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. 🙂

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!