Open Source & Strategy
Some very cool people in Japan have taken the lead with concrete5 there and will be demoing it at on Open Source conference this month. If you happen to be in Japan, or have a lot of disposable income and are looking for an excuse to jump on a plane and head there on short notice…. here ya go!
Usagi Project will attend Tokyo OSC with concrete5 Japanese version.
Tokyo Open Source Conference 2009/Spring
Japan Electronics College Building No.7
Shinjuky, Tokyo, 169-8522
RSVP the seminar at
Also you can just show up at our demo booth during the event.
Feb 20 (Fri) 10:00am -5:30pm
Feb 21 (Sat) 10:00am -4:30pm
Date & time for first meeting
Feb 20 (Fri) – 21 (Sat) (Seminar starts on Feb 21 11am)
We've gone a little dark new builds of c5 since osCon because we've been fully dedicated to this rebuild of SchoolPulse.com. We're making it all out of c5 and it's gonna be sexy, easy to use, and provide a lot of great blocks back to the project. It's consumed every waking hour from everyone I know for the last two weeks and weekends. It's launching next week.
In the meantime, here's an email thread I had recently with a new c5 fan where I lay down some of the ideas and plans we've been putting together as we watch our baby take off here:
> General feedback was submitted to ConcreteCMS.com. Here is the information.
> Name: Dennis
> congrats on your CMS! we are impressed and actually thinking about using it for our clients.
> we are a design agency based sydney australia and have a variety of clients, from local hairdressers to government departments. we are looking to use an open source cms to use for our small to medium sites. your system so far seems to be the most user friendly one.
> I have worked with other systems before, like joomla and wordpress, etc. now all of them have a massive following and ten thousand different modules, while your system seems to have a limited amount of modules (which is actually quite nice). but what if we need a certain module? could you develop it for us and can we re-use it on projects?
> let's say a blog – writing an article, getting comments (display upon approval), etc – is something like this already developed? if not how much would it be – just an estimate as the specs are a bit vague obviously?
> and last but not least, would you feature us on your page as design partner if we return the favor?
> that's it for now from my side.
> looking forward to hearing from you.
It's nice to hear from more folk as excited about c5 as we are. Thanks!
In short – yes.
1) I think c5 would be perfect for your shop. We too have been frustrated by the lack of coherent control, or scalable architecture in many of the CMS solutions available. We plan to always keep the core of c5 simple and approachable. It's our belief that most website development challenges can be solved with a dozen or two well architected blocks, and that's what we'll be shooting for as we continue to get to the "perfect core" in 2008.
2) We do have a guestbook and blog structure in a previous version of concrete that we'll be migrating as part of that "core tools" library, I'm sure. Also slated for that: more easily customized navigation controls, multi-lingual interface, a cleaned up advanced permission model (which right now has to be turned on and isn't quite as elegant as the rest of c5.)… all sorts of more useful goodies..
3) We will be launching a marketplace for blocks and themes shortly as well. If you as a third party developer are interested in making and reselling either, you'll be able to do it there easily. We'll also have a job board and something similar to etsy.com's alchemy where you can request or pledge for developments to c5 that other developers could build for. We're thinking there will be a 10% commission for the c5 core team, and there may be paid placement opportunities on that site as it matures as well.
4) There will also be a hosting site. It won't be the cheapest place in town, but it will have a very stable centralized version of c5 running with some nice backup/redundancy options.
5) I would love to feature your email and this reply on our blog at concreteTheStudio.com if that's amenable to you. Show me some sites built out of c5 and we'll talk about the Support page of concrete5.org, if you're interested in that as well.
if you're ever in pdx, beers on me.
ps: i love your site. nicely done.
Well no one on our end posted to you, because you're quite clear that Beta projects shouldn't be posted in your rules… and yes.. we read rules.. sometimes.
However, someone from your end must of been at osCon because we appeared on your site a few days ago. Here's a snapshot of our google analytics for the last month:
Gotta say, we were gonna wait till we had a release we were calling final before posting to you,OpenSourceCMS.com. The fact that we just magically showed up is great! We'll just take that as a pat on the back that what we consider Beta is pretty damn stable, and we'd like to say thanks.
(ps: hey reader, wanna help? vote for us on their site. when they first added us they linked to our demo in such a way that it wouldn't work so we got some low votes that are messing up our average.)
So we're all home relaxing after two grueling days at OSCON. Maybe "grueling" is the wrong word; we had a great time and met a lot of really interesting people, and we got to talk our jaws off about Concrete5. (The phrase "PHP-based content management system" becomes kind of a tongue-twister after a while.) I didn't get much of a chance to check out the other exhibitors' booths, because we had a constant stream of people checking out our stuff and I felt compelled to verbally inundate them all with how great Concrete5 is. I did, however, get a chance to utterly destroy Franz at a two-foot-high game of chess, met and Facebook-friended Facebook, and gave a whole lot of people screwdrivers. If any of you OSCON attendees find your way over here, thanks for giving Concrete5 such a warm reception. We're worn out, but we had a blast.
one week later, we're ranked 800 out of 179,523 projects on sourceforge, with over 150 downloads. We've got handful of people helping in various countries, we're hard at work on our hosting and marketing materials… Our booth for osCon2008 is purchased, we're hoping to leave that event with 30 active developers contributing their time… we've basically got 6 weeks to get ready… very exciting…
So I originally architected Concrete CMS in a nice little bar in SE Portland to deal with an adCouncil gig we had with too many stakeholders and not enough time. That was many years ago, and since the early days my dear friend and comrade Andrew Embler has taken the loose direction outlined in my sketchbook of "blocks and collections" and made it work on fixed budgets for demanding clients. Concrete has had some really compelling concepts since those early days, but like any box of tools you use hard – there's some idiosyncrasies that drive you up the wall. Being the guy finally responsible for training clients, and getting content into working sites that make sense – I've been looking forward to getting my hands on the complete re-haul concrete5 for some time. I've peered over shoulders a lot, but today was the first time I got to play with it on a site I need to deal with.
"Okay so let me get this straight, when we first spoke it was $13k to own it, and now its free? Are you sure about this?" a dear friend and repeat client who runs an agency just asked me.
I get that you want to provide for your family, sooo what are you thinking?
Are we going to offer a "freemeium" model where you get crippleware for free and the useful parts in expensive add-ons?
Are we going to have a different license depending who you are?
Are we going have a donation button or something?
Yes, but it will point to our favorite charity, which can do more good with the cash than us.
So I give up, why do you think destroying your perfectly viable license revenue is going to provide stability and creative freedom?
Here's what I see. The biggest challenge my crew has is bizdev. We're not perfect at everything, but we sure can deliver sweet stuff and we improve every day, execept for sales.
We've only really won good gigs through word of mouth. We've tried just about everything, and without marrying yourself to a particular vertical, it's very difficult to define a meaningful marketing strategy for a web/IT services company that wants to do "cool stuff." From my experience you do your best, and try to cultivate as many life long associates and friends who will recommend you as you go.
As the network slowly grows, things get easier over time, but it doesn't really deliver with security and creative freedom if it ties you to a limited local gossipy scene. (yeah i said it).
So while completely giving away something we have and can charge a lot for, we're actually doing ourselves a practical favor. Sure, we'll be giving up a revenue stream, but we're dropping a expensive business development challenge that we've never been good at or interested in solving. We certainly will still spend some real resources to make Concrete5 known – but a lot of that can be our time instead of cash. Moreover, if what we've been working on all these years is really as good as we think it is, we stand to jump-start a process that would traditionally take much longer. I'm interesting in seeing what a larger open source developer community might contribute to the project from a code standpoint, but I'm hungry for their evangelism about concrete5 to their clients. I don't need (or want) to own every dollar that is made off of concrete5. Why not just get out of the way and respond to opportunities as they arise as thousands of people deliver concrete5 powered solutions to their clients?
That's the practical reason to go "free beer." The real one is better:
Content management is a basic human right.
It costs next to nothing to write your thoughts on a piece of paper and nail it to a door, it should cost about the same to make a basic website without it having to be a blog. If we can do that, we'll win one way or another.
Concrete has been around since 2003, this major version update that has been a year in the works and is major version release 5. While our content management system has always been "open source" to our clients, who paid for it; this is the first fully "free beer" open source release we've done. We're giving away our secret sauce and we're thinking how to protect the years and millions in development that have gone into it.
We've come to recognize it's the brand. We will trademark our name as Concrete5™ – and make money by being the official host, trainer, documenter, and support provider. Conversely we may look at any of those roles and tap a better suited partner as an "Official Concrete5 Solution" in return for some license or revenue model.
The Ruby on Rails guy looks to have similar ideas around his brand and license model, which is also MIT.