Summit/2020 Digital Breakthrough Conference: Carpe Diem! Seize the Opportunity to Break Through

The digital experience is now officially the human experience for every generation. During WP Engine’s 2020 Summit, the WP Engine CEO, Heather Brunner, discusses current market trends as the world leans into digital, and the unprecedented breakthrough opportunity for digital experience creators to serve the masses and help businesses of all sizes to press ahead.

Video recording of session

Slides from the session

Heather Brunner, CEO, WP Engine discusses: 

  • Stories and inspiration for how WP Engine powers the digital experience forward in service to the human experience.
  • Examples of how the website has now become the front door for every business.

We’re truly seeing that the digital experience is, in fact, the human experience. And the human experience is now being enriched, inspired, and amplified by the digital experience.

Full text transcript


Good day. Thank you for joining us for WP Engine Summit/2020. We couldn’t be more excited to host you.


Business leaders, technology leaders, and creative leaders from all over the world

are coming together today to share experiences, ideas, and inspiration for how we can really truly seize a breakthrough moment in the world in digital.


Today, times have really brought us all together in unprecedented ways, and we’re seeing the rise of digital impacting all of us at home, at work, in our communities.


We are really witnessing an unprecedented evolution of the power of digital in our lives. As we all come together, we’re truly seeing that the digital experience is, in fact, the human experience. And the human experience is now being enriched, inspired, and amplified

by the digital experience.


And today, we’re going to share with you many, many different stories and places of inspiration for how we power this digital experience forward in service to the human experience.


We have the privilege of powering so many different digital experiences on our platform, and we’re seeing a change in how things are happening, whether it’d be in colleges,

yoga studios, fitness, e-commerce, literally every business.


The website has now become the front door for every business. The website is a place that

you show your brand humanity. You show what you stand for. You show off everything you’re proud of about your products and your services.


It’s a place where people discover who you are, what you’re about, and what are your values? Again, we couldn’t be more excited to be part of this journey with you as this transformation

continues in the world.


Some of our customers are seeing this. The website is now the new

checkout line for H-E-B. They’ve seen a 20x increase in orders and traffic to their site, particularly in this last three months.


The website is also the new tour guide for college campuses. Stanford, on our platform, used the power of digital to transform their admitted students welcome weekend from a campus

event to a virtual event, and in doing so, was able to reach 50% more prospective students and maintain their same enrollment rate.


And for the best of the web, that the Webbys amplifies and represents, they took their Webby Awards and turned it on its head and turned it into the Webbys from Home. They created a new award show in just two months and took their show virtual with over 11 million page views, an incredible engagement and the ability to bring in new creative ideas for entertainment and amplify really what’s best about the web with a series of inspiring galleries and all different types of interactive events in a very, very short period of time.


And websites are more important than ever. We’re seeing, particularly over the last few months, the rise of the websites in terms of traffic and engagement, and seeing pretty low to moderate growth in terms of applications.


So again, websites are that home, they’re that front door to our businesses everywhere. And consumer patterns in terms of how their spending, is changing.


We’re seeing more and more consumers going online, seeking convenience, seeking ease, wanting to discover services and goods, and buying things in new ways.


Consumer spending definitely has taken a dip during this COVID crisis time, but we’re seeing that more spending is happening online.


And we believe that this shift will be one of the most permanent and lasting effects of this pandemic and this time.


A study and data coming from JP Morgan Chase, the Chief Investment Officer there, Michael Cembalest, is showing that we’re seeing the rise of e-commerce, that purchases without a card present. 


In terms of with a card present in store is declining, but e-commerce, and the ability to buy online and offline for transactions, whether it’d be in a retail, for delivery, et cetera, are increasing.


And this will be enabled again more and more by digital, and the realization that consumer pattern, consumers want convenience, they want ease, and they want to be able to buy when and where they want in an e-commerce easy digital fashion.


And we’re going to be right there with you. WP Engine is proud to be powering over a million in digital experiences across our platform.


We want to be the partner that helps you to seize this moment in time when you’re investing in all your digital experiences to seize what’s possible for your business.


And we are very, very proud and excited to say that we celebrated our 10-year anniversary as a company this past May, and we wanted to share a few moments in terms of reflection of how far we’ve come together with you and your partnership.


From our humble beginnings, when our amazing and inspiring founder Jason Cohen came up with the idea for WP Engine when he had just come out of his most recent

entrepreneurial venture, and was taking some time off, taking a break and writing and sharing his entrepreneurial experiences with the world on his blog.


He saw an opportunity to power his blog differently, to have it be more safe, more secure, faster, and was looking for options. In that desire to seek, to find something better, he created the genesis of WP Engine, and created that breakthrough moment.


Built on a foundation of values, WP Engine, our core values are our culture. Our core values really define who we are, and we believe that our culture is our core values in action guiding everything we do.


Our innovation, how we treat our employees, how we aspire to lead in the WordPress community, and in the communities that we live and serve.


And we’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings to now today, a company with 900 employees, 130,000 customers over across 150 countries, powering over a million websites across the world in partnership with over 5,000 agency partners,


Having the world’s largest agency partner program that we couldn’t be more proud to serve and collaborate with some of the world’s most innovative creators.


And around the world, we are building our business.


We are a global business with teams from across North America, Europe, and in Brisbane. Most recently, we launched our office in Krakow and couldn’t be more excited about bringing our innovation, and expanding our innovation across Europe and across the world from

this amazing new office.


As well, last year we joined forces with Flywheel, and bringing together their incredible passion and culture, all in service to creatives wanting to do their best work on WordPress.


So we’re global, and we can’t wait to continue to grow and expand alongside you as your business continues to go more and more global.


And we’re growing alongside WordPress. There’s over 500 new sites built in the top 10 million sites each day on WordPress.


WordPress is now powering 36% of the web and powering close to 20 million sites globally

on the WordPress CMS.


We’re proud to be an investor and making sure that in a strong community member, in terms of really ensuring that WordPress continues to thrive and flourish.


And we’re committed to the success and ongoing evolution of WordPress as the leading CMS in the world.


Today, we are proud that WP Engine is powering more of the top 10 million WordPress sites by traffic than any other platform in the world.


So we have 1.4% of the top 10 million sites on our platform, and we’re not stopping there.


Our vision is to be the most trusted WordPress technology company in the world,


trusted by first, our employees, trusted by our customers, trusted by the WordPress community, and trusted by our agency partners.


With this trust, we want to build out and continue to build our technology and innovation, and in fulfilling our mission to help our customers to win online.


We do that through our core WordPress platforms, WP Engine, a digital experience platform for brands and agencies.


Flywheel, the WordPress platform, built for creatives to do their best work and help them grow their business and advance their entrepreneurial vision on WordPress.


And developer solutions, such as Genesis, which is the leading design and development framework in WordPress, with over 600,000 sites built on Genesis.


And Local, the fast growing and most beloved and adopted local development tool for WordPress in the world, all supported by our commitment to powering strong, fast, secure sites, and making sure that we engage, and contribute, and give back to the global community of WordPress developers across the world.


And underpinning all of this is our commitment to being the partner of choice for agencies of all sizes, helping them to succeed and thrive with WordPress, with their customers, and their creative aspirations.


And we, WP Engine, aspire to express what’s possible with WordPress ourselves.


We use WordPress and our WP Engine platform to power our primary website, our main front door to the world.


We’re also a publisher, publishing two digital magazines a day, Torque, which gives news and advice, and best practices, and sharing across the developer

community in WordPress, and Velocitize, which is really focused on best practices and creative inspiration for agencies and creatives.


We also are a filmmaker, a media company. We created the documentary make|SHIFT to really highlight the incredible transformation of the advertising agents, advertising world over

the last multiple decades, and the agencies and creatives that have made that shift in technology happen.


We’re also e-commerce. So our platform powers all of our engagement with our customers and the ability for them to buy and discover our products, and for them to add new things along the way.


We’re also a storyteller and a marketer, and sharing our vision, for example, with our collaboration, with the Webby’s on Crafted with Code, a gallery of some of the most inspiring projects that were award-winning from the Webby Awards.


And also, we are thought leaders. We are turning digital thought in terms of digital, into thought leadership, whether that be through our Summit, our webinars, other types of events that we’re hosting to make sure that we are bringing forward what’s possible with WordPress.


We’re going to keep going in terms of innovating and making sure that we are building the best innovation and the best on our platform in service to all of you.


We’ve had 14 product releases since January, and today, we’re gonna be talking a lot about what are we, what have we built?


How can it impact and add value to your business? And what’s coming ahead for WP Engine?  And our vision ahead for our product roadmap?


We are committed to living our core values. As I said before, our core values is the operating system of WP Engine. And with that commitment, we are committed to making sure that we’re providing an incredible workplace for employees,


that we treat them with trust and empowerment, so they can take that positive energy and bring it right back to our customers, the community, and our agency partners.


We’re very proud to have such a spirit of generosity across our employee base.


And I am really excited to share with you our platform for social responsibility, which we call WP Engine’s Engine for Good. Which is focused on three pillars.


Open Future, which is really about supporting the future of open source, and making sure that

we are an active member in the open source community and supporting the future and vision of WordPress.


Open Doors, where we’re focused on making sure that we are a place that values diversity, that values transparency. That makes sure that we are a place that allows for more people to

thrive across all spectrums, which is even, I think, exacerbated by or exemplified by what’s happening in today’s current events and what’s happening in the world.


It’s a time for all to come together and for us to recognize that there is only one race, the human race,


And Open Hearts.  This is really our focus on our employee led giving back into their communities and causes that are really powerful and meaningful to them.


And we have with the COVID situation has been going on. Our employees activated around three major causes, safety, health, and hunger.


And across the globe, we have identified organizations that really meant something or were very meaningful to our employees, that we’ve decided to sponsor a COVID relief fund drive.


And with that, our employees have donated over $24,000 of their own money.


We are taking all of the sponsorship money from this event and matching that to enable us to be able to make 114,000-dollar impact globally, spread across these amazing organizations that are doing great work at the front lines of the COVID crisis.


So 2020, looking forward to 2020 and beyond. It’s a new breakthrough

moment for digital. It’s a time when again, digital should be in service to humanity.


Digital should be lifting up our values, should be lifting up what inspires us, what’s possible, giving a voice.


So with that, again, I say that the digital experience is the human experience, but digital should never replace what’s special about the human connection.


It can never replace the spark, the spontaneity of being together.


And so with that, I know that this is a virtual event. I’d much rather be shaking your hand and seeing a great group of people all together enjoying each other’s company.


But I would say that instead, I give to you my deepest and sincere thanks for spending time with us today, for sharing your ideas and collaborating with us, for being great partners.


And with that I say, thank you. I wish you much success on behalf of the 900 men and women of WP Engine.


We say carpe diem, seize what’s possible, and wishing you a breakthrough moment in 2020, thank you. 

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