Why, Rube Goldberg?

I really like WordPress. It’s versatile, powerful, and helps me be creative. However, it has pitfalls and stumbling blocks that can get in the way of trying to follow through with clients. Whether that’s a function of WordPress’ limitations, that my dilemmas haven’t yet been overcome by Themes, Plugins, or cut-n-paste code, or that I need new clients, I’m not sure.

But I don’t think that all of my clients’ wishlist items are too outlandish, and I think I have solutions in mind for those achievable ones that should be well within reach. Unfortunately, the experience goes something like this…

Me: “I’m looking for a padlock for the shed I just got from you.”

WordPress & community: “The shed has a latch on it.”

Me: “I know, but I’d like something a little more heavy duty. Just so I can give a key to my family, plus the neighbor kid so he can get to my lawnmover if I can’t.”

WPC: “Here’s a vault door you can shove up against the shed.”

Me: “I don’t need all that. It’s heavy, ugly, tough to install, takes up space, and if it breaks, I’ll never get into the shed.”

WPC: “It’s free.”

Me: “I’d rather have a free padlock. Something simple, easily removed, and easily replaced.”

WPC: “Something simple? Well, here’s a retina scanner.”

Me: “I don’t need anything that fancy.”

WPC: “But it plugs right in, easily and reliably unlocks, and is very secure.”

Me: “Cool. Let’s install that.”

WPC: “That’ll be $1 million; $2 million if you have more than one shed; $5 million if more than five people will use it.”

Me: “I’m only securing a lawnmower. Maybe a weedwhacker and leafblower if I get them. All I need is a padlock, and I’ll just make extra keys if it comes up.”

WPC: “Sorry, don’t have any of those. Have you tried the latch?”

I’m seeing that WordPress solutions run into about four categories:

  1. Free, lightweight, and usually clean, but usually of marginal significance.
  2. Free, hefty, and useful, but can be difficult to use.
  3. Free, promises the world, and looks great on the demo page, but is usually a clumsy Lite version that you’re not sure would get any better if you paid.
  4. Exorbitant cost, but would solve world peace, cancer, and exactly what you’re trying to do.

In the quest for a napkin, too many folks are building contraptions. Ambition can be beautiful, but there is such a thing as doing too much. If a solution creates new problems, was it ever really a solution?

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