Paul, I listened intently to your WP Minute Podcast
I am saddened by your step back from the community, I am betting it won’t be long before we see you again.
Take a rest, take some heart in what you have achieved and know that your friends will be waiting in the wings for your inevitable return.
Maybe because I am long in tooth and only took up WordPress because Joomla failed me, I am embracing Gutenberg, I am not a developer – but, I am a product maker and owner.
I see a great future for Gutenberg and a great future for page builders, I know from experience that change is not necessarily better, but, change is inevitable. In order to provide a stable and investable future for WordPress. We may not all like it as we are comfortable with what we know. But, what we know, changes every single day.
Gutenberg needs to succeed.
So many people are invested in WordPress, it has changed lives, hopefully for the better and with massive investments in the managed hosting space, acquisitions and third party investments in Gutenberg add ons, extensions and blocks, there is a danger when core catches up ( yeah I know) that there will be a similar tech debt that we will all have to pay. Is it wrong that it’s being forced upon us? I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know, is that if we do not embrace it, we will be left behind and be labelled laggards.
We all need to use the tools that we are comfortable with – I now use Canva and Affinity, two years ago I would not have dreamed that I would change from Adobe – I haven’t changed because of cost as, if I cannot afford £50 a month for essential tools, then what the heck am I doing what I do. I have changed because, its quicker and easier to use these products – they are innovative and we need innovation to grow and succeed. If I don’t embrace change, I might as well get back in the kitchen flippin’ rib eye’s, right?
Gutenberg for me, is just one tool in an arsenal – I build Shopify sites, Wix, (yes, I really do) and even good old HTML and PHP – its horses for courses. The WordPress community for me has always been welcoming and in some cases, absolutely, terrifyingly, scary and toxic. People are people and the WordPress community is well, made of of people. As people, we rarely like change – just look at the political landscape of so called democracies – there will always be a strong point of view -rightly or wrongly. Strong voices in our community are allowed to do 180’s, even 360’s – which will happen if Gutenberg fails us in the longer term.
As a product maker I am investing in AI that works with Gutenberg and the most popular page builders out there, I am investing in AI (kind of) that converts page builder layouts to Gutenberg blocks, and yes, I am investing in block extensions as well.
I see Gutenberg as the future of editing, publishing and generating content way into the future. I also see, Automattic monetising WordPress – I cannot and will not see any wrong in that. I do see wrong in Matt being in charge of both projects and here is why.
WordPress was built by MIke Little and Matt Mullenweg, it was always a community project helped along by a massive community wishing to Democratize Publishing. What it wasn’t – was a way for Matt to make money. If he wants to profit from WordPress – be like us – step down from The WordPress core project. become a product maker who isn’t allowed to advertise within the WordPress Dashboard, who has to wait for his products to be approved (or disapproved) in the repository and fight your battles as one with the community. It is, in my view, the right thing to do.
Paul, I appreciate all your contributions to WordPress and the fact that you have the ability to make grown men cry (in public) with your stories of both success and failure. You are a very special part of the WordPress community my friend and I am certain we will see you rise once again with your intense knowledge of WordPress, web design, Community and your innate desire to make things better for everyone in this vast community.
Paul has allies in you and I. Surviving the changing landscape of digital marketing and web development is no easy feat. Many of the people I looked up to when I was first learning web design have faded out, moved on to other ventures, or continued on quietly while others take the reins to lead the industry into the next phase, a cycle which never ceases.
I have zero doubt that Paul will come back in another venture, and I look forward to that time.
Thanks John, really appreciate those words. And Andrew too for writing this piece. You are both great people I’ve met. Only one of you met in real life, but I feel close to you both. Thanks.
Well said Andrew, I agree with you on all of those points as I have embraced change in WordPress since 2009 and kinda love the d free fact there are new ways to do things every year or I may have gotten bored with the same old thing years ago.
Paul I also found your words very moving and I feel for you as you sound exhausted and needed a reset so badly. Take time to find your mojo again and please share your next adventures as we all care about you and thank you for all you have done to date.