I’m back from WordCamp and much thanks to the Blog Herald and b5media formaking it all happen for me. I had the unenviable task of choosing what URL to have printed on my nametag. No one should ever have to make that choice! ;)
Having never attended a “valley” event before, I don’t have a lot to compare the event to so I’ll just “wing it”.
As an event, it was more than Automattic intended it to be when it was first announced. As Matt Mullenweg puts it, he figured it would be 50 or so people crammed into his SF living room. Matt, you’re far too humble, man.
As an event that was organized in under a month, I think it was quite amazing. They excelled in some areas, such as BBQ (the best ever!), getting great session topics, and throwing an after party at a fabulous venue at Pier 38. Toni, how did you find that place?! Folks, it was essentially in an abandoned warehouse with a shoreside deck out back. Add about 10k square feet and some music and you have a rave happening.
Where they lacked was in communication. Emails going unanswered. Folks not knowing about the event until the last minute and having to pull off flight/hotel reservations with little to no notice for an event sandwiched in between BlogHer and SES and not really knowing where they should book hotels for. Airport? Downtown? I chalk this up to a “live and learn” event.
Of course, as Duncan Riley points out, the short notice of the event also led to lesser known people being session hosts – such as myself for Blog Architecture, Chartreuse for Compelling Blogs, etc. I, for one, feel like the trip was the biggest career move I ever have made, allowing me for the first time to meet really great people I would never have otherwise known. And I made Lauren’s Men of WordCamp list. How great is that? :)
There were some very high profile people there. Mike Arrington of TechCrunch made a token appearance leading many to wonder, “WTF?” Also Om Malik from GigaOM shared his thoughts on Blogging and Journalism and I shared my thoughts today on why Om has lost it.
I’d recommend some heavy hitters be brought in for sessions like SEO and WordPress – sessions that were sadly lacking in substance. I’d also recommend that grassroots session hosting be continued for other sessions. If I have to be objective, I imagine it is difficult to provide something for everyone in a one-day session and mostly, Automattic did a fine job of doing so.
For now, I guess I’m the last of the Blog Herald to close out the weekend and call it a wrap. Well done, all who were involved.