WordCamp Phoenix 2024

Ten years ago I was asked to fill in for a last minute speaker cancellation at WordCamp Phoenix. I talked about the WordPress User roles and how they can be used in various organizations. That speech was also my introduction to WordCamps in general.

At the time I was focused on helping clients with their websites and online marketing, training for a half Ironman triathlon, and preparing to move full time into a 30 foot trailer with my wife to cruise around the country.

Fast forward ten years and this time I drove seven hours to be a part of WordCamp Phoenix as a sponsor and organizer. In those ten years I completed the two half Ironmans, shuttered most of my clients, tried organic farming, built a homestead, reinvented myself as a support technician, then a client experience manager, and now to a return to sales.

So it was humbling and inspiring to be a part of a group that I’ve been on the periphery of for so long yet have extracted all of my living wages from for over 15 years. The WordCamp Phoenix crew is amazing with their energy and creativity for putting on this event. As people continue to adjust to a post pandemic existence and in person events are still slowly coming back. The organizers put together a show that educated and entertained. It brought people out of their work from home offices and into the Phoenix College campus for two days.

The weather was a concern as the atmospheric river drenched all of California and the Phoenix forecast looked glumly and possibly worse. In the end it was mostly just unseasonably cold with a few minor showers.

One of my favorite things about WordCamps is the variety of speakers. Some have been speaking at WordCamps for years and some are speaking for the first time. Sure this means quality can be rough at times but if you think it can be better you should shut up and apply to speak.

There were talks about working remotely, understanding analytics to drive decisions, at least three talks involving AI, custom block development, and a fireside chat with local business superstars.

The parties were fun and engaging. We took over wilderness brewing two different days and put the taco guilds fire permit at risk.

The food was amazing. My vegan dishes both days were delicious and filling. Snacks and refreshments were always available and the sponsors seemed to have good interactions with attendees.

My brain is still swimming in various conversations and concepts that I hope to catch into tangible writing and discussions. The WordCamp community is dynamic and engaged. As successful and encompassing as we on the inside see it there is still so much more growth ahead. Before the event I talked with ten different large local agencies in Phoenix and none of them had plans to attend the WordCamp.

These are multimillion per year revenue companies who solely rely on using WordPress and they aren’t bothered to drive across town for two days to learn, teach, and grow the community that builds their tools.

Why is that and how do we change it?


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