WordCampNZ 2010 Some Personal Thoughts

Many of you know that I have been very busy working on #wordcampnz for the past 3 months. We just hosted 110+ of you at Unitec in Mt Albert on all things related to WordPress and the users.

These are my personal thoughts however a version of this post will soon be over on the WordCampNZ.

As one of the organisers and the Auckland based host thought I’d give a bit more background on what we are doing here & where it might go to in the future.


WordCamp Twitter streamFirst up thanks for all the feedback – offline and online about – everything related to #wordcampnz.

On content of presentations can we say that we haven’t done our our jobs right if you don’t hate some of the presenters / presentations – because at the very same time others in the audience are loving it. It is a user generated conference and each user has a slightly differing perspective.

There is really only a problem if everyone likes all presentations. That means we are being mediocre and playing it way too safe.

This year we picked wordcampnz speakers that we thought would enlighten, engage, inspire and surprise and we expected some of them might even push some other buttons. These people are just like bloggers.

Wait – they are bloggers – and all of them blogging in one way or another. Like them you can have a blog in 30 seconds and away you go. Join the revolution any time you want.

“There are over 25 million WordPress publishers as of June 2010: 11.4 million blogs hosted on WordPress.com plus 13.8 million active installations of the WordPress.org software.”

See usage stats for WordPress over here . This is all great but core contributors are in the low hundreds and as a community -we need to do better and get plugin & theme developers paid. Many plugin developers give away 95% of their plugins with no donations at all and that is just plain wrong.

This is not a beat up (just quietly) but a reality check is needed on many open source projects, not just the WordPress one. We all need to make more donations to developers and hire them for bigger projects when we get the chance. So please do check out those speakers.

While talking with the local WordPress community we did also come across a few awesome developers & contributors who are a tad burnt out & sadly couldn’t make it this time.

Last year we did the first #wordcampnz users event in Wellington at the Mt Vic Bowling Club. Around 110 locals and others attended including Matt Mullenweg

The really cool thing about #wordcampnz 2010 is that 90% of you were not at Wellington last year.

And its not because you are WordPress newbies. Once again we are awestruck by the talent & sites we’ve seen. Just at random check out Sam at Boolean Gareth Price – WorkWorkWork Lee at leetewal who all made it and Slamxhype who couldn’t be here.  Adam from Slamxhype started in Grey Lynn & is now huge in London, Tokyo, New York and all around the world.

TED Blog is on WordPress – see the showcase details over at WordPress.org.

What is Next?

WordCampNZ is all voluntary with a core group of trustees plus volunteers who all helped out on the day. We registered a charitable trust and we need some accounting and other resource to keep all of that sweet. Thanks to all of those who did help.

I know some WordPress developers are working up to 18 hrs a day on keeping their clients happy. Often they are the very same people who help out on wordcamps and the like.

Many of us work on low budget projects cos we like them but that doesn’t cut it with the bank manager or the accountants so (as a community) we do need to get better organised.

Juggling passion and business is a balancing act. This morning my daughter asked me how much $ I make in my job and I did my best to explain that it is not always about the $. That for me and many of us with families we plan our day around being able to be there for them as much as possible. Being with your family and being “present” when you are there is not always easy but it is extremely rewarding.

Many of the #wordcampnz community are highly action oriented. For my own business I love working with non-profits and causes because they are highly focussed.  They don’t have the big budgets so they need to make every media interaction and contact work.

If you came along to #wordcampnz 2010 and didn’t get enough (technical) detail please be aware that the speakers & presenters do need to get paid for their hard won IP at some time. We will put up some slides from this years event however some of the slides will be slightly different that what was presented for that reason.

No one is complaining. However…

It would be great to get some new trustees & share the workload a bit better. Anthony is now living in Melbourne. To put it in perspective he was 18 when he co-organised WordCamp Australia in Nov 2008. Hats off for that. Dan’s company Instinct is sitting on a rocket ship with more than 500,000 downloads of the wp-ecommerce plugin. So Dan is way busy. I have some adventures of my own that I’m excited about and so it is a good time to get wider community involvement on the organising side. To help with that we will get a work list out.

We are extremely grateful for our corporate sponsors Unitec, MagnumMac, DPS, Sitehost, AllGoodBananas and others like TweetTwins, Vaughn Davis, Catherine Arrow, Fraser at BrightMindLabs, Idealog Magazine.

The person who bought in the chocolate cake deserves a medal 🙂

Berend de Boer says on twitter

“#wordcampnz was very political, far too many greenie causes, and even someone running for political office, potentially a $60,000 job.”

“A #wordcampnz was quite different from a #drupal event, far more for wordpress users than wordpress developers”  on twitter

But wait – the cake came from one those political greenies and was a really nice thing to do.

Thanks also Berend for the compliment about the event being more for users. That is exactly why so many “regular” non-developers use WordPress. But with a full day of tech related sessions in room 2 (also for designers) we did cover most of the development stream. There were also 2 open source developers that we had hoped could make it but in the end they didn’t.

We did have a couple of sessions that could have been swapped over e.g Security should have been in tech room and Dan’s e-commerce presentation was probably more general. However security is an important topic and we wanted to pay close attention to that.

In my personal view having content with a cause or causes makes it real and passionate people make better speakers. My personal highlights were Courtney Lamberts oprah exercise and Justin & Sam from Vitallink. Richard from Dept of Doing all made my top 3 but everyone was good.

Content anywhere and especially online is really hitting the spot when it gets people off their butts and prompts them into action.

With your permission we would like to send out a monthly email to keep the #wordcampnz conversation going.It would also be really useful if we can implement BuddyPress and use that locally in NZ and Australia to link up the WordPress communities here.

GigaOM Pro is the kind of BuddyPress site that we should be able to use and develop in ANZ

We will keep up the social media and there are well advanced plans for two wordcamps in Wellington and Melbourne in about 6 months time.

More about that later but the general plan is to combine resources for ANZ so we can cover more territory and get you some speakers from the US, UK and elsewhere.

Thanks again. Please let me /us know your comments. Keep in touch as we will load up photos, slideshows and other resources as soon as we can.

As always let me know what you think in comments here or via twitter.