Great post Jake, WordPress as an App Platform? It deserves an big response, but rather than parroting much of your thinking I’ll just point out that John Eckman’s team at ISITE is having massive successes *not* selling a specific platform. In my own strategist & architecture work I’ve seen very much the same thing; selling WordPress invites a very specific set of questions from IT, business or marketing buyers.
Spurring questions and concerns isn’t a phenomena exclusive to WordPress. Selling “X” will always open the need to address customer knowledge or biases. This tends to be harder to overcome for many WordPress teams because the project iterates more often than something like CQ5 or Spring, and our teams tend to be much smaller (…have you ever seen a Saleforce or even Acquia sales team working to get corporate IT approval? They both have more staffers in the account & *sales* engineering team than 10up has staff).
Given those team-sizes and the sales investment from those enterprise-focused platforms, WordPress still wins frequently. For me that’s indicative of the answer to yours & the community’s concerns — if WordPress is being used for so many projects it means *a lot* is already being done right. And, it means that in the future our ecosystem of plugins, APIs, framework-like tools and *developer skills* will be even richer.
So, while WordPress still might never solve all the problems realted to a specific businesses’ content/framework/functionality/digital-xyz needs, the people building with it have ever-better tools and are getting phenomenally good at solving business problems. Isn’t that what WordPress-focused companies like 10up are selling too — smart engineering & efficient problem-solving? In the long run smart, focused service-providers who pick good tools will be far more effective for clients than a big sales team.