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A WordPress Misunderstanding.

If you develop or design anything to do with WordPress you may have experienced other people in another type of development business looking down on you. The other night this happened to me. I was having a discussion with a woman who lives and works for a company in Silicon Valley, California when things went very “Downhill” so to speak. Here is how it went.

I was visiting with one of my high school teachers. He was a prestigious Java developer for many years and one of my early coding inspirations. Him and I were discussing some of my brother and I’s most recent WordPress plugins. His daughter, which I had never met, was in town and was sitting at the table showing some of her friends her photos from her most recent trips around the world. Not knowing exactly what we were talking about she rudely butted into our conversation asking me if I was an app developer. I responded saying “No. I develop websites and also WordPress plugins”. As soon as these words left my mouth her attitude changed. “Ohhhh, never mind then. My company is looking for a app developer.” Interested to hear I began to speak with her about what the company does. Come to find out she works for a rather large database/App development company doing some type of project managing. She then tells me about how her “Architect” (fancy word for developer/coder) was telling her about how “Website development” in the next 5 years was no longer going to be relevant and that everything was going to be on mobile devices and tablets. “You should start learning app development.” she told me.

At this point I am laughing in my head and thinking to myself  “So, in 5 years you mean to tell me that the millions of websites will be useless?” This is madness and in my opinion could not be farther from the truth. This is only the beginning of website development! I am in no way saying that mobile and app development is not a very fast growing and necessary part of the internet but to claim that web development will no longer be needed. That is just a plain crazy and ignorant statement.

As the conversation progressed I could tell that no matter what I said, in her eyes, I am a “worthless” and “under her level” (WordPress) developer. She made rude remarks and said things I will not repeat. In no way did I provoke her to say these things . I definitely did not deserve this brutal attack of words. I stayed professional and kept my composure , although, honestly it took everything in me to do so. I let her go on and she began to tell me more about her company.

Ten or fifteen minutes later… she stopped talking. It was getting late and time for me to head home.  I said my good-byes to everyone else but saved her for last. I pulled out a card and with a smile on my face said to her “Hey, if you ever need anyone to design or develop anything custom for WordPress let us know.” She didn’t take my card. “Honestly, my interns could do that.” she said. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I shook my head and shut the door behind me.

On my drive home I had to pull over and take a deep breathe. I couldn’t focus on driving. This conversation irked me SO bad. In this moment I realized a few things.

First, that there are people out there that have a major misconception about WordPress and the people who design and develop for it. WordPress is an amazing platform and because it is a lot of people with little web experience can put together amazing blogs and websites. This creates something I will call the “Newbie Effect”. To people who don’t understand WordPress, we create something that even people with no web building experience can use. Suddenly, this somehow automatically makes some people think the designers and developers for it are inexperienced?  WOW! how backwards is that? The truth is that AMAZING coding and designing makes it so simple for anyone to use. If it wasn’t for us people would be struggling and paying way more in money and time for completely custom designs and code. We make the internet a much more accessible place.

The other thing I realized is if I would have been having a discussion with someone who was an actually web designer or developer that the conversation would most likely have been very different. “Why?” you might ask. Well, more often than not us designers and developers have a respect for each other and an understanding that other people may not know. We are here for a very important reason. We may have one of the possibly the coolest jobs on earth. We create a world in which people can be thousands of miles apart and still connect with each other. How crazy is that?!

In conclusion, if you work on a framework/platform, no matter what it is, don’t let people bring you down. We are just as important as someone who creates projects from scratch. I know one thing for sure. People can think what they want but I am PROUD to admit that my brother and I have and will continue to work on designing and developing WordPress products and websites.

Justin Labadie
SlickRemix Developer


  1. Justin, it’s become a running joke between my developer friends. I routinely give nonsensical answers to what I do rather than say I’m a WordPress developer because other IT people think WordPress is a sad little misfit toy.

    • True a lot of times its easier to talk with people about the html5/js/php/mySQL work we do then discuss WordPress BUT thats why I wrote this article to discuss the topic and see if others had the same issues I was. Makes me feel better to know we are not alone!

  2. Who the heck wants to pay an app developer thousands and then not be able to edit or modify anything years later. These shops are deluding themselves and their customers lack education as far as I can figure it.

    Reminds me of the days back when people discussed, “do you hand code or use Dreamweaver,” like a Dreamweaver designed site was somehow less impressive it wasn’t “hand coded.” Of course, now DW and hand coding is considered pretty old school now.

    App development’s future:
    It’s called WordPress, Parallax themes and/or HTML5.

    Maybe the definition of what an “App” is might be the better question.

    You can create what works like an “App” using WordPress and some nice responsive tricks. Of course, how it’s distributed and monetization of your WordPress “App” is a separate discussion.

    But then again, just a few years back, no one imagined 20% of the Internet would be WordPress.

    Jim Walker’s tech prediction of the day:
    WordPress will be fully HTML5 ready and be used by most of the “app” industry by 2016. Apple will likewise have a separate HTML5 app store, and other devices will follow that band wagon pretty heavily in coming years.

    In 2015 cheaper and internally managed will the key.
    The day of paying a MySQL db expert to develop your back end database has long since past. WordPress ended that.
    The day of the high paid “web designer” will have fully past by 2015 as well (if it hasn’t already).

    Today’s web designer is nimble, uses WordPress, integrates social media like it’s their morning milk on cereal, builds new client relationships like he/she does dating, and jumps on the latest tech to keep their customers amazed and wanting more!

    Enjoy the future!

    • Thanks for the great comments!
      I totally agree with you! I feel as though a lot of people don’t understand that WordPress is a force to be reckoned with!
      One thing I must say though is about this part of you statement “The day of the high paid “web designer” will have fully past by 2015 as well (if it hasn’t already).” I believe that we are in the middle of a big change! Although designers may not be getting paid a lot initially for designs it seems as though there may be more long term money to be made. Theming is a great example of this. its like “Create one design and sell it to everyone.” The same can be said for plugins and extensions!
      thanks again!

      • Yes, the days of maintaining a log relationship with client to squeeze as much $$$ from them as possible have long since gone.

        Reality check is that web designer’s get tired of their clients faster than clients get tired of the web designer.

        “Yea, I vaguely recall building that guy’s website- last month”

        And with the low cost of entry (there are a hundred and one WP designers per square mile now), a professional web designer is going to have a hard time trying to charge monthly “maintenance” rates, etc.

        It actually becomes a drain on resources to even try to maintain a long term relationship with a “new” client, who simply doesn’t get the need for maintenance, security, et al. But I digress…

        A term from the the old multi-level marketing days comes to mind in describing the general reality of today’s WordPress development market:


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