on life, ambitions, and dreams

WordCamp Portland and the WordPress Community

Laura Kimball (@lamiki) and Harmony Hasbrook (@deedeemama) on bicycles in Portland

WordCamp Portland was amazing. This was my second WordCamp as an attendee and a speaker. I traveled with my friend and fellow blogger, Harmony Hasbrook of 100 Days or More. 300 WordPress users and developers attended the daylong conference with the majority of people from Portland but there was a nice representation from Seattle too.

The content and atmosphere of WordCamp Seattle back in May was geared towards how to use WordPress for business. The talk I gave included heavy marketing strategy, so naturally the conversations I had with attendees after my talk were about business and how to market your blog. It was also the first time that I gave a solo talk and as I attended the sessions before my own, I was very nervous and kept to myself.

At WordCamp Portland, the atmosphere was less about the tools and more about the people of the community that has formed around WordPress. The talks created this theme, as did the layout of the venue, the questions the attendees asked of the speakers, and how they mingled with each other. I also had a much better experience at WordCamp Portland because I was more open to talking with other attendees than I was at Seattle (way too nervous).

Kiersi Burkhart: Blogging as a Platform to Build a Community

WordCamp Content Girls: Laura Kimball (@lamiki), Harmony Hasbrook (@deedeemama), and Kiersi Burkhart (@kiersi)

The first talk I attended was Kiersi Burkhart’s talk on how to build a community through your blog. As a writer and a community builder, I totally ate up Kiersi’s talk. She’s a writer whose first young adult novel is coming out in August 2013. So she knows that if she wants a successful book launch, she needs to have a very invested community first.

The most quotable point Kiersi made: “Building an audience is like trying to date a girl, she’s not going out with you unless you show interest in her first.”

Her talk was fabulous and she cited a lot of examples of other writers and bloggers who have built a great community. If you’re interested in building a community, download her slides and handout:

Blogging as a Platform: Making a Name For Yourself in Your Targeted Community

Grant Landram: Building a Professional WordPress Business

Grant Landram (@grantlandram) of freshmuse at WordCamp Portland 2012

Grant Landram is the founder of a WordPress design shop up in Seattle called freshmuse. He gave a very smart presentation on how to build a professional WordPress business. On paper, the talk seemed like it’d be about how to build a business where you build WordPress sites for other people, but the content was more about building a business, period.

Grant’s best piece of advice for building a business: focus your services. Because as he said, “People can’t refer you if they don’t know what you do.”

If you are an entrepreneur or want to be one, you need to download his slides and watch his talk as soon as it’s up on WordPress.tv:

Matt Mullenweg Keynote: Learning what makes WordPress a community

Laura Kimball (@lamiki) wearing "I'm not a player, I just blog a lot" tshirt and Matthew Mullenweg (@photomatt), WordPress co-Founder

The keynote speaker at WordCamp Portland was Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress. He is a very gracious speaker who during the Q&A asked every one to introduce themselves and say where they blog. And if they didn’t, he’d ask them their name before answering.

As I sat in the audience I realized that the 300 people in the ballroom and the 20,000 people who make a living off of WordPress are all here because of this man and the company and products he helped build. His platform is the reason why I can blog (lamiki.com is powered by WordPress), and without it, so may doors and opportunities may not have existed.

In Seattle I came away from WordCamp jazzed to work on my blog, after Portland, I am jazzed about the WordPress community itself—all of the products and the people who constantly develop new products and plug-ins to help empower bloggers to do what we do best, create content.

Thank you, WordCamp Portland

I want to thank all of the WordCamp Portland organizers for putting on a fabulous weekend also also for inviting me to present. And thank you to the sponsors who helped make WordCamp Portland possible, especially WP Engine, ZippyKid, Blaze Streaming Media, PageLines, and StickerGiant.

And one final thank you to my friend, fellow blogger, and now travel buddy Harmony. As I started writing this on the train yesterday, a little anxious about what I was about to write, I glanced to my left and saw Harmony typing away. That’s when it hit me—I’m on a train going home from a blogging conference sitting next to a friend of mine and we’re both blogging. It’s rare to share something you’re passionate about (blogging) with someone you get along with (a friend) and spend the entire weekend together and forget that you’re actually traveling together. Thank you, Harmony, for the perfect weekend.

What did you enjoy about WordCamp Portland?


6 Responses

  1. Thanks for joining us and being one of our speakers!  I loved reading your recap and was curious how you felt we compared to Seattle.  It’s interesting to see your take on the community angle… I’m a bit biased, but I think it’s one of the things we do well here in Portland.

    1. Thank you for the invite! It’s interesting how different the two WordCamps were, but then again, Portland has always had a tighter community 🙂

      Thank you for producing such a great event!

  2. Awesome recap Laura, and awesome presentation yourself! I couldn’t agree more regarding the atmosphere and overall quality of WordCamp Portland. I can’t wait to go again next year.

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