We’re heading to WordCamp Europe in Belgrade
Richard Hill, CEO of Mind Doodle and Tess Coughlan-Allen, Mind Doodle’s Marketing Manager will be at WordCamp Europe in Belgrade, Serbia this June. We chatted with Rich and Tess to find out how they were feeling ahead of this year’s event.
First up, we spoke to Rich, who will be attending WordCamp Europe for the fourth year in a row. In the past, he has exhibited at WordCamp Europe, as well as WordCamp US, and WordCamps in Boston, Bristol, Phoenix, NYC and at WPCampus and also attended WordCamp Miami. As you can see, he’s a WordCamp regular!
Rich, what will you be doing at WordCamp Europe?
“I’m going as an attendee. As ever, I’ll be looking out for interesting talks. I know Gutenberg will be a hot topic, and I’ll be surprised if GDPR isn’t mentioned. I understand the latest version of WordPress helps with this, but is still reliant on plugin and theme developers following best practice. For WordPress users this is a potential minefield, especially as GDPR has only just come into force.
Most of all though I’m looking forward to catching up with friends and making new ones. WordCamps are great for this.”
You’re a big supporter of the WordPress community. What makes it so special?
“It’s the people, plain and simple. WordPress as a piece of software is very good, but it’s the community that make it the best CMS in the world. Meeting these people is always an enjoyable experience. I learn as much from random conversations as I do from talks.”
Can you reveal how Mind Doodle will be linking up with WordPress in the future?
“We use WordPress to power our blog. As Mind Doodle is built in React, we take advantage of the REST API to parse our posts into our public blog.
Mind Doodle as a tool is useful for anyone, in the same way as a spreadsheet is. This is particularly true for businesses, as it can help productivity and communication. WordPress users are no exception, they can use Mind Doodle to perform better; not just in terms of speed but also end product. Creative thinking yields better results.
We’ve been active members of the WordPress community for a long time, and will continue to be involved directly at MeetUps, WordCamps and other events like do_action days.”
What was your experience like during previous editions of WCEU hosted in other European cities?
“Seville was my first WCEU, and is still my favourite. In general, I prefer WordCamps where there is a single nominated hotel, as you literally meet fellow WordPress users wherever you turn. Seville was even better in this respect, as the hotel was also the conference venue. Everything was so easy. Seville was somewhere I hadn’t been before, and I really enjoyed taking a chance to look around the city and try the local cuisine.
I’ve not been to Serbia before, so I’m really looking forward to the visit. I’m going a few days early so I can be a tourist. I’ve got very high hopes.”
Next up, we spoke to our marketing manager, Tess Coughlan-Allen. After her debut attending WordCamp Europe last year, Tess took the plunge and volunteered to help make this WCEU one to remember as part of the organising team for WCEU 2018.
Tess, how do you feel about volunteering at WordCamp Europe this year?
“I’m really looking forward to volunteering at WordCamp Europe. I’ve been working behind the scenes with the org team since September 2017 so I can’t wait to see all our efforts pay off this June. Although my duties throughout the event mean I won’t be attending many of the talks this year, I’m pleased that I’ll get to see the event from a different perspective and share the experience with my fellow organisers.”
What is the best thing about being part of the org team?
“It’s interesting to work with a distributed team of volunteers who come from different countries and have different backgrounds. There’s a really cool skills exchange and everyone learns so much from one another. Plus, I’m a ‘people person’ and my role in the WCEU org team often involves being the middle point between the media and organisers or speakers. It sounds simple, but being able to engage with so many interesting people has been the best part about the experience so far.”
What are you most looking forward to during WCEU?
“During WCEU, I will be helping to manage live interviews between the media and this year’s speakers and organisers. I’m really excited to support this activity behind the scenes and it will be a huge accomplishment to see the coverage afterwards. The only problem will be the beautiful weather in Belgrade because it will be hard not to get distracted!”
What’s your biggest achievement from being involved with WCEU 2018?
“I’ve been working with the media to help them cover the event so there have been lots of small successes and some big milestones that have made my experience worthwhile, but I’d have to say the achievement I’m most proud of was preparing an article for the WCEU site on the importance of diversity and inclusivity because the message was so important to me.”
As this is the first time that anyone from our Bristol team will be visiting Belgrade in Serbia, here are three of our favourite facts about the area:
- Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The first urban settlement was built there in the 3rd century BC by the Celts. Since then, Belgrade has been fought over in 115 wars and has been nicknamed the White Fenix as it has been destroyed and rebuilt more than 44 times during its history.
- The Kalemegdan fortress in Belgrade was built over a period of 2000 years. Within the fortress, The Despot Stefan Tower was built in 525AD and is now an observatory.
- Nikola Tesla, known as one of the greatest inventors of all time, was Serbian. When Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize, a reporter asked him “What is it like to be the smartest person in the world?”, and he replied “I don’t know. Ask Nikola Tesla.”
Finally, for the benefit of any other first-time visitors, take a look at these helpful posts from the WCEU website about settling into Belgrade as your temporary home during WCEU:
- Local transport: Get the inside scoop on the easiest and most convenient ways to get around Belgrade.
- Let’s eat: Find out exactly what food is on offer on the menus during WCEU, from Contributor Day, throughout the conference days on Friday and Saturday, and during the After Party on Saturday night.
- A week in Belgrade: The best things to see and do during your visit to Belgrade for WCEU.
Will you be at WCEU? Tell us, let’s arrange to meet up.