WordCamp Europe 2015 takeaways (and pride)

As a team, we’ve just got back from WordCamp Europe 2015, in Seville. In this post, I want to give a (pretty personal) little recap of my own key takeaways from the event.

Q&A with Matt Mullenweg
Q&A with Matt Mullenweg

1. WordPress is big and getting bigger

Check out the photo of the conference hall for Matt Mullenweg’s Q&A session above. There were a heck of a lot of people there. This WordCamp Europe was bigger than last year’s, which was bigger than the first one back in 2013. Whether you’re building a site or a business on WordPress, this is good news.

2. The WordPress REST API is going to be huge

The WordPress REST API is a way for any computer to talk to your WordPress site (if you want it to), whether that’s to grab the latest post or to make updates or delete comments. This is going to enable a paradigm shift for what developers can do with WordPress and should make your site easier to manage, more connected and even more future-proof. This new API is available now, and we’ve had some great experience using it. This is good news too.

3. That WordPress is more than just another blogging platform

The economy around WordPress isn’t unique, but it is special: it’s built on value-creation, innovation, disruption, resilience and super-smart, highly capable people. At this year’s WordCamp more than any other I’ve been to there was a common thread to many conversations; about how WordPress is influencing the world outside of the web and outside of digital. Go back ten years and the principles of decentralised, remote teams, open source software, Agile and results-oriented businesses existed, but they were of marginal importance because the importance of software was so much more marginal to most businesses.

Now that software is so critical to so many businesses, suddenly the processes, tools, values and systems that software developers and service providers use are influencing business and society at large like never before. Where will that end? There’s very little that the WordPress community couldn’t achieve if it wanted to. I think this is good news too!

4. Talks I’d recommend catching

The talks are now online, here are some links to my favourites (only ones I watched, so please don’t feel out if you’re not on the list!), split into

Non-geeky

  1. Matt Mullenweg’s Q&A – Matt’s one of the co-founders of WordPress and the most authoritative person in the WordPress community
  2. Mark Jaquith: Ethics and WordPress Development – Mark is a great talker and touches here on something that’s close to our hearts – that using technology involves ethical decisions
  3. Nikolay Bachiyski: A Few WordPress Security Principles – Nikolay is the new Security Tsar at WordPress.org. Here he takes a good look at some important security principles
  4. Bryce Adams: How I Built a WordPress Powered SaaS in 3 Days – a great talk showing how WordPress is now so much more than just a content management system
  5. Tom Willmot: Distributed, Open Source, Happiness – Tom runs Human Made – one of the world’s top WordPress agencies and is someone I respect greatly. At Pragmatic, remote is part of our future and this is a great insight into Human Made’s experience as a totally remote business
  6. Mark Forrester: From Commercial Themes to the Fastest Growing Ecommerce Platform Online – Mark’s personal view on the growth of WooThemes from start-up to acquisition by Automattic – one of WordPress’ great entrepreneurial stories

Geeky

  1. Adam Silverstein: Put a Little Backbone in Your WordPress! – Backbone is an established and capable JavaScript library that lets developers make WordPress sites feel more like a modern web app and less like a website
  2. Jack Lenox: Theming, React and the REST API – the new WordPress REST API is huge for WordPress (see above) and this is a nice introduction to how it can be useful for developing cutting edge frontend interfaces
  3. Tenko Nikolov: The Next Big Thing in the Cloud – Containerize Your WordPress – only for the really geeky – all about the use of containers vs virtual machines for WordPress hosting
  4. Ryan McCue: The WordPress REST API – the world’s foremost expert on the WordPress REST API giving it a fantastic introduction
Pride
Pride by Benh on Wikimedia Commons

5. Pride

Sometimes you need to change your perspective to see clearly. WordCamp Europe gave me that chance. Picture the moment. There’s about 20 of us, all sitting down outside during one of Seville’s balmy summer evenings to a plate of tapas and cerveza. Nearly everyone from Pragmatic’s here, plus a few partners. We’ve all flown out separately or in small groups but tonight is the evening of the first day of WordCamp Europe, and we’re finally all together.

Pragmatic meal in Seville
Pragmatic meal in Seville

And what I felt was pride.

Pragmatic has grown quickly; from just me to a team of 15(ish) over just a few years. Every year, month, week and day can feel like there’s a new challenge, something else to do, another fire to fight. The tasks I’ve assigned to myself in our project management system have evolved from the simple and single-dimensional “Add Gravity Forms license key to www.asbcsdf.com” through to strategic business tasks like “Office move”, “Update pitch deck”, “Hire project managers” and “Complete content marketing strategy”. All this, intermingled with hundreds of emails, instant messages, conversations, meetings and notifications – it can be hard to lift your thoughts out of the never-ending list of urgent, important tasks and look around.

But sitting there, hugely enjoying spending time with the amazing team that Pragmatic has become, I couldn’t help but feel proud. It’s been hard work getting here but that was one of those moments when it all seems worthwhile. Lovely people having a great time, doing work that matters and enjoying spending time together. If I can’t take pride in a moment like that, I don’t know what I can take pride in.

But beside a bit of personal pride, my pride is mainly for what the team are achieving. A few days ago, we featured as one of the UK’s top UK digital marketing agencies. Onwards and upwards!

Here’s a little gallery of our trip!

 

Image credit – “Lions Family Portrait Masai Mara” by Benh LIEU SONGOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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