It is no exaggeration that I have spent more time using Oxygen Builder and writing tutorials on it than with my family for the last 3.5 years.
In light of today’s announcement in Facebook by Louis Reingold, the CEO of Soflyy (makers of Oxygen) in the Oxygen group about the alpha launch of their new WordPress site builder named “Breakdance” it would be a disservice if I do not express what I feel about the whole scenario.
- Creating a new builder that targets Elementor and Divi users is a good decision.
- Breakdance not being a LTD (1-time payment) is a good decision.
- It will be at least
25 years before Breakdance can reach the market share of E and D – if at all.
- Louis should have spent some time getting to know the Oxygen community and created a poll to ask how many are ok with a new rewrite of Oxygen that was not backward compatible. He just assumed that majority will be against it. In a way, this is like the WP foundation deciding on the direction of Gutenberg w/o community input.
- Backward compatibility is the death of progress. Soflyy did the right thing by rewriting v2. They should do the same now or should have done this 3 years ago when they began working on Breakdance.
- They should have hired a PR person and let him/her handle such announcements.
- You can not sell something to a community (esp. something you started) unless you actively engage with them and understand their needs and priorities.
- “Breakdance” is an unprofessional & ludicrous name for a site/page builder and to spend $42000 on that “brandable” domain name is foolishness. What a waste! My first thought when I read that was “Seriously mate, were you drunk?” and it is still the same after 13 hours.
- They could have instead spent that amount on hiring more developers and marketers/educators to fix bugs, add features, write tutorials, create videos on Oxygen.
- The mistake they are doing is by investing more money and resources (more devs working on Breakdance team than on Oxygen currently) into Breakdance than Oxygen. They should be prioritizing both equally ideally. Yes, I understand Oxygen is a more mature product but there are a number of bugs to be fixed and features to be still added.
- They should switch to a recurring subscription for Oxygen for new users.
- Be more transparent by having a roadmap.
- They should be proactive and not reactive in improving Oxygen.
In summary, here’s how they can restore faith and stop exodus of their existing user base from Oxygen to Bricks or other builders:
- Public roadmap.
- Promise an increase in pace at which bugs are fixed and features are added and do it.
- Assure that they will try to include the features of Breakdance that are missing in Oxygen in Oxygen.
- Improve Oxygen website.
- Hire professionals to pump useful tutorials (written and video) that the community wants on a daily basis.
Their current/past pace of development of Oxygen is not going to save them in the long run. Bricks will eat away their lunch if they only continue what they have been doing.
Louis asked during the live call if users had any suggestions for them to better market Oxygen. Simple. Build a product that sells and markets itself. You do not have to market anything if the product you build is so well made that your users market it for you.
I was there when iThemes Builder died a slow death. I was there when Genesis died a slow death. It would be a shame to have Oxygen get the same fate. It is avoidable.
All that said, there is a reason Louis is the CEO of a million/billion/whatever dollar company and I am not. He has more knowledge, experience and the data to do what he did. So my above comments might prove to be wrong in the long run. Only time will tell..
Will I continue using Oxygen? Yes and no.
Yes – so I can help other users and keep tutorials on it in this site.
No – for sites I build for myself or clients that don’t care what is used to build the site. I’ve switched to Bricks.
Should you switch from Oxygen to Bricks or another builder? Probably not. There is no visual builder that is as powerful and complete as Oxygen at this time (well, other than Pinegrow). Only switch if you have tried (as in actually building a real website) the other builder you are interested in, you like/enjoy it and if it makes financial sense to your business and circumstances. The choice of a site/page builder is entirely a personal preference.