A Joomler lost in the WebSummit
Back from Lisbon and Granada, where I attended two fantastic and different technology events (more about them here, The Challenge to reach The Summit), I have one more J-story to tell. In Lisbon, I attended to WebSummit. Web Summit (originally Dublin Web Summit) is a technology conference held annually since 2009. The topic of the conference is centered on internet technology and attendees range from Fortune 500 companies to smaller tech companies. This contains a mix of CEOs and founders of tech start ups together with a range of people from across the global technology industry, as well as related industries. On the other hand, in Granada, I attented to JoomlaDay Granada. JoomlaDays are Joomla community events, organized by local user groups (JUGs) of each city.
At the WebSummit, in the first days, I was totally lost in the crowd. A tide of people surrounded me, talking about any subject related to web technology. You could walk half an hour to visit every venue and still feeling lost without knowing what to do next. Each venue had several areas devoted to different topics: content, SaaS, creativity, fashion, sports, health, finance, etc. In total, 21 conferences in a single event. Each conference had its big stands and 50-100 small exhibitors with Startups, Beta and Alpha projects. On top of this, talks of 20 minutes, in open spaces, covering a broad range of fields.
On these first days, wearing my techie hat, I got interested by the event in general as an opportunity to learn something new, with the same feeling that you have in a fair. An event where you can drink and eat, but you know that you are not going to get anything else for you. The picture was bleak. All offerings were 100% commercial. Concepts like community and open source were missed. Nowadays, there is a strong trend to convert all software packages into online services. Even WordPress, a former competitor in the content space, it is selling itself as WPEngine, a platform that works as a hosting service for applications.
After the initial surprise, and with two more days left, I opted for a different strategy, more relaxed and changing my outfit with a classic Joomler look. The organisation recommends as dress code, smart casual. So, for a Joomler, a smart casual look is a 10-year anniversary Joomla T-shirt (in red). This change produced astounding results.
In the 3rd day, several people stopped me to talk about Joomla!, like if I were in a JoomlaDay. For instance, Rowan (Hoskyns-Abrahall) and I were talking about nothing in a break; and suddenly a website owner stopped by and joined the conversation to ask recommendations about our CMS. At the same time, Crystal (Harris) was also walking by and joined to help us with her expert view on User Experience.
Finally, in the last day, walking between alpha and beta exhibitors, I got interested by a service to build mobile apps for content management systems. At that moment, one of the owners of the service noticed my Joomla! T-shirt and my always-present Hispanic accent to discover that we were both from Spain and interested to support Joomla! on mobile apps.
To conclude, the event helped me to understand better how Joomla! is positioned in the current technology landscape. We have a legacy of 10 years of community relationships and a brand that is easily identified. People feel attached to open technology and a community that is ready to collaborate or offer services. Even, in these global events, there is space that we can claim to be ours.