My Day at WordCamp Vancouver
WordCamp is always an inspiring and invigorating experience and this year’s WordCamp Vancouver was no exception. Held at the clean and modern downtown BCIT building on August 17, there was electricity in the air as over 200 WordPressers gathered for three tracks of sessions.
There is so much to discuss at WordCamp for both users and developers. Not being a real developer, the sessions I opted for were generally user related and business focused.
Resources for Reaching Your WordPress Potential
I entered 15 minutes into this session with the enthusiastic Suzette Frank from Orange County, California, whose repeated use of the word “awesome” made me think, what a wonderful world.
She exhorted the audience to contribute to the WordPress community by critiquing sites, sharing tips, and offering to write documentation. She explained how WordPress users can chip in at the WordPress.org support forum, and how developers can contribute to the core at make.wordpress.org. Educationally, she had lots of suggestions, too many to list.
Kane Jamison put together an invigorating session on setting your content apart from the rest of the blogosphere. It was broken into five parts: Better Blogging Basics; Breaking Writers Block; Better Images; Better Non-Blog Content; Better Content Variety. All of the tips came with plugin suggestions to aid implementation.
So many ideas, so little time!
Here are Kane’s session slides
10 Things They Don’t Teach you about in Business School
Having sat next to Curtis McHale at the speaker’s dinner, I already had an inkling of what this session was about. Still, I was surprised his blunt opening slide, “Don’t Be An Idiot, Run a viable business.”
He continued in his blunt way to describe the pitfalls and strategies of running a WordPress development business, much of it using good old common sense. However, I still disagree with his assertion that “Credit Cards are Stupid.”
It was in this session that I heard the term “scope creep,” which I took to mean how a project slowly creeps up in size and scope, beyond the initial estimate. Boy, don’t well all know how that goes!
Put Some Shine in Your Back End
After listening to a short talk on Getting Started with WooCommerce by Merril Mayer, I headed to the next room to listen to Christine Rondeau talk about ways to design pages differently. That included shortcodes, widgets, include pages, looping through pages, and advanced custom fields.
This was the geekiest session I attended and yet, I understood a lot.
10 Steps to WordPress
After a delicious lunch, I gave my presentation upstairs in the 8th floor atrium.
I worried that being in way up in Siberia during Morten Rand-Hendrickson’s session would put a dent in my attendance, but no. I ended up having 50-60 listeners.
I basically read through the high points of my latest series, Create a WordPress Website, using way too many Powerpoint slides. So many, that I had to skip over Step 9 Monetize, to discuss Step 10; Website Maintenance, per a question from the audience.
Here is my WP in 10 steps
Running a WordPress Development Business
In this panel session, Grant Landram, Justine Sainton, Curtis McHale and Shawn Johnston fielded questions from the audience via Twitter and from moderator Morten Rand-Hendrickson.
The discussion ranged from dealing with employees and contractors, managing cashflow, and choosing clients.
As I listened to comments like, “I started my business five years ago, right after graduating from High School,” I was both impressed and intimidated. I began to wonder if there’s a place in the WordPress-o-sphere for the over-fifty crowd.
It’s Raining Men
And the fact that the panel had no women made me wonder why WordCamp Vancouver remains so male dominated. This was a topic Christine Rondeau and I pondered later, while I did a shift at the Happiness Bar.
Out of 28 speakers, we counted on four fingers the number of women who spoke that day and wondered why there were so few women presenters in Vancouver that one of them had to fly in from Southern California?
In response to an email inquiry, co-organizer Joey Kudish got right back to me acknowledging the discrepancy. He said that they reached out to 25% of the women considered, and originally two other female speakers accepted, but they had to cancel. And, that ratio of 1:5 was still unacceptable.
“Beyond our outreach, we simply did not receive many female applicants,” he said. “It’s something that we, and other WordCamp organizers around the world are aware of and certainly trying to improve upon. Any suggestions on where/how to encourage more women to speak would be greatly appreciated, especially for local speakers.”
So, ladies, please speak up at WordCamp.
On another note, I have to say this WordCamp had the coolest swag. I adored the bottle opener thumb drive, pictured above, for those times when you literally want to drink and drive.
And the schedule pen was pure genius, despite being a little hard on one’s elderly eyes. My three-year-old neighbor loved it to the breaking point.
Thanks to Joey, Jill Binder and Flynn O’Conner for putting on a great WordCamp Vancouver. I can’t wait for the next one.