A preview of the exciting future of the world-renowned WordPress theme framework

We’re excited 🙂

Rumors of the demise of UnderStrap, the premiere WordPress custom theme framework used by tens of thousands of developers, were not greatly exaggerated. The project has indeed languished over the past year, and it went up for sale in early May.

My team and I use UnderStrap every day, on almost every one of our WordPress projects. So when we saw the announcement of the sale, we decided not to mourn the passing of an incredible open-source project. Instead, we acquired it so we could reinvigorate the project and inject new passion into an extraordinary developer community.

Today, I’m excited…


No offense, Basecamp.

This week, Basecamp’s CEO announced a new policy in his company-news blog post — “No more societal and political discussions on our company Basecamp account.

This was just one of a handful of changes, some of which (like eliminating 360 reviews) I think are unequivocally positive, but it stuck out to readers as both an unusual stance for such an open, transparent company and an indication that there was something majorly worrisome going on in the company group chat.

I’m generally not eager to debate the nuances of tech CEO’s decisions on diversity and free expression because I don’t think…


The blueprint for a simple, powerful profit-sharing program.

If there’s one thing owners, employees and contractors agree on, it’s that it is always nice to have some skin in the game, especially when business is thriving. A successful profit-sharing program inspires and motivates your employees. It allows you, as the owner, to give back to your team. It even makes for a great story when an employee experiences a windfall.

But for a small business owner, setting up a simple and effective profit-sharing system is a daunting challenge. I know, because I spent the last year building mine.

In today’s article, I’ll show you how to go beyond…


A simple framework for honest, equitable compensation.

Earlier this year, I transitioned my company to an equal-pay policy. Among our seven software developers, everyone is compensated in an identical way, and those numbers and formulas are public to the whole team.

It almost goes without saying that equal pay and financial transparency are good things—they’re critical to closing the wage gap as well as building a strong, cooperative and dedicated team. Nonetheless, many companies (including those who talk-the-talk about equity and inclusion) have large, irrational pay disparities among workers who do very similar jobs.

As my company has grown, I’ve had the opportunity to hire new people…


How to retain great tech talent

There’s a paradox you’ll discover as you’re building your technology team: even though hiring great people benefits everyone, nobody really enjoys the process.

Creative agency owners and entrepreneurs struggle to write job descriptions, conduct interviews, and make judgment calls about the best candidates. Candidates hate the process of searching for opportunities, crafting resumés, updating portfolios, and feeling like they have to sell themselves to one company after another.

This is an excerpt from the free Agency Owner’s Guide to Hiring Web Developers

I’ve met thousands of creative and technology professionals in my career — and not a single one chose…


We’re praised for being decisive, ingenious and disruptive. And yet many of us are stuck in a rut that is centuries out of date.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

You and I are small business owners — and even though it doesn’t always feel like it, that means we have a lot of power. Collectively, we employ almost half of all workers in the United States.

We’re praised for being decisive, ingenious, and disruptive. We pride ourselves on being quick thinkers and taking daring, unconventional leaps of faith.

You’d never catch us with an out-of-date iPhone, and we’re always testing the latest productivity hack or working on a lifestyle redesign. …


We can’t keep blaming human behavior on the robots

Photo: Rawpixel/iStock/Getty Images Plus

When in doubt, blame the robots. As Facebook has fallen from grace and struggled to reconcile its role in spreading propaganda and stoking political anger, the company has proposed a familiar solution:

If the algorithm has failed, let’s just build a better algorithm.

It’s a noble goal for the next hackathon. As a mechanism for real change, however, the focus on software misses the point.

Facebook’s problems can’t be solved with more data or better code. They’re simply the most potent and alarming example of the fact that the internet has failed as a public forum.

Not long ago, the…


We love to hate social media and search because they’re an uncomfortable mirror of our culture.

Another day, another public relations disaster for Silicon Valley. Whether they’re selling highly targeted ads to hate groups, allowing Russian hackers to pose as angry Muslims, or spreading misinformation after a mass shooting, the refrain is the same:

“Google and Facebook, you have a responsibility to filter the Internet.”

The problem, of course, is that Google and Facebook aren’t really filtering companies, and they definitely aren’t journalism companies. They’re advertising companies, and their goal is not to shape the world — but simply to reflect it and then sell ads to people looking at that reflection.

Facebook is full of…


I grew up under a barrage of brainwashing, overstimulating commercials. Streaming services offer the next generation a neurological reprieve.

You don’t have to say it — kids these days watch way too much TV. According to a 2016 Nielsen report, children between the ages of 2 and 11 watch even more than teens, clocking 23 hours of television every week.

There is no doubt that I would prefer my son to get outside. But if you’re going to have some TV time in your home, the Internet has brought us a silver lining: streaming services with almost zero ads.

It’s trendy to say that all media and entertainment are bad for everybody — and there’s certainly a lot of…


It’s creative, unscripted, exploratory play — not computer science — that builds innovative, tech-savvy kids.

The toy store shelves bristle with code robots, code caterpillars, logical turtles and bumblebees who love to take commands. Grab a book called Coding for Kids for Dummies, then download an app or three so your kids can code on the road.

It’s natural to want our children to succeed — computer programming is, after all, the next big thing, and it barely existed as a career option when many of us were born. But in the endless aisles of colorful coding creatures, we’ve lost sight of the real reason children are inspired to learn.

The direct, singular focus on…

Rob Howard

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