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WordCampUS 2019. From the Heart.

st louis convention center

As I’m flying home, I’m recalling that I almost missed my flight to St. Louis a few days ago. But that’s another story.

At WordFest, the big WordCampUS after-party, I was chatting with my good friend Andrea Middleton who works at Automattic. She asked me if I would be writing a post-camp post and I told her that I wasn’t sure. She encouraged me to do so, and to write it from a contemplative perspective. With that said, I’ll do my best.

My WordPress Yearly Pilgrimage

Since I don’t travel to that many WordCamps anymore, I’m calling this my ‘yearly journey’ post.

I Wish I Could Capture Every Conversation Here

The thing I love most about WordCampUS, of course, is the chance to catch up with friends, old and new. Hugs, handshakes, laughter, all of it. Sure, we talk about WordPress, but also about life and everything that surrounds it.

The place we call the Hallway Track, where people mingle and get to visit and thank the sponsors, is where I spent most of my time. And I never am at a loss to find someone to chat with.

And I found myself having some lengthy conversations with new friends.

As with most conference experiences, there are always people you meant to see, really wanted to see, who slip right by you: poof. I guess when you are surrounded by thousands of WordPressers, that will happen.

And here are a few more from Twitter that my friends took.

The St. Louis City Museum

I’m almost at a loss for words here. Aside from having gone up spiral staircases to the rooftop, passing the long line to take a 10-floor slide down and heading down a few flights to do a 5-floor slide, well, I survived. I was lucky to have my friend Taco from Yoast follow me down the stairs. They were mighty dark and if it weren’t for him shining the light from his phone…

He said it would be terrible if I fell and killed myself said it would make a very somber day 2 at WordCamp. Gotta love my friend Taco.

My friend Taco scaling the dome on the top of the St. Louis City Museum

As I said, few words can describe the experience in this museum. And I’m lucky I didn’t lose my way there or I might still be roaming its halls!

Thoughts from the Heart

As I sat at the State of the Word presented by Matt Mullenweg, I found myself contemplating 13 years of WordPress and the community.

I love open-source. And I wonder if I would have ever had the chance to meet to so many incredible people throughout the world who ultimately became friends if I had not started using WordPress at the age of 49.

Community can sometimes be hard to define. Exactly who is included, where does it start and where does it end? There is the ‘core’ community, the larger community and countless sub- or micro-communities. I’m not sure I have quite figured it all out.

And as much as these people are part of my life and business, there is a possessiveness with open-source that, well, sometimes is a bit too much for me. Maybe it’s my age. Or my laid-back attitude. Or having run a business outside the WordPress bubble.

I tend to avoid the drama and don’t get too wrapped up in the intense and prolonged debates around hot-button issues in the community. But this I believe:

  1. The WordPress community is one of the most giving and open communities I’ve ever been involved with.
  2. Like every community, there are ups and downs, egos, drama, and yes, the good, bad and ugly.

As far as Gutenberg, I am looking forward to the day we can all look back at this and laugh. Wondering why the hell did so many make such a big deal about it.

I know with that last statement I may get some eyebrow raises. But that’s okay. I get that it’s a huge transition in so many ways and what it takes for a lot of people to get on track.

But you could call me an old dog. Thing is, though, I like learning new tricks. And I like Gutenberg, or what I hope will someday simply become as easy to say as the “WordPress editor”.

Back to WordCampUS

Hang with me for a bit more…

What a freaking amazing two days.

I want to thank whoever allowed us to put our “nickname” on our badges. Most people recognized me as I try to keep my gravatar fresh, but having my handle on my badge made it easier. People didn’t have to ask me if I was BobWP. (See, a lot of people don’t know or remember my last name.)

I also want to thank every single one of you who took the time to say ‘hi,’ or initiate a short (or long) conversation. This is what motivates me to keep doing this WordPress thing.

GoWP Happy Hour at WordCamp US. Our gracious host Brad Morrison is looking up as he caught me taking the shot.

I could not leave this post without giving an enormous virtual hug to every organizer, volunteer, sponsor and speaker. Each one of us values our time and those who shared that time to make this such a huge success, well, hugs and more hugs.

WordCamp 2019 Organizers

And lastly, this is coming straight from the heart. I truly admire and extends tons of thanks to Matt Mullenweg. His leadership has pulled together thousands, if not tens of thousands of amazing people who are making the web one hell of a good place. I’ve had the chance to chat with Matt a couple of times and have him on my podcast, and hope we can connect again sometime in the future. I’m proud to brand myself with WP 🙂

Thanks for taking the time to read my meandering post. Hope you enjoyed it and the photos. And again, thanks to my friend Andrea for poking me to do this post.