I was very fortunate to receive an invitation to The Community Summit at WordCamp US. The event was attended by about 180 people and was held the Wednesday & Thursday before WordCamp US.
To say I was like a fish out of water is an understatement! I am a WordPress “user” and whatever coding skills I had disappeared in the late 80’s when I changed jobs. I like to say that “I kNOw code”. I arrived on Wednesday afternoon just in time to take part in the WordPress TV team discussion. Kyle Maurer of Real Big Marketing was our lead for the day and gave a great report when it was time for all of the make.wordpress.org to make reports about the status of their groups.
I was somewhat reluctant to attend the Community Summit as I had traveled to five WordCamps during 2015 BUT since I had received an invitation to go, I figured that I should take advantage of the offer and I am very glad that I did.
I got to meet several people involved in the world of WordPress that I have heard about, chatted with on Slack or saw their videos on WordPress TV.
Thursday was the team work day. I was able to crank out some videos and did a lot of networking.
Because of previous commitments, I had to leave Friday but I was able to at least go to the first few sessions and spend some time in the sponsor area.
All in all, it was a great experience. If anybody is even considering going to the next WordCamp US, I would urge you to go.
At WordCamp North Canton I gave a presentation on WordPress.TV and I was able to unveil a new plugin that was developed by Kyle Maurer. The plugin enables user to display WordCamp videos that are relevant to the screen they are on while logged into their WordPress website.
Although my presentation only had 8 people ( I was in a tough time slot on Saturday sessions at 1:00 – see the schedule) I had a great time with the presentation and had some great questions.
I was accepted to speak at WordCamp Columbus on the Sunday Contributor Day and am a little nervous about that. From what I understand, this will be mostly designers and developers (compared to me being a “user”) so I am planning on adding some more technical information to my presentation.
I have been volunteering with WordPress.TV for slightly more than a year and I certainly learned a lot. I started off moderating videos that were in the pending queue have moved on to actually editing videos that have been submitted by WordCamps and inserting slides. I use a program called Shotcut and it is fairly easy to use once you learn about the settings.
The WordPress.TV leaders are encouraging the creation of screencast that would be short instructional videos for different parts of the Dashboard. This has worked out very well for me because I have been very interested in creating screencast or podcast for several years.
The first WordCamp I attended was Columbus in 2010 and it was actually a combined camp with podcamp / WordCamp. Since that time the foundation has not allowed combined camps. I was, at the time, mainly interested in podcasting and I just happened to sit in on a presentation by Mitch Canter of Studionashvegas.com. This got me started on WordPress but I always had in the back of mind that I wanted to do some podcasting. So it looks like I have my chance with the screencast for WordPress.TV and I am eager to contribute!
The month of March not only brought a break in the weather but also an opportunity for me to attend two WordCamps in the span of eight days. On March 14th I attended WordCamp St. Louis and on March 20th and 21st found me at WordCamp Dayton.
WordCamp St. Louis
I had received a personal invitation to attend WordCamp St. Louis by Nile Flores. Initially I thought that an eight hour drive from eastern Ohio to St. Louis was going to be a bit much but after thinking about it I decided to go for it. Boy, am I glad I did!
I drove to within a few miles of the site and stayed overnight in Troy. Saturday morning was a short drive to the event which was being held at Washington University. BIG surprise! Parking was directly across the street from the entrance and WordCamp volunteer Bob Barker was standing outside with a sign directing attendees to the correct locations.
The morning kicked off with Cain & Obenland in the Morning. This was the first time I had heard these two guys and it was great! As you can see on the schedule, there were 4 tracks to choose from. The sessions were varied and informative. I know that well over 300 people registered for the event and I am guessing that 280 to 300 were in attendance.
The next Friday found me arriving at the Dayton Convention Center around noon. Traveling with me to WordCamp Dayton was my son Michael. He was excited to come with me for the weekend. I will have more about Michael later.
The Dayton Convention Center was a great venue! All of the rooms and lounge area used for the WordCamp were within 100 feet of each other.
The schedule provided sessions for all skill levels. Saturday kicked of with a panel discussion about something called The Imposter Syndrome. Very interesting thoughts and comments. After lunch was the keynote speaker John James Jacoby. I have heard John speak before but this day seemed different. He gave some background on his work experiences but something that struck me was his comments about keeping healthy. Eating right, exercise, walking away from work and doing something completely different was the message.
I attended sessions throughout the day and even spent time in the Happiness Bar talking with people. Mike and I meet some great people and had a great time!
Both WordCamps were well worth the trip. About 1,400 miles of driving, 3 nights stay in hotels. Yep, worth it. AND I got to have BBQ both weekends! Yum Yum!
This past weekend was a good opportunity for Michael and I to spend some together. With his work schedule, it has been difficult to try to spend time with him so WordCamp Dayton was a good opportunity for us. He had a FANTASTIC time! He met so many people that made an impression on him. And I am truly thankful to all who took time to talk with him! To find out more about Michael, you can read about this on my personal website.
In the few months that I have been volunteering time to WordPressTV, I have certainly learned a lot about videos and met some fantastic people. A few days before WordCamp Dayton, I read the speaker interview for John James Jacoby. During the interview John stated that he recommended WordPressTV as a resource for WordPress users. I checked with John before I went very far with this idea. I thought that the WordCamp might be a good opportunity to do a video interview with him and this is the result: http://wordpress.tv/2015/03/21/john-james-jacoby-interview-at-wordcamp-dayton-2015/