Squirrel Notes Issue #32

This issue was published on Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

The Joy(?) of Static HTML: This post about “writing HTML in HTML” is worth reading. The author claims that when a content technology is involved (static site generator or a CMS), we tend to tinker with the tech rather than the content.

[...] when you know that there are three or four extra things you have to think about before you write another blog post, there's a higher threshold to start writing. [...] When I used a static site generator, I always had to do a dozen small things – start the auto-refresh server, research how to do something – before I was ready to do anything.

I think there are ways to balance the freedom of HTML with the benefits of a CMS. I wrote about this a couple times, ages ago:

[sigh] I'm old. My thinking would different today, but that was my perspective at the time.


What the Acquia-Pantheon dispute says about CMS marketing: I enjoyed this rebuttal from Acquia's Tom Wentworth against claims by Pantheon about their Drupal hosting.

I take no sides in this dispute, but Tom's point-by-point refutation makes a larger point: marketing in this business is all about framing.

Pantheon is comparing apples with oranges by measuring the difference between having or not having a CDN. Pantheon bundles in a basic CDN with all their sites, so of course a Pantheon site using their default CDN is going to be faster than an Acquia site without a CDN.

I'm not saying who's right or wrong, but if you're in tech marketing, it demonstrates the nooks and crannies that let you frame an argument. It's hard to level-set products to make equivalent comparisons.


WP Engine Valuation: Here's an article about WP Engine acquiring Flywheel, which is interesting for this bit.

[...WP Engine's] current annual recurring revenue is at $132 million, and that Flywheel's is $18 million, and with a current growth rate of 50%, together the two are on track to make $200 million in ARR by 2020 and likely pass the $1 billion mark for valuation

Consider those numbers – $200MM a year, and a valuation of $1 billion for a company that primarily does WordPress hosting. For perspective, Episerver sold for just over $1.1 billion last year.


Flying Squirrel Book Podcast: I'm working on a blog post that ran wild to the tune of 40,000 words. A couple people have asked how I get the time and motivation to write so much.

Three years ago, I did an episode of Sarah Werner's Coffee Break podcast, where I talked for a full hour about the process of writing a technical book for O'Reilly.

Coffee Break 008: Deane Barker

If you have interest in writing a book, or just want to hear me ramble about The Flying Squirrel Book for an hour, you'll enjoy that. It remains one of the best conversations I've ever had.


Notes as Matchmaker: Michael Andrews just accepted a job at Kentico. Michael has written a couple books about metadata. Why is this notable? Because Squirrel Notes played an indirect role.

I posted a link to Michael's list of content strategy books, and his article about content modeling.

Petr Palas from Kentico is a Notes subscriber. He followed the link, noticed that Michael was looking for content technology-related roles back in North America, and started the conversation that led to Michael moving back stateside from Hyderabad.

Congratulations to Michael, Petr, and all the folks at Kentico.