I am very fortunate to work for a company that values sending me to speak/volunteer across the world at WordCamps. San Antonio, Philly, Tampa, Toronto, Omaha, and still plenty of WordCamps ahead of me for the year. It’s such an amazing experience to meet so many like minded humans throughout these journeys.

I started getting involved in the WordPress community in the spring of 2014 and have learned so much along the way. The thing that has most resonated in my travels are the people. It’s amazing how so many people of different backgrounds and different lifestyles can find a common ground in something as abstract as code. I think it goes deeper than just code but It’s interesting how many of my new friendships started after talking shop.

I can recall multiple instances of sitting at a table with developers (of which, I highly admire) sharing ridiculous uses for WordPress or tech in general. What makes these talks so interesting, is that by the end of our ridiculous conversations we arrive at an awesome practical use case for these ideas. Open source is what enables us to share these ideas. – I’d like to mention one project in particular that I had no part in but thoroughly enjoyed: fuckinginsultgenerator.com developed by Michelle Schulp and Dan Beil as they drove down to WordCamp Omaha. Yes, they coded this for fun as they were driving to Omaha to talk about code. I’m planning to make use their api to build a hello dolly-esque plugin that randomly insults me in wp-admin. ?

George Keen, WWII Navy Veteran

George Keen, WWII Navy Veteran – credit: @jamesdalman

More so than anything, I’ve been blown away at the wide range of ages at WordCamps. It’s not uncommon to see silver hair in the audience of a highly technical dev talk. One of my favorite experiences would have to be WordCamp Tampa when I met George Keen, a radar technician who served in the Navy in World War II. George pulled me aside from the WP Engine booth I was manning and had me sit with him on a couch to discuss his search engine optimization strategy – A World War II vet talking SEO! It’s important to note, he didn’t pull me aside to ask about SEO; he pulled me aside to teach me what he learned about SEO! It’s impressive that a piece of software enabled someone of his age to dive into the tech world and broaden his presence in the world. Age is no longer a barrier for older folks, and I attribute that to the warm welcome of an open community.

Random stuff on the WordPress Comunity as a Whole…

In the past, I’ve seen many developers who are very much attached to their code in the same way that a child is attached to their favorite toy. In the WordPress world I have seen this far less frequently. Hell, I can’t even think of a single instance of someone objecting constructive criticism. Yeah, there may be disagreements in the approach to some things, but ultimately a consensus is reached and everyone agrees. That’s just another beautiful aspect of a collaborative open source project such as WordPress.

I’ve always been interested in accessibility. At WordCamp Toronto I met with Jordan Quintal, a specialist in accessibility. We talked for a considerable amount of time at his agency, and by the end of our conversation I was geared up and ready to learn everything I could about the subject. After our meeting I was inspired to pursue an idea that may help accessible sites faster. Note: I’m not yet prepared to publicly give details as it is half baked and probably not very practical, but This is a perfect example of the collaboration I mentioned earlier.

I guess this blog post is nothing new and has nothing really to take away. I’ve seen countless posts praising WP community, but I’m bored on a plane and thought it nice to jot down a few of my recent experiences. I could probably go on all day about just the Core community, but I think I’ll save that for another day.

Cheers to all the new friends I’ve made this year! ✌️ Time to venture through a terminal to find my bed…?