WordCamp US Wrap Up: How About that Community

WP Motivate
WP Motivate
WordCamp US Wrap Up: How About that Community

After WordCamp US in National Harbor, Maryland, Kathy and Michelle chat about what we both got out of the event attracting 2,000 of our closest friends to learn, connect, and celebrate together. From the fun of the pride party to the mind-expanding sessions, next-level sponsor swag, the exceptional food, and the party at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, this year’s WCUS was an exceptional event that broadened our horizons. Sometimes its great to go to an event without thoughts of ROI, outcomes, or agendas. Sometimes you get just what you need by being open to whatever wants to show up for you.

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Start your week smiling with your friends, Kathy Zant and Michelle Frechette. It’s time to get ready for some weekly motivation with WP Motivate.
Speaker 1 00:00:13 Happy Monday, Kathy.
Speaker 2 00:00:16 It is Monday.
Speaker 1 00:00:18 You know,
Speaker 2 00:00:19 I usually happier on Fridays. like, what am I doing? Like Monday? And I just came off a word I am kind of a little, a glow from Yeah. Just hanging out with everybody in Washington DC and the Smithsonian party. That was Epic and National Harbor, which was, I’m like, I had no idea. National Harbor. It’s National Harbor. I, I had no idea how quaint this little area and how beautiful the Gaylord was. Mm-hmm. , the organizers really knocked it outta the park.
Speaker 1 00:00:47 Yeah, absolutely. Well, I was an organizer, so I’ll say thank you. But also I didn’t do all of that. So , absolute mad props to the organizing team. It was absolutely a herculean effort. And we all, um, contributed to the success of both the, uh, community summit, which I was part of Contributor day and the two day word camp itself as well. Pretty cool stuff.
Speaker 2 00:01:11 So, so many days you were there like all week.
Speaker 1 00:01:15 I got like, get there last Monday, drove down and then drove home yesterday on Sunday. So that’s why my voice sounds a little different than usual too, because five days of talking over crowds and dry air conditioned hotel rooms and all of that. So, yeah. Yeah. I’d like to say I
Speaker 2 00:01:34 To you, I’m, yeah,
Speaker 1 00:01:35 I’d like to say I did it sing in karaoke, but Nope. I did not have the voice for karaoke this weekend. . Not at all.
Speaker 2 00:01:45 Oh. Too funny. Yeah. I didn’t lose my voice, but I know a few people who did. A lot of you, a lot of the folks in the sponsor area and everything. It was, it was very, very cool. Sponsor area was like on a different planet from where the sessions were. That was a long walk. But other than that, I mean, it was a beautiful walk and that venue was just gorgeous.
Speaker 1 00:02:06 It really was amazing. The, the, the elevator banks got a little confusing after a while, but at the beginning. But then you figured out like which elevators went to which floor, where to get off for certain things by the end of five or six days, I, I, I had it down just in time to leave. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:02:27 . Yeah. Yeah. Amazing. And the pride party was pretty cool too. I heard. See, I had to leave at like nine 30. I mean, I know when I turn into a pumpkin, so I left. But I heard the next morning that it was actually at capacity at one point.
Speaker 1 00:02:43 It was, it was amazing. Wow. We had some drag queens who were phenomenon. I actually worked the door for the first hour, so I didn’t, I didn’t get up there when it first opened. Right. So I get up there and my daughter had come in for Word Camp and was attending the Pride Party. And uh, when I kind of rolled into the main area, Lydia was talking to two drag queens and I was like, oh, first of all, these are tall people without their heels on. And then they put those heels on and those queens were like, I swear to God, nine feet tall. And I realized that I was a short person in a seated position. They weren’t really 90 feet tall, but they were very tall. And so I, I kind of looked over to where Lydia was. They were tall to you. Right. And you’re a tall woman. .
Speaker 2 00:03:28 I’m a tall person. And yes, they were intimidatingly tall, like, like from another planet, kind of tall. . Yes. They were so, and they were dancing, flying around the room, like they were dominating the space. It was amazing. It
Speaker 1 00:03:48 Really was. It really was. I looked over to Lydia and Lydia pointed over to me and said to them that I was her mother. And so the two of them came over and started talking to me about, uh, we heard such good things about you and all of this. And then one said, Hey, can we get a selfie with you? And I was like, they’re asking a selfie. So I, I obliged of course and handed my camera to somebody else too to get a picture with them. And then a little while later I said to Lydia, I said, what did you tell them, um, about me? And she’s like, oh, I told them you helped me make a website, you know, for my DJ business, et cetera. I go, well, I was wondering why they wanted to take a selfie with me. She goes, they wanted to take a selfie with you, . I thought you were the one that asked for the selfie with them. I’m like, oh, child .
Speaker 2 00:04:31 That’s funny. It was fun.
Speaker 1 00:04:33 It was fun. It really was. Couldn’t talk. How cool.
Speaker 2 00:04:36 No voice.
Speaker 1 00:04:37 But it was so fun. . Absolutely. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:04:41 Yeah. That was so much fun. Wow. But by the end of day two, I, well, I had to go take, I had to go take a nap. How embarrassing is that? I took a nap on Saturday afternoon. I was like, well, I wanted to go to the Smithsonian and I didn’t wanna go to the Smithsonian. Tired. So I went and took a nap and then I had a good dinner mm-hmm. and then went to the Smithsonian and it was so short. The Smithsonian did not last very long. . And I was awake for it. I was ready, but it was beautiful. So gorgeous. I
Speaker 1 00:05:14 Had to work an hour at the door at that event too. So every event, I swear I lost an hour to work in the door, but that’s okay. I get to see people come and go and that was fun too.
Speaker 2 00:05:23 Yeah. That’s so cool. The one thing that gets me with all of these events is I’m like, oh yeah, okay, I’ll catch up with you in a bit. And then I never see them again. Like, ’cause I’m in the middle of this conversation over here. Yeah, yeah. We’ll be right with you. Oh gosh, I never saw you again. Were you still here? And people, it was so I felt really bad ’cause there were a few people I really wanted to catch up with and I never got a chance to, or I’d be in the midst of a conversation outta the corner of my eye. Oh, there’s Robert. I really wanna say I haven’t talked to him in, in, that happened like three times with some people. And I’m like, how did, and I feel bad.
Speaker 1 00:06:03 I hear you. I understand. It’s, there’s, there’s almost 2000 people there. You couldn’t see everybody, that’s for sure. I tried. I know. it, it couldn’t be done. Yeah. I tried.
Speaker 2 00:06:17 It was amazing. And the sponsors, I’m still super excited about my, uh, my jet pack battery thing. That was, they customized these amazing, so I got mine and it says Fantastic ,
Speaker 1 00:06:31 I haven’t even unpacked yet. Um, and all my swag and my clothes and everything are just thrown into my suitcase, so I have to do a little weeding and sorting. But mine says WP Wp Wonder Woman on it. So I’m excited about that too. ,
Speaker 2 00:06:45 That is so amazing. So perfect. Very fun.
Speaker 1 00:06:48 That’s so fun. Very, very fun.
Speaker 2 00:06:49 Yeah. J Jet Pack. And, um, WooCommerce had those Nalgene bottles that were just
Speaker 1 00:06:55 Gorgeous. Oh, I got one. They amazing.
Speaker 2 00:06:59 And then, I can’t remember, I think it was maybe Jess Re was like, you’ve gotta check out Gravity Forms t-shirts, I
Speaker 1 00:07:07 Guess they’re really soft.
Speaker 2 00:07:08 She’s like, feel ’em, feel ’em. Oh yeah. So I’ve got my, ah, yeah, it is so nice. And I brought
Speaker 1 00:07:17 ,
Speaker 2 00:07:18 I brought it over to Drew Griswold at our, at the Stellar booth. And I’m like, feel this shirt. And he’s like, oh, that’s not a, and he knew exactly like the best softest shirt that he’s ever, ’cause he does all the swag. He’s like the swag expert. He’s like, that’s not a Be Cabinets 34 34 or something like that. Right.
Speaker 1 00:07:36 . And
Speaker 2 00:07:37 He’s looking at it and he’s like, oh no, the the, it can’t be this either. And he’s just like going through every shirt he knows. He’s like, it’s gotta be a custom blah, blah, blah. And I’m just like, dude is epic with the swag. I can’t keep up with this.
Speaker 1 00:07:51 I’m like, that’s so funny.
Speaker 2 00:07:54 I love it. But they’re very soft gravity forms. Totally nailed it with, uh, with their swag and the t-shirts. I appreciate a good fine shirt.
Speaker 1 00:08:03 Pretty good stuff. Yeah. And there were remote cars. I think it was a two hosting had remote control cars. A
Speaker 2 00:08:10 Two a two hosting head.
Speaker 1 00:08:12 Yeah. It’s amazing. I’m, I don’t think anybody looks at me and thinks, I bet she likes our ccar ’cause I’m not one of those, but my neighbor upstairs is the cutest little guy. And so he is, he is, uh, 10 years old. And so I’m like, I can’t wait for him to get from home from his vacation. I’m gonna be like, Hey little. It’s his nickname. Little I got you. Remote control car.
Speaker 2 00:08:32 Oh, that’s the bust.
Speaker 1 00:08:33 It’s gonna be fun to see his face light up the best. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:08:37 Yeah, definitely. For sure. Definitely. That’s so sweet. So cute. So much good stuff. So many good conversations. Um, the thing is, is like I’ve gone, I’ve been a sponsor, I’ve been a speaker, I’ve been an attendee, I’ve been an organizer and sitting in the hotel room, my daughter went and was doing something in Washington, DC by herself. Like, how cool am I as a mom that I’m like, okay, just be careful. Be safe.
Speaker 1 00:09:03 Yeah. . Um,
Speaker 2 00:09:05 She went and got her nails done. I was just like, go ahead. I’m just gonna stay here and write while you’re doing it. And I was just like thinking about the event and I’m like, I came just because it’s Word camp. I didn’t have any like preconceived, I didn’t have a thought about r o I I didn’t think about, oh my gosh, I hope my speech goes well and I hope the room is good. And I hope I had no hopes, I had no expectations. I just, I just came and it was cool thinking back on, just like looking back over the event. Like I couldn’t have designed a better event for myself with the people that I was able to connect with, with the serendipitous meetings of new people, with people who came up to me that I didn’t even know. But they said something like, you know, I’ve been watching you do YouTube for a very long time and I’ve learned so much from you. Thank you. I love, what are you doing now? Type of stuff. I got all that I needed. Mm-hmm. , I really feel like it was just like this perfect gift from the universe of connections and reminders of who I am, who word, what WordPress is, what this community is all about, and how important this community is to this project. I, I got everything I needed and it made me just more committed to helping more people do Yeah. Really cool things with I love Cadence.
Speaker 1 00:10:33 I know, me too
Speaker 2 00:10:34 So many times too. I just like, I love this product so much. It is so good. I love the way it just like empowers people. Like how I can sit in a room with somebody who’s never used Cadence before, never used WordPress before, and just like, okay, yeah. Like here’s, here’s how this works. And they just do it and I want more of that forward WordPress. So Yeah. Yeah. It just reminded me what I’m here to do. How about you? What did, what did you get from the event?
Speaker 1 00:10:59 Um, the community summit for me was part of the, was really part of the highlight because the rest of the, you know, I’m running around as a sponsor. I’m running around trying to do podcasts and work for, you know, work for, um, WP Constellations, which is part of Stellar wp. Um, and as an organizer. And so the summit though, I got to just like sit in sessions that were conversations anywhere from like 12 to 30 people depending on whether people wanted to be part of that conversation. We talked about, um, recognizing and giving props to people who do work in the WordPress community, especially on the open source project specifically, is what I mean. We talked about ways that, um, we can promote D E I B within our different make teams and what that looks like and how we can, um, encourage one another.
Speaker 1 00:11:51 And so the different sessions that I sat in for that, I felt like my voice was equal to others, which was awesome. And I also got to hear from people that I don’t hear from very often and hear their passion for the open source project as well. And so just the whole thing was just, I hate to use this word ’cause it just sounds so, so, um, trite, but it really was magical. It was really, yeah. Amazing. I’ve never been to a summit before. It was my only one. And so it’s the only thing I had to base any of my, you know, um, reactions to. But it was just, it was really good. Really, really good.
Speaker 2 00:12:32 Amazing. Yeah. Wow. That’s so great to hear.
Speaker 1 00:12:35 Really was very cool. And drove down, drove back, which is kind of like, it’s a six hour drive, seven hour drive with traffic, whatever. Really, if you’re gonna take an hour and a half flight, that’s almost the amount of time you would put into getting to the airport, checking your luggage, waiting for your flight, getting there, et cetera, et cetera. Right. And then Ubering over. Yeah. Um, so, so realistically it really was about the same amount of travel and um, you know, got to talk to Jeff Betencourt a lot in the car. Uh, ’cause we drove down together. Yeah. And he’s an amazing person too. And so yeah. Just, it, it just was all so sweet, so awesome. It really was. Um, you know, I wrote about in a Big Orange Heart last night and posted it this morning about those post-war camp experience feelings and how mixed emotions are okay. Right. Like, you can be so pumped up and so excited about everything that’s happening in WordPress, and also really sad that it’s over and, and we just had the experience that we’re not on the mountaintop anymore. And so yeah. I’m just like, the jumble of emotions in my head is, uh, is pretty awesome. But also I need, I, I need a nap myself. , . I’m ordering dinner in
Speaker 2 00:13:48 It does.
Speaker 1 00:13:48 Yeah. .
Speaker 2 00:13:52 Yeah. Yeah. It, uh, it took a lot outta me too. Just, um, well, I think I’m out of practice too for, I mean, for a while I was like going to events like once a month and doing stuff, but over the past few years it’s been less and less people and a lot more lining. And I don’t know about you, but no matter what I, with the squares and big meetings and there’s, it’s not the same. Oh. One of my favorite memories of, so I went to the NASA talk mm-hmm. , and then I went to the security talk. There was somebody from TenUp who talked about Secur securing, um, WordPress. And, uh, there’s a bunch of people in Facebook groups who talk ab talk security and talk about, you know, the best way to secure WordPress sites and stuff, and like little vulnerabilities here and that kind of thing.
Speaker 2 00:14:43 And kind of struck up some friendships of people that are very into security, but I never really knew before. And over the past month or two, we’ve like struck up friendships and we all ended up in the front row in the same row with one guy who’s got an agency and he is got some sites on WP Engine. And so like, we’re all like, you know, sharing notes on the security talk and everything. Can’t do that and Slack or, you know. Right. That just doesn’t happen. And then I turn to the guy next to me and I’m like, oh, so how do you use WordPress? And he’s like, well, I’m here because, you know, my site keeps getting hacked. And I’m like, let me introduce you to the dream team. , you have won the lottery, the WordPress security lottery at this table. Like, yeah, here’s one of the smartest security researchers and here’s somebody who secures. Yeah. Just like 6 million sites. And just, it was the funniest thing. Just like, that’s awesome how this all just serendipitously happened. I, yes. Security people are a little bit geeky. That’s why Defcon is, you know, , you go to Caesar’s Palace and all that, all the statues have googly eyes on them. It’s like we’re just kind of geeky dorks, but I mean, but that’s what makes us work. Mean work
Speaker 1 00:15:55 WordPress, we’re all, we’re all geeky sorts, uh, at WordPress. Right. Because we’re all in tech, so we get each other. Yeah, that’s a
Speaker 2 00:16:02 Good Yes, yes. And then the security people were just another subset of even more geeky . Yes. It’s like Exactly.
Speaker 1 00:16:11 And it was
Speaker 2 00:16:11 So much fun. Yeah. We just had so many serendipitous conversations and so many, so many people that I like knew online. Like I, I’ve never really been much into like the Facebook groups, but because the cadence is Facebook group that’s really grown, I’ve been like, okay, I gotta go check out what they’re saying in here. Somebody will like drag me into a conversation and now I’m in all these Facebook groups and meeting all these people I never knew before. They’re not on Twitter, but there’s tons of people, you know, I always felt like WordPresses on Twitter. But no, they’re on Facebook and they’re on Facebook in a huge way globally. Like I had no idea until like a few months ago. Yeah. So that’s been kind of cool. So I met a lot of people in real life that I would have never met otherwise, but thanks to work camp. So Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:16:57 Same. It’s pretty cool. And I, I met one person and this was, this was an interesting, this has never happened before, is what I mean to say. I met somebody at the Smithsonian the last night who was standing next to somebody I do know, and I kind of rolled up to them. I used to say walked up, but it’s so much funnier to say, rolled up. I rolled up to them and said hello and, and shook the, the one person’s hand that I didn’t know before. And, uh, I said, have I met you before you look familiar? And he says, no, but I’ve seen you at other Word camps. I’ve always been intimidated to come and say hello. And I thought, I think of myself as like the least intimidating person in all of WordPress. Right. But it doesn’t matter if you’re an introverted person, somebody who is Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:17:40 Really heavily involved in the community can feel intimidating. And we had a little conversation about just work camp and whatever, and I said, promise me that if you see me at a Word camp again, you’ll say hello. And they said, absolutely, I will. And so to me, like that was the nicest thing, right. To be able to show somebody that we’re all the same. Some of us just are more prominent because of the work that we do or the position we’re in, but realistically it takes all of us and, and knowing people and knowing, you know, who’s part of the community and just say hi. Like, you know. Yeah. We’re all just people.
Speaker 2 00:18:17 The Michelle and Me thing. That’s, that’s pretty cool because that gives people a reason to come up and talk to you. I think that’s actually quite brilliant because then you’re meeting people who maybe, but a lot of introverts are like, I don’t want my picture. Like
Speaker 1 00:18:34 Yeah. I mean it’s, or teenagers, it’s got both sides of it. Right. So, but, but it does. And we’ve, we raised, um, 24, $2,450 just at this word camp and at Word Camps this year. Wow. The four word camps. I did this at this year, $5,500 raised. Some of it went to Big Orange Heart. Amazing. The rest of it is sponsoring underrepresented people, um, uh, speakers and organizers to Word camps to help them attend. And I think it’s just so important.
Speaker 2 00:19:03 So amazing.
Speaker 1 00:19:05 It’s the best.
Speaker 2 00:19:07 That’s the best.
Speaker 1 00:19:08 Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:19:09 I love it. So
Speaker 1 00:19:10 If you’re at Work camp, you, us this week, um, and you feel like telling us what your experience was like, the good, the bad, or the ugly, we’re happy to hear it and, uh, chat with you about whatever. And if you’ve never been to a work camp before, there’s a lot upcoming on the calendar. Go to wordcamp.org, click the, to see the calendar of events and the, I think it’s called the schedule of camps or something. But you, you can’t miss it. And, uh, maybe you’ll find an event near you or near enough to you that you can travel to. Uh, I promise you. Getting involved in the, in the community part of things makes working in WordPress so much easier because having that network of people you can ask questions to is just invaluable.
Speaker 2 00:19:52 Yes. Ideas to make your businesses more profitable. Ideas to streamline processes, um, new ways of dealing with clients. Um, yeah. New ways of dealing with a WordPress technical issue. The, the number of positive impacts that you’ll get from just commuting with, I know people who are developers who didn’t get trained as a developer, but they are developers because they came to a community event, even a meetup and asked questions mm-hmm. . And they became, they became developers and a lot of them have really profitable careers because the community lifted them up. And I see at time and time again. And it’s not like, okay, well Michelle, you’ve been doing this, what, like eight years? Like forever WordPress?
Speaker 1 00:20:45 I’ve been at WordPress 11 years.
Speaker 2 00:20:47 Well, yeah. Gonna Word Camp. Yeah, word
Speaker 1 00:20:49 Camp since
Speaker 2 00:20:49 2015.
Speaker 1 00:20:50 And I’ve,
Speaker 2 00:20:52 Yeah. And I’ve only been in it since 18. So we sound like we’ve been around forever. Haven’t, but we had first Word Camp too. Yep. And .
Speaker 2 00:21:02 Um, neither of us are, you know, the founders of WordPress. We just are here. We’ve been along around a long time. It seems like we’ve been, but there’s people who’ve been around a lot longer and there’s people who are gonna come to their first word camp at Word Camp Rochester or Word Camp Atlanta that’s coming up and that’ll be their first word camp. And you just sit down next to someone and ask them how they use WordPress and, ’cause you’ll be surprised. You think you’re the only one that’s doing it in a certain way. And then you’re like, oh, me too. Or, oh, that’s really interesting. Never thought about that. Just that’s my icebreaker question. How do you use WordPress? Yep. Same. And you’ll find friends, lifelong friends.
Speaker 1 00:21:43 Yep. Exactly. So, absolutely. That’s my advice. It takes the village. It turns out our village is really big and global and I love it. Yes.
Speaker 2 00:21:52 Yes. Very cool.
Speaker 1 00:21:53 Absolutely. Well, thank you for listening. If you’re out there listening to us ramble and, and exude and be excited about what we’ve just experienced, we’re also really, really tired. So I think we’re probably both ordering pizza tonight for dinner and the Hay early. Uh, ’cause we are actually working again this week already, so, um, but we do, we wanna hear from you. I, so, you know, message us, dmm us, whatever. Give us a thumbs up. We, uh, we, we love you. You’re our community. So thank you. We’ll see you next time. Bye.
Speaker 2 00:22:24 Bye.
Speaker 0 00:22:25 This has been WP Motivate with Kathy Zant and Michelle Frechette. To learn more or to sponsor us, go to WPMotivate.com.