The Winds of Change are Blowing at AppThemes

You may have heard the news – and it’s not particularly new news – that AppThemes added a new member to the team. Well I’m that new member and I would like to formally introduce myself.

I’m a graphic designer by trade but with a strong business sense due to the freelance work I’ve done over the years (a lot of years). My clients have ranged from tech start-ups to local realtors.

The knowledge and experience I’ve obtained from working with such a wide range of people has proved to be a huge asset which attributes to why David asked me to join AppThemes.

So what impact am I going to have at AppThemes and how is it going to affect you? At the top of my list are the following items:

Sticking to Delivery Dates with Better Project Management

David has put me in charge of managing, scheduling, and delivering all new products and updates on time. If we promise a delivery date for a product, I’m going to make sure we do it on time. Each project will be properly planned out in order to forecast a realistic delivery date. I will follow up with developers and get weekly updates. If I see that we are falling behind, I’ll make sure we commit more resources to that project. It is not OK change our deadlines and I’ll make sure that we don’t.

Be More Responsive

Our customers should be our number one resource. We work with our products everyday, but you are the ones that really put our products to the test. Since launching our Ideas Exchange late last year, your feedback has helped shape each new product release. We are appreciative of your input and pay attention to your suggestions.

Better Communication

I’ve been meeting with Yumiko (our lead community moderator) two to three times a week to better understand how she interacts with our community. She works closest with our customer-base and has the best gauge of what the most pressing issues currently are.

In the coming weeks, we will be working out better ways to respond to the community quicker and more effectively and finding new ways to incorporate community concerns into our products. When we succeed at doing this, you’ll likely see your ideas implemented into our products faster and better than ever before.

Make Our Products Even Better

For me, a big reason for joining AppThemes was the fact that the themes we make are so cool. Most WordPress themes just “move around the furniture”. Some themes add functionality but not a lot.

AppThemes is different – we create easy-to-use applications. I think that’s awesome. It enables people to do so much more than they would be able to with a standard “premium” theme.

As great as our themes are, I still think we can do better. There aren’t a lot of companies creating application themes but I want to make sure that AppThemes continues to lead the way. I want our themes to always be the best application themes available.

To do that, we need to continue to scale out and build our team. We already have some very talented developers on staff, but we need to hire more. David and I plan on attending several upcoming WordCamps and other local events looking for elite developers to join AppThemes.

We are also connecting with local universities and colleges to find new, up-and-coming talent. With a team of all-star WordPress developers on staff, we should be able to make sure no one makes better, more robust and feature-packed application themes.

So There You Have It

That’s what I’m here to do – plan, organize, communicate and improve. It might take some time to get things in great shape but I already have a good start. AppThemes is a very good company with talented developers and a great customer-base.

I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before things are in fantastic shape. I promise that I’ll be working my tail off until we get there. I’m excited to be a part of this team and believe that you will be excited about the results!

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 Comments (28)

  • Travell

    Hi Shannon,

    Good to meet you. I look forward to working more closely with you guys. I’m a current customer with some interesting tools coming down the pike to help other appthemers.

    Best,

    Travell

  • customer
    akoetsier

    Hello Shannon!

    Good to see some extra hands here, you have made the right decision 😉

    Also i see JR1.4 rolled out early , great stuff

    Good luck

  • customer
    jamesweb

    Howdy Shannon, welcome aboard 🙂 I have been testing the clipper theme with David for a while and look forward to chipping in on testing if you require on any other upcoming themes like vantage and so on. The deadlines and delivery of themes on time would be a massive plus for appthemes as some of the theme ideas have been around a while now as you know so getting them out in the wild would be super. Cheers for the update

  • Will R

    Welcome aboard.

    Anything that can help speed things up is good in my books. I agree about timelines and sticking to them. I know it can be hard but writing TBA for every theme and having progress bars that don’t move in periods of 6 months is not going to keep a very loyal customer base. It’s definitely something you guys need to sort out… and quickly.

    The ‘Vantage’ business theme we have all been waiting for over half a year now and it’s still stuck on 60% and none of us are any the wiser. So we have to go off and look elsewhere for websites or themes that we can use instead. I think you need to either stop biting off more than you can chew or stop releasing details of themes that are so far from completion.

    I understand you like to create a little suspense around the release of a new theme but there is a point where suspense turns into frustration and you lose the trust and support of your customers.

    Just my honest feedback.

    • staff
      David

      @Will, thanks for the feedback and we totally agree. We made the mistake of revealing Vantage way too early. With Shannon on board, things will get much better.

    • author
      Shannon

      Appreciate the “honest feedback”, Will R. Thanks for the welcome.

      I’m sorry if anyone feels like they have to go some place other than AppThemes to get what they need. We’ll do the best we can to keep up with demand. In the very least, you should have a better idea of what to expect from us.

      Looking forward to more feedback from you in the future. Thanks.

      • Will R

        David, Shannon,

        You guys are clearly trying to improve things and I know you will – just wanted to give you my point of view as I think it’s beneficial for you to know.

        I look forward to seeing your future themes and I hope it continues to be a great success for you guys.

        All the best!

    • Dave

      I agree with Dave, I almost gave up on Appthemes! I hope this addition improves the Customer relations and hope to get up to date news on the Vantage Theme.

  • customer
    kgoring

    Hey Shannon/David,
    It’s great that you were able to complete Jobroller 1.4.1. I’ve been waiting for it for so long and I hope that the new improvements will include the resume database that everyone’s been asking for. I need to be able to charge employers to view the jobseekers’ resumes that are submitted to the database. Otherwise, I look forward to all of your upcoming products.

    • author
      Shannon

      Thanks kgoring. Looking forward to upcoming products myself.

      As You mentioned, JobRoller 1.4 has been released. We’ll have a blog post soon that outlines everything that is new in JobRoller 1.4.

  • customer
    tbase

    Great news Shannon!

    As an Appthemes customer, I appreciate your straightforward demeanor and sincerity. I wish you and the entire AppThemes team much success, and look forward to your forthcoming products/services.

    All the best,

    tbase

  • Mike

    Hey Shannon,

    Welcome to the team. I hope your arrival will speed up bringing Vantage from designed PSD’s to an RC version soon.

    I have been holding off on purchasing alternatives but honestly not sure how much longer I can put off my project. To David – you guys make great stuff. Not sure why Vantage was put off when the demand for this product is through the roof.

    • staff
      David

      @Mike, we know the demand is there…just didn’t have the resources to finish it. Things will get back on track soon enough. Thanks for sticking with us!

  • Jon

    Hey Shannon, welcome aboard. I look forward to seeing what AppThemes can come up with in the future.
    On a completely separate note, I really like you cap :o)

    Take care

    JOn

  • Hazel

    Happy you are onboard Shannon.

    So can YOU tell us when we can expect Vantage? I have several projects I am working on and have been stalling them so I could get Vantage for them. If it will not be ready in the next 30 days can you at least tell us that? That would be very pro-customer to make an announcement on this to the many of us who have been waiting and waiting. We will appreciate you much more for it. Thank you kindly.

    • Eli

      My question exactly.

    • author
      Shannon

      Thank You for the welcome, Hazel. Please see my comment below about Vantage. I’ll have more news about Vantage and everything else AppThemes related coming soon.

      I look forward to working with David, Yumiko and everyone else in making AppThemes a more pro-customer business.

  • Ben

    Hi Shannon and welcome. I do appreciate your openness and honesty. We know David has been working hard to get everything out ASAP, especially the Vantage Theme, but it makes me more dedicated to AppThemes to see more people come on board and help work through the themes. I also like that you guys actually read and respond to the Ideas Exchange section.

    • author
      Shannon

      Thanks, Ben. All ideas from the exchange are emailed to David, Yumiko and I. We’re well aware of the requests being made and are working to incorporate these requests in a timely manner. Please keep the ideas coming.

  • Leo

    Shannon,

    Great decision!! So do you have vantage timeline set yet?

  • author
    Shannon

    For all those asking about Vantage, I do not have a specific timeline for You, yet. But I will have some news soon. I’m preparing a blog post that will outline our plans for the immediate future. At the moment, my focus is on getting production resources. Once we have more people on staff, I will have a better gauge on how quickly we can get these products delivered to You. I do want to mention, that Your desire to have Vantage is matched by my desire to get it to You as quickly as possible.

    Thanks for Your patience. More news coming.

    • Hazel

      Shannon,
      Do you have news yet on the release time frame for Vantage yet? I still have not seen any word on this theme and the progress status is just the same as it has been for quite some time. Please address this for the many of us who have been waiting for it. I cannot believe with all the plugins and themes for WP there are not some really good options for a business directory. Thank you Shannon.

      • author
        Shannon

        I’ll have a new blog post with a lot of new news online within the next couple of days.

  • customer
    vienna

    Hello Shannon, we all look forward to your guiding Appthemes projects through each development stage!

    May I suggest you check into this before 3.1 is released–I have posted and emailed about this to the higher-ups over the year past. NOW it’s YOUR turn to be my target for this “suggestion” for Classipress 3.1.

    my forum explanation.

    As I explain there in the forum with this Tutorial just these little changes in how a function as big and integral to Classipress as Add Custom Fields can open up some simple but radical possibilities.

    If a couple of code lines were simply modified then every custom field that the Admin creates would immediately identify its TYPE in its label.

    So with my suggested change a new Checkbox field named “Car_accessories” instead of being named “cp_car-accessories” in the Classipress database along with a Radio button custom field named “yes_or_no” that gets named “cp_yes_or_no”…these two become “checkbox_car_accessories” and “radiobutton_yes_or_no”.

    Just from querying the name of the field you can already differentiate the output of its values and give it custom styling and a custom function name.

    When I modifed CP several versions ago I was able to split out the Custom checkbox fields into their own custom styled unordered Lists (instead of comma separated lines).

    Please take a look at my link and see the logic of this. It creates shorter strings of values, too.

    But the main thing it makes possible is to create some custom queries that output the checkboxes and style them and place them on the page wherever you want. Same for Radio button values in the orginal form, same for custom text boxes.

    Thank you, Shannon

    • Hazel

      Vienna,
      They should hire you!! What a great job you did on this. Such a shame your help has not been embraced.

      I believe the companies that will survive and thrive are those who partner with their customers and understand most of the time the customer has the answers and the innovation a business needs to compete in the 21st century.

      Nothing negative to Appthemes but this is a classic example of how companies don’t listen as closely as they should and embrace their customers with action. I have been waiting for months on the Vantage business directory only to find in this thread it is really not even close. Lack of communication and moving on the fact this is what the customer really wants.

      P.S. You are sharp Vienna!

    • author
      Shannon

      Hello Vienna. I’d like to echo what Hazel said – customers are often the source of innovation needed to thrive in today’s economy. We certainly value the suggestions and ideas provided by our customers and community members. Many of the features in our products would not be there today were it not for the valuable input from You.

      To address the specific suggestion in Your comment, I can only say that I would need to review the dev list for CP 3.1. If it is not on that list, it is unlikely to be included in time for our June release. Our goal is to make the stated deadline. But that does not mean that this feature should not be added to ClassiPress. In fact, I will discuss this with our developers and get them to review it for possible inclusion at a later date.

      I would also like to add that any suggestion or feature request can be posted to our ideas exchange. We started the exchange to determine which features, enhancements, fixes, etc are most important to our customers. Since the most desired ideas are voted to the top, it is the best tool we have to determine where to put our resources. Moving forward, we will be putting extra emphasis on implementing these ideas more quickly. If You have not added this suggestion to the ideas exchange, please do.

      Again, I do appreciate the input and would like the opportunity to communicate with directly. Please send Your contact info support@appthemes.com and I will get in touch with You ASAP. I look forward to speaking with You.

Discussion is closed.