I attended WordCamp Netherlands last week and was lucky to also be able to do a talk there. If one word was used to sum up the experience it would be amazing. The event itself was whilst only my second WordCamp I have a feeling going to be a hard one to top as was simply amazing. The organisers really pushed the boat out so a hat tip to all of you.
Utrecht just wow
The event was held in Utrecht which I’d not been to. I’d been the rather typical ‘Brit’ up to that point with Amsterdam being my Dutch experience. Utrecht itself is a stunning city and helped by the fact that it was incredibly sunny the entire time we were there. If you are looking for something a little more than a hotel room and the freedom of a lounge, kitchen but still with the boutique furniture you’d get in a top hotel – I’d recommend it as a place to stay. You can see my pictures of Utrecht here.
So, what about the WordCamp?
I loved how WordCamp Netherlands even though attended by quite a number was often quite an intimate experience. There was time to talk to most there and get to know some new people and reconnect with others. This really made it a powerful personal experience and something with some real food for thoughts to take home. The event itself was so well organised those doing the organisation really deserve a medal. Heck there was even a literal goodie bag – lego USB drive and stickers by the bucket load equals a win.
Paul Gibbs has already mentioned in his blog post how many cracking BuddyPress people turned up – it was so cool to have a group of BuddyPress peeps. I hope to repeat this at WordCamp UK as looks already to be at least 2-3 talks about BuddyPress. I enjoyed talking to everyone that I did about BuddyPress. To all the BuddyPress ‘ers I met it was so cool and look forward to seeing the great things done with BuddyPress this year. You can find the slides from my talk ‘Designing for humans with BuddyPress’ here.
Thoughts into action
There were several themes for me to take back from WordCamp Netherlands.
- Niches are the new black : A common conversation and talk topic was how niches are the way WordPress businesses are going and should be going.
- Don’t undersell yourself or others in your field : Make sure you get paid for the skills you are offering and make sure you don’t shoot the rest of those in your field in foot by costing too low.
- Contribution doesn’t mean egos : Those that roll their sleeves up in WordPress usually are the quiet ones in the community. WordCamps are a chance to get to know those unsung heros of the commits.
- Make connections : Twitter is all well and good but there is something to be said for putting a face to the username and for listening to someone more than 140 characters. We all judge far too much from online interactions that WordCamps are a refreshing chance to put names to the faces and discover some great people.
- Earn and give back in equal measures : We all get so much from being part of WordPress we need to contribute back also. Companies if you are running your business on WordPress why not consider donating employee time? Same goes for freelancers… imagine if every one that made money from WordPress did one ticket a week or 3 support requests a week in the support forums. Or more…
All of these things were wrapped up in the great experience of meeting some truly amazing people. I’m going to hat tip and thank anyone I met there – you all made this Brit feel incredibly welcome. I certainly plan to be back next year.
You can see a mini video impression of WordCamp Netherlands thanks to Karim Osman here. If you get a chance to go I’d highly recommend it as a WordCamp, a great event, great group of people and great country.