Yesterday was WordCamp RDU at NCCU's School of Education. Being my first Camp of any kind, the night before I searched for ideas and tips on what I should prepare for. The first article I found had three basic points. The most important to me was something I didn't think of: be prepared with questions for the speaker. I knew I would get to ask questions, but I didn't think to have them prepared beforehand. It's the simple things that we miss.
I spent all evening trying to come up with some questions and I kept arriving to the same question for all the speakers. How do you get creative? Then, I thought, if I could only ask one person this question it would be Matt Mullenweg. I did get to talk to him for a brief moment, but I'll get to that in a bit.
So Saturday morning I met up with a friend of mine from NC State and we headed out for the school. From the very beginning I could tell we were going to have fun. The volunteers were friendly and helpful. Danielle Baldwin, one of the people responsible for the event, did a great job. It was like they had done it before and yet, this was the first Raleigh/Durham WordCamp.
The other participants were really great too. (Well, except for a couple of rude people. Yes I am linking that image, that guy was rude.) I met a couple of awesome writers and fellow geeks. The dynamics were all over the place as well; old, young, experienced, beginners... everything. It was awesome how this dynamic didn't matter, everyone had a great time sharing their thoughts and experiences on WordPress and what they use it for.
There were two sets of presentations, sometimes three at a time, and a few of them were difficult to choose between. For one time slot it was between Copyright tips, WordPress as a CMS, or Videoblogging. Of the three I was more interested in Copyright Tips and Videoblogging, but you can see the difficulty in choosing from the three. All very good and interesting sessions.
The best presentation of the day, in my opinion, was given by Andy Beal about SEO. My SEO is pretty weak 'cause SEO and I have issues. 🙂 Andy's zeal about the subject, along with some great questions by other antendees, really helped me understand it more. He's a pretty rad speaker.
The keynote for the day was by WordPress creator, Matt Mullenweg. I have a thing about presentations: the slides are not que cards. I don't like it when people just read off the slides and offer no other comment or conversation about what they put on the slide. Matt had about three or four slides with only a few words of text. Everything else came from him. This, I think, is hard to do which is why people rely so much on the slides. Matt was inspiring to say the least with is presentation and his thoughts. He's a cool dude. It takes a big person to say they don't like their own product (He did say they are fixing it. Actually, the new version is coming out later this month.). Amazing guy.
So, during the Q and A, people were asking him questions mainly about WordPress, Automattic, and the many projects he's involved with. My question seemed out of place and I felt like asking him one on one anyway. After the keynote, I had a chance to ask him my question. His answer was pretty straight forward. "For starters, if I am working on a project that is on the computer, the first thing I do is get off the computer." He does his photography and he also sketches in a moleskin for inspiration. He mentioned the site ColourLovers.com, which is new to me and is quickly becoming one of my favorites. If I sound fanboy-ish, than so be it but Matt is an inspirational creative and I am glad to have met him.
There are a few other resources from yesterday that are starting to get posted online. I know Wayne Sutton did an interview with Matt and he recorded A LOT of video of the event too. I saw almost everyone taking pictures and stuff, but I have yet to find any on Flickr, save a few from myself and Wayne Sutton. Mine aren't that great, btw. 😉
So that's pretty much everything in a nutshell... a large nutshell, but a nutshell nonetheless. It was a great time and my only complaint is I didn't win a WordPress shirt. 🙁