Update 2 12/15: Undecided on how much WP-CLI is worth to you? The experiment ends Dec 28th — please make a decision by then :)
Update 1 (12/13): Up to 17 subscribers so far. If we can get to 50, I’ll launch a members-only forum.
Last week, I tweeted:
At a decision point with @wpcli: it’s too large for me to voluntarily maintain. Have an opinion on its future? I’d love to chat.
Last February, I started a business, runcommand, as an indirect way of being able to invest my time into WP-CLI. The business is doing alright, not great but not horrible. What I’ve come to realize, though, is that my time is zero-sum. I’m incentivized to spend time on runcommand, when I’d rather spend it on WP-CLI.
Ultimately, the challenge I’m running into is opportunity cost. I’d love to be able to invest more into WP-CLI, but doing so comes at the cost of other business pursuits. Because WP-CLI is such a large project, the several hours I volunteer each week are basically enough to fight entropy — not make headway on larger initiatives.
The response to my tweet has been overwhelmingly supportive. One future I’m considering is directly commercializing WP-CLI, through patreon-esque membership, advertising on the website, and other ideas to be determined.
So, dear reader, a question: how much is WP-CLI worth to you?
Or, phrased another way, how much time does WP-CLI save you?
If the experiment goes well, then we’re in business! Your purchase will support ongoing maintenance of WP-CLI, as well as development of new commands like wp doctor and wp profile, improvements to the website and package index, and so on.
If the experiment doesn’t go well, then at least I can say I tried :) To avoid any risk with the investment above, a full refund will be made available to you should the campaign not reach its goal, before we look at other approaches to help with maintaining the project.
Happy to take any questions you might have: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll keep the list below updated as new questions come in.
Have you tried crowdfunding?
Yep! See the post I wrote, “Using Kickstarter to fund open source”. Nadia Eghbal has a series of great articles on open source sustainability as well.
How much money do you want to see to consider this a success?
I have a number, but I’m not going to share it. I want to see if this is a viable approach for funding a for-profit business.
What if I want to pay a different amount?
Email me, and I’ll create a purchase link for you.
Do I get anything special for paying the amount I paid?
Potentially, but nothing to announce at this point.
I do have some ideas in mind for offerings at different levels (e.g. members-only support forum, feature prioritization, etc.).
Do I need to keep paying after I pay the first time?
Well, if everyone cancels, then the business will tank :)
All levels are billed annually unless you disable automatic renewal.
What if I’m an existing runcommand customer?
If the experiment goes well, then
wp doctor and
wp profile will become completely open source. I’ll reach out about the other aspects of your purchase.
What about scribu and Andreas?
I’ve been talking with them a bit. We’re all very interested to see how this plays out.