Envato's 2015 Roadmap and Big Picture Vision

Here at Envato we measure our impact in community earnings. We started tracking this back in 2012 when our community clocked in at $50M. We set ourselves a goal - to help our authors, freelancers and instructors to make their way to a staggering $1B of combined earnings. We’re now more than a quarter of the way there, our community having recently passed the $250M mark. But there’s still a long way to go.

In order to close the gap between where we are now and where we want to be, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about our vision for Envato. What do we want to be? This is the internal vision statement we are working to:

Our vision is to be the complete community-driven creative ecosystem where, with any skill level, you can make beautiful, engaging creative content. Operated by an inspiring, values-based, global company.

At first blush it sounds a little like Envato today. But it’s not. Today, Envato isn’t always for ‘any skill level’. Pick up an After Effects file on VideoHive and unless you have the software installed and the know-how to use it, the template might not do you much good. Don’t know what FTP is? Well it’s going to be pretty tricky getting a Magento theme going from ThemeForest. Sometimes even choosing between freelancers on Envato Studio can seem daunting.

We're excited about a future where anyone can make use of our products.

There's a whole world of people out there who would get enormous value from our community. There are millions of small businesses around the globe who don't even try to make a video, get online, or develop a brand for themselves. We'd like to connect these audiences to our authors and freelancers. We think it'll be a win-win, and we see Envato as uniquely placed to help make that happen.

The first step in any journey is to declare a destination. So there you have it. We’re aiming to make our community’s offerings much more accessible. We’re aiming to do it in partnership with our community - be they authors, freelancers, buyers, or businesses. And we want to be a company that people respect and look up to.

Part of doing this in partnership with our community is to be transparent about where we’re going. That’s why last year we published our first annual company roadmap, and today we’re doing it again for 2015.

What’s on the Roadmap for 2015

Every year, internally, we orient ourselves around eight focus areas, all working towards our big picture vision. Some of our roadmap for this year is building up what Envato is today, and some of it is working towards building up what Envato will be in the future. Here’s what we’re doing.

(For each focus area we’ve listed some of the public-facing work we’ve released. We’ll keep this page updated throughout the year.)

(1) Helping Buyers Get Started

There are now 1.75M active buyers across Envato. To reach this enormous size we’ve mostly relied on people organically finding us and figuring out how to use our sites. But we don’t always make it easy.

This year we’re working on the on-ramps, and on-boarding to help new users find us, get started and stay with our sites. This means things like interviewing new buyers to understand their pain points, updating homepages and landing pages to be clearer and easier to use, introducing content that explains our offerings for less tech-savvy users, establishing partnerships with other companies to offer better value, exploring new payment methods to broaden our appeal, more streamlining of our brands so they’re easier to remember, brand building to show what Envato is all about, improvements to our affiliate program to make it easier to work with, and much more.

Things We’ve Done So Far

(2) Your Envato Identity

With so many people using Envato products, and with a growing portfolio of Envato offerings, your Envato identity is of growing utility.

Your Envato identity starts with your sign-up. At the moment, we make you go through a fourteen-step process to create an Envato account. That seems like a lot of steps! We’re looking to streamline that down.

Once you get going with one Envato product you’ll probably want to use another one. We currently share some limited information between products, but we also make you tell us things again and jump through hoops. Sigh. We’re going to fix that.

As we make your Envato identity more and more important, we’ll be continuing to build on the security features and processes we rolled out last year.

Your Envato identity is also how we recognize you in the community. Currently the most active part of Envato’s community online is our Market forums. But it’s been a long time since we significantly improved the forums, and though we have lots of Studio related threads there, it’s really mainly for Market use. We’re looking to upgrade our discussion offering and make it a broader and better community hub.

Things We’ve Done So Far

(3) Industry Leading Content

The success of our community is built on the amazing content and work they produce. We know we have industry leading content across Envato, but we also know there’s more we could do to surface it, to show it off, and in some places to deepen the library.

Different parts of Envato have different areas that we need to work on. Our footage library has amazing content, but just not enough of it. Our graphics library is beautiful, but it’s hard to see in our too-small image previews! We have a ton of freelance services on Envato Studio, but we don’t cover the full gamut yet. We improved our search and discovery systems on Envato Market dramatically last year, but they’re not mobile friendly yet.

We’re looking at initiatives surrounding the way our content is uploaded to Envato, found through search, previewed and published for sale, and we’re reviewing the categories we have available to make sure we’ve got the full spectrum covered.

Things We’ve Done So Far

(4) The One-Stop Shop

Since 2006 we’ve been building the most comprehensive offering in the digital creative space. From plugins to video, presentation templates to forum themes, courses to freelance services — Envato has it all. But we don’t always help buyers connect the dots and see this breadth of offering.

In 2015 we’re working to tie our offerings together to show buyers how our ecosystem can make their projects better and their work easier. We want buyers to see how items go hand-in-hand with services and support, how video and music go together, and much more. We’ll be working on integrations, rollout of our item support solutions, and on-the-fly bundling and discounts.

Things We’ve Done So Far

(5) Growth Experiments

Experimenting with change and growth is in our DNA at Envato. Whether it’s the Tuts+ translation project that’s rapidly gaining steam, or the Envato Studio express talent pools that are serving up over a thousand 24hr WordPress theme installations every month, we’re always looking at how we can evolve our products and offerings.

This focus area, more than any other, is thinking about how we build towards our vision of ‘any skill level’. Look out for us experimenting with tools and platforms to make that happen.

(6) A Global Company

As a fast growing company on a global stage, we’ve been spending a lot of time and effort on financial tools and tax rollouts. It’s not the most glamorous work, but it’s part and parcel of operating worldwide marketplaces.

This year we’ve already completed a large sequence of financial tool improvements on Envato Market, including the main rollout of EU VAT, and we’ve got still more improvements to financial tools that we’re working on. These include more work on the Statements page, earnings summaries, and improvements to EU VAT features and tax reporting in the US.

It’s not all financial and tax though! We’re also improving how we run global meetups, how our team can work from anywhere, and how Envato can have a greater presence in more countries.

Things We’ve Done So Far

(7) One Company & (8) Punching Above Our Weight

Our last two focus areas are mostly internal in nature. But for transparency, here they are:

The first is our ‘act as one company’ focus. We’re working to ensure that we’re coherent, collaborative and transparent on the inside, so that even though there’s hundreds of people working at Envato, we still feel like one company. Inside and out, we want Envato to feel like one big ecosystem. While we improve things on the inside of the company, you’ll see the results in greater transparency from us, and more coherence between our different products. As an example, last year this roadmap only covered Envato Market work. This year it’s for the whole of our company.

And the second is a focus on thinking big, delivering more, and not letting our scope be limited by our size. We’re still a relatively small company, but we have big ambitions. If we’re going to get there, we need to be good at scaling ourselves, improving our tools and service levels, and working on what’s most important.

Things We’ve Done So Far

So these are the very broad strokes of what we’re planning for the year. As we did last year, we’ll keep looping back to this post in our announcements so you can track our progress through the year. It’s going to be a big one!!