I have been home for three days and struggling with the best way to recap my trip to WordCamp US. As I was flying home and listening to my latest read on Audible, Atomic Habits, the author James Clear was reflecting on “flow” and what the state of being fully immersed in a task and pushing beyond your normal abilities can bring you in terms of clarity and satisfaction. He was describing the experience I had just had at WordCamp US as part of the team from GoDaddy. At one point during the weekend, I was so overwhelmed with appreciation in my room that tears appeared. I felt a huge sense of gratitude, accomplishment and happiness all rolled up into one trip.
When I first arrived, I was greeted by a familiar face and a new friend from GoDaddy and we all shared an Uber into Nashville. The driver handed us all a beer and told us that open containers and guns are fine in cars in Tennessee. Wow. I was definitely not in Seattle anymore. We pulled up to our hotel (it was beautiful) and headed to our rooms. I was told we are all meeting in the lobby and heading out for dinner. The first order of business was hot chicken. More of the GoDaddy team I had worked with in Seattle was in the lobby. I was so happy to see them all again and to see new faces, too.
— Paul Champ @ Post-#WCUS (@PaulJChamp) December 6, 2018
Friday morning, day one of WordCamp US, I was the first to arrive in the sponsors area (if you’re not early, you’re late) and continued to soak in the experience. The Music City Center venue was enormous. I had a bit of nerves wondering if I was going to feel as comfortable as I did in Seattle talking with my peers since I was 2,000 miles away from home.
I had posted on Twitter that I was going to be in the GoDaddy booth and to stop and say hi. One of the first people to stop by was Sridhar Katakam. Sridhar runs a subscription site for Genesis hacks out of Australia that I can’t live without. I loved being able to meet him in person and tell him how much his website has meant to me. I was able to share the same message with Jennifer Bourn. Her Profitable Project Plan course has changed how I run my business for the better. New friends came by that I met in Seattle, including Amy Hall and familiar faces, including Bob Dunn. Fellow Pro Council members stopped by, too! When I thought it couldn’t get better, Femy, a new WebCami Cafe member, came to say hello! Just like Seattle, I was having such a good time with the GoDaddy team, seeing friends and meeting GoDaddy customers, that attending a talk didn’t seem important. I was in my “flow” and I didn’t want to break it.
Having spoken with you and another lovely lady that works at GoDaddy, @sdepolo, I realised how hard they are trying to shred off the negative image about their branding and making the right moves.
— Sridhar Katakam (@srikat) December 10, 2018
— SixFour Web (@SixFourWeb) December 7, 2018
— Ebony Looney (@makemeovereb) December 7, 2018
Friday night was dinner out with the GoDaddy team and lots of fun again. We made it to lower Broadway and had ribs and brisket. After dinner, we all went to the official WordCamp after party at the Adventure Science Center. We ended the night on the rooftop of the hotel. I loved getting to know everyone better and felt so included the entire trip. I never once felt like an outsider. There were employees from Arizona, NYC, Canada, Florida, SF, Cape Cod, Serbia and more. GoDaddy employees really respect and enjoy each other’s company.
Saturday was another busy day and also the big give-a-way of a MacBook Pro. We had been getting the conversation started with this contest, which included Manny. One man handed me his phone and rattled off his passwords for help tweeting to enter! Mid-day, I turn and see Joost de Valk from Yoast standing in our booth. I instantly had a WordPress starstruck moment but couldn’t get the nerve up to ask for a photo. Soon after he left, GoDaddy team member Gabe walked me over for an introduction and photo. I was over the moon!
— Stacey DePolo ?back in #SanFrancisco (@sdepolo) December 9, 2018
— Amy Hall (@GenuineAmyHall) December 8, 2018
The day wrapped up in the sponsors’ area with our give-a-way. As I watched them randomly pull a name from a hat, I was just hoping that the person that won would be present. It would have been a bit of a let down not to see their excitement. As they read the name, my mouth dropped. It was Amy Hall, a presenter in Seattle, fellow Profitable Project Plan member, and we had met in a group for coffee that morning. She had come to say hi to me on Friday and entered the contest! She was so happy! I was so happy! It was just an unbelievable moment. Finally, I was heading to the State of the Word with Sridhar, but it was going to require an Uber ride away from the venue and I opted instead to help tear down. There is always satisfaction in packing it all up and knowing you had a good show. An experience I learned from my parents and their craft show business.
Saturday night, GoDaddy invited many customers attending WordCamp US to an appreciation dinner. The customers were so happy to be there and felt so special. The dinner was incredibly good and the conversations were buzzing all around. I met web designer best friends from the east coast, chatted with my fellow Pro Council members and just felt so grateful to be there.
Sunday was a day off for many while others attended contributor day. A friend had recommended that we head to the Johnny Cash Museum. A group of us flying out late had a great morning breakfast at a diner, toured the museum and hit the Broadway strip for some music and fun on the way out of town. A full Uber ride to the airport once again made me feel like part of the team all the way to my gate.
I flew out of Nashville with one word in my head – GRATITUDE
- Gratitude for the gift GoDaddy gave me by giving me the trip
- Gratitude for the great friends I’ve made at GoDaddy
- Gratitude that I’m a web designer and I love doing it
- Gratitude for the tools that the WordPress community has given me to do my job
- Gratitude for everyone that has been a teacher to me in my career
- Gratitude for the wonderful people I’ve met during my experience as a GoDaddy Pro Ambassador
- Gratitude for the GoDaddy Pro Council
- Gratitude for my business group in Seattle that was so excited for me when I left
Finally, as I was reflecting on what I believe was a very successful customer appreciation outreach by GoDaddy to the WordPress community, I asked myself:
- Have I been thanking my own clients enough?
- Do I make them feel as special as GoDaddy made their customers feel over the weekend?
- What can I do to make sure my customers know they are appreciated?
Each new year I pick a theme to focus on and 2019 is going to be all about gratitude and customer appreciation.
Thank you, GoDaddy, for making me feel appreciated and allowing me to share that appreciation with others. And for making me feel so welcomed, special and so much a part of the GoDaddy family!
The trip to WordCamp US was an incredibly rewarding experience for me and a highlight of my career. I hope this program grows and expands to others. I will always be honored to have been a part of this community and the first GoDaddy Web Pro Ambassador.