Flying by Manhattan and Ellis Island, I kept looking out the window to see the huge city for the first time in my life.  Before WordCamp NYC 2012, I had never been to the city, and staring out the window was the first time I was laying eyes on the city.

New York Minute

WordCamp NYC was one of the biggest of 2012, and WP Engine sent several folks to the event to support the community.  Ben Metcalfe, Jeremy Pry, Chris Lauzon, Shayda Torabi, and me came to New York to work the event.  We try to sponsor and attend as many WordCamps as possible.  We’ll bring company t-shirts, stickers, and lanyards, and we also give away free hosting accounts to the attendees.

I’ve noticed that each WordCamp takes on the flavor and the culture of the city, and becomes a microcosm of its locality.  New York is one of the biggest, and most diverse cities on the planet, and its WordCamp felt that way.  With over 800 attendees, WordCamp New York was one of the biggest in the country this year.

There were about 80 sessions to go to on Saturday and Sunday, with some of the more popular sessions being presented both days because there was standing room only, and more people could not fit inside the rooms.  The session topics ranged from Optimizing WordPress, to Working with Core, to Content Marketing and Social Media, and people came from all over the world to attend the unconference.

No matter how big the WordCamp gets, I think there are four big reasons people attend WordCamps, and I think we all have these in common.

  1. To learn more about WordPress
  2. To share what they’ve learned
  3. To connect with the community
  4. To grow their WordPress-related business

You could see all of these elements at play at the Speakers Party on Friday night.  After arriving and thanking the dedicated organizers for their hard work organizing the event, I looked around to see some very notable faces in the WordPress community, sharing things about the software “project” we all have in common, and looking as excited as 10 year olds.  I got to introduce myself around the room, and I noticed that once we got past the small talk and onto the topic of WordPress, everyone was ready to learn something new, and to share what they had learned, connecting in the process.

Ben Metcalfe - Optimizing WordPress

The Saturday sessions kicked off at 9:30AM, and there were 15 Sessions running simultaneously all day long.  I didn’t get a chance to attend most of the sessions because I brought a video camera and was scheduling interviews with some of the attendees, and putting the finishing touches on my talk about how to Develop Digital Media into WordPress.

In the next couple of weeks look for a few video interviews of many of the attendees.  I got to talk with a ton of developers, writers, and designers who are all creating amazing things with WordPress.  The goal with the videos is to share some of the experience and knowledge of as many people in the community as possible.  I’m excited to share them.

We’re probably coming out to a WordCamp near you, so keep your eyes out.  Here’s a the list of WordCamps we’re sponsoring and attending the rest of the year: BostonColumbus, San Francisco, Portland, Montreal, and Chicago.  We’d love to come out and meet you at one of these and hear about what you’re doing with WordPress!  Send a tweet to @wpengine if you’ll be at one of these WordCamps, and tell us how to find you!

See you then!

-Austin Gunter


PS: For more pictures and some tweets from NYC, check out the Storify that Shayda put together.