A Question is a Powerful Thing!


A question can be a very powerful thing!

Take this one for instance:

“Anyone in got a building going free for an mashup day?”

What is so special about that question? Well, that was a very innocent tweet I sent in November 2011 that set off a chain of events that led me to quitting my day job, running several large scale web events, and becoming the part owner of the (WordPress not Umbraco) web agency Make Do.

You see the summerised chain of events that occured after that question goes a little bit like this:

  1. Mel Kanarek from the Barnsley DMC offered to help out with some space.
  2. After a conversation with Mel, we decided to open up the space for all things web.
  3. I asked Kimb Jones, a long standing friend, to help me put something together. Him being the founder of WordPress Sheffield, he was my first point of call.
  4. The Digital Barn was born.
  5. It was so successful we had a Digital Barn 2, and a Digital Barn 3.
  6. We decided our next event would be slightly different and would be called MAKE DO (see where we were going with this).
  7. We had the Make Do Hack Day!
  8. During this time, Kimb and I, both web developers, him front end, and me back end, decided to do some agency work together.
  9. We decided to form a company together as we were getting more and more requests for work. We struggled for a name, then realised we liked the one we already had. Make Do!
  10. We were heavily involved in the running of a WordCamp.
  11. We wanted to keep events at the heart of what we did, and after a false start with Digital Barn 4, which was an event we had to cancel because we were a little too ambitious, we created Front End North.
  12. At Front End North (FEN), we met Dave Green and after a short while, employed him (he is now the Director of Engineering at Make Do).
  13. We had another Front End North in Sheffield City Hall!
  14. We hired Charlie Tapster, our wonderful Designer.
  15. We hired again, and again…
  16. We outsourced some non critical services.
  17. At the time of writing this we are almost one week away from the latest Front End North, again in Sheffield City Hall

A question certainly is a powerful thing. Don’t be afraid to ask them!

Afraid of Asking Questions

I was always afraid to ask questions. Impatient people might have got angry for me asking them, or people may have laughed at me because I didn’t understand something that they knew already.

Thinking about it now, it is these people who had the issues, rather than me.

Another reason is I thought they made me look foolish. This changed when I discovered this small piece of advice:

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”

― Confucius

Perhaps you have made people foolish in the past when they have asked a question? I know in the past I certainly have been guilty of this. So try to keep in mind that if you do this, it is you who is the fool.

Be Foolish

So be foolish, for a minute, and ask that question and change your life! I did.

Or, to quote one of the modern greats:

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish”

― Steve Jobs


Matt Watson

Technical Lead at Make Do
Matt Watson is the co-founder and technical lead of WordPress agency Make Do. Matt loves writing and learning about code, and considers himself lucky to be doing what he loves for a living. Find out more about Matt, or get in touch to hire Matt for your project.

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