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2017 Year in Review

December 31, 2017 Year Review

2017 seems like it has come and gone in a blur! It’s that time again to do a bit of reflection and try to make sense of what has happened in the last 12 months.


I only set a few goals for the year and I’m happy I achieved them.

Create Something New

I had hoped to create a new product, plugin, or side project but that didn’t happen. But in the end, I’m pretty chuffed with what we did create:

Monetise Harriet & Violet

Michelle’s teaching resources website has always been on the back burner for both of us, ticking away. But in 2017 we decided to turn it into a proper business. In April we flicked the switch on our long awaited redesign and in September we announced the premium membership. I’m happy to report we have paying members!

2018 will be all about marketing and growth. I’m so proud of what Michelle has done with it – growing the site, blogging and creating resources, all whilst raising a little human and growing another! 😍

Reduce The Todo List

The funny thing about lists is the sooner things get ticked off, more things get added! I did manage to remove some long standing items from my work list, as well as some personal life admin that had been weighing on my mind, such as retirement planning and financial bits and pieces.

Break 100

I actually played a lot less this year (7 rounds compared to 20 in 2016), but I focussed on improving my game by taking some lessons throughout the year. I started the year hitting 118 on a Ryder Cup course and ended the year scoring 93 on a local course! It was great to hit my target and see some real improvement in my game. Of course consistently breaking 100 is my next goal, but as I was pretty close to 90 – I’ve got to aim to break that now!

Delicious Brains

I spent the year continuing to work with the folks over at Delicious Brains working mostly on Mergebot and writing for the blog. We finished the beta and publicly launched Mergebot in August and have been working hard staying on top of scaling, bugs and improving the app ever since.

I wrote 8 articles for the blog, including one about optimizing SQL queries that was reposted over at SitePoint.

We all met up again for the yearly retreat, this time in Brad’s neck of the woods – Nova Scotia.

Pole Vault Web

I continued working on the Ninja Forms File Uploads plugin which has made up a large part of my revenue in 2017. As Ninja Forms have grown, recently hitting 1 million active installs, the sales of the plugin has increased along with the support required. I’m hoping to improve the stability of the plugin in the coming year, and be more active with releasing new versions with improvements.

2017 has seen a lot of my projects in a holding pattern. The Instagram WordPress plugin, Intagrate has had a couple of releases and the usual support. Revenue has been down towards the end of the year, which is expected, but the plugin, the free version, and the site certainly need some love in the new year.

WP App Store only had 6 new deals this year due to a lack of marketing efforts on my part. It needs a decision in 2018 to either kick start again or find a new home for it. Sellwire has similarly seen only bug fixes but no huge push forward. It serves a purpose as the ecommerce tool I use to sell the Intagrate plugin, but further than that it’s not something I currently have time to invest in to improve and compete with competitors.

I sold my Easy Digital Downloads coupon plugin to Pippin Williamson in September as part of his push to bring extensions in house to enable the All Access Pass. Knowing I didn’t need to support it or develop it any longer, when it was not a focus for me, was a relief and made me consider the other (many) things on my plate that aren’t adding huge value, but can be a drain on time and energy at various points. Something to consider and take forward into 2018.


Michelle and I decided early on in the year to make sure to go on a couple of holidays, and thought we were smashing that goal by booking 2 trips early on. 2  weeks visiting my friends to meet their 6 month old twins in New Jersey, back to back with a short stay in Barcelona to catch up with Michelle’s brother who was over from Boston on work. Best laid plans and all that!

We found out Michelle was pregnant two weeks after booking everything, and she fell pretty ill a week before the NJ flight, which had to be postponed and the trip shortened. Unfortunately, that meant Rex didn’t have much time to adjust to the timezone and we spent most of the trip surviving on very little sleep, whilst Michelle amazingly struggled through with bad morning sickness. However, seeing our friends and meeting their little ones was amazing, and Rex experienced his first snow:

Barcelona was great, but hard! Getting on a plane a few days after a flight back from NJ with a toddler who didn’t want to sleep during it, was tough. Although it turns out having a brother-in-law who coaches soccerfootball in the states with connections with big European clubs has some benefits – I got to go to a FC Barcelona game and Rex got to play football on one of their training pitches!

The year didn’t slow down after that. Trips to Bath and London, putting in a new kitchen and knocking through to the dining room, building an office for me in the garden, all preparing for Pearl’s birth in September. I also started a new blog focussed on Rex and Pearl and the things we do as a family. I didn’t write much, but it’s nice to have a dedicated Instagram account for the #dadlife 😂

Rex continued to mirror my love of golf. I upgraded his plastic clubs with a proper mini 7 iron and we visited the driving range a handful of times:

Having two children is definitely much harder than having one. Dividing your attention as a parental unit is full of challenges and sometimes guilt. Having a newborn in the house again has changed our lives and meant we have to adjust a lot of things. My free time has diminished and as a result, the local WordPress meetup I help to run has languished these past few months. The other organiser has moved out of the area and also finds it hard to make it, so we go into 2018 with no definite plans for the next meetup which is sad but inevitable. I will again reach out for other volunteers to help run it and try and get things started soon but at this point in time family life is my priority.

Wow, that’s a bigger review that I intended, but good to get it all down even if it’s just me that reads it in the future. As usual I’ve set some goals for next year.

2017 has been busy and challenging and I’m looking forward to what the new year brings professionally and personally for Michelle, Rex, Pearl and me.

Iain Building and growing WordPress products. I'm the product manager of ACF at WP Engine. I also develop plugins like WP User Manager and Intagrate. I write about the WordPress ecosystem over at WP Trends.