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Theres a place for you at WordCamps – #PressPause mini podcast series – #005

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So we’ve somehow managed to reach the end of week one of this PressPause mini series running up to WordCamp in Europe. Where did that go?

Today we hear from Dave, the guy who Micah mentioned in episode #1. He’s the guy who told Micah that he had to attend the WordPress meetup in their shared hometown.

His first WordCamp was one that he organised, WordCamp Phoenix (Arizona) in 2016! He talks about a time when a sixteen year old amazed him and made him realise that WordCamps are open and available for all.

Dave’s message is clear, there’s a place for each and every one of us at WordCamp.

He also has some other advice… if you’re not yet ready to take the plunge and book onto one of larger WordCamps, you can always get yourself into a more local, smaller WordCamp, or WordPress meetup.

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

Micah Dailey: 00:02 Hello everyone. Micah Dailey here from WPMU Dev and I’m back in your press forward podcast feed today for the fifth edition of Press Pause, a collaborative mini series created by WPMU Dev and WP and UP in the two weeks leading up to WordCamp Europe 2019 Nathan Wrigley and I are releasing an episode every week day in which we interview WordCamp goers from around the world to hear the interesting encouraging or maybe even funny moments they’ve carried with them past the camps they attended. It’s a show created to encourage listeners to pause, breathe, and remember that they’re not alone at its heart. WordPress is made up of people, people with different perspectives, backgrounds, struggles, and talents, and this reality is experienced in thousands of tiny moments at events like WordCamps.

Micah Dailey: 01:00 Today’s episode of press pause is brought to you by WPMU Dev. Whether you oversee one 10 or even a thousand WordPress sites, WPMU Dev all in one platform provides everything you need. Manage all your sites from the hub with automated updates, client reporting and uptime monitoring. Take advantage of our fully managed hosting 24 seven support for anything WordPress and our suite of premium plugins to help you with things like image optimization, SEO, security, analytics, branding, and more. Visit WPMU Dev .com today to start your 30 day free trial.

Micah Dailey: 01:51 In the first step is sort of this series I shared my most memorable WordCamp moment, which included a very kind confrontation today. I’m excited to chat with the other main character in that story. The confronter himself. Wait, that sounds negative. He’s the person who found me in a crowd of over a thousand people to make sure I was invited to my local WordPress meetup group. I mentioned you on, we recorded the first kind of introduction to this series and I mentioned to you on there, because you were, you were kind of my standout moment. So when you came in and introduced yourself to me and you called me out for not going into any local meetups, um, it, it meant a lot to me. You could, do you remember that? I remember that. But we just want to grow the meetup community. And I was like, Oh man, there’s this like students doing these really cool posts, podcasts, we should like get them to come to some Meta. Yeah, no it was, it was cool. It stood out to me cause you, you like tracked me down and you, you know, you’re, I heard you’re from Phoenix. Why aren’t you coming to our meetups? It was just really cool that you took the initiative to find me meant a lot to me. So I wanted to thank you for doing that.

Dave Ryan: 03:08 Oh yeah, of course. Yeah. Micah Dailey: 03:10 Friends meet Dave Ryan. Aside from being an all around kind and caring person, he’s also involved in the WordPress community in more ways than I can count. So, uh, to get started, can we just start with a introduction from you, who you are, what you do, your involvement in WordPress etcetera, whatever you want to throw out there.

Dave Ryan: 03:32 Sure. Are we recording now? Yeah. Okay, cool. Um, hi, I’m Dave Ryan. I am a WordPress core developer at bluehost and I have been working with WordPress since I was in middle school. And what about your involvement and in WordCamps in general? So I’ve been organizing WordCamp Phoenix now for four years. Uh, just signed on to try to start your five. Awesome.

Micah Dailey: 03:57 Do you remember what your first WordCamp was? The first one you ever attended?

Dave Ryan: 04:02 So the first WordCamp I ever attended was actually a WordCamp I organized. So I never, I had never been to a work camp before. A WordCamp Phoenix 2016. Okay. So,

Micah Dailey: 04:13 so, um, so yeah, that’s, let’s go into your story. What’s your, what’s your standout moment? What’s your favorite thing? What, what, what do you remember?

Dave Ryan: 04:23 Um, it’s hard to pick one. There’s been over the years, some really cool moments. I think one of them that really sticks out to me, uh, was working in Phoenix 2018. Um, this was before I worked at Blue House. Um, and uh, there was this 16 year old kid who came up to me and asked me if he could, you know, show me this website he was working on and get some feedbacks. I said, sure. Like, let’s take a look at it. So he pulled out this really cool site and he had built this, uh, hosting calculator for his, you know, freelance hosting packages and he built it a handle, you know, annual rates and monthly rates and all these like cool things. And that’s like, oh, it’s gonna put me out of business. But you know, you know, we, we sort of chatted about it was really cool and he’s like, aw man, I’m so glad I spent 40 bucks on WordCamp.

Dave Ryan: 05:15 And then 20 minutes later he won a TV from bluehost. Yeah. So that was just sort of one of those like, yeah, you know, this is the kind of thing we do it for it. You know, it, it was only a few years after I had been a student and you know, a 16 year old kid is spending his own money, you know, on a WordCamp ticket. I think, you know, in the tech space, you know, we’d think of it as a drop in the bucket, but you know, for your 16 year old kid spending his own money, that’s, you know, the fact that he really wanted to come and, you know, invested in it and we were able to invest back in him. That was really cool.

Micah Dailey: 05:51 Yeah. And the idea that he was going there to just, you know, this is what I made me some input, you know, what do you think of this? That’s really cool. That’s brave. I don’t know if I could do that.

Dave Ryan: 06:04 No, it was, it was super impressive and you know, it’s, it’s a lot of work to put on a WordCamp and moments like that make it all worth it.

Micah Dailey: 06:14 Yeah. If you got into a conversation with somebody who’s interested in, in, in joining the community, what would you be your, your pitch to have them join the party?

Dave Ryan: 06:24 Well, we moved my pitch. Yeah. Um, I think that this is a very inviting community. It’s very welcoming. Uh, we encourage diversity. Uh, this is a community that believes that a diversity of ideas makes us stronger. So no matter where you are in your journey, whether you’ve never built a site or you build the largest sites in the world, there’s a place for you at work camps and you know, you’re gonna meet interesting people who gives you new ideas and help you solve problems deeper because you’re not surrounding yourself in a bubble of people who think just like you. Um, so, so whether you’re a small business and you’re just looking to, you know, you know, understand SEO better and understand social, whether you’re a developer and you’re trying to learn a new code concept or skill up in react, whatever, whatever it is you do, there’s probably someone else who does that or does something totally different that’s just gonna like put your jaw on the floor.

Dave Ryan: 07:23 And so I met this, you know, really sort of like energizing, you know, fuel up and reminder, you know, now that I work on, you know, the WordPress project, you know, this is who we build it for. And every time I go to a camp, it’s this sort of recalibration of, you know, I might be thinking about, you know, a button or you know, some code and then someone brings up a problem that I’ve, you know, I just never thought about or some thinking that it’s confusing to them that, you know, has just always been intuitive to me. And so then it’s this cool thing of, all right, well then how can we, how can we take that and make something better from it? And how can we learn from this and, you know, continue to build this community. And, um, so yeah, I guess that’s my pitch is that, you know, no matter what you do, you can probably get some really cool value and make some really interesting connections there.

Micah Dailey: 08:15 Going to a WordCamp or joining a community like WordPress’s requires a level of vulnerability. I mean, putting yourself in a position to be seen by others can be intimidating. Thankfully in our case, there are people like Dave to remind us that there’s a place for all of us just before ending our call. Dave had one more piece of advice for us. Don’t chase the big moments. Do you have anything else that you, that you would want to throw out there? Anything that I missed? Um,

Dave Ryan: 08:50 well, I think that the only other thing I would add is that as exciting as WordCamp us at WordCamp Europe and there’s a proposal for WordCamp Asia, as exciting as those, like the big, you know, tent pole events can be, they can also be really overwhelming and, you know, there’s 3000 people there and it’s hard sometimes to make those standout moments. So, you know, it’s cool that I was able to stand out in your memory, but you know, I, I must’ve talked to hundreds of people that eat them. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, so I think the cool thing about a local WordCamp is that, you know, you meet people in your city who are doing things just to like you or, you know, they’re using WordPress in a totally different way. Uh, and there’s, there’s a lot of value in those local events. Um, and if you look at the schedule and like a WordCamp just passed in your area, um, there’s WordPress TV, which has, you know, footage from most every bird campus happened for the past few years.

Micah Dailey: 10:03 the press forward podcast is a production of WP and UP the press pause mini series is a collaborative effort by WPMU Dev and WP and UP Nathan Wrigley and me, Micah Dailey produced this episode and I created the original score, a huge thank you to Dave for chatting with me on this one. And thank you all so much for listening. Remember that together we can press forward.

Nathan Wrigley