Last weekend was WordCamp Manchester. It’s the first time I’ve been, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Not a great surprise, as I can’t really think of a WordCamp I didn’t enjoy. If there’s anyone reading this that hasn’t been to a WordCamp, don’t hesitate, they are fantastic.
The main difference between this WordCamp and others is that there was only 1 day of talks. I can see the logic in this, especially for sponsors (more on this later), but personally I prefer two days. The main consequence is that it was quite intense. I normally try and balance going to talks with catching up with people. Often the hallway track is the most useful. For this WordCamp, I only managed to listen to two talks. Both were excellent, but I chose them as they were people I knew.
The first was Hannah Smith, from our very own Bristol WordPress Meetup. The theme was on when to poke and when to stroke the bear, in this analogy the bear is the client. It was very entertaining and informative. Who hasn’t had a client that has needed to be told a few home truths at some point? Feature creep is the easiest way to destroy a project and a client relationship.
The other talk was by Rhys Wynne. He’s a freelancer who provides SEO services – amongst others. It provided a lot of useful dos and don’ts for those wishing to rank in Google and other search engines.
There were of course many other talks. Tim, from WPMU Dev, “volunteered” for a lightning talk at the eleventh hour. I couldn’t go, as it clashed with Hannah, but I really enjoyed his write up on the WPMU Dev blog.
Getting back to sponsors. I’m now part of the organising team for WordCamp Bristol. It’s early stages, but is most likely going to be the end of May 2019. My role is sponsors – do you get the link now? With my new hat on, I took the opportunity to talk to those sponsoring here. One comment that surprised me is that apart from the very large WordCamps, day 2 can be very dull for sponsors; this wasn’t a surprise as I’ve experienced it myself, but the fact that they’d prefer to only have 1 day was.
As I said before, I prefer 2 day WordCamps, but this is a legitimate observation. WordCamps need sponsors, as otherwise the cost for attendees would be considerably higher. So as organisers, we in turn need to listen to sponsors, as otherwise we will start to lose them. In my new role, this gives me something to think about. It should be interesting.
Finally, there was Contributor day. For those unacquainted, it’s a day for those wanting to get involved in contributing to WordPress. WordPress is open source , and relies on the community to make it better. This isn’t just for developers, in fact there’s an argument that the poetry is the least important part. WordPress is global, with the goal of democratising the web. As such, it needs documentation and translation. Anyone can do this. Having said that, I couldn’t attend. Getting to Manchester from Bristol isn’t easy. I’ve been to both Manchester and Liverpool many times, and have given up on the M6 – to be fair, I think those in charge have given up too. I took the train, and although the journey up on Friday was pretty much perfect the railway system in the UK on Sundays is the polar opposite.