Building a Photo Site With GatsbyJS Part 3 – Building the Header

In Part 2 of this series, we mocked up the layout we’re looking to achieve and walked through how GatsbyJS handles data with GraphQL. We then practiced running a GraphQL query in the IDE to make sure data was returning.

In Part 3, we’re going to start building. We’ll put this thing together in three parts:

  1. Header component present on all pages
  2. Grid photo layout for the homepage
  3. Individual photo layout for single pages

Let’s start working on the header component.

Oh – also, if you happen to be following along and building this thing while we go through it, would you mind tweeting me (@jeremeyd) and just showing off what you have so far? I’ve received a few DMs from folks, which is pretty awesome!

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Building With GatsbyJS Part 2 – Determining the Layout and Understanding GraphQL Queries

I’m in the process of creating an Instagram-esque clone using GatsbyJS and WordPress.com. We’re walking through the process in a series of steps.

Previously, we got the basics setup and installed some dependencies we’ll need later on. Today, we’re going to walk through the desired layout and talk a bit about how GatsbyJS handles data using GraphQL.

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Building a Photo Site With GatsbyJS and the WordPress.com API

In a recent post, I talked about some recent experimentation I did with GatsbyJS and the WordPress.com API. While it wasn’t quite a fit for rebuilding my personal site, I wanted to build something else with it. So, I elected to build an Instagram-esque photo sharing site. I thought it might be helpful to share a bit of the process so I’ll be walking through the following steps:

We’ll walk through each piece together from start to finish and get a live site working online.

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Experimenting With GatsbyJS and the WordPress.com API

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that my November project was to rebuild my personal site using GatsbyJS and the WordPress.com API:

If you’re not familiar with Gatsby, it bills itself as a “blazing-fast static site generator for React.” Having used React to work on Calypso and build some other small projects here and there, I figured it would be a pretty fun experiment.

Obviously, November has come and gone, and yet, you’re still seeing a traditional WordPress theme on my personal site. I ended up not launching my GatsbyJS site (although it is more or less built!) for a few reasons. I’ll touch on those reasons as well as my experience working with GatsbyJS.

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A Refresh to My GTD System

Back in January of 2016, I wrote about how I was applying Cal Newport's concepts from Deep Work to my own routine. I still think it's the single best book on the market related to productivity and meaningful work.

Since that original post, I've made some tweaks here and there to how I plan and set out my day. Over the past few months in particular, I've felt pretty on top of things. I'm able to get in some solid coding time every day. I don't feel behind on anything work-related. I'm still able to find some time to read every day.

I've shared this updated system with a few folks, and they've found it helpful so I thought I would share it here.

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Troubles and Triumphs When Re-Building Our Customer Onboarding Process at WordPress.com

I’m on stage right now at SupConf ATL talking about some work we’ve been doing recently over at WordPress.com to rebuild the onboarding process for our Business plan customers. What you’re reading below is a transcript of the talk. I’ll update this page with a video whenever it’s available! Full slides are at the bottom.

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Building a Rock Solid Career Reputation

I’m currently working my way through The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. The book is fascinating as it draws on dozens of historical examples to pull out key takeaways and suggestions for building power and influence. Each chapter is dedicated to a particular lesson or takeaway and how you can apply it to your own life.

A few chapters in particular have stood out to me, but one in particular (Law 5 – “So Much Depends on Your Reputation—Guard It With Your Life”) is applicable to some of the topics I’ve been writing about recently.

In the beginning, you must work to establish a reputation for one outstanding quality, whether generosity or honesty or cunning. This quality sets you apart and gets other people to talk about you. You then make your reputation known to as many people as possible (subtly, though; take care to build slowly, and with a firm foundation), and watch as it spreads like wildfire.

The two parts are then:

  1. Building a reputation.
  2. Spreading your reputation.

The trick is always “How?”. How exactly do you build a reputation? Perhaps more importantly, once you have that reputation, how do you spread that reputation without feeling like a selfish jerk?

This post will touch on the first piece – building the reputation. I recently wrote a piece on The Muse all about soft skills that will help you excel in your career. I have another one coming up on Todoist about demonstrating your value within an organization.

I wanted to pull together some common threads from the research I did for both that apply to building a reputation and some distinct points in the process that I’ve found helpful. In a follow-up post, I’ll discuss some thoughts on spreading that reputation and talking about yourself without feeling sleezy.

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A Comprehensive Look at How to Give Better Feedback

A few months back, I published some notes from a presentation I gave at Automattic all about why receiving feedback tends to sting. While everyone is focused on developing the skill of delivering feedback, I truly believe becoming a better feedback receiver is worth spending some time on. The skills go hand in hand. While you can’t always control how feedback is delivered to you, you can control your reaction to that feedback.

Still, there is an art to delivering feedback. When delivered appropriately, feedback can grow the relationship you have with colleagues, teammates, and even friends/family. When delivered inappropriately, it can create animosity.

If you remember the three types of feedback triggers, you’ll know that the three reasons feedback tends to sting are:

  • Truth triggers – We’re upset by the substance of the feedback. It’s unhelpful or simply not true.
  • Relationship triggers – We’re upset by the dynamics with the feedback giver. Either we feel mistreated by this person or we feel as though they’re not in a position to give us feedback on this particular topic.
  • Identity triggers – The feedback we’re receiving conflicts with our own internal narrative.

Similar to receiving feedback, I led a workshop awhile back at Automattic on the topic of giving feedback. Here are some extrapolated notes from that topic. They’ll address specifics like:

  • Feedback comes in all shapes and sizes. We’ll talk about the three specific types of feedback and why you’re likely falling short on one of them.
  • Now that I know why colleagues are set off by feedback, how can I tailor the feedback I’m giving to avoid the three triggers mentioned above?

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Be Unnecessary (And Two More Tricky Leadership Principles)

I’ve been reading, learning, and writing a good deal about leadership over the past two years. It’s one of my favorite topics because the applications expand far beyond your business career into your personal relationships, family, and more. Regardless of whether you’re in an official leadership position within an organization, you’ll benefit greatly from developing leadership skills.

In my mind, one of the best ways to learn about leadership is to read, absorb, and apply lessons from the greats. I wanted to distill some of the more counterintuitive principles I’ve picked up from reading books like The Score Takes Care of Itself, Extreme Ownership, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

  1. Be a leader, not an achiever.
  2. Make yourself unnecessary.
  3. Take all the blame.

Here’s more about those leadership principles and how they specifically apply.

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The Failure of Kodak: Why New Ideas Feel Risky

Way back in the 1970s, an engineer named Steven Sasson at Kodak invented the first digital camera. Sasson’s invention was ahead of its time by a few years so one would assume that this innovation would put Kodak at the forefront of the digital revolution.

If you have read one of the many articles on the topic though, you’ll know this isn’t the case. Despite being ahead of the curve, Kodak eventually fell far behind (filing for bankruptcy in 2012). The term “Kodak moment” now connotes missed opportunities instead of magic moments to be captured on film.

As Scott Anthony points out in his article on Harvard Business Review “Kodak’s Downfall Wasn’t About Technology,” the fall of Kodak has less to do with the actual digital camera technology and more about the culture of the company surrounding innovation and new ideas.

When Sasson originally brought his prototype to management, Kodak made a large chunk of their profits from selling film for their cameras. As one might expect, this new film-less invention didn’t get a warm welcome from leaders at the company. As Sasson recounts: 1

My prototype was big as a toaster, but the technical people loved it. But it was filmless photography, so management’s reaction was, ‘that’s cute — but don’t tell anyone about it.’

The first digital camera created by Sasson at Kodak

New ideas can be both incredibly exciting and intensely stressful. On one hand, new ideas are necessary to disrupt an industry and create a unique product/service. On the other hand, they represent a change in the status quo. By definition, a new idea is a departure from what you’re comfortable with and what you may have had success with in the past.

Let’s take a deeper dive into why new ideas are so difficult to adopt pulling from Adam Grant, author of Originals, and others.

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