I want to bring part of the comments from a previous post out on the front page because I think the discussion is important. Jay Allen the Movable type Product Manager has several comments in the original post that I want to address. I do want to thank Jay for taking time to posting his comments here it is a discussion that is long overdue. I want to say up front I like Jay and what he has accomplished at SixApart and that he should not take some of my comments personal.
“Well I hate to say that the WordPress community is much more active than the MovableType community, heck it’s almost impossible to find the MT forum section link anymore via SixApart.”
It doesn’t seem a surprise to me that a community centered around an open-source tool will always be more visible and seem more vibrant, but the Movable Type “community” is doing very well — and by that, I mean the Professional Network.
I and thousands of others are not on the Professional Network and you do a lot of valuable talk behind a login and password that most of us do not get to see. I am sure the conversation in those forums alone would be valuable. Why they can’t be in the existing forum is beyond me. But I very rarely have been able to get a question answered in the Forums area. Submitting a ticket is not always productive. Granted I have submitted very few tickets. I may be wrong but I don’t think very many from the pro network hang out in the public forums.
If you are building then tell us you are building, and if you cant talk about product details then you need to tell us what we need to do to prepare for version 3.3
Well, there are only two things we do as a software company: build and release. That’s it. Since Movable Type 3.2 was released, we’ve been building and we’ve been doing it at an amazing pace considering our resource constraints.
This will result in Six Apart becoming more isolated from the community of users. A blogging company has to stay connected with their core, failure to do so will see more people migrate to other blogging platforms.
The main thing is talk and i am sure there are lots of cool things going on with plugins but you rarely highlight any.
You’re absolutely right and everyone on our team is to blame for that. I myself have had a three-quarters written blog post highlighting 30 new plugins for a month until I lost my hard drive (R.I.P). Why didn’t I post it? Because I wanted to clean it up and turn it from a list of links to a narrative. In retrospect, obviously, that is a mistake.
I will tell you: a LOT of posts die on the vine at Six Apart because it’s more difficult to post under your company’s name than it is on your own site. (Ask Niall Kennedy about that one.) So we post a lot of things to our personal sites, just to rattle them off, and before we ever clean them up for the 6A site, we get sucked back down in the actual work we’re doing. If there’s any barrier at all in a startup to blogging, you just won’t do it because you’re hopelessly buried with real deliverables.
So I guess the big question is, would you rather that we release slower so that we have time to blog more often? We operate under the assumption that that’s not the case. Yes, we do need to get better about blogging, but I know that if you worked for us under the same conditions, you’d find yourself in our shoes. I say that because I have said exactly what you are saying when I was an outside developer living in Hungary. I thought I would come to Six Apart and get us blogging more. I was, at least to this day, wrong.
You are doing those that take the time to create plugins a dis-service, I need a place I can go and read about all the plugins in a central place. Attempts before to put together a directories of Plugins is barely navigable. There are plenty of CMS platforms out there that would allow you to develop the type of plugin resource that is full of user and developer conversation. That conversation does not exist. Look at the Joomla website and see how they treat their plugin developers, its the soul of the platform.
Again my premise is you better start blogging and getting the community engaged, because going weeks on end with not a peep coming out of you is bad. It has to become a priority and if Ben and Mena have lost site that their is a core that feels like we have been left out in the cold.
You need a evangelist that shows all of us how to use all of these great plugins and talk about why they are important and what gap do they fill that is currently not being filled by the baseline application.
We completely agree… :-)
Todd’s Rebuttal: You have a core group in your Pro Network that understand the product and where you are headed you need to designate a couple of them to become your evangelist. Give them a spot on a company blog and don’t be scared to let them talk openly. I am involved in building a company as well and I understand the value of being a evangelist of my own cause, I have to do it, I have to lay down the framework of where we are headed. I have to be the leader. Thus those within your company have to be the leader of your product.
Podcasting is fast approaching two years and although you say you are focused on the next revision your promise of faster releases after the last engine revamp have not materialized.
I’d say that Yahoo Small Business (which wasn’t just slapping on a logo) and the upcoming MT Enterprise count as two pretty big rocks. Would you?
First: SixApart Promised a faster release schedule after the long development on the last release where the core was rebuilt from scratch. This promise still remains a pipe dream.
Second: I obviously have no idea what your sales numbers are, but it seems to me that unless you are a Enterprise size company or a Small Business that uses Yahoo products (I don’t) then I am shit out of luck. Jay I really like the work you have done, so don’t get me wrong when I write this, you missed the point I was trying to make. “SixApart is not keeping up with technology advances, and a simple 1-2 hour podcast integration would have made your product compatible out of the box to the hottest medium next to blogging”. To not implement that proves without a shadow of a doubt in my mind that SixApart does not care about bloggers like me. How many thousands of Customers have you lost because it was easier for me to say setup WordPress it is compatible out of the box for podcasting.
How many hours of frustration would you have saved users that have your current product to create rss templates that were compatible and up to spec with the iTunes integration. It’s the little things that Six Apart had failed to show leadership on that makes me wonder if I should think about switching to a platform that cares enough about it’s core base of users to get a release out that keeps the product current.
Finally, you have a pro network yet no one know who they are or what services they offer, you need to put a list together of who they are and what this core group offers so when I need a MT developer I don’t have to go overseas and find a developer to learn MT from the ground up.