Field Notes from Sweden: WebCoast 2014

Reporting back from a unique WebCoast conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, Happiness Engineer Karim Osman shares the view from the North.

Johan Lundberg

Every week, Automatticians — the people behind WordPress.com — participate in conferences, WordCamps, and other community events around the world. Today, let’s hear from Happiness Engineer Karim Osman, who just returned from WebCoast, in Gothenburg, Sweden. WebCoast is a WordPress.com-sponsored conference that focuses on online communication and web development.

After a three-hour train ride, I finally arrived in Sweden’s second-largest city: Gothenburg. This was my first time there, and my fellow Happiness Engineer Fabiana Simões showed me around town. It’s a lovely city with great sights, amazing architecture, and cozy cafes — the perfect place for a conference.

The nicest thing about WebCoast is that it’s a three-day, unconference-style event. “Unconference” means that the content is organized and created by the conference attendees: there was a gridded board where speakers booked a slot for their talk, workshop, or discussion session. Then others decided which sessions they’d like to attend.

Visitors adding their workshops and talks to the grid.

Visitors adding their sessions to the grid. Photo credit

Fabiana held a session where she explained more about Automattic, WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and the awesome features that WordPress.com has to offer. Isaac Keyet (Product Designer at Automattic) joined us to help answer questions the audience had.

Fabiana giving a talk about WordPress.com

Fabiana giving a talk about WordPress.com. Photo credit

I really liked the attendees’ diversity: they included developers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and everything in between. We had lots of good chats with them about WordPress and other topics. I’ll definitely attend WebCoast again next year.

Happiness Engineers on guard

Happiness Engineers at your service.

Of course, if Sweden isn’t really around the corner for you, you can still connect with the broader WordPress community. For example, you might consider attending one of the many WordCamps out there. Either way, we’ll be at your service!

Stay tuned for more news and updates about recent and upcoming events, including a report from this year’s incredibly successful SXSW (South by Southwest).


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Karim

19 Comments

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  1. timethief

    Hi Karim,
    I’m so glad to read that you enjoyed the “Unconference” meet-up you attended in Gothenburg, which sounds like a beautiful city. In Canada we refer to the style of conference as Open Space Technology meetings and they became very popular in the 1980’s and remain popular here today. Thank you so much for the excellent work you do as a Happiness Engineer and best wishes for many more happy years with WordPress.

    Like

    • Karim

      Thank you for your kind words. It’s a privilege to work with such great WordPress.com users and volunteers like you :)

      Like

  2. Ellen Lambert (@elliemaega)

    still learning how to do things in WordPress, but it was fun to read your travelogue!!

    Like

  3. Charlotte Ortega

    I am interested in hosting a word camp/conference/ non conference in sunny Puerto Vallarta!
    Sweden sounds like fun but too cold for me this time of the year!

    Like

  4. ninano

    As a former resident of Gothenburg, I’m happy to hear you found both the city and WebCoast worth revisiting! If you would like to deepen your impressions of the town, please visit my photoblog vackrare.com that consists mainly of images from Gothenburg (and Stockholm, where I live now).

    Like

  5. the eternal traveller

    Let’s have a Wordcamp/Unconference in Australia, preferable in sunny Queensland where I live. It sounds like lots of fun.

    Like

  6. Stefan Wikander

    Nice post Karim, and huge thanks for your banner! I got your business card and I’ll send you a picture of the banner where it stands in our office. Hope to see you again / Stefan

    Like

  7. Kalle Blomqvist (@KalleBlomqvist)

    Nice to meet you and your colleagues at WebCoast, and hear about the development of the wonderful world of WordPress! Lets keep in touch.

    Like

  8. Lena Göthberg ⚓️ (@LenaGothberg)

    I was also a rookie at this event, but will definitely come back next year again! Living in Gothenburg, I would be more than happy to welcome many of your readers to my lovely hometown and to the creative environment at #WebCoast
    Lena

    Like

  9. M. R.

    Organize one in Sydney and I’ll be there, with bells on (can’t travel, so even a Kiwi location isn’t close enough). But I note that you yourself have already been here, so that doesn’t seem to augur too well for me …
    The non-organization looks a wee bit chaotic, Karim: in fact, it looks like a free-for-all !

    Like

  10. Martin Lindeskog (@Lyceum)

    Karim: Nice meeting you and your fellow “happy engineers”! :) Yesterday, I registered a blog on WordPress.com. I will record a podcast on WordPress and WebCoast in the near future.

    The word, “potluck conference” was coined at the first WebCoast conference on March 19, 2011. See Joakim Lidström’s (‏”bobakin” on Twitter) tweet: Unconference = knytkonferens? #webcoast

    Like

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