Umbraco Life Experiment

Posted on September 13, 2019 in umbraco , life

A few months ago I announced I would be leaving HQ and transitioning back to the community side of Umbraco, end of September. People assumed I had some sort of a Grand Plan, an amazing business idea—but the reality is more complex.

Let's say I wanted to be closer to community and client work, in order to contribute in a more direct and effective way on various tools, features and topics that have been lagging for some time. With the goal of helping Umbraco be a strong, reliable yet simple platform for pro & advanced users—and friendly, of course.

And... the roadmap was not much clearer than that.

Over the past 3 months, I have had numerous conversations with many members of the community, to find out what people valued and needed, and how they imagined these services could be delivered. Thanks to the thelp of those precious friends, I am now ready to introduce...

The Experiment

I should be looking for a new role (.NET/C#/architecture), really. At least that is what all my "entreprise" friends tell me. But before I do, I want to try something.


As of October 1st, I am immediately available for .NET work, as freelance. Umbraco, non-Umbraco, technical, less technical (I have spent a good deal of my life managing projects, too).

Umbraco-wise, I provide Architecture Guiding and Troubleshooting Guiding services. Here, guiding means working with you, advising and teaching, on real cases, to reach solutions. Per hour, or per day, and optionally on-site.


Models Builder, and any other tools I may release, remains open source, and free. They are distributed under the MIT license, but with a twist. If you use them in any way that allows you to make money, directly or indirectly, and/or if you expect any kind of support, you are morally required to purchase a...

ZpqrtBnk General License

Everything may be open, but I still need a way to secure an income. Therefore, much alike Poul-Henning Kamp's Varnish Moral License, I am introducing the ZpqrtBnk General License.

It works like this: you tell me that you want to purchase a license. You set your price. I send you an invoice from my company (official, proper company invoice, handling VAT numbers etc). You pay the invoice. You are on the list.

You then have the moral right to use the tools I release. You can expect them to be maintained, bugs to be fixed, questions to be answered, and feature requests to be considered.

In addition, you ensure that I can keep improving people's Umbraco and .NET lives, be it on the community Slack, on Our, at meetups and festivals, or by fixing bugs, implementing features, etc.

This is not a Make Money Fast scheme; the goal is to maintain my income. PHK is radical about it, and publishes his accounting status (eg, 2019). I don't know exactly how I will do it, but the plan is to be transparent too.

Browse to the ZpqrtBnk General License page for infos and FAQs. Or to the General License Questions for even more questions.

Ah, but...

This is never going to work. People don't pay for what they can have for free. Who do you think you are? If I need to pay I am going to build it myself! You cannot enforce your license anyways. You cannot make a living of it. Others have tried.

True. And reasons why the whole thing is an experiment. I am interested in seeing what happens, but I am not completely naïve. Sure, I want free, open-source software, sponsored by people who value it. I don't want to issue activation codes, or hear about developers having to use dotPeek to figure out issues in my private code, etc.

But, this: noone is getting anything for free. Either it works, or I have to stop and humbly move on to something else—no offense. It's as simple. It's an experiment, it's a real challenge for my impostor syndrome, but I want to at least try it.

Models Builder has a new milestone and work-in-progress: a new, autonomous version, adding features to the built-in version. But—that is only going to happen if my family can eat ;-)

Current balance is zero, and I have approximatively zero autonomy beyond October.

Let's see where this goes.

There used to be Disqus-powered comments here. They got very little engagement, and I am not a big fan of Disqus. So, comments are gone. If you want to discuss this article, your best bet is to ping me on Mastodon.