I suppose the big announcement for the day is the fact that my previous venture (more specifically the flagship product – the parent company has been “retired”) has been acquired by WooThemes, one of the largest and most respected WordPress companies in the world.
This is obviously a great win for the community that has surrounded our flagship product, Standard, for so many years and also provides an exit for myself and the other core partners. The last few weeks of silence has been due to now-obvious talks, negotiations, and plans for transition.
I can’t remember exactly the first time I heard about Woo but it was sometime around late 2007 or early 2008 (yes, that long ago). They had been making moves and changing up their business model (which they have done a number of times since) and were contemplating a move to subscriptions (*pause for dramatic effect*).
At the time they had only a handful of themes and although I look at them now and my gut response is somewhere in between OMG, what is that?! and #fugly the truth is that they were exceptional at the time and highly functional. And it put them on the map.
Watching them grow as a company has been all sorts of humbling and exciting and they were definitely an inspiration for me when I started 8BIT nearly 4 years ago. They had a model that was working and a growth pattern that was intoxicating.
When they branded their “ninja” I was torn because half of me wanted to yell Holy crap, cliché! and the other half wanted to say Freakin’ badass! Who doesn’t love ninjas! In the end it didn’t matter and they are now a staple within the WordPress ecosystem and, I’ll admit, the little guy has definitely won me over.
The original team that founded Woo isn’t entirely there anymore as some of them have moved on to new ventures and challenges. Adii especially has been one that has pontificated about entrepreneurship (and being a “Rockstar” although he’s an “Ex-Rockstar” now…) so many times that anyone who knew him on a cursory level could see he had “the bug”; it was only a matter of time. It’s been neat to follow his journey (and the others) as they reach for greater personal and professional heights.
An exit is an exit, nothing more than that. It’s an opportunity to finalize a season and start a new one with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective. I’m satisfied that my time, our time, running a WordPress Theme-centric business was time well-spent. I don’t regret it for a second.