Pods gets funded and a new Friends of Pods Sponsor Drive!

Hey there, it’s Scott. I wanted to take a moment to tell you something that is important to me and our team here working on Pods. If you want to skip down to the next headings below for the actual news, you can click now »

I am at a loss for words today as we announce something very special, but I’ll try my best. Pods is a huge part of my life. The main reason for that is I have poured tens of thousands of hours of my free time, work on-the-clock while a freelancer, and at previous jobs that used Pods on their projects, working to make Pods the best product it can be. I’ve been working on Pods since it started in October 2008, along with our founding developer Matt Gibbs. I took over as Lead Developer in the middle of 2011, when we ran our Kickstarter to raise money for Pods 2.0.

That’s when things started to get harder. I knew I needed more help on the project; support was beginning to take long hours and it was getting tough to keep development going at the same time. I brought on some developers here and there to help on various features for Pods 2.0 because things had gotten so delayed that I was stressed out of my mind.

I struggled through much of 2012, until I had a chance to discuss things with Matt Mullenweg of Automattic. He saw what we were doing, what we were making here and our commitment to the WordPress community to create a free plugin for Content Development. Matt wanted to help, and through Automattic’s philanthropic efforts in the community he offered to give us our first sponsorship funding. This helped carry some things along and get Pods 2.0 out the door. I still poured in my own money, along with my time into the project, growing in debt to keep moving forward on things including hiring help with documentation of the growing codebase and consulting with developers on specific features for security or for mockups among other things.

Phil Lewis joined efforts in mid-2012 and became a fixture of our team. I was able to start paying him in April of 2013 when he had left his position at the previous company he was at, and he’s been an integral part of the team ever since, focusing most of his time on Pods and playing in his band the rest of the time since his schedule is flexible. Josh Pollock became our first support rep in August 2013 to help with the continuing growth of our support forums and user base. Jim True joined our team in August 2014 to once again handle our growing support needs and let Josh focus some more on documentation and other areas of Pods too.

Wait a second, why am I telling you all of this? Well we have never been fully funded for what it takes to make Pods happen. Creating, managing and supporting a free plugin that is as complex as Pods takes a significant amount of regular ongoing capital; we talked about this in our transparency report six months back. We’ve almost always been 60-80% of the way there.

In the beginning, all we ever received were $5 donations here and there, totalling at the time less than our Kickstarter made after all the fees came out. The rest of the money apart from the sponsorship that it takes to run things and keep the wheels moving all came from my pocket (or more precisely, all of my credit accounts), amounting to many thousands of dollars, I’m afraid to admit it may even be up to six digits by now. Friends of Pods helped a little bit and has slowly grown since we launched a year ago, but it still hasn’t been enough.

Why would you spend so much of your own money on a free plugin? I just can’t answer that, maybe others in the community know the answer better than me. All I know is that I believe in Pods and what we’re doing at Pods so much, that every developer should be given the opportunity to easily build projects in WordPress and sculpt their content structures effortlessly, that I just sort of went “all in”.

That brings me to the best news I’ve gotten, aside from the healthy births of my children..

We’re funded.

yeahhhhh

We’ve been running a full out partner sponsorship drive over the last month and we’ve got some very good news: We now have a total of 29 different Reward Perks for joining Friends of Pods, adding 16 in January 2016 alone! We’ve also added 9 new Reward Partners, which are companies that not only provide a reward for our friends but also have become a member themselves through a monthly or annual sponsorship.

This is amazing news for us because we’re fully funded, for the next few months at least, thanks to the generous donations and support from all of our friends and partners. We are excited about having both Phil Lewis and Jim True paid entirely through donations and sponsorship money. This will allow us to continue focusing on Pods full time and work on our next features.

Does that mean we no longer need new friends or partners? No, we definitely need more friends and partners! We want to continue to grow and stabilize our donation/sponsorship income for the long-term. The only way to do that is more friends and partners 🙂 In fact, stay tuned for some more announcements as we’re currently in talks with some new Reward Partners to bring us the much needed funding we need to continue moving forward and grow in 2016.

New Rewards added to Friends of Pods January 2016:

From our new / upgraded Reward Partners

Other deals we’ve worked out for our members

Membership Drive

We’re coming up on our One-year Anniversary of launching the Friends of Pods program and we’d like to give a little something back. For the months of February and March, we’re running a Friends of Pods membership drive. Every 2nd person who signs up for a Bronze or higher membership level will receive DOUBLE THE REWARDS. For $25/month (less than the cost of Starbucks Coffee for a month), you can get TWO total Reward Perks AND you get the satisfaction of knowing we’ll always be there to help you out because we can keep our team paid and focused on Premium-level support and code.

It is only through our members commitment to the Pods Framework that we’re able to continue coding and improving on this extremely useful and powerful plugin. We’re devoted to keeping Pods free and your generous donations allow us to do that.

 

Pods 2.5.5 Maintenance Release, State of the Pods, and the Friends of Pods transparency report

Today we are releasing another maintenance release for the 2.x branch, Pods 2.5.5. This particular release, in addition to fixing some cosmetic items related to autocomplete relationships in the admin, includes a very requested bugfix & feature enhancement for Pods Templates. We’ve had several requests that the [each][/each] template tags (described in detail in ‘Using Template Tags’) don’t work with Taxonomy on post-types. You could always get the list of Categories or Taxonomies against a post by using the magic tag {@categories}, but if you wanted control over that output in your Pods Templates, you had to resort to an output filter or some other method. This patch allows you [each] and loop through them just like any other relationship to the post.

We updated to the latest Glotpress Grunt module which fixed our translations update process during the release and build script. This resolves some issues that were being caused by the last couple of releases where the .mo files weren’t pulling down correctly for different translations to show in the admin area.

We’re also using this patch to incorporate the Pods Frontier Auto Template plugin functionality directly into the Pods Templates Component. Now when you activate Pods Templates under Pods Admin, Components, Templates, you will get a new menu item under Edit Pods for “Auto Template Options”. This provides the same functionality as the Pods Frontier Auto Template plugin with the added benefit of having the Pods Templates selectable in a drop-down instead of having to type them into the admin screen. If you need to learn more about using Pods Templates to Display your Pods, check out the PodsCast where we discuss using them for displaying data in your theme and in the Video Tutorial Series by OSTraining.

State of the Pods

  • CMB2 integration is moving along very nicely, Phil Lewis (@pglewis13) has spent extensive time on refactoring the PHP code for CMB2 group fields to better support what we’re calling “nested fields”, which will allow group fields to contain group fields inside them and so on. Phil will continue onto other CMB2 integration tasks like reconciling our Field Type options with CMB2 Field Types.
  • Micah Wood (@wpscholar) has been diving into the Backbone and JS that power CMB2 forms with the aim to refactor everything there to support the new “nested fields” we’ve added the ability to use in the PHP. He’ll continue working more on this throughout the month.
  • Friends of Pods has been going well, we had a few more people join the past few weeks, more stats below.

Friends of Pods Transparency Report

We’ve had lots of help from our Friends of Pods over the past few months since we’ve had the program active. Here’s some stats on where we’re at and our goals for the year.

  • Active Recurring Friends and Pillar Sponsors: 22
  • Monthly USD from Friends of Pods recurring: $4,285
  • Current monthly operational costs for team: $6,600
  • Peek monthly operational costs for team to date (2015): $7,400

Now some stats on how we’re doing for the year:

  • Friends of Pods revenue including one-time donations to date (2015): $38,400
  • Friends of Pods for end-of-year 2015 (with current active friends): $51,255
  • Operational costs to date (2015): $65,000+
  • Operational costs for end-of-year (2015): $85,000+

OpenHub.net has some cool info to say about our project cost overall, excluding Pods 1.x and excluding any external dependencies we use for CSS/JS/PHP:

You’ll probably notice that our costs are far greater than our Friends of Pods recurring revenues. With that shortfall, Phil Lewis (@pglewis13) and Jim True (@jimtrue) provide services and consulting to various companies and individuals throughout the year in the name of Pods. The payments for that work are then directed towards Pods as one-time invoice payments (excluded from the list above). This is sub-optimal and isn’t exactly sustainable long-term. This extra work takes away from core work on Pods itself.

We’re doing our best to drum up additional support, and we’re hoping that through our work on CMB2 we may gain additional friends and sponsors through the next few months. I have personally invested a great deal of time and money into ensuring CMB2 integration and Pods 3.0 remain our focus through the end of the year. We have no current plans to put Phil or Jim on additional service/consulting projects so the Pods team can focus on getting you the features you’ve been waiting for.

Join us in reaching our goal for the year, become a Friend of Pods or read more how to help out below.

How to Get Involved

Are you a developer? Want to help make Pods 3.0? Ping us in our Slack #dev-core chat channel and we can get you into some areas we could use some help on.

If you’re a CMB2 fanatic, join in with our Pods 3.0 integration with CMB2 work in our Slack #dev-core-cmb2 channel, there’s plenty of things you can contribute to there as well. You can also join the official CMB2 Gitter and follow our GitHub repo specific to CMB2.

Or if you want to just help Pods 3.0 happen more quickly, help continue to fund our development team’s time by becoming a Friend of Pods or by making a one-time donation. If your company would prefer to have an invoice for any one-time or recurring donation, please let Jim True (@jimtrue) know and he’ll get that sorted out for you.