Over the past few months, one of the larger items of discussion within the WordPress community is that of LoopConf.
It’s a pretty big deal because it’s the first conference of its size to be focused specifically on WordPress developers – a niché conference, if you will – but perhaps the largest point of discussion around the conference has been the point of pricing.
Interestingly enough, at the same time all of this is happening, the community has also been talking about hosting specialized conferences that cater towards specific areas of WordPress. Whereas WordCamps tend to hit bloggers, beginners, businesses, developers, and designers, some have been talking about conferences that focus specifically on one to maybe two of these types of audiences.
So LoopConf comes around and basically does both: It provides a conference that’s a proof-of-concept for the idea of specialized conferences, and it shows us how the pricing of a conference affects the attendance.
It’s really the perfect time to be hosting this type of event.
Two Points About LoopConf
Generally speaking, based on the ticket sales and general response up to this point, the concept seems to have worked and that’s fantastic.
To that end, I think there are two things we can take away from the initial announcement, launch, and hosting of LoopConf.
1. The Speakers
As far as the speakers are concerned, it’s an excellent line up. If you don’t know any of them personally, the odds that you know who they are via Twitter or their blogs or their work is high. And even if not, they are all people who are worth following. They are respectable, smart, and successful people within the WordPress economy.
Having information distilled over the course of the weekend from a group of people like this is going to be incredibly beneficial to all who are attending.
If you’ve ever heard any of them speak at a WordCamp, you know what I mean. This is going to be that, but amplified.
2. The Price is Right
Secondly, the pricing is something that I think that the entire WordPress community really needs to think about. I know that we try to be as accessible to as many people as possible – I mean, the core software is free, even – but we also have companies who focus exclusively on building enterprise-level projects for VIP clients.
Obviously, it’s possible to run very successful and sustainable businesses off of WordPress.
At the same time, we’ve been talking about how companies are giving their employees, say, 5% (or any other arbitrary amount) of their time to give back to WordPress. That’s awesome, right? I mean it’ll help improve the core software and the tangential tools and experiences for all who are involved.
With that said, we clearly have businesses who are willing to invest their money in their employees on improving various areas of WordPress. This isn’t that much different than, say, paying an employee or sponsoring someone to go to a conference.
Paying someone a portion of their working hours and paying someone’s fare to a conference that ultimately brings the knowledge back into the fold is not altogether that much different.
Timing Never Was My Thing
Had the timing be different, I’d be at the conference taking as many notes as possible. But scheduling happens and conflicts arise.
Regardless, congratulations to everyone who’s hosting LoopConf, who’s speaking and LoopConf, and who’s attending LoopConf. I’m eager to read all of the blog posts that come out of people’s time there, and I’m eager to see the other specialized conferences that crop up after this one that continue to improve WordPress for all who’s involved.
That’ll be a great thing.
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