WordCamp US was held in Nashville, Tennessee this year. We sponsored the event, had a booth and of course provided lock picking lessons, as has become our tradition at WordCamps. Our goal is to get you to think like a hacker, so that you can better secure your sites. Picking a lock really gets you into that mindset. Plus it is a lot of fun!!
From our team we had Sean Murphy – Director of Threat Intelligence, Tim Cantrell – Customer Service Engineer, Dan Moen – Chief Marketing Officer, Kathy Zant – Client Partner and of course me, Mark Maunder – CEO.
We sponsored 13 WordCamps this year and our team spoke at an additional three. I attended Atlanta, Los Angeles, Portland (Oregon), Vancouver (BC), Seattle and Nashville. On a personal note WCUS was intense for a few reasons. Our team has traditionally attended security conferences like DEF CON, Black Hat, RSA, DerbyCon and more – and we haven’t spent much time attending or sponsoring WordCamps. This year we changed that and put a lot of energy into engaging with the WordPress community.
By the time WCUS rolled around I had already made a lot of friends across the industry. In many cases, these are people in the WordPress community that I have been engaging with for over 6 years via Slack or email but have never met in person. Others I met at WordCamps across the country and when WCUS arrived, it was like a giant reunion which was a lot of fun.
One of my favorite new friends from this year’s WordCamps is Matt Mullenweg, the WordPress founder. I had the pleasure of having a beer with Matt at WordCamp Portland, where he made a surprise appearance. My colleagues Kathy Zant, Mikey Veenstra and I spent over 2 hours just hanging out with Matt in Portland and chatting. Matt is a really cool dude and we again met up at WCUS a few times. Matt came around to our booth and it turns out he has been into lock picking for some time and is quite good at it! (Photo below)
One of the things I love about WordCamps is it really brings the community together, including vendors like us and our peers in cybersecurity. My colleague Kathy Zant is deeply involved in the WordPress community and has made many friends across the industry. This is one of my favorite pictures from WCUS.
From left to right: Alycia Mitchell from Sucuri/GoDaddy, Jamie Schmid from SiteLock, our own Kathy Zant from Wordfence and Rianna MacLeod from Sucuri/GoDaddy.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Kathy Zant from our team in a bit more detail. Kathy has the most incredible energy and she really brought it at WCUS and WordCamps throughout the year that we sponsored. I would show up at our booth to set up at 7:30am to find that Kathy had already been there for an hour and was just about done booth-building.
Or I’d show up at 9am on a Sunday morning because I was up till 3am the previous evening “networking”, and Kathy was at the booth bright and early chatting with customers and solving security problems. During gaps at the booth she would be on her phone helping our larger customers with their challenges in her role as client partner. And as if that isn’t enough, Kathy is an Executive Producer on a certain project we are collaborating on (I think many of you already know what that is – more news on that soon) and is of course completely owning that role too. And most of that work happens at WordCamps.
Kathy. Is. Amazing.
During WordCamp Atlanta I had the great pleasure of meeting Kathy Drewien, one of the Atlanta organizers. Kathy is also an organizer for WordCamp US and of course we spent some time catching up. Kathy does a lot for WordCamps around the US and my team and I are very grateful for her contribution!!
This is a rather hasty selfie of Kathy Drewien and me at WordCamp US in front of our booth. Looks like Dan and Tim are having an animated conversation behind us and a few visitors are busily picking locks. Kathy Zant is on the far right talking to customers. As you can tell we fully utilized our booth space, and will most likely get a larger space next year.
WCUS is awesome. There is no other way to put it. By 9am every morning my body was producing its own caffeine, and by the time the evening came around I was literally high on life after spending time with the most incredible people. If you are passionate about WordPress, WCUS is Disneyland for WP.
This is Tim Cantrell with one of the harder practice locks we had at our table. A lot of our students had a hard time picking this one!!
This is Kathy Zant surrounded by her newly minted lock picking prodigies, working on a difficult lock of her own. Tim is on the right answering customer questions.
This is Matt Mullenweg with Josepha Haden from Automattic picking locks and chatting with Tim Cantrell.
The after-party for WCUS was held at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville. One of my life goals has been to go to a party that has beer at a science center. Goal achieved!!
This is a photo of me and another WCUS attendee battling it out on a mind game. You put a strap with electrodes on your forehead and the goal is to calm your mind as much as possible. The person with calmer mind pushes a ball towards their goal. I got absolutely killed on this game within a few seconds. My colleague apparently has a way calmer mind than I do. This was the moment of my defeat.
The after-parties hosted by sponsors were incredible. They really allowed our team and the attendees to experience Nashville, and Broadway in particular. The first time I walked onto Broadway my jaw dropped. I hadn’t actually heard much about Nashville’s party central, and the light show was incredible. I took this photo.
Thank you very much to the City of Nashville for hosting WordCamp US 2018. We had a wonderful time in your amazing city. I will be visiting again even if I can’t find a conference to attend. See you all in St Louis next year for WordCamp 2019. The Wordfence team will definitely be there!