Why I sponsor the development of WordPress plugins

sponsor-development-wordpress-pluginsAt this very moment, Daniel Espinoza is figuring out what to name a conditional routing plugin for WooCommerce.

Tomorrow, Norcross will show me how a drip plugin is coming along.

And later this week, Ryan Duff will wrap up development of a payment plugin for iThemes Exchange membership sites.

All three are here at #BeachPress. All three are WordPress plugin developers. And all three are working on plugins I’m sponsoring.

Sponsorship isn’t just work for hire

Now, it’s easy to imagine that what I’m describing is just work for hire. And everyone does that, right? But I’m talking about something a bit different.

You see, the code that Daniel wrote – it’s something I needed. But more importantly, I went to Daniel because of his focus on WooCommerce plugins. So it made sense to ask him to code this particular plugin that I needed. And when he finished, even though I needed a copy, I left the core code for him.

So I paid for development, and I got a copy. But he retains the code and can put it on his site to sell.

In the case of the iThemes Exchange plugin, I’ll likely get it over to the iThemes team to review and decide if they want to keep it, sell it, or roll it into their core codebase.

The drip code is something my friends at WooThemes may like.

As you can see, this is more than just development projects. I’m sacrificing the potential for profit on purpose. And if others make profit off it, I’m thrilled.

This is product development. Where I guide it and pay for it.

And many others can benefit (beyond just me).

In my own way, it’s one of the ways I contribute to the community

If you’re a person who writes documentation, the WordPress community needs you and has ways for you to contribute.

If you’re a person who writes code, the WordPress community needs you and has ways for you to contribute.

If you’re an event planner, the WordPress community needs you and has ways for you to contribute.

If you’re a public speaker (or educator), the WordPress community needs you and has ways for you to contribute.

And guess what?

If you’re a person who can assess market dynamics, evaluate features, determine market sizing and see products / features that can help things along, and if you have the funds to sponsor development (which in and of itself helps the community by putting them to work), guess what?

There is a way to contribute. Even if you have to make it up on your own. I have. And it works.

I sponsor the development of WordPress plugins because I can. Because it puts people to work. Because it creates products others will need. And because it’s a way that I can use my product development talents to work for the community.

What about you?

This approach may not be the perfect thing for you to do. You may not be a product development expert. You may be something else. But whatever you are, I can tell you three things you should know:

  • The community is open to receiving your help, even if they don’t always show it.
  • The community needs your help, even if they don’t always know it.
  • As you do your thing, others will see it and be drawn to it. You’re not alone.

I know there are a lot of folks that talk about writing code as a way to contribute. It’s awesome and fun! But it’s only one avenue. And the community is huge – with tons of different needs.

So the question I have for you today is simply this: What about you? How will you get involved?

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  1. Great approach Chris, I love iit, keep us posting when your plugins are ready for download. We by our self contributed sofar one (very powerful) sidebar plugin, with which you can manage as many sidebars as you want or wrap the into an extruder. You can download it directly by WordPress here http://wordpress.org/plugins/drag-and-drop-custom-sidebar/ more from the REAL Team comes soon, we have some new Plugins in the pipeline which we will release during this summer.

  2. I love that you’re doing this Chris. It’s something we’ve started doing as well since last year. One twist I’d like to add is that you can do this internally as well. Meaning, we’ll build solutions clients have requested but actually make sure we “sponsor” whomever is building the solution to spend extra time on it so we end up with a solution that works in a more generic way and allows to turn that product into product for sale. Nothing out and about though 😉

  3. happy-monk says:

    Hi, Chris! I’m inspired by the idea of this plugin: http://versionpress.net/. This plugin will make administration of WordPress sites so much easier. Thier crowd-founding campaign is ending in 5 days and right now they get only 42% of the founding goal. Are you interested? Can you help them somehow?

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