Our Experience at WordCamp Europe 2016

It's been over a week since we attended WordCamp Europe in Vienna and landed back on the tiny island we all call home, but it's the first chance I've had to sit down and put this post together. We came back with so many fresh ideas and with so much enthusiasm to put them into action that we haven't stopped working since. This week I took the time to sit down and put my thoughts together, so here they are.

It’s been over a week since we attended WordCamp Europe in Vienna and landed back on the tiny island we all call home, but it’s the first chance I’ve had to sit down and put this post together.

wceu

We came back with so many fresh ideas and with so much enthusiasm to put them into action that we haven’t stopped working since. This week I took the time to sit down and put my thoughts together, so here they are.

Our first team WordCamp experience

Vienna was more than half our team’s first WordCamp experience and we chose the largest one yet to get started with!

We got most of our team together for this trip; Jean (the man behind it all), Alyona (the one who manages the whole team), Daniela (our newest team member and marketing guru), Miguel (our youngest developer who codes beyond his years), and myself (the team leader who makes sure it all runs smoothly).

Jean, Alyona and Daniela with Mike Little, co-founder of WordPress.
Jean, Alyona and Daniela with Mike Little, co-founder of WordPress.

Meeting the community

From the moment we got to Museums Quartier we were met by a large crowd of WordPress enthusiasts and professionals. Jean started the introductions right away (being the most well-known member of the team, new beard and all) and the WordCamp experience was off to a great start despite the heat.

We all attended a number of talks throughout the two days, ranging in subject from development to management and even personal improvement. There were some very interesting subjects brought up that certainly helped us all develop on a personal and a professional level.

IMG_2813
Jean, Miguel and myself with Fabio Torlini and Imran Pervez from WPEngine.

Even though we didn’t get to speak to Matt Mullenweg personally, we were all present for his Q&A session with Brian Krogsgard. If you missed it, here it is again:

It was interesting to get involved during Contributor Day too. Miguel made his own contributions to WordPress Core while the rest of us followed up on some marketing and plugin discussions. It was great to see so many people attend and give their contribution to the growth of WordPress.

A look at each team member’s experiences

Jean Galea:

Having attended every WordCamp Europe so far, this was clearly the biggest one and it’s nice to see this event growing year on year. Overall it was another well organized event, which is not an easy job at all.

For me the best thing about WordCamp is the many personal interactions that I had with other WordPress developers and product owners as well as representatives from the biggest companies in the space. It was great meeting our sponsors for mastermind.fm as well as several members of our audience. I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s event in Paris.

Alyona Galea (she really went for it on this one! But it’s great stuff):

WordCamp EU is a great opportunity for people in Europe who work with WordPress to get together, find new contacts, share their knowledge and experience, and have fun.

It was my third WordCamp EU. It’s always nice to meet people in person with whom you stayed in touch online throughout the year, or getting to know new people and start building relationship with them.

I also really enjoyed some sessions this year. In my opinion they were more interesting than last year.

The “people” part and the vibe is always great at WordCamps, but there are minor things that could be improved in my opinion. While I understand how difficult it can be to find the right venue for 2,000 persons, I still would like to mention that the venue in Vienna wasn’t the best. It was so tight and stuffy, and spread out a lot; that made the networking quite uncomfortable. I remember the venue in Seville was just right; big and airy but compact at the same time, as there were basically 2 areas to stay in (the lunch room and the space between the two halls). Also the fact that 2 tracks were so close to each other in Seville, made it much easier to switch between sessions. In Vienna we were late many times for the sessions as we had to pass through the crowd like you do in a bus during the rush hour and go upstairs or downstairs.

I would like to mention food as well, it wasn’t very good in my opinion. There were not enough snacks for morning and afternoon breaks, and the lunch quality was 4 points out of 10. I still remember the amazing food of WordCamp EU in Bulgaria, so delicious and many healthy choices.

Overall I had a great time at WordCamp EU 2016. If you’ve never been to WCEU and are considering to go next year, I really encourage you to do so, you’ll enjoy it! See you in Paris in 2017!

The team walking to Museums Quartier, ready for the new day.
The team walking to Museums Quartier, ready for the new day.

Daniela Castillo:

It was the first time I attended WordCamp and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. It was great to meet up with so many members of the WordPress community and to bond over schniztels and Austrian beer.

The sessions were very interesting and enabled me to learn more about WordPress and to keep abreast of the latest happenings. I’m already looking forward to the next WordCamp in Paris!

Miguel Muscat:

Being my first WordCamp I didn’t know what to expect, other than what I had been told about previous WordCamps. I had the opportunity to meet other WordPress developers, people that use products that I’ve helped develop, as well as put a face to some familiar names.

Being a bit of an anti-social person myself I can’t say that this is something I look forward to, but it was definitely an interesting experience that I enjoyed. The venue was great, the food was fantastic and the heat was … crispy!

Mark Zahra (myself):

This was my first WordCamp too and I’m very glad I took the extra step to attend in person this year. Having missed the past two events for various reasons, it was great to make it to Vienna and experience the community first hand.

I loved meeting new people, and some who I’d been in touch with through email and social media. It was also a great experience to listen to some of the most inteersting minds in WordPress. Overall it was an eye-opening weekend that not only helped us grow as a team, but helped me grow on a personal level too. Looking forward to Paris 2017!

Thank you, Vienna, you were great!

Lastly, I’d like to thank all the organizers of WordCamp Europe as well as the host city for the weekend, Vienna.

You did a great job to put together the largest WordCamp to date and it was an overall success. Yes, there are things that could be improved as Alyona mentioned, but we enjoyed it anyway!

If you attended WordCamp Europe, check out some of the first photos from the whole weekend here and see if you can spot yourself or your friends!

Did you miss a talk you wanted to attend, or couldn’t attend the whole event? Watch the talks from the comfort of your laptop screen on WordPress.tv.

See you in Paris in 2017 🙂

Mark Zahra
Mark Zahra
CEO at RebelCode, the team behind WP Mayor, Spotlight, WP RSS Aggregator, and the Mastermind.fm podcast. Follow me on Twitter @markzahra.

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