Last week, my wife Sheryle and I had the privilege to attend CaboPress, a WordPress mastermind retreat organized by Chris & Melissa Lema. It really was an amazing week and the most impactful WordPress event I've attended to date.
I wasn't sure how the week would play out. I'm extremely introverted, struggle with social anxiety and am extremely lacking in the small talk skills department so it's always a challenge when entering into unfamiliar situations. Still, I challenge myself to stand up and participate as much as I can.
Speaking of standing up, one of the first challenges of the week was introductions. With 60+ hosts and attendees present and me being one of the last to introduce myself, it quickly became apparent that I was in the right place. The volume of experience and expertise surrounding me was immeasurable. In fact, the first folks we had the pleasure to sit down to dinner with were some of the best of the bunch. Brett Cohen and his wife Kelly were delightful and a wonderful introduction to the greatness that is CaboPress. Brett immediately identified a deficiency in my business plan and challenged me to take action.
Following dinner, a large group of folks retired to one of the resort's many verandas to partake in after dinner cigars, drinks and discussion. I found myself sandwiched between Chris Lema and Jeff King. The knowledge bombs that were unleashed upon me that first evening were like a WordPress shock and awe campaign.
We wrapped up the night with a daredevil golf cart ride to our room that was enough to have me sleeping like a baby within minutes. What a Day 1!
What followed was three days of inspiring discussions hosted by some of the brightest minds in WordPress. I could listen to Chris Lema, Jason Cohen, Steve Zehngut, Jeff King, Sherry Walling, Brian Clark, Karim Marucchi, Jennifer Bourn and many others talk shop for days. I was quite overwhelmed by most of these discussions allowing my own imposter syndrome to prevent me from really digging in and becoming more than just an attendee. Luckily, Chris plans for this in advance.
One of the smartest things about CaboPress is that it's designed to account for the likes of me with smaller lunch groups and planned meals. I thoroughly enjoyed breaking bread with John Householder, Justin and Katie Busa, Marc Gratch, Rich and Nicole Robinkoff and Matt and McKalyn Danner. It was in these smaller settings that I felt like I was providing real value to the discussions.
I could end this post here except I haven't even mentioned the resort, the food or the adventure. I think what makes CaboPress the most value-filled WordPress event around is that it takes so much off your plate and allows you to be singularly focused on your business and building lasting relationships. I can't tell you how often I get frustrated by simple things like cooking a dinner because I have to stop my work. This does not happen at CaboPress. Not that I could prepare a meal anything close to what you get while you're there.
The resort is 5-star, the food is stellar, most everything is included (even the room service). The town is, well, it's Cabo. We were treated to dinner at Ruth's Chris and a sunset cruise around El Archo filled with beautiful views, camaraderie and break dancing pirate zombies.
All-in-all, the days were long and filled with enlightenment, the nights were even longer and filled with friendship, but in the end...
You'll just have to apply and experience it for yourself.
My only real regret for the week is that I didn't get more pictures with all of these great folks. Luckily, Sheryle is much better at pointing and shooting!