I’m happy to say Joshua Strebel (of Page.ly and now PressNomics fame) joined the regular WP Late Night crew last night. We discussed the new conference, theme business models, and we torture you with yet another top ten list. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (We had trouble getting Josh in clearly for the first 5 or 10 minutes, but it gets way better after that.)
This episode is sponsored by ThirstyAffiliates.com, who are now running a 30% off special on the plugin. Also sponsored by MonsterThemes.com, where a membership is currently $22/year. Big thanks to both of them for sponsoring WP Late Night!
This particular show was also recorded in video format. You can watch that on Spreecast. You can also subscribe to this as a podcast on iTunes, or just download the MP3 directly. If you prefer you can also subscribe to the RSS feed itself.
Show notes are just after the jump.
Speaking of interesting theme business models, yesterday brought a new pricing structure over at DevPress: a bump from $5/year to $30/year. The original $5 pricing was announced nearly a year ago to much surprise, discussion, and I would imagine quite a few sign ups. All new sign ups will be at the $30/year rate, while everyone who signed up previously can stay at the $5 rate.
So why raise the price? DevPress owner Tung Do announced the new pricing a few weeks ago to largely supportive comments from their community in the discussion of the post. As an explanation for the price increase, Do said:
We have an important announcement coming in a couple of weeks. It will drastically change the way we operate DevPress and our business model.
Do ran DevPress on his own since splitting from the other three co-founders in December. About a month ago, though, he began a partnership with Galin Simeonov of Alien WP and moved Alien’s support to DevPress.
It’s not yet clear what the “important announcement” mentioned by Do is quite yet, but I’ll keep you updated as I learn more.
There have been some recent changes at DevPress, the WordPress theme and plugin club that formerly consisted of Ptah Dunbar, Tung Do, Patrick Daly, and Justin Tadlock. According to a post by Justin Tadlock in the Theme Hybrid forums (warning: post is paywall protected) and the about page of DevPress, Tung Do is now the sole owner of DevPress.
We’ve covered DevPress quite a bit on WPCandy since they launched over a year ago, largely due to an impressive team of talented developers and an interesting business model. I had a sense something was going on at DevPress a week or so ago when I noticed Tadlock posted his DevPress posts back on his personal blog. Also, there were some questions on the DevPress forums regarding the future of the site that shed some light on what we now know is happening.
Tung Do is one fourth of the DevPress team, and has announced that for the next month (at least) he will be taking a “leap of faith” and working for the business full time. Do says that while DevPress doesn’t yet have the income to pay for him to work full time he has saved enough money to get by for the next three months working on nothing but the new project. For the first month of this leap he says he will be challenging himself to complete 32 theme designs in 32 days.
Do was sure to explain that he is working to create theme designs, and not completed themes:
To prove that I really am working on DevPress full time, I will start and finish one new theme design per day for thirty-two days in a row. To clarify, that is one new design per day, not one theme per day which is not possible considering how much testing and fixing the DevPress team puts into each theme. And like DevPress no guarantee business model, I won’t guarantee when those designs will turn into fully functional themes.
The other members of DevPress, as well as the members of the recently launched DevPress Club, will be voting to determine which of the theme designs will become fully functional themes. Do has only completed one design so far: a minimal real estate theme design. 31 more designs should be just around the corner.
Tung Do of DevPress posted the image above, teasing the restaurant theme he is working on to release. He also commented on the state of restaurant themes in particular, and why he’s focusing on making a very simple theme:
After looking at what other WordPress development groups or companies have created in this niche and what the typical restaurant website looks like, I found that most WordPress themes made for restaurant websites are almost the exact opposite of what customers need.
What restaurant owners actually need for their sites is a static front page featuring an introduction area and some contact information. It’s definitely not sliding images of food, a calendar for reservation, and/or the latest blog posts.
Do you agree with Do regarding the specific state of restaurant themes for WordPress? Do you think this issue with complexity extends into other theme genres as well?
Tung Do, more commonly known by his nickname Small Potato, married earlier this month. He posted photos to the DevPress blog, explaining why he has been quiet on that blog lately.
He’ll be back in August, at which point we’ll (hopefully) be able to pull the entire DevPress crew together for an interview here on WPCandy.
The quartet of WordPress developers at DevPress have announced the launch of their own DevPress Club Membership this morning. The club will include access to all the themes and plugins they develop, as well as their documentation and community forums, for just $5/year.
DevPress team member Tung Do explained in the post the thought process behind the new $5/year pricing scheme:
There’s already a themes club at almost every price range. Other groups and companies price their themes, plugins, and/or club strategically so they can market their products, gain affiliate support, compete for users, or whatever the reason/motivation is…
Charging a premium price means we have to compete with other companies feature for feature to prove we are superior even when certain features aren’t necessary. That’s not what we want because we don’t develop our products like our competitors do.
Existing DevPress customers (those that purchased the first theme that DevPress put up for sale just a few weeks ago when they relaunched) will be refunded all but $5 of their purchase, and will be immediately a part of the new club.
DevPress launched last September, as a collaborative work between four WordPress professionals: Justin Tadlock, Patrick Daly, Ptah Dunbar, and Tung Do. They created a good deal of buzz with the launch of their free News theme, and a few blog posts to get things rolling.
That buzz might just continue this week, with the news that they have relaunched their site with a new commercial theme called Visual designed for social and photo blogging. We have redesign comparison screenshots just after the jump, as we usually do, as well as the stylish video they made promoting their new theme.
A new WordPress service, DevPress, made its public debut today. DevPress is a collaboration of four WordPress “craftsmen”, as they call themselves, which are each already highly regarded in the WordPress community individually. Justin Tadlock, Tung Do (aka Small Potato), Ptah Dunbar, and Patrick Daly have brought their unique talents together to develop themes, plugins, and tutorials.
In the inaugural blog post, they admit to not having an explicit business plan, and add that, “the direction is still a bit blurry… we do have one primary goal—to produce the best, highest quality, GPL’d, make you say “wha?!” kinda products. All in that order.” Based on each of their successes individually, it’s hard to imagine that they would disappoint.
There are a few names which stick out in WordPress developer/designer circles. One of those names is, curiously enough, a made up name: Small Potato.
Small Potato ran a very popular website devoted to WordPress called WPDesigner. Since some time last year Small Potato has disappeared and hasn’t (as far as I know) been in contact with anyone in the development community. Luckily I pulled together this interview with him before he left.