Pressnomics – Year One

WordPress has had its share of conference love. From WordCamp to prominent placement in beginner-focused conferences like TechPhx or heavy usage during Startup Weekends, the publishing software/CMS now powers at least 8,343,412 sites online, with over a million of those among the web’s most visited.

But until last weekend, there hadn’t existed many (if any) high-profile conferences focused on B2B companies that use WordPress to make money. Pressnomics, run by Pagely co-founders Josh and Sally Strebel, was created to give bigger, more serious (enterprise and other large-budget projects) businesspeople a chance to talk shop and exchange notes on how they use the still-free WordPress to provide customer solutions.

“After attending [and sponsoring] MANY WordCamps while evangelizing Pagely, they bored me as a business owner. The most valuable part was the conversations in the hallways, and I wanted an entire conference focused on those hallways conversations,” Josh said. “I wanted to learn more, interact more with people on my level.”

As with any new conference looking to get a bit of marketing buzz going, Josh seeded the industry with invites to specific companies with larger-than-average presences in the commercial WordPress community. After that, spots were first come, first serve.

Tony Perez of understood the approach.

“Invite process was interesting,” Tony said. “Exclusivity builds buzz, [it’s] good marketing.”

Tony especially liked being able to network with other companies just like his, instead of the typical beginners and solo shops prevalent at other events like WordCamp. And because Pressnomics wasn’t under the WordPress Foundation umbrella, the focus was more on sharing business stories, rather than typical developer or designer needs.

“It IS about money, it is about marketing,” Tony said. “[It was] an event tailored for the business ecosystem — looking to engage with other pros, extend your ideas or posture [about solutions]. If you’re looking to build a widget or design one, [it’s] not the event for you.”

Director of Engineering for sponsor New Relic Darin Swanson likened Pressnomics to an untapped market of movers and shakers of B2B of WordPress land. While Darin would have liked more questions to be asked during sessions, he though the quality of the presentations were, on average, above average.

“The information flow was awesome. One of the better ones,” Darin said. “Daily emails, Uber for airport pickups and the Twitter presence was great. Hotel was easy, too. It just worked.”

While the Strebels wouldn’t commit to another Pressnomics, feedback shows the event was useful and necessary, as having attendees from all six continents showed there wasn’t anything comparable around the world.

No official word on a sequel.