Disrupting the Enterprise: Notes from WCUS 2019

This post shares video and key takeaways from WordPress VIP CEO Nick Gernert’s talk at WordCamp US in St. Louis on November 1, 2019.

Right now, the opportunity at the high end of the market is as big–if not bigger–than any other opportunity for WordPress. Depending on which reports you read, we’re competing in a $10B market that’s growing 18% annually.

However, there’s a disconnect between the demonstrated success of WordPress in the enterprise, and the market’s perception of its capabilities. So let’s celebrate what has already been accomplished in enterprise WordPress, and consider how we can realize the full potential of WordPress for these complex customers into the future.

The unique needs of enterprise users

For me, enterprise needs fall into 4 core areas: agility, ownership, flexibility, and simplicity.


Agility is the single largest competitive advantage WordPress sees over other platforms. As pressure to deliver increases within organizations, the agility of the tools required to do the job becomes even more important.

Case study: Capgemini

VIP and Human Made’s work with Capgemini, the global technology consultancy, demonstrates this perfectly. Capgemini suffered many chokepoints with their previous platform: small changes required days of lead time, a handful of people in an organization of 200K understood how the platform worked, and people were spinning up their own platforms, which created a governance nightmare.

As pressure to deliver increases within organizations, the agility of the tools required to do the job becomes even more important.

By migrating to WordPress, Capgemini eliminated licensing worries and gained access to thousands of pre-built integrations. Removing their bottlenecks helped Capgemini increase productivity and improve results. In specific terms, 1400 users across 38 sites in 10 different languages are now contributing to 20K+ pages. That agility truly differentiates the platform from other solutions.


Ownership means many things in the enterprise: Ownership of product. Of customer journeys, of data, of future business needs. In an enterprise context, most software comes from closed, opaque systems commonly associated with strict vendor lock-in. With content sitting at the core of so many customer experiences, ownership (and also transparency) are critical to long term success.


The flexibility inherent to WordPress is what has allowed it to see its 16th birthday and will enable it to see many many more. If enterprises want decoupled architectures today, we can do that. We can also say with confidence that the platform will evolve to serve their future product roadmap, thanks to the inherent flexibility of the platform.

This flexibility is what empowers WordPress to serve both the monolithic model of delivering web pages, but also COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere) approaches to content, which rely upon API-driven applications serving components.

The new block editor has been the single-most exciting development since the custom post type and this is validated in the response we’re seeing from enterprises.

Case study: News Corp
WordPress forms the core of News Corp’s global publishing operation. There are some really interesting ways Big Bite is working with News Corp to tailor the block editor to their needs, for publishing workflows and ultimately site management.

The new block editor has been the single-most exciting development for me since the custom post type and this is validated in the response we’re seeing from enterprises. Layering onto that the future promise of full site management only continues to make things more interesting.


WordPress makes the complex simple. In fact, WordPress’s success in the enterprise to date is rooted in the fact that it’s not enterprise software. It’s the software people used because it made them better at their job.

The UI of WordPress is one of the most tested anywhere in software. There are readymade models for those extending WordPress, so organizations spend more time solving business challenges and less time refining UIs. As with Capgemini, the more accessible things are, the more folks will actually use the software and spend their time driving results.

Case study: Hachette Book Group
It’s simplicity that allows Hachette Book Group to empower marketing teams across their organization. They use WordPress to manage a site with thousands of titles, authors, and imprints. That’s in addition to a catalog of books that grows by 1,700 or so each year. Choosing WordPress has allowed their digital teams to focus less on marketing activities and more on analysis and optimization. Folks at Alley were critical to simplifying their processes and integrating other external systems into the rollout.

Paving the way for continued growth

When the web changes, it starts with WordPress. If you want to influence adoption, you do it with the platform that powers over one-third of the web. Digging deeper, the sustainability of WordPress’s current success in the enterprise, and the potential of future growth, is rooted in two core concepts:

  • We must always keep in mind the experience of the user. The user-centric nature of WordPress and this community is exactly what has carried it to the usage we see today. It is our greatest asset when advocating for the potential of WordPress with the world’s most demanding users.
  • We must demonstrate empathy for our user’s customer. If we demonstrate WordPress also understands what the success of that user’s customers looks like, we will ensure enterprise adoption of WordPress continues to grow.

The ubiquity, agility, ownership, flexibility, and simplicity inherent to WordPress is powerful to the large organizations that rely on this platform. I couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds for these forward-thinking applications of enterprise WordPress.

WordPress.com VIP Invests in The News Project

At WordPress.com VIP, we’ve worked closely with journalists since the very beginning of our service. From our earliest clients, news organizations were an integral part of WordPress’s growth from an open-source blogging platform to a technology that now powers more than 32% of all sites on the web.

Since that time, VIP has grown into an enterprise publishing platform that now boasts a customer list including some of the biggest news organizations in the world — CBS, Time.com, and News Corp., to name a few — to global brands like Microsoft, Airbnb, Capgemini, and Capital One.

But in this difficult business climate for news organizations, we want to double down on our commitment to journalism and a free (and sustainable) press. Today VIP is announcing that it has made a significant investment in The News Project, a new WordPress-based platform founded by Merrill Brown, the veteran digital news executive who helped launch MSNBC.com.

In addition to VIP’s financial investment, The News Project will be powered by VIP’s platform, with a goal of serving medium-sized digital news organizations around the world. You can read more about TNP’s vision here.

Along with VIP’s existing platform for large publishers and brands, Automattic’s funding of the new Newspack initiative with Google and other partners (announced yesterday), our own in-house media properties Longreads and The Atavist (bringing the best narrative storytelling to WordPress), and even the individual work of reporters like 12-year-old Hilde Lysiak, we are deeply committed to the sustainability of news organizations, large and small, around the world.  

We’re thrilled to work with Merrill and his team on this shared vision. For more information, go to thenewsproject.net.

2016 VIP Workshop – Session Update

We are closing in on the registration for this year’s VIP Workshop. Have you registered yet? If not, please find our helpful button below…


If you’re new to the VIP Workshop, our team hosts the premier event focused on the needs of enterprise WordPress users. We provide content for both engineers as well as business and product leads with the goal of providing the most well-rounded, relevant program possible.

For the Developer track…

  • a double-session covering WP-API, including using it on WordPress.com;
  • a content syndication roundtable that will feature clients’ and partners’ perspectives;
  • a review of automated testing strategies tailored to working with our platform;
  • a session dedicated to managing large networks of sites and the challenges that this presents; and
  • a review of some of the significant outages we’ve dealt with, the lessons learned, and how these can be prevented.

For the Business track…

  • Exponential Results with Small Teams – Time is our most precious resource. We should constantly spend resources to recapture it so we can put it back to work elsewhere.
  • The Product Game – Teamwork, decision-making, and change management.
  • Making the Most of Your Data – Using anonymous user data to keep people on your site today and in the future.
  • The Convergence of Content, Design, and Technology – The evolution from a channel-based approach to one that aligns and connects multiple capabilities to achieve its core objectives and enable innovation.
  • Net Neutrality – A leading voice on this subject will take us through some history as well as a look ahead.
  • Emerging Market Internet – Emerging market internet is the last blue ocean of users, but how do you optimize for their slow speeds and small screens?

We are incredibly excited for what we know will be the best VIP Workshop yet. If you haven’t registered yet, do it now before it’s too late!


Announcing the 2016 VIP Workshop


May 9-12, 2016 @ The Carneros Inn

We are excited to announce the next installment of the WordPress.com VIP Workshop! As the leading provider of enterprise WordPress solutions, WordPress.com VIP provides the premier event focused on the needs of enterprise WordPress users. In our 5th year of the VIP Workshop we’re adding sessions for product owners in addition to our developer sessions. Also new to this year – a Best of WordPress.com VIP showcase where we recognize the best of your work over the past year (stay tuned for when we open the request for entries).


The VIP Workshop provides a unique opportunity to learn from the WordPress.com VIP team in person, as well as exchange ideas and experiences with other WordPress.com VIP clients and partners through networking lunches and dinners, in-depth curriculum and exercises, and focused, collaborative conversations.

A quick peek at the itinerary – details & agenda will be continually updated on the WordPress.com VIP Workshop page.

  • Monday, May 9th — Arrival Day. Check-in, special guest keynote and welcome dinner.
  • Tuesday, May 10th — In depth business and engineering sessions.
  • Wednesday, May 11th — In-depth product sessions and hands-on development workshops. We’ll wrap the day up with the Best of WordPress.com VIP showcase!
  • Thursday, May 12th — Departure Day.

Space is limited for this event, so register now and take advantage of early bird pricing! Early bird pricing is $3,500 each until March 15. After which, the full participant price will raise to $4,000.

Images by CM Howard from the 2015 Automattic WordPress developer summit at the Carneros Inn in Napa, CA

Images by CM Howard from the 2015 Automattic WordPress developer summit at the Carneros Inn in Napa, CA

Upvoted – a Redditorial publication – launches on WordPress.com VIP!

We all know Reddit – the online community where users vote on content. Today, we on the WordPress.com VIP team are excited to be part of a new chapter in Reddit history as they launch a hub for that original content, Upvoted.com. Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, explains a bit more about what Upvoted is for the Reddit community…

This launch of upvoted.com is the next logical step in celebrating the Reddit community: a hub for original content to give Redditors credit, as well as go beyond the original story to learn more about the people and ideas that bubble up across this site of 202 million monthly users (bigger than Brazil!). And of course, you can discuss every piece of original content at r/upvoted.

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Read more about the launch on Upvoted!

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