WordCamp Tampa is (sadly) over, and I’m sitting at the Tampa airport going over the events of the last few days. First off, I have to say that this really didn’t feel like an inaugural WordCamp. Andrew Norcross and crew did an incredible job pulling together an event that felt ‘right’… and I’m not the only one who noticed. As the end of the event drew near, I heard many people remark that it had gone surprisingly smoothly for an inaugural WordCamp, and I tend to agree. Maybe it was the fact that many of the organizers and volunteers are seasoned attendees and speakers. Maybe it was the extra help thrown in by the head organizers of the popular Miami and Orlando WordCamps, maybe it was just dumb luck… but this felt like a WordCamp that was in its third or fourth season.
Second, again surprising from an inaugural WordCamp, was the speaker lineup. As an organizer myself, I can speak to the challenges present in getting your ‘ideal’ speaker lineup when your city doesn’t already have a proven record. However, Tampa brought in well-known speakers like Mark Jaquith and Chris Lema putting their lineup on par with the more seasoned WordCamps (Miami, I’m talking about you).
Beyond the WordCamp itself, this trip gave me the opportunity to visit with some old friends I don’t get the chance to talk to often enough, and (as usual) make a few new friends as well…
Andrew Norcross – Great seeing you, as always. Had a great time chilling with you on Friday, and I’m still hoping I can return the favor next WordCamp Omaha!
Brianna Norcross – As usual, great to see you too… I’m still jealous of the ink though. Have a feeling I’m never going to be able to catch up with you guys!
Chris Lema – I know you only really came out for the cigar factory tour but was good seeing you anyway. Hopefully, someday I can drag you out to Omaha… We might not have cigars, but at the very least I can offer you a good drink and a better steak!
Chris Christoff – Despite missing our discussion on Friday (I’m sorry!), always good to see you and your insane Mountain Dew addiction… always makes me feel better about the amount of coffee I drink. Oh, and CFM integration!
Sean Davis – Great to finally meet you in person. I don’t think I ever said it while we were still in Tampa, but the (admittedly lengthy) conversation we had on Friday was likely the best non-development talk I’ve had in years. Looking forward to part 2 of the discussion at Pressnomics (if not sooner)!
Mary Backstrom – See, I haven’t forgotten you! You don’t have to be a developer to make my friends list! Keep up the great work, and I’ll see you in Orlando. Oh, and you might want to fix the footer of your website. Try assigning a menu to it without adding anything to the menu if you want that spot to be blank. ;)
Everyone else, as usual, there are just too many people to greet, thank, or otherwise involve each of you individually. You’re all awesome, you all helped make WordCamp Tampa an epic experience, and I can’t wait to see you all again next time! If you’re not already following me on Twitter, feel free to hit me up… @evertiro