I sit back during most of this podcast and let Jonathan and Nate discuss democratizing commerce and the similar goals between WooCommerce and BigCommerce. Nate also gives some great insights and perspectives into the bigger eCommerce space as well as his views surrounding the WooCommerce community and ecosystem.
A Chat with Nate
In episode 64, Jonathan and I chat with Nate about:
- Nate’s background in commerce starting with OsCommerce, then Magento and eventually WooCommerce.
- In the space of eCommerce what does he particularly enjoy doing.
- Staying connected between the builders and the merchants
- His sense of of the commerce industry as a whole.
- What is behind the idea of framing the commerce world at 51% and bridging eCommerce with commerce.
- Why the growth of eCommerce and the concept of democratization matter.
- Nate’s initial reaction to WordPress as an operating system.
- As a SaaS how can one serve customers better who use WordPress.
- How BigCommerce and WooCommerce complement each other.
- Where Nate feels improvement can be seen in the Woo ecosystem.
Connect with Nate
Thanks to our sponsors
Bob: Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode 64 of Do The Woo. This is BobWP, and of course, I'm joined by my host who just keeps coming back. I can't get rid of him. He loves doing The Woo. Hey, Jonathan, how are you doing?
Jonathan: Hey, Bob. I'm doing well. I think you're going to probably get tired of me eventually.
Bob: Nah, that's never going to happen. Nope. You're stuck for a long time here. So you've got to deal with it.
Well, let's get into the show, because we've got a great guest.
First, I want to thank our sponsors, WooCommerce.com, as a community sponsor. You might want to check out a great opportunity with Woo, Growth Scientist. If you're into marketing and data and real nerdy about those things, go check that out over on Automattic.com. You can find it under Work With Us. People are looking for a change these days, and this might be the perfect fit for you.
Then there's Recapture.io, an abandoned cart email marketing solution, and also helping you as far as review reminders. So it's three tools built in one. So especially if you've been having an issue with that abandoned cart , you will want to check them out.
Sezzle, our newest sponsor. We had a podcast with them last week. A very interesting approach they're taking to installment payments on your WooCommerce store. It's a buy now, pay later option. It empowers the shopper to purchase today and they can make four interest-free payments over a six week period. So check them out at get.Sezzle.com/dothewoo.
So let's get into it. Today, I'm looking at going a bit in a different direction. I'm going to let Jonathan and our guest take over this episode. We are looking at the bigger picture of commerce and how WooCommerce plays into that, but how others play into it too, and especially around democratizing commerce.
So I have Nate Stewart from BigCommerce. Hey Nate, how are you doing today?
Nate: Great, Bob. Glad to be here with you and Jonathan.
The History Nate Has in Open Source and eCommerce
Bob: Normally I ask people how they Do The Woo. How do you do the commerce?
Nate: That's a loaded question. We could take up the whole time. So how I personally do the commerce? I actually have a background, this goes really early on in my career where I had an agency, and it was all open source back in the day. That's all I lived and breathed in terms of building eComm off OsCommerce, and Magento, and eventually into Woo, and even before it was actually at Automattic. So I've been on this journey, and even through things that weren't necessarily a platform.
The early days, you had a PayPal button that you had on a page that had a lot of tables and rounded corners and whatnot on there. So I have been through a journey of making it work because people just wanted to try commerce on the web. Like all of us in the industry we are more focused on what is the strongest platform for different segments of merchants, and what are they trying to do, and how do we work together.
So for me, personally, commerce has shifted from being a really fun learning experience and as the web grew, I was growing and seeing everyone grow to the current, fully-fledged, very complicated industry,. I mean, especially nowadays, it affects everyone. We're just at the beginning stages of it.
Jonathan: So Nate, you have quite the storied background in the world of commerce. You mentioned the agency. You were also involved in the startup that was, if I'm recalling correctly, was acquired by BigCommerce some years back.
Working With Both Sides - Merchants and Builders
Jonathan: Of all the things that you've done in the world of commerce, is there anything that stands out? Like for you personally, is there anything that you particularly enjoy with the different types of things that you have done and currently do?
Nate: I think what keeps me excited is working with people on both sides. I think much of my day, much of my time, my career, has been helping someone that had an idea. I remember one idea was someone wanted to make stickers, and they had a sticker machine where it would like cut out the round stickers. They thought it would scale to be a multimillion dollar business. Regardless of how competitive that industry is, it's really fun to be on the journey time and time again with someone that's really passionate about something.
Myself, I'm more of an engineer hacker at heart, and I just happened to get a chance to play in product strategy land every day. I like to look at the partners and ecosystem. They're building businesses just like the company I worked for is building a business, and it really comes down to the opportunities we create.
So I think that's like you and I. We've, of course, talked about it in the past. I think that's more and more what keeps me excited is the opportunities others create with it, not necessarily me personally. Because a lot of commerce is similar, and you're breaking up the pieces in different ways. The Lego blocks, you're forming them in different ways. Occasionally new technology comes that you go, wow, I don't really know much about this, but you typically have time to catch up to that.
Bob, you were talking about abandoned carts. Abandoned carts is still a really big issue, because a lot of people don't have that tech available to them. Even though it's easier, they are thinking about how do I have the best logo and the best content on my front page? Well, you're on step one, there's like 20, 30, 40 more steps to get to where you're optimized there.
Framing the Commerce World at 51%
Jonathan: One of the things, Nate, that I find interesting about your experience, and I've seen it in my own as well, is when you mix that merchant focus with what we think of it in Woo as the merchants and builders, right? There's the people who are the entrepreneurs themselves, and then those who are serving them, whether it's agencies, whether it's software as a service providers making plugins, et cetera.
Bob and I were talking about this the other day. There's something that's so valuable about figuring out ways to stay connected to both sides, to be looking firsthand, like with the WooCommerce meetups, right? Going to a local meetup and seeing when someone comes in, they don't care about all the things that we know and all the past experience or how it was 10 years ago or even five years ago, it's they're coming in with something that we're trying to figure out now.
In my experience, and other I've seen in years as well, figuring out when you can look at both sides and stay fresh in it, there's something that's really powerful to then inform strategy and inform focus. It's easy to lose that, because there's so many things to get done. But I've personally found and have been recently reminded, the more that you can make that an intentional thing to stay connected to what's a new merchant trying to do today, the more powerful you can do that bigger picture work.
Thanks to our sponsor:This episode is brought to you by Sezzle and their Buy Now Pay Later plugin for WooCommerce. If you have been looking to offer your customers installment payments, well, look no further. Sezzle allows online shoppers to split their purchases into interest-free installments which increases conversions and average order values by an average of 20%.
At the same time it empowers shoppers financially as it helps them to grow their credit and offer options that are not available on other shops.
Sezzle pays the merchant in full at checkout and assumes the risk of fraud and chargebacks. I know that it has been rated at the best Buy Now, Pay Later solution, Sezzle has more than 14,000 merchants and well over 1.4 million shoppers. Sezzle is available in the US & Canada and just recently in India. and they are looking to expand that to new markets during the remainder of this year. Their plugin is slick and easy to to install. Just a few minutes and you are on your way. So make sure and visit get.Sezzle.com/dothewoo and get a 30-day free trial as a listener.
Now let’s head on back to the show.
We were talking the other day about this, and you brought up this idea, like within WordPress, we have this concept of growing to 51% of the web, right? You brought up something that I hadn't thought o. What's the equivalent of 51% with commerce and eCommerce. I'm curious just to hear a bit more about that. You have been in this world of commerce for a long time. What's your sense of where we are as an industry, as a whole? What's the equivalent of that target for commerce?
Nate: Well, I think why it's a great comparison is we were below 30% before COVID, and now, maybe there's a peak where at certain times when we may be a little bit above that, but we're not at anywhere near the majority, that 51%. So when you look at WordPress and what it's done in terms of CMS and people creating content on the open web, that's past where eComm is right now.
So I think a lot of what we have to do and what we could learn, everyone can learn, from the WordPress community, and what Woo is doing every day in eComm, is how do you link together all the different types of eComm which are more sophisticated than content creation in many ways? So we have to create a bridge to get us to 51%. That's far more complex than the content bridge.
Do I have a plan to get there, to 51%? No. I think as an industry, though, we have to think about that. A rising tide lifts all boats, is where we're currently at. You know, if eComm gets to 80%, which it's going to keep growing, and we're going to keep using our phones and our PCs and our ARVR, it's not going to end that trend that started.
There's a couple of different cycles, but we're only going to see it increase to where everything is more near instant, and fulfillment gets harder, designing experiences that stand out get harder. Training your employees in many ways gets harder, because sometimes they're leaning on more of a computer to make some of the decisions.
This complexity doesn't end. So I feel framing it in that 51%, just like WordPress does in many ways, it's an interesting thought experiment, at least, in terms of, how do we build the bridge?
Jonathan: Just to like put a finer point on it, when you think about the 51%, that notion here within commerce, is that offline to online transactions? Or is the idea of all the transactions happening in the world, what percentages are taking place online? How do you think about that?
Nate: Yeah, I think high level is the shift from the need to be physical, to purchase something, on down to digital. Right? So I think, online, you could replace that with just being on your phone or , let's say, houses get smarter and your refrigerator ends up just knowing what you want, or where you are going.
I mean, it's hard. Some refrigerators do that, I guess, if you go expensive enough. But they're gimmicky. Eventually it'll change to where it's just a part of life that when we want something, we can compare, get it fulfilled and it's personalized for us.
When that shift continues to happen, it gets harder to get to that 51%, because the devices are different than what we know, the interactions are different, and you have to have so many different people thinking about it. It's a global issue. How do people interact in India versus here? It's completely different, in many ways, how they're fulfilled and they use their devices.
But to your question, I split it digital versus walking into a store versus having to be there in front of somebody to get your item.
Why Growth and Democratization Matters
Jonathan: It's interesting, too, because you also have the integration between the two.There's future states where people go into stores and then end up buying something on Amazon. Which certainly happens, but it's like, ah. I feel bad for the small stores in those situations. But you also have situations where there's a future state, and it's not hard to imagine, where you go into the store and shop and do the checkout on your own device. Right? There's that bridging the world.
For me, though, where it gets interesting is then you go back to this broader idea of how do we make commerce more accessible. Because there's an incredible narrative of empowerment. On the one hand, commerce for a long time, and we all know this well, from our experience in it, it was really expensive to do some of these more complex things. As that complexity increases, so does the cost associated with taking advantage of that complexity. There's a lot of opportunity there as you lower the barrier of entry to bring about new entrepreneurship, people who can step in to solve problems and do things that they couldn't do before.
Like COVID, this is a great recent example of that, right? Where people have been able to step up and do things that they might not have tried before.
Yeah. For me, the part of the question I think is worth bringing out is like why does that growth matter? Like why does the growth of eCommerce and that concept of democratization matter? In your experience, I'm curious, what are your thoughts? Like from your time in this world, what's some of the impact that you've seen of making things more accessible?
Nate: Yeah. I think really you're talking the consumer. A lot of what I was talking about is how the landscape changes and how we interact, and that drives merchant behavior and business behavior. But in terms of accessibility for the merchant, I think a lot of it is what I have to work through with our teams. We're a SaaS company, you know? So we think about, as part of the principle of SaaS and software as a service, is you purchase it and it's pretty easy out of the box. You don't really need to deal with a lot of other moving pieces.
Historically, that has had its limits to where you can't make every single thing easy and all the customization and flexibility easy. So the other end, which is open source and the open web, and that's in WooCommerce-land, right? That's where every day the team and all of the people contributing into WordPress and Woo are thinking how do we retain ownership of everything. Making it easy comes after the capabilities and flexibility and opportunity.
So what I think a lot about is we need to merge those for merchants. The future platforms are those that take the best from both sides. They have the easy elements, the self-starting elements of SaaS, which lowers the barrier of entry across the board, but also it has the openness and flexibility and choice that open source and open web provide.
I think we have to get to that. Those that are only focused on one, draw the line for their base and for who they can help, because you end up having to make a binary choice.
So I think that's going to be blurred a little bit more, and that's what I think about a lot, is blurring that line to where you're not really making a choice as a merchant. It's like, do you want ease of use? Do you want low barrier? Okay, this is what you should do. Do you want full data ownership and flexibility and you're your own developer and you want to learn like how it works under the hood? Here's this other approach.
Sometimes you have to be willing to ask, what I'm working on day-to-day? Maybe that's not a fit for you or the right thing to do. Maybe later on in your journey. Again, it's that bridge to the 51%. You have to have these transitions over to other solutions and ways of solving problems, because the world changes and the merchant needs change, and one platform owning everything in terms of owning the ecosystem, owning every single potential solve of every segment of every type of merchant for every flow, it's not that it's impossible, but is that what we want in the world, is the question.
WordPress as an Operating System
Jonathan: I love that. So it's interesting to see this pattern of having your hands in multiple worlds. First there's the merchant and builder world. Then there's open source versus SaaS. So one of my favorite topics, we have this idea in WordPress and Woo, it's strongly affected by it as well, this idea of WordPress as an operating system. I'm curious when you were first exposed to that, and I'm going to bring this back to the world of SaaS and its relevance, what was your initial reaction? As someone with a technical background and in this world, what was your initial reaction to that idea of WordPress as an operating system?
Nate: To me, it made a lot of sense, because I had been building off of platforms that were attempting to be something like WordPress since the beginning of my career. I think WordPress has evolved into finally being something where you could fully prototype and move quickly and test out your business case or your experience you're going for and bring in a lot of the best minds from around the world to help you solve your problem together.
So I think it's at the point now where I would have loved it as a 20-year old in the open web, that if WordPress is where it is now. I'm very jealous of everyone learning right now. You get to use so many tools. We've talked a lot about the WPGraphQL, and a lot of that, well, the more we can blend, if you look at WordPress as a part of that transition and bridge, it's not that it has to do every single thing, but there's some things it does so well and so quickly that you can prove it out to the point to where why would you want to go through and spend your time on not the problem?
Nate: So I think about a lot of that when I think of WordPress as an operating system.
Guidance for SaaS in the WordPress and WooCommerce World
Jonathan: I am curious. So the world of SaaS, which you know well, and what I've been wrestling with a bit for a few years, now is the sense that there's just a lot of opportunity. Even if you just take this raw idea, and if you're a SaaS and you have customers who have stuff on the web, probably at least 30% of those customers use WordPress. To just think about that and say, okay, how could we serve them better?
From your perspective, having been in this world for a long time, what's some of the opportunity that you see for the world of SaaS? How would you guide SaaS folks listening to think about WordPress?
Nate: I think that what we learned early on from a lot of very smart and passionate people is by looking at the WordPress way. Look at the community and the people first. What are the motivators there? It has to be beyond just the numbers. There are a lot of people that have been in the community for 15 years and they don't necessarily build plugins and themes and sites. They love the community.
Breaking through the barrier, everything can influence a number. If you're a SaaS company, you have analysts and you have great analytics tools, and you're always looking at the numbers and optimizing your key metrics. That's good. That's one reason why the SaaS model is good in terms of scaling and why it gets a lot of investment, is you want up and to the right and to track it and optimize.
WordPress is Optimized as a Community
But WordPress is a community. It's optimized because it's optimized in this weird way. The people are driving it so much that it's not one factor that you latch on to or like a handful. It's many you won't understand. Many that I don't understand when I see how much passion is in certain areas. But that's okay. It's because it's so big that you're going to have a lot of areas you don't understand.
The WordPress Way
So I would say you want to start with the WordPress way, and what can you add back in value, not only in terms of what your software does, but in the way you approach the problem.
One thing that I felt, and we've talked about this a couple of times in the past about what we can do, and what I can personally do, is when I answer this question, make it a little bit more about the human element, and make sure that when companies come in to the WordPress community, they're not just trying to extract value, because that doesn't fall into my whole career of actually learning off of great open source platforms on the open web, or open forums.
A lot of times I search for something to solve a problem or to think a different way, it's on a WordPress site. I need to respect that as someone that's in a different type of company. So I would say that's where you start. Then a lot of the other learnings come from that in terms of, how do we break up the problem to where the first step we can test solves enough value, but we're also coming across spending enough time in the community to add back?
We've been two and a half, maybe three years, on the journey thus far into building our plugin, and it's a constant learning experience. A lot of it is completely different than how we think about other types of products, because it's not always data-driven from analytics.
In fact, we don't have any analytics in our plugin. Why? Because that's the WordPress way. We have to learn off of the community. We can't go to normal SaaS-land and say, let's just apply all the principles we learned and throw it into this community. I'm not saying that wouldn't work, but I think you're going to run into a lot of, I don't know, it's just silent pushback, maybe? Everyone knows that's just not the right way to perform. You go to WordCamp, and people are like, hmm, I see that you have a plugin, or you have a theme, or you have something, but I don't know what have you really done in the community?
Thanks to our sponsor: This episode is brought to you by Recapture Abandoned Cart Recovery and email marketing for WooCommerce.
Anyone who runs a Woo shop knows how frustrating abandoned carts are. And getting them back with Recapture is easy and setup takes less than 5 minutes. With their ready-to-use emails you can take them out of the box and start working for you right away. You’ll save time having to start from scratch.
Abandoned cart emails are managed for you automatically as the email service runs outside of your store ensuring the best delivery to your customers. The easy to ready analytics reports will help you to monitor your cart recover. And what’s really cool is you can watch what is happening live on your store with Recaptures Live Cart Feed.
The plugin is highly optimized so don’t worry about it slowing down your site. And their guarantee of email delivery, traffic increase loads and support make it a valuable investment compared to the free plugins out there.
From what I hear, if you sign up you will be joining thousands of merchants who have already recovered over $115,000,000.
Make sure and check them out and as a listener, get 60 days free with Recapture. Just go to Recapture.io/dothewoo-special
And now, back to our conversation.
WooCommerce and BigCommerce Complementing Each Other in the Space
Bob: Okay. So I have this unique opportunity here, because I've got Nate from BigCommerce and Jonathan from WooCommerce, and you both have the same goals and mission in mind. Your objective is democratizing commerce. But you have different audiences. So how do you see WooCommerce and BigCommerce complementing each other in this space?
I'll start with Nate, and I'll let Jonathan chime in with his thoughts.
Nate: I think for many merchants that come to BigCommerce and they're testing an idea and they have design shops or programming shops and they've built some things before, many times, they don't understand what they are capable of without spending any additional resources from what they have. So at that point, WooCommerce, up until a certain point, which depending on your business model, it could be different, is a better fit for them.
It's not that we don't cater towards merchants that are starting out like that, but there's a lot of room there, and there's actually a lot of competition. If we focus too much on that, we're adding a lot of noise and it's not as much value as we can provide.
So there's a subset of that, however, that are a great fit where they already have these ambitions and all of these complex connections, where we have prebuilt SaaS things for them. To build that with WooCommerce and WordPress, you're actually going to have to do a lot of learning that you maybe don't want. It's outside your wheelhouse.
So that's the way I think of it. I also think of it in a way around how we look at some of our SaaS competitors in Woo. We want to, again, with that bridge that I talked about, is to build it and that is really important in our strategy. To make sure that there should be a compelling reason that you're using BigCommerce or Woo and you stick with it, and at any given moment, you should be able to say, hey, I need a different solution. Or what if you have a different brand? Or you have multiple sites? Or you sell in multiple regions? There might be a combination for you down the line.
So I tend not to be as prescriptive. It's more of really trying to talk to the merchant. What do you need? What do you want to handle? What do you not want to handle? Do you want to handle your PCI compliance? Dou want to handle certain things like that? If you have been a developer before and you've been through that because you put a payment gateway in your site, you might not care. But for others, it's the first time selling online, maybe they care more.
A lot of what I try to focus on, and I think that the company focuses on a lot more, is that scalability through the mid-market and beyond. From the Woo side, you call us enterprise, right? So there's a handoff there of when people come to us and they say, hey, I'm on WordPress, I'm really happy that you built the plugin. They're typically at scale. We do have merchants that start out with it, but it's much more the merchants that are truly, truly happy are like, you know what? I really love that I get to stay in WordPress, I get to use what I know, and then I get to lean on you for these other things that I now know my business needs.
That's really where, especially in the WordPress community, we think we fit with Woo. I personally have tried to think a lot about how we make this a positive relationship and not one where one wins and the other doesn't. If its sheer volume, WooCommerce is going to win in their own space.
It's a question of do you want one winner for any ecosystem? For us, because we scale, because of the way we price, because of the way we support, because we're a SaaS company, it's better for us to focus on the merchants that need it and will get a lot of value and will also, by chance of us connecting into WordPress, continue to stay in the community they love. So I know that's a lot, but that's how I try to frame it day to day.
Jonathan: There's a few ways that I think about this. First, there's the idea of what a SaaS is capable of. By having a team, I forget how big you guys are, but you have a big team, and you have a lot of expertise built around commerce, and you have all this experience built up. There's a lot of things as a SaaS, because you're focused, that you can get really, really good at, and there's all this capability.
When I think about just WordPress broadly, it makes so much sense if you have WordPress as an operating system. Woo is like a sub-flavor of the operating system focused on commerce, is how I think about it. But if you take this idea, then it makes so much sense to bring together the best of what SaaS offers with this open source platform at the heart of it. So there's that part, just by its very nature, it's like there's a bunch of inherent benefit to BigCommerce that it can bring to merchants.
Then if you take that focus on a mid-market and enterprise and the way that I think about Woo's strategy. Let's take Shopify for just a moment. Shopify has done a lot to democratize commerce. At the end of the day, though, I don't have confidence that they're the best champion for it because they think of themselves like a retail operating system. That's their focus. Without knowing for sure, my guess is that their preference would be that it's all on Shopify. Right? So I don't think that's good for the open web at the end of the day.
So contrasting that, when I think about what Woo's strategy is and the way that we think about it, is while we're going to lower the barrier of entry even further, which is to make it easier and easier for the brand new merchants to get started, because they can do that in a bootstrappy away as they want to because it's using open source technology, and it also cuts off the very high end where merchants of a big enterprise need the most flexibility and they want to like really own the whole stack, they can do all that themselves.
Right in the middle though, there is all this like mid-market. The ideal situation is to let them stay in WordPress and stay connected to that open web ecosystem and be able to work with someone like BigCommerce, who can enable that to happen because there's that aligned broader interest. Whereas someone like Shopify, at least as I see it today, they just want the whole thing. Like everything over here. Like we want all aspects of this stack here.
So that's where I see that compliment where we at Woo can continue to focus on lowering the barrier even further across the entire ecosystem while retaining that flexibility at the very high end where people just want to own the whole thing. Then right in that middle spot there, I see you guys being really well positioned to keep people in WordPress and continuing to just grow that direction.
Nate: To add on what Jonathan said, we think a lot about these areas of lowering the barrier, which are very, very complex, that used to take millions and millions of dollars to even get started and going, where now you have a switch where there is a platform that can connect in the right way and it's prebuilt.
Now you do lose certain things that, depending on the characteristic of what you know and what you want, if you want to own it and run the server and all of that, sometimes you won't get that. But in other ways, maybe you don't want that anymore. Maybe you're shifting.
Again, I've seen merchants shift, and not even merchants, people building websites back in my early days, the agency. They'll shift platforms around and eventually they come up with the right mix for them. But we did go through a period of time where lowering the barrier meant, especially in SaaS land, every single thing is lowered. You hit this critical mass where no matter how big the company is, it's hard to do that.
There's other companies, which I really respect, they've kept a similar mindset, just it's a giant version of it. Like Microsoft. I really respect that Microsoft has taken, maybe not everyone believes that they always do, but they've taken a very open web, open source mentality, and they've reaped the big business benefits of that.
Nate: So for me, there's very clear signs that the strategy can pay off and both sides can win, and you can have this enterprise sector, mid-market, and you can have the smaller downmarket. Which many times doesn't mean small revenue, doesn't mean small ambition, it just means that you don't have a lot of moving pieces.
In the Woo Space, What Stands Out in the Ecosystem
Jonathan: Yeah, that's an excellent distinction in my mind, that it's the moving pieces. As complexity goes up, you start to get into things like, okay, I've got multiple warehouses here where I've got a lot of fulfillment opportunities and possibilities, I'm shipping to a lot of different places. It can get complex pretty quickly. There was a time where that was relegated to only those with the most capital to be able to pull it off, and folks like yourselves have done a lot of work to bring that barrier down and make that accessible. It's still a complexity though.
Just curious, Nate, drawing from your background and experience, when you look at Woo broadly, any high level thoughts on opportunities that you see for improvement when you think about the ecosystem as a whole? You made the point earlier of sometimes if you stay too focused on open source, you can end up missing out on some of the benefits and vice versa. If you could just sort of wave a wand and give guidance to the broader Woo ecosystem, what stands out to you?
I think that this is some hairy territory, because I'm not an expert by any means in Woo and WordPress. I'm a happy community member at this point, right? So anybody that listens to this, please don't come hunt me down.
I think over the past three years, what I've seen is the Automattic team and the Woo team, because I think they have similar strategies down this path, they're adding an element of like Jetpack-esque, like the SaaS side of Automattic, if you will. There's a lot of benefits there, and I think that will pay off experimenting more in that direction.
However, a lot of the way it's introduced to the communities sometimes can actually, I think, turn off sometimes even a platform from investing in SaaS type solutions into WordPress. Because the way Jetpack, if that's like the SaaS beginner, most people start with that in WordPress. They understand I pay for this thing, it gives me this capability, and Woo now is starting to have more capabilities that may speed up their dashboard or fulfillment or whatever other things that might be added there. If that's not rolled out smoothly and is used as a pattern for others to invest in the ecosystem, you start to build a platform that doesn't resonate with the WordPress way.
I think it's just something to keep in mind. As you're going too aggressively, does the ecosystem know why you're making the decisions you're making, and can they build their plugins like that? Is there any learnings where now WordPress, and going back to your WordPress as an OS, where that blend was really thought through. It would open up the capability for it to be more of an operating system, right? It would be more companies like BigCommerce investing for years to build on top of it, but they wouldn't run into some of the mistakes that you have to learn yourself.
We had to learn a lot about what is the right way to integrate an API and cash. What is the appropriate handoff between what is the SaaS side and what is the the WordPress angle, what you own and the code that you can see?
Jonathan: That's awesome. Thank you. Yeah. You're absolutely right. It's interesting to watch you guys go through that journey. I've said this before, BigCommerce, at least from my perspective, you're ahead of your time. I think we'll look back at some point as WordPress continues to grow, and the idea and my hope is that we lower the barrier of entry for SaaS companies to have success. But you guys had to work through a lot of that yourselves.
Anyway, from my perspective, I think you guys have done a great job. If nothing else, you've done a lot of good things, but also just being patient and giving it the time and space that it needs, and continuing to show up and continuing to make improvements. I've seen people come in and just like, oh, we're going to try something. Ah, it didn't go quite the way we thought, so we pull out. We abandon it.
It's a long game, but it's an open source. Man, once that flywheel kicks in, the momentum gets building, then those benefits are very real and tangible.
Nate: I think that I've learned other things being in the WordPress community, and as a company, we've had validations happen where we've been pulled in certain directions. Like one really good example is Gatsby. We had seen merchants use Gatsby, and Gatsby is popular. It's not news to anyone that Gatsby has had more and more impact on the open web and in general.
Nate: But there's this overlap that happened at WordCamps where I saw a Gatsby in a team there, and people are using Gatsby, and there's Gatsby talks with GraphQL. We're looking into GraphQL. A lot of that is a beautiful thing to see because it will create so much more of a next generation of open web, open source, and of WordPress.
I try to latch onto and learn, why do people love these solutions, and why do they want to combine them? Sometimes it takes longer than I would think for it to catch on. Like I actually thought Gatsby would have more going on in the WordPress community at this point. But because they have what you said, that long investment cycle, I have no doubt that they will influence a lot in there, and they will benefit longterm because it'll just become easier and easier to have that level of sophistication if you want it as a developer.
Bob: Excellent. Well, I'm glad we had you on. I love getting different perspectives, and that's the whole drive behind this podcast is we want to get the bigger picture. You brought some of that in.
So I'm going to real quickly thank the sponsors again, and then I'm going to have Jonathan close it out. Of course, WooCommerce.com. Like I said, check out that Growth Scientist position, pretty cool sounding, if you're interested or out there looking. I know a lot of people are looking for changes and looking for employment right now. So check it out at Automattic.com.
Check out Recapture.io/dothewoo-special for your cart abandonment.
And Sezzle.com. Make sure and listen to the last episode, because you'll learn a lot more about where they came from, and their WooCommerce journey as well.
Jonathan: So thank you guys for listening. Also, Bob, I appreciate you mentioning the Growth Scientist position. We did just recently post that. That is directly on the team that I'm on. So it's an amazing team. If you have any interest and your listening or you know someone, be sure to send them over. We're very picky, but that's an exciting growth opportunity there.
You can subscribe to Do The Woo in your favorite podcast app, which most of you have already done. If you haven't already, make sure that you sign up for the newsletters on BobWP.com. If you haven't, become a friend of Do The Woo as well. Bob has been growing that out, and I think he's got some exciting things planned for that in the future. So thanks for listening.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.