Thank you to the farmer in 1989 who persuaded me to attend PressNomics in 2019

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It was a very windy day when 100s of us launched 1,000 helium filled balloons.

Back in 1989 I was Vice-President of the Students’ Union. We thought that a mass balloon launch would be a fantastic way to protest against the proposed introduction of student loans!

A few days later I received a letter from a distant farmer who’d found one of the burst balloons littering his top paddock.

He politely pointed out that every year he sows seeds, in the hope that they will grow and turn into a crop that he can harvest and sell. Get into the real world was his message.

The lesson I learned from that farmer 30 years ago has served me well since.

 

Timbuktu, Tipperary, Tucson, where?

Hacienda del Sol

For those of us challenged by the finer details of American geography, Google says that Tucson is 12,575km from my home in Sydney. Located in southern Arizona, 80km north of the Mexican border, it was clearly going to take a significant investment of time and money to attend PressNomics.

For a small WordPress side project, was it going to be worth it?

WordCamps are held all over the world, including in Sydney. PressNomics is no WordCamp. It’s a business orientated event attended by many of the key players in the commercial WordPress ecosystem. Marketing and business leadership are more likely to be discussed than code and swag quality. Most of the value is in the networking rather than the presentations.

As a part-time WordPress business owner I was hesitant about making the trip, but I bit the bullet and booked my ticket.

 

Objectives

As a self-employed business owner I don’t do junkets. My objectives for attending were:

  1. Meet key people and form new relationships that have the potential to accelerate significant future business growth;
  2. Understand the commercial direction of WordPress so that I can get ahead of the wave;
  3. Promote and raise awareness of GFChart.

I achieved 1 and 3, but not 2. That said, I am now much clearer about the future direction of my WordPress business. I also picked up many extremely valuable tips and insights from other delegates and presentations.

 

Format

Joshua and Sally Strebel

PressNomics is organised by Pagely, a family owned premium WordPress managed hosting business. Josh and Sally ran the conference at a resort in their home town. Their kids joined one session which contributed to the relaxed atmosphere.

Lessons had clearly been learned from the previous 5 events and the schedule was carefully crafted to maximise opportunities for effective networking.

The formal program lasted 2 days, consisting of presentations with ample breaks for networking. Every evening there was some sort of informal networking event. Day 3 was an optional social event which offered more opportunity for networking as well as taking in some of the stunning local scenery and attractions.

 

Best bits

  • Meeting people whom I’ve met online but never in person.
  • Lunches with people strengthening relationships, learning tips and tricks.
  • Hanging out, discovering new people, great conversations.
  • High quality of absolutely every other delegate that I met (without exception).
  • Frequent knowledge bombs.
  • 2 x ‘Solution Room’ sessions.
  • Experiencing the vibe of the predominantly US WordPress community.
  • Unexpected learnings to support my (non-WordPress) consulting business.
  • Extremely well organised and choreographed event.
  • Complete absence of HTML,CSS and Javascript.
  • Gorgeous warm and dry weather, fantastic venue, stunning scenery, discovering new Mexican food (thanks Zack!) and amazing cacti.

 

Worst bits

  • 24+ hrs travel each way and 17 hour time difference.
  • A couple of the presentations were either a bit ‘meh’ or not relevant to non-US citizens.

 

Delegate recommendations

  • Be clear about your objectives for attending.
  • Beforehand review the attendee list and reach out to key people you want to meet.
  • Book well in advance to secure a ticket and enjoy lower price air fares.
  • Stay locally in AirBnB to reduce costs.
  • Attend the optional social.

 

Will I attend PressNomics 7?

Provided that we are able to convert the anticipated value from this conference into results then absolutely YES!

 

GFChart at PressNomics