While it was great to be a speaker at this years WordCamp, I was also attending as a regular user, a developer, and a marketer.
There was a little something for each one of those areas, and my mind was quickly stimulated and overloaded with tons of helpful information.
I was up at 7am(something I used to do and have gotten out of, and currently back in to), at SCAD by 8:30 to start eating…err networking, spending all day learning and meeting new friends, then even more time at night until about 7pm.
Needless to say, after two days of this, including an extended organizer/speaker/core team gather on Saturday, I was spent!
Totally worth ever bit of money and energy I spent on this event.
So What Are The Take Aways?
Attend More WordCamps
My first take away is that I that I need to attend more WordCamps. This is like summer camp for the budding entrepreneur.
You think you are going to go in, listen to a few presentations, and leave. Next thing you know, you have 1,000 new ideas you are ready to execute, you’ve met more people than you can remember, and you are high on the buzz that comes from incubating yourself among a group of other like minded individuals.
Speak At More WordCamps
I <3 teaching as much as I love learning. If there is a subject that I am curious about, I tend to dive in 110% until I wrap my mind around it fully.
Once I do, I can not help by try and pass off information to those who might need it. This is reflected in all the different areas of my life.
Being a WordPress developer and user, I am have a pretty intimate relationship with the software and enjoy advocating its use and show you the best way to use it.
Being in front of a group of people that are stuck on a topic, then seeing the light bulbs go off and connections made in their brains brings me joy. I want to do this more and I promise you will see me at another WordCamp.
Understand the GPL License and Get Off Thesis
We had lunch in between my two presentations. After the first one I stuck around to answer questions until everyone was gone(eating). Finally getting my chance I snuck out to grab a sandwich from the hall when I saw him. The man, the myth, Mr Matt Mullenweg.
Matt is the creator and co-founder of WordPress.
Since no one was around I took the opportunity to introduce myself. We started talking about newbie material and I mentioned I was giving another presentation on some relatively newbie material after lunch.
He said he would sit in…hope I was prepared enough
We met up again afterward at the VIP organizers, speakers, and core team after party and the first thing he says to me…
“Great presentation, but we’ve got to get you off Thesis”.
I’ve known for a while there was beef between WordPress and the Thesis Theme framework(which I have been using for some time now on several sites). I thought the bad air had passed, but come to find out, Thesis is still not entirely under the GPL License.
Damn, here I am speaking in front of a crowd of new WordPress users, somewhat advocating the use of a theme framework that does not follow the licensing of the system I am teaching these people.
I would not call it cheating, but I knew I had to do some research…which I’ve done…and you’ll be seeing an overhaul to many of my sites in the near future.
Anyways, spending time talking with Matt, sharing in some Growlers, was a great time. He’s really nice, very smart, and thinking on a level that is a bit higher scale than most, which is inspiring.
Community Is Everything
The WordPress community is an amazing example of what can happen when good people come together and support each other. At WordCamp, you are going to be surrounded by some of the smartest people on the planet who are ready, willing, and able to help you with whatever your endeavor might be.
As soon as you leave WordCamp, you get the opportunity to continue supporting and or interacting with this community online, in person at local meet-ups, or just with your friends.
It’s not a club that you have to earn access to, all you have to do is have an open mind, use open source software(uh…it’s FREE and maintained/developed by really talented developers, including yourself if you are one and want to submit code), and be cool.
I am trying to build a community of musicians and artists myself, and always leave WordCamp with ideas on how to better accomplish that to achieve the same sense of personal ownership from others who want to be involved.
There is always going to be someone who does whatever you are doing, better, faster, smarter, etc. This should not come as a surprise, nor should it discourage you from pushing forward.
Think about it, regardless of what it is you do, YOU are doing it better, faster, or smarter than someone else. Keep doing it.
I met so many talented and inspiring people during this weekend event that fired me up. I try to work hard anyway, but can be found slacking off from time to time, and I reap those consequences.
The people that I’ve met that I aspire to be like, do not slack off, and they see their goals come to life. With so many goals, ideas, businesses, and other things that run through my mind daily, the only way I’ll ever get there is if I work harder.
So I’ve already taken steps since then to insure that I am spending optimal time working on things I want to move forward, and less time on things that are distracting, procrastinating, or anything else that will delay my successes.
All in all WordCamp was a huge success for me in terms of learning, presenting, and meeting new people. I look forward to growing with this community and hope to be able to continue helping others wrap their mind around WordPress, internet marketing, and blogging.
Enjoy a few pics(mostly of me ) from WordCamp ATL!