I had the privilege of speaking at WordCamp San Diego this past weekend. Here are some of the things I learned there. It wasn’t necessarily new information, but rather things that were reinforced or reintroduced.
Keep calm and speak on
This was my first time speaking at a WordCamp. I had some pre-talk jitters but once I got up to the podium I was fine. What threw me for a loop were the projector’s colors — they were completely off! Red came out as black, and greens and yellows looked the same. The biggest problem was the site I was demoing was red. This meant that the audience couldn’t see a single thing. Fortunately, my talk was about Chrome Developer Tools. An audience member suggested that I change background color, and so I did. It was the perfect learning opportunity!
Turns out the cable on the projector side was not plugged in properly, but I only found out after my talk. I learned that I should expect the unexpected during a talk — the building’s wifi may not work, the projector might be broken, or you may be speaking in an area where there is a lot of noise. To take this to the extreme, one should be prepared to give a talk without the help of any technology.
Pricing is both art and science
Chris Lema has talked a lot about pricing — he’s even written a book about it — but this was the first time I heard him give a talk about pricing. In usual Chris Lema form, he entertained as well as informed.
One of the more interested experiments he talked about was the anchoring effect (or arbitrary coherence, in more academic terms). Subjects were asked whether they would buy something if it were priced the same as the last two digits of their Social Security Number. Then they bid a price they were willing to pay for that same item. The subjects with high Social Security numbers submitted higher bids than those with lower numbers. Bottom line? We don’t make purchase decisions based on logic.
WordCamp provides great value
Where else can you attend a tech conference that teaches you about business, design, code, and WordPress — all for less than $50? Social Media Marketing World 2015 ended right before WordCamp San Diego, and those tickets easily cost you over $1000. It’s true that WordCamps are subsidized by the WordPress Foundation and sponsorships, but it shows that the WordPress community is active and invested in the growth of the platform.
I’ve written about WordCamps before — it is a good place to network, learn, and score some free swag. Going to a big tech conference with thousands of attendees can be scary. I think WordCamps provide a more intimate and friendly environment. Check to see if there is a local WordCamp near you!