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WordCamps Are Going Virtual – Here’s What Happened at WordCamp Denver

WordCamps Are Going Virtual – Here’s What Happened at WordCamp Denver

If you’ve never been to a WordCamp before you’re missing the best part of the WordPress world. While the software is great – it’s the size and giving nature of the community that makes it special.

I sat down with my friend Nathan Ingram – who has been to 50-60 WordCamps – to discuss what virtual WordCamps are like, some of the advantages of WordCamps going virtual, some of the things to watch out for, and our best advice to get the most out of attending a WordCamp.

Maximize Your Screen Size

Virtual WordCamps are great but there’s a few things you might not expect. One of the first is what they actually look like. For WordCamp Denver, we tried to show the speaker, their title, and their slides. 

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All of this is great as long as you have a big enough screen to make sure their slides are legible.

Tip: make sure you watch virtual WordCamps on a laptop or desktop.

Attend the “Soft” Sessions

For WordCamp Denver we added a few “soft” sessions like yoga on Friday and How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee Saturday morning.

While these aren’t strictly WordPress related, they’re a great way to connect with your community. The chat was very active during both sessions and people happily shared non-WordPress things with each other.

Tip: You’ll always have another email to answer. Instead, take the opportunity to connect with your community both before, after, and during the event.

Bookmark Your Favorite Sessions

For WordCamp Denver we had three tracks going on both days. There is always a ton of great content and you won’t be able to watch it all.

I’ll admit it – I’m lazy and if I don’t have to prepare for an event I won’t. But if you can spend even 10 minutes reviewing the schedule & speakers ahead of time, you should be able to find the sessions most relevant to you.

And since this is a virtual event you don’t have to go all day. You can conserve your energy and pop in for the sessions most relevant for you and then go back to regular work or life.

Tip: Bookmark your favorite sessions and schedule your day around them.

Ask Your Questions As They Come Up

One thing you might not realize is that there’s a 20-30 second delay between the speaker talking and you seeing the video on your end. That means it can be really hard to come up with good questions when the speaker asks.

Instead you can ask questions throughout the talk by dropping them in the chat. A moderator will collect them, prioritize them, and ask them at the end. This makes asking questions really efficient and you won’t forget a great question if you drop it in the chat immediately.

As a side benefit sometimes the attendees will answer your questions or help you elaborate. 

Tip: Ask questions as soon as they come up. It helps the dialogue in the chat & will make sure those questions won’t be forgotten.

Feel Free to Check Different Tracks

One thing that’s hard to do at a physical event is to switch tracks. I don’t want to step over someone, open doors, or maybe even step in front of the camera.

I kept three tabs open almost all day and had all three live streams running and I flipped back and forth muting & unmuting the different tracks. It let me hear a little bit from each speaker and then join the session that made the most sense for me.

Tip: You’re allowed to watch all of the tracks and pick your favorite. You won’t hurt any speakers’ feelings by switching tracks and you won’t disturb anyone – so do it!

Focus on One Or Two Changes

There’s a lot of really good sessions at a WordCamp and I think Nathan sums it up perfectly:

“WordCamps are like a firehose…”

People often leave WordCamps with notebooks full of ideas. But those exciting ideas can easily turn into procrastination because you don’t know where to start.

Tip: After you’ve finished watching a WordCamp, focus on implementing just 1 or 2 things. If you focus on 1 or 2 things you’ll be able to get them done.

Getting The Most out of a Virtual WordCamp

Virtual WordCamps are still sorting themselves out and the format will likely change as we move forward. While some things aren’t as easy to do as they were before – there are also a ton of benefits for virtual events.

With these tips we hope you can get the most out of the WordCamp near you!

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5 Tips for Attending a Virtual Conference or WordCamp

5 Tips for Attending a Virtual Conference or WordCamp

Whether you’re working from home for the first time, or you’re a experienced virtual commuter, you’ve probably been spending more time online these days. Chances are you’ve been invited to or seen a virtual conference as they’ve started springing up to replace the in-person events that have been cancelled across the globe. 

As a remote worker, I’ve been attending meetings online for a while but participating in WordCamp San Antonio this year marked my first virtual conference. The event was well organized, packed with information, and attended by people from all over the world!

Here are my top 5 takeaways for virtual events.

1) Remove distractions

It’s easy to assume that enjoying a virtual conference will mean being able to clean the house, watch the kids, or get some light handiwork done. Unfortunately, multitasking doesn’t really work for most people. Attending a virtual conference is similar to enjoying an in-person conference. 

During in-person conferences, the only distractions are the people in the same room (and maybe the computer or phone in front of you). Once you step into a conference hall to listen to a speaker, you have one focus. Remember to retain that mentality when you step into a virtual conference room by removing external distractions. For instance, it helped for me to close the door to my office during sessions so I wouldn’t hear people in my house watching Netflix.

2) Be on time

Arriving late to someone’s talk means missing critical information that sets the stage for what you’re there to learn about. Arrive on-time to virtual talks in the same way you would in-person. Heck, why not try showing up a few minutes early to make sure your audio and video setup is working well?

Consider setting a reminder on your phone, or adding an appointment to your calendar.  Online sessions are often recorded (and therefore watchable later), but don’t rely on that (sometimes recordings can fail). Attending live can also give you the opportunity to join the chat and ask real-time questions.

3) Take advantage of time in-between sessions

One of the great things about a virtual conference is that you can switch between rooms quickly. Saving the 5 minute commute in-between sessions gives you more time to network and meet new people virtually. At WordCamp San Antonio, attendees were even encouraged to ask speakers questions in-between sessions. 

At an in-person conference, one person can sometimes monopolize the limited ‘between’ time of a speaker. At a virtual conference, a speaker can usually field more questions, and the answers are accessible to all!

4) Make sure your environment is comfortable

If you’ll be attending the conference all day, you’ll want to make sure your environment is as comfortable as possible. Bring snacks to keep your energy up and remember your favorite beverages. Consider using a pillow, moving your computer screen, and adding external speakers or headphones if you’re watching in a place with lots of distractions.

5) Get dressed

This last tip might seem a little silly, but it’s one of my favorites. When I don’t get dressed like I’m attending an IRL conference or meeting, I don’t feel as confident. If I don’t feel confident, I might not feel like sharing my video camera (a must for remote workers and remote conferencers) or engaging as though I’m attending a real conference. Getting dressed is my way of telling myself (and others) I’m ready for business.

In the office with my best business shirt.

What virtual conferences have you been to? 

Have you attended a virtual conference lately? Are you working from home for the first time? I’d love to hear from you. Send me a message on Twitter @ifyouwillit.

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Revisiting the DCKAP Summit with Jeries

Revisiting the DCKAP Summit with Jeries

Last week, our team attended DCKAP Summit, one of the few agency-organized conferences in North America. Not only did we sponsor the event, but we also volunteered our time to prepare and give presentations to the conference attendees on how managed ecommerce solutions are paving the way for merchant success. 

In attendance was Jeries Eadeh, the Hostdedi VP of Channel Sales at Hostdedi, Amber Hamad, Strategic Partner Development Manager, and Anna Brown, also Strategic Partner Development.

The event took place over one day and saw 15 speakers make their way to the stage to present on diverse topics, such as how to monetize customer support interactions and how to solve ecommerce pain points with integrations and PIM. 

In total, the event brought together some of the best minds in ecommerce across the US. The knowledge shared provided insights into core merchant pain points and offered actionable advice on how to realize the potential of a storefront. 

Below is a roundup of how it went, what we thought and what we learned.

From Humble Beginnings 

The morning keynote and general session were MC’d by Christopher Cuenza, who was a key figure not only introducing the speakers, but he always stopped to remind us what a special opportunity this event was for everyone.  Throughout the day he reminded us to make sure to meet someone new, learn a few things about them and share some genuine interest in one another. 

Found and CEO of DCKAP, Karthik Chidambaram, naturally kicked off the morning keynote with some preparation for topics and discussions to be presented throughout the day. Karthik shared inspiring stories about DCKAPs humble beginnings in Chicago, Illinois.  

Thanks to Karhik, and the entire team at DCKAP, in attendance was an amazing group of agencies, technology providers and merchants All of them there to discuss various topics from modern development to cloud services, product customization platforms, QA testing and much much more.

Exploring Modern Ecommerce Trends 

This was followed by Karthik was Marc Ostryniec Global SVP Sales at BigCommerce, who presented a riveting story around modern-day commerce trends. He connected today’s best practices back to some great American businessmen and provided advice on how merchants can drive growth with their businesses. Of particular interest was how folks like King C. Gillette and businesses like the Dollar Shave Club followed the same business model to disrupt an entire industry.  

We learned from some other extraordinary people like Mohan Natarajan, Praveen Venugopal, Bhavani Ramasubbu.  Who all took the opportunity to help merchants solve some challenging problems with product customization, management strategies, and simple quality assurance testing tools. It’s clear the DCKAP team have been putting their heads together and working incredibly hard to solve many common pain points for merchants.  

We finished up the day with another round of presentations from Sivaranjani Ramamoorthy with DCKAP, Stephen Cohan from Dot Digital and Steve Hoffman from Avalara.  All of these touched on important and relevant topics for today’s modern retailers. The afternoon group tackled challenging subjects like ADA compliance, growing your business with marketing automation, and managing both federal and local state sales taxes as a remote company operating across multiple state lines. 

Speaking on the Tools and Features Modern Merchants Need

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to present and speak with everyone at the conference.  

As we continue to network and meet merchants, agencies and technology providers, we’re learning that cloud computing, information security and performance-tuned architecture remain to be some of the most critical challenges facing today’s merchant.  I talked about the tools and features we’ve implemented for our clients. This included auto scaling, 1-click development sites, and more. 

Thank you to DCKAP and the entire team who organized the event.  It’s clear this event will be a must-attend next year. We look forward to working with everyone again to make the next event even more successful.

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