Tom McFarlin is a veteran of the WordPress product space. Today he's announced that his company, Pressware, has opened a shop for selling WordPress products.
Pressware's first product has been out for a while now; the Mayer theme has been available exclusively through WordPress.com since February. Now Mayer is available for self-hosted bloggers as well.
The price for Mayer is $99, and Tom is advocating simple, straightforward pricing for this and future products.
Mayer is available for $99 for a yearly subscription, and there’s only a single license – no confusing choices from which to select what’s best for you. The theme has been optimized for self-hosted installations, can be used on unlimited sites, and has full support and upgrades over the next year.
There is also a demo available for Mayer if you want to see it in action.
I like the Mayer theme; I think it's a focused, practical blogging theme that will be great for a lot of people. But I'm more excited about what Tom is doing with Pressware, and what we have to look forward to from his business.
The entire goal of the products that I'm going to be releasing – that is both themes and plugins – are meant for people want to use WordPress for blogging. At this time, I'm not interested in going after other verticals in the market. I just want to provide the best themes and plugins possible in order to make a person's digital publishing experience as nice as it can possibly be.
His goals and focus is so straightforward that it excites me to think what he'll create for the publisher.
Publishing is an interesting thing. You've probably often heard the phrase, “just a blog”, but that phrase bothers me. Blogging is hard, and unless you blog a lot you might also not know how best to serve bloggers with your products. Well, Tom blogs a lot — daily in fact.
Additionally, he's an editor for WordPress articles at Envato, and he has a unique take on the needs and wants for publishers. There is power in using your own product, so that you can make it better for your customers, and Tom uses his own product with a unique perspective all the time.
As part of wanting to help solve common problems for bloggers, Tom has setup some strategic partnerships with SearchWP (20% off), WP Demo (10% off), and WP Migrate DB Pro (20% off). The discounts will be given to any current or future Mayer buyer:
In my experience, the needs of bloggers vary across the spectrum – some want a simple blogging theme, some want to enhance search, some use their blog to promote products, and others become so popular, they end up outgrowing their current infrastructure.
What a great problem, right?
So I wanted to make sure the companies and people with whom I’m partnering are also people who help empower bloggers in the work they do.
I asked Tom how he hopes Mayer (and his future products) will stand out amongst the competition. I really enjoyed his answer, so I'm just going to give it to you in full:
First, I want them to have a strong foundation off of which we can continue to build tools that help empower them to share their words with their audience. I think that we forget that blogging can be an intimidating, yet intimate thing as we're sharing our opinions with the rest of the world and we're opening ourselves up for scrutiny just as much as we are for praise.
That's a really cool thing, but those of us who are building the themes, plugins, and tools that allow people do this have the responsibility to take great care and pride in the work that they are creating. I see approaching it any other way as disrespectful and a disservice to the users.
To that end, I want the work that I release to take that responsibility very, very seriously. I'm in this to produce high-quality products for the customer.
Secondly, I deeply want the work that I produce to reflect the core WordPress philosophies. Right now, there are so many themes, etc., that are out there that just do not do this. I made a conscious effort to make sure that I employed the whole “Decisions, Not Options” in Mayer from the very beginning.
There are no settings pages or options. There are a few things to tweak in the Theme Customizer, but not much. The theme is very much what you see is what you get.
Sure, I'd love to release a few customization upgrades in the future, but only if they align with the core philosophies.
Finally, there is a deep conversation happening right now among the pricing of themes related products in the WordPress economy and how that needs to change. I don't necessarily believe that a single person can change that, nor do I believe that this is some sort of revolution, but I do believe that the market needs to become segmented and I'm going to do as much as I possibly can with the work that I release to help begin driving that wedge.
My work is not going to cost $29 and you're not going to be swimming in a forum of support. You're going to be receiving products from someone who has been involved in the WordPress economy for a long time, someone who cares about blogging (I mean, clearly – I do it daily, right? :), someone who cares about education in the WordPress space, someone who works to commit to WordPress core when time allows, and someone who wants to see higher quality work be built on the fantastic foundation that is WordPress.
If any of the above sounds like anything other than simple motivation, then I've done a poor job of communicating the point. It's not about me. It's about WordPress and the people who want to use it. I just want the quality of work to match the quality of the foundation and I want customers to receive the treatment that they deserve when it comes to blogging.
I'm really looking forward to seeing Pressware evolve. I think Tom is uniquely positioned to serve bloggers very well with his products, and his mindset for how he wants to solve publishing problems is inspiring.