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Having fun at Zao is one of our values. We’ve put limited animated flourishes throughout our site to communicate our love of levity. We also recognize that onscreen movement is not fun or possible for everyone. We've turned off all our animations for you per your browser's request to limit motion. That said, we don't want you to miss out on the party.

Here's a funny joke to enjoy!

Why don’t ants ever get sick?

Because they have little anty bodies.

A year in review – 2012

All things considered, 2012 has been an incredible year at Zao.  I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the best and brightest minds in the WordPress ecosystem, continued to contribute to WordPress core and several other open-source projects and have consistently had the opportunity  to position Zao as a Portland-area leader in the WordPress market.

Enough to say Zao is one of the leading Portland-based companies for WordPress, I’ve actually begun to specialize more specifically in WordPress and E-Commerce.  To my knowledge, I’m the only lead developer of any major E-commerce plugin that leads a WordPress agency.  That puts us in a pretty incredible position to be able to serve our clients in a really unique and special way when it comes to high-level, high-performing, scalable WordPress E-Commerce solutions.

Inspired by my friend and colleague, Curtis McHale (who, by the way, is a great guy and awesome developer), I want to post clear and transparent goals for 2013.  Not only for the sake of authenticity and transparency, but also for the sake of the ability to come back and measure how we did in 2013.  Here’s my current list.  Would love to hear any thoughts you might have on it in our comments section.

  1. Continue to work with awesome clients and agencies.  Some of my favorite clients over this last year have been other WordPress agencies with like-minded open-source values.  I’d like to see this trend continue, along with a good mix of other clients.
  2. Have a client on every continent. So far, we have North America, South America, Asia, Europe and Africa.  Haven’t cracked Antarctica or Australia yet.  I’d like to do that.  Also wouldn’t mind a few client-funded first-class flights to South Africa or Singapore.  Just throwing that out there.
  3. Continue to contribute to open-source software.  This covers a few different goals.  In order of importance
    1. 50 committed patches to WordPress core.
    2. Continued significant contributon to the WP E-Commerce project
    3. 20 committed patches to EDD (A great digital platform developed by my friend, Pippin Williamson).
    4. Contribute to both BuddyPress and bbPress.
  4. Continue to sponsor, speak at and attend WordCamps.
  5. Increase hourly rate. Our current rate is $150/hour.  Note to potential clients: This will be happening :).
  6. Revenues over $200K.  We’re currently north of $100K, south of $150K.  I’d like to see between 200-250K for 2013.
  7. Develop interesting and helpful e-commerce plugins. We have a lot of interesting plugins in the pipeline – premium add-ons for the WP E-Commerce plugin.  I’d like to continue to ship these types of projects and see what happens.  I don’t have any specific goal for a revenue split between products and services.
  8. Ship and Enjoy.  This is becoming my mantra for 2013.  I want to consistently ship quality code and experiences.  And I want to enjoy every ounce of my life without the illusion of work/life balance. Of course, family will always come first.  Does that mean there won’t be some 60-hour work weeks?  Nope.  Does that mean I won’t have some extravagant family vacation time? Absolutely not.  Which leads to my next and final goal…
  9. 11-month year.  I’m taking Thanksgiving through New Year’s off this year.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’ll likely hire additional help to keep the business chugging, but for me personally, I’ll be taking these weeks off.  I’ve been running Zao for almost 8 years now.  I’ve done the 80-90 hour weeks.  I’m ready to ship and enjoy 🙂

Now, how about you?  What are your plans, aspirations, goals for the year?  Where are you now, and where do you want to be?  Write it down and let’s do this thing together.

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