Welcome to another edition of The Lab Report!

Sometimes new product ideas do well, and sometimes they flop.

Earlier this week I sent out an email asking if people would be interested in joining a mastermind group of 6-8 like-minded web designers, and well…

It flopped.

Less than 10 people said they’d be interested, and an even smaller sub-section of that said they’d be willing to pay an amount that would make things viable.

So even though the concept of mastermind groups has been around for a long time, it sounds like it’s not something people are looking for right now.

Tbh I was pretty surprised by the results, but it could be the result of a tight economy or me just not conveying the benefits well enough.

The good news is that I saved a lot of time by testing the idea instead of launching it.

With any new idea, it’s super tempting to get all excited, research all the logistics, and spend tens of hours hiding in a cave building a fancy new landing page & checkout.

Instead, I drafted one email and created one form.

Got the answer I needed, and it’s time to move on.

P.S. I have the itch to build something in 2024, so I may reach back out at some point asking for your feedback 🙂

Let’s get into this week’s newsletter.

🤖 Kadence WP launches AI-powered starter templates

Kadence AI builder

Looks like Kadence just joined the AI site game.

(I previously wrote an article on the best AI site builders here).

As far as WordPress goes, it’s now ZipWP which uses Spectra, and Kadence which offers their own block plugin.

Honestly, the current starter layouts are pretty bleh looking, but the process and AI design library look decent.

I know a lot of people are concerned that these AI site builders will take ‘er jerrbs.

(Take our jobs for any non-South Park fans).

I once wondered if this might be the case as well, but now I’m not so concerned with it.

They’re called “starter sites” for a reason.

They’re not going to reflect the same level of quality that a real thought-out web project has.

There’s too much nuance that goes into understanding the client’s business, their personal preferences, and effectively connecting with their customers for AI to get it right in one shot.

They’re more similar to a personalized pre-designed template.

A good starting point that you can build off of, or a way for businesses to just get something up really quickly.

The need for web designers will be around for a while.

🦾 Use AI-generated design assets in your next project


Saw a pretty interesting product launch this week.

Filip Gadziński released items.design – “Unique AI generated design assets, updated weekly.”

There are a ton of dope shapes & backgrounds that could be useful for your next landing page.

A lot of the items are free, and some require a paid account.

A few of the different assets

It’s currently only $13 for a paid account though, which is a significant undercharge IMO.

All the free items were made with DALL-E, and the premium items with Midjourney (premium items include the prompts used).

The prompts might almost be more valuable than the assets.

I can’t help but feel that it would be awesome if I could learn how to make these myself.

It still blows my mind that you can create a high-res 3D glass cube without needing to post a job listing and pay a 3D artist $1k for their time and rounds of revisions.

💸 Bricks Builder and Cwicly both raising their prices any minute now

Bricks Builder new pricing

Two of the very best page builders for WordPress are about to raise their prices.

Cwicly’s 1000-site plan will be going up from $199/yr to $249/yr today January 12th.

(I rebuilt the NewPulse Labs website using Cwicly).

Bricks Builder’s unlimited sites LTD will be going up from $249 to $599 on January 15th.

They’ll be introducing yearly subscriptions as well to help start building that elusive MRR.

Even though each builder is becoming more expensive, they’re still an amazing value.

Especially considering that they’re the most essential component of a WP website build.

And you can cover the cost with 1/10th of a single client project.

Either way, if you have the need and were contemplating pulling the trigger on either builder in the near future, now’s the time to save yourself some dinner dough.

💣 A Cloudflare employed got fired and recorded it

Cloudflare ex-employee records firing video

There’s a video going viral today of an ex-Cloudflare employee who recorded the call where she got fired.

(Apparently she lives in Georgia, so it’s fine to record the call as long as you’re in it. I’m not a lawyer).

There are definitely some mixed opinions on it.

Lots of people applauding her for being a badass and standing up to what’s a pretty cold firing process.

And others saying she took things too far and burnt bridges by making it public.

I’m not sure how I feel about it yet.

I think because it’s gone so viral though, it will be end being a W for her.

It also doesn’t make working at a large corporation – even our beloved Cloudflare – sound very appealing.

☁️ Closing Comments

That’s all for this week.

Thanks for reading until the end.

If you ever want to discuss any of the topics in this newsletter, I usually post a dedicated thread each week inside of the NewPulse Labs Facebook group.

You can also find previous issues of The Lab Report over at newpulselabs.com/newsletter.

Talk soon!