Category Archives: WordCamp

I Love WordCamps!

One of the cooler things the WordPress community started doing in 2006 was putting on these events we called WordCamps. A big one is about to kick off in National Harbor, Maryland (which is basically Washington DC, but we’re calling it National Harbor for some reason).

You might be wondering where the name came from: Tim O’Reilly, of the O’Reilly books that so many of us learned from, hosted a hacker event called Foo Camp but it had limited capacity, and was therefore something of an exclusive invite (one time I eventually went I slept in a sleeping bag in an office). Tantek Çelik had been invited the year before, but not in 2005, and I had never been invited, so a group of us put together a more “open source” event in response called BarCamp. (The name was an allusion to the foo/bar concept in teaching programming, and the picture on that Wikipedia page was in the living room of my first apartment in San Francisco, as you can tell by the stand-up piano and Thelonious Monk poster.)

Foo had the idea of a conference created on-the-fly by its organizers, and also had a radical event where there wasn’t even lodging but all that mattered was getting people together. Bar took that format and opened up the invite list, and did it quickly with just a few weeks of planning. They also open sourced the format so BarCamps could be hosted anywhere in the world, and many were. The following year I riffed on that and made the first WordCamp in San Francisco, at the Swedish American Music Hall, the same place Stewart Brand hosted the first hackers conference in the 70s. (We didn’t know that at the time, it was just a coincidence.)

WordCamp took the everyone-is-welcome from Bar, mixed it with the attendees-create-the-conference from Foo, added a little more structure and planning so we ended up with these really groovy community-organized events all over the world where people come together to learn, contribute, get to know each other, and have fun. WordCamp San Francisco evolved into WordCamp US, our flagpole event for North America. (I like that US can mean “us” as well as United States.) There have been hundreds of WordCamps around the world, and when we were getting started I used to go to all of them; if someone put one together I’d cram into an economy seat and fly there. I can’t make it to all of them anymore, but I still go as many as I can, and they’re some of my favorite days of the entire year.

It’s so cool to see a group of people from the eclectic backgrounds come together because we love making the thing that allows people to make the thing. (WordPress.) You’ll see CEOs of multi-hundred million ARR companies brushing shoulders with techno-anarchists, all brought together by a common hope and belief in the four freedoms of open source and the mission of WordPress—to democratize publishing, put the best tools in the world in the hands of everyone, for free and for freedom.

This year’s WordCamp US is exciting to me for a bunch of reasons. One, I love spending time with other contributors to open source. Second, WordCamp organizers iterate and learn, and so every year I’m excited to see what’s being trialed and what’s improved, because they just keep getting better and better. Third, we’re doing a community summit beforehand for the first time in a while, which is why I’m already in Maryland. Finally, on the amazing schedule are two speakers I’ve invited to bring something new to our milieu.

Ken Liu is one of my favorite sci-fi writers and will be giving an amazing talk weaving together the history of narrative craft and modern publishing and technology. I’ve read almost everything he’s written or translated, and seen him talk once before, and couldn’t be more curious to hear what he’s bringing to the WordPress community.

Simon Willison is an engineer and blogger I’ve followed since the earliest days of WordPress, and recently he’s been one of the most interesting explorers in the new world of AI and LLMs. He’ll be sharing with us how to tap into this new alien intelligence, how it can accelerate our coding, security, and mission to democratize publishing.

So if you ever have a chance to go to a WordCamp, take it! It may be too late for this one, but you can follow the livestream (visit the site once the conference starts), and plan for next year. We also make sure all the talks accessible on later.

Foo Camps still happen, by the way, and have branched into science and such, and who gets invited is a whole deal. They’re still awesome.

I hope what people see here is that creativity and doing generates more creativity and doing.

Follow-up Questions from WCEU

Matias and I just finished up the discussion and Q&A for the online WordCamp Europe that is going on right now, which was originally happening in Porto.

There were more good questions than we had time to get to, so at the end I suggested that we continue the conversation here, in the comments section! Comments are the best part of blogging.

So if you have a question we didn’t get to, please drop it below. If you don’t have a Gravatar yet now’s a good time to make one.

State of the Word 2019

In case you missed it, here’s the first-ever State of the Word… designed completely in Gutenberg:

WordCamp US was a fantastic experience, as always. Thank you again to the hundreds of organizers and volunteers who made it happen, to the thousands who attended, and to the city of St. Louis for hosting us. We’ll be back there again next year.

And special thanks to this next generation of WordPress contributors. So exciting to see KidsCamps continue to expand and thrive:

As you can see, my site is now featuring the new WordPress Twenty Twenty theme. And for more coverage from my State of the Word, check out the recaps from WP Tavern and Post Status. Here’s my full audience Q&A below:

You can see my previous State of the Word keynotes here.

Gutenberg in Portland Oregon and Podcasts

I’ve had the opportunity to talk about Gutenberg at two great venues recently. The first was at WordCamp Portland which graciously allowed me to join for a Q&A at the end of the event. The questions were great and covered a lot of the latest and greatest about Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0:

Last week I also joined Episode 101 of the WP Builds podcast, where as Nathan put it: “We talk about Gutenberg, why Matt thinks that we need it, and why we need it now. We go on to chat about how it’s divided the WordPress community, especially from the perspective of users with accessibility needs.”

They may be out of seats already, but I’ll be on the other coast to do a small meetup in Portland, Maine this week. As we lead up to release and WordCamp US I’m really enjoying the opportunity to hear from WordPress users of all levels all over the country.

State of the Word, 2016

The full video and Q&A from 2016’s State of the Word last week in Philadelphia is now online. This year was especially exciting because it wasnt’ just a look back at the previous year, but sets out a new direction for where WordPress will be in 2017 and beyond.

If you want just the slides, here they are:

Like every year, there was a ton of help bringing this together. Mark Uraine led the slides, and at various points these folks pitched in as well: Mel Choyce, Tammie Lister, Michael Arestad, Ashleigh Axios, Ian Dunn, Corey McKrill, Martin Remy, Josepha Haden, Alex Kirk, Marina Pape, Alx Block, Cami Kaos, Matias Ventura, Donncha O Caoimh, John Maeda, Barry Abrahamson, Nikolay Bachiyski, Chrissie Pollock, Sam Sidler, Boris Gorelik, Dion Hulse, Brooke Dukes, Sarah Blackstock. I also got input and suggestions from Petya Raykovska, Tony Perez, Joe Casabona, Helen Hou-Sandi, Jon Bossenger, Jason Cohen, Daniel Bachhuber, Drew Butler, Ryan Boren, Andrew Roberts, Joost de Valk, Stephane Daury, Dion Hulse, Gary Pendergast, David Bisset, Ryan McCue, Alex Shiels, Brian Krogsgard, Joe Hoyle, Sean Blakeley, Andrew Nacin, Mark Jaquith, John Blackbourn, and thank you to Rose Kuo for inspiring the poetry theme which featured prominently this year.

Tavern and Post Status wrote up the talk itself. As a follow-up I did interviews with both to expand on some of what was discussed in the speech. The Post Status one is now up and you can watch it here:

WordCamp Roundup

This month there were three WordCamps around the world: WordCamp Las Vegas, WordCamp Indonesia, and WordCamp Whistler. Here’s what’s coming up in the next two months. Asterisks indicate WordCamps I’ll be attending:

Tune in to

Today we’ve switched on, a new space to geek out and learn about all things WordPress. is home to tutorials for both WordPress self-installs and to help you get blogging fast and hassle-free.

We’ve also aggregated and organized all that awesome WordCamp footage from around the web, on WordCampTV. There you’ll find videos and slideshows of presentations made by Automattic employees and other WordPress gurus, plus interviews I’ve done with the media and fellow bloggers.

Tune in regularly for fresh content and updates to the blog.

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WordCamp Wrapup

I'm still recovering from WordCamp in some ways, it was such a rush this week almost seems like a vacation. The best summary of posts regarding the event is on [gonzo]musings, The WordCamp 2006 Overview & Wrapup – from 7875 Miles Away. I'm very happy with how the event went, we had well over 300 brilliant and engaging make it a part of their day. There were a ton of great ideas and participation happening from all corners, especially the interaction during the State of the Word discussion. I also learned a ton and next year we will have a better sign-in process, naptime after BBQ, clearer tracks for devs vs. users, and a bit more lead time. Thank you so much to everyone who came out, it was a really magical day. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the 20 pounds of Memphis Minnie's brisket in my fridge.

WordCamp Update

So 1 day after the announcement, 104 people have signed up that they're coming to WordCamp and 58 have joined the mailing list. Wow! Thank you, as this has been a huge help in determining what sort of resources we're going to need to pull this thing off. Now the big challenge is finding a venue appropiate for the event, feel free to ping me if you have any ideas.