WordCamp Orange County 2019 – Recap

WordCamp OC 2019 Recap

Getting to the Camp

I flew into Orange County (John Wayne Airport) on Friday April 26th, 2019. As of late, my flights have been getting delayed more often.

Leaving Salt Lake City International, a sensor in the engine wasn’t attached properly causing some sort of error to occur. It took around 2 hours to diagnose and repair the issue. But after that, it was smooth sailing.

Delta pilots are pretty transparent about issues and are more than willing to elaborate in detail about problems that occur.

Landing In OC

Once I landed, Sandy Edwards text and asked to meet up as she had just landed at the same time. I ran down two terminals and we met up, grabbed an Uber and headed to the hotel.

After arriving at the hotel, we met Anna Gargioni (one of our own) for the first time. We had a drink and sat outside in the cool California breeze waiting for the rest of the team to get in so we could head out to dinner together.

Group Photo

Speaker Sponsor Dinner

One of our good friends, Jon Gilbert from Qualpay, mentioned there was a really good place to have a fish dinner right near the beach. Duke’s was right there on Huntington Beach, so that’s where we went.

Three of us ordered the same dish; it was an amazing Ahi Tuna with rice and a salad. I’m not a huge fan of fish. But after that meal, I decided when I am near the coasts fish is what I’m going to opt in for.

Orange County Sunset

After our fabulous dinner, the group headed on over to the San Joaquin Golf Course and got some networking in. Although we were only at the Speaker Sponsor Dinner for the last hour, I feel like we had some good conversations that were impactful.

Networking

As per usual, there’s always a group of people who enjoy going out for drinks to catch up and enjoy the remaining few hours of the night together. I spent about an hour chatting with friends and catching up before I ran into a wall of exhaustion.

At which point, I decided to hail an Uber and head in for the night.

Day 1 WordCamp Orange County 2019

WordCamp Orange County 2019 Swag
WordCamp Orange County 2019 Grab Swag – *I wore my beanie all weekend! Best swag ever.*

On the first morning, the team woke up bright and early to meet in the lobby of the hotel. After a night of networking and being social, 7AM comes fast on the west coast!

After regrouping and gathering the swag, we headed to UCI to set the table up and prepare for a very long and productive Saturday.

GreenGeeks Swag

Saturday was a success for ourselves and the attendees who were able to make it to the table. With shirts in various color options, eyeglass cleaners, buttons, pins and stickers, we had the obvious question of “How are you eco-friendly?”.

This was asked quite a few times, and it is just going to continue to be asked. If you’re curious about all the details, you can find out more about how we Go Green.

We’re starting this new project involving myself documenting some WordCamp interviews with business owners, developers, organizers and attendees. I had some mic issues that didn’t go over so well on Saturday, and we checked just about every store to get the piece of wiring we needed.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find it until the very last part of the day.

Since that happened, I was only able to get through two interviews. I need to get the footage edited and then I will decide whether or not it’s good enough to post or learn from.

Either way I had fun doing it!

The After Party

Saturday evening attendees, speakers, sponsors, volunteers and organizers gathered at Durty Nelly’s Irish Pub for some drinks, social interaction, local chats, and last but not least… Karaoke!

I didn’t get any good pictures, but I did have a really great time with everyone. Sandy sang her heart out for a solid 7 or 8 minutes and Carrie sang “I Like Big Butts.”

It was a sight to be seen and heard.

Something I take away from WordCamp every time I attend is the deep conversation that is had during the after parties. Those conversations have actually sparked deeper conversation and crafted deep relationships with community members than I would have ever imagined.

It’s priceless and absolutely wonderful to find in such a tech driven space.

Day 2 WordCamp Orange County 2019

Muffin

The team rose from the depths of sleep around 9 to get ready for the last day of awesomeness. On the way to breakfast, we ended up bumping into a high-end car meetup and had to take a few pictures to share.

Amazing Cars

After getting an insanely awesome vegan breakfast with Jon Gilbert, we headed to UCI and prepared for another productive day.

Once we made it to UCI, the team was at it full force handing out shirts, attending sessions, taking pictures and hanging out with the attendees and friends. I was ready to get the interviews out of the way.

Sandy and myself had an awesome interview about KidsCamp, Data Drive Labs and the WordPress community. After chatting with her, Jon and I did an interview together and he talked about Qualpay and how the product can save businesses sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in processing fees alone.

I was super stoked to learn more about how they do the process and to see how easy it was to get started for someone who was interested in using Qualpay as a payment solution. If anyone has questions, you can find Jon on Twitter @prefront.

Unfortunately, I didn’t schedule to stay another day so I had to leave camp early to fly back to Utah. When I got to the airport, I realized how tired I was and how much I could benefit from a nap.

I took a small nap on the plane and landed safely back in Salt Lake City.

Final Thoughts

My final thoughts and conclusions of WordCamp Orange County 2019 in one word is: Healthy. This was a trip I needed. It helped me remember that eating healthy food can taste extremely good as long as you take the time to learn how they blend and taste together.

Taking walks and enjoying them is something I do often. Unfortunately, the winter definitely gets to me and my sore bones. While it’s spring in Utah, the winter effects are wearing off and I can feel my energy levels rising!

Don’t forget to spend some time outside and also don’t forget sunscreen if you do.

Thank you to everyone who makes WordCamp OC possible. You’re all so wonderful to work with and make this community the enjoyable place it is.

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