Last week was dominated by my plans to attend Pressnomics 2. A conference centered around the business side of WordPress. What does that mean? Well, it's less about using WordPress and more about building a business around it. I spent the first part of the week preparing to be gone for 5 days. I then spent 3 days getting my brain ‘sploded.
Most times when I head to a conference, I already know who the presenters are and have a good idea which sessions I want to check out. This is important because conferences usually have multiple tracks, and unless you have powers I am unaware of, you can't see them all. Not a problem with Pressnomics. They run a single track both days. So we get there in the morning, set up camp in a chair and take it all in. Which I like because, just like Aerosmith, I don't want to miss a thing!
Last year the event felt like it was targeted at businesses a little larger than mine. I certainly didn't mind, and learned a lot! But this year, the bulk of the content felt like it was aimed as smaller consultancy shops. Or, said a different way, they were kind enough to make just about every talk feel like they were speaking directly to me. To say a got a lot of value from the presentations would be like calling the Grand Canyon a pot hole.
I could go on and gush about all the presenters, but there were a few that… To steal a phrase from my partner, Justin, “felt like I just got punched in the mouth.”
Highlights of the conference for me aren't always about the content shared from the stage. Sometimes it is the way a presenter presents. Or a meal shared with friends new and old. Or a conversation in the hall. Or, the amazing value found in a 5 hour road trip across the desert. This event had all of that and plenty more. Here are just a few of my highlights.
Seriously, I would go to a conference were every presenter was Chris Lema. The guys doesn't just give a presentation, and doesn't just tell a story. He takes you on a journey. I felt like I was there with him watching Reggie Jackson from those seats just behind home plate.
Without trying to turn this in to the Chris Lema fan club homepage, if you want to learn a thing or two about presenting on stage or writing a blog that people want to read, check out Chris here and here. Full stop.
I have always said that the saying “it ain't personal, it's business” is bullshit. Lisa gave a heartfelt presentation about her merger with Web Dev Studios. I've known Lisa for a long time and I know this type of presentation is outside her comfort zone. And because the presentation came from such a personal place, it made it that much better. It was brave and bold and when it was over I just wanted to give her a big hug.
The distributed team panel
Last year at Pressnomics, Alex King gave a presentation where he talked about struggles his team has had. I have always looked up to Alex, so when he talked about struggling with some of the same things my team struggles with, it was really reassuring. The panel this year did the same, but even more so. Running a distributed team myself, I loved the insight from the panel members who all run teams larger than mine (some to the tune of 150-200 employees), but still struggle with the same basic issues we have.
There is comfort in knowing that those people you look up to, they can't put the toothpaste back in the tube either.
I'm not going to go in to
too much any detail here. But at the start of day two, Sally took the opportunity to stand up for somebody who wasn't there to defend themselves and to remind people that this person is human and has feelings. Without making a big deal about it she said her piece and moved on. It was the right thing to do and I applaud her for it.
First off, Natalie had the best looking slide deck I have seen. It was beautiful. Then, she used that slide deck to single handedly make me rethink every decision I have made about my site, my emails, my contracts… Pretty much every choice I've made since starting my business. From what I hear, she may be giving a similar talk at a certain WordCamp in December. You might want to bring a helmet. Oh, and clear off your calendar for the month following so you can burn everything down and start over.
Ok, this wasn't part of Pressnomics, but still amazing. Justin and I went to the Coyotes game on Saturday night. As the game was coming to an end with the Coyotes sitting on a 2 goal lead, the Red Wings pulled their goalie to try and tie the game. The Coyotes goalie stopped a shot, set the puck down and shot the puck down the ice towards the empty net at the other end. With 1/10th of a second left on the clock, the puck went in to the goal. This was only the 6th time in history a goalie has shot the puck and scored a goal. I may never see that again in person.
I can tell you right now, I will absolutely be attending Pressnomics 3. And 4. And 5. You get the point. My suggestion is, you should, too.