At 1:27pm, February 5th, 2017 I received the following message via email.
Thank you so much for answering our call for speakers for WordCamp San Diego 2017. We would be honored to have you present your talk, “Flexbox for WordPress” on Saturday, March 25th. Please confirm whether or not you are able to speak within the next few days.
I was ecstatic
I had spoken at events and conferences before, but never a WordPress conference. I immediately announced my acceptance on social media and called friends and family. As I write this, it’s the day after the event. The appointment did not disappoint. I got great feedback on my presentation. Even more valuable, I gained new friends and strengthened my bonds with existing friends.
What Are We Talking About?
In this post I’m pointing out some personal highlights of the WordCamp San Diego 2017 conference. WordCamp both met my expectations and surprised me.
If you are here to view a post with content from my WordCamp presentation, it is on the way.
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Visual Composer is Alive and Well
Firstly, Visual Composer is a WordPress builder plugin that allows one to customize WordPress content with a drag-and-drop interface. I’ve worked with other plugins which perform a similar functions: Themify Builder and Beaver Builder. It would be counter-effective to use more than one of the builders on a single site. I feel the need to disclose that I am somewhat of a Themify ambassador. Since Visual Composer’s inception I have spent a significant portion of my professional time fixing broken Visual Composer sites. Visual Composer is funded by a one-time payment business model, which I hypothesize has proven to be unsustainable. Thus, their customer support and documentation is lacking. Themify Builder and Beaver Builder come with excellent support and documentation, which also fosters a community. Thus, I believe Visual Composer is always going to be a problematic platform.
The Women Show Up For WordPress
Secondly, the WordPress community is diverse in its own unique way. My expectation was to see maybe one-fifth women at the event, which is typical in tech. I was surprised to observe about half of the attendees were Women. Beyond gender, the event was culturally diverse. I met people from all walks of life. One attendee I spoke with just wanted to maintain a blog about her dog. During my presentation, she was sitting a few feet behind the Co-founder of Ninja Forms and WP Ninjas, whose work I have admired for years. Now that I have a clearer perception of the WordPress community, I will likely offer more general and inspirational content in future WordCamp speaking opportunities.
Nathan Ello Hit Me in the Feels
Thirdly, I highly recommend checking out Nathan Ello. Nathan shared his journey to freelance success as a WordPress developer. Not only was his story inspirational, it was extremely practical. I am an informed WordPress user. These days, I find my socks are blown off less than they used to be. Nathan Ello blew my socks off. I nearly teared up when Nathan told us how Gazelles in captivity can jump three times the height of their enclosure fences. They just don’t try. I look forward implementing some of the strategies from the Nathan Ello presentation, of which I will create a case study. Read the presentation here.
Don’t Blink or You Will Miss the WordCamp
Lastly, my greatest complaint is that I was unable meet and get to know everyone. I didn’t even get to speak with all of the sponsors. So many of my favorite companies were present. I am excited for next year and hope to do more WordCamps out of town this year. If you went to the conference, please comment below and tell me something about yourself. If you did not attend, have you heard of WordCamp? Are you interested in learning more about WordPress? Let me know! Aloha.