Boston Was A Good Time

As most of you know, I spent last weekend in Boston, MA for WordCamp. The flight in was a bit bumpy but nothing to cause worry. Special thanks to Michael Torbert who paid for the cab ride from the airport to the Marriott which by the way, was a steal at $99.00 a night. The hotel was great with comfy beds and Brian Gardner s favorite establishment on the ground floor, Starbucks.

As for the event itself, it was rock solid. The Microsoft NERD center was a pretty cool establishment to host a WordCamp despite the colorful furniture. I started the day off in the applied track by moderating a panel discussion around the topic of monetization in a free world. I truly believe the session could have been better but it only started getting interesting once we were 20 minutes or so into the panel. I think if I were to have more time, such as an hour or more, this would have been an excellent panel. I also felt that because I know more than the average WordPress end-user, some of the questions I was asking required in-depth knowledge of other aspects of the WordPress community. I may get the panelists together again on a future episode of WordPress weekly to give the topic justice. The only feedback I received from the panel was a tweet from someone who said they couldn’t use anything that was discussed in the panel for their own business. This leads me to believe that the word monetization must have thrown some people off as if we were going to talk about making money with WordPress powered sites.


After my session was over, I hung out around the building talking to various members of the WordPress community. I only attended two sessions during the day. One by Jonathan Davis talking about the Shopp plugin with Shayne Sanderson discussing WP E Commerce, and Brad Williams WordPress security presentation. Both were informing but what I’ve come to find out is that after you attend a few WordCamps, the sessions or information becomes repetitive which makes the un-conference room much more important for me. Although it took me all day to find the un-conference room because it was hiding behind two big silver doors that resembled a vault, I was glad to get an up-close presentation by Michael Koenig of I like what I saw. If there was no way for me to have the commenting system I now have, I’d most likely be using something like IntenseDebate but for now, the system I have works. I was also able to admit to Michael’s face my resentment towards using a third-party commenting system, despite the synchronization that takes place ensuring no comments are lost. I tried to explain what was holding me back but it just seems like a third-party inserted into the commenting phase for me is just like an invisible wall to get over. I also told Michael how upset I was that RoboForm does not work with the fields inside of IntenseDebate. I think I can fix this problem myself but filling in those fields all the time sure was a pain.

Of course, the biggest news to come out of Boston was the launch of the WordPress Foundation and WordCamp New York donating almost $30,000.00 to seed the foundation. I’m looking forward to see how the foundation spends this money as all eyes will be watching.

On Friday evening, I and a group of other WordPress community members had dinner at a place called Legal Seafoods. Great place that accommodated about 20 of us just before the dinner hour. The food and service was awesome.


Overall, I considered the event a success. Plenty of schwag to go around, great food during lunch, and surrounded by awesome people. One of the touching moments during the entire event was during the opening remarks on Saturday morning where Brian Gardner and the StudioPress team launched a site called The proceeds go to the Red Cross and will be used to fund relief efforts in Haiti. WPTavern donated $25.00.

One other thing that I was reminded of during WordCamp Boston is that the WordPress community is filled with good people. You may not agree with their business model, you may see someone as a competitor, you may think they are a jerk, but deep down, the people I interacted with last weekend were all good-hearted people who were willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. I’m trying not to poop any rainbows, but it was a good feeling to be surrounded by people like that.

As of now, I plan on attending WordCamp Raleigh, North Carolina, WordCamp Columbus, OH and WordCamp Chicago, IL. Any WordCamps after June are up in the air. Unfortunately, I won’t be attending San Francisco yet again but I am making plans to turn next years San Fran event into a week-long vacation. This will probably be the only opportunity in my life time to check out the Redwood National Forest, a lifelong goal of mine. Anyone else in the crowd planning on attending the three I mentioned?

Check out my photos from the trip.


8 responses to “Boston Was A Good Time”

  1. A few thoughts:

    – I did see a number of tweets during and after your session from people who thought it was about monetizing their own blog. That might explain a few things. :)

    – there’s something about attending a WordCamp that really helps the community. It’s too easy to be nasty to one another online, but it’s a lot harder standing there face to face.

    – see you in Chicago!

  2. I thought the description of the Monetization panel pretty clearly stated what it was about. Guess some folks don’t read past the title!

    I did hear some positive feedback on the session, as well, for what it’s worth. Compounding the fact that this 45 min session could have been easily been twice as long, opening remarks ran long which chopped another 10 minutes off the session.

    If you do put together a follow up podcast, I’d love to participate from the “questioner” / interviewer point of view.

  3. I always enjoy reading about your WordCamp adventures and the photos were great. Boston is a beautiful city, I hope to make it there.

  4. Our panel could have easily gone another 45 minutes, as Jake mentioned. It was just starting to get rolling when we ran out of time.

    Don’t be discouraged by one person who didn’t understand what the panel was about. It was pretty clear it was about monetizing WordPress. Not monetizing blogs, but monetizing the WordPress platform itself via products and services.

    It was clear from the questions that people did ask during the panel that most of those in attendance DID get it.

    Doing a tavern version of the panel sounds like a great idea. I’m available whenever you want to do it again.

  5. @Andrea_R – I’m guessing the word monetization threw them all for a loop despite the concrete description of the session.

    @Jake Goldman – Thanks Jake. When I decide to put together the show, I may have you guest co-host that episode with me.

    @Brad Potter – The MIT section where we were located was awesome on an architectural level. Lot of great buildings and it was cool to walk down the sidewalk and see a building for Google and VMWare

    @Carl Hancock – Yeah. Some people obviously knew what we were talking about. I think we can really do the topic justice in the WP Weekly format.

  6. How many people were in attendance? Did all events occur in the same room, or were they spread throughout the NERD center?

  7. There were 400-500 people in attendance. The conference took place over multiple spaces across 3 or 4 different floors of the NERD center with 4 different tracks + an unconference track.

  8. A Wordcamp held in Microsoft premises?? Sounds paradoxical.

    I am personally very interested in the developments on the eCommerce aspects of WordPress, so would be very interesting if you have the time to develop what you discussed with Jonathan Davis and Shayne Sanderson.

    As for Intensedebate I also share your reluctance to go with a third-party commenting system. I am starting to reconsider though, but lean towards Disqus in that case.

    Hoping for a Wordcamp in Nordic soon…


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