WordCamp Los Angeles 2010 Wrap-up

It's Tuesday afternoon and I'm just now getting caught up after spending the weekend in Los Angeles for WordCamp LA 2010. Trips to LA for me are always nice as I have a bunch of family there so I get to use WordCamp as an excuse to go and visit. Not to mention getting to have dinner at my favorite restaurant on the planet!

As usual, when left to myself, I will somehow find a way to get lost. I left my sister's house with plenty of time to spare. I found LMU no problem, but then parked in the wrong parking lot so I wandered around the campus for 30 minutes until I realized my mistake, reparked and then found the proper building. And for all of you who point out that the event is going on in the EXACT same spot as it was last year… shut it.

I got registered and quickly headed upstairs to catch the last half of Bill Heaton's talk on jQuery. Wow, if there is a subject I know the least about, jQuery is it! The session was informative (probably more-so if I caught the whole thing, huh?) and it's a subject I'd like to learn more about. I'll have to catch the video for the session once it's posted online later.

Next I sat in the Optimizing WordPress session given by Josh Highland. There are so many tips to learn from his session. Honestly, I think it would be so beneficial to have a full-day workshop just talking about how to optimize your WordPress installs. Going through Yslow and figuring out what's costing you the most performance and having somebody like Josh there to help point you in the right direction would be amazingly valuable. (hint hint Josh!) Not to mention getting CDN set up and such.

I followed that up with the session talking about developing fast and scalable servers. While most of this info isn't something I get my hands dirty with directly, it's still great information as we have clients who can definitely benefit.

The final session before lunch was Thom Meredith talking about using Custom Fields. His talk centered around two pretty cool WordPress plugins, Magic Fields and Pods. I have to be honest, I'm not entirely sure how portable the end results of what you build with these plugins would be. But, for building a system that you don't plan on duplicating across multiple sites, or sending to somebody else to use, there are a LOT of cool things that could be done with these two plugins. Definitely worth checking out, that's for sure.

Lunch was it's own little slice of awesome. After we placed our orders the fire alarm went off and they cleared everybody from the campus cafeteria. It only took 5-10 minutes to get sorted out, but still made for an amusing interruption.

After lunch I sat in on the Designer's Panel. The 4 designers each showed off a bit of their work and the crowd asked some good questions that helped drive the conversation nicely.

Austin Passy then did a session where he talked about posting on the go. This session was a blast. He showed how to set up Postie and configure it to do a photo blog from your phone (or any email source). He set up an email account and encouraged the folks in the audience send photos to it. Give a group of geeks this kind of freedom and you know it's going to end up being silly. You can see resulting site at photos.wordcamp.la.

The final session before the keynote was Brandon Dove talking about pluggable plugins. As a plugin developer, this session was definitely eye opening as to the possibilities for plugins. This is another session where I'm going to need to catch on video!

The day finished up with Luke Pilon talking about WordPress, GPL and VC. A lot of what he was saying really hit home since I run a small development company. VC money, bank loans, borrowing from friends/family. Yeah, lots of scary stuff in that session. Good though. Makes you think about what's important, what direction you want to go and what your end game is.

I ended up meeting several new people and had some great conversations. One of my favorite parts about going to WordCamps is listening to people who are all doing really cool and inventive things with WordPress. I'm not even talking about the BIG GUYS. I'm talking about the people who work for small companies that have turned to WordPress as a way to take their idea and make it a reality. Such great stories!

Congrats to Austin for putting on another great WordCamp event! I'm already looking forward to next year!