wceu

It seems like yesterday when ThemeIsle started to talk about going to WordCamp Europe this year, and now it’s already over. Wow! We all left Vienna with such great memories and amazing moments that will never be forgotten!

A week ago we were writing previews, and now it’s time for conclusions. So why was WCEU so amazing for us?

Because we didn’t just attend the event. Do you remember the emerald t-shirts, spread all over the venue? Well, we were wearing them too because we were part of the crew that helped the organizing team make WordCamp Europe unforgettable. In other words, we were happy to volunteer and contribute as much as we could.

But let’s take it one step at a time:

Speakers Dinner

Being part of the volunteers team, we had access to the Speakers Dinner that took place the night before WCEU started. The party was held on a beautiful terrace, with a lot of green and a really nice vibe:

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The Speakers Dinner was a blast! The perfect occasion for the volunteers, the crew and the speakers to get together for talks, delicious food, laughter, and great stories.

The moment we arrived, we made friends and had funny and interesting conversations. We shared the table with our fellow volunteers Isabelle, Peter, Shin, and Melinda, and also met other interesting people.

So our first hours in Vienna turned into joy and fun. And this was only the beginning of this memorable journey.

The Talks

If you’re interested in WordPress, in any shape or form, then WCEU is certainly the place for you to be.

This year, the event was sponsored by some awesome companies that make WordPress so popular and great. WooCommerce, WPEngine, SiteGround, Bluehost, Jetpack, Plesk, Yoast, Pantheon, Sucuri, they were all there (and I’m probably forgetting some too, sorry). You could find their stands in the large halls of MuseumsQuartier and the Leopold Museum, offering some cool swag, such as t-shirts, stickers, mugs, socks (socks?!), other gadgets, etc.

Some were in the halls and some were on the stage sharing their knowledge with us. Matt Mullenweg, Mike Little, Gabor Hojtsy, Joost de Valk, Helen Hou-Sandi, Andrew Nacin, Mario Peshev, Tomaz Zaman, Aaron Campbell came with a few of those talks that make twenty minutes seem like two – educational, inspirational, and entertaining.

Here’s Matt’s full Q&A session:



The Volunteering Experience

WordCamp officially started on Friday morning around 9AM for everybody, but we came to MuseumsQuartier even earlier – being part of the crew.

So what does being part of the crew mean? It means you can go everywhere you want, don’t need to wait in line to get something, have access to backstage, meet the speakers and the WordPress’ core team easier (organizers, sponsors etc). I didn’t even expect this, so I felt very privileged and taken by the whole experience.

If you followed WCEurope’s official Twitter account, you probably read my real-time tweets as well, as I was covering the sessions in the Leopold Museum. And it was amazing sitting there in the front row, with the rest of the WordCamp family.

My colleagues were at the registration desk, the swag zone, at the door, in the green room, running with the mic, and taking pictures for the official photo galleries. You actually probably met Cristi, Madalin, Rodica, Alexandra, Andrei, Marius and Marius there somewhere.


Ionut, Sabina, and Karol were also there, enjoying the event, the sessions, and the tribe meetups.


Wearing the emerald t-shirts put us in the center of everything. Volunteering allows you to see things in perspective, truly understand how stuff like this works, and discover the other side of the medal. We felt like being right there, at the root of the event, and we took away everything we could from those experiences.

Volunteering feels great, but it also leaves you with very little time to do anything else. Whatever time you do have is used for eating, taking quick showers, and sleeping. Not much time to do sightseeing or enjoy the beautiful city that Vienna is.

To sum up, this is how an ordinary WordCamp day went for us, the volunteers: wake up early, socialize, do your job, socialize, take a break, come back to your role, and repeat. Attending the sessions? Not too much. But we did manage to take some photos with the big plush Wapuu next to the main Halle E+G entrance.

How Everybody Enjoyed WCEU

We talked about speakers, volunteers, and meetings, but let’s see how the attendees enjoyed the event and what happened in the WordCamp’s corner of social media:


https://twitter.com/idea15webdesign/status/748061023828049920


The Saturday Night After Party

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Saturday night, to conclude the second day of the conference, the “Viennese ball” took place.

So, after our shifts, running from a place to another in the heat, and trying to also enjoy the local atmosphere (in a few words, trying to be everywhere at the same time), the ball was about to start. The emerald t-shirts turned into fancy dresses and shirts.

I want to emphasize that WordPress people really know how to party. For some reason, I was thinking that we wouldn’t stay up too late because we were quite tired. But as it turned out, they basically needed to kick us out by turning the music off.

So we danced through most of the night, waited in line five times at the photo booth, chatted with our recently-made friends and … drum roll … we met Matt Mullenweg – a moment which we immortalized right away:

Time sure flies so fast when you’re having fun. True story.



Contributor Day

Sunday, after only a few hours of sleep, the wordpressers gathered together again for another day to put a bit of their knowledge back into the WordPress community. Each of us joined the room that was close to our field, turned on the laptop, and started making WordPress better.

Some of us participated in theme reviews, others took part in debates on how to organize local WordPress meetups, how to solve support tickets, and more. Also, you could just come to socialize and make friends.

All I want to say is that this really is a community that works together closely to make our favorite platform even better. Hats off to you, WordPress people!



The Organizers

We just can’t end this without mentioning a few awesome people that made this event possible.

Thanks to the organizing team that guided and helped us throughout the event. Thank you, Peter, Petya, Milan and the rest of the crew for your hospitality and for being there for us.

Special thanks to the communication team, which I was part of, a team that actually knew how to communicate effectively. Here’s to Emanuel, Phillip, Isabelle, Petya, Priscilla, Lucijan, Franz, Alen, and Bronson.

Also thanks to everybody in the crew, people we met and people we didn’t meet, but who did an amazing job. We’ll surely meet next year.

2016 WCEU Vienna

2016 WCEU Vienna

http://pano.egm.at/panorama/wordcamp-europe-wceu-2016-vienna-final-group-photo-with-all-attendees/

From Vienna to Romania

So WordCamp Europe has ended, but it’s still going to take a while before we’re back to our standard daily routines. We’re going to do the best we can to recreate that WCEU atmosphere at our local WordPress Meetup, here in Bucharest today(!). The ThemeIsle team hopes to tell everyone attending the event how our WCEU trip was and why it’s so great to go to an international WordCamp. There will be stories from the crew, pictures, interesting findings, and more.

Closing Remarks

I must tell you, and no exaggerating at all, I had my doubts before heading to Vienna, but the moment we arrived I just felt home. The place, the people, the atmosphere, the speakers, everything.

Since last Thursday, we’ve been on the run, sleeping only a few hours a night, doing stuff all the time, talking and meeting awesome friends, playing games, walking, laughing, getting tired, getting angry, but I would never give those moments away because they are irreplaceable!

The next WordCamp Europe is less than 365 away. Until then, feel free to join us at WordCamp Bucharest, October 8th!

How did you enjoy this year’s WCEU? Let us know.