WordCamp Moscow 2016 Recap

WordCamp Moscow 2016

WordCamp Moscow 2016 was held this weekend in the amazing Digital October Center. Fourteen speakers from Russia, Ukraine and Lithuania, two tracks with great content on design, programming, blogging, business and of course SEO. Huge props to Dmitry Mayorov for taking on the lead organizer role and making the best out of it.

We had a little over 200 attendees this year, and the event was quite a success. 92% of the survey respondents said that the event was “great” or “good,” and only 8% said it was “okay” or “could be better.” Nobody said it was awful, so that’s a win.

A fair amount of new speakers applied this year, in fact, five of them never spoke at a WordCamp before. The overall survey results (speakers and their talks) were good. Not amazing, but good. We decided to divide up the two tracks by “anticipated popularity” this year, rather than by content, which I think worked out really well, although some attendees complained in the survey.

A small number of attendees didn’t like some of the talks because they were “too basic” or “too vague.” Well yeah, that happens.

The breaks were long, as usual, pizza for lunch, better-than-last-year coffee, fruits and snacks. We even had a lovely press wall this year, with the conference and sponsor logos, which attendees (and photographers) really enjoyed. The sponsors area was much more active this year, with all four of our platinum sponsors having their own table or booth.

The after-party was in a cafe/restaurant in the same building, where luckily this year we were able to negotiate a cheaper selection of beers, juices, waters and wines for our pre-order to fit our budget, so we didn’t run out as quickly as we did last year.

The Talk

Besides being on the WordCamp Moscow organizing team, I was also a speaker. My talk was about memory management in WordPress and why increasing the PHP memory limit is a bad idea. It was targeted at advanced users and developers, though beginner users were also happy to hear they shouldn’t get a more expensive server if their memory consumption averages around 90%.

The slides are available on SlideShare, the video will be up on WordPress.tv around September.

Again, thanks to Dmitry Mayorov, the WordCamp Moscow 2016 organizing team, all the speakers and volunteers, for making such a great event. I really hope that attendees from other cities and countries were inspired enough to create their own WordPress meetup group, and start working towards a WordCamp in their area.

WordCamp Russia 2015 Recap

We did it.

WordCamp Russia 2015

WordCamp Russia 2015 was held last weekend in the amazing Digital October Center in Moscow. Attendance didn’t change much from last year — we saw about 200 people in person, but a lot of them (~ 60%) were folks who never attended a WordCamp before.

The attendees survey showed great results, pretty much in line with last year and with what we expected overall. The pizza was good, the lounge music was praised, the presentations were terrific.

One thing that stood out was a gentleman, who for some reason decided that it was okay to jump up on stage during a presentation, and point out some (supposedly) mistakes that the speaker had made in their code. Awkward. I guess we’re going to have to hire a bouncer next year.

Here are some other things we learned this year:

  • Some communities don’t care about Wapuu and friends, they’d rather have a t-shirt with a W logo instead
  • If you’re playing music in the hallway during breaks and lunch, make sure you normalize all the tracks
  • Lights, shooting video and a projector don’t go well together, luckily inverting some slides helps
  • With two tracks available perhaps it’s a better idea to split presentations by popularity, rather than just user/dev
  • Launching a screen recording on the presenter’s laptop during their talk is a great idea, video production goes much faster

Big thanks to the organizing team, all the volunteers, speakers and sponsors who made WordCamp Russia a success!

WordCamp Russia 2014

The second WordCamp in Russia was a success, with almost 200 attendees and a great lineup of 14 speakers from all over Russia and abroad, including Ukraine and even Germany.

WordCamp Russia 2014

I’m not going to go into much planning details like I did last year. Everything was mostly the same, with the exception of having almost twice as many speakers, two tracks, pizza for lunch, a new logo (which everybody thought was a splash), as well as little irritating things that made planning more stressful — like the absence of parking spots close to the venue, problems with shipping anything from the US to Russia, and the fact that we bought about 10x more coffee than we ended up serving.

In any case, the post-WordCamp survey showed a 96% satisfaction rate, which definitely works for me. Now back to reading those new 4.0 commits, and still struggling for inbox zero, even though it’s been over a week now.

Photos from WordCamp Russia 2014 are on Facebook. Slides from my talk about scaling WordPress can be found here, the videos from all the sessions should appear on WordPress.tv in a few weeks.

Stay Tuned for WordCamp Russia 2014

Last year we had a blast and this year we’re planning to have an even bigger one. WordCamp Russia 2014 will be held on August 9th in Moscow.

WordCamp Russia 2014

We have a line up of 14 speakers ready to deliver some WordPress awesomeness in two simultaneous tracks, at the popular Digital October conference center in Moscow.

Tickets are available at $20, which includes a full day of learning and networking, food, coffee breaks, after-party and of course swag. See you in Moscow!

WordCamp Sofia 2013

A few days ago I attended and spoke at WordCamp Sofia 2013 which was a great deal of fun. Sofia is somewhat special for me, because that’s where it all began back in 2012 — that’s where I gave my first ever WordCamp talk, so this year’s event was like a little anniversary.

WordCamp Sofia 2013

My session this year was about Templating in WordPress: locate_template() and its derivatives, the template hierarchy and template-loader.php. I wasn’t too nervous about my talk this time, in fact I didn’t even have any notes, and I think it turned out pretty well (although fairly short):

So “страшен” here supposedly means “awesome” or “amazing”, which is what my Bulgarian friends told me, though maybe they’re just being too nice to me, because Google Translate says that’s “terrible.”

Quite a few sessions were in English this year, which was good for me, though not necessarily good for the Bulgarian community — I felt like most people were shy to ask questions in English. In any case, it was a pleasure to listen to: Ryan Markel, Joe Hoyle, Noel Tock, Marko Heijnen, and Brian Messenlehner.

The after party had some poker chips we could exchange for drinks, which is pretty smart. Beer, wine, whiskey and late-night WordPress chatter.

Contribute Day was new for Sofia this year. It was held at SiteGround’s office with pizza, drinks, ping pong and pool. Not too many people attended, but we did have small groups working on translations, docs and themes, which turned out to be fun, and a little exhausting too:

I stayed at the amazing Sense Hotel this time. They have cool light controllers in rooms, that let you pick one of several modes: TV, reading, relaxing, etc.; keycard activated elevators: you don’t have to pick a floor — they know; and a solid internet connection, which is always a huge win.

Overall, I had a really great time, so huge props to Mario Peshev for the well organized event and looking forward to WordCamp Sofia next year!