WordCamp Jacksonville: Why We Attend (& Love) WordCamps

Last weekend our team ventured to north Florida for WordCamp Jacksonville. What are WordCamps? They’re conferences based on WordPress, giving people who work with (or around) WordPress a terrific opportunity to get out, talk to people and learn.

The Jacksonville WordCamp conference was low key, making it a perfect opportunity to spend time with local folks—including developers, business owners, bloggers, speakers, and sponsors. We also appreciated how many traveled from far away to attend & support the event. (Especially you Kathy!)what-is-wordcamp

Valet Represents: Our WordCamp Talks

We were excited to have two members of the Valet team speaking at WordCamp Jacksonville. Trey Praytor, our fearless Lead of Support, gave a talk on how our team uses Holacracy to keep our teams and projects organized. Holacracy plays a large part in the day-to-day management of the Valet team. Trey explained how Holacracy helps development teams keep the chaos organized.

James Tryon, our Creative Director, also spoke on a panel about ‘The Future of WordPress’—which focused on the future of WordPress from a user’s perspective. Nice interesting vantage point.

Location, Sponsors & After Party

We enjoyed the campus at Florida State College of Jacksonville (FSCJ) in the downtown Jacksonville area. The campus is spacious—leaving plenty of room to hang out and mingle between sessions.

WordCamps wouldn’t be the same without its fabulous sponsors. Big thanks to JetPack, BlueHost, WooCommerce, MainWP, LiquidWeb, GoDaddy, Pantheon, SiteLock, Kuna Co-Work, ServerPress, and all the others here. We loved spending time with all of them.

The after party was at the Kickbacks Gastropub. Our group took over the Belgian basement for the evening. Great location!

what is wordcamp jacksonville 2016

Why We Attend (& Love) WordCamps

If you’ve attended a WordCamp already, we don’t need to talk you into it. But in case you haven’t, they are awesome for a few reasons:

5 Reasons You Should Go To WordCamps:

1. You Make Friends
One of the best parts of going to any conference is connecting with new people. Especially for us introverts spending copious amounts of time in front of our screens—it’s a great opportunity to meet new people. WordCamps are full of people who are easy-to-talk to, and in general, very approachable. You can talk to speakers, sponsors, and even the event organizers. It’s great to connect with others who face similar joys and struggles.

2. Connect with Online Social Buddies

In our industry, we cultivate lots of social relationships. While this is great—and certainly extends our geographic circle—actually connecting in person is healthy. Moments spent eating lunch together, sharing a joke, shaking hands, and just being human mean a lot and cement our online friendships.

3. Keep Learning

True, you’ll learn more at some conferences than others. But lifelong learning is an outlook, an attitude, and a passion for truly successful people. WordCamps inspire you to keep learning, keep searching for a better way to do what you’re doing. Learning doesn’t always come from the talks. Maybe it’s a suggestion from an attendee in the hallway, a recommendation at the lunch table, or another subtle comment. WordCamps help you stay curious.

4. Cool Swag from Sponsors

Everyone loves free stuff. WordCamp sponsors share notebooks, t-shirts and other goodies for all ages. In addition to the free stuff, you also get to connect and get to know the sponsors supporting the events. Sponsors often have unique perspective on our business and can be fascinating to talk to—offer to grab a beer together!

5. Unite with a Community & Give Back

WordPress has given us a way to provide for ourselves and an opportunity to have an exciting career with a lot of freedom. We’re passionate about it, and we love to share this passion with others in the community. Attending events is a way to give back and help others to learn and grow. This connects us to the  community and brings us joy.

So what is WordCamp? It’s a community event you don’t want to miss!

Say ‘Hi’ to Valet

Are you planning to attend an upcoming WordCamp? Please say ‘hi’ to us if you see us. Our Creative Director James Tryon will be speaking on Project Management in Minneapolis next month. We hope to see you there!

Valet will be representing this year at WordCamp Minneapolis May 21 & 22, WordCamp Belgrade in Serbia on June 4 & 5, WordCamp Tampa on September 9 – 11, WordCamp Orlando on October 7 – 9, and WordCamp US on December 2 – 4.

A Few Memorable Tweets

To wrap up, here’s a few memorable tweets from the weekend.