WPWeekly Episode 94 – Commercial Themes

wordpressweekly1This episode was the first in a series discussing the commercialization of WordPress. Within this episode, we talked with three commercial theme authors who are in the midst of maintaining a successful business. Joining us on the round table was Jason Schuller of Press75/ThemeGarden.com, Brian Gardner of Studiopress, and Cory Miller of iThemes. Considering the commercial theme market will be red hot this year, this episode gives those new guys or aspiring commercial theme authors plenty of food for thought. Also, Matt Mullenweg made a surprise appearance near the end of the show to ask some questions he had to the members of the panel. Jacob Goldman did a great job asking some meaty questions that were really business focused and I feel that just about anyone who listens to this episode will be able to learn a thing or two about the business of commercial themes.

Smashing Book Contest:

Want to win a copy of the Smashing Book and a chance to participate in our wrap up episode on April 24th? Help us publicize the special WordPress Weekly series on commercialization! Just follow @WPTavern and guest co-host @jakemgold on Twitter, and Tweet a message mentioning us both with a link to the most recent episode. We’ll randomly pick one of our favorite tweets right before the next show.

We’ll be giving a book away for each of the episodes (excluding wrap up). You can participate each week. Each contest starts at 2pm on Saturday with the show’s recording, and ends the following Friday evening. You may participate if you’re outside of the contiguous United States, but will be asked to cover shipping expenses.

If we get over 500 participants in the contest, before the wrap up show, we’ll also give away one copy of Smashing WordPress to one participant after the last episode!

Ad Copy:

This episode is also sponsored by EnvironmentsForHumans.com This is an organization that brings together expert speakers on a given topic exploring that topic from different angles. While they recently had a WordPRess Workshop, the next event will be a UX Web Summit on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (CT). This event will teach people how to improve their websites so that they are more responsive to visitors as well as making this more usable. If you’re interested in this summit, visit UXWebSummit.com

Stories Discussed:

WordPress 3.0 Beta 1 Was Released Friday Evening

Announcements:

Part 2 of this series will take place on April 10th with the Commercial Plugins roundtable features Carl Hancock of Gravityforms, Ronald Huereca of Ajax Edit Comments and Jonathan Davis of the Shopp plugin.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Saturday, April 10th 2P.M. EST

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

Length Of Episode: 2 Hours 12 Minutes

Download The Show: WordPressWeeklyEpisode94.mp3

Listen To Episode #94:

15 Comments


  1. That was a great episode, Jacob was very good, I love his inquisitive, hard-driving style, it is a good contrast to your friendly, whimsical style, the two of you make an excellent team.

    Was interesting to hear the themers discuss their businesses, wonderful that they are all still well-disposed towards one another. I am a customer of both Brian and Cory, they both offer great value and, as they explained in the show, they do a lot of evangelize WordPress. More importantly, in embracing the GPL, they share the community’s wider vision.

    Matt’s appearance was a nice surprise, I hope that will do something to lessen the misinformed FUD that has been floating around the Tavern; for as long as I can remember, Matt has been crystal clear that he wants to see businesses built upon the WordPress platform to thrive.

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  2. This was a great show.The post-live discussion was just as interesting, especially Automattics plans for the theme team.

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  3. It was an really good wp weekly. I would venture to say the best ever. It was informative, fun, relaxed, and mostly to the point. Had some trouble following a long every now and then. I know Cory Millers voice but thats from watching ithemes.tv for the rest I have no clue who is talking when. Jake did an really good job. Like donnacha, says you two make a good team.

    It was not that unexpected that Matt popped in but it became a little abrupt with the transitions. Don’t let the stardom blind you guys. Hope Matt will join in the end of the plugin discussion also next Saturday. Or perhaps in the third session. Themes has gotten attention and approval from the top for some time, its time for plugins to get the same treatment. We have all seen the whimsical remarks on plugin commercialization in the past.

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  4. Jeff and Jake, I think I can speak for the themers on the call and say we enjoyed sharing our passion for WordPress, themes and our communities.

    We live and breath this. We’ve built our entire lives and those on our teams around WordPress. And it’s been a blast for me personally.

    It has its up and downs like everything else, but overall, it’s such a fun time as the popularity of WP continues to spread.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

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  5. Terrific episode. People seem to want more and more out of WordPress themes as time goes on, so there’s certainly a market for more premium themes–but not everyone will be able to build a theme-based business as opposed to selling a theme or two in someone else’s marketplace.

    But my burning question is–if I reworked a StudioPress theme for a client, am I supposed to release that into the wild (or give a copy to StudioPress) because it’s GPL, or is it legitimate to leave that as something that only the client uses?

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  6. @Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with sketch) – GPL only kicks in if you or your client distribute the code beyond your client. For instance, if your client’s business sold the theme to another business, the GPL would give that other business the right to distribute the code too, if they so wished.

    The selling point is that, with Open code, your clients are freer too, they know that they are getting code from you that can be viewed and modified by anyone, even if you get hit by a bus.

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  7. Awesome episode, sorry I wasn’t able to hang in on the live recording past the first hour. Was great to hear how Brian, Cory and Jason got their start with WordPress.

    I agree with the others that Jeff and Jake make a great team. I think Jake would be a good fit to fill the co-host position left vacant when David Peralty stepped down.

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  8. Had to take the time to come and comment on this episode. It was really great hearing what these guys were doing in the premium theme market. Thanks for sharing.

    I’ll be honest though, I was surprised to not hear any promos codes thrown around! ;)

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  9. Thanks for the feedback everyone! The guests were all terrific: I think they each contributed real and unique insight to the conversation, and were very forthcoming and open in talking about their internal operations. They made the show.

    I’m just as excited for this weekend’s plugin episode. We have some very outspoken, articulate, and passionate commercial plug-in developers we’ll be speaking to.

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  10. I loved the show guys. Thanks very much! I downloaded it and put it in my USB and listened to it in my car when I was driving it – it was amazing – I was sad when it finished :)

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  11. Got behind on your shows but just listened to this last night on my iPod. One of the best shows ever and I can’t wait to hear the rest of the series. Great concept for a series!

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