- Headway hasn’t provided support to customers since July 1st.
- They have outstanding debts to the former support team and a third-party developer. These debts amount to several thousand dollars.
- Headway continue to deceive and mislead their customers about the availability of support for financial gain
- They have failed to tell us how they plan to solve any of these issues.
I ( Gary Bairéad) worked for Headway as a “Support Guru” from March 2011 until July 2016.
What happened to Headway support?
Clay and Grant Griffiths allowed the support team to work for multiple months at a time when they knew Headway was insolvent. At no point did they inform us that they would be unable to pay us for the work we were doing.
When we tried to contact the Griffiths about payment, they ignored us.
Third-party developers face similar problems
HeadwayThemes.com has a marketplace called “Extend” where third-party developers can sell add-ons on for Headway. Clay and Grant have failed to send third-party developers payments for sales of the third-party developers own products for several months.
When third-party developers attempted to contact the Griffiths about payments, the Griffiths ignored them too.
After a lot of persistent pressure, the Griffiths eventually admitted that they were unable to pay us, and they didn’t know when they would be able to pay us what we were owed.
Did you leave or were you let go?
This is a frequently asked question from community members on Facebook, and has been a subject of speculation, but neither option neatly summarizes what happened.
Ultimately, it was my decision to stop answering tickets, but I had no real alternative. Headway owed me ( and others) several thousand dollars, and stopped replying to my messages. I couldn’t take the risk of heading into a third month without being paid. I need to eat and pay bills like everyone else.
It should be noted that while issues surrounding payments culminated with a cessation of support at the end of June, they had been ongoing and unresolved for the past year. The Griffiths have owed us all varying amounts for a majority of the past 12 months – most notably at Christmas, which was a real kick in the teeth. This has created significant financial and personal problems for us.
In hindsight, I should have paid more attention to the warning signs that began to emerge last year. Rather than assuming the worst, I gave Clay and Grant the benefit of the doubt when things didn’t look good; that was naive and regrettable.
Working remotely for a distributed company has a lot of benefits, but it can also come with a number of potential disadvantages. As an independent contractor based in France, the Griffiths were able to take advantage of me quite easily, then ignore me when convenient.
I believe that if we worked together in a traditional office, where they would have to talk to me face-to-face, this would have been less likely to occur. That’s not an argument against distributed companies, but if the future of work is distributed, then we need to ensure that it’s not used as a means to impose increased levels of precarity.
On July 1st, Headway stops providing technical support to users.
On July 2nd, Clay publicly launches his new company, Pressmatic.
To paraphrase Bill Clinton, it depends upon what your definition of “support” is.
Prior to co-founding Headway, Grant was an attorney in Kansas before he was disbarred for misappropriating trust funds which were being held in trust for minor children .
As a result of his legal background, he’s very careful with the words he uses. Grant does answer refund requests and sales emails, but he isn’t capable of dealing with technical support tickets, by his own admission. Clay is the only person left who is capable, but he choses not to answer tickets.
On August 22nd, Grant stated in Slack that there were only 9 open tickets. While this might be true, it’s not the whole truth.
Clay has replied to approximately 4 tickets since July 1st. He has however been answering support queries for Pressmatic.
It has been tough to remain quiet while watching Grant attempt to deceive Headway customers. Headway were deceitful when they allowed us to work for them when they knew they couldn’t pay us, now they’re being deceitful with users too.
In Slack, Grant claimed that “there have been some internal issues we had to deal with and it has been dealt with”.
None of the issues have been dealt with; Clay and Grant have steadfastly refused to deal with them for several months.
What about updates?
Clay changed ~7 lines in Headway on the same day the first Reddit post appeared, which criticised Headway for their lack of support, updates, and communication.
At the same time that Jeff from WP Tavern began asking probing questions in Slack, there was a sudden rush of commits to Headway, and 4.0.7 was quickly released.
It’s possible that the timing of these updates just happened to coincide with details about Headway becoming public knowledge, but it doesn’t look like it.
This has been the only activity since May 18th.
People outside of the community may hold the opinion that customer concerns about a lack of theme updates resembles children in the back seat of a car repeatedly asking their parents”are we there yet?”.
As a former member of support, I was one of the people who had to repeatedly deal with those questions for half a decade. I know when concerns about updates are justified or not. They are justified in this instance. Headway 4 is not fit for purpose, and it isn’t being iterated on. It’s an unusable theme that was released to bring in an injection of cash.
Here’s another example of an unwitting user who attempted to use Headway 4.
Clay and Grant were recently asked for an update on when we would receive the remainder of what we’re owed. They didn’t reply.
After a few more attempts at getting a response, they eventually said that they didn’t know when we’d be paid.
[Updated: At the same time they told us they didn’t have the means to pay us, Clay and his partner were attending WordCamp LA, where Pressmatic paid $1000 to be a sponsor].
When we asked them what they were doing to increase sales of Headway so that they would be able to pay us, they didn’t answer.
Clay and Grant Griffiths sell an unsupported theme to unwitting customers, hope that they don’t ask for refunds, lie to the community about support and updates, then pay us with the proceeds if any trickle in.
Headway were informed that if they couldn’t tell us how they plan to pay us, and there weren’t visible signs that they were trying to change things, then there was no option left but to go public.
Neither Clay nor Grant replied. That is why I was forced to write this post.
Nobody wants WP Drama, nobody.
We need to focus on what’s the best way forward for Headway as a community.
The Griffiths need to either fix things asap, or sell to somebody who will.
I’m cognisant of that fact that this post will be read by two distinct audiences who may want different info – members of the Headway community, and those outside it. Trying to write a clear and concise post for both audiences has been difficult.
If clarification is needed on anything, please leave a comment below, and I’ll do my best to reply. If anyone wishes to contact me privately, please use the contact form.
For those in the Headway community, I hope that the details presented here help answer some of the questions you’ve asked, but haven’t been given truthful answers to.
The root of Headway’s recent problems has been a chronic lack of honest communication from Clay and Grant Griffiths If communication is the oxygen of a distributed company, then it’s Headway’s lack of communication that has been slowly suffocating the business and its community.
Privately, multiple people have unsuccessfully reached out them in an attempt to help them change tack. They have been offered various ideas and suggestions, but have failed to act.
They also had an opportunity to honestly address the concerns of the community following Jeffs first Tavern article, but they didn’t. Brian Krogsgard from Post Status has also given them an opportunity to comment publicly, but they haven’t taken it.
It’s my hope that the posts on this site will finally act as a catalyst for them to address the problems Headway has been having in a meaningful and honest manner.
I want to preempt some responses that I suspect I’ll receive:
Where’s your evidence? This is libel/hearsay
I have screenshots and videos of internal communications and support systems. I decided not to use them. However, if Headway post a reply, and I have evidence that contradicts what they say, that decision may change. As I’ve said repeatedly, I’m not the only one who has had these experiences.
[Updated: Screenshots are posted here]
You’re doing this to damage the Griffiths.
No, I’m not. I worked with them for over 5 years to help build and support the Headway community. While I may no longer handle support tickets, I still feel that it’s my role to ‘support’ the community.
I want Headway to get things back on track, but the Griffiths need to start rebuilding trust with the community. If they’re not serious about that, then they should sell.
You’re an idiot for doing this, you’ve hammered the final nail into Headway’s coffin.
Headway can’t survive if the owners continue to alienate support staff, third party developers, and users. Headway is a community, it’s not just Clay and Grant.
Comments will be moderated. I’m based in France, so it might take a few hours for a comment to be approved due to time differences.