WordPress slide presentation the WP Present way

Owning your content is sort of the WordPress way, right?

We publish a ton of data from our blog’s to our Facebook accounts. Instagram captures our memories and Twitter declares what we’re thinking at the moment.

But this is our data and we’re giving it large platforms that leverage it for marketing and promotion. Today we’re going to hear from another Slide Presentation plugin developed by Steven Word.

He’s going to position the product as something different than a big brand alternative — but hasn’t revealed exactly what that will be yet.

In the meantime put down that SlideShare account and dive into WP Present.

An interview with Steven Word creator of WP Present

Before we hear from Steven, check out the demo of his plugin in action here.

1. Give us your product info details (Name, url, contact info, founders, pricing)

Project: WP Present // http://www.wppresent.org // @wppresent
Founders: Steven Word // http://stevenword.com // @stevenkword

Pricing — The plugin will be free for anyone to download and use on their own server. Additionally, a free web service is coming soon that will offer premium add-ons, much like the WordPress.com model.

2. What was your “aha!” moment for building the product?

Roughly 6 months ago, I was working on redesigning my personal website and recalled having been impressed by some of the presentations from various WordCamps during the year. My thought was to use one of those JS libraries to add some aesthetically pleasing motion and transitions to my website. The project started out as a theme based on Automattic’s “_s” with the intention of acting as a homepage. A few months later, my employer is asking if I would be interested in giving a presentation at Boston PHP. That’s when it hit me; I had the groundwork already laid. By witnessing the painstaking amount of time it took some of my co-workers to put slides together using HTML, I knew there had to be an better way.

3. Do you have a potential business model for the plugin? License, recurring, SaaS?

I’ve always been drawn to the SaaS model. In fact, I really like the way that WordPress.com does it, and I’m leaning towards implenting a very similar model. By releasing the core product as open source, WP Present is more likely to get adopted by fellow developers and designers who in turn may contribute back to the project. In addition to the free plugin, I will also be offering a free web service where users can come and create slide presentations without having to run their own instances of WordPress. This service will offer various paid upgrades such as PDF export, themes, custom branding, etc.

4. Why this market? It seems that it could be super competitive with big players like a shared Google presentation, SlideShare.net etc

My plan has never been to disrupt Google presentation or SlideShare. Once the product is out of beta, it should become more obvious as to how I intend to market and differentiate the product from the tech behemoths. I have a very specific audience that I am looking to target, and I am hoping to capture the majority of attention on that front. Until then, I think I’ll hold my cards close to my chest.

5. Speaking of competition, what do you think of Jake’s (10up) plugin called seoslides.com?

This is somewhat of a funny story. I had asked Jake a few months ago about a “product” he alluded to during his panel at WordCamp San Francisco. At the time, he was pretty guarded. Fast forward to the end of October and just 24 hours before the beginning of WordCamp Boston, I unexpectedly discovered 10up’s new product was also a slide presentation plugin. I didn’t even have a chance to check it out until after I had introduced WP Present the following day. Let’s just say I think we have each other’s attention.

Now that the conference is over, I’ve had the opportunity to take a look at seoslides. The first thing that I noticed were some very obvious similarities to WP Present. Jake and I both come from the same quadrant of the WordPress community. We are both developers at the core and have spent extensive time working with the WordPress.com VIP team. As a result, we’ve both crafted our products the “WordPress.com” way, which mandates a strict set of quality guidelines and best practices. We have even used a few of the same icons, layouts, and wording in certain parts of our products.

However, appearances aside, there are some fundamental differences between WP Present and seoslides. In the creation of seoslides, the team at 10up has adopted a third party editor in combination with custom templates using HTML Canvas — a very impressive feat. I have taken a different approach with WP Present and have chosen to stick with WordPress’s native TinyMCE editor. TinyMCE is notoriously difficult to work with, however, using it means that WP Present is compatible with existing WordPress plugins. WP Present also allows slides to exist on 2 axes, as opposed to the traditional left and right layout, and it has more elaborate transition effects. On the other hand, seoslides appears to have more of a focus on cross-browser compatibility, which in my opinion hints towards the intended audience. Ultimately, I believe user adoption is going to come down to personal preference and the specifics of the task at hand.

6. What’s your biggest challenge right now and how do you expect to overcome it?

Without a second thought, the answer is marketing and funding. I’m bootstrapping this thing — working on it nights and weekends, outside of my day job, and with zero capital. I am hoping that by releasing the core software as open source that I will attract a few great designers and developers than can help push the project forward.

7. What potential do you see within the WordPress entrepreneurship ecosystem?

The WordPress ecosystem is massive and growing. With WordPress powering roughly 20% of the web, there are ample opportunities to explore as an entrepreneur. The trend has been moving from creating for the general to the specific, and I am not expecting this to change in the foreseeable future. We will see an increasing number of niche implementations utilizing WordPress, targeted at accomplishing much more specific tasks. I also believe there is an overwhelming opportunity for success with WordPress in the mobile market. The most difficult task is figuring out which path you want to take with your available resources.

8. If you had to do it all over again — would you pick the same path?

It is way too early to tell; ask me again in 6 months. As of right now, I have no regrets, and I am feeling very optimistic.


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