The year was 2012. My first WordCamp San Francisco.
At the time, I’d been investing in the WordPress community for a little over two years. I’d met a number of people online that were well known WordPress developers, designers, and business owners.
I knew WordCamp San Francisco was the place to go to interact with more WordPress professionals in one place than anywhere else in the world.
The format for the conference was a little different that year. In 2012, the main event was one day, so I knew it was going to be tough to meet a lot of people.
And I was right: it was an absolute whirlwind. I met hundreds of folks whom I previously only knew by their Twitter handles and Gravatars. At WordCamp San Francisco, we got to chat over coffee, beers, lunch, and elsewhere.
It’s kind of amazing, looking back.
A three day whirlwind
The Friday before the event, Range and Pressable were hosting a WCSF pre-party. It was Range’s launch party, and they invited me to come along. I didn’t know at the time that I’d end up working there, but here we are: that night I met the folks that founded the company that I’m now a part of.
On Saturday, I was bombarded by outstanding presentations. WCSF isn’t like other WordCamp. It’s the WordCamp that collects the top speakers from other WordCamps so those folks can bring their best to WCSF.
I learned more in one day than I could in weeks on my own. I even started a public Google Doc that many other attendees helped me take notes on, and hundreds of people viewed. We were all there, learning, taking notes, and enjoying the day.
While the conference was one day, there was a second day for a core development hack day. I was a bit nervous about attending; after all, I’d never contributed a patch to WordPress core at that time. But I was convinced by a friend that I should go, and I did.
It turned out that there were lots of teams that I could get involved with. And I was able to sit with Noel Tock, Beau Lebens, Mika Ipstein, and other kind folks, and we outlined what would become the WordPress Core Handbook. I’m so glad I decided to go.
Turning internet friends into real-life friends
I joke with friends and family about my ‘internet friends’ — people that I interact with only through blogs, Twitter, and chat. At WordCamp San Francisco, you get a chance to convert internet friends into real-life friends.
I attended WordCamp in 2012, and again in 2013. I absolutely wouldn’t miss it this year. It’s the most fun WordPress event of the year, and 2014 looks to be better than ever.
I hope that you and I can stop being just internet friends and become real life friends. I hope you’ll join me in San Francisco.