In 2014 I had the privilege to help organise WordCamp Europe 2014 in my home city of Sofia alongside some of the most amazing people from the WordPress community.
I had the most wonderful, intense, fun & exhausting September.
Hosting this event has been a life changing experience. It’s given me a new perspective on things and pushed me to grow – both professionally and personally. It further opened my eyes about the level of awesome that is the community behind WordPress. In a couple of weeks it turned people I barely knew into friends for life. And it made me want to dedicate even more time to the project.
The spirit of WCEU is captured perfectly in this recap video by the wonderful Kaarel Veike:
I don’t remember much of my interview. It happened at the end of Contributor day on Monday, the third and final day of the event. I was already going on auto pilot after almost a month of sleeping less than three hours per night. I remember bits and pieces – talking about how easy it is to fall in love with the WordPress community, the inspiration of Leiden and how Tina and I turned from volunteers to organisers. I remember failing to think of a way to express my feelings about WordPress in Bulgarian which so many other people did beautifully. And I remember talking about our amazing volunteers a lot.
There’s one thing that didn’t make the final cut and I’d like to say it here.
If you are an event organiser, get to know your volunteers
No matter if you organise a local or a global, multinational event, your volunteers are your closest allies and your next co-organisers. And you should mentor them and encourage them to do more, to help bring the community together and share the knowledge and passion for Free Software. That’s the way to keep the ecosystem healthy.
WordCamp Europe 2015 will be announced in the next couple of weeks
If you want to host WordCamp Europe in your city in 2016, join the organising team for 2015 as volunteers. Let us know you are interested so we can give you bigger responsibilities and get you ready. Don’t be shy to talk to the WCEU team on Twitter or Facebook.
(And those of you who are not, what’s wrong with you!)
And because you’re such a fantastic crowd, I’m gonna make your lives a little better and introduce you to some of the coolest places in Sofia.
Just save them and forget about browsing for a decent place to eat or hang out. All the places are in a 20 min walk radius from the event venue and have been personally tested multiple times. So you’re safe. Now go save!
Nikolay writes about how he started contributing to Open Source projects and what doing it for the last 10 years has taught him. It’s a very inspiring and practical piece. Like the guy.
I have the beginning of my own story to tell. Seven years ago someone who came to the company I worked for from the Open Source scene in Sofia found me and taught me the basics of what I am today as a professional. It’s the same soft skills Nikolay talks about, the same culture built around open source values.
Bottom line is:
You learn to be motivated for the right reasons
So today, thanks to three inspiring guys who all got their values from Open Source, I’m neck deep into this, this, this and this. My job is building cool stuff with WordPress, I try to give back by translating it and spreading the love, I dedicate my free time to plan and develop open source solutions that can hopefully help change the publishing and media scene in Bulgaria.