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Transition Plan for SP Retirement?
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Cherie Ve Ard
Member
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May 20, 2018 - 2:40 pm

First of all, as a software developer who has created and retired products of my own over the decades - I completely get and support the founders retiring. Everyone deserves quality of life. 

However, with that date coming up pretty quickly and no transition plan posted, I'm concerned about our own businesses future and the burden this retirement might place on us to have to scramble for a solution. 

Why was the only way we learned about it when we went to renew and only offered a 1-month 'Cooper' subscription? Did we miss an e-mail about the retirement announcement and subsequent updates on how this will/can impact us? 

In looking at the linked announcement posted last year, it seems there was hope of passing on the software to someone else - but seems that is not coming to fruition?

So what is the transition plan for exiting customers? What happens if the software is not passed off to others to maintain? How long will the software remain viable - and what are the options for migrating to other platforms while keeping our posts, users and other data?  

We selected SP because of it's WP focus - and other options we reviewed just didn't compare. 

 

Again, I fully support retirement. But I'm also feeling a bit blindsided by the lack of information and a solid transition plan in place for customers who have supported this project and built businesses & platforms around the SimplePress platform. 

 - Cherie

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Mr Papa
Simi Valley, CA
SP Master
Free Members
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May 21, 2018 - 1:16 am

Yes, we posted about the upcoming retirement almost a year ago... well, technically, we gave a year's notice of this coming end of July retirement, so only 10 months ago...   we wanted to make sure we met any membership commitments and had a chance to find a new home for simple press...  I apologize that you did not see that posting or the multiple other ones on the topic... No, we did not do a mass email...

at the time, we posted a desired transition plan - someone else pick up simple press and carry it forward...  we have had discussions with multiple folks, but nothing has come of it...  it is our strong desire (and that is an understatement) to have some pick it up and carry it forward...  frankly, this is large, complex piece of software and requires a commitment to develop and support it...  

Thus far, we have not found any other developers that have wanted to pick it up...  we continue to work on that...  If you know any developers interested, please send them to us...  I can only add that will be working diligently to find someone to take it over... Nothing would be more frustrating and disappoint to Andy and I than to simply abandon this great project...  We would also be receptive to any ideas you had on how to find a developer to take it over - thus far, our efforts have not borne fruit...

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Cherie Ve Ard
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May 21, 2018 - 9:07 am

Mr Papa said
Yes, we posted about the upcoming retirement almost a year ago... well, technically, we gave a year's notice of this coming end of July retirement, so only 10 months ago...   we wanted to make sure we met any membership commitments and had a chance to find a new home for simple press...  I apologize that you did not see that posting or the multiple other ones on the topic... No, we did not do a mass email...

It would seem then that only folks who saw the tiny little non-underlined link of "this article" on the renewal page or who regularly visit these forums would have been in the know. 

A mass e-mail to your entire customer base would be far more effective in keeping us all informed of your plans, and even potentially reaching an interested party in taking over the project.

Especially as you face a complete abandonment of the product in just 2 months with apparently no migration path in place.  

Nothing would be more frustrating and disappoint to Andy and I than to simply abandon this great project...  

You do realize that your customers who have supported your project for years will be left in quite a lurch when you "simply abandon" us?

You may be disappointed and frustrated, but not providing us tools & resources to migrate our data off to other platforms should you both not be able to find a new developer AND choose to proceed with full retirement... leaves customers who have built their platforms around your tools having to scramble to find new solutions. 

And you've, in my opinion, not given sufficient notice by not proactively outreaching to your customer base on this. While you shut off the option of not having unfilled membership terms, I would hope you feel some obligation to provide a smooth transition either by a successor or a solid migration path before you walk out and turn off the lights. 

I urge you to please answer these questions for us all:

  • What is the transition plan for exiting customers?
  • What happens if the software is not passed off to others to maintain?
  • How long will the software remain viable?
  • What are the options for migrating to other platforms while keeping our posts, users and other data intact?  

Quite simply - what exactly does 'simple abandonment' look like for us?

 - Cherie

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Cherie Ve Ard
Member
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May 21, 2018 - 9:36 am

I will also note, that not only are your retirement plans not clear to many existing customers - there is really nothing on your website that informs potential new Simple:Press customers that you're quickly approaching a potential full retirement & abandonment of the product.  

The only place one might find this is if they happen onto the 'News' section and see the 'The Next Year at Simple:Press' headline - of which there is no indication of retirement mentioned in the preview text on that page - it is a section within an update talking about future releases. 

Why is there no note on the front page, download page or membership sign up page that clearly informs someone that this project may be at near end of life and support may not be available after July?  

Why is there no update on that now 10-month old post that made no mention of abandonment, but only hope of a successor and "business as usual."?  You even stated "We, of course, will keep everyone up to date on the latest info as we progress down this path."

 

To a newcomer investigating their WP forum options, this website still looks like a thriving marketplace with intentions of moving on into the future. Or at the very least, with a transition well underway to a new developer.

People are making plans around utilizing this tool or not, and perhaps even actively integrating in the platform now. 

I know that is likely a feeling a potential new developer would want to see (ie. a future)  - but isn't it also not fair to be presenting things as business as usual when your plans are to "simply abandon" the project come July regardless if you have someone to take over?

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Mr Papa
Simi Valley, CA
SP Master
Free Members
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
May 23, 2018 - 1:24 am

emails are problematic (opt in vs out, spam, bad addresses, only recently have users needed email, etc)...  that said, we are contemplating doing such a thing or perhaps posting a news item (shows in forum admin - but we have received pleas to not be spamming there too!) that all current users would see..

we have always (the 12+ years we have been here) done updates on the site via blog posts or forum posts...  absolutely understand the issue there for non visitors but...  updates have occurred here in the forum but fair point on not posting more updates in the blog section - we probably should have been...

not all the answers you are looking for...  since we have not hard anything concrete as far as finding a developer to take over, any info or resources  you might have on doing that would be welcome...

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Kimberly A Hays
Member
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
May 23, 2018 - 10:18 am

I just happened to see a post regarding retirement and I took a minute to read it. I have been completely floored that your retirement means that my SimplePress will soon be obsolete. 

You really must reach out and tell your customers. Have you considered reaching out to WordPress and asking them to post a notice in the WordPress Events and News section?

You also need to put a big notice on your internet advertising. Right now it states..."The Forum Plugin for WordPress. Welcome to Simple:Press - the number one forum plugin that integrates seamlessly into your WordPress website."... 

You should put a big notice on your website that states something like. "To all of our customers, and those considering becoming a customer, we regret to tell you SimplePress will be retiring August 1st."

You have the Number One plugin for a reason. I know you don't want your legacy to be ruined because you have not found someone to carry on. I have no idea who would take over my website myself if I could no longer keep it up.

Instead of trying to find someone to take it over, put your energy into figuring out what we should do. Seek out advice from others have handled a situation like this. I am sure there is someone who has faced a situation like this.

I believe in you, Mr. Papa. YOU are the reason this platform ran so well. Even if someone took the business over, they would never run it as well as you did.

Communicate to your customers! Start a "SimplePress Retirement" Forum and put it right up front. I know I am going to get to work figuring out what to do next!

Kim Hays

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Yellow Swordfish
Glinton, England
SP Master
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
May 24, 2018 - 12:28 pm

We really are working on it.
One thing you say however is not really accurate. SP will not become 'obsolete' over night. The only way that would happen is if WordPress core made a dramatic change that needed us to change SP code. This has happened before but it is rare.
Bottom line is if SP is working now it should continue to do so for rather a long time. And if we have still now found a new owner by our 'retirement' date this does not stop us from continuing to look and talk to people.

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YELLOW
SWORDFISH
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Kimberly A Hays
Member
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
May 24, 2018 - 12:54 pm

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

That’s all I needed to know. 

I so appreciate you responding and I hope you and Mr. Papa enjoy your retirement. 

Best – Kim 

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Cherie Ve Ard
Member
Pro Subscribers
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
May 24, 2018 - 12:54 pm

SP will not become ‘obsolete’ over night. The only way that would happen is if WordPress core made a dramatic change that needed us to change SP code. This has happened before but it is rare.

This very shift is precisely what makes SP obsolete pretty much immediately for some of us. 

My business model depends on offering a forum for our members to field their questions. I can not continue to rely on a solution that will not have support going forward. The time to address our forum software is not when WP rolls out a change that breaks SP once and for all. If SP is being abandoned, we must seek (and now invest huge amounts of time, effort and development dollars) into another solution to ensure our customers continue to be supported. 

 

You have, and continue to, market your software as a number one solution, and it has been a fantastic solution for us for the past 4 years.

We have invested heavily with our developers to integrate it and customize it for our needs. We have hours upon hours invested in learning the platform and instructing our members & staff in how to utilize it. We have happily paid our membership fees here to support the project and keep updates coming (I even just renewed for a month so I could even log into type this reply). 

 

That you are just over 2 months from turning out the lights, have made no transition plans for your customers (ie. tools to help us successfully move to another platform), or have not even made pro-active announcements to your customer base - really speak poorly as to your respect of those of us who have invested in this platform. 

I assure you, no SP user or customer will consider it 'Spam' to receive the all important & critical news that their forum software is about to be abandoned. It is absolutely essential you inform them and give them adequate time to adjust as needed. 

 

Like I said at the beginning of my thread - I totally respect & support your desire and right to retire. But please do so with honor to those who have built their websites/businesses around the solution you obviously poured a lot of your hearts into. 

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Mr Papa
Simi Valley, CA
SP Master
Free Members
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
May 28, 2018 - 6:55 pm

we have blasted a news update on this topic to all current simple press users - thanks for the prodding as it was needed...

we are also widening our search for someone to pick up the plugin...  if you know and good locations to post about it, please let us know...  or if you know any developers that might be interested...

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