Sessions and Speakers

Workshop Kickoffs

Kinsey Wilson – Automattic

We’re excited to share that Automattic’s own Kinsey Wilson will be kicking off the Workshop and getting us all set for a great week in Napa. He’ll be sharing his insights on the future of digital, along with how product owners can lead transformational change at their organizations. Plus, we’ll be collecting questions ahead of time, so he can tailor his focus to what’s most important to the room.

Kinsey recently joined Automattic as the President of, and previously held executive roles at the New York Times and NPR. Kinsey is a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, and a member of the Board of Visitors for Stanford’s John S. Knight Fellowship. Learn more about Kinsey’s new gig at Automattic on

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Miguel Fonseca & Tammie Lister – Automattic

In 2018, WordPress will modernize, streamline, and simplify the content creation experience with Gutenberg, or Ship of Theseus. It represents the biggest change to the WordPress user experience in several years. We’ll hear from Miguel Fonseca, developer, and Tammie Lister, design lead, on where we are with Gutenberg before breaking out into business and developer tracks to dive further into what the new editor means for you!

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Jake Shapiro – Cofounder + CEO RadioPublic PBC

An early innovator who has helped shape the podcast and public radio industries, Jake Shapiro is the co-founder and CEO of RadioPublic, a mobile listening platform and marketplace for podcasts. RadioPublic is a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) – founded in partnership with PRX and backed by investors including Project11, The New York Times, WGBH, and Bose Corporation – with the mission to help listeners discover, engage with, and reward the creators of podcasts. Jake will share with us why podcasting, why now and how you can use audio to enhance your digital experience.

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Business Track

Tammie Lister – Automattic: Diving into Gutenberg

How will the new WordPress editor impact existing workflows, and how can I make the most out of everything that’s on the way? Hear the story so far, from Tammie Lister, the design lead of the project. This talk will guide you through the exciting new features and also bring you up to speed  on the current state of the overall Gutenberg core project, with a little dash of what is to come. Along the way you’ll find out how to get more involved and where to go for helpful tools and resources to get ready for Gutenberg in WordPress 5.0.

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Graham Bishop – Nielsen: Data and Your Website

A warts-and-all discussion about data and your website. Graham Bishop is the VP of Creative Technology, Global Digital Marketing at Nielsen. He’ll discuss his experiences working with and integrating data on what has worked and what is he still working on.

Hal Bailey – LaterPay – Nicole Wilke – TechCrunch: Monetization Strategies

There’s more to monetization than display ads. Join Hal Bailey, CRO of smart paywall LaterPay, , and formerly an advertising Director at Google, and Nicole Wilke, Head of Product at TechCrunch, to learn about new revenue strategies for your business from both a technology and publishers’ perspective.

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Hayley Nelson, Airbnb: Content Ecosystem Thinking

Over the last two decades, publishers have developed a playbook that puts the reader at the center of their digital efforts. Top media brands know how to reach consumers across platforms and devices to engage people in their stories. Brands have to be clever in getting the right content in front of the right person, at the right time. Find out from Hayley Nelson, Content Marketing Lead at Airbnb, how you can leverage the tricks of the publishing trade when it comes to brand marketing and communications.

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Katya Bazilevskaya, Setka: Visual storytelling

Editorial content is at the core of the publishing business and is also heavily used for content marketing purposes today. They have their owned platforms with their own CMS, and they also might publish their posts into Facebook Instant articles, Apple News, Google AMP and Snapchat discover. Katya Bazilevskaya, CEO of Setka, will explore why content design matters for user engagement and brand differentiation, and what strategies work for editorial and branded content design in a multi-platform environment.


Tracy Levesque – YIKES! Inc: Diversity Works

If you’ve been paying attention to demographics released by tech companies, you will know the lack of diversity is a huge problem in the tech industry. How has this come to be, and how does homogeneity hurt companies’ productivity and end products? Tracy Levesque, Co-President and Co-founder of YIKES! Inc will provide an overview of the research around topic and offer proactive steps we can all take to help address it. She believes the WordPress community has a unique opportunity to be leaders in making the tech industry more diverse — let’s do it!

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Developer Track

Miguel Fonseca – Automattic: Diving into Gutenberg

You’ve read up on the Gutenberg project and know a bit about the new editor experience, but maybe you don’t quite know how to get started working with it for your sites. Miguel Fonseca, Gutenberg developer, will give some practical examples for migration and how you can contribute to the project. We’ll then open it up to the audience for a moderated discussion on all your technical Gutenberg questions.

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Simon Wheatley – Automattic: VIP Go AMA (Ask Me Anything)

VIP Go is the newest hosting offering from VIP, reflecting knowledge gleaned from our experience over a decade* of hosting enterprise WordPress. It offers new kinds of flexibility and tooling for VIP clients while providing the same scalable, secure and well-supported platform experience that VIPs already know. Simon Wheatley, from VIP’s Platform team, will give an update on what’s new with VIP Go and then open it up for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) from the audience.

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Rick Viscomi – Google: The State of Performance

The “silent killer” of any website is a poor user experience. Studies have shown that slow performance results in worse conversions and ad revenue. In this talk, Rick Viscomi, Google Developer Relations Engineer, will use web transparency data to understand the state of performance in the WordPress ecosystem, and discuss technological trends that you can leverage to keep users engaged and improve your bottom line.

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Matt Perry – Automattic: Go Fast!

It’s critical that all of the code behind your sites can handle any and all traffic thrown its way. Matt Perry, VIP developer, will share lessons learned on our VIP platform. He’ll discuss the real-world benefits of maintaining a performant WordPress backend, and then we’ll have a look at WordPress-specific techniques and tools for profiling and improving your theme and plugin code.

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Nainesh Mehta – News UK: Helios – The Sun’s Headless Web Rendering Engine

Nainesh, Head of Engineering at NewsUK, will share The Sun’s journey to Helios, a headless web rendering engine decoupled from WordPress, enabling a much richer feature set for customization and functionality for our customers while bringing performance benefits using modern web frameworks and techniques.

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Paul Schreiber – FiveThirtyEight: Effective Habits of Development Teams

There’s so many tools out there, but what are the best for managing development teams? Paul Schreiber, Developer at FiveThirtyEight, will walk through best practices and tools for workflow, automation and testing, along with good practices for managing development teams.

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Tuesday Flash Talks

Rahul Bansal – rtCamp: Next Billion Users

The web works a bit differently in emerging markets. Get the inside scoop on speed, connectivity, user base, mobile vs. desktop, latency and multilingual considerations for South Asia.

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Meeky Hwang – Powering IOT

Learn how headless WordPress can power display walls in office lobbies.

Magne Ilsaas – Dekode: Intranet

Learn about how WordPress can be used to connect networks, communities and companies via a new intranet product.

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Jonathan Wold – XWP: AMP

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is now a first class experience on WordPress. Learn what’s changed in v0.7 and where AMP is headed in the future.

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Wednesday Flash Talks

Jason Agnew – Big Bite: Taking the next step with WordPress & React Native

WordPress is a great option for providing content to your mobile apps. However, rendering the post content HTML within apps can pose a challenge. Learn about our recent project where we overcame this in React Native with the help of Gutenberg by converting HTML into native elements.

Gary Ballabio – Cloudinary: Editing Best Practices

As the number of images and videos on a website continues to grow, slower load times and thus a negative user experience are both growing concerns for any company. Learn top tips for managing your assets.

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Jake Goldman – 10up: Content Syndication

Distributor is a WordPress plugin that empowers content managers to safely reuse and syndicate content across their websites, supporting sites within a WordPress multisite network and across the web using the REST API.

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Joe McGill – Human Made: Accessible from the Start

Making enterprise web projects accessible is not only good practice, but can expand your customer base and help to avoid costly litigation. Learn how Human Made is ensuring our projects end up accessible by planning for accessibility early, leveraging the latest automated tooling, and including accessibility testing as part of our code review process.

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Tom Harrigan – Alley Interactive: Creating Voice Applications

Leverage the capabilities of WordPress as a CMS to create, curate, and manage the experiences delivered in your Alexa skills.

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