WP Engine has acquired Array Themes and Atomic Blocks from Mike McAlister for an undisclosed amount. McAlister has been developing WordPress themes since 2009. He initially sold his themes on ThemeForest. In 2011, he founded Array Themes.
I reached out to McAlister to learn why he chose to be acquired, what excites him most about Gutenberg, and what the plans are going forward.
Interview with Mike McAlister
What ultimately made you decide to move on from managing your own theme and products company to a larger, more established company?
The catalyst was when Brian Gardner reached out this summer and started a conversation about joining his team at WP Engine. As I told him at the time, he certainly wasn’t the first to make that offer, but he was definitely the most interesting. I had always respected Brian’s ethos on quality and design and really enjoyed our chats over the years.
Once I started meeting folks at WP Engine like Jason Cohen and David Vogelpohl, it became obvious that we were all striving for the same future and outcome for customers. It just made sense to join forces to make it happen together.
This was also a unique opportunity for me to start fresh and focus on crafting products with a stellar team. Although I was able to create an industry-respected theme collection and recently the Atomic Blocks plugin for Gutenberg, I wanted a new challenge.
Couldn’t Array Themes have been built to directly support the Genesis framework without being acquired by WP Engine?
It would be a lot of work to infuse the Array Themes collection and Genesis. The idea wasn’t exactly to bring Genesis to Array, rather to bring the expertise and craft of Array and Atomic Blocks to WP Engine, StudioPress and Gutenberg.
StudioPress already has one of the biggest and best theme collections out there and is doubling down on Gutenberg support. I’m going to contribute what I’ve learned building Array Themes and Atomic Blocks to make the StudioPress offering even better.
Will future themes require the Genesis framework?
Although there will not be any new themes released under the Array Themes brand, some of the designs will live on as StudioPress themes in the future and those will be powered by the Genesis framework.
We’re working on some really exciting new themes and features for Genesis that are going to continue making it the go-to solution for creating beautiful websites on WordPress, especially in the Gutenberg era.
What do you think of the consolidation of brands in the WordPress space?
We’re seeing a very unique and transitional time in the WordPress industry. The old way of doing things is going out the window as WordPress and its community changes before our eyes.
Now, more than ever, WordPress needs companies with stellar talent to help usher it through to the next era and contribute to its long term success. I’m excited to be part of a team that is willing to take on that challenge!
I can’t speak to the motivations of other businesses in the WordPress space, but the WP Engine acquisition of the Array product suite makes a lot of sense.
With their recent acquisition of StudioPress, Array Themes, and Atomic Blocks, WP Engine is showing its customers and the WordPress community that they are doubling down on quality, design, Gutenberg, and an unmatched customer experience. These are all shared qualities between these individual entities and part of the long term strategy at WP Engine.
What excites you most about Gutenberg?
I’ve been excited about Gutenberg for over a year now. I was one of the first WordPress product developers to release a blocks plugin, a Gutenberg-friendly theme, a blog with tutorials, and the Gutenberg News site.
I created all of these resources as a way of learning Gutenberg as well as contributing back to the community, and I will continue to do that with WP Engine and StudioPress!
Gutenberg unlocks the WordPress editor and the endless opportunities that follow for content creators, developers, and everyone in between. Gutenberg is already responsible for a flood of new products and new solutions to problems the classic editor couldn’t solve and it hasn’t even been merged into core yet!
The reality here is that Gutenberg isn’t just the future of WordPress, it’s the future of the Internet.
Discounts Available for Array Themes Customers
McAlister is joining WP Engine as a full-time employee. In addition, John Parris, a code wrangler for Array Themes has also joined WP Engine.
StudioPress and WP Engine are offering discounts to single theme and theme club members. Those who purchased a lifetime membership will receive free access to the StudioPress Pro Plus All-Theme package with support and updates.
To learn more about these discounts and how the acquisition came about, check out McAlister’s post where he says thanks and farewell to his customers.