Now I’m not talking about the State of the Word’s that we hear from Matt at WordCamps. I am talking about the first one that was a stand-alone event and how I not only was able to attend, but I had quite the experience on the train.
Also, I am moving over some content from my other site Do the Woo to here as we will no longer have text posts over there. Only podcast episodes. So as a result I am going to make this quite the post by adding the original posts from Do the Woo and linking back to some so I have this experience archived somewhere.
So let me take you back to December 2021.
Follow Do the Woo to the State of the Word 2021
published December 6, 2021
Last week on the podcast I announced the cross-country journey I am taking to attend the State of the Word in New York City. As we get closer to the date, the reality of this 8-day adventure is drawing nearer.
Join Me For the Trip
Let’s get one thing straight off. This is not about a train trip where I kick back and enjoy the scenery along the way. Well, okay, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, but this is more about bringing together the community through my ears and eyes. As much as as wish each one of you were on this train, although that is physically impossible, this is my chance to bring a different perspective on this years State of the Word from Matt Mullenweg.
Sights, Sounds and Experiences
In this podcast I shared how this all came about. And moving forward, it is almost impossible to tell you everything that will take place. But I can promise you podcasts, videos and posts with insights of the State of the Word. Plus pictures of community we meet along the way and in New York City. And I can’t do this without some snippets of the actual journey across the US. The details are not here now, but will transpire over the duration of the trip.
How to Keep Up It All
There are two perfect ways to follow along on this adventure.
If you are subscribed to the Do the Woo podcast, you will at least catch all of the conversations and updates done via our episodes, but trust me, there will be a lot more than that.
However you choose, I am hoping to bring to you the first ever unique event centered around the WordPress State of the Word.
Thanks to These Sponsors for Sending Do the Woo to the State of the Word
published December 7, 2021
The WordPress and WooCommerce community never ceases to amaze me.
When I came up with the idea of this 8-day event wrapped the State of the Word NYC, I knew it could be big. At the same time it was nearing the end of the year and it’s not the best time to approach companies about sponsorships. In fact, when your goal is to get things solidified within a week, that is another thing.
So please visit their sites, or give them a shout out on Twitter. Because when it comes to WordPress, and yes, WooCommerce, it’s all about community.
Why Do the Woo is Talking About the State of the Word
published December 10, 2021
Over the next week or so, the content here on Do the Woo will be primarily focused on the large WordPress community and the upcoming State of the Word. Likely WooCommerce will poke up here and there, but you will notice an obvious wider perspective on all of the content during this time through Dec. 18th.
Woo and WordPress, It’s All Good
The first obvious reason is apparently the fact that I have created this trip/event around State of the Word.
But the second reason should also be obvious and it’s something I talk about a lot here. It’s the simple fact that WooCommerce sits on top of WordPress. Right? Just about everything that happens with WordPress affects WooCommerce builders in one way or another, ultimately affecting the end user or client.
Again, as I have said time and time again, if you build with Woo, you must keep on top of WordPress.
And There’s the Community
I have been hanging in the WordPress community for 15 years. During that time I have met incredible people and yes, started doing the Woo. With a history like mine, it’s easy to build event around the bigger ecosystem. Now I will admit that this is not a WordCamp I am going to and I won’t see as many people as I would have. But the times are weird and we are all doing what we can. But it will be able to share this experience with those online as well as those I get to see in person, both on the way to the State of the Word and during it.
The community will also hear reflections of Matt Mullenwegs talk from community members and myself on the return home.
So yes, I do the WordPress and I Do the Woo.
An Eat and Run with Chicago WordPress Peeps on the Way to State of the Word
published December 13, 2021
Best laid plans of mice and men
If you listen to this podcast (link coming soon), you will hear the story of how Mike Demo from Codeable made his plans to jump on the train (not literally) for the leg from St. Paul to Chicago. This transpired into a dinner for some Chicago WordPress peeps. Long story short, plans where made at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Chicago and invites were sent out.
Then if you listen to this podcast, you will hear how I ended up running into Susan Ramsey, longtime WordPresser and friend, from Fort Worth, Texas. Yes, and she joined the dinner.
Chicago WordPress Rules
Even from my perspective it was an interesting group relationship-wise. I have known Becky and Brian from way back at Chicago WordCamp, 2011 or thereabouts. Susan has always been on my radar with her past activities in the Genesis community and, of course, my co-hosts of this podcast, Zach and Robert. But it was also very cool to meet two new faces, Steve and Keanan. Because of the limited time and where I was sitting I got to know Steve a bit better, but hoping I will have the chance with Keanan in the future.
Trains Will Run Late
Yes, we learned how trains, especially at this distance, can and will run late. In fact two hours late. As Mike and I had done a podcast on the train and hung out and just chatted, as we grew closer, Mike would frantically check the updates as minutes were slowly being added to the delay. But, hey are we going to let what came as a 2 hour late arrival spoil the party. No way.
Robert Jacobi made he was there to greet everyone. When we got off the train, Mike took off to grab a cab while Susan and I looked for the place that would hold my bags. She was damn good at helping me find the right place.
Mike did make it, gave the cab drive a $20 bill for a $7 fare, and started the party going. We followed and soon were enjoying appetizers and conversation.
The Best Part
Sure, I arrived around 7 and by 8:00 was in the Hard Rock shop grabbing a gift for Judy. Of course I was behind Mike who was stocking up on his Hard Rock findings. As I made my way back to the train station, looking at the photo of the group, I could do nothing but smile, thinking about how much fun everyone seemed to be having, catching up IRL, laughing, telling stories. Seeing each other for the first time in awhile.
It was a joy to see and made me think about this amazing community we have in WordPress.
The Podcasts on the Trip
podcasts published from November 30, 2021 – December 22, 2021
I ended up doing podcasts before I left, on the train, at the hotel and a few other places. Here are the links to those. One of the train podcasts was completely by luck. So happens a WordPresser I know was on the same train car. Amazing!
Some photos of my travels
Photos from SOTW 2021
Of course there was the event itself, amazing and a lot of fun with old and new friends.
And before I left NYC and caught that train home, had the time to grab a nice lunch out with Bud Kraus, Robbie Adair and Cate and Topher Derosia
Oh, and Then There Was State of the Word 2022 in NYC
Of course, when it came around the next year, I opted to do this again but plane instead of train and no podcasting.
Do the Woo is Headed to the State of the Word, NYC, Again
It’s that time of the year, or at least for the second year in a row. Matt Mullenweg will be giving the State of the Word again in New York City. And yes, once again I will be making the trek across country to attend.
What is and what was
You may or may not recall that last year, due to a misunderstanding with flying and ID’s required, I ended up taking a roundtrip adventure on a train to NYC. In fact I have several posts here that not only talk about the adventure, but also podcasts that were done along the way as well at in NYC. I don’t need to go into the details again, but let’s just say I have opted for a flight this time. 🙂
Time for connection, reflection and optimism
So you may be asking why I used the resources to fly six hours one way for a three hour event. Well, first I feel I need to be there to represent Do the Woo. And I am able to do this because of the support of our Pod Friends.
But it also is perfect timing for the end of the year.
Connection – this goes without saying. Although a small crowd, maximum of 50 people, I always look forward to connecting with my WordPress friends. In fact, sometimes smaller is better.
Reflection – when Matt reviews the year, for some it may seem to be only on the surface. But post-state of the word gives me time to think about what he has said. What it means to the community. And what it means for our efforts here at Do the Woo. For me personally, it has more meaning and goes deeper when I experience it in person. Plus it gives me something to think about on the flight home.
Optimism – I am by nature optimistic. And though there can be skepticism, doubts or even drama for others, each year always brings me optimism in the future of the project. Which lends to the whole experience that I have before, during and after the State of the Word.
I do admit I am lucky that I can attend. And yes, again I have my sponsors to thank for that. Also, there is a part of me that hopes the SOTW could be worked to be given at all of the flagship WordCamps, as it had been done with WordCampUS before. But knowing that it plays on the end-of-the-year, maybe I am too optimistic there.
If you are one of the few that are able to attend, and we haven’t talked about meeting up yet, let me know. NYC, here we come!
A State of the Word Dinner with Some Woo
As you likely know from earlier posts and podcasts, I was able to attend the State of the Word this year in New York City. All because of our Pod Friends.
When a community comes together
Since I would be there on the night before the event, Michelle Frechette and I started a conversation with others who were attending. “How about getting together for dinner?” Of course, as with any WordPress event, large or small, you will find those interested, both old and new friends. And the fact that the hotel we both were staying at had this very convenient restaurant and bar, well, it was an easy decision.
Except when you call to make a reservation, get a failed call notice, and learn from the hotel that the restaurant is closed.
This led into more conversations with those attended, and those not. Apparently with the size of most restaurants in NYC being small and, to add to that, the holidays, well, finding a reservation for 10-11 people turned into a challenge. The fact that I had left this to only a few days before the dinner didn’t help.
It takes a community
We are a hearty group and don’t give up easy. Along came superhero Nev Harris suggesting he calls the American Express concierge to help and recommend some restaurants was a game saver. And although what we found was an outdoor heated patio, with temperatures in the low 30’s F, we couldn’t be picky. Luck was on the side of this WordPress group and we felt we were treated to a semi-private room where good food, drinks and conversation took the stage.
Of course, once you have had a terrific Italian dinner there is no better place to extend the holiday cheer than for a few of us to visit Rockefeller Center.
State of the Word 2023
Which brings me right back to where we are. Will I be attending SOTW at the end of this year? You just never know, but once I get started….