On April 19th, 2013 first WordPress meetup took place in Serbia. It was held in Prelovac media (company behind ManageWP) offices in New Belgrade. The event was initiated and organized by people with long WordPress background, and I must say that Serbia have them a lot (ManageWP, ThemeKingdom etc).
Since this is my first post about some open source community in Serbia, I must say that as OWASP Serbia local chapter leader and one of board members of NGO that will to be umbrella organization for all (or majority) FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) communities in Serbia, I should folow this a bit more. So here is my promise that in future I will more care about our FLOSS comunities.
What is WordPress meetup all about
The greatest thing about WordPress is the community. That’s what allows this free software to continue being free, to continually get better and to have an entire ecosystem of themes and plugins.
But that community doesn’t have to be entirely virtual. All across the country there are WordPress groups gathering in person on a regular basis. These WordPress meetups are an opportunity to meet and connect with other WordPress fans in your area.
On WordPress meetup you can learn about all things WordPress. You might see some amazing presentations that blow your mind with what WordPress can do. You might be reminded of some simple features you overlooked. You might pick up some helpful tips that can make your site better. You might learn about some new plugins or themes that offer exactly what you’ve been looking for. You might get the help you need. You might meet some incredible people and forge connections that will help in the future.
How it was in Belgrade
People start comming about 5pm. Event started on 5:40pm. Great thing in start was that we had free food and beer. Also there was WiFi network avaluable. First to talk and welcome guest was Vladimir Prelovac, founder of ManageWP. And there was time for everyone to introduce him/her-self.
Vladimir talked about his career in WordPress. How he started and what all happened to him before he started ManageWP. How he wrote a book. How he created ManageWP with his team etc. Many people had questions about service, customers, numbers, afairs with stealing source, money transfer to Serbia problems of ManageWP and Vladimir was willing to give all the answers.
Next to talk was Marko Heijnen, who is a contributing developer to the WordPress core from the Netherlands. He has family in Serbia and Montenegro. He was foreign speaker, so he spoke on English. Marko was talking about contributing to WordPress core, how he started, what was benefits and how it is all done. He also showed preview of WordPress 3.7 that is in development.
Last one to talk was Sinisa Komlenic, founder of Themes kingdom. He was talking about his experiences and about themes business. How to sell it, how to do marketing for it etc. Also there was a lot of questions for Sinisa about competition, problems with money transfer to Serbia etc., that he was willing to answer.
It definitly was great evening. I met a lot of interesting people, that shared some knowledge to me, and also I shared few things with them. For sure it is base for new Open Source comunity in Serbia, and that is great. There was about 25 people, with potential to grow. With OWASP we had about 10 people on first meeting, and now we have about 60-70. WordPress is something that is more often used and more widespred then computer security and hacking, so I expect also a larger growth here. One thing that can be improved is that meetup was too long. Three lectures and event that was almost 3 hours long is a bit too much for meetup. Maybe for conference it is ok, since there are plans to make WordCamp happen in Serbia. I guess organizers realized that also, and on next meetup they will improve this.