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Southern (Re-)Fried DNN, and insight on the DNN Store

By Jason Stone

 

Brian Dukes and I have returned, fully recovered from the clanging of cowbells, shouts of "YEE-HAW!" and shots of moonshine at yet another successful Day of DNN -- Charlotte's Southern Fried DNN.

I think it's fair to say that Brian and I experienced the weekend differently, his view colored by his technical prowess (he was there as a returning expert speaker - read his perspective here) and mine by my hopes of connecting with future clients, partners, and potential candidates for employment here at Engage, but we both came home happy to have gone.

It was my goal to convey to the community what Engage has become from what it used to be. Where we were a training firm, that grew to become a top-tier module provider, we then grew further to become what we are today -- a DNN Gold Partner, focused on projects that go beyond DNN out of the box, pushing the envelope of what DNN can do for businesses and organizations around the country and around the world. 

The majority of the successes of my weekend centered around the one-on-one interactions I had at the Engage booth as folks came by to pick up schwag (I Heart DNN tees and Engage-orange themed foods and drinks flew off the table, so we must have been doing something right). I can't share those conversations here, but I also run our DNN store presence for our remaining modules, so I took advantage of sitting in on a presentation by Will Morgenweck, who having successfully led the DNN team to a "far beyond expectations" release of DNN Social, has now been tasked as General Manager of the DNN Store. While modules are no longer our bread and butter, I'm happy to share my takeaways from his pitch, to pass on what I learned:

  • Many questions posed to Will began with "I'm new to DNN..." and that's great! What DNN needs as much as anything is a constant influx of new blood. There are more than 2,000 CMSs out there. It takes a lot of work and commitment from its community for DNN to stay at the head of the pack (currently just steps behind WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, vBulletin, and ExpressionEngine among the Top 100,000 sites on the Net according to web tech tracker, BuiltWith).
  • If you're going to play in the Store, commit to playing big (as a business effort, not a weekend hobby) or put your efforts into free work at the open source Forge. Even DNN knows there's too much to be had in the store, so they're pushing for quality over quantity going forward.
  • Store improvements are in the wind (to be fair, we've been hearing this for a long time, so this is an "I'll believe it when I see it" moment for me, but my hopes remain high. Will specifically mentioned a solution where DNN will share with developers the known voids in the market place that buyers need filled by new modules.
  • If you're the best of the best in the store, there's money to be made (figures as high as $450K/year were hinted at).
The timing of the presentation was of particular interest to me. As you may have noticed in your visit today, this is a relatively new site for Engage. With our focus now on our Enterprise development work, all of our modules have been moved to their own site, engagemodules.com. We'll be staying in the Store for the time being, but watching with one eye to see where everything is headed.

All-in-all it was a trip well spent, but we're already looking forward to seeing friends again at the next DNN event. Huge thanks to the folks at QCDUG for the event as well as to our fellow sponsors for supporting it.
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