About Lance Willett

By day Lance leads the Theme Division at Automattic, and by night he is Launcelot du Lac, Knight of the Round Table.

Tucson WordPress Meetup, February 2014

It’s 2014 and a great time to kick off the new year with a WordPress event in Tucson.

Join the newly formed Meetup.com group to RSVP and be notified of new events: Tucson WordPress Meetup.

Follow us on Twitter @tucsonwp for news and announcements. Hashtag: #tucsonwp

Our next Tucson WP Meetup is Tuesday February 18th from 7–9 PM at CoLab Workspace, see details and directions.

See you there!

WordPress 3.8 “Parker” and Twenty Fourteen Theme

I’m proud to call myself a WordPress contributor yet again with the recent 3.8 “Parker” release. This is an amazing update to the world’s best CMS, with a focus on device support in the refreshed admin interface, better widget and theme administration, a new default theme, and much more.

As with Twenty Twelve and Twenty Thirteen my primary role in the project was launching a new default theme, Twenty Fourteen. This time the goal was a bit different: create a beautiful magazine-style site with WordPress. And launch it before the new year.

Twenty Fourteen started with an all-star team of Takashi Irie (designer) and Konstantin Obenland (lead developer) and we were joined by many contributors in the WordPress community, notably Nick Halsey (aka celloexpressions) who’d contributed to previous default themes and had a big impact again.

As with Twenty Twelve WordCamp contributor days were a big highlight for me during the 3.8 cycle. For 3.8 and Twenty Fourteen kicked things off at WCSF 2013 contributor day and then did a bunch of testing at WordCamp London (see the above photos for beautiful evidence). It was amazing to meet other WordPress contributors in person, work and talk together, and improve the software we love and use daily—people like Joan and Ben. This is why I love being a part of this community!

More about Twenty Fourteen:

- Twenty Fourteen demo site to see it in action.
- Takashi’s recap and the design decisions for Further (the predecessor to Twenty Fourteen).
- The Fourteen Colors plugin by Nick Halsey in case you’d like to customize the look a bit more.
- Background post on WPTavern: WordPress 3.8 – Taking The Default Theme Further.
- The philosophy behind default WordPress themes—and why they are named after the year (Twenty Twelve, Thirteen, Fourteen… ): Why Default Themes Change Each Year.

Enjoy, and happy new year.

The Power of Habit

My review of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.

… once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom—and the responsibility—to remake them. Once you understand that habits can be rebuilt, the power of habit becomes easier to grasp, and the only option left is to get to work.

This book breaks down habits into small, understandable pieces—at its simplest a 3-step loop of cue + routine + reward. The narrative style is easy to grasp, in the vein of Malcolm Gladwell and Freakonomics.

habit-book-cover

Wonderfully illustrated with examples of both good and bad habits, from alcoholism and gambling to workplace safety and employee willpower. Duhigg describes willpower, self-discipline, the power of belief as “keystone habits” that can create a structure for widespread change.

The stories and examples explain the central idea of the book: habits can be changed if we understand how they work. In the 3-step loop for a negative habit like overeating, for example, the cue and reward remain the same but the routine changes to a healthier one. And, importantly, small changes—no matter how tiny they may seem—fuel bigger ones.

Habits are powerful, but delicate. They shape our lives far more than we realize—they are so strong, in fact, that they cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.

My biggest takeaway is a motivation to think critically about my own personal habits, as well as the keystone habits and cultural values of my workplace. Raising my awareness is the first step to understanding my habits, and identify which ones I should change.

(Props Matt for the recommendation.)