WOO WOO! #WooConf – It Was Amazing

If you follow me,  you are more than aware that I spent last week at the second annual WooConf, an event focused solely on WooCommerce. My expectations were met and exceeded. It was amazing— and a total blast!

The Venue – Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater

The first time I walked into this space, all I could think was WOW.

austin-city-limits-live

So many famous musicians have performed here. In fact, someone shared with me that where I would be standing on Thursday for my talk was the exact spot where only a week before Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin had rocked the house.

So, no pressure.

But it did go smoothly and without a hitch.

bobwp-speaking-at-wooconf-2016

Photo courtesy of Shayda Torabi from WPEngine

And it didn’t stop there. As you approached WooConf, the steps leading to the event were welcoming and eye-catching, to say the least.

woo-conf-steps

The Speakers and the Sessions

WooConf wouldn’t have been complete without Matt Mullenweg, WordPress founder and head of Automattic, Matt acquired WooCommerce earlier this year, this, his opening spot at the conference.

matt-mullenweg-at-wooconf-2016

My good friend Dre Armeda was the MC, a duty carried off with charm.

dre-armada-mc-at-wooconf

I was able to catch this informative and entertaining panel that consisted of shop owners who use WooCommerce. A teaser: the guy on the right, Steven Sashen from Xero Shoes will be a near future guest on my Do the Woo Podcast.

shop-owner-panel-at-wooconf

I didn’t make it to as many sessions as I would have liked. I was pulled out of one because, as luck would have it,  our site went down on the first day. But I cannot tell you how fortunate I was to have our host, WPEngine there with a booth. Allen, a support engineer sat down with me and got things up and running in less than an hour. But I digress, and that’s another whole post. 🙂

I was also busy meeting with people and connecting, chatting, laughing, and getting lots of hugs from friends.

Because in the end, when I go to a conference…

It’s All About the People

I’m always amazed when I look at my photos from a conference because I never take as many as I plan to. I guess I was just too busy having a good time.  And as I said, it’s about the people. I wish I could share with you each and every person I chatted with or got a hug from.

But let me just share a couple.

matty-cohen-from-woo-and-automattic

I have known Matty Cohen, Chief Product Officer over at Woo/Automattic, for several years. Over the years, we have developed a special friendship and respect for each other. Through skypes and emails, he has supported me and helped me through a lot of stuff. And then there are the rare times, being that he is in Cape Town, South Africa and I live in Washington state,  where we finally get to give each other a big hug.

heather-and-shayda-from-wpengine

Heather Brunner and Shayda Torabi are who I like to refer to as the power women over at WPEngine hosting. I’ve known Shayda since I started using WPEngine and we have had several chances to spend time together via WordCamps and, of course, WooConf this time around. I got to know Heather online, but when we met in person for the first time here, it felt like we had known each other forever.

Because WPEngine is headquartered in Austin, I was lucky enough to be able to visit them and I had a great time there as well. I even had the chance to be interviewed there for their Finely Tuned Expert series, which I hope to see soon. And look at this backpack I scored!

wpengine-backpack

The Sponsors

When I go to a conference, I try drop by and visit all the vendors and sponsors. They are a big reason that events like this one are possible. Also, I can say that I have made awesome connections and even new friends when visiting the booths. It’s something I think everyone should make a point of doing. So all I can say to all of them is THANK YOU!

I believe I got photos of each one of the sponsors who had a booth, with maybe one exception.

[foogallery id=”25171″]

The Podcast

While there, I did an episode of the Do the Woo podcast and was able to interview three membership site experts: Chris Lema, Beka Rice and Brent Shepherd. Our initial idea was to be able to all sit down together, but with all of our crazy schedules,  we opted for separate interviews. If you are interested in hearing about creating membership sites with WooCommerce and the future of niche subscription membership sites, you can tune in here.

Also, I had a chance to do short intro interviews of several attendees. Check that out on today’s podcast and meet some of the different people who attended WooConference.

Odds and Ends

No conference post can get by without a picture or two of food. Although I don’t take a lot of food shots, I did start my first day with a refreshing vodka tonic and some Buffalo Fried Pickles (when in Rome, er, I mean Texas).

buffalo-fried-pickles

And, on my last full day,  Gulf Shrimp and Grits.

grits-and-gulf-shrimp

(I didn’t get shots of the tacos, tacos and more tacos I ate daily.)

The conference officially ended with an after-hours party complete with a pretty nice view of Austin.

austin

It’s impossible to convey my entire experience. But like I said, it’s all about the people. And I must give one last hurrah and a virtual hug to the entire Woo team. They were beyond amazing and put together an event that will stay in my memory for a long time.

WOO!

MORE WOO GOODNESS

Every Wednesday, on the blog here I post a WooCommerce-related post. And, once again, you can also visit my Do the Woo Podcast for today’s episode , as well as  the #woochatter hashtag on Twitter where I’ll be  sharing all Woo, all day!

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