HeroPress at 10

This last essay from Lara Littlefield was the 10th essay for HeroPress.  It feels like it’s been years.  It’s hard to imagine a time when this wasn’t a part of my life.

Our Kickstarter failed in mid-February and gave us time to think long and hard about what we were doing, and how it should be done.  We talked to lots of people, took lots of input, and made some pretty big pivots.

The Stories

I wish everyone could hear the stories behind the essays that I’ve experienced.  There’s so much more to the stories than gets printed here, and not simply about the contributors.  Each contributor knows other people with great stories.  Our conversations have been long and many, about just about everything.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to hear the stories and meet the people.  Many people have really opened up to me about their experiences, fears, joys, failures, and triumphs; far more than they want to put into a public essay.  The trust and openness has been truly humbling.

The Other Stories

A number of people that I’ve asked to contribute have said “I love what you’re doing, and maybe someday, but I’m not ready to tell my story yet”.  Their stories are simply too raw, too new at this point.  I’d simply like the world to know that everyone has a story, and that they’re all interesting.

The People

Before HeroPress I felt like I knew a lot of people in “the community”.  Several things have happened since:

  • I’ve realized how much bigger the community is outside North America
  • I’ve gotten to meet MANY people from outside North America
  • I’ve realized how very few people I actually know in “the community”

I love going to WordCamps because I get to see all my friends, often for the first time in person.  Now I feel the draw to travel the world to meet all my new friends, and THEIR friends.   It’s exciting and overwhelming all at the same time.

The Periphery

This site was begun to send messages to people on “the periphery” of WordPress.  At the time I was thinking the periphery of the community.  I’ve come to realize how meaningless those terms are.  Everyone is on the periphery of somewhere.  I recently asked a core developer to contribute and was asked how that can possibly count as being on “the periphery”.  But this person came from another industry altogether, and I really wanted an essay from someone about moving from one successful place in life to another (to WordPress in this case).

That essay didn’t happen, but it helped drive home that every single person could do an essay on this site.

Feedback

When we first announced HeroPress I’d say about 80% of the feedback was positive.  There were a few fairly vocal negative spots, but not too many.

I’ve been really encouraged since releasing our first essays that I’ve had no negative feedback at all.  Not one person has said “that’s dumb, you’re bad” etc.  That almost makes me nervous, but it sure FEELS good.

The Future

At this point I plan to continue as things are.  At some point I’m going to need more help finding contributors.  As I mentioned above I’m really stretching the pool of people I know, but at some point I’d like to have people come to me with stories.

I’ve had a few ideas for different media formats, but I’m not sure where they’ll go.  We’re considering some sponsorship to help cover costs.  It’ll be subtle and classy, and not detract from the site, or we won’t do it.

If you have ideas or suggestions for the site I’d love to hear them.

Thank You

First and foremost of course goes to the contributors.  This wouldn’t exist without you, and I can’t thank you enough for the time, energy, and sometimes pain you’ve put into your essays.  Thank you.

My family.  HeroPress is now a labor of love, so time spent on it is time not spent with them.  My wife and my little girls are giving parts of their lives to this project as well, and I wouldn’t be doing this without their support.

My friends and associates.  I don’t do it as much anymore, but for the first several essays I asked every single person I knew to retweet the essay announcements.  Thank you so much for both your patience and willingness to attach your name to my project.

The Press.  WP Tavern, Spinpress, and Post Status have all helped get the word out.  I’ve been grateful for honest reporting, which means it’s not all “rah-rah, HeroPress is great”, but rather excellent reporting to let people make up their own minds.

Trisha Salas.   Trisha has helped promote HeroPress on Facebook, thus allowing me to stay off Facebook.  🙂  It means more than you might think.

You.  If you’re a reader of the essays then I appreciate it.  You lend validation that the message is worthwhile.