WP Engine Acquires StudioPress: The Future of Genesis Themes Is Stronger Than Ever
Posted on July 3, 2018
“If a company with greater resources than ours could demonstrate that they understand the multi-faceted value and go-forward potential of StudioPress and Genesis, it was worth considering. More importantly, any suitable successor to the brands needed to grasp the worth of the people within the vibrant community of designers and developers who have built businesses around Genesis, the broader StudioPress customer base, and our StudioPress team.”
Brian Gardner, StudioPress founder
That’s right, WP Engine, “the WordPress digital experience platform,” purchased StudioPress and their “themes and tools that make WordPress easier.” VP of Web Strategy David Vogelpohl says WP Engine is “investing heavily in Nathan [Rice] and the engineering team, and they’re excited for the next evolution of Genesis and the SP themes.”
That means the de facto community of businesses and sites who have built on and around Genesis aren’t going anywhere, 9seeds included.
We all go way back
To give you an idea of how far, we started this agency almost a decade ago. For that entire time, the Genesis framework has ridden shotgun on our journey. It’s been a core component of a vast majority of the bespoke custom sites we’ve built.
We benefit by bringing back what we learn from other frameworks and integrating it into our build process. So along the way we’ve dabbled with other frameworks, from _s to the latest compelling framework WP Rig. In the end, however, we always return to Genesis. We’re wiser for having taken the detour but get pulled back by the simple fact that Genesis is the hands-down fastest and most powerful framework for doing what we do.
9seeds hasn’t just been WP Engine customers since their inception. We’ve also been WP Engine agency partners since the very beginning. Over the years that program has given us a lot of inside access to WP Engine. It also offers insight into what’s coming and the ability to help shape some of that. I’ve been sincerely impressed by the resources WP Engine pumps into engineering and development.
While I occasionally drop the “I remember when WP Engine had five employees and I knew them all personally” line, when I visited their Austin offices last September it was hard to find someone I recognized to show me around. At that point, I think they were over 300 people occupying three floors. These days it’s 500+. That growth didn’t come at the cost of their service, either. We’ve interacted with WP Engine support hundreds (maybe even thousands) of times over the years, and they’re consistently great.
“There are many founding moments in a company.”
Two of 9seeds’ best friends getting hitched is awesome news. This is a landmark “founding moment,” and we look forward to seeing what it gives rise to.
Genesis has long been the much-favored and most robust framework for building WordPress sites. In recent years, there have been conversations within the WP Genesis community regarding the slow pace of Genesis development. Our team has often been appreciative of the deliberate, keep-it-simple methodology StudioPress practices. But there’s some legitimate concern about keeping pace with increasingly critical features like web accessibility guidelines, Google AMP, and that hot topic everyone’s talking about: Gutenberg.
So what now, then?
Brian Gardner addressed ongoing Genesis development, saying, “WP Engine has committed time, resources, and money toward the development of the framework and those who build around it.”
WP Engine leadership has been quick to assure the public that Genesis development and support will continue well into the future. They’ve also made it clear via social media channels that they’ll be honoring all existing customer commitments. Continued lifetime support, documentation, and upgrades for Genesis and StudioPress child themes were specifically mentioned. Pro Plus users will still have access to the full StudioPress catalog.
“I would characterize our attitude as ‘Genesis Community First.'”
Jason Cohen, WP Engine founder
As many of you know, we sell the Jessica theme both in our shop and via the StudioPress marketplace. WP Engine has confirmed that there’s no plan to change any existing third-party Genesis developer agreements, so Jessica will remain available in both places. You can also rest assured that (just like Genesis) we’ll continue supporting Jessica for a long time to come.