Today I’m going to tell how I experienced my first WordCamp talk. It was far from good and a lot of things happened afterwards that some people most likely would have stopped speaking. I’m going to explain how I started speaking and why I’m still speaking today.
In 2010 I visited my first WordCamp and that was the one in my own country. It was a great experience to see a lot of other WordPress people. After this I thought about starting to speak too. There were a few topics I could have spoken about too. I toke almost a year when I heard about a meetup close by and they were searching for speakers. So I volunteered to speak and I talked about some cool stuff I did with post types. It wasn’t perfect but I did got some good feedback. After that I didn’t spoke at all in 2011. I did visited 2 other meetups and WordCamp San Francisco.
Since WordCamp Netherlands wasn’t going to be organized I was looking at other WordCamps. I tried the one in Poland but it was only in Polish so I wasn’t approved with an English talk. Then I saw a tweet from Isaac Keyet about WordCamp Norway and I responded on it with partial a joke and Isaac responded back on it that I should apply to even the odds. So I did that and Scott Basgaard approved my proposal and it was great communicating with him about my talk.
The talk I did was about creating native apps with WordPress. So using WordPress as the back end for native apps and in the case iOS apps since I was an iOS developer at that moment. I spent some time getting preparing myself and my talk and decided to prepare the last part when I’m in Norway. I decided to travel to Oslo two days before my talk so I had almost the whole friday to prepare myself. That went completely wrong. When I arrived at my hotel I already felt a bit tired and couldn’t get in my room so I walk a bit through the city and walked back to the hotel. After I checked in I went to my room to get a bit of rest. This resulted in being really sick and slept almost for 24 hours. I know I was a few times awake but that must have been minutes. Just before the speakers dinner I felt a bit better and decided to go because it’s not something I wanted to miss. In the evening I had the change to fix my slides a bit but not prepared myself enough.
The day of the WordCamp I did had the change to look over my slides but not a lot. It was my first WordCamp abroad and it was a great experience. I had my talk right after lunch on the same time slot as Isaac. I did know he was a bit sick too and during lunch I heard he was to sick to speak. That was quite nervous breaking. Suddenly I didn’t had a part of the attendees but possible the whole group watching my talk.
I was really nerveus when I had to go on stage since I checked the room and saw that it was packed. In the beginning I talked about the WordPress side on how to build APIs that mobile apps could use. I mentioned XML-RPC that WordPress already has and plugins that can be used to create JSON feeds. I talked a bit what my preferences are. All went well enough.
The second part I talked about an awesome project I worked on and I was really speedy here. I worked full pasion on this project and I was showing that a bit to much when I was speaking. The project was a WordPress network installation that served apps. So every site was a new app. So on the WordPress side we could create a new app in seconds. On the iOS we had to add some graphics, configure the colors and build the app with the new API keys and we were done. After explaining this I showed some screenshots and let the people know that WordPress is a bit more then a blogging tool or even a CMS.
In the end I spoke for 30 minutes while I had around 50 minutes the time. I tried to talk a bit more but I stopped really fast doing that. You should never really want to do this unless you are really confident that you can do it. I did received some good feedback and people did liked the project I showed. So even with my fast speaking and mistakes I made I did had a good feeling about it.
Then things went horrible wrong
After I was back home for more then a week I received an e-mail from the company I worked for as a freelancer and as a employee. The forced to remove the project from the presentation and that I had to pay a penalty that was more then 20k. What was completely madness since I didn’t earn that much money on this project. It was even weirder since they still owed me more then 10k for all the projects I did as a freelancer for them. In the end it was a bit less then 3K I had to pay for something I never should a have paid a dime for. This because I only showed stuff anyone could see but the contract was explained differently to me but I didn’t had it on paper. I should had sued them back because of that and I’m sure my boss and the projectmanager did know I was speaking about this. But it was all new for me so I didn’t do it. I never expected it since it was always a really good work relationship but I learned my lesson to not trust people that easily again.
Why I’m still speaking
The reason why I still speak is because I like it. I know my first time could have been better but I also know it could have been worse. But the most important thing is that the people around me were really appreciative about that I was there and about my talk. To me that matters a lot since I felt respected and that is how I look at the WordPress community. They respect everyone who eager to speak and share their knowledge. This is also the reason why I come back to WordCamp Norway every time. Obviously you always have people who are really disrespectful but in the end they will not stay long.
My opinion didn’t changed after I got sued. It’s part of the game and I didn’t care about the money at all. The biggest issue I had is that I trusted some of the people there and that was the biggest lose for me.
The WordCamp site