Last weekend, I went to the Kansai area with my coworker Karim for 2 WordPress events.
WordCamp Kobe 2013
This was the second WordCamp in Kobe since 2011. Many of organizers / volunteers from previous WordCamps in the area (Osaka & Kyoto) also attended and helped out. The greatest thing about the Kobe WordPress community is that they are so enthusiasic about learning together and sharing their knowledge. The concept of WordCamp Kobe this year is “One day school”, and they wanted to make sure that attendees can learn as much as possible during this all-day event. The 300 tickets were sold out and they did an awesome job fulfilling their set goal to have a WordCamp focused on learning.
I spoke about how WordPress is doing in Japan with a few stats and use cases (my slides here). I’m seeing a flood of new, non-techie users for WordPress software in Japan from the kind of books published here, questions asked in the forums, and search keywords to ja.wordpress.org. I think it’s great but this also means we need to try harder to help them learn the right way and grow the community without creating divisions based on skills or background. I am really looking forward to what could happen, and WordCamp Kobe certainly gave me the inspiration & motivation to work toward the goal.
WordPress Meetup at 709ch Kyoto
On Sunday after WordCamp, Karim, @khoshino, @miya0001 and I headed to Kyoto together for another WordPress event (thanks for the ride, Miya-san!!). The venue 709ch is located inside Kyoto Research Park, where WordCamp Kyoto was held in 2009. It brought back a lot of good and funny (!) memories to be back there after 4 years – we talked about how much has changed for all of us since then!
709ch is a really nice event space that’s owned by the company Hiro (the event organizer) works for. This was a very informal event Hiro & co. invited us to speak about WordPress as well as how we work at Automattic. Their company is now growing fast and has an office in Singapore, so we discussed how team members who are away from each other can work effectively. While seeing how volunteers are working at WordCamp Kobe, I was reminded that it’s so important to have a shared high-level goal to feel motivated to do your best. Tools and methods are created and refined as a result of that, not the other way around.
It was great to get to meet some of the people who are really involved in WordPress community in Kyoto. They also have been holding local meetups regularly and are focused on making it a place where anyone can ask anything to each other. Both of communities in Kobe and Kyoto really showed me the importance of building up small pieces to create a strong community. I think the power of these kind of people is the building block of WordPress’ success in Japan more than anything else.