This was an interesting year for me when it comes to WordCamp San Diego.
It was the third one being held in the city and the first in which I was not involved. I have to admit, it was odd but pleasant. I remember a conversation in which someone told me that WordCamp organizers are perhaps the most under-appreciated volunteers in the WordPress eco-system, and I have to admit they probably are. Having been part of the organizing team for the first two I know first hand the obstacles they face and have to overcome to be successful. Which is also one of the reasons I am volunteering to help the WordCamp Guidelines committee.
In a few short words, “Thank you organizers for a job well done!!”
Speaking of which, if you haven’t, I encourage you to take a minute to take our public survey on the guidelines here: http://make.wordpress.org/events/2013/03/08/wordcamp-guidelines-report-5/
But I Digress…
I, unfortunately, didn’t make it to the sessions on Saturday. Got caught up with a few personal things, but hey, got there in time for the after party. From what I hear though it was another hit. The venue was at Thomas Jefferson Law School again, a beautiful facility if you haven’t been. It’s brand new with the latest technology advancements you can expect or ask for. It was pretty awesome to hear what folks really liked about the venue, it was its unbelievable WiFi… hehehe… it’s the little things sometimes.
The Business Track
There was something new and exciting this year though, it was the introduction of a Business Day. If you’re wondering, this is a page out of the PressNomics initiative last year. Unlike the camps before it, they did away with the idea of a Developer’s Day.
If you’re not familiar with Developer Day, it was / is often a day in which a bunch of technical folks (developers and designers) alike get together and “geek out” for the lack of a better term. No, this isn’t the official definition, but pretty much sums it up. This day often attracts a very small subset of those that actually attended the conference, often 20 – 40 different people, if that. There often isn’t much organization and it’s made up of groups enjoying some fun hacks, troubleshooting, and collaboration.
It appears that San Diego has decided to change the game a bit and bring about more value to the price of admission by adjusting the Camp with an official Business day. This has done what many have realized, which is placed emphasis on an area that needs it — the WordPress Business ecosystem.
Spearheaded by our very own Chris Lema, they managed to bring the idea of PressNomics to the San Diego local community. For the first time in many camps, I found myself reengaged and sitting in the crowd soaking in whatever information I was able to absorb.
For a while now, many have realized the need to educate and helps extend the capability of this business eco-system, but like in any business, ideas are nothing without execution and Lema has proven that again this weekend. The popularity and success are easily seen in the attendance with 100+ attendees, a 1/3 of the total Camp attendance.
Why so Successful?
The answer is simple.
Our community is comprised of really smart people, stellar designers and kick-ass developers, but let’s get serious, most suck when it comes to business. It’s why you see so many issues with establishing value propositions, why so many are unable to adequately price themselves, and why we have so many 1 – 2 man design / development shops. Only a few have figured it out and in doing so have separated themselves from the pack, folks like WebDevStudios, 10Up, and Velomedia.
Yes, of course Autommattic has as well, as has a few others WooThemes, StudioPress, WPEngine, Page.ly and iThemes. Only a few project companies have, and those are the ones that most consultants and design / dev shops can relate with which is why I place emphasis on them.
Granted, there are some that would prefer not to get this large and are more than happy with the status-quo. That’s cool. But I would be willing to bet that many more want to build large successful entities in which they are their own bosses and the portfolios are larger than $2 – 5k projects. What I have found in my discussions is that the reason they don’t is simple, they lack the knowledge of HOW.
- How do I get those bigger clients?
- How do I make sure I get paid?
- How do you manage other people?
- How do I do this without funding?
These are but a few of the things that this Business day tried to achieve. And while 25 – 35 minutes talks are limiting, the speakers all did an exceptional job at setting the foundation from which the community will and can build from. It’s really exciting to see the evolution happen first hand, very very excited to see where it goes.
If you weren’t able to attend, but would like to see the type of content that was being delivered then you can catch it here: http://chrislema.com/the-business-track/.