My First WordCamp US

This past weekend I attended WordCamp US 2017 in Nashville TN with over 1,000 other attendees. I don’t know the actual number, but it was a lot. This was the first WordCamp US I ever attended – so I didn’t know what to expect. I was given the honor to be able to speak to everyone in a session called “How Working Remote Saved My Life” based loosely on topics related to my favorite blog post.

In case you don’t know what WordCamp is, here’s the official definition from their site:

WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.

I arrived in Nashville on Thursday, registered early, and attended the volunteer & speaker appreciation social event. I’m a relatively new person to the community despite me having worked with Automattic & WordPress for nearly five years now. I took this opportunity not only to connect with the speakers but to meet people in the WordPress world.

WordCamp officially began on Friday. Most of the day I spent rehearsing my talk which was right after lunch. The organizers of the conference gave me the royal treatment, in my opinion. There was a dedicated quiet green room for speakers which allowed me to concentrate and de-stress about talking. They also provided both a handler and an emcee to make sure I got everything I needed and had a proper introduction to the crowd. Every session was also recorded and live streamed which made it easy to have friends and family watch me live. No pressure, of course. Lunch Friday was fantastic – the fried chicken was delicious. I attended a couple sessions in the afternoon but frankly my mind was spinning so much from finishing my talk that I don’t remember many details beyond the people I met.

Friday night I checked out the LGTBQ+Allies party at Suzy Wong’s House of Yum. We all got fancy pink hats with the rainbow Wapuu embroidered on them. The turn-out was great and because of the gracious sponsors the event was free.

Saturday’s day was a mix of attending sessions and volunteering at the swag store. I recommend volunteering to anyone wanting to get a chance to meet a lot of great people. The swag booth is a center of activity and in the afternoon we had enough traffic that warranted opening a second booth downstairs. The day ended with watching the State of the Word where Matt Mullenweg gave his thoughts on WordPress in 2017 and the roadmap to 2018. I somehow managed to score a front row seat. Later that evening the closing party started at the Adventure Science Center a little ways away. We were treated to an evening of nerdy fun including a tour of the night sky in the planetarium, zero-gravity rides, and many other exhibits. We had the run of the entire facility.

Sunday I participated in Contributor Day which is probably the most impactful piece of the entire weekend. On that day a large group of us co-worked and onboarded new contributors, knocked out high-value mini projects, and set the goals for the upcoming year. It was great working with so many smart and energetic people in the same room.

Some of my take-aways from the event:

  • The organizers are legit professional people. The undertaking of such a large event is overwhelming and it looked flawless from my perspective.
  • The venue, Music City Center, is breathtaking. We’re back there next year and I can’t wait to return.
  • The $40 ticket included two days of the conference, contributor day, three lunches and plenty of snacks. I’ve never had so much value in one low ticket cost.
  • Speaking was a joy. I felt very accommodated and that I was very much valued to offer my time as a speaker and contributor to the event.
  • Nashville is a super awesome city.

And of course, here are some of my favorite pictures from my time in Nashville.

3 thoughts on “My First WordCamp US

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