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Making new friends at WordCamp – #PressPause mini podcast series – #002

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This is the second episode of the PressPause podcast brought to you with WP&UP and WPMU Dev.

The purpose of the PressPause podcast series is to encourage people to attend WordCamps.

To that end we’ve interviewed people who have had a great WordCamp experience at some point.

Today we hear from Julio Andrade and his journey to WordCamp US. He went not really knowing who he was going to spend his time with. This can be quite an anxious thing. Turning up to a major event with nobody to talk to.

He showed up and made some new friends and did things that he never expected.

It’s a great lesson in just taking the plunge and booking a ticket, even if you’re not sure who you’re going to hang out with.

We hope you enjoy the show, please do subscribe on iTunes or Spotify. We’re always looking for feedback, if you have any thoughts or comments, please do reach out.

And remember… Together we can #PressForward 

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Podcast Transcript

Nathan Wrigley: 00:01 Hi there and welcome to the second day. If the press pause podcast series, this is a collaborative miniseries brought to you by WP and UP and WPMU Dev. I’m Nathan Wrigley, the regular host of the press forward podcast and I’ll be releasing episodes each week, day for the next couple of weeks in the run up to WordCamp Europe in Berlin. When I say that, I’ll be releasing episodes each day. That’s not strictly true because I’ll be alternating episodes with Mika Dailey from WPMU Dev. If you don’t know him, I’d suggest that you go back and listen to episode one to find out how we ended up doing this project together. Nathan Wrigley: 00:45 The intention of the show is to bring you stories from WordCamps around the world. We’re doing this so that you can enjoy the experiences of other people, but also to illustrate to those of you who’ve never attended a WordCamp, to think seriously about taking the plunge. WordPress is at its heart a collection of people collaborating on a combined mission. Working with WordPress is possible from anywhere in the world. And whilst this is a benefit, it can also be isolating. WordCamps are a great way to reach out and connect with other WordPress’s, a chance to talk about what you do, make friendships and learn. So this show gives you a moment to pause and remember that at its heart, WordPress is made up of real people. This edition of press pause is brought to you by green geeks. Green Geeks isn’t awesome. Managed web hosting platform that’s built for speed, security and scalability whilst being environmentally friendly. Enjoy a better web hosting experience for your WordPress website with green geeks. Today you’re going to listen to a fun story about how WordCamp can create friendships in unexpected ways. I guess today was not looking for friends, but he found them anyway. He’s going to wait. I haven’t introduced yet. You know what? I’m sure that he can introduce himself. Julio Andrade: 02:20 I’m Julio and Friday I had been working in with WordPress since about 2010 and that’s when I went to my first WordCamp in New York. I live in New York and I went to my first WordCamp in New York and I have a small agency where I do a lot of myself and my team do a lot of enterprise builds for just various companies. And I love WordPress. I loved it since I, once I got turned onto it in early 2010 and then it was, I was looking it up online and there was a think there’s a WordCamp and I think, what’s a word? WordCamp. And I just read about what it was going was happening in the next weekend and you tickets wordcamper so cheap. It’s like I can’t lose, it’s $25 okay. Yup. Yeah. And I, I got for $25. I got lunch, I made friends. I, I, uh, I got to learn more about WordPress and, and you know, and network, it was amazing. I’m like, why? This is the best $25 I’ve ever spent. Nathan Wrigley: 03:18 Okay. So now we know Julio from New York, a fellow WordPress user just like you. He took the plunge and went to WordCamp us alone, but it didn’t stay that way for too long. Julio Andrade: 03:33 So my story is from WordCamp us, a WordCamp us was commentating. So I, I, you know, this is what I do for a living. So I wanted to make sure that I was there at this huge event for, it’s, you know, it’s an annual event. It’s in one of my favorite cities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania here in the u s and so I got a hotel room. I was, I was ready to go and I went by myself. I didn’t have a lot of, um, there was, I talked to a few local people do, they knew in the WordPress community, no one was going. So I went on my own and I did meet up with someone that had met a few years back in the WordPress community. He lives all over the world and he was going to be in the u s at the time. So I met up with him when I got there. Julio Andrade: 04:17 His name is Doug and to Doug and I went out to eat, to eat that night. And then, oh, sorry, because that’s what the next day we had our big WordPress thing. WP Engine was one of the sponsors, like it is pretty much every year I think. Yeah, there’s all these rumors about this a party at WP Engine. WP Engine is someone who’s big party, but it’s secret party and you have to get invited and only inviting like certain clients. And I was like, you know what? I’m not worried about that. Don’t worry about it. I’m going to go to the table. I’m going to ask them to invite us. Like, what do you mean? Just going to walk up and ask for an invitation? Like, sure, why am just going to say no? So I went and asked for an invitation. Uh, I got an invitation for Doug and I had to go to the party. Julio Andrade: 04:53 And so we go to this party, which turns out everyone was invited. You just had to ask. So we’re, uh, we’re standing in line to get into the, uh, that’s a special entrance for us to get into. And this guy just walks up and starts talking to us and you know, it’s, you’re feeling kind of, it’s weird because I’m spending so much time and kind of in my own apartment and not talking to people. I’m working all the time. And here I’m talking to my friend Doug, but you know, I talked to Doug, I don’t even talk to look like this. I just emailed Doug a lot. So, and then this guy walks up to us, starts talking, it’s like, oh, so you know, it’s a cool but just kind of hang out with you guys here at the table. I was like, yes. I mean that’s kind of weird. Julio Andrade: 05:33 I don’t even know you, but all right, sure. So it was kind of weird and uncomfortable. And then we just started talking shop and then we were kind of all around the same level. We’re playing off of each other because some of us, the one, one thing and the other one knows another and all of a sudden the, we’re pretty good buddies, you know, and then drink, start flowing, food starts going, WP Engine opens up, you know, opens up their wallet and all of a sudden there’s just food everywhere. There’s unlimited as an open bar. The WP Engine people show up. The person I asked for the invite shows up, I’m sorry, I’m meeting all kinds of other people, but I’m still with these two guys. Doug and that guy that walked up to us, they, his name is Don, Don and Doug and I were having a few drinks. Julio Andrade: 06:16 Doug says, I, I’ve gotta go. I gotta do some work actually before I come out to the event tomorrow. Like, okay. So just Don and I were hanging out and dawn, I’m sharing with Don kind of my woes of life. And he’s like, oh, he’s, he’s such an understanding guy. He’s been really, he’s a great person to talk to. And then he says, Hey, uh, do you, uh, do you do Karaoke? I was like, no, no, and I’m not, I have not this guy, like I know I’m very animated right now and I’ve not always been this way. I was, I had already committed to myself that I was going to do things that I was afraid of and step out more and now this guy’s inviting me to go do karaoke with him. I’m like, this is what I’m asking for. Right. Nathan Wrigley: 07:03 So Julio shows up to WordCamp and all of a sudden he’s with dawn, the person who is only just met, he’s told himself before leaving that he wants to try out some new things like Karaoke. So what does he say to Don? Julio Andrade: 07:20 Well let’s go do it. So Don and I think a nice brisk walk down to the Karaoke Bar, which apparently he had gone to the night before. So I don’t saying it’s not my thing and I don’t, I have no idea. I’ve never done karaoke. I’ve never even been around Karaoke. I’ve just seen it on TV. And now we go to this karaoke bar, which is the karaoke bar to go to and Philadelphia, which I don’t remember the name right now. It is crazy in there and big screens. And you just go to the bar and sink cause you can get your own room or you can just go to the bar and sing at the bar. And well you go on the stage. It’s just this gigantic party with this huge book. And I don’t know this guy, but he’s become a good friend of mine and we’re singing and we’re singing songs and um, belting it out. Julio Andrade: 08:09 And I’m just like completely coming out of myself. And if anything, I’m stepping more into myself all because of this. Got The hang out with this guy. I, I got to him the whole day, the next day, the next night we’d go to another party that I get us invited to. And then I stay in touch with don. Uh, and dawn, it becomes a very, very good friend, a great resource. And WordPress. The next year we’re pressed WordCamp New York City comes around, it’s happening at the UN and, and they’ve also stayed in touch with the WP Engine people over this time. So now we’re a year later, there’s a new event happening. Dawn says, listen man, I’m coming up. I’m going to come to that WordCamp like great cause Don lives in New Jersey, which is not far. Don comes out and we’re hanging out where you were going to the event. We’re learning things, we’re meeting more people. Julio Andrade: 09:04 And of course the WP Engine people are there. The same WP Engine people are there and there’s no official party, but WP Engine is taking their people out, which includes us. So just the two of us, we were the lay people hanging out with all of these WP Engine people and it was fantastic. And what did we do? You said, what do you guys think about doing some karaoke? So we took WP Engine out to Karaoke. We walked home in the daylight. I thought for some reason I was going to go home because I live here in New York, New York City. An hour away from me. I thought I’d catch the late two o’clock train. Oh, it was 5:00 AM and I was, I was walking with dogs. I’m still in touch with don. I’m going to actually see don probably in the next few weeks, a lifelong friend, and on top of that, at that same event, because of dawn’s friendliness and the way he was the next night, WordPress was having a huge part of this, is that back at a WordCamp us WordPress was having a big party for everyone. This guy, well, it’s just kind of walking around looking for a seat. I said, hey, why don’t you sit down here? I’ve got some root right here next to me. Oh, word. WordCamps. WordCamps are amazing. WordCamps is such a great place to network. It’s beyond networking. It’s you get to meet people who are doing the same thing you’re doing. Nathan Wrigley: 10:26 I just love this story and it sums up so much show. You might be terrified by the idea of going out and doing karaoke all night, but the point is that Julio and Don loved it. They met at WordCamp purely by chance, and their shared passion for WordPress became the foundation of a lifelong friendship. They were both attending WordCamp alone and we’re able to make friends and you know, world stories like this are being acted out all over the world all the time. So I guess that the lesson is that sometimes you’ve just got to head out into uncharted waters, book that WordCamp Ticket, show up, be open, be nice, and be prepared for the unexpected to occur. The press forward podcast is a production of WP and UP. This mini series is a collaborative efforts by WPMU Dev and WP, Micah Dailey. Me, Nathan Wrigley produced this episode and created the original score. A special thanks to Julio for chatting with me today. Thanks for listening and remember that together we can press forward.

Nathan Wrigley