134 – What makes us trust WordPress software developers?

In this episode:

Discussion – What makes us trust WordPress software developers?

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David and I proudly acknowledge that we are implementers. Our coding skills don’t stretch as far as us building serious software solutions and client budgets don’t stretch that far either, so we are dependent on WordPress developers and their themes and plugins.

It strikes us that there needs to be a lot of trust in that relationship and for all our chats about plugins we have not seriously focused on that.

How much do we think about this? How much does marketing influence us? Does peer pressure have an impact upon us? How do we research solutions?

Do we treat essential software like themes and page builders differently to things that can be swapped out easily? Do have a system to check products.

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Maybe you have been burned before?

These are the areas that we address in this discussion:

The products is owned by the developer who made/coded it?

1. Some seem to revolve around the developer skills of one person or a small team.

Pros: More focused/crafted/reliable/ consistent/less prone to bloat
Con: Risky as businesses as they rely on a few people who tend to be better at their craft than marketing.

2. Some seem to hire the developers they need.

3. Some seem to have developers who lead and the rest is handed off to be maintained.

Company/developer history.

Can you see that they (or their team) have experience with software customer service or how to test releases and updates. Perhaps you can work out that they have too many fingers in too many pies. There seems to be a lot of skills needed beyond coding and having good ideas to support a product.

Do they have to be fully committed WordPress company?

Contributing to the core, supporting community events, adopting the open source licences and business philosophy. Does this one seem to be getting eroded recently?

Do we need a story behind the product?

Copycat products that undercut the originals can do well. Do we need to identify with the problem they are solving personally?

Do we need to know the product’s target audience?

Having some idea of where the product will or will not go. Maybe we need some idea of their developer values. Attitudes towards common problems. Technical debt v’s product stagnation.

Is personality a factor?

We can pick up a lot from seeing live interviews with owners. Should we worry when folk want to stay behind the scenes? There are also cultural differences in how folks do business.

How are we influenced?

Endorsements from thought leaders.

Seems like a shortcut to listen to someone who’s been around the block. But maybe it needs a bit of “discourse analysis”. And the application of the “in whose interest is this”.  Do things like friendships, loyalties and money matter?

Popularity/Peer Pressure/FOMO

Several million people can’t be wrong can they? With the eternal boom and bust of the market, safety in numbers is probably not something we can wholly rely on.

Also we have to look at the market. Themeforest seemed to do well aiming at the DIYer, hobbyist & new starters. Possibly the successful pro website builder is in the minority and is too busy to be chatting on Facebook about what tool they should get next.

Roadmaps and future developments

Marketing promises? Reassuringly open? Is this a sign they have come to market too soon or something that legitimises the bargain (founders) deal?

I don’t think that we’ve got any real chance of getting this one 100% right, but hopefully some of the points that we raise in this episode of the WP Builds WordPress podcast will be something that you can identify with.

Thanks once again for listening, we really appreciate it.

Why not join in the conversation over at the WP Builds Facebook group?

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley, Nathan Wrigley.

Nathan Wrigley: 00:21 Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode 134 and titled what makes us trust WordPress software developers. It was published on Thursday the 27th of June, 2019 my name's Nathan Wrigley from picture and work.co. Dot Uk, a small web development agency based in the north of England and I'll be joined later by David Waumsley from David Waumsley.com so that we can have our discussion. Just a couple of things before I do that, if I could encourage you to go over to the WP Builds.com website and look at the menu at the top of that website. The first item I want to point your attention to is the subscribe link and if you click on that, you're going to be able to join our newsletter. We've got two one newsletter enables you to receive updates about the podcast and the other letter receiving updates about any offers that we find out about on WordPress, plugins, themes, et cetera.

Nathan Wrigley: 01:16 We'll email those straight out to you. You can also do things like join us on your favorite podcast player, so it might be apple podcasts or Google podcasts. Join our Facebook group of over 2000 WordPress professionals all trying to figure out and help each other along the way. And then there's things like updates on Messenger and slack. The other pages I want to point your attention to is the deals page. That's WP Builds.com forward slash deals, whole bunch of offers on WordPress products. We've got 25% of this and 30% off of that. So basically if you're looking for a particular product, go and check that page out because we might very well have it even though it's not black Friday. Another page dimension is WP Builds.com forward slash contribute. If you'd like to come on the podcast and join me and share some things that you think you've done, something that you've achieved, something that you're proud of, I will happily put it on our website so that you can teach other people some of the things that you yourself have been struggling with.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:19 Also, if you use the webinars link, you'll be taken to a page showing the webinars that we have done, lots and lots of those and the webinars that we have still yet to do. So up and coming, we've got Ux for everyone. Speed up your design process with the Ux that's with peach and airy. And also we've got a podcasting one. So Craig Hewitt owns, uh, a platform called Castos, which actually powers the WP Builds websites and he's introduced a new feature which transcribe your audio into text. So he's going to be coming on showing us how that works as well. So if you feel like coming on and joining us, please feel free to do that. If you go to the giveaways link, you'll be taken to a page where our competitions are. We've only got one at the moment, it's from Adam Lacey, his split hero platform.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:04 He's offering to giveaway for different prizes there. So if you're into ab testing, go and check that one out and see if you can win that competition. And the very last one I want to mention today is WP Builds.com. Forward slash advertise. If you would like your product or service mentioning on the WP Builds podcast, get your your theme. your plugging in front of a wider audience and they sound a bit like this. Do you use a page builder to create your websites? The page builder framework is a mobile responsive and lightening fast WordPress theme that works with beaver builder, elemental breezy and other page builders. This endless customization options in the WordPress customizer is the perfect fit for you or your agency. Go to WP dash page builder framework.com today and we thank our sponsors for their support of the WP Builds podcast. I was actually in WordCamp Europe in Berlin over the weekend and I was very lucky enough to meet David Vongries, the developer of the page builder framework among amongst many other people who were there.

Nathan Wrigley: 04:06 That was very nice to meet him and strike up a a real world friendship. Just one other thing before we get stuck right into the podcast. We do have a news section which we do live in our Facebook group on a Monday at two o'clock this week. It was over to choose day because of the fact that I was in WordCamp Europe. But I do join us for that in our Facebook group, 2:00 PM UK time on a Monday, right? Let's get stuck into this week's topic. It's entitled what makes us trust WordPress software developers. It we go right into the weeds of all of the different metrics that David and I used to before we go out buying plugins and themes and so on. Some of them are obvious, some of them less so. But, uh, I think it's important to build up some level of trust before you go out and purchasing things because I think we've probably all been burned in the past. Most of this is inspired by David and the thoughts that he's had in the past. So here we get, well, hope you enjoy it.

David Waumsley: 05:00 This discussion we're calling what makes us trust WordPress software developers. So Nathan and I proudly acknowledge that we're implementers, our coding skills don't stretch as far as this building any serious software solutions. And now client budgets don't really stretch that far either. So we're really dependent on WordPress developers for their themes and plugins. So we haven't really talked about the sort of trust that we put in those developers because we do depend on them. I, um,

Nathan Wrigley: 05:35 I have such a different sort of heritage from you on this because obviously, you know, as I've discussed many times until it's probably about four years ago now, I keep saying to, but it's maybe four on four or five, something like that, that I came to WordPress prior to that I was using Drupal and there, um, modules, you, you don't pay

Nathan Wrigley: 05:58 anything, you just use the module because it's free and open source. And so you have this sort of expectation that it's, it might work and if it does, so that's fabulous. And if it doesn't work, you move on and you try something else or you tinker with the code a little bit or you know, file a support ticket or something. So this whole notion of having to trust a particular person was not so much the case over there. So when I came I, I hadn't really come across this notion before of, you know, trying to trust a particular plugin developer or plugin company. So it was all very new to me. And then when we got started on this podcast, you at some point talk to me whether it was on the podcast, I don't remember about this sort of due diligence that you go through. You know, when you come across a new plug in you, you have like a little checklist of things that you go through and kind of that's what this episode is about, I suppose.

David Waumsley: 06:53 Yeah. Well, you know, I wish I kind of lived up to what I said cause I, yeah, I think there is a distinction sometimes when I know I'm going to really depend on it and clients are now I've had to get much more professional because I want longterm relationships with clients. I get smart when it comes to the really essential stuff. But I think just like everybody else, marketing really influences me on all that they kind of periphery stuff. The stuff that I can probably change out easily. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 07:21 Well, I guess we're all going to be suckered in by some things aren't we? There's going to be certain bits that are psychology draws in on. But we've made, um, we had quite a long chat actually before we recorded this episode and we've made quite a long list, um, of the, of the sort of notions, the things that we think enable us or disable us to trust software developers. So if you are a software developer, this, you know, literally this is not aimed at anyone. And if you, if you come away thinking, I'm sure that conversation was about me, it really wasn't. But if you are a, uh, a developer, it might be interesting to, to, to listen to this one from the point of view of us users of your stuff. Because I suppose as a developer it's quite easy to just sort of get lost in the code and um, lose sight of what people like, like us, your customers are doing. On the other hand, maybe you're very focused on this, but should we go through it? Perhaps just go through it in order. What do you think

David Waumsley: 08:17 Nathan? Before we go on, I want to ask you, because I've never asked you this before, how did you trust the Drupal software? Was there certain modules or elements that you could trust more than others? Yeah, because

Nathan Wrigley: 08:29 of the fact that everybody uses drupal.org to download the plugins, bit like WordPress.org and there is literally zero commercial ecosystem. Everybody's using the same plugins. So a good litmus test is literally the number of downloads. Uh, so, and there are some plugins that just, it's clear that there's lots and lots of people developing and you can see the, um, you can see the support tickets on there and you can see the number of commits and things like that. But primarily it was to do with firstly the, the number of downloads and so on and so forth. So similar to to WordPress.org but um, yeah, not having a commercial component, that's all that you, that's all that you used. And so everybody would feed back to the same bit of software. So if something, for example in the views and module was broken, you can be pretty sure that it would be fixed really quickly because tens of thousands of people were using that exact same module and quite a lot of those people were capable of amending it and committing and fixing it.

David Waumsley: 09:43 Ah, right. Because it's not in the hands of one particular person, if you know what I mean. Yeah, absolutely. Okay. Right. So we'll, we'll get on with the list then. So we were just really asking the question, are these things important? So the first one we got was um, the, the product being owned by the developer who made or coded it. Is this a kind of important thing for trust? I have to say,

Nathan Wrigley: 10:08 say for me it has been, it definitely wasn't one that I set out to, to notice in that there's a whole bunch of things that I have downloaded and come to trust over time. And it turns out that they are run by an individual or were run by an individual and then perhaps their successes enabled them to get somebody onto, to do some other thing with them, maybe support or help them with the code and what have you. And I never set out for this to be a criteria, but it turns out that an awful lot of the things that I use have got this characteristic. And I, I do like it. I am drawn to the fact that this one individual has decided to, to spend an awful lot of time making this thing as good as possible. And you know what it's like, um, as an example, in the real world, we always hire this one particular painter and decorator because he's painstaking about it and he comes back and he makes sure that everything's fine.

Nathan Wrigley: 11:06 And um, I'm pretty sure that there's a whole bunch of painters and decorators where I live who could do an equally good job, but I'm just drawn to him because I've noticed his attention to detail and I've noticed about that. He really cares. So the same happens here, you know, you see them on podcasts, you hear about them, you see their blog updates, you notice that they're offering support tickets. Um, personally. And you think, yeah, that sounds good to me. It sounds like you've got a lot of skin in the game and I'm, I'm going to be more, more likely to be drawn to that.

David Waumsley: 11:39 Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it's the same it feels, but I don't know if my history is right on this because I mean, I go back to I think the kind of end of 2006 when I first became aware of WordPress and got into really using the next year. And it was about the time when the first commercial themes that were coming out. So we had Brian Gardner bring it out is I think revolution theme of that time. And that seemed to be, in my experience, it was all about these kind of core developer people. It was kind of like people as in Drupal, but they're taking the first steps to something that you could add on commercially. And that's how it seemed to be. So you kind of knew the people. They were already in it. There were solving their own problems that they had with WordPress and you could relate to it.

David Waumsley: 12:25 And that's always stuck with me. So I still tend to trust these things, but maybe that's not really a true account of history because if I look back, I'm pretty sure that things like theme forest, which was kind of large organizations where lots of people would submit their pro products too. They were around at the same time and they were kind of outside of the ecosystem and more focused on, you know, making money really than just kind of been a community member, you know? Yeah, I do. I understand what you mean. I mean, I think it does. Clearly if somebody is into their products and they are prepared to stick with it, then that's great. I suppose that comes at the expense of growth potentially. You know, if you are, if you're a person who's decided to put a lot of effort into a plugin and it turns out not to be commercially successful, it's not sold as many as you need it to support your life, then that's a problem because then you're, you're much more likely to step away from that.

David Waumsley: 13:25 And then the one person who was doing anything with it abandons it. So we get, you know, this abandoned ware. And then of course there's the other thing that literally they, they might, it's horrible to say it, but they might meet with an accident or something, you know, and yeah, suddenly they're out of the picture through no fault of their own. And so that plugin, the capability for keeping that plugin going has kind of died off a dried up, sorry. Died up. Literally. Yeah. I mean that's always been my worry. You know, the single person trying to keep their business running because if they're really into the code and developing their, probably not so great on the marketing cause it's like a whole different set of skills isn't it? And you need the marketing to keep the product alive so they can make money so they can continue to support it.

David Waumsley: 14:13 And I, this is always the tricky balance for me. I must admit, I still, I think the ideal for me tends to be when there is kind of one or two key people behind the product who still have a vision for it, if you like, they know why they made that product still supporting it. Even if they outsource some of those jobs to other people or they grow bigger, you know, to and get people in to do the marketing. I think I'm less keen on the, or let's say I'm more suspicious. It takes a lot more for me to trust the, uh, organizations who are perhaps fundamentally marketers who get developers in. Well that's, that's quite a common thing though, isn't it? You know, you've seen that time and again where people are simply the marketing front and you, you never really kind of get to know who is behind this now.

David Waumsley: 15:06 Interesting. At this point to just take a side step slightly, what is it that you do to go out and find a who these people are? Do you like go and search their about US pages? Do sort of like separate Google searches and things like that? Yeah. Got that. They ask that. One of my big beefs, when I don't see an about page, I'm already upset. But I mean if I really think their product's great, then I'll, we'll go and try and search them out somewhere else. So I'll stop, you know, if I can find a name, I'll start to search that and look at their other work and see if I can find them on WordPress with other plugins and that kind of thing. I, and it's terrible, isn't it really stalking behavior and I uh, but there are podcasts like the WP Builds podcasts where there are interviews with these folks and that, that is really handy.

David Waumsley: 15:54 Yes. Yeah, that's, that's a good point. You get to hear them on varnished to talking about their own product and, you know, uh, proselytizing about it or whatever it might be. Yeah, it's a good point. But it's sort of a little bit of a Google search. Did you ever sort of contact them prior to purchase? Just just to find out more about them? Um, yeah, I have occasionally, um, sometimes, you know, move onto this one. So we've got crossover I think. But you know, one thing I have often asked about is whether something is under the general public license. So if I don't know and I can't see it because that's one of my deciding factors on it. So yeah, I've done that a few times and that's probably about it. Yeah. I must admit I'm far less. Um, I don't know what it is.

David Waumsley: 16:45 I don't go through that process quite so much. I think really, I'm much more reliant and we'll come onto this a little bit later. I'm much more reliant on my peers to give me some good advice. So, well, you're a perfect example. You know, I kind of, I've got to the point where I trust what you say, um, which is, you know, ridiculous. But, um, but you know, people like you who I've understand, I've gone through these processes before. I kind of trust what you say. And so I've kind of outsourced my, my due diligence to you. Oh, do I must admit, I mean, sticking with the first sort of thing, I, I, I, I've always not quite had an opinion on, on these different companies. So companies that are, have a lot of plugins than they do. So, you know, somebody manages that and they basically find niches, don't they in fill those. So we've got I themes and we got w p, m you dev, those kind of big houses of plugins. I've never been attracted to those. Right. You know, you can see the model company does, is it makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? In a way.

Nathan Wrigley: 17:57 Yeah. If you can, I suppose this is all about growth, isn't it? And at some point you've got to begin. So at what point would you be satisfied that this person's history is suitable? So you know, let's say for example that a new plugin pops up tomorrow from an 18 year old developer. He's got no history, he's got literally, he's got no Twitter record. You can't find them on WordPress.org because there's nothing there and yet the product seems to be good. I suppose at the end of the day all you've got at that point is reaching out to them, maybe hope that they appear on podcasts. If you are technically minded you could I suppose, uh, download it and review the source code and refund it on the 14 day money back guarantee and all that kind of stuff. There are ways of doing it, but yeah, as these, as these companies grow and they morph into bigger companies, you know you mentioned I themes and things where they've diversified and done lots of other things. Yeah. It's just a different model. I tend to find myself working with, with companies that seem to just do one or two things and try to concentrate on those. That just seems to be the way it was worked out for me.

David Waumsley: 19:01 Yeah, I think that's always my preference. It is nice if you just know that there is somebody and they've got a set of values over where their products go in. Um, that's, I think that's another thing that I fear the most is not knowing where a product that I buy for a particular reason. That's I think where my trust issues came in is because I made that mistake very early on. I think I may have spoken about this before, but we had a shop and we then moved it to woo commerce when it came out and there was a great theme, forest theme that I got really, really popular and it just did the job for me really, really quickly and it just went wrong from me because it was really heavy and it was really popular and people ask for lots, lots more stuff to get added to it and it got heavier and heavier and there had to abandon it after a long time. It's to genesis, which was very basic and required me to do a lot of work. And that's really where I've, that's that one incident has really changed how I view things because I want to make sure that the products pretty much going to be the same product that I bought in the first place.

Nathan Wrigley: 20:10 Yeah. Upon updating on a daily basis, I basically go into, you know, my, my updating APP, which I use, which is main WP and I update things pretty much on a daily basis. And you see the list of plugins up there and you do think I'm really putting a lot of trust in these people because I click this update button. I am, I'm just hoping that there's no extra work suddenly generated by what you've done. And so having that trust, having that knowledge, having that understanding of the history of this particular person or small company or large company, whatever it might be, is crucial. Um,

David Waumsley: 20:51 yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Should we move on to the next one? Yeah. No, it was just one thing I wanted to add onto that. I think that's one of the attractions with no in the one person behind the product who feels that the, the responsibility of those updates rests on their shoulders. Very good point. And I, and, and I think, yeah, that's the problem where it's sort of a more diluted amongst lots of developers, you know, no one has that sort of fit in that they are singularly responsible for what goes out. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 21:20 I mean, we've all come across plugins that have just become a on maintained. You've all seen them in WordPress.org you've probably bought commercial plugins that seem to go away. We don't really know the reason that that has happened, but it is, it does just create work. Whatever the reason is, whether it was legitimate or just laziness, the, the end result is that you have got to end up doing some more work to maintain those sites. And that's, that's regrettable.

David Waumsley: 21:49 So the other thing we've got down his company or developer history, how important is that to you, Nathan?

Nathan Wrigley: 21:56 Well, we spoke about this a moment ago and obviously you have to some extent you have to route with for the, um, for the little guy, don't, yeah. Who's just starting out and beginning and what have you. But let's be honest, at the end of the day, it does, it really matters. I think it's quite common for us all to, to, you know, if a company has been around for three, four, five years, I mean, we're not talking decades only in the WordPress space. They've been around for that length of time. And you've heard no whopping horrible stories about abandonment or poor, uh, support services or plugin updates, breaking everything that really, really counts for a lot. Even if they're terrible at marketing, you know, they never appear on podcasts. They never put out videos explaining their recent updates. The fact that they've been around, they're used by lots and lots of people and stuff just doesn't break counts for a lot.

David Waumsley: 22:49 Yeah. I think that is true as well for me, uh, that having a bit of history, but you know, I have, you know, have rooted for the underdog and then that's when you need to do all the other checks. I think a lot more try and find out what they're about. I think maybe the Ha is there a possibility, do you think, where having a longer history maybe not such good things. So, you know, let's put it like this. So a marketing executive who's, you know, had a 50 year career or something may not be the, the greatest marketer around these days as everything was completely disrupted by the Internet and all the rules of marketing change. Do you think that could be possible with plugin developers?

Nathan Wrigley: 23:30 Sure. It's possible in the sense that, you know, there's these new technologies, you know, react and various things that come along and uh, and ostensibly speed things up. So if the next generation are developing on a different software stack and it's, it's palpably faster and it's capable of doing things quicker and they can iterate faster and put out new versions with less efforts. Yeah, I'm, I'm sure that makes a difference. I suppose it's one of those sort of like long burn things may be we, we as plugin developers and as, and for you and I consumers of those plugins, there doesn't need to be a little sort of bedding in period. I think it's a bit a bit naive to expect that you can release your first plugin and for it to be a runaway success. I would imagine that most people doing what you and I do for a living are going to have some level of skepticism.

Nathan Wrigley: 24:19 And even if you're not, um, actively creating a list and ticking off the boxes to ensure that it complies with your, your companies requirements or your businesses requirements on some level you're going to be saying, oh, I don't know about this. It all looks a bit new and flashy and what have you. Less I'll come back to it in a couple of years. I'll come back to it in a year and see if it's any good. And I suppose plugin developers, you've got to have a little bit of that in. You got to think I'm not going to go into the market and storm the whole thing. Cos it happens, definitely happens. But um, maybe that's just part and parcel of the job. You know, you wouldn't walk for example, into, I don't know, an accountancy firm and expect to be a director very, very rapidly. You know, it's a, it's a long thing.

Nathan Wrigley: 25:01 You're going to be there for many years, chugging it out, hoping to gain credibility and not make too many mistakes and eventually be rewarded by that prize that you're after. And maybe the same first plugin developers. Maybe success comes through all of the things that we mentioned. Longevity, not messing everything up, not breaking things and offering good support over the years. Yeah. Yes. I think you're right on that. I was just thinking about that cause a lot of products do in fact, the one that you and I trust a lot, beaver builder kind of, you know, didn't really see any sort of plugging in history with them. They just kind of appeared and they hmm. And I guess they, I guess what was interesting about that, that one, and again it'll probably happen over and over again in the next 10 years, is that they kind of occupied a new space, didn't they?

Nathan Wrigley: 25:48 Some new new, um, category of product. Whereas a lot of the plugins that I use, they're not really, what's the word? They're not sort of claiming a beachhead. They're not starting something that's never been done before. Very often. It's like a minor thing. Uh, they're, they're copying the functionality of another plugin doing something very, very similar, but trying to do it in a different way. Um, whereas they were right at the forefront of the whole page builder thing. Literally what you see is what you get type of page builder. And so I think they perhaps managed to circumvent that whole longevity trust thing because it was so intriguing and so brand new and then as luck would have it, they gained the trust because of what they did, uh, over the next few years. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I always find that fascinating because they break a lot of the rules, you know, for me, you know, when I'm checking

David Waumsley: 26:44 people out. But I still went with them. It's, I don't, I don't know what it is that led them, led me to trust them. I think it was just really their appearances and what they said about how they saw them, that their job in the space sort of really clicked with me. But the next one was, um, do they have to be fully committed to the WordPress as a company? Is that important to us?

Nathan Wrigley: 27:08 Do you want to go with that one first and then I'll give my opinion after you.

David Waumsley: 27:12 Okay. Well, I'm co, I'm kind of sensitive to this, particularly with the licenses. So I decided it has to be GPL, but that's really all about covering my own ass because, you know, I want clients to believe that I'm building their site even though I'm an implementer and that they kind of own their sites. So I just want to be sure that I can say, that code is yours. We did build it. It belongs to you. So I don't want any kind of proprietary code in any of my bills. So that one thing is quite important to me. But, um, yeah, I, I find it really reassuring if I see that they're trying to contribute to call. You have been involved in community events.

Nathan Wrigley: 27:54 Yup. I, I sort of took that question in a slightly different direction when I was thinking about that. I, I was literally thinking because the question that you posed red, do they have to be fully committed? A fully committed WordPress company? I took that to mean is that all that they do? In other words, I'm, are they own new producing WordPress products? So if I go to their website, can I see that they're producing, um, let's say things for Joomla or Magento in addition to that? And, and in answer to that question, I thought it didn't really matter if they were producing for other software platforms. You know, if you, if you understand a PHP and javascript and all that, and you've spent the time as a company upskilling in all of those different platforms, I thought that was fine. But then again, I also said, actually I think on some level it would sway me if I can see that you've, you've committed to WordPress and that's all that you do.

Nathan Wrigley: 28:45 You could definitely wear that as a badge of honour and say we are proudly a WordPress company. That is what we're committed to. Every effort to, to push WordPress forward. I'm definitely persuaded by the argument as well and seeing things like we donate one of our developers two hours a week to commit to core. Well that's just icing on the cake, isn't it? They're helping everybody and I do love to see that and I know that lots of, lots of the companies that, um, that I buy things from have that commitment. Maybe not on a weekly basis, but they do push some of their profits towards WordPress and that's admirable I think in every way.

David Waumsley: 29:24 Yeah, I really like that. There is also a kind of business philosophy isn't though with, um, going into WordPress we're going into open source, isn't there? There's a different outlook to business with it because in theory, you know, GPL shouldn't at work. Yes, yes.

David Waumsley: 29:42 Everybody should be stealing the stuff and making as much money out of it. So I kinda like it when companies have gone with the whole ethos of, of WordPress. Yeah. I'm not even sure if WordPress is going with its own ethos in the boat we're in. We're in interesting times aren't we? Should we say, but yeah, to your point of is it, uh, is the code available for anybody? I think, I think that's important. I think having code which is GPL compatible is good. Have I used non GPL compatible code? Excuse me. I'm sure I have a will I in the future? I'm sure I will. Um, but that doesn't stop me. Um, admiring it. Yeah, exactly. Do you do at you actually go and check this thing because I actually do it. I do go in if I've got plug in and go and check that the um, the licenses in the plugin.

Nathan Wrigley: 30:29 I think I'm in a minority in doing that. Yeah, I think you probably are. I have done that there, but more out of I've got nothing else to do kind of thing. You know, it's not right at the top of my mind. But again, like I said, um, I am listening to people like you and watching videos from people like you and kind of drawing assumptions that if you're talking about it, then, you know, I can trust that, that that due diligence has been done by you. Again, outsourcing my brain. But no, not particularly. Should I? Yes. I probably should because it benefits, but, uh, no it's not in all honesty, something I spend myself, uh, spend my time doing. No, I don't think we do. And as long was a long time doing this before I looked really, I think it again, it's, it's asked convene in a way we should do, shouldn't we?

Nathan Wrigley: 31:19 Yes. Yes. If we had big contracts with, with the clients about ownership, we've been provably, you need to know what we do own. Yeah. And you know that obligation at the, at the end when you hand things over to explain clearly, right. You need to go and buy this license please, because it's not covered, uh, for me to have given it to you. The one that I was working on his mind. And you must go and purchase another one. That's an important conversation to have and probably easy to forget. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, yeah, the next one we've got down here, we'll probably miss interpret this as well or do we need a story behind the product? So what I was trying to say with this one, it was, um, does that sway as, do we trust people if they've got an interesting backstory as in x factor?

Nathan Wrigley: 32:03 It kind of feels to me like this is talking about, you know, I'm scratching my own itch. In other words, I was playing with WordPress one day. I was doing something for my company and I suddenly realized I needed a tool to do this. And so I went out and built it. Those kinds of stories. Yeah, I like them. They speak to me because, because then everything is born out of a need and an interest as opposed to, um, an economic need and interest, which I think are two quite different things. Obviously, you know, it's semantic to say the least. But I do like that, you know, I

David Waumsley: 32:40 liked the fact that this person has invested an awful lot of time into something to solve a problem that they had kind of makes me feel that they've got a bit of skin in the game. But that's probably where it ends. Yeah. Well, again, it's, it's a persuader for me, but the only problem is I think is that, um, people are doing copycats probably know that this is a persuaded them we'll copycat the same story as well. Yeah, that's a perfect example over the whole copycat thing. That's an example of not really having any skin in the game. Apart from the, the economics of it, you know, you've worked out that this product is very successful, so you're going to release a variation of it. Not significantly better, possibly not significantly worse, but just to disrupt and grab a bit of that market share. I don't know.

David Waumsley: 33:27 I'm, I'm being churlish I think, but yeah, I like, I like it when there's a story. Yeah. So do I, and particularly if it relates to what I'm doing, then I feel, you know, we're kindred spirits and we're on the same side and that, and that makes me, but you know, I've, I have to confess, you know, when it comes to this, I, I've also bought kind of copycat products, particularly SaaS stuff because if that product isn't kind of a fundamental part of my business and then when you're going to spend so much money as I expect, I'm not going to use it much on client work. You know, I ended up going on the because of lifetime deals or lower costs. Yeah. I'll end up going for a copycat. So, well we'll come to that a little bit later. Further down the list. We've got this idea of fear of missing out.

David Waumsley: 34:11 So we'll, we'll come to them. I think that fits in perfectly in that little area. So the next one is, um, do we just make sure I haven't missed one out? Yeah, here we go. Do we need to know the products target audience? Now I'm going to let you take this one cause I don't really have a too much of an opinion on this. Yeah. Well I guess when I was writing this, I already got my own answer. Um, which is something I'm really conscious about is, um, the kind of attitudes to the development of our products. So I think there are two different types of products out there and lots of people in between, but there are those that are adding lots and lots of new features all the time. Um, because that's what people often ask for. And then there's those type of products which I've tended to be attracted to, which are fearful of technical debt.

David Waumsley: 35:02 So they only want to put in as little as possible and keep them stable. So I think for me it's often very important to know who they're aiming it for. So if the, the likelihood is if they put lots more stuff in, it's probably aimed more at, um, perhaps new people who want an all in one solution. Perhaps more towards Dli wires than prose. I could be wrong, but that's kind of my thing. That's why I like to know who they think that Amy for the aiming for small freelancers or agencies like I associate with, or are they trying to

Nathan Wrigley: 35:38 make their product for the general public, a much wider audience. I took this question to mean what does the roadmap look like, which is probably taking off in a bit of a tangent, but you know, the question was do we need to know the target, the product's target audience? I was thinking about this from the point of view of where are they going with this in the future. You know, what audience are they're trying to satisfy in the future? And I kind of really like her a pretty minimal roadmap. It's really interesting to me when you, when you see a lot of software launched, there's this general clamor to see what's on the roadmap and the consistent story that I hear being shouted quite loudly as they want more and more and more and more on the roadmap. In other words, I've got this education, put it on the roadmap.

Nathan Wrigley: 36:24 I've got this education, put it on the roadmap and I want the opposite. I want the, I want the roadmap to be really serious and small. So in other words, we're going to deal with these absolute must have items and these other things. Yeah, sure enough, we'll put them on the roadmap if we really must, but they're not going in the same column as the serious stuff. They're going into a, okay, if there's time we'll get to this, but it, for me it has to be about stability. Making sure the roadmap caters to that target audience, satisfies them, is rock solid and a minimal. Yeah, absolutely. Well, that's exactly where I'm at. I think, you know, roadmaps are a great way of kind of selling a promise of where the, you know, where it would go. See you kind of promise in a head on your be known for something can.

Nathan Wrigley: 37:12 I think there's a real pressure for people to create those roadmaps to, to get those initial sales, which I'll need to keep the product going. So absolutely. You know the pressure. Yeah. If you're a product, you know, if you're launching a product, it must be irresistible almost to say yes to everybody, you know, because you wish to generate sales. And that's the primary goal, right? Certainly at the beginning, you know, support isn't so much of an issue. It's more about just getting people on board and, and if, if, if it's easy to write in that box, um, I'm thinking about a Kanban board like Trello or something easy to ride. Okay, we'll add Zapier will add an extra field to this plugin or whatever. It might be a easy to add those things in, but, but, but then hard to, hard to live up to technical debt that you talked about.

Nathan Wrigley: 38:00 It makes it problematic. And, and I suppose I like to see it when people kind of wrestle that back and sort of say, look, you know, that's, this is not where we're going with this. You know, we can't have everything. Otherwise it will be nothing. We'll just be constantly trying to patch things as they go wrong in the future. And, uh, there's a terrible balance there I think between our technical debt and product stagnation, stagnation as well, because you don't have to keep moving it forward as well. Yeah. Because new new requirements are, they're your audience changed. But I like it when it's very rare to see that that a will actually

David Waumsley: 38:36 kind of on Leslie answer who their target audience are because they're likely to sort of say who they are likely to attract. So I think, I think there's a tendency these days in the WordPress market knowing that most people want the pro tools, even if they're not a pro to say that their tools are always aimed at the pros. Yeah. So I have a lot of

Nathan Wrigley: 38:56 sympathy for developers on this one because the clamor of the client, the crowd must be enormously persuasive. Um, and probably the developers know very well that it's not a great idea to put all this stuff in and, but yet it might lead to more sales because the promises there. So lots of sympathy and I don't, I don't have an answer for that. I just know, just know where I come from on that one.

David Waumsley: 39:23 Yeah. They're all, I mean, I think there are some products, so page builders, you know, pretty much the same in what they can do. But I think something like thrive architect, uh, it very much is niching down on the marketers. Mm. Um, and I think, you know, so that's great going on. I think it probably attracts those people. So it's probably an example of somebody who does have a target audience. So I do try and look out for that. But yeah, I think it's in them, it's in the small conversations people have on perhaps podcasts.

Nathan Wrigley: 39:53 Yeah, no, that's a good point. You know, and they've learnt through many years that that's they're, they're the audience that they're going to satisfy best. And uh, so they're going to put on the roadmap of the things which satisfy the audience best, but probably took them a long time to get there and it required them to be profitable in the meantime and so on and so forth. Yeah. So the next one is personality. A factor. Woo.

David Waumsley: 40:16 Yeah. Okay. No,

Nathan Wrigley: 40:17 rarely. Simple as that. Yeah. Um, I've put here that I think, I think it's actually quite crucial. I don't, I do what I'm, I supposed to got be careful what I say here. I don't mean that you have a similar personality to me or that you say the right words or you, you know, you, you have a magnetic personality. What I mean by this is like we spoke about a moment ago, if you, if you demonstrate through your actions, not that your gray on a podcast or good on youtube or whatever, but if you, if you demonstrate through your actions that your personality is one of, I don't know, support the product that you've, that you've created, keep it updated, you know, do things in a timely manner. Testings thoroughly with Beta testers before. That's where I was going with personality. But regarding whether or not they're, they're good at public speaking and all that kind of stuff. No, it doesn't matter to me in the slightest.

David Waumsley: 41:13 Yeah. And I was joking really. Cause it does actually matter a lot to me because I think you know, here in people and just describing their, I guess their view of the world does help you understand how they might treat their products. I guess it's how, yeah, I do tend to feel that how they kind of treat people on behave and talk

Nathan Wrigley: 41:34 is an indicator of how they might treat their business and their customers as well. So I really do tune into that and I kind of do, you know, I am attracted to the quite moderate as we both are, um, stable type people. No, I think, you know, whether the bigger personalities scare me a little bit. You might be in for a really interesting ride with their product and it might be very great way to describing it in for an interesting ride. We're um, we are gonna have to speed up I think, although there's episodes going to just go on for like an hour. Um, so should we, should we press forward quickly with these last few? So now we're onto the section. How are we influenced? So, you know, what is it that gives you an impression of somebody and so on and so forth. So the first one is, um, endorsements from thought leaders.

Nathan Wrigley: 42:24 Do you, do you listen to particular people, other people in the WordPress community, youtube podcast, whatever, press uh, you know, sorry, uh, blogs and things like that. But, um, the influence you, yeah, it stopped, stopped happening. The used to do and they was, you know, there was lots of bloggers that led me to certain products on, you know, a lot of them I trusted and I think it was right to just them. These days, I don't, I try and rely on myself a lot more now. But I do think there's a lot more marketing going on and there's a lot more voices out there. And you know, because you know, where now it's partly in the public eye that you, you realize that, you know, people have to fund these things. So there's friendships, loyalties, there's money involved sometimes in endorsing products. So, you know, I think you have to, I've learned to do my own checks.

Nathan Wrigley: 43:13 I don't take so much notice now. Oh, that's, that's really good because, um, I was kinda hoping that you'd say that because I rely on you. So anything that you say I endorse and it's nice that you're not listening to anybody else actually doing the research yourself. No, I, I'm, I am different to you in this eye because I've said earlier that I am listening to people. I still do. I don't, I think I find myself less and less going out and searching for these things. Sometimes it's a bit passive or something. We'll drop into my inbox or something like that. Or I'll go and ask a friend, look, I need a need, a plugin for this particular situation. Can you help me out with that? And our Facebook group, if you've not joined, this is a blatant plug. Listen to me, um, is really good for this.

Nathan Wrigley: 43:54 Like really good. Lots of people constantly chipping in useful things about stuff I've never even considered. So that's kind of where are my thought leadership comes from now is not from, you know, people who position themselves up there who were producing lots of content. It's more of the sort of high eve brain of, uh, things like our Facebook group. I rely on that because those are a lot of people in those groups with a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge and with zero interest in putting out content, but they've still got plenty to say and to heaps of experience. And they've got no, they've got no interest in the commercial twist of it. They've just got the interest in being helpful and giving some solid advice based upon experience. So that's kind of where I'm coming from nowadays on that point.

David Waumsley: 44:42 Yeah. Do you know what? And then there's a, there's a key distinction there I think as well, if we all asking for a product that might solve a problem that you have, you probably going to get different answers. I was also partly thinking about as we see, you know, when there's a launch of a new big interesting product, then that is everywhere, you know? And, uh, so I'm not so influenced by that, although I find it's still quite tricky because everybody's talking about it. So you just feel you should be interested. Yeah, yeah. But yeah, yeah, I do know what, yeah, yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 45:15 Product comes out, it's very often sort of saturating, um, and, and what have you, and yeah, I think that's the nature of plugin developers trying to, uh, trying to maximize profit in the initial period of interest. And I've got to be careful about that sort of stuff and, um, make sure that I don't, don't do the wrong thing. You know, Dan sort of over endorse things. I think my job is more to demonstrate here it is, have a look at it. Uh, I'll give the, give the developer or whoever's marketing it, the platform to speak their mind and you can figure it out for yourself from there. Uh, that's, that seems to be where I've landed and I think that's something that I'm, I'm comfortable with, shall we say.

David Waumsley: 45:57 Yeah, you don't, you don't really endorsed stuff. You just, yeah. Present most of the stuff there. So, yeah, it's interesting, but, uh, that's the thing. We're moving on to next popularity, peer pressure, Fomo, all of those things that, I mean the, I'm definitely influenced by all of those things.

Nathan Wrigley: 46:13 Oh, I, I think, I think this is human nature. I think it's just a part of our psyche net where we are to some extent sheep, you know, given the right push in the right direction, we'll follow the crowd every time. And this stuff, this stuff is, is remarkable. This whole fear of missing out thing is unbelievably powerful. Um, I, as far as I know, it only got named, you know, a handful of years ago and as soon as somebody named it I was like, oh, oh, that's what it is. That really is it. I just, what am I doing? But I agree. Peer pressure. So, okay. Three things. We've got popularity. Definitely. You know, if something's popular, I kind of have the assumption that popular for a reason, you know, if a million people are using a plugin and it's got like a five star review on WordPress.org, that must mean something unless somebody is really gamed the system. Um, peer pressure, not so much peer pressure, but peer advice. I'll definitely take my peers advice, but not so much. Listen, you should get this. Um, it's more, what should I buy for this problem? Oh, here's a bunch of answers. I'll go and figure it out for herself. And fear of missing out. Yes. But I think that's losing its impact on me as I've noticed what

David Waumsley: 47:30 it is. Yeah. I think same here with that one. Popularity though is one that I question a lot because used to rely on that and it can have great five star reviews, but again, it's about, it could be very popular, but I don't think what we do is necessarily that popular. So you know, if we need a stable pro tools, that's probably, um, there's probably were in the minority amongst the people who were by WordPress stuff.

Nathan Wrigley: 47:55 Interesting and valid. Yes. Okay. Yeah, good point.

David Waumsley: 47:59 You know, so majority might be DIY'ers and hobbyists or new starters or something. So the popularity might be amongst the wrong people.

Nathan Wrigley: 48:08 Nice little gem. I hadn't really thought about it from that angle and that is interesting. Yeah. If it's got a million reviews, it must be being used by an awful lot of people who, who don't necessarily, I don't know if that, when I was about to say might not be true, so I'm going to shut up.

David Waumsley: 48:25 Well you know, but when the market and markets always have boom and bust as well, so you might just be the last in while it was at his height of its popularity before there's another episode just in there. So it's still a tricky one. It's there, but yeah, Fomo, definitely flipping lifetime deals. Stop it with those. Yes.

Nathan Wrigley: 48:48 Yeah. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. The capacity for those lifetime deals to s to have socked me in, but I'm getting a lot better. I'm getting a lot. I don't know what it is. I've become more self critical. I actually look at it and, and in the past I had much more of an opinion of, oh, I could make use of that, so I'd buy it. Now it's much more, have I ever needed that? Um, and the answer is most of the time, no. Um, and so that's my criteria now. And it seems to, that seems to work for me and I've, I've definitely opened my wallet lesson less for those kinds of things. As Time's gone on. And then we talked about roadmaps, didn't we? This is our very last point. Road maps, future development. I actually think we've possibly no need to say much about it because we've done it already. A minimal roadmap, which is, which is, um, not fill it filled with clutter. That's what, that's what I want to see you. It's serving the need of the audience.

David Waumsley: 49:43 Yeah, I think so. When he's too wide, that's the thing isn't there. And Road Map, that's probably seems key. That seems natural to the progression of that products. He was fine, but when he gets too wide, that worries me. Yeah.

Nathan Wrigley: 49:56 No, I think we've done it. I think we've cracked. I think that was actually quite a, um, quite a well planned episode. David, congratulations to you for your comprehensive show notes. Um, we're getting better at these aren't weak kind of collaborating before the episode begins and having something to say after last week's discussion or whatever it was where we were just, I just don't think we had it enough. So this was, this was a nice turn around. I think we've come out fighting again. Well done.

David Waumsley: 50:24 Yeah. We'll never know. Actually we just talk. We have no idea

Nathan Wrigley: 50:28 that this, no, we got it down with that. Yeah, it's probably a load of rubbish weather. Anything kiss good on. All right on, on that bombshell, I'm going to say bye bye David. I'll see you soon. Bye. Bye. Well, I hope you enjoyed that and got something out of it. Very, very interesting discussion. As I said, most of that was inspired by David's thoughts on the matter, so I'm grateful for him to, for stepping up and coming up with this week's topic, maybe some of that child and made sense to you and maybe some of it was things that you've never thought of before and we'll now start to implement. The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by WP&UP. Four of us will be directly affected by mental health related illness. Wp and ops supports and promotes positive mental health within the WordPress community.

Nathan Wrigley: 51:15 This is achieved through mentorship, events, training and counseling. Please help enable WP&UP by visiting WP&UP.org forward slash give. So remember that we'll have a podcast episode coming out to next Thursday. We'll also have the news I put together and very short, 15 minute WordPress, a weekly news or audio, which comes out on Monday. And then at 2:00 PM also on a Monday, 2:00 PM UK time, we discuss live with some guests in our Facebook group and we discussed that news and how how we feel the last week has been. That's WP Builds.com forward slash, Facebook. So hopefully you'll be able to join us for some of those things. And all I have to say now is thanks for joining us. Bye Bye for now.

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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