This is the story and full review of Visual Composer visiting WordCamp Europe 2018 in Belgrade. See the WordCamp Europe with the eyes of Visual Composer team and get the insight on what it feels to be a part of an amazing event.
Day one: Pre-WordCamp rush hour
An early morning flight is not the best way to start the day. Still, I’m very excited to meet Michael at the airport with a cup of morning coffee in my hand. We have two flights ahead with few hours in Frankfurt before landing in Belgrade.
We arrive at Belgrade at the 1 pm local time – it’s really hot out there. In Frankfurt, we’ve managed to book a taxi via Twitter (to my surprise) to pick us up at the airport. It’s great to see the guy with your name on it waiting for you at the airport.
Twitter and Facebook are already full of #WCEU hashtags – some are already in the city, some are still packing their bags. The cool stuff is that GoDaddy organizes co-working space in their Belgrade office and have scheduled a city tour at 3 pm. We have 2 hours left …
The cab driver takes us to our apartment next to the venue hall. A quick drop-off, shower and we are off to go into the wild. One more ride and we’re in the center of Belgrade. GoDaddy office is located in the very center some soviet style office building (exotic.)
It’s so nice to meet familiar faces of WordPress – Caroline, Taco, Akshat, Mendel who leads the party, and many more. It’s time to go out on a tour. The tour has been scheduled by the guys from GoDaddy (thanks for that) and led by Belgrade Walking Tour (surely recommend them if you visit Belgrade.)
The tour lasted around 3 hours, a bit exhausting when it’s hot and you didn’t get much sleep but totally worth it. Belgrade is a beautiful city with some nice views and lot to discover.
The culmination of the day is the dinner organized by GoDaddy where we try local Serbian cuisine accommodated with beer 🙂
On the side, we managed to meet Joe Howard from WP Buffs during the event. A lot of their clients are using Visual Composer (really happy about that.) Will surely catch up in the upcoming days to discuss how we can make this experience better for them.
After dinner, we decided to have a walk back to the apartment (approx. an hour) and grab some snacks at the shop just around the corner. Few emails and communication with the rest of the team before going to bed. Tomorrow there are more things going on – stay tuned.
Day two: It’s almost WordCamp
One day to go and the city is filled up with the WordPress folks all around. We get up very early to do some office stuff (we set up a small remote office at our place to stay in touch with the rest of the team.) Visual Composer Website Builder new release is just around the corner so we do lots of testing these days.
Once the job is done we are heading to the GoDaddy office to check what’s going on there. On our way there we decided to get to the venue place to see how the preparation goes. The banner is already there and few volunteers are running around to prepare for the grand final.
The GoDaddy office looks like an anthill – so many people there working on their stuff. We decided to chill there and talk with folks on what’s new with the WordPress and Gutenberg (yes, we get this question a lot these days.)
On our way back to the apartment we experience a bit of rain and it seems we will see it often during our stay in Belgrade. By the way, we do try to walk a lot to stay in shape – there will be lots of food and parties around these days 🙂
And here comes the first one for today … After a quick research, we find out that guys from Savvii are having a party at some cozy place in the center of Belgrade. Few messages and we’re up to join them.
Savvii came to WordPress with a large team and managed to occupy the place almost completely. After a quick introduction, we are there talking with Maik and Thomas from their team to see how can we enhance the experience for Visual Composer users on Savvii. I love when things move forward very fast and this is definitely the case here. We almost managed to set the testing environment up and running straight from the bar – this is what I call Agile approach.
On the same evening, we find out that Taco from Yoast is in town. And, most importantly, he is not far away. We decide to catch up with him and few other Yoast’ers to have few beers. The place is in the very center of Belgrade, a street with cobblestones, restaurants and live music. No talks about WordPress at that time, only hobbies, trip advice, and family.
After an hour (or two) guys from the Inpsyde (Alexander and Robert) join the place so we expand our gang really fast. Football championship is just around the corner so we have lots to discuss and it seems we are cheering for the same teams there.
Talking about teams, Kobi and his Press for Word team has just arrived in Belgrade and are up to join us. I have been visiting their conference last year in Israel and it was amazing – happy to see the guy again! He promises that next conference will be even bigger and better so I’m sold already.
If you think that it has been an intense day you would probably be right. Nevertheless, I have Steven from WPEngine on my Facebook Messenger. He has just finished preparing a venue for the WPEngine party and about to go downtown. We have even more things to discuss as he will be visiting Riga in the upcoming days to join us at the annual Summertime festival.
Day three: Contributors day
We didn’t get much sleep last night but nevermind – today is Contributors Day and we are ready for it. To be honest, we missed the opening remarks though we managed to make it in time for the beginning.
On the other side, the beginning is kind of postponed due to WiFi problems at the Belexpo venue so everyone is struggling around and doing some networking. We knew that Vova from Freemius was in town but was not able to catch up. The broken WiFi gave us a chance to sit down and have a chat. He’s volunteering at WordCamp Europe (and also WordCamp US) for the several years in a row so he knows literally everything and everyone.
The WiFi is there and we’re up to some good start. I’m not so experienced in Contributors Day, nevertheless trying to do my best with advice and so. As a website builder expert, there are things or two I know that can help with the Gutenberg. I share my thought and what we have done with Birgit who is advocating for Gutenberg and decide to share more information about our compatibility with Gutenberg later on.
The Contributors Day seems to be a great success in general and everyone seems to be happy that it has been moved the day before the conference (before it was organized on the last day and usually attracted fewer community members.)
It’s almost evening and tonight we are heading to dinner with Inpsyde and few other WP community members – this one is going to be fun. A local cuisine accommodated with awesome people is just what we needed. Apart from Inpsyde, there are Big Bite Creative, WPEngine, and PayPal. It’s actually great to see huge brands like PayPal looking into WordPress community.
Day four: Let the WordCamp Europe 2018 begin
It’s time to get serious. Early morning and we’re at the Sava Center for the WordCamp Europe. This is a cool place built in the old Soviet style (Serbia was not part of Soviets but still has communism.) The venue is crowded so we try to make our way through to the Sponsors area where most of our friends and the rest of community relax in between of sessions.
WPEngine, Plesk, A2Hosting, WPML, PayPal, even Google – everyone’s there with their booth ready and full of swags. We have a tradition in place to visit WPEngine booth first, and there is already Fabio and Edmund waiting for us. We haven’t seen each other for a year so there is much to discuss.
In general, this day is all about meeting old and new friends to discuss further plans and compatibility stuff. With plugins and hosting partnership programs in place at Visual Composer – there are going to be lots of changes.
Of course, Matt talk is one of the biggest things in WCEU and WCUS. This one is not an exception, filled with people there are plenty of things coming to WordPress this year, including WordPress 5.0. Still, we’ll need to wait for WordPress 5.0 at least until August so you have some time to prepare for it.
Booth by booth, word by word, it’s already evening. And, of course, evening means party. Today we are heading to the WPEngine party (in fact, two of them.) In case you don’t know, WPEngine drops the best WordCamp parties.
Day five: WCEU day two
Getting exhausted but there is still so much to do. We have few interviews and podcasts scheduled in the morning so we don’t have much time to chill.
Again, lots of questions related to Gutenberg and our future plans. To those who will skip them, I can tell – we do have pretty nice and surprising ideas for you in our Backlog 🙂
Today, there are fewer people at WordCamp (everyone was partying last night) but still, we managed to have a few very important meetings. On our trip in Nashville #WCUS)we managed to meet Christie from Caldera Labs and WCEU was no exception. I like what they are doing with Caldera Forms and we decided to introduce compatibility between Caldera Forms and Visual Composer. I’m pretty sure we will catch up in Nashville as well later this year.
The venue is almost empty when we meet with Raleigh from Codeable to talk about making a life of our users better. Again, we have few touchpoints to move forward after the event.
We need to get back home to prepare ourselves for the afterparty (this one is going to be good) so we watch closing remarks via WordPress TV at our apartments.
If you ask me to describe the afterparty in few words – freaking amazing! It’s a costume event so we see Jedi and aliens running around the place with beer and snacks. It’s also first WordCamp Afterparty with live music so people are quick to hit the dancefloor.
We’re swift dancers as well, but I’ll rather skip this part 😛
Day six: See you in WordCamp Europe Berlin
These have been really interesting and intense days at the WCEU Belgrade. Yet, it’s time to get back home. We have a flight scheduled in the noon with a stop in Frankfurt (not many direct flights from Belgrade.)
The airport is packed with WordPress community and with the bag like mine it is easy to find new friends. Everyone seems to be satisfied with the event and already building plans for the next WordCamp Europe.
By the way, if you did not know – the next WordCamp Europe will be held in Berlin. One of my most beloved cities so I hope to see you all there. To wrap up, it has been so cool to meet you all there. And if we didn’t – just let us know so we can catch up later.
See you soon friends!