What can a Product Manager gain at a WordPress conference? If you’ve never attended one, you’re probably asking yourself the same question as I did when I got my first ever WordCamp Europe ticket. As it turns out – a lot! So stick around, learn how can open-source’s ‘double C’ energy: Community & Contribution benefit you, and find out the answer to my question.
The event took place in Porto, Portugal, from 2 to 4 June 2022. This WordCamp Europe had more than 2.500 participants. Try to imagine that energy and multiply it with 90 organizers, 164 volunteers, 69 sponsors, 70 speakers and 11 media partners. Positivity was bursting from every nook and cranny of the Super Bock Arena where we gained priceless knowledge, valuable business connections, new friends and remarkable lifelong memories.
Here are my takeaways from the Porto WP adventure:
“Newbie” is a compliment! The first day for us was a Contributors day. We heard a lot of positive stories from our other Neuralab colleagues who attended past WordCamp conferences, but we still didn’t know what to expect. Struggling between shyness and curiosity, we heard a welcoming voice that asked “newbies” to raise their hands. As I wondered if we would get too much attention with our hands high up, immediately I noticed a room full of hands in the air. Everyone was cheering and applauding. That moment helped us to overcome our own little fears and from here on we proudly contributed to the community. Like our leader at the Marketing table said “It’s not about the badges you receive while you contribute, It’s about your feelings during and at the end of that journey!”.
Accessibility is an important topic! There were a lot of sessions and workshops dedicated to accessibility. I found the first session from Maja Benke very insightful. She was talking about dyslexia and the methods of helping people with that disability. Some of the key points are to:
- pay attention to the fonts size and font family we choose for our website
- make sure to use captions for images, GIFs and videos
- choose accessible colors
- use the color contrast wisely
- use lists, graphics, images
- use the white space generously
- never justify text.
This reminded me of our recent visit to the IZZI conference in Split, where our UX designer Iva Kosović talked about The importance of Accessibility in designing digital educational applications.
The WordPress community feels like a family! From the beginning, everything at the conference felt familiar and it didn’t take us long to feel at home. I wasn’t sure if I was the only one feeling this way, but just then Milan Ivanović gave the most emotional speech which cleared up all my doubts. After telling us that there are heroes everywhere, he listed 5 benefits of community: knowledge, inspiration, resources, connections and support. Speaking about his experiences, he mentioned multiple times the importance of contributing. It felt like he was talking to all of us newcomers when he said that everyone can make a difference. And his most powerful conclusion was that “the code is poetry, but the community is where the heart is”.
Newsletters can be profitable! Laura Nelson, in her session “Creating a paid newsletter subscription in WordPress”, shared some tips and ideas if you want to sell your content. It was practically a guide for content creators, whether you are an expert in a field, you have some specific insights or exclusive information that you want to share. Paid newsletter is not a series of sales or promotional emails. It is an email that’s delivered on a regular schedule with valuable subject matter. There were a few things mentioned to be considered when choosing a topic: industry, exclusivity, value, audience, competition and churn. Laura also pointed out that if you want to grow your business and earn more money from month to month, it’s important to:
- Keep it relevant
- Keep it interesting
- Provide value.
If you are waiting for some negative feedback, then you’ll linger for a while. I felt like everything was on our side. In the days prior to the conference, the forecast announced rain every day. However, when we arrived it was sunny and it stayed like that for most of our time in Porto. The event organizers and volunteers maintained the highest standards that allowed us to focus on growing our business network. We used this as an opportunity to meet with our partner Kinsta. It was a pleasure to share our thoughts, comment on some future collaborations and discuss news in their field of expertise.
And of course, big compliments must go to our other partner WooCommerce. They are well aware that fine dining and nice drinks always create strong relationships. On two occasions they brought us together with other agencies who have similar interests. Experience and advice shared on such events are always priceless.
So, to answer my question from the first paragraph, a Product Manager at a WordPress conference can learn industry know-how, gain interesting and valuable business relationships, expand their horizons and meet beautiful people. If in doubt, just visit Athens next year and you will find out that every sentence in this blog is accurate.
If you think that my adventure was interesting, read here what happened to our team last year in Chicago. Or just browse through our blog where you can find a lot of interesting topics, podcasts and learning opportunities.