In the past week the forum has gone into full meltdown with users speculating whats is going on at thirty bees. Are we going out of business? What are we working on? Where have we been. I am going to set the record straight today, give some insights, and hopefully make everything easier for the future.
Neither Michael or myself are wealthy. We have to balance our time with thirty bees and our time making income to support our families. thirty bees does not make us money. In all, thirty bees does not make enough money to pay for thirty bees bills. Let me break everything down just so the community can see the actual position we are in with thirty bees.
The time invested in thirty bees
A lot of the time we invest in thirty bees is not evident. We have private repositories that the public does not see. Even if there are no commits to our repository that the general community can see, things are happening behind the scenes that are not obvious. Here are some good examples:
We have recently had to refactor our module API that feeds shops lists of modules to install. In the future we are moving to a system that will no longer feed module suggestions to the module page, it will feed them to a dedicated suggested module page. This page will be localized by country and language. So you can see only suggestions of modules that work in your area.
A refactor has also been started on the updater. The current way the updater is designed just does not make sense going forward. It takes too long to build updates on our end. If we can get it refactored in a way that works better and is quicker to deploy, we can push updates in a quicker fashion. We want to in the end draw most all information from the GitHub API where we can create builds programmatically and not have to hand build each update.
The time spent on posting to the blog is just not sustainable in the long term by one person. I have reached out to several community members to help with posting on our blog, but in the end no one has taken up our offer. Each blog post takes us around 6 hours to put together and post, with some of the blog posts taking much longer. An example of where the time goes is the Google Analytics module updates. The first blog post where we added Google Optimize to the module. Between the developer post, the main blog post, and the documentation 12 hours was spent. Another 4 hours was spent adding the feature to the module, testing that it actually worked, and then building and releasing the module to the API. When the anonymized IP address feature was added to the module, that was a 8 hour blog post when you include the changes to the module, the post itself, and the testing and releasing of the module.
While doing all of these things we are constantly trying to reach more people with thirty bees. We are trying to contact more companies about partnerships, having meetings with other companies to develop terms for partnerships, and other integrations. We also spend a lot of time reaching out to other developers to see if they will support thirty bees with their modules. The back and forth here is also time consuming. It is also not evident when you look at the project.
The fact of the matter is the project is not dead. We are focusing on things to help speed up the project in the long run and grow the project as well.
Income for 2017
- Patreon – $280.63
- A2 Hosting Partnership – $360.00
- Service Purchases from Store – $200
- Random Paypal Donations – $128
- Cloudways Partnership – $126.60 (has to be $200 before is actually paid)
Spent for 2017
- Hosting – $2,280
- Theme Purchase for Website – $60
- Plugin Purchases for Main Website – $120
- Backup Service for Server – $180
- Mailchimp Account – $1220
- Image Licensing Expenses – $120
- Business Overhead (licensing, filing expenses) – $360
- Hootsuite Account – $18.00
- Demo Server Hosting and Test Server Fees – $490.11
- Press Releases and Media Distribution – $369.45
Where we are at
The hard fact of thirty bees is Michael and I have to work at our other jobs to be able to make money to pay the bills that thirty bees creates. thirty bees was never a get rich venture. We did not start it with plans of becoming rich. In the past year we have turned down several offers from companies that would have added much needed revenue to our coffers. One such deal was with a fraud prevention company. They wanted all transaction data sent to them no matter if the user has an account with them or not. While several of our competitors do this, we decided against doing this. Maybe misguidedly, but we value our and our users privacy more than selling it out to make a few dollars.
At the same time we have also partnered with several payment gateways, but the revenue from those partnerships only kicks in after a threshold of transactions are made, our users currently have not passed that threshold of transactions. As most of you in the community know the revenue streams that both Michael and I have relied on for the last several years took a huge hit. I know personally close to 40% of our clients have migrated away from PrestaShop and software based around it. This makes it harder to generate the revenue with our existing companies to support thirty bees.
What we are going to do
After reading the forum posts from the community we have decided to involve the community more with the project. This is a decision that we want to work, but at the same time we have to handle carefully. Over the weekend I am going to come up with a way to more involve the community in different aspects of thirty bees no matter what your skill sets are.
For now I am going to create a topic on the forum so we can have a discussion about thirty bees and the future of thirty bees. We have always tried to be as open as possible with our community about our plans going forward and the struggles that we are facing. Maybe it is time to be even more open.