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WordCamp Orange County 2018: Dungeons, Dragons, and Entrepreneurs

This was my first time attending WordCamp Orange County and it was surprisingly fun and informative. Based on my WordPress usage, it was long overdue though I haven’t gotten as into the WordPress community as I’d like. Huntington Beach is a little far for me, so the GDIOC Code and Coffees have gotten me at least a group of friends to hang out with at the event and that actually helped a lot.

Day 1 : Finding Your Place in the WordPress Community, Ransomware, GDIOC Mentorship, Good Clients, Project Management Systems, Project Management Panel

My first day of WordCamp started with a familiar face (actually, I went in the wrong building at first, but then I found the right one after some volunteers noticed how lost I was). My Metro co-worker Joe Simpson, Jr. was the first speaker at 9 AM. He’d already started when I arrived, but I don’t believe I missed much as he was still talking about his heart condition that caused him to pursue finding his place in the WordPress community.

Though he’d explained the procedure to me before at work, the visuals from his presentation were very helpful. I didn’t realize how serious it was and how big that surgery and recovery process was. Looks like the video for his presentation and the slides are already up on WordPress.TV!  Based on that, I probably only missed the first 3 minutes. Joe’s public speaking ability is impressive, evidently his involvement in Toastmasters helped. I was even more impressed by his drawing ability, which I knew he had – but I was finally able to see in the form of Wapu!

I peeked into the Fun with Page Builders talk and decided it was too packed to enter, so I stuck to the main room where they were discussing Ransomware. Honestly, not anyone’s favorite subject and seemingly not something most would fall victim to, but still important since people do at all levels. That talk is also already online at WordPress.TV, though it’s not as exciting.  I was told the SMMOC at WCOC was a Social Media related talk that would help with my current Social Media duties for GDIOC, who I was also there for their Mentorship workshop.

The Girl Develop It Orange County Mentorship workshop seemed useful since it had a lot of discussion opportunities with people who’ve started their own companies and even been able to branch off further. In fact, many of the participants in the groups had started their own companies too, so it was great seeing people able to leverage their skills in a way to become independent in their work. A couple people also seemed interested in teaching and starting their own Girl Develop It chapters where they live.

Lunch time was good, so many choices! Food trucks galore! I went to the burger one the first day and had complete food coma afterwards. Ended up going with tacos on the 2nd day, which was actually much lighter. We were already in the Venture Room which is where Mikel Bruce’s How to Conjure Up Good Clients and Elude Evil Ones talk was. One of the former GDIOC chapter leaders Krista had started her own company with a friend, so she seemed interested in getting good clients.

Chris Ford’s talk Increase Your Dexterity Score with Project Management Systems seemed to get the GDIOC friends excited since they’re all into Asana. And since we got all excited about Project Management, we ended our day with the Workshops with the Project Management Panel, which ranged from distributed project management at smaller agencies, to larger corporate environments, and Remote workers.

Day 2: Building WordPress Communities, Business Track, Growth Hacking, Plugin-A-Palooza

If I was more of an entrepreneur, I would definitely be trying to create my own community membership site. This morning, I attended the talk on Building WordPress Communities With WordPress by Robert W. Price – though it was big on making money since the speaker was from Global Entrepreneurship Institute. I do strongly believe in the power of community, but I have no idea how to make money from it.

Some of the more business and sales related sessions I attended (Mikel Bruce’s How to Conjure Up Good Clients and Elude Evil Ones and Bernard Ablola’s discussion on Growth Hacking: Scaling Your Business Using WordPress) would definitely apply to getting people to sign up for GDIOC classes, which I still need to try out. I’m really interested in learning new programming languages, but there’s a greater need in being collaborative in coding and working with other people on projects. I’ve done a lot of online stuff on my own, but haven’t translated any of that to apply to my career.

I caught the last couple of hours of the Business Track, with Nathan Ingram who discussed the importance of having documentation of processes in place so that your teams can function when people are out on vacation or in need of time off. That’s a very useful and important thing, since it’s important for teams to be able to know how other people’s jobs work so no one is left as the only one who can do a certain thing. “Processes over heroics” was the point, so written down processes over having one person (hero) who can answer all the questions.

We also heard from a woman named Pam Aungst who discussed how her marketing business began as a side business to becoming it’s own company with several employees. She was interesting because she also discussed how having competitors was a good thing as a support system, and even getting business referrals. If you can turn your competitors into friends, then they’re better allies.

The last part of the Business Track was with Beaver Builder‘s Robby McCullough, who discussed what to do when your energy is drained and the unlimited vacation policy at his company, which is actually a way that keeps people working more. I’m not sure if I ever have the problem of needing more time off these days, but my lack of hours discourages me from wanting to take time off.

WordCamp Orange County 2018: Dungeons, Dragons, and Entrepreneurs 1After lunch, we sat in on the first hour of Bernard Ablola’s discussion on Growth Hacking, which was unconventional ways to scale your business using WordPress. He had an interesting, though completely relatable story about living in his parents house without a job and applying to companies with a Starbucks gift card and getting the job without even an interview. I’m not sure I’m remembering it right, but now he runs his own company called Think Strategy and they seem to be a local Web Design/Marking company. He discussed a lot of interesting sales strategies, like creating irresistible offers to get customer contact info. We wanted to catch the entire Plugin-A-Palooza, so we didn’t stay as long as we wanted.

Plugin-A-Palooza was great since it mixed some serious plugins with some joke ones and of course, the joke ones didn’t win, but were good for comic relief. I’m still looking for the Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Ninify plugin (I question it’s existence), if you ever wanted to make your website like it was from 1999, that one was the one for you. The winner was a great one called Plugin Detective from the team of N Squared, Natalie MacLees and Nathan Tyler, who were the first and second place winners of last year’s Plugin-A-Palooza.

After all the excitement from this year’s WordCamp Orange County, I’m looking forward to next year already even though it just ended. Obviously, it’s a large event that gets bigger every year, apparently it was only in one building last year. It definitely makes me more excited to join the WordPress community at more local meet ups, though I think there may be a need for someone to make an alternative to since there was a universal dislike for what it’s become.

Also, big thanks to my coworker Joe Simpson for getting this selfie with me and my crew!

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