Two AMAs happened today with people I respect a lot, in different walks of life.
AMA with Pippin Williamson
Pippin Williamson, you all know, makes plugins. He did a great AMA on ManageWP. I'm going to steal some nuggets:
On the future of themes:
In my mind, the future of the theme market is entirely dependent upon plugins and other “applications” built on top of WordPress.
The most successful themes today are those that work directly with large-scale plugins (think eCommerce primarily) to help provide customers with a turn-key solution.
Marketplace themes are a great example of this. They, along with a few mandatory plugins, help customers setup their own online marketplace. These are greatly successful.
Large-scale niche themes are the ones that will succeed, with a few rare cases of wildly successful “standard” themes.
On the influence of WooCommerce to EDD:
The Woo acquisition absolutely affects how I look at the future of EDD. I'd be a fool not to take that into consideration. Exactly how it affects our future is yet to be determined. Woo being acquired is not what has caused the revitalization of some of my other plugins, that has just been a natural occurrence as the company has grown.
On managing multiple time consuming projects at once:
If you want to run multiple time-consuming projects at one time, you have to be prepared for the task. It's not even remotely easy, but it can be exceptionally rewarding, and I don't just mean financially.
One aspect that I believe has helped me juggle several companies at one time is that they are all closely related. Each of my primary projects (EDD, RCP, AFFWP) are related to each other. That helps a lot as work that's done on one may benefit the others.
On promoting (or lack thereof) commercial plugins on the WordPress repo:
It has to change. For some reason that still eludes me, it seems there are some that don't want to admit it, but plugins power the success of WordPress, not themes. Period. Plugins will be (and already are) the foundation of the “WordPress as an application framework” movement.
Plugins are what has given WordPress most of its most powerful features today. Why are the efforts of commercial plugins largely ignored by WordPress.org? I still can't wrap my mind around it.
Great stuff all around, this is just a taste.
AMA with Ben Thompson, of Stratechery
Ben Thompson is one of the most influential writers on my thought processes, and I also watch his business model closely. He has worked for Apple, Microsoft, and Automattic (where I discovered him) before moving to writing full time on Stratechery with a very similar model to mine.
Tonight, he did an AMA on Product Hunt. He said a lot of interesting things (to me) but they are much more focused on startups, tech, and business in general versus WordPress topics. But he did say one thing about WordPress, and also applicable was his mention of Draft for writing blog posts, which I'd never heard of.
Unfortunately, he only had one question about WordPress, and it wasn't related to his time at Automattic. Nevertheless, it was a response to someone's critique that WordPress is averse to closed source:
I think there should be more acceptance of different business models, but no one is legislating against closed source. Communities are what they are, and they have both advantages and disadvantages. Certainly on balance the WP community is a big advantage.