WordCampSF 2010WordCampSF 2010 is done and in the books. If you’re a designer, developer, enthusiast or newbie there was something during the conference for you.

This was actually my very first WordCamp and I must say that the experience was pretty amazing. There are two reasons that made this event really resonate with me on a personal level:

1 – I worked as a volunteer, so I had a little bit of extra “access” around the venue. This was beneficial since the volunteers had a lounge area where we could kick back and place our stuff – so I didn’t need to lug my big jacket and laptop bag around the whole time.

2 – Which is probably even more special is that i got some one-on-one time with Matt Mullenweg himself.

James Hicks & Matt Mullenweg

The deal was, I had called into the WordPress Weekly podcast, hosted by Jeff Chandler of the WordPress Tavern, and was giving his audience my impressions thus far of the conference. Lo and behold, halfway through my interview, here comes Matt. So obviously I snag him and get him on the Skype call with me. Check out the embedded audio below and you’ll hear my interview on the show.

From a value perspective! The conference did what it was supposed to do; and that is to provide a venue for folks to share in their experiences and learn from each other. Automattic and WordPress is all about a “community” and you can definitely sense that walking up and down the aisles at this conference.

There were two tracks, each focused on a specific audience. The developer track (which I was the volunteer on – shouts out and thanks to Maya) had the following speakers:

Niall Kennedy: Writing Plugins for nOObs. Niall is also the project lead for VideoPress (hence, a good person to get to know).

Daniel Cook: Why We Turned Microsoft Office Into a Game (FYI, being a Mac guy myself, I actually enjoyed this presentation a lot – this is going to be some cool stuff when they release it out of beta)

– Joseph Scott and Mitcho Erlewine: Writing Secure Plugins and Themes and Abstract Your Code (these guys have credentials and accolades falling out of their ears. Incredibly intelligent and very well respected in the overall WordPress community).

Jane Wells: User Experience the WordPress Way (needless to say, when Jane speaks, people listen…)

Scott Rosenberg: WordPress: A Key Link in Blogging’s Evolutionary Chain (being one of the founders of Salon.com, Scott knows what he’s talking about).

In the User Track, they had an equally impressive lineup of speakers:

Scott Berkun: WordPress in 2020

Vanessa Fox: WordPress, Audience Engagement, and SEO (per the Twitter stream (#wcsf) Vanessa was giving some incredibly useful information to the attendees at her session)

Karl Fogel: Bodysurfing the Blogosphere: How an Audience-Distributed Film Won Big

John Ford: Living with Our Computers…and Keeping it Healthy

Richard Stallman: The Free Software Movement and the GNU/Linux Operating System (folks, Stallman is crazy – but in a good geeky way. He was late for his own session, had problems getting off the Muni, then as soon as he got on stage, he took his shoes off – things went somewhat sideways after that)

In the middle of the conference Matt took the stage and gave everyone the State of the Word (his keynote speech about where Automattic is as an organization overall). He spoke about BBQ, he spoke about jazz, and he talked about the importance of developing “things” that were fundamentally good. With that, the State of the Word was Strong.

Now, I sat in the 4th row of the keynote and filmed the entire thing on my iPhone and had a good stream of people watching live here on THE Tech Scoop. Overall I actually believe I was the first person to have the MattNote online. At this point I still don’t see the official taping on WordPress.tv so below is my livestream of the MattNote.

Note: to get a very concise rundown of the key points Matt talked about, check out the post Jeff Chandler did on the WordPress Tavern here.

After the tracks there was the Lightning Sessions in the main conference room. The presenters were:

Beau Lebens: Talking about some incredibly exciting things going on and come soon from Gravatar and IntenseDebate.

Yoav Farhi: Reminds us involved with creating content for the blogosphere that, not everyone in the world reads left-to-right; it is of great benefit to content and site creators to be mindful of the right-to-left reading parts of the globe.

Stephan Spencer: The author of The Art of SEO

Allan Cole: Young webpreneur talked about theme design, them frameworks and using parent and child themes

– Dan Milward: Mister WP e-Commerce himself talking about the future of the plugin – good stuff.

– Raphael Mudge: After seeing this presentation I, as do many others, feel After the Deadline should be a mandatory plugin for everyone.

– Michael Koening: A bit more insight on the forthcoming great work coming from IntenseDebate.

Rinat Tuhvatshin: If there ever was a feel good moment, or a motivating backstory, it is that of what Mr. Tuhvatshin is doing with the WPMU-based Kloop.kg portal (it’s kloop.info in English). I’m not going to tell you the story, I’m going to challenge each of you to go to their site and see what this man and his team are doing to bring about freedoms of choice and communication in the very tense region of Kyrgyzstan.

photo by John Adams

After a full day of learning and networking, many of us went to the Automattic Lounge on Pier 38 for the after party. That was an awesome experience; hanging out with everyone in a social setting (the fact that it was an open bar didn’t hurt either).

Automattic employee and Stylist Noël Jackson spun some cool beats as the DJ for the night. The WordPress Cake, however, was the big hit of the evening.

I called it the evening around 11:30 since I have a 2 hour drive back home. I didn’t make it to the developer’s unconference on Sunday and on Monday and Tuesday of the coming week the 3.0 core code sprint begins – the team will be squashing as many bugs as possible as they head towards a 3.0 release candidate hopefully within the coming 2 weeks.

Hopefully you enjoyed my detailed trip through the day that was WordCampSF 2010. If you were there and feel I missed something significant, please leave in the comments.

Below are two Flickr sets from two very talented photographers. The first set is from Eva Blue (she works a Canon 7D like no other !)

The next Flickr set is from Mr. Alex Shiels (tellyworth). Alex is actually the one snapped that awesome photo of me and Matt (thank you kind sir !).

Update: Below is the official video of Matt’s State of the Word Kenote

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