WordCamp Europe 2024: Struggles, cultural experiences, and community - Organizers Ohia and Marco

Maciej Nowak [00:00:00]:
Hello, everyone. My name is Maciej Nowak, and welcome to the Osom To Know podcast where we discuss all things WordPress. I’m continuing today with a 2 guest theme. We are talking with Ohia from World World Computer community team and Marco Chiesi from the local team. They are sharing behind the scenes of organizing World Cup Europe 2024, which will take place in Terna, Italy In June, if you don’t want to miss new episodes and continue learning about WordPress, please subscribe to our newsletter at osomstudio.com/newsletter. This is osomstudio.com/newsletter. Or if you are watching this on YouTube, please give us a thumb and subscribe to the channel. This means a word to us.
Maciej Nowak [00:00:45]:
Without further ado, please continue to listen to our conversation with Marco and Ohia. Hello, Marco. How are you today?
Marco [00:01:12]:
Good. All good. Thank you.
Maciej Nowak [00:01:16]:
Thank you very much for making time to to to join the podcast. And today, we will be talking about WorldCamp Europe. How to organize an event of this scale, I’m super interested into, into any background stories and, you know, Interesting stuff that’s not regularly seen, you know, on the Outlook, let’s say. So I’m very curious. First of all, because we you are a part of the organizers and organizer team. And number 1 question that I had in mind is how do you pick a city in which WordCamp is organized? So this is This is really interesting for me.
Marco [00:02:00]:
Well, I have a just a bit of information about that. I know that, there’s an official call, every year. So it’s a call for the next organizing city. I am aware that in example, Turin, participated also in the past, but didn’t take the 1st place. And and usually, The city for next year is revealed at the end of each WordCamp. I am aware that it’s necessary to give a lot of, information to already have found a venue that is That can host such a big event. So, usually, 1 year For the local team of that country, starts, organizing for the application. That’s what I know.
Maciej Nowak [00:03:06]:
Marco [00:03:07]:
I was not involved in this case. So I’m not Aware of all the details? Not sure if or Ohia maybe have some more context on this.
Ohia [00:03:17]:
A little bit. So last year, I was an organizer also. So this year, I’m on the community team. Last year, I was on the community team. And, after WordCamp was over last year, I read the organizer’s handbook. So, yeah,
Maciej Nowak [00:03:40]:
Ohia [00:03:42]:
Yeah. Yeah. But I read it in, like, 2 days. So, yeah. I don’t know I don’t know if I was, like, really, really far behind or if I was going really quickly doing that. But, I learned a lot in the process of being an organizer anyway. There are stipulations for the city. It does have to have obviously a venue that can hold, you know, the amount of people that that end up coming to WordCamp.
Ohia [00:04:08]:
And, you know, I think people, I think they look at, you know, accommodation, availability, and things like that. So, Lots of things can be referred to in the organizer’s handbook and and online, Which I’m actually looking at right now. There’s a quiz that you can take after you read it. So you can go in stages if you’re, like, Into checking things off, and it makes you feel satisfied to get a grade. You can go through the You’re done
Maciej Nowak [00:04:43]:
Ohia [00:04:44]:
And quiz yourself. Yeah. Yep. So yeah. I’m not I don’t remember I’m confused now. All of the details, but, venue is obviously, like, One of the first things that everyone looks at. And then in the United States, they do it 2 years in a row in the same place.
Ohia [00:05:07]:
They do it 2 years the same place. Yeah. I I don’t know why. I need to turn that off. I think it’s My computer, because it does it across every, application that I use. But, For the next couple of years in the United States, it’ll be in Portland. But I was really hoping it would be in Cleveland Because my city, that I was born in is Akron, Ohio. But, I’ll get to visit the West Coast of the United States Later in the fall this year.
Ohia [00:05:36]:
So yeah.
Maciej Nowak [00:05:38]:
Oh, and and will you participate in, WordCamp US?
Ohia [00:05:42]:
I think so. I’ve applied to be an organizer, so I’m really hoping that works out. I I would assume they get a ton of applications for that, but, it would be my 1st time. So I’ll definitely be going.
Maciej Nowak [00:05:55]:
Right. So maybe I I started with the city and everything, but maybe for the for our listeners who are not familiar with the concept of of Worldcom, can you explain for for our listeners, you know, What’s the idea behind Worldcom, and, you know, what is Worldcom? Especially Worldcom Europe.
Ohia [00:06:16]:
I’m gonna Talk about this from my viewpoint and my history of of being a part of the WordCamp community. In 2012, I went to a WordCamp in Atlanta, Georgia. And, I had been using WordPress at that point for a couple years. And I was just really kind of unaware of what the community aspect of it was, and I went to some workshops. And, You know, I didn’t realize it didn’t soak in, how special it was. And then six Years later, I went to one really close to my hometown in Kent, Ohio, and I still didn’t really understand. I knew that there was, like, Information to tap into and maybe some networking. But I I just kind of mainly went to, You know, I went to the, WordCamp tracks.
Ohia [00:07:09]:
And then I signed up to go to Contributor Day the next day, and I actually ended up not going. I didn’t understand the concept of At all. And then 4 years later in 2022, I went to WordCamp in Porto, in Athens. I was living in northwest, Spain at the time. And, shout out to WordCamp Pontevedra. And, and I was like, yeah. Hey. Why not? I’ll you know, Porto isn’t that far from where I’m living right now.
Ohia [00:07:42]:
And so I went there, and it was amazing. Like, it it I was Totally, like, knocked off my feet. Thousands of people. And I still really didn’t understand the the concept of contributor day, but I could see that this was something bigger And and super connected. And there were a lot of really, really welcoming people I met, and a lot of new people. I made a lot of new friends. And, you know, that situation can be kind of scary. If your 1st WordCamp Or like if if you’re going to a flagship WordCamp for the first time, it can be really overwhelming.
Ohia [00:08:25]:
But I felt like Everyone there really, really wanted newcomers to be comfortable. They really wanted me to understand what was going on. And everyone was really helpful. You know? Like, I think that’s one of the things about WordPress and being open source is that, you know, People aren’t guarding information. There seems to be less of a hierarchy or or elitists in our community, And people want you to learn. So saying something out loud or suggesting something on a ticket or a thread that people have already talked about before Or that might not make sense is okay because new ideas are coming from everywhere all the time. And, like, a brand new beginner Might have a new eye opening, way to look at things than a 20 year veteran. So, For me, going to that flagship WordCamp in Porto really opened my eyes to, like, how connected The the social aspect is like, it’s it’s huge social.
Ohia [00:09:36]:
And then I live in Spain, which has I think after the states or possibly surpassing, I’m not sure, annually, the 2nd most WordCamps In all of the countries of the world. So I got really lucky when I decided to plug into the WordCamp community here. Because There’s about 1 a month in Spain, sometimes 2 even. And I just kept going and going. And I have made friends that I know That I’ll have for a lifetime. And I have friends that will help me with things. You know, I can tweet someone or Direct message someone and people wanna help. And I obviously try not to abuse that because I know we all make our livings doing this stuff.
Ohia [00:10:21]:
But there’s always somebody, like, ready to help me look at a problem.
Maciej Nowak [00:10:26]:
Yeah. That’s amazing. That’s amazing. I I think we shared the same maybe not to debut, but, I the WorldCom portal was also first for me. Like like national like, sort of like the like the the big word camp. Right? So I I this was, this was the first one. The first one big because it was, 1 in our city where we when, where I, visited first. Right? But then there was pandemics, and then there was world camp world cam portal, and everyone was so thirsty for Events, meetings, and I think this added to the success of this event because I also was blown away by, by that.
Maciej Nowak [00:11:12]:
Marco, I’m very curious about your story. You know, how first of all, you know, why Are you on board? Why are you spending time doing this stuff you are doing? Alright? It’s a ton of time to to to sacrifice of your own personal time. So I’m you know, we are volunteers. Why are you doing this, Marco? Can you can you tell a bit of your story?
Marco [00:11:37]:
Yeah. Yeah. By the way, I’ve quite a similar story because, I’ve been using WordPress, since, 2010 more or less. But for a long time, I basically contributed some Something but only online and without participating into the community. And then in 2016, I attended, the first my 1st work camp, which which was a flagship work camp. It was work camp Europe in Vienna. And I was blown away by that, event. So after that, I started to participate, in all the work camps that I could.
Marco [00:12:26]:
And at that time, also, Italy was Quite, active in terms of community. We we had, like, 5 or 6 work camps Each year, which is quite a lot. So I started, going to basically all the Italian work camps. And in the upcoming years, I also went again to World camp Europe in Belgrade and also in Berlin. Also some Other work camps outside of Italy, like, work camp London. And At some point, I also started to apply as a speaker in work camps. So I I think I’ve Done, like, 6 or 7 speeches in various work camps. And And so my involvement in the community, increased.
Marco [00:13:31]:
And I also started a local meetup, which is basically a small version of a work camp in in this in local cities. And so for before the pandemic for, like, 1 year and a half, I I’ve been an organizer of my local meetup.
Maciej Nowak [00:13:57]:
And yeah.
Marco [00:13:59]:
And at some point, I wanted to jump On on the other side of the organization, and so I applied, to be an organizer. For me, it’s the first time, being an organizer in such a large event. I’ve been organizing only meetups. And previously, I also participated in organizing an online work camp, in Italy, work camp Italy During the pandemic. But, yeah, that’s basically my story. Why I do that? Because of the community. I love the people. The especially the Italian community is full of people that are Really friendly.
Marco [00:14:50]:
I love all the networking that, I was able to To do with, all these people, and that’s the reason I’m here. I’m really excite I was really excited when I Discover that this year, working bureau will be in Italy. And so as soon I as I discovered that, I applied from being, from being an organizer.
Maciej Nowak [00:15:17]:
Right. And and so since this is in Italy, and so is it like, The local community is, presenting the project to do given the world computer up in in the in the city from that from that country. Because, you know, it it it’s all volunteer based. Right? So who is this park that decides, Okay. This year, we are doing you know, we are, I know, petitioning to have it in given country, given city. Right? So is it like, I’m curious because the spark has to come come from somewhere. And who is who is the spark in this case? Because it it there were WorldCom Europe lands in In Italy, so, you know
Marco [00:16:00]:
Yeah. Well, the the the community in the city of Turin is, pretty active. So there I’m not from that city. Mhmm. But they they run a meetup, they’ve been running it for a long time. And also, They organize, local work camp every year, and it’s probably one of the most famous, Work comes in Italy. But there’s a lot of collaboration also with, people from other cities. So when it was the time to choose which cities which city would be the best to apply as Italian community.
Marco [00:16:45]:
There was some discussion, and basically, all the people agreed that Turing was, the best candidate that we could present.
Maciej Nowak [00:16:55]:
How many people are you expecting this year? Because I I remember it it’s like a couple of 1,000 every year. And I’m I’m curious to know, it it’s it’s a massive scale. Right? It’s the
Ohia [00:17:09]:
I heard the number 35100 buzzing around, but also for last year. I don’t really I also feel like I heard that number for port, though. I think because Italy is so centrally located, We may see more people than last year. It’s possible. But, yeah, I would say around 3000 to 4000 people Should be expected.
Maciej Nowak [00:17:39]:
Yeah. Massive. It’s a lot. It’s a it’s really it’s really a lot. And how how are the teams organized? Because I are on a community team. Marco, which team are coming from?
Marco [00:17:53]:
I’m from the local team.
Maciej Nowak [00:17:57]:
Marco [00:17:58]:
Even if I’m remote.
Maciej Nowak [00:18:01]:
Yeah. Because you are in local team, but remote working remotely. Right?
Marco [00:18:05]:
Yeah. This is it’s a myth of a paradox, but yeah. I’m a remote member of the local team. Alright.
Maciej Nowak [00:18:14]:
Yeah. Okay. So so what are what are your duties? You know? What What’s your daily operations in terms of, you know, not your daily job, but rather what are your daily operations, in terms of organizing the event?
Ohia [00:18:28]:
Marco, what does the local team do?
Maciej Nowak [00:18:32]:
Yeah. Exactly. What are you guys even doing?
Marco [00:18:37]:
Well, actually, we have, weekly meetings And we discuss, the things that we need to do. And then, by the way, we are a small team. We are just 4 people. We are located in Turin, and I am remote as I said. So Our team lead, Laura, manages most of the things and gives us some assignment, for the week, which in my case is mainly to contact some external, sources to get information and things like that. At the moment, our main responsibilities is to Collect, like, estimates and quotes for services, like the services in the venue, like, catering. Also provide information about local providers, in example, For the merchandise and things like that. So and we are available for other teams When they have requests related to to the to the local city.
Marco [00:19:57]:
And, Personally, I I’m currently in charge of organizing the pattern ages. So it’s basically to have, the permission to use the logo from local institutions in our, communication. And by the way, this is something that is pretty common here in Italy. But talking with other organizer, we discovered that it’s Not, that common in other countries to have the the logo from the city or, we were also Thinking about asking the European commission for that patronage since it’s a European level event. Yeah.
Maciej Nowak [00:20:45]:
The the that’s very interesting because this is actually what what I was also going to ask you Is how do you work with the local city? Because now patronage is one one thing. The city gives a logo, but what kind of support can you Canton from from the city. And if is this a scale of the event where city is interested in I know participating, supporting, you know, making your life easier. How how how does it work?
Marco [00:21:16]:
Yes. Yes. Also, we we are in touch With the local tourism office that is, giving us a lot of support in terms of Information, and tourist materials that we could use for the website. And our team is also writing some articles about the city that we will Give to the communication team to to be published. So
Maciej Nowak [00:21:50]:
You’re right?
Marco [00:21:51]:
Maciej Nowak [00:21:52]:
Right? And what would be the the role of potential, you know, cooperation with European Commission? What what what would you count on from their platform?
Marco [00:22:03]:
Well, I expect that they will just Give the permission to use their logo and maybe give us some exposure in some of their public channels. But yeah. The this is still, ongoing, so I I don’t know exactly what to expect At the moment, Niki.
Ohia [00:22:30]:
We have, so I I’m on the community team, but I also jumped in To help do the implementation of the really beautiful design, the design team is led by, Lena. Lena Loku, I think is how you say her last name. And, I’m helping to To put the face on everything that goes on on a website. And we’re we’re in the works. It’s been a couple days since we started getting everything together. And we have added, Turismo Torino a since 1997. So their logo isn’t on the footer because they did give us, you know, some substantial support. And I’m not exactly sure how how that works, like if it’s put toward the venue or something like that.
Ohia [00:23:27]:
But, Definitely wanna shout out to Torino, that they are supporting this event. Yeah.
Maciej Nowak [00:23:37]:
Mhmm. Great. Yeah. This is very interesting to to know how how to cooperate with a city, you know, because Someone is going on, you know, in a city because, as because as Torino. And, you know, the The city should be well versed in helping, you know, such initiatives. So I’m, you know, not being in in such, involved in such event. I was curious, you know, what What what you can count on when you would be or, you know, if you will be organizing such an event. And, Ohio, what What are apart from that, support of the website, what are your responsibilities like day to day operations?
Ohia [00:24:21]:
So the community team, I got picked last year by Estela Rueda to be on the community team. And many of us were Spanish speaking. Estela is Mexican. I live in Spain. Most of our meetings were in English still, though. But, and it’s interesting to see, like, the difference between the 2 years. But we community team is in charge of the wellness track, which Marco’s local team will probably help have to help us find like yoga mats and someone to lead a yoga Class, I think yoga will be included this year. We’re also gonna do, I think, a tour of, Torino.
Ohia [00:25:10]:
So wellness track. We also do the kids workshop, and we are Trying to make sure that we have someone that speaks Italian and English because we expect, like, a lot of, you know, local kids to show up. We are in charge of contributor day, which is huge. And if you don’t know what contributor day is, it is when we, come together and we Contribute to WordPress. We’ll have different tables, like for the design team, for support, for plugins, for Polyglots. And you learn for 1st timers, I would say you really learn the importance of Connecting on Slack, having your profile on wordpress.org, and you really learn about how to connect and the importance of the connection. As a first timer in 2022, I didn’t really accomplish much. But I started to understand, like, okay.
Ohia [00:26:18]:
GitHub is used, or there’s tickets, or, you know, like, we talk together as a community about what we prefer on this Needs design or needs design feedback, ticket track, because I went to the design table. So contributor day, which is A huge like, it’s a whole day in itself. We find all the table leads for all of the tables. What else do we do? Community booth, which is like should be the hub of, like, everyone that goes to WordCamp should stop by community booths, take a selfie with us. We last year, we had a map, and this We’ll have a map so you can put, like, a sticker of where you’re from. We are focused this year on sustainability. And so we’re really hoping to have someone from 5 for the future in our booth at all times. And 5 for the future is a program that connects people with Companies and organizations that want to sponsor your contribution to WordPress.
Ohia [00:27:22]:
So community booth, It’s gonna be really fun. We’ll have swag there and all kinds of stuff. And what else? Wellness, Kids, we make sure all of the side events. So like all of the parties and networking events that aren’t organized by us. Let’s say, like, there is, you know, a plug in that, sponsors, like, a party the 1st night. We make sure that’s published onto the website so everybody has access to all the fun and extra activities. I know I’m forgetting stuff. There’s, like, at least 3 more things that our team does.
Ohia [00:28:03]:
So we’re all over the place.
Maciej Nowak [00:28:05]:
That’s a lot.
Ohia [00:28:06]:
We’re trying to make sure you guys are having fun. And, oh, WordCamp Connect. So important. So we, also have, like in WordPress, there are speakers, there are stages, there’s panels. And so a lot of that is you absorbing. Right? But WordCamp Connect is sort of a different idea where it’s A bit more of a discussion between the attendees and the people who are, like, leading the discussion. So this year, like I said, we’re focusing on sustainability. We maybe wanna have WordCamp connect, Like panel community discussions about, you know, mental health or the environment or How not to burn out or, you know, how to find sponsorship.
Ohia [00:28:53]:
And when I say sponsorship, I mean, like, you devote 5 or 10 hours of your week every week To making sure that plug ins pass so that they can be used, or, Translating things. And there are companies out there that will sponsor you for that and pay you hourly or, you know, a flat fee And you you do work. So we’re really Lisa, is my the community team leader, And she is all about connecting people and making sure they’re feeling sustained. So yeah. Mhmm.
Maciej Nowak [00:29:33]:
I I have never heard about, WordCamp Connect.
Ohia [00:29:37]:
Last year, it was hidden.
Maciej Nowak [00:29:38]:
That’s that’s that’s
Ohia [00:29:41]:
so it’s it’s had a few different names. It was WP Cafe, and then last year it was WP Connect. And We’re changing the name because there have been other entities in the world that suddenly pop up with this name or had the name and we didn’t know about it. So It’s currently WordCamp Connect, and it’s like WordWP Cafe. Last year, it was hidden. It was like in a of the venue that nobody like, we had to pea have people, like, bring people to WordCamp Connect. But this year, it should either be, like, And one of the main stage areas were very, very visible. And so yeah.
Ohia [00:30:22]:
It’s just a bit more intimate. And if you want more of a chance to, like, ask questions or participate, we just wanna provide that, space for for attendees. And if you still just wanna listen and absorb, totally open to that too. Mhmm.
Maciej Nowak [00:30:41]:
But but Is it like a track? You have main stage and track on the main stage, then you have different stage track on a different stage, and then there is WorldComConnect where there will be speakers, I don’t know, open table for discussion. How how does it work, you know, like, in real life?
Ohia [00:30:59]:
Logistically, we’re still kind of figuring it out. The space that, the venue in Torino is this Gigantic space. I haven’t been there. There’s a venue visit coming up actually. It’s a gigantic space, and there are 2 closed areas that I hear are quite Large. There are 2 closed areas that that will be the 2 tracks. And we may end up Sharing, like, later in the evening, one of those spaces and, you know, having a more intimate space, turning that into a more intimate space. It is kind of like a track.
Ohia [00:31:37]:
It’s kinda like it’s kinda like a different track with less It’s just a bit more laid back and open and communal. So, but it it is sort of changing and growing and we’re Stabilizing exactly how it works, but it does change with the venue every year. You know, we don’t have that many closed off Smaller areas this year. So we have to go with the flow, which is a lot of WordCamp organizing. Go with the flow. And just do our best to, you know, provide I think this track it’s not a track. I shouldn’t have called it a track, but it kind of is. We’re just doing our best to make sure that the attendees and the community, like, have a good space to participate And WordCamp connect.
Maciej Nowak [00:32:28]:
Yeah. That’s interesting. I I have to pay you a visit there because I have never heard about this. Also, I think in Porto, there was yoga maybe, but I also haven’t seen that. So I’m very curious now. How are you going to do yoga? I know during World Camp. Will will be fun to watch or participate even because I I I’m on and off for yoga for 10 years now. I that that’s very that you know, I would love to see this.
Ohia [00:33:06]:
I did yoga in in Porto, which was nice. It was outside. The weather was nice enough. I don’t really remember it being too hot in Porto actually. So that’s great. They definitely they had yoga And Tai Chi last year, and they had a hike last year. And This year, I’m not on the wellness subcommittee this year, but I’ve heard talks of Yoga and a tour around the city. And so they’re working out the details of, like, will that be in an inside space? I would assume it’s an inside space because I don’t know if we have outside space at the venue.
Ohia [00:33:57]:
But we also another thing that’s really important, and I’m not sure if it’s it must be production’s responsibility. But we, thumbs up for production. We also will have a quiet room. So, but I don’t think that that will be used for the yoga. I I’m I’m not sure. Mhmm. But there’s a quiet room because, you know, 3,000 people can get overwhelming. So if you need to go to a space and just, you know, unplug, there will be that also.
Maciej Nowak [00:34:33]:
I have a life hack for everyone attending a a a word camp After a couple of hours because I usually do the hallway track, which is, you know, unofficial track. I spent all the world camp nearly on on hallway Talking with people, but then I am very overwhelmed. And then then I head back to the hotel. I shut down all of The curtains, I I do the total blackout of the room. I have, no, earplugs, you know, that muffles all of the Sounds. And, you know, I put a mask on my face, and then I just, you know, trying to calm down for a half an hour, 45 25 minute trying to have a short nap and then back for the, you know, party or whatever is going on after, you know, after the evening because it’s it’s really overwhelming. I’m I’m, like, I’m totally wrecked and excited. I can, I can, you know, not eat during that event because this is so exciting, but then I have to really come down, you know, recharge the batteries, reset, do the reset and Go back go back to the to the venue? This is, you know I I highly recommend it because it works for me.
Maciej Nowak [00:35:47]:
So I can I can recommend it?
Ohia [00:35:49]:
I I think it’s good that we are, you know, being aware of that and being aware of our mental health and, like, being aware of the fact that, like, These things can be super stimulating and that we need, you know, quiet spaces. And it’s good that it’s talked about in the community. And And with the yoga, you know, like a lot of us can have a sedentary lifestyle where we sit and work and work and work. Like, I woke up this morning, Rolled out of bed and started working. I’m launching a website today. Almost forgot we had a podcast. And Looked up, and it was like 30 minutes till. You know? Like, we can forget to move.
Ohia [00:36:32]:
So Incorporating some of the physical movement into, you know, flagships or even maybe we could start doing it locally, I think it’s really important for us. Yeah.
Maciej Nowak [00:36:46]:
I I think for us, you know, spending our work life Sitting, unless someone has a standing desk or a treadmill under the desk, attending World Cup is very Physically, exercise, like, like, not maybe taxing, but I would say that you do much More leg work during work, come down. You are doing, you know, during a week of, you know, of of life. I’m I’m I’m doing capris. So, so yeah. That that that that’s interesting. But, you know, it’s also very Satisfying because I came I’m I’m coming back from every word camp really buzzing with ideas. Even though, you know, there are different levels of, of talks, but, you know, meeting people is really How to put it? It’s it’s really inspiring. Everyone is saying everything is inspiring, but, you know, it’s really inspiring in a sense that You have fresh ideas.
Maciej Nowak [00:37:46]:
You have totally different viewpoints from people from all over the place or, like, Europe or or People coming from states as well and different part parts of the world. So those different viewpoints from different geographies is really stimulating, really. And and then you can have a, you know, quiet time after you’re back, thinking what can okay. I I I had all of those Thanks. And now what can I do with this? So I know my company, my my my plug in, my whatever works better. So it’s like, that that knowledge sharing is, is unique for WorldCom. I have never, been to any conference nor trade show where People were so laid off, but also open to share their, I don’t know, business numbers, you know, behind the business, you know, ideas. This is very unique.
Ohia [00:38:34]:
After WordCamp last year, WordCamp Europe, I was living in Sevilla, and Nilo, who’s Is he the lead photographer? He’s one of the photographers this year. He called me up and he was like, hey, do you wanna help us organize, You know, the 1st WordCamp day. And I was like, what? And he was like, here’s the issue. This is June. This is, like, right after a WordCamp Europe, like I said. And he’s like, you know, everyone’s gonna go on vacation in August because that’s just what happens in in Spain. Everyone’s gonna go on vacation in August. We’re having our actual WordCamp Seville in October, and blah blah blah, and then holidays.
Ohia [00:39:16]:
And so he was like, So I’m thinking we should do it in July. And I was just like, oh my god. Like, what are you he was so enthusiastic and so filled up with the energy From WordCamp Europe that you I think we put together this WordCamp day, like, next generation, event in 20 days, Which was pretty crazy.
Maciej Nowak [00:39:38]:
More questions from me. Marco, what are you struggling right now? I mean, I’m curious, you know, what are the toughest Toughest, aspects of organizing such a big event. What do you struggle with?
Marco [00:39:53]:
Well, again, being remote for me, everything is A bit, I have to say, strange, because I had to contact Some local entities or suppliers or whatever. And so the the this is a bit, strange for me. And, also, for some of the, things that we are organizing, When we contact people, it seems that, it’s too early because in Italy, We most of the small companies don’t have a long term view. So If I go to some local suppliers and I ask something for June, they’re they’re not ready to accept Or book, anything No
Maciej Nowak [00:41:05]:
way. You you you you won’t be able to have something booked for June? Like, I don’t know. You want to have half a ton of cookies. You you can’t buy half a ton of cookies We’ve delivered date for June?
Marco [00:41:20]:
Yeah. That’s for for small suppliers. Yeah.
Maciej Nowak [00:41:24]:
Alright. So they That that’s a surprise.
Marco [00:41:27]:
They say, oh, yeah. It’s too early. But I think that the most of the work, will be in the next month because the main, the big the big ones have been already addressed, like the venue. Also the venue for the, social dinner, that will be held, at the end of the day. Yeah. By the way, maybe it’s something that we could spend some works on. Basically, all the organizers and speakers and sponsor Are invited to a social dinner that is, sponsored by the work camp. And so it.
Marco [00:42:16]:
That’s also a good moment to net network with other people. And, yeah, Our team is also organizing for that. But that’s already covered because, of course, The the most important things, are covered. But yeah. At the moment, I I still I am not yet in a phase that, I Feel like I’m struggling, but I expect that it Will not last long because we we are a lot of work is expecting us. In general, I think this is different for every team because in example, some team have a lot of work Before and where other, as, more work when the event approaches. So yeah. So for now, everything is good From my perspective.
Maciej Nowak [00:43:33]:
Mhmm. Okay. But but you’re really surprising with the, you know but with with the small providers not knowing what they will be doing in 4 months time or 5 months time. So, I don’t know if I will be baking cookies, but, you know, in June. I don’t know. Ma maybe I won’t. Oh, hi, Is there anything you Find difficult I mean, maybe not in in your daily work, but, you know, is there anything that is difficult to organize or I don’t know, synchronize because there are so many teams. No.
Maciej Nowak [00:44:08]:
Everyone’s work most of the people are working remotely, helping, volunteering, and so on. So anything on this front?
Ohia [00:44:17]:
Personally, I’m not from here, and I couldn’t go to WordCamp last year. I couldn’t go to WordCamp year of last year Because I was waiting for a visa, and in that process, you can’t leave well, you technically Are not supposed to go to the other countries in the Schengen area. And I know actually that can be an issue for Finding volunteers, sneakers. You know, there were a lot of volunteers That didn’t come last year because of visa issues.
Maciej Nowak [00:44:55]:
Ohia [00:44:55]:
So that is one thing that that, like, the volunteer team might have a hard time with. Or the content team, which when we talk about WordCamp Europe, when we say content, we mean the content of the tracks, and the speakers, and the workshops. So just personally for me, I couldn’t enjoy it last year because I was in the middle of all of that. I’m still kind of in the middle of it. But we We wanna make sure that that WordCamp Connect is is, You know that people get to participate, and they understand what it is. So finding the right space for that this year, is a bit of a trial right now. And what else? Oh, leaders for contributor day. We just Had our meeting yesterday with the the community team, and I think all of the emails have been sent out.
Ohia [00:45:57]:
And we’re getting really close to, like, Getting everybody, who will lead a table. And and it’s a lot of tables. I’m not Exactly sure how many leaders there are, but it’s not like 1 leader for the design community day. It’s like If we have 3 tables for design or 6, we need 6 leaders. And another thing is, for community day, It’s really hard for us to like you like I said, you have to have Slack, And you have to have a WordCamp .org profile. And that can be really hard to understand. Slack is, for me, like, totally unintuitive to set up. Like, I got a new phone a couple weeks ago, and I had to reset everything up.
Ohia [00:46:45]:
And every time I do it, I’m like, how do I do this? So imagine someone who, like, maybe has never used Slack or has only set it up on their computer once. They have to have Slack to really be able to communicate on Contributor Day. So we are figuring out and it’s always like an issue. How do we best streamline Bringing people in, getting them signed up on Slack, and getting them signed up on WordCamp .org so they can continue to stay connected after today. So It’s almost like, you know, we were talking about maybe having right after registration, you know, herding people Over to Lake Espace where they wait for a bit, and then we help them, we we help them sign up. So Yeah. One of our big trials is getting people signed up. New newcomers who we love and we want more of, but getting them signed up for, for community day or contributor day.
Ohia [00:47:48]:
Maciej Nowak [00:47:49]:
But Yeah. I I I I think this is the case for every World Cup where there is community day. Right? So maybe there are, you know, Try true tried and true ways of activating people and newcomers.
Ohia [00:48:05]:
It’s just at such a scale. Know, we’re talking about hundreds of people, if not a1000, you know, who haven’t Set this up. And a lot of times, you have to I actually saw Anna Do it in a really, efficient way. We led a design table together at WordCamp Valencia, I think. And she had people come to her computer and type in their email address into her Slack account, and then sent an email out Directly to their email address. So that was really fast, but I don’t know if we can do that at you know, with hundreds of people at once. So it’s It is always an issue at Contributor Day. And a lot of times at design tables, that’s kind of the main thing that you get to do with people.
Ohia [00:48:59]:
People show up to the design table, and they’re like, yeah, we’re gonna talk about the colors of websites or fonts or but really, we’re teaching you The tools that you can use later to contribute to WordPress. So we’re teaching you about GitHub tickets. We’re looking over tickets. We’re making sure people are signed up on Slack and WordCamp .org. I can’t say it enough. Like, if you are going to a WordCamp, Try to sign up at least and get yourself a WordPress .org profile, a Word press.orgwordpress.orgprofile. And that’ll help Start the process of getting Slack and everything you need to contribute on contributor day. Yeah.
Maciej Nowak [00:49:50]:
Do you while idea, is there like a like a you know, there are all sorts of These kind of keyboard shortcuts, you know, lookups, and everything like like like this. So Is there a short, like, instruction that you can follow, you know, before going to WorldCom that will be very easy and intuitive and visual, Like, you know, self explanatory how to set up everything everything before you, You know, end up, raising your your hand for for help, please, here.
Ohia [00:50:29]:
Yeah. I I’m pretty sure that we published a post last year. We sent out an email drip campaign to the new 1st time contributors at Contributor Day. There were a couple social media videos that just went out to explain what Contributor Day is. We’ll probably publish a post this year of the steps that you need to go through to sign up, but it’s just It can be overwhelming and confusing, the process in itself. So I can’t think of any life hacks or life quick keys To get somebody set up. Like, if they’re a newcomer, there’s no easy or efficient way that I can think of to do it. Marco, you are a bit more technical than me.
Ohia [00:51:21]:
You built your website in the last century. So maybe you know Something that I know.
Maciej Nowak [00:51:27]:
Yeah. We were to include that that piece of information that Marco, like, created his website last from Last
Marco [00:51:37]:
century. Yeah. It’s yeah. I built my 1st website. I I think it was 1998. It was a static HTML website on gel cities. It It was a service that was hosting websites at that time. But about contributor day, I remember that, Also, tech people were struggling contributing.
Marco [00:52:05]:
Maybe not with signing up to Slack, but, developers that wanted to contribute to, an example, the core had to set up The local development environment during the contributor day. And so I remember that, Often it was difficult. The the table leads usually had some USB drive With with, the local environment to install on the contributor computer. So, Yeah. The the let’s just say the the first steps to start contributing are often a bit, of a struggle for people. But the idea of the contributor days is to give everyone the information So that everyone can contribute when the work camp is ended. And so It is it’s supposed to be just the 1st step in the contribution. Mhmm.
Maciej Nowak [00:53:27]:
Yeah. Like because it’s all open source, so you can you can you can you have a safe space to start doing this because, Otherwise, no, you have to make yourself do do do the legwork, do your homework. You know, there is so many barriers if you don’t know where to start and there is Dot space a safe space with people who can help you, do the 1st step. So yeah. So this is I was on a contributor day in 2019. I had no idea what should what I should be doing. No. You know? Even though I’m technical.
Maciej Nowak [00:54:02]:
So this is very, Very strange concept. You you you it’s it’s hard to grasp. By the way, I had the same problems with the The the the login, you know, for wordcamp.org, I no. I had no Because I’m not hands on, you know, developer of of of WordPress, but I said, why not try? Right? And I and and this was night this was total nightmare to get get something up. You know, I I’m not sure if I contributed at all. So this this is tricky. No? I just remembered my 1st contributor day. And I’m curious to know What what are you expecting from this edition? Because you’ve been to so many world camps.
Maciej Nowak [00:54:49]:
You are now co organizing one of the biggest world camps Out there, what are your expectations? What are you looking, looking for, you know, for for this edition?
Marco [00:55:03]:
Well, I’ve been to many work camps, but, my last work camp Europe Was in before the pandemic. So I hope to find again that Atmosphere of such a big event. So and of course, Since it’s in Italy, which is my country, for me, it’s even more significant. I hope that, everyone will be happy, and we’ll have a good time. Yeah. I hope to to meet new people, learn new things. That’s my expectation, basically. And I I hope that all the attendees will experience the same.
Maciej Nowak [00:56:00]:
Alright. And
Ohia [00:56:07]:
Man, you know, like I signed up to be a volunteer in Porto in 2022 and I just got Completely sucked in to WordCamp world. Like, my life has totally changed. And I volunteered for a lot of things in my life. I’m really glad that I decided to go and was accepted as a volunteer. And through this process of organizing, I’ve met so many amazing people, And, was really excited to meet them in person last year, which I didn’t get the chance to do. I’ve met many people this year, at WordCamp Madrid. That was really great. And state of the word.
Ohia [00:56:52]:
There are a lot of really awesome people there that I wanted to connect with, but I just can’t wait to, like, sort of get even deeper in, strengthen my connections with people that I’ve been organizing with because, like, a lot of people, When I say, like, hey, why don’t you, like, sign up to organize? Or have you ever considered organizing WordCamp Europe? A lot of people are kind of like, you know, like, it might be a ton of work or I don’t really have the time. And for me, You know, what I get back in connections and meeting people and stuff like this, like, it’s a total worthwhile payoff. So I just can’t wait to go go deeper in and make more connections. And like I said, our team is focused on Sustainability this year. So I’m really hoping to, like, make connections to make my life More sustainable. You know? Like, finding sponsors for some of the work that I do maybe. Or, you know, connecting people with Sponsors themselves. People from the community.
Ohia [00:57:59]:
So yeah.
Maciej Nowak [00:58:01]:
Beautiful. Beautiful. Thank you. Thank you very much for, for for sharing this. I look forward to this edition of Worldcamp, Europe. Hope to meet you in person unless you will be So I’m to work, totally busy. I won’t interrupt you then, but I hope we can, We can high five, you know, on the venue.
Ohia [00:58:24]:
No way. We’ll totally high five. I’ll be at the community booth. It’s my job to Say hello to everyone.
Maciej Nowak [00:58:32]:
High five everyone.
Marco [00:58:34]:
Maciej Nowak [00:58:35]:
Perfect. Perfect. I will look I will I’m I I will find you. I will find you Good luck with all of your preparations, and let’s hope this will be, the best WorldCom, so far. Thank thank you guys.
Marco [00:58:49]:
Yeah. Thank you.
Lector [00:58:53]:
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WordCamp Europe 2024: Struggles, cultural experiences, and community - Organizers Ohia and Marco
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