If you read Wikinomics, you’ll remember the story of a mining company called GoldCorp which was poised to fail due to a vital lack of information and resources. GoldCorp’s CEO became inspired by Linus Torvalds and eventually opened up his company’s research to the greater public, throwing open what is ordinarily a very closed and secretive process. Long story short, the whole industry got an education and GoldCorp’s earnings went through the roof. If you need personal research help for business you always can hire a specialist of EssayLab service. But first…
Open-Source and Premium Themes
Obviously the story of GoldCorp is part of a larger message about the benefits of open-source collaboration. You won’t find many bigger open-source evangelists than the folks at Automattic, who provide excellent documentation and tend to bristle at anything suggesting they’re less than 100% open-source, GPL.
Last month, Ptah Dunbar was lucky enough to meet Automattic’s Matt Mullenweg at the the FoWA conference in Miami and ask him what he thought of the growing premium themes market:
In a nutshell, Matt said that he didn’t like where premium WordPress themes are going. I was a little shocked! I didn’t want to start a business off of selling WordPress themes if the creator didn’t approve of it; especially after I’ve talked with him in person that would just be outright insulting. I had to know why…
So I ask him why and he explained to us that the current state of selling WordPress themes aren’t helping the community grow, which defeats the purpose of WordPress being open source. How are other theme authors going to learn from your themes if you’re only giving them an option to buy them?
Ultimately (if I understood him correctly) it doesn’t matter how you do it, just as long as you’re helping the community in the advancements your making. Keeping the open source mentality while still finding ways to profit off of your work is the question he left me with.
I agree with Matt here. Just because we’ve found ways to charge money for them doesn’t mean WordPress themes should exist behind a fence where community members can’t explore them. If that was the case with all themes, the overall quality would take much longer to evolve.
On that note, I want to say that I’ll continue writing WP tutorials which will also include behind-the-scenes info about paid themes like Mimbo Pro. I’m also working with Ben to make our thumbnail re-size script an open source project so that others can view it, experiment with it and improve upon it.
As far as other community benefits, both forums are free and public and encourage users to discuss the inner workings of both themes. There are also video tutorials and live demos.
Ultimately we want things as transparent as possible with a focus on quality instead of quantity. WordPress is a superior platform that needs all of us to help it grow, whether or not we’re charging for our work.
Ben read my mind this morning and wrote this at the same time I was drafting this post.