WordCamps have always been a very important event for the WordPress as well as non-WordPress users. The users range from Developers, Designers, Content Writers, Agencies & much more. I attended my first WordCamp in Mumbai (2015). That was a delightful experience for a couple of reasons. First was that we met some real people who are doing fantastic things with WordPress. Second reason was that I also got a chance to speak at that WordCamp. It was like a privilege wherein I was able to speak at the very first WordCamp that I was ever attending. The reason I was chosen to speak would be the work that Tyche Softwares has been doing with WordPress since 2012. The community was indeed very welcoming. From that WordCamp, I had decided that we will try to participate in every WordCamp that happens in India. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend my next 2 WordCamps in Pune (2015) & Mumbai (2016). I felt like I missed out on something important.
The Big Leap
A couple of months ago I learnt about WordCamp Singapore that was happening on 6th September 2016. As soon as I came to know about it, I first thought to apply as a speaker. But the Call to Speakers had already been closed. After pondering over it, I thought I might as well just attend the WordCamp Singapore. The flight to Singapore from Mumbai is only 5 hours. The flight tickets as well were not so expensive. That is when the idea struck to take few members of my team to WordCamp Singapore.
The one hesitation was due to the fact that we had a big religious festival (Paryushan) ending on 5th September 2016. I was unable to be present at home during this festival since last 2 years. So I was under 2 thoughts about going to the WordCamp. But after sharing this thought with my wife, Riddhi, she totally encouraged me to go ahead. Since the festival was ending on 5th September, and luckily we also found a late night flight of 5th September, it seemed like things will fall in place.
Once we decided to go ahead, we had to arrange for Visas, Hotels, Flight Tickets, etc. These things are always time consuming. Luckily we found an angel in Mansi who helped us with that. Mansi just joined our team last month as a Technical Content Writer.
The flight tickets were booked, then the Visas came in 2 weeks prior to the event, and then the hotels were booked. It sounds very simple when I sum it up in 1 line! Oh yes, we also had to book the WordCamp Singapore tickets, where we weren’t able to avail the 20% discount due to booking at the last minute.
We were a total of 6 people from Tyche Softwares attending the WordCamp Singapore: Kartik, Myself, Bhavik, Khyati, Moxa & Pinal.
For some of the team members, it was first time travel by air. For some, it was first time overseas.
We reached the WordCamp venue an hour late. Once we were there, it was a matter of time before each of us was on our own, meeting different people & attending talks.
A coffee was much needed when we reached. And we got that in style!
You always come out of a WordCamp talk learning something new. There are so many things, small & big to take away from those talks. Be it something like knowing about phpDocumenter or learning what modules in WordPress are following OOP.
Some other interesting talks were given by Rahul Bansal on Building a high quality WordPress agency in South Asia, Noel Tock on Moving forward in WordPress, Shilpa Shah on promoting your theme/plugin & many more. Much of my own time was spent outside in the networking area talking to people.
With 2 different tracks for Development & Business, the WordCamp was organized very well & was pretty loaded for a single day. A big thank you to the organizing team of WordCamp Singapore 2016.
Meeting Customers, Making Friends
While attending a WordCamp, this is what most of us do. We try to meet our customers, we try to meet people from different walks of life, and we try to make new friends. This is the most exciting part. Before we left for the WordCamp, we checked the Attendees list & found that one of our plugin customers, Alan Wong, from Singapore was attending the WordCamp. Alan is the Co-Founder & Creative Director at Krome. We did get a chance to meet him & have a quick chat with him before we left the WordCamp venue.
We also got a chance with a couple of other people who also use our plugins. One of them was Shaan Nicol. He is the Founder & CEO at ChillyBin. It was fun to try to identify Shaan based on his tweet that he sent to us!
— ChillyBin Web Design (@chillybindesign) September 6, 2016
Another person we met was Tareq Hasan. Tareq’s company, weDevs is doing some really good work with WordPress plugins. I had a long chat with Tareq about how they started their company, what are their core plugins & much more. Our clients often ask us if our plugin is compatible with a certain plugin by another company. It’s a nice feeling when we meet such plugin authors of those plugins. The Dokan plugin from weDevs was one such plugin. Tareq is also a WordPress core contributor. It was good to know that he is also one of the users of our plugin.
I also got a chance to meet Gary Pendergast. He is a WordPress Core Contributor. After talking with him, I shared my contribution wishlist with him, which is centered around the different WordPress components.
There were many people I met like Sandeep Raman, Jon Ang, Shilpa Shah & others. It was a wonderful experience speaking to each & every one.
The WordCamp was for 6th September. We were scheduled to be back only on 8th September. So we had 1 and a half days with us to explore Singapore. We tried to make the best use of it. 7th September was quite an eventful day. We travelled to Universal Studios, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands & were finally dead when we reached our hotel.
The pool at the hotel was explored as well!
Handling support in absence of core team
While we were away in Singapore, someone had to handle customer support. We did try to get some work done from the Hotel & at the WordCamp, but a large chunk of that responsibility was left to our team who wasn’t travelling to Singapore with us. They were Mansi, Priyanka, Komal & Chetna. A big thank you to all of you for making sure everything was very well-handled in those 3 days.
The most important thing for any organization is to create memories with your team. Other things like challenging work, new learnings, good remuneration, HR policies, etc. do matter. But if you are able to create good memories with them, you have build a relationship of a lifetime. My main focus was to create a memorable experience for my team. And there is no better opportunity then a WordCamp to do that. It provides you the perfect platform for learning.
If you are a company, it is important for you to participate with your team in such events. Doesn’t matter where the events are geographically – could be local, international, could be a WordPress meetup. But they do need to see people, talk to them & learn about what others are doing in WordPress. It is OK to allow them to use some of the company’s time for these purposes. It was a wonderful experience for me & our entire team.
Have you participated with your team in such an event? What are your experiences?