cPanel Conference- Wired or Weird?
As mentioned in my previous post, the Reclaim team had the pleasure of visiting Portland for the cPanel conference not too long ago. We had a fantastic & productive time, though it was agreed that this was not cPanel’s doing, but the fact that all of us were in the same time zone, and in a vacation-like state for a couple of days.
^squishing the Reclaim team into a photobooth in the Ace Hotel lobby.
The theme this year for the cPanel conference (shown here) was called WEIRED. It embodied this idea of promoting a weird culture & a wired experience. But after a few off-putting moments (i.e. the Keynote on day 2 that talked about Pornhub (yes, Pornhub) more than hosting, and then later receiving this comment) the conference quickly felt weird, not wired.
There were definitely benefits to the cPanel conference- those of which I will highlight below- but not nearly as many as I was hoping there would be. If I can be honest, I was a little disappointed! It seemed like the cPanel team spent a ton of brainpower on the element of “fun”- the games & prizes & nightlife- over the actual “meat” of the conference. Seeing as it was my first time going to this conference (read: a conference) I was fully prepared to have an enriching, powerful experience that allowed me to grow professionally, and if I was really lucky, perhaps personally as well. Perhaps.
Possibly that was a little naive, but why does it have to be? There were countless times that I looked around and saw the other conference-goers taking notes, or were seemingly really “in” to each session. Which felt odd, as I was thinking, wait- is this it? The sessions generally fell in one of the following two categories:
- Basic summary of a product or tool without depth; could have easily read their website for 10 minutes instead of traveling across the country to hear it in person.
- Cool topic, but way too in depth for a 45-minute presentation; would have been better suited as an all day workshop.
Since this was my take on the conference, it’s worth mentioning the outliers that I fully benefitted from:
Keynote, Delivering Happiness, Day 1
Keynote speaker Jenn Lim, CEO of Delivering Happiness, opened the conference by addressing the following questions:
How do you sustain a happier culture over time?
What would we do with our lives if money didn’t matter?
Are you ok with your truly weird self?
Are you ok with others’ truly weird self?
Do your company’s values aline with your personal values?
What would you be passionate about if you didn’t fear failure?
Jenn tackled these questions by outlining a business model to sustain happiness:
Commitment: long-term, sustainable brand; committing to finances, resources, etc.
Defining your core values: aligning your personal values & your company values
Committing to yourself: important to be transparent, internally & externally, no matter what
Purpose: for employees, what’s the larger vision and greater purpose in their work beyond money and profile; for entrepreneurs, what would you be passionate about if you didn’t fear failure?
As a recent grad, I was really able to appreciate Jenn’s talk. It was a very relevant fear of mine to get out of college and be forced to take a job that didn’t aline with my personal values. I was, and still am very adamant on waking up every day and working on something that I love. And then taking it a step further, actively sustaining that happiness over time. I agreed with Jenn- I think that this concept is wildly important for success, so I’m glad that this topic was part of the conference.
Session, Dashboard: The Secret to an Improved User Experience, Day 2
This was the first session that generated a discussion that I would have been sad to have missed. Dustin Scherer, UI Developer, spent the first half of the hour discussing the upcoming changes to the user interface in cPanel. So neat to sit in on that! Some of those changes are outlined here, but I think I’m most excited for the feature spotlight tool. Upon logging into cPanel for the first time, new users will be given a walk-through of the cPanel dashboard. They’ll not only be shown what tools are available to them, but we could show first timers how to install WordPress, for example. From a support stance, I’m pumped for this addition. And as Jim mentioned in this post, the second half of the session was used as a back and forth Q&A period between the developers and the customers. We were able to provide our feedback on what works and doesn’t work at Reclaim Hosting. We felt heard, and you can’t really beat that.
All in all, we had a rockin’ time. We ate well, laughed a ton, and had a chance to dream up some really awesome stuff for the future of Reclaim. I tried my hand at Karaoke for the first time (#OnlyGodCanJudgeMe) and added two new stickers to my laptop (the sign of something truly momentous, no doubt). I just wish that cPanel had more to do with it.