What do you get when you combine a beautiful town with inspired and passionate WordPress users and lovers?
You get a #WordCamp!
Have you been to one before? Share which one and a link in the comments below for the world to explore 🙂 If you haven’t, head on over to WordCamp Central to find one near you, you won’t regret it!
Here’s the story of my experience at my first WordCamp Montreal 🙂
WordCamp Stats for Fun
Total WordCamps Attended: 2
Cities: Ottawa, Montreal
Roles: Volunteer 1, Speaker 1
Presentations I saw
- Plugins, a Double-Edged Sword by Yannic Lefebvre. Great talk about the consequences of plugin use. Loved the line, “most plugin creators don’t test for UNinstalling the plugin” – really made me reflect on installing them casually!
- SEO and Content Marketing with WordPress by Brian Rotsztein. Interesting insights into the philosophy of content marketing. Will have to review the slides and my notes such as in my pictures above to fully digest the info!
- Professional WordPress Deployment with Rami Sayar. Great information, made me level up my game indeed!
- Priming Your WordPress Canvas – Essentials for a Solid Foundation by Elida Arrizza. A fantastic introduction to starting things off right, covering backups and other particulars you may never have thought of. I highly recommend attending her talks!
- How Video Can Boost Your Traffic with Richard Martin. Valuable insight into the power of video with great case studies. I loved his chat, and tweeted many interesting quips, including the fact that you can replace Youtube’s auto-captions with your own transcript.
- WordPress Hack Fest with Dion Hulse et al. I’m not at all a Core hacker, but just being around these guys inspired me to contribute back to the WordPress community in the ways that I can, and I’m glad to say I’ve already begun doing so wholeheartedly! Thanks for the inspiration, friends 🙂
- Steps to Securing WordPress by Victor Granic. Covered many other elements I hadn’t considered, such as the concept of using .htaccess to block comments NOT made directly on the site. Genius!
- My own talk 😀 Read on!
- 3.5 Ways to Make your Life Easier by Michael Corkum – As my friend Al knows, my mind was BLOWN during this presentation. Michael has so many timesaving development tips and techniques, it’s guaranteed you’ll level up by attending this talk! A+ will listen to again 🙂
- Easy Responsive Themes in WordPress with Zurbs by Brendan Sera-Shriar. Not only is Brendan a charismatic presenter, this talk contained a fantastic level of insight into the Responsive design challenge. The simple thought of optimizing phone design for thumb position had never occurred to me, but makes total sense! Another superstar.
- Keep your Code Organized! Templates, functions.php and Custom Plugins by Jeremy Clarke. Jeremy’s passion is what inspired me to come to Montreal, so I owe you big for that my friend! It was a delight to hear his passion for best practices and tips for WordPress development, such as using editor-style.php to load the site’s CSS into the WYSIWYG editor, a feature I know I’ll love setting up!
- Matt Mullenweg’s Montreal 2013 Town Hall. This was fantastic in every sense of the word. I can’t wait to revisit the video and experience it again, because for me, I was so captured by that moment and energy in that room. I’m grateful to have been able to express my gratitude for him having followed his dream and to have asked what was the most unexpected outcome over the past decade. His answer will delight you, as it did me! Matt truly cares about WordPress and the WordPress community, that is plainly clear. I was left with nothing but excitement and passion for what will happen in WordPress’ future!
My Own Talk
This year was the first event in which I’ve spoken in this context – on stage, as an authority, offering advice and insight I’ve learned over the years. My talk was entitled The <a><b><c>s of HTML and at 10am on Sunday was well attended considering the afterparty on Saturday night! I was pleased to hear the audience open to asking questions. For me, the most valuable part of this experience was seeing the spark of inspiration in 6 people’s eyes, hearing people say and tweet about how they were finally going to learn HTML. Believing that one can do something, then doing that thing, is the most powerful force in this world, and I am honored that I could inspire others to taste the passion that’s led me to where I am today. Thanks to everyone who attended and who is viewing my presentation and slides online!
I don’t want to sound cliche here, but this weekend changed my life.
Prior to this weekend, I hadn’t thought I had anything unique or special to give back to the community, so I didn’t. I didn’t attend Meetups, I didn’t engage in any community, I just didn’t. By fate, I attended Christine‘s talk in Ottawa about giving back to the community… And a switch flipped. Immediately I realized what I could offer, applied for Montreal, and the rest is history!
Thankfully this is only the beginning of a fantastic adventure. I’ve already reached out to the Ottawa WordPress Community to help make #WCOttawa 2014 a resounding success. I have a few ideas regarding local initiatives to connect and form greater WordPress communities. And I’m looking at speaking at a variety of WordCamps around the world! Have any recommendations? Let me know below 🙂
A big THANK YOU to everyone who I connected with over the past week. I am so grateful to be your friend, and look forward to many happy memories in the future!