WordCamp Las Vegas: Thoughts

WordCamp: Las Vegas was this past weekend and from what I saw, it was a great success. I’m a bit humbled that organizer John Hawkins had me present along with a rockstar cast of speakers including Chris Brogan, Jim Kukral, Liz Strauss, and Mr. WordPress himself, Matt Mullenweg. I had a blast. A big thanks to John and all of the other folks that made it happen.

Highlights

A highlight of day one was hearing Matt’s State of the Word talk (including some hints at 2.8). I met Michael Dorausch (@chiropractic), a super-nice guy who did a great “intro to SEO” presentation. Chris Brogan’s talk was very funny (and informative). Jim Kukral talked about failure and one theme of his talk was that failure is often caused by laziness… it had a bit of a “get off your ass and just do it” angle which fell into line with one of the themes of my talk about Portland.

Day two kicked off with Joseph Scott from Automattic talking about XML-RPC, AtomPub, and some other technical topics like OAuth. Good stuff, and it helped reassure me that WordPress is moving in the right direction towards improving support for the open stack. I enjoyed Dave Taylor‘s talk about how one could screw up their online reputation as well as hearing Liz Strauss talk about community and comments. Micah Baldwin discussed personal branding, which is a topic that I think most folks on the internet still don’t grasp. Warren Whitlock talked about Twitter and reciprocity… I got a copy of his book and will definitely post my reaction once I’ve read it.

Like many similar events, much of the value was in the informal discussions and networking. I got to have conversations with a bunch of really smart people about a variety of topics.

Feedback

First, an observation: this was an atypical WordCamp in that it wasn’t very Vegas-centric… most WordCamps are pretty locally-focused… at WordCamp: Las Vegas, only one speaker was from the area. Everyone else either came in for WordCamp or was already in town for CES or Affiliate Summit. This isn’t a bad thing… just an observation.

What worked: Awesome speakers. Great attendees. Lots of good discussion going on. Doing the event over two 9-5 days (as opposed to one REALLY long day) was a good move that allowed for plenty of time for folks to hang out informally. The facility logistics seemed pretty solid. It was nice to have the muffins and danish available in the mornings.

Possible improvements: A couple of the presentations seemed a bit commercial or pitch-y. It would have been nice to have more power (strips on extension cords?) available other than at the edge of the room.

Overall, the good FAR outweighed any of my complaints. Big kudos to John and crew. I hope I’m able to return for next year’s event.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/turoczy turoczy

    I'm really looking forward to seeing how you–and we–incorporate your experience into WordCamp Portland 2009!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/ahockley ahockley

    I'm hoping you'll be able to make the WordPress user group meeting… I'm guessing that group will play a big role in the formation of next (this) year's event.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/turoczy turoczy

    I will definitely try to make as many as I can, so long as I don't have to bring respectable WordPress chops ;)

  • http://johnhawkinsunrated.com John Hawkins

    Aaron, your help leading up to the event and then at the event was immeasurable and very much appreciated. Plus, your speech was something that I believe well turn in to an "ahh-ha" moment for people over the next few weeks as they decompress from the information overload and realize that you weren't just talking about Portland. You were giving them the tools that they can use to help drive their own information sharing platform wherever they are. Based on the number of Vegas people who have told me they want to be involved with Beer & Blog if we start one up, I know it's just a matter of time before we help explode that concept.

    Thanks again for everything.

    John

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/turoczy turoczy

      Please know that I'd be willing to do whatever I can to help other folks build the kind of collaborative environment we've got going in Portland in their hometowns. And I know others would echo that support. Like @beerandblog, for instance, which has already opened a Las Vegas chapter with @jackie1776. ;)

  • http://www.beerandblog.com/ Justin Kistner

    I'm coming into town (Las Vegas) this weekend. I mentioned to Jackie that I'd be in town. I'd love to get together with a few folks from the area to help get momentum going.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Beaconhillnw Jim

    This is good stuff, I look forward to meeting you in Portland one of these days.

  • http://lorelle.wordpress.com/ Lorelle

    We had such a great time, my friend. Wow! I would have loved to see more local speakers, but this was a way of getting the WordPress energy started and next year should be even better. And it's hard to turn down some top notch speakers already in town for CES.

    It was amazing and I'm so glad you could be there to share your Beer and Blog expertise. I hope more such events get rocking around the country. They are so much fun!