WordCamp Europe 2019 was the biggest and the best WordCamp I have ever attended. But that’s not what made it special. What WordCamp Europe 2019 successfully accomplished for the first time was holding a massive event without falling into the usual pitfalls of events this size.
In my first encounter with WordCamp Europe 2019 at the Estrel venue in Berlin on June 20, I recalled events such as Web Summit. It was a three-day event held in a huge venue packed with talks, workshops, booths, and activities with thousands of attendees. It was the largest WordPress event ever, with 3,260 tickets sold and 2,734 attendees.
The attendees came from 97 different countries, and 1,722 of them had never attended WordCamp Europe before. Events this size must be quite difficult to organize and might require months of planning, arrangements and hundreds of people involved.
How was it different from any other WordCamp?
Events on this massive of a scale might end up making them mediocre with poor organization, average talks and bad service for attendees. But this is exactly where WordCamp differed from events like WebSummit. WordCamp 2019 was an event much larger than its usual size and so wonderfully organized that its scale didn’t make it mediocre.
The other important way WordCamp sets itself far above other large-scale tech events is that it’s driven by the community, not profit. Look at an event like WebSummit or the TNW Conference, and you’ll notice an event designed to make money. At these events, celebrities are invited to a venue with a private jet to talk about your run-of-the-mill topics so more people in that crowd understand it. This is the problem in events that sell as many tickets as possible to earn more money and end up with a very disparate audience!
An event like WordCamp is designed primarily to gather members of a community, rather than running a business to make money out of it. It’s very common to see someone who is a speaker at one WordCamp to be a volunteer at another. And yes! Volunteers aren’t volunteering for a reference letter here! WordCamp Europe 2019 didn’t just set a new standard for continental WordCamps but also set one for other tech events.
Jupiter X in WordCamp Europe 2019
Artbees attended WordCamp Europe 2019 on June 20-22 in Berlin. We had the pleasure of not just attending but also co-sponsoring the event this year. Jupiter X had one of the busiest booths in a small business hall in WCEU this year.
It was also our first WordCamp where we gave away a small but lovely prize. The Jupiter X AirPod Giveaway was so welcomed by the attendees at WordCamp this year that during the drawing session on the last day of the event, our booth was hardly able to host the massive crowd waiting for their name to be selected from the box as the winner!
Meeting with Jupiter X users, friends and partners
We had so many great guests stop by the Jupiter X booth for a visit, including some of our fantastic users, fellow authors in the Envato market, our friends in the industry and the WordPress community.
Meeting with the Envato Team & Envato Worldwide
We had various meetings with the Envato team during different WordCamp Europe 2019 events. On Envato Worldwide Day, which was one of the side events, we met with and greeted the great Envato team. Cameron Gough, James Giroux, Stephen Cronin and Aaron Rutley from the Envato team stopped by our booth during the first conference day for a nice chat and some fruitful discussions about the state of WordPress, the Envato market, trends and more.
It was also a pleasure having a special meeting with Cameron Gough – General Manager of Content at Envato – and to share some ideas and suggestions regarding ThemeForest as one of its authors. Cameron is not just a great human but also very determined to reflect the authors’ voices in Envato and to take some huge steps forward by addressing issues and possible improvements to the marketplace.
It’s also been a year in which Envato is hosting meetups of their own called Envato Worldwide in different cities around the world, including London, Amsterdam, Kyiv, Warsaw, and Saint Petersburg. As part of their worldwide tour, they held a meetup in Berlin a few days before WordCamp Europe 2019.
Envato Worldwide meetups are a great combination of keynote presentations, local author presentations, networking, Q&A sessions and a nice after party. As members of the Envato community, we were thrilled to meet and greet with some of the great authors in ThemeForest as well as the amazing members of the Envato team, discuss ideas, share experiences and learn from one another.
WordCamp Europe 2019 Contributor Day
There is no denying that one of the best parts of every WordCamp is the Contributor Day. At large WordCamps like WordCamp Europe, it’s even better! What you could see was a large hall filled with passionate community members who were helping to build or expand some aspect of WordPress.
500 contributors formed different groups such as core, review, marketing, support, polyglot, design, etc. and were led by 37 experienced lead contributors to different MakeWordPress projects. From Artbees, Gulhan joined and contributed to the “theme review” team. Rouzbeh contributed to the marketing team, and Nel joined the community team just like at WCEU 2018.
During Contributor Day at WordCamp Europe 2019, we also had an exciting encounter with the one and only Matt Mullenweg, WordPress co-founder and CEO.
The group photo taken at the end of Contributor Day may have been the biggest photo ever taken at a WordCamp. Check for yourself and see how many of Artbees members you can find in the crowd!
Unlike last year, we were running a booth at WCEU this year, so, unfortunately, we could not attend most of the talks. There were some great topics and speakers I shared in our “we’re heading Berlin” post on June 13. But one talk in particular that is most talked about at every WordCamp Europe or WordCamp US is Matt Mullenweg’s State of WordPress talks.
This year, he again went up on stage thanking and giving a round of applause to the organizing team and sponsors who made possible what he called the best WordCamp ever. He explained the latest developments of different WordPress projects, especially Project Gutenberg and its roadmap in the coming months. And, as usual, it concluded with a Q&A session.
There were several side events before and during WordCamp Europe 2019. We were invited to a side event or afterparty almost every day before WCEU and during the conference days.
Just like at WCEU 2018, we joined Elementor’s side event this year but with a brand new name called “Meet the Makers of Elementor.” This event was much more than an afterparty and included various sessions such as workshops and keynotes. I’m sure this will be a good beginning for them to make great community get-togethers in the future.
Just like WCEU 2018, the Freemius team held a lovely side event in Berlin to gather different kinds of WordPress community members. It was great to meet Vova at this WCEU and engage in some insightful discussions about their service Freemius, which is a platform for WordPress businesses to operate on.
A WordCamp is never complete without its afterparty! Just like many other WordCamp Europe attendees, we were counting down the seconds for another great afterparty for WCEU 2019, and it definitely lived up to the hype! The afterparty this year was a 4-hour long chat, complete with music and dancing with a party theme I’ve always liked: the 80s!
The WordCamp Europe 2019 closing talks were a holistic review of this year’s event with tons of interesting figures about its contributors, volunteers, sponsors, speakers, and attendees. Though there was a section this year celebrating those who helped make the event happen but couldn’t attend the event.
Like any other event, WordCamp Europe 2019 was not without issues. But the great thing about WordCamps is that you can see a noticeable betterment after each WordCamp from city to city. WordCamp 2019 in Berlin was definitely a better WordCamp than WordCamp Europe 2018 in Belgrade – and hopefully, WordCamp 2020 in Porto will be better as well!