For the second time this weekend, I got up at an ungodly hour and took the Metro/MTR over the border to Hong Kong Science Technology Park for WordCamp Hong Kong 2009. Two buses and three trains later I arrived at the appropriately futuristic egg-shaped conference hall and registered for the super-cheap price of only $10 HKD.
The first presentation was by Matt Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress and founder of Automattic. He gave a talk about how WordPress got started, the underlying philosophy, and where things are heading in the future. There wasn’t really any new content for anyone that’s familiar with the space but it was interesting to see Matt in the flesh and impressive to see how much he has already achieved considering he’s only 25. He’s also extremely laid back about it all!
Other talks included a look at the most popular blogs on WordPress.com (blocked in mainland China), a ‘coolest blog contest‘, a look at multi-author management of WordPress sites, and a Q&A session with Matt compared by Thomas Crampton. One talk was in Cantonese but the rest of the day was in English so no matter. Leon Hu probably gave the most interesting talk of the day about his “life hacks” site which is evidently doing quite well for itself also.
The presentations were a little weak on the depth-of-content side but nevertheless, it was interesting to meet some fellow bloggers from this part of the world. My impression was that there seems to be a lot more creativity on this side of the border which somewhat makes me wish I was here more often but on the other side of the coin, the mainland still holds more interest in the way of culture and travel opportunities.
There were plenty of people with cameras so Flickr is awash with photos for anyone who’d like to see more of the presentations etc. Hopefully, it’ll be back next year, and with some more compelling speakers, I’m sure it’ll go from strength to strength.
Were you there? What did you think?
7 Comments Add New Comment
I think in mainland, field communications are quite few…
People are not good at sharing and showing their new concepts or ideas…
So, you can’t find any workshop, speech, or public presentation in companies….Normal employees work in a very closed environment…
Well,I don’t agree with Sabrina.
I think many companies in China are changing now.Esp.big companies either from Taiwan or HK, some mainland companies are trying to bring more these kinda stuff.Maybe are just not mature because it costs energy and money and some of them cant afford for now.
Better communication shouldn’t cost anything in monetary terms. It’s more a change of mindset and behaviour than anything else. This of course takes time and we are beginning to see this in some Chinese companies but it’s a very slow process. I don’t expect this can fully happen until old managers have retired and the education system in China has changed to focus less on memorizing text books and more on collaborative learning.
I was there too and I have to agree that the topics were a bit shallow when compared to the wordcamps held in other parts of the world, esp. the States, part of the reason I believe is that the user base of wordpress in Hong Kong is still very small. If only there’s a way to get more people to use wordpress in Hong Kong!
For me, presentations are only a small part of this kind of gathering. The conversations in the corridor and friendships are the real reason to attend. I do hope we have another WordCamp soon.
While I like the venue (AMAZING sphere – and great photo above) it is way too far away for most people. Somewhere more central in Kowloon or Hong Kong would be great next time.
Thanks Ryanne & Thomas for your comments. As I live over the border in Shenzhen I didn’t mind the location so much but can understand for most Hong Kongers (is that what you’d call yourselves?!) it was a bit of a hike.
I’ll look forward to meeting you hopefully next time!
WordPress used to be blocked in China, it’s not any more for some time now.