On May 19th, WordCamp Seattle took place. If you don’t know what a WordCamp is, WordCamp Central defines them as:
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.
Why talk about it now? Although I have attended numerous WordCamps, this was the first one I organized. Typically, I’m happier when I’m out there speaking, but when I took over the Seattle WordPress Meetup, I inherited WordCamp as well. That day, I had the honor of welcoming everyone and introducing Scott Berkun, our keynote speaker.
Afterward, Scott told me “You did a great job kicking off the day. You set a fun and smart tone, personifying the charm and competence of the entire event.” Coming from Scott, that meant a lot to me.
Of course, there were months of planning, with boatloads of meetings, emails, Skype calls, phone chats—you name it. Details, big and small. What I learned was that the only way anyone will get through this is to have an incredible team. And I did. Never once did they grumble when I asked them to do something. I was blessed.
The day’s start
I wonder, has there ever has been a perfect, blue-sky start to a WordCamp day? First, we were staring at hundreds of lanyards that were not clip-ons, as we expected. We asked the venue contact if they had a hole punch. Our first answer was, “No.” We whipped out our smart phones and started searching for stores nearby, only to find most didn’t open before 8 pm on a Saturday. Finally 2 hole punchers are found, volunteers were found, and bam, we were good to go.
Then I pulled up my Twitter stream. People were asking what the URL is for the live streaming of the sessions. Good question. Actually, none of use had posted it. I took out my iPad and took care of that.
The first sessions kicked off well, with a few snags. We looked at the numbers and figured out which room would work for which track. But now we saw that the developers’ track was standing room only while there were lost of seats in the beginners’ track.
What the hell? What were all of these developers doing up so early? Aren’t they normally the guys who work through the night, Red Bull in hand? Don’t they have problems getting up before noon? In any case, we made a quick switch of rooms and we were good to go for the rest of the day.
Not bad for a start, huh?
Into the afternoon
The rest of the day went surprisingly smooth. A few minor glitches, but all of our campers seemed to be happy. Sure, I know that you can’t please everyone. But I figure, one should bask in the compliments being shared, and lend an ear to listen to the challenges throughout the day . When it came down to it, all of us were volunteers doing the best we could and when we got advice for improvements and changes, we kept them to pass on to the organizers of the next WordCamp.
Which brings me to the oversight and leadership from the WordCamp Central team. From my experience, the support from them was incredible and a big contributor to the success. of the event. Having the WordPress Foundation handle the money was a no-brainer and made it so much easier for us. They were always there when I needed something. I respect their rules and their wish to oversee the WordPress brand and make it consistent across all venues and platforms. And, if they choose to make exceptions or follow different criteria for any one of their events, I’m okay with that, too. I know that I am only speaking for myself, but, as far as I’m concerned, life is too short to get stuck on the small stuff, which is what I consider this issue to be.
WordCamps are just another example of the power and commitment of the WordPress community. It doesn’t take a village to do a WordCamp. In reality, it takes a universe.
With that said, a huge, huge thank-you to:
Our speakers: Scott Berkun, Aaron Hockley, Mark Root-Wiley, Christine Winckler, Shane Pearlman, Andrew Villenueve, Justin Briggs, Daniel Bachhuber, Pete Mall, Kelli Wise, Eric Mann, Michael Fields, Laura Kimball, Michael Pick, Christine Rondeau, Zack Tollman, and Lucy Beer
SAM (Seattle Art Museum) and Taste for the great venue and food
Our volunteers: Joy Moxley, Annie Anderson, John Fotheringham, Brandon Wu, Cathy Skraba, Daria Schubert, Ian Dunn, Jill H. Zalameda, Kailey Lampert, Larry Swanson, Laura Pepper, Lynn Adams, Mark Ayers, Merrill Mayer, Nancy House, Justin Palmer, Sam Leavens, and James Johnson.
And ALL OUR ATTENDEES!
And everyone who has been involved in making WordPress the best open source software out there.