The cost of a broken PC.

My brother phoned today in some distress. After a few quick questions it became clear his PC had likely died. Checking in person later in the day it became evident that either the power supply, motherboard, or possibly the CPU was the victim.

Now this is a 4+ year old Dell that has served him well, so doesn’t really owe him anything. But wow, what a price we pay for becoming so dependent on the Universal Tool that the PC has become! He needs it replaced, and replaced quickly. Without it he isn’t really in business.

My normal inclination to replace the damaged parts was unfortunately not a viable option. The first reason being that the machine is so old (and was so low spec when built), that sourcing equivalent parts proved difficult.  The second reason being the time it would take to establish what was and wasn’t working once we had the parts, and trying to get refunds on the bits it would likely turn out we didn’t need.

So now I finally understand why otherwise seemingly intelligent people purchase PC’s from high street stores like PC World.

The ease with which he could save 10’s if not 100’s of £’s by shopping online is balanced by the ability to be able to walk out 1 hour later with a working PC. That is obviously worth the extra money to some people.

In the end though he ordered a replacement from Dell. A “better the devil you know” scenario. Reasonable value for money and a reasonable expectation of getting at least another 4 years out of it.

But I’m still left wondering how impulse buyers and business people who will loose money if they don’t have a machine right now, are a big enough market to keep the likes of PC World in business?

Yet more proof (if it were even needed) that people really DO NOT BUY ON PRICE ! (even though they believe they do).

WordPress business Podcast

I’m moving my business to a new office at the end of the month, which is going to involve a 15 minute drive every morning and every evening.

Now I used to listen to lots of podcasts back when I commuted to London every day. But for the last 4 years I’ve not done any regular journeys long enough to get a proper listen in.

So you can appreciate my surprised at how many WordPress specific podcasts there are. And so many are of great quality.

But I’d like to single one out today as the one that’s top of my list for my new commute…

The MattReport.com

For those who don’t know, it’s a rather excellent interview format podcast focused on the business of being in business in the WordPress economy.

Matt Medeiros, the host, has a relaxed approach and puts his interviewees at ease, which really enables him to draw deep detail out of them.

Most importantly though he asks really interesting questions, which, as someone at the early stages of building a WordPress oriented software business myself, are spot-on of interest to me.

Props to Matt & the MattReport.com

A couple of days of A Year Without Pants

I brought my most expensive eBook a couple of days ago – A Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun as a kindle book.

At £11.01 it costs many times more than the next most expensive one I’ve brought up until now. But up until now I’ve only been buying SciFi books.

A Year Without Pants is an ‘inside’ view of working within Automattic, the private company behind the WordPress.com website. Automattic is unique in the way it operates. All staff are remote employees, and the management hierarchy is incredibly flat.

This is of particular interest to me as I’ve been pretty much constantly over-subscribed with work in my business for about the last 4 months. I need to change how the business works, and one obvious possible change would be to spread the workload over more people than just me!

I’ve only read about 30% of the book so far, but can say it’s very well written, with a very easy to read style, and a good mix of humour and information.

I’m stunned, so far, at how different Automattic’s structure is – especially compared to the many Investment Banks I’ve worked with in the past. And yet Automattic continues to operate in an incredibly lean way and consistently pushes out reasonably high quality product.

There’s lots to learn from Automattic, and I’m looking forward to digging deeper. And I recommend A Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun to anyone interested in exploring new models of employing staff.