8Bit: How Your Clients Must Feel If You Closed Doors

I just discovered that 8Bit is closing doors and I am, devastated. 8Bit is the company that built Standard Theme, the theme I used to use (changed theme in July 2015) on this blog (writing this on 31 August 2013).

Besides the community I have in relationships with people I meet offline and my experience on Backstage Leadership, 8Bit (and Standard Theme) was an experience of community. I’ve never in person met any of the partners or support but felt very connected to them.

Standard theme has been a critical part of my blogging / publishing. I am very sad that 8Bit is closing doors for a number of reasons.

8Bit: How Your Clients Must Feel If You Closed Doors…


The end of a great product in Standard Theme. This was the first theme I saved up to buy. An investment I’m glad I made. Standard Theme is not only a great product; it is a product that has always had great support.

The support team attended to requests in a timely manner. They did not rest till an issue was completely resolved. 8Bit asked for input in what we wanted to see in the product.

Not only that, they followed through with including feature requests on the themes and where they did not include features, explained why.

I’m sad because I did not and still do not want to buy any other product in terms of my blogging theme. With time and inevitable change, unless the team, John, Tom, Jared and Chris change their minds, I will have to buy another theme.

I was (and am) willing to spend money on anything 8Bit built because I knew it was (and is) built excellently.

The Take Away

Will your clients mourn if, for whatever reason, you closed your doors? Am I providing services that foster community and an affinity to not only your product and brand but to me?

The challenge is to build great products and give great service that people are willing to buy and or use whatever it is you sell next without even knowing what it is?

One of the reasons you I believe 8Bit provided a great product with great service was that they cared about the client. They also worked their behinds off.

The 8Bit crew shared their experiences in building products and gave a glimpse into what went on behind the walls of the business. That is one of the things that made me feel a part of their world. Their team.

There are times I’ve even thought about making an appointment to drop in at their lekker (Dutch / Afrikaans: nice, cool, awesome) office the next time I was in Atlanta. I felt connected.

(This post is not as structured as I wanted it to be, but what the heck… My house and my rules, yeah…)

If you’ve felt connected to 8Bit please share your “take aways” from them… If not, are there any products or brands you feel deeply connected with? Why?

If you’re providing a product or service, would your clients mourn? I mean, like a family member just died?

 Wishing all of the 8Bit team all the best in their endeavors and still want to know what you guys build after this. I know it will be awesome.


COMMENTS | Blog Post Integrity

Integrity, or the need for it, extends to many areas of life. Blogging is as much a normal part of life in our time. We encounter blogs often. (At least, I’m one of those people who blogs, follows and reads other blogs).

We’re alive in an amazing time. I guess that was the line in Gutenberg’s time when the press changed the world. Blogging has changed our world, by placing the power to publish in the hands of ordinary people.

Just about anyone with access to a computer and the Internet can influence people beyond the geographic divides at a speed never imagined in Gutenberg’s time.

One of the most powerful features of blogs is the comment option. Bloggers can decide if they want people to engage with their posts by either allowing or denying commenting.

It is a great way to say to the world, “this is what I think, let’s talk about it.” One of the reasons I blog is to start conversations that enrich. Conversations that add value. Having a different perspective or opinion doesn’t bother me at all.

We miss out on great thinking and greater awareness when we want everyone to agree with us. If you’re blogger and allow commenting on your posts, be prepared for people to disagree with you. Allowing comments is asking for it.

At the same time, it is a great way to engage others and be a part of conversation. It is the part of the blog that allows you to talk to and not at people. Commenting is a significant part of enabling community.

Like I’ve already said, because it is your blog, you can decide whether what people can do in your house. Unlike what some social media platforms like Facebook, that calls the shots on your data.

This being said, I think every blogger needs to have some sort of commenting policy if they allow comments on their posts. I have one. I reserve the right to delete or edit comments that violate my commenting rules on my blog.

However, when I, or any blogger edit comments the integrity of comments must be maintained. By this I mean as bloggers, we must never edit any comment to mean what it does not mean. Edit things that violate your policy without violating the message of comments. If this is impossible then delete the comment completely.

I’ve been thinking about integrity in blogging and this aspect came because of an experience I had recently. I wrote a comment, which wasn’t published immediately because it had to be moderated first. Some bloggers want to approve comments before they can see them. Their blog, their rules.

So, my comment was held for moderation and then published with my name and face attached, distorting the message I had written. Crazy.

Dear blogger, don’t distort the message of the people who comment on your blog. Either use it to enrich conversation and critical thinking or delete it. Don’t make people say what they never said.

Blog with integrity. Peace. I’m out. <microphone drop>Doof</microphone drop>.

[Photo Credit: geishaboy500]

Self Leadership

YOU | Dealing With Frustration As A Leader

As a result of the ongoing series on Leading A Frustrated Team, I’ve received a number of requests from leaders asking me to write about how to deal with frustration as a leader. It is one of those things that cannot be completely separated from leading. Frustration, I mean.

You can never address anything that you’re not willing to confront. For frustrated leaders: you will always be frustrated unless you do something about it.


The starting point in handling frustration is identifying what frustrates you. Similar to the ‘Influence Audit, you need to take stock of the things that unsettle and overwhelm you. As it goes, if you have no idea what pushes you off the edge you’re going to be a casualty of the same thing often.

Reflect and take not of instances of frustration and see if you can find any patterns. Journaling your leadership journey can be a great part of keeping track.

(I’m glad I took Michael Hyatt’s advice and started using Day One, a Mac / iOS journaling app. Some of the coolest things about it are that it can be easier to track certain topics. You can use tags and have a search feature. If you use it perhaps consider using a particular tag for you to be able to track times of frustration.)

You need to identify the source of the frustration. One of the mistakes I’ve made in leadership is assumed that those I led were the cause of frustration. There are times when I’ve been the source of my frustration.

Be honest with yourself. Not only that but somehow found a way to blame my team without vocalizing it. Don’t make excuses by putting the blame on others or circumstances.

You may want to do a consult with your team, colleagues or superiors. Ask them what they see frustrating you. Find out what they see you do or how they see you act when you’re frustrated.

I’m sorry if you were looking for a different kind of silver bullet for the first step, but identifying the source of frustration is the starting point.

Solutions can only be crafted when the problems are clear.

What frustrates you as a leader?

[Photo Credit: marvin L]


Chasing Awesome

The challenge to editing your own value system is that the world will constantly try to convince you that the world will constantly try to convince you that you’ve got it wrong. When you walk out of the mine holding your diamonds in your hand, the rest of the world may try to convince you they are rocks. Don’t listen. You should never chase awesome with someone else’s definition

~ Jon Acuff in epic book, Start – Punch Fear In The Face, Escape Average, Do Work That Matters

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Building A Culture Of Innovation | TOGETHER

Ideas are innovation currency. Where they are not esteemed or given room to be explored there is no innovation. I wrote about this in the first post of the series.

In that post it is apparent that leaders must be open to hearing out those they lead when it comes to ideas. Another dynamic is team. A culture of innovation cannot be leader-centric.

Even great innovators like Steve Jobs worked with a team. In fact, one of the things he did on every project he worked on was assemble a team around it. He was careful and picky about who he took on. He had a core team on each project and would, sometimes, ignore hierarchy.

Leaders who think they need to have all the answers, all the ideas are mistaken and will never lead innovative organizations. Building a culture of innovation starts with team.

Great leaders realize that their mission is too important to have them become the center. A culture of innovation cannot in an individual-focused environment. Innovation will not happen if ideas are only supposed to come from one person or quarter.

To build a culture of innovation ‘together’ must be embraced. It is an effort of the entire team and organization. You cannot build a culture of innovation if innovation is ‘department confined’. I’m not suggesting everyone has a say in everything.

I’m saying everyone must understand what it is that you strive for. It must be communicated in more than a set of values on the wall. It must be obvious in every regard. Everyone must understand and see their role as contributing to challenging the status quo within and beyond the walls of the enterprise.

Innovation can also only be sustained through the efforts of all. Everyone understands his or her part. Everyone acts his or her part. Leaders understand that they don’t have all the answers. They see that it is their job to build and sustain a culture of innovation.

Leaders, stop trying to be the one stop shop. You are the team leader and not the team. Learn to play well with others. Teams, realize that innovation is not something to restricted to a select few but seek to understand your contribution. Be bold. Be /ˈherətik/.

[photo credit: fdecomite]