I spoke at a lot of WordCamps this year
In case you don't know, WordCamps are local events that gather all sorts of folks (business owners, developers, designers, etc) together for a day or two of sessions. In 2011 and 2012 I spoke at 2-3 a year, all within 90 miles of my home. I also attended a few that I didn't speak at.
But 2013 was a bit different.
This year I spoke at WordCamps in Phoenix, San Diego, Miami, Reno, Austin, Orange County, Chicago, Birmingham, Los Angeles, and Cape Town (South Africa). I also spoke at this year's Pressnomics conference. And in December, I'll be speaking in Las Vegas.
So if you're counting along with me, that's one a month – whew!
I've already decided that next year I'm going to try to cut this down by half. And there's a logical (I hope) reason for it.
Pastors and Preachers
To explain my reasons, I'm going to introduce you to a distinction you may never refer to again. 🙂
When I hear the word “pastor” I don't really think of the person who gets on stage to speak. Sure they do that. But the term is broader than that. They attend to the sick, they counsel others, and they marry and bury folks. They're the folks that spend time in their community, serving it (when done right).
When I hear the word “preacher” I think of the person who gets on stage and speaks. They may only have a handful of messages that they take with them wherever they go, and they're polished. But they don't spend a lot of time with people, walking alongside them in their everyday lives.
Now, these are broad strokes. But when you're sitting in the chairs watching someone on stage, there's no way to know who is who. It's what happens later that distinguishes them. One moves on (the preacher) and the other stays and invests in the community (the pastor).
WordCamps need Pastors, not Preachers
Now the truth is that from a gift mix, I'm more preacher than pastor. I've never been known for my empathy (for example). But public speaking is something I've invested in and honed so that it's a useful tool for me.
So this year I did what I do – I visited lots of WordCamps and I spoke at them, and I had a great time and most people generally enjoyed it when I spoke.
But WordCamps are local events. Meant to enrich the local community. It's awesome when folks from out of town speak, but they can't hang out after to help build that community. So what they need are the people who will stay and invest. In my lingo, that's pastors, not preachers.
So what that means is that I am going to try to limit the places I speak next year to places where I have connections, friends, and investments that can all be leveraged. It means, likely, that (if they'll have me) I'll speak at half as many WordCamps this next year.
But guess what? This year still has one last WordCamp that I'll be speaking at – twice actually. On Saturday I'll open up the conference as the keynote speaker, and on Sunday I'll be partnering up with a friend to talk about pricing.
So why don't you join me?
I know tickets are almost completely sold out – by now, they may already be all gone. But I have one extra ticket to give away (for free).
So go ahead and comment on why you should be the lucky winner (in the comments below), and I'll pick one winner soon, so you can make your plans to enjoy WordCamp Las Vegas with me!