Simon Dickson at WordCampUK

Quick notes on Simon Dickson‘s presentation at WordCampUK:

  1. Make big change happen in a small way
  2. Didn’t intend to be a WP fanboy, but it just turned out to be the best way of doing things
  3. Need for a WP ecosystem – WP now mature enough to require/support a real community
  4. PHP geeks not enough – need to understand the simplicity of the platform
  5. Simon not a developer, or designer. Can get by, but could do with some help!
  6. Three threats: procurement teams, IT people and
  7. Big web projects cost far too much – hundreds of thousands, millions even. Not just the systems, but the project management etc
  8. Free platforms has benefits, including longevity and ongoing support
  9. Simon started using typepad mainly, as seemed easier. No need for IT depts to know about what people were doing. takes that to a new level.
  10. Typepad has limitations – too blog focused. Need WP’s flexibility especially that which you get from self-hosted
  11. Up to 30% of blogs now are custom domained / CSS etc
  12. Appeals of WP – zero cost (can send the wrong message), skills base (lots of local talent to draw on)
  13. Designed for use by the individual – no need for support, it’s so easy to use. Upgrade cycle the only glitch
  14. Focus on content – it’s NOT about the tech – also don’t have to wade through metadata fields before writing content. Make it like writing something in Word (sad but true)
  15. Power of RSS – category based, tag based, integrated wordpress mini sites into the big ugly corporate CMS. Use SimplePie and Google API
  16. Do you mention the word ‘blog’ in relation to WP? Initially no, but maybe mention it early then move on. Blog not as dirty a word as it was. Ingrained in culture. BBC news journalists are known by their blogs as much as anything
  17. ourNHS site – built 3 times in 12 months, but so what? Quick, easy and cheap. Lord Darzi’s blog – discussion at time about referring to it as that
  18. Incredible power in themes
  19. “can WordPress do X?” YES! It’s just HTML and PHP folks.
  20. Automate as much as possible through the WP loop
  21. With WP sites, build it then walk. Very very few support requests
  22. WordPress in Welsh with the Wales Office site
  23. New number 10 website is running on wordpress. Round of applause for Simon
  24. Number 10 – what they do is news. News is blogs. Hence, blogging the right medium.
  25. Blogging and political journalism are merging
  26. When dealing with big orgs, form a precedent quickly. No. 10 started using youtube first in uk gov, now everyone is at it!
  27. No. 10 Twitter feed – c3,500 followers – people wanting to be a part of the conversation re: uk gov. Amazing!
  28. No, 10 uses Brightcove for video hosting etc
  29. Key message: acceptance of lightweight, social tools
  30. Security testing of No. 10 – heavyweight testing going on. Will be fed back to Automattic
  31. Micro sites, sites within sites…Can be thrown together fast, run as long as you need them, then close
  32. Theme switching – WP allows one-click change of template. Have some themes developed for certain incidents, can turn on when needed
  33. WordPress as crisis site when required. Have sitting in the background til when needed.
  34. What’s needed in WordPress to get into enterprise environment: page ordering (need rag and drop built in), slicker workflow (better pending/drafts handling), new long term support version (like ubuntu, don’t call it legacy branch!) ie better upgrades, the ecosystem/community (we need people that understand WP available and on call!)
  35. Developers – need to understand content and designers need to understand the WP machinery
  36. WP generalists?

8 thoughts on “Simon Dickson at WordCampUK”

  1. Very nice indeed.

    What’s the third threat? (item 6 is a typo?)

    The first 2 are spot on, although I’m yet to hear solutions other than publish By the back door & be damned.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Tony. It’s a bit rough and ready but hopefully the main points got noted down.

    Well done on getting WCUK all sorted, by the way. It was much fun.

  3. Delighted to see everyone was paying such good attention. 🙂

    The ‘triple threat’ was, on reflection, a bit of an obscure reference. It’s a wrestling match where three guys fight each other, with the first man to score a pinfall being the winner. Doesn’t matter what the third guy was doing at the time.

    So I didn’t mean them as ‘threats’ per se. That’s just the term: triple threat.

    Oh, and the three fighters? The marketing / PR people, the IT dept, and the procurement team.

  4. I’m curious. I see in your notes that he kept referencing and WordPress – did he mean to reference only WordPress the org not the free web hosting service? Just a little confused.

    And how did he define a WordPress ecosystem? Wish I could have been there. Sounds fascinating.

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