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Uncommonly Good Community: Divi Nation at WordCamp Orange County 2016

Uncommonly Good Community: Divi Nation at WordCamp Orange County 2016

Welcome to Day 43 of our Divi 100 Marathon. Keep tuning in for 100 days in a row of awesome Divi resources as we count down to the amazing release of Divi 3.0 on the final day of the series!

This past weekend was WordCamp Orange County in Santa Anna, California. One of many WordPress conferences taking place around the world where fellow WordPressers can get together to share their knowledge, insights, gifts and talents with the whole WordPress Community.

Coinciding with this particular WordCamp, was another event. For the first time ever members of the Divi Community from all across the globe gathered together for a sort of unofficial “meetup within a conference”. A chance to meet in person the people they chat and collaborate with online every single day. A chance to shake hands, hug, share a meal (or an Airbnb house) and shamelessly talk shop late into the night with other passionate members of the Divi Nation.

While everyone attending this event from the Divi Community was no doubt excited to go, I don’t think anyone really knew what to expect. But having come through the other side I can happily report that this event was something truly special.


From left to right, back row to front: Tami Heaton, Andrea Walker, Jerry Simmons, Terry Hale, Geno Quiroz, Nick Roach, Tim Strifler, Mor Cohen, David Blackmon, Tammy Grant, Andy Tran, Sarah Oats, Mitch Skolnik, Nathan B. Weller, Leslie Bernal, SJ James, Vivien Quiroz. Image by David Blackmon.

#diviwcoc2016: Some Highlights & Some Insights

A post like this one is incredibly intimidating to write. The experience of meeting everyone from the community in person, the richness and nuance of the various conversations, and the mix of powerful emotions–they all seem to defy articulation so that you never feel like you quite captured what it was like to be there. But as the maxim goes: a picture is worth a thousand words. So I’ve decided to curate a small selection of the images taken by the Divi community at the event and provide short snippets of context to accompany them. I’ll let your imagination do the rest!


image by Geno Quiroz

Festivities are kicked off Friday as the Divi Nation rolls in from all over the United States and from at least two other countries.


image by Geno Quiroz

They call their Airbnb house an “incubator”. “Work” is done. Pied Piper is born? Aviato!


image by Geno Quiroz

Work is quickly abandoned for some fun time out on the town.


image by Geno Quiroz

Later the Elegant Themes team joins everyone at the Airbnb house for the first of two late night hangout sessions.


image by Geno Quiroz

Drinks are had by the pool.


image by Geno Quiroz

An insane amount of pizza is ordered.


image by Tami Heaton

We discover that Mitch and Nick are much better than your average ping-pong players.


image by Leslie Bernal

SJ does this with a pool cue but it’s ok because he’s from the UK (and he beat us all mercilessly at pool).


image by Leslie Bernal


image by Geno Quiroz

Generally, a lot of great connections are made.


image by David Blackmon


image by Leslie Bernal

Saturday, the conference begins.


image by Leslie Bernal


image by Leslie Bernal

Speakers speak and learning commences.

Tim Strifler, Nick Roach and Geno Quiroz.

Image by Tim Strifler.


image by Leslie Bernal


image by Leslie Bernal


image by SJ James

The Divi Nation sticks together.


image by Leslie Bernal

Like any good podcaster, I take advantage of this to get some interviews.


image by Leslie Bernal

Sunday, Tami Heaton speaks as part of a panel with Jeff Turner, Alex Vasquez, Chris Lema, and Greg Douglas.


image by SJ James


Cathy replaces Adam? image by Leslie Bernal

The Divi Nation shows its support.


image by Geno Quiroz


image by Leslie Bernal


image by Geno Quiroz

Finally we wrapped things up with an excellent Divi After Party before heading off to the airport. Oh, and this happened.


image by Leslie Bernal


image by David Blackmon

Note: if I got any of the image attributions incorrect or you would rather me not use your image in this post just let me know in the comments and I will make the change.

My Big Takeaway

An experience like this one definitely qualifies as a peak social experience. I can imagine that as time goes by, as the community grows, and as more Divi events are created and launched the people fortunate enough to have attended this event will reminisce on just how special it was. How no event since has ever been quite like it.

And, in my opinion, they’ll be right.

I doubt any event in the future will be able to re-create exactly what happened for the fifteen or so Divi Nation members who came out this weekend. But we can reflect on what some of the contributing factors to this weekend’s wild success may have been and learn from them.

So, as we look to the future of Divi events–whether they be meetups, work retreats, conferences, or something we haven’t thought of yet–here is the one big takeaway at the top of my mind:

“Uncommonly Good Community” is fostered, not forced; Facilitated, not managed or controlled.

There is no way that this weekend would have been nearly as unique and special if it had all been planned and co-ordinated by us here at Elegant Themes. The real magic happened because the relationships within the community were ready for something like this and they made it happen. We just showed up to cheer them on and participate ourselves–to “signal boost” the real and genuine excitement this group of designers and developers share for their craft, the tools of their trade, and the friends they’ve made while doing the work they love.

So while I don’t think it’s possible for us or anyone else to consciously re-create this past weekend in the future, I do think that we can help foster new experiences that will be exactly what they need to be for the people in our community ready to have them. There will be many brainstorming sessions here at ET in the weeks and months ahead to figure out exactly what that kind of facilitation looks like. But you can be sure that this is the first of many Divi events to come.

Don’t Miss A Special Episode of Divi Nation This Friday


image by Leslie Bernal

As you probably noticed in some of the images above I was shooting various short interviews and other video throughout the event. This Friday I will be sharing the result in a special Divi Nation Short that you won’t want to miss!

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