Q4 2013 has been the season for big WordCamps in Europe. Not even the greying skies and the drop in temperature can stop WordPress aficionados from getting together to talk all things WordPress. Just six weeks after WordCamp Europe was WordCamp London, the second biggest WordCamp in Europe, and the first ever WordCamp in London.
50% of the attendees had never attended a WordCamp before so there was a good mixture of experienced WordCamp attendees and those new to experience. Overall, this helped to create a positive and excited vibe that was consistent across two days.
The event was split over two days, with day one, the conference, held at Bishopsgate Institute and day two, the Contributor Day, held at Mozilla Spaces. Bishopsgate Institute is a listed building in East London thats mixture of Arts and Crafts style with Art Nouveau and Victorian architecture reflects the eclecticism of London. It also reflected the eclecticism of the day, with developers mixing with designers mixing with writers mixing with supporter mixing with business-people.
As organisers, we tried to create a programme that appealed to a broad range of people. Highlight included David Lockie, who inspired attendees in his presentation about how WordPress can change the world, Mark Jaquith who shared the ups and downs of leading the 3.6 WordPress release cycle, and the lightning talks, which saw 10 attendees present five minute sessions with topics ranging from business to security. There was excellent feedback about the lightning talks, and they’re definitely something we’ll repeated next year.
The real high point, however, came from WordPress co-founder Mike Little, who told the story of his involvement with WordPress. This emotional story spanned the ten years of WordPress, and received a standing ovation from the audience.
Day 2 was a Contributor Day, held at Mozilla spaces in London. This was a fantastic venue although it turned out to be a little small for our purposes. Nevertheless, it was a productive day with many of the attendees making their first contribution to WordPress. Some exciting results from the Contributor Day are the revamp of the BuddyPress Codex and the first steps towards a UK-wide Contributor Day.
We’re planning to do it all over again next year. The WordCamp London feedback survey is live – if you haven’t taken it please do so as it will help us to improve on things for next year.
We’re still going through the results, but here are some things we’ve been thinking about:
What we’ll do again
- lightning talks! People really loved these talks so they’ll be back, with more of them.
- external catering. This will depend on the restrictions of any new venue, but contracting external caterers worked very well.
- the organsing team worked very well together. I’m hoping that everyone will be back involved next year and we’ll look into expanding the team to anyone else who’d like to be involved.
How we can improve
- bigger venues. We need bigger venues for every element of the event – conference, contributor day, after-party. We wanted to keep it small for the first one and we didn’t expect quite so many people. This means that we’re on the hunt for new venues next year. If you know of one please email us.
- better focus. The presentations generally went down very well, but we want to find a way to better tailor sessions towards specific groups of people, while still creating a space for WordPressers of all types to come together.
- longer. Next time, we’ll aim for two conference days and one Contributor Day.
That’s it for this year. Watch out for information about next year’s WordCamp London. We’ll be looking for help with organising, speakers, sponsorship, and volunteering all over again.