WordCamp Europe in Belgrade: bigger, bolder and better than ever

 

More than 2,000 WordPress users, designers, developers and entrepreneurs, from across Europe and beyond, gathered in the Serbian capital, Belgrade last week for what proved to be the biggest WordPress event in history.

WordCamp Europe, now in its sixth year, has become a fixture of the global WordPress calendar. Each event seems a little larger, a little more polished, and a little more mature than the last: and this year was no exception. Few of us knew much about Belgrade before we arrived; but we left with many fond memories of a unique and welcoming city.

With two tracks of uniformly excellent speakers over the two days, plus extended workshops and fringe events, it was impossible to see everything and everyone. But the two sessions which seemed to get most people talking were:

Both subjects represent significant evolutionary changes in what WordPress does, and how it does it. Inevitably, passions have been stirred: but those passions are the fuel which drives WordPress forwards.

I was struck to see both Matt and Alberto wasting no time in acknowledging and addressing the community’s concerns. The audience was left in no doubt about the depth of consideration and planning which has gone into both initiatives.

As in previous years, VIP’s agency and technology partners were highly visible at the event: in addition to those already mentioned, Human Made, 10up, Inpsyde and Yoast were all represented on-stage at various times. VIP has chosen these companies as partners because we believe they are at the top of their game. It’s great to see their talents also being recognised by the speaker selection processes for these events.

The main conference tracks were all live-streamed; and are now being edited for posting on WordPress.TV in due course. If you weren’t at the event – or even if you were! – you’ll be able to catch up on everything you missed on-demand shortly.

In keeping with tradition, the conference’s final act was the announcement of next year’s host city. WordCamp Europe 2019 will take place next June in Berlin: a city known for its creative community, in a country more devoted than most to the principles of the open web. It’s certain to be a great event.

If you can’t wait that long, the next major gathering will be WordCamp US, returning to Nashville, Tennessee in early December. But before then, there are dozens of smaller, local WordCamps happening all around the world: check out the full schedule at central.wordcamp.org.

Thanks to the organisers for the fantastic ‘aftermovie’, embedded above; and our fellow Automattician Clicky Steve for the featured image.

Highlights from the 2018 VIP Workshop

“There’s no path ahead of me, but behind me I can make a path.”

-Kōtarō Takamura

Last week we at VIP had the distinct pleasure of hosting clients, partners, special guests, and Automatticians from across the company for our seventh annual VIP Workshop. It’s a few days spent focused on connecting with each other and sharing the work we do, with WordPress at the center and the heart.

The quote kicking off this post came from advice given to VIP CEO Nick Gernert. It relates to the challenges and triumphs of the enterprise WordPress community, and the way that the necessary work of breaking new ground so often opens up new pathways for many others to follow.

If there’s one theme at the heart of so many of the talks, and the conversations they sparked, it was the importance of keeping the pursuit of real connection at the center of your strategies and plans. For anyone who has spent any amount of time in the WordPress community, that’s not at all surprising and serves as a reminder of the path we make.

If you weren’t able to join us, you can watch video from over a dozen of the sessions on this YouTube playlist, and flip through many of the decks from the presentations on the Workshop site.

Whether it was your first time or your seventh time participating in the VIP Workshop, thank you for joining us! Special thanks to all of the speakers who shared broad overviews, deep dives, case studies, flash talks, best practices, and so much more with us. Their experience, insights, and hard work, combined with an outstanding roster of clients, partners, and others in the community is what makes this event magical.

If you want to know what VIP and this community is up to on a regular basis, follow our Monthly Roundups on VIP News, and please contribute to them so that we can all stay connected. Drop us a note to tell us about you and your team’s latest big releases and small victories.

An Amazing Slate of VIP Workshop Speakers

With ticket sales ending on April 13th, you’ll want to register soon for VIP Workshop, our annual enterprise WordPress gathering taking place May 14-17th. This marks the seventh year for a very special event that gets the whole extended VIP family together, including clients, partners, and community.

The speaker lineup is nearly complete, and it is shaping up to be a phenomenal three days in Napa, California. Topics run the gamut from big picture thoughts on organizational change, fostering diversity, and the future of digital, to the latest advanced topics with the Gutenberg project, to retrospectives, case studies, and best practices.

Throughout the week we’ll hear from VIP clients like TechCrunch, Nielsen, and FiveThirtyEight, agency partners Dekode, Alley Interactive, 10up, rtCamp, and XWP, and Automatticians Simon Wheatley, Miguel Fonseca, Tammie Lister, and Matt Perry.

And kicking us off will be WordPress.com President and veteran of The New York Times and National Public Radio Kinsey Wilson, and celebrated technology author and lecturer Howard Rheingold.

The schedule is split in to business and developer tracks, and includes ample opportunities for informal networking and conversations among the whole group. Session formats include joint-track full conference discussions, individual track case studies and featured topics, and flash talks.  Get the full details on speakers, formats, and topics, and all of the logistics on the Workshop site.

We keep the attendance deliberately small to make sure there are lots of opportunities for chance conversations and informal breakout discussions. Get your tickets soon!

BigWP returns to London in December

london-bridge

Our next BigWP London event is only three weeks away, and it’s going to be a pre-Christmas cracker.

Twitter’s central London office will again play host to our gathering for enterprise-level users of WordPress, and the agencies who support them, after work on Thursday 7 December.

Our London events are organised by the WordPress.com VIP team with the invaluable help of our partners at leading global WordPress development agency Human Made. We aim to hold them once every six months: but this will be our third in calendar year 2017.

We’re very excited to announce Tammie Lister, design lead on Gutenberg, as one of our speakers. Gutenberg is the project to reinvent the main WordPress editor component, using the principle of content blocks; and is due to be integrated into the next release of WordPress, version 5.0. It makes content creation beautiful and effortless; and lays the groundwork for exciting developments further down the line.

Gutenberg represents the most significant change to the core user experience in several years. It’s essential for enterprise clients and agencies to understand what is happening, and the implications for custom development, now and in the future.

Tammie will be racing back from WordCamp US, taking place just a few days earlier in Nashville, with Gutenberg certain to be a hot topic at the event. It’s your chance to hear the very latest from one of the project’s leads, and to ask her any questions you may have.

Also on the evening’s agenda:

  • Having been strong advocates for Drupal in recent years, global technology consultancy Capgemini recently moved their entire corporate web presence from Drupal to WordPress. Parker Ward, Capgemini’s global head of digital and content will tell the story of the move.
  • VIP is currently working with our agency partners Big Bite to rebuild our popular Liveblog plugin for WordPress. Jason Agnew will explain how the new version gets around the performance bottlenecks of its predecessor, using React, Redux and RxJS Observables to simplify the overall build.
  • Sotic are a digital agency focused exclusively on the world of sport, running sites for top-flight professional clubs, national governing bodies and international events. Over the past year, they have adopted WordPress as their platform of choice; and senior front-end developer Dan Drave will explain how they used it to power the data-rich website for the British & Irish Lions rugby tour to New Zealand this past summer.

Come straight from the office: we’ll be providing food and drinks. We expect to finish around 8pm, and will go on somewhere for a festive drink or two.

Capacity at the event is limited; so please sign up today via our page at meetup.com to guarantee your place. You will need to submit a request to join the group if you aren’t already a member: this is purely to ensure the group retains its enterprise focus.

Challenging times for online journalists: thoughts from ONA Dublin 2017

A few of us from the WordPress.com VIP team were delighted to join journalists, producers and developers from Europe and elsewhere for the Online News Association’s conference in Dublin, Ireland in mid-May. VIP is a long-time sponsor of ONA’s events: this was their third outside North America, but the first to venture away from London.

Dublin’s regenerated Docklands area has attracted countless global businesses in recent years, including many from the tech world. Google were our hosts for the drinks reception on the evening before. Facebook’s international headquarters, just a few minutes walk away, was the venue for the main event.

Mark Little: photo by Leopold Stuebner, used with permission #

The highlight of the day was closing keynote speaker Mark Little, known to many in the audience as a TV journalist and presenter on Irish state broadcaster RTÉ. He left to found social media news agency Storyful, bought by News Corp in 2013; then took charge of media partnerships at Twitter. Few could be better placed to describe the quandary in which journalism, particularly digital journalism, now finds itself.

Social networks had not set out to become the most powerful news distribution platforms of all time, he contended; it was an unintended consequence. Authoritative news content is ‘flowing through a pipe that is ranked and priced on the basis of emotion.’ With revenue dependent on competing for attention, and generating an emotional response, Mark suggested ‘you could not design a better model to erode trust in news and information than the one we sit in right now.’

His remedy lay in a move towards subscription-based funding, perhaps via bundled models as Netflix does for movies, or Spotify for music; and deeper and more direct engagement with consumers. Restore that trust, he proposed, and there was a bright future for journalism as a public utility, telling readers not just what they wanted to hear, but what they needed to hear.

A theme running through many of the day’s sessions was the uneasy power relationship between publishers and platforms, including our hosts for the day. As a man with a foot in both camps, Mark said it was time for platform companies to recognise and address those unintended consequences of their growth, ‘not through marketing, but through changes to the product’.

But there was no shortage of optimism in evidence, with sessions touching on artificial intelligence, clever use of smartphone notifications, and immersive storytelling techniques. Many of these can be watched on demand via the ONA website.

Online journalism may be going through turbulent times, but sometimes, that’s when the most exciting ideas emerge.

We’re already looking forward to ONA’s main annual event, taking place in Washington DC in early October. VIP will once again be a sponsor, with our Recharge Lounge providing an opportunity to power up your portable devices, whilst talking to us about the VIP service or WordPress more generally. Tickets are available at a reduced rate until June 29.

Announcing the 2017 VIP Workshop

hero-workshop-01

May 8-11, 2017 @ The Carneros Resort

We are excited to announce the next installment of the WordPress.com VIP Workshop! As the leading provider of enterprise WordPress solutions, WordPress.com VIP provides the premier event focused on the needs of enterprise WordPress users. In our 6th year of the VIP Workshop we’re continuing where we left off last year with sessions for product owners and developers along with a Best of WordPress.com VIP showcase where we recognize the best of your work over the past year (stay tuned for when we open the request for entries).

 

The VIP Workshop provides a unique opportunity to learn from the WordPress.com VIP team in person, as well as exchange ideas and experiences with other WordPress.com VIP clients and partners through networking lunches and dinners, in-depth curriculum and exercises, and focused, collaborative conversations.

A quick peek at the itinerary – details & agenda will be continually updated on the new WordPress.com VIP Workshop site, powered by WooCommerce.

  • Monday, May 8th — Arrival Day. Check-in, special guest keynote and welcome dinner.
  • Tuesday, May 9th — In depth business and engineering sessions.
  • Wednesday, May 10th — In-depth product sessions and hands-on development workshops. We’ll wrap the day up with the Best of WordPress.com VIP showcase!
  • Thursday, May 11th — Departure Day.

Space is limited for this event, so register now and take advantage of early bird pricing! Early bird pricing is $3,500 each until February 15. After which, the full participant price will increase to $4,000.

Pricing includes airport transfers to/from the SFO airport, meals, and lodging (May 8th – 11th).

WordPress 2016 VIP Workshop - Carneros Inn, Napa, CA, USA

Header image by CM Howard from the 2015 Automattic WordPress developer summit at the Carneros Inn in Napa, CA

BigWP returns to London next week

Calling all WordPress professionals in the London area! After a brief hiatus, we’re pleased to announce the return of BigWP London, when we invite enterprise-scale users of WordPress and the agencies who serve them for an evening of learning, sharing and maybe a little socialising.

BigWP Meetups are an opportunity to peer behind the curtains at some of the highest-traffic and highest-profile WordPress operations. We usually have a handful of short presentations, usually but not exclusively technical in nature, with a chance to chat and ask questions afterwards.

The first BigWP of 2017 will take place in central London on the evening of Thursday 19 January; and will be hosted by News UK, publishers of The Times and The Sun, at their offices next to The Shard.

News UK moved thesun.co.uk to WordPress.com VIP last summer, becoming the fastest growing newspaper site in the UK, with well over 20 million monthly unique visitors, and tens of millions of page views every week. They recently added Scottish and Irish editions within a WordPress multisite configuration, all managed using the same innovative extension to the WordPress Customiser. WordPress is fast becoming an important part of News Corp’s worldwide publishing infrastructure, powering more and more sites in the US, India and Australia, as well as in the UK.

The schedule will be finalised shortly, but will include presentations from the News UK team, as well as our two UK-based VIP partner agencies, Human Made (our co-sponsors for the event) and Big Bite. Come straight from work: we’ll be providing food and drink.

Capacity at the event is limited; so please sign up today via our page at meetup.com to book your place. You will need to submit a request to join the group if you aren’t already a member: this is purely to ensure the group retains its enterprise focus.

2016 VIP Workshop – Session Update

We are closing in on the registration for this year’s VIP Workshop. Have you registered yet? If not, please find our helpful button below…

 

If you’re new to the VIP Workshop, our team hosts the premier event focused on the needs of enterprise WordPress users. We provide content for both engineers as well as business and product leads with the goal of providing the most well-rounded, relevant program possible.

For the Developer track…

  • a double-session covering WP-API, including using it on WordPress.com;
  • a content syndication roundtable that will feature clients’ and partners’ perspectives;
  • a review of automated testing strategies tailored to working with our platform;
  • a session dedicated to managing large networks of sites and the challenges that this presents; and
  • a review of some of the significant outages we’ve dealt with, the lessons learned, and how these can be prevented.

For the Business track…

  • Exponential Results with Small Teams – Time is our most precious resource. We should constantly spend resources to recapture it so we can put it back to work elsewhere.
  • The Product Game – Teamwork, decision-making, and change management.
  • Making the Most of Your Data – Using anonymous user data to keep people on your site today and in the future.
  • The Convergence of Content, Design, and Technology – The evolution from a channel-based approach to one that aligns and connects multiple capabilities to achieve its core objectives and enable innovation.
  • Net Neutrality – A leading voice on this subject will take us through some history as well as a look ahead.
  • Emerging Market Internet – Emerging market internet is the last blue ocean of users, but how do you optimize for their slow speeds and small screens?

We are incredibly excited for what we know will be the best VIP Workshop yet. If you haven’t registered yet, do it now before it’s too late!

 

Announcing the 2016 VIP Workshop

hero-workshop-01

May 9-12, 2016 @ The Carneros Inn

We are excited to announce the next installment of the WordPress.com VIP Workshop! As the leading provider of enterprise WordPress solutions, WordPress.com VIP provides the premier event focused on the needs of enterprise WordPress users. In our 5th year of the VIP Workshop we’re adding sessions for product owners in addition to our developer sessions. Also new to this year – a Best of WordPress.com VIP showcase where we recognize the best of your work over the past year (stay tuned for when we open the request for entries).

 

The VIP Workshop provides a unique opportunity to learn from the WordPress.com VIP team in person, as well as exchange ideas and experiences with other WordPress.com VIP clients and partners through networking lunches and dinners, in-depth curriculum and exercises, and focused, collaborative conversations.

A quick peek at the itinerary – details & agenda will be continually updated on the WordPress.com VIP Workshop page.

  • Monday, May 9th — Arrival Day. Check-in, special guest keynote and welcome dinner.
  • Tuesday, May 10th — In depth business and engineering sessions.
  • Wednesday, May 11th — In-depth product sessions and hands-on development workshops. We’ll wrap the day up with the Best of WordPress.com VIP showcase!
  • Thursday, May 12th — Departure Day.

Space is limited for this event, so register now and take advantage of early bird pricing! Early bird pricing is $3,500 each until March 15. After which, the full participant price will raise to $4,000.

Images by CM Howard from the 2015 Automattic WordPress developer summit at the Carneros Inn in Napa, CA

Images by CM Howard from the 2015 Automattic WordPress developer summit at the Carneros Inn in Napa, CA

Toronto BigWP and Developer Training Coming Soon!

The WordPress.com VIP team will be hosting both a BigWP event and a training course in the Toronto area this month, and we would love to see you there!

BigWP is a meetup event crafted specifically for professionals deploying, managing, or working with WordPress installations in enterprise environments. If you work with a large, high-traffic WordPress installation, you’ll find short and informative talks from other people who are doing innovative things with the same.

Our Developer Fundamentals II training course is designed to assist WordPress developers with learning best practices in code security and performance to help safeguard critical, high-scale WordPress environments, but you’ll learn things that apply to WordPress installations of all shapes and sizes.

BigWP

BigWP is a networking and education event focused on supporting developers, product managers, and editorial teams who run large, high-traffic WordPress sites. We’ll have a handful of short (5-10 minutes) flash talks on the following topics:

  • Google’s AMP on WordPress
  • Scaling WordPress for High-Traffic Sites
  • Developing Gamification for WordPress
  • Powering a TV Channel with WordPress

When: Tuesday, March 15th at 7 p.m.
Where: Shaw Media, 121 Bloor St. East
Event and speaker information is here.

Training: Developer Fundamentals II

WordPress Fundamentals II is a day-long, intensive course meant to improve WordPress developers’ understanding of advanced concepts. The workshop focuses on code security and performance, and will be taught by Stéphane Boisvert and Mo Jangda.

We recommend the training session for all developers working with enterprise-level WordPress deployments as the concepts discussed will apply universally.

When: Tuesday, March 15th at 9 a.m.
Where: The Foundery, 376 Bathurst St.
Cost: $950 CAD per attendee
For more details or to purchase a ticket, please visit the Eventbrite page. The class is limited to 20 participants – please sign up ASAP!

If you have any questions about either event, please get in touch!

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No matter where you are in the planning process, we’re happy to help, and we’re actual humans here on the other side of the form. 👋 We’re here to discuss your challenges and plans, evaluate your existing resources or a potential partner, or even make some initial recommendations. And, of course, we’re here to help any time you’re in the market for some robust WordPress awesomeness.