Recently I flew into Las Vegas for 48 hours of nothing but debauchery and open source geekery for WordCamp. (WordPress summer camp for nerds like me). Just kidding on the debauchery; I am getting way too old for that and was in bed by 11 both nights.
The Hard Rock Hotel graciously gave all WordCamp attendees a fabulous room rate, which even after I upgraded to get a better view, still wound up to be less than the cost of my flight. Thanks to the Las Vegas WordCamp organizers for securing this for everyone. This was my first WordCamp, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I regularly watch the content sessions from other WordCamps on http://wordpress.tv, but I was looking forward to meeting and hanging out with other WordPress fans like myself.
Thanks to Twitter, I was able to find some other attendees, sponsors, and speakers at the Hard Rock Friday night and had a great time talking shop over drinks and a little blackjack (lost everything in case you are wondering).
WordCamp Vegas was held at UNLV in the student union, which was a good venue for the event. I hadn’t been on a college campus student union since the late 90s, so it felt a little strange to me. I got there early on purpose to meet people and was delighted to find a great mix of WordPress developers, designers, and users who were all there to learn something and give back to WordPress community.
With concurrent tracks separated for users or developers/designers, I bounced back and forth between the tracks all day. I loved the developer sessions and picked up a few nuggets that I can’t wait to test and implement on a few of our upcoming projects.
I am a WordPress designer/developer first, so I was a little hesitant to listen to some of the user track sessions, but did anyways with the idea of using them for market research. Our customers are not WordPress developers, they are business owners, so I figured this was a great way to listen to their pain points using WordPress for their business website. This was probably the best decision I made that day (along with calling it night at a reasonable time later on). I sat back and listened to other WordPress professionals like myself give their points of view on using WordPress for business, and listened to the average WordPress user (our customers) ask questions and express their frustrations.
I found these sessions invaluable. I can usually Google & experiment my way through most development challenges, but interacting with the people in the users track was great. I plan on using some of the takeaways I discovered to better serve Bourn Creative’s clients in the future.
After WordCamp was officially over the after party across the street got underway with attendees, sponsors, and speakers all having a good time talking all things WordPress.
WordCamp Las Vegas exceeded my expectations and the low key, informal atmosphere made the event comfortable and very enjoyable. I am already looking forward to my next WordCamp in Phoenix; February 2012.
If you are a WordPress fan like me, I definitely recommend attending a WordCamp — Just don’t look for me after 11, I will be in bed.