Last weekend, I spent several days in Philadelphia for the first ever WordCamp US. My experience was truly amazing.

On a personal level, coming back to Philadelphia is always a grand time. I spent so many years out there for college that it remains one of my homes in my heart. I am lucky to a Pittsburgh native, Central PA transplant and friend of Philadelphia. I spent the night before conference spending quality time with my mentor Dave Stencler and his wonderful wife Ivy. In true instructor fashion, Dave was prepared with more print books and samples that be both just ogle over from some of God’s best printers. We had a lovely evening at a local sushi place and even better time sitting around their kitchen catching up on life and drinking a Belgian Sour Beer. Every time I get to hang out with these great folks, I learn more and more about what it takes to be happy in life and in my profession. Their relationship is something that I aspire for in my own with Amanda. For me, this was a long overdue awesome meetup.

WordCamp US was held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center from December 4th – 6th. It was one of the largest WordCamps I have ever been to, with over 1800 in attendance. The sessions and talks ranged from design, development, business and case studies of how different industries are using WordPress. One of the running themes of WordCamp US was accessibility and building an open atmosphere for all to participate on the web. That theme and the atmosphere was incredibly stimulating and exciting.

For myself, I learned a great deal from the talks from people discussing how they are using WordPress in their industries, particularly in higher education. With WordPress powering 25% of the web, its detractors have an uphill battle when trying to disparage the platform. The biggest news to come from the State of the Word was about the REST API, Calypso and the continuing of tightly integrating Javascript into WordPress.

As a WordPress designer and developer, the future of the platform is incredibly exciting. Check out the video below of Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word.