The Concept of a “Pressnomics” Conference

Today it was publicly released that there is a new conference for businesses that leverage the WordPress platform as part of their service offering or as part of the business architecture – Pressnomics. It took me a minute to sick back and really think about the conference and how it differs from what we know of today as a WordCamp.

At first glance I couldn’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, it had more to do with getting away from the Foundations oversight and breaking free from the perceived shackles. I would probably argue that some might still think that at first glance, and so I decided to think through it a bit more.

WPLateNight

I think what really helped me formulate an opinion was tonights WPLateNight where Joshua Strebel was a co-host and talked to the idea of the conference and what his vision of it is.

Josh started to talking about the economics of our community, specifically the business side of our community and I think that is where it was triggered for me.

Economics in its purest sense talks to scarcity in resources and how to maximize return from those scarce resources. Not a “websters” definition, but its the simplest explanation without having eyes roll into the back of their heads. We then take a minute to think about WordPress, one of the most dominating content management systems (CMS) available on the web and growing daily.

So where is the connection?

Well that’s us, the business owners, those that are committing endless resources to extending the platform and helping it grow as popular as it has become.

There in lies the challenge

Understanding what it’s About

I was having a conversation this evening after the show talking to what I now understand of the conference and its potential value, this is what came of it:

  • The fundamental difference between a WordCamp and Pressnomics comes down to  its target market. While a WordCamp focuses on all end-users: business-owners, developers, designers, practitioners, etc… a Pressnomics conference will focus on those businesses that not only use it, but that have built businesses around the platform. There is a fundamental difference between someone that uses WordPress in their business, and someone that has built a business on WordPress.
  • In my honest opinion, when I look around the community, with exception to a few companies, I mostly see segmented groups of individuals that have come together lassoed together a company and have started doing business. Many with marginal business acumen, but a whole-lotta smarts and ambition. That is probably our biggest achilles heel and why we don’t hear more WordPress companies expecting $45M a year in gross revenue. This is where I see a conference like Pressnomics playing an instrumental role to our community.
  • The idea is about enriching and educating those that are adamant about the product and helping them build their business acumen. By leveraging the same principles that have made WordPress so powerful, community, and flipping the concept of capitalism on its head. Its not about the individual entity getting ahead, but the community as a whole getting ahead together.
  • It’ll be a forum in which WordPress Businesses are put in front of other company founders, who like us, have found a market demand and capitalized on their ideas. Not a WordPress demand, but a demand for some product, some service, and how that in itself was turned into a successful business. This in itself is priceless, the immediate return on investment should be 10 fold, not just for the business, but for the WordPress business community as a whole. In the end, smarter business professional building companies that are able to quickly and effectively deliver to their clients will only increase the market demand for WordPress.

What does it all come down to?

Growing up. Growing up as professionals. Growing up as business owners and taking our beloved platform to the next level.

What I would encourage us to do is take a minute and consider the possibility of an event like this. We have the opportunity to put our minds together and turn WordPress businesses into a multi-million dollar industry as a collective. I have long been a fan of the saying, “We get further as two, than as one.”

  • http://page.ly strebel

    Dude..

    1. FUCK YES.
    2. I’ll do my best!

    • http://perezbox.com perezbox

      Ha ha.. you’ll do fine. I will anxiously sit by the door waiting for the horse and carriage with my invite signed in blood, sealed in wax…

      :)

  • http://crowdedsites.com Wes Chyrchel

    Tony, Michael Bastos commented on your article on facebook and I love the idea of PressNomics! I had some candid observations myself and I thought it would be good to repost them here. I feel very passionate about the evolution of WordPress as a Business and am excited to see what the future holds. Congrats to the PressNomics team for making this happen. Here is my response to Michaels comment,

    Michael, great observation and thanks for bringing up this topic. I think you touch on something very interesting that’s evolving in this community. Users of WordPress are getting more diverse and their needs are more specific. WordCamps are great, but have you noticed that the dev track seems to be packed, while the beginner track is getting fewer, but mostly newbies to the platform? This fragmentation is already happening. You started AWP, OC has their dev day. Im sure there are many more meetups around the world like this. Both are very different scenes. WordCamps are great for bringing people together in an ultra meetup, but after that, the content of these meetups is not matching with the speed and evolution at which people are manipulating the platform. How many more times do I need to see a presentation on “custom post types and actions?” It seems that WordCamps are heavily influenced and subsidized by Automattic and so it appears these topics are recommended again and again.

    Will this create another “boys club,” absolutely it will. That’s the intention. Anytime you create an invite only event, it screams exclusivity. There may be many reasons why this event was created that way, much of which may have been political, who knows, but because it’s invite only, doesn’t it make you curious? Now don’t you just want to go to check it out? That’s good marketing and won’t cost them anything, because everyone will tell everyone else, that they got an invite, increasing the demand even more. Next year, the tickets will be more. $800 per ticket for a high end WordPress event? Why not, these guys have been doing it and making a fortune, http://aneventapart.com/

    It will be really interesting to see how this develops and to see if Automattic throws their hat into the ring or not. If they don’t, they may miss being a part of the conversation with the high end users of WordPress creating a wider division. Also, would this mean that WordCamps will turn into just beginner events thus dilluting their importance with high-end users as well as Automattic’s influence? That should be a concern of Automattic’s.

    At any rate you have to understand how Automattic makes their money. They don’t make hardly any money on the .org side. Which is why they barely support it. The .com side is where everything is at for them. Add-on services, domains, hosting, VIP, etc., and with that understanding, now WordCamp’s make more sense. An interesting metric would be, if possible, to see if an increase of .com signups coincided with WordCamps. Now I’m not saying Automattic or Matt think at all like this and they may have very different views as a company, but it all ends up coming down to money. If I don’t make money to pay my bills every month, then I just have a hobby and not a business. I guarantee all Automattic employees expect a paycheck as well instead of a high five and an atta boy for the community. It’s just how things work.

    The topic of “WordPress as a Business” is really hot right now and I guarantee you that Automattic is thinking the same way. I’m sure they are coming out with resources to address this and it will be interesting how they fold it into their existing ecosystem. The thing is that many other people have been thinking the same way, for a while and have not seen the void filled. That is why PressNomics was created, out of a need and yearning to learn more, get more and satiate that desire to talk about the business of WordPress.

    I’m very interested in this conference, but they are going to have to come up with some great ideas to make this a viable conference. Everyone in the WordPress community will be watching how this event is executed. Whether this conference appears next year will depend on it. I’m super excited and absolutely want an invitation or mayb I can just be a volunteer.

    This is a great time to be involved with WordPress and this is another example of the great minds we have involved in this community. WordPress was built by people who wanted something different. This community has evolved, because people continue to think that way and I hope it never stops.

    • http://perezbox.com perezbox

      Hi Wes

      All great points that I agree with. The posts in FB make me laugh some times because they are appear to be centered around “hysteria” and drama.

      I agree with you completely, we are in the age of web-startups and entrepreneurship. Everyone wants to be their own boss and turn their own idea into a lucrative business. That in itself is the problem, I was just teling Dre, too many techies with not enough business acumen. Why do you think Matt made the decision to bring on Toni to run Automattic, why do you think they are bringing on a new CFO. Why do you think Mark Zuck has a team of business people handling a lot of the dirty business while he negotiates billion dollar deals.

      For whatever reason, I think this is the point that is being lost on some folks. Especially when I see comments about a marketing conference and the sort, that talks to our overall naiveness around business.

      I, like you, am very excited for this event. I think its a good step for the WordPress business eco-system, something that has long been wanted and needed.

  • http://wpengine.com Jason Cohen

    I’m happy to see diversity in events. It’s not about doing something that’s “not WordCamp” it’s about doing something valuable. It’s running towards something, not away from something.

    WordPress powers 10-15% of the Internet, so by definition its user base is “everyone” and its use cases are “all of them.” Therefore it’s only right and natural that there be different events (and tools, and plugins, and themes, and hosting companies, and …) for different folks. And because the community is so vast, there’s plenty of room for everyone.

    The fact that it’s run by our competitor (page.ly) doesn’t change my mind about it one iota. It’s a great idea. It should be done, and if our competition is leading the charge, we’ll support them!

    I know the invites are still going out; I hope I get one. :-) Since it’s for business, it might be fun for me to do a talk about how SMBs can make more money — i.e. a business talk rather than a strictly WordPress talk. Also would be a good for for page.ly’s competitor to be present but not trying to “compete” on stage.

    • http://perezbox.com perezbox

      Good stuff Jason!

      I am sure you will get an invite, it only makes sense. I personally think getting all the WP hosts together will only come up with a new kick-arse solutions that will only benefit the consumers more.

      And that right there is what I think its all about. I especially like your point on the topic. In my opinion if it focuses too much on WordPress it will not be a success. WordPress should be the glue that brings everyone together, but the presentations should be about managing and improving your business to become more successful. +10 on that

  • http://byotos.com Paul Gibbs

    In some way similar, in the UK last September, there was a small but successful conference called “WP Brighton”; http://www.wp-brighton.org.uk/the-event/.

    Also, @noeltock and his http://www.happytables.com/ sounds like he would be a great fit for this sort of event.

    • http://perezbox.com perezbox

      Hey Paul

      That’s cool, hadn’t heard of the event across the pond. I do agree, I see similarities. Yet another example of what is to come in this evolving eco-system.

      Thanks for sharing.

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  • http://eventespresso.com Garth Koyle

    I think it has a lot to do with leadership in a new economy. The conference will be great raising the bar for WordPress business leaders.

    We won a $40k business competition based on our business plan and we had to innovate new approaches to managing this type of business. We presented to a pannel of judges that included VC, professors, entrepreneurs, etc. and they were excited and spoke on our behalf about the potential that comes with WP. It’s really our opportunity to maximize on it.

    • http://perezbox.com perezbox

      Hi Garth

      I agree completely. I think this has been a long time coming and will hopefully be a good push in the right direction for businesses.

  • http://pinterestplugin.com Phil Derksen

    I’m definitely in if there’s enough room. I’m a WP plugin developer and am always looking for ways to market my plugins and make WP product dev a full-time gig at some point.

    I recently attended a conference where the attendee limit was 128 (http://microconf.com). It’s focus was not a specific dev stack but rather how to turn your software ventures into a real viable business. It just so happened that Adii Pienaar (WooThemes) and Jason Cohen (WP Engine) gave talks, and because it was kept to 128, I was able to talk to them 1-on-1 a couple of times each and get some extremely valuable insight on how to market and implement a premium WP plugin (let alone their inspiring useful talks on running a startup as a whole).

    In short, the PressNomics conference sounds awesome, the <200 attendee limit sounds fantastic, and I'm hoping there's enough room after the initial invites. :)

    • http://perezbox.com perezbox

      Hey Phil

      Yes, I think you make very good points. Some talk to the exclusivity of the event, while true, I would also reference the intimate nature as well. Small groups is always easier to manage and often proves more effective in coming up with new ideas and effecting change. At least in my opinion.

      That’s also really awesome that you had time to talk to both Adii and Jason at the event, sounds like you were in good hands. Look forward to seeing what you do with the new knowledge..:)

      Thanks for stopping by.

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