Last weekend Brian and I headed to Arizona for WordCamp Phoenix, a three day event jam-packed with training sessions of all types! With 750 attendees, is the second largest WordCamp in the United States and was better run than some of the larger, most expensive conferences I have attended.
- We arrived on Thursday and had a fabulous dinner with some old and new WordPress friends — WordPress t-shirts were everywhere!
- Friday kicked off the actual event with longer workshop style sessions for the Beginner User, Advanced User, Designer, Beginner Dev, and Advanced Dev — they really had sessions for everyone. That night was the speaker/sponsor dinner where I got to meet many of the other speakers.
- The Saturday sessions built on the skills developed on Friday with a choice of sessions in three different tracks, including Content & Design, Community & Commerce, and Extension & Development. My presentation on Strategies to Turn Content into Cash was part of the Content & Design track — See what attendees had to say about it on Twitter.
- Then there was the after-party, which offered great food, an open bar, an ice luge, multiple bands, a mock casino, and more time to connect with other attendees.
- Sunday, the final day of the conference, was a little more informal and was structured as more of a Biz Dev / Contribute Day, with users, designers, and developers all attending joint sessions supporting business of WordPress.
Every session I attended reinforced best practices, taught me something new, and got me thinking about ways to improve our own services, processes, and business — and as usual, the event was free from self-promotion, sales pitches, and hype, which is truly appreciated!
Now there is simply way too much to share in a blog post, but you can get a feel for the event, energy surrounding it, and some opinions on the speakers in the WPwatercooler Recap of WordCamp Phoenix 2014. (Hint: They mention me!)
The WordPress Community
I’ve said it before numerous times: “The PEOPLE of WordPress are a huge part of what makes WordCamps so special!” The speakers were great, the event was streamlined and smooth, the food was yummy, and the after-party was awesome — but the biggest draw for me is getting to connect with some of the smartest, nicest, funniest people EVER. Where else can you sit down with a competitor, someone who does the same thing you do for the same target market, and openly talk shop, share ideas, support each other, and cheer each other on? Where else can you bounce ideas off a ridiculously talented developer, get business advice, or pick the brain a bit of an agency owner and have them happy to speak with you? Nowhere I know, other than a WordCamp.
If you wanted to find people to grab a meal with, all you had to do was walk into a restaurant, find someone in a WordPress t-shirt and walk on over! (I mentioned there were WordPress t-shirts everywhere right?) If you did, you’d find friendly faces inviting you to pull up a seat.
With that said …
Meet My WordPress Friends!
At WordCamp Phoenix, Brian and I were lucky to run into several of our friends from past WordCamps and meet some new friends — and I’d like you to get to know them too! Below you’ll meet some of our WordPress friends, find some info from their Twitter bios, see what makes them special, and get links to their websites and Twitter profiles — so be sure to follow them!
While Karim is the CEO at Crowd Favorite & VeloMedia, he doesn’t act like your typical CEO. He is super professional and clearly brilliant — but my favorite thing about Karim is that he is also friendly, fun, inviting, and supportive of everyone around him.
I help small businesses develop and implement ideas and strategy through code, content and communication (and usually involving WordPress!) Sé is insanely funny, loud, and so much fun. She makes everyone feel welcome, like an instant friend.
WordPress Dev. Co-host WPwatercooler. Jason is quiet, he sort of flys under the radar a bit, then BAM hits you with wisdom or a funny joke. He is about as authentic as it gets.
Author. Speaker. Coach. Product Developer. Founder of Startups. WordPress Blogger. Software Exec. High Performer. WordCamp San Diego 2013 Organizer. And an amazingly smart guy who genuinely loves to give, share, help, and raise others up. His talk on Escaping the Impostor Syndrome made EVERYONE who heard it, sit back a think a bit (as usual).
Kari Leigh Marucchi
Sweet on the outside, nutritious on the inside. Kari Leigh is a WordPress Content Strategist & Jane of Much. Talented, witty, great with people — Kari is definitely someone you should get to know.
Creative problem solver. Owner/Strategy at CodyL. Works with WordPress. Cody and I have been Twitter pals for a long time! He is laid back, smart, and talented — and super friendly. Plus he wrangled all the speakers for WordCamp Phoenix!
Recipient of undeserved grace. Partner at CodyL. Amateur photgrapher. Raquel is hilarious, vibrant, and full of life — and I just love her! Plus she volunteered her time to help make WordCamp happen!
Technical Project Manager for WebDev Studios where we build amazing things with WordPress! Sarah has got to be one of my favorite people in WordPress. She is super smart, witty, and incredibly talented.
Female, outspoken, webbie and community evangelist. Principal of Made Better. April was the head organizer of the entire WordCamp Phoenix 2014 — and she killed it. The event was well run, smooth, awesome, and with 750 attendees, a HUGE success!
Dot Organizer at Automattic. WordCamps FTW. Portlander. Wine blogger. Kind but firm. Andrea is the WordCamp Queen, she calls much of the shots and keeps all of us WordPress rabble-rousers in line. She’s also crazy nice and talented!
Founder, Marketing Press WordPress Development. Fifth Beatle. Hopelessly addicted to music. Rutgers Grad. Manchester United Supporter. Phoenix Suns Fan. Greg is open, smart, collaborative, funny — and is just one of those guys you want to hang out with. He spoke at the event as well on What Is Your Site Without Content And What To Do About It.
Marketer, web designer, story teller, WordPress fanatic from Portland, OR. Senior Web Engineer with @10up. I am so happy I got to meet Eric and spend some time with him at WCPHX. He is so smart — and his talk that kicked off the content/design track on Saturday, Ten Lessons on Customer-centric Development was great.
10up Senior Web Strategist, designer, technologist, art, food and drink lover, supporter of all things local and good. Heather is a mom and Sacramento design native like me! She is really smart, great at technical project management and project scoping, and can code — and in fact gave a talk at WordCamp titled Scoping, Contracting, and Getting Paid.
Graphic Designer representing Marktime Media on the Twitters. 3themes conbtributor. PPT designer. WordPress fan & WordCamp junkie. WordCamp Chicago organizer. Michelle is one of the “funnest” WordPressers I have met! She makes everything more fun.
Marc A Benzakein
Operations Manager for ServerPress, LLC — Design, Develop, and Deploy WordPress faster than ever. WordPress developer. Wordcamp junkie. I was thrilled to meet Marc at WordCamp. He’s smart, he’ll make you laugh, and I hope to get to hang with him again soon.
Developer WebDev Studios. Love WordPress, Startups, & Open Source. Let’s change the world together. I haven’t had much of a chance to get to know the WebDev team personally, but Brad is pure awesomeness! Every time I see him he is smiling.
Austin W. Gunter
Sometimes a tweet will do. Marketing at WP Engine. Austin is a connector, marketer, and relationship builder. He’s got a great sense of humor and is super nice. Plus, he tweets great article sand WordPress stuff!
Co-Founder of WP Engine. We make WordPress fast, secure, and scalable by hosting your site on our rock solid platform. Proud Brit. Lover of Bass Music. I learned a few things from Ben at the speaker sponsor dinner and was quite entertained! Now I love WP Engine even more.
Just another front end WordPress Dev working on taking over the world. If you haven’t met Dan and you have the chance say hi. He’s entertaining, talented, and funny!
I run a small food blog of my adventures. When not cooking I’m the Head of marketing at WP Engine. I’ve known who Tomas is through WP Engine, and I finally got to meet him in person… His talk WordPress and The Internet of Things was very popular and showcased WordPress connectivity.
Computer consultant that loves to help folks. The very first night in Phoenix, Brian and I got to meet Gregg and his wife at dinner and they both were super friendly and great conversation just came naturally. I’m hoping to Gregg up to Sacramento this year to speak at our WordPress meet up group!
WordPress developer, coffee drinker. Founder of Maintainn and Owner of WPSellNet. Shayne is generous, supportive, smart — and he introduced me to Fireball shots, which are surprisingly good — like eating a handful of red hots!
I am Project Manager at Maintainn.com. I homeschool 2.5 children. I make things. Abbie is real, straight-forward, and just plain cool. I’m sure if we lived close to each other, we’d hang out. Seriously.
Co-founder of Bonanza Ed. Developer: WordPress, GenesisWP, Ruby, Ruby on Rails. Jeremy spoke at WordCamp Phoenix on Managing Client Expectations from Start to Finish. He made some really great points, handled lots of questions from the audience with smarts and professionalism, and I really enjoyed it.
UX designer + community stuff for WordPress. Jitterbug baker. I’ve been connected with Jen online for a long time, and I finally got the chance to meet her in person and I’m happy to say that she is just as awesome offline as she is online.
Web Engineer at @10up and a guest docs committer for @WordPress core. I also co-organize WordCamp Denver. I’ve met Drew at a past WordCamp, but this time I really got to chat with him more. Not only is this guy amazingly talented, he also shared some of his bacon mac & cheese with me at dinner — and for that my tummy was truly grateful.
Media Temple WordPress Evangelist, Community Advocate, Speaker, Author, WPwatercooler co-star. Spoke at 12 WordCamps, WordSesh, and hosted DradCast 17. If I could only use one word to describe Suzette, it would be contagious. Every time I see her she is smiling, upbeat, positive, and just oozes joy. It’s obvious she loves what she does — and it doesn’t hurt that she’s tremendously talented too!
Developer Partner Program Manager for Infusionsoft. Loves helping small businesses and startups. I first met Joe back in February 2009 and since then, he has been by far one of my most favorite people at Infusionsoft! I am always happy when I get a chance to hang with him in person!
I call myself an adventurer. This often includes trying lots of new things, silliness, shenanigans, a dash of awkwardness, and large amounts of smiling. I met Rebecca at WordCamp Vegas (awesome) and was so happy to get to see her again in Phoenix — and she’s just good people.
CEO, Co-Founder at Sucuri Security, CISSP, WordPress fanatic, Design geek, Chargers fan, Harley enthusiast, & Taco lover. Dre is unbelievably smart and talented — and was one of the first people I ever met in the WordPress community way back in the day. He saved my butt back then and I’ll be a fan for life.
Jason does really important things at Velo Media / Crowd Favorite. Like the rest of his team, he’s probably one of the nicest guys you’ll meet. But don’t let that fool you, he’s got a wicked smart business mind.
Web designer, UI consultant, owner of growing biz. Imperfectly balanced mom, yogi, artist. Best thing about me is that i radiate positive energy. I got to meet Betsy at WordCamp, and her Twitter Bio is right — She does radiate positive energy!
Taylor has smarts, talent, and years of experience in branding, design, and strategy. He was Creative Director for Brainstorm Media and is now heading up the Creative Team with 10up. He gave a great talk at WordCamp called, You Know it’s Good, Cause it’s Blue, all about avoiding arbitrary decisions, true strategy (not tactics), and design with purpose.
Husband, Dad, co-founder of 9seeds, WordPress developer, all around geek. John is just cool. Laid back, easy going, funny, and brilliant too — not a bad combination! Plus he is the organizer of WordCamp Las Vegas!
I write docs for WordPress. Sometimes I take photos. Plugin author. 3.7 Recent Rockstar. Country girl. I was excited to have finally met Kim at the After Party Saturday night. She’s does a lot with WordPress and as with all contributors, we should say a big thank you!
What About You?
Did you attend WordCamp? If so, what was your favorite part or what did you learn? Did you happen to meet any of my WordPress friends? Have anyone you you met that was awesome?
Please share your thoughts below!