During WordCamp Nordic in Helsinki, we had the chance to sit down and have a quick chat with Milan Ivanovic who is one of the main organizers of WordCamp Europe.
We talked about his start in WordPress, how you can get involved with organizing WordCamps and how a city is chosen for the biggest WordPress event in Europe.
Hi! Thanks for finding the time for our interview. Could you please tell us a little bit more about yourself?
I’m based in Belgrade, Serbia. I’m the global lead for 2019 WordCamp Europe in Berlin. Pretty much a fan of WordPress. Pretty much fan of the open source itself. Got started with the community a long time ago. One of the leads for WordPress in Serbia and yeah, that’s what I do.
How did it start? Your work with WordPress and of course WordCamps?
Well, WordPress started in 2007, it was like late 2007. We were doing a website for this big famous singer in Serbia. And she wanted a blog. We pretty much produced old HTML sites. And she wanted a blog. I’m like “common, no one is going to use that”.
So we found that WordPress thing, installed a theme and thought “this thing actually works”. So you started off with that one. I was pretty much the designer at that time. So once I started coding, site coding PHP, I never designed anything since. First WordCamp actually for me was WordCamp Europe, first WordCamp Europe 2013 in Leiden.
Then on the next one, I decided that should be part of the team. So I joined the part of the volunteers team. I was at the registration desk and amazing experience. Somehow WordCamp Europe dictated pretty much the last five years or six years of my life.
What if I, for example, wanted to get involved in organizing WordCamps or be a volunteer. What should I do? Where should I go?
We like to suggest people to join first as volunteers. Every year we open our call for volunteers. We just closed the one for Berlin last night. Start volunteering and then you will see, we have different roles. So now it’s been like six seven editions of WordCamp Europe. So we kind of have everything in place. (At the start) you will be lost and you will have no idea what to do. But after, apply for next WordCamp and just join. Come and see, it’s pretty easy to get in.
It’s an amazing experience if you want to see events under the hoods. If you want to see how everything is happening, what’s going on, you should be part of the volunteer team. Then maybe for one of the next WordCamps, you can start a meet up in your own city, you can join the meetup if there is already one. Or apply as being a part of the organizing people for WordCamp Europe.
If we go back to the organizing, I’ve always wondered how do you choose the city for WordCamp Europe. How does that process go?
Leiden was the first one and they opened up an application to host the t next city. So we have a tradition of announcing the next city where we go to, next on our closing remarks of the current year. We open call for the host city and then we are getting applications. People are really proud about their city and if you want to bring a conference of that size to your city just fill in the application. I know that I decided to bring WordCamp Europe in Belgrade, in Seville which is like in 2015. So I was working on the application from September 2015 till 2018. It was a long process but we had to have the community running to have people supporting the whole idea of WordCamp.