I recently found myself smack dab in the middle of “Music City” attending and speaking at WordCamp Nashville. I also met a person in the community that I highly respect and that I’ve had many conversations with online but had never met in person. When I finally met him, I was a bit giddy. More on that below.
When traveling to camps, my responsibility isn’t just to attend the event, it also includes meeting and listening to as many people and having quality conversations at the “after parties” and dinners.
Time simply doesn’t allow for much sightseeing or in my case, catching some live music, while in Nashville. Luckily, my hotel lobby had a little stage and acoustic performances every night so I could enjoy some music while still getting to sleep at a decent hour.
Unlike other camps I’ve attended in the past few months, #WCNASH wasn’t held on a university campus. The event was held at two separate co-working spaces located within the same building.
Both had nice setups for presentations with large screens, ample room sizes, and wifi and media technology that “just worked.”
Steve Zehngut kicked off WordCamp Nashville on Saturday with an inspiring session on running a business. He shared details about how his business has had to pivot several times due to changes in technology and how by cultivating human connections, all of his clients come directly from referrals.
This was by far one of the best WordCamp sessions I’ve seen in the past few months. James Laws (the entrepreneur) and Kevin Stover (the engineer) talked openly about the struggles they’ve faced with communication and understanding each other while building the WP Ninjas business.
There were several “Yep, I’ve had that same miscommunication with someone.” moments, and I learned a few techniques on how I can better communicate with my own opposites.
Shelly Peacock’s session discussed the benefits of choosing a theme framework and sticking with it for your client work. Her advice was to pick one, then learn it deeply in order to match the design of the random theme your client had already picked, rather than try and learn how each theme’s developer has chosen to let you configure things.
Samuel Wood, more commonly known as Otto in the WordPress community, gave an in-depth talk discussing the most common security issues he and the other .org plugin review team encounter.
Otto was the “celebrity” sighting I referenced at the start of this post. He was an open book in regard to questions about his daily work managing the plugin repository and his work on the plugin review team. We also chatted at length on video, so look for that to be posted here and on our YouTube channel in the coming days.
Dustin Meza’s session was crowded. It was obvious that attendees wanted to learn more about upgrading their sites without fearing the worst. As the Director of Customer Service Operations for WP Engine, he knew a few things (or twenty) about minimizing unforeseen issues during an upgrade.
I’m happy to report that my session was well-attended and evenly split between those currently working from home, and those who were actively working toward doing the same.
I opened my talk by sharing a scary moment with our son when he was 15 months old and cited that as the push for me to solve the hurdles I was facing while working from home myself.
If you’d like to see the session slides, you can view them here.
WordCamp Nashville was certainly a memorable event of the many we attend, and one I’m anxious to attend again next year. If you haven’t attended yet, do yourself a favor and put it on your calendar for 2017.