WooConf Wrap Up

Rainy Seattle. Known for the Space Needle, Starbucks, grunge music and now (for us, at least), it’s the first conference where Prospress has sponsored a booth – a real booth.

It’s been a week since our team got back from WooConf, aka the WooCommerce Developer Conference 2017, and we’re feeling inspired, educated and excited for what’s to come.

Did I mention we had a booth at WooConf? A big thank you to Sonja Leix for helping us piece together all the components. Check it out:

Our booth looks cool, right?

Working remotely, it’s easy to get caught up in code. Creating stuff and hoping people will like it and use it. Fixing bugs. Helping customers. It’s not until you see what you’ve worked on in the flesh – a real booth – and talk to people who actually use your products and you think, “Wow, we built this.” It’s humbling.

It was pretty special setting up our first booth. Suffice to say, I’m incredibly proud of our team and how far we’ve come as a company.

WooConf 2017: Open eCommerce

This year’s conference theme was “Open eCommerce”.

From the opening keynote, Todd Wilkens, Automattic’s Head of WooCommerce, wowed us with a frenzy of statistics and announcements leaving us excited for the future of WooCommerce and open source eCommerce as a whole.

I highly recommend watching the video, but if you are short on time, here are some of the key takeaways:

  • There are multiple $100M+ per year businesses using WooCommerce right now.
  • There will be more than $30M in WooCommerce-related extension sales this year.
  • Woo stores will do over $10B in sales this year.
  • The marketplace will be opened to new extensions, giving extension developers higher commissions, and more control and more access to customers.

The caliber of subsequent talks on day one was nothing short of amazing. Many of them are starting to appear online now on the WooConf site.

Our team’s day one conference highlights were:

  • Kandace Brigleb’s talk on Why Customize Websites? Kandace covered a range of topics from empathy to understanding to using design to solve problems and articulating brand stories. It left everyone at the end of day one asking “Who was better? Kandace or Todd?”

  • Kevin Killingsworth’s talk How We Are Scaling WooCommerce Core. Kevin dove right into the technical side of things and we learned more about WooCommerce moving forward around CRUD and data abstraction. Kevin gave a good overview of what it actually means, some examples of what it could be used for, and why the CRUD move is happening and why it’s useful, particularly around data flexibility and scaling.

Day one concluded with a combined team dinner with our mates from SkyVerge (creators of Jilt) and co-hosted drinks and nibbles (again with Skyverge) with all our old and new friends from the conference.

Things got a little silly and many laughs were had by all.

Day two kept the awesome talks coming:

  • Beka Rice from SkyVerge kicked the day off with a talk on Open eCommerce. Beka offered her insights on the strengths of open source based on her experiences dealing with both Shopify and WooCommerce.
  • Zach Stepek got everyone excited about scaling with his talk WooCommerce Speed Demon. He went on to announce the launch of a new product/service that implements Algolia-based search for WooCommerce, NeuralSearch – watch this space – it will be a game changer.
  • John Maeda wrapped things up with his talk on inclusivity and the importance of happy customers. I’ve been a fanboy of John’s for years ever since I picked up a copy of his book The Laws of Simplicity.

Did I Mention We Had a Booth?

Besides watching and learning so much from the awesome presentations, we also had the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones from all around the world whilst manning our booth.

It was great to be to talk testing and share with attendees more about Robot Ninja and what it can do to automate WooCommerce testing.

Over the two days, we gave away many hoodies, which were a big hit in the cold, wet Seattle weather. If you managed to pick one of our hoodies, up please send us some pics! We love seeing people around the world spreading the Robot Ninja love.

We even had a selfie stand that a few brave individuals made expert use of 💯:

As always, day two concluded with an after party (sponsored by PayPal) where attendees enjoyed the great company, dancing and drinks.

Outside of the conference, our team got together for a mini-meetup. As a remote company, we see a lot of each other online (i.e. Slack) and not so much IRL. As such, a few of us had never actually met in person so WooConf provided the perfect opportunity to meet and connect in person. I personally find it super valuable having the chance to meet face-to-face with fellow team members.

Shameless plug: If you’re interested in working in an environment that gives you the freedom to do your best work, however you work best, drop us a line. Check out our job openings.

Summing Up

Overall, WooConf was an amazing opportunity to learn from the fantastic array of speakers. Here’s a link to the videos again if you couldn’t make it to WooConf yourself and want to watch.

A big thank you to everyone who made it all happen, from the organizers and volunteers to the attendees.

And, of course, a special thank you to the Prospress team. We had a real booth!

See you all at WooConf 2018!