How many Humans does it take to contribute to a WordCamp? The answer is thirteen*. It may be something to do with the fact that our own fantastic (and very persuasive) Jenny Wong was one of the organiser, but at this year’s WordCamp London on 20-22 March, the Human Made team really got stuck in. We had five speakers, one panelist, two emcees, one organiser and twelve willing (even at 6am) volunteers helping out with everything from registrations, to making bunting, mic running and manning the luggage room. The best thing of all was that we were just one tiny part of a multitude of enthusiastic WordCamp volunteers.
WordCamp London was a mammoth event kicking off with a contributor day on Friday and then continuing into a mega three track, two day conference with 600 attendees. Despite the size and scope the event seemingly ran like clockwork. It was a real testament to the spirit of the WordPress community who are always ready to lend a hand and of course the hard work and sheer bloody-minded tenacity of the organisers.
From reading the tweets and blogs already published it is clear that many people were really inspired by the WordCamp weekend, whether through learning something new, making new friends or meeting up with old ones. I’ve asked the Human Made team for some of their favourite parts, so here are the Human Highlights:
Tom – Although I only got asked to do it last minute I did really enjoy emceeing, it was really nice being part of the room’s story for the whole day and to have some input on directing it. Mostly I just liked prancing around being silly on stage. Of the talks I saw my top three were: Smart Animations in User Interfaces by Adrian Zumbrunnen, What Story is your Portfolio Telling by Jane Falconer-White (thanks Tom I’ll pay you later!) and Creating Content that Matters by Jon Buchan.
Jenny – My highlight was seeing so many smily faces and watching new relationships form. Also supporting new speakers and watching them really take it in their stride. Finally, watching people form plans to support other sectors with the power of tech.
Matt – Drinks with clients on Thursday. Great talks. Favourites were: Adrian Zumbrunnen’s Smart Animations in User Interfaces, Building a Scaleable WordPress at News Corp UK, A User-First Approach to Metadata by Helen Hou-Sandi and Cache Money Business by Mark Jaquith. Hanging out with Humans. Airbnbs are so much better than hotels. Getting a takeaway and doing some late night coworking was cool.
Dasha – My highlights were 1) how WordPress helps charities and makes world a better place by providing free versatile framework 2) friendliness of attendees 3) willingness of speakers to share knowledge 4) willingness of people to help out with organisation – it’s bloody hard work!
Franz – Favourite talks were: Adrian Zumbrunnen’s Smart Animations in User Interfaces, Bowe Frankema’s talk Catching Your Great White Buffalo, and Petya’s talk The Fight for Independent Media in Bulgaria. I really enjoyed volunteering, both behind the registration desk and mic running. Mic running especially, might look like a little thing, but when you give the mic to someone that has a question to ask, you’re giving people the power to talk, be part of the conversation, even disagree if they want. The logo/graphics/branding was stellar, props to Scott. The scarf!
Petya – Awesome contributor day with loads being done for the core project. Led the Polyglots team, always amazing to meet the team in person and there were a lot of us there. The non-profit track at WordCamp London was great. It shed a light on a different aspect of how WordPress and Open Source Software help people. Lots of amazing stories shared in this track. Was a bit nervous, but loved having the chance to give my talk (The Fight for Independent Media) about the work we do at the Openmedia Foundation to fight back the tough media situation in Bulgaria. It was an important story for me to tell and a message to get out there, this has been a huge part of my life for the last several years. Adrian’s talk on Sunday was brilliant… as usual. I have to mention Scott’s amazing work on branding – I have never seen a better idea/design/execution at a WordCamp before. Kudos to the whole organising team for the games at the after party; everyone loved it My absolute highlight of WCLondon was getting to hang out with all the Humans. It was so much fun getting to know everyone. Already miss it.
Rob – I helped out getting people set up on contributor and saw some genuine delight on people’s faces when VVV actually finished installing! Adrian Zumbrunnen’s talk on useful animations was really well put together and thoughtful – he is also far too good at Street Fighter! I still remembered how to kick some ass on Mario Kart after not playing for 9 years. Jack Lenox’s talk (Building Themes with the REST API) was completely packed so I couldn’t actually get in! Watching Joe’s magical self writing code was amusing (Inside the WP API – Internals and Customisation). The talk from the folks at News Corp (Building a Scaleable WordPress at News Corp UK) was interesting – it’s impressive what they’ve done with such a small team. All in all a great weekend, mostly because I got to actually to see everyone for a while.
Jane – Just being able to get out to a WordCamp and see everyone is a real highlight for me as I’m not able to make many. My favourite talks were more on the business side including How to Value Price Websites by Ben Furfie, Going Freelance by Jo Waltham and it seems like everyone else I was a big fan of Adrian Zumbrunnen’s talk on animations. I also have to mention speaking at a WordCamp for the first time. I wasn’t sure how my talk What Story is your Portfolio Telling would go down, but people were really positive and it was a great experience. Maybe I’ll have another go! Also the punk Wapuu (or the Wapuunk) – so cute.
So in summary – we loved getting together, video games and Adrian Zumbrunnen! Roll on WordCamp Europe.
* In fact the real answer is thirteen plus one. The plus one being Franz’s partner Stef who was also a keen volunteer and does describe herself on Twitter as a WordPress fangirl.