Recently, I was invited to visit Cleveland, Tennessee by my friends at Saturday Drive — the creators of Ninja Forms, Ninja Shop, SendWP and BonLife Coffee. I’ve know James Laws, CEO of Saturday Drive, since WordCamp Atlanta 2015. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know many of his team since then, but this was the first time I got to spend a few days seeing how they work, how they brew coffee and how I, as well as Caldera Forms could fit in.
I had a great time, and while my wife Alicia and I are firmly planted here in Pittsburgh, the choice for me professionally was very clear. Joining Saturday Drive was the best thing for me and for Caldera Forms. So, I’m very excited to be able to announce that Caldera Forms has been acquired by Saturday Drive and I have joined Saturday Drive as VP of Engineer Experience.
Nico Figueira, who has had the title of “Lead Developer In Training” since last summer, will be joining Saturday Drive as a full-time Caldera Forms developer. Other members of our team, will be coming along with us. Today is our first day at Saturday Drive, and we’re all very excited.
CalderaWP would not have been possible without Christie Chirinos, who created a sustainable business around Caldera Forms. With no funding, we created a viable competitor to products built by companies with 100 times our resources. Christie accepted a position at Liquid Web as product manager for their managed WooCommerce earlier this year. It’s been so cool to see my friend dive into a fresh new start, launch new initiatives and even give a keynote address at a WordCamp. I’ve been looking for a similar opportunity to learn from new people and grow as an engineer and leader.
I will be sharing more of this story on my personal site, and will do my best to thank the countless people who helped us get here. I am very fortunate to have a spouse that loves me and knows me so well, a family that is there for me, amazing friends and the support of the WordPress community.
In fact, we have a lot more to share. I’ve been dying to share this news, and you will hear more from me and James this week. If you’re a Caldera Forms user I want you to know a few things right now.
What You Should Know
Short-version: Thank you for your support. Thanks to you and Saturday Drive, we will soon be able to speed up development while lowering support times.
I Am Deeply Grateful
I am deeply grateful for your support. I can’t tell you how cool it is to see this plugin I helped build, build your site. Watching our user base grow rapidly through out 2016 as we crossed 100k active installs and then 200k in 2017, was an excitement that powered us.
This support paid for the computer I’m typing these words on and the clothes I’m wearing as I write them. Well, the t-shirt came free with WordCamp Orlando… Seriously, I’m deeply grateful.
I know I can’t make everyone happy, but when I get to meet Caldera Super-Fans, the folks who do more with our magic tags and conditionals than I ever could, it makes me really proud. More than that, it inspires me to figure out how to make what they see more obvious, more intuitive and faster.
What’s Going To Change
The last few months, Nico has been working as much as he can on Caldera Forms the free plugin. I have been working on Caldera Forms Pro 2.0, which is nearly ready, as well as major performance fixes for our Caldera Forms forms layout builder. I’ve also been busy with the acquisition, so I haven’t been able to ship the new stuff.
What’s going to change right now, for Caldera Forms is that Nico will have more time to fix bugs, add new features and will have more smart folks around to help. What’s going to change is that I’m going to be focusing on the features of Caldera Forms Pro and work on new products.
If it ever felt to you like Caldera Forms was a part time thing, that was true, it’s not true anymore. I’m wicked excited to see what we can do.
Caldera Forms Is Not Going Anywhere
Caldera Forms, as well as Josh and Nico have a new home. A new home where they know a thing or two about form builder plugins for WordPress. No one is going to make you convert your Caldera Forms to Ninja Forms. Caldera Forms remains open-source software that anyone can use or change.
I think Ninja Forms is great plugin, it’s different from Caldera Forms in a lot of ways that over the years have led me to tell potential Caldera customers that Ninja Forms is a better fit. We will likely make the switch easier to do in the future. We want to make sure every user of Caldera Forms and Ninja Forms are set up to succeed and that starts with choosing the right tool, whichever of our plugins you choose.
WordPress is changing, the web is changing and I think for the better. The tools available to us to make sites that are fast, secure and accessible are getting cooler every day. WordPress’ job is to make these technologies available to anyone from the drag and drop site builder to coder. That’s why I love this space.
I’ve spent the last few months talking with other developers, other WordPress product company owners as well as many outside of our space about what Caldera Forms and Ninja Forms do and how I think they need to evolve to adapt to the changing nature of websites and apps.
Of course, just like I’ve always done, I’ll be writing plenty of tutorials about how we do it, so everyone can learn together. I love to share what I’m working on.
When Alicia picked me up at the Pittsburgh airport from my trip to Cleveland, apparently it was totally clear to her what I wanted to do. On that trip, I saw the opportunity for Caldera Forms’ customers to be treated right, and to continue what I’m passionate about building. So much, I couldn’t stop talking about it.