As I sit on my flight back to Ft. Lauderdale, I sit and reflect on the last three days. I’ve got nothing else better to do because there’s no in-flight entertainment, no internet. Thanks US Airways. I’m flying like a pack of animals.
There’s a different feeling then what i usually experience after most other conferences and WordCamps, and i’m trying to put my finger on it. It’s a different feeling because i think it’s been a truly unique experience. WordCamps hold a broad range of WordPress users – from the experienced (mostly, if you have been using WordPress enough, names you recognize) to small business owners to those just starting out. Many are local due to the nature of WordCamps. It’s a smorgis-board of knowledge. Smorgis boards are great, but can be a waste if you aren’t after consuming everything. With PressNomics, it was a seven-course meal. A narrow and focused stream of knowledge and expertise in which there wasn’t a time when you weren’t learning something. For those who attending the last WordPress summit, perhaps this experience isn’t that unique.
I’m not even quite sure how i even got invited. If you count freelancing a business of one, sure. But i’m not a core developer, creator of a widely successful theme or plugin, or have a business with employees. But i discovered in the past few days my challenges, problems, concerns, and lessons learned aren’t that different from the people that DO have a business or popular product. That overall fact alone was an incredible motivational catalyst. I talked with some people I just met – then looked them up later on the Internet – and i almost had to change my pants. “Oh, wow I just spoke with THAT guy who did THAT? Holy cow. And s/he wasn’t a jackass to boot”.
As “just” a freelancer i’ve been inspired to push even further toward joining an agency or creating one of my own. We’ll see where that path takes this.
As WordPress developers (and as coders/developers/designers in general) we are incredibly fortunate to be in the position of a high demand of work AND people (who should be your moral enemies or competitors) actually helping you out. Not because you are paying them, but because they are decent people that want to help. Sometimes i think we forget about that – and maybe the most positive reminder to come out of events like these is that “we are all in the same boat, we are family, and we want to help support others in creating cool stuff”.
Many people will and have already have sung PressNomics praises. But if i were in Page.ly shoes, I would want honest criticism too. Honestly, there isn’t that much. I’m sure if someone were to ask what they could do better next year, the answer might fall on “have better Wifi”. As an event coordinator, I can relate how that is simply out of your hands.
But I certainly hope to see improvements in future events. There can always be more of a verity of speakers and topics. For example, more topics for the freelancer or small business would be welcome. Perhaps some female speakers will make it to the speaker list next year as well. As coordinator of WordPress Miami, I’ve learned it’s almost impossible to please everyone and it’s just as impossible to search out and confirm speakers (someone at PressNomics couldn’t speak, and they did an excellent job finding a last minute replacement).
Also, I would like to see more businesses being represented at the next Pressnomics. While some attendees couldn’t make it for good reason, I certainly hope PressNomics continues to make an earnest effort in inviting key WordPress business representatives – even if their business might overlap with existing attendees and sponsors. Mark Jaquith said it best – “collaboration” is key. You can’t have true collaboration without embracing your whole family. Families have their rough spots but they stick together. I’m sure in the future we will see more WordPress business – small and large- represented.
PressNomics got many things right. If you are going to throw an event in Arizona, you need to be within walking distance of San Tan. Also, PressNomics should keep the same amount of attendees in the future IMO (or maybe a little bit more). And if you have those plastic mustache again, please put a demo bottle with a mustache attached on the table. I wasn’t immediately sure what body part to put the mustache on.
In closing, PressNomics as an event worked. The fact that it wasn’t an official WordCamp or Automattic event didn’t hurt at all. In fact, it might have helped. For someone like me – (for the moment) a business of one who can’t get around to every other WordCamp, or has a direct communication level with everyone in the community – this was time well spent. I hope to be back next year and see you there.