John Mann

John Mann

WordCamp Atlanta and Corporate America

[caption id="attachment_318" align="alignright" width="300"]Me in NYC Hanging in NYC[/caption]

I spent a weekend at WordCamp Atlanta, working, networking, learning, and loving the community of WordPress.  I met some amazing people and realized how great the community is for WordPress.  I have been a developer for decades (yes, I'm that old) and I have seen such competition, drive, and back-stabbing to get clients, to look better, to get more visibility, etc... Corporations tend to create that environment.  They thrive off of the competitive edge.  They have review goals, metrics, stack rankings, "level up" ideas.  You work and over achieve, only to hear that you are doing great and if you keep it up, you will get "x".  You keep it up and the next review (a year and 2 managers later after reorgs) you hear the same thing.  Now that being said, "Corporate America" has created some amazing opportunities and some definite security for people.  But here is what I realized this weekend, and warning for those in corporate america, you may want to stop reading.  You can make great money, with real freedom, and even have benefits and not chase your next review goal as a freelancer.  WHAT?!   There is a LOT of work out there for good developers.  We are just often too scared to take the leap.  I'm not saying quit your day job tomorrow.  I love some things about corporate america.  I'm just opening your mind to the opportunities that exist.  We chase titles, I'm a VP or I'm a CTO, etc... but what is it we are really chasing?  Are we chasing our own ego?  What does that title mean?  You want a real title, start your own business and call yourself anything you want.  I was president, director of development, and CTO at a time.  Just a thought for you feeling stuck... "You are only stuck if you want to be" - Wayne Dyer.

All of that being said, let's talk about WordPress and WordCamp Atlanta.  Everyone that I met (yes, I mean EVERYONE) was so nice and helpful.  They were excited to help me learn about WordPress, how they do things, some interesting techniques, some clever quick tips, etc...  There are "rockstars" there like Dave Donaldson, Naomi Bush and Tom McFarlin, but they are not condescending by ANY stretch, they answer questions, they respond to emails, they are the most patient developers you will ever meet.  Why is this community different?  Because it is just that, it is a community.  You learn that you need to be nice to your neighbors.  They will remember.  Either way, they will remember.   The WordPress community is the most cooperative group I have seen since the early linux days, when I would post on a BBS (yes, I am that old)  for a driver request, and someone would spend a night tweaking the kernel and sending me a driver for this new video card. Why?  Because they like the challenge, they like that I asked and cared enough to try.  WordPress is a lifestyle that I have encountered.  We don't spend hours undermining each other, blasting each other for mistakes, or bad code.  I have seen people email me each privately, "Hey, you may want to try this fix in your plugin".  And then it creates a better plugin, a better theme, and ultimately a better developer.  I'm excited about my future as a WordPress developer.  There are a few WordPress Blogs out there: WordPress Stats (over 60 million at the time of this post).   Let's see how this next step in my journey goes.  Special thanks to WordCamp Atlanta for re-energizing my passion, my excitement, and my thirst for knowledge.  #wcatl #wordpress #atlanta

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