I’ve spent the past couple of weeks coding like a mad man for the next big product release, and I finally decided I needed to take a short break.
It appears that a new record has been set on ThemeForest for monthly sales. It has been done by the Avada theme, and it has grossed over $100k for 2 months straight. That is absolutely impressive, and I applaud the creators for their achievement. It’s not an easy feat in a very crowded market space.
There has been quite a stir on Twitter and elsewhere in the WordPress community about the news. Some posts (like here) appear to resent the success. Or maybe not the success – just the mechanism behind the success. Others have praised it (including Envato), and I’d like to chime in with my 2 cents, too.
As you may or may not have read previously, I have begun a tough but important shift from developer to marketer. As this shift has been occurring, I see two very different sides to this story.
Below, I’ll use Genesis as the theme from the developer perspective and Avada as the theme from the user perspective.
The developer in me cringes at the thought of someone making 6 figures a month selling a solution far from ideal on the inside. It’s like the new homeowners completely forgot to have the inspector do his usual 3 hour walkthrough to check for structural damage, electrical failures, water leaks and the like and happily bought the home anyway. As an inspector (errmm developer), you would condemn the house in a heartbeat until it was satisfactory from a structural standpoint. Notice structural – that is important.
Structurally Avada is laughable. A whole bunch of inspectors (oh, right, developers) could get together and have quite the jeerfest over how awful it is. That’s cool – the developers have a great time making fun of awful architecture and whatnot.
Are the inspectors living in the house? Of course not – they would never do such a thing! It’s plain unsafe and like walking on already cracking eggshells. They would rather find a house structurally sound (like Genesis) and then build on top of it.
The Marketer / User
I use these interchangeably because as a marketer, you have to become a user or else you will never succeed as a marketer. The user in me sees a huge win in Avada. It’s like looking at that house that is selling for $25 less per square foot in the neighborhood AND has a new roof, new floors, a good-looking paint job and a brand spanking new kitchen with granite countertops. All you can see is the incredible deal that you are getting and the chance to make this new house your own home.
Heck, the home even has alternate style closets that allow for more storage space, a bonus room with ample space for a ping-pong table and even a mudroom for your messy kiddos. And best of all – it is move-in ready. Maybe a couple fixes here and a few strokes of the paintbrush there, but for the most part, it is ready to go.
As far as the user is concerned, the house is primed for moving in and ready to become home. Not a house – a home.
The Case for Solutions
In either case, each party wants some sort of solution that solves their specific problem. In my shift from developer to marketer, I notice more and more that developers tend to forget that they have problems that need solving, too. We are problem solvers by nature – I mean – that’s basically our job, right? Folks come to us with an issue, and we solve it in terms of machine-readable language.
It should be noted that developer problems are just as real as user problems. While developers may be more informed about the problem, it’s still a problem nonetheless. That’s why most skilled WordPress developers would chose something like Genesis over Avada, because it solves their problem in a way that best benefits the solution they are trying to sell. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that – it solves their problem, whatever it may be.
In the same way, Avada solves the problem that best benefits the solution the average user is trying to achieve. Again, there is nothing wrong with this. Avada solves one or more of the problems the user is having, and the user is left happy. It may take a little bit of work to get the solution just right, but that’s ok as long as the solution exists.
It may not even be the easiest solution, but it is a solution.
(Speaking of easy solutions, used a remote lately? Last time I checked I still hunt for the Mute button all the time, but it is way better than getting up and walking to the TV to hunt for it. Ideal? No. But does it work? Yes.)
Where I Stand
I don’t like bad code any more than the next guy. I do code audits all the time to fix that stuff. But I also don’t like giving Genesis over to someone who can barely work with email, either. The case can be made that that person should not be working with websites in the first place, but there also plenty of people that I could argue that should never have gotten their driver’s license either.
I’m not sad that Avada has done so well – again, I applaud them for their success and I hope they continue to be successful. They’ve created a solution that has at least somewhat satisfied 20,000+ people. Is it the best solution? Maybe not, but because I don’t use it, that’s not for me to determine, right?
Let’s get personal – I created and built Soliloquy. I would be foolish to say that Soliloquy is the best solution for everyone needing a slider plugin. Do I believe it is the best slider plugin out there? Absolutely. Do I believe it is always the best solution? Absolutely not. I’m not ashamed of that – it’s just the nature of life. I may think that the new Jaguar XF is the best car out there, but it is absolutely not the best car for a struggling family that is barely making ends meat.
In the end, innovation is going to happen – just look at Ghost. But that doesn’t mean that solutions like Avada can’t be created in the meantime.