I am Tom Fanelli, the CEO and Founder of Convesio, a company focused on hosting high performance, scalable WordPress sites. I have a long history in the WordPress space that eventually led to our unique take on WordPress hosting.
The Journey Began
I started working on the web way back when — way before WordPress was even a thing. Originally from Fort Myers, Florida, I made the drastic decision to join the military right after graduating and ended up in the Army during the tail end of Desert Storm.
When I returned, I went to school and quickly realized out of the things I was good at, I was really good at tech. So I taught myself a lot, from many different angles—from freelance design to getting things on the web during the mid-‘90s, as the whole “internet” thing was really taking off for the general population.
From there, I co-founded an agency and was able to grow it to a seven-person operation before I took a position with one of our customers at the time—a struggling software company that needed help getting turned around. By that point, I realized that not only was I good at tech-related products and services but that my DNA is really pointed toward products, technologies, and marketing.
After seven years, I had a great opportunity to get on board with a startup in San Francisco. With a roll of the dice, I moved my family across the country. Though the startup was small (as most are, to begin with), within a few years that company had made the full start-to-exit run with an IPO.
I stayed on for a few additional years, leading a team of 200 global marketers. Then joined Deluxe, one of the largest hosting and marketing services companies in the United States, and got to see hosting at scale. While I was there we were acquiring an average of one hosting company every quarter.
The Need for Convesio
About the time I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, 11 years ago, I decided that I would be “all in” on WordPress, but something really bothered me. I noticed that enterprise hosting had all these cutting-edge features and innovation, but that SMB solutions had remained unchanged for 10+ years. There was very little innovation, especially when it came to shared, legacy hosting, which left me thinking:
Could I reinvent how we host WordPress sites based on the latest technology?
The Convesio became my answer to that question.
I knew the gap was largest in smaller companies, and because of my affinity for agencies, who are constantly moving sites around to get the best fit for their clients, and are anxious about the vulnerability of their clients’ sites, I knew this was one area in which we could really make a difference.
We focused on making our tools easy to use, affordable, secure, and scalable. And out of that, Convesio became the next generation of managed WordPress hosting;
The first self-healing, autoscaling, platform-as-a-service for creating and managing WordPress sites.
Now, we don’t just make your sites fast and scalable. We actually take some ownership in the process—especially that last leg of the hosting process. Others provide the infrastructure, but we actually take responsibility for the hosting and for keeping you up and running. We try to be accountable to make sure your site is always online and working correctly. That level of service is what makes us really stand out from the crowd.
Tom Fanelli Workstation
Myself with my Brilliant Team
Advice for Business Owners
My advice to startups—and especially WordPress startups—is INNOVATE. It is a great time to be in the WordPress market—probably the best in history, actually—and we are on the eve of some really big things happening.
Think about it: WP Engine is going to have an IPO. Investors and VCs are already staking out space. That means that there will likely be an increased investment that comes into the WordPress space over the next three to five years, and for those who innovate, they can have great opportunities for big things to happen.
My Love for the WordPress Community
It never ceases to amaze me how open and inclusive the WordPress community is. The people are great, supportive, and there seems to be a widespread mentality that we can all thrive by working together and helping each other. I’ve made some great friends in this community, too—from Robert Jacobi to Topher and Cate DeRosia. There is nothing quite like this community, and I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of it.
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
My four kids keep me pretty busy; the oldest two, Trinity and Tristan, are super involved in theater and the arts, so, therefore, we are too. I love wine, which makes it really convenient to only be about an hour from Napa Valley now, and we try to make it up there pretty often. That’s not to downplay the roles of bourbon and whiskey at all, of which I am a huge fan as well.
But outside of that, I really love my work. I spend a lot of time mentoring several agencies and help coach them through big decisions. I realize that it may sound like work to some people, but I really love to see ambitious people who are willing to hustle and make it big.