The format was not unlike a BarCamp where people could submit topics they would present on. Unfortunately I was laying on a beach in Hawaii when it all happened (the advance submissions that is) so I missed the opportunity to participate as a presenter. Fortunately the plan is to have these frequently so there should be more chances to participate. Judging from the turnout, it could have possibly been a day long affair as there was no shortage of interesting topics and people interested in learning more about WordPress.
As much as I like the Network Hub, it’s not the best kind of venue for this kind of event – it’s just not big enough to accomodate the number of people that were interested in attending. There wasn’t nearly enough chairs for everyone and it was pretty tropical in there once people started showing up. There must be some place in Vancouver that can fit a large number of people, has decent wifi and supports some kind of food/drink service. Aside from UBC, SFU or one of the other school venues, there isn’t much that works.
The one presentor that I was surprised by was John Chow. He gave a presentation on making money from your blog. I had heard some (negative) stories about him and was expecting some kind of slimy, Tom Vu-like salesman and was impressed with his openness about how he became successful from blogging. He outlined how much money he makes from his blog, detailed the pricing structures and many key mistakes people make when trying to monitize their sites. His candor and self-deprecating humour was refreshing.
While I don’t necessarily agree with some of the tactics he uses, I don’t see them being much different than what you would see people in other types of business do to be successful – figure out the system and exploit it. I’m also not sure that his approach would work for many bloggers I know but he certainly has an interesting story and I thought he told it well. The audience was certainly hanging on his every word although some folks were definitely not impressed by his methods.
As with many of the local tech events, the evening wrapped up in a local restaurant for drinks with some old and new friends.
I’m looking forward to the next WordCamp for sure. You can see some of the other pictures I took in my WordCamp Flickr set.