Walking to #WCEU.
— Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) October 5, 2013
Last weekend was WordCamp Europe. Held in the picturesque dutch town of Leiden, WordCamp Europe was a varitable who’s-who’s of awesome people in the WordPress community. It also was the biggest WordCamp ever held in Europe. With +700 attendees and 31 sessions on two stages (including a Q&A with WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg) there was plenty of stuff to watch and plenty of people to talk to.
This year, I signed up as a volunteer, which I can recommend to anybody. I had a great time meeting people at the volunteer dinner, the day before the conference started and had a good time passing around mics in both rooms (which meant I also got to watch a lot of sessions).
Now, let’s talk about the sessions I found especially interesting…
Conference Day 1
Behind the Scenes at Smashing Magazine – Vitaly Friedman
Vitaly gave a great (and personal) talk about how Smashing Magazine came into being. What helped him and what stood in his way in the past 7 years was great advice for any entrepreneur. It was also a nice and mellow opener for the conference.
BuddyPress & Multisite Case study – Roció Valdivia
This talk was interesting to me because of the custom work they put into this case. They tied newsletter software together with BuddyPress user-meta which allowed the client to post newsletters to very specific target-groups (like all Women living in Barcelona, who love literature). This stuff would be perfect for a project we’re working on right now and they’re going to open source the plugin, so i’m very anxious to play around with it.
Why Big Brands Love WordPress – Sara Rosso
Sara gave us WordPress-folk some great reminders on how WordPress is powering some of the biggest sites out there; The New York Times, CNN, Time.com… these are all reasons WordPress can be trusted as a CMS and more importantly; proof that WordPress scales… it’s not just for small sites.
Is the Premium Model Right For Your Plugin? – Kim Gjerstad
Filling in for Sean Herron who was stuck in the States due to the goverment shutdown, Kim did a great job talking about there newsletter-plugin MailPoet. The biggest jolt for me came in the Questions and Answers part of the talk, where Van Ons’ Bas van der Lans asked Kim to give him his elevator pitch for choosing MailPoet instead of MailChimp. Not having to explain yet another system is simply a huge advantage.
A ManageWP case study – Vladimir Prelovac
I liked the talk from Vladimir a lot. I was mostly about business-advice and how to get users to use your product.
Conference Day 2
Help Yourself by Helping Others – Scott Basgaard
Scott’s talk was schedualed right next to Nacin’s talk about WordPress 3.7, which made me feel bad for Scott and the rest of the conference that they spend there morning in the other room. Scotts talk was mostly about how contributing, helping others and great customer service helps your company and your brand more than advertising. Show that you’re nice instead of saying it.
To OOP or not to OOP – Nikolay Bachiyski
Nikolay had some great examples how developers (and especially WordPress developers could benefit from better Object-Oriented coding. I went into the talk thinking I had a good understanding of OOP, and came out humbled, which I love; it reminds me there’s always something to learn.
Less is More: The Journey of happytables as a WordPress SaaS – Noel Tock
The introduction to Happytables and Noel’s views on especially designing and commercializing it where great, but the single biggest thing I took away from this talk was; “clients don’t fill in sites or newsletters, so let’s give them a little hand”. Happytables generates automated newsletters and focuses on incentives for administrators to get them to add new content; awesome concept and very smart.
Real WordPress Security – Kill the Noise! – Dre Armeda
Dre’s talks are always amazing. Full of fire, energy and humor he convinced the room within 5 seconds to take WordPress security serious. Bonus-points; Matt came in and set down next to our intern Mathijs
Learn from my mistakes, don’t make them: The Business of WordPress – Miriam Schwab
Fascinating talk about running a WordPress-agency. From hiring, firing to using a CRM and what to charge.
The Victory of the Commons – Joost de Valk
Joost (or Yoast, as he is better-known), held a passionate talk about a balanced take on open source; Don’t be too much of a hippie to keep everything free; learn how to monetize it and then pump some of the profits back into the open source community; That’s the only way we all win and everything keeps getting better in a sustainable way.
Trying to blog about #wceu and coming up blank. All that comes out is "it was bloody brilliant, & if you weren't there you should have been"
— Monica Guerra Leiria (@jesterstear) October 9, 2013
I had a great time at WordCamp. I know that Daan and Mathijs both also had a blast and we’ll definitely be at the next WordCamp Europe. I met some great new people and saw some other great people ‘live’ for the first time. Also; volunteering was a very cool experience!
Update 3: I just had to include this awesome video by Kaarel Veike… it gives a great view of what WordCamp Europe 2013 was…