This is something that’s probably true of almost any industry, but when you read enough WordPress-based tweets, blogs, and so on, you start to notice a pattern:

  1. Someone releases a project – it could be a theme, it could be a plugin, it could be a site that’s aiming to cover some aspect of anything involving WordPress – it doesn’t really matter what type.
  2. Someone comes along makes a comment like “Why do we need [this] when we already have [that]?”

Maybe I’m missing something, but I do not get that mentality. At all.

Product Diversity

Having diversity in the product space is great. It shows that we have a lively development community in which competition exists. This forces all of us to up our game and solve problems in a creative manner in different ways than our, y’know, competition.

We’re forced to think more strategically, and we’re forced to think about ways in which we can provide another solution with different attributes to the same problem.

It’s a great time to be a part of something like this.

Product Diversity in WordPress

But the question still remains: When a similar product is released, we don’t only question it, people will literally say something about how pointless it is when something similar already exists.

There’s no need in calling out anyone specific as this is something that’s pervasive enough in this space that you don’t have to go far to find it and the point isn’t about who’s saying what, but it’s what about what’s being said. Why is it such a problem that there are similar, competing products?

Perhaps a working analogy would be to look at all of, say, the different brands of similar foods in our grocery stores, our similar-yet-competitive devices, similar books (think The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, etc.), similar furniture, similar cars, and so on and so on forever it seems.

Having similar-yet-slightly-different types of projects available is not a bad thing. Though I realize this may be a matter of difference in economic philosophy (which is something I know next-to-nothing about), I love the idea that we have choice and I want to see that continue.

So as many projects that are available that do the same thing, I’m glad we have a variety from which to choose. I’d rather pick one that suits my needs best rather than have a single option that I hope does what I want.

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Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. I agree. As someone who designs/develops WordPress themes, I see a lot of themes that are similar to each other, although if you look closely, there are some differences that may standout for one person while others, not.

    In the past, I’ve often looked at a theme and stared at it thinking “hmmm…good design, but what is missing or what would I have done differently?” Even subtle changes can make a difference, whether it’s a theme, plugin, script, or other item. Services can also fall into this as well. I remember a few years ago that many themes had preset colours, but what if someone doesn’t like having only 3 colours to choose? This is how I started developing my themes with unlimited colours.

    There will always be someone who says “why when there is already one…” but another will say, “cool, more choices!”

    Diversity could provide new features, a slight change in design, price difference, or added services. Overall it creates a competitive market that gives people choices. A good example are “browsers”. There’s Chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera….similar products, but each offers something different from one another. People have a choice and some may be more popular than the other, but it’s still choices.

  2. There is nothing at all wrong with reinventing the wheel as thats how better wheels or tires come to be. From an economic standpoint well… I guess I wont pull punches. MANY people think this is in competition with my thing. Those people have zero knowledge or skills in marketing as if they did they would know the difference between a competing market, vertical market and that competition more easily brings forth opportunity than not.

    The danger when economics hit the scene is more one of damage. Those that vye for the buck and do not respect others interests and thus work to derail them.

    Its a big problem where “fan boys” come into the scene. Technology is technology. I’ve been at it for 35 years, coding. I dont see anything as greatest or worst anymore. Blinders simply limit vision.

    People still fight the fight of PC vs Mac vs Linux and Android vs iOS vs Windows mobile. XBox vs PS/3. They have no idea they are being used (and abused) by marketing machines in that sort of activity.

    The fan clubs often do more damage than good to a brand. Both MS and Apple have marketing staff that gets paid considerably more than 98% of their software engineers and there is good reason for that. They are the ones that make the brand money. While I am new to WP code many sites I visit are just like, “oh wowsies” yet have never experienced say Magnolia or Liferay.

    Everything can have a place.

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