WordCamp Irun 2022, small but mighty

WordCamp Irun is one of the most special in Spain. Small but full of feeling. In this post I tell you my experience of this May 2022 edition.

We could think that WordCamps are very similar to each other, they repeat formats: tracks with talks, sponsors, contributor day.

But although we share many aspects, each WC is unique. I can’t be objective, I know.

But those of us who are already headlong into the community of Spain always whisper: You have to go to the one in Irun!

In its previous editions, I was unable to attend. So after this pandemic I promised myself that I would go, no matter what.

And boy was the trip long… very long, my fingernails grew, but it was worth it.

Not only to see great friends that I missed a lot, but also to understand in first person what is so special about the WC of Irun that leaves almost no one indifferent.

It is small, warm, close.

It has that “halo” of a small community that does things with love and makes you feel that way from the very first moment.

A pilgrimage to WordCamp Irun

I feel weird if I go to a WC as an attendee, it’s the habit of having to do something, to be able to participate actively. So I wanted to go as a speaker, or as a volunteer; I was lucky, I was chosen in the latter format.

The Galician delegation started its trip on Thursday by car. I couldn’t, so I organized a deployment of millimetric aerial connections:

Travel log. Terrestrial date: May 20, 2022.

  • Pontevedra. 09:30. Train to Santiago de Compostela, full of pilgrims and students. I start the pilgrimage, but in reverse.
  • Santiago: 12:00. Flight to Seville.
  • Seville. 15:00. Fuck what a heat, a change of 20º more temperature. The clichés of north and south exist for a reason!
  • My coincidence in Seville allowed me to have lunch with the great Nilo Velez, who picked me up at the airport (thanks my friend). Quick lunch, without preliminaries because there is no time to spare, but with air conditioning, of course 😎.
  • Seville. 16:10. Rushing to the airport, everything fits perfectly. We even had time for coffee.
  • Seville. 17:10. Flight to Donostia, San Sebastian.

Eneko Garrido is looking for us at the airport. Developer that I was very happy to have met, a charming and funny person. Of course, with Jose Luis Losada, a symbol of all WCs that are appreciated.

Speakers and volunteers dinner WC Irun
Photo by WC Irun Organization. Source: WCIrun Flickr

Speakers and volunteers dinner

If there is something that characterizes this WC is the dinner in the traditional cider house. His fame is an understatement.

Fantastic dinner, with the emotion of meeting again after such a long time. Hugs and excitement are palpable in the atmosphere. Cider as well. 😉

If I have forgotten anyone, please excuse me. I will try to make memory, a tribute to many people that I had not been able to hug for more than two years:

Moncho, who we were able to sing his birthday, with the new generation, Iria, his daughter who was a volunteer at the event. Ana Cirujano and her partner Elena, Pablo Moratinos, Jaime Garmar, if you don’t laugh with Jaime and his witticisms, you are out of your mind.

Miguel, from Siteground, who also gave a talk, a classic of many WordCamps. I really wanted to give Angel Zinsel a hug, a personality this man, and a school for all his experience. To talk with Angel for a while is to learn a lot.

From the Galician community, great friendships that give me great joy not only to share moves in our “Galician community, great friendships that give me great joy not only to share moves in our “terra galega“but where there is a WC that is respected: Sabela (who gave a talk), Amieirofrom whom one always learns from his talk of multilingual web sites, Julio and FernandoThe audiovisual quality of any WC is impeccable, Jose Ramón BernabéuDo you want to lift your spirits and have a good laugh? go out 10 minutes with Jose Ramon.

Javi GuembeI only knew him through networks. A real pleasure to meet him, his experience and conversations with Javi are a luxury, great! He gave a talk that I could see on video later and it was fantastic. If you are selling webs in WP I think it can help you a lot to expand your business model with good ideas.

Photo by: Nilo Vélez

Dani Arenillas and his funny partner Alba. Dani was a case apart, a person I did not get to know in Madrid, even though we coincided in the same WC.

We had different communications in the pandemic because I admired his work with the newsletter: “Mentalidad consciente“, a beautiful project that helped me a lot.

Being able to chat with Dani and die laughing with Alba’s witticisms was something very nice this weekend 🥰.

Santiago Alonso, a “restless ass” as he defines himself, well known in the community, we have met in several WC, and I follow his automation projects that are very cool.

Isotta Peira, I was very happy to meet her as she is our mentor for do_action, a special event we are organizing for the Pontevedra WC, we had only interacted through Zoom.

She is dynamic, full of energy and reminds me a lot of Rocio Valdivia because of the positive energy she spreads, crystallizing many ideas. I’m afraid if I see them together! They end up setting up several meetups in no time.

Patricia Navarro, who also brought the new generation (her children), we coincided as volunteers in Seville. I love his energy and joy. Paulo Breogan, Galician developer from Betanzos.

Diego Nieto, Ecommerce consultant, an old acquaintance of jamborees and WordCamps around Spain.

Gorka Ruiz Iglesia (a long guy) and Eva “Farutxo” Jiménez. I died laughing with this couple of photographers, I will be happy if they manage to come to the one in Pontevedra. Eva, I’m glad you don’t have tomatoes, on the contrary, a spectacular talk 😉

And more… but we continue with the narrative of the trip.

The cider house, a historic site that does not leave you indifferent with the culinary quality that characterizes Euskadi.

The cider has a social effect, although it was not necessary. I refer to Nilo’ s good photos to understand the scene.

Pasilleo in WC Irun

Day 1. Talks and pasilleo

Mondragon University. 07:30. Get to know the rest of the volunteer and organization members.

We started to set up coffee and breakfast. We are in Euskadi, so don’t miss the food.

After the presentation, I was taking turns with the track, but I was very excited about the first one. From our good friend Sabela Muñiz, telling what we are setting up for our Pontevedra WC: The do_action hackathon.

With the creativity that characterizes her, I think she left an interesting seed for more people to come to our famous WC and get to know this beautiful initiative.

Another talk I enjoyed was given by Marta Torre on the block editor. As always, your talks are extraordinary and with good reflections on the future of WP.

Pablo Moratinos, we already know that he is out of this world.

I admire his work very much, but the creativity of his papers is incredible. It teaches in a didactic way without losing depth and quality. Pablo when I grow up I want to be like you!

One of the best SEO talks I’ve seen without a doubt, actionable, without theories, with a recipe for optimizing your content using Search Console.

If you want to improve your SEO, follow this talk (I leave you the link to WP.tv) to watch it slowly, because “French, it’s pure gold” (in the best style: Like a Boss).

One person I love how he masters the art of storytelling is Néstor Angulo. A charming guy who is able to take a complex subject matter like a ransomware attack and turn it into a story that leaves you glued to your seat until the end. Looks like a Netflix series, what a guy.

Piccia Neri ‘s talk on evil patterns of design generated a good reflection on ethics in marketing, design and web development.

How to miss a talk by Ana Cirujano? They are a safe bet, always learning from the good reflections of why you design and who you are going to. In this case focused on conversion with WooCommerce.

In the middle of the talks, lots of hallway track, one of my favorites.

Talking, connecting and connecting dots that you never know where they will lead.

What a big hug for Ana Bizarro, from Acción con Alegría, who knew her from the first edition of WC Spain online. Ana is synonymous with full energy and a good attitude towards life. It gave me great joy to meet her and her son.

Of the volunteers, I was able to speak with María Teresa Villagómez, Laura Poblete, both with a strength that kept everything in order. Ainhoa Ramiro, Santiago Becerra. Susana and Israel, organizers of the Zaragoza meetup.

Madrillano, Fran González, at last! We had only met in Madrid and I had not had the opportunity to get to know him better, only through his podcast. Fun to the max.

I am also excited to meet Dámaso Velázquez, a developer with whom we are collaborating on a joint project. It is always a joy to be able to meet up with you. And he also asked great questions in the talks.

Jonathan Martínez and María Acibeiro, from Lucus Host. We already knew each other from virtual WC, Sevilla. Their details with the personalized mug is incredible, and the popcorn stand was a great tip that even queues were made to enjoy it. Thanks to both of you 🙂

I finished the talks enjoying Dani’s talk about sustainability in websites. Very interesting facts I didn’t know about the energy consumption every time you open a website in your browser.

To end the day, they created a round table discussion on the future of local commerce and how WP can help.

A good debate was generated and several interesting ideas emerged.

If we were to implement some of these initiatives from the local communities, very interesting things could be achieved for the improvement of local commerce. More creativity and adapted to current consumer habits.

Afterwards, the norm: Hold the tiredness and enjoy the after party that in those moments you get to know other facets of people and have as much fun as you can.

I just have to say that be careful with the local guides, Ollie(Olatz Goicoechea) is a very dangerous person 😉 but she is a fantastic hostess.

Tequila is NOT a drink from Euskadi Ollie!

WP Tv table in Irun
WP TV table. Photograph by: Julio de La Iglesia

Day 2. Contributor day and organizers

5 collaboration tables: Translation, forums, community, design and of course, my favorite WP TV.

Good progress at all tables and the traditional pizza to end the day. All the videos are already uploaded to the web.

WC Irun organization and volunteers
Photo by WC Irun Organization. Source: WCIrun Flickr

What can I say about the organizers? I am empathetic with them because I know firsthand what it takes to organize an event of this magnitude and make sure everything goes perfectly.

Even more so in the case of this team that had no previous experience, since there was a renewal in the organization of the previous editions.

I was not able to talk to everyone, a few words with Iban Vaquero and Oliver Carrión that already reflected relaxation after a very intense few days.

The one I was able to share the most with was Sergio Castillo, I take my hat off to him; he doesn’t work with WP, he is an enthusiast of the sector and with no previous experience he committed himself to this. Congratulations my friend. I look forward to meeting your family in future editions. 😇

As a constructive criticism: To announce the date of the WC with more time would have been more convenient for the organization, especially for travel; unfortunately, it was too close to the European one. But being the first presential of the year, and returning to the classic format, I understand the complexities in that sense.

I am writing this review a few days later, now recovered but with that emotional “hangover” after having had such intense days.

As ironic as it may seem, I always come home full of energy, with new ideas.

Feedback and conversations naturally lead you down that path, to seek new processes of personal and professional improvement.

I compare myself to last week, and today, I am a little better thanks to a great family of friends in Irun who opened their doors and welcomed us like kings.

Even the return trip by car with Jesus, Sabela and Jose Ramon was fantastic, full of good conversations, laughter and looking forward to the next one, very soon, but this time at the European level at the WCES.

Thank you! Nothing will express my feeling for all the good things experienced this weekend, than that simple word.

Long live and prosper WordPress!

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