Invaluable lessons learnt at WordCamp Sydney

The beauty of attending a WordCamp event is not only all the new things you learn about WordPress, but the networking with like-minded people who share a passion or interest for the same amazing open-source platform. 


Networking is vital for growth:

Active networking is vital to career growth, relationship building, cultivating ideas, raising profile, accessing new opportunities, building confidence, learning new things and gaining advice and support. 

Robey Lawrence (@robeylawrence) gave an insightful talk on “Working by Yourself… Together” which highlighted how working for yourself can be great, but also sometimes lonely. The same applies when working within a company where you are in a team of one, which I face at the moment. Robey talked about the benefits of utilising co-working spaces, and some tips for improving your work/life balance, and how it can improve your productivity and even your mental health. Being able to attend events such as WordCamp, local WordPress Meetups, listen to WordPress podcasts (such as WPBosses and Kitchen Sink WP and many more) or login regularly to the WPAustralia’s Slack community help provide a sense of connection when lacking a team environment.

Photo by Alex Shiels

As perfectly said in an article posted by by Lawrence on, “It’s fair to say that the people and the vibe made the event as much as the content successful”. The WordPress community as a whole is always warm, open and embracing, irrelevant of a WordPress enthusiasts skills, knowledge or lack there of. So if you love all things WordPress and want to connect more with the WP Australia Community (, you can find the WP Australia Slack there, find your local WordPress Meetups, WordPress event information, plus more!

Is your client a friend or foe? 

Dee Teal’s (@thewebprincess) presentation on “Your Client is not your Enemy” highlighted some important topics for when working solo or as part of a team and how to deal with your clients. Keeping sensible boundaries, how to say NO without ruining your relationship with your client (or employer), how serving your clients can serve you and much more. Many of her real world examples were easily relate-able in teaching anyone how to set boundaries in all facets of a workplace. Good people skills, whether it be in sharing your knowledge, explaining complex systems in plain english or genuinely being empathetic not only help you build a better relationship with your client but also network better with others in the workplace.

Photo by Alex Shiels

James Rose’s (@_jimmyrose) talk on “Getting content from clients on time” highlighted related lessons on how to deal with difficult clients, whether its struggling to get content from them or explain something they simply can’t visualise. I admit I’ve dealt with my fair share of clients over the years that just can’t comprehend how the entire project will come together without seeing detailed wireframes or mockups first.

Photo by Alex Shiels


WordPress News – Gutenburg and GDPR

Unless you have been living under a rock, news about Gutenberg replacing the current classic editor can not go unnoticed, nor can the discussions revolving GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). 

Photo by Alex Shiels

The Gutenberg Questions & Answers panel session (which included @thewebprincess@LukeCarbis, @noisysocks and @PhaseCreative) help ease mine (and hopefully many others) about when and how Gutenburg will be phased into WordPress and eventually replace the Classic Editor. Gutenberg will start appearing in dashboards with WordPress version 4.9.8. Thankfully users will be given the option to install it and ease into using it with their current websites or keep using the classic editor. On my initial experience it still has a number of things to iron out such as complete compatibility with Advanced Custom Fields and usability. As I continue to find issues I’m trying to remember to submit them to the list on github so that the development team can be sure to resolve them in future releases.

Brendan Woods (@brendan_woods) presented on “GDRP, WordPress and You” which gave great insight into the greatest overhaul of data laws to Europe in 20 years, however its effect goes beyond the borders of the European Union. As said by Brendan “Not only is the landscape of data law changing, but with data breaches from Equifax and Facebook, it’s now more important than ever that businesses remain careful and trustworthy data stewards”.  

Photo by Alex Shiels


Sharing rewards others, as well as yourself

The satisfaction and enjoyment I get out of sharing my knowledge with others, however great or small trumps any of my public speaking fears. Having a few amazing friends / hecklers in the audience also helped ease my nerves too. No greater feeling comes from when you help others and then ten-fold when you receive quality interaction from those listening as it indicates something you shared resonated with them and was helpful. 

Presenting at WordCamp Sydney 2018 and occasionally at local WordPress Meetups has helped me see an area I’m keen to pursue further in my career so you may see me presenting again at future WordPress events.


If you missed out on any of the talks at WordCamp Sydney 2018 as I know I did because there was always two on at the same time (and I would have liked to see both topics on some occasions), then they will soon be available on WordPress tv. For details on when they will be posted keep at eye on the WordCamp Sydney twitter page. 


Lastly, WCSyd 2018 was a fantastic event and a massive thank you to the organisers and sponsors who contributed to making this event happen. Event photos courtesy of Alex Shiels.

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