Thank You For Your Support Of Web Reliability
I recently looked back on 20 years as a web developer and business owner in search of patterns. The patterns I saw became clear in a short period of time. Website owners need reliability.
The hobbyist probably doesn't care if their website about civil war reenactment figurines is reliable, but virtually every other website owner does. I'm not talking about server up time. And I am not talking about website trustworthiness. Those are the two ideas that you'll likely see if you google 'reliable website'.
What I mean by reliability is that glorious ephemeral state of a website characterized by good flow. When the customer of a website can flow into, through and out smoothly, easily, with appropriate force and minimal friction— that's Web Reliability. The 'into' part refers to the marketing efforts that got the customer to the website. The 'through' part refers to what happens when the customer is on the site; design, UX, page load speed, data backup, machine learning. The 'out' part refers to how the customer's interaction resolves into further activity like shipping a product, following up on a prospective sale, resolving a problem, etc. All of the above are part of flow. Flow should be well motivated, low in resistance and properly managed.
Above all else, Web Reliability is dedicated to empathetically understanding the customer of the website. The flow of customers in, through and out of a website will not be achieved without compassion for them, without a real, empathetic, true human connection to what ails the customer.
So Web Reliability is a huge topic. I almost didn't write the book because I thought the topic was too big. But then I realized something critical. My clients are people who own websites. They are responsible for those websites. If the websites do not generate income reliably, they get in trouble. They usually get fired. No one seemed to really care about the fullness of their problem. No one had their back. No one had developed a comprehensive way for clients like mine to think about their website reliability problem in total. My clients don't have the luxury of complaining about how big the Web Reliability problem is. They're too busy owning it and trying to survive the forest of experts and niche specialists who claim to be able to help them.
So this week we're three chapters in to the book. I am releasing a chapter a week. You can join the weekly mailings here or just follow me on social media. Now that we're three chapters in, we're still in the very beginning introductory chapters of course, now that we're in I'm starting to get feedback.
It's terrifying to create something new and offer it up to the world. I've done it many times before when Solspace has released new software. Each time it is terrifying and thrilling. Writing and releasing a book is so much more of an intimate and concentrated version of that experience. It's like walking around the mall in your underwear. I'm 46. It's not a pretty sight, friends.
I had lunch with one friend who said he wants to be one of the consultants I refer Web Reliability work to. Haha! What work!!?? This thing is not even out of diapers yet. Still, that vote of confidence from a friend who has never sugar coated a thing in his life, is enormous. You know who you are my good man. I am truly grateful for your support. Thank you, DP.
Another old friend and client emailed to complain about the shortness of my chapters. Just as he was getting into a chapter it was over he said. I apologize for that. There are a few good reasons for that sad state of affairs. But then in the second email he told me I was doing a great job so far. This is coming from a seasoned veteran of web development on the client side. For years he's been one of the 'owners' of the kinds of websites I'm talking about. The book was written with him and a few other courageous and formidable souls in mind. So his support is massive. I'm going to float on that compliment for months. Thank you, DB.
Another old client who was recruited to join the Solspace team for a time was surprised when I told her I had written a book. She said, "...of course I know you wrote a book. I read everything you write." I was flabbergasted. That level of support is truly humbling and I am hugely grateful to her. Thank you, EG.
Used Car Salesmen
I want to thank about 10 used car salesmen from this week who understood clearly and immediately what I do for a living when I told them. Fully 70% of these chaps asked for my business card when, in response to the, "what do you do for a living" question, I said, "My team and I help people make their websites reliable." It actually takes about one or two seconds for people to register this. They're immediately intrigued and immediately they say to themselves, "Of course a website should be reliable. Duh! I know someone who could use this guy."
Then there is the cherry on top, my dear brother. (I can't anonymize you in this blog post for reasons that'll be clear in a sec.) So I get a text from my brother a couple of days ago. He says he's referred a client to me. I say cool. He says he did it because of Web Reliability. My first thought was, this doesn't count since it's from family. But then I thought, in 20 years my brother has never referred a client to me. And this for no other reason than he never really understood the kind of work I do. But now that my job is making websites reliable and there's thought leadership to back it up, it's easy to grok and easy to refer. The idea that my brother would even think of me while in conversation with a friend, much less recommend me - you guys don't know my brother - this is huge-normous. Thank you, AK.
And one last thank you to those of you reading this. When I think about what I want to do and achieve, I have trouble writing. When I think about what you want to do and achieve I find it incredibly easy. My efforts are in service to yours. This simple commitment wields more power than I think I have ever experienced before in my life. I thank you all for accepting my offering.