Hey, man.  Remember when I told you that I have your back, but that’s not unconditional?  Well, I think you’ve hit that point.

You’ve had so many opportunities that many of us could only dream of, and you’ve completely squandered them.  Partying, drugs, and alcohol can be great fun, but not at the expense of everything around you.  I’ve told you several times in the past that there is a time and a place for everything, and you’ve clearly ignored my advice.

Remember that wonderful fiancé you had?  She’s gone now because you decided that partying every night with people who have been doing the same shit for the last 10 years was more important.  Frankly, I don’t blame her in the slightest.  She’s grown up, and working on her career while you would prefer to act like a child.  Relationships are about teamwork, not spite.

What do you think people really think about you?  You try so hard to keep up this appearance of an awesome fun-loving guy, but what happens when everyone moves on?  As you grow up, you’ll realize that everyone else is moving forward while you’re still in the same place.  Remember when I used to joke about the “cool kids” in high school that are still working at the same restaurant that they were 10 years ago?  I’ve finally realized that maybe you’re one of them.

I find it hilarious that you tout yourself as a “business owner” and “entrepreneur”.  You don’t deserve that title; you’re a kid with a hobby.  Have I told you about my other friends?  The real business owners and entrepreneurs?  They bust their asses every day and night to make sure their business succeeds.  They don’t complain about business being slow; they find solutions.  They don’t take days off; their days off are doing market research and brainstorming new ideas.  If you want to be your own boss, that’s cool; but don’t call yourself a “business owner”.  You haven’t earned that privilege.

Don’t even get me started on your parents.  I’ve watched you use and abuse them so many times that I’ve lost track.  I really love how you brag about your parents like it improves your own status.  Your father is intelligent, driven, and a man to admire.  Your mother is kind, generous, one of the sweetest women I have ever met.  You aren’t them.  You take every bit of opportunity they have given you and squandered it.  It’s time to grow the fuck up and be your own man.  Stop trying to live in the shadow of your parents.  One of these days, you’ll only have your name to speak for you, and at the rate you’re going, that name won’t mean shit.

I used to think you were a great guy.  You had so many goals and dreams that I just couldn’t wait to see unfold.  We would sit on my couch together, have a few beers, and chat about our plans for the future.  I really was convinced that you would be something great one day, and I couldn’t wait to see what you became in the future.  Unfortunately, I’m starting to see what you’re becoming and it’s not something I’m fond of in the slightest.

I’ve tried to give you advice based on my own personal experiences.  I’ve tried to keep you on track.  I’ve tried to push you towards something great.  I believed in you.  Remember when I told you not to let a broke welfare kid beat you in life?  Now, you just leave me sitting here looking like a failure because nothing I ever said stuck.

If you want to party all the time and waste the amazing opportunities that have been handed to you, go for it.  Just don’t expect me to be there when you hit rock bottom.  You’re on your own now.

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While I’m still rather young in comparison with many of my peers, I felt it appropriate to list many of the lessons I have learned over the years.  If anything, for myself to reflect on later in life.  Well, here goes:

  • Someone, somewhere, thinks you’re the coolest person on the planet.  You might not feel that way all the time, and you may not even know that person, but they look up to you in the highest regard.
  • Never compromise your integrity.  Integrity is important and will dramatically improve your life in the long run.  Your reputation should be one of respect, not notoriety.
  • Always stand up for what you feel is right; even if it is against the grain.  Authority is malleable, and any person can be swayed under the proper circumstances.
  • Think outside the box.  Read things you disagree with and attempt to empathize with the opposition.  If you’re only looking at one side of the canvas, you’ll never know if there’s a beautiful painting on the back.
  • If you don’t evolve, you’ll fall behind.  Work hard every day to improve your skills and develop new ones.  You never know when that hour of seemingly pointless research will change your life.
  • Understand others’ experiences differ from your own.  Try to understand where others come from.  Those who differ from yourself are your biggest assets.
  • Strive for completion in the short game, and perfection in the long game.  Neglecting either is a waste of time.
  • Don’t spend too much time with the same people.  Doing so will only place you in a bubble.
  • Always surround yourself with successful people.  Over time, you will become more like them.
  • Measure success based on personal progression, not on monetary earnings.  Money will come and go, but your personal development is with you for life.
  • Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.  This plays back into the integrity thing.
  • Create new experiences with every chance you get.  Never pass up an opportunity to experience something new.
  • Travel.  Even if it is to a place that isn’t interesting to most.
  • Set high moral and ethical standards for yourself and everyone around you.
  • Talk to everyone.  Sometimes the best conversations are with those who you least expect.
  • Learn from everyone you interact with.  Everyone has something to share.  You never know when a quick conversation with someone in line at Starbucks will change your life down the road.
  • Never be afraid to ask for help.  Everyone around you is a resource.
  • Always provide help when asked.  That help impacts others more than you will ever know.
  • Be a weirdo.  The greatest people in this world were never seen as “normal” until after they changed it.
  • Always own up to your mistakes.  Owning up to a mistake improves how people see you, and enhances self pride.

To be continued…

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  1. Rocketgenius notebook, made by Poppin
  2. Tul Medium 0.7mm pens.  By far, my favorite pens at the moment.
  3. Lynktec Apex fine point powered stylus.  Not the greatest, but gets the job done in a pinch.
  4. 64GB iPad Air 2 with a KHOMO case.  Cheap, light, and gets the job done.
  5. Carl Zeiss glass wipes.  The best glasses wipes I have ever used.
  6. Spare braided, 3 foot, 3.5mm cable.  Doesn’t take up much space, but comes in handy occasionally.
  7. RAVPower 16750mAh battery pack.  Will charge my phone from 0-100% a few times, has 2 USB ports, and also doubles as a flashlight.
  8. MicroUSB cable.  Charges the battery pack, and sometimes used to charge other people’s phones.
  9. Monster 3350mAh Power Card Turbo battery pack.  If I’m going somewhere without my bag, this fits perfectly in my pocket.
  10. iPad power block.
  11. iPhone power block.
  12. 3.5mm retractible cable the headphones on #19.  Rarely need it, but sometimes helps if I need a bit more distance.
  13. MacBook Pro charger.
  14. Gravity Forms stickers.  People like them, so I keep a few on me.
  15. 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display (2015 model).  My lifeline when away from home.
  16. Apple earbuds.  Sometimes, the full sized headphones are too much.
  17. Apple Lightning cable.  For charging everything.  If traveling, there’s usually at least 2 in my bag.
  18. Mini Displayport to HDMI adapter.  I rarely need it, but have seen scenarios where people need them at WordCamps, so I just keep one in there.
  19. Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones.  The best sub-$200 headphones you’re going to find.  Incredible sound quality, collapsible, and great sound isolation.
  20. 3 foot cable for the Audio Technica headphones.  The most commonly used cable used daily.
  21. Claratin.  Allergies suck.
  22. Advil and Tylenol.  I keep both in the same bottle to save space.  Headaches suck.
  23. 64GB iPhone 6S Plus.
  24. Sog Flash II pocket knife.  With assisted opening and razor sharp, it makes for an excellent utility and flicking it open alone is great self defense.
  25. Alaska Bear Classic money clip.  Saves a ton of space and holds my cards and cash firmly.  Protip: ALWAYS carry at least $20 in cash.  You would be surprised how often you’ll need it.
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When I was planning this tattoo, people asked why I would get a logo permanently tattooed on me.  Mainly because WordPress likely won’t exist, or I may not be into it forever.  I realize that, and that’s okay.  My response is simple:

Simply put, WordPress (and the community surrounding it) changed my life.  It taught me that I can do anything.  I can create anything.  I can be anything.  The connections I have made within the WordPress community far surpass most others in my life; both on a professional and personal level.  I have met some of my best friends through WordPress.

WordPress won’t last forever, and I’m okay with that

To think that WordPress will always be the dominant platform, or even last forever is just silly.  The times will change, people will move on.  But in the end, WordPress will still be a part of us.  When we’re old and all information is just beamed into our brains, we’ll still remember how WordPress shaped our lives.

WordPress is more than a platform

WordPress is a way of life.  We live it, we breathe it.  It will always be a part of us.

The WordPress community is something that varies from most other communities in that it is accepting of anyone; regardless of their skill level, monetary status, race, gender, sexual orientation, or preferred brand of pizza.  Time after time I’ve seen someone cared for by another as if they had grown up together.  WordPress is the family and friends that I didn’t have growing up.

What WordPress means to me

The WordPress community helped me believe in myself.  It showed me that I can do anything, and to never be ashamed that I know less than someone else on a particular topic.

Lifelong friendships have been forged with people hundreds of miles away.  It has shown me that nothing but the strength of your character really matters in the end.  I feel more accepted within the WordPress community than I ever have, and that’s something that can never be taken from me.

I got a WordPress tattoo because WordPress changed my life.

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Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the business-focused WordPress event, PressNomics.  If you’re not familiar with PressNomics, let me fill you in:

PressNomics is more than just a conference.  Things happen there.  Deals are made, partnerships are formed, and even acquisitions occur.  Picture PressNomics as the event for the badasses in the WordPress community.  Shit goes down.

In the middle of all of this, here’s me.  I’m the nerd with the thick glasses, overgrown beard, and a hoodie; the guy who lives in a rather small apartment, drives a Kia, and shops at outlet malls.  To put it simply, I’m your typical every-day middle-class 20-something guy.  Certainly not the typically targeted clientele for such a high level business-centric conference.

Or so I thought…

When I arrived at on first day of PressNomics, I went through the typical routine.  Find a bottle of water, snack on something, and float around a bit looking for familiar faces.  I’m a usually rather introverted person.  While I’m certainly not the quiet guy stuck in a corner, it still takes me some time to warm up to people.

I decided to step outside to the courtyard to smoke a cigarette.  Upon doing so, I was greeted by a familiar face that I not only recognized, but also looked up to.  Someone who is an incredibly developer and superb business owner.  Someone who can develop such a great product that they can make a wildly successful business out of it.

That person was Pippin Williamson.  While we had never previously met in person, he was able to greet me by name, and ask what sort of projects I’m working on.  Someone who I see as far more successful than myself is chatting with me as a peer.  I don’t have a wildly successful business.  I’m not a rockstar developer.  I’m just that nerdy guy in a hoodie who likes to write code and has a talent for explaining things within documentation.

It didn’t stop there

Throughout the day, I was greeted by incredibly talented business owners and developers whom I see as being further up the ladder than myself.  For some reason, they wanted to greet me directly, and were genuinely interested in my life and career.  I was being sought out.  I was being specifically targeted in certain circles and directly approached by name from people I have not previously had the pleasure of meeting in person.

Why would people take time out of their day to talk to me?  Why would they put me above others that could prove more benefit to them?  What in the fuck made me deserve to be treated as a peer when I’m just a guy who writes documentation.

Then it hit me

I simply don’t give myself enough credit.  I’m damn good at what I do.  I take leaps and bounds every day to further myself.  I’m not just the nerdy guy in the hoodie.

I’m Jeff-motherfucking-Matson and I know my shit

I have a plugin with over 20,000 active users.

I’ve contributed code to WordPress core.

I work for one of the top WordPress products on the market.

I’m damn good at what I do.

If you’re like me, and surround yourself with successful people, it’s easy to feel like you’re lagging behind.  During those times when you may feel inadequate, recognize where you truly stand in the eyes of others.  They may give you much more credit than you give yourself.

It’s easy to see them ahead, but harder to see the gap closing in.  Every day, I work to close that gap.  Progress means more than momentary comparisons.

Look ahead and track backwards.  In a race of millions, folks may always be ahead of you, but keep closing the gap and passing others.  Eventually, you’ll get where you want to be; and once there, push harder.

“Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself”

Mary Schmich


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This is something that drives me insane.  Every time I plug my iPhone into my Mac to charge, it automatically launches iTunes and Photos.  Thankfully, I managed to fix it.  Here’s how:

Disabling automatic launching of iTunes

  1. With iTunes open and your iPhone plugged in, access your iPhone within iTunes.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the Summary tab and locate the Automatically sync when connected checkbox.
  3. Uncheck this box and click Apply at the bottom right.

Disabling automatic launching of Photos

  1. Access the Photo Capture application with your iPhone plugged in.
  2. Next, select your iPhone from the menu to the left.
  3. On the bottom left corner, you will see a small arrow.  Click on this.
  4. Your should now see various options that determine what happens when your iPhone is plugged in.  Select No Action.

Your should be all set now.  No more annoying iTunes or Photos when plugging your iPhone into your Mac.

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I want to be able to get out of bed.

I want to be able to get in a car without having constant panic attacks.

I want to be able to sit through a whole movie.

I want to be able to be around new people.

I want to stop fearing for my life every minute of it.

I want to feel accomplished and not terrified.

I want to make great things, and stop fearing rejection.

I want to enjoy concerts without immense paranoia.

I want to be able to sleep without tossing and turning for hours until the sun comes up.

I want to smile 100% of the time and not fake it 50% of the time.

I just want to be normal like everybody else.

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After I published my article stating that SNAP (food stamps) don’t cost the American taxpayer as much as they think they do, a right-wing friend of mine shifted a bit to stating that welfare is the issue.  Well, this made me decide to run the data on how much TANF benefits cost the average American each year.

Based on my calculations on the previous mentioned post, Americans generate roughly $13,554,322,498,437 in income each year.  For those who are a little too lazy to look at the other post, this was calculated by taking the estimated number of Americans, subtracting the current unemployment rate, and multiplying that by the average American salary.

After a bit of searching, I was able to locate the financial data for TANF which is available publicly by the Administration for Health and Families (a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services).  According to their published document of financial spending regarding TANF, $31,649,201,568 was paid out in 2013.  Seems like a lot, right?  Not really.

Let’s now determine how much that actually costs the average American taxpayer.  Based on the previously stated figure of $13,554,322,498,437 in yearly generated income, $31,649,201,568 is %0.2 of that total.  If we now take the average American’s income of $44,888.16 per year, this leaves us with a yearly cost from each American of $89.77 (rounded up to the nearest cent).  I don’t know about you, but I spend far more than that in beer each year.

It’s also to note that the spending I have used here also includes administration and job placement/advancement assistance as well. If we solely calculate this based on the funds directly provided to those individuals, the impact to the American taxpayer is significantly lower.


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We Accept Food Stamps


One of the biggest arguments that I see come out of Fox News and other far right-wing conservatives is that food stamps should be cut or dramatically reduced.  While some people certainly do abuse the system, they are by far the minority.  Even including the individuals that may abuse their SNAP benefits, the impact on your tax dollars as fairly insignificant according to my research.  Let’s take a look at the numbers:

According to the most recent data from the US Census Bureau, we have an estimated 318,857,056 people living in the US. Of course this can be argued that this may not actually be the number of available US citizens, so to make everyone happy, we’ll deduct the current unemployment rate of 5.3%, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which brings us to an estimated number of 301,957,632 working Americans (rounding down to the nearest whole number).

Now that we have the estimated number of working Americans, we can now take a look at the average American’s income.  The most recent data for this can be found at the Social Security Administration’s Average Wage Index page.  According to the Social Security Administration, the average individual wage was $44,888.16 in 2013.

If you’re following me, you should have now come to the conclusion that 301,957,632 working Americans, making an average of $44,888.16, generate a total of $13,554,322,498,437.12.

Now that we know the total income that Americans generate each year, let’s take a look at how much SNAP benefits are paying out.  According to the USDA’s yearly reports, SNAP paid out $74,156,770,000 in 2014.

Well, we’re down to the fun stuff now.  If SNAP is paying out 74.1 billion dollars, how much is that actually costing the American taxpayer? Roughly %0.55 of income.

That’s right.  To feed the roughly 46.5 million Americans on the SNAP program, it only costs each person about half a percent of their income.  If you make the average American’s salary of $44,888.16, it costs you an estimated $246 per year.  I don’t know about you, but that’s an insignificant amount of money.  To put that in perspective, if you are a single man using Scott toilet paper, it would cost you around $55 per year.  Yes, a family of 4 spends more in toilet paper (assuming of course that woman use double to TP) than the average American pays to provide SNAP benefits.

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Every morning, my alarm goes off.  Evey morning, I spend hours trying to get out of bed.  I wander over to my desk, chain smoke cigarettes, and wonder how the day is going to go while working up the courage to leave the house.  That’s usually the first panic attack of the day.

Many of you know me, and a small fraction of you know my daily struggles.  It’s my hope in this post to not only to disclose my daily struggles, but to raise awareness that people you interact with on a daily basis also go through the same issues in which they hide it so well, that you would never know.

I’ve been having panic attacks and rather intense anxiety for as along as I remember.  In my teenage years, it was especially bad in which I turned to razor blades and matches for self harm as an outlet for the feelings that I didn’t understand.  Throughout the years, I have learned both constructive, and destructive ways of dealing with these issues thanks largely to the help of my wife, Jamie.

I’ve best described the feeling as this:  Have you ever been in a car accident?  If you have, you likely know the feeling of complete panic and terror between when you realize it’s going to happen, and when the impact occurs.  This usually last just a couple seconds.  For me, it’s several times a day, sometimes for hours.

I’m honestly not sure if writing this down will help, but hoping that getting it out will help me, as well as others who may be dealing with the same thing.

Many of you know me as the guy at the WordCamp who will drink with you all night at the after-party.  The co-creator of WP After Hours whom is likely sipping his beer, making loud conversation, calling people on their bullshit, and gets quieter as the night goes on.  The guy who has a passion for restoring arcade machines and classic video games.  What you didn’t know, is those are all forced coping mechanisms to keep me at a somewhat stable state.

Several years ago, I discovered that if I was drinking a beer, my anxiety would begin to diminish, which led to drinking binges and later to day drinking during the week.  This escalated to the point that my best drinking partner, and a person whom I consider one of my best friends, called me out on it.  At that point, my business was failing, and ultimately caused everything I had worked for to crumble and I knew I had to make a change.

I packed up, and moved to Virginia Beach.  After becoming involved with the WordPress community, I realized that people genuinely do care about others, even if they live hundreds of miles away.  In a sense, I feel like no matter where I am, I have close friends I can rely on.  WP After Hours is one of those things that made me realize that socializing isn’t so bad.

Due to the success I was making in the WordPress community, InMotion Hosting wanted to send me to WordCamps to meet all of those online connections in person which is a bit of a double-edged sword for me.  On the upside, I get to hang out with friends I have met, and on the downside, I have to be around people.  While I enjoy socialization, I hate physically interacting with people.  Thus, the WordCamp drinking problem started again.

WordCamp Lancaster is when I came to this realization.  I was nervous like always, and grabbed a beer like normal to relax.  My lack of self-control completely went off the rails and while to everyone else I was just having a good time, it was actually to avoid the realization that I was having “one of my days” as I call it.  The next morning hit and it was even worse.

Not only did I feel like complete shit, but my anxiety issues were so intense, that I was barely able to leave the hotel room.  I went to the WordCamp, chatted with a couple people, did my presentation, and went back to my hotel room to avoid human contact as much as possible for the next few hours.  This continued on to the after-party in which I mostly sat on the couch, and didn’t make much conversation.  Not because of the night before, but because at that moment, I simply couldn’t bear the thought of human contact.

Many of you reading this may have attended WP After Hours with me, and many have also wondered why we launch the Google Hangout so late.  Well, you finally have your answer:

It’s simply because I have to work myself up to it.  In a sense, while I do like all of you, it requires quite a bit of building up courage to actually go live.  Most nights, Jeff Chandler and I will be on there for around an hour chatting about the past week before I broadcast the link simply because I need to work up to the thought of other people.

My best advice to anyone coping with these same issues is to just find something you’re passionate about, and dive head first into it.  For me, it’s arcade machines.  I love them.  While I don’t have the physical space now for any more projects, I do as much as I can to work with what I have.  If you can waste your time with something productive, all of that joy will make you feel much better.

Of course, I can’t spend 100% of my time working on arcade machines due to a need to pay the bills, so I do have to leave the house.  Forcing myself to do the small things such as driving to the office or putting on WP After Hours on Friday nights do feel better once I do them.  It’s a feeling of accomplishment in conquering my fears.  Thankfully, once I get to the office, I have been fortunate enough to have people that make me feel comfortable and that’s the best treatment of them all.

For those of you reading this, wondering how you can help someone else with this same issue, my best advice is to accept who they are and make them feel normal.  My mother-in-law said to me a few days ago, “can’t you just calm down?” and the honest answer is “if I could, I would”.  My wife on the other hand, simply accepts who I am and lets me do what I need to do to get through those bad days.  The key to it all is accommodation.  Find out what they need, and provide it.  Sometimes all I need on those days is quiet and alone time, while other days I may need to play NBA Jam with a close friend.  Finding out what a person struggling with mental illness needs, while difficult, is the best way you can help.

I know, this post has been a bit of a rant.  I’m in one of those moods where I just keep writing and writing and it’s helping rather well, although that “publish” button to the right is absolutely fucking terrifying.  My hope is that once it is clicked, you all have a better understanding of how mental illness can affect people, even if you don’t recognize it right away.  If anything at all, at least writing this makes me feel better.

Thanks for listening,

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