WordCamp Brighton 2019

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The weekend began on Thursday morning. I did those last-minute bag checks and headed into Manchester on the train. There I met up with DanK, our newest member of the WordPress team and incidentally his first-ever WordCamp. We hopped on the train and headed down to London Euston.

Arriving at London Victoria

We hopped on the tube to Victoria and then made our way into Brighton. We climbed the hill to our house where we then collapsed and waited for Tim Nash to arrive.

Once Tim had arrived we went out for tea and took a wander down to the beach.

After all the rain the sun came out

Day 1 – Friday

The day started at 6.30am we headed out for breakfast and then arrived at the venue. I first took a look around the sponsor’s area. Caught up with Tess from Mind Doodle and Laura from Pragmatic and headed over to see Dan Maby and Babs over at the WP&UP stand. As someone who lives with mental health issues, I am a big supporter of what WP&UP are doing for the community. Their focus of the weekend was battling imposter syndrome. If I learned anything from the entire weekend, it’s just how many of us suffer from this and how we all find different ways to keep it in check. They had a green screen and sent out pictures like the one below, to help remind us to keep pressing forward.

I was up first in track 1, so headed there to get mic’ed up and catch up with the AV and camera crew. My talk A Time-savers Guide to the Command Line is me sharing my productivity hacks with the community and hoping to encourage others to do the same. Here are my slides from the talk.

The first talk I attended was Supercharging WordPress Development by Adam Tomat this looked at various frameworks that sit on top of Lumberjack.

Next, I went onto the Lightning Talks
Sarah Pantry firstly talked about how to feedback constructively. Whether it is to report bugs to a project or when dealing with a support team.

Mauricio Gelves talked about improving your site performance using caching and SVG’s

Tom J Nowell talked about how bad SVG’s can be, how they can be full of malware and why you shouldn’t use them unless you actually need vectors.

With all that information to digest, it was time to head to Lunch. I had some vegan quiche along with some beetroot houmous and some pasta.

I went to see Tim Nash talk about dragons and rainbows Testing the Fortifications – Hack Yourself Here he challenged us to think about perceived threats and how to fortify against them.

Finally, I went to see Graham Armfield talk about Useful Accessibility Tools I enjoy Grahams talks as they always shine new light on the latest accessibility tools and ways we can improve our blogs to make them more screen reader and accessibility friendly.

Friday night drinks

We headed over to The Worlds End, where we had food and drink. Here we met up with Dan and Adam (was great to meet you both!). We later headed over to the brewery where I met Ronald and Ben. We talked about music and radio and enjoyed good local ales.

Me and DanK at The Worlds End

Day 2 – Saturday

First stop…Breakfast Club!

The Breakfast Club – you can tell this is pre-coffee

First up we had Rhys Wynne talking about A Developer’s Guide to Working With Marketing Teams Rhys shared the ways to communicate better between technical and marketing teams.

After a short break, I went in to see Alain Schlesser talk about Building a Realtime Status Page using the combined power of Gutenberg and Firebase
This was a fascinating insight into using react in Gutenberg combined with Firebase to provide a live updating status page.

There was another short break and then time to go into more Lightning Talks
Melin Edomwonyi talked about UX and it’s evolution.
Si Cooke talked about Pragmatics idea for the IWP awards
Ben Kinnaird talked about how he wrote a plugin and what he learned along the way.

For lunch, we went to the Hare and Hounds pub where Rhys Wynne joined us. We had a nice burger and chips before heading back for the last round of talks.

This was the hallway track period for me. I met up with Carole and had a good catch up and also reflected on the weekend with DanK getting his opinions on the weekend and how he found it.

Finally, I went to see Dan Maby read out his open letter Dear Imposter Syndrome… This is something many of us suffer from in the WordPress space, in fact in pretty much any space. Dan’s talk brought it home and the way he addresses it was an inspiration for me as I am sure it was for others.

The After Party

The after-party was held at Oh So Social on the beachfront. We sat outside and chatted to many many people. Here I met Dan? and James, two soon to be six formers looking to get a feel for the community and a future in technology. James wants to be an electrical engineer and Dan? would like to become a system administrator. Both quizzed me on both sysadmin and radio/electronics and I hope I gave them the encouragement they need to pursue their dreams.

It was also great to meet Tom, who was an acting ambassador for Weglot. We drank Fosters! (whole side story) and had a really good chat.

It was nice to catch up with Jenny and also meet Paul. I had a really good chat with Alain and also met the new lady from Pragmatic, welcome to the community!

Oh So Social closed and Tom lead us to the East Street Tap. A DJ was playing and we danced the night away. It was nice to meet Paul, his partner Elaine? Tom, Yorick? Other guy? Other guy?
Me and Dan were the last standing and we had a good chat and wind down outside before heading home.

Laura glittered me up for the night
Dan was unexpectedly glittered by Tom

Personal takeaways

I had a really good time in Brighton. It was a defining moment in my current journey, not just as a public speaker but as a member of the community. I took away lots of ideas, life goals and confidence. As I look back over the last few years of being involved in the WordPress community, I realise how it has helped me on a personal level in ways I could never have imagined. With constant encouragement from Tim Nash as well as other members of the community, I found myself this weekend with a level of confidence I have not had for many many years. To finally fight off my own imposter syndrome and realise just how much experience, talent and knowledge I have gathered over the past 16 years in this space. The challenge for me now is to maintain it, share it and to push onwards and upwards.

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