Keith Devon

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Thoughts on WordCamps

I’m feeling inspired, confident, connected, and very very tired.

I’m on the train home from WordCamp London 2019.

Recently, I’ve seen some tweets and heard people talking about how they don’t go to WordCamps anymore – or that giving talks at them is a waste of time.

Everyone has their own reasons and motivations for attending, or not attending. Everyone has their own unique experiences of an event. I’m not here to say that anyone is right or wrong.

WordCamp ROI

It can be hard to make a business case for attending – I get that. Unless you come away with a handful of strong leads then maybe the direct return on investment (ROI) doesn’t measure up well.

But WordCamps and other conferences are much more than what you can measure. The benefits are, in my experience, largely intangible.

I’ve had countless conversations this weekend. Some with people that I know well and see often. Some with people I met at events years ago. I also met a whole load of lovely new people.

Will any of these lead to more work? Possibly, maybe not – I don’t really care.

So what are some of the reasons that I would pay for travel, accommodation, sponsorship and be away from my family for a weekend?

Inspiration

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut at work. You build up processes and get familiar with certain tools and technologies.

Events can be a great way to find new ways of working and thinking.

I’ve seen things that people are doing with WordPress and with their businesses that blow my mind.

I feel empowered and inspired to get back to work and build bigger and better things.

Confidence

Often, work can feel overwhelming. Running a small WordPress agency means that I’m (jointly) responsible for making important decisions about the direction and current function of our business.

One thing that nearly every event has taught me is that we’re doing a pretty good job.

Once the veil of social media is removed, you find out that other business owners and developers are often experiencing the same trials and tribulations as you are.

The people who appear to have it all figured out are just humans with fears and worries, and who sometimes make mistakes.

Connections

As a remote worker, it can be difficult to feel truly connected to the community, and even your own colleagues.

In an over-connected world, people are feeling more and more isolated.

Events like WordCamps are a great opportunity to build and maintain those real human connections that are so vital to our well-being.

It’s also a chance to talk shop without people’s gaze drifting and eyes glazing over. It’s a rare treat to get to talk to people as passionate about our industry as I am.

Fun

I’m a husband, a Dad and a business owner. Sometimes life is so busy and tiring that ‘fun’ is hard to come by.

Getting away for a couple of nights, having a few beers and not worrying about childcare, chores, etc. is a very special treat for me! It’s a chance to reset, recharge and let my hair down a bit.

But right now I’m tired and I can’t wait to go home.

Thanks to all of the organisers, volunteers, speakers, sponsors and attendees for creating such a wonderful event.

I’m not sure what the financial ROI will turn out to be but I know that emotionally it has paid for itself many times over.

See you all again next year?

Keith

This is my personal blog, which I’m going to try to use more. If you want to know more about my WordPress development work you can do so on the Highrise Digital site.

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