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A couple of weeks ago, the Pragmatic team embarked on their annual pilgrimage to WordCamp Europe – a weekend of sharing WordPress knowledge, meeting fellow WordPress enthusiasts, and enjoying the odd glass of wine with each other (we were in Paris, after all!). And what a weekend it was.

After an 11 hour journey on the #pragbus, we arrived in beautiful Montmartre. Thanks to our resident Frenchman Stef for booking a restaurant that could sit all 30-something of us, we then enjoyed a delicious meal together and relaxed into Parisian life with a few glasses of wine. Not too many though – we had a big weekend ahead of us!

This year’s WordCamp Europe was the biggest to date. There were 1,900 attendees in person, from a total of 79 different countries – how awesome is that?! There were also a further 1,000 people livestreaming the event from 77 countries. A truly global event.

The talks ranged from those focused on development through to community and business strategy. Our founder and director, David Lockie, was amongst the fantastic array of speakers with his session on growing from a freelancer to agency owner. We’ll be sharing the video recording of this as soon as it’s available. But for now…

Here are the team’s takeaways of WordCamp Europe 2017

(if you don’t fancy reading, you can scroll to the bottom and just look at our pics instead!).

Sean Blakeley's WordCamp Europe 2017 takeawaysSean Blakeley
“Another excellent WCEU with a great atmosphere and thought provoking talks. The standout talk for me was John Maeda’s ‘The Three Kinds of Design‘. He introduced some intriguing ideas about the not-too-distant future – where design is heading and what is required. Interestingly, he suggested many WordPress technicians are developing the critical skills required in the near future – Operational Design – where system design and aesthetics meet.
I’m a little bias, but I also thought David Lockie’s talk, ‘How to Grow from Freelancer to Agency Owner’ was excellent. I felt I got a real insight into some of the pain-points of growing an agency like Pragmatic – it was a fascinating, guided journey from successful WordPress developer to CEO of a thriving agency.”


Jasper Cheyney's WordCamp Europe takeawaysJasper Cheyney
“WordCamp Europe 2017 was great. There was such a variety of speakers that made it engaging for all members of the digital community, and what better place than Paris! This year I watched John Maeda’s talk on ‘The Three Kinds of Design‘, he specifically focused on the difficulties designers face as technology improves.
John exposed, and made it easy to identify, the avenues design is taking in 2017 and where it will be going as the web evolves once more. With the addition of complex architecture being the backbone of the internet, and the web going mobile in 2008, it’s more important than ever to design for the masses. Or, as John Maeda coined it, being a “Computational Designer”. I definitely recommend watching his talk on WordPressTV!”


Georgia Cottle's WordCamp Europe 2017 takeawaysGeorgia Cottle
“This year I had the pleasure of attending WordCamp Europe with Pragmatic. It was a great opportunity to meet amazing developers from all over the world and spend time with my colleagues in the beautiful city of Paris.

The 11-hour coach journey was a small price to pay to see the WordPress community come together at an international event. During the conference, I discovered loads about the ever-changing world of web development. I was also lucky enough to meet Zac Gordon, someone who has been a constant source of inspiration and learning for me, and such a nice guy in person too!

Can’t wait for the next WCEU!”


Tom Chute's WordCamp Europe 2017 takeawaysTom Chute

“It’s amazing when our clients love WordPress as much as we do, and what better way to explore new opportunities and ideas than a WordCamp. This year Raph, from one our favourite clients Bouncepad, joined us in Paris and said she’d got a lot out of the event. We both saw exciting new technologies and trends that we can try out on their site, and I’ve saved time explaining that cool new technology we can try out. Highlights for me were the community talk by our friend Alice Still, where the Brighton WP Meetup got a big up, and the ‘Making your voice heard: How to win friends and influence policy’ talk by Heather Burns, where I left feeling empowered to do more to fight for net neutrality and the open web.”


Mollie Pugh's WordCamp Europe 2017 takeawaysMollie Pugh

“My first WordCamp takeaway is simple: Eat and move!

Arriving in Paris for my first ever WCEU on day 8 of my new job, I was nervous. Not really knowing my team or what impact the next few days would have on me I put my game face on and decided to roll with it.

On our first evening, the team ( the whole company actually #teamprag) shared a meal and we chatted about our lives, our journey to the French capital, and the general niceties that follow when you want to get to know someone. Free flowing pastries certainly helped and I came away feeling like I knew everyone a little better and excited about my future workings with a truly awesome bunch of people. Little did I know that this meal shared and the inclusion I felt from everyone would become my WCEU takeaway.

My aim was to sit in on as much as I could, my first session was lead by John Maeda and has remained to resonate in my mind. In the very last question of the Q&A session, he was asked: “How does he break down the communication barriers between creative and dev teams [sic] (The whole time I was adding to that list; clients, colleagues…) ?”

His answer in 2 parts was simple;

No1. Do what makes you human, the one thing makes you equal…. EAT…eat together, we are humans and we all need to eat.
No2. MOVE, change your working / social patterns, sit with another team break the natural silos that we are all drawn to.

I had done it myself unknowingly the night before and came back into the office this week feeling like I knew everyone for the better. I am taking this simplistic, and somewhat obvious advice away and am going am going to apply to every aspect of my day-to-day. Commercial, personal and working relationships I hope ….will flourish.”


Ian Pugh's WordCamp Europe 2017 takeawaysIan Pugh

“It was great to be back in Paris which seems to have become even more diverse since my last visit. The conference, although quite empty at times, was enjoyable. I would have liked to have seen some more diversity in the talks. Perhaps some more of the human non-dev side such as designers, project managers, etc? There was still the healthy amount if chaos I have come to expect from WCEU (the food queue at the after-party anyone?) but this all added to the general camaraderie. A chance to sight-see in the most romantic city in Europe was also a great bonus!”

Laura Nelson's WordCamp Europe 2017 takeawaysLaura Nelson
“This was my second visit to WordCamp Europe, and by far my favourite! The selection of speakers was fantastic – with a really broad mix of technical and non-technical talks on a variety of different WordPress topics.

There were three sessions that really stood out for me; Marina Pape’s talk on Marketing WooCommerce, Alice Still’s on Developing a Local WP Meet Up, and Heather Burns’ session ‘How to Win Friends and Influence Policy‘. I could probably write a blog post on each of them, but that isn’t what you’ve signed up for! I would definitely recommend watching them on WordPress TV.”


Richard Copping's WordCamp Europe 2017 takeawaysRich Copping
“WordCamp Europe was once again an incredibly informative, convivial and exciting place to be. John Maeda’s talk was particularly inspiring and very powerful. Covering topics such as design role evolution and inclusion within computational design. I must also applaud the WordCamp team for choosing Paris, which was the perfect venue offering the opportunity for us all to flâneur like a true Parisian.”