WordCamp Orange County: Top Ten Reasons You Need to Go

WordCamp Orange County: Top Ten Reasons You Need to Go

WordCamp Orange County: Top Ten Reasons You Need to Go

 

The Pre-Party AKA K2 Racing

Racing with other WordPress fans? Such a fun time!

The Swag

Here are just a few of the lovely items, including the third place for racing with the other tortoises. Overheard: “I wouldn’t want to pass anyone. Someone might get hurt!” And a heartfelt thank you to host Dreamhost for sponsoring WomenWhoWP and this event.

WordCamp Swag

WordCamp Swag

The Friendly Faces

Bridget Willard and I went to our first WordCamp Orange County in 2013! It’s become a ritual for us. You might have a WordCamp buddy, too! If you’d like to read about past Orange County WordCamps, here you go:

The Volunteers

There were way more volunteers than shown in the picture, but here are a few! There were people helping everywhere, with parking, with snacks, with coffee, etc.

More Swag

This year, the swag was beautiful. In particular, I truly appreciated the gorgeous notebooks from Dreamhost!

The Generosity of Chris Lema

Chris Lema gave away his structure for how he blogs. How incredibly generous is that? Go follow him on Twitter and check out his blog!

Reconnecting with Friends

So fun to reconnect with Verious B. Smith III, Yvonne Conway, and so many others!

The Learning

Speaking of which, Yvonne Conway gave us a wonderful session on Cybersecurity, Russian hackers, and you!

The Selfies

Selfie with Bridget Willard and Amy Hall

Selfie with Bridget Willard and Amy Hall

Capturing the Selfie

Jason Tucker caught us! Pretty funny!

What Were Your Highlights?

What was your top reason for going?

Spotlight on WordCamp Orange County: Ten Reasons Not to Miss it!

Spotlight on WordCamp Orange County: Ten Reasons Not to Miss it!

Spotlight on WordCamp Orange County: Ten Reasons Not to Miss it!

Are you considering going to a WordCamp? WordCamp is a conference with its main focus on WordPress, run by volunteers from the WordPress community. Here are some of my reasons to go to the one in Orange County! This is my fourth year. Here are reviews of previous years:

Free lunches really do exist!

Free lunches really do exist!

It’s a HUGE Bargain

And by huge, I mean ginormous. For the entrance fee of about $40, you get classes from experts on blogging and plugins, two lunches, snacks, coffee and other beverages, networking, honest opinions, swag, and much more.

Meet Your Peers

Those people you’ve seen online, those friends of friends, and the people whom you didn’t know you needed to meet? They’re all at WordCamp! And Orange County WordCamp is my absolute favorite for friendliness!

Support Others

There’s always someone you want to support because they’re speaking and they’re a friend of another friend. Nothing beats giving them an in-person shoutout.

concert light photo

Give Back to the Community

The WordPress community is wonderfully generous. And you can give to the others who’ve helped you along the way, as well as meet people who might need your expertise. And others may end up answering your questions as well.

Discover New Plugins

This year’s Plugin-Palooza showcased four new plugins. Hearing about how people developed those plugins in person, and getting to meet the developers was a wonderful thing.

Add plugins

Add plugins

Find Collaborators

You might need people to test something with you, to be co-conspirators on a new project, or collaborate on another WordCamp. Going to a WordCamp is how you meet those people.

Take a Deeper Dive

Much of what I took away this year was the emphasis on soft skills during the business track. Also, that “Blogger Support Group,” where you can do 50 posts with Scott Buscemi (not Steve Buscemi) looks pretty sweet! We’ll see what happens with that.

discussion photo

Grow Your Little Gray Cells

Three out of four people agreed that attending WordCamp Orange County makes you smarter. You could also do some of the things in this article: If You Do These 20 Things, You’ll Become Smarter.

The Fun You’ll Have

You might go to WCOC to learn, and then suddenly you’ll be having fun. All WordCamps are like that, but especially this one.

The Swag, The Swag!

The t-shirts, the mugs, the stickers, while not the reason to attend, are nice bonuses! Do you have other reasons to attend? Please leave me a comment! Thank you.

Swag is a nice bonus for attending #WCOC

WordCamp Orange County 2015: Why Go?

WordCamp Orange County 2015: Why Go?

WordCamp Orange County 2015: Why Go?

There are so many wordcamps around the world–there are many in the United States, Europe and Asia. So why should you attend the one in Orange County (WCOC)? If you’re anywhere nearby, I highly recommend this Wordcamp. And if you’d like to read recaps from Orange County WordCamp 2013 or 2014, please do.

Everything WordPress

If you’ve been writing your own blog for awhile, or if you’re thinking about starting a blog, you can get plenty of friendly advice here. From hosting to plugins, to how to use a content calendar, you can find it here, or you can find someone to ask.

Everything WordPress

Everything WordPress

Friendly Volunteers

At WCOC, there’s a non-competitive vibe that prevails, with people willing to offer you their time and opinion on just about everything. The entire camp is run by volunteers, too, so if you’d like to give back to the community, there are many ways to do so. From helping people park to signing in the participants, there’s a job for everyone.

A Huge Bargain

At $40, WCOC is the best bargain you’ll get for any conference, hands down. That $40 includes two lunches, all the sessions, a t-shirt, mug, and tons of bling.

The Wordcamp Bandana doubles as a blanket

The Wordcamp Bandana doubles as a blanket

The Bling

Yes, we’re not supposed to be all about the bling. But WCOC has such good designers that all the stickers and t-shirts and mugs every year are fab. It’s like a branded event at a million-dollar conference.

Wordcamp Swag

Wordcamp Swag

The Sessions

This year, the sessions were the best I’ve ever heard. From Sunday’s business conference to William Bay’s session on SEO, they were each packed with so much information, that there was no way to remember it all. Luckily, there are videos and slideshares!

The Friends

Tweeting to my bestie Bridget Willard, I told her that Wordcamp is 1000 times better with friends. In classic introvert fashion, here are our shoes (above). And meeting lots of new friends (see below).

Crazy Inspiration

At every turn, WCOC is filled with inspiration. You might be in the hall waiting for the next session when you overhear someone talking about something you’ve had an issue with. Or out having fish tacos with your bestie when you realize what you have to do next on your blog. Picture below by By Mendel (@ifyouwillit).

WordCamp Inspiration

WordCamp Inspiration

Controversy

Perhaps the most controversial session I attended was the one in which Jarrett Gucci outlined how to create a blogging calendar for 20 posts in 30 days. And no, it’s not like one of those feats where you work up to it and then slack off. It’s a lifestyle change. Yup.

SteveZehngut shared Shia LaBeouf’s video at the opening of the Business Workshop.

Call to Action

My call to action for you is to put Wordcamp Orange County on your calendar for next year. Just do it!

WordCamp San Francisco: Why A Blogger Should Go

WordCamp San Francisco: Why Bloggers Should Go

WordCamp San Francisco: Why Bloggers Should Go

This isn’t the first WordCamp I’ve attended, and it won’t be my last one, either. There are so many reasons to go, I can’t even begin to list them all. Here are a few highlights. If you haven’t read any of my other  posts about WordCamps, here are a couple of my faves: WordCamp Orange County 2014: Awesome Moments and WordCamp San Francisco: Favorite Things.

The Bill Was Fabutab

Frankly, I was more than a little excited that WordCampSF had so many women speakers this year. You could practically spend the entire two days and not listen to one single man, which is unusual at a technical conference, and even more unusual in San Francisco, where even Pinterest events are filled with men. This is awesome in so many ways. More on the particulars below.

The Bloggess

One of the biggest draws for me at the 2014 WordCamp was getting to see and hear The Bloggess. If you’ve never read her blog, you should. Come back here after two and a half years, when you’re done laughing. Yes, she’s that funny. If you don’t come back, I don’t blame you. Whatever. I was a little bit afraid to hear her speak because she has reached that stage of awesome in my mind, but she did not disappoint. In fact, my favorite moment came from her talk.

She was talking about trolls, which we all get as bloggers, especially on the more successful posts. And she said “It’s my house, so if you’re going to comment, entertain me. And if you don’t, look out!” Since her blog is curated, she can change the comments of trolls, which she does. Simple, but brilliant, right? Then when the troll returns (they always do!), she can again change their comment from the extremely negative to the extremely positive.

WordCamp San Francisco: Buttons Are Everywhere

WordCamp San Francisco: Buttons Are Everywhere

WordCamp San Francisco: MailChimp Cat Apparel

WordCamp San Francisco: MailChimp Cat Apparel

The Freebies

Yes, this might seem trivial, but deep in our hearts we all love the cheesy t-shirts, mugs, and free things we get at conferences. Even the stickers help make a lackluster conference better. This year’s winner was clearly MailChimp’s cute knitted cat hat. They had full-sized hats for people, too. I’m not sure how much my cat loved the hat, but she’s fussy that way. Anyway, she put up with it long enough to get a picture.

Meeting People

Hobnobbing with the other WordPress nerds is always a highlight, and this year’s WordCamp participants were no exception. I got to hang out with my buddy Peter Woolvett, too.

Crafty Chica was a huge and welcome surprise as well. She’s @CraftyChica on Twitter, by the way. You’ll love all her glitter and positivity.

Getting Retweeted. By Matt Mullenweg. Twice.

If you don’t know who Matt Mullenweg is, Google him!

Giants. Fans.

As in the “Orange Tide” was right outside the door. When we wandered outside, we’d see planes with banners, people dressed in orange, tailgating parties, etc. Did I mention dogs wearing orange and black shoes? As thousands poured through SOMA, up King Street and over to the stadium, it was impossible to ignore. Walking out of WordCamp and into the insane orange-and-blackness that engulfed San Francisco was incredible.

Will You Go? Have You Been?

I’d love to hear from you! If you’re planning to go next year, let’s meet up for coffee!

WordCamp San Francisco: Giants Fans

WordCamp San Francisco: Giants Fans

WordCamp San Francisco: Part 2

 

WordCamp San Francisco 2013: Part Two

WordCamp San Francisco 2013: Part Two

By now you might realize how awesometastic WordCamp San Francisco is. If you don’t, you might want to read my first post about WordCamp San Francisco. Helpful and friendly people, volunteers everywhere, delightful bling…but wait! There’s more!

Happiness Engineers

Right at the top of my list goes the amiable and accessible Bryan Villarin (@bryan on Twitter), Happiness Engineer at Automattic. I have to say that chatting with Bryan was my most favorite “session” of WordCamp. I’d been having a problem with scraping on my blog, and he explained a few different things I could do, such as a Google search for unique sentences from my blogpost. And the next day he introduced me to the Automattic “Dotcom Protector,” Jenny Zhu, who was well versed in content theft as well.

Nom Nom Nom

WordCamp San Francisco Lunch Buffet

WordCamp San Francisco Lunch Buffet

Feeding 700 people is a big job, and doing it well is something like magic; the buffet was way beyond the usual sandwiches and pizza. There was no pushing, and everyone had a place to sit and many choices, including vegetarian ones.

Six Stories of Joy and Despair

My favorite session at #WCSF was Natalie Mac’s.  I love reading about failure (especially really atrocious ones), so I was excited to hear about this session. The worst failures contain the seeds of success. Who said that? Was it me? Or did I unconsciously steal it from someone? Anyway, there’s nothing like a good failure, and for some reason startup people love failure. Natalie Mac did not disappoint. The story of Lloyd, who didn’t want anyone contacting him through his website, was a particular crowd favorite. (If you’d like to know about first steps for startups on social media, that’s the subject of another post.)

The Venue

The Mission Bay Conference Center is a tall-ceilinged place with bright colored walls and long clean angles, perfect for WordCamp.

O2 is the New P2

Beau Lebens talk on O2 was another favorite. With 80% of Automattic’s internal communications now being held in P2, it holds the promise of being used as the internal communications system for many companies. Apparently, Automattic employees rarely use email any more. I love the different threads of conversations that P2 enables, the transparency of the interface, and the searchable format. And the play on words–“Communication is the new oxygen” made the new moniker perfect!

Have a Favorite Story from WordCamp?

I’d love to hear your favorite story. Who did you meet at WordCamp? Let me know in the comments! Thanks!

 

 

WordCamp San Francisco: Favorite Things

WordCamp San Francisco State of the Word

WordCamp San Francisco State of the Word

WordCamp San Francisco

WordCamp San Francisco (or #WCSF) hadn’t even begun yet, and I could tell already that limiting myself to just one post was going to be very difficult. Now, if you’ve never been to a WordCamp, it’s a community of people interested in WordPress who gather to present, share, and tell stories. At the volunteer dinner, there were already some cool things to share. For starters, we got volunteer t-shirts from the uber friendly Automattic folks, and got to break bread (well, thick-crust pizza with spinach) and fancy-pants salad with the other volunteers. Not only that, but I got to carpool with Phyllis Garland! If you’re curious about how WordCamp San Francisco compares to a smaller WordCamp, you can read my post about WordCamp Orange County.

WCSF Automattic Headquarters

WCSF Automattic Headquarters

Accessibility

One of the first things you notice at #WCSF, is how accessible everyone is, and how genuinely happy they are to see you! It was as if the souls of golden retrievers had magically been transferred to humans: everyone was that happy to see you.

WCSF: Library at Automattic

WCSF: Library at Automattic

WordCamp Run by Volunteers

Secondly, getting to meet the other volunteers at WordCamp and seeing Automattic’s library, was an eye opener. The library includes t-shirts from previous Wordcamps from all over the country, a cool wooden map of Automattic’s location, as well as swag, like stickers, buttons, and water bottles.

WordCamp San Francisco Badge

WordCamp San Francisco Badge

Laminated Badges

Third, a detail that might get overlooked is the wonderful laminated badges with our avatars and Twitter handles right on them. And volunteers had them all organized when we got there, complete with the lanyards that would be recycled later. Yes, everything ran smoothly because all the details like badges were covered.

Friends Online and IRL

Fourth, and my most favorite thing about WordCamp, was getting to meet  new friend Ruby Rusine (@SocialChirps on Twitter) in person. We had met and tweeted to each other, but had never met in real life. Live-tweeting is one of my favorite things and it turns out that Ruby also loves to live-tweet. So we happily retweeted each other’s tweets while sitting right next to each other. Nerd Heaven!

State of the Word

Fifth was the State of the Word address by Matt Mullenweg (@PhotoMatt on Twitter). Secretly, I was afraid that I would be trapped inside a hot conference room for a long, boring talk, but was pleasantly surprised. He’s a great presenter, funny and witty, and the crowd absolutely adored him.

Have You Been to a WordCamp?

What did you like best about your WordCamp experience? Tell me in the comments below!

WCSF Me and Ruby Rusine

WCSF Me and Ruby Rusine

WordCamp OC 2013: 10 Awesome Things

WordCamp Orange County 2013

WordCamp Orange County 2013

This past weekend, June 1 and 2, I attended WordCamp Orange County (my first WordCamp ever!). There were many sessions, ranging from Lucy Beers’ WordPress 101 to Devin Walker’s Website Optimization for Speed. Here are a few things that I learned.

Surround Yourself with Smart People

If you’re at Wordcamp, you’re already surrounded by smart people. WordCamp felt like being back at Berkeley, where people were interrupting each other’s interruptions because everyone shared the same curiosity and joy of learning. If you’re an entrepreneur spending hours and days working alone, getting out and soaking up some new ideas and fresh ways of looking at the world can reinvigorate you.

Say Hello

When you say hello to people, they say hello back! You might laugh at the obviousness of that, but really: People are so friendly, open, and generous with their ideas. Often all you need to do is say hello.

Work on Five Blogposts at the Same Time

Who's the chick with Syed Balkhi?

Who’s the chick with Syed Balkhi?

During @syedbalkhi‘s talk on Time Management, he discussed focus and how no one can really multitask. What Syed does is start five posts at once, then if he gets a little writer’s block, he switches from one to another. Now that’s something to implement immediately. This is such an elegant and simple idea! By the way, Syed’s Beginner’s Guide to WordPress is jam-packed with ideas! As well as being technically awesome.

Have Deeper Conversations

Many times, between or after sessions is when the real learning occurs. That person you just met will give you a fabulous tip if you do a little homework (for example: read their blog before asking them a question about a particular blogpost they just wrote!). If you buy someone a drink or, better still, lunch, be prepared to hear more of the truth than you would during a session. This, paraphrased from Chris Lema.

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate!

Don’t try to do everything yourself. Hire someone to do your accounting, or the chores that you might not enjoy doing. That includes everything from designing a logo to building a website to creating content.

Learn to Say No!

Do not meet that vampire at the coffee shop! (A vampire is someone who pretends to want to hire you, but then says they’re broke, and just wants free advice.) Do not pick up the phone while you’re blogging. And learn to say no to yourself, most of all. Do not let yourself get distracted and don’t head down the rabbithole with a “great idea” and end up buying 10 new domain names which three days later you’ll regret. Not that I’ve ever done that (today). Sayed Balkhi drew laughter and a lot of head nodding when he discussed the idea of buying domain names and meeting the broke customer at the coffee shop.

Focus on Your Strengths

Me, Peter Woolvett, and Bridget Willard

Me, Peter Woolvett, and Bridget Willard

My friend Peter Woolvett of CustomerSpecs always says “mind your strengths,” and we heard it over and over at WordCamp. Don’t try to develop your weaknesses. Rather, do whatever it is that you’re good at.

Spend Time on That Great Idea

If you know something is important, spend the damn time on it. Use the time management matrix to determine whether it’s important and not urgent, and then eliminate distractions and do it.

Don’t Rely on Your Memory

How many times have you had a great idea and then promptly forgotten it? Use Evernote or a white board or a notebook, but get it down in writing!

Wake Up Early

Come on! You’re not really a night owl. Get up early when you’re your most productive and do your work. Then go out and “canoe with alligators”–Sayed’s phrase. Or whatever you like to do for fun–like meet that broke customer for lunch. Just kidding.

Be Accountable

We all perform better when we’re being watched. If you can’t afford a coach, try Timedoctor, which monitors your activities. You can’t improve if you don’t know where you’re starting from.

Your Favorite Part of WordCamp Orange County?

Maple-Bacon Donut Dispenser AKA Sidecar

Maple-Bacon Donut Dispenser AKA Sidecar

Was it the maple-bacon donuts? Learning about WordPress Mobile? The after party at Durty Nelly’s? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks!

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