How did WordPress business and community change with rising popularity of WP as a platform?
The original community of WordPress makers was a tight group that built friendships around their passion. They had WP theme businesses, but they were never trying to compete with one another.
When WordPress got really popular, money was plentiful and new entrants were trying to get all of it. WordPress started to change, with more focus being not just on themes, but plugins, and page-builders. Anything that could create a new line of business and to differentiate the new players.