I have been exposed to WordPress for a little above a year and the journey has been “awesome”! During this span of time, I have read and heard so much about WordCamps that experiencing one has been on my to-do list for LONG. And considering that WordCamp Mumbai 2015 for me was a lost opportunity, attending WordCamp Pune was a given.
Now that I had resolved to go, I decided to drag along some colleagues with me too. So, on the morning of 6th September 2015, Deepen – our WordCamp research specialist 😉 , Muzzu – our Captain for the day (he drove us to Pune which is a different city from ours), Tarun – the guy who was already in Pune and I reached the venue right in time for the opening note by Saurabh Shukla who by the way is outstanding with the mic.
Note to Self: Work on Voice Modulation Techniques
The day started with…
Since the time I saw the schedule for the first time to the time I reached WordCamp Pune I really wished I could be ‘Multiple Man’. This outlandish aspiration was a result of the simultaneous sessions that were about to commence at WordCamp Pune.
While we would have liked to attend all simultaneously, for the four of us the day started with a crisp and informative session on Indian Payment Gateways by Vachan Kudmule. Vachan had much to share but too little time. Adding to his woes was the projector that refused to work properly. In spite of this he took the session through and patiently answered most questions. For the one’s he couldn’t, he graciously offered to take them beyond the session.
Note to Self: Do not rely on slides. Be prepared for glitches. Incorporate your audience as much as you can.
The Blogger Gym – My Favorite Part of the Day
The one time slot on the WordCamp Pune schedule I was really kicked about was “The Blogger Gym” which was about to be conducted by Ramya Pandyan. Being a blogger myself I was looking forward to learning a lot.
AND I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED
Ramya’s workshop for bloggers was houseful and rightfully so. With one of our blog post as an example, she took us through a series of exercises that every blogger should practice. Some exercises I could do, some I couldn’t and for some my internet connection simply refused to get going.
In retrospect, I knew about everything she spoke of. The key differentiator, however, was that all these things that I knew were put into perspective through the workshop.
Note to Self: Repeat these exercises for more blog posts.
From Having Heard of HeroPress to Getting to Know HeroPress
Before WordCamp Pune, I had heard about HeroPress. I knew it existed. But frankly I was ignorant about what HeroPress did. To add to my ignorance, I reached a tad late for Topher DeRosia’s talk.
Wondering why was I late? Well, I got busy relishing the sandwiches served for lunch. 😛 Also my lunch was pushed back as the blogger gym continued for longer than expected and I wasn’t about to leave it half way!
So now that I was both ignorant and late, my next step was to grab our Captain’s (Read: Muzzu) MacBook and start doing my research on HeroPress. But then I thought to myself, “Wait a minute, what am I doing? Here, there is this guy who is talking about how WordPress has changed many lives and I’m simply missing out on it” So I put aside the laptop and LISTENED.
What transpired in the next I don’t know how many minutes (Yes Topher had my full attention. I lost track of time) left me inspired. Inspired to do something more meaningful with WordPress. Inspired to contribute to the community. Inspired to make a difference.
If you don’t already know about HeroPress it’s time you take a look!
At this point, I’m going to take the liberty of giving you some unwarranted advice. Read the HeroPress blog when you have time. It took me long before I actually closed the tab.
Note to Self: Be better prepared for next WordCamp. Do some research on the people and topics well before going.
Beyond the Blackboard – A Cause Close to Our Heart
Education is a cause very close to WisdmLabs. And we have just about started venturing into it with products. So when I looked up the schedule and I saw this I was going to be there without a doubt.
Mahangu gave his own unique perspective to the topic of educational products in South East Asia and brought up some important points on the challenges faced. As for the four of us, he left us with a lot of questions that we are hopeful to answer over time. (Yes! you guessed it right. We’re dedicated to the cause of eLearning. We take it seriously and we’re going to go all out to create products in this direction.)
Nearing the End
As WordCamp Pune neared its end, I was quite overwhelmed with the deluge of information and so I decided to just cruise around the venue a bit. But before that I squeezed in two more sessions. The first was on ‘Growing from a Single-Author Blog to a Multi-author Community’ conducted by Arun Prabhudesai from trak.in. The second was a thoroughly interesting panel discussion about the business of WordPress between professionals from the Pune circuit.
What seemed like a long day ahead that morning had come to a close sooner than I expected. While I was left craving for more I also had a lot to go over once I got home.
Advice to First Time WordCampers
Don’t Expect to Learn Only About WordPress
Now here’s the deal about WordCamps. If you go there with the expectation to learn only about WordPress you are limiting yourself. I’m saying this from experience. I went to WordCamp Pune thinking I’ll be a “WordPress Enriched” person. Ok fine that’s just me exaggerating a bit. But on a serious note I came out learning about people, places, blogging, public speaking and some random trivia apart from WordPress.
So when you go to a WordCamp, go with an open mind and be attentive to all that’s happening around you. I’m certain there will be a lot to learn apart from WordPress.
Do Your Research
Here’s an aspect I lacked on at WordCamp Pune! I relied too much on Deepen (remember the research guy I mentioned earlier) to get my facts. This not only reduced the quality of my experience, but it also left me lost at a few occasions.
So before you go for your first WordCamp, take a good look at the schedule and research the topics that will be spoken about along with the speakers.
Use the Networking Opportunity
WordPress is a humongous open source community with professionals spread all across the world. WordCamps are a great opportunity to meet these people. So shed all your inhibitions and talk to these people, get to know what they do, let them know what you do, help out someone who might seem lost or say a simple Hi.
Believe me when I say it, in a community like WordPress knowing these people can shape your WordPress journey. If nothing else you’ll get to know a lot of inspiring stories which you can learn from.That’s it from the diary of an awed WordCamper!Until the next post, Adios 🙂