4 lessons I learnt from WordCamp Europe (#2 is very IMPORTANT!)

by Pere Hospital  June 29, 2015

These have been 3 hot, yet awesome days in Seville.

I met a bunch of amazing people doing extraordinary things and I’m going back home with light luggage but a head full of ideas and good intentions. Now, I just need to make them happen!

Here, I don’t want to go over the specifics of the event that Waseem reported awesomely. Instead, I will focus on my personal experience of it.

Open your mind and let things happen

Things didn’t look very well when I landed in Seville. Waseem couldn’t make it to the conference and a few t-shirts that we have carefully designed for our friends were stuck in Customs and didn’t arrive in time.

I was a bit lost, as Waseem had done the homework for the event and I generally attend smaller, much more technical conferences.

But, I try to go to this kind of event with a very open approach and let things develop by themselves. True, that to get the most out of it you need to properly prepare for an event like this (What do you want to see? Whom do you want to meet?), but balancing it with a bit of “magic” will bring the most of it.

Don’t stay at your hotel the night before the conference, don’t go to have dinner alone. Check Twitter, browse the conference hashtag, and find where the people are. Once you have found some acquaintances, go out with them.

Knowing someone before the conference starts would be great for you. It’s always good to have some nice talks and a beer the night before the start!

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More or less in this way, I met Jean Galea, Alyona, Kevin Muldoon, and Ionut Neagu. And that was the best possible start!

Don’t stand and wait

I acknowledge that it is not easy. I tended to be too lazy (or afraid) to go and find people that I wanted to talk to. Standing with a croissant waiting for them to come will not help.

In this regard, a conference with 1,000 people makes things a bit more tricky. Entrepreneurs out there, a tool to easily locate people in a conference and arrange meeting times and venues would be really awesome! (Mental note for next possible venture!)

WordCamp Europe

In any case, persisting and with some luck, I was able to talk with most: Joost de Valk, Remkus de Vries, Tomaz Zaman, Mario Y Peshev, and many others!

People is the meat

This is something that quite a few I talked with agreed. Even if the talks were fine, I really got value from one-to-one or small group, informal chats that were going on all over the place.

Specially the speed networking and the tribes meetups (very in line with the famous Open Spaces of DevOpsDays) were really interesting and focused.

It is because of this that I do really love DevOpsDays OpenSpaces format. You happen to speak directly with extremely knowledgeable people who will perhaps never deliver a keynote speech. Such people bring extreme value and a wealth of ideas. This compact format entices contributions from everyone, therefore amazing discussions start to take place.

I would really encourage the organization to give more relevance to this part of the event for future editions.

Talk to competition

It was amazing to speak with SiteGround and WP Engine people. SiteGround people, in particular, were very open with how they approached hosting, which has been their evolution. They frankly discussed the focus on support and the problems they have had. Talking with them was really inspiring for a young company like us!

Wrapping up

Despite what started with somber mood due to the planning mess, we went through a really enlightening experience. It is something that has opened my eyes to the need to give Cloudways more visibility in events like these. So, we will be in Vienna next year!

wordcamp europe

At the end, a special thanks to everyone who made it happen, especially to Kevin Moldoon, Colm Troy, Simon Tomkins, Jean Galea, and Alyona who made me feel like home!

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About Pere Hospital

Pere Hospital (CISSP & OSCP) is the CTO and co-founder of Cloudways Ltd. He has over two decades of experience in IT Security, Risk Analysis and Virtualization Technologies. You can follow Pere on Twitter at @phospital and read his blog at www.perehospital.cat

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  • colmtroy

    Pere – you were still on the way home from the conference about 12 hours
    ago and you’ve already managed to put together an excellent post on
    what was a super weekend – this leads me to the assumption that you
    clearly must not sleep! You must cease this over achieving efficiency
    immediately as it makes the rest of us look bad 🙂

    It was an absolute pleasure to meet you in Seville – based on the fun few days we had down there I’m already looking forward to the next one 🙂

    Chat soon,

    Colm

  • Long boring wait at the airport. So I needed to keep myself busy! 😀

    Pleasure to meet you too, say hi to Simon.

    Vienna we are coming!!!!

    Pere

  • It was great meeting you, Pere! I hope you can still use the t-shirts 🙂 Maybe for a giveaway?

    I definitely agree with you about the social aspect of the event. It was great meeting so many new people and finding out about what they do and learning from them, and hopefully helping them out as well! It would be great to have more speed networking and maybe some kind of social function on the first night of the WordCamp.

    Hopefully see you again in Vienna!

    Cheers, Rae

  • Alvaro Gois Santos

    I’m glad you had a good experience at WordCamp Europe 2015. I must say I missed the opportunity to have a face-to-face chat with you regarding Cloudways services.

    • Yes, Álvaro, too many people! 😀 In any case, happy to have a call about anything you want to know about CW and more than happy to meet you face to face in the next event we will go!

      • Alvaro Gois Santos

        Thank you Pere. Look forward to it 😉