Author: Nathan B. Weller
This weekend marked the second year of Elegant Themes attending WordCamp Phoenix. Last year, we decided on the spur of the moment to go and check out a new camp on the recommendation of some Divi Community members. While we didn’t have specific expectations, it’s safe to say we were really impressed. At that camp we experienced one of the best organized and executed WordPress conferences we’d ever attended. We met our new event coordinator and hired her just a few weeks later. We found inspiration and energy in the passion of the Divi Community–with both new and longstanding members in attendance. In short, it was awesome. So when we decided to go back this year we wanted to make sure we gave WordCamp Phoenix and the Divi Community there the enthusiastic support it deserves. Starting, with a Divi Meetup!
The WordCamp Phoenix Divi Meet & Greet
Bright and early Friday morning we got together at the Cartel Coffee Lab in downtown Phoenix with about 25 other Divi folks. There were brand new Divi users there, heads of creative agencies, and everyone in-between.
For about two hours, over a delicious assortment of pastries and coffee, we discussed how people are using Divi as freelancers, brand experts, SEO experts, solopreneurs, freelancers, hobbyists, and beginners. We collectively solved problems, shared best practices, and passed on hard-learned lessons from our time on the web and in business.
If you’ve never been to an in-person get together of Divi folks, it’s hard to explain how fun, encouraging, and energizing it can be to talk shop with people doing what you’re doing day-in and day-out. They’ve gone through the same pain points, come across their own solutions to tricky problems, and found interesting resources or tools they’re more than happy to share. And they want to hear all about your journey too!
We highly recommend attending a Divi Meetup as soon as you’re able. You don’t have to wait on the next WordCamp we’re attending either. Check out our Meetup Network to see if there is one in your area. And if there isn’t, consider starting one yourself!
First Day of Camp
After the meet and greet we headed on over to the camp itself. The theme this year was 90’s inspired and when WordCamp Phoenix chooses a theme they go all-in! From their amazing 90’s design aesthetic, to fanny pack swag bags, to the organizers’ and attendees’ attire–it’s always on point!
Of course the camp theme is only the tip of the iceberg. The best thing about these camps are the people and the knowledge and passion they share with others. Their are several places and times this happens. The presentations are the official/intentional places for teaching and sharing. But anyone who’s ever been to a camp knows that the “hall track” is where the good stuff really happens. We spent a big part of our day on day one hanging out in the common spaces of the venue, chatting up Divi folks and WordPress users of all kinds. Including other WordPress companies!
Beavers, Bar Food, & Arcade Games
After a long day of learning and “networking” it’s time to relax and blow off some steam. At dinner we happened to be in line with the guys from Beaver Builder! As you might imagine, teams from two of the biggest players in the WordPress page builder space probably see each other a lot at events like this. What you might not assume is that we love it!
This is one of the defining characteristics of the WordPress Community. For the vast majority of individuals and companies in the WordPress space, the attitude is that there’s room for everyone; competition makes us all better; and believe it or not, it’s a lot more fun (and, dare I say, healthy) to be a part of a community that celebrates each other’s successes instead of ignoring or minimizing them.
To that end we had an excellent dinner together and afterwards headed over to an arcade bar together where we met up with other members of our respective user communities and anyone from the WordCamp who happened to be hanging out.
We also learned that BJ and Jason are still pretty good at Killer Instinct!
Second Day of Camp
On day two we mixed things up a bit more: sitting in on a few talks, getting a bit of work done (like this post!), and of course hanging out in the common areas with anyone and everyone.
As has been the case the two years we’ve attended, the WordCamp Phoenix After Party is really fun! Great food, good people, and unique activities! This year they had a great photo-booth, a video game truck, and laser tag setup in the parking lot of the venue.
We’d Love to See You Next Year!
Typically WordCamp Phoenix happens early each year, sometime in February. We’re planning to go back next year and continue to build this event up as a WordCamp we have a healthy presence at. If you’d like to do a destination camp in 2021, consider joining us! And if you’re in the area, we definitely want to see you there and get a chance to hang out!
As for other WordCamps we’ll be at this year, we’re going to WordCamp Europe and WordCamp US. If you can make it out to either of those we’d love to meet you!