The "hit by a bus" factor


We are a small web shop with an in-house CMS but we are evaluating moving to an OSS based system. After an initial evaluation of several popular and recommended CMS's we really like Concrete5. It seems to do several things (like in-line editing) right that other systems get wrong.

Our main concern is with the size of the community. Principally, this relates to the number and quality of themes and add-on's available.

However, there is also the hit-by-a-bus factor. What happens to C5 if Franz Maruna or other key person is hit by a bus? Does C5 live on?


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mkly replied on at Permalink Reply
I imagine he'd be more likely to get hit by the max train.
LucasAnderson replied on at Permalink Reply
Regardless of what he gets hit by, as awesome as he is I think the system would survive. It's open source after all, and life expectancy is one to the greatest features of open source software. It means that no matter what happens to the original core team, the project lives on with the community.

I think you can negate that worry. Besides, Franz is as strong as an ox.
wagdi replied on at Permalink Reply
God forbid, huh?!!
JohntheFish replied on at Permalink Reply
On the number and quality of themes and addons, with other CMS you get lost looking for the one galley/commerce/slider (delete as applicable) addon that works amongst a whole host that dont. With C5, you have difficulty finding any addons that don't work.
frz replied on at Permalink Best Answer Reply
This is a really good question.

As flattering as it is to be mentioned, it's probably Andrew you
should think good thoughts for more than I. If I were to get hit by a
bus..... (aside: how about we say burnout and move to Tahiti? that
sounds more fun) concrete CMS inc would have business challenges but
the core would be fine. Assuming my will or Tahitian get away plans
are at all well constructed, there'd be a period of awkwardness
followed by what would likely be a more profit driven direction moving
forward. Perhaps that might not even be a bad thing in the big
picture. (dreams of palm trees....ahem.)

If Andrew decided some hula girls sound better than managing pull
requests, we'd lose a lot of knowledge. Like any complicated system
documentation is not its strongest point and theres a lot of quirks
and corners that really the CTO knows why/how/what is there the best.
At this point however, he's far from the ONLY person who knows most of
it, he's just the most central. Ryan here at the office has been with
us for many many years and has a solid sense of what's going on.
There's also a number of large companies whose names I can not mention
that depend on concrete5 for their websites and have built internal
expertise with concrete5 that impresses us constantly. We were
recently visiting a 4g wireless provider who you all know and learned
that they had extended the versioning system to have multiple active
versions so they could make it work with their staging->production
environment. To me that amounts to open heart surgery on concrete5 but
they pulled it off with complete confidence. cool stuff.

The key thing to remember here is it really doesn't matter for the
stuff you're building. The version of concrete5 you choose to use is
out there and will be for free for ever. We can't change license
models on you, we can't up a yearly fee like any commercial vendor
might. If you've built hundreds of sites for your clients on
concrete5.4 and you don't like 5.5, then don't upgrade. That's the key
thing to tell your boss. Yes, you might lose the innovation that I'd
like to think Andrew and I bring to the table, but you'd never lose
the version of concrete5 that you have. Through the hundreds of
thousands of folks who depend on it, its safe to assume the community
would rise up and at the very least keep security patches and bug
fixes coming.

By the way, in my will I give it all to mnkras.


best wishes

Franz Maruna
Mnkras replied on at Permalink Reply
Just saying, that would be awesome, not the you getting hit by a bus part, the part at the end. ;)

mkly replied on at Permalink Reply
"...followed by what would likely be a more profit driven direction moving forward"

duuuudddeeee.... don't you dare start thinking about the VC lottery. That was my number 1 reason for getting into this platform.

EDIT: I should add that you are free to do what ever you want. It would just break my heart.
mkly replied on at Permalink Reply
That is unless you want to do it 37signals style. I'm down with that one.
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
ha! I wouldn't touch VC with someone else's stick at this point. Check
this post I made over the weekend:

I just meant to say what drives me (and Andrew) is cool ideas, making
the world a better place, having fun, and freedom. Money is something
that can help or hurt your pursuit of any of those. I'm a firm
believer that not all money is good money and life is mostly about
what you say "no" to.

If I were to go Tahitian, the company would become more owned by the
company staff, and some new management would come along. That new
management might not be quite as quirky as I, but it certainly
wouldn't be Sequoia. As much as I think I'm totally awesome, in
complete hypotheticals I could see someone who would never wear Jorts
on video making concrete5 grow faster than even I have been able
to.... I guess.

Regardless, we're very profitable, our weekly downloads increased 517%
last year, we're not going anywhere. If some act of God did remove
Andrew and I from the picture, there's too much upside happening
already for concrete5 to not become someone else's baby.

best wishes

Franz Maruna
mkly replied on at Permalink Reply

Sorry, I feel like we got off topic with your questions. But maybe what happened kind of sums up concrete5. It's really the people.

It may not be the largest community, but I think you would be hard pressed to find as patient, considerate and knowledgeable people who respond with not quite SO speed, but pretty darn fast. There are a core group of community members who are really committed to helping this thing grow and prosper.

It might not have the largest selection of addons, but those addons are vetted by both developer peers(meaning it's a considerably more transparent process than most) and the core company itself. Meaning they typically work, and addon developers are expected to make sure they keep working and(the most important part) respond to support requests.

It might not be the largest company, but the CEO just answered your question and the CTO responded to a post I made a couple hours ago. Also, concrete5 has actually been around for a while(went open in 2008) and as @frz just said, is "very profitable".

So come for the in-context editing, but stay for the people.
frz replied on at Permalink Reply
we have three beers on tap too.

(just throwing that out there.)

best wishes

Franz Maruna
mkly replied on at Permalink Reply
oh man... just call me and I'll be there. Long trip though.

Best thing about that article you posted was this comment
"It is also good for the employees of the companies. Instead of working on a startup 24/7"

That is like the most under reported part of VC/startup culture. Until you have a friend that gets a job for 80k a year and thinks he's rich until he or she realises that they are about to work 100 hours a week for the next year or two, you really don't get what's really happening there.
RadiantWeb replied on at Permalink Reply
firstly, welcome.

To add to other comments, the system is a team effort. There a number of very capable and talented developers that currently make C5 happen. Andrew for one, matt..ect.

But then also, C5 is working on improving it's community contribution through GitHub. Several of us put into the alpha and beta stages of 5.5.

For me the question is not what happens, but more , where does it go from there? Of which I am of the opinion that if at some point it's just not something that you can support any longer, you are free to fork it. You can legally go start Concrete6 all on your own.

But, honestly speaking...knowing the quality of developers here, many with Rails backgrounds, I don't see C5 turning to crap anytime soon :-)