The questions are simple but the answers are not. Can a theme that is built for developers using best practices be successful in the commercial space? Can a commercial theme add value without adding functionality and bloat? Those are the questions that a trio of WordPress developers are going to try to answer with their 3them.es experiment.
Michelle Schulp of Marktimemedia has published her experience at Pressnomics 2013 and the reasoning behind the new experiment. While at the event, she attended the Commercialization in the WordPress ecosystem panel session featuring business owners Pippin Williamson, Carl Hancock, Cory Miller, and Helen Souness. In that discussion, the following question was asked. How do you build a commercial digital product, especially one built using the GPL, that adds value in a way that is distinguishable from its competitors? According to Michelle, the panel was quick to dismiss commercial themes as being easily commoditized.
3themes is a unique collaboration because we will also be documenting it every step of the way: recording our weekly meetings on Google Hangout in the form of a podcast, blogging about our process on the website, hosting code on GitHub, voicing our thoughts on Twitter, etc. We want this not only to be a case study in the commercial theme marketplace, but in working as a small distributed team and problem solving just as we would for a client. The hope is to create some dialogue in the WordPress community, as well as just have some fun and see what great things we can build together.
If you’re interested to see where this goes, check out the live Google hangout at 8:30 PM CST on Tuesday nights as they begin the process of experimentation by first building their website and brand.
This is going to be an excellent experiment and I bet many are curious as to what the end result will be. If you remember, Justin Tadlock performed a similar experiment via ThemeForest with mildly successful results.