Reflecting On 20 Years Of WordPress With The CEO of WooCommerce [Podcast]

Growth, Innovation, and Empowering Online Merchants

As WordPress celebrates its 20th anniversary, it is essential to reflect on its roots and explore how its history has shaped ecommerce and what this means for your website.

Paul Maiorana, CEO of WooCommerce, joined me on the SEJ Show for this special episode to reflect on how ecommerce found its way into the WordPress world and how WooCommerce intertwined with WordPress’ values and initiatives.

We talked about Paul’s 11+ year career with Automattic, his experiences leading WordPress VIP, and what led him to take on the leadership of WooCommerce.

You’ll also hear about the core community spirit that lives in the foundation of WordPress and how this has impacted WooCommerce’s mission for its users.

You won’t want to miss this critical look back from someone who has been there through countless steps along the way.

The difference, though, in governance is really important, which is that nobody owns WordPress. It’s stewarded by the WordPress Foundation and a nonprofit that owns the intellectual property and everything around WordPress. That’s guided by Matt Mullenweg, its founder, co-founder, and still project lead. But the governance model is different. Whereas with WooCommerce, Automattic wholly owns WooCommerce. It’s still an open-source product that uses the GPL license, free software, the same as WordPress is. Still, we effectively fund all of the development of WooCommerce. –Paul Maiorana, 14:36

WooCommerce is a global platform for sure. So we have customers in every country. There is such great support for localization. Translations and localization are a massive part of that, not just in terms of people providing those translations but also on the other side. It’s how merchants can build a localized experience for their shoppers. –Paul Maiorana, 20:57

That’s the beauty of open source, right? We’re able to get leaner and meaner than some of our competitors. We’ve adequately federated this ecosystem of independent software developers, agencies, freelancers, and web hosts. These folks come together to produce a WooCommerce site and a quality product. Our interests are aligned, which ultimately makes for a better customer experience. –Paul Maiorana, 23:02

[00:00] – About Paul.
[03:28] – WooCommerce’s origin & Automattic integration.
[07:01] – Purpose of WooCommerce development.
[09:38] – WooCommerce’s market share.
[13:27] – Developer engagement with WooCommerce.
[17:10] – Exploring WooCommerce extensions/integrations.
[20:57] – WooCommerce & localization strategies, shopping support, lean model & open-source contributions.
[24:14] WooCommerce’s Solution to ecommerce challenges.
[27:40] Future commerce trends: Smartphone preference.
[29:37] Growth potential in the WooCommerce ecosystem.
[30:42] WooCommerce success stories.

Resources Mentioned:

We think we’ve got a real advantage and opportunity to, through WooCommerce, provide a solution that developers love, but also to provide a more opinionated package of WooCommerce and extensions integrated with a hosting solution to provide something that’s much more turnkey and simple and just more intuitive for a merchant to get up and running with. –Paul Maiorana, 26:23

The ability to start with something simple like Woo Express, or something like that, just out of the box simplified shopping environment. And then as that company grows and as they go down the paths of more and more and test more and more marketing channels, making that easier to grow from a core as opposed to having everything thrown at you at once and trying to figure it out sounds like a very logical solution. –Loren Baker, 30:09

We’re making some decisions and saying, this is the best way to do that. These are all separate. Each of these features represents a different extension in the WooCommerce ecosystem today. And we’re bringing that all together into a preconfigured solution so that it’s easy, and again, people can start selling without having to build. –Paul Maiorana, 27:40

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Paul Maiorana is the CEO of WooCommerce, an open-source eCommerce platform, where he leverages his expertise in open-source development, content management, and WordPress, among other specialties. His leadership has contributed significantly to WooCommerce’s growth and innovation in the online retail sector.

Before WooCommerce, Paul built a formidable portfolio of professional experience focusing on open-source technology and software solutions. His understanding of the industry and his technical expertise have positioned him as an influential figure in pushing the boundaries of ecommerce.

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