WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system (CMS), 35% of websites are built on it. When you are visiting a website, it is most likely made with WordPress. WordCamps are community-organized events for casual users to core developers, and WordCamp NYC is one of my favourite.
(Previous part: My Trip to New York: Part 2 - Coney Island )
Jet lag is still waking me up early, so after 5am I was again on a walk at Central Park. After breakfast I headed to the main purpose of this trip, WordCamp NYC 2019. The venue was the very same than year ago, awesome Convene , just next to the Times Square. It was easy to locate and I was there just before registration opened, so there was a bit time to wander around in almost empty rooms. Overall feeling was more calm and valuable than last year.
Quickly I found few familiar faces from last year, and also met my good friend Mervin, who was also the main responsible organizer for the Camp this year. Mervin was very busy of course, so a quick “how are you doings” were enough for now.
In a keynote room I found a miracle, familiar from last year: Mirabai Knight, who was writing all the speaks in real-time to the screen. She had a weird looking steno writer device, and she was capable of writing 300 words per minute. It is five words per seconds! It was awesome, and on many presentations I just liked watching her typing, more than the speaker on stage.
I have enjoyed watching American’s presentations by default. They feel like natural speakers and being born to stage. I noticed this already last year, and since then I have gained a bit experience myself. I really value for this kind of a talent. My plan is to learn to write content to the web, so I chose most presentations somehow related to that content.
The most remarkable presentation was by Chip Edwards , What does your brand look like in a voice first world? . I realised that voice controlled web is coming really fast. Smart assistants like Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are taking over the traditional screen, keyboard and touchpad combo. One of the beauties of WordPress ecosystem, build by a passionate community, is a huge work it has done for making websites accessible for people with disabilities. Since it is a relative small target group, commercial players have shamelessly ignored them. And now it backfires. All work done to make websites accessible is suddenly one of the most important factor making your website usable.
An important part of WordCamps are afterparties, and WordCamp NYC 2019 made no difference. Before going to the party I took a bit rest at the hotel, set up more suitable clothes and headed to the party place. Organizers had made sure that everybody would be happy, so drink tickets was available (much) more than enough. And for a finnish guy that kind of challenge is not a problem ;) Wonderful people and deep talks with other WordCamp participants and locals. Later at night I even got promoted to a good prospective New Yorker by natives, which was a real honour.
It went later than expected, but it was all worth it. When walking back to the hotel I met a guy selling some kind of newspapers. After a seconds he revealed my “I only have a credit card” bluff, and I decided to buy a paper (next day it turned out to be a very nice paper about writing school Gotham Writers) and stay a while for a chat. The City was empty (really sleeping?!) and we have no rush anywhere. I was telling about Finland, and how there is no need to do work like this, system will take care of you. Guy could not believe his ears and dreamed to move to Finland. I tried to convenience him that don’t bother, you will not find happiness that way. I was happy that I could help him a bit on his everynight job to get a bit money for his 11 years old daughter. And somehow I believe in overall he is happier than I am..
After just a few hours of sleep and went back to the venue for day two. What happened then, you'll will find out in the next episode!