With WordCamp London just around the corner (6th April), and the recent success of the London’s Calling event – a community conference for those in the Salesforce world – it got me thinking about how I’ve come to love community events so much, and made me wonder when and where it all began.
From the London’s Calling point of view, as an organiser, it’s so rewarding to see folk enjoying themselves at the events. It’s clear to see that there are real personal benefits to attending events like this; you don’t just get to learn (which is huge in itself) but to be surrounded by fellow attendees, speakers and sponsors gives such an opportunity to (buzzword alert) network that just can’t be found anywhere else. The event has just run its fourth year, and is going from strength to strength.
My history with WordCamps stretches even further back. I attended my first one in 2010; I was dabbling with web development (and failing at design) when I read about it in a copy of the .net magazine. At that point I’d never been to a conference like this, and the same could be said for the local meets too… but I decided to bite the bullet. I can’t remember the precise reason for signing up, perhaps it was the schedule, perhaps it was the incredibly low price (this year’s event is still amazing value at £40), perhaps it was just an excuse to geek out for a weekend? Whatever the reason I was hooked; listening to the volunteer speakers share their knowledge and experiences was life changing, and on top of that I had some amazing conversations and met folk that I’m still in contact with and certainly consider friends.
Following that WordCamp I started attending the local WordPress London meetups, and returned to WordCamp annually, and with each event I was exposed to more tech, more knowledge, and more great people. It was these events that spurred me to create the Widgets on Pages plugin (which has ~0.5 million downloads). They also gave me the push to give public speaking a go, which is a decision that has greatly helped me in both a personal and business sense.
Fast forward 9 years and I’m still attending community events, with the only issue being that the risk of clashes increases with each new one I sign up to. I’m also now paying back the communities that welcomed me with such open arms, through being on the organising teams of London’s Calling, the London Salesforce Developer’s Trailblazer Community Group, and WordCamp London 2019.
And now’s your chance to get hooked, with WordCamp London taking place during the weekend of the 6th – 7th April (with a contributor day on the 5th). If you have any involvement with WordPress, be it as a user, designer, or developer then there’s great content for you, and at just £40 for the two day conference ticket it’s mind-blowing value.