Why I’ve Gone MIA, or What Next

This has probably been one of the quieter years of my life. I no longer post indiscriminately on social media, I don’t check messages often, and when I do it’s almost always about business. I’ve approached the point where replying to some people would most certainly have to begin with an apology.

WordPress as a stable means of income has become less reliable and the last time I heard from WordPress.com about premium themes was far longer than a year ago.

While we anticipated such an abrupt pause to premium theme submissions before it happened, we didn’t realize that pause meant moratorium. We’re okay and work continues, but from a practical level I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my team and I have long been hard at work to shield ourselves from the whims of 3rd-party platforms.

That said, WordPress businesses are grueling work and 15 years is a long time. I don’t know that I personally have another 15 left in me for it.

5, at best.

If I had to put a number on it I’d say that my focus since a few years back has been 80% blockchain and 20% WordPress. My staff’s focus has been the opposite. They are who help me keep things running while I’m busy shoveling dirt and paving a new road ahead.

My future is in blockchain. Not WordPress. I’ll give WordPress 5 more years at most. If core development teams continue to put such a high burden on us to adapt to new development patterns while supporting legacy ones, my exit will likely be sooner. They put 12 more monkeys on our backs while we deal with those already present.

In short, nothing’s changed and I still make the best code I’ve ever made. But everything’s changed and I’d be a fool to ignore the tide shift that’s occuring. I cannot survive in respond mode.

Blockchain has been my greatest joy in these last several years. I just haven’t talked about it much until now. I feel light, exploratory, funny, joyful, and like I’m in control of my destiny when I’m working with it. I stopped feeling that way with WordPress in 2013.

So we build and keep building, and themes and plugins will keep coming, but it will be up to my apprentices to carry on all the work I’ve done since 2003. It’d be a shame for that to be wasted and I trust them.

I’ve also just sorta-finished building a house that’s not complete. We’re at 90%. Next month we’ll likely be at 99%. I cannot think of anything harder that I’ve gone through this year than building my home. Nearly three months of morning to night general contracting and monitoring, as well as paying all costs fully upfront. I have no home debt. None. I owe nothing. Given everything I wrote above about my uncertainty with WordPress, you might imagine how good this feels.

Home ownership feels good. I’ve quietly been adjusting to it. I’ve been alone but not lonely.

My wife and I are also talking about baby stuff again. Sometimes life seems to push me into silence and thought when so much is happening at the same time.

I feel so much responsibility to be a caretaker, a boss, a leader, a hard worker, and a good family man. Sometimes I need to be left alone to sort through it all.

I haven’t spoken to my family much.

I haven’t checked Twitter or Facebook much.

I am on Telegram, LinkedIn, and deep in blockchain project white papers daily. My free time is almost spent exclusively thinking of what the next consensus mechanism or ICO will be that people go gaga over. I’m obsessed with the space now and have been for some time.

I don’t follow prices of anything that closely. I follow code and teams and research and token metrics and figuring out if blockchain matters. It’s not a buzzword to me. It’s a toy that I picked up and can’t put down.

I don’t regularly follow politics outside of technology regulations now.

I have no idea what songs are hot.

And I absolutely have no clue what’s going on in America outside of what my family tells me. I check on the weekends but not like I used to.

I’ve fallen into an obsession that may or may not be a horrible idea. And the only way I’ll know the answer to that question is if I do it.

I’m a little quiet right now but not where it matters. The best I can compare it to is relocating my cord from one outlet to another. I’m still charged up but just somewhere else.

I regret how little sleep I’m giving myself and how little exercise I’m getting.

Sometimes I eat ramen all day.

But it tastes so good.

Whatever happens moving forward I will never be homeless. This house is forever. It belongs to nobody. I have no decades-long loan on it. It’s ours.

In short, I’m free to explore new roads while my staff tend to old ones, and I am quiet right now because I dare not lose my focus and get lost on the way.

I’m happy for my friends who are having babies and traveling and changing careers and evolving. I miss many of them. I’m proud of everyone who is also silently or loudly staying steady.

I think of them often. And I hope they’re doing the same for me.

I’m floating in choppy waters and letting the waves come into me without resistance.