WordCamp Montreal

organizers photo WordCamp 2017.jpg

Great photo of this year’s gang: Jennifer, me, Carl, Andrea, and Alex. Photo by Jer Clarke: http://jerclarke.org/

In 2010, I went to my very first WordCamp. It was my first time going to an event like that: a conference on a subject which, at the time, I was just starting to delve into. I really enjoyed my experience that weekend; I met some great people, and learned a lot! The local community was just full of friendly and knowledgeable people, who were always enthusiastic about sharing their thoughts and ideas. At the time, most of the monhtly meetups were on topics that were pretty much over my head, but I enjoyed going to them anyways because I always ended up learning something, and the other people who came to them were also very nice and friendly.

So, I kept going to the events. I also went to WordCamp Montreal 2011, and also 2012. Now, for those who know me, I like organizing things. I really like organizing things. By things, I mean events, or outings, or get-togethers; I don’t mean my desk (I won’t show you a picture of it). At the afterparty in 2012, I had the great idea of approaching Jer, one of the organizers, and saying “Hey, I’d like to help with anything you need me for next year!”, and before I knew it, I was in! I’ve been on the organizing team for WordCamp Montreal since 2013 now (here’s 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017). I’ve also been part of the team that organizes our local meetups too (here’s where you can sign up to find out about future WordPress Montreal events, on Meetup.com). And being part of the organizing team brought me, indirectly, to my current job at Automattic (the folks behind WordPress.com); being at the events, and helping where I could, got me noticed, and it certainly helped having it on my CV.

But, after 5 years of doing it, I decided earlier this year that I need a break. Running WordCamp, as well as the local WordPress community events, is a lot of work! We have a great team of organizers, but it’s still a lot that needs to be done. We actually start the preliminary booking for the WordCamp venue in November or so, as well as the hunt for sponsors. A lot of time and effort goes into our events, and I was starting to feel tired of always having to think of things for the meetups or WordCamp itself, and occasionally annoyed at minor details. So, before I found myself becoming bitter or burnt out, I decided that this year’s edition, 2017, would be my last as a WordCamp and Meetup organizer, for a year or two. We’ll see if I come back afterwards; I do like organizing things, so it might be hard to stay away for too long! However, it will also be nice to be able to go to WordCamp next summer as a pure attendee (though I may volunteer for a few hours). Not having that responsibility anymore just feels nice right now.

I was going to add some pictures from past WordCamps, but, I’m bad at taking pictures, so I only have some from 2013. So instead, go and have a look at some great ones that other people have taken:

https://www.flickr.com/groups/wpmtl/pool/

Me at WordCamp 2017.jpg

Passing on the torch, ha! Another great picture by Jer Clarke: http://jerclarke.org/

 

Oh, and remember how I mentioned that I really like organizing things? Well, I’m in the early, preliminary planning stages of organizing another conference on something near and dear to my heart, and not WordPress-related, either! I’ll reveal the secret as soon as I’m ready to announce it. 🙂

I’m going to WordCamp Buenos Aires!

I’m really excited about this: I was selected to speak at WordCamp Buenos Aires this coming weekend, so I’m going taking an overnight flight on Wednesday and will get there Thursday, giving me a couple of days before WordCamp to explore the city.

As I usually do, I’ve read a bunch of guide books, and of course, I’m ready and excited to take the Subte.

I’m looking forward to the wine, and exploring neighbourhoods likes Palermo and Puerto Madero. I’m definitely going to stop by the beautiful Ateneo bookshop; what are other must-see places that I should visit?

WordCamp Paris!

This past weekend, I went to Paris for WordCamp. I was lucky enough to have found a very nice AirB&B in le Marais neighbourhood, in the 4th arrondisment, really close to Hôtel-de-Ville metro station. The area was beautiful, with all the really old architecture, the little shops, cafés and bars, and the Seine close by. It was cold, though, between -5 to +5 degrees Celsius the whole time I was there. I know, I know, a Montrealer complaining about -5 weather? It felt colder than that, though, because it was also very humid, so it felt like the cold was just getting into my bones sometimes. It was also grey and cloudy for most of my time there, except for my very last day, when I explored the city. Before I get to that, let’s talk about WordCamp!

WordCamp Paris was on Friday and Saturday, in 2 different venues. On Friday, I saw a few talks, in the morning, but the jetlag unfortunately hit me quite hard and I left before the day was done, as I was having  hard time staying fully alert for all the talks. I did do a quick stint at the Happiness Bar before leaving, though! Saturday was billed more as a “workshop” day and was the day I was scheduled to talk, so I gave a quick overview talk on Jetpack and then answered people’s questions about it for the rest of my allotted time. I had hoped that I would also get the chance to perform some in-person Happiness Engineering, but no-one had any burning problems (which is a good thing, I guess!). Here are my slides that used for the overview (note the gratuitous use of Metro maps and images):

The best part of the whole WordCamp experience, however, was meeting so many kind, intelligent and motivated people, all wanting to learn about and share their knowledge about WordPress and the web. I was particularly pleased to meet someone I had been following for years, Ozh Richard, the creator of yourls and co-author of Professional WordPress Development:

http://www.amazon.com/Professional-WordPress-Plugin-Development-Williams-Ozh-Tadlock/dp/0470916222/

Can you believe it was his first WordCamp? I think he got bit by the WordCamp bug now, though, and I hope to see him speak again. I had a lot of fun talking to him about his previous visit to Québec, and shared with him my insights on Québec swearing. Look at how pleased I am! 😀

Finally, Sunday was my last day, and the day I took to explore. I walked all day, for about 7 hours all told, with stops at the Pont Neuf, the Jardins des Tuileries, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. Then, a quick hop on the metro all the way to Bastille stop, and a tour of Place de Voges. I really wanted to stop and have a coffee at Café Hugo, but it was completely packed with not a seat available anywhere, so I left disappointed. In any case, it was a a fun day, and I was especially lucky that the sun came fully out from behind the clouds once I’d reached the Eiffel Tower. Lots of pictures after the jump!

Continue reading “WordCamp Paris!”

Recap of WordCamp Montreal Recap posts

recap-in-your-recap

After my own Recap post, I figured it’d be fun to link to any other posts that folks have written about WordCamp Montreal. Go visit them and give their sites some love!

(thanks to my friend @zoonini for the image)

WordCamp Montreal 2013 Recap

This past weekend, I participated in my 4th WordCamp Montreal (the 5th Montreal WordCamp ever), and the first one that I helped organize. I had a really great time, and by the end of the weekend, I felt as though it was the best WordCamp I’d been to. And in truth, it really does get better every year. Here’s why this year’s was the best yet:

    • More submissions than ever before. We had over 70 speaker submissions this year, so we were able to pick the best possible talks, from out-of-towners and even more importantly, from the local Montreal WordPress community.
    • Because of the large number of submissions, we were able to expand to include a 3rd track of talks, so attendees always had plenty of interesting talks to choose from.
    • We sold 400 tickets this year, more than last year, and actually sold out! This meant that our WordCamp was just filled to the brim with WordPress enthusiasts, including some people who were just beginning to learn about it and who were eager to expand their knowledge.
    • Our veteran organizers (@cafenoirdesign, @twigpress and @jeremyclarke) brought their valuable experience and made sure that every little detail was taken care of, and taught me and my fellow rookie organizer, @kwightca, everything there is to know. We owe a lot to their leadership!
    • Our fabulous volunteer coordinator, @molecularcode, did such a fantastic job wrangling all the volunteers for her second year in the job.
    • We had more volunteers sign up than ever before, so we had tons of friendly people manning the registration desk, helping the speakers with their every need, and guiding people around.
    • The Happiness Bar (where people can ask for WordPress-related help from experienced people, and for free!) was more than fully-staffed the whole weekend, and saw lots of traffic!
    • There were lots of my colleagues from Automattic in town for a team meet-up, and they all either volunteered for the Happiness Bar or were speakers, sharing their expertise with anyone who needed it.
    • The co-founder of WordPress and founder of Automattic, Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) gave a great Town Hall in which he answered audience members’ questions, and told some pretty funny stories (Penguin wars!).
    • We had 2 panel discussions, on multilingual options for WordPress sites, and on how to make money with WordPress. These panels were a great success, and I hope that we’ll have some great submissions for further panels for next year.

All in all, it really was a great WordCamp Montreal this year. If you weren’t able to make it, then you can view many of our speakers’ slides on our site, and eventually we hope to have most of the speakers’ talks available on wordpress.tv. If you want to keep in touch with the Montreal WordPress community, sign up for our mailing list. We have monthly developer meetups or social events, and we also want to have start having meetups that are more focused on content creators. We’ll keep you informed of all our activities through the mailing list and through or Facebook group. Hope to see you there!