WordCamp

Highlights from WordCamp Asia 2023

WordCamp Asia 2023 happened February 17th-19th in Bangkok, Thailand. It was the first WordCamp Asia event ever, and it sold out immediately.

This historical WordCamp was a superb experience with valuable sessions inside an impressive venue. The side events, food, and just everything were so good! This short blog post featuring the highlights will not do the event justice, but let me try my best. Here we go.

Contributor Day

As a WordCamp Asia 2023 Contributor Day organizer member, I had so much fun. We had a good turnout and active participation from the contributors. It was incredible to have WordPress team representatives come in person and lead the teams.

Contributors at CLI table – Credits: Ratnesh Sonar

Six hundred and fifty-three people contributed that day, many of whom were first-time contributors. Contributions included pull requests, patches, theme reviews, translations, etc.

Sessions

The sessions were terrific, featuring a variety of topics and skill levels. There were three tracks, each with a great line of speakers. I learned a lot from the talks.

As a developer, I attended a few programming-related sessions, but there were talks and presentations for everyone, including designers, bloggers, marketers, and business owners. WebDevStudios Account Manager, Laura Byrne, delivered an inspiring talk called “Disillusioned at Age 50: Turning a 10-year WordPress hobby into a successful new career as a woman who doesn’t code.”

Laura Byrne delivering her talk
Credits: Oranong Bee Arlunaek

Here are the slides. You can also catch Laura’s talk in the video below.

Ask Matt (Mullenweg) Anything

I asked, “How can developers and designers upskill themselves?” The Executive Director of the WordPress project, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, answered that we could accomplish this by participating in do_action hackathons.

Many interesting questions were asked in the “Ask Matt Anything” session. Responding to a question about ChatGPT, Matt recommended we begin by “…leveraging them to improve our productivity than trying to fight them.”

The big announcement was that the collaborative editing, Phase III of the Gutenberg project, would commence soon.

On the fun side, Matt said if he had a time machine, he would like to revisit the day he chatted with Mike Little about forking b2/cafelog as WordPress.

Five for the Future

Matt discussed Five For The Future (5FTF) while answering a question about how open source can thrive. He believes and recommends contributing a small percentage back to open source will keep it growing and thriving. He also highlighted that open source can shine during recessionary times.

I understand the importance of contributions to a project like WordPress, which keeps it one of the top open-source platforms. At WebDevStudios (WDS), we take contributions seriously and continue them without fail. Check out these blog posts if you are curious about 5FTF and how to contribute.

Meeting Teammates In Person

This is a photo of Lead Engineer, Ashar Irfan; Backend Engineer, Lax Mariappan; Account Manager, Laura Byrne; and Engineering Manager, JC Palmes, taken at WordCamp Asia in Bangkok, Thailand.
Pictured left to right: Lead Engineer, Ashar Irfan; Backend Engineer, Lax Mariappan; Account Manager, Laura Byrne; and Engineering Manager, JC Palmes.

Meeting coworkers for the first time in person cannot be explained in words. When Laura said hello, it took a few seconds for me to believe it was real. Although we are connected online, talking to my teammates in person is a pleasure.

I am an Indian. Engineering Manager, JC Palmes, is a Filipina. Lead Engineer, Ashar Irfan, is from Pakistan, and Laura is from the United States. This event is the perfect place for us to see each other. It is a mix of emotions when we all hang out together.

Laura Byrne’s gift

Thanks to Laura for this gift all the way from New York. Having lunch with Ashar was something special and to be cherished. I mistook three other attendees who looked somewhat similar to Ashar, and this is where swag helps. Luckily, I could identify him by the WebDevStudios shirt that he was wearing.

JC was busy as one of the Global Leads for WordCamp Asia, and the pasalubong she brought for us was terrific. Pasalubong means “gift” in Ilonggo language. Even though I lived in the same city as JC, I had met her only a few times before.

I was feeling unwell right before my flight and thought of canceling the trip, but if I had done that, I would have missed meeting the WordPress community and awesome coworkers.

Reactions to WordCamp Asia 2023

I asked the WDS team who attended the event to describe their WordCamp Asia 2023 experience in one sentence. Here’s what they had to say.

Ashar Irfan

Ashar Irfan, Lead Engineer

“WordCamp Asia was my first WordCamp ever, and honestly, I enjoyed the whole experience of connecting with the WordPress community. I met with many amazing folks, including some of my wonderful colleagues, and I hope to do this again soon.”

JC Palmes

This is a portrait photo of JC Palmes, Senior Frontend Engineer at WebDevStudios.
JC Palmes, Engineering Manager

“I was thrilled to be one of the members of the Global Leads trio for WordCamp Asia. It was both an amazing and a very stressful experience. Although I did not see any of the talks from start to finish, I know they all went well. Just seeing the faces of everyone made all the stress and internal drama worth it. I finally got to connect actual persons to their names and Zoom faces. One of my most memorable experiences was finally meeting Laura and Ashar (it took me a few seconds to realize it was him); Lax, too, but I’ve met him already.”

Laura Byrne

Laura Byrne, Account Manager

“I loved my first time in Asia and meeting my colleagues. The first person I met was Lax, who is just as warm and welcoming in person as he is online. As a Global Lead Organizer, JC was constantly in motion. It was impressive how many things she dealt with while never looking tired. It was the first time I ever met Ashar or spoke to him. We’ve only ever briefly interacted in Slack before. He has such an outgoing and joyful personality, which I’d never realized from only meeting him on Slack. He’s also really tall; I wasn’t expecting that. You don’t know where to look when you’ve only seen someone as a Zoom avatar.”

WordCamp Asia 2023 in Pictures

The venue ICON SIAM - Bangkok - Credits: Courtney Robertson
The venue ICON SIAM – Bangkok – Credits: Courtney Robertson
WC Asia 2023 Wapuu
WC Asia 2023 Wapuu – Credits: Naoko Takano
Attendees say that they use block editor! – Credits: Cat Van Mina
WC Asia official swags
WC Asia official swags – Credits: Chiaki KOUNO/MORITA

A Million Thanks

I want to thank this WordCamp’s leads, organizers, volunteers, sponsors, and attendees. Almost 1,300 people attended, which is a considerable number for the first-ever flagship WordCamp in Asia.

WCAsia in numbers

On a personal note, I am grateful for the efficient remote work processes at WDS and the generous paid time off to attend. We send virtual tacos as a token of appreciation to our colleagues at work. I badly wanted to send hundreds of tacos to everyone who made this one memorable!

It felt sad when the event was over, but I look forward to attending other WordCamps and WDSCamp,  our annual retreat, and meeting all my coworkers this year!

Comments

1 thought on “Highlights from WordCamp Asia 2023

  1. It seems this has been a great event, and I agree that meeting teammates in person when working remotely is a wonderful experience. With so many of us hailing from different parts of the world, finally meeting the team you’ve been working with for months or years through Teams does feel special.

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