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WordCamp Orange County Recap 2013

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend WordCamp Orange County. For those of you aren’t familiar with WordCamp or what it entails, I’ve heard it lovingly described (by yours truly) as “Space Camp for adults but with WordPress instead of Buzz Aldrin.”

It’s an awesome opportunity to get together with a big group of people who are immersed in the WordPress ecosystem and love talking about ways to make it even more amazing than it already is. And hey, any excuse to head to Southern California is a good one, am I right?

If the only takeaway I had from the conference was the awesome people that I met, I would have considered WordCamp a raging success. But I was able to take away a lot more than just that, specifically as it applies to the future of WP Site Care and how I can ultimately grow this company into something that provides consistently amazing customer service at a great value.

Here are my top 3 takeaways from WordCamp Orange County:

Help People in the Community

While working on growing a business it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that WordPress is a community. I can get so caught up in future growth or finishing client projects that I unintentionally become a recluse. I listened to speaker after speaker share their stories of WordPress successes, and almost all of them stemmed from some type of contribution to the community, or reaching out to someone via email or at a conference.

Whether it was donating time to someone who was already successful with a WordPress business, or writing a plugin or contributing code, or even something as simple as helping in support forums, people’s efforts to give back almost always come back to benefit them tenfold. Obviously, the reason to help should simply be because we’re good people and we want to see others solve problems, but if it comes with the benefit of a great connection or an increase in last quarter’s sales, that sounds like double prizes to me!

Leaders Need to Have Vision

I’ve been able to see what WP Site Care could be for quite some time. When I had the idea to start this company in March of 2012, I knew there would be a need for WordPress support services and that need would continue to grow as WordPress grew.

Then I started the company.

The need was already more overwhelming than I even realized and the business floodgates opened. Suddenly, my vision of slow growth to a company of 10 or 12 people quickly became endless hours in front of a blinking cursor trying to ship work out the door. Even as I brought on help to manage tasks, the results were mixed and I didn’t give many of the people I worked with the direction or training that they deserved. I just didn’t have time. Or so I thought…

WordCamp Orange County helped me understand that I need to get back to that visionary role that will make WP Site Care the awesome company I know it can be. The WPMBA session on Sunday morning was a panel of 5 people who run very successful WordPress businesses and was ridiculously valuable for someone like me. There’s been some conversation about whether or not business tracks belong at WordCamps. I know that as far as I’m concerned, whether those sessions are at WordCamps or some other venue, that’s where you’ll find me. I applaud WordCamp Orange County for their stellar business track.

People are Awesome, Especially in WordPress Circles

Even though I love being around people and hanging out, it can be tough to break through that first barrier and get to a point where everyone feels comfortable. It’s that awkward dating phase that happens, even though the most that’s ever really going to happen is the exchange of business cards.

Anyway, I was a bit of an outsider in Orange County over the weekend. Their monthly meetups are pretty stellar from what I hear, so a lot of folks already knew each other and it was just like seeing old friends.

I was almost immediately brought into conversations or approached by people who could tell I was new, or just didn’t recognize me. People like Devin Walker, Chris Lema, Alex Vasquez, Dave Winter, and a bunch of others I know I’m not mentioning, introduced themselves, invited me to chill with them, etc. It’s an elite crew.

Heck, Jonathan Dingman saw me walking to the after party (because somebody left their driver’s license at home and couldn’t rent a car) and stopped to pick me up. If that’s not good people, I’m not sure what is.

If you haven’t attended a WordCamp before, find one that’s close to you and GO NOW. You can see the full list here and it’s updated pretty frequently.

[Image credit WordCamp Orange County]

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2 Comments

  1. Bridget Willard

    I really enjoyed the conference as this was my first time.
    I’m still a (dot)com blogger for now but I think I got a lot of out the conference regardless.

    1. Ryan Sullivan

      Awesome to hear Bridget! The conference can be great regardless of the .com or self-hosted platform. It’s mostly just about connecting with awesome people who love WordPress!

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