Organising a WordPress charity hackthon in Lebanon

tldr: On July 8 the first do_action charity hackathon outside of South Africa took place in Beirut. 30+ volunteers gathered, 3 charities got new websites (90%) completed and Nabeel and I had an unforgettable time as the co-organisers. Total cost approx $250.

On January 19th this year I pinged an Automattic colleague, Nabeel on Slack with an idea:
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Learnings from a borrowed chihuahua about eCommerce marketing

I wrote a post for the Woo blog about the impact and opportunity of the sharing economy for eCommerce, inspired largely by my experience of borrowing Brigitte through Borrow my doggy in London:

“Towards the end of last year I happened upon a massive traffic jam caused by cab drivers who’d climbed out of their vehicles to gridlock central London protesting Uber. Similar protests took place in France and mostly recently in Indonesia. Why the fuss?

Disruption by the sharing economy.

You can rue the day someone bumps you out of the market with their great idea, but you can’t stop them by simply shaking a fist.

A shift in societal values and advances in technology birthed this new way of doing business, and it’s shaking up established practices. The teenage tech wizards with their laptops and bright ideas are coming, and no one can afford to sit back and smile derisively.”
Read the full article.

Do colour co-ordinated folders for phone apps save time?

A little while ago it occurred to me that I spend quite a lot of time flicking around my iPhone or staring at the screen looking for apps in the sea of dots that are my selection.

I had put them in folders by function (banking, travel, random, random II etc) but then wondered: would arranging them by color make a difference in my location speed?

I guess it was a little test of whether my brain was best guided by color. Also I thought it would probably look nice. And I was bored on the bus. So I tried it. Continue reading

A Lesson In The Merit Of Staying The Same, From Dulwich Village Stationers

Yesterday I visited Dulwich, where my mum grew up and I spent time visiting my grandparents, and popped in at the stationery shop I worked in for a month when I was seventeen. It was, quite literally, exactly the same, with seemingly no attention paid to the passing of thirteen years. The same products on the same shelves with the same people visiting, and Mr Green – now in his eighties – greeted me like it was yesterday. There is something almost unbearably beautiful about its not having had to change or update to survive in the surging charge of today.

All this time, all this life that’s been had, and it’s just been there silently keeping on.

Things like that, make me think. Also being sick makes me think. Last week I had to stay in bed with flu for four days and it felt like a lifetime. Initially all I wanted to do was sleep and be still in my room-cocoon but as soon I felt a bit better – and still needed to be home, snug and resting – I began to itch for the pace I am used to operating at, and felt distinctly uncomfortable without the usual stream of information, alerts, notifications, news and more that I drink in from being online and connected for at the very least least nine hours a day. As I became aware of it I became determined not to pander to it. And it wasn’t easy.

Especially working in social media, and remotely, I have decided I need to be more cognisant of unplugging. I love growing in knowledge and awareness but there are downsides to the never-ending story of the internet. Plus, being a healthy and happy part of a distributed team is going to take more discipline than I have been exercising so that my soul knows when we are no longer ‘in the office’. Continue reading

Let us be lovely

New years are strange creatures. We reflect, make promises, buy new journals and re-organise. I’ve found myself pondering where I was a year ago, starting my 29th year in Cape Town working for Yuppiechef and very well, settled.

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I had a murmuring feeling things were about to change and they did. In March I decided to resign and move to London to make my fortune, drink tea, marry Prince Harry and so forth. At that stage, I had no idea what I would do work-wise, friend-wise or anything-wise but was certain it was the right decision. Continue reading

To be homesick is to be between

I don’t think it would be untrue at all to say until about 48 hours ago I hadn’t felt homesick. And I’m not talking this trip, I mean in my life. The longest I have ever been away from home is for four weeks when I went backpacking in the Middle East with my best friend, and another four when I taught English at a summer camp in South Korea.

2014-10-04 10.12.24 Continue reading