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In the News 

Titan, a professional e-mail service, raised $30 million from Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com. This investment deal takes the company’s valuation to $300m. Titan will use the funds, the single largest investment made by Automattic, to expand its range of products, the professional email platform said on Wednesday. It did not disclose any details on the new products.

Here’s a clip from CNBC-TV18 featuring the CEO of Titan.

All of this leads to the question…

How do the new products get integrated into the Automattic ecosystem? 

Justin Tadlock, from WPTavern, reviewed a new theme by Automattic called Quadrat, a Block-Based Podcasting WordPress Theme. In addition to the great color scheme and headers, Quadrat includes nine custom patterns. The focus for most of the patterns are on podcasting, but some are general-purpose enough for other use cases, such as “Media and text with button”. Justin felt that the development team missed a prime opportunity with its podcast-related patterns. Instead of integrating with a podcasting solution, this theme uses simple, static blocks from core WordPress. With Automattic’s recent fundraising with Castos, it would have made sense to integrate this theme with the podcasting company’s plugin, Seriously Simple Podcasting (SSP). Ahem…I work for Castos.

Many others are seeing the changes in the developer community

Chris Weigman, a well-known developer in the WordPress community started a lively discussion on Twitter about how the WordPress ecosystem is not as welcoming as it used to be. The barrier to entry, which was once so low, seems to be evaporating.

The simplicity of WordPress is gone. Since Gutenberg has been the direction, WordPress is almost unrecognizable from what it used to be. The ability to extend WordPress is limited without the knowledge and experience. This means that projects that could once easily be imagined and built by a small group of people are now funded by big corporations that have money to do the development.  New developers in WordPress will have rewarding careers working for hosts and other larger, more established companies in the space. 

The thing to keep an eye on in the next few years is to see how new careers will not be built on developing plugins and themes. Smaller contributors will be able to create courses and share their skills in the WordPress community by writing and speaking at events.

Bob Dunn from Do The Woo believes that there will not be much development with new plugins and themes, but you will still be able to easily build sites with WordPress. He covers additional conversations and perspectives on his blog post.

From the Grabbag

Congrats to Milana Cap for receiving funding from Yoast Diversity Fund for leading WordPress 5.8 Docs.

Travis Lopes just made the leap from full-time at Rocket Genius — the makers of Gravity Forms — to run his software business, forgravity.com.  Check out my interview with Travis on the Matt Report.

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