Happy 5th birthday, Theme Hybrid!

A couple of weeks ago, a relative and I were talking about work. As usual, it was some complaint about the hospital or the people working there. I tried to lighten the mood a bit by saying, “At least you get to wake up each day and do something you love.” The response was that nursing wasn’t something she loved to do; it was just a job.

I understand that people work jobs they don’t want. I’ve been there and done that. Hauling hay and watermelons as a teenager comes to mind. But, it always amazes me when someone who went to college and stayed in their chosen career doesn’t feel some sense of gratification for the work they’re doing. It’s just another job to them.

I’ve been fortunate enough to do work that I truly love doing for 5 years now.

Each morning, I open my iPad (used to be the laptop) and immediately check emails, the support forums, comments, and so on. I often do this before ever rolling out of bed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always excited about doing these things. They’re just habits that I’ve formed over the years (whether healthy habits or not). However, I am doing work that continues to excite me, sometimes in ways that I’d never imagined.

It’s hard to imagine working a job that I don’t love doing. I feel like I finished paying those dues 5 years ago.

Where it all started

My father doesn’t remember this conversation, but I remember it well. It was just another day at the office for him as a father. For me, it was a pivotal moment in my life.

In 2007, just before graduating from Auburn University, I told him that I wanted to “work online” as a career. Yeah, could I have been any more clueless? He basically gave me a reality check and told me to get a real job. In fact, that’s exactly what I done.

After some time working at a crappy 9-to-5, I landed a job in South Korea. During this time, I developed my reputation within the WordPress community and eventually made a real plan to “work online.” Once I returned home, I had this site up and running with a plan in hand and got the OK by my parents.

Of course, I was a grown man at that point and didn’t need my parents’ approval to do anything, but they are about 20 years wiser than me. Having them green-light this path for me was great. All my father ever wanted was for me to be practical and realistic. Everyone has dreams, but for a dream to become reality, you must have a good, solid plan. Plans are about action.

That’s the short version of how Theme Hybrid began for me on a personal level.

Just the beginning

When I first launched Theme Hybrid, there were very few commercial plugin and themes sites around. If I recall correctly, StudioPress, WooThemes, and Press75 were my only competitors. There may have been others too. I’m proud to be in the same company as some of the oldest and longest-running commercial theme sites around. 2008 was a good year.

Even though I’ve been running this site for 5 years now, I feel like I’m just getting started. If you ever see me in person, feel free to ask to take a peek at my list of plugin and theme ideas. There’s plenty on the horizon, probably enough for another 5 years of coding.

A birthday present

One of the major things I began work on 5 years ago was a theme framework. I thought it only appropriate that I release an awesome update for this framework on the anniversary of this site opening. So, at some point later today, I will push Hybrid Core 1.6 into the wild.

This is my gift to you. Trust me, there are many cool things in this release.

Thank you

The last item is the most important item. I want to thank all of the members of Theme Hybrid for making it and continuing to make it a success.

As most of you know, Theme Hybrid’s business model is based on a yearly subscription for support. So, here’s a quick stat for you. Over 45% of all memberships each year are renewals.

From a business standpoint, I don’t know if that’s good. That’s not my area of expertise. But, I feel proud to know that Theme Hybrid has a huge group of loyal members who keep coming back year after year. This site would not be what it is without you.

30 Comments


  1. Hassan

    Happy birthday Justin!
    Wish you the best of luck and hope to see you celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ThemeHybrid. :)


  2. Happy bday Hybrid! 5 years ago I was Drupal fan. I wish I found this site and Justin earlier


  3. Congratulations Justin and the team. I know how good your framework is ;)


  4. As someone else that makes their living around WordPress and loves ever minute of it, this was a pleasure to read. Thanks and congratulations on 5 years.



  5. Congrats Justin. Thanks for all the years of hard work, it’s been a pleasure working with first Theme Hybrid and later Hybrid Core. These tools have allowed me to create a viable business for myself and my family.

    Looking forward to the next 5.


  6. Happy Birthday to Theme Hybrid, and congratulations, Justin!

    Can we have the pleasure of your presence in Birmingham again this year, Justin? WC Birmingham is just a few weeks away! http://wpyall.com Hope you can come again, and tell me about some of those ideas :)


    1. I’d like to go. Right now, I just need someone to carpool with. If you know anyone who’s coming from the Greenville (where I live) or Montgomery area and doesn’t mind me tagging along, it’d be great. I’ll even split the gas cost.


  7. Congratulations to your “real job” :)

    And good luck with your homestead, I am sure you will cultivate it as good as you have managed with ThemeHybrid.


  8. We raise our glasses to another five years! Kudos Justin. Thank you for all you do. And thank you to everyone who is a part of this community. I’d be lost without all your help.


  9. Damn. Has it been that long? 45% renewal rate. Wow! What the hell have I been doing? I gotta catch up to you soon haha. Congrats.

    You’re similar to one of my cousins. He has a one track mind and you seem to operate the same way. While other companies experimented with different marketing and business models, you stuck with one direction for 5 years and backed it up with quality. That’s impressive.


    1. Renewals are big for Theme Hybrid. The site would be closed down by now if not for repeat business.

      Hey, I don’t want to mess too much with the formula though. I’m not a business guru, so I’m sticking with what’s been working for now.


    2. I think Justin can read the future…
      like a sorcerer.

      his prediction, is amazing. i always try to question his code and or decision for something, but in the end..

      “oh, that’s why he did that… now i understand the reason..”

      just like when you play chess with a “master”, you’ll think one or two step ahead, but the “master” already have 10+ step ahead in his head, sometimes, even know how the game will end (before even starting the game).


      1. After doing support for so long, you start to recognize some of the pitfalls that you’ll encounter in the code. So, that gives you a couple of steps right off the bat.

        But, it’s always about iteration. You create something that’s awesome. Then, you learn it’s can be more awesome after using it for a bit.



  10. Congrats on 5 years! Keep up the great work and look to see what another 5 years brings forth!

  11. Hassan

    Hybrid Core 1.6 is out! Any points on what’s new? :)


    1. I’m working on an announcement post right now, which should be published tonight. There’s a few details in a sticky post at the top of the support forums right now though.

  12. iVideoWeb

    Happy Birthday! Hybrid Core and Justin (I know its too late but I stumbled upon this today :().

    I must say a fine decision you made five years ago, if you would not have done this, I might have been spending my hundreds of hours forking my own framework (I am glad I am not ;) doing it).

    So I am really glad you did indeed took a step in right direction (at least in my opinion).

    Thanks a bunch :D.



  13. Amazing ;) 5 Years – i am a big fan off your work and will continue to use ThemeHybrid

    Thanks


  14. A bit late to this but thanks for all the hard work Justin. I very much admire your BS free work ethic and this is definitely a contributing factor to me signing up each year. And of course the fact that the framework is rock solid :)


    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      It’s not always no BS. Some days, I’m the laziest person on the planet. I just try to keep those days to a minimum. :)

  15. beta

    Thank you for all these years, and the work you have shared, thanks for keeping wporg and github profiles alive, hybrid and hybrid original, retro, prototype, outline, stay at devpress, thank you for loving georgia, hybrid and thematic set the typography and white space love that continue till date. thanks Justin!

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