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Organizing WordCamp Finland 2016

I feel tired but so happy happy. That’s because of Wordcamp Finland 2016. Once again I’d like to thank all attendees, sponsors, speakers, volunteers, Virgin Oil staff, and organizers. You’re all amazing, we did this together!

Volunteers and organizers
Most of the volunteers and organizers. Photo credit Gennady Kurushin.

I’d like to talk about organizing WordCamp Finland 2016, how all went, were there any issues, and what we learnt. At the moment I’m feeling so high that I can’t think of any big mistakes we made.

The Organizing Team

I could not agree more with Niko. We have amazing team and I’m thankful to be part of it.

When you start planning the WordCamp gathering the organizing team is by far the most important first step. There are couple of points why I think our team worked so well together.

  • Previous experience: WordCamp Finland 2015 (first Wordcamp Finland) was held in Tampere. Daniel Koskinen was the lead organizer and I think it was crucial that he wanted to be part of the organizing team also this year. This way we could avoid the same pitfalls and already have knowledge how things work.
  • Lead organizer: In every team there needs to be a leader. Someone who sees the big picture, push us to right direction, keep track of things, communicate to WordPress Foundation, and leads our meetings. That’s Marco Martins. He is brilliant.
  • Different kind of people: Our team had eight people which was perfect amount. We all have different strengths and our roles were well planned.
  • We had fun together: We had one hour Slack meeting almost every week. Sure that’s important but we also met live several times, and we had fun.
  • We could rely on each other: Organizing WordCamp takes a lot of work, I mean a lot of work. It was important that we could rely on each other and do the tasks on time. We could also ask help if we had other obligations.

In short, we are a team that enjoy working with each other while having fun.

Numbers

Even if I’m a math teacher I have never really “cared” about the numbers. Yes numbers are important but there is no beauty without the story behind the numbers. But if you’re into pure numbers, here they are:

  • Attendees: 262 (about 30 didn’t show up)
  • Attendees on workshop day: 40-50
  • Organizers: 8
  • Volunteers: 13 (two of them was not able to come)
  • Speakers: 12
  • Sponsors: 10 + 39 micro sponsors
  • Total expenses: about 12 000 euros (I’ll update the number when we know the final amount)
  • Working hours: zillion
  • Swags: enough
  • Happiness: Infinite
  • Wapuu: One in a million
Wapuu WordCamp 2016
Photo credit Jaana Björklund

Venue place

After the organizing team is ready it’s time to search the Venue place. We visited several places, and asked the venue prices (lunch, coffee, staff, chairs). By far the best place for us was Virgin Oil. It was the cheapest but in the same time Virgin Oil staff was super friendly and helpful from the beginning. Most of the conversation went like this:

– “Does this pay extra?”
– “No, we’re happy to help.”
– “Can we come one day before to set all the things?”
– “Sure, I’ll ask our technicians staff to come too.”
– “We are having a pretty good feeling about this place.”
– “That’s nice to hear, let us know if you need something.”

Thank you Virgin Oil staff for being so awesome!

Day before the Conference Day

We organized the venue place day before the venue: set tables for sponsors, sorted t-shirts and swags, checked stage, audio, video, and WI-FI (which had some problems in venue day).

WordCamp Finland 2016 badges
Photo credit Gennady Kurushin

We were really surprised and flattered that Jenny Wong showed up in Virgin Oil! She was helping us all weekend. Also speaker Jenn Schlick showed up and checked to place. She was really cool person and had one of the most interesting speak about low-carbon web design.

We are ready to rock!

Venue day

Using computers in WordCamp Finland
Photo credit Jaana Björklund

Our goal was to have a relaxed and fun day. I think we reached that goal. People seemed to pay attention to speakers, chit chat while they could, enjoyed their lunch and coffee. The bar was also open. Which was nice.

Virgin Oil
Photo credit Gennady Kurushin

My job was announcing speakers on the stage before noon. And also keeping the atmosphere relaxed because getting up on a stage can be quite stressing. We were all nervous and thrilled at the same time. But in the end everything went really well. Tech person from Virgin Oil made sure that all technics was top notch.

You can check all the topics from WordCamp Finland site. Daniel also wrote an excellent article on the speaker selection process.

Speakers dinner

We (organizers) had been testing at least three places before we settled to Iguana. It was near the Venue place, food was good, and downstairs atmosphere was nice.

Virgin Oil lunch was great but I was already starving before the last speaker. It was nice to talk once more with speakers before the afterparty. We felt pretty happy about the conference day.

Afterparty

What would WordCamp be without afterparty. This time it was held at O’Learys Bakers Bar near the Venue place. One part of the bar was reserved just for us until 10 pm. And yes, we did have a custom WordPress drink called Vihta. And yes, we had only one drink ticket per person. If you were near me just before 10 pm, you probably got another drink ticket. Salute!

Afterparty was perfect place to talk with each other, meet new people, and relax. Oh boy I was tired next morning.

Workshops and Contributors Day

Rise and shine! It’s time for Workshops and Contributors day.

We were pretty lucky to be the first venue in new Microsoft Flux community space. It was kind of risky because the place literally was ready just the day before. But we had good plan B because Frantic was ready to host us in case something went wrong.

We had several Workshops and we were honoured to have Nikolay Bachiyski telling us how to contribute to WordPress.

https://twitter.com/WordCampFinland/status/721252619021336576

I had two workshops like last year WordCamp. In Freelancers workshops we talked about money, contrasts, maintenance contrasts, show cases, and what are freelancers good qualities. I picked several conversation topics from a great article how to get the most out of your freelancers. Here is my slides from accessibility workshop.

Without pizza between workshops I would have collapsed. We can thank Microsoft for sponsoring the pizzas!

You can check all the workshops and the schedule from WordCamp Finland 2016 site. Here is also tweets from the day.

Social Emptiness

After the Workshops I was in a rush to see mens final in floorball. But I really didn’t have any more power to celebrate the game. I just sat down and watched the game.

I felt social emptiness. I didn’t talk much. But that’s totally fine when you’re with your family.

After the game I went to Sauna with my dad and brother, had one beer and smiled. What a weekend we had!

Other WordCamp 2016 articles

https://www.dude.fi/wordcamp-finland-2016-kooste-duden-kuulumiset-retkelta/

Rolle wrote an thorough article about WordCamp Finland (in Finnish). He has more details what actually happened. I also found couple of more WordCamp Finland related links:

See you all next year at WordCamp Finland. I’ll thank you all!