On August 29, 2015, Dat Hoang organized the 11th WordPress meetup, a group for people loving, developing and using WordPress in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon), Vietnam. Like previous meetups, people were eager to come to share and discuss about using and developing WordPress. Dat has been with OTGS for two years already and shares with us here his experiences:
The first presentation, “Local, Staging and Production Made Easy” was by Joe Guilmette, team lead of the plugin WP All Import. It was an interesting talk for developers. Joe shared his own experiences using VVV, EasyEngine, and Wordmove, which make tedious tasks easier with some command lines.
The second “Create a Business Site with WordPress, without Writing PHP” was presented by myself, Dat Hoang. This presentation suited people wanting to learn how data (posts, fields and taxonomies) in WordPress are structured. I gave a simple requirement in a typical corporate site, then figured it out in the admin dashboard (not writing any PHP code) by just using Types and Views plugins.
The last presentation “How WordPress Leverages My Project InternshipNetwork.Org” was for WordPress users, which was conceived by Huynh Huu Tai. He runs a project which helps students find internship opportunities. He told the story of how he found WordPress, how it was suited to his needs and how he made the current site.
The foundation for all these talks (also what I loved most) was dialogue. We held many discussions covering aspects of the presentations and exchanged ideas to make better use of WordPress.
Dating back from the first meetup in March 2014, the group now has over 800 members and has held 11 meetups. I have learned a lot by running a community like this.
Do you know what the most important and difficult thing in organizing these events is? Not finding a “nice venue”, not the “giveaways”, not the “free events” – it’s “finding speakers” and choosing themes for high-quality presentations. Potential speakers are right there in the group. Based on the introduction they leave at the meetup.com page, I send them invitations to share his/her experience with others. Sometimes I meet speakers in other tech events also.
Next, how to let as many people as possible who are interested in WordPress know about these events? Delving into other local WordPress communities like Facebook groups and tech websites helps me find out where people discuss WordPress and the increasing extent of interest in WordPress from the Vietnamese. I contact and ask the help of these communities. They are happy to share the event information with their followers.
Last but not least, I have help from my colleague Agnes Bury, the co-organizer Lam Thanh Phong, Vo Minh Man, among others and, of course, our company (for sponsoring all costs related to the organization). I cannot do everything on my own. With their help, I can go on improving the organization of the meetups to bring more value to the audiences.
Saigon WordPress meetup is much more than “meetup”
We have opportunities to meet new people and find out how they are using WordPress. The meetups attract many kinds of people to take part. Some are developers making a living through WordPress, but many others are working in areas like e-commerce, retailing, real estate, marketing and so on.
In addition, meetups are the place to look for jobs and partners. Many people understand the power of WordPress so they join the meetups to find partners for their projects. And as far as I know many head hunters also attend to recruit talents. It’s really good to know that there are many successful matches.
We have fun. After each meetup, we usually go to a place for beer and continue to talk about our interest WordPress.
This is my story about organizing the Saigon WordPress meetup group. What are your stories? If someday you visit Saigon, remember to come to the group and share your experiences with WordPress.