Last year, I met Heather Brunner, CEO of WPEngine in Lisbon. In an interview broadcast on Midlands 103FM we chatted about WPEngine's investment outside of the US, in the UK and Ireland but in this extended version we talk about a lot more.
What has powered the growth of WPEngine since 2010? What's life at a tech company in the Silicon Hills of Austin, Texas? How WPEngine's customer focus is in their DNA and the importance of WordPress in democratising publishing in a new media world.
Recorded at the WebSummit, Lisbon, 2016 | Produced by Andy O'Donoghue
Licence: CC BY-NC 3.0
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00:00:00you ever use the web reviews WordPress which Knight Powers about a quarter of all of the websites on the planet one of the world leaders in managed WordPress hosting is wpengine founded in 2010 by Jason Cohen Basin Austin Texas the companies Now chaired by Heather brother who also serves as CEO I'm at Heather back in November and Liz and some of this interview went out on Midlands 103 but here in an extended version we talked about the growth of wpengine over the last 6 years and hoping customer-focused has been good for their business wheels of China by their investment in Ireland and the value and importance of Wordpress in having a voice in a changing media world
00:00:47is that WordPress as an open source technology for building websites and applications has really become truly a phenomenon is he a huge the giant to 27% of the World Wide Web is built on WordPress and not just think about the length the length and breadth of the website of you know websites from you know small individual size all the way up to some of the world's most powerful sites are being built on WordPress so it seems both know the long tail and at the head of the web so to speak and so that growth of another option of Wordpress as a as a platform for content and digital has really been feeling our growth are founder Jason Cohen this is his fourth start up and really when he go cuz basically invented the word press engine on or in basically R&R platform which makes us one of our special secret sauce was because of his use of Wordpress
00:01:47as a successful technology and entrepreneurial blogger but he kept having challenges and issues with scalability and security on excetera and so he decided to go and tackle the problem and head on out the years and I remember coming across not to Shared hosting lots of shared WordPress hosting
00:02:13now it's not starting at $29 a month that's right what the commitment from work or from work seems to be quality scalability solutely so we have this concept and we are inspired by companies like Toyota or companies like apple wear it every price point they're known for their Innovation and quality answer for us whether it's a customer who's buying a $29 plan from us to put their know they're brand new business with their new idea go to market all the way up to large Enterprises in Fortune 500 companies who are doing their deal corporate.com all of their corporate marketing and digital and wpengine at every Price Point again what are three $9 or $29,000 we want to provide a level of quality and level of innovation on WordPress so that our customers know that when they're buying into wpengine not only are they buying into the level of us managing their site for them but giving them a set of tools
00:03:13capabilities from them to make to make it easier for them to build their sites test their size keep them Evergreen keep them fresh and then put analytics and other types of data on top of it to give them more insight about how their websites performing there really a tard. What inspires us is our mission is a company is who want to help her customers to win online so whatever winning means to them about subscribers or listeners are customers or fundraising how do we help them achieve that ultimate outcome is really about and how do we make it as easy as possible for them to build in to learn on top of our platform so that's what you do for us is pull apart a big part of our value is goes beyond infrastructure it's really around creating of a digital hub for customers to build their their websites on top of one of
00:04:01WBNG so successful and I will reveal I am a customer and I've had issues over the years questions of needs rest and I have never left a chance Section 3 BWC engines support person without having my problems so fantastic and Heather that's unusual that customer experience really defines who you are as a brand so you'd rather you basically are true to your word does your product really deliver on the promise does your team really put your customers first so again if our mission is to help our customers when online every interaction matters whether it's a question for somebody who's learning about us who doesn't even his not get a customer for all the way to somebody who's had no been with us since the very early days that really matters to us we take those relationships seriously one of our core values is do the right thing and what that means is that we have really put in
00:05:01person are employees that in any situation and they can find a way to basically do what they think would be right what use their Common Sense use our judgment how would they want to be treated if they were the customer to do that for the customer to help them and I think our team gets inspired every like literally every day we get no feedback from her customers and stories and thank yous and in just basic fuels our team people get excited about the feel like I helped a customer and that energy that comes from that. Cried of that new being able to support and serve them based in Austin Texas in Austin time it's become sort of app for technology absolutely silicon Hills in Austin is quite lovely but yes but yes Tech is really become it amazing a part of the Austin economy so the early days of Austin we're really as I can. As a capital of Texas have government the University of Texas but that really in
00:06:0170s attracted some really interesting players that can I became the first FrontRunner so IBM came in invested a huge research and development lab that later in a mini years later became the hub for Watson that they recently moved actually to another lab Up in a New York other large silicone fabric fabricating manufacturers came there other companies like 3M AMD Adele of course so you can I had the first generation of check was more Hardware oriented and then the end of that created wealth that created you no energy and talent and skills and then that kind of been pretty sore to see the Next Generation round software and then those companies starting to now in generate know right now there's one at a technology incubator and accelerator called the Capital Factory and there's over 300 just at the Capital Factory companies and field start up companies affiliated with capital factoring there's other author incubator so there's not only a very live
00:07:01scene in terms of both the base around the historical base around hardware and silicon but then software and then a whole start of scene and then thing that's really exciting is that the city in conjunction with some city leaders and health leaders and actually Michael Dell have created a whole center around Health Tech so there's a new teaching hospital that Michael still has has a hundred for it to bring Warren attract more to medical students to Austin and then there's a real thriving area around AC help stack so for us Technologies a key part of our economy in Austin as you mentioned
00:07:43England Ireland from here where with the boys and jumps up is that two different with Dell at some of your still doing there and have you already started absolutely yes so for us Europe is our second fastest growing Market outside of the United States for WP engine and we have been growing with that growth and customers week wanted to put more of our service team closer to our customers in time zone and to really also just from the standpoint we were building up quite an overnight shift so to speak which is a very difficult hard lifestyle for employees and we wanted to see if we can find in and build a great technology team there in case we in your in Europe in this we looked around look at multiple countries multiple cities and we just really fell in love with Limerick said that the just the community the sense of of Entrepreneurship the sense of
00:08:43a basic giving back it's really felt at home it felt like to us a really great community in the outpouring has been incredible from local universities and just the community in general and we now have 11 employees in Limerick we just launched a month ago and where are you at 11 team of 11 and we are just about to hire another class but but another 10 people here shortly or respiration is over the next three years to have over a hundred employees in Limerick in a basement of technology and service-oriented Center to Nelly service our Global customer put our service and expertise closer to where you're paying customers and creation
00:09:34the front face to the window and don't need the engine make it possible made of securing a fordable sort of the sport maps to your favorite researcher mass media and importance of individual country in the world I think that getting your voice out and is really in the mission of Wordpress is democratized publishing and I believe that that democratization of our voice of the king of humanity of what we believe is it is never been more important I'm in so I believe that not only will work for us continue to play a role in making it easy up a Gateway and a pathway for people to more easily get their voice to to to PO to the to the world and constituency wish to reach but I also see this is the blogging will be kind of passwords blogging then also the other digital experiences so can't really see one of the things that will be very
00:10:34so be very democratizing versus individuals and for businesses is the use of Open Source technology such as WordPress to become an SMA hub for all of your content and your ideas your videos your your your voice your reblogs your video blogs your and you're in your written word to then be able to leverage that almost as a repository for you too then broadcast that to lots of different mediums I'm in different channels so I think that the role of Wordpress in the role of open sores will continue getting more and more sophisticated began to challenge I would say some of the existing or proprietary organizations that have kind of had a strong hold on digital content creation
00:11:23find me web Summit Lisbon wpengine your successful company everybody in the industry knows your name
00:11:31still important for the chairwoman of WBNG
00:11:36was he so important to us as this is a great place for us to meet so many of our customers come so for us one is to just be here to know to get to know you have the opportunity to get to know them hear them get their feedback another opportunity for us to continue to build our brand and to show that we're supportive of the European Country Federal community
00:11:56Sound Community this is really what we seeing web Summit has we've been able to do is bring together thinkers of the journalist and the actual people in terms of the technology entrepreneurs in a successful companies all together under the same roof the same time and it's the energy the conversation just going to the ideas are being shared we want to be part of it and it really is it really a line with our mission and you again to help our customers to win UNO online and to bring their voice to Market so Chris is a perfect partnership we're very proud this is now spoken in the part of the Collision events and then also with web Summit last year in Dublin and then here in Lisbon it's been fantastic show for us

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