WordCamp Phoenix 2020 – Recap

WordCamp Phoenix 2020

WordCamp Phoenix 2020 was a fantastic camp! The city and location were perfect, the camp was very well attended and the organizers, speakers and volunteers were awesome.  I am so happy to have attended the first camp of the year!

My flight from LA was very smooth. If you have ever flown to Phoenix, you would know that on most days, it is windy and it is not so much fun to land there.

I was lucky.

Arriving for WordCamp Phoenix 2020

I arrived in Phoenix early Thursday afternoon and headed over to the hotel to meet up with Marco Berrocal, who had arrived the day before from Costa Rica.  After the happy reunion (I had not seen Marco since WCUS 2019), we loaded the boxes on an Uber car and took a drive to the camp location, Events on Jackson, for the setup.

This event center is a large and beautifully-restored former fruits and vegetable warehouse built in the 1930’s,  and it is walking distance to Downtown Phoenix.

What a beautiful choice of venue that was!

After setting up our booth, we were more excited and started chatting with the other sponsors, as well as the organizers who were going around checking on us.

I was happy to see Kathy Zant, Director of Marketing at Wordfence. Kathy and I met at many previous camps. She was in the organizing team and I am always happy to see her at these events. Another beautiful thing about WordCamps is you will meet so many people and see them again at other camps, which makes you feel like part of a family.

Booth
The booth is set up and ready to go!

We went back to the hotel and had a quick bite to eat before walking to The Larry, where the Speaker-Sponsor dinner was held that night.

The Larry
Marco hiding behind his hoodie while I am taking a picture of the Larry. Right behind him is Ram (Ramuel Gall) with Defiant/Wordfence

Speaker-Sponsor Event

We had a lot of fun at the Speaker-Sponsor event.  I talked to a lot of people I had met at many camps before, including Mark Mounder, the CEO of Defiant whom I had not seen since WordCamp Denver.

As always, I also met new friends, including Scott DeLuzio, who would speak about Building a Recurring Billing Business on Saturday.

I also met Chip Edwards , who is a partner at CreateMyVoice.com. Chip spoke on the first day about brands in a voice-first world which is a really interesting subject in this day and age.  Chip is a lot of fun to hang out with and has a lot of stories to tell.

Chip Edwards
Hanging out with Chip Edwards

The organizers introduced themselves and thanked the sponsors and speakers for participating.  However, we all know nothing would happen without their incredible work and passion.

Organizers
Some organizers and volunteers at WordCamp Phoenix

First Day of Camp

There was a lot of excitement on the first day of Camp.  Marco and I were super ready to tell attendees all about GreenGeeks (yes, we are very passionate about it) and to hand out our famous swag.

Marco Berrocal - Anna Gargioni
Marco and I ready for WordCamp Phoenix

Although we had a lot of people come to talk to us, I was able to attend two sessions which were of interest to me.

Francesca Marano gave an interesting talk about The Art of Networking, which a lot of attendees were talking about it and enjoyed.

Francesca Marano
Francesca Marano speaking about The Art of Networking

In the afternoon, Social Media Manager Julie Archer delivered an insightful speech titled Your Likes Don’t Matter And Your Followers Don’t Count: How To Authentically Grow Your Brand On Social Media.  Julie knows a thing or two about social media!

Julie Archer
Julie Archer speaking about social media

Lunchtime

Lunch at WordCamp Phoenix
Lunchtime at WordCamp Phoenix- yummy!

At lunchtime,  we enjoyed yummy tacos in the outdoor area of the event space.  We sat around in tables and chatted with attendees. The Arizona sun was nice and warm, and it was the perfect setting for lunch.

They call this the Valley of the Sun for a reason.

GoWP event

After the first day of camp wrapped up, some of us walked over to a party sponsored by GoWP at a downtown Mexican restaurant called Chico Malo. The GoWP team had reserved the outdoor space for our group. There were plenty of appetizers and drinks to enjoy.

After a full day of camp, it is great to  be with interesting people. Having fun conversations while enjoying food and drinks is a highlight of these events.

We were greeted by Emily Hunkler, who was there on behalf of the GoWP group and chatted again with many people, including Chip Edwards, Amy Hall, who is in the WordCamp San Diego organizing team, and Micah Wood,  who had spoken in the morning about Cypress Testing and WordPress. There were so many familiar faces but not enough time to talk to everyone!

And the first day of camp was officially over.

Goodbye Phoenix, Till Next Year

Although there was another day of camp on Saturday and a Contributor Day on Sunday, I had to leave. The next day, I headed to the airport to catch my return flight to LA. I took a picture of the downtown area from the hotel room floor and said goodbye to Phoenix.

I know I will be back next year!

Downtown Phoenix
Downtown Phoenix from the hotel

Once again, I want to truly thank the organizers and volunteers who made this WordCamp happen. I also want to thank all the speakers for the incredible knowledge they shared during the camp.

Now, I will let Marco tell you about his experience.

From Marco’s Perspective and Day 1 of Camp

Thank you, Anna.

Let me share what I experienced throughout WordCamp Phoenix 2020. This includes a couple of amazing talks as well as meeting a lot of new people.

100 Things to Know About Building, Selling and Supporting Online Courses and Content

This talk was given by Zac Gordon. I couldn’t see his Yoga session at WordCamp US as we were so busy. But, I had the chance to go to this one at WCPHX.

I am a huge fan of Zac because he knows his JS stuff. I have all of his courses in his Javascript for WP project and he is just a flat out, fantastic tutor. One of my favorites.

Zac Gordon
Me and Zac Gordon after his talk. Great stuff man!

So I was very excited!

What I loved about him is his teaching approach, stage presence, and persona. His tips were incredibly useful when it comes to doing something solo. There’s a lot involved such as:

  • marketing
  • getting the course content ready
  • camera
  • mic
  • editing
  • branding
  • staging your workspace

There’s a lot involved if you want to succeed with online courses. And this isn’t to mention having an awesome WordPress website to power everything.

Of course, no matter how fast Zac spoke, he couldn’t go through all 100 things. He did like 40, I would say. But it was great.

After the talk, we spoke a little and I WISH he would come to Costa Rica soon!

Day 2 of WordCamp Phoenix 2020

Anna Gargioni
Me and Anna. Great person to team with!

After saying goodbye to Anna, I went ahead solo this time. There was a nice number of people. I noticed that on weekends, usually Sundays, it dips a bit downwards in terms of foot traffic.

But this time, people were there! Everything was great, and I saw a lot of new faces. I love the rush that starts when people register and are waiting for the talks to start.

I had a few minutes to attend people because it was my first talk of the year!

Hook into WordPress Hooks

Marco Berrocal PHX 2020
Me sharing the WP Love!

This was my first WordCamp this year, the second one I ever did in the US, and the first I did about this topic. I was a tad nervous because, well, this WordCamp is quite large in attendance.

After all, 500 people registered for it! So, a lot of eyes were on me during this talk.

I have to say the organizers ran a pretty tight ship when it came to deadlines, graphical elements and general information as to what was going on.

Doing a presentation that is new takes a lot of prior upfront work. As Zac pointed out in his talk, you have to do a LOT of research, because you don’t know what people will ask.

You need to be prepared for everything and within the session. With this being a new subject, you are bound to either leave something out or make some small mistakes, which was the case here.

But the talk went pretty well, I wasn’t shaking as bad I thought I would and the reason is that well, you have to be sure of what you know. After 25 minutes or so, the talk was over so 15 of them were dedicated to discussion and questions, which happened and is something you always appreciate when people do.

The topic? It was about hooks in WordPress, which is the correct way to change behavior within the CMS. So, we discussed action and filters and a few examples here and there.

The reason I chose this topic is pretty much the same as all the talks I’ve had.

Sometimes I feel we discuss a lot of the current and future stuff of WordPress from a development point of view. We do not stick to the basics in order to teach the current wave of WordPress developers.

So needless to say, this topic is here to stay!

Lunch and Onward!

Quickly enough, lunch came (great food on this Camp by the way) and before you knew it, the Camp was over. I finished wrapping things up, went to the hotel for a quick rest and shower and it was on to the after-party.

The after-party was at the same place our Speaker-Sponsor party was with tons more people. It even included some laser gun stuff in the parking lot, which I didn’t play.

At exactly 10 PM, the after-party as well as WordCamp Phoenix 2020, was over.

A huge thank you to the organizers, volunteers and of course, the Phoenix community.

Until next year!

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