WPWeekly Episode 339 – Interview With Pippin Williamson, Founder of Sandhills Development, LLC

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Pippin Williamson, founder of Sandhills Development, LLC. Pippin describes what he’s learned going through the process of opening a brick and mortar business.

He also describes the emotional process of firing employees, making business decisions as a team, and how he wants to create a life-long company where employees stick around for decades.

Near the end of the episode, Pippin expresses his opinions on Gutenberg the product and Gutenberg the process. You might be surprised by what he has to say.

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2017 in review

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5 Comments


  1. Great episode! Loved hearing Pippins take on Gutenberg. As a user of WP since 2007 and 6 year WordCamp Organizer, I really feel that Gutenberg is dividing our community with the rush to push it to core with all the bugs.

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  2. Great episode – Pippin’s honesty and openness when talking about the ups and downs of business is admirable.

    It’s interesting to hear his views on Gutenberg at 1:11:00

    You have to ask, “why is there an urgency?”.

    The urgency to me says that WordPress is no longer owned by the open source community.

    WordPress is owned by a bunch of investors that have a lot of money and a lot of stake in WordPress having a bigger stake of the web than something like Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, etc.

    So the urgency to release this out is in an effort to appease investors that are worried about WordPress’s future and WordPress staying relevant in the world of Squarespace.

    I think that the development decisions and what’s being allowed to happen inside of WordPress todays is driven by money, and I think that’s really unfortunate.

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  3. The best part of the talk is from 1:16:00 when Pippin speaks the truth about Gutenberg: Matt is bowing down to investors to get GB out the door so that WP can remain competitive with all the existing (far better) page builders, Wix, Shopify and Squarespace.

    With GutenBerg, WordPress has been taken away from the open source community and turned into a commercialized, Microsoftian “shared source” project under the control of Matt and Money. The GB plugin is nearing 1000 1-star reviews – more than 2 times the amount of 5-stars – and Matt isn’t budging. The community has absolutely no say in the project (I doubt it had any say to start off with) and no matter how many voluteers quit and how many disabled people complain, GB is being forced into core.

    It’s sad, but expected: all projects, communities and companies, once large enough, will eventually degrade into entities solely driven by money.

    I’m looking at alternatives to WordPress now, preparing myself for 5.0. If Matt doesn’t man up and keep GB as just a plugin, WP will devolve into Just Another Corporate CMS, with everything designed by marketers and accountants. The very least thing he could do would be to just be honest about why he is forcing GB in.

    Code is no longer poetry, it is now just dollars and cents.

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    1. Gutenberg makes WordPress more competitive. What’s wrong with that?

      Money? Poetry also makes money, if you wonder.

      WordPress is not about poetry, but publishing content on the internet!

      I like money, and I bet you do, too. Gutenberg is about making a better product. That means more money, hopefully and for all.

      I make a living (money) knowing WordPress. What planet are you on?

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  4. These days, I don’t hold Pippin in the same high esteem you guys do. That said, I think he was right on the money with his summation of the rush to get Gutenberg out and Automattic’s investors. All kudos to him.

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