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WordCamp Brighton 2017 preview: Franz Vitulli and Alex Denning

WordCamp Brighton 2017 is almost upon us, and as is our tradition we’re talking to some of the speakers before the event itself.

This year’s Brighton event will be held on the 18th and 19th of August at The Old Market. Contribution day follows on the 20th at Eagle Labs Brighton.

If you’re headed to the event, you’ll note the single track which means you won’t have to choose between multiple competing speakers; often a testing experience at WordCamps. As ever, you’ll find the 34SP.com team down in Brighton on the 18th and 19th. Come say hi, get some swag and pick our expert’s brains.

To kick things off, we speak with Franz Vitulli and Alex Dennings, about themselves and the talks you can expect to hear from them at WordCamp Brighton 2017:


Franz Vitulli

 

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m a Product Manager at Human Made, a WordPress development agency (WordPress.com VIP partner) that specialises in large-scale WordPress websites for enterprise-grade clients, creates products — BackupWordPress and Nomadbase being two examples — and runs professional conferences, so far based on the WP REST API and remote work. As a member of the product team, I do mainly product management / research / marketing, but also event strategy, agency sales, improving company processes, writing things up, and all things considered just getting stuff done.

I love openness, sharing the knowledge, experimenting, travelling, and learning new things. When I’m not in front of my laptop, I’m probably either playing one of my bass guitars, or hitting the gym, or enjoying a strong double espresso.

Can you give us a sneak peak into your talk, and what attendees should be able to take away from it?

Sure, I am going to be talking about who a “product person” is, what their mentality is, how they think, how they achieve what they need. It’s often said that they are at the intersection of tech, UX and business, but what does that mean exactly? I’ll give my answer to that very question.

As a speaker at WordCamp I imagine WordPress features in your life in at least some small way. What’s your WordPress journey, where has WordPress taken you?

Years before joining Human Made I was using WordPress for my personal projects. I think I created my first WordPress website in 2007. WordPress is such an important part of who I am today — not just as a content creator, but as someone who strongly believes in freedom of speech and expression. WordPress makes it so easy to publish content, and by doing so it gives everyone the chance to speak, and ultimately to be heard. Witnessing its expansion from personal blogs and small businesses to big corporations and big media groups is so exciting.

I contribute back to the WordPress global project in any way I can, mostly with community-related stuff. I speak and volunteer at WordCamps, and sometimes help other WordPress people getting started with public speaking. To me, the community is what makes WordPress truly special: at every WordPress event I’ve attended or spoken at so far I’ve had the chance to meet so many talented and friendly people and give something back to them, which is enormously valuable for me, especially here in the UK where I proudly live as an EU citizen.


Alex Denning

 

Tell us a little about yourself

Hi! I’m Alex – I do marketing for people who don’t like marketing. That means that I work with people selling WordPress products or services to help them reach more customers, increase their sales and reach their goals.

I’ve been using WordPress for the last ten years or so, and until 2013 ran popular WordPress development blog, WPShout. I passed the site to new owners when I started University but carried on doing bits of freelance work whilst a student.

I’ve been full time doing marketing for WordPress business since I graduated a year ago, and also run fun side projects like MasterWP, a really good weekly newsletter for WordPress professionals.

Can you give us a sneak peak into your talk, and what attendees should be able to take away from it?

I’m talking about “a tale of two product launches”. One went very well and the other went pretty badly.

The former is Up and Running, a course which helps people learn WordPress development and the latter is WPShift, a theme shop I tried to launch in 2011.

I want to tease out why one product launch worked and why the other flopped; the key tenets of a successful product launch, and some of the “lessons learned” attendees can take away and apply to their own products – or even their own services.

I’ll be covering three main points:

1. Understanding your market
2. Building interest and launching
3. Creating a 5* experience

I’ve got an awful lot to say about product launches, running marketing in a way that works for developers and the economics surrounding this, so I’m very excited to share and hope even people who wouldn’t normally attend a marketing talk can come away having learned something.

As a speaker at WordCamp I imagine WordPress features in your life in at least some small way. What’s your WordPress journey, where has WordPress taken you?

WordPress has taken me to a lot of incredible places, both figuratively and literally. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to start my own business solving marketing problems for WordPress developers, and before I set out full time I was able to run “side projects” around WordPress and enjoy the community. It’s really very cool for free, open source software to provide so many opportunities for me and countless other people.

Literally, I’ve obviously made my way to a handful of WordCamps. My first ever WordCamp was London 2013, where I thought it would be a good idea to speak. It went okay, but fortunately I haven’t been turned down for subsequent talks on that performance 🙂 This year I’ve been to London, Paris and look forward to more over the course of the year.

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