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Home » What the F*** is an UnConference?

What the F*** is an UnConference?

Who is Brent Peterson?
Brent is a serial entrepreneur and marketing professional with a passion for running. He co-founded Wagento and has a new adventure called ContentBasis. Brent is the host of the podcast Talk Commerce. He has run 25 marathons and one Ironman race. Brent has been married for 29 years. He was born in Montana, and attended the University of Minnesota and Birmingham University without ever getting his degree.

David and Brent talk about Unconferences and how they differ from traditional conferences. We talk specifically about the in Orlando Florida on January 21st, 2022.


All right. Welcome to this bonus episode of talk commerce. It is the unconference version of talk commerce, and I’ve invited my friend DaVita for the conversation today, unscripted. So an unconference is an unscripted event where the speakers come up with the top. So I came up with the topic, but Davi, go ahead and introduce yourself.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Hi, this is the and I am a team lead for for the development department of my company. We are working in WordPress PHP. Laravel obviously CSS and HTML and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. All right. Full disclosure, David was here in Hawaii with me for a week or a little bit more than days, and I can see that it’s dark in his background and it’s one o’clock for me.

So it’s nice for me. And it also we’re chili today. It was chilly this morning. It was 75 degrees. Yeah. A little chilly when I anyway, so let’s get to topics. So I know you’ve gone to word camp and some other kinds. Yeah. Tell me a little bit about that and your experience at that type of conscience.

I went to two type of conferences, like a world camp work camp that is for WordPress. And then I went to the Las Vegas to the reinvent that is AWS, right? AWS is a huge conference. It’s all about AWS. And the world camp is a smaller conference, all about WordPress right then. And a little bit of e-commerce, but.

For WordPress oriented. I was one of the organizers here in the world camp, meaning Minneapolis. I was in charge of with another person with a sponsorship. So we did it in 2020, I think. Was it not. 2019, no, 2020, because we had to go remote. We have to go online at the time. But I would say that I really enjoy those conferences.

I learned a lot. My first introduction to WordPress, eh, was in a work camp that I really enjoy it. I thought that the price, the amount of information that we got as a attendees for those conference is this is such a good value. You get so much information and not just the speakers that they were great.

I, what I found more useful is the network. It doesn’t matter if you are in WordPress, if you are Drupal, if you are Magento, if you are big comers you are going to network with people and we are all facing the same challenges. So that was I got great contacts just by just going to both the.

Warp WordPress, eh, conference and the AWS conference. I really would recommend anybody to go to those. So that’s my experience with those two brands. So great. Thanks for that. An on-conference is a little different in the sense that there is no predetermined schedule and there’s no predetermined speakers.

 You go to the event with an idea of what you would like to see and you would go as a potential speaker. The idea is that the topics are driven by the audience. And I know in Minneapolis the local mini star chapter puts on an event. Mini bar. And that one w is the, are chosen a little bit in advance, but they were also on there’s no like specific path.

There is a you put in your talk and most of the done, and this one, this is we actually on the ground or during the first part of the event. Vote on topics. So think about a big, huge board and a lot of does a paper getting bandied around and topic choices, and then the board, and then everybody votes on them.

And I went, I had the pleasure of going to an unconference in 2019 in person. Okay. If the format was that the the topics were were presented and then everybody got a little sticker on the topics they would like. So it seemed, as I can remember, there was 16 different topics that would happen over two days.

Okay. And we would get each get a number of stickers in the. The topics with the most stickers were the ones that got presented. There was a number of people that showed up with a topic already pre-canned that they would like to do. So they would put they would put out their topic. They would like to present on.

Then present on that topic. Okay. The other thing would be, people would put out a idea for a topic and then somebody would have to present on it. So there were things that did not get presented on simply because either no one was interested or there was a nobody yeah. Presentation. However, I think the majority of everything was presented There was some off topic topics as well.

So as I can remember I may have put in a topic on running, which, Hey, that did not get it, didn’t get voted on, but there was a topic on ballroom dancing. It did get voted on. So anything goes this particular kind of dot U S is a e-commerce conference. And it is all around anything e-commerce so we are making it specific.

It is not a Magento only event. It is any e-commerce platform. And the idea is that you would show up and have some, I have a topic that you would either like to present on, or you’d like to hear. Okay. So Brent, where, when, on, where is this conference? So the conference is in Orlando, Florida, which I have been told.

There are some theme parks around there as well. It’s a myth I’ve been in Florida and there are no parks.

No really it’s true.

The conferences on a Friday. And then we were planning on having a Saturday and said you can come earlier, come late. I go, you can come early and stay late or whatever you were. But yeah, the idea is that there’s something to do around the conference and it’s going to be a one day event. If we have enough, we could bleed into the next morning.

So Saturday morning, but more likely we would just have the one day event. It would happen from eight to five, we’d have food and drinks. And then and then everybody’s free to either go to the parks or we’d have an after party or something like that. So I got to say that and last time I was in Florida in Orlando.

I, it was super fun going to all or there are so many Epcot. I love Epcot. That is my, this is not about the, this is not about that. This is about having fun. It’s not about you either. So try, stop trying to make this whole topic about you, Florida. It is possible to have good January 21st.

Yeah, 20, 22 Orlando. Now being an unconference to whom is your targeting audience, who are you? Obviously you don’t know could be, if the majority people are developers then but there could be, majority of people are merchants, a blend. What do you experience before in this kind of.

 Yeah, that’s a great question. It, traditionally I think a lot of unconferences are specifically for developers, but I feel as though there’s a lot more that can be learned from just having developers on board. And if we do include staff SAS platforms like big commerce, then there would be other roles that should be played in that front end developer, but also configuration and app developers.

Since we’d like to market things and there’s so many aspects around e-commerce that can be that can be represented that we want to make sure that it’s a voice in what we’re trying to do. Good. Good. Yeah. Because no matter where you are in which e-commerce platform you use, you have to deal with shipping, with payments, with cards, with all that kind of stuff that It’s really known platform, a specific probably right.

Yeah. It’s not like in some countries like Spain that might just have they have coins or something they exchange when they go down to their local fruit market to me ah, okay. I see. So I defended all the Spaniards. I apologize in advance. I would remember that when you want to have me again for another interview and this.

He goes. All right. Just for you guys to know, Brenda and I have known each other for many years, so that’s why I’m that’s why we pick on each other. So yeah. So what is the cost of these unconference breath? So right now we have early bird tickets open. I believe the tickets are around $140.

The and it is limited to 140. The idea is this can’t be a giant conference. This is going to be a somewhat intimate event that will allow people to eat. Okay. Are opportunities to have conversations outside of the presentations. There are opportunities to review what has been talked about it is not at all.

 What you would traditionally see as a formal event, but it is a, everybody should participate. And it is extremely fun. And having that participation and having your voice heard important part of how we can learn more about whatever topic we’d like to learn about. Okay. I can’t remember if you mentioned it, but what is the venue?

 Is it a hotel? Is it a. I can’t remember what it is at the four points by Sheraton in Orlando, wonderfully beautiful venue that has some great photography of the venue could put on the website uncomplicated. Oh, here we go. I was going to say, why don’t you tell us the website, but you just did and contact us.

The tickets are on Eventbrite and this is a big, huge commercial. This is our. Is there unconfident info, commercial that’s unscripted. I know you should say something like by now, before if you buy now you get, if you do follow me on on LinkedIn or Twitter, I have been posting videos that I’ve created while surfing.

Oh, it makes it even more fun because I feel as though you, as a participant should then go and do some surfing or get into the ocean and do whatever you’d like to do. That’s fun. You don’t have to go to a theme park. You’d go to the ocean. Good. So why don’t you really quick? Like I N in my, the introduction, I cannot like.

All right. Audience. What I got out of the conference that I will, I went, so why don’t you just give us a really what would you say that you got from the last unconference that you were went to, that you were like, Hey, these made worthwhile, they take the price of admission because you got a tip. You got some.

Yeah. I think in the last conference I had, which was again in 2019, it was in-person we were able to come up with some topics that were super interesting bout let me just say that the shop where people okay. You presented some topics on shop where, and it was a Magento unconference it goes to sh it just shows that there is not a specific.

 I learned about some specific programming things, but we also learned about workflow and how maybe a buyer would go through your cart. And what sort of things you could do within your shopping cart to help buyers better better understand the products, but more, more importantly, as a merchant to help buyers.

Oh with that. There’s other things for sale and people had a really in that. It is good to see. I know that we already have ticks some tickets sold and there’s some people from Europe coming here. So we’ll get a variety of people from different parts of the world showing up to and with that variety, you do get a greater.

The audience grows and you get a different aspect and a different view on things. So I think all those put together lead to a really on event. That’s informative. Okay. Good. Good. I’m sorry. You may hear some background noise. I think my dog is making noise, so hopefully it’s not too disturbing

that I tried to block the noise. Tara. So they’re making all kinds of it’s true. My windows. Yeah, so I think this is just meant to be a short little bro to what an unconference is. If you have questions I would incur unconfident you S and you can you can contact myself

Quitter and we have more and more content coming out every day. So next. So if you are interested in sponsoring unconfident us, we do have a sponsor deck that you could contact myself or Madeline. It would gentle, and we’d be happy to share that. All right. Brian, thank you for inviting me to, to these short episodes.

I I wish I could. I was, I wish I could go, but we are in the middle of launching a website. We are moving our websites from, in premise to a fully hosted environment. So it’s super busy right now. So I’m going to, I’m going to have to go to Florida next year. Maybe.

 W a little shout out he has done some content for podcasting as well for performance. And I think your first episode is on, right? Yeah. Yeah. But it’s this is my first episode, maybe I’m a little bit shy about it if somebody wants to find me and listen to it, go for it.

 Is just try to inform people and just to have fun Brent and I are doing right here give us an a, yeah. This might be episode number 60 something for me. Better on your first one, you have a lot going for you there. Maybe you had a good mentor, right? Both Caskey mentor.

 Davide is we are planning on some Spanish episodes. If anybody. Either your accent is from Mexico. I can’t, I forget all the time where you’re at. It’s from the far east for us Spain. He has a funny little, what is it called? The feta or no,

So we’re hoping to have some Spanish content as well. Soon in the first part of the year, we’ll be leading those episodes for tuck commerce is spaniel. I can wait for it to start pushing your Duolingo skills. Did I just plug something? Without wanting to, you can beep it for me, beep it out later.

And we should have the we should have the swearing podcasts. Oh, there’s seven seconds delay. We should have a seven second delay that you can press the button. First. The button you’ll have a great evening. It’s been good talking to you. And again, on-call dot U S U N C O N F dot.

And I would look me up on LinkedIn or Twitter at Brent w Peterson. And you can see some of the fun, little commercials have been making or promos. Good. Good. Bye. Everybody. Enjoy the rest of your day. Bye.

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