We just got back from a long and utterly exciting journey to San Francisco for the biggest WordCamp of the year – WordCamp San Francisco. We proudly sponsored the conference for a second consecutive year and to say that we had a blast will be an understatement! There were more than 600 people attending, and I had the feeling we spoke to almost all of them, amazing line-up of speakers and sessions, including Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word, and the Contribute day that made this event especially valuable for me personally.
Our booth - the busiest ever!
As a sponsor of the event, we had a booth and I’ll tell you this - there’s no other conference where I’ve talked non-stop to people all day long. Not just me, but the whole SiteGround crew literally couldn’t catch their breath with so many great conversations. I think there were two reasons people were so interested in SiteGround: first we had great swag: our shades got quite trendy, and there were even people coming especially to see the design of our brochure. But it wasn’t about the visuals, what matters more was the substance behind – our unique WordPress hosting solution and unbeatable offer. From the great feedback we have received during the event I can say that we managed to convey our message that SiteGround hosting stands out in a crowd of hosting providers by providing the best of both managed and shared hosting quite well. And the overwhelming number of new customers that signed up during the event is the best prove!
The State of the Word – the incredible WordPress growth
The highlight of each WordCamp San Francisco is Matt Mullenweg’s annual “State of the Word” speech. Matt is a great visionary and like the year before, his speech was very insightful: he demonstrated the amazing WordPress growth and highlighted the direction in which WordPress is going. With an impressive 2.2% growth from last year, WordPress is now powering 18.9% of the web and there were 46+ million downloads in the last 12 months only. He also shared the results of the annual survey which have been summarized in a nice infographic by the guys from Elegant Themes.
Matt also announced an exciting and rather aggressive release schedule – WordPress 3.6 is coming up in the next few days, 3.7 will be ready in October and 3.8 will be out in December, both will be developed in parallel. Also, a new magazine style default theme, Twenty Fourteen, will be ready by the end of the year. Some users raised a concern about the frequent updates and the increased amount of time they will need to spend on updating, but SG clients shouldn’t worry about that – we’ve got your back covered, we automatically update WordPress and its plugins every time a new version is out - so less work and no hassle for you.
The contribute day – anyone can do it!
The third day of the conference was the Contribute Day which gathered more than 200 community members at the Automattic’s office to work on different aspects of the WordPress project. Usually contribute days in open source communities, including WordPress, are for advanced developers and geeks who gather together to code and squash bugs all day. In other words, not much a marketing person like myself could do to help there. This contribute day was different though – folks could help not only with code, but also writing documentation, working on the wordpress.org website and even subtitling videos for WordPress.tv. And this was what made the difference for me - it felt really great when in the end of the day the SiteGround crew finished transcribing the Q&A session of this year’s State of the Word and helped for the creation of an educational tutorial on how to convert static HTML site to a WordPress theme. A big shout out to Andrea Middleton, Konstantin Kovshenin, Drew Jaynes, Bronson Quick, and Kim Espinoza for guiding us through the contribute process and working with us. Getting involved was a lot of fun, extremely rewarding and motivating and we’ll certainly continue to give back to this amazing community.
Of course, the party animals in us wouldn’t have liked WCSF as much if there wasn’t a great after party. And without any doubt, this year’s edition of WordCamp San Francisco scores high in our party meter. It could have been because we sponsored the drinks ☺
While I am tempted to tell you about our “shaky” experience going to and back from San Francisco with the strongest turbulence ever, the delayed flights and the missed connections, I’ll leave you to check out the pics from the event.
Extremely excited and incredibly jetlagged,