Competition In WordPress Ecommerce

I’ve been building ecommerce sites for the past five years since quitting my corporate job and going freelance. All of my income is from ecommerce products and services. So you could say I’m very invested in WordPress ecommerce and specifically very invested in the WooCommerce plugin.

Earlier today a new WordPress ecommerce plugin was launched by the guys over at iThemes. Based on my situation how do I feel about having another competitor in the market? I think it’s great! It’s exciting to see another offering in the WordPress ecommerce ecosystem because I think the market will continue to grow and competition is a good thing.

Competition Keeps You On Your Toes

Healthy competition keeps those of us involved in the community striving to make our products better instead of resting on our latest stable version. Plus, if there are people competing in your market that means that there is a market.

How we react to competition is telling of the health of our community. From my experience I’d say the people involved in the WordPress ecommerce community have a high level of respect for each other. I’ve seen the lead developers of competing projects collaborate with each other for the benefit of the users and even stick up for each other in public forums. The products can be rivals while the people are friends.

It’s Not a Zero Sum Game

Sometimes competition gets a bad wrap. There is an expectation in our culture that business competition is all or nothing and if someone moves in on your market you should attack them directly. Actually competing doesn’t need to mean win-lose. Providing more quality options for those that use WordPress to sell online more people will be drawn to the platform and the market will grow. There can be a win-win scenario.

Instead of seeing making money as the cutting up of a cake where there are limited pieces to go around, it’s better to see it as Rabbi Daniel Lapin describes in his book “Thou Shall Prosper”. Rabbi Lapin describes making money more like the lighting of a candle. When we serve others through commerce we light someone else’s candle. We don’t take anything away from them, instead we both go away burning brighter and the entire room benefits from the added light.

It Pays To Be Kind (or Don’t Be A Jerk)

I jokingly tweet with the hashtag #DramaPress because watching the interactions of some in the WordPress community resembles a daytime soap opera. Some choose to leave the blog comments and twitter streams stained red with blood. It’s sad to see since this kind of activity only breaks down community. Thankfully there is plenty of positive community building that pushes the drama to the side.

Mark's Tweet

It was glad to see my WooThemes leader Mark Forester tweet congratulations to the iThemes owner Cory Miller. I met Cory at WordCamp Austin and enjoyed his “45 Minute Business Tune Up” presentation. I fully expect to meet up with him or someone from his team at future events so even though we have competing products it would be pointless to be disrespectful.

I’m excited for the future of selling online with WordPress. I’m excited to continue to be involved in the WordPress community and to watch how it grows.

Photo Credit: Sum_of_Marc via Compfight cc

Why I Backed Pressgram

Pressgram

I just backed Pressgram.

What is Pressgram you ask? Pressgram is an iPhone image sharing app in development that will allow users to share filtered photos directly to hosted WordPress blogs.  This allows the content creators to retain 100% of the rights while still having great functionality.

When this project was announced at WordCamp Atlanta it immediately resonated with me. I actually told the guy behind the project, John Saddington, that I was going to back the project while attending WCAtl.

Instagram: All Ur Data Are Belong To Us

Like many others I quickly exported my data and quit Instagram when they changed their Terms of Service. I didn’t like the attitude of another behemoth social network pulling the privacy rug out from under customers. Even though they later somewhat recanted the damage was done and I don’t want to invest my time and energy on content that will be held hostage on a platform that I don’t pay money for (read: have some control over).

Since leaving Instagram I’ve tried using Flickr’s app which is a good app.  But, I still have the lingering reluctance of putting my content on someone else’s service.  I currently share photo content via Cloud app, but I don’t actively share pictures of my family, friends, or things I’m doing.  I hadn’t lost the desire to share photos, but I have run out of mental energy to want to keep up with the data privacy issues.

It’s The Data Silly

My wife Amanda and I have had numerous discussions about where our data goes and who has control of it.  We love the ubiquity of cross-device productivity apps, but hate that the usefulness of these apps is often tainted by proprietary data formats or locked down storage areas.

The only app we use that has bucked this trend is the Day One app.  It’s a digital journal that has an iphone app and a native Mac app.  It has a great feature set and is well developed. The feature that sold me on this app over the others is that all the data is shared to my Dropbox account in an XML format. Now my wife and I can both add data without fear of our information being sold or misused in some way yet to be dreamed up by a marketing executive.

Reserve The Right To Reserve The Rights

Just like I can control the data of my Day One journal, with Pressgram I’ll be able to control my photos. I will be able to post my photos to, my blog, and share them where I want. Call me a control freak, but that’s not too much to ask. An added bonus is that I’ll be able to have the pageviews and analytics that I could never retain at Instagram.

Here’s a video explaining more about Pressgram.  If the idea behind this app resonates with you then I encourage you to back it at Kickstarter!

WordCamp Atlanta 2013 Recap

I think I’m suffering from a WordCamp hangover.  I’m an extrovert and going from interacting with dozens of internet folks back to working in my bedroom has given me a bit of a headache! 🙂

I can’t wait to go to more camps and meet more of the WordPress community!

WooNinjas Assemble!

WooNinjas Assemble!

Here’s my recap thoughts and some sights/sounds from the weekend:

 

Here’s a list of the presentations I attended.  They were all fantastic and full of useful information.

“Going for it: How to Become a Respected WordPress Developer”
Brian Krogsgard (slides)

“What the Git?”
Nathaniel Schweinberg (slides)

“Finding a Niche Through Experimentation”
John Saddington

“10 Things Every Plugin Developer Should Know”
Dave Donaldson (slides zip)

“What You Should Know About Responsive Web Design”
Matt Haff (slides)

“Level-Up Your WordPRess Development Skills”
Tom McFarlin (slides)

“Designer vs Developer: Creators in WordPress”
Sara Cannon (slides)

“The Power of Your Story Through WordPress”
Kimanzi Constable

“How to Make Six Figures in Web Design”
James Dalman

“Wrestling The Writing Muse Down To The Dusty Earth”
Chris Ames

“How to Make Great Tutorial WordPress Videos”
Steve Burge

 

 

Jelly at 8bit’s Offices

Yesterday I flew to Atlanta early for WordCamp Atlanta.  I planned my trip so that I’d have a chance to hangout at 8bit’s new offices for their pre-WordCamp Jelly event.  After landing I took the train into town and walked to their offices which are about three blocks from the station.

I tweeted a small pic of their epic video game mural that had been finished on Wednesday night. These guys have been working hard on their offices and it shows.  It’s a very creative space that is fun to hang out in.

Through the day several people dropped in from the WCATL co-organizer, a Stripe rep, and some folks from WPBeginner.

Don’t think that this office is all work and no play.  Below is a fun off the cuff interview I had with Tom McFarlin recorded by John Saddington.  If you are ever in Atlanta you should stop by their office.

Products Shipped January 2013

One of my goals this year is to build three extensions per month to have a total of 36 new products this year.   I thought about making it one per week, but I realized that’s crazy and I would end up with some half-baked code.  Three per month is totally doable.

In January the following three extensions went live.

WordPress › Pushover for WooCommerce « WordPress Plugins

Pushover Notifications for WooCommerce

In December I saw some tweets about the Pushover App which is an iOS and Android application that has an API making it easy to send notifications from your web app.  I loved the concept and wanted to do a free plugin for WordPress.org.  Chris Klosowski had already built a general WordPress notifications plugin so I decided to build one for WooCommerce that would allow store owners to setup notifications to their phones of new orders, low stock, back orders and out of stock events.

 

ups

UPS Shipping Method for WooCommerce

WooThemes asked me to rebuild the UPS shipping module for WooCommerce.  Up till now I had only built payment gateways so it was fun to build a shipping module.

 

EasyDigitalDownloads

Easy Digital Downloads – CSV Product Import

Last fall Pippin Willamson asked me to build an import module for his Easy Digital Downloads ecommerce plugin.  After some delay on my part this plugin went live mid-January.  It was my first plugin to be added to WordPress.org which was a fun milestone.