As we roll into the last few days of November, I wanted to share a few thoughts on what I am most looking forward to about WordCamp US 2016. I must limit this blog post to “most looking forward to” because, frankly, my list is so long and, well, you can see how often I’ve made time to blog this year.
So, ready? Here we go.
Working with Our Volunteers
For the second year in a row, I’ve had the privilege to coordinate volunteers at WordCamp US. Along with my amazingly intelligent, insightful, thoughtful and ever-realistic colleague, Ingrid Miller, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know WordCampers from all over the world. These WordCampers (Can we make that a word please? I so prefer it to WordPressers.) come from near and far and generously give of their time, talent and knowledge. Sure, they get a free ticket, but honestly, that $40 savings does not even come close to equating to the value of their time.
What really amazed me last year was how hard some volunteers worked. They gave of themselves in ways that many paid employees won’t. I was so moved by that experience that when I was asked again to be a part of the organizing team for 2016, I said yes.
Meeting a Few People in Person
Here’s my short list of people I would like to meet in person:
Carrie Dils: Carrie is amazing on many levels, but what impresses me most about her is her self-deprecating style and thoughtful conversations on her podcast, OfficeHours FM. I’ve been listening to Carrie’s podcast for just under a year or so. I just love her happiness, her joviality and her ready acceptance that hard work is a must for success. I would love to thank her in person for being her, and for sharing of herself so generously through her podcast.
Chris Lema: Chris needs no introduction from me. I had the opportunity to meet him directly at Prestige last May, but I was too shy about it. (Shy is not typically a characteristic people associate with me.) Chris is such a nice guy and so welcoming of others in the community, but still, I couldn’t steel myself to say hello. I am focused on doing so at WordCamp US this year.
Matt Medeiros: Matt delivers a podcast like no other. The Matt Report is focused on business development and management for companies within the WordPress ecosystem. What sets Matt’s podcast apart is him: he talks openly about his own success and, perhaps more importantly, of his failures so that anyone listening take advantage of his experience and learn from it. I saw Matt (from across a hallway) at WordCamp US last year, but this year, I’m making a point to introduce myself to him.
And I would very much like to spend more than two minutes chatting with Cory Miller. He’s been so self-giving and candid with our community of late, that I know that even a five minute conversation with him would be of true value.
Running in Philly
I am a runner. I run as much for mental and psychological health as for physical health. One of my favorite activities when going to a new city is to go for a run. It’s an exciting way to see the sights, get a feel for the city’s vibe and learn my way around. While Philly is not new to me, I am a creature of the suburbs. I don’t stay overnight in Philly very often. As such, WordCamp US provides a great opportunity to get those “new city” runs in.
If you’re interested in going for a run, know that I start early: 5:30 am or so. Please connect with me or Tara Claeys on Twitter. (I believe that Tara runs at a more reasonable hour.)
Making Friends in the Hallway Track
Having attended a few WordCamps over the years, I’ve appreciate the value of the Hallway Track. Those informal conversations that happen outside of the formally organized talks and sessions, spontaneously growing when two or more people find themselves together. I’ve met so many people and made so many friends in these hallway track sessions. From a networking and community-building perspective, the Hallway Track is perhaps the most valuable aspect of a WordCamp. I am really looking forward to meeting new people. If you see me in the hallways at the Philadelphia Convention Center, please stop me and say hello.
When the evening of Sunday, 04-Dec-2016 arrives, I know I shall be exhausted. In some ways, I’m already looking forward to doing absolutely nothing on Monday, 05-Dec. Yet before then, I have lot of plans to make WordCamp US 2016 the best it can be for me – and for you.
If you’re still in need of ticket, don’t fret. Grab yours now.
Photo of WordCamp US 2015 by Casey.