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When you watch Shark Tank, This Week in Startups, or some random internet marketing person shows up in your Twitter feed — running a business looks easy.

Maybe you fell deep down the rabbit hole of the “build in public” hashtag and thought, “I can do that too!”

Building a (WordPress) business isn’t easy.

For a million reasons. However, today, is not about marketing budget, feature pipeline, or your top of funnel — it’s about personal vulnerability.

Regarding Cwicly, let me jump ahead: I sent them questions and haven’t heard back. I’d love to explore deeper with Louis the Founder, but until I get a response, it’s purely speculation. Cwicly did post a message that pointed to reasons of pressures from content creators, but it was taken down. I’m going to try and relate to that message in this post, because I’ve been there — I’m still there.

So what’s Cwicly?

Apparently, it was an innovative page builder that was making some waves in that circle of WordPress professionals. I never used it, didn’t know much about it. From what I read, their users were happy with it and excited to see where it went.

Like any other page builder, there was some healthy debate about their approach, but isn’t that how a free market works? If a user likes it, they buy it, if they don’t, they move on — Then it just shutdown out of nowhere.

Perfectly illustrating why I urge caution rushing to new page builder solution when they hit the market. I’ve seen it when I spend time in Facebook groups: freelancers switching from one builder, to the next because it has 6 new features and it costs less.

How do you hedge your business continuity on such fast decisions? Now, Cwicly customers are left holding the bag hunting for a new page builder to take its place.

Back to personal vulnerability.

When you do business in an ecosystem that fosters so much transparency, with so much community, and some great success stories; you almost feel like building a successful product should just happen naturally. That everyone will love it, buy it, and recommend it.

Admitting that you’re a solo developer that hasn’t figured out how to optimize your tax returns, or that you’re scared as Hell to promote yourself isn’t exactly taught in Business 101.

Pair that up with being in a hyper competitive space (Page Builders in this case) that carries the baggage of an incredibly toxic user base, and yeah, I can see how difficult that can be on a founder.

Big ups to the team at Beaver Builder for still shipping in 2024, or as I like to call them the Jonas Brothers of page builders.

We’re all just faking it until we make it, aren’t we?

A competitor could swoop in to steal your market share at any time. You ship a bad feature that no one likes, or people stop tuning into your content then it’s lights out for your brand. We don’t want to admit that feeling; and it’s hard when you’re balancing the good customers with the bad customers.

The WordPress business space is an odd one.

Lots of opportunities, but also lots of competition. We put on a persona that makes us feel or look bigger than the small team that we are. Largely that’s okay, but this recent fiasco with Cwicly just shows how brittle this space is.

Let me try to wrap this up: We never know what a person is going through behind the scenes.

When it comes to Cwicly, the pressure with keeping up with competitors could have played a role in the decision. As a human being, perhaps Louis was burned out from defending his product’s decisions and carrying that cognitive load every day he went to work. Maybe something in his personal life. And if he’s listening, or you’re going through the same challenges — you’re not alone. Me too.

Or it could be he decided to shut it down and run with whatever money he had left in the bank because that was easier for him to digest than admitting failure publicly.

We’ll never know until he responds to my email or posts something else online. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying that he’s human, too.

Important links this week

Not as much news this week, but, here are the links you don’t want to miss!

  • Gravatar îs evolving by creating a destination for users to control their digital identities.
  • A Book Apart announced they will no longer publish new titles due to sustainability challenges. I remember buying these when I ran my agency.
  • WordPress dot com announced that it’s bringing a more .org experience back into the admin area for their users. Apply if you want your account to get it.
  • Rafal Tomal launches his new WordPress theme, Rockbase
  • Hackers are exploiting hacked WordPress sites to use visitors’ browsers for bruteforcing passwords on other sites.
  • Eric Karkovack discusses the community’s expectations from WordPress core, questioning if they are too high.
  • Video: GenerateBlocks is launching a global styles featurein early Alpha development
  • Video: I demo the new Rockbase theme by Rafal Tomal

That’s it for today’s episode, don’t forget to share share share this episode with others and jump on the mailing list 👇

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