After having three WordCamp U.S. experiences (two in Philadelphia and now this one in Nashville), I feel like I have a good grasp on what the event has to offer and how to get the most out of it.
If I am honest WordCamp U.S. is one of my favorite WordPress specific events (my favorite is probably Pressnomics, but that’s a post for another time). I definitely prefer WCUS over most other WordCamps.
It’s not like I don’t enjoy the other WordCamps – I like the smaller ones as well. I always get a chance to meet interesting people from a variety of backgrounds.
As a business owner the amount of productive networking opportunities available at the smaller events just doesn’t compare to WCUS. This event has resulted in more advanced conversations and some pretty lucrative business deals for us in the past.
What I really enjoyed…
Seeing the LearnDash team. Unfortunately not everyone could make it, but it was great seeing those that could. Sure we “see” each other every day in Slack, but you don’t make memories on Slack, you make them by attending events like this together.
Talking with “work” friends. Probably more accurate to just say “friends”, but these are friends I met through my work, so “work” friends it is 🙂 . Just like seeing the LearnDash team, it’s nice to talk with fellow entrepreneurs about their projects. It’s always nice catching up with Jason & Kim Coleman from PaidMembershipsPro, Matt Danner, Mike Hale, Adam Silver Joe Casabona, James Tryon, Shawn Hesketh, Kyle Maurer, Chris Lema, Brian Hogg, Alex Vasquez, Syed Balkhi, Cory Hammond, Andy Melichar, the entire Valet crew, and so many more!
Meeting new people. There are a lot of intelligent people in WordPress working on fascinating projects, such as Marcel from iThemes who is responsible for Sales Accelerator (seriously, go check it out), Taco Verdo from Yoast SEO, Joost de Valk, Philip Downer who has implemented a robust LearnDash powered learning program, Blair Williams, Jennifer Bourn, and a laundry list of ambitious entrepreneurs. It’s really great seeing others in WordPress doing well.
Hallway conversations. Don’t get me wrong, the sessions at WCUS are some of the best. I just love meeting new people and talking business – it’s why you will usually find me in the sponsorship area. The sponsorship hallway in Philly was great, but I think I prefer the format this year (one large room). It made it easy to meet people and seemed more spacious than the hallway space during the previous two years.
Matt’s “State of the Word” address. The annual recap / “what’s next” presentation by Matt is always an event highlight. It came as no surprise that Gutenberg dominated both the presentation and community questions. I particularly found the live demonstration of the Gutenberg features quite enjoyable. WordPress in the “Gutenberg” era will be fine. No one likes change and we have some things to sort out but I am confident that next year at this time the conversation will be a lot different. Less worry and more opportunity.
Nashville. My first time in the city and it was a good change of pace after having the last two in Philadelphia (which I really enjoyed as well, but change of scenery was welcomed).
Event food. Normally catered food is “so-so”, but it’s free (and you’re not required to eat it) so there isn’t any reason to complain. That said, no complaints at all with the lunches on both days. Very good variety and excellent preparation.
Using WordCamp U.S. as a springboard for next year.
First, the event was really well-run. Kudos to the organizers.
Secondly, after this weekend I am energized for 2018. I had really productive conversations over the past three days – some of which will result in pretty exciting developments for our business.
As the calendar year comes to a close I look forward to relaxing a bit and getting a break from the every day hustle-and-bustle of business ownership. I have a clear direction of our next progression as a company, the team is excited about our direction, and we are all motivated to continue making big changes in our industry for the coming year.
See you in Nashville next December!