tl;dr: I am a big fan of this effort, but have more business than technical concerns when it comes to sustainability of said effort.
I am a small business owner. Just sold my last business that was running WP4.9 and WooCommerce at time of sale. Now starting a new business and new site on WP 5.0. I have tried Gutenberg. It’s OK.
I have researched and tried dozens of plugins and themes in the last few weeks. From visual page builders to writing my own plugins. I am now testing it with the Stackable theme and blocks which do make Gutenberg more powerful. Been a steep learning curve getting back up to speed on all the latest trends. I could live with Gutenberg as a single person business, but I think it’s a bit too young yet. My final decision for v1 will be WordPress 5.0 with Classic Editor and Make theme.
And here is a short list of why I am not jumping on the ClassicPress wagon just yet…
At the risk of seeming pedantic - I have not seen anyone here clearly define why Gutenberg is bad for business. I think it’s important to get that out front. I see that people say it’s harder to use, and it has bugs. Well, that describes V1 of about any software. How about the fact that it turns every user with editor privileges into a site builder, which is probably not a good idea if you want to keep your site from looking like a pre-school art show. How about the importance of keeping some structure to your data? Seems CPT’s work better than a bunch of blocks in that use case. In short, why does WordPress with Gutenberg fail in professional/business use cases? Without noting these failures, and backing with a bit of data, you are just saying yours is better “because it’s the way we have always done it”. That is rarely a good answer for anyone other than management.
Democracy is messy. You still need structure. I know the project is young, but I don’t think you can figure this stuff out on the fly. I see in several posts where getting V1 out the door is more important than doing marketing or other admin tasks. I see that everyone on the core team is acknowledging up front that it will be a bunch of work. Concur. But I also do not see a roadmap that addresses anything but the technical aspects. I think we know that WP 4.9 was usable. So I would rather have seen a CP 1.0 without any changes from WP 4.9 - other than search and replace as required - so that energy could be focused on the CP organization itself. What is the mission and vision? Governance? Business structure? I need answers to those questions before I commit.
I don’t think ClassicPress can (or should) run on donations. If you are going to serve as a “Business CMS” I think it’s important you run the project as a business. I would recommend looking at the Coop business model. I am a fan. I think it’s a good match for Open Source projects that need to maintain a democratically controlled project for members who use it in their critical path. I would pay to be a member assuming the perks were value add. Who here does not pay for premium plug-ins already? Why not pay for premium support of core? I would pay 100 bucks a year to know that there is a well funded staff looking after my open source code base; one that I depend on to conduct business; yet maintain democratic control of the dev priorities/organization. Simple member perks could be: You get to vote, and get access to email support. Otherwise, hang out in the forums and still benefit from those who help pay the bills. Win-win.
In summary, my concerns are more about the projects sustainability from a governance and business perspective. I think there is social and technical merit in the fork. And many of the ideas being voted on are fantastic. But as I have found out over the last few decades - mostly the hard way - the tech is the easy part compared to managing and sustaining.
The marketing team is working hard at ramping up efforts, now that the brand has been established, and right now we are posting to social media daily. We are generating blog posts weekly.
Regarding a clear definition of why Gutenberg is bad for business – the marketing team has made a conscious decision to take the high road here and let Gutenberg sink or swim on its own. We choose not to position ourselves as “The Anti-Gutenberg”. We prefer, instead, to focus on why ClassicPress is good for business. v1 begins that journey toward creating a CMS that is business-focused. It will be a well-thought-out and community-led journey, and anyone who wants to come along (either actively or passively) is welcome.
As you have stated, there’s a lot that goes into creating an organization like this. The committee has been hard at work doing just that – and all on a volunteer basis, in addition to running our own businesses or working full time. We don’t have all the answers, but we are working toward them.
If you’d like to be more involved and support our project, we welcome that – please feel free to jump in and take on a task. Since you are a small business owner (like me) and not a developer, you might enjoy contributing to the marketing team. Or, once you’ve read through the work the committee has completed so far, you might choose to contribute in a way that helps the committee better understand your thoughts on the Coop business model and how it can apply to CP.
I hope I’ve answered some of your questions here, or at least pointed you in the right direction. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me directly.
We really appreciate you taking the time to clearly articulate your reasons for hesitation, and I think it brings up a ton of great points that we will need to address as a project in order to ensure long-term survival.
Talking from my own perspective - I really like your input in your 3rd point - I think this would give many businesses the comfort of knowing that while we are open source, we are funded.
I really hope that while you may not use CP for your business (at the moment) that you stick around and continue to give us your input. This type of input is so valuable and appreciated
Just a small comment on this point. I personally feel like it is difficult to actively push something that is still in beta. I tried contacting some of the one-click installers to see if they would consider adding CP, but the response was basically: “sure, we’ll consider it when you have a product”. I think the marketing will take a big leap forward when v1 is released, which is why I see that as a priority.
@BlueSkyPhoenix Thanks. Yes, it is clear you all are hard at work and passionate about the project. I think it’s off to a good start.
I did have to dig for that Mission Statement. Might be good to direct link that under the About menu. Maybe I missed it?
Ah yes, marketing. It is what I have been focused on for my new business for the last month. Along with workflow and processes. Something I always tended to ignore in the past as building things is so much more fun!
One of my first business efforts was a 501c3. I sucked at it. Asking for donations and grant seeking was not something I enjoyed so it did not last long. If I would have thought about that for even a minute before I started down the path of nonprofit I would have chosen differently. I am not anti-nonprofit. I just don’t think it’s a good fit for what you are trying to do. And I think there is a clear precedent set by premium plug-ins in the existing community, so I am not sure you would get push-back. My assumption is it would actually bring in more business customers as it’s a clear signal you are serious about what you are doing. Charging for value is just good business practice. I like free stuff, but if I depend on it to make a living I am more concerned about the value, which in this case includes assessing the project as a whole. If you are positioning as a B2B offering I think it’s not only a good idea, I would go so far as to say…expected, or at least well understood. That’s all just guesses on my part. It would be easy enough to tell from reactions to my babbling here. But a few social media posts floating the idea could not hurt. Maybe people scream at the idea. Wouldn’t be the first time I was terribly wrong.
I think the best part of the coop idea is that it is designed to be democratic. I see a lot of weight given to that here on your site. Given recent developments in WP community I get it. All great for devs and designers, but most casual business users of WP/CP likely do not care about the details of project governance They just want it to work. Assuming a business structure that inherently supports democratic control allows you to spend more time talking about the results rather than the methods. So rather you all go for a coop or not I would get that settled, and move on to focusing your marketing on the capability.
Agree. The roadmap is set so nothing to do but get it done. I just thought it was a bit too aggressive technically as there are other tasks to be done as you well know. Perhaps just a lesson learned at this point.
Your perspective/approach is how business decisions should be made.
And that is why projects like this must initially rely on the early adopters with hopes to cross the chasm into the early majority. It remains to be seen if that can and will happen, but the existing team effort to that end certainly strives to see it become reality.
I would also be happy to pay some kind of subscription. Mainly for premium support but also to help support what I see as a worthy project.
I am still not confident of migrating my main site to CP yet, as I rely on Woocommerce and cannot be sure it will be compatible going forward, or that the Woocommerce extensions I rely on will be compatible or available forked for Classic Commerce.
But with some premium support I would certainly feel more confident of moving that big site across. to CP
Believe I mentioned this as well a while back so thanks for reiterating. Yearly plan model solves lots of things; incentivizing and supporting growth being the main 2.
When a product/service solves a problem ppl will open up their wallets/purses/satchels - period. I’ve seen tons of high-potential “good will” projects retreat into the shadows bc of limited funding needed to actively develop and market, 2 crucial components of any business.
I’d also happily pay $100/yr on a CP unlimited plan knowing a paid team is behind it and not just volunteers.
At the end of the day, everyone needs a roof over their head, so if the CP folks love working on the project, I personally think they should be paid for their time/knowledge.
Some quick gorilla math:
75,000,000 WP users, worldwide
Taking just 0.1% of that = 75,000 (Scott’s goal is actually 1 million CP users by 2020, which is in 313 days as of today)
75,000 x $100/yr = $750,000/yr (just from memberships)
Pretty sure that amount would open up a few closed doors.