HeroPress aims to help WordPress professionals around the world that have felt excluded by the western WordPress community.

There are a large number of WordPress developers in the world that feel excluded from the Western WordPress community for a variety of reasons, including culture, language, location, time zone, and personal challenges.

Weโ€™re finding people around the world who have overcome these challenges and asking them to present some ideas to those people via web video. The videos will be recorded, transcribed, and translated into as many languages as we can afford.

Led by Topher Derosia of XWP (A WordPress VIP partner and part of X-Team, a large development agency), HeroPress has been met with a great deal of support, but also criticism.

The project is seeking funding to the tune of $60,000 AUD, which converts to ~$48,000 US dollars. The initial deliverable is 6 video stories, each around 18 minutes long.

The Kickstarter video is worth watching, if anything, because it’s probably along the production value we can expect of the actual videos. Topher is calling this “TED for WordPress,” but since presenters are recording their own video, that too has its skeptics.

I’ve had a hard time grappling this project. I think some of the criticism is fair. It’s a lot of money. Could the videos be worth this? Yes. Does that stop it from being an ambitious goal? No.

The project has a few large supporters: X-Team founder Dave Rosen gave $8,000, as did Envato, and Pippin Williamson gave $4,000.

But some of the criticism is warranted. Matt Cromwell did a good job (but it’s long) on the topic. In short, some believe the goal is misdirected toward hero worship, with an added sting that there were initially no women set to present.

In the end, I tend to be on Tom McFarlin’s side of that debate, per his comments on WP Tavern (whose overall post exploded with activity):

The way that Iโ€™ve interpreted Topherโ€™s video and the ultimate goal of all of this isnโ€™t meant to inspire hero worship for those who are already notable WordPress developers, but to take those who *are* notable developers and have them teach valuable skills to those who want to level up to become WordPress heroes.

As far as the concerned[sic] of women being participants. I think thatโ€™s a vaid[sic] concern, but I know Topher well enough to know that itโ€™s a matter of time.

Anyway, I donโ€™t think it was in any way meant to inspire hero worship โ€“ but the exact opposite: To inspire people to become heroes.

Itโ€™s still early, though. Letโ€™s give this thing some room to gain some traction.

I doubt Topher expected this degree of intense scrutiny. It is a project that has promise, and seemingly we can get behind folks telling good stories.

He still has two-thirds of the way to go, despite traction in getting the word out. Maybe he’ll get some big donations to help him carry through with the Kickstarter, but the pessimist side of me is concerned about the long-term (post Kickstarter) viability of the concept, and I know that’s what he’s hoping is possible.

I hope he proves me wrong.

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