Ymir Report #5

published5 months ago
3 min read

Heya friend!

Carl here. You signed up to receive updates about Ymir, the WordPress serverless DevOps platform that I’m building.


INTRO

Another two-week cycle done. I'm pretty happy with the system so far. I think that it lets me feel like I'm progressing in the two important areas at this stage of building a business.

I managed to get a 6th customer which is great! It's definitely heartening to see this happen, even if I'm filled with a lot of doubts still. More on this in the business section!


PRODUCT

I've been pretty active with the product development this cycle. I did a lot of small changes and good progress on the next big features. I've also done more DynamoDB testing, which I'll share in a second.

Here's a list of all the small changes:

  • Add missing server variables to runtime — Apparently none of the other runtimes seem to care about this, but I saw an error with Gravity Forms so I did a pass to make sure all PHP server variables get properly set.
  • Bump PHP versions — It takes over an hour to compile the PHP runtimes, so I took the time to update the PHP versions to the latest releases.
  • Small fix to object cache preloading — Hoping this fixes the issues we saw load testing DynamoDB.
  • Add Query Monitor support to plugin — Medium scale feature. I added some basic integration with Query Monitor. Right now, it's only object caching so I could test DynamoDB.

Alright, so speaking of DynamoDB, I did more testing and optimization this cycle. I documented the finding in this twitter thread. The gist is that DynamoDB is just too slow. I wouldn't recommend it unless you really need to take load off your database. I've updated the documentation to reflect that conclusion.

This makes the need for Redis cache support even more important. That said, adding Redis cache support isn't a straightforward feature request. It requires a lot of secondary features to exist first.

I've made good progress on that front this cycle. One of these features is private networking support. I'm almost done with that feature and should wrap it up this week during the product part of the next cycle.

I'm also hoping I can get good progress done on the next feature after that one. But I have some other features that I need to work on so I can support Beaver Builder properly for a customer.


MARKETING

I had a few small tasks for marketing this week. I think I might just write one article per two cycles for the Ymir blog. I'll see over time.

First, I added link support to carlalexander.ca. I did this for two reasons. First, I wanted to add backlinks to Ymir Blog. Second was more personal. I just wanted visitors to know I was still writing things, even if it wasn't on my website.

I also shared my WooCommerce article from last week on the /r/ProWordPress subreddit. It did really well! Got a bunch of comments.

Then I realized I hadn't added a link to sign up to this newsletter on the blog AGAIN lol. I didn't wait any longer once I realized. I added a small header banner at the top that unrolls if you start reading. It links to the open dashboard.

I'm hoping it brings a bit of awareness and sign ups for this newsletter. I think it could be a really good marketing channel. It'll just take some time to grow much like my newsletter.

Otherwise, I spent the rest of the week working on the Ymir documentation. I really want it to be top tier. So with that in mind, I kept adding to the Ymir CLI reference. I also added a small section in Getting Started about the supported AWS regions.


BUSINESS

You can always view Ymir's up-to-date business metrics at ymirapp.com/open. They're updated every 10 minutes.

As I said, I got a 6th customer which is really great. But it surprises me still when it happens. That's because I keep alternating between thinking there's no reason for this not to work out and that I'm insane for wanting this exists.

To me, it's obvious this should work out. WordPress is a huge market. (40% of the web according to Automattic.) Hosting/servers is where most of the money is. There should be enough of a niche for this to support a small business. I don't need thousands of customers. I just need hundreds.

I also take heart in the fact that I felt the same way when I started teaching OOP and other advanced programming topics to the WordPress community. Today, I have almost 2000 subscribers. I sold a book that did remarkably well.

At the same time, I worry that maybe I'm just crazy for wanting this to exists. There are a lot of failed attempts at doing advanced tools. (I look at Peter Suhm who tried two WordPress developer products.) Maybe I'm just missing the big picture.

I also didn't know if I should have written this. I don't want you to think I'm not in this for years. I am. But I think it's important (for me especially) to document the psychology of starting this business. Much like I write a review every year. It's important to be able to look back at a certain time and read what was on my mind.

Also, I’ve had a lot of supportive comments. One customer flat out told me this needs to exist. But sadly, it doesn't remove all the doubts.


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