I’d agree. I also agree with pretty much everything in your “Having someone new” paragraph. That’s exactly the profile that the project needs to look for, in my opinion. Personally I don’t have anywhere near enough of those attributes but hopefully someone does.
I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with the need for a figurehead at this stage but if we are going to go down that road, someone - anyone - needs to put together a list of potential candidates.
Who will take on this role?
The million dollar question. I don’t think there’s anyone in the community that could take on this role. Not because I don’t think there’s anyone capable. Just because no one has the time. We’re all stretched to breaking point as it is. So we’d almost certainly need to be looking for someone outside of the CP community imo and ideally someone already well known in the WP arena.
I’m also not sure about the “Executive Director” moniker as this may imply decision-making ability which some might see as conflicting with our core ethos. Might Managing Director be more appropriate?
The best person for this role is ClassicPress v.2.
It means, attracting core developers is a crucial task.
For now, our difference is only democracy vs. dictatorship. But wait, who owns “Democratize publishing” idea?
Any successful marketing efforts should be backed by the bold product. Sad, but for now, the bold product is Gutenberg, not CP.
The only long-term REAL success for CP I see only by attracting new core developers. It is very hard task, but I think, it is crucial. And, maybe, it can be achieved only by personal “selling” the idea to come to us to someone we know. Even this is a very hard task - know from my own experience by unsuccessful attempts to persuade some really capable developers to contribute to the CP.
Spreading to the world about CP is a needed task, and can be improved a lot. But developing ClassicPress v.2 is crucial.
This is great feedback. I agree that all of us here in the Community are already stretched too thin. But looking outside of the CP community for someone to be our spokesperson – on a volunteer basis – I’m not sure how attractive that could possibly sound to someone, especially if they’re already well known in the WP arena (and, yes, finding someone who is well known in WP circles is a good idea, IMO). We’re in need on an Influencer (or two, or 10). I also agree that Executive Director as a title may confuse people, but I think Managing Director also implies decision-maker… so that’ll need further thought to make sure we’re conveying the right message, and also that we’re being clear about the role they play in the organization.
We’ve had many conversations about this, and I agree with you – we need more core developers and they are difficult to come by. Personal relationships; one-to-one discussions to persuade developers to join us – these are the most effective ways to gain momentum.
Perhaps we should stop and ask ourselves why developers are not joining us, even when we have those discussions? Why are we not an attractive option that they’d want to get involved in?
Agreed. It’s difficult to market CP effectively in its current state, other than to say that it’s stable.
Personally, I’m a little concerned that as WP rolls forward (dragging themes and plugins with them) we may be in danger of losing our compatibility with those plugins and themes.
Having v2 would show tangible progress and prove our commitment to continuing to move forward. It would give us something to use to show potential developers that this project has a future and it’s worth getting involved in. However, there is a perceived lack of “leadership” in the public eye because there is no one person that people can identify as leading this project. This has been further exacerbated by our lack of communication during the COVID crisis.
I’m not sure what the right answers are, but I’m glad we’re having the discussion. Thanks to both of you.
I’m more than a little concerned. I think it is inevitable. That’s why I’m starting to feel like it’s time for a major rethink about the whole project.
I’m still off in la-la land after my visit to the dentist to have my remaining top teeth out. So not up to having any great debates.
The word “Director” is definitely not what we need. I think the word you’re looking for may be “Patron”. We don’t want them to necessarily create new code. There are team members for that.
As I said, we need someone to sell what we already have. One person that comes to mind is John Overall. He has the WP experience, reputation and contacts and already promotes CP every week on his podcast. It would be worth reaching out to him. He is right behind CP.
I’m sure there are plenty of others if we think about it. Let’s not turn this into a bigger issue than it needs to be.
I have not posted much although I have been using Classicpress for all my sites for the last year or so. Please feel free to disregard this post if you don’t feel I am qualified to leap in at this stage
I switched to Classicpress because I felt (and feel) that Gutenberg and block design are either a disastrous misstep, or a clever pivot into a different market. Either way they benefit Wordpress.com much more than they will ever benefit the designers making dynamic websites who have made Wordpress what it is.
Having said that I completely agree that ClassicPress does not need and executive director or anything like that. IMHO it needs an evangelist - someone who plays the same kind of role that Guy Kawasaki played thirty years ago for the Apple Macintosh. He used to see his job as bringing the Mac into every conversation, and that is what I think a Classicpress evangelist (or team of evangelists should be doing).
The main selling point Classicpress has is still what set it in motion in the first place. It does not have a block based design that encourages the end-user to reconfigure the site on the fly. Its strength is still that it enables designers to hand sites to clients, rather than pointing clients to a template on Wix or Wordpress.com. The evangelists need to spread this message. Articles on Medium explaining why block designs are a bad idea. Tweets advocating design principles. Not selling the hoped-for new features or what Classicpress might be in the future, but extolling the principles that differentiate it from Wordpress.
From that starting point “stable” is perfect. Classicpress is not dangerous. It won’t destroy your work or your client’s site. You can trust it. And you can trust where it intends going.
An evangelist should be abale to make a fair bit of noise around the design principles that power Classicpress without having to wait for splashy new features to arrive!
Just my 2 cents…
We’d be stupid to disregard posts such as yours. In fact, it’s great to see different names joining in discussions. I wish more members of the community would do the same. As we say on our website (and elsewhere) “Add your voice to the conversation!”.
You make many valid points and the evangelist approach is very much in tune with my own line of thinking. I also agree that the “Director” label should be avoided. I had previously considered “Patron” as suggested by @aussie, but in my experience of patrons, they don’t actually do anything and the word conjures up the wrong type of image for me.
But I do agree that what we need is someone who will, as you say, make some noise and as @aussie says, sell what we already have.
The only thing I would add is that anyone and everyone is welcome to make their own noise - and the more the merrier. Anyone is free to respond to threads on Twitter, Medium, Reddit and elsewhere. And in many ways, responses are often better coming from the community rather than someone “official”. You could also bring them to the attention of the community here.
But going back to the evangelist person (working title ) if anyone has any ideas as to who would potentially make a good candidate, then it might be best to DM @BlueSkyPhoenix, @james and @wadestriebel …although they might have different thoughts.
Thanks for joining in Owen.
The term “director” came in at the beginning because there was a collective complaint of the lack of a single “leader” of ClassicPress:
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen these kinds of comments here on the forums, in Slack, and elsewhere, so it appears that there are at least some who want to see a move in that direction. I suggested Executive Director because in a nonprofit setting, the Executive Director is employed at the will of the Board (in this case, the Committee) and is tasked with executing the tasks of his/her office according to the board’s will. The ED functions as a figurehead and leader of the organization. They do not make decisions with regard to the project – the Board does. Here is a good outline (entire article can be read here)
I’ve summarized it below this block of text, for those who don’t want to read the whole thing…
What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of the Executive Director?
The board chair typically serves as the liaison between the board and management. It’s common, though not required, for the executive director to attend board meetings to stay in the loop of board business. Whether the executive director attends board meetings or not, the role requires keeping the board informed about what the staff and volunteers are doing. It’s important for the executive director to provide the board with feedback on progress toward achieving goals for the strategic plan and any budget needed to fulfill the expected duties.
The executive director’s exact duties and responsibilities may vary somewhat, depending on their job description. Generally, executive directors accept direct responsibility for executing the organization’s policies, programs and initiatives. Here is a template for a job description for an executive director.
Executive directors manage all of the day-to-day responsibilities of the organization, including managing staff and volunteers. Working with staff, the executive director develops policies to inform the various programs as they work toward fulfilling the organization’s charitable purpose.
Another important duty of the executive director is to serve as the face and public spokesperson for the organization. Executive directors often make public presentations to the media, members, donors, government representatives and members of the community at large.
The role usually requires many hours outside of the office, as they often attend or host fundraising events, public relations events and events for various organizational programs.
The importance of the executive director’s role requires that the board choose someone who is a person with high ethical and moral standards, and who has a spotless reputation. Most executive directors aren’t really ever off-duty, even when they’re off-the-clock.
So – summary, in our context:
- The executive director would oversee day-to-day operations and report to the Committee & Community regularly on CP’s progress. (project management)
- They would work with Team Leads to make sure everything is moving forward and ensure progress is in alignment with Committee/Community goals (accountability for all).
- They would be the face and public spokesperson for the organization, including pursuing and engaging with the media for interviews, responding to discussions happening on social media/other forums, and evangelizing about CP wherever and whenever an opportunity arises. (Evangelist)
All that said – if that’s not what we want for our organization, then great! I have no problem with that. The conversation seems to have shifted toward hiring an Influencer/Evangelist… which is a valid discussion as well.
I said “hiring” purposefully – because generally these people are paid, just like a PR Firm (which has also been mentioned here).
As this organization is run 100% on donations from our Community, we’ve always relied upon our Community to evangelize for us, because there has not been funding to do any sort of marketing/PR/evangelizing. We can ALL be evangelists for ClassicPress, and we all MUST be, if we want our project to survive.
@Owen has made some very valid points, but I think his comments also force us to look again at who our target market is:
If Owen’s perspective is accurate, then we are not a platform for end users. I’d also suggest that we are not necessarily a platform for small independent web designers, because many of those designers use page builders to build sites.
If both those statements are true, then
We are a platform for web developers, and we are a platform for larger agencies who employ teams of developers and designers.
CP is WP is as was before Guttenburg, Many agencies and developers have always added code to restrict what the end user (client) could see or edit, I know I do. Customiser and then Guttenburg just made more work to do. Many of my clients do not do any edits to their sites, some just add or change content but I do have a few that like to do “more”.I then get paid for consultation time and final editing. So each to their own.
The unfortunate thing about the recent changes to WP is that they are core not optional. As long as we have a supported pagebuilder we can support both the business clients and the diy site. owners
Ain’t never going to happen. Too hard.
I think you are misreading what Owen is saying too. But you would have to ask him.
As I see it, there are at least two key issues:
Spreading the word, evangelising, making some noise
Speed of progress, direction of project
To my mind, 2 is largely dependent on 1. So I would say the evangelistic role is a priority. We need to capitalise on the existing disillusionment with WordPress as outlined by @Mark.
Also, I think the title “Executive Director” will mean different things in different organisations. I worked in a not-for-profit for 17 years where Executive Directors were definitely decision makers and were expected to attend board meetings etc. But the actual role is what matters.
I think this is a great start but imho, the emphasis should be on the latter, at least to begin with.
Wow. Michelle, you have just said exactly the thing that I have been thinking for the past week!
We are trying to be too much for too many people. We should just focus on this group and reduce the scope of the project. And that will then make it doable with the current team.
I don’t necessarily agree with this. I would say instead that we haven’t clearly defined a target persona / market segment.
In addition to web developers, we are also a great fit for hobbyists and freelancers / small businesses who want to take the time to set up a website themselves. We have seen many examples of this market segment on the forums so far.
To me, this clarification of our target audience doesn’t really change our planned roadmap. The most obvious example is that we still need a plugin directory.
That’s a good example. I don’t think developers need a plugin directory at all. That’s a feature that is clearly aimed at “hobbyists and freelancers / small businesses who want to take the time to set up a website themselves”.
Every possible user of ClassicPress would benefit greatly from us having our own plugin directory. Otherwise every plugin has to either use the WP repo or maintain their own update server, and we maintain a list of compatible plugins ourselves on the forums. This works for now but it is not a sustainable approach for the long term.
I strongly agree with James:
Many of my students go on to be freelance web developers or start 3-4 person web design shops in Helsinki. Their customers are small businesses who want responsive modern sites where they can easily enter and update content. They do use plugins if sparingly.
From this perspective Mark is completely right when he says
From an evangelical standpoint the compulsory use of block components is at best a mixed blessing, and at worst a completely unnecessary complication. We can talk about that without needing to wait for a version 2 of ClassicPress, or a plugin directory (although both will be nice to have!).
I am not sure an evangelist needs to be a paid job. What I am sure of is that s/he needs to exist as a titled position.
Experience tells me that when a job is “everybody’s responsibility” it either gets done by a small group of people who go unacknowledged, or it doesn’t get done at all. This is as true of making sure that the campsite is cleared of litter after a camping trip as it is of popularising ClassicPress.
Neither the litter clearing boss or the chief evangelist have to do the work. Rather, they would coordinate it and thus make it possible. They would do things like: define the necessary tasks, draw up rotas, and delegate them in such a way that people step up to do them.
For evangelising ClassicPress this might mean establishing a Chief Evangelist to work as part of the marketing team. This person might do things like setting up a channel to suggest topics to focus on each month, media to target, and another channel where people can report back on what they have done this month. A coordinated process like this would turn individual contributions into group efforts, focus those group efforts, and then provide visible feedback to the entire group about the results of those efforts.
Initially this would be more about staking out a space for ClassicPress in CMS-land than about boasting about its exciting new features. For this, as I said in my previous post, I think that “its stable”, “its free of the unnecessary complications of blocks”, and “its very unlikely to go away” are the key promises we need to evangelise.
Does this make sense?
Paid job - only if the person is well-known in the WP community. But we can have a myriad evangelists without any title. In fact, most of this community already are evangelists of CP.
I may sound boring, but again, a more active involvement in FB, Twitter, Reddit, other communities is required from our marketing team. Supporting activities of our members there, of any other supporters of CP are an easy job (because don’t require any new content creation), but it encourages them to spread the message about CP. More attention from CP team to them will create more evangelists. Evangelists, because they believe in CP, not because they are paid to evangelize.
And yes, I found the discussion about buyer personas too academic and completely unnecessary. Buyers can be everywhere, where WordPress users are. Let’s tweet ten tweets about CP, instead such discussion!
Well, at the risk of sounding defensive, I’ll just mention that the majority of the people present at the most recent marketing meeting were leads from other teams, and some of them actually aren’t even on social media. Our marketing team officially appears to be a team of one, currently.
I have taken your comments to heart and am retweeting posts by our community that I am aware of, that are ClassicPress related. However, I disagree that this should be the only thing that happens with marketing. There needs to be a plan in place, content created, and a schedule by which that content is posted. Then, we need the rest of the community to share it.
At the last marketing meeting James came up with some talking points about ClassicPress. I’ve seen a few others here, which I am happy to include. If there are others, I’d be happy to hear them. Up to this point, there’s been very little participation in marketing. I have always been, and continue to be, open to people that are ready to roll up their sleeves and do the work of getting the word out.
I would happily tweet 10 tweets if I had content. Linas, you have often said that you would help; I would be very grateful if you would contribute some of your time to the marketing team as a content creator. Please consider it and let me know.