How is Software Different from Jeans (Or Why You Should Pay for Good Work)

Episode 29 December 04, 2021 00:26:39
WP Review
How is Software Different from Jeans (Or Why You Should Pay for Good Work)

Hosted By

Joe Casabona

Show Notes

I often find myself wondering how many people expect jeans to last a lifetime. There's no disclaimer on jeans saying you need to buy more...but it's understood that every year we need to continue to pay for the privilege of wearing pants in public. In today's episode, I ask why it's so hard for people in the WordPress space to think the same thing of software.

See, Delicious Brains caused quite an incident when they asked their lifetime subscriptions to consider switching to annual to continue supporting development. Then a certain YouTuber found this to be so offensive that he had to fuel the fire...a missed opportunity in helping WordPress users see what good value to dollar ratios look like. Well, I'm not going to miss that opportunity.

Show Notes

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Episode Transcript

Hey everybody. And welcome to WP Review, a show that provides analysis on what's happening in WordPress, and what it means for users and business owners in the ecosystem. This podcast is brought to you by GoDaddy Pro. My name is Joe Casabona. And today, we answer the question, ‘How is software Different from Jeans?’ I know we've taken a couple of weeks off here. I missed Thanksgiving week. And so I'm playing a little bit of catch up. As a result, all of the major news that has come out over that time has been well covered by other sources. And as in the last episode, the simplest solution, I mentioned that the direction is changing a little bit for this show because there are people who cover WordPress news better than I would cover it. And in fact, most of the things I'm covering are coming from those sources. So I'll just bring you the headlines and then dive into the main segment, and we will wrap up with a recommendation. So the top stories from the last time we spoke are WordPress 5.9 was delayed. It is now confirmed for January 25, 2022. If I had done this show last week, maybe that's what I would be talking about. But I'm happy to see that the team, the Release team, has decided to delay. Because I think that releasing software too early as we've seen can be detrimental to the project. And I will just point out here that when 5.0 came out, you know, Matt Mullenweg kind of talked about how release dates aren't arbitrary. And when we state those release dates, make a promise. I think the better promise to deliver on is working software though. So I'm glad to see that it was delayed. Speaking of Matt Mullenweg, the State of the Word 2021 will be broadcast live from…reportedly, I haven't confirmed this independently, but it looks like Automatics know-how office, that is north of Houston in New York city on December 14th. A select group of people are or have been invited to attend. From what I understand some of those people got invites before the application went out. But people could also apply for an invite. In case you're wondering, no, I'm not going. But I will be watching or listening to the State of the Word. And in the next episode, we'll cover that. I think less analysis on what Matt actually says because again, other people are going to do that. And more where I think WordPress is going in 2022, especially when it comes to creators and more on that later. And then finally, the story that we're going to dig deep into, or my thoughts at least is ACF solicits lifetime license holders for contributions, urging them to purchase an annual subscription. This caused quite a kerfuffle in the WordPress community. And I'll give my thoughts in the main segment. But the context is that advanced custom fields, which is now owned by delicious brains, sent out an email over Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend to its lifetime license holders, asking them to consider signing up for a discounted subscription. And boy, did people get mad? Now, I will present from the perspective of, from ACF and Delicious Brains, creating lifetime supported software is hard. Especially because you know, there are people who paid $25 once 10 years ago. For ACF that is now continuing to get support. There are people who are running their business off of a $74 USD, lifetime license. And so that is a hard thing for a business to take up. That said, the counterpoint to that is that Delicious Brains should have done their due diligence if they didn't. So if they did, then they knew what they were in for. Right? They knew how many lifetime customers they were. They've been in the WordPress space long enough to know that people in the WordPress space are cheap. And so they knew what they were getting into. If they didn't do their due diligence. Well, then that's on them. So that's the other side of the coin. And that will be the main segment where we answer the question, How are jeans different from software? How is software different from jeans? But first, I do want to tell you about two things. But first, it's about our sponsor, GoDaddy Pro. GoDaddy Pro is an experience tailored specifically to the needs of web designers and developers, and helps them more efficiently manage their work and deliver results for their clients. Combining website, client and project management, GoDaddy Pro is an integrated solution made by and for web professionals. Whether you're new to web design or looking to grow your business, you'll find the tools, products, guidance, and support to help you deliver results for your clients. At the heart of GoDaddy Pro is the Hub from one intuitive dashboard. The hub seamlessly brings your sites, clients, and projects together. Manage and monitor all of your client's WordPress sites from a single place. No more juggling multiple client passwords. With one click, perform bulk updates, backups, security checks, no matter where your client's sites are hosted. You will save time and free up your day. Integrated project management makes it easier to keep track of your client communications and deliver projects on time. Electronically sign it, notarize, and store documents. You can even create a visual timeline to break down projects into smaller tasks, to stay on track and on time. Access all of your client accounts with single sign-on through a tailored shopping experience by products that help clients grow their business like powerful ecommerce stores Using WooCommerce. You can always reach dedicated knowledgeable customer support 24/7. And on top of that, you'll find a thriving community of web designers and developers who share advice, insights and learning opportunities. GoDaddy Pro is free to join. Head on over to to get started. That's and sign up for free. Thanks to GoDaddy Pro for sponsoring this and every episode of WP Review. Okay. So let's talk about jeans and subscriptions. A couple of years ago now, well, a little over a year ago, I wrote a blog post called on buying jeans and apps subscriptions. And this was written within the context of one of my favorite app deliveries moving from a single payment to a subscription service. And this was hot off the heels of a fantastical doing the same thing. And there was backlash because well, people don't like it when they have to pay more for stuff. But, let me talk to you about buying clothes, which used to be one of my least favorite things. There are a lot of different types of jeans out there. Different cuts and fits, colors, and sizes. And when I find a pair of jeans that fit right, I buy a couple of those pairs and I wear them a lot. Over time, days, months, years, those jeans were down. Maybe they get holes in them. Maybe they just don't fit as well anymore because they stretch out. What do you think Levis would do if I wrote to them and demanded a new pair of jeans, because the jeans I bought and wore for a long time needed to be replaced? They'd laugh at me. And they would tell me to buy a new pair. You don't buy a pair of jeans expecting them to last forever. And before you say, well, yeah, but Levi didn't promise you that you would have those jeans for life. They also don't promise that. They don't put a timeline on jeans. Now, I want you to think about each time you bought an app one time for $5, $10, or even $50. An app or a plugin that you used for months or years that brought some level of value to your life or your business. And think about how often that app or that plugin is updated. I don't want to undercut how hard it is to design clothes. I've never made a pair of jeans. I'm very bad with my hands. But once jeans are on the shelves, they either sell or they don't. And if I had to guess, it's a lot cheaper to make that pair of jeans and the markup is a lot higher. Software development is a grind. It requires a lot of man hours to design code and test. And then users have high expectations for that software to work perfectly. You have security updates, feature updates, and updates to ensure your software keeps working for whatever platform it's designed for. And this is compounded when your software is cross-platform like WordPress plugins. Think about the expense of a one-time purchase. Imagine that you have a job to make a pair of jeans, and to make sure they are wearable forever. Now imagine that your employer says 1000 people will wear these jeans and we'll pay you 50 bucks for each person. Well, hotdog! That's $50,000 for a single pair of jeans that you've designed. But remember, your job is to make them work forever. Maybe person number three gets a rip in their jeans and you need to patch it. 45 doesn't know how to put on pants, you need to make documentation to show them how. And now what fashionable changes? So you need to update the jeans so that everybody who's wearing them can wear them and still be En Vogue. Suddenly you're working on these jeans full-time and getting no new money for them. That $50,000 doesn't look so great anymore. And when we think about it from the developer's perspective, whether or not ACF and Delicious Brains did their due diligence or not, they acquired software that is extremely valuable. I would gladly, gladly upgrade to a subscription annually If I were using ACF. Heck, maybe I should anyway because my course on ACF on LinkedIn learning literally makes me money every month. Maybe I should give back. But when I first heard about this, this kerfuffle, that was my immediate thought. Why are people complaining about paying for software that brings them a lot of value? And it's not like ACF is forcing them. Delicious Brains is not forcing anybody to pay. They are asking. And so Matt Madeiros in his WP Minute community brought this up. He shared a video with WPTuts or from WPTutz, tutz with a Z because it's cool and intense. And this guy put out a video where he pissed and moaned about how ACF had the audacity to do this. He said something like he gets a lump in his throat when he reads this email and I get it. You're a YouTuber and you're trying to get views and being kind of a jerk is the way to get views. But you also have a platform to make the community better. And instead of pissing and moaning about how Delicious Brains has the audacity to ask and say, “Hey, if you find this software valuable, we want to make it more viable.” You could say, “Hey, making software is hard.”And they have to throw a bunch of resources at it to keep it up to date. And I would love for it to be up to date as long as I use it.” But that's not what he did. And so when Matt asked us what we thought about this, he published one line from my thoughts in his latest WP Minute, which I will link to because I think it's really good coverage. I think there's a lot of really good Insight and perspectives there. But he published the line from my thoughts. Brad should save himself. Brad, the owner of Delicious Brains should save himself a lot of LTD headache in the long term and just stop supporting them, where them is the people who pay lifetime. But that is one line in what was several lines of thought. And so here, I'll give you my full thoughts written out. I have two thoughts. This guy, WPTutz, likes to complain a lot. So his opinion doesn't hold a lot of weight with me. And lifetime deals are really hard. I think people in the WordPress space have a hard time seeing the value to dollar ratio. Brad should give himself or should save himself a lot of LTD headache in the long term and just stop supporting them. Give them notice, give them a discount to move to annual, but no one is entitled to something that makes a business unfeasible. That's why I assume Elliott, the former owner of ACF eventually did move to an annual subscription and then sold the business. The audacity that Delicious Brains would even ask for and not make us pay money for something that we find insanely valuable. Well, we should just cue the pearl clutching. And I think the most important bit of that here is that no one is entitled to something that makes a business unfeasible. Because here's the thing. How many lifetime deals have you bought on AppSumo where the company just stopped supporting the product and disappeared? I would much rather pay for software apps, plugins for them to keep going than for them to fly by night because they wanted to make a quick buck by offering a lifetime deal. And part of me thinks that this is because Matt Mullenweg has consistently preached that things in the WordPress space should be free. Well, I'm making literal millions off of WordPress. He talks about how, I mean about a year ago, he went on the Matt Report, another Matt Madeiros production, and said how he would love to see better quality free tutorials that aren't just hawking affiliate links. And that's really easy for Matt to say because Matt has multiple companies that he funds that make him money where they can put out quality tutorials. But if I'm putting out those tutorials, I can't do it for free. If someone wants to cut me a check, they can. But I would never ask that. I know the value of my work and I expect other people to know it as well. And that's the other reason. That's the other problem I have with people who get so mad about rising prices and software. Not wanting to pay for software, holds your business back. I wrote about this when Elementor announced that they were raising their prices. If you don't see the value that Elementor or ACF or anything that brings you money for your business, if you don't see the value in those things, how can you possibly communicate the value that you deliver to clients? So, one of the best lessons in value pricing I ever got was from my, the best boss I ever had. His name is Joe Rizzi. He owned the deli that I worked in, in high school. And on Saturdays, we'd close at 3:00 PM and my friend, Amy and I would stay and clean. And that, that was the best schooling I got during my high school years. Because Mr. Rizzy liked that I was a budding entrepreneur and he was insanely supportive of it. He let me put my business cards on the counter and he'd give me weekly lessons about running a business. One of the most memorable lessons was about pricing. He said, “Joey”, anybody who knew me before 2009 called me Joey. “Joey, how much do you charge for websites?” “I charged $10 an hour” I said. He said, “You need to start charging $25 an hour.” And I said, “What if people don't want to pay that?” He said, “Are you good at what you do?” And even at 17, I knew I was really good. I said, “Yes, I'm very good.” He said $10 an hour, it doesn't tell me that you're good. It tells me that you're cheap. And if you charge too little, people will think it's cheap and they won't hire you.” The same thing happened when we were buying houses. When my wife and I were looking at houses, we saw this beautiful home, lots of land for about half the price of the other houses we were looking at. And so my first question was what's wrong with it. Turns out the outside looked great. The inside needed tens of thousands of dollars of work. And so if you don't see the value in the tools that deliver high value to you, you probably don't see the value in your own work. And that's a problem. You'll never grow If you can't convince people you're worth paying good money for. And so while unexpected price jumps are never fun, when it happens, you need to ask yourself if the new pricing is worth it. When you switch your thinking from my bottom line is, changing to this delivers so much value that I'm not mad about the price hike. You'll really start to grow as a business owner. And I'm talking about this here on the WP Review because I see it too much in the WordPress space. People are too worried about their bottom line because they don't want to pay more for this thing that they paid a lifetime for. Because maybe they can afford it, but you're not charging enough. I want to see people in the WordPress space. I want to see their businesses grow. And that means you need to understand your value, which means you need to understand the general value. So that's it. That's how, maybe that's how software isn't different from jeans. Maybe that's how software is different from jeans. What I'm saying is that when your jeans get worn out, you happily buy new jeans. You keep paying for the privilege of wearing pants in public. Perhaps you should keep paying for the privilege of paying for software that delivers high value to your work. All right. Well, I want to wrap up with a recommendation, speaking of tools that deliver high value to my work. My Black Friday Sale happened last week. And if you are a subscriber of How I Built It, my other podcast, the episode that is coming out right after this one drops. This episode comes out on December 3rd. So the very next episode, 245 of How I Built It talks about my Black Friday Sale and how it was the best sale I've ever had. And one of the tools I use for that sale is Sitewide Sales, []. It's made by Stranger Studios, Wonder Couple, Wonder Partners, Kim and Jason Coleman create this. I got to speak to Jason about sales for another podcast I host. And so I picked up Sitewide Sales and I used it for my Black Friday Sale and it was great. There are a few things that I recommend. They do a little bit differently. But I was able to dynamically set messaging and banners, and pricing, and coupons all from Sitewide Sales from the interface there. It made managing my cell a lot easier. And I didn't have to worry about staying up until midnight to switch everything over when the sale was over or when it began. So [] I strongly recommend it. And before I leave you, I do want to tell you about the Creator Crew. In 2022, my main focus is going to be helping creators and small business owners create content consistently and make money doing it. I want to show them the value of their contents and WordPress will still be a big part of that because WordPress is by and large how I publish my content, and how I create valuable content. And so the membership right now, if you head over to [], it was 168 bucks for a year. I guarantee you'll make that back in the first year definitely just by using what I teach you in the membership. But the price is also going up in January to $199. So this is your chance to save about 30 bucks and you lock that price in when you buy it. So if you're interested, if that sounds like something that's good to you, if you want to create better content, if you want to put a process in place to create content and you want to create content that makes you money not just through sponsorships, not just through affiliates, but through more sales too depending on how you run your business, the Creator Crew is definitely for you. And you'll get ad-free extended episodes of my podcast, and access to live stream archives and things like that. But the mission, what I feel I've been charged with is helping people create content that makes them money. So if that sounds good to you, head over to [] and sign up today. The price is going up in January. Thanks so much for listening. Thank you to GoDaddy Pro for sponsoring this, and every episode of the WP Review. The next time we talk, I'll be giving my thoughts on the future of WordPress. Vis-a-vis, I don't know if I'm using that right, but, vis-a-vis of the State of the Word. If you want to reach out to me, if you have thoughts, I'm on Twitter @JCasabona or you can send me an email, [email protected] Thanks so much for listening. And until next time, get out there and build something.

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