This past weekend, Brian and I drove down to LA for WordCamp Los Angeles, which included three full days of WordPress, fun, and learning — and we both presented at the event.
This sold out event with about 750 (I think) attendees ran smoothly, stayed on schedule, and provided great content, speakers, and time to network. Plus, the speaker/sponsor dinner and the after party were both wonderful, as was the food each day, and the t-shirts!
So, before I dive into a recap of the event, I want to extend a BIG THANK YOU to the lead organizers Nathan Tyler, Natalie Maclees, Alex Vasquez, and Ryan Cowles, as well as a team of volunteers that worked hard to make this event happen.
You can check out the WP Watercolor WordCamp LA recap show here.
Friday at WordCamp LA
Friday offered three focused, intensive, full-day workshops to choose from, including:
- Beginner workshop: With sessions like Introduction to WordPress, Introduction to Themes, Introduction to Plugins, Introduction to Backups and Security, Introduction to Hosting and Domains, and Deploying Your New Site, this was the perfect choice for those new to WordPress looking for a great foundational overview. (Organized by Gregg Franklin)
- Business workshop: For those freelancing or running a business, this track offered in the trenches advice, insights, and tips on sales and marketing, project management, managing client expectations, growing your business, and more. (Organized by Steve Zehngut)
- Design workshop: With a mix of case studies, design thinking, process, and design application, this track was perfect for anyone wanting to learn more about the strategy behind design and communicating the value of design to clients and stakeholders. (Organized by Chris Ford)
Even with a small scheduling snafu in the morning and a delay in getting started, I was very impressed that the workshop coordinators adjusted the schedule on the fly to keep us all on track and on time.
I enjoyed all of the sessions that I attended, but I have to say, James Archer’s talk on the Human Side of UX Design was my favorite of the day, and Greg Douglas’ energy and enthusiasm was unmatched.
Brian Bourn Kicked off The Design Workshop
At Bourn Creative our designers understand code and our developers love design.
While Brian is our lead developer, he has always had a passion and great eye for design. He makes all of the mobile/responsive design decisions in the browser for our WordPress projects, and kicked off the design workshop with a case study on the design and planning behind the website for the travel/tours app Just Ahead.
I joined Chris Lema for a discussion on growing your business
In the business workshop, Chris Lema and I sat down for a frank discussion on growing a small agency and how we leverage tools and technology to automate repetitive tasks, reminders, and project management to save time, increase profitability, and allow us to spend our time with clients on things that really matter to success of the project.
The focus of our discussion was how to do more with the same amount of time, and making what you do in that time really matter. And of course, we talked about billing, communication, and contracts too.
Saturday at WordCamp LA
Saturday was jam packed with three concurrent tracks running all day long — and it was HOT. Very hot. And muggy. Thank you x100 to the organizers for a cool, air conditioned green room for the speakers to relax in. I really appreciated a place to cool down and get focused before my talk!
In addition to my talk on Publishing For Profits: How to Leverage Your Blog And Create Content That Attracts New Prospects And Clients, the day was busy with networking and chatting with other attendees who wanted to talk more in depth about some of the things Chris and I discussed the day before in the business workshop. Many people had specific questions about their businesses, automating tasks, how they could implement some of the processes we use, and how we got started.
Talking with other attendees, freelancers, and business owners about doing business is something I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of. I love it.
As far as the other sessions go, I never miss a chance to hear Chris Lema tell stories and I really enjoyed Sarah Wefald’s presentation and Brian said he liked Nick Halsey’s talk on the Customizer API.
Sunday at WordCamp LA
Sunday was contributor day!
Held at Blankspaces DTLA in the heart of the Broadway tech district, the WordCamp LA contributor day was a chance to learn more about how to give back to WordPress, to find out where your skills best fit, and to dive right in and work on WordPress.
Brian and I really enjoyed getting to spend some extra time with some of our favorite southern California WordPress peeps while learning more about how we can further give back to the software that has afforded us so much. While Brian attended the developer introduction session on contributing to core, I attended the introduction sessions on contributing to documentation and answering questions in the forums.
I enjoyed learning more about how I can give back, and while I’m not entirely sure I can go back to my office and continue what I started today (I may need more help/learning there), the desire is there to do more for the community that we love so much and I left feeling inspired and motivated.
If you have yet to attend a WordCamp, I highly recommend you find a WordCamp near you and go!