Held within the Business and Entrepreneurial Center on the Stark State College campus, WordCamp North Canton 2014 was a repeat success. Sessions ranged from Plugins 101 to the Science Of Design. I only attended two sessions throughout the day as I spent the majority of my time networking. The sessions I participated in only had about 10-12 attendees but that didn’t faze the speaker as they still delivered a great presentation.
Organizing The Second WordCamp Proved More Difficult Than The First
When I interviewed one of the primary organizers of the event Joe Rozsa, he said the event was difficult to put together despite it being the second event he’s organized. A large amount of ticket sales near the time of the event added complexity but the team was able to overcome the challenge and maintain a smooth running WordCamp.
In the following interview, Rosza tells me how he was able to secure the venue on a college campus and the challenges he faced while organizing the event. He also gives some great advice to first time WordCamp organizers.
There Is Room For Improvement
The room you see in the image above is the main session room. The front of room is where sessions were held while the tables in the back of the room were used for networking. Unfortunately during some of the sessions, there was a considerable amount of noise and chatter from the back of the room. Although some of the speakers didn’t mind, it felt rude to be talking and networking while a speaker was presenting.
I mentioned this to Rozsa who told me the facility would not allow him to close and open the room as needed. Hopefully next year, the building will allow this room to be sectioned off to keep the networking room and the presentation rooms separate.
This years event featured two tracks, one for users and developers. With under 200 attendees, I felt like having five sessions at the same time was too much. Some of the sessions I witnessed had under 10 people in the room while others were packed. I’d like to see the event scale back to three sessions at a time max. The event just doesn’t have the amount of attendees to justify five sessions at any given time.
There were also three sessions dedicated to security during the day. I attended the third session by Joseph Herbrandson of Sucuri and it seemed like folks were worn out by the topic. Herbrandson delivers his information in an energetic way but being the third security session of day lead attendees to check out other sessions. With fewer presentations going on at the same time, it will help prevent this scenario from happening.
Ermano’s Hits Another Home Run
One of the highlights for me was the lunch prepared by Ermannos pizza. Their Margherita pizza was just as good as last years. There were also plenty of salad dishes and beverages on hand. Lunch was capped off by Ermannos’ now famous WordCamp S’mores. WordCamp North Canton 2014 ended the day at a local hotel bar for the after party.
Looking Forward To Next Year
Overall, the event was a success albeit with a few things to work on for 2015. The sessions I attended were presented by people passionate about the subject they were talking about. Most of the people in the audience were either new to WordPress or had little to no development experience. When I asked some of the attendees who also attend my local WordPress meetup what they thought of the event, every one of them said it was worth every penny with big smiles on their faces.
Joe Rozsa and his team of volunteer staff members are to be commended for a job well done. Thanks to everyone who helped put on a fantastic event in my back yard. As long as North Canton keeps holding a WordCamp, I’ll keep coming. Meanwhile, keep an eye on the official WordCamp Columbus Ohio blog for information on the third WordCamp to be held in Ohio this year.