PressNomics is the first conference focused on the WordPress economy

16 Comments

“Like anything, this isn’t a new idea, people have probably talked about it,” Joshua Strebel explained to me in a phone call. “I’ve been talking about it for about a year and half but a couple of months ago I’m like what’s stopping us, let’s just do it.”

His company Page.ly, along with a group of sponsors and partially announced list of speakers, have announced a new WordPress conference this morning called PressNomics. PressNomics is an event focused on the WordPress economy and professionals running businesses within the community.

PressNomics will take place November 8–10, 2012 in Chandler, Arizona. The event will include a single track of sessions for two days, followed by special events organized for the attendees. PressNomics is, of course, not affiliated with or endorsed by the WordPress Foundation. It’s not a WordCamp; it will be the first major unofficial WordPress event in the USA.

Confirmed speakers

  • Joe Stump
  • Ward Andrews
  • Frederick Townes
  • Mikkel Svane
  • Alex King
  • Cory Miller
  • Marcus Nelson
  • Micah Baldwin
  • Carl Hancock
  • Andrew Hyde
  • Mark Jaquith

The target audience for PressNomics include WordPress theme and plugin shop owners, hosting companies, freelancers and agencies, and any WordPress companies doing annual sales above one million dollars. As the PressNomics website explains:

PressNomics aims to be a once year gathering of global WordPress professionals to learn, foster collaboration, and build new strategies for commercial success in the growing WordPress ecosystem.

Only a partial list of confirmed speakers is available so far, but even now it includes WordPress heavyweights like Alex King, Cory Miller, Carl Hancock, and Mark Jaquith. The exact sessions are still coming together, but Strebel did spit ball a bit about what they’re thinking about. One session, he said, could be a debate-style panel where a diversified product line (selling themes and plugins) could be argued against sticking to a single, pure service or product.

Rather than offer multiple tracks the way a WordCamp event would (typically something like beginning user, advanced user, and developer) PressNomics will be a single-track event, with everyone attending every session in one big room.

 

“An event I would want to attend”

PressNomics organizer Joshua Strebel is the co-founder of Page.ly, a managed WordPress hosting company, and assisted with WordCamp Phoenix in 2011. You remember, the event with the ice luge? The way he talks about PressNomics, you get the sense he’s really just building the type of event that he wants to experience himself.

“I want a place where I can learn something,” he said. “I want a conference where I’m there to learn, where I’m there get something out of it. As a business owner, how can I improve my business? What are the strategies that people are using that are successful in this space? What collaboration and partnership opportunities are out there? That’s sort of the aim of PressNomics in a nutshell: to be a conference for all these WordCamp speakers, where they can get something out of it.”

While he doesn’t want the conference to operate at a loss, he said that he is organizing the event because he likes the idea, and not strictly to profit from it. Strebel describes PressNomics as a “not-just-for-profit” event, and plans to set aside proceeds earned (beyond expenses) for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Attendance for PressNomics will be capped at 150, with around half of those specifically invited before general tickets are available to the public. (See a sample of the invitations above.)

“Old fashioned, paper invitations in the mail. Hand addressed. We want to give it an air of exclusivity.”

“Old fashioned, paper invitations in the mail,” Strebel explained. “Hand addressed. We want to give it an air of exclusivity, that this is targeted at a very specific group of people.”

General ticket sales will begin on June 1st at $200/each. Until then the only tickets sold will be to those selected during the invite-only period (which pretty much begins now). Approximately 75 special invites will be sent to a list of individual that Strebel believes would be particularly interested in this type of event.

I’m sure we’ll write about it here, but you’re probably best following their website or the PressNomics Twitter account if you’re interested in knowing when tickets go on sale.

Regarding sponsors, Strebel said they are seeking primary sponsors from outside of the WordPress community. Smaller community-level sponsorships are being accepted from interested WordPress businesses, but the intent is to bring in outside companies that would be of interest to the event attendees. Primary event sponsors currently include New Relic, Firehost, and Zendesk.

The first non-WordCamp WordPress event

Many have discussed the plausibility of a non-WordCamp WordPress event, how it might play out within the community, and just what its niche might be. Now we have something a bit more tangible to talk about.

As a niche WordPress event, in this case focused on the economics of businesses built up around WordPress, how does PressNomics look to you? Are you interested in attending? And do you think an event like this one will open up the possibility of other, non-official, WordPress events in the future?

16 thoughts on “PressNomics is the first conference focused on the WordPress economy

  1. Hope we get invited :). Looks interesting.

    How is this different from the business of WordPress conference that Mike Schinkel tried a few years ago?

    • You mean this? It looks like it did end up happening — right? No activity on it since 2010 though.

      Just looking over Mike’s site, it seems that his and Pressnomics have similar goals, but Pressnomics has a few more noteworthy members of the WordPress community slated to speak.

      I’m wondering how I overlooked Mike’s event back in 2010. Weird.

    • Vid, you are on the list.. as are a half dozen other hosting co’s.
      As for the difference I would not know, I did not go to that other one and until you mentioned it did not know it happend.

  2. Invites for all the WPCandy Pros! Just kidding.

    Three questions come to mind:

    1. Is there going to be any opportunity for freelancers to hook up with those potentially looking for work/hires? Something more than a random bump-into-someone setting at WordCamps?
    2. Are the talks going to be video taped and offered back later (public or private)?
    3. Are tickets refundable or transferrable (the latter usually is possible at WordCamps).

    Maybe we can get Joshua to chime in on these? I thought to post them here so that all could benefit from the reply.

    • 1. Yeah, but most likely informal. There will be ample “planned” social time to meet and greet. Maybe we can work something with the badges to denote “for fire/hiring” or something.

      2. No video planned at this time. I know it seems backwards in this age of streaming media

      3. That is yet to be determined. Most likely yes.

      • If the decision for no video has been determined due to lack of equipment/manpower, i might be willing to help if i end up going. I’m sure i’m not the only one who would be bringing a video camera of some sort. Since this isn’t a WordCamp though, not sure if you want sessions to be public afterwards (and maybe that’s the real reason).

        And thanks for replying! :)

  3. I don’t have quite the target market’s annual sales – need to start charging cash instead of beer – but would be keen to watch the sessions online. Just because we can’t show doesn’t mean we’re not interested. :)

    • +1 for the videos!

      I’d be happy to pay for access to the videos of this as well. I will have already been to the States twice this year that time. I’m not sure if I can squeeze in a 3rd trip but the speakers look fantastic.

  4. This conference is exactly what WordPress needs right now, its commercial landscape has remained oddly unformed for such a mature and stratospherically successful platform.

    So many areas remain less evolved than you would expect by now – hosting, automated management and, as I discussed in my WPCandy Quarterly article, the curious absence of a WordPress app store – but there are also several plugin niches with staggeringly obvious commercial potential that remain untouched. I have never seen any other platform in which demand is so unmet by supply.

    Some of the reasons for this are pretty obvious – it is nerve-wracking to invest heavily in a field that is dominated by an unpredictable giant – but there have been promising signs of life over the past few years and a conference such as Pressnomics, with its unashamed focus on commercial success, has the potential to coalesce, unify and embolden all those who are innovating to drag forward and improve the WordPress platform as a means to build a business and make a living.

    More than anything, I hope that some speakers address the thorny issue of pricing. I believe there is a general tendency among commercial vendors in the WordPress world to play safe and make as much money as they can from the least price-sensitive 1%, abandoning the other 99% to piracy and the presumption that they will not be willing to pay at any price.

    I think this is wrong, it is just that vendors have not yet discovered a far more profitable sweet spot lower down, that you can target a far wider market when you begin to understand and factor in price differentials in countries that aren’t America, or you can kick the piracy rock and find a level at which the bulk of users decide that, actually, yes, your product is inexpensive and convenient enough to be a no-brainer purchase.

    The sheer size of the WordPress user base convinces me that a huge market for WordPress plugins, themes and services is waiting to burst forth, just as the market for mobile phone software remained largely untapped until Apple came up with a convenient delivery mechanism geared towards impulse-level pricing.

    It is good to see that Joshua Strebel is the man behind Pressnomics; earlier this year he wrote a long, detailed run-down on the entire process of creating Page.ly that was inspiring. If the other speakers are anywhere near as open and honest about their experiences, it will be a deeply insightful event.

    It would be wonderful to see an event along these lines emerge in the UK at some point.

    • Donnacha,

      Those words coming from someone else I hold in high regard, means a lot. Thank you.
      Thats the attitude I hope replicate through the event. Look forward to having you if you can make it.

  5. @Donnacha – All good points and I completely agree.

    I’m excited about this event. I think the WordPress community needs to come together to not only continue the growth of WordPress in general, but to also add structure to the business side of the platform. To continue to remain relevant and an industry leader, its the culmination and organization of ideas, products and services that will further adoption. I think there is so much potential for not only WordPress-related businesses, but also for the organizations that do/will use WP.

    I see a very bright future for WordPress. These are exciting times!

  6. Sounds really interesting. It’s definitely a event what is now on my list. As an event it does look good. I will probably only go once every 5 year but with the cap that doesn’t effect the event if a lot of people will think the same.

    To create a niche event is something what is on my mind for the last months. Mainly because WordCamps in Europe aren’t really that open because of a certain need to have it local. So there just a few that are partly English spoken.

    For in the states there is definitely a future for this event and more non-official onces. I’m somehow afried for a official vs non-official fight. I still of the opinion that every event should have the ability to call it a WordCamp and it is a shame that it isn’t.

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