The Dublin WordCamp is held every two years as it alternated between Belfast. For YITH this was the first WordCamp in Ireland and we had the honour to sponsor it too. We particularly felt appreciated by the team and attendees which made me, and the rest of the YITH team, feel really special. Read on about my experience of attending WordCamp Dublin as the YITH brand ambassador.
The preparation, travel and the reward
Any WordCamp is different for us due to its location, numbers of attendees, sponsorship levels and so on. Each time, it is a balance of booking the journeys, couriers and order the right number of swag. Not to forget the large number of corresponding emails with the organising team. In total, I must have had over 25 email exchanges with Colm, who was the lead sponsor wrangler. You would have thought he would be tired of me but instead, the welcome I received at the Speaker and Sponsor dinner was heartwarming and very welcoming.
At this dinner, I managed to catch up with many familiar and also new WordCamp goers. The location was at the Trinity City Hotel where we were put in a lovely private dining room. All speakers, volunteers and organisers are volunteers and this is a way to show the appreciation that they deserve for putting in countless hours into organising this event.
The WordCamp conference days
Saturday 21st October, the first of two conference days kicked off. I love the first few hours as the attendees certainly keep me very busy. Their enthusiasm, questions, general chats make the morning fly by. Before you realise it is lunchtime…
The day was filled with two tracks of talks and the location of this WordCamp was at the Dublin City University - Business Campus.
For sponsors, the hall-way track is very important as it is often where connections are made, discussions are had and not least where coffee and snacks are served. Whenever a talk finished the hall filled with attendees discussing the various subjects.
YITH, as usual, had swag to give away and by the middle of the day, most were pretty much gone. I love the enthusiasm with which people make the reference to the quote on the t-shirts, whether it is through personal experience or with clients’ stories.
A couple of noticeable talks of that day for me were;
Cleaning up a hacked WordPress site by Kayleigh Thorpe. A really simple guide on how you can rescue your assets and ditch anything that might have been affected.
Workshop: finding effective keywords for your site by Fleur Heesen and Siobhan Cunningham. This had a queue outside the door and was pretty much full. I think this just highlights the need for this subject.
This only because I managed to catch up with them, or I had seen their talks before at a local Meetup. From what I gathered, every talk and speaker brought something unique to Dublin.
Sunday started off with contributor sessions. Abha got those who attended split up in various teams and for the rest of the morning, these were busy contributing to WordPress in a number of ways.
Leo Mindel, in the meantime, showed some on how to live stream talks. This was put to the test by bringing in a remote speaker with Nathan Wrigley from WP&UP and WP Builds doing his thing all the way from Yorkshire, England. Luckily, I managed to live-stream this from my stand which turned out to be a good test.
Once spoken to most attendees, swag was given away and the hall-way track became a little quiet, I turned my focus on catching some of the talks myself.
Speakers that afternoon I managed to see were:
Scaling a WordPress business by Vito Peleg
Modernising your site with CSS by Camila Waz
Building a bespoke CRM to scale our web business by Paudie Fearon
The one page you must customise on your site and how to do it by Sabrina Viot
And without going into too much depth of what each talk was about, I love the mixture of lightning talks and I usually get some valuable piece of advice out of it.
We also organised a little competition to win a Hard Rock Cafe gift card. The Wordsearch puzzle was returned by many and eventually, the prize was drawn with Diego Vega being the winner.
Afterparty at WordCamp Dublin
Saturday night was reserved for a social at the Odeon. Before that, I managed to grab one of the most amazing pub grubs, served at an 800-year-old pub, the Brazen Head. Again, this was enjoyed with some amazing WordPressers that I met in the last few days. I think this is just as important to a conference as many of us work alone behind a screen, so some social time with like-minded people is a welcome thing.
Anyway, the afterparty went on for quite some time and it must have been said many times before, the Guinness truly tastes amazing in Dublin.
Volunteers, Organisers and venue staff
I cannot emphasize enough how appreciative YITH is to the organisers and volunteers for putting up this well-oiled show of a WordCamp. I myself have co-organised a WordCamp and many of the YITH team too, so we know how much it takes out of your working schedule. I also know that a little appreciation goes a long way. So from, me and the YITH team, thank you for all the hours you’ve put in to make WordCamp Dublin a success. A special thanks to the university volunteers and catering staff.
I have spoken to many attendees, been to many WordCamps but I really think the relaxed atmosphere, the enthusiasm and engagement have been fantastic.
Conclusion and takeaways
There are a number of hopefully valuable points to take away from this and other WordCamps.
As a sponsor, we love meeting existing and of course the many new customers. It is great to be given the opportunity to explain who we are and what YITH represents. For YITH it is also about giving back to the community. It might sound a little cliche hearing this over and over again, but it truly is an important factor for our CEO Nando Pappalardo. Without the WordPress community, YITH would not have been what it is and able to employ the 30 or so WordPress lovers.
Organising and Volunteering for a WordCamp is so much more than giving up your time. The social aspect, making friends and contacts is really important for many of us. If you’ve ever been doubting to volunteer, find out about your local, or even international WordCamp and just get involved. Read our tips in this post here.
The volunteers to me have all been fantastic. The international blend, languages spoken and stories told makes this WordCamp extra special. As I mentioned earlier about my meal in the pub, this was enjoyed by an Italian who lived in New York, a German who works in Zurich, a Brazilian who works in Dublin and finally me, a Dutchman working for YITH. It really is something quite special that makes us all connect.
Would you like to come and meet us at a local or international WordCamp? We have the following planned but believe me there will be a lot more in 2020… Make sure you follow social media to be kept up to date. Also, if you’d like us to sponsor an event, please do reach out to us.
Thank you, Dublin, and I look forward to next year’s event in Belfast.