients), but I’ve also realized that I fundamentally need to clone myself. I need to extend, work with others more, and allow things to flourish even if I’m not involved day to day.
Hence, in addition to next week’s startup announcement, I’ve started investing (time and money) into spinning up several side projects. I’ll do full announcements of each of these over the coming weeks, but for now, here’s a brief synopsis:
- 23press: This was born out of a conversation with Aaron Brazell, and realizing that a lot of things in WordPress are simply too hard. I’m Head Human at 23press, while Terry Smith is the man with the muscle, Head Humanizer and general awesomesauce. Our first product, Move That Blog, will basically one-click move your blog from one host to another for $10 (or unlimited moves for $30). Every plugin, every setting, every theme, theme setting, plugin setting… It’s actually kinda magic and saves 2-10 hours work depending on the blog! Our goal is 5 products out by year end. Each solving problems with WordPress specifically and blogging in general to make your life easier!
- Naked Dating: Mel and I kicked this off in earnest a bit more than a year ago, then life got busy and we had to drop it. But we’re back, and working out how to scale this puppy since the need for new school common sense, social media dating tips and teaching guys how to date is pretty severe. Trust us. It’s bad. More on this soon!
- Clients are Evil: Sometime in the summer of last year, I started talking about this. Doing research. Planning stuff. While this isn’t ready for public consumption yet at all, it will be a significant new book (finalizing details with publisher stuff in next 2 weeks), with lots of speaking, webinars, and products associated with it. With any luck the first taste will be at BlogWorld East
- A game, an app, a new approach to agency life, and more…
If you’ve run into me in the last week or two and asked what’s new and I’ve said “whoa, too much for this casual hello, talk soon!” this is why! More details on everything in the next few weeks, but for now I want to thank my BNOTIONS crew, the Thornley Fallis team, my family and especially my friends for all being so awesome over the last 2 years!
Now for the real work!
At the last minute, I got asked to lead a few extra panels at BlogWorld this week. As a result, I needed to structure, chat with and open up a bunch of panels really quickly. I’ve always structured panels I moderate in a similar way, but decided that codifying it for my panelists would both save me time and give them some advanced notice (since some only got this 2 days before the conference!).
Personally, I prefer to lead discussions vs canned presentations. I also prefer to ask the audience where they are at on a subject (show of hands) so we can tailor the discussion to their needs.
With that in mind, here are my rules for panelists (my rules for moderators are simple: provide value to the audience, make the panelists look smart, be entertaining, keep the discussion on track):
1 HOUR PANEL
- 000-005 – welcome & introductions (30 seconds each) & audience polling
- 005-015 – Biggest Mistake & Most Important Win
- 015-025 – Discussion
- 025-035 – Awkward Questions From Jeremy AKA Continuing Discussion
- 035-050 – Audience Q&A
- 050-100 – Wrapup Statements & Thank You
JEREMY’s RULES FOR PANELISTS
- Have fun
- Don’t agree on everything
- This is a DISCUSSION, don’t be too polite
- This is a COMMUNITY, don’t be rude
- Engage the audience, they’re not just relatively pretty faces
- We’re guests, the audience is the star
- Everyone has an opinion. Bring an example or twelve too.
- Be funny. a. Don’t mock midgets (lessons learned the hard way…)
- Ask each other questions, and ask the audience questions.
- DO NOT CONFERENCE SPAM
QUESTIONS FOR PANELISTS
- Are you okay with your short bio (provided earlier)
- Official title, Twitter ID, website
- Is there anything specific you’d like to cover
- Is there anything specific you DON’T want to cover/to avoid
- Is there a rumour about another panelist I should know about?
I’d love your feedback on this, especially as I’m leading a bunch of discussions with this structure!
Reposted from the BlogWorld blog:
Too often, Social Media is about the MEDIA: spreading the word, getting more followers, making money, growing your traffic, blah, blah, blah, #facepalm… Every once in awhile, though, it’s nice to do the SOCIAL side of the equation, which is what I’m proposing today!
This is the 4th BlogWorld I’ve been to. Each time there are lots of new faces, and everytime they’re just a bit timid, bit scared, bit confused or just a bit… special (sorry @tedmurphy). And while I try my best to show people where session rooms are, to recommend hotels and find cheaper airfare, to publish lists of parties and to hand out my phone number should people need help (416 726 3602 by the way), as Darkwing Duck said: I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the batteries that are not included.
So, let’s scale this helping people thing. Lots of BWE veterans like to help, and even if you’re new you probably know more than you think you do, so let’s use and follow a hashtag on Twitter: #bwehelps. If you have a question, ask it of the hashtag and I will be checking it. Who else will be checking it? Well if you have more than just your mom following you on Twitter (to be fair, my mom stopped following me years ago!) then you should be. Follow it on your mobile and Twitter client. Give back. Be helpful. Smile!
Let’s be a community. Let’s help. Let’s have some fun. No blogger left behind!
Photo by nicht mehr hier @Flickr
I recently (like yesterday) started a new gig, and as part of that we’re building out our already fantastic tech team. The official job descriptiony thingy is below, but if you have questions, grab me on Twitter (@jeremywright) or Skype (jeremy_wright)!
And, yes, I’ll have more info on the move, what it means, what we’re building as time goes on. For now, too much work to pause and blog (which is such a good thing). It is good to be back in the startup world!
BNOTIONS Hiring Junior and Senior Devs
BNOTIONS is a programming and development fraternity. We build the tools, technology, platforms, services and applications for agencies, clients and startups. We are always hiring talented developers as we are always growing and because there are occasionally casualties during our weekly live-streamed talent show, Harth Night Lite.
If you’re the kind of developer that scoffs at inefficient code, believes proper config files can be poetry and have made at least one saint tear up at your PHP or Ruby (or whatever!) then we should talk. Or battle. We could battle to the pain.
So what is life at BNOTIONS like? It’s like Shredder’s Lair from TMNT. Only with slightly fewer skateboards, slightly more monitors and roughly the same number of mutant turtles (of indeterminate age). We work hard, play harder and skype random links all.day.long.
WHAT’S OUR NOTION (GET IT? HAR HAR HAR) OF A GREAT DEV? - You gotz the kommunication skillz - You can focus on great code, with efficiency - You don’t need someone to manage your every minute (but wouldn’t mind a mentor) - You want to be part of a team that gives a damn - You don’t mind being a bit crazy
THE SKILLS WE B (SO FUNNY) LOOKING FOR - Total domination of the LAMP stack - Server-Side language skills (Ruby, PHP, Java, Python etc) - Mobile know-how an asset (iPhone, Android, Mobile Web, etc) - Familiarity with toolkits (JQuery, AMFPHP, etc) - Deep bromance with OSS products (WordPress, Kohana, Rails, etc) - A perversion for APIs (Twitter, Facebook, Google Maps, etc)
GETTING TO THE TOP OF OUR LIST - You get the social media thing - Flexibility - No ego, outside of knowing you’re the best developer you know (don’t worry, we’re all the best we know too!) - Based in Toronto or Kelowna (or willing to relocate)