This year I visited 7 WordCamps all over the world. Saw some awesome ones and some that could have been a little bit better. I never organized one but I will do that next year, maybe even more then one. So the question what I have is what makes a WordCamp awesome. What are the key things you need to look at.
Not to big
It was something Matt Mullenweg said about my disappointment that WordCamp San Francisco this year was only one day instead of the three last year. I don’t recall the exact words but it was in the line that if you want to have a great WordCamp it isn’t about duration and I agree with that. WordCamp Oslo was a great experience and that was only one day and even WordCamp San Francisco was really awesome. A part of that was that this time I could visit the hack day.
Probably the most expensive item on the budget list but without a great venue there isn’t a great experience. Obviously you need a great space for the sessions but it’s even important for people to talk with each other. To all the WordCamps I visited, none of them I went to all the sessions I could watch. There are time slots that there aren’t sessions a person is interested in or you just want to have a nice talk with someone.
Everyone should be able to send in a proposal. Ask people if they have ideas for a proposal. Not only the familiar faces but also try to reach out to the unknown faces of the local community. There are quite a lot of people with great skills the community doesn’t know.
This year WordCamp San Francisco did the invitation them self. There wasn’t a way to send in a proposal. The talks where pretty good but I have the feeling this does make the talks little bit less surprising. However I still saw some sessions where I didn’t knew the speaker so that is still a good thing.
Also the amount of tracks should not be more then three maybe even four. If it’s more then that it’s starts getting confusing. It’s then better to be selective in which sessions you want to have in. Or if you have only one day, think about a second day. The important factor is that the sessions that will be given are just awesome. Also don’t try to have a speaker speak more then twice. It somehow makes the WordCamp feel less good. Also it’s good to give some of the new guys in the local community a change to speak. Try to find those people.
Organize a panel session
I was at multiple WordCamps that had a panel session and at WordCamp Toronto (Developers) I was even part of it. It was a great experience in both ways. You can have a great discussing with the audience about WordPress itself but also about having a WordPress business. The most important about this is to have the discussing with the audience and give them the change to talk instead of listening since that is something they do already the rest of the day.