WordPress celebrated its 20th anniversary on May 27th. And as the number 20 was the protagonist of the WordCamp Europe last week in Athens, I thought it would be the perfect reason to tell you 20 aspects that fascinated me about the event.
Therefore, since I cannot possibly sum up the experience we had in Athens in less than a thousand words, would you like to relive it with me?
🏛️ The Acropolis walks. The good thing about a WordCamp is that you can always take a little time sightseeing in the host city. In this case, the capital of Greece welcomed us with the perfect weather (although perhaps too hot for some) and we didn’t waste time walking through the remains of the fascinating ancient Greek civilization.
🤲 The Contributor Day. Five hundred, six hundred… lots and lots of people willing to contribute to the WordPress.org project altogether in the same place. Almost all the teams were represented, and many exciting initiatives emerged. There were conversations between the people most involved, responsibilities were added to new contributors, and progress was made on many fronts.
🌳 A new sustainability team was created. I am delighted to note that during Contributor Day, the year-long work of the sustainability initiative came to fruition, and a team has been officially formed. Their 3 pillars are how to make events more sustainable, how to make WordPress code and practices more performance and load friendly, and how to make the project survive in the long term. And they have a lot of fantastic people on the team.
🫂 New and old friendships. The WordPress community during WCEU is a party. More than 2,600 attendees were delighted to see each other again, introduce themselves, find common conversations, and have a good time. The number of people I met in these 3 days and the number of old friendships I could greet again is uncountable. Some of them you only see from WCEU at WCEU!
📸 The family photo. It’s one of the best memories you can take away from a WordCamp…and with so many people, finding yourself can be a challenge! The atrium of the Megaron was the perfect place where hundreds (thousands!) of WordCampers greeted Nilo Vélez to capture the moment.
🥗 The Greek food. Feeding so many people with different needs (different allergies, vegetarian, vegan, halal, kosher…) is a challenge of considerable dimensions. And yet there was food in huge quantities, delicious and very Mediterranean—a success. And then there was coffee at any time. What a marvelous event, setting the bar high for future years!
🧑🏻🏫 Talks on 3 tracks. Despite the risk of having some auditoriums with few attendees, we separated the talks into three tracks to provide attendees with training in everything you can think of during the two-day conference. Soon you’ll be able to see all the videos on WordPress.tv, together with their slides. You can check the schedule in case you’re interested in any of them and write them down before you forget them.
🔌 The new WP Connect. A meeting place to discuss current topics: Five for the Future, WordPress Playground, Developers Relations, contributing to the project, pitching your ideas, events…A separate area from the usual tracks but with people very interested in taking a step forward and improving.
🔧 Workshops and panels. Not only were there keynote talks but there were also 2 tracks of workshops where attendees could get hands-on with their laptops to learn practically many aspects of WordPress. And panels in which experts discussed artificial intelligence, women, and non-binary folx in WordPress, business, enterprise, contributing, events, performance…
🎤 The talk by Matt, Josepha, and Matías. The farewell is undoubtedly one of the most popular events on Track 1 (I arrived late and had to sit in the second amphitheatre because the first was full). It was a review of the latest WordPress news, what’s coming, and questions from anyone who dared to get in front of the microphone with answers from three of the most influential people in the project at the moment. You can relive it here.
🍾 Parallel activities. WordCamp Europe goes far beyond the content: workshops for kids, childcare, walks, yoga, tai-chi, picnics…and, of course, the parties of some sponsors in spectacular locations. If you didn’t participate this year, keep an eye on the website and the community for next year, everything is announced there in the weeks before it happens!
🎁 Sponsor stands and swag. As soon as you entered the venue, you could see the beautiful Weglot booth – did you stop by to chat with Thomas, Thibaud, David, and Ibon? We hope so! More than 60 sponsors who made the event financially viable spent 2 days showcasing their products and services, giving away swag (more and more sustainable options) and chatting with potential customers, getting feedback, and soaking up the WordPress community.
👕 The organizers and volunteers. More than 100 organizers and 150 volunteers in their blue t-shirts were moving up and down from one side of the venue to the other to ensure everything went as smoothly as possible. After (many!) months of preparation, it all came together as if by magic in a matter of three days – and a couple of days of set-up before that. Please don’t get tired of thanking them for their incredible effort and work because it’s immeasurable!
🏢 The fantastic venue. The Megaron Athens International Conference Centre was an excellent host for the event. Its marble, columns, staircases, the superb sound (and soundproofing) of the rooms. It was a complete success on the part of the local team. Of course, thanks also to all the teams involved in the event signage with all the addresses because it was really easy to get lost in the vastness.
🌍 The community booth and the map. We love putting dots on a map. That’s just the way it is. The WordPress community stopped by the community booth to take selfies, to ask questions about the project teams and above all, to take pictures with the map of Europe where they marked where they came from. It’s impressive to visualize so quickly how diverse our community is!
🎥 The streaming. If you couldn’t make it to the WCEU, at least you could watch it on their YouTube channel (and soon on WordPress.tv). Not only were the 3 talk tracks streamed, but there was also exciting content from our Live Studio during the intermissions. We try to make the event as inclusive as possible, even for those who can’t or don’t want to come to the event in person.
💌 The postcards game. Did you take home the 8 different postcards that the community team prepared for you? I did! I had to search for 1 at the last minute, almost shouting through the corridors to find someone who could exchange it for 1 of mine. It was a fun way to network and take home a nice souvenir.
💼 The business is very much alive. You leave the WCEU with the energy of the community and the knowledge of the content but also with the impression that the WordPress ecosystem is more active than ever. Many companies with innovative products, while others were investing in small ideas and partnerships of all kinds. I’m sure that in a few weeks, there will be more news about the business that took shape in Athens.
💃 Dancing and chatting at the after party. Yes, everyone has a very different concept of a party, especially when there are over a hundred nationalities in attendance. Those who want to dance to electronic music, those who enjoy a cover band, and those who prefer to chat and continue networking. It’s impossible to find a place that covers all options, but the community is creative, at least for my part. There was a little time for everything!
🍕 And the next city… Do you want more? You weren’t able to make it to Athens, and you want to experience a WCEU? From 13 to June 15th, 2024, a new edition of WordCamp Europe will be held in, drumroll, Torino, Italy! The Lingotto Fieri will be the venue that will host the event. Have you seen the presentation video?
Did you know that the call for organizers is open? And… did you know that I will be one of the three global leads of the event? I really hope to see you in Torino!
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