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Human Made at WordCamp Asia 2024 🇹🇼

This year’s WordCamp Asia took place 7-9 March in Taipei, Taiwan, and (of course) we had a beautiful team of humans repping Human Made on the ground – everyone knows how much we love a WordCamp! As well as seeing the best of the host city and the meeting up with the wonderful WordPress community in person, there are loads of ways to take part in a WordCamp. As well as attendees, some of us were speakers, some were panellists, and some were organisers! Let’s hear about the experience straight from them…

Human Made Agency Operations Manager,
WordCamp Asia Organiser

From Polyglot to Organiser

Being part of the Organiser team for WordCamp Asia 2024 is not something I had anticipated being a part of last year! I am still very new to the WordPress industry, and I’ve slowly gotten active in contributing back to this community that has given me so much.

After joining Human Made as an Allocation Manager, I was introduced to the polyglots team by our Director of Agency Operations, Petya Raykovska, and decided to use my love of Indian languages and translate for WordPress in 8 languages.

Thankfully, my day-to-day role as Agency Operations Manager at HM is not too different from the expectations the WCAsia 2024 Organiser team had from me – my main task was to ensure things were running as efficiently as they could across all tasks across all other 9 teams 🙂 

I was very well-supported by Human Made in my journey to become a WordCamp Organiser, and I was allowed to balance my work along with my commitments to the WordCamp Asia 2024 Organiser team. I was sponsored to contribute 3.5 hours towards the weekly commitment of 7 hours per week.

What WordCamp Asia meant to me

My personal highlights from WordCamp Asia would have to be the visibility you get within the community for your contributions as an organiser, and the many lovely people I got to work with across the APAC region.

The Operations team was a new initiative by the Organiser team this year. Being a completely new team type meant figuring out what work I could make easier for my team mates, and consolidating data to try to bring cohesiveness in the decision making process across the team structures to ensure there wasn’t loss of time or conflicting decisions.

I was first a sort of ‘octopus’ resource, attending all 9 teams’ individual meetings every week and cross-pollinating information across teams. I was made Operations Lead a month and a half before the event and given a team of 3 people to help push tasks across the line in the run up to the event. It was super hectic, but a lot of fun meeting all the wonderful people I had worked with over the last 8 months!

Vanita’s advice for tentative WordCamper volunteers

If anyone is considering joining or volunteering as a WordCamp Organiser, I suggest starting with your local WordCamp first to get a feel of it.

I’d stress that being an Organiser requires patience and dedication – you have to stick out for the entire year. I was quite overwhelmed with the amount of work that goes into organising a WordCamp – it is the same for a local one, but bear in mind the potential language barriers, timezone problems, and relying on intuition and data points to make decisions, especially if you are not local to the country hosting the flagship.

That said, I wouldn’t discourage anyone from giving it a go – there’s loads of fun learning involved, new perspectives to be gained, and a whole lot of friendships made.

Ultimately, it is a very enriching experience, and everyone should get the opportunity to do it at least once. My final tip would be to play to your strengths and make sure you join a team that you truly connect with – for example, if you enjoy writing, apply to the communications team! There’s something for everyone, no matter your background or skillset.

Human Made COO, WordCamp Asia Speaker

I was delighted to speak about enterprise WordPress sales at WordCamp Asia this year. It was, I must admit, quite nerve-wracking. The last time I spoke at a conference was WordCamp Europe in Vienna, a whole eight years ago!

Siobhan’s advice for WordCamp speakers

One of my biggest pieces of advice for speaking at an event is making sure that you are prepared. I am not one of those speakers who can just wing it and throw together some slides the night before and wander on stage without notes.

I am well prepared, with notes for all of my slides, and usually having been through a few run-throughs with a trusted friend to give me feedback. Luckily, I had Petya on hand in Taiwan to listen to the talk for me, and she gave me some great ideas for how to make improvements. Then the slides were sent off to the WC Asia team for them to review and so they were available on the day.

What to expect on the day

I was very happy to be first up speaking after Noel’s keynote session. All of the speakers are asked to be at their track early to make sure everything is working correctly and that they are ready to get started. As there were delays to the opening remarks, the keynote started late and there was a moment when I thought that no one would come to my presentation and I’d be speaking to an empty room.

However, I didn’t need to worry – we delayed the start time by 15 minutes and the room was packed. It was really fun to share what I’ve learned about enterprise WordPress sales over the past few years and to help others in the community navigate that rather complicated world. 

Why WordCamps are well worth it

Once my talk was complete I could breathe easily and enjoy the rest of the event. The thing I love most about WordCamps is getting to spend time with the WordPress community.

I have been to fewer WordPress events in Asia than I have in Europe or America, so it was great to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. The Asian community is very diverse, spanning so many different nations and cultures and that diversity really shines through at the event. It’s such an exciting community with a huge opportunity to grow. I think the organisers have done a fantastic job of creating their own distinctive flagship event.

Human Made Director of Agency Operations,
WordCamp Asia Panel Moderator

I was really excited to be back on stage at WordCamp Asia this year and to be joined by other seasoned WordPress and enterprise professionals for a healthy discussion on how we can make WordPress more appealing to enterprise clients.

It was a pleasure to talk to Kimberley Cole, the General Manager for Europe for Yoast at Newfold Digital, who is an experienced marketing and publishing executive with more than 25 years of experience, Rahul Bansal, CEO of RT Camp, and to welcome on stage at a major event for the very first time our own Lorna Lim – Senior Account Strategist at Human Made.

The panel was held in the same week when the new website for the Scale Consortium was launched and it was a good opportunity to reiterate on the importance of businesses aiming to attract enterprise clients working together to better package WordPress for the enterprise buyer.

We covered topics around challenges and opportunities for both agencies and product companies in the WordPress space when it comes to working with enterprise companies. We discussed major competitors and their competitor advantage, and shared ideas for strategies that can be put in place in order for WordPress to be more competitive in the enterprise CMS market. We had excellent questions from the audience and major interest in the topic. I was stoked that the panel prompted many follow up conversations long after it was done.

A focus on diversity

One of the big challenge when organising a panel, especially one requiring seasoned professionals in leadership roles, particularly in the Asia Pacific Region, is getting to have diversity on stage.

In the last 18 months, Human Made has been focused on the work around the Scale Consortium and we’ve organised meetups, online events, and panels at conferences, and we always meet the same challenge with diversity. When I set out to propose the enterprise panel at WordCamp Asia, I was determined to design a panel that would bring in different points of view to what we usually have when we talk about enterprise WordPress.

The fact we had three women leaders in the field on stage to share their experience is something I feel really proud of. I firmly believe that anytime you get a woman on stage at a major WordPress event, you pave the way forward for many young aspiring leaders to follow the example they see in front of them.

The energy of WordCamp Asia

I’ve been involved with WordPress for more than 13 years now and there’s not been a single year that I’ve not been to a global WordPress event since 2013, the first WordCamp Europe.

Every global event carries a unique energy based on its location. WordCamps are at the same time professional and informal events with a very low barrier to entry. You make friends fast, and then look forward to seeing them again at the next event. But never have I experienced the excitement and euphoria, the pure joy and positivity that you encounter at WordCamp Asia.

The spirit of togetherness, of the good of the collective over the individual, that is so typical for Asian cultures, somehow makes this event feel warmer, friendlier, cosier. And, for a second year in a row, that energy has stayed with me long after I left the sometimes-moody-sometimes-sunny skies over Taipei. I won’t be surprised if it lasts until next year, when we get to come together again in the Philippines.

Human Made Senior Account Manager APAC,
WordCampAsia Panellist

It was such an exciting opportunity and an honour to join a panel discussion to talk about how WordPress can better serve the needs of the enterprise. 

Stepping onto that large stage for the first time filled me with a mix of excitement and nervousness. However, Petya’s wonderful facilitation and the presence of my Human Made colleagues amidst the bright lights provided a reassuring sense of camaraderie.

Finding common ground

Engaging with my fellow panelists, Kelly (GM for Yoast) and Rahul (CEO for rtCamp), was both enlightening and invigorating. While our backgrounds were diverse, there was a natural alignment on the typical challenges faced by enterprises and a shared determination to propel WordPress into the forefront of enterprise solutions.

Our discussions not only underscored the importance of community collaboration in shaping WordPress’s offerings but also highlighted the significance of refining our marketing strategies to showcase its potential for enterprises.

Driving change, together

What truly warmed my heart was the flurry of conversations sparked by our panel. It was immensely gratifying to witness individuals approach us afterward, expressing their surprise at the extensive use of WordPress in enterprise settings.

These interactions reinforced the impact of our discussion and served as a poignant reminder of the community’s potential to drive change – echoing Human Made CGO Noel Tock’s opening keynote address, which left the most lasting impression from this year’s WordCamp Asia.

Human Made Director of Product,
WordCamp Asia attendee

WordCamp Asia was fantastic, from the beautiful location of Taiwan to the content of the conference itself, and really showcased the strength of the Asia-Pacific region. I think I went to the most talks of any WordCamp I’ve been to, with consistently high quality across every room. Plus, the afterparty was fantastic – even if we did end up congregating at the British pub!

Watching WordPress thrive

As a regular reader of Stratechery, hearing from Ben Thompson about his journey was fascinating, as well as his future plans for Passport. The way in which WordPress continues to make innovative businesses like Stratechery possible is a testament to the flexibility of its architecture and the power of the ecosystem.

Alex Kirk’s presentation on the new Translate Live functionality now available on WordPress.org was amazing, and I’m excited to see the impact it has on the ability for multilingual teams to move faster – I’m already thinking about ways to help bring these same tools to our customers too!

Proud moments

Plus, I can’t forget about the amazing talks from my colleagues. Noel’s first talk about the future of WordPress set the tone for the rest of the conference, and got everyone talking. We’re in the privileged position of getting to discuss these things internally all the time, and being able to share some of the ways we’re thinking about how to push the envelope was super exciting.

The enterprise panel featuring Petya and Lorna provided a lot of food for thought about the various approaches and requirements we all experience. Being able to see the similarities with our partners in the Scale Consortium, as well as the places we take different approaches, it’s clear that the future of WordPress in the enterprise is bright.