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.
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.