For the second year in a row, WordCamp Philly has blown me away with the insightful presentations, the dynamic and friendly people and the shared knowledge of the WordPress community. From Friday evening to Sunday evening, I spent the weekend meeting, chatting and hanging out with some wonderful people from around Philadelphia and across the USA. I met new faces and learned more about others whom I had previously met.
For me, WordCamp Philly is about people. If I just wanted knowledge about how to create a Custom Post Type or which app is best for coding, I would have sat at home and Googled those topics. I wanted to meet and enjoy the company of people who make WordPress what it is today … and WordCamp Philly 2012 did not disappoint.
What follows is a list of ten (or slightly more than 10) people whom I met or got to know a bit better over the weekend. The list is presented in chronological order as I encountered or spent time with them. Of course, I met many more people than I could list here, so if I left someone off, I do apologize!
1. Brad Williams, Doug Stewart, Anthony Bubel and April Williams
While the names above are for four people, they acted as one in bringing together a fantastic WordCamp yet again. Brad, Doug Anthony and April put in a tremendous amount of energy, time and passion into creating a fantastic weekend-long WordPress-focused event that was exciting, engaging, educational and more. Brad is online at strangework.com, Doug calls literalbarrage.org home, Anthony posts photos at anthonybubel.com and April blogs at twoandthezoo.com.
2. John Kleinschmidt
The Director of Technology Development at CURE International, John and I met while traipsing our way around Old City, Philadelphia, hearing scary ghost stories about the haunting of historic places. Although I didn’t get to hear his presentation, I understand that it was outstanding. What he is doing with WordPress is very cool and worth learning about. John blogs at http://resplendentdev.com.
3. Christina Strommer
I met Christina through a number of Meetups, but it was only at WordCamp Philly that I got to spend real time with her. She’s a friendly and delightfully knowledgeable designer from greater Philadelphia. Hanging out with and chatting with her on the dev day was really fun. You can follow Christina at @jamminpsu.
4. Tracy Levesque
A designer and co-owner of Yikes, Inc., Tracy delivered a top notch presentation about WordPress’ Custom Post Types. Her presentational style was perfect: knowledgeable, laid-back, easy going. I learned a lot from Tracy at WordCamp Philly.
5. Tin Pham
Hitting WordCamp Philly to represent WP Engine, Tin Pham was yet another example of why WP Engine continues to get my vote for outstanding web host. Articulate and genuinely interested in learning my thoughts on what WP Engine could to do improve, Tin spoke with me at length about the company, its history and its plans for continued growth. His shared insight encouraged me to put even greater faith in WP Engine. Tin Pham blogs at http://www.hostblanket.com. He’s on Twitter at @tinner10tin.
6. Dre Armeda
The CEO and Co-Founder of Sucuri, Dre Armeda is nothing if not an expert in website security. His know-how for keeping WordPress websites, and other CMS-driven sites, safe and secure is second to none. On top of that, he is a very kind, gregarious and funny guy. I was glad to have had the chance to meet and get to know him a bit over the weekend. Check out Sucuri online at www.sucuri.net.
7. Krystal Knapp
When Krystal popped into the Happiness Bar at WordCamp Philly, I was lucky enough to be able to help her out. Then we spoke about her news site, Planet Princeton. It was really interesting to hear of an individual journalist working hard to progress a sustainable business model for covering local news, which in Krystal’s case is Princeton, NJ.
8. Clarissa Peterson
A gifted business card recycler, Clarissa was a real hoot. She’s intelligent, free-spirited, analytical and just good fun! I enjoyed hanging out with her at Dev Day. She really is everyone you ever need to know. Only the highway authorities might know where she is now, but you can find Clarissa online at clarissapeterson.com.
9. Justin Sternberg
I was lucky to grab a seat next to Justin on a bench in the beer garden outside Barcade. We got to talking about being designers who code. We had a great conversation about how we progressed from being just designers to being designers who code for WordPress. It was a short but wonderful exchange of creative philosophies. Learn more about Justin at http://about.me/jtsternberg.
10. Matt Mullenweg
When I arrived at the dev day session, I was delighted to hear the news that Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, would join us for the session. He’s a real inspiration for me — hugely successful, but still so down-to-earth, so committed to giving to and supporting the community and so interested in the greater good. It was a real pleasure to meet him and to hear his thoughts on the future of WordPress and other web technologies. You can find Matt online practically everywhere, but he has a blog at ma.tt.
I’d also like to give a shout-out to Matt from Downingtown, PA, and his friend, Cameron. I bumped into these guys at Barcade and we got to talking about WordPress, design and all points web. They were great fun — and Matt had a great mustache in the making. (You can see Matt in the bottom right corner of this photo.)
Lastly, if you’re wondering about the photo at the top of this point, I delivered my own presentation in costume as directed by the organizers of WordCamp Philly. I was dressed as the impeccable Dr. Watson, Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation.