WordCamp Minneapolis 2018 Review

WordCamp Minneapolis 2018 Logo

WordCamp is a series of regional conferences about WordPress and a couple of weeks ago I went to my first one: WordCamp Minneapolis 2018. I had a really great time, learned a lot, and met some really great people.

Everything I had heard about WordCamp was true for me: it was a very friendly and open community of WordPress users. There were no egos or people trying to posture. Just a day and a half of WordPress users and developers, from beginners to masters getting together, teaching, learning, and having fun.

I learned so much from the different sessions I attended. Most that I chose to attend were focused on business and building more efficient businesses. Of the 12 sessions I attended (my brain was full by the end) here were 3 that stood out:

Taming the Whirlwind

Nathan Ingram talked about “Taming the Whirlwind”: how to get client work done and keep your clients happy while still finding time to build your own business. He talked about how we all have projects we know are important and which will improve our own business but which we never make progress on because something else comes up. A client has an urgent need. A website breaks. We are setting up a new client.

Nathan gave simple and straightforward approaches to managing this. Plan out the top three important internal projects that will help your business grow and break them into smaller action items. Each week, dedicate time that can NOT be interrupted where you make progress on those items. And gradually chip away at these projects that are important to your business but always eclipsed by urgent tasks. This session probably had the most impact and inspiration on how I can improve how I work.

Tracy Apps - tapps.design

Tracy Apps (her real last name, she pointed out) gave a talk on UX: User Experience. Tracy talked about how to build websites for a better user experience. She was especially focused on improving website accessibility and gave some great information about how to test for accessibility using built in screen readers on Mac and ways to simulate color blindness among other things.

I felt Tracy also gave the most polished presentation of anyone I saw. Truly it was a master class in how to present before an audience. Now only was she 110% conformable and smooth with her material, her talk was integrated into some rather elaborate on screen presentation elements. It felt like a completely improvised talk and yet it was scripted, timed to her presentation and felt natural. It was like watching a professional magician at work.

Gutenberg Blocks Introduction Slide

Lastly, I really appreciated the talk Eric Debelak gave on building Gutenberg Blocks. This was the sole technical presentation that I went to and I learned a lot. His goal was to demonstrate what it takes to build your own editor/display blocks for the upcoming Gutenberg Editor to be released by WordPress 5.0

I confess I have not looked at Gutenberg yet and now I want to. In addition, I saw that the basic process of building custom blocks for Gutenberg is fairly straightforward and I was excited to learn they are built using the React Javascript framework. As coding languages go, PHP has never excited me very much. However, I spent quite a bit of time learning to build websites using React about a year ago and I like the idea that I could put that knowledge to work again.

There was a lot more but those were the high points for me. I look forward to more WordCamps in my future. Due to my travel schedule, I will have an opportunity to camp again in September at the Sacramento WordCamp. Stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “WordCamp Minneapolis 2018 Review”

  1. thank you so much michael for your kind words! i’m so glad you had a great WordCamp, and that you got something out of the whole experience. 🙂 i hope to run into you again on the WordCamp trails!

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