A look back at WordCamp US 2017

Another year and another WordCamp US has come and gone, and most of the Reaktiv Studios team were on hand to take part in this year’s event.

Jay Hoffmann – Sr. Full Stack Developer

It seems that every year WordCamp US keeps on growing, and this year’s was no exception.

I spent a good amount of time in the hallway track, which was one of the more clever bits of this year’s WordCamp in my opinion. There was a space of the event set aside for sponsor booths and hallway conversations, making it easier to catch up with old friends and check out the latest that WordPress has to offer without bumping into people trying to get to talks.

I have to say, I go back and forth on the effectiveness of lightning talks, but I saw a few really good ones. There’s a few talks you’ll definitely want to check out, once they’re on WordPress TV:

But the most exciting part was probably all the excitement (and admittedly, trepidation) surrounding Gutenberg. It made its way into talks, permeated into the hallway track, was on display in user testing, and all culminated in Matt’s State of the Word, which more or less planted the Gutenberg flag and set a relatively firm release date. It is the biggest change to come to WordPress in years, possibly ever, and it was great to be part of a whole crowd of designers, developers, and users as they considered what it would mean for the future.

Solomon Scott – Full Stack Developer

This was my third WCUS; this year, it blew my expectations out of the water. It was so well organized and I felt a true sense of community. It even gave me a few ideas for organizing the next WordCamp DC .

I enjoyed all of the talks I attended this year. They helped me to really think about all of the possibilities for 2018 and beyond. Some of the talks included:

I was excited to see Gutenberg make its big debut during the State of the Word. As controversial as some of the community thinks it is, I am glad the classic editor is getting an upgrade. It’ll finally streamline the editing process for users and make the experience seamless.

Cory Webb – Sr. Full Stack Developer

This was my first WordCamp US, and I was blown away by the quantity, quality, and variety of presentations. It really gives you a sense of the passion and commitment to excellence that drives the WordPress community. I particularly enjoyed Weston Ruter’s presentation on Building With JavaScript in the Customizer, which went a long way to demystifying the Customizer’s JavaScript API.

The highlight of the weekend for me was the Gutenberg demo during the State of the Word on Saturday evening. It’s exciting to see not only the massive amount of progress the team has made in such a short time, but also to see the vision for how Gutenberg will help drive WordPress innovation for the next decade.

Also, WordPress people really know how to do t-shirts! I’ve added 5-6 new shirts to my t-shirt rotation, which is huge considering my wardrobe consists of mostly jeans and t-shirts.

Nick Croft – Sr. Full Stack Developer

This was also my first WCUS, and I’ve already started implementing ideas from several great presentations I was able to attend including:

When I’m challenged by an idea I didn’t even realize I needed to know it makes me a better developer. At WordCamp US I’ve become very excited about Gutenberg and the Customizer. My head is positively full of big ideas on how I can leverage those tools to make bigger, better, and easier-to-maintain sites!

Another big takeaway was just how big and small the community is. I spent so much time talking to people I’ve only ever met online. Some people remembered me from years ago and I got to meet with people who have been friends online for so long that it felt more like we had met in person. From Chris Ford, my new co-worker, to Remkus DeVries and everyone in between it was great talking to everyone.

I left WCUS excited about the future of WordPress, my own code, and the next WordCamp where I can meet up with some more friends.

Chris Ford – Project Manager

The best thing about WordCamps are always the people. You don’t network at a WordCamp so much as talk with friends you happen to do business with. That’s why one of my favorite spots was the Hallway Track.

I particularly loved the Community Bazaar, where I got to catch up with what two of my favorite groups, WPCampus and Women Who WP have been up to. I spent so much time there that I only made it to a few (amazing) sessions:

  • Lesbians, Damn Lesbians, and Statistics, Mika Epstein
    I went into this talk expecting to be overwhelmed by math. Granted, there was a lot of talk about taxonomies and numbers and formulas, but at its heart it was a talk about the importance of seeing yourself reflected in popular culture. (I even cried a little at the end. It was that good.)
  • Diversity Works, Tracy Levesque
    Another talk about diversity, this time with a twist of Shonda Rhimes. I loved the immediately actionable ways to expand a team’s diversity. I also loved that WordCamp US dedicated so many talks around diversity and inclusion. I love our community and am proud that we’re committed to welcoming and truly including all types of people.
  • Financial Forecasting for WordPress Businesses, Christie Chirinos
    I’m always looking for ways to help Reaktiv streamline our processes and make more informed decisions about logistics. (Yay spreadsheets!) Once I have a chance to re-watch the video about 10 more times to really understand the formulas I can’t wait to put the lessons to use!

(Also, I won a guitar from SiteGround. That was pretty awesome too!)

Rebecca Diamond – Customer Support Specialist

WordCamps for me are first and foremost about the people, so I spent most of my time there in the Hallway Track. I spent a lot of time following the #WCUS hashtag and DMing people I wanted to hang out with. I caught up with former colleagues, employers, and friends; made new friends, and met my new colleagues for the first time.

There were 3 sessions I attended – other than the not-to-be-missed State of the Word –  that moved me in from the hallway and were worth every minute I spent not hanging out with people:

To everyone who selfied with me, thank you. You made my IG feed and Twitter stream so much better. I look forward to seeing everyone again at WCUS 2018!

WordCamp US provides a glimpse into the size, talent, and diversity in the WordPress community. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, make a few new ones, get involved in the community, and learn from some of the best minds in WordPress. Keep on eye on this blog to stay updated on our 2018 WordCamp plans. We can’t wait to meet you!

If you were at WCUS 2017, what were your impressions of the event? Let us know in the comments below.

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