EXCLUSIVE Q&A: David Lockie, CEO Pragmatic

WordPress powers 27% of the internet and is a billion dollar market. Pragmatic Founder and CEO David Lockie explains why it will be one of the biggest tech growth areas of 2017.

pragmaticSo, tell our readers more about WordPress

WordPress is on the frontline of the war for privacy and ownership of our content and data. There’s no other platform out there that contributes anywhere near the amount of the self-owned content to the web.

News Corp just migrated all of its sites to WordPress and the platform is starting to win more business in the enterprise CMS space.

Sounds interesting, but what does that actually mean?

WordPress is the common language of the CMS world. It has grown through grassroots popularity and over the past five years has waged a guerilla war on the enterprise software space as people familiar with it migrate into larger organisations.

You’re based in Brighton, right?

Yes, there’s a lot of talent down here and the lifestyle is much better than London, as more people are beginning to realise.

Apart from recent and temporary events with the Southern Rail network to London, living and working in Brighton makes a lot of sense, not only to our employees, but also to us as a business.

Why do you think Brighton is a great place to found a tech business?

Brighton’s an awesome place to have a tech business. Even with the cursed Southern Rail franchise, there are two other operators that run the route and we can be door to door in the same time as many commuters within London.

Most key though is the tech community. Local businesses such as Brandwatch, iCrossing, Unity, SiteVisibility, PropellerNet and Brilliant Noise mean that there’s no shortage of expertise, partnership opportunities and peer support available.

Wired Sussex plays a key role in supporting and growing the industry and taking our voice to government. But key to a small business like us, we can create a stable and brilliant team, less fearful than London agencies that Google or other aggressive recruiters will poach our best talent.

So why is Pragmatic different from its competitors?

We bring proven processes, tools and systems to the table and have the results to show for it. WordPress + Pragmatic = enterprise-ready WordPress. We are one of the few WordPress agencies in the world that have the experience, capacity and capability to execute projects at that level.

Opex spends on licence fees offer a crap product with no portability and a locked-down and opaque road map. Capex, however, builds out the IP that creates a system of differentiation that’s an asset for their business going forward.

What are your plans for 2017?

2017 looks like an exciting year. Last year we grew 300% so this year we’re looking forward to a year of consolidation, structure, efficiency and effectiveness. We’ll grow, but more in profitability than headcount.

We’ve just started a very exciting programme of work that will put WordPress on steroids for our clients, bringing tools to the CMS that will give their journalists and editors a tangible competitive advantage when it comes to writing rich, engaging and on-point news/editorial.

We think our combination of vision and experience with WordPress as part of five-ten year corporate digital stacks along with value-creating delivery will give us opportunities to grow our roster of six- and seven- figure client programmes through the year.

Who are your major competitors?

In three words… Human Made, 10up and Web Dev Studios.

You are currently targeting enterprise clients, but who else do you work with?

We are bound by confidentiality clauses in some cases, but I’ll try to be specific where we can. Our largest programme of work last year was with one of the world’s largest drinks conglomerates.

We also delivered an incredible project for ITV, The National Lottery and the British Olympic Association to support the Rio Olympics. We also have key clients in financial, publishing and ecommerce sectors.

How did you get started in the WordPress business?

It started out with me freelancing, building websites from scratch for friends and family and looking for a better way to do it. I’ve made a video here about ‘becoming a successful WordPress freelancer, that kind of sums it up for me.

I actually began life as a zoologist, so it’s been a pretty whack journey from there to Pragmatic.

Give us some websites you built when you weren’t so, er, experienced

I ate beans on toast trying to build web marketplaces such as:
http://www.fuelcellmarkets.com/fuel_cell_markets/1,1,1.html
http://www.lowcarboneconomy.com/home

(Oh God, just looked at these again – wow!)

Monty (632 Posts)

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.


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About Monty

Monty Munford has more than 15 years' experience in mobile, digital media, web and journalism. He is the founder of Mob76, a company that helps tech companies raise money and exit. He speaks regularly at global media events with a focus on Africa, writes a weekly column for The Telegraph, is a regular contributor to The Economist, Wired, Mashable and speaks regularly on the BBC World Service.