“I do WordPress.”
A new mantra… A voice for the ages… Perhaps a cadence for the many creative folks within the WordPress community?
Although it’s a simple sentiment stated by our CEO, Brad Williams, “I do WordPress” also encompasses the beauty of a platform that has become a lifestyle for many. These words are echoed poetically in Matt Medeiros’ Matt Report PressNomics Day 2 video below.
Matt somehow manages to capture the friendly spirit and positive vibe, while highlighting the importance of the fifth annual PressNomics conference. Held in Tempe, Arizona, April 6-8, 2017, PressNomics has become a place for business owners to grow and connect.
This was my first year attending the conference. My trip started with dinner at a place called Rudy’s Bar-B-Q. This was at the request of our Director of Products, John Hawkins. I was happy to oblige. Any restaurant that makes you order meat by the pound has to be good right? It was delicious. Luckily, since you order by the pound, there were plenty of leftovers, which led to five star breakfasts at our Airbnb rental. Again, thanks to John.
Let’s get down to the details of this post-event report: PressNomics is not for the faint of heart. Although a very social event, work is getting done there. Because these genius minds from throughout the WordPress community come together in a relaxed and engaging environment, you can believe magic is happening.
The notorious hallway track becomes the place to make future decisions about your company. One person even told the story of writing an acquisition contract in the hallway on a hotel napkin during a past PressNomics.
Being the newbie, it felt like I was crashing a family reunion. People from all over the world came together and many hugs were exchanged. These were more than business relationships; they were friendships secured by similar challenges and hardships. Although everyone was incredibly welcoming, I kept popping into conversations and folks were more than willing to include me and allow me to contribute to what was being discussed. I easily felt like part of the “family” by the end of the event.
I have to remark, for a moment, on the organizers: Josh and Sally Strebel. I’m assuming that through their company, Pagely, there were more people involved in organizing the event, as well. Events of this size are not easy to organize. Not only did they bring people together from around the world, they provided swag that was top-notch!
We received a seasoning blend called Slavo, a lip balm created by a local beekeeper, and a lock-picking set accompanied by a see-through padlock. Now while these may seem random, Sally had a method to these selections. They were some of her favorite things. I have to say, I know I love them. I have used the seasoning many times already. The lip balm I use daily, and my husband has not put down the lock.
Of course, there were sessions, too. Each day, a series of presentations were given by leading WordPress experts. I had the pleasure of sitting in many of them and walked away feeling inspired and motivated. After each day’s sessions, there were parties, dinners, and fireside chats. The week ended with group activities, like golf and escape-the-room, which led to more bonds being solidified. Sometimes, all it takes is submerging yourself in a new experience to feel rejuvenated.
In fact, I was so in the mindset of business and WordPress that a really funny thing happened. Hilary, the creator of the lip balm, had been going around interviewing folks. She approached me for a quick interview and asked me my thoughts on “Lip Love.” I didn’t know yet about the lip balm and that it was her product. My mind was reeling trying to think of what “Lip Love” was, and of course, I assumed it was a plugin. I started answering in a very business like answer until she stopped me to tell me it was her lip balm. We laughed and then I continued on my soapbox about organic and sustainable products for awhile.
At the final after party, Tim Tam made an appearance! I happily shared my gifted package with a table of new friends, while gently reminding them that the website (which we built) has an awesome product locator so they can find Tim Tam in their area (wink-wink).
All in all, I feel that PressNomics is a legendary event attended by brilliant people. The sessions were motivating and thoughtful. Arizona is a beautiful state and the perfect backdrop. I felt fortunate to be surrounded by so many amazing people who answered my questions, shared their stories, and laughed with me. I’m already looking forward to next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.
Also published on Medium.