In just over a decade, WordPress has become the most popular content management system on the web. And as with any hugely popular open source movement, there are plenty of for-profit companies providing premium themes, plugins, hosting, and support.
Is it too late for you to get involved? Evidence suggests the contrary — that WordPress is just getting started. But you do need to identify a distinct business problem to solve.
As a non-technical founder myself, a decade ago I was under the misconception that the code is what matters. And it does, but the most elegant code in the world matters very little if the functionality of the software isn’t addressing a true user need.
That means you don’t need to have technical skills to create your first WordPress product — you need empathy and the ability to solve a problem. WordPress expert Chris Lema joins us today to get you on the right path for open-source software success.
The Show Notes
Create Your First WordPress Product, With Chris Lema
Chris Lema: My name is Chris Lema. I’m a product strategist, and if you’ve seen me smoke cigars in hot tubs, then you definitely know I’m unemployable.
Voiceover: Welcome to Unemployable, the show for people who can get a job, they’re just not inclined to take one, and that’s putting it gently. In addition to this podcast, thousands of freelancers and entrepreneurs get actionable advice and other valuable resources from the weekly Unemployable email newsletter. Join us by registering for our free Profit Pillars course or choose to sign up for the newsletter only at no charge. Simply head over to Unemployable.com and take your business and lifestyle to the next level. That’s Unemployable.com.
Brian Clark: Hey there, welcome to Unemployable. I am your host, Brian Clark. Today we’re talking WordPress. You know, in just over a decade, WordPress has become the most popular content management system on the web by far. As with any hugely popular open-source movement, there are plenty of for-profit companies providing premium themes, plugins, hosting, and support — including mine.
Is it too late for you to get involved? Evidence suggests the contrary, that WordPress is just getting started. But you do need to identify a distinct business problem to solve. As a non-technical founder myself, a decade ago I was under the misconception that the code was all that matters. And it does matter, but the most elegant code in the world matters very little if the functionality of the software isn’t addressing a true user need. That means, you don’t need to have technical skills to create your first WordPress product — you need empathy and the ability to solve a problem.
WordPress expert Chris Lema joins us today to get you on the right path for open-source software success. One thing before we get started, you can get an entire course on developing WordPress products in Digital Commerce Academy — taught by Chris Lema, today’s guest — plus a course on building an online training business from me, plus two marketing courses. That’s four complete courses in all, plus scores of case studies, webinars, and the personal Q & A’s we do for members twice a month where you can ask us anything.
This is important, because on October 28th — just over a week from now — we’ll be closing the doors of Academy to new members. We’ve basically developed a ton of premium content over the last year and we’ve got more coming. When we reopen the doors, the price will reflect how much value you’re getting accordingly. Head over to DigitalCommerce.com and click on Academy in the top nav. Join us for a whole lot of value for a modest investment that will be going up for the next time around. That’s DigitalCommerce.com.
Mr. Lema, thank you so much for joining us today. How are you?
Chris Lema: I’m great. How are you?
Brian Clark: Not bad. It could be worse. We could be in Cabo in a month or so. That would be all right. Any ideas?
Chris Lema: Yeah, I think we should hang out together in November in Cabo. Hang out with a whole bunch of other WordPress product and service folks at CaboPress.
Brian Clark: That sounds like a good time to me. All right, we’ve got you just out of Digital Commerce Summit where, of course, you killed it. And of course, we have a wonderful WordPress product creation instructional course from you as well in Digital Commerce Academy. But with this podcast we want to give some people some free stuff. Some juicy tips on how to get rolling here.
Somehow, since 2008, I’ve been creating WordPress products — starting with Thesis and then I teamed up with Gardener for Genesis. We’ve got WordPress hosting, we’ve done plugins, and now we have the Rainmaker Platform where down at the core we’ve got WordPress in there as well. Tell people what qualifies you to give them tips about creating WordPress products.
Chris’ Background in Creating WordPress Products
Chris Lema: I’m just a guy like everybody else. I don’t know that I’m the only qualified person to talk about products. But I think one of the things that I’ve had the pleasure of doing — having been in software for now 21, 22 years — is that over the last 5 years I’ve had the chance to work with almost every commercial product player in the WordPress space and the WordPress ecosystem to help them think through their products, help through their product strategy, their go-to-market strategy and even some of their product marketing.
Just by nature of having worked with so many folks and looked at some of the same challenges over and over again, I think you just end up with a big enough dataset and a big enough exposure base or experience base that you can leverage that learning for other people and say, “Well, maybe you don’t want to make this mistake that was made here. Maybe you want to course-correct over here. Or maybe you want to emulate someone who’s done this ahead of you, gone before you, and that way you don’t have to suffer through the learning yourself.”
Brian Clark: Okay. Everyone out there, Chris is being incredibly humble. We actually brought in Chris for the last three months as a well-compensated consultant — thank you, Chris — because he is so insightful and sometimes it doesn’t matter how long you’re doing something, you bring in that outside perspective and you’re like “Oh, it’s almost like I knew that but I don’t have it going on right now.” Chris is incredible at that. His process for identifying new opportunities in what has now become a highly competitive space in the WordPress plugins and themes market … Back in 2008 we were fortunate to be early. Don’t let him fool you. All right, Chris.
Chris Lema: The crazy thing is, in 2008 really all you had to do was not mess up.
Brian Clark: I think that’s correct, and I’ve even said that before.
Chris Lema: Yeah, if you look at the number of commercial interests, commercial businesses from 2008, 2009 that spawned in that time period and that are still around today, almost every single one was a first-time CEO. Every one of those CEO’s, if you sat with them privately — if not publicly, but at least privately — they would tell you, “All we did different than the people who are no longer around is that we caught our mistakes fast enough to course-correct and we just kept trying some other things.” You love that experimentation among entrepreneurs.
By 2008, I had started and sold four out of five companies, so when I stepped into the WordPress space it was from a different basis point of looking at this going “Hmm, this is a really young market.” Yet, having come from the enterprise space, which is where I spent all my time building software products, my sense was the enterprise is going to end up adopting WordPress.
The notion that if you are a marketing team and you wanted to launch a new promotion for Alexis and you had to get in line with IT behind the payroll adjustment that they had to make and wait several months — just didn’t make any sense. At some point, marketing departments and everyone else was going to take matters into their own hands. My sense was, “When this thing called WordPress moves upmarket, these little fledgling businesses are going to need some serious things to think about. About segmentation, product marketing, pricing, how they do support — all of that is going to have to shift.” And yet, you remember in 2008, the notion of making money off open-source was still so new and so young.
You want to come in and give people advice, but you also realize no one’s ready for these lessons either. So you just have to come alongside, be helpful, and give it time until people start realizing, “I have a selling problem. I have a messaging problem. I have a product fit problem. I have a pricing problem.” And then you go, “Let’s see if we can help you.”
It’s Not Too Late to Start a Business on WordPress
Brian Clark: Yeah, absolutely. The key thing I want to focus on here is eight years later, it is indeed a young market. Yet you’ll have people out there going, “Oh, I can’t do the WordPress thing.” You hear this over and over. “Oh, I can’t do blogging, it’s too late. I can’t do podcasting, it’s too late. I can’t build WordPress plugins, it’s too late.” That’s not correct.
Chris Lema: Not at all. The reality is you wouldn’t look at your eight-year-old or ten-year-old child and say, “Well, that’s it. No more growth for you. We’re kind of done. There’s no future for you. You’re over.” You look at a ten-year-old and you go, “Wow, we’re just getting started. We’re just figuring out some of what you like and what you can do. You have the whole rest of your life ahead of you.” WordPress is just coming out of — what, 12 years now, something like that?
Brian Clark: It’s 12 years and the premium market — actually, our partner, Brian Gardener, started the premium market. We were not second, but after. When I heard the money Gardener was making — I remember that day when Chris Pearson told me what Brian doing with Revolution. It’s like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Next thing you know we’re doing Thesis.
Chris Lema: Yeah.
Brian Clark: But yeah, it’s young. It really is.
Chris Lema: Yep, very young. And there’s still so much … The other thing that you remember very clearly, was that in the early days the business model was the one and only one business model. “Okay, I’m going to create a theme club. I’m going to charge some amount of money and then you’re going to get everything I give you plus you’re going to get all my support — all for that one-time fee.” Which is a ridiculously bad business model.
Brian Clark: Yeah. We did it at StudioPress for years. We’re just now getting over it.
Chris Lema: You realize, “Wait, if I have to pick up a phone or if I have to provide support, I might lose all of that revenue in one interaction.” You’re like, “Hold on a second.” And yet, we’re just now, years later, starting to see multiple different business models. A lot of times what I do is I come alongside companies and I say, “Well, have we talked about your business model at all?” And they go, “We just always just assumed that we would just do what everyone else is doing.” And you go, “Well, there’s other ways to think about this.” And as you start seeing that play out, you start seeing, “Wow, we’re just at the beginning of a lot of different models coming to term.”
Yet, the beautiful thing for people who are thinking about — and we’ve talked about this before — people who are thinking about getting into the WordPress ecosystem is, it’s now a thing. If you haven’t gotten a haircut, head over to your barber, get yourself a haircut and ask them, “Ever heard of WordPress?” Because he may not recognize that “W” symbol with a circle around it, but if you hear the word WordPress you go, “Yeah I think I have heard about that.” And when everyday people have heard about it …
I ran a little Google survey. Google has the consumer surveys that they run, and you can run one — just ask a single question and collect data. They give you all sorts of demographic data as well. You’ll discover that the term WordPress is incredibly recognizable among a lot of different age segments. All the sudden you realize that pretty much every person who is stepping into the working world at this point — every early young adult who is stepping into their first job is bringing with them a name recognition.
A whole bunch of people who are in mid-level management positions have name recognition. So if you’re thinking about building a product, this is the right time. It’s not a scary time to bring a product to the market. In fact, I was having conversations over several months with Pitney Bowes, who is not a small company, who said, “We have this calculation for doing what the customs cost is when you’re doing eCommerce across countries, do you think that that would work well with WooCommerce in the WordPress space?” I was like “Hmm, yeah, let me think about that. Yes.”
So everybody — from a small folks to really large companies now have an opportunity to leverage that brand awareness and that permeation of WordPress throughout the market.
Brian Clark: No joke here. My barber just left and started his own business, and it’s on WordPress. I will say to your point, that I had enough experience coming into the Copyblogger era to realize that StudioPress was a gateway product.
Chris Lema: Yep.
Brian Clark: A lot of the young CEO’s of the companies that you alluded to at the beginning, this was their first rodeo. I honestly don’t think we’re any smarter necessarily, just a little bit more experienced at that type of thing. And then leveraging multiple product lines and things like that.
Chris Lema: Yep.
Brian Clark: I think what you’re seeing is that the space is growing up.
Chris Lema: I had to spend a lot of time refuting the StudioPress model to pretty much every one of my clients. I would say, “Stop for a second.” I think at some point I even wrote the article that said basically, “Hey, heads up, StudioPress does exactly what you want to do, except that they have lots of other ways to make money.” At the time you were selling Premise, you were selling Scribe — other solutions. I’m like, “Great. They brought you in with one thing, but now they have three more products. Tell me, Mr. New Client, how many products beyond the first one do you have? You don’t have any. So maybe you shouldn’t copy their model.”
Brian Clark: Yeah.
Chris Lema: Which gets to the heart of any advice, which is, I love when people copy other people’s motivation. Learn what other people are doing, learn why they do it, and copy some of that motivation. But copying someone’s move for the sake of saying, “Well, that move must therefore work for me too,” is a really scary thing to do.
“Finding the Pain” in WordPress
Brian Clark: Yep, totally. All right. Let’s talk a little bit about finding the pain. I think that’s an expression you enjoy when trying to find a new opportunity — in any market, obviously, but in WordPress in particular.
Chris Lema: Yeah, I like words like pain and gain and aim and train and — it just goes on. Finding the pain is all about figuring out where people have an immediate sense of struggle. I think, more often than not, everybody can see their product as being really useful when you’re building a product or when you’re designing a product or messaging a product. And yet, more often than not, when they talk about how it’s useful, they’re solving a problem or a pain that is number 27 or 37 on the list of pains people have. That’s just not very useful.
I have pain in my bottom mouth right now back by one of the teeth. I know that I probably need to go to a dentist to get something akin to a root canal or something looked at because there’s some pain there. Do you imagine if go to the dentist’s website and it starts describing how awesome the well-lit rooms are, how family-friendly it is, and the fact that you can bring your own headphones and music — do you think those are the things that are going to sell me? No. I want to know how fast can I get in, what’s the number I call, what’s it going to cost me, etc. Because I have an immediate need, and my immediate need to resolve that pain is a high-level, high order, very clearly understood compulsion that causes me to click a button that says, “Solve my pain.”
The well-lit rooms are nice to have, they’re just not the first thing I need to think about. More often than not, people talk about their products and they’re thinking, “I can help your efficiency,” and you’re like, “That’s a marginal improvement, that’s not a big deal.” Or they’re like, “We can save you some time,” and you’re like, “Yeah, three minutes a day times … How many years before that becomes useful to me?” We forget that, more often than not, the reason people push a button, the reason they push click is because they have some more pressing, more understood and felt needs.
So I come back to “Who’s your target and what’s the pain they’re feeling? Is it a 1, 2, 3 pain versus a 27, 37, 39 pain?
Brian Clark: Yeah, and to further demystify my own process, the pain that led to Thesis originally was my own. It was simply, “I’m a non-technical content creator. I’ve been using WordPress since 2005 …” Trust me, compared to what I used to have to do in 98, 99, 2001, to put together a website, WordPress was a godsend. But at some point, when you try to get a little more sophisticated — let’s say you want to serve a different title to Google than you do to people on the page — you had to go into code.
Chris Lema: Yep.
Brian Clark: That sounds ridiculous in 2016, but that’s how it was in 2007. So this was product development. It was basically me as use case. We’ve talked about this before, because in many ways that drove our product development throughout the years to the point where it almost became a problem. But still, for the fledgling entrepreneur — do you still see your own pain as the starting point?
Before You Scratch Your Own Itch, Make Sure It’s a Problem for Someone Else Too
Chris Lema: Yes, but I highly recommend that the pitch that people hear all the time, which is: “Scratch your own itch,” which is a colloquial way of saying the same thing. “I can recognize a pain in myself, therefore I assume it’s in others, and therefore I want to build a product for that pain.” It’s really fantastic to have 25 more conversations. If you had said in those days, “Hey, how hard is it for you to change the title on your website?” Everybody in the world around you would have said, “It’s so hard. I have to be a coder. This is ridiculous.” And you would have known immediately, “Okay, we’re good.”
But more often than not, people start with what I call “n = 1.” When you’re doing a survey, the number of people interviewed is the n factor, so n =1 means you’re only using your opinion. It may be a pain for you, but you may be in a very protected, nuanced space. That’s not going to be very helpful. So you have to get out and talk to other people.
My favorite version of this is I was flying with a buddy of mine — we were flying from the Bay Area out to Indiana and we had to stop in … I think it was in Arizona, it was in Phoenix maybe. The whole flight from San Francisco to Phoenix, he’s telling me about how the big problem people have is they have so many social media accounts. They have so many social media accounts and they’re trying to manage them.
So he wants to build this product and get it funded to solve this problem. We got off the plane in Phoenix. We’re about to go to the other gate to get on the next plane, and I stopped four different people that were walking through the airport. I asked them, on average, how many social media accounts they had. Now these are random people. We don’t know them. We haven’t qualified them. But every one of them was like, “Just Facebook.”
Because this was years ago. He lived in Silicon Valley so he had seven. He was solving a problem for him, but that was not a problem in Phoenix. It wasn’t a problem in Indiana. It wasn’t a problem anywhere else in the world. So you have to not just go, “Okay, what’s a pain for me?” You have to understand the rest of your target market.
Brian Clark: That’s good advice. I would say that I consciously factored that in in my own experience, and yet when I tell the story I don’t often include that important caveat and some people may get the wrong idea. No, it’s important.
Chris Lema: They do, because they hear the big-wigs from stage, “I had this problem so I built it.” My good friend Jason Cohen, who will also be at CaboPress, does the same thing. He talks about how he started WP Engine, but what he adds — which I really appreciate — is he called 50 other people and got 25 people to sign up before he built the product. He knew he had a customer base. You go, “Okay, that’s good.”
That’s very different than, “I have this problem so I’ll build it.” You think, “Okay, that’s silly.” Except many of the people building products for the WordPress space are developers themselves, so they’re solving little developer problems. And part of the challenge and part of the opportunity for people coming from the outside stepping into the WordPress ecosystem is when you bring regular business people with bigger problems than just what a developer has, all of the sudden you start seeing, “Wow, there’s still a lot of opportunity here.” It’s because the kinds of problems that people have that aren’t just developer problems are still — some of them — waiting to be solved.
Brian Clark: I got my validation from content marketing pre-the social media era.
Chris Lema: Yep.
Brian Clark: It was comments. And when you have an audience, they express unsolicited problems to you. If they align with what you’re feeling, then you’re like, “Okay, this is legit.” If they’re way off-base then you would be foolish to ignore that feedback.
Chris Lema: Yep, that is exactly right. In fact, a good portion of the consulting I do with some of the product companies is bringing that feedback back to them. I write a blog — and I have a lot of folks that read it — about WordPress products, and I get a ridiculous quantity of both comments but also emails and contact form fill outs. I aggregate it and I go to the product vendor and go, “Hey, you have a missing feature. It’s not my opinion, here’s the 32 folks or the 532 folks who are remarking about it.” Then they go, “Okay, we’re going to put that in our next version.”
The Story is More Important Than the Code
Brian Clark: So I think entrepreneurs out there, whoever they may be, think that coding development — that’s the hard part. In fact, I can tell you there are plenty of capable people out there. There are firms that specialize in it. You can get it done. The hard part is creating a user narrative by which you choose what to code.
Chris Lema: Absolutely, 10 percent is the amount of effort that ultimately you’re going to put in product development, 90 percent is the story that goes before your product development to tell you what to build and what goes after to help you sell it. 90 percent is not writing lines of code.
More often than not, people who are developers spend 90 percent of their time writing the code, and people from the outside stop themselves from stepping into the market because they have that 90 percent. They have all that. “Here’s the narrative. Here’s the problem. Here’s what I want to solve. These are the other people that I talked to. But I can’t write code, so I’ll just forget about it.” Or, “I don’t know who I would trust to get into this space.” That’s a problem, because the reality is most of the challenge is not coding.
Brian Clark: Okay, how do we solve the problem?
Chris Lema: Well, the beautiful thing is there is a whole bunch of different companies out there that are more than willing to help build products. That’s a good thing. Whereas, back when you started with Gardner it was like, “There’s Gardner.” And then you’re like, “Well, if this conversation didn’t go well …” There was not a lot of other people you were going to talk to. Today there’s a whole bunch of folks, companies that can help with this. One of the companies that I’m an advisor for is a company called Zeek here in Southern California. Zeek builds the web plus the SAAS plus the mobile — all integrated together. So when the business shows up and says, “I have this business problem and I want to solve it this way,” Zeek goes and builds it.
Now they use WordPress, but they’re doing more than just WordPress to build out a full solution. And that guy who has the idea and walks away with a product and is able to say, “Okay, now let me go after my market.” There’s tools, there are people. I think the reality is … The first challenge I give people is to make sure you have an understanding of your market. Not just the idea in your head, but you have an understanding, you’ve qualified it.
Whether you’ve written articles, whether you’ve hosted conferences or events, whatever it is you’ve done to get your data together that you know there’s a market. Because if you do go to get those people to help build you, they don’t do it for free. You’re going to have to spend money. You’ve got to be prepared to spend that money, which is not hard if you know the market is there is waiting for you. It’s a lot harder if you’re just going on a hope.
Brian Clark: Yeah, absolutely. So you’ve done a very popular course within Digital Commerce Academy. It may be more popular than my online course course, maybe because it’s not so meta. But there’s interest there. What was your approach to that course? Obviously there’s a lot to know, there’s a lot to learn. What were the crucial elements that you covered that you felt, “This is going to get any person to the point where they have the confidence to at least begin the process?”
Chris’ Course in Digital Commerce Academy
Chris Lema: So it all depends on how much you looked at that course, but I think most people who have talked to me about the course and then wanted to go take it, they get surprised when they look at the list of lessons and realize that the product development part is way towards the bottom of the list of lessons and that it’s only one lesson. They go, “Wait a minute. What is all the rest of this?”
You realize, “Oh, there is a whole bunch of lessons making sure that you get the market right.” Making sure you know how to size the market. Making sure you think through and understand how you’re pricing it. Making sure you understand how you’re bringing it to market and what’s the story and the narrative that’s going with it. All of that that is unrelated to whether you build it — or, in fact, if you have the opportunity to buy it. People don’t even realize that. You can buy the product and then build everything else around it.
So I think what happened was when I started working through that material I realized, “Where do I spend the most time coaching? Where do I spend the most time trying to re-steer or redirect people’s thought process and challenge their assumptions?” And it’s all way before we ever get to the product, so that’s where I spent a majority of the lesson time — getting that down for people.
Brian Clark: It’s so valuable. You’ve got guys like Seth Godin — who is incredibly wise and a friend of mine, a mentor. Yet Seth will say things like, “Bake the marketing into your product.” It sounds like, “Wow, that’s amazing.” And then people are like, “Wait, what does that mean?” That’s what your course does. It sells itself. Now, of course, you still have to have good content for attraction, you have to have good copy, you have to be essentially solving a real problem. But if you do that work up front it becomes a lot easier. And you look really smart and people call you a marketing genius and all that, but that’s essentially all we’ve ever done. Your work with us has got us to refocus on, I would say, our roots.
Chris Lema: The beautiful thing is if people took everything they ever read or learned from Copyblogger about content and applied it to product development, they would never need me. Everything that you guys have shared, everything you’ve written, everything about the narrative, everything about needs and demands, everything about finding and messaging to the right segment of the population. Everything that you’ve ever written applies to product development, as you know.
We’ve had these conversations inside of and about the Rainmaker product. It’s not like you don’t know it. It’s just that most of the time people put all the content marketing stuff on one side of their brain and then when they go to have a meeting about a product, they don’t engage it. They just leave it over there. You’re like, “Wait, stop. Tell me what the story is that we’re telling. Tell me who we’re talking to. Tell me what their pain point is. Tell me where the gain is. What’s our specific claim and how are we differentiating that claim?” And all of the sudden you realize, “This sounds very familiar,” because it’s all the same stuff that goes into content marketing. Except it ought to be how you think about and shape your product, as you and I know because we’ve had these conversations.
More often than not, engineers look at other products that are doing something similar and they want to drive towards feature parody. All that really does is up your ticket price, what you’re going to have to sell it for to regain and recoup the cost that went into it. More often than not, you don’t need to do that. You don’t need to build a feature for feature match to something else. You can step into a space and simply say, “I’m going to take a different corner because no one is over here. No one is serving this”
When people realize that, when they realize, “My work should be to focus on what corner is not taken, what space can I skate to where I can suddenly go, ‘Oh look, I’m uncontested here and I can win a lot easier, a lot cheaper.’ How do I build the product in this space and serve this market?” When you’ve done that work, building the product is a lot easier. It’s a lot smaller, you can refine it more quickly, and ultimately you can generate much greater profit from that space than when you jump into a contested place and you have to spend so much just to get close enough even for someone to look at you.
Brian Clark: Tell us a little bit more about Cabo Press. This will be my first time there and I’m excited. I think it’s been sold out since the minute you announced it, but let’s talk about it for next year.
Chris Lema: Yeah it took 14 days to sell out. It is a conference for product and service leaders, so typically the CEO’s of the companies who have commercial interests in WordPress. They are selling plugins, they’re selling themes, they’re selling services. It doesn’t matter if they’re selling to small business or large enterprises, those people are invited to apply for a spot at CaboPress.
The first year we had about 16 people. The next year we had about 25. This year we’ll have 50, and that’s about it. I don’t think you can put more than about 50 people into a pool at the same time and have helpful conversations. Though they’re not all having the same conversation. But this is a conference that has no speakers. A conference that has no sessions in ballrooms. This is literally a set of conversations. What happens is you pull people together, you group people together and you say “Hey, we’re going to talk about …” For example, let’s say we were talking about creating online courses, the kind of material and the kind of approach to creating an online course.
I say, “Hey, over here, Brian is going to be talking about courses and Jennifer Bourne is going to be with him talking about re-purposing some of your existing content for courses. The two of these guys are going to hold a conversation, but they’re going to hold it with a group of you that either have already done this and have lessons learned or want do this, or tried to do it and failed. You guys can group over here in one part of the pool while they’re bringing you unlimited drinks and food, and you hang out and have a conversation.”
So you may have some insights, initially, to start off with, or you may have a question that you initiate the conversation with and people start talking. What you realize is that you haven’t had the definitive experience. You’ve had your experience and Jennifer has had her experience and there’s the guy from Ninja Forms who’s had his experience, or someone else from another company — WooThemes or someone else — who has their experience. As the conversation starts happening, people learn. And everybody learns, everybody takes away.
Now, your job as a host, obviously, is to coordinate that conversation to make sure it doesn’t go into the weeds or go somewhere really strange. But that conversation happens and, more often than not, people walk away going, “That was incredible.” The fact that they got insights from someone like you with your experience also means they would pay a gazillion dollars, because this is a private place where this information doesn’t get shared to everyone else. It’s not livestreamed. So you can be honest. You can say, “Well, the first year we rolled this thing out and we only had 20 percent uptick, so here’s what we made changes to to get 60 percent uptick.”
You would never share that, necessarily, publicly if you didn’t want it to get out that the first version of something didn’t work out well. But here in safe place you can and now they get to learn from that. That happens over the course of several days. People get in Monday afternoon and they leave Friday morning, but Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, specifically, they have anywhere from 6 to 8 different, 10 different sessions that they go to to have these discussions. And then every afternoon is free.
So people normally gravitate to who they want to talk to and have more in-depth conversations, develop relationships, develop partnerships. We’ve seen new products spin out of CaboPress, we’ve seen partnerships between two companies — a service company and a theme company, or a theme company and a plugin company — that come together. We’ve seen a lot of these different synergies that happen by putting people together in a beautiful place with unlimited food and drink to have intelligent conversation around the business side of things, not the technical side.
Brian Clark: Honestly, you had me at Cabo.
Chris Lema: That’s how we pitch it too. When I sell it I’m like, “First let me show you. This is Cabo. Second, let me show you this five-star resort, which is one of only two in the whole region. Third, let me tell you, it’s all-inclusive, it is all drink and all food.” By that point, I tell you the price and you go, “Yeah that’s what I would pay for a week in Cabo.” Then you go, “Now, let me tell you all the upside that happens with WordPress,” and they go, “Okay I’m in.” So it sells out very quickly.
Brian Clark: Yeah, this is good stuff. I’m looking forward to it. Chris, thank you for your time. I know you’re busy. Some of that is my fault. So I appreciate you coming on the show. And everyone, it is not too late. It is actually early if you want to look at this way. We established a market for you in the premium WordPress space and now you get to own it. So get out there, find the pain, and as always, keep going.