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Manchester is a long trek from Brighton, especially if the trains are delayed! But the 7 hour trip was well worth it for WordCamp Manchester 2017. One way of supporting WordCamps is to not only attend, but to offer volunteer too. I was very excited to have been given the role of MC on Saturday, which was a first for me!

I was lucky enough to introduce some great speakers: Sid (), Graham (), Karen and Pam ( ) and Barbara (). The talks were all great and encouraged some good Q&As. As an MC, you are invited to find out some interesting facts or stories about the people you’ll be introducing. I wasn’t short of great material here, with stories ranging from Sid growing up in a forest, to Karen finding a snow lion in her back-yard!

Photo: @pyjammy

Talks-wise, my favourite of the day came from CJ () who, while giving details of his deployment strategy, also gave some pretty firm but fair advice for managing clients.

As an attendee, I felt well looked after. There was a great lunch, lots of space for networking and chatting with other WordPressers and a fantastic after party (thanks ). As a fellow WordCamp organiser, I think the Manchester team really nailed the social side of the event – there was plenty of networking space, and the after party venue was perfect for chats and even some twerking (I will mention no names!).


One of my favourite elements of WordCamps is the possibility I might be chatting to the next member of the Pragmatic team. I made some great contacts, and it’s inspired me to write another post about getting a job at a WordCamp, but that’s another post!


Some interesting chats in the bar

  • Alternative CMSs – really! We’ve been interviewing for a Tech Director here at Pragmatic, and I wanted to chat with some industry pros about their view on where WordPress is going, and how we stay relevant. I think it’s important to see where other platforms are going to ensure we can be ready to adapt to trends and features our clients may ask for.
  • Recruiting remotely. I was fascinated to hear that Automattic conduct all interviews via text only. As the majority of their work communication is in this format, it makes sense. For us, as the majority of our team is in our Brighton office, we won’t be ditching the face-to-face meetings. However, some interesting points were raised about making interviews less intimidating – if your future role won’t involve presenting to a group of people, why would you ask that person to do so in an interview?
  • Embedding experts in your client’s business. I was chatting with some end-users and potential Pragmatic clients, and they got excited about the idea of having a part-time expert seconded to their team. They were focused on building their capacity in-house, while paying an industry expert for higher-level long term consultancy. This got me thinking about how we could offer this at Pragmatic.
  • Community impact. I was very impressed with the support the WordCamp offered a local charity: Helping Manchester & Bury Homeless. I’ve long felt that we, as WordCampers, can give back more to the host towns and cities we descend on, so hats off to Manchester for ensuring this was part of the event.

Thank you #wcmcr, see you next year!

Featured photo credit: Mike Kniec