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WordCamp Dublin to take place in October, Q&A with Leadership Team

WordCamp Dublin

WordCamp Dublin will kick off for the first time this October. I managed to secure answers to a few questions from the leadership team via email recently.

Team members include:

Amit Wadhwa – Lead organizer, communication with WordCamp Foundation and website

Colm Troy – Sponsors and Media

Rodolfo Melogli‎ – Content creation and speakers

Mark Smallman – Volunteers, communication with WordCamp Foundation and budget

Marcin Kilarski – Social media and promotion

 

Q & A with the Dublin WordCamp leadership team

How did the idea for a WordCamp in Dublin begin? When?

Mark Smallman:

When I initially considered setting up a WordPress Meetup group in Belfast, I contacted the then organiser for the Dublin WordPress group. Their first response was ‘When are we having a WordCamp Ireland?’. So, I guess from that initial comment or question, the seed was planted to hopefully build a strong enough community, in both Belfast & Dublin to warrant WordCamps in the two cities.

Once the two communities had gained numbers and interest, it was an obvious progression to aim to have both cities listed on the WordCamp schedules. And with both communities supporting each other with their events, it makes all the organising that little bit easier.

Marcin:

We were all inspired by Belfast WordPress community, which had organised the first ever WordCamp Belfast on 1-2 October 2016. All of us have attended it. It was great to meet so many of our WP friends that we knew from local WordPress meetups, online forums, groups, and WordCamp Europe 2016.

Spending two days with those people and many other web developers who were sharing their experience in different interesting projects they had worked on, we got a chance to talk to guys from Automattic, Google, and other amazing tech companies.

It was so inspiring!

At the after-party, they served a locally-brewed beer, which had a cool custom WCBelfast label and tasted a bit strange, but it was specially made for WordPress community, so nobody complained. Everyone grabbed a WCBelfast beer and started talking about all the things we loved in Belfast. We were wondering why nobody had organised WordCamp Dublin before. After discussing this during that evening, we all decided that if nobody wanted to do it, then we would.

In January, a few months after we had attended the WordCamp Belfast 2016, Mark sent us an email to check what progress we had made since our conversation at the after-party.

Of course, after coming from WordCamp we all forgot what we had made up our minds to do, so the email from Mark was a great reminder. Receiving this reminder and Mark’s offer to help us with organising WC Dublin, motivated us to go for it. Having a person in the organising team who had gone through the whole process of planning a WordCamp, our task felt a bit less daunting.

Leadership Team WordCamp Dublin
Leadership Team WordCamp Dublin

What challenges have you encountered in planning WordCamp Dublin?

Mark:

One of the biggest challenges for any ‘first-time’ WordCamp organiser, is deciding if there is enough interest and support available within the community.

Once it was clear that Dublin had a good community, and there was a strong enough team to help organise the event, it was a matter of getting to work on the actual planning, and the search for a suitable venue.

Luckily the guys in Dublin had plenty of local contacts, and have a strong team spirit to be able to put on, what I am sure will be a fun and successful first WordCamp Dublin.

Marcin:

As usually the most challenging for me are the things over which I don’t have direct control. These are speakers, sponsors applications and sold tickets. The only thing that we can do is put in the work and hope that it will generate results.

Because this is the first ever WordCamp Dublin, we have to build everything from scratch.

Who came along side to help you make WordCamp Dublin happen?

Rodolfo:

WordCamp Dublin 2017 wouldn’t exist without sponsors, a great venue, volunteers and… ticket sales.

Working on the budget was the most difficult thing for us organisers, as we have never done it before. Thankfully we got incredible support from Mark Smallman, one of the co-organisers, who had run WC Belfast the year before.

Once the budget was approved, we were incredibly blessed with signing off on the venue. DCU Business School, one of the top business schools in the world, offered their venue for the whole weekend – free of charge. This allowed us to invest our budget more efficiently.

Thanks to WordCamp Global Sponsors (WooCommerce, Jetpack, GoDaddy, Bluehost, WPML), and awesome local sponsors, which we will announce soon, we can reduce the cost of the tickets substantially and cover the cost of food, printing, after-party, and sponsors and speakers dinner.

Happiness increased when Zinkshift offered to look after #WCDUB design concept. They designed our logo, website, t-shirt, Wapuu, stickers, badges, and signs. Isn’t that awesome?

Besides, Sticker Giant came on board to print our stickers. Yes, you guessed it, once again for free – included shipping!

Last but not the least, how not to mention our amazing volunteers! We are positively surprised to receive applications from so many people to help us organise this event.

It’s really amazing how the WordPress community wants to help, and together we are going to make WordCamp Dublin a reality!

If you have one goal for the event, what would that goal be?

Colm:

WordPress is a very popular choice for all kinds of websites in Dublin (and Ireland as a whole) but I think one area we’ve not been as good as other countries at is bringing together the WordPress community.

If you take a look at other countries across Europe, you’ll see very active WordPress communities with multiple WordCamps every year and monthly meetups with hundreds of attendees. Some of this is simply due to Ireland being a smaller country – but I don’t think that’s the main reason.

Take Serbia as a case in point. Next year WordCamp Europe will take place in Belgrade which is fantastic recognition of the hard work community leaders like Milan Ivanović have put in to lead the local WordPress community in Serbia to bring the Serbian WordPress community together on a regular basis. Serbia has a population comparable to the island of Ireland (7 million approx.) so there’s absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be working towards similar success here in Ireland.

We have a ton of people doing wonderful things with WordPress here in Ireland. We also have an excellent heritage at hosting very large, successful tech events here in Dublin so my one goal from this event would be to see WordCamp Dublin be the catalyst for a much more active WordPress community not just in Dublin, but across Ireland. Who knows, perhaps one day we’ll be welcoming WordCamp Europe to Dublin – which would be fantastic 🙂

What are some of the things you have planned for this WordCamp?

Rodolfo:

WordCamp is coming to Dublin for the very first time, and therefore we didn’t want to over-plan or schedule activities and events that would distract us from our most important objective: focusing on great contents, selling out, attracting local and global sponsors and running the event as smoothly as possible.

As WordCamp Dublin 2017 is scheduled for the weekend, we wanted to have amazing presentations and workshops on both days. It would have been a waste to concentrate all the talks on Saturday, go to the after-party that same night, and then say good bye! Why not make the most of the whole weekend?

Sessions and speakers will be announced very soon, and we plan to fill out both days with useful, curated, community-driven presentations. We realised the need to have two tracks: one dedicated to WordPress, mostly technical, while the other room will feature Business topics, such as blogging, lifestyle, ecommerce, advertising, taxation and anything that can help the small business owner.

We’ve picked a great venue to communicate this exact message: if you’re technical, you also need to look after the business stuff – and vice-versa. DCU Business School, one of the top business schools worldwide, is going to be a perfect match for those who wish to learn technical WordPress and those who require upgrading their business skills.

The Saturday night will feature a typical Irish after-party: the pub! Well, actually, the Odeon is much more than that – local craft beers, tantalising cocktails, a fabulous wine list and of course live music / DJ till late. We’ll see who’s the first to show up at DCU on Sunday morning 🙂

Overall, we’ve planned to be lean and keep it simple. We want WordCamp Dublin 2017 to be a success and make sure we can repeat the event next year, and the following years to come.

After this first WordCamp, we’ll be able to assess what worked and what didn’t, so that we can start planning WordCamp Dublin 2018 straight away. It will be a no-brainer – the first time is always the hardest!

What can those coming from other countries expect while in Dublin for WordCamp?

Colm:

Dublin has an excellent reputation as one of the best cities in the world to host any kind of conference. I think one of the reasons for that is that the city is absolutely buzzing right now.

Dublin has always been a spot to come to for a city break with tons of pubs and to experience the craic. But the last ten years have seen Dublin transform itself on all fronts.

We’ve amazing restaurants across all ethnicities popping up almost weekly. Hundreds of tech companies from all over the world have made Dublin their home in Europe. As a result, our tech ecosystem has grown rapidly, and the indigenous tech sector has never been as strong as it is now.

What I’d recommend to anyone traveling to Dublin would be to set aside a day or two either side of the conference to spend time checking out the city as there won’t be much time during the conference itself to see the city. If I was to pick just a few things to do if it’s your first time in Dublin, this is what I’d recommend:

  • Guinness Storehouse – this might be a bit of an obvious one, but it really is worth a trip to the Storehouse – it’s a fantastic way to spend a few hours.
  • Take the Dart to Howth, Dalkey and Bray
    • This one is a personal favourite of mine. Dublin is blessed with a fantastic coastline. Howth, and Bray are at opposite ends of Dublin bay but are worth the trip if you fancy some fresh sea air! Dalkey is a beautiful little village a couple of stops from Bray – you might Bono having a pint in one of the local pubs 🙂
  • Trinity College if you want to see the Book of Kells is an obvious one, but if you want to avoid the crowds you might be better to head to Kilmainham Gaol.
  • Talk a walk in two of Europe’s most beautiful city parks. Dublin is blessed to have two fantastic city parks. St. Stephens Green is right in the middle of the city, while the Phoenix Park is just a couple of Luas stops away and is the largest city park in Europe. Both are absolute gems.
  • If you fancy staying away from the touristy spots and just want to soak up the city head to:
    • Capel Street – one of the most eccentric parts of the city – Capel never disappoints.
    • Camden Street/Aungier Street/Georges Street – this is the spine of Dublin 2 and has hundreds of excellent pubs, restaurants, and shops. Keep going out to Richmond St. and enjoy a pint in The Bernard Shaw or grab a bite next door in the fantastic Eatyard
  • If you’re feeling more adventurous and active, jump on the Luas Green Line and head for the hills. In addition to being right by the sea, we also have the Dublin and Wicklow mountains on our doorstep. Whether it’s mountain biking or trekking you’ll find lots to offer. And of course, if you want to venture further afield take a Paddy Wagon tour to Glendalough for the day.

Mark:

Plenty of good craic, welcoming and friendly people. And perhaps a pint or two of the ‘black stuff’

Marcin:

They can expect to meet amazing people, eat good food, listen to live music and great weather. Maybe without the last point.

Wrapping it up

Dublin is ready to showcase its city as well as its WordPress professionals. The leadership team has worked with many different people and sponsors to make it a great event.  If you decide to book a weekend at Dublin, tell them you came via MainWP!

Are you planning to attend WordCamp Dublin? Have you attended a WordCamp in a different country before? Let us know in the comments below!

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Todd Jones
Along with being the resident writer for MainWP and content hacker at Copyflight, I specialize in writing about startups, entrepreneurs, social media, WordPress and inbound marketing topics.
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