My First WordCamp As An Organiser

Before WordCamp Pune, I have attended three WordCamps, spoke at two, and the company I work for sponsored one.
This is first time, I have been part of a WordCamp as an organiser. I learned a lot so I thought about sharing few things. 🙂

WordCamp Central Role

Though I did not communicate with WordCamp Central directly, I have experienced the role they play in WordCamps all over the world closely. I must say they are doing good job.
This was first WordCamp for most of us, and some of us (excluding me) were not sure if we will reach our sponsorship goal. The central assured us many time to not worry about funds and plan freely. If needed central will help with whatever shortfall may arise.
Another thing I used to believe, as an outsider, was that WordCamp Central controls all WordCamps over the world closely. This turned out to be completely opposite. The Central gives complete freedom about almost every aspect and intervenes mostly when requested to. So the organisers gets same freedom we get with WordPress codes! 🙂

Team Work

As apart from me, 2 other organisers are current rtCamper and 4 were previous ones, I thought there won’t be communication gap. But when 11 people with own ideas of an event gather together for something there are bound to be disagreements.
Luckily, we always had atleast one of us reminding us about our collective duty as a team. This helped us overcome our moments of disagreement quickly and prepare for WordCamp as a unified team. 🙂

Meetup before WordCamp Helps

There was a discussion about this. I couldn’t attend it. In fact, I missed every session except some parts of Mahangu’s session. As I couldn’t attend discussion around this topic, I am not sure what people were discussing. But I just want to share my experience.
I believe a reason we could work well as a team because of sheer number of meetups we were “forced” to attend! 😛
Actually no-one forced anybody but the frequency of meetup was almost weekly. So no one could miss many meetups. This resulted in good bonding and understanding of each other which helped us deliver as a team on the big day!

Things I wish to do differently

Though many people believe this was “best” WordCamp, a notion I like to avoid, we did many things good e.g. multiple tracks, light on stomach food menu, workshops, panel discussions and a lot more.
But like everything else in this world, our WordCamp was not perfect. Few things I wish we could have done differently are:

  1. Order less food in terms of quantity: I realised me and Gagan eat much above average human being so we ordered more food than needed.
  2. Offline registration: Despite our best efforts, we couldn’t get wifi working. So we must print attendee list for offline registration even it means wasting little bit paper.
  3. Some improvement in track scheduling: There was overlap at few points which created inconvenience for speaker and audience. Following tweet explains this nicely:

I also feel all WordCamps should be two or three days long. I do not have any logical argument for this. I enjoyed WordCamp as an activity so I want more of it! 😉


Two ideas that I like to carry on from this WordCamp are “Jai WordPress” and idea of “WordCamp Goa”.

Apart from this, I got something nice to add to about page of this personal site! 😉
(Photo Credit: Tushar Wesanekar)


7 responses to “My First WordCamp As An Organiser”

  1. Alexander Gounder Avatar
    Alexander Gounder

    I am still pro-single track as an organizer and also as an attendee, because I miss out on quite some interesting content, and single track events are soo much simpler to organize (hats off to you guys for managing so many tracks). Yup food was great! was there extra? I could have teamed up Gagan and taken care of that.
    The frequency and sheer quantity of content rolled by WordCamp Pune both Online (Blogposts) and Offline (Meetups) is one of the biggest learning for us; personally I believe if we manage even 50% of it, It would help us a lot leading up to the WordCamp.
    I don’t personally like the “Jai WordPress” slogan it would put WordPress in a category of politicians and religion, which are very top down. One of the underlying ideas is contributing to WordPress, and contributing to community I’ve seen how everyone is ready to hear you out, people want to know your opinion rather than forcing their ideas on to you. I know the slogan was added in Fun context and is not intented to make some WordPress Cult, just thought I’ll speakout before it is more widespread and evolves to a Jai WordPress, Drupal Hai Hai…
    But Most importantly I enjoyed the bull frog, and I owe you a drink or few, my friend!

    1. I like simplicity of single track events but I think if we find a place with better form factors then with more efforts on scheduling, we can avoid making multi-track event complicated to understand. I have some ideas which I will share at right time. 🙂
      About “Jai WordPress” – it was only for fun. Idea came to my mind when me and Jeremy (from Jetpack) were discussing feature of WordPress after 10 years. I hope to write about it soon in details.
      Rest assured, being atheist, there is no way I would like to link WordPress to any religion.
      I believe, you can always celebrate something about booing other things. So “Jai WordPress” won’t required anything “Hai Hai…” to exist.

  2. Jitesh Patil Avatar
    Jitesh Patil

    I agree with Alexander, single track events are simpler to plan & even simpler to attend. I spent a lot of time figuring out on which ones to attend and still missed on a couple of good ones. Plus a single track means everyone gets to speak and attend in an A/C hall :).
    The registration process sucked. We needed registration desks with paper lists divided between them either by name alphabet / month of birth / or some such random distribution factor. #wcmumbai please take note :).
    I loved the food. And no, you & gagan’s aren’t the only ones who eat more. I too ate three sandwiches & two modaks :).
    Like Alex below, I too loved the website updates. Tons of useful information. Sadly I missed out on the speaker’s dinner, as I didn’t know about it.
    Overall, you guys did a great job. Inspired by you, I am thinking of organizing a WP meetup here in Solapur.

    1. We will try to get a venue with multiple A/C halls in same premise. 😉
      Best wishes for WP meetup in Solapur. Solapur is very accessible from Pune by Shatabdi exp. so I will try to attend a meetup someday and will have spicy chicken in Solapur. 😉

      1. Jitesh Patil Avatar
        Jitesh Patil

        Off course. You are always welcome 🙂

    2. Alexander Gounder Avatar
      Alexander Gounder

      Registration is one of the trickiest parts of the WordCamp, I have experienced it twice, in fact the first time I blanked out and Saurabh took control, we had all hands on deck (May be Pune didn’t have enough hands on deck).
      I think instead of the paper sheets if offline Excel sheet were maintained, with what you said, sections for names beginning with certain alphabets, then the registration crowd would have got divided and moved forward faster. And also using the Camptix plugin makes taking attendance very easy.
      Last but not the least I hope to see more meetups, which will lead to more WordCamps,

      1. We wanted to use Camptix for Registration but we also wanted to use Instamojo for payment gateway. Canptix and Instamojo payment gateway approval would have taken more time from, than we had in our hand.
        We hope to use Camptix next year. 🙂

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