WordCamp Boston 2011 Wrap Up

ASO is very proud that we had the chance to sponsor WordCamp Boston – this year’s speakers, volunteers, and attendees were simply spectacular. According to John Eckman (@jeckman), the lead organizer, 75 of the 600 registrants were walk-ups!

One of the things that immediately stood out was the rather unique conference badge they provided. Every conference I’ve ever attended hands out a bulky badge, spiral bound conference notebook, and a worthless bag full of promotional junk that I simply don’t want. The organizers of WordCamp Boston did things differently, and if you watch my video review on YouTube, you’ll learn how.

The conference started up with some excellent sessions on day one. There were several speakers, including David Wells, Alan Bergstein, and Reiko Beachwho catered their presentations to WordPress beginners. These sessions were targeting people that knew the word WordPress but not the functionality. That being the case, I wandered across the venue and sat in on an excellent presentation by Jake Rainis and Niki Brown. Together they showcased some awesome techniques for customizing the WordPress admin panel for web designers. Another highlight was Casie Gillette’s presentation on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I learned that Google uses page load speed when ranking websites in their search results. Attention developers: if your pages load slowly, you’ll lose valuable SEO positioning!

I also got to meet @_fasterhorses, one of our contest winners who got to have one of the free tickets we gave away this year.

The after party was held at the Microsoft NERD center across the Charles River in Cambridge. I even saw a blimp hanging in the air over the city while I braved 100 degree temperatures hiking to the venue. What an excellent venue! They had Xbox, ping pong, booze, food, prizes, and even that bizarre Microsoft Surface device that I’d seen on the Internet many moons ago, in web time eons ago. Check out some footage of the Surface I shot.

Day two started off strong. Douglas Hanna, our very own CEO, gave a presentation entitled, “Treating Your Blog Readers like Customers.” For the first time publicly, he announced that one of A Small Orange’s official brand values is “badass.” Needless to say, the crowd loved it! (More about our values in future blog posts.)

I was very happy to see how well the crowd responded to the free ice cream that we provided during Sunday’s break. Ice cream in the summer in Boston when it’s 100 degrees – who knew?!?

The conference highlight has to be the session hosted by John Resig, the creator of jQuery. He started hand coding on a chalkboard. How old school is that? I’m not a developer, so nearly everything he said was over my head, but the considerably more technical crowd really dug it.

Overall, this was an exceptional event and the best WordCamp I’ve attended. We’re proud to sponsor events like these, so if you, our blog readers, have conferences, shows, or camps that we should consider, please fill out a comment below. Investing in the open source community is something we are committed to. Frankly, our aim is to build relationships with you, our audience & our ASO faithful.

BIG THANKS to everyone that put together #WCBOS! Great job!

One Response to WordCamp Boston 2011 Wrap Up

  1. Deborah Edwards-Onoro says:
    July 29, 2011 at 10:18 am.

    Hey Neil,

    Thanks for the wonderful wrap up of WordCamp Boston. Sounds like you had a fantastic time. Boston is great in the summer, but 100 degree temperatures is crazy.

    I wasn’t there, but was able to follow several of the sessions on Twitter. I’m curious about the badges, I read lots of comments about them on the Twitter stream. Heading over to your video next.

    As a long-time ASO customer, I’m glad to see A Small Orange is supportive and active in the open-source community. Our 2nd annual WordCamp Detroit is planned for this fall. Would love to chat with you more about it.

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