WordCamp Cape Town

I attended WordCamp yesterday. Only managed to see two presentations, but it was worth it.

Justin Hartman talked about the disruptive force of WordPress and Open Source in a large media business. Seems the simplicity and intuitiveness of the backend authoring interface was a key part of the success they had in getting their team to adopt WordPress. I had the same experience with a few non-profit WordPress projects.

Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress and Automattic talked about Open Source business. He’s a very good speaker and an inspiring person. All about openness.

I few ideas I liked:

  • Capitalism, freedom and openness.. scarcity and abundance business models can all co-exist.
  • WordPress has a hybrid / dual business model: wordpress.org and wordpress.com. Copyrights belong to Matt and the code is open source, which results in a successful commercial business which does not own the software it creates.
  • I enjoyed their ideas about very selective advertising on wordpress.com. If you run Firefox you don’t see ads.
  • He talked about how, as with children, it’s easier to promote and reward good behaviour that punishing bad behaviour… and get busy making more bloggers (-:
  • Money is a bad motivator.
  • Your content belongs to you. Insist on openness and data portability. Be very careful when putting your content in centralised proprietary systems. This idea really resonated since I’ve been thinking about life caching and personal information gathering lately. Will the content you generate and harvest still be around in 10 years.. are you in control? Avoid content roach motels.. your content checks in, but never checks out.

Lastly.. and sadly a bit of criticism. The event organising could have been better, especially just after the keynote talk. I was really enjoying the Q&A session after Matt’s talk. Then it all abruptly ends and a herd of strangers stampede the place. That sucked. No communication as to what happens next.

I phoned one of the organisers last week, asking them to more clearly explain the lunch plans on they website. There was a 2 hour lunch break in the program, so I’d say it’s kinda important to know.. is the lunch sponsored, do you need to pre book, what are the food options, where is the lunch etc.

Maybe it just annoyed me more than others because I had to keep the eating patterns of a 2yr old in mind. Anyway, turns out you had to book your food earlier that morning.

So, please, in future… insist on exclusively reserving a venue for a conference like this, especially a social media / networking event and communicate the logistical details clearly.

Thanks for bringing Matt to Cape Town.

6 thoughts on “WordCamp Cape Town

  1. Hey Joe, thanks for the feedback. It was our very first event that we have put together, and we learn’t a lot from it! Apologies about not explaining the lunch part clearer on the phone as well as on the site and during the event.

    As the venue was pretty informal, you can expect stampedes after speakers, as people jossle around to smoke, go the the bathroom, or chat to each other. We do want people to do all of this, but not disrupt the entire room when they do so!

    Thanks for your suggestions, and these will definitely be rectified in the events that Younique puts together in the future!

  2. Hi Jason

    I was under the impression there was a second group of people unrelated to WordCamp who were using the upstairs part of the venue for lunch. Could be wrong..

    Looking forward to the next one.

  3. WordPress has a hybrid / dual business model: wordpress.org and wordpress.com. Copyrights belong to Matt and the code is open source, which results in a successful commercial business which does not own the software it creates.

    Their commercial model doesn’t seem to rely on owning the code copyrights. They are simply selling a hosting and customising service. This doesn’t require selling different licences to the software.

    Anyone else could take the wordpress source and do the same thing.

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