Revisiting WordCamp Pune 2015: The Schedule

What and Why this?

Beginning with this post, over the next few days, we revisit WordCamp Pune 2015. We have introspected and received feedback on various aspects of the WordCamp. Fortunately and this shows the awesomeness of the community, we’ve only received constructive feedback. That is, when people pointed out something that went wrong, they also offered their observations, advice and/ or help.

In the rapidly growing but very new WordPress community in India, we hope our experience helps. We also hope we can get more advice and help from the community.

In this part, we discuss the most controversial and debated part, the Schedule! 😉

The schedule could have been simpler

We gave custom room names based on the names of the nearby peaks. In our excitement, we took a bad UI decision. It was a confusing and difficult mental model to work with, for even us! 😉 Rooms have names or numbers that everybody in the institute knows them by, for years. We should’ve stuck to it!

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Because we scheduled sessions of different lengths alongside each other, the breaks were weird and haphazard. All sessions in all tracks should’ve started and ended at the same time.

4 tracks = 4 rooms is simple. 4 tracks = 5 rooms is confusing and troublesome.

We looked for a venue that had an auditorium for 500 people. The auditorium never had more than 200 people at any given moment. So, in hindsight, we ended up restricting our venue options. In a multi track event of 500 people, the largest room you need is for 200 – 250, if you have more than two tracks.

Multi-track sessions were a little difficult to navigate

4 tracks, 5 rooms was a bit too much. The names were confusing for everyone and the distance between the auditorium and the other rooms got people tired. Even though it was short, we had to walk multiple times during the day.

Although, we received some amount of criticism for having parallel tracks, we now know it was one of the good ideas. Parallel tracks helped us cover more knowledge and get enthusiastic speakers for an interested audience.

However, our mental models are going to be simpler. We’ll take out the separate local language tracks and mix them into the regular three tracks that we had and will have at the next WordCamp, user, business/ community and developer. 3 tracks = 3 rooms!

Too much for one day

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A person could end up attending 10 sessions in the 8-9 hours they were at the WordCamp  from 32 total sessions. That’s a lot of activity in one day and people did get exhausted!

Some of the extra activities we planned didn’t take of at all like the Buddy program and the Selfie/ Treasure Hunt. These are great ideas with potential and we’d still like to explore them.

Some other activities like the lounges didn’t have great participation. These are ideas that are new and will take time to fit into audience’s idea of a conference and we’d still like to give them a chance. It’s like a meetup – 2 people turn up the first time and soon, you have 20 people coming in! 🙂

Not enough time to socialise

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Some people felt that one day was not enough to socialise. Ideally, if it is a two day WordCamp, the first day people meet and get introduced. The whole day of WordCamp experience gets them get talking and interacting.

Also, with so many activities in one day, people are tired by the end of the day. We know that because the after-party turnout was quite low.

So, we are considering a two day WordCamp the next year with the first day similar to the conference pattern and the second day we explore more impromptu discussions, lounges and fun in a more casual location. Something like a day long afterparty. However, this is still just a thought that we’ll explore further when we start planning the next WordCamp.

You can have a say

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We met a lot of people who said they wanted to volunteer and help organise WordCamp Pune after we had finalised everything. If you are one of those, please get in touch with us to get your ideas in early and join the team.

 

Releasing videos from WordCamp Pune 2015

camera-497981_640We finally have most videos for WordCamp Pune 2015!

We have had these videos for a little while now but we’ve just been contemplating what to do with the situation we have with the videos. Finally, we decided to release everything as it is.

Unfortunately, partly because of our fault and partly because we couldn’t foresee the videographers’ mistakes, we only have low quality edited versions.

Second, due to some sort of miscommunication, they didn’t record any of the workshops and some other sessions. Four cameramen = three sessions. 🙁

Third, due to various reasons, we were unable to co-ordinate or supervise the process. So, we’d like to get some feedback and insight. If you have some expertise or experience with video recording and can give us useful advice, please get in touch with us.

One of the things that we will do is, start recording our meetups. We have learnt a lot of lessons and will be sharing those once we’re done wrapping up!

So, here’s the WordCamp Pune 2015 playlist, as it is:

Who attended WordCamp Pune

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Age and Gender

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It was, as usual, a male dominated event with more than 80% attendees being men. However, the 20% is a great improvement in the state of the community as other WordCamp organisers may agree.

This is not a fair representation of the actual community where there are way more women involved. It is not 50-50 but it sure should be more than 35-40%. Maybe, WordCamp Mumbai 2016 or WordCamp Pune 2016 will manage to fix this!

The maximum number of attendees were between 21 to 30 years old, about 80% of the total. This could mean multiple things:

  • That the seniors (advanced users?) stayed away from the WordCamp because they weren’t convinced enough.
  • That the community itself is made up of more young people.

Again we feel this is not even close to the real world data and it should have been at least 70-30 instead of the current 80-20 distribution.

Role and Level of Expertise

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WordCamp Pune was a developer dominated event with half of the attendees identifying themselves as developers. This correlates with the real world fact that Pune is dominated by the IT industry and hence such developer turnout was expected.

However, in our conversations with potential speakers and facilitators, we realised that for some reason, WordCamps have begun to be identified as developer conferences. We worked hard to dispel such myths and did have almost equal number of technical and non-technical sessions, but that didn’t work very well for us this time.

Hopefully, we have at least established the fact that the community as well as the WordCamp is for bloggers and other users, as well. In the next WordCamp Pune (or even WordCamp Mumbai 2016), we should get a more accurate representation of the community.

With 91 Beginners across roles, 179 Intermediate users and 80 Advanced users, people who don’t consider themselves experts, formed 77% of the attendees. Only about 33% consider themselves advanced users and you can count the speakers, sponsor representatives and organisers here (about 60). This leaves us with about 5% advanced attendees that were always in the audience.

This validates our focus on beginner and intermediate users, as far as the content was concerned. This probably tells us to continue this focus onto other WordCamps including the next one in Pune.

Why not 500, why only 350?

We had given free or heavily discounted tickets to about 150 students (of Modern College and Swa-roop Wardhinee) that are not included because it completely skews the data and isn’t a fair representation of the active WordPress community.

Many of them displayed other reasons to attend the event than a curiousity or love for WordPress. Instead of trying to analyse each of them (because many of them did participate in the community and discussions, actively) to separate the wheat from the chaff, we left this data out.

You can see from the data above that this would have skewed the data on gender, age and level of expertise. Even the user role would’ve been affected because almost all of these are students of Engineering or Computer Science.

Goodbye and thank you for the fish

WordCamp Pune 2015 is officially over. Thank you everyone for your awesome support and kind words. WordPress Pune is not over, though.

We’ll be sharing a lot of photos and videos as they get ready. We’ll also be sharing a lot of statistics and data that we collected and yes we’ll share our experiences. Do let us know if you’ve written or posted anything about WordCamp Pune 2015. We’d love to see those and feature some on this website. Do tag your posts #WCPune on social media for us to find your shares.

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Over to WordCamp Mumbai 2016, the next WordCamp in India.

Ticket sales and a speaker swap

This is really surprising. Considering the number of people who had contacted us for cancellation, we were expecting more tickets. However, we are going through mixed emotions to tell you that there’s been only one cancellation among the attendees. The cancelled tickets are struck through (like this) on the attendees page.

Another cancellation has been by our speaker Joe Guillmette whose session will be replaced by a session on WP Design Patterns by Karthik Magapu.

So, as of now, we have nothing but two tickets to release. If there are any more cancellations during the day, we’ll let you know right here.

Best of luck! See you at the WordCamp.

What to do if you didn’t get a WordCamp Pune ticket

You don’t need a ticket for everything

Even if you don’t have a ticket, you can still come and meet the community at the following events. Entry is free and open to everyone! So, come and experience the awesome feeling of being part of a vibrant community!

Beginners Workshop

Foundation Day: Introduction to WordPress for Beginners

Saturday, Sep 5, 2015, 10:00 AM

Thought Works
6th Floor, Binarius Building, Deepak Complex, National Games Road, Shastrinagar, Yerawada Pune, IN

63 Exchangers Attending

A collaborative workshop in which everyone helps everyone else learn WordPress guided by experts.

Check out this Meetup →

Buildathon

Foundation Day: WordPress Buildathon

Saturday, Sep 5, 2015, 2:00 PM

Thought Works
6th Floor, Binarius Building, Deepak Complex, National Games Road, Shastrinagar, Yerawada Pune, IN

10 Exchangers Attending

Sorry, this got cancelled. We couldn’t find NGOs that don’t have a website. Every NGO seems to have their own website the first thing when they start! Which is good news for society!Instead we will build dummy websites for hands-on experience and training. Maybe build something else, or just chill out!You don’t need a WordCamp ticket or pay anyth…

Check out this Meetup →

After-Party

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More tickets, new plan

4th September, now: If you wish to cancel your ticket, visit http://ticket.wordcamp.wppune.org/cancel/.

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5th September, 10 am: All available tickets go on sale. There is no guaranteed count, it may just be a few, even just one or two. The number of available tickets will also be announced at this time. We’ll continue allowing cancellations without refund, at this time.

5th September, 11:59 pm: Deadline for any cancellation or sale. We are okay if we end up having less than 500 at this point, but there are not going to be more than 500 tickets.

6th September , 12:00 am: No more ticket sales, no spot sales. We strongly advise that you don’t arrive at the venue without a ticket. We won’t accept anyone without a ticket. To repeat, there will never be more than 500 tickets under any circumstances.

If you have a ticket that you aren’t likely to use, please help out the other members of the community get a ticket by cancelling it. We’ll really appreciate the gesture.

If you are looking for a ticket, 5th September, 10 am is the time to be online and get the tickets.

 

More tickets

We got sold out!

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However, since then we have been flooded with emails, calls, tweets, comments, posts all asking for that one elusive WordCamp Pune tickets.

So, we have some good news and we have some not so good news.

Not more than 500

There are absolutely no extra tickets. We really wish to focus on organising the event and even if you are our best friends, we cannot create a new ticket, there is no scope of discussion here.

Just a few days from the event, we really need to focus on making everyone’s WordCamp experience, the best possible. We cannot spend time now replying to all these emails or talking to you on the phone.

Please bear with us. This is the first time this total team is organising an event.

More tickets

Having said that, we have also been contacted by some participants that they’ll not be able to make it to the WordCamp and would rather cancel their tickets to let someone else attend.

So, we are going to allow cancellations asap. All cancellations will be without refund (because we simply don’t have the time to process all that). We are working on it and all participants will soon receive an email with a secure link to cancel their tickets.

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All cancelled tickets will be added to the available pool. We don’t want you to spend time refreshing the page just to see if a ticket is available. That’s why we have a plan!

The timeline

4th September, before 10 am: All cancellation links will be emailed.

5th September, 10 am: All available tickets go on sale. There is no guaranteed count, it may just be a few, even just one or two.

5th September, 11:59 pm: Deadline for any cancellation or sale. We are okay if we end up having less than 500 at this point, but there are not going to be more than 500 tickets.

6th September , 12:00 am: No more ticket sales, no spot sales. We strongly advise that you don’t arrive at the venue without a ticket. We won’t accept anyone without a ticket. To repeat, there will never be more than 500 tickets under any circumstances.

If you have a ticket that you aren’t likely to use, please help out the other members of the community get a ticket by cancelling it. We’ll really appreciate the gesture.

If you are looking for a ticket, 5th September, 10 am is the time to be online and get the tickets.

Image Credits:

Raffel Tickets by Alyson Hurt licensed under CC BY 2.0

coachella 2010 by Marina Santa Helena under CC BY NC 2.0

Bring your own bag to WordCamp Pune, but make sure it’s empty

Sipper

We have already mentioned the cool reusable sippers from Bluehost.

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T-shirt

How about a cool t-shirt made of 100% combed cotton, 180gsm, sourced from the best manufacturers in the knitwear capital of India? Some of the world’s largest retailers including C&A, Switcher SA, Walmart, Primark, Oviesse, Switcher, Polo Ralph Lauren, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger, M&S, FILA, H&M, Reebok import textiles and clothing from Tirupur. This ensured great quality at a fraction of the market cost.

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The momento

Next on the list is this pretty little mug. Every time you’ll look at this minimal design, it’ll remind you of WordCamp Pune without saying much! We just let the logo be and even took out the Pune WordCamp 2015 text to make sure it becomes more about your experience with the Pune community as a whole, not just this WordCamp.

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More Swag

There’s a lot of awesome swag that you a lucky few can get at the sponsors’ stalls. We have spied some aweome things like t-shirts, playing cards, cute little diaries, keychains, stickers, tattoo sleeves, more t-shirts and other stuff in the sponsors’ swag list. Here’s a secret preview of just one of them. Shh…

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Bring your own bag

The only thing we aren’t providing is a bag. So make sure you bring an empty bag to stuff with all these goodies! However, if you want, eCoexist will be selling eco-friendly cloth bags that empower a section of underprivileged women and families (including families of farmers that lose their crops to the drought) through their initiative.

Maybe you could support the cause by buying a beautiful bag from them!

Pune monument bags

Well, the wait is almost over. With just 3 days left, we’re literally going to see you soon!