It's how we understand and make the most of growth when and where it happens.
It’s not surprising the size and hypothetical value of the WordPress ecosystem are challenging to calculate. It is surprising to find this important topic that’s rarely discussed in the open is a potential minefield of radically different calculations — and that situation hasn’t motivated an effort at consensus or a map that generally matches the terrain.
This week's newsletter was held up over the weekend partly because we’re continuing to adjust to reduced staffing and partially to review an article I co-authored with other Post Status members about the WordPress economy. Some people noticed it via RSS before the newsletter went out, including Matt Mullenweg, who called it out in Post Status Slack for taking the 2020 WP Engine report, “The Value of WordPress: The World’s First Study of the WordPress Economy” at face value.
Rob Howard has a good rundown of Matt’s objections to WP Engine’s math as well as his own take over at MasterWP. It's part of a series I’ve valued for the thinking and discussion it's enabled — with Rob and others. These are all important questions: Why is it hard to give money to WordPress? Is Five for the Future “toxic scorekeeping?”
Whether the WordPress economy can be valued in the single, double, or triple digits of billions of dollars, the critical questions posed in Market Size and Market Shares: Thinking Bigger About the WordPress Economy have to do with how WordPress professionals respond to growth in this space that’s been enormous by any measure — but far from broadly distributed.
- Can WordPress’s heavy reliance on volunteerism be offset or better supported by those most able to subsidize the work of others and their access to events?
- Do the largest WordCamps serve well, in their current form, as signature industry events that developers, product owners, and investors outside WordPress can recognize as such?
- Can the upper, middle, and lower markets within the WordPress ecosystem find mutual benefit through the things they share in common?