I just got back from my first WordCamp of 2015 and it was a good one! I’m hoping to make it to six this year (currently eyeing Minneapolis and OC Cali)
Everything was much improved this year. Everything was very well organized and if there were any fires I didn’t notice them.
Most notably, the venue was much better. It was spacious and the tech was rock solid.
Last year, I didn’t know a soul and was in a professional transition. At the time I felt incredibly nervous and out of my comfort zone; it impacted my enjoyment of the event.
This year was much different. I’ve gotten to know the organizers of the DC WordPress meetup (just in the last 12 months!?) and a whole gaggle of them came up. I met up again with Mr. Sal Ferrarello, who by all accounts is a nice guy and appropriately generous. We had an early morning breakfast at the Neptune Diner, which I can only hope that will be an expanding tradition in the years forward. I also got to meet up and hang out all day with my new Charlottesville comrade Shayna Diamond, who made the several hour cross country trek the night before.
It was great feeling comfortable in my own skin while feeling like I had something to contribute. I had some great conversations with some new contacts and hope to catch up with them as the year goes on.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the talks and got more out of them than I thought I would.
Building a Responsive WordPress Theme with Joe Casabona
Joe delivered a good opening dev talk about Parsec, a new best practices theme/framework he is working on. Hopefully next year there can be a Part 2 with lessons learned, code examples, and an eye for the future.
The Neuroscience of Increasing Your WordPress Website Conversions with Tom Shapiro
Probably my favorite talk of the day. My significant other is an academic in statistical psychology, so I get exposed to a lot of this stuff on a daily basis. Tom did a great job of simplifying the information with out creating nonsense pseudo-science.
I would have liked to have seen more citations and specific examples though.
Using Backbone with Nick Smith
Probably the most ‘developy’ talk of the day and my favorite. Nick finally convinced me to pursue Backbone as JS framework of choice, if only because of the current and future integration with WordPress.
He also had a great working technical example, which was nice to see. I think working demos help people see and understand more.
I would have like to have seen more Backbone though. As an introductory talk to Backbone, I didn’t walk away feeling like I understood the essence of it. “Something something data modeling; something something faster DOM integration.” I’ll have to do my own research of course (and maybe I missed the points as I was getting tired), but I would have liked more Backbone specific design ideas and development best practices. I would have liked to know “This is why you should use Backbone and this is how you integrate it with WordPress.”
Finding Your Voice with Shari Medini
I was especially surprised by the quality of Shari’s talk. As a software engineer with no children, a self proclaimed ‘mommy blogger’ is probably the opposite of my existence in every capacity. I need to start writing more though, and her tips gave me guidance and direction for this next year.
Personal Notes for Next Time
Take more photos!
Tweet more! You can never have enough tweets.
Be better prepared to speak and get on the docket.
Network harder; get the name around the water cooler.
General Feedback for the Survey
Greatly improved over last year, look forward to 2016!
Catered food was incredible, excellent choice!
We need a ‘nap’ track!
Great tech all day. Wifi and Audio/Vid was just marvelous.
Bring back contributor day!
Bring back shirts swag! Much easier and compelling to wear and promote year round!
Control the weather! 😀
LANYARDS. Name should be biggest and highest piece on the card! In my opinion it should be a name tag first, but found myself struggling several times.
I’ll talk personally with the #training group, but I think we should push community involvement with the incentives for participation. Stronger resumes and job offers, expertise and mastery of the subject, global connects in the industry, etc. ‘How’ is great, just needs stronger ‘why’ than ‘it is a good cause’. Especially important I think is the 5-10% of your time push started by Matt last year. All core teams should consistently encourage and push that.
Everything seemed very well organized and went very smoothly. I met a lot of people and enjoyed my time; well worth the trip. Fantastic job everyone!