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This a new mini series we’re going to be running for the next couple of weeks.
Each weekday up until WordCamp Europe in Berlin, we’re going to be posting a short podcast episode about people’s experiences going to WordCamp around the world.
We’re calling it “Press Pause”.
In this series, Micah Dailey from WPMU Dev and I (Nathan Wrigley) collaborate to interview WordCamp goers from around the world to hear their positive, funny, and maybe even emotional stories. It’s an opportunity to stop, slow down, and remember that, at its heart, WordPress is made up of people.
We thought that we’d start with ourselves and so Nathan and Micah go over why they like WordCamp as well as discussing some of their favourite moments.
If you’ve never been to a WordCamp, then take a listen this series over the coming days and see if we can persuade you that it’s a really great experience and one that you should be taking part in.
And remember… Together we can #PressForward
Nathan Wrigley: 00:02 Hello there and welcome to the #PressForward podcast by WP and UP over the last month, we’ve been collaborating with our friends over at wpm you Dev to create a special mini series that we’re calling press pause in this series, Micah Dailey from WPMU Dev and I interview WordCamp goers from around the world to hear their positive, funny, and maybe even emotional stories. It’s an opportunity to stop, slow down and remember that at its heart WordPress is made up of people. Okay, but why the collaboration with WPMU Dev? Here’s Mika to explain how this all came to be. Micah Dailey: 00:49 Hi everyone. First of all, I couldn’t be more excited to be working with Nathan and the team at WP and UP on this project here at WPMU Dev. We could see a natural bond between our podcast. Hello WP, a show about what it’s like to be new to WordPress and the #PressForward podcast, a show that focuses on community and personal development. So we decided to reach out to Dan and Nathan to see if there were any way we could quote unquote join forces. Little did I know though, in a way we had already collaborated. Micah Dailey: 01:29 So I listened to, I’ve heard your, your WP Builds show. Um, and I really enjoyed your show in the, you know, the way that you interviewed and then I, I heard the, the show that you’re doing for WP and UP the PressForward podcast, um, and the production quality and the way you’re putting together was just engaging and informative. And, and as a person who has lots of mental health, um, you know, battles and struggles on a regular basis, um, the show has meant a lot to me actually. Um, Nathan Wrigley: 02:04 yeah, I know that you, um, you would listen to it for your own benefit. That’s really intriguing. Micah Dailey: 02:09 Yeah. And as someone who’s new to the remote working, distributed, working life, it’s been really helpful just to hear a lot of stories. Um, and, and along with that, going to events like WordCamps and different meetups and stuff, Nathan Wrigley: 02:26 lest we forget though, you know, you’re not a novice at this yourself or you because you’ve got a rather nice, a nice podcast. Because I thought to myself, after listening to your podcast, my podcast is like children’s television. Your podcast is like watching Game of Thrones. No, not at all. Now have, it’s like badly drawn. There’ll be builds for expensive CGI dragon filled arena. I know WP, you know, with fresh interesting ideas on a, on a, on a dramatically different approach. Micah Dailey: 03:05 I wish that were the case. Nathan Wrigley: 03:07 Yeah. Well at least in my world it is why, that’s what, that’s what struck me and when I decided to do the WP podcast, that was, that was literally that. I was just thinking, right. That’s the target. That’s what I want it to sound a bit like that. I mean, obviously, you know, I failed, but that was, that was where I was going make it at least a little bit more interesting. Micah Dailey: 03:31 No, you didn’t fail. I, I reached out to Dan after listening to your show and just said, the production is fantastic. The storytelling, the format, it did remind me of, of our show and I was just really excited about it, you know? And that’s if he stole it. That makes, that’s a the best compliment I could get. Nathan Wrigley: 03:57 Yeah, no, that’s all right. Um, yeah. And so, and so we get to WordCamp. Micah Dailey: 04:04 Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No. So yeah, to pick up from there. So I, I reached out to Dan and, and I, I just hoped that we could collaborate on something and he brought us together. Nathan Wrigley: 04:16 Yeah. So the, the, the principle I suppose is that, well WP and UP as a charity is, its core focus is to support people. Yeah. And so one of the ideas that came up, we’re in a call I had with Dan was what about doing a series of podcasts, very short little podcast, maybe 10 minutes in length in which we talk with people who’ve been to WordCamps and had a kind of, not necessarily transformational experience, but they had a really nice time. Something good happens, something intriguing, something that perhaps change their life around something that was memorable and intriguing. And so we, we get a bunch of those people and we coincide it with the runup to the WordCamp, which is held in Europe. It’s just got WordCamp Europe based on each year. And I think, I think it’s the biggest one in the world. It’s about 3000 people. Nathan Wrigley: 05:12 It’s happening in Berlin this year and WP and UP and going. And we thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have, uh, have these inspirational talks, these talks from members of the community. She kind of run up in the 14 days prior to that event. Now, I suppose in a way, the purpose of it is to encourage people who’ve not been to a WordCamp before, to give them a reason to go onto the booking form and, and book. I mean, it’s too late to book the one for Berlin this year. That moment has passed. But okay, maybe there’s a bunch of people out there who could really benefit from going to an event, like a WordCamp and maybe a little series of podcasts like this will tip them over the edge and they’ll next time one comes up in the country or the location where they’re based the they’ll book in and get themselves there. So that’s the purpose. Really Nathan Wrigley: 06:11 after the break, Mika and I will dive into our memorable WordCamp experiences. This edition of press pause is brought to you today by Green Geeks. Green geeks offers an 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 and by WPMU Dev. Micah Dailey: 06:45 Who or what is WPMU Dev you ask? Well, we’re a lot more than a fancy name, that’s for sure. WPMU Dev is the all in one platform. You’ll need for managing, optimizing, securing, and branding your WordPress sites. Members get access to our super plugins, including Smush, Hummingbird, Forminator, and many more. Our site management tool called the hub 24, seven three 65 live real person support and more. Give our membership a go free for 30 days at wpmudev.com. Micah Dailey: 07:21 I kind of had a abnormal, um, introduction to WordCamps. Uh, full disclosure, I’ve only actually been to two. Wordcamps. Um, the first one I went to was, was WordCamp us 2018. Um, and it was, uh, it was, it was big. You know, it’s, it’s over a thousand people. It was in Nashville. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. So I had, you know, I had to fly there and it was a big ordeal. And in, aside from the, the event, this was the first time seeing him, uh, coworkers that I work with at WPMU Dev and it was the first time interacting with, with my bosses. And, um, so there was, you know, there was a lot that, that I was experiencing. And then a couple months later I went to WordCamp Phoenix, and that’s our local WordCamp. And you know, that was, that was a really special experience for me to be, to be here in, in my city and to see the community that’s here. But my takeaway from WordCamps is that it’s summed up in a thousand different interactions with people. Um, and the relationships that you develop. Nathan Wrigley: 08:36 Yeah. It’s not like going to see an end game is it? You’re not right. You’re not going. And if you go with the expectation that there’s going to be this big finale and everybody’s going to turn around and stare at you, and you know, the lights are going to dim and the music’s going to go out and up. Right. So like that, you’re right, it’s a, it’s load of little things which kind of hang together upon reflection. Micah Dailey: 08:59 Exactly. There’s so much going on so that, you know, my WordCamp experiences summed up in so many different, um, conversations and new friends that I got to make, but there was one that really, I would say has stuck out to me. Um, it was at WordCamp us and I was, I was standing behind our booth and, uh, you know, probably waiting for lunch, knowing me. I was probably waiting for food. Um, and, uh, and, uh, somebody named Dave Ryan came up to me, he’s actually a, a core contributor for WordPress, but he’s also a WordCamp Phoenix organizers. So he’s from my town and he came up to me in Nashville and he, uh, he says, Hey, I heard you’re from Phoenix. And I said, yeah, I am. And, uh, and he said, he said, okay, well why haven’t I seen you at any of our local meetups yet? And I was like, I was like kind of in shock that I was being called out, you know? Nathan Wrigley: 10:06 Yeah. Micah Dailey: 10:07 I was being called out by somebody that I hadn’t been at our local meetup and, you know, and I’m like, Oh, you know, I’m, I’m brand new. I didn’t know how to, and, and he took the initiative to find me and to invite me in to tell me exactly how to get involved in our local meetups in Phoenix and where to go and where they’re happening. We have four different meetups that happen here in, in Phoenix alone. And, uh, and that interaction just meant a lot to me that he, yeah, he sought me out and he, he knew that I was new and a, and somehow word had gotten to him in and he wanted to make sure that, that I was invited in and knew exactly how to get involved in the community. Nathan Wrigley: 10:51 What you don’t realize maker is that somebody had put a massive sticker on your back that said newb from Kleenex, dullness letters. Please speak to Micah. Yeah. Big Sticker. Somebody come talk to this new guy, new guy, new guy. Um, yeah, that’s, that’s a really intriguing story. I mean, I think if you go in there with the expectation that if you stand in the middle of the room and remain silent and don’t in any way interact, people will come up and talk to you about some myths, right? You know, nobody is going to talk to you unless you, you, you begin and you put yourself out there a little bit and showing up is the first part of that, isn’t it? Just get in the room, um, break the ice a little bit, walk up some you, but amazing the barriers that come down because you know, it’s not like your normal life. Nathan Wrigley: 11:43 In fact, it’s completely removed from your normal life. In a way. It’s, this is gonna sound very grandiose and a bit ridiculous. It’s like a pilgrimage, right? Uh, um, in a way because you know, it’s taking you away from your normal life. You go on a jet car, I could develop this because it’s, you take yourself away from your normal life. You go on a journey and you, you kind of, something changes and you come away and feel a bit different. For me, that’s really what it’s like. My normal life is, you know, family. I’ve got all the stuff that goes on surrounded by family. Nobody, nobody in my family knows what WordPress is other than to know that that’s, I do something with WordPress. They don’t, they don’t really get it. Nobody in my town, as far as I know, really spends a great deal of time with WordPress. Nathan Wrigley: 12:29 So it’s kind of Nice to go somewhere where there’s a bunch of people who’ve got that shared experience, that shared nerdiness, if you like. So do you have any, uh, do you have any good stories from one of your WordCamp experiences? I have. I have one story which sticks in my mind and I won’t, and it’s actually, there’s a couple of stories. There’s this one story about this inspirational lady. Okay. If you, if you attended WordCamps in the United Kingdom before there’s this, there’s a lady who attend, who, um, often does talks about law. She’s amazing. Like I went to this one talk and I felt like I’ve been completely educated in the space of an hour. There is something about her delivery, the purposefulness of her presence on the stage. So that’s, although that’s a very small story that really stuck out when I got home and everybody said, what was your favorite bit? Nathan Wrigley: 13:25 That was it. It was this lady talking about, well in this case it was GDPR, which is a really dull subject. Yeah, I was going to say, I was gonna say, you said somebody who talked about law and it sounded like this news. Yeah. It’s especially not a sexy topic, but she just nailed it. She kind of got everybody into a state of interest about her subject and I just thought she was one of the most powerful speakers I’ve ever heard she ever gets to hear this. So she’ll no, don’t know who she is, but yeah. Thank you too. To her. And the other story is really like an after party story. Um, and I, I won’t mention names, but it was just the, the high jinx that we got up to half the, the main event on a, on the Saturday, you know, there’s the following day, there’s Sunday, this is at a WordCamp in London. Nathan Wrigley: 14:18 And we ended up having a lovely meal at WordCamp and then drinking a lot and going out. And I was hanging out at the time with people I really looked up to, you know, a lot of people attend the WordCamp in, in London, who, who are kind of like on the international WordPress stage, if you know what I mean. And, and, and I was kind of like a bit or, but these, these guys were absolutely lovely and we all went out, went to the bar. And so it was just a, just a nice little social story where we got talking and again, we just nerded out on, on WordPress. But I just felt was really lovely and charming of them to talk to me, which was really nice. Yeah, it’s just, it’s just really lovely. I mean, I know that it’s going to sound a bit trite and I know that it’s going to sound a bit Glib and if you are the kind of person that worries about this stuff, you don’t have to go to the top so you can literally go and hang out in the corridor because yeah. Is this notion of a whole way track. You’re just hanging out in the corridor. You might be looking at the sponsorship area or you might be playing again, have a pool or whatever. There’s this usually dozens if not hundreds, depending on the weather company you go to just literally hanging out all the time, sitting on sofas talking about WordPress. Micah Dailey: 15:27 Yeah. And it’s equally as valuable at WordCamps, at least in my experience, that they value the hallway track just as much as going to a bunch of sessions. Yeah. Because that’s a part of, um, building community and, and, and, and also education. I mean, it’s just learning about people and learning how they use WordPress. Um, and all of that happens in conversations in the hallway. Nathan Wrigley: 15:53 You know what I think, I think if you went to WordCamp and you didn’t enter a single talk at all at any point and you just hung out in the corridor and you, you ate the food and you chatted to the people and you exchange stories and you picked up some swag, whatever it might be, I still think it’s worth doing just for that. Micah Dailey: 16:13 Yeah, I agree. I agree. But the, but the people who have the social anxiety, um, I’m sure, uh, would appreciate the, the sessions because it’s a good place to, you know, sit down and to learn and not feel the pressure to talk and interact with too many people. So I think that is, Nathan Wrigley: 16:33 that’s a really good point about the sort of social anxiety. Like I said, right at the, right at the beginning of when we started talking. Yeah. Like there’s no magic bullet here. It’s not like you show up and because you’ve gone to a WordCamp event events, people just randomly will talk straight at you for no reason. There is still a little bit of that. You know, you’ve got to make the effort to begin talking, but luckily you’re on home ground. You can talk about the, the passion that you’ve got. The one thing that nobody in your house or your home town wants to talk to you about. Talk about it, you know, not feel like a pariah or a Weirdo. Nathan Wrigley: 17:09 Exactly. Like I said at the top of the show, the magic of WordPress is the people and that’s as clear as day. As soon as you step into a WordCamp or local meetup, it’s a world within a world, a microcosm of all that makes WordPress great densely packed into a single venue. Leave your preconceptions at the door. What lies within my change your life? Let’s code this. Friends, food, opportunities to learn, explore and grow. It’s all there if you’re willing to come. Thanks for listening. There’s another story coming your way tomorrow, so until then, remember that together we can #PressForward. #PressForward. Podcast is a production of WP and UP. This mini series is a collaborative effort by WPMU Dev and WP and UP Nathan Wrigley and me, Micah Dailey produce this episode, and I created the original score. Thank you to Dan Giles, Josh, and Tim for helping bring this all together.