What I learned from a day with WPEngine

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WPEngine Summit Sydney 2019

Suppliers’ conferences can often be little more than a dressed up sales-fest. The leading WordPress hosting company, WPEngine, struck the right balance at their Sydney Summit yesterday.

Although WordPress is truly global, it presents as being very US-centric. WPEngine’s investment in a major local event here in Australia was a very valuable opportunity to be face to face with WordPress rather than digital. The calibre of other delegates was outstanding and I had some valuable exchanges between sessions.

Notable quotes

Everything that can be measured, will be

Dr Hugh Bradlow

AI is simply pattern recognition, it’s not prediction

Dr Hugh Bradlow

Over the last decade I’ve spent more time with Qantas [Australian Airline] than my wife. Based on the offers they email, it is alarming how little Qantas seems to know about me.

Dr Hugh Bradlow

Gen Z make up 20% of the population, but their attitudes and behaviours are very different from the other Generations

Mary Ellen Dugan, WPEngine CMO

Facebook has a problem [it’s not preferred by Gen Zs]

Mary Ellen Dugan

Gen Zs are happy to browse but not amplify brands

Mary Ellen Dugan

AI has been all about VALUE [$]. Its needs to be all about VALUES [accuracy, responsibility, fairness, diversity]

Eric Jones, WPEngine VP Brand & Comms

People want to understand how you got there [it’s all about trust, interaction, meaningful experiences and lack of creepiness]

Eric Jones

90% of the solution is posing a better question

Eric Jones

Open your algorithms

Eric Jones

37% of the world’s top 10,000 websites run on WordPress

David Vogelpohl, WP Engine VP Web Strategy

Today more video is uploaded every 30 days than the major US TV networks themselves created over the previous 30 years

David Vogelpohl

In April 2019 digital transactions overtook physical

David Vogelpohl

Dev teams will move towards creating libraries of blocks for design teams to use

David Vogelpohl

46% of global traffic is coming from smart phones, and that is only going to increase

David Vogelpohl

In A/B tests, 80% of Bs fail [due to volume of cohorts]

David Vogelpohl

WordPress moving from 80 PHP / 20 Javascript to the reverse

David Vogelpohl

Tension creates extraordinary

Juan Garcia, Head of Technology, whiteGREY

User experience will become core [in corporate technology]. Must be a frictionless self-serve experience. They will be leading themselves.

Jonathan Barnett, Head of Digital Engineering, Nova Entertainment

CMO is rapidly becoming the Chief Martech Officer

Jonathan Barnett

Site performance is a competitive advantage

Richard Hill, Google

Our most valuable commodity is time [efficiency and convenience are key – see PWC 2018]

Monica Cravotta, WPEngine VP Marketing

The Martech revolution requires curated optionality

Monica Cravotta

Key observations

  • WPEngine is avoiding commoditisation by going up the value chain (Genesis Themes, Atomic Blocks, Flywheel) and heavy into ease of use (eg DevKit)
  • Atomic Blocks is about to become a platform within a platform. Consider the opportunities. Is this Plugins 2.0?
  • Behind the hype, there’s a sizeable community of people ignoring blocks. Reason to migrate is not yet clear enough for them.
  • ‘Headless’ and offloading data (via Blocks) could be massive. Kinda like a better Zapier.

Notes to self

  • Checkout PressThis podcast from David Vogelpohl
  • Learn more about Progressive Web Apps, Headless Decoupled Architecture and Extensible Blocks.
  • Checkout DevKit, Yoast custom box schema, latest Genesis theme Revolution Pro with latest bells and whistles (esp blocks and 1-click content population)
  • How to build your own blocks litturl.co/block-editor-HB

Nutshell conclusion

The commercial application of blocks is the new growth frontier. Must be as easy and worthwhile to use as Lego.