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’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
- VaultPress: 1 free month
- Gravity Forms: Discount to be announced soon!
- OptinMonster: 20% off any plan
- Admin Columns: 15% off any license
- BlueHost: 40% off Premium Web Hosting
- InterServer: 10% lifetime discount off any monthly plan
- SeedProd: 20% off any license
- WP101: 50% off WP101 Plugin Business License
- WP Rocket: 20% off any license
- WP Site Care: Lifetime 10% off any plan
Other deals we’ve worked out for our members
- A2 Hosting: 51% off any plan
- BackupBuddy: 25% off BackupBuddy
- DigitalOcean: $25 credit on sign up
- FreshBooks: 10% off any plan
- ServerPilot: $10 credit on sign up
- ServerPress: 20% off license
- The Theme Foundry: 25% off Foundry Pro Developer package which includes all themes and Make Plus
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.