Interview with Fabio Torlini, Managing Director EMEA at WP Engine

We caught up with Fabio Torlini, Managing Director EMEA at WP Engine, to talk about WP Engine and Gen Z…


Why was the WP Engine business started?

Our founder Jason Cohen wasn’t looking for another business to start in 2009, but when he discovered an untapped market, it was too good to pass up. He was enjoying some time as a stay-at-home dad and blogging at A Smart Bear, which he created and self-hosted on WordPress. But after experiencing downtime when his articles became popular, he found that many other bloggers and small business owners had similar issues, which sparked the idea. As any good entrepreneur would, after doing extensive market research, Cohen launched WP Engine in January 2010 to address several core areas of opportunity in WordPress: support, security, speed, and scalability. A decade later, WP Engine’s combination of technical innovation and an award-winning team of WordPress experts are trusted by 100,000+ companies of all sizes across 150 countries to provide counsel and support, helping power their world-class digital experiences.


Why do businesses need to understand Gen Z?

Gen Z was born into a world that was already online, where the foundation of today’s digital ecosystem was already visible. Gen Z sees the internet as the starting line, it’s an intrinsic part of their everyday lives. Given this omnipresent role of connected technology, Gen Z’s expectations for the digital world far exceed those of any generation that has come before them.

As members of this generation graduate from college, join the workforce, and increasingly realize their colossal buying power, they are changing the way we all identify with and are influenced by the internet and the larger digital world. Businesses need to make sure they are ready for Gen Z, or be left behind.


What are some effective ways for businesses to reach Gen Z?

61% of Gen Z think that in the next 10 years, all shopping will take place online. If you’re not providing Gen Z with the entertaining, engaging digital experiences they expect, someone else most certainly is—the endless amount of choice available on the internet is not lost on this generation.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that Gen Z’s version of a digital-first world is the new digital paradigm. The only real choice you have is to get on board and meet this generation where they are, digital is the new front door.

Gen Z has also stressed the importance of brands taking a stand on global issues. 76% of Gen Z say they would buy from a company that contributes to social causes, with 37% saying they would stop buying from a company contributing to causes they disagree with. The act of taking a stand is enough to show you care.


What can the Gen Z study tell us about the future of the web?

Young people have always embodied the zeitgeist of society, profoundly influencing trends and technology adoption alike. As we forge ahead in our lives, working from home, shopping for groceries online, and learning in front of our screens, Gen Z will increasingly take their place in the driver’s seat of society. Gen Z is looking for a deeply personalized web, one that will know they they want before they ask and one that is omnipresent in every aspect of their lives.

Their influence—as the first generation of true digital natives—is now radiating outward at a faster pace than other generations of youth in their time, precisely because it is digitally-based. They’ve never drawn a distinction between the physical and digital worlds. For them, whether online or offline, the critical element is that they can seamlessly move between both of them.


Why does WordPress matter for future generations?

Two major reasons come to mind. The first is the agility WordPress provides companies to shift, adapt, pivot when they need to, not months down the line. For example, at the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns, a WordPress community member created a plugin that anyone could add to their site with the click of a button to display how they were responding on their website.

The second is that WordPress is open source. WordPress was built for the community, by the community, and everyone in the industry works to improve the software and provide free, enterprise grade, software to the world. Gen Z are creators and WordPress is the open platform to help them make change in the world, express themselves, and drive culture forward.