WordCamp Europe Porto

Walking through the streets of Porto I read a quote on a sticker: “To change something, first you have to change yourself”.

Attending a WordCamp is about change. You are no longer the same person. Sounds far-fetched, you might claim. But can you deny that you create your reality every day?

First when you build it in your mind, and then when you execute it.

Going to WC Europe is like a super intensive day of conversations and energy recharging with thousands of people, who share common interests. Professions, hobbies, all with the excuse of learning more about WordPress.

You don’t learn much from WordPress, that’s the reality.

You take away new ideas, some plugin that you didn’t know, some interesting methodology that you learn in a workshop.

But knowledge needs to mature like a wine, with practice and time.

If we don’t go for the knowledge… Why do we do it?

Why do more than 2,700 people buy a ticket and travel, in some cases, thousands of miles to attend an event that lasts only 3 days?

For the people. And boy, after this pandemic, it has been sorely needed.

Human beings are social entities.

Part of the base of Maslow’s pyramid is based, after basic needs such as food, clothing, health, etc., on security, affiliation, recognition.

All these phases go through the connection with people. Without that, we are incomplete.

It doesn’t matter how much money you make, or whether or not you have fulfilled that image of success you may have. If you don’t connect with people, many of your needs are not met.

It seems simple, but we know that the reality is very complicated.

People can become complex, selfish, jealous. Differences in expectations can lead to friction.

If you work in a toxic environment, with extremely competitive, individualistic people.

If you did not learn to manage your emotions and self-esteem at home when you were a child, you will feel frustrated and insecure.

All these negative things of today’s society: extreme competitiveness, lack of empathy, intolerance, jealousy, can be fought in a simple way: learning to share.

Open yourself to new experiences and let your mind change, which is the first step to transform your life.

This and much more is what a WordCamp is for.

The open source spirit of these conferences, and the whole philosophy behind it, as I have already told in the stories of free software, makes you understand other realities, abandon your ego a little and see other ways to collaborate.

It makes your mind expand to new methodologies, ways of relating and working, which will make your life better.

But it all depends on how much you are willing to expose yourself to change your mind and enjoy the flow: “Be water my friend” as the martial arts master Bruce Lee taught us.

Codeable travel and dinner

For obvious reasons WC Europe had been cancelled in person for the last two editions. They were made online(2020 and 2021).

I participated in both, but very sporadically and reluctantly. Like many people there was a saturation of online events.

Knowing that (finally!) it would be held in person was a burst of energy. I bought my ticket when it came out.

As was to be expected, the Galician community was going to attend en masse. We are very close to the event. So we’d been going for months with tickets, lodging reservations, etc.

I would like to mention everyone and everyone I interacted with at the event, as I tried to do in an extreme memory exercise in the case of the Irun event, but this time I will skip that goal.

I don’t want to make a testament to this post. I hope you see yourself reflected in some way in my writing.

We started the trip with part of the Galician group: Jose Luis, David Lopez and Carlos(I am an ignorant). JL and I needed to get to the Codeable dinner.

WP freelance developers platform where our friend Carlos Longarela and Christopher Churchill, who already knew from the Berlin edition in 2019, invited us. thank you for this fantastic gift! 🙏

A private dinner that had nothing to do with the organization of the WC, but where this incredible company of Danish origin, takes the opportunity to bring together some of its members.

Already on the first day I was stunned by the majesty of the place, at the Pestana Palacio do Freixo. An incredible celebration that looked like a wedding. I met fascinating WP developers from all latitudes: Europe, Latin America.

I refer to the photos to understand this:

Contributor day

It was a record-breaking day: more than 800 people attended the event. A very nice day where we were finally able to embrace hundreds of people we had not been able to see for years.

I, as usual, went to the WordPress TV table. It was directed by David Pérez, a friend from Granada whom I have already mentioned in this blog on other occasions, who together with Jesús Yesarez and Sacra Jáimez run the excellent podcast: Ninjas del marketing.

I had a little computer glitch, (thanks to Fede Padilla, Jorge and Carlos Sobrino for helping me to solve it). You guys are the best. 😘

I loved the project of Fede, a marketing consultant from Malaga. He was one of the people with whom I most enjoyed conversations at WordPress parties.

WP.tv table. Photo by Núria Ramoneda

An impeccable day, with a bit of chaos at lunchtime. It is not easy to feed 800 people when in reality there were fewer people signed up.

At lunch you couldn’t even eat because of all the people you met. Newcomers, and of the veterans, to mention a few: Nahuai, Celi, Nestor, Nora, Marta Fabregas, the great Nilo Velez who took some spectacular photos and a surprise to see Veronica Couso, who I met at the Seville WC.

Fernando Tellado, Rebolledo, Gustavo, Rocio Valdivia, Ibon Azkoitia, Paula Rivera, Isabel Gómez, Eurydice, Isabel García, Ramón García, Alejandro Ledo, Esther Garcinuño, Carlos Herrera, Jesús Amieiro, Sabela, Francesc Barbero and many, many more.

Something that attracted a lot of attention throughout the event were the free roaming peacocks. Some people even fed him in a very peculiar way (right Vero?).

That same evening was the dinner for volunteers, speakers and organization.

It was made in Matosinhos and honestly, few places have left me so surprised. With spectacular views, almost in the sea, in a building that left almost no one indifferent.

Typical of these dinners, lots of conversations, meeting very interesting people from many parts of the world.

And the detail of the local organization with a traditional group. The party went on as long as the body would allow.

Day 2: Sponsors, talks and a lot of corridors

Sponsors make this type of meeting possible and contribute to the growth of open source. We have to thank them for this and for their creativity with games, souvenirs and raffles.

Being the largest WC in the world, the stands are majestic, and they give away an amazing amount of merchandising that is appreciated. Cool stuff, t-shirts, sunglasses, tech gadgets, towels and lots of stickers.

I’m short of laptops for the amount of stickers I have on each of the WordCamps.

I attended some talks. I highlight the following:

WCEU Talks
Talks at WCEU

I really liked the one by Leo Postovoit, about web optimization as a way of thinking. Interesting proposal. Also, a speaker who gave his all at the previous day’s party.

Interesting thoughts from Richard Midson wondering if podcasting would be the future of WordPress.

The first day I signed up for a workshop.

In my experience WC Europe workshops are very good to go deeper into a topic rather than a lecture. In this case I went to Mike Crantea‘s Web Optimization Strategies workshop.

Workshops at WCEU
Workshops at WCEU

Very good workshop, I learned how to take more advantage of the browser inspector to optimize the speed of your site, testing locally using lighthouse.

Fantastic. As a constructive criticism, the speaker was not physically present and following him with the connection difficulties was a bit complex. I recommend that they should always be with face-to-face speakers in order to avoid such situations of low latency, loss of connections, etc.

Apart from the official events, there are always some incredible parties organized by sponsors.

One of the most famous is the one we enjoyed that same day organized by WP Engine on the banks of the Douro River.

A fantastic evening in a beautiful bar. Great time to share with people from the community.

Like any party, with its funny stories before, during and after. But I reserve that information, I only share the most decent photos 😉

Day 3: Talks, farewells and partying

The next day I attended a fantastic talk by Vassilena Valchanova: “Building data-drive content personas”. He shared a very cool resource to improve your knowledge of the audience.

And then, the Spanish community rushed to support a spectacular speaker: Vicent Sanchis with a talk on accessibility with contrasting colors.

Vicent Sanchis at WCEU
Vicent Sanchis at WCEU

I can’t be objective, but honestly, giving a talk at this event has to scare you, yes or yes.

It is an incredible responsibility, it is an honor to have been chosen and Vicent achieved something very difficult, mixing 3 essential components in a good talk: (1) Inform, (2) Entertain and (3) Excite.

The Spanish community was very proud to support the project with great strength. As well as the talk by Piccia Neri, a designer I have mentioned in other posts for the quality of her presentations.

In this case Piccia talked about “Design for Conversion: How to be more profitable by putting people first”.

Piccia Neri at WCEU
Piccia Neri at WCEU

Piccia and Vicent are very proud to have represented the Spanish community by giving talks of the highest quality.

Nile at WCEU
Nilo, a man of height

At the end of the morning block we took the traditional family photo, which in this case required Nilo to climb on a crane to take it.

And we end the day with the conversation between Josepha Haden and Matt Mullenweg, which always generates great expectation and good questions from the audience.

At the close of the event, the data left almost no one indifferent:

  • 2,746 tickets sold
  • 2,304 attendees
  • 70 speakers
  • 91 organizers
  • 800 attendees at contributor day
  • 164 volunteers
Photo by the WCEU organization

And an incredible organizational team to take our hats off to. We don’t realize the immense responsibility they take on to put on these events and have everything go so well.

I do not want to imagine the complexities and fears of holding an event of this magnitude, after the pandemic, with all that it has implied in terms of health, with the fear of cancellations, and thousands of factors that I am sure we do not know.

Thank you!

Not only to the leaders, but to the entire team.

In addition, Spain has been very well represented with the omnipresent: Moncho, as one of the organizing leaders, Juan Hernando(ciudadanob) in the budget team and Roberto Tuñon, in the leadership of the design team, which frankly, in this WC that team stood out a lot.

The whole design and graphic image of the event was fascinating. One of the most impressive I have ever seen. In its design team, Flavia Bernárdez, a well-known crack within our community, who starred in a curious story that Carlos tells in his review and demonstrates the power of the hive.

In addition, José Arcos and Ángel Moreno in the community team.

And of course the rest of the organizers, I would like to highlight the incredible work of the local group with José Freitas, and all the love he put into making this happen.

And friends from other organizing teams such as Nilo in photography, David Perez in sponsors, Jose Luis Losada (of course!) and Sveta Guzovskaia in the team of volunteers.

Of course, the farewell parties are legendary.

With live music, DJs, a party that lasts many hours and serves to release energy after 3 very intense days for the attendees, and many more for the organization team.

At the farewell, as always, the next destination is announced, which in this case will be Athens. So it will be our turn to meet Greece in 2023. What’s more, they do it with a video that makes your hair stand on end.

The Greek community deserves to be the guests. They tend to be among the most active European communities in the entire WP ecosystem.

YouTube video

I’ll stick with the conclusions made in his review by Carlos Longarela: WordPress “is about people, affinities and feelings”. That’s the real value of this tool, not making webs or open source, but the community and all the human value you have.

You get home energized and ready to take on the world. Although I admit that I need almost two days to recover from so much partying ¯ (ツ)_/¯

So if you have the opportunity, take part. You won’t regret it. I have left many photos in this entry, that if they don’t convince you…. I don’t know what else can.

Long live and prosper WordPress!

See you at the next one, my favorite because we prepare it with love, in Pontevedra. ❤️ We are doing some live YouTube shows to keep you up to date with everything. We are waiting for you!

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