It’s been quite a year, and years in the making. Matt Fields, Anna Maria Radu, and I began meeting regularly just over a year ago to explore what we could do to support product founders in the WordPress ecosystem.
Our conversations picked up pace and expanded to include hundreds of product founders, partners, and investors as we explored, expanded, refined, clarified, and tested strategies for growing WordPress-focused product companies.
Coming out of WordCamp Europe last year, we’d explored enough to have confidence we were heading the right direction. In conversation after conversation with product founders, three challenges kept showing up:
- Misaligned Monetization – Founders struggle with monetizing businesses in the WordPress ecosystem. From pricing to business models, many are copying others and misaligning incentives with their customers and potential partners.
- Inexperienced Leadership – Many product founders started out as engineers and struggle with the wide range of skills and experience needed to grow a successful product company.
- Limited Distribution – We came across product after product that we consider unnecessarily well-hidden gems, solving problems for their audiences the majority of whom unfortunately just don’t know the product exists.
The first two challenges are solvable on an individual level. We worked closely with founders, assessing their businesses, creating strategies, and offering guidance focused on helping them grow.
The distribution problem, though, kept us asking questions and exploring. How could we help product founders find and connect with their audiences? How could we help them do so in a way that aligned their interests with other product founders and with the hosting providers that serve their audience?
It was going to take more than conversations.
Going into WordCamp US 2022, we’d made our decision. We’d take the sum of our conversations, our thinking, our learning, our shared desire for impact, and consolidate our efforts with our product founders, partners, investors, advisors, and growing team into a new organization: Guildenberg.
Like most things meaningful and particularly in the WordPress ecosystem, it’s taken a lot of time to get here and a lot of effort. It’s flowed, though. We’re not coming up with something new here and the problems are well accepted. The challenge, thus far, has been gathering a group of people with aligned interests to do something about it.
With WordCamp Asia 2023 now behind us and CloudFest coming next week it’s time to expand our efforts further and step into this year’s work and our first offering: the Guildenberg Accelerator.
Starting in Q2, Guildenberg will open its doors to a community of product founders to work together, along with our growing list of distribution partners, to connect with and create value for their audiences across the WordPress ecosystem.
Entrepreneur and strategist with 18+ years of experience in WordPress