Switching from Thesis to Genesis: Chris Brogan’s Influence

Would your business be sustainable if 10% of your customers walked away?

Many of you are familiar with the potential divorce between Chris Pearson (DIY Themes) and Matt Mullenweg (WordPress) over GPL compliance. I have received numerous emails from readers asking how it will effect their blogging platform of choice. Relax. Pour yourself a glass of spanish cava or red wine. Take a sip. It’s ok. What? Chris Brogan just posted an article on his official divorce of Thesis? Ok. Well. We need to talk.

He closed out his article with “If you’re using Thesis, I still think it’s a good theme, and for those of you wondering, Chris Pearson and team at DIYThemes are GPL-compliant again, so that’s a non-issue.” But is it really? He switched from a major framework just for the hell of it? Doubtful. In a very passive way he drew a big red line in the sand and said this is where Chris Brogan stands.

How this will affect current Thesis users

Imagine if that estimate is grossly wrong…he is now responsible for nearly 10% of all Thesis users alone.

I recently purchased a Developer’s Option for $164. The next day I got cold feet as links to articles like Technosailor.com’s exclusive interview with Brian Clark (Copyblogger.com) fed my inbox. Like you, I have a vested interest in seeing a product I paid for have a decent half life. Especially in this economy.

Before Chris Brogan posted his article I had faith that DIY Themes would maintain a certain level of support to their clients. Their website states, “Over 28,019 savvy webmasters rely on the Thesis website framework.” But what percentage of those became paying customers because of Chris? Maybe not directly, but think about his reach. His influence.

Mathematically speaking: If ChrisBrogan.com receives nearly 2 million visitors per month and 1/10 of 1% have interest in Thesis that still results in 2,000 people. Maybe only 1% of those people purchase Thesis. That is still 20 consumers he influences per month. That doesn’t even factor in those 20 consumers inspiring the purchase for others. After one year, his influence alone accounts for nearly 1% of all Thesis users.

Imagine if that estimate is grossly wrong. Instead of .01% his initial influence equals a full 1%. He is now responsible for nearly 10% of all Thesis users alone.

Should you be concerned?

No. You purchased the Thesis theme and your transaction is complete. Even if DIY Themes goes under and all membership support is gone please remember that there is still a community out there. A vast majority of you will have the same common questions that have been tutorialized many times over. The development community that goes outside the box of what was intended for the Thesis theme doesn’t require DIY’s support. Just a means to communicate and work through problems together.

The public opinion of Thesis, thanks to Chris Pearson’s rant, is shaky right now. With Brogan taking a stand more people will lose trust in the ability of Pearson righting the ship. The general public is vastly influenced by Brogan. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

What does 10% mean to you?

Would your business be sustainable if 10% of your customers walked away? How far would you go to correct the error(s) in your approach to business? A refund to new customers? Devoted customer support for current customers for at least 12-18 months regardless of what happens?

DIY Themes needs to show their hand in this game before everyone has left the table.

25 Comments

  1. Jim RaffelReplyAugust 4, 2010 at 4:09 am 

    Talk about a whole different way of looking at the situation. Thanks Joshua!

  2. Wild Web WestReplyAugust 4, 2010 at 9:47 am 

    Hi Joshua. Have been enjoying your articles via rss subscription.

    This was an interesting one. I used Thesis almost exclusively in 2009 and even defended the theme in rants on a linkedin discussion. however, in the past 3 months, I seem to have transitioned to Genesis Framework. There are many features I like, and also Thesis was massively conflicting with a real estate plugin I use “wprealty” (and those guys have their support issues too – big time). So I dropped thesis and have really enjoyed the professionalism, support and useability of Genesis and child themes. I guess I'm not going back to thesis for now. But I still like it, just couldn't get around some of the conflicting issues that I was experiencing.

    Thanks for the great article and updates on the state of affairs with Thesis.

  3. Danny BrownReplyAugust 4, 2010 at 11:54 am 

    I'd use the theme that's right for me and my business/clients every time.

    I'd consider what others say, but that's it – the final decision lies with me. Having checked out Genesis, I can safely say that (from out of the box) it's one of the worst themes around. Yes, it's a framework, but many bloggers don't care about that – they care about easy set up and off you go.

    Genesis gives a skeleton and nothing more. Meh.

    And just so you don't think this is a Thesis “fanboy” response, I use Headway ;-)

  4. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 4, 2010 at 12:03 pm 

    I tend to provide a different perspective on things it seems :)

  5. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm 

    It really comes down to a usability standpoint. Does Thesis meet your direct needs on project X. When you buy a product that has such a robust code set it is bound to interfere with another plugin. Which is frustrating and why I develop from the ground up when possible (and budget allows).

    I'm glad you are seeing the support you need from Genesis. It sounds like a great setup! I stumbled onto their theme sets maybe a year ago but never did much with them. Thesis was the first one I ever purchased. Two weeks ago. So clearly my timing wasn't the best :)

    Also, thank you for subscribing and reading the latest articles. Even more so for joining the discussion. I'd love to have a 50,000 followers and subscribers but in the end if I have a core group of 10+ folks that chime in and discuss topics here that is far more valuable to me in the blogging sense. Please comment again soon :)

  6. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 4, 2010 at 12:13 pm 

    It really comes down to a usability standpoint. Does Thesis meet your direct needs on project X. When you buy a product that has such a robust code set it is bound to interfere with another plugin. Which is frustrating and why I develop from the ground up when possible (and budget allows).

    I'm glad you are seeing the support you need from Genesis. It sounds like a great setup! I stumbled onto their theme sets maybe a year ago but never did much with them. Thesis was the first one I ever purchased. Two weeks ago. So clearly my timing wasn't the best :)

    Also, thank you for subscribing and reading the latest articles. Even more so for joining the discussion. I'd love to have a 50,000 followers and subscribers but in the end if I have a core group of 10+ folks that chime in and discuss topics here that is far more valuable to me in the blogging sense. Please comment again soon :)

  7. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm 

    Exactly Danny. Thank you. It's a matter of what theme, platform or service fits the needs of your specific client. Not how many people use it, who is using it, etc. Popularity is over rated. It may get you a wink and a nudge but that isn't sustainable.

    I'm not familiar with Headway. But from visiting your site I was very impressed. Clean, professional and concise. I will certainly be looking at your site and reading your blog. And, possibly, looking into this thing called Headway ;)

    Thanks for joining the discussion Danny. Great to see a TEDx speaker and AdAge Power Blogger providing insight to my somewhat uncommon perspective!

  8. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm 

    Exactly Danny. Thank you. It's a matter of what theme, platform or service fits the needs of your specific client. Not how many people use it, who is using it, etc. Popularity is over rated. It may get you a wink and a nudge but that isn't sustainable.

    I'm not familiar with Headway. But from visiting your site I was very impressed. Clean, professional and concise. I will certainly be looking at your site and reading your blog. And, possibly, looking into this thing called Headway ;)

    Thanks for joining the discussion Danny. Great to see a TEDx speaker and AdAge Power Blogger providing insight to my somewhat uncommon perspective!

  9. Danny BrownReplyAugust 4, 2010 at 12:33 pm 

    Hey there Joshua,

    Right. Some needs will be met by Thesis, some Genesis, some Headway, some Studio75, and others out there. Like anything, choose what suits you and others will do the same.

    Genesis isn't for me, because of the work you have to do after you install the basic set-up. But I'm probably not the audience Brian Gardner is after with it anyway. If you want to code, I'm sure it's a good framework. I just prefer getting on with the blogging side. :)

    And thanks for the compliments of the blog – couple more tweaks coming this week, so feel free to drop on by. Look forward to finding out more about the stuff you do here. :)

  10. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 4, 2010 at 1:41 pm 

    I like your train of thought Sir. I'm always surprised people still try to leverage their own likes/dislikes against what may better suit the client.

    Definitely will drop by your blog and read your articles. My blog's design still has a ways to go. I slowly pick at it when I get a moment. Content is key right now. Well, that and paying the bills :)

    Thanks again for reading Danny! Hope to see you contribute more insight in the future.

  11. Chris BroganReplyAugust 6, 2010 at 11:47 am 

    I think this:

    Thesis has lots of design stuff built in, but works best when prettied up by designers.
    Headway seems (I haven't used it) to have more out-of-the-box design help.
    Genesis isn't very easy to tweak as a non-designer, but my designers seem to love it.

    I think there are different use cases for all of them. : )

  12. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 6, 2010 at 12:23 pm 

    I agree completely. Thesis seems overly complex for basic things out of the box. That's where the problem lies right now in my mind. A front end option of 'basic' and 'advanced' customization options would take Thesis to another level I think.

    Danny (below) recommended Headway as well. I will have to take a look to see what all the fuss is about. Sounds promising though.

    And, of course, thank you for joining the discussion Chris. I hope to see you around again :)

  13. Chris BroganReplyAugust 6, 2010 at 6:47 pm 

    I think this: nnThesis has lots of design stuff built in, but works best when prettied up by designers.nHeadway seems (I haven’t used it) to have more out-of-the-box design help.nGenesis isn’t very easy to tweak as a non-designer, but my designers seem to love it. nnI think there are different use cases for all of them. : )

  14. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 6, 2010 at 7:23 pm 

    I agree completely. Thesis seems overly complex for basic things out of the box. That’s where the problem lies right now in my mind. A front end option of ‘basic’ and ‘advanced’ customization options would take Thesis to another level I think. nnDanny (below) recommended Headway as well. I will have to take a look to see what all the fuss is about. Sounds promising though. nnAnd, of course, thank you for joining the discussion Chris. I hope to see you around again :)nn

  15. AnonymousReplyAugust 14, 2010 at 5:41 pm 

    While I respect A-list bloggers and others who have influence in the WordPress and design community, what they use and why is of no consequence to me. I am not a follower. If something works for me, it works for me, and I keep it. If it works for my clients, I use it. When it stops working for me or my clients, then I find a substitute. Period.

    And it’s “affect”, not “effect,” for your meaning. But that’s a common mistake. (The fancy lawyers I work with do the same thing all the time.) :)

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