The two-hour long Google Hangout addressed these three topics:
- How the race to the bottom benefits platforms and not developers
- WordPress training resources
- End-to-end solutions for smaller business
The Race to the Bottom
The race to the bottom refers to a recent blog post — called The Race to the Bottom Benefits Platforms (not Developers) — by CTO of Crowd Favorite Alex King, which highlights a changing industry. With an increasing number of quality products and services available for little to no cost, the market has naturally become more competitive, thus pressuring developers to find innovative ways to monetize their products.
In the WordPress space — an industry premised entirely around making freely solutions available to everyone — it’s this very notion that’s making it increasingly more difficult for developers to make money.
And with the robust plugin repository providing extended functionality and customizability to WordPress users around the world for free, it does raise the question (as WP Think Tank panelists pointed out) of why someone would pay for a premium plugin, when there’s a free plugin that performs a very similar function.
King suggests the race to the bottom will force developers to adapt and explore other monetization strategies if they want to succeed.
Customer Training and Hiring Developers
On the topic of WordPress training resources, the panelists explained how they provide both client and new-employee training within their respective companies.
Online videos are quickly becoming a favorable tool for WordPress education, though Co-CEO and founder of Illuminea Miriam Schwab indicated that within her company she’s found that clients don’t want to sit there watching training videos. They want their hand held through processes. So “to help get new customers started, with every site we provide a 2-hour training session,” Schwab said.
When hiring developers, CEO of Modern Tribe Shane Pearlman said that the first thing they do is look at the prospective employees GitHub account. Nobody makes it to a conversation without looking at code first. That’s the beauty of open source, as an employer you get the advantage of not only seeing how a candidate codes, but also how they talk to people, Pearlman pointed out.
Micro-Niche Themes and End-to-End Solutions
Today, there is a growing demand for micro-niche themes — and according to Dean the supply isn’t measuring up to the demand.
This suggests a huge gap in the industry, and perhaps in the future there will be more themes geared towards very particular niches, like lawyers, hairdressers, and bakers, for example.
When it comes to targeting micro-niches, Happy Tables — a service that allows you to create and manage your own restaurant website — is a great example. CEO of Human Made, Happy Tables, and WP Remote Tom Willmot suggests that the success of Happy Tables can be at least in part accredited to the focus it gives to restaurants, which provides an overall better user experience.
Willmot also suggests that end-to-end solutions targeting micro-niches seem like a natural next step in the industry — though it may be difficult to figure out what a particular niche wants and be able to give it to them. For that, Willmot suggests that you need passionate people. People who are experts in the respective micro-niche.
However, when it comes to end-to-end solutions the target audience will definitely be smaller-sized companies. King suggests that larger enterprises still want decoupled services to meet their unique needs.
WP Think Tank provides useful dialogue for the community, and we look forward to watching the next one in November! These are just some of the highlights from the Think Tank, so I encourage to check out the video for yourself!
Did you watch WP Think Tank #3? What did you find most interesting?
Marie Dodson is the assistant editor at Torque. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Biology and Society. She enjoys wine, good books, and travel.