A Look Back at the 2018 WP Engine Summit
Last week, some of the most progressive marketers and innovative thinkers using WordPress came together at the 2018 WP Engine Summit. Attendees left exhilarated and inspired to push their brands and agencies forward faster. The theme of this year’s Summit was Breakthrough. Insight into the Internet’s most forward-thinking trends like AI, voice technology, AMP, and PWA energized attendees with the knowledge and inspiration to fuel their professional breakthroughs. Additionally, Becky Hammon, Assistant Coach to the San Antonio Spurs, delivered a keynote speech to help ignite personal breakthroughs.
To conclude the Summit, we heard from WP Engine leaders who offered a look into the WP Engine roadmap. This included a look at newly released products, like our Global Edge Security offering in partnership with Cloudflare, as well as a deep-dive into our recent acquisition of StudioPress. To wrap up, WP Engine CEO Heather Brunner spoke about the importance of our core values, which will continue to provide the framework for growth and innovation.
The first keynote speaker, Erik Qualman, provided an engaging session focused on emerging and inevitable digital trends and societal shifts. He pointed out the pervasiveness of social media and the dependency on convenient technologies. Lastly, he offered ways to creatively tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow.
Next, WP Engine Founder and Chief Technical Officer Jason Cohen, provided insight into WordPress as a solution for a developer and marketers everyday woes as well as a solution for the growing needs of tomorrow’s digital landscape. Today, he said, WordPress powers nearly a third of the web, and has the flexibility, integratability, and affordability to incorporate the increasing availability of tools within the MarTech stack.
Next, in a series of lightning talks, Steven Moy, Chief Technology Officer at R/GA (US), showcased real-life use cases of world-class digital marketing and communicating a way that is culturally relevant. In one example, Moy referenced the branding of A/R Jordans. To remind the young, digitally-charged generation of the greatness of Micheal Jordan, R/GA utilized cutting-edge augmented reality technology and three-way partnership with Snapchat as the social network, Shopify as the check-out partner, and Darkstore as the fulfillment platform. Ultimately, the shoes sold out in 23 minutes.
Next, NYC Opportunity and Blue State Digital showcased their project aimed at making a mass of governmental databases navigable, accessible and scalable. The final end product was Access NYC, a public online screening platform in which residents answer a brief set of questions discover whether they’re eligible for food, money, housing, or work benefit programs. To learn more about this award-winning feat, check out the full case study here.
After that, also heard from Phil Crumm of 10up and Jonathan Jeter of Click Here Labs about the possibilities of Headless development. In a panel discussion, the two uncovered exactly what Headless means and how it can give agencies a leg up in development.
In our third round of keynotes on Thursday, we heard from tech leaders about breaking edge technologies and the ethics that accompany them. Barb Palsner, Global Product Partnership at Google, talked about the importance of a mobile-first approach and technologies like AMP and PWA that can work together to make content more enjoyable to consume on mobile devices.
Next, David-Michel Davies, CEO of Recognition Media and Webby Media Group spoke about the ever-present conundrum of the technology on our lives. Our lives are no longer separate from our digital identities, he said, so how can we use technology to enhance good and prevent evil?
Niranja Hira, a Solutions Architect at Amazon, spoke at the rising prevalence of voice technology. 50% of all searches will be voice by 2020, Hira said, it’s time to look and plan ahead.
Our final keynote for Thursday was Becky Hammon, Assistant Coach to the San Antonio Spurs. Hammon gave the audience perspective on their own personal breakthroughs by talking about her own obstacles during her career as an athlete and how she overcame them. Today she remains first full-time female assistant coach in any of the four major professional sports in North America.
On Friday, Jason Dorsey, President at the Center for Generational Kinetics energetically walked the audience through generational differences in how we use, consume, and relate to the Internet. Specifically, he gave insight into the Gen Z, the entrepreneurial generation born after 1996.
Then, we heard from Felicity Carson, CMO at IBM, about how Artificial Intelligence has become a critical business asset in a world where data influx often outpaces analysis.
We closed things out by hearing from WP Engine leaders on the WP Engine roadmap. We heard about exciting partnerships, like our recent partnership with Cloudflare, that add security and stability to the WP Engine Digital Experience Platform. We also heard about upcoming products and releases. Additionally, we also explored the acquisition of StudioPress and what that means for the WP Engine customer. Lastly, Heather Brunner reflected on the importance of the WP Engine culture by referencing our core values and the commitment to remaining ‘Customer-Inspired.’
Thank you to everyone who made our third-annual Summit a success! See you next year!
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