Manage episode 376007279 series 2284198
In this LMScast episode, Vova Feldman shares his experience about the WordPress products and this Industry. He also discussed about his new podcast channel plugin.fm.
Vova Feldman, the founder of Freemius, a WordPress company. He is a passionate entrepreneur. He talks on how many profitable businesses that deal with software products typically have backgrounds in business or marketing, which enables them to give priority to factors like price, marketing, and customer service.
Vova also discuss about a problem that he frequently runs into: software product creators and developers undercharging for their goods.
He says that this underpricing frequently results from elements like geographic location or a lack of faith in their products. Also he recommends these companies to think about other price structures, such memberships and free trials, to boost their revenue potential.
As this dynamic market necessitates ongoing learning and modification, he urges software product firms to be open to experimenting with new techniques and strategies.
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Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking to create, launch, and scale a high value online training program. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of LifterLMS, the most powerful learning management system for WordPress. State of the end, I’ve got something special for you. Enjoy the show.
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of L M S Cast. I’m joined by a special guest. His name is Vova Feldman. He’s from FIUs. He also has a brand new podcast coming out at plugin fm, which we’re gonna talk about in a second. If you’re listening to this on your podcast, it’s already out. Go check it out.
If you’re watching the live or the replay of the live. The podcast launches on June 6th, right before WordCamp Europe. Vova, welcome to the show.
Vova Feldman: Thank you so much for having me, Chris. Really excited to be here.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, I, I love interviewing other podcasters ’cause it’s just super easy and and WordPress entrepreneurs like yourself because I really kind of know or just live in the same world or similar world to you.
But tell us about the story of Plugin fm, the new podcast. What’s it about? Yeah, who’s it for? Tell take, take us to school.
Vova Feldman: Absolutely. So I’ve been just creating an intro episode yesterday, so I’m pretty fresh on the materials. Basically it’s something we, we wanted to launch for many years already.
And we’ve been looking for actually the right host. I’m not going to be the host of the podcast. We got Patrick Roland, who is an e-commerce and product marketing veteran. Many people know him from Linda. He is doing some courses there in the space. So it’s been making for many years. It’s goes, you know along with our content, what we’re producing already on freemiums.com/blog.
The focus is on providing educational, you know, content, super focus. The developers and software product companies. And we wanna, you know, and every week we’ll basically have a guest that has something unique in their experience and something that, you know, I personally love to learn. And if I would have a personal conversation with that person, I’ll probably dig about that topic. We dive like deep into into the topic, discussing, you know, the journey, the learnings, the insights, everything that person had gone through, and, you know, to help the listeners other, in the developers software, product companies, basically to implement those strategies.
Learn from the mistakes that have been done already and launch and grow their software product business.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. I’m really excited for it because you have a proven track record of making great content. So the ed free I remember participating in a series you did, I think around it was with CEOs or well, was you did one on acquisitions and experts.
Vova Feldman: experts points.
Chris Badgett: Yep. Yeah. You guys, you don’t just make content, you make really good content and like you said, thank you. You, you, you’re interested and you like learning. So if we’re making content that we also like to listen to, you’re definitely like hitting a nerve there. For those that haven’t heard of FIUs, can you tell us what FIUs is?
Vova Feldman: Sure. So FIUs is an e-commerce platform for selling software online, which means that we provide the entire infrastructure for. The developers and product makers that selling software to take, you know, so they can focus on their product. And we take care of everything else, which means payments, subscriptions, licensing, distribution, marketing automation, affiliate platforms.
And we also act as a merchant of records, which means that we ca take care of all the sales taxes, the global sales taxes, which is. Pain in the butt to deal with these days, different regulations and liabilities. This is something on us and this way, you know product companies can focus on their product rather on the, rather than on the e-commerce infrastructure.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. That’s a valuable resource. I highly recommend it. If you’re launch, thinking of launching a plugin business, you have so much to do. To figure out all the licensing and the e-commerce and everything else, it’s you’re providing a valuable service to the community and that’s much appreciated in the space.
I wanted to ask you, because of your optics on at FIUs and with all the great content you guys make, what patterns are you seeing that successful companies do across sales, marketing? Basically, if you could share some things, I know this is a broad question, but what, what works well? What patterns do you see in successful companies that are using freemium?
What are some trends?
Vova Feldman: Absolutely. It’s pretty common question, you know, and I think this is one of the things that we’re trying to kind of educate partners who work with. I would say, you know, it depends on the background of the people that running that plugin theme SaaS. There is a spectrum. Many times it’s a developer that it’s, they’re very like feature and product driven.
And on the other side of the spectrum there are people that are, you know, coming from the business background, maybe there are marketers, whatever. And 99% of the times the people who are coming with a business background are more successful. As simple as that, because the developer kind of persona.
They’re not spending enough time on thinking about, you know, the parts that actually make a difference in terms of the bottom line. And they’re more driven to create new features, so new bugs, you know, because that’s their passion. So as part of what we do is we’re trying to encourage developers kind of, you know, get out of their comfort zone a little and start to think about other things that maybe they don’t like doing.
That’s what actually makes a difference and making money. You know, I’m kind of preaching to the choir here, but it is important for everyone because in the end of the day. Your customers will benefit from that. You know, the more successful your company will be, you’ll have better support, you’ll have more staff you’ll add more features, long term, et cetera, et cetera.
You know, the company will be sustainable, you know. Many times we’re hearing from. What I call them, the basement developers, those that, you know, just wanna build features is that No, it’s this is probably too, too much to, to charge and all of that. And they’re kind of afraid to take money from people because they don’t want it to be perceived as, you know, doing something that, because we’re also in the open source ecosystem, so money and open source is kind of it, it gets this conflicted kind of feelings.
But again, this is kind of part of our role to explain them that it’s actually good for them to make good for them and for their users and customers if they will succeed. I love that. Do
Chris Badgett: you have a story you could tell maybe from one of your interviews or just your time in the community where a certain company or founder or marketer is doing, you know, is embodying some of the.
The business side that you’re talking about and did a good job making money or making more money or figuring out how to scale their business?
Vova Feldman: Yeah, we, we had many times where we identified developers and products that were significantly undercharging for various reasons, either because the geolocation of the developers in the country that, you know, it’s not in the us it’s not in Europe, and from their perspective, It sounds that they’re like charging enough, but looking on it from like the western eyes, it’s like undercharging and they actually hurt you because, you know, sometimes, like you, you are, you get some perception when you look on numbers, right?
So encouraging developers plugin orders to increase their numbers many times, does the job. This is one thing that we’re seeing You know, moving, obviously moving away from like lifestyles, life lifetime sales, to also doing subscriptions, annual or monthly, encouraging developers to do trials. I mean, they’re pretty, pretty much kind of known best practices, how to sell online, and specifically how to sell software, and what are the mechanics that are working.
And we’re bringing them, you know, and sharing them with the developers to kind of open their eyes and also explaining them, you know, and adding some data because we have access to data, why we think it may work for them. And we can really know for sure. You know, there’s no guarantee in this stuff, but if you don’t experiment, if you don’t try you won’t win.
You know, so you, you have to. All this stuff are always dynamic and you have to keep experimenting and see
Chris Badgett: what works. If you were advising a new plugin company or theme company or soft indie software company, but let’s keep it in WordPress. Sure. What would be like a floor price point you mentioned, you know, someone might come in out of the gate and charge $29, which is probably too low.
Like what in US dollars? What do you see? I know it really depends on the product, but what’s a good floor?
Vova Feldman: So actually the 29, 29 point 99, that’s the minimum amount. Yeah, we recommend for annual subscription. Okay. Yeah, because if you put it below, you’ll like, it looks as if there’s like a catch, you know?
Exactly. Something is wrong here, like someone is trying to rip you off and you know, will disappear or something like that. So yeah, but again, it, it depends on the type of the, you know, the products that you’re selling. The billing cycle. So for monthly 29 99 sounds legit already, right? Yeah.
But if we’re looking, for example, like a new industry that is developing is like template kits or all, all around, you know, those static designs. There are not like themes, but there are like designs. So those, because there’s no like dynamic code there. It’s like static json and typically there’s no like support load there.
So you would expect to pay like lower price ranges there. So I would say that it depends on a product type. But I can also tell you, and this is kind of interesting, I tweeted about it. I think in the beginning of the year I ran some analysis for the year in review and I kind of checked, you know, what is the highest annual subscription of a plugin that we sell in freemium.
And, and there are like pretty big numbers. I know that also, you know, I. LifterLMS is also pretty big. But I, I don’t remember the exact number, but I think it was like five K either per month or for a year. I don’t know. And usually the people from what we’re seeing that are able to charge significantly more.
They’re not selling, you know, features or products that are selling solutions, and this is how they treat when they’re selling, you know, the entire value proposition is wrapped into a solution. Like solution for realtors, solution for dentists, and it’s a combo, can be a plug in the theme or a combo, whatever, but the entire mindset is like solution and value proposition, you know?
And, and the pricing is based on the value that could, that you get rather than the features that you’re seeing.
Chris Badgett: I love that. I think a lot about that, like selling a platform more than like a utility. If you can sell a whole platform for realtors or dentists or course creators or coaches or whoever that’s really valuable.
And it’s okay to have a point solution like a utility that does one thing. But yeah, keeping the focus on the customer and what they want and the value of that outcome makes a lot of sense. Give us some other marketing advice that for you, and also just based on what you see within the community of entrepreneurs that you serve, what’s, what works like either content or copywriting?
I know it all works, but like what’s, what’s working for WordPress companies these days?
Vova Feldman: Yeah, I, I think I would start with what I feel is really hard to crack, which is paid ads. You know, like I talk with, I think from the entire kind of business community, and I know many people, only one or two people are able to actually make it work with paid ads, right?
Yeah. So definitely the majority are failing. I think that like you need a lot of budget, a lot of time investment in order to make it happen and actually someone to do it in a full-time capacity. Not, you know, the founder that’s sitting and trying to figure out, like spending an hour or two every week and trying to make it work.
Usually this is not happening and you’ll need to spend a lot of money until it works. So that is not working. Obviously, you know, content is something that we all kind of preach here in the workers ecosystem. But it’s a long-term game and today it’s harder to do that. You know, there is so much content and now with AI and J G P T and just like you, you don’t know where it’s going.
You know, it, it’s already exploding. And like I, I can tell, you know, from our perspective and FIUs, we’re investing tons of resources into content. We’re not getting, you know, the the amount of eyeballs that the content deserve. Mm-hmm. Because they’re, the attention span is not there. So this is why we moved into video.
So this is like a tip that I would say video, you know, if I would need to choose these days what to start with, or probably start with video and then move to content a second, or take the video and you know, just. Basically change the medium to content and not that way, you know, content to, to video. Definitely video is already the past.
It’s not kind of future. And I think, you know, companies that are playing hard in video, they have competitive advantage. I’m not sure if this is like a marketing tip, but you know, optimizing your pricing page I think is something that. It’s an opportunity that I would say 90% of the products that I’m seeing are not capitalizing on.
You know, they’re like knowing practices of what to do in pricing pages, and so many people are ignoring those. This is like one of the, usually write one of the pages that has the highest traffic on their website and people are missing that opportunity. I’m not seeing enough companies that are doing like success stories in our space.
They’re investing time. Like especially if you have a, you know, a plug in a theme, usually you have a bunch of customers, right? Yeah. So it’s, it should be relatively easy to get them, you know, to do like success story to. To explain what is the case study, right? Who they are, what they do, do some profiling on the person.
It’s also relatively cheap content. I would say not cheap because it doesn’t have value, because you are relying on existing. You don’t need to come up with a story, you know, story is there. You just need to write it. So those are the things, you know, that come to my mind.
Chris Badgett: I love that. And a pro tip for you out there listening, we do case studies.
We start by interviewing the person on our podcasts, which then gets all the raw material and then we can write from there and kind of get the two birds in the sense that we get the, the video, the YouTube, but then we get the raw materials. ’cause if you just email a customer and you’re like, Hey, I’d like to do a case study, can you answer this like 30 question questionnaire?
It’s a lot of work to them like getting on a call for. 30 minutes or an hour, they’ll, they’ll, they’ll tell everything. And then it’s on you to, to write it up in a way. Absolutely.
Vova Feldman: Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And, and I think, you know, another benefit of mixing video and written content is ss e o. Mm-hmm. You know, when you, when you place the video on the same page, like close to the title, usually Google picks that up and it also increases exposure in the search engine results page.
Because you see the thumbnail of the video. And, you know, you can optimize the for ss e o, the title of the video as well, et cetera, et cetera, but definitely something that, you know, worth doing. Those case studies.
Chris Badgett: If you were to kind of go rapid fire and, and list off like five to 10 things software company could do to optimize their pricing page in general, what would those some of those items be?
Vova Feldman: Whew. We actually written a, a blog post about that they called the Pricing Anatomy. Okay. Which covers I think, like 20 items. Oh, awesome. And we also,
Chris Badgett: the show notes, but what are the
Vova Feldman: highlights there? Awesome. We, we also provide like a blueprint actually that, you know, kind of covers every item. I think from the top of my hand.
Okay. So one is people assume that if you land on the on the pricing page, you already know what is the product about, what is the value proposition and all of that. So you think many times you just get to a pricing page, you see pricing numbers, right? And that’s kind of scary if the person still didn’t, you know, invest enough time to kind of research what you’re doing.
So I think. Mentioning what is the unique value proposition? A little short description of what your product does. Social proof, you know, how many people are like, how many websites, how many stores, how many, whatever. You know, give some kind of magnitude of how big and how can I trust you, right?
Including also maybe some popular logos of brands that your specific niche is familiar with. So if you have some known customers that’s worth mentioning, definitely do that. Includes some quotes also from people that maybe are influential in your industry. And when I say in your industry, I’m not saying that if you are plugin developer then put, you know, another plugin developer that’s saying something you know good about your product unless your product is for other plugin developers, right?
Find someone, let’s say you’re selling a solution for weddings. Find some megastar, I don’t know podcasts or whatever in that industry, and try to get them to say something good about you. That adds a lot of credibility. Adding those we’re at four, three. How many we’re counting here? I,
Chris Badgett: let’s get
Vova Feldman: two more out of it.
Okay. Okay. The getting, like if you have moneybag guarantees, make sure that you surface that, you know, and not down below, but actually put it next to the numbers, like when people are seeing the numbers. I would say this way, you know, like the pricing page, you want to take your potential buyer through a journey.
So you need to think about it as a journey and make sure that the ux ui support that journey. Telling some sort of story, you know, this is what we do, this is why you can trust us. You know, you don’t worry. Like worst case you don’t like something, you can get the money back. You know, this is the value that you get for those prices.
You know so basically think about it more as a journey and experience rather. Details page.
Chris Badgett: I love that. And I just wanna confirm what you’re saying. I think our pricing page is our second most trafficked page. Page on our website. So at LifterLMS. So it’s super important after the homepage.
After the homepage, right? Yeah. You mentioned challenges with ss e o, and ai. What, what’s your take on where we’re going with AI as and its impact on SS e o, and how should content creators think about. The tool in the context of trying to get traffic.
Vova Feldman: Yeah. Honestly, I’m like watching updates every week and it, and it’s going crazy, you know?
Yeah. I don’t know, it’s like going to disrupt so many things that it’s kind of hard to imagine the future. Mm-hmm. But I would say that anyone who is in technology on the web, like you should start playing with ai, you should start feeling the product. See what you can do it’s kind of funny, but I’m, I’m founding myself spending more time talking with shed G p t than with my, my wife, which is kind of crazy, you know, and I’m discovering like, new use cases and things, oh, let’s try see if it can help us, you know, and, and it, it, it, it is the more we use it the more we realize that it, you know, it’s going to save us so much time and already saving us a lot of time.
I don’t know. It’s, it feels that there’s gonna be explosion in any type of content, because if you can generate it, you know, by just giving some instructions, and I’ll give you an example of how we started to use it for plugin f fm. In the beginning, we, we were doing a lot of research about the interviewees and writing, you know, very handcrafted questions that are specific for every person and.
Creating like a narrative and story for every episode that, you know, will make sense. And there’s a lot of investment going on to that. And then we realize, let’s see if we can, you know, produce that level, you know, that quality level. We change G P T and it’s amazing, you know, I mean, it does require half an hour, maybe an hour to fit in the information about the person, about their company, about the podcast, like what we’re trying to get there.
The narrative that we wanna hear, but it, it, it like does it on the spot, you know? So it, it, it, it’s maybe an hour of work, so there is still work to get it done right, but otherwise it can take, you know, 4, 5, 6 hours plus reviews here and there. I think it definitely a tool that we all should start exploring and using in.
Any content efforts, like it’s so good in copywriting, like GT is amazing in copywriting. Yeah, I’m starting, you know, mum’s topic. Yeah’s a big topic. It’s a big topic.
Chris Badgett: Exactly. Yeah, that’s, that’s good stuff. Switching gears completely. What’s your story of becoming an entrepreneur in the WordPress community?
You kind of popped on my radar. I I think I first met you at Word Camp us in St. Louis or, or somewhere else. I can’t remember
Vova Feldman: exactly where. You’ve been to our party in St.
Chris Badgett: Louis, I remember. Yes. And I’m aware of MIUs. I know a lot of people that use it, but how did you get into this whole scene?
Yeah, I’ve been
Vova Feldman: doing startups for, I. Like 13, 14 years. Okay. And around 2010 I was doing like a, a hobby thing, something computer vision, and I wanted to write a blog just to share kind of my findings and what I’m learning. As part of that, I built some web widgets. Okay. And I didn’t write the blog in the end.
I was not aware about WordPress. I was like very developer. You know, if something needs to be developed, I’m just developing that, like writing the code behind the scenes. So I developed this widget as a side thing. I’ve been super busy with my startup, but I published it to the world, created a website, and people started to using that.
Start to receive feedback and I start to get requests, Hey, maybe you should wrap it because it was like a SaaS and you need to inject like job script or website to make it work. And people start to ask me, Hey Volvo, you know, please create a plugin for work rest, please create a plugin. Like I basically guys leave me alone.
You know, it’s a size thing. And then after I heard enough, you know, I said, let’s check what WordPress is, you know, and this is how I got kind of exposed to the whole WordPress ecosystem. I ended up building a plugin for WordPress and then a bunch of plugins, apps, whatever, to, to various set of solutions like Shopify and Wix.
I think I was actually one, maybe the first app on the Wix app store. For many others. So I kind of, you know, had the feeling and understanding how those ecosystems are working of like extensions in those marketplaces. And then I was still with my startup, but then I, I I left the company in mid 2013 and I decided to see what’s happening with this widget that I have here.
And I realized that I have a lot of users. Maybe I can do something with that. So I started to grow that, actually thought about turning that into an EdTech company. I was living in New York back then, start to meet investors, talk with founders of big companies at this, share this share aholic, all of those.
I was in that space. But then I realized that EdTech is not my cup of tea. And I prefer to work on things that actually creates value rather than the entire, you know, like retargeting and all this stuff that didn’t feel kind of exciting for me. And I turned that into a subscription a freemium solution, and it worked pretty well and.
Then it kind of hit me that it took us to build the entire, kind of converted into a commercial solution like 10 times more than what it took me to build the, the widget itself, you know, the widget is something that I as a developer built like two weekends of my spare time, but then to build the entire, like commercial infrastructure, it was me and another two guys and it took us a year.
Wow. So this like huge disproportion between the time kind of got me to realize, Okay, something is wrong here. You know, it shouldn’t happen this way. And this is how we kind of started with freemiums basically. And the idea was to create something that people like me, you know, will be able to transition from product to go to market in a matter of minutes.
This house freemium started this.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Briefly in there you mentioned freemium. What are your thoughts? And we were talking about pricing. What are your thoughts on free? Freemium in, in a pricing model for a business? I have
Vova Feldman: many of them. Okay. Good or
Chris Badgett: bad or both? There’s an
Vova Feldman: article about that, you know?
Okay. So I think there’s no good or bad, it’s just different models. I think if you are new and you’re just starting out with something, it’s easier to start with freemium because people don’t know you yet. And like you need to get some distribution and busiest way to, you know, get people to know you somehow is to offer them something for free to try it out on the other hand, right?
If you’re a Google or Microsoft, that’s the other extreme. Like you’re already have well established brand company, distribution communities, all of that. So you don’t have to go that route. So I would say that it depends on your background. What are you trying to achieve? What is your business model? And, and then you can choose, you know, go with freemium or premium.
But obviously, free is great because, you know, it helps you to get a little feedback. Like the, the benchmark of freemium software sales on the web. It’s like between 1.5 or 1% to 2%. Meaning that if you go with freemium you have another 98% that potentially can provide you feedback and you can learn from how to use the product, improve it, re shape it, et cetera.
And I’m seeing for example, this is kind of something fresh and what is this? Yeah, there is this Mecca client for Gmail called Mindstream. They’ve been running for free for three years, right? Learning, improving in better mode. And they just launched their like paid version. It’s paid only right now, so they just transitioned for free to paid only everyone been using.
And it’s pretty cool because you know, they got I don’t know, 200,000 like free users hooked. Been using that platform for three years. Now they’re like requiring everyone. They do offer like 14 day trial, but now they’re suddenly transitioning to, to paid only. I’m sure they’re gonna lose a bunch of, you know, users on the fly.
But that’s also an interesting kind of approach, you know, running for free, then transitioning completely to premium after you get to a certain level of maturity. Awesome.
Chris Badgett: Let’s look into the future. We’ve kind of looked into the past a little bit. Where do you see WordPress going? You know, we’ve talked about ai, we’ve talked about you know, how fast things are changing, but also WordPress has been around for a while where we just celebrated 20 years.
Do you have any vision for the next 5, 10, 20 years for what the opportunity or challenges of WordPress are?
Vova Feldman: You know, I, I, it was This week in a conference called Press for Web in Israel. Okay. And it was, it’s called Press for Word previously, which is like the biggest Israeli WordPress related event.
It’s not a word camp. It’s like a commercial event. Yeah. And we’ve been talking about the stuff I like. I’m friends with the Elementor founders and and Miriam, and we’ve been talking about this because we are like, We don’t know. You know, and we’re kind of concerned with everything that happened with ai.
And also, I don’t know if you watched some of the stuff that happened in the Human Made AI conference that happened. I watched some of that. It was great. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s, I mean, it’s clear to me that, you know, AI will, will integrate closely. With what happened in WordPress. I’m also seeing, you know, that in the past few months we have dozens of new plugins that related to ai, a new one coming every day selling on the platform.
And I think it will become much easier to create websites which is great seeing, it’s fantastic, it’s making more, you know, things more accessible. But I’m also a little concerned. Because you know, that new audience that we’re trying to bring in, and maybe AI will bring in that they’re not necessarily familiar, you know, with the war’s backend and the WP admin and all those technical things also.
Yeah. Full all this stuff and, and it feels that there are like currently multiple experiences that you have to be familiar with in order to be able to use WordPress. So I think, you know, something need to consolidate. I mean, it’s clear that, you know, the leadership of workers is betting on the, you know, Gutenberg the visual editor and all of that.
And yeah, I think that like right now, the, there is like this, there, there’s the visual editor, which, but those, you know, people who are not technical wanna work with. The weeks kind of audience, the Squarespace audience. But then in order to access it and use it and modify it, you still need to be the technical WP admin guy.
So there is some mixture and I think, I hope that there will be like two modes, I would say. You know, easy mode. Exactly. Yeah. Something like that. The AI mode, easy mode and technical mode.
So just some thoughts. You know, I have no clue what’s gonna happen. I hope WordPress will keep growing with a no. It is a little concerning that it’s, you know, stagnating right now. But it makes sense, you know, there are new platforms coming in. I, I, I think that also WordPress will need at certain point too.
I mean, it’s one of its powers, the backward compatibility, but it’s also, you know, one of its weaknesses because we always kind of slower it than other platforms, other solutions that are, you know, especially if they’re a SaaS, that they can just deploy features very quickly and they don’t need to hold like entire community on their back.
An entire like plugin ecosystem. And it like, there are a lot of things happening in workers. I don’t know. We’ll see. I hope the community, you know, will win. That’s usually what’s happening with WordPress. And we’ll figure
Chris Badgett: it out. Do you have any thoughts around the open source nature of WordPress and AI and how those come together in the sense that, you know, the WordPress code is open, but a traditional software company, that code is closed, it’s proprietary, or it’s hosted somewhere?
So how can AI and WordPress, those two things, work toge and open source work together?
Vova Feldman: Man, you are asking hard questions.
Chris Badgett: I think that is a hard question, but I think it’s a really important one for the next five years, and I’m still trying to wrap my head and get into that too. I, I know it’s hard. Yeah.
Vova Feldman: I mean, I, I think and hope that AI will help with security. When it comes to WordPress maybe like automation of various things. The reason I mentioned security is just because it’s like one of those weaknesses in our ecosystem ’cause of all the moving parts and, you know, the review process and there’s one person barely the reviewing plugins that go to the repo while you have the entire community that is trusting that repo.
Even there, you know, there’s no proper review of anything that’s happening there. Again, I’m not, you know, pointing any finger at something. It is just very kind of tiny group. There’s not a lot of resources. So I think that in general, even though it’s kind of against the ethos of, you know what, Matt is pushing the community.
There needs to be some money paid to people, you know, and it can be completely kind of, Volunteers driven, even though I know there are like many volunteers that are actually paid employees and sports sponsored by companies. But I think the attitude is different. You know, and I, I don’t know how those companies actually evaluate the performance of those employees, right?
Because in the end there’s limit to what they can do because it’s not really up to them. There’s like a whole community that needs to agree. I mean it’s, we all know that as small as a smaller, an organization and a team, the more efficiently, quicker, better you can move, make decisions. And right now, I mean it’s great that there’s a lot of discussions and thinking, but I feel that there is like missing this like SWAT team.
The workers ecosystem that can move faster and make decisions. You still need to involve the community, understand the dynamics and, but right now I feel that there is like too many kind of people involved in processes and this is kind of slowing us back a little. It has nothing to do with your question probably about ai.
Chris Badgett: It all matters. It all works together. I appreciate what you’re saying there. Yeah. These, these are gonna be interesting times for sure. And one of the things I’m excited about is for, I’m not a coder or a developer myself. A lot of people don’t know that, but this is why you make Mangan. Yeah. To your point. But, and, and I’m not, I’m gonna tie it in my, to my last question, which is about what you see inside teams of successful companies, but. I just wonder with WordPress and AI can, non-developers like me, which was the whole reason I kind of got into WordPress in the first place, is ah, I can build a website.
And I kind of fell in love with WordPress and became a power user, but I’m not a coder and I’ve done amazing things with it, but also in great partnerships with other talented people and developers and designers and all that stuff. But can AI further amplify what power users can do? I find that question really interesting.
I was impressed with for example, you mentioned the Human made AI conference. The, the demonstration of what Cadence is doing with AI for websites I thought was really cool. For someone like me who’s a power user, I’m like, or as an agency person okay, we’re gonna talk to the AI and explain what the business is and the template’s gonna start.
Writing copy and writing, inserting images that are relevant and stuff like that. That’s pretty cool. So I don’t know, that’s, that’s something I’m excited about. Any other thoughts about that before we move on? I
Vova Feldman: think that AI is like a superpower, you know? Yeah. If you’re a marketer, it can help you with your weaknesses, which is technical stuff.
So I don’t know if you saw like Elementor demo, right? Let’s say you’re a marketer and like you are editing a page. Now you want the title to look in some way. You can really configure an elemental, right? So you can just tell the ai, explain how you wanna make it look, and it can produces the c s s for you.
So you can plug it in where if you wanna write some custom capability the p h p and you don’t know p h p, you can go and use Jet G p T for this small stuff. Another example, our video editor. ’cause not a developer is now creating different scripts because many of those, like video editing tools, you can actually code, you know, create some things that are like repetitive stuff and code us.
So if you start to like code for video editing, nice. On the other hand, if you are a developer and you’re not a marketer, not a copywriter, now you can create a website and use AI to superpower your lack of. Copywriting capabilities. I want a title that it’s snappy, it’s cool, whatever that talks about this and that and, and it can help you.
So it’s like a super, super friend. You know that it’s there to help you succeed in different tasks. I love
Chris Badgett: that. My last question for you, VVA, we’ve talked a lot about community, but if you look at the community inside of a business or a company, What, what do you see that makes a great team in your experience as an entrepreneur, but also in your observation of successful technology companies, small ones, let’s say indies.
You mentioned like engineer and sales, marketing, kind of, those are two kind of critical roles. Business, business and engineering. But if you were to expand it out to, let’s say a, you know, five to six, seven person team, what kind of roles. Mix. Do you see really working these days?
Vova Feldman: Yeah, it’s another tough one.
I would say, I think again, it depends on kind of your industry and your product and, you know, many other things. I think let, let’s leave the roles aside for a second. You have to have quality people that care and that are leaders. And what I mean by leaders, not necessarily leading other people, but they can lead processes that are proactive.
They care, you know, that are starting initiatives. So I think this is the key, you know, in having great team and obviously there should be some cultural fit. People that believe in the same values and working, understand the mission of the company, that’s also very important. And being, you know, believing in that mission actually when you’re starting the day, that makes a big difference in terms of the roles.
Like you said, there is the engineering. You know, obviously if you’re building a software product, you need to have proper engineering in the level of what your product needs. Business, whether it’s, you know, marketing or something. In that space, you wanna sell your product, so you need business people.
I think design is critical because branding is really important for any company. We have design. If you are in a content space when it comes to marketing, ss e o today, it’s. More important than ever because just by writing content and like for many years, my approach to content was, let’s write quality content, you know, self working.
I mean, it’s great, you know, people appreciate that, but it is not getting exposure, not enough exposure. You do need to do the proper research and use the tools, and it’s always, you know, stay up to date on what’s happening. So s e o is another role. So we are four right now. I mean if, it depends if you as a, if the business guys can, is also a finance driven or not, but you know, it’s a business so it makes money and someone need to count the numbers if you know what’s happening in the company and budget and things like that.
So I would say that’s another role. But, you know, depends on your size of your, you know, customer base. What is your product? Or it’s B two C, B two B. How big is the ticket that you’re selling? You know, if you’re selling products for thousands of dollars per year, that maybe you need, obviously customer support.
I totally forgot. And that’s essential. Obviously you need to support your audience. But maybe you need, you know success managers and things like that, account managers. If the sales are bigger, et cetera, et cetera. Yeah.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. And I’m gonna throw one more bonus question at you. Since we’re getting ready to meet up at Word Camp Europe.
How do you as an entrepreneur, indie maker, think about going to a conference like that? What do you, what’s your goal at a conference? How do you operate at a conference? Yeah,
Vova Feldman: it’s a great question. Particularly at Word Camp. Yeah. Yeah. It, it, it actually evolved over the years when I was kind of new to the ecosystem.
My primary goal was to go, And meeting as many people and tell them about frees
Chris Badgett: right hand out business cards. Yeah.
Vova Feldman: Exchange and, you know, connect and all of that. Expand my network and make sure that people know what frees is. Yeah. Today we’re in different position. People know who we are. So it’s more about, you know increasing the depth of the relationships, still meeting new connections, new people.
I am, like, I’m spending a lot of time preparing for the conference, honestly, like reviewing all the attendees, you know, seeing who I wanna meet what are the opportunities that are out there, trying to prepare as much as possible in advance. We’re also having our makers meet up which is something that again, we’re, you know, investing a lot of resources into, so inviting the people, getting the right crowds It’s all like-minded and people enjoy from the event.
It’s part of our branding, you know, part of what we do, like creating that community that helps each other grow. So yeah, I think that that’s a lot of things that happening. Also, like in Bangkok for example, we went there with most of the team. So there are a lot of like team activities because we finally met, you know, we’re like working.
Yeah. Across the globe from like a bunch of different continents. And it’s the first sign that we’re seeing, like we had a guy from Argentina, two guys from South Africa, India, Philippines, like all, all over, you know, Israel. So it was pretty exciting. And we, we invested in team activities because that was like really important for us, obviously.
So I would say it varies. But, you know, I, I, I wanna meet as many people as I can kind of. Have meaningful conversations with them. Do a bunch of selfies posted on Twitter, right? Yeah. Awesome. I’m also volunteering this sign okay, cool. Yeah.
Chris Badgett: Very cool. I look forward to seeing you there.
For you out there watching, go to fius.com. Check out the plugin FM podcast. Can you tell us one more time what plugin FM is all about?
Vova Feldman: Sure. Plugin fm is a Value First podcast about business and product marketing targeted to lifestyle product makers and software companies. In every episode we’re going to interview a guest and focus on a single topic, dive into the, you know, the story, experiences of the person trying to entertain, educate, and just have a great conversation for everyone to learn from.
Chris Badgett: So go check out plugin fm. Vova, thank you for coming on the show. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us today, and I look forward to connecting with you in Greece. Thank you.
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