Thinkerbit, LLC is the small web design and development consultancy that I started in 2014 before doing client work. It's also a technology and design-oriented blog that I've been writing since 2011 to keep my fingers nimble.
Over the years I've built roughly a dozen websites for half a dozen clients, some of which are their primary source of income. Most of the sites were built with WordPress, but after the success of TinkerTry I plan to transition them to my own CMS, Acorn, as soon as possible.
Starting a blog
Thinkertry - the components, detailed plan or arrangement of a thought.
You won't find every breaking news item in the fields of technology, science or sports (especially not sports) here. Instead you'll (hopefully) find honest and thoughtful commentary/analysis on the things going on that I find interesting.
I was a voracious reader of technology news at the time, so my teenage self thought it would be cool to share my perspective on the latest trends. I also suspected that I would be doing less writing in college, so blogging seemed like a good way to keep my fingers nimble and practice articulating my thoughts in writing.
Eventually I started to find my groove thinking about where technology was heading. I wrote about wireless charging, local iCloud caching (which is sort of happening), typing on touchscreens, and sometimes more personal topics like deciding to major in Human Factors and thinking like a kid.
Thinking about the intersection of technology and design in my own little space became a fun hobby, and I still write there today. I've written over 500 articles so far, and don't plan on stopping.
Becoming a business
As I became comfortable with WordPress and TinkerTry became more popular, I started receiving requests for web consulting work. Some of my clients depended almost entirely on their websites for eCommerce and marketing, so it made sense to start operating as the sole proprietor of my own Limited Liability Company (LLC).
I formed Thinkerbit, LLC on July 28th, 2014 as a web design and development consultancy with a blog on the side. The name change from "Thinkertry" to "Thinkerbit" was a nod to the digital nature of my work, and I started working on the websites of my first few clients.
Over the years I've worked with half a dozen clients to either re-vamp or improve their WordPress-based sites and do minor graphic design work. Combined, they're seen by millions of people each year and are responsible for a significant portion of my clients' livelihood either through display ads or eCommerce.
After working with WordPress and its various plugins for a few years, I started to think that it wasn't the best platform for my clients. The backend was often too difficult for them to use, and functionality would sometimes break when plugins were updated.
After discovering Kirby and using it to build TinkerTry 3.0, I decided to stop maintaining WordPress sites and start building Acorn instead. Eventually I'd like to transition all of my clients to Acorn, but for now I continue to look after a few WordPress sites.
I've recently started to apply some of the "maker" knowledge that I picked up through Tufts MAKE and the Maker Network to create physical products for my clients, including business cards and precision-cut vinyl stickers. Figuring out how to print and cut business cards and vinyl has been tricky, but I think I can eventually match the quality of third-party offerings using my own equipment and elbow grease.
I've also been learning about and developing systems for the less glamorous aspects of physical product-making like inventory management, order tracking, invoicing, and tax rates. Although this side has been less fun, I suspect that what I learn will eventually make its way into Acorn and help others sell their own products someday.
Eventually I can imagine offering custom 3D printed parts, t-shirts, and hardware that can connect directly to Acorn-powered sites as well.