Launching a WordPress Product in Public: Session 18


Corey Maass and Cory Miller continue the development of their new WordPress plugin, Crop.Express. In this episode, they discuss the importance of finding personal fulfillment, embracing the journey, and enjoying the process of pursuing hobbies and personal projects. They encourage everyone to reevaluate their definition of success and find meaning in the act of creation while also cherishing the connections and collaborations that come along the way.

Top Takeaways:

  • Redefining Success and Goals: The idea of reevaluating one’s definition of success. Instead of solely focusing on financial gain or external measures, there is a shift towards valuing the impact and value brought to others through one’s work or personal projects. Success is viewed as creating something meaningful that brings joy or usefulness to users rather than solely pursuing monetary goals.
  • Importance of Collaboration and Connection: The value of collaboration and building connections with like-minded individuals. The joy derived from hobbies or personal projects can be enhanced by sharing experiences, exchanging ideas, and working together with others. Building lasting friendships and relationships through shared interests can be a source of support and fulfillment.
  • Embracing the Process and Finding Fulfillment in the Journey: The importance of enjoying the process and finding fulfillment in the act of creating or working on something rather than solely focusing on the end result. The journey itself, the learning, the challenges, and the growth that occur along the way can be sources of joy and satisfaction. It’s about finding meaning and enjoyment in the present moment rather than solely fixating on the outcome.

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Session 18 Corey & Cory Launch a WordPress Product Live

C&C 18

[00:00:00] Corey Maass: And don’t forget to record this time. Yeah, no.

[00:00:23] Cory Miller: Excellent. All right everybody. Welcome back to Corey and Cordy launching a pro WordPress product live session 18. And we’ve had, we were just kind of in prep for this real quick, just talking about a little of the things that’s been going on in our lives. It’s always fun to talk real life with a great person like Corey.

So, um, this time we’re just gonna kind of talk about catching up. We’ve been out kind of the last two, maybe three weeks I wanna say. Yep. And, um, I have been on, uh, uh, last week I was at CLOUDFEST in Austin for post status. Then we extended and went on a Epic Clark w Griswold type. Um, Road trip. Got to see Carlsbad Caverns.

Um, and, and they were closed. Yes. No, dead ants on the roof of the minivan. When we did render vans, I had to go Griswold South. Um, but I know you’ve had things going on too, so, um, that’s a little snippet for me just trying to kinda get things a little bit better sane for me work-wise. And, um, I think that’s in preparation for the.

Real conversation here, but um, you wanna Yeah. Updates on what you’ve been 

[00:01:36] Corey Maass: up to. Yeah. And on my end, so it’s, I’ve, so I’ve got, you know, one, one main client and, uh, I have a monthly. They, they ask me to stay within a window of, of how much I work and what, uh, what I actually like about that is I tend to work a little less the beginning of the month.

Um, and then, uh, which lets me work on side projects or lets me work on the house or whatever. Uh, Um, and then towards the end of the month, you know, the days get longer to make sure I hit my quota, um, and maximize my budget. But, um, so at the beginning of the month I wound up helping my dad drive from South Carolina up to Maine, um, which is a really fun road trip with dad.

But, you know, and of course the, the client website goes down when I’m the farthest from my computer. Uh, you know, sitting at a restaurant in, uh, Fredericksburg, Virginia, if you ever have the opportunity, it’s a beautiful little place to stop. Um, but anyway, and then you can probably hear from my voice. I think last week I begged off because I was sick as a dog.

Um, And it’s funny, it actually, you’re like, oh, it’s been I think two, three weeks and I’m like, it feels like it’s been months. Cuz I spent at least, uh, a few days last week. Literally just in bed in a NyQuil haze, you know? So it felt like weeks went by and, um, you know, and then you come out of that and you’ve gotta scramble to make up work and, um, get caught up on life.

And, um, and then for me time, um, Always means house projects. So we’ve built another, uh, 11 times eight. So 88 feet of fencing. No. And then we turn a corner, so about 120 feet of fencing, stockade, fencing, cuz we’re getting a new foster dog. Um, and uh, so setting up a room for him and anyway, yeah, it just gets crazy.

And, uh, and so I think you and I touched. Space briefly last week and, and said, okay, so, you know, that’s fine. We missed a week or two. Let’s, let’s start, um, moving forward. I was like, all right, you know, I’m still working on a review of, uh, the product. I’ll get you a new version for post status. I don’t think you heard from me until nine minutes ago.

Uh, that never happened. So, yeah. You know, but it’s like, and I hate to. It, it’s easy to fall into like, well, it’s not out yet, so it, you know, there are no expectations other than our own. Yeah. Which is true. Um, you know, but it’s also like, I mean, this is, this is part of why we do this, right? Like, yeah. We’re, we’re at least part of our, our aspirations is, is freedom, uh, to make our own choices, to manage our own hours, to work on what we wanna work on.

Um, which also means, I mean, family comes first and health comes first, and Yeah. You know, and, and paying clients come first when you’re at this stage. So, you know, these are just things we have to juggle and, and keep trying to make progress. I mean, it says everything to me that. You and I at least are like, okay, let’s keep talking once a week.

Where are we at? You know? And, and cuz I have other people who I’ve worked with who many, many other people who, who ghost or who just wanna stop. There’s, there’s inherently so much shame in all of it that the moment they miss a day or a deadline or don’t hit the mark in some fashion, don’t want to talk about it.

You know, I have friends who we’ve been talking about, Collaborating for years talking about like music or art or whatever. And, and now we, we, we’ve gone months where we’ll talk every week or every month, you know, how are you, how are the kids, da, da da. And we literally won’t, we won’t talk about the subject now because there’s, you know, because we didn’t, one of us didn’t move forward with it.

There’s shame associated with it, so, you know. Definitely none of it’s that important, you know? 

[00:05:56] Cory Miller: Yeah, exactly. Like we started with really good intentions and openness. Um, what it occurs to me is just kinda your references back to music and bands and stuff is like, I’ve not, I, I played an instrument when I was in like middle school, but I’ve not been in a band, but it’s occurs to me.

It’s like, it seems like that you’re, mm-hmm. Stru, you know, struggling to kinda get something going. And then there’s seasons of life that happened. Um, this, this stage of my life and my career, I really see more of the seasonal aspects of life. Yeah. Better than I ever have. And you go. You know, just things you don’t, you can’t anticipate, or if you tried to, you’d have another set of problems.

And, um, it’s just like you said, like we’ve got other priorities, but, uh, it’s important for us to keep talking. I, I think too, when I think about entrepreneurship, I think there’s like part real hard work just doing things, trying to do it consistently, getting things out there, getting the next thing, and then there’s this bigger part.

Which is, maybe somebody would’ve called it luck, you know? But it is like magic. You know? You stay around doing something. Maybe bands operate like this, I don’t know, but like you, you got enough interest, you know something’s there, you just haven’t figured it out yet. And then a magical moment, and I say magic cuz it’s like oftentimes in my career, specifically my professional career as an entrepreneur couldn’t have planned those things, man.

They just happened, you know? Um, however, I might have tried to take credit for them. They just happened and it’s like the reading I’ve been and work I’ve been doing too personally is like creativity. You don’t control creativity. Those really magical moments we’re talking about, they kind of blossom out.

And there was somebody I was just like, well, Anna, who runs feeder bars, Lindsay and her have been friends for a decade, you know? Anna tried so many things over the years, so many things, and then Vita Bars was the spark, the magic that made it happen. Mm-hmm. Now, now she’s full-time with it and she’s got employees and all that kind of stuff.

So like all that time it’s kinda like learning the piano. People go, oh, you’re at the piano. You’re doing this beautiful thing at the wedding, or whatever it is. They don’t think about all those years spent. Right. You know, in the practice of it, and it’s kinda like that moment too. It’s like, I’m dribbing for a second, but do enough things to get to a moment that, that you probably didn’t plan.

I think most of us, at least the entrepreneurs I know would say. Yep. That’s about it. Absolutely. Yeah. However, we like to think we control it and plan it. We don’t. 

[00:08:59] Corey Maass: And there’s, there’s time. Sometimes you, you, you ha you just have to let time go by. It’s like, in music, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve, I’ve had to learn.

It’s like for years I made music and put out music, made music, and put out music. And then I actually started writing music that people were like, oh, this is a summertime song. It’s the end of the summer. We’re not gonna put it out now. That’d be dumb. So we’re gonna sit on it and you, and it’s like in actual pop music, you can find out that there, there were pop songs, but huge, huge hits.

And in our minds, you know, you’re picturing, you know, Taylor Swift yesterday was in the, in the recording studio and then today you’re hearing the song cuz that’s cuz music can be live. Um, and in this day and age, sometimes that’s true and it’s a truer than it used to be. It used to be that, you know, a band would go into a studio and produce an album and it would take months and yada yada, you know.

But a lot of the times thing, tunes or tracks or albums are actually held back. To try to be released strategically. It’s like big movies that sit on shelves for, you know, years potentially, because they’re like, this is a Christmas day blockbuster, we’re not gonna release, you know, or a summertime when all the kids are outta school type of movie.

You know, we’re not gonna release it on the second day of school on a Tuesday. That’s dumb, you know? Um, but we don’t, we don’t really think about that, but, There’s sometimes there’s strategic reasons and sometimes like this where it’s like, I’m a lot better about it than I used to be, especially since, um, years ago now.

So for a while I tried to make music an actual career or second career, um, and it really broke my heart. And so I stepped away from it for a while, and then when I was getting back into it, this is where having an amazing spouse is worth everything. Lindsay and I sat down, my Lindsay spelled with an A, sat down and, and she’s like, okay, so you, you know, you wanna get back into music.

Great. Like, how do we, how does it not break your heart again? And one of the things that, that. Came outta that conversation was me being able to articulate like, okay, I’m not taking it as seriously this time, it’s a hobby. Mm-hmm. And, and so suddenly a lot of things changed. One, you know, I couldn’t just go out and, and buy new instruments or, you know, throw money at it the way I used to.

Sure. But it also meant that like I could work on, like, I have found that I make a lot of. Music in the fall and then tend to not make any music, but it, but a lot of that music that I finish, I can like leak out again, a track a month or I can wait until summertime and put it out or whatever. And so it’s like I’ve got these big waves rather than it just being, you know, picturing this straight line of productivity.

Um, and I think it, that kind of goes for this, this stuff too, like, This stuff. Uh, entrepreneurship side hustles. They’re, they’re side hustles. And for a long time I, I was like, I want this to be a day job. Still would love it. I’d still love my own product to be my primary focus. Then it’s a job that’s very different, right from, um, side, side hustles, um, ideas, putting out little apps, little ideas, um, little products.

I mean, um, so. And so it’s, it’s picking things up, putting things down, um, and, and these days being okay with, again, letting some time go by or occasionally changing priorities even for a, a little while. Um, cuz there was a time when. I remember one time in particular that I was like, I was in between paying client gigs and came up with an idea [00:13:00] for an app and was like, okay, I’ve gotta crank this out and then it’s also gotta make money.

And it was like the dumbest little idea. I won’t even share it, I’m embarrassed. Um, but it was like, it was an app that nobody wanted, you know? It solved a problem that nobody had. It was just an idea. But I remember like, Going, this is the first time where I, I, it has to make money. And I was like, it’s never gonna make money.

Like, and I’m, so, I’m putting myself in danger here. That’s dumb. You know? Um, and that’s not to say that there aren’t entrepreneurial journeys. With VC capital or, you know, we’ve gotta double down and, and make this our full-time gig and all that stuff. But it’s like, at least for me, I find often that I’m, if I’m making decisions from a position of desperation, of, of need.

That I’m not gonna make the best decision, you know, cuz my priorities, I can’t have any, I can’t have proper perspective on it. So, stepping back for a few weeks, honestly, what I look forward to is going back into my code, realizing that I did everything wrong and cleaning it up and then it’s a better product.

And, and you know, are we the worst off for having missed a few weeks? Maybe. Who can say nothing’s obvious? Um, you know, but again, you know, just trying to keep moving forward with it. 

[00:14:19] Cory Miller: I think it’s like when we’re thinking about bands and hit music or products and entrepreneurs think about, you know, with or, and Anna and yours.

My experience in this is like, If there’s enough of a fire to keep it going. Mm-hmm. You know, just enough. It doesn’t have to be a bonfire. There’ll be times of that for sure, but, but then mostly it’s probably just. Sometimes a little candle, sometimes just a little mini campfire. But if there’s enough in fuel in there that there’s something here.

I think time is on your, like you said, as time goes by, time is on your side because yeah, it’s only a matter of time where th where things kinda move and shift and the, the market, the world where you’re like that. Some of the classic stories, the person I’m thinking of, I think it’s a product company and how it came out.

It’s just a recent example, but the classic ones were in Founders at Work where you almost stumbled into, backed into what became the hit thing. But you couldn’t have kind of planned that. Right. Um, where you were just keeping on a path enough, knew something was here, didn’t thought you had a beat on it a couple of times, and then just really it was just.

The fire was stoked long enough where something did really hit and it became this, it, it became its own thing, I guess. Yeah. Lot of the, and I’m not, go ahead. A lot of the entrepreneurial stories I hear, they aren’t like the VC route. We saw a big market and we went after and we got a big money. Uh, that’s a, that’s an outlier I think, um, for the, Millions of us, the rest of us, I think it’s mostly backing into something, staying around long enough to find the opportunity that really fits.

[00:16:09] Corey Maass: Yeah. Chipping away at it, having, having fun with it, working around real life needs, family, money, mortgages, healthcare, you know, that kind of stuff. And it’s like, and that’s kind of the difference. Like I, I have friends who I. Are, have always wanted to do something. And I’m like, so outside of their job and, and so I’m like, so do something, you know, talking art, music, entrepreneurship, whatever.

And it’s like you just, you, you, you have it in you or you don’t is one aspect and then the timing is right. Where it’s like you have that drive and you look around and you’re like, okay, right now I’ve got a couple hours a day where I’ve got. Whatever commitment you need, you know, to work at it. And so, um, and I think you and I also, I mean this is, this is the warm and fuzzy moment, but it’s like you and I also I think, have looked for an opportunity to work together for a long time.

So it’s like we will continue to be friends and, you know, hopeful partners in something kind of always, you know. Yep. Um, I do have to say that. We have to keep the fire burning at least long enough to, so that I get to rock the swag at WordCamp us. That’s true. These are the, these are the real important things.

[00:17:40] Cory Miller: Um, yeah, a absolutely. I know. Um, no, and I think that’s the other part on, down to this is, you know, at the base I enjoy our conversations. It it, it’s this hot, crazy hobby we might have of. Seeing what’s out there, seen, seeing something following the path down it. And, uh, I still believe in the product. Yeah.

Um, but it’s funny, it’s like I believe in the product, but I also believe in the path that might lead to something else. Yeah. Because, I mean, well, we’re on our second iteration of a product. Like, not even same product, there’s similarities. Mm-hmm. But like, we went down this path to here and I think it just adds to the ongoing conversation that we’re having is something’s gonna happen.

Yeah. And then there’s a flat, simple, practical byproduct. All of this is that we’re having a conversation live and sharing our philosophies, sharing our thoughts, sharing our actions, um, all these things that has another byproduct that could lead us in another direction altogether, which is good. Yeah.

Yeah. You just say from a professional opportunity standpoint, 

[00:18:53] Corey Maass: right, exactly. I mean, it’s the part, being part of the same network overlapping concentric circles. Um, And, uh, and kinda seeing what comes out of it. Cuz the other, I think the other thing I’m, I’m thinking in from the perspective of somebody who’s listening, who’s like, right, you, you know, you are both established.

You have, you know, other income streams or you’ve got your networks, you’ve, you know, and, and you’re also putting a product out there. Like, I still see people on entrepreneurial forums that are like, you know, somebody’s gonna steal my idea. And, and we have gone the other direction and, and obviously we’re not the first, but, um, of, you know, just brazenly putting it out there and taking our sweet time.

Let’s be honest. Like if we were other people, if we had venture capital, if we, you know, Didn’t have, you know, responsibilities and mortgages and things like we’d eat ramen and we’d have cranked this thing out years, uh, months ago. And, um, and there’s absolutely the chance that somebody listens and goes, oh, that’s a great idea.

And, and comes in and, and, Steals it and releases it before we do. Um, you know, but it’s still, like you just said, it’s all part of the journey. We’re going to put our own twist on it. We’re going to put our own experience on it and, uh, and continue to iterate on the project, the product too. So when the product does come out, like it’s very much ours.

And it might overlap with other people’s, but frankly it already will. Like, that’s the nature of. Pretty much any product. There’s no, there’s, there’s really, you know, almost nothing that hasn’t been invented. Um, and I also, another, uh, thread I saw recently again on, um, I think it was Reddit, one of the entrepreneurial ride along, or, or one of those subreddits, um, That people were concerned about not having an idea.

And everybody else was like, just you, you don’t, you know, okay, don’t, don’t steal an idea and reproduce it. Like that’s boring. But you know, if you can build the better mousetrap, if you can build the better to-do list, if you can build the better time tracking app, uh, you know, whatever, do it. Like, that’s how most.

Competition starts as, as these pretty subtle little differences. Um, and then you listen to your users, you listen to your own gut, and you end up di I feel like you end up diverging more and more and more. Um, you know, and or you’ve got, you’ve got a network that, that you can tap into that existing client or existing products can’t or whatever.

So, um, You know, it’s all, I guess I, these days I view it, I view it as kind of as a game, which is more flippant than it probably sounds, but it’s like you’re wheeling and dealing, but there’s times when you win and there’s times when you lose. God. I’m being very metaphorical here, but, um, you know, but it’s the, the.

I view it as an ebb and flow, which is, uh, again, I think for me the, the way that I had to phrase it a while ago was like, this is a hobby. And, uh, and so it’s, it’s meant to be fun. Um, and that isn’t to say that everything we do has to be fun cuz, and, and, or that I don’t take it seriously, but, um, but it gives you, I think, a little more perspective.

You don’t have, I don’t, I don’t have board members that I have to, or, you know, or stockholders that I have to appease. Um, And I don’t have, uh, you know, I don’t have to burn the, the, the candle at both ends, um, to make ends meet if there’s a bug. And I’ve got users that are depending on me, that happens with my apps or my plugins once in a while, but it’s honestly like once in a while.

That’s fun. I don’t wanna do it all the time, but it’s like, oh, I’ve gotta do a little hackathon and, and you know, figure this out until 2:00 AM cuz a bunch of people are depending on me. That’s fun too, you know? So, 

[00:22:45] Cory Miller: Yeah. It occurs to me it’s really a low pressure and stress for us, which is what we both need.

Right. Um, having a little bit more, I mean, I guess that’s the definition of a hobby, right? You know, enjoyment without the stress and pressure. Yeah. When it switches from hobby. Oftentimes it counts with stress and pressure. Yeah. 

[00:23:08] Corey Maass: Well, and and it’s interesting cuz like I, I worked at startups, you know, it’s like I’ve done, I’ve done a lot of work in WordPress, um, and there’s been a lot of overlap.

But I also, for a long time specifically was working for and with and at startups, um, of different natures. Um, and some of it was WordPress work and some of it was not. But there, there, and I was in New York City for a long, long time, um, so-called Silicon Alley. Um, during the WeWork stuff, I think I’ve mentioned that before.

You can actually see me in the WeWork movie and, um, and all that. And I was surrounded by people who were hustling all the hustlers and, and all that stuff. And it’s like, Most people were chipping away. I mean, almost like, like almost anything. It’s a, everything’s a bell curve, right? So most of the people on the bell curve were just chipping away, you know, and they weren’t burning themselves out, but they weren’t also only working a day a week or something.

And you had people who were working very, very hard. And you did have people who were there just for the lifestyle and honestly spent all day just playing ping pong. Um, and were there for the beer kegs, you know? Um, But working at different startups, like I’ve worked at startups where it was all hustle, hustle, hustle, and we’ve gotta put in long hours.

And, um, and I, I found that I got out of those pretty quickly in part because I would, would burn out. Um, and I think it would be different if I had been in charge. Um, but like the one main startup where I was CTO was. Um, I think there’s a cultural difference here. Um, but it was in Nashville. It wasn’t in New York.

So there’s, um, there two things were different. We were not in the hustle bustle of New York City. Nashville’s a little more easygoing. Um, but also we were generally all, you know, in our thirties and older, we weren’t all a type. Hustler entrepreneurs. Um, and then, uh, stereotypically, uh, down south you’ve got family values are, uh, or at least the family itself is prioritized higher.

And so we, there, we absolutely put in some long days, but for the most part it was. A priority of the founder and subsequently everybody else on the team that, you know, you wouldn’t, if it could be done tomorrow, if it was five or six o’clock, then fine. Do it tomorrow. You know, keep chipping away, make good progress.

But, um, you know, but you didn’t, we didn’t have to burn ourselves out. Uh, we weren’t gonna really get anywhere by burning ourselves out. And, and we did just fine till we ran outta money, which happens with startups. Um, you know, but it, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t always have to be that crazy atmosphere. Yeah.

I, I 

[00:26:02] Cory Miller: can’t help but think there’s a shift going on globally too, with work. 

[00:26:07] Corey Maass: Um, what, sorry, what, what was it like at, like, ithe or, you know, some of the, the bigger places you’ve worked? 

[00:26:13] Cory Miller: The biggest place I have been be beyond like liquid web would be, um, I was at a seminary and I think there was 150, 200 people employed by the seminary.

Maybe that it’s too much. No, I actually, there’s a hundred, 150, um, that, that was just a very academic setting, so it was money, always money. So, Um, I loved it cause it was a learning stuff, but as far as like in the past, um, you know, I worked at newspapers, so it was always deadline. I think it was more startup, you know?

Yeah. Very much startup. Except every day we were launching a new product. 

[00:26:58] Corey Maass: That’s, that’s insane. 

[00:27:00] Cory Miller: Which I think is why I probably liked entrepreneurship is just the deadlines and product is, it was so fulfilling to come. At the end of the day. But as far as values and stuff goes, I think I learned more in my leadership from what the not to do what I didn’t like, the obsession with whatever the goal was at the expense of people and just realistically, like what are we expecting people to do?

You know, I could, my truck. Get it all, get it up to 150 miles per hour and get into the red line, then it’s eventually gonna break. And I don’t think you can do that. We try to do that with people. Um, but I took a lot of those lessons leadership wise. I had, um, probably some things I go, I’m not gonna do that ever.

My last job before I started iThemes, um, I worked for a really amazing pastor. The one that kind of refreshed my optimism that. There could be one who at the time, the way I understood the Bible was be just a shepherd. You know? Um, he was really awesome. I really, I, I took his archive as a leader into, into I themes or eventually when we grew on our team.

But you’re right, the first, first couple years, um, it was just fun and new. It was creating stuff. With hopes and dreams and thoughts and ideas and, uh, it was messy. Um, it was messy, but we got to do some cool stuff. We did like create an office that eventually grew to about 5,000 square feet and got to, like, my dad actually drove up.

From about two hours from where he lives from us and came and helped me, helped us demolish some of the walls that were up at this place. Cause we wanted more of that bigger open thing and we went to IKEA and get all the tables. And I think about all that initial time, very romantically, very affectionately, because it was just, we didn’t all know.

We didn’t know what we were doing. I sure as hell didn’t know what I was doing, but it was fun creating something that. What would our expression look like? And so I would say for the first three years it was just kinda hanging on and having fun with, yeah, doing some real stuff. Um, there was electricity in the air and uh, with a whole set of problems that developed out of that.

And then I think when we hit about a million in revenue, I couldn’t manage the team by myself. Um, we were up to at least 10 people by that time and. I think things got more serious and probably professional, um, in the sense of, okay, you know, we, we had health insurance probably I think our first year. As soon as we hired the first couple employees we needed to get health insurance type of thing.

And uh, but I think that year something was different is like, we’ve got something here. Yeah. Lining in the bottle. Let’s figure out how to protect it, grow it. Maintain it. And um, and so we needed some of the structure in there. Um, my value as leader though, was always, like, I did a talk early on. I was like, I wanted to build a tree house.

I wanted to have a tree house, and I wanted to invite all these cool people to play with me in the tree house. That’s what it was the first couple years. And, and some really good stuff came out of that. Um, you know, we didn’t fall out of the tree house and break her arm. Um, mostly, and then it was, it was shifting of like, holy crap, like look at this thing, we gotta figure out that.

And then, but when it really serious was toward the end when it was like, oh, there was more children of our employees than there were employees, and that was responsibility barrier. And then it’s like, house gets a little serious, you know? Yeah. 

[00:31:07] Corey Maass: That’s interesting. Um, 

[00:31:11] Cory Miller: so yeah, I’m. I look back at that time very fondly and nostalgically.

Um, cuz I remember it was toward the end of the year. No, it was after the first of the year. And I got invited to be in, uh, entrepreneurs organization and said, well, you need a million in sales. And I remember going to our accountant like in January and going, okay, where do we hit? And we were like, $70 over a million or something.

And I thought we did it, but here’s how weird it was. More treehouse thing is like, That money didn’t flow directly to me. That was, I wasn’t swimming in the lap of luxury or anything. It was like that childhood c childish feeling of I get the high score on Gallagher. Oh wow. We did it. We did it. You know, and, uh, [00:32:00] but what’s, what’s crazy related to the whole entrepreneur journey is I think that was probably, I.

Those circumstances and timing and backing into that was just ideal, obviously. But I go, it wasn’t all luck, right? It was both. It was all luck, all hard work. You know? It was both. Um, cuz I’ve since then tried to recreate the magic experiment, you know? Yeah. It was cool. My partner came in, I think it was our first year, we had our first office, and I would buy these, sorry, I’m these plastic tables from Sam’s Club.

Mm-hmm. Basically picnic tables, you know. Yeah. And I was like, these are our desks. I held onto that for the longest time until we got our next office. And Matt was like my co he was like, Time to time to probably upgrade from the white desk. And I was like, no, I don’t want to. I did eventually. Um, but I think that was part of that magic right time, right place, right?

People were partners, right. WordPress. Um, but it, I that those conditions were really conducive to creativity and magic and pulling. People were pull. Pulled in to that, like Christine was one, um, I think it was our second or third team member, man, changed the change, solidified the entire direction of the company and.

Um, huge, uh, different people like Dusti Bolton, Matt Danner, and Kristen Rutten, and different people that poured into our orbit. I go, wow, this is cool. So like when you talk about band, I go, that’s what my band was. Mm-hmm. Because it’s just like, we just made really good music for a long time. Yep. Uh, but how do I recreate that?

That’s been the obsession for the last five years. Uh, until I just go, that was done. That was there. Yeah. That was album. I laid, we laid, excuse me. And it’s on to new music, right? 

[00:34:03] Corey Maass: Yeah. Or yeah, arriving at a different thing, different voices. You can’t just recreate the same thing. Music’s always the perfect metaphor in, in entrepreneurship, ownership and programming.

And I think there’s a reason why so many of us are into music or are musicians or whatever. Um, but yeah, and I think that’s, That’s what a lot of, like, I, I was really into all the entrepreneur stories for a long time and I’m glad I listened to a bunch of the podcasts and, you know, and whatnot. But you can’t recreate somebody else’s story can be inspired 

[00:34:44] Cory Miller: by for sure.

[00:34:46] Corey Maass: Oh hundred percent. A hundred percent. And, and, and some of it is good advice or, you know, in certain situations you’re like, oh, you know, I remember this thing. It’s like, like reading a playbook, but you still have to know what plays to apply or whatever. 

[00:35:01] Cory Miller: I, so when I le met Lindsay and in like 2010, which was that year, we hit a million, um, we started this thing that, um, was called Startup Sofa.

[00:35:13] Corey Maass: I’m sorry, I’m laughing because you know, you’re, She’s clearly in it for the money. Um, you know, yes. That year, you know, you were walking around being like, uh, my company just turned a million. You know what? Beautiful women want, want, want me now? She, she, 

[00:35:30] Cory Miller: she remembers. She goes, no, you know, we were dating when.

You hit your first six figure month. And I was like, Uhhuh, I realized everything got better with you. It did. Um, that’s the other way 

[00:35:44] Corey Maass: she sees it. The she sees it the other way around. Yeah. 

[00:35:47] Cory Miller: And it. And honestly, candidly, it did, everything did get better when you just had some like, like while we’re doing this together, not apart, right?

It’s right. It’s just better together. I’ve said that with post status. All the other things, it’s like, God, as much as I want to think I’m a solo act, I’m really not. Well, I’m much better as a collaborator. Um, oh, so we started, I started this thing called Startup Sofa, um, and tried to share all these things I had learned.

I was laughing, telling her that, and I said, I was two years into this thing and thought I was, I could share, I do believe there’s a point where if you’re like one step, two step ahead of someone, sure it’s very helpful. It’s very good stuff. Like this is where I’ve got, uh, but I started laughing. I go, cuz now I try to share less.

I really actively try to not give advice as best I can until I go, okay, now it’s time for advice. I just share experiences cuz I go right. Everybody I hear doing that and you’re like, how long have you been doing this? All right. Have you been doing it exactly the way they have? Do you know their dna N do you know their company?

Do you know the mix? Do you know the environment? The answer is no. Very few bands lose their cover singer and have can just plug in another person and know, I think Queen is one of them, but you’re like, it’s very hard to, the magic is that band, those people that time to 

[00:37:12] Corey Maass: do that. Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, you can’t, and time is is the other, is the other thing.

It’s like you can’t, you know, I’m, I’m stuck in that a little bit with music. It’s like I am, I am getting better and better at making a genre that basically died 10 years ago. I do it cuz I love it. And again, I’m, I’m, there are moments where I’m like, uh, these other genres are more popular. I would get more airplay if I switch genres again cuz I switched genres.

Like I rode a lot, the wave of, a lot of genres for a lot of years and I was sincere about it. I wasn’t, cuz I, I’ve never made music thinking that it was really going to get popular or what have you. Um, But now I make the music that I love the most and nothing else has come along that I love more. Um, but, so if you’re the perfect band, but you’re making seventies rock, uh, you might have a hard time if it sounds too much.

Just like seventies rock, you know? Okay. That’s 

[00:38:15] Cory Miller: so good because then I go, there’s this other part to the whole magic is that you want magic to happen. Probably some baseline passion, desire, interest for you. Seventies rock music, right? And I go, well, as time goes by, everything works in cycles. We know it might be dead 10 years ago, but it could be alive 10 years from now.

And you’re like, oh, it’s those people that I admire very much, Corey, that have their interests and desires and passions and don’t. Stop. Mm-hmm. There’s some little fire of that in what we’re talking about while we keep showing up on [00:39:00] Wednesdays. But I really admire it because I go, those are the people that, that something is gonna happen.

It’s probably gonna be better than what they imagined. Not what they imagined, but better. And, uh, I go to like seventies music. You said it just so organically. It’s something I, I like probably not gonna stop and then I go, well, if you stay around for another 20 years, Doing that, something’s gonna happen of that.


[00:39:25] Corey Maass: right. I mean, that’s been proven over and over again and it doesn’t happen for everybody. And I’m, I have, you know, there’s, there’s two thi, two things, only two, there are at least two. One, one is persistence, um, doing what you love. And, but again, this is where, and for me it had to be. Calling it a hobby, you have to make your peace with it.

I think that’s the bigger, uh, the wider way to describe it is like there are people who are session musicians, you know, there are people who are, um, who will try to ride each wave to make the next, you know, hit song based on what trends are now. Um, there are people who would just grind. Um, Derek Sives talks a lot about this.

Yeah. Um, love his work. And, um, you know, and, and, uh, and he’s a good example. And other people, uh, who are like, okay, well I’m going to, I’m gonna do other things to, you know, to pay the bills, but, uh, my passion lies over here. And, uh, because it’s my passion, it will, I will always keep chipping away at it kind of thing.

Um, but I think, so that’s, that’s sort of one line. And then there’s another line, which is time and perspective and, um, Because you talk about good things will happen to them eventually. Right? And so it’s like I, for me, part of that I think can be the lowering of expectations, uh, which sounds so old and cynical and beaten down, but it’s like I get more out of.

Smaller things musically, like again, I’m, I’m, I’m getting older and older. The likelihood that even if I got a song that blew up, am I gonna tour on that at age 46? I also, I generally make music that that’s popular in England and so am I going to tour in England at age 46 and I can barely stay awake past 10:00 PM Am I, am I really gonna go DJ gigs at three in the morning?

No. You know, uh, and so managing, managing expectations and it’s like I’ve, but I, and being content with, uh, a little bit of airplay here and there, or the people who, uh, I’ve now been friends with for. You know, decades coming to me and saying like, this is the best song you’ve ever written. I’m like, that’s enough.

Like, I don’t, you know, yes, I would still love, you know, uh, endless BBC airplay or something, but the li the likelihood is less. And so it’s the, uh, staying consistent for me. Staying consistent, plugging away, doing what I wanna do, but then also being more and more content with, again, smaller wins. Um, cuz it’s like there’s, yeah.

You know, it’s hard not to like, um, I am reacting to what you just said of like going, there’s a lot of entrepreneur advice that, that the entrepreneurs that I was following, like for years I wanted to go to, um, Rob Walling and, and Mike, they do startups for the rest of us. Um, and they do a conference, MicroCon.

Yeah. For years I wanted to go to MicroComp and, and then it, and, and I went to businesses, software, and some of these that were, I. Like only a few of the talks were relevant to the very, very bootstrapping I was doing. Um, and now even MicroComp, I mean, and years ago they split into two tracks. I don’t know where they are anymore, but the last time I looked, and this is no criticism of them, it’s just like I never.

I never was able to go up, up, up with all the other people that were going up, up, up. And so then they were all, you know, you, you were, you mentioned being a couple of rungs ahead of me. They were ladders ahead of me. And so it stopped being, um, pertinent. Um, and I also took my foot off the gas and, and aimed a little smaller.

And again, qualifying more the more side hustles and, and you know, uh, and stuff like that. And so it’s like, I struggle, I go back and forth, right? Pride at the end of my life, I, I would love to have owned a gajillion dollar company, or more importantly to me, honestly, would be to have a gajillion user product.

Um, cuz it’s just more fun, frankly, and, and presume that money would come out of it and stuff like that. But it’s like, what are my, what are my actual goals? Like, why at 46 do I code extracurr? I, I, it’s a hobby. I love it. Okay, but what, what are the goals? You know, are there still goals? Am I still trying to earn millions of dollars?

Like what is, it’s like I always, I always talk about, um, I don’t know, I, I don’t actually know anybody who makes canoes, but I always talk about, Uh, the, or I love the idea of a person who, cuz I think I, it’s the most frivolous thing I can think of. Um, and that’s that, and I don’t mean that negatively, but as a hobby, like in your garage, taking up most of your a, a car bay.

So one of your cars probably has to be parked in the, in the driveway so that you can make a canoe. I guarantee you don’t need a canoe. And, and the world doesn’t need another canoe. There are canoes that you could go buy, probably get one for free because everybody buys a canoe and then never ends up using it.

That’s, at least that was me, my family growing up. Um, but anyway, it’s like that to me is the epitome of a hobby. It’s pure love. Absolutely nothing in the world needs or requires or even probably encourages you to build a canoe, but you want to, so you’re gonna do it. Um, and that’s, and then I look at, at what I’m doing and it’s like, okay, well the, if, you know, the end goal of a canoe is that you can put it in the water and paddle it around, right?

It’s like, so the end goal for me, for building a product is users as people, users it. And I’m like, look, I, I brought value or joy or productivity or, you know, something that it’s validating. Um, You know, but, but in the grand scheme of things, like there was a time when I was like, you know, the goal is to make a gajillion dollars.

Um, now it’s like I’ve, I’ve gotten, I’ve gotten smaller and smaller and smaller. Now it’s to make a good product that people use. Mm-hmm. And it’s like, is that because I have failed so many times that my expectations have gone down, down, down, or. Is that still I’ve, I’ve, for myself, I have distilled it down to, that’s the first real spark, and then you kind of grow a, ideally grow a fire from there, right?

If you’ve got people using something, then you’ve got something, presumably, and then that’s where you, you know, uh, You are, you are the fuel, and I’m the f I’m the spark or whatever, you know, that’s where you and I collaborate because fire takes three things. Um, and so you, you can’t, you probably can’t do it yourself or you don’t want to.

Um, and, or, you know, the idea of cool people working together to build something bigger and bigger and bigger. And so part of the joy is like, I was texting my, talking about the, the startup in Nashville. I was texting with the ceo. Yes. This weekend, you know, and I haven’t, and that was at least 10 years ago.

So it’s like friendships that last, or fond memories or, or war stories or, you know, I don’t know. It’s hard to, I’m, I’m totally rambling, but it’s hard to quantify now, harder to quantify now for me, like. Why on earth I do this, but I do it and it brings me joy and maybe that’s all I need. 

[00:47:30] Cory Miller: Yeah. We’ve talked a lot about hobbies and historically I’ve been like, I don’t have hobbies.

I have work, I don’t have a home life. Um, and work was always my hobby. I mean, I would say even before I, I could, I had so much fun. It was like a hobby, I guess. Mm-hmm. Um, and most of the business was fun and I didn’t. Have time and want to have time for other hobbies. Like it had to be productive. When you said hobby, it’s like when you’re talking about the canoe, I go, there’s a reason the person has makes space in the garage and the significant other probably goes, we don’t have any garage cause the canoe.

But I go, that energy, that passion needs to take up space in your life somehow. And I go, so I haven’t had those. I do have two motorcycle, um, two motorcycles and the girls that don’t work. Um, but like what takes up space? I guess I was thinking what takes up space and this is it, this is part of this. So like we talked about it and your, your thoughts and hobbies have helped me so much more as go, I still think about it as.

For some reason, I, it’s hard for me to do something just for the value of doing it. The joy of doing it. Yeah. Um, I do have joy in doing things that build. I just want the practical something to the end. But I go, you know, this has, this, this time should take, uh, space in my life because I enjoy it. Right for that only value.

That’s something that did not exist probably a year ago, five years ago. 10 years ago. In my, in my mind, in my heart, because I was like, well, it’s just extra. It does take up just like the canoe in the garage takes up space, that other things could be there, but I go. No, enjoy talking to you. Enjoy having these conversations.

Enjoy tinkering with these products. This is our little mm-hmm. Garage hobby. You know, my version because I don’t physical things, you know, you build fences and stuff. Um, I, I don’t really do a lot of that. Don’t feel like I have always the ability and patience to do it, but I was like, hobby that builds, I, that’s my version of hobby is something, even when I could say I.

My reading hobby, my hiking hobby, for me, it still builds. I’d need that part. It’s just, it connects somewhere back. Um, like I can say we’re gonna my daughter and sent her home. Of course summer, we’ll go to the swimming pool. The value of that is rest and recuperation and enjoying time with them. That checks by something that builds.

Sure. Thing, but I don’t know. As you were talking, I was like, no, it’s this time should take up this space. It has taken up, what, the last six months I think we’re our 18th session. 

[00:50:40] Corey Maass: Yeah. I, yeah. I love, I love that you say it that way, like I think the hard part is, again, settling it in your own mind and then explaining it to other people.

Yeah. And, and I know that we’ve struggled a little bit, um, where to my wife, it looks like I’m working all the time and I’m like, yeah. And sometimes I am. And sometimes it’s work, but it’s not earning me any money. And sometimes it’s fun and it’s not earning me any money. And it’s, you know, and it’s like there are four, the four quadrants of earns money or doesn’t, and it’s fun or it isn’t, but, um, and it’s client work or it’s not.

And, and I know that like my folks struggle with this too. My dad, my folks are retired, but my dad still writes papers, um, using research that he did during his career as a forester. Um, And it just brings him joy. And my mom’s like, get off the damn computer, where, you know, go play golf. We’re retired.

That’s not the retirement she wants. It’s the retirement he wants, you know? Um, and so it’s the hard, sometimes it’s hard to explain or show to other people, like, this is okay, this is what I wanna do. It’s like, as long as you’re getting enough exercise in vitamin D, you know, uh, but it’s, you know, cuz it’s, And it’s funny cuz people will look at gaming, you know, it’s like, oh, well you’re, you’re 10, 12 hours a day in front of the TV going zap, zap, zap or whatever.

You know? We’ll go, okay, that’s fi that’s fine. That’s a hobby. It’s like, It may or may not be the healthiest me sitting here typing, building something, and I’m not judging one against the other, obviously, but it’s the, like, it’s hard to, it’s, it, it’s not as easy to demonstrate that it’s the same sort of thing of like, no, this is fun.

You know? 

[00:52:35] Cory Miller: Oh yeah. I, you know, self-care is all in the rage and I’m glad it is, but I go, it’s such an abstract concept for me. But because I’m, I try to be pretty practical with things, but I go, you know, that time and space is valuable to me. And you put the other part, is it seen as valued by others? And that’s another conversation.

But I go, what I’m trying to do is like, I don’t have those things. Maybe I don’t consciously have those things a take up space that I go, this is me, this is for me. Right. It’s for others but me and this whole concept of taking, so I says, what the heck does that talk about? It means for me personally, being in a line, not worrying about everybody else, necessarily worrying about me too.

I’m okay to be in this space. Um, there’s a great person on Instagram talking about, or Instagram talking about Enneagram, and I’m an Enneagram nine, which is peacemaker Art Tap. And the one thing they said, take up space. And I said, I think I’m starting to get that now from canoe in the garage to standing in line.

And you know what? I’m in this part and I’m gonna take this particular space, you know, for myself. Yeah. And I think that goes back to hobbies is now of course communication with sniff and others and all that stuff. But I go, it’s one added element I think our conversations have been so enriching for me is just go, it’s okay.

This time our async time takes up space and what I increasingly see is limited time. Yeah. And energy. But I go, I wanted to take up space. I wanted to take up that space. And you know, that’s the amber that I think keeps me coming to this. Uh, and then, you know, you never know. You just never know. Yep. Like we’re not losing our house families, all this stuff, like you said earlier.

Yep. So good reflection on a Wednesday. 

[00:54:48] Corey Maass: So, uh, I think both of us have limited availability for a while, but as we’ve said so I’m the only thing that is tugging at my sleeve. Given, given the reflection that we’ve just done, like I’m, I would be okay if time went by. Um, but the, the little bit that’s, that’s nagging at me is that we’re, we are really close.

Like I have something working. Um, and so I think that that’s gonna keep, that’s gonna drive me soon to, again, start putting in a few hours here and there, um, to try to get something. Out the door, um, for you to use. For me to use and mm-hmm. Um, and you know, as quick as we can get it on the website. And, and so it’s on, it’s for sale.

Like, and there it is. People can try it. And, and you know, um, we were 

[00:55:55] Cory Miller: talking about our, don’t think feature damages post says that are gonna, we got this new theme in staging. We’re gonna be launching before work camps. I’ll say July 1st, and realizing thumbnails on the feature, damage on the archive pages, uh, how we’re gonna do the feature damages in the post gonna need to change as an awareness thing from the post edit client side.

I go, this is gonna be good, you know, we’ll keep iterating on this. Um, with when, when you’re able to get the new update. Is, um, I think there’d be a lot of good feedback there, um, to how does that look on that home? How does that look on the inside page? That I think is that cornerstone to value for, yeah.

So I like to say, I think it’s good timing when you get the new update, put it on staging, start trying it out. We’ll have another round of feedback. 

[00:56:52] Corey Maass: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So yeah, baby steps or big steps sometimes, you know. Yeah. But. Keep moving forward. Sounds good. 

[00:57:04] Cory Miller: All right. Thanks my friend. 

[00:57:05] Corey Maass: Yeah, great talking as ever.

You too. 

[00:57:08] Cory Miller: Talk to you next week. 


This article was published at Post Status — the community for WordPress professionals.

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