Robert, as the new Events Team leader in 2010 you were one of our very first interviewees in the magazine. At that time, a Joomla World Conference was under discussion. What are the pieces that came together making it possible now in 2012?
It started with a lucky moment as eBay offered us the venue in San Jose for free. We were in San Jose for a leadership summit and the offer was unexpected. The original plan was to make it on the East Coast of the US but the good thing about doing it on the West Coast is that we make it easier for people from Asia and Australia to join. It is still a long way, but easier.
After that the only thing left was to make it happen and organize it. We can be happy that we have such a great community, it was easy to build a team who helped me and to be honest, they do the biggest part of the job.
You are famous as the organizer of three very successful JandBeyond, conferences. How is a World conference different, and is its purpose the same or different?
We are all good in forgetting how complicated it was in the past, the first JandBeyond was not so easy to organize. In some way, we had the same luck as for the JWC, our venue was also very cheap. But with the first conference you always face the same problems. Nobody knows about the conference and any conference must find its own flavor. JAB is now a developer/sitebuilder family meeting, we don’t know what the JWC will be yet. What I do know is that we have a lot of things planned that will make this event very special.
What do you mean when you say “lot of things planned that will make this event very special” ?
We are very focused on community involvement, beside all the presentations we have planned working group sessions. People can work there on certain topics. We have some great Keynote speakers from inside our community (Kyle Ledbetter, Mark Dexter, Louis Landry, Ryan Ozimek, Brian Teeman) and from the wider Open Source Community (Pascal Finette, Steve Fisher, Kevinjohn Gallagher) [names in the order of appearance:-)]. Last, but not least, our evening surprises: “Joomla! Speed Geeking” and “Rock’in Joomla”. I can’t say too much about that, but this will bring social gathering to a totally new level.
Compared to a JoomlaDay, what is different at the JWC?
Essentially I think there are two things: First, the community involvement, doing work for and on Joomla! at the conference, and second, the international audience. That shouldn’t mean you’ll not find this in some way at a JoomlaDay, but we have three days to focus on this and move forward.
The cookie exchange was a big hit at JAB12, can you explain how that came about and will you be doing that again?
That idea was stolen (or borrowed) from Debian, they do a “Cheese and Wine Party” and anybody can bring something from home. We converted it to “Cookie exchange” that’s all. I don’t think we’ll do it for the JWC, because the U.S. import regulations are very strict. Best to not have arguments with Homeland Security staff about cookies.
Final Question: Who should come to the JWC?
Anybody who cares about Joomla! and if you haven’t bought your ticket I have a special offer for the magazine readers, with the JMAGAZINE10 discount code you will save 25% on the ticket price (code is valid till Sunday next week 13th October). It is worth every cent.