Big news “on the wire” today. (That’s a joke, because we sent out a big press release and my Google Alerts for “WP Engine” are ringing off the hook right now.)
We have a Press Release going out with the big news. You can read the full release on the WP Engine blog. I’ll explain here why I’m excited about the news, both as an employee of WP Engine, as part of the marketing department, and as a “startup guy.”
Today, we’re announcing two amazing new team members that are joining WP Engine’s executive team. LaurieAnne Lassek (LA), and Chris Errett. LA is our new VP of Marketing, and is an amazing Silicon Valley marketer who has worked with a number of cool startups, as well as larger enterprise companies. She’s bringing a level of experience to our organization that I’m pumped about for two reasons. First, I’m really excited about our company growth, and the industry experience LA brings to the company as we scale our product and our marketing, while still remaining true to our home base in the WordPress Community. Second, she brings an amazing amount of experience from her leadership at cutting-edge tech companies, and I get to work with her and learn from this experience.
Chris Errett is an Army veteran, and has deep experience developing scalable IT infrastructure and processes. We’ve reached an awesome place as a company where the technical groundwork that the founding team laid down has seen a great deal of success based on the growth of our customer base. The tech that was originally developed still scales, but now it’s time to lay down a new level of process as a company that will allow us to continue providing amazing support for our customers, even as we continue to grow. No pressure, Chris.
Since LA is based in San Francisco, this also means that we will officially be establishing a presence in the Bay Area. She and Ben are both located out there, and this gives us the opportunity to grow our presence there. Rest-assured that WP Engine remains an Austin, Texas company. That’s not going to change. Our base of operations will always be in Austin, and we’re proud to be an Austin Startup. While we expand our presence into the Bay Area, we’ll be able to maintain our connections to our roots, while also looking to new frontiers for WP Engine to grow as a company.
This is a big move for us, and I’m out in San Francisco this week working with LA, Ben, and Shayda (the WP Engine marketing team). It’s incredible to be part of a company that is growing the way that we are. I’m particularly grateful in light of the challenging economy around us. I count myself as very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of WP Engine. As a company, I see a prevailing sense of gratitude across the board, really. (Meta-comment: being thankful is a big part of our company culture.)
LA and Chris join the company when we hit a headcount in the mid-30s. I was the 12th employee back in March, over SXSW weekend. Startups always want to be high-growth companies, and we’re growing in a way that blows me away when I look at where things were earlier this year. The startup guy in me pays close attention to how much the company evolves as we add more people. With more people, the culture evolves and asks new things of each of us. It’s my responsibility to pay close attention to how the company is growing, and therefore how I need to grow as well.
As a startup grows, it requires the people inside of it to grow as well. I can only image what this is like for Ben and Jason. For my part, I have people outside the company that I can talk with to get perspective, and I also pay attention to new situations for signals that I need to adapt and evolve how I respond to each situation.
It’s a big day for WP Engine.
Hope this helps.
Austin W. Gunter