WordPress Wednesday #1 – WordCampSF 2013
Is it July already? If so, that means WordCamp San Francisco 2013 (WCSF2013) is just around the corner. This will be my sophomore year attending, and why not, since it’s just a stone’s throw away and priced ridiculously low for the value received. Given the global nature of the WordPress community, I know many in attendance that weekend will be coming from overseas specifically to attend this annual gathering of the tribes. Adding to all things considered, this is WordPress’ 10th anniversary celebration so it would almost be a sin not to go. WordPress has been around since 2003 and I jumped on board in 2009 when I launched my studio out of Texas. Still, I felt relatively new to the community and really didn’t know what to expect when I went last year. I did learn later on how unprepared I was to capitalize on the networking and brain-picking opportunities that would come my way.
Case in point, was meeting the first 2 guys who sat across from me in the lounge as I fiddled with my Kindle. I suspect they might have picked me out as one of the introverted newbies just trying to hide in a corner, hoping to jump incognito from session to session without having to talk to anyone. I was. In a way, I felt I was a little out of my league here and even a little guilty for getting one of the limited tickets to a sold out event simply because it was convenient. The main rationale for being there, then, involved two specific goals: to be a fly on the wall and observe what this community was really like, and to pick up some secrets and pointers from the experts during the sessions. I was so not ready for the format and overall environment, even surprised with details like complimentary refreshments available throughout the venue and the outdoor catered lunch buffet – complete with live jazz ensemble. But like I said, mostly, I was unprepared to network. Which brings me back to the two gentlemen who approached me at the start of my day, asking if it was ok for them to join me.
A Chance Meeting
They both had name tags and introduced themselves. Both seemed nice enough and didn’t appear to have an agenda or be on a mission to talk to me. That’s always a disarming moment. So I asked the first obvious question, “Is this your first time here?” maybe hoping to find some other lost souls I could stumble around with. No luck there as they were veterans of these events. One came from Canada, the other from Arizona. But now my status was out as they volleyed the same question back at me. But when I told them it was, they each took turns giving suggestions that would help me to optimize my experience. When I found out one of them was involved with Automattic and themes, that was a topic I was interested in and asked some questions, which may have been phrased awkwardly by the look on his face. Yet neither were condescending or dismissive, almost eager to point me in the right direction. The entire conversation lasted about 15 minutes before it was time to find my way over to the first session venue. That encounter opened my eyes to the importance of meeting & talking to others and set the tone for the day. It wasn’t until I got home that evening that I learned who Ian Stewart and Lance Willett were.
I’m a little wiser and a bit more eager to be able to go again this year, having a better understanding of the event. Even though it didn’t sell out this year (as of this writing), I made sure to be one of the first on line to get a ticket. Ian Stewart landed one of the speaker spots, so that will be a must attend right off the back. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get more out of WCSF2013 going in with a better understanding of where I’ve been and where I’m going with this business. And yes, I’m even looking forward to meeting more people.