If you’ve never gone to Prestige Conf, and chances are that you have not since there have only been a few of them, you have no idea of what you’re missing. I personally learned more in one weekend at this conference, than I have in most of the WordCamp’s I’ve gone to. I’m not picking on WordCamp, or WordCamp’s in general, I’m just saying that this is nothing like a WordCamp at all. A conference that allows you to hear the success stories and the horror stories, from the developers mouth, will totally change your world in the community of WordPress Developers. First off, I just want to say that it’s an awesome conference.
Let’s talk about getting personal
When you attend a conference that is geared towards teaching beginners and intermediate users of WordPress, you don’t really get to hear stories about how a plugin or theme was built. Sometimes you hear a small fraction of that. It’s not a problem. It’s just how the conference is geared. This weekend at Prestige Conf 2015 Las Vegas, I got to hear some stories, theories and arguments that I didn’t even know existed. One of the best I heard all weekend was Between Jake Goldman and Andrew Norcross. The question was “How Do You Define Success”? To my surprise, Norcorss is human after all. He explained that he defines success as providing for his family and making enough to pay his bills. Anything more than that is great, but he’s interested in making sure that he can cover his spread. This really caught me off guard. I mean here is a guy, that I look up to, explaining that he doesn’t define success by downloads and reviews. It’s simply about living the life that he wants. How many conferences have you been to and heard a conversation like that? For me, almost none.
Dude. The 2015 Las Vegas Prestige Conference Sessions were super incredible. They were not your run of the mill “Here’s how you do this and how you do not do this”. They had presentations from people who were tax analysts that explained the right and wrong way to run your business. We had stories of how WordPress Developers got their start and how their company’s came together. We had the CFO of WPEngine give insights on how you should go about obtaining seed funding and picking the right investment partners. This was Free advice, free as in you had to pay for a ticket to hear, but still. Most of what she said was advice that you should have to pay a large amount of money. These sessions really opened up the world I thought I once knew.
Meeting a WordPress Developer That I’ve Only Read
I’ve never really got to meet some of the big names that I read on a daily basis. I’ve met Chris Lema at WordCamp Reno / Tahoe 2013. We both spoke there. I’ve met him at WordCamp Las Vegas 2014. It wasn’t until this weekend that I really got to sit by him and really hear who he is as a person. He’s just like you’d imagine by the way. Just an awesome guy. I’ve used a theme on one of my personal sites that was written by Andrew Norcross. I feel like after reading his changelogs and theme documentations, I met the guy. Then you hear him tell stores, at an after party, about how he and his wife used to post grocery receipts online to help show people what it’s like to shop for 5 people. He said that it was mostly receipts that included Trojan Brand Condoms. It will totally make you feel as if you’re stupid for thinking that you might of knew / met the guy.
Then there are people that you will meet at a conference like this, that are just amazing. I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Fox, an amazing WordPress Developer, who was nothing but nice to me. He even encouraged me to make my free plugin a PAID PLUGIN. Most of the advice you get is something like “Well sleep on it”. Ben Fox was like “If you don’t do it, I’ll do it”. Normally I wouldn’t of paid attention. Except here was a successful developer that just partnered with GoDaddy, telling me to go for it. It was encouraging. It was refreshing to tell you the truth. The WordPress Developer community, and the WordPress Community as a whole, is filled with super amazing people who are not into greed and fame. The community is about helping everyone out and making their site better. It’s really about paying it forward. Yeah, we make a little bit of money off it. The exception is that you really do not see Google Ad Words postings for paid plugins. It’s not like they have a budget of $3.5 million dollars to blow on advertising. It’s mostly word of mouth and that’s why I love this community.
I’m done ranting and raving. Here are some photographs from this weekend. Have fun!!!!