The Best $20 I’ve Spent

My friend Joe Lalonde tweeted me about a month ago and invited me to a weekend conference. It was called WordCamp. Have you heard of it? I hadn’t. I was intrigued so I clicked the link. It was a conference specifically about WordPress. Since WordPress is the hosting provider I use for my blog, I was further intrigued. But, to be completely transparent, although it appeared to be an interesting conference, it seemed a little too geeky for me. The idea quickly moved down my list of priorities. Over the course of the next few days, tweets from various people came pouring into my inbox: “This is something you do not want to miss.” “You owe it to yourself to check it out.” “I’ve spoken at 3 WordCamps this year. It’s crazy how much you’ll learn there.”

The Power of Influence.

So, for a $20 registration fee, I signed up!

I am a WordCamper

Fast forward to this past weekend: As I arrived, I was warmly greeted by the conference volunteers. During the opening speech, coordinator Brian Richards gave us the rundown of what to expect. There would be four speaker tracks we could attend: User, Community, Developer and Theme. I attended the conference with the intention of learning more about the inner workings of WordPress and to learn how to use plugins on my site. Programming is not my strength, so I wanted to get better. However, I found myself drawn to the Community track. These speakers focused on how to engage your audience.

One speaker in particular caught my attention – Kimanzi Constable. He was one of the many who had tweeted me saying I should check out WordCamp. Prior to the conference, I had never met Kimanzi in person and had only exchanged a few tweets. But when he shared his story in that room, I was drawn in and felt like I had known him for years. Not so ironically, his speech was titled How to Keep Them Coming Back for More and was all about the power of story.

The Power of Story.
Kimanzi shared that people want to hear stories. They want to connect with a story and not just be spammed. They want to know, why did you start your business? Why are you doing what you are doing? He went on to share, “We are not just selling a product. We are selling an experience.”

I related to Kimanzi’s story because he started out in a place he did not want to be – he delivered bread and did not enjoy his work. He wasn’t always a motivational speaker. But he knew he was destined for something greater, so he continued to chase his passions. I’m not going to tell more of his story here, because Kimanzi will actually soon be guest posting at Musings of a Shiny Penny. (YAY!)

But back to WordCamp. This turned out to be the best $20 I have spent in a long time. I met some amazing people and I was inspired with new ideas for my own blog. I will definitely attend next year’s event. If you currently have a WordPress blog or if you are considering starting a blog, I highly recommend checking out WordCamp… and, I’m proud to say, I am now Geek-ified.

At lunch with Kimanzi Constable, Joe Lalonde and Rich Avery.

Question: Have you ever attended a WordCamp? What is one thing you have taken away from it?

Get connected:
WordCamp Website
Follow WordCampGrandRapids on Twitter

7 thoughts on “The Best $20 I’ve Spent

    • lol! I think you’re right – I am a geek at heart. Near the end of the day I started becoming very interested in the technology side of podcasts, video blogs and developing websites. It is impressive all that can be done with WordPress!

  1. Pingback: How I Saved $1,100 on Car Repairs, Part 2: Dude, Where’s My Van - Money Wise Pastor

  2. Hmmm… What’s a WordCamp? Is that a place where awesome people hang out and get to know each other? I think so!

    I think I got the most out of the connections I made. Meeting you, Kimanzi, Rich, Tharon, Tim, and more was worth the cost of admission.

    Aside from that, I really enjoyed Ben’s talk about video blogging. Made a lot of sense but left me torn as I’m not one to watch videos on blogs.

    • Joe, thanks for your feedback! Ha yes. I agree – the relationships that came out of that two day (mostly one day) session were incredible. I loved hanging with you, Kimanzi and Tanya at the after-party. I was amazed at how WordPress could bring so many different types of people together.

      I enjoyed Ben’s talk too! I’m going to toy around with creating a few videos, but also including a paragraph or two of text for those who prefer to read. I am curious if that will engage users. I can definitely see what he is saying how it brings a more personal element for someone to hear you and see you speaking at the same time.

  3. I remember seeing a stream of tweets (and photos!) that weekend (kimanzi, joe) and wondering, what in the world is wordcamp? lol

    Now I know. And you have me interested! (20 bucks? wow)

    • Haha. Ngina, yeah Kimanzi and Joe were getting tweet-happy on Saturday (I was too). I highly recommend you check it out. I wish they happened more than one time per year in my city!

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