WordCamp Phoenix 2018 Recap
After attending the last two Phoenix WordCamps I was really motivated to present at a WordCamp in the future. I submitted five topics just hoping to be selected and be a part of our community and camp. I was honored to be chosen this year and wanted to share my first experience as a presenter.
The camp started with the speaker dinner at GoDaddy on Thursday. Our organizers do such a fantastic job pulling everything together and treating our presenters like VIPs. GoDaddy has such a great facility and they really know how to have fun.
The party had an open bar, a fantastic magician, great catered food, an adult slide from the second floor with an air mattress to catch you, and best of all – adult sized pedal go carts! GoDaddy also played it smart by offering promo codes for Uber rides home. It was a great celebration of all the talented presenters, our generous sponsors, and our hard working organizers!
Friday was the first day of our WordCamp. We had two tracks going at all times as well as a workshop. I wasn’t able to make it to any workshops, but heard they were really popular and ran out of space for many of them. April Holle’s Getting Started With WordPress workshop was so popular she actually repeated the workshop in the afternoon. April is an amazing ambassador for our community and always has incredible passion for helping people get started in WordPress!
Steve Zehngut gave a great presentation on How To Run a Successful WordPress Agency and had really valuable information for anyone learning how to run their own business or agency. My biggest takeaways were asking your clients the right questions, and a reminder to never ever ghost!
Mike Demo presented Which Way Does Your Duck face? What a great title! I was really intrigued and had to read exactly what this presentation would be about. I remember Demo’s presentation from last year’s Phoenix WordCamp about other open source platforms and how we should support each other. He taught us a lot of great pointers and useful knowledge about A/B testing and the “magic money machine that is your website”. Including some great examples of “Bat Shit Crazy” outcomes from testing that were completely mind blowing.
After lunch, Aaron Campbell presented Why the Open Web Matters. I also remember Aaron’s presentation from last year’s Phoenix WordCamp, about security. This time Aaron talked about how modern farming has become so driven by technology that at this point it is way too reliant – farmers are having to actually hack into their tractors when they break down. Since big farming companies have used closed technology, farmers have been forced into hacking tractors to avoid costly repairs that could put them out of business. This was very enlightening about technology and our future and why the open web truly does matter.
We were also treated to a great display of lego artistry. Jeremy Scott and his brother built the WordPress logo out of legos. Just another example of our love for WordPress!
I was lucky enough to be treated to a dinner for presenters and organizers by Bluehost. We enjoyed a really fancy dinner at The Arrogant Butcher, and exchanged a lot of great stories and laughs as we talked about our first day at WordCamp and other experiences from WordCamp or just life in general. I can’t thank Bluehost enough for such an amazing dinner. They are a big sponsor of our Tempe WordPress meetup and are great ambassadors for our WordPress community!
Saturday was the second and final day of camp. While I wasn’t able to see as many presentations on day two, there were a couple that I really enjoyed!
April Wier did a presentation on Overcoming Your Fear of Sales. I actually met April at the dinner on Friday night, but had no idea she would be such an amazing speaker! Sales is still something I am trying to learn and doesn’t come natural to me. She talked about the toughest part of sales – rejection. For me at least, the toughest part of the sales process is not being chosen for a proposal. She taught us that more than 70% of the sales calls that you take the potential client is not ready to close the deal. Pointing out the fact that no matter how good the fit may seem, you simply aren’t going to win all proposals. April was kind enough to take time after her presentation and give some pointers to myself and a group of other eager campers who wanted to know more of her great pointers on closing deals. All of the presentations I saw at WordCamp were great, but April’s was my favorite and I definitely learned the most from her!
After lunch we were treated to the “All-Star WordPress Panel: Runways to Success”. This panel was moderated by Chris Klosowski and featured J.R. Farr, Sally Strebel and Chris F Lema. While I knew a little bit about the All-Star panel, I was so impressed with their backgrounds and stories of WordPress from three different paths. It was really valuable and emphasized how great our WordPress community is. The All-Star panel was very inspiring!
In-between sessions a young developer, Steven Peralta introduced himself to us. He is a high school student who attends the Phoenix Coding Academy, a local Phoenix high school that focuses on computer coding and multiple technologies. Steven is the most driven and inspired young man I have met in some time! He is eager to learn how to develop in WordPress and how to get more clients. He is also actively looking for an internship or employment opportunities. During closing remarks, he won the raffle for a 50″ flat screen TV! Like many, I was so thrilled to see it go to such an energetic and motivated young man who will continue to grow our WordPress community for years to come.
To close out my day, I presented Spinning up local sites with Local by Flywheel. I spent a lot of time prepping for my presentation and also teamed up with FlyWheel for a hosting promo code and some swag. I was really inspired, honored and somewhat nervous for my first WordCamp presentation. The presentation seemed to go well and had a lot of questions and interest from the people. After the presentation I handed out the T-shirts and stickers from Flywheel and answered questions and just talked shop about local development.
To close out the camp, we ended things with an after party at Phoenix Public Market. Again, our WordCamp organizers know how to throw a party and treat the campers like VIPs. The whole restaurant was reserved for our camp and catered with amazing food. There were also drink tickets as well as a game truck and a karaoke bus provided by GoDaddy!
While at the after party, I had some people pull me aside and gave me some very kind feedback about my presentation. One lady told me she has been looking to get more into WordPress development and Local by Flywheel is the perfect tool to get her started on that path. It was incredibly humbling and gratifying to get such feedback and know that I am helping others get started or moving forward in their WordPress journey.
I feel so lucky to be a part of our WordPress community. This WordCamp was truly amazing! I made so many connections and learned so much from the other incredibly talented presenters. I am still blown away that it’s only $40 to attend our WordCamp – that includes two days of amazing presentations, two lunches, and a catered after party!
Our organizing team of volunteers work seemingly day and night to put together such a great camp. Huge thanks to Andrea Self, Justin Tucker, Betsy Cohen, Carol Stambaugh, Cory Jenkins, Raquel Landefeld, Matthew Clancy, Leslie Pico and David Ryan. You guys are AMAZING!
Also a huge thanks to all the WordCamp Phoenix Sponsors that make this happen!