A few weeks go I went to Craft + Commerce. It was put on the people behind Convert Kit to help bloggers make money. And I loved it. There were 200+ attendees. Mostly professional bloggers and people who want to sell things on their website. The only thing they have in common is that they value email lists.
I was very impressed with the quality of speakers. Everyone was an expert. Not a guru that knows all the answers. But someone that uses their platform to produce excellent results. And they just shared their story about how they did that.
The speakers were accessible through the conference. They showed up in workshops and asked questions of other speakers to advance their own knowledge.
The workshops felt just like a WordCamp. People asked questions about SEO plugins. They shared tips about themes, plugins, & 3rd party services.
The main talks were what I'd expect from marketing conference. People talked about focus, about imposter syndrome, about how to write more and about authentic marketing. They brought in one famous speaker, Seth Godin, who had an awesome talk.
I have to say that I like this mix for conference. Really famous people for a few inspirational or general talks. And then workshops to get into the nitty gritty.
They had an interesting rule for the main stage talks: no computers.
They didn't want you checking your email or tuning out. They provided notebooks + pencils so you could still take notes. But they did request no computers. I actually appreciated the permission to put away my laptop and take notes by hand.
Professional Blogger Series
ConvertKit put lot of time (and I'm sure money as well) into creating a video series about bloggers which is called: I”m a blogger. They interviewed all sorts of bloggers around the country and made 5-10 minute long mini-documentaries. And they played them in-between the main stage talks.
I loved the content but I didn't like the timing. I need to synthesize information after listening to it. That means writing it down in notebook or talking about it with the person next to me. Or even just sitting in silence for 10 minutes replaying it in my head.
So my one criticism of the event is that I wish they could have played the segments some other time. They were beautiful stories. I just wish they didn't take away from me retaining the main stage talks.
Don't be Fooled By Boise
I m not going to lie. I assumed Boise would be awful. I assumed there'd be piles of potatos on the road & horses. I don't know where I got horses from but I just imaged they'd have horses & cowboy hats.
And I'm happy to report I was completely wrong. Boise is such a cute town!
They have awesome art installations.
They have very cute local shops like this coffee shop (that has insanely large muffins).
I had low expectations of Boise but it turned out to be great city for conference. The cheap hotel / Airbnb prices offset the expensive travel. If there's another conference in Boise I'll be sure to consider it.
Not WordPress People
I was surprised that almost everyone at the conference uses WordPress. But they don't identify as “WordPress people”. For example almost no one I talked to has ever attended a WordCamp.
I wonder if it's because they come from the marketing world. I assume they look at WordPress as tool instead of community. And there's nothing wrong with that. I think we all pick a couple tribes to be part of. And they have other tribes.
It does make me think there's so much money on the table to help people make better websites if you remove the WordPress label. Some people don't care bout the underlying technology as long s it works. And I think if you put on “building websites for pro bloggers” event you could make a ton of money.