Back in September, I got the chance to travel to India for a few days. I was invited to speak at WordCamp Pune, and had a few days to discover a part of the Indian WordPress community, meet wonderful people, chat about Jetpack, and share my experiences as a Happiness Engineer at Automattic.
Everyone but Andy got to India a few days before the event so we had the chance to work together, have tons of interesting conversations, meet the locals, …
We all landed in Mumbai, and had to travel by car for a few hours to get to Pune. This was a nice intro to India, with its contrasts, its busy streets, and its auto rickshaws.
The next day, we met with Rahul Bansal, CEO of rtCamp. rtCamp is probably the biggest WordPress agency in Pune, and they have a strong influence on the local community. It seems like half of the WordPress professionals in the city work there, or started there. ?
Although Rahul was one of the WordCamp organizers and was obviously very busy with last-minute details, he was kind enough to welcome us in rtCamp’s offices, talk to us about the local community, give us a tour of the offices, and he even offered us some lunch. It was local food, pretty delicious, and a great intro to what was to come. Rahul was the perfect host, and he continued to be a great host for the rest of the trip. He actually supervised all catering during the WordCamp, and everyone loved the food!
Since we’re talking about food, I must admit I wasn’t very adventurous during the week, as I wanted to be on top of my game for WordCamp day. I did, however, really enjoy the food at rtCamp (Pithla – Bhakari), and Dosa for breakfast (with various sauces). We also had some great food at a bar called “The Hidden Place“, but I don’t remember the name of the dish. Rahul would know, he recommended it to us and we were lucky he did
Tea was also good everywhere, but that won’t surprise anyone.
I was so busy taking it all in that I didn’t take any pictures. One of my colleagues did though, so I invite you to check his pictures posts here: Photo Stream: WordCamp Pune 2015 — A.I. Sajib
And the WordCamp?
It was probably one of the best WordCamps I’ve attended. Everyone was pumped and wanted to learn, people were interested in learning more about the speakers, the sponsors, everything!
I got to interact with a lot of people, more than at other WordCamps; we talked about Automattic, Jetpack, the future of WordPress, career opportunities for someone passionate with WordPress, and lots of other things.
There were also lots of students, discovering WordPress and its community, and running around to attend as many talks as possible. The WordCamp organizers had the great idea to offer free or discounted tickets to about 150 students from 2 local colleges. I wish I’d see more initiatives like this at other WordCamps, as it’s a great way to attract the future generations of WordPress professionals.
But don’t take my word for it: go read these recaps from some of the great people I met at WordCamp Pune:
- WordCamp Pune and withdrawal symptoms!, by Aditya Kane
- A Recap of WordCamp Pune, India, by Topher DeRosia
- WordCamp Pune 2015 – My Experiences, by Naweed Chougle
Veerendra Tikhe also interviewed a few of the attendees and created this little summary:
I also participated to a panel discussion on the following theme: A Career in Development and Support with WordPress
I like to think it was useful for many people in the room, but I’ll let you judge. Here is the video:
Last but not least, my colleague Mahangu offered me a really nice present; these little elephants are a nice symbol of his home country, Sri Lanka, and they’re standing right in front of me, on my desk, as a reminder of the good times we had together in India. Thanks again Mahangu for this present, and for organizing our trip in the first place!