This may possibly be one of the last posts published on the interwebz (regrettably with a small “i”) about WCEU2016 in Vienna, but this was intentional. I’m notorious for writing up my WordCamp experiences long after the “rush” has gone. It helps me gain perspective and focus on what my takeaways from the event really were. (WordCamp Europe has linked to many of the initial posts post-event and lots of marvelous photos.)
I arrived a day early in Vienna, hoping to get in both a little sightseeing and shopping, but the heat (oh, the heat!!) was oppressive and my morning was limited to a quick run to the city center where I revisited two Viennese favorites, Julius Meinl and Demel to buy souvenirs for the family. It wasn’t until the late afternoon that I made my way to the pre-conference picnic in Burggarten after picking up my WCEU badge and madly tweeting with the organizers that I was on my way! Having stuffed my suitcase with my local snacks the day before, I was surprised to hear someone say, “Oh! You brought Bissli!” There were all kinds of goodies at the picnic, the Japanese version of “Peeps” made of bean paste, one lovely woman made and brought tri-color onigiri, there was chocolate, cheese, and lots of other “snacks we eat at home.” In spite of being stuffed from the picnic, a few of us took a short walk and ended up at Cafe Mozart for the inevitable and luscious Viennese apfelstrudel.
Unlike so many of my fellow WordCampers, I’m less versed in standalone WordPress and definitely not a developer. Was this really a disadvantage at the largest WordCamp to date? Surprisingly, no! There was something for everyone and you can visit or revisit all the presentations on WordCamp.tv. The sessions that captured my attention were on accessibility (perversely I had to refer to my print out of the WC schedule because the official one was printed too small for me to read), community, project management, running a WordPress business and insights into the underpinnings of WordPress.com. Being an avid WordPress.com user and forum volunteer, for me the presentations around Calypso, i.e. the “New Dashboard” and WP app, were especially informative. All the presentations were amazingly top notch, but for me the breakout presentation was Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s presentation “Empathy And Acceptance In Design & Community.”
WordCampEurope was also a fantastic opportunity to meet and talk with so many fellow WP enthusiasts from all around the globe, and not just a few of Automattic’s Happiness Engineers with whom I interact almost every day in the Community Forums or elsewhere on WordPress.com. So many good conversations! /Waving/ One thing that really stood out, or perhaps this is entirely normal at WordPress events, was how approachable, open and friendly nearly everyone was. I cannot imagine many other professional conferences like this.
Lastly, a word of thanks to those who helped to sponsor my trip. Even with WCEU picking up the lunch tab each day of the conference, attending WCEU was a hefty investment. I want to thank all of you who answered my request and donated even a small amount so I could attend WordCampEurope2016. Hopefully you received my private thanks, but a public thank you is owed you as well. 🙂 Here’s where your donation went!